Monthly Archives: June 2009

Arkansas Mother ARRESTED after Protecing Children from Foster Care

By Sandra Ami

Suzanne McHenry from Arkansas, originally from the UK was Arrested Monday after signing over Temporary Guardianship to her in-laws.

Suzanne and husband Calvin received a visit from at 11am Thursday June 4th regarding their 4 month old little girl Bethany’s safety. What the McHenry’s did not know was that the other two children Amie age 5 and Lee age 3 were already being detained by Social Services on trickery when the Grandparents were asked to bring them in so that they could be observed and to “speak” to the Grandparents about the validity to the allegations.

During the time the Grandparents were being interrogated, the children were taken into another room out of the sight and ears of their Grandparents. Upon any conclusions of the so called interview, the Grandparents were told they would NOT be taking their little one’s home.

After the Family Services Assessor Rhonda Bohamon left the home of the McHenry’s stating that Bethany “appeared fine” they were then visited yet again by Social Services just hours later to “take the baby”. The Social worker stated to Suzanne “Supervisor said ‘take one take all'”.

Calvin McHenry stated they “might get their children back within 72 hours.. but need to hold the children until their investigation is complete”  as this is what he was told by Social Services.

What the McHenry’s didn’t know was the Child Welfare Laws in their state.

They didn’t know that one the law state in Arkansas:  9-30-104.State Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board (a)The State Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Board is created as an autonomous agency”; which for those of you who may not understand what that mean, it’s SELF GOVERNING and independent and subject to their own laws.

The McHenry’s, as with every other parent faced with such tragedy, believed the Social Workers would do as the laws state and would find the allegations “unfounded”.  The McHenry’s were unaware of the policies and practices of Social Service. They were unaware of the Corporation they were dealing with.

On Friday June 5th, as ordered to appear in court they were faced with a decision to either give up temporary custody to Calvin’s parents (which they felt completely comfortable in doing) or face their children going into a Foster Home. So before court started all attorneys went into back chambers with the Judge to discuss the turn over in guardianship; it was granted and the children were now safe from Foster Care. However, Social Services WAS NOT HAPPY!

On Monday a police car showed up on the McHenrys doorstep stating they wanted to “ask some questions in regards to the children” both Suzanne and Calvin stated they would not without council, thus making the police officers angry where upon immediate handcuffs were slapped on Suzanne stating they had a warrant for her arrest. No reason was given, no warrant was shown and the police refused to give out any information to either party as to court dates or reasons. It was also stated by Calvin that there was no Myranda rights given to his wife. The officer sweared expletives to Calvin when Calvin started asking him about his rights and the Constitution the officer only stated “Shut the F*** Up..Don’t say another F****ing word!”

It wasn’t until the following day Calvin learned from Suzanne that there has been supposedly a warrant issued on May 22 for her arrest, prior to any inquiry by Social Services.

The case is still in it’s beginning stages but the McHenry’s are asking for any help they can get and would like to have any journalists to take on the challenge in helping them. Calvin McHenry said “I will be willing to open up my life and hand over any and all evidence a Journalist requests to prove our innocents and get my babies back”.

They can be reached through facebook:

“Hi I’m Suzannes sister in the UK. Calvin has set up a “chip in” site for donating to help Suzannes case and FREE HER! Please if anyone can donate then please donate. Thank you xxxx”

** UPDATE: I spoke with Calvin McHenry today June 10th and I was informed that a reporter from the Local TV WMCTV/(NBC) in his area has taken on his story.. It’s still not enough, he still needs to have the truth come out since he can not afford an attorney. ALSO they are CHARGING HIS WIFE WITH A FELONY BATTERY CHARGE whis is giving her a 25 to LIFE sentence…***

** UPDATE: June 12, 2009 The McHenry’s were contacted by an Attorney willing to take the case and has promised the McHenry’s he would take the case and “UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION”. This will be interesting to follow. More good news, Calvin McHenry stated this new attorney is aggressive and plans to take the case ALL THE WAY. He plans to get the Bail reduced immediately.

GREAT NEWS: Mr. McHenry stated the children were taken to the Hospital for an evaluation on their so called Burn Marks and 3 doctors CONFIRMED the marks were that of A STAFF INFECTION!!!

July 10, 2009 UPDATE:
Calvin has told me that Suzanne is being deported back to the UK, on an expired Visa. They were unaware she violated the visa since they had gotten married. Suzanne is in a FEDERAL PRISON awaiting deportation.  CPS agrees the child’s marks are that of a Staff Infection, but state they believe it is a result of Cigarette Burns, which Calvin believes is because they are afraid of liability. Calvin has been put on Monitored Visitations with his children, Monitor must be a CPS worker, according to Social Services; CPS is afraid he is unstable and will try to take the children out of the county to be with their mother.  Calvin had posted bail for his wife, but she was immediately remanded to the Federal Prison. Calvin was unable to get his bail back as the bail bondsman refused to refund his money, even though Suzanne didn’t come home.


Filed under abuse, arrested, attorney, Children Family Services, Courts, CPS, Department of, DHHS, DHS, finances, Foster Care, Government, journalist, kidnapped, news, parents

Children Committing Suicide in CPS/DCFS Care

“… laws, according to state documents, encourage counties and their private contractors to earn money by placing and keeping children in foster care. The county receives $30,000 to $150,000 in state and federal revenues annually for each child placed.”

[While reading this, please keep in mind the age of the story. The statistics have not decreased in the past 9 years, but on the contrary have increased.
Although the beginning doesn’t give the full impact of the article,  please do read on as you will find it increasingly interesting and somewhat enlightening. ]

December 28, 2003
Troy Anderson
Staff Writer

Children committing suicide at younger age

Los Angeles County’s child protective system is one of the most
violent and dangerous in the nation, and its foster children are up
to 10 times more likely to die from abuse or neglect than elsewhere
in the country, a two-year investigation by the Daily News has found.

In 2001 in the United States, 1.5 percent of the 1,225 children who
died from abuse and neglect were in foster care, but in the county
14.3 percent of the 35 children who died of mistreatment that year
were in foster care, government statistics show. The percentage in
the county from 1991 to 2001 averaged 4.23 percent.
The taxpayer-funded county and state systems are so overwhelmed with
false allegations – four out of every five mistreatment reports are
ruled unfounded or inconclusive – and filled with so many children
who shouldn’t even be in the system, experts say, that social workers
are failing in their basic mission to protect youngsters. Nationally,
two out of three reports of mistreatment are false.

Since 1991, the county Coroner’s Office has referred more than 2,300
child deaths to the county’s child death review team – and more than
660 of those dead children were involved in the child protective
system, including nearly 160 who were homicide victims.

In many of these deaths, county Children’s Services Inspector General
Michael Watrobski made recommendations to the Department of Children
and Family Services to conduct in-house investigations to determine
if disciplinary action was warranted against those workers involved
in the cases.

Of 191 child deaths Watrobski investigated since 2001, he made a
total of 63 recommendations to address systemic problems to improve
the way the system works in an effort to reduce the number of child

Despite spending more than $36 million on foster care lawsuit
settlements, judgments and legal expenses since 1990, DCFS
disciplined less than a third of the social workers responsible for
the lawsuits, most of which involved families who alleged social
workers’ negligence contributed to the deaths and mistreatment of
their children in foster care.

“That’s pathetic,” county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said.
“When you have a department that is responsible for the health and
safety of children there is no excuse to have a dismal record of
accountability like this.”

Meanwhile, in the various facilities that make up the county’s foster
care system, between 6 percent and 28 percent of the children are
abused or neglected – figures comparable to the rate in New Jersey,
which many experts have long called the state with the most dangerous
child welfare system in the nation.

In the general population, only 1 percent of children suffer such

“When I stepped into this job, I said that too many kids are hurt in
foster care,” said DCFS Director David Sanders, who started in March
after the forced resignations of the previous four directors. “That
is absolutely glaring and the fact this department has never been
willing to say that is a huge problem.

“It is clear when you compare us to other systems, we have more kids
being hurt in our care than in other systems. That is absolutely
inexcusable. I can’t say that more strongly. If is a reflection of a
system that isn’t working.”

Despite the staggering number of child deaths and mistreatment of
thousands of children, Sanders said the department’s efforts have
saved the lives of hundreds of children over the years. He also noted
that the vast majority of foster parents don’t mistreat children.

And child advocates say for the first time in the county’s history
the DCFS director is taking unprecedented steps to reduce the number
of deaths and percentage of foster children who are mistreated.

“In the past, the system has failed to protect children in its
care,” said Andrew Bridge, managing director of child welfare reform
programs at the private Broad Foundation. “The new leadership at the
department has been left with that legacy and is taking aggressive
steps to fix it and protect children.”

DCFS statistics show the percentage of foster children abused and
neglected averages about 6 percent, but in the foster homes
supervised by private foster family agencies, an average of 10
percent of children are mistreated. However, the rates range up to 28
percent in some homes, Sanders said.

Statewide, the rate averages close to 1 percent.

In New Jersey, the foster care mistreatment rate ranges from 7
percent to 28 percent in different parts of the state, said Marcia
Lowry, executive director of the New York City-based Children’s
Rights advocacy organization.

Of 20 states surveyed in 1999, the percentage of children mistreated
by foster parents averaged a half percent. The rate of abuse ranged
from one-tenth of a percent in Arizona, Delaware and Wyoming to 1.6
percent in Illinois to 2.3 percent in Rhode Island, according to
federal statistics.

Susan Lambiase, associate director of Children’s Rights, was
surprised to learn of the percentage in Los Angeles County, calling
it “absolutely horrendous.”

“(Los Angeles County is) a child welfare system in crisis because
the children are getting pulled from their homes to keep them safe
and the system cannot assure that they are being kept safe,” said
Lambiase, whose organization has filed about 10 class-action lawsuits
to place state child welfare systems under federal consent decrees
and is considering what action it might take in Los Angeles County.

“It’s unacceptable,” she said. “This is a malfunctioning foster
care system given that its role in society is to protect children
from abuse and neglect.”

Critics say social workers are so busy filling out paperwork and
investigating false reports that they are overlooking the warning
signs of many children in the community in real danger and are not
able to properly ensure the safety of children in foster care.

“When you overload your system with children who don’t need to be in
foster care, workers have less time to find the children in real
danger,” said Richard Wexler, executive director of the National
Coalition for Child Protection Reform in Alexandria, Va.

The Daily News investigation found that up to half of the 75,000
children in the system and adoptive homes were needlessly placed in a
system that is often more dangerous than their own homes because of
financial incentives in state and federal laws. These laws, according
to state documents, encourage counties and their private contractors
to earn money by placing and keeping children in foster care. The
county receives $30,000 to $150,000 in state and federal revenues
annually for each child placed.

Adrianna Romero Cram, Oregon foster child who was murdered in Mexico at age 4

Adrianna Romero Cram, Oregon foster child who was murdered in Mexico at age 4

Some examples of settled cases involving the deaths of foster
children include:

–Long Beach resident Jacquelyn Bishop, whose twins were taken away
because she hadn’t gotten her son an immunization. Kameron Demery, 2,
was later beaten to death by his foster mother.

The foster mother was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced
to prison. In 2000, the county settled a wrongful death case with
Bishop for $200,000.

–Gardena resident Debra Reid was awarded a $1 million settlement
last year for the death of her 9-year-old son Jonathan Reid, who had
been in foster homes in El Monte and Pomona. He died of an asthma
attack in 1997 after social workers didn’t notify the foster mother
of his severe asthma and diabetes conditions – a tragic irony,
because the boy was placed in foster care after county social workers
alleged Reid was neglecting her son by not providing appropriate
medical care for his diabetes and asthma.

Reid’s other son, 10-year-old Debvin Mitchell, who received $100,000
as part of the settlement after he was wrongfully detained, said his
foster parents were “brutal” to him during his one-and-a-half years
in multiple foster homes.

“I thought that it was cruel and unusual for being beaten like that
for no reason,” said Mitchell. “When I came home, I had bruises
everywhere. I feel good to be back with my family where I don’t get
beaten for silly things for no reason and most of all I’m glad to be
back with my mom.”

Anthony Cavuoti, who has worked as a DCFS social worker for 14 years,
said the department does a poor job of protecting children.

“The nominal goal is to protect children, but the real goal is to
make money,” he said. “A caseworker used to have 80 to 100 cases.
Now we have 30, but we have to file five times as much paperwork. If
the workers put kids before paperwork and administration, they are
going to be forced out or harassed. With such a mentality, children
are always in danger.”

In a historic step to address the problem at the root of the system’s
failures, Juvenile Court Presiding Judge Michael Nash recently called
for a historic reevaluation of half of the 30,000 cases of children
in foster homes to determine who could be safely returned to their
families or relatives.

If properly done by providing the services families need, experts say
this step combined with the DCFS request for a federal waiver to use
$250 million of its $1.4 billion budget on services to help keep
families together could ultimately reduce the number of children in
foster care and social workers’ large caseloads, giving them more
time to help protect children in truly dangerous situations.

“The court system itself should only be for those cases that reflect
serious cases of abuse and neglect,” Nash said. “We have to have
more of a talk first, shoot later mentality rather than a shoot
first, talk later mentality. We can do a much better job.”

Sanders said more than 25 percent of those children will probably be
able to return home. Concerned that two-thirds of his 6,500-employees
are working behind desks, Sanders said he plans to move 1,000 staff
promoted to office jobs by previous directors back to the streets as
social workers, which will reduce caseloads and give workers more
time to spend with families, a critical element to assure the safety
of children.





All content © 2003- Daily News of Los Angeles (CA) and may not be
republished without permission.


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