Category Archives: ammendment

Report of Georgia Senator Nancy Schaefer on CPS Corruption

reposted by: Sandra Ami

In lieu of the current deaths of Senator Nancy Schaefer and her husband Bruce on March 26, 2010, I am reposting this. Many across the world are in agreement that their timely deaths was not a “Murder-suicide,” to quote a friend  ” Lots of politically connected people, cops, etc, die in “murder-suicides.” They not only kill themselves, but everyone else in the house and anyone who might witness their deaths.”

Below is a fragment of the work the great Senator Nancy Schaefer had been working; opposed of by several other Government officials who told Nancy they were not able to help her or “they would lose their jobs”

Did Sen. Schaefer lose her life because of this? Many people will, without hesitation say “Yes!”  Senator Nancy Schaefer, A True and Honest American

Note from the Fight CPS webmaster: This is a very important report written by a Senator in Georgia. Please read the entire report, download the PDF, print it to give to your lawyers, caseworkers, local newspaper editors, state and federal senators and congressmen, CASA workers in your area, and whoever else you believe might benefit from reading the truth about CPS from the viewpoint of a Senator. Though this Senator is from Georgia, her report is about all state child protective services agencies. Thank-you, Senator Schaefer, for investigating and writing this report! – ljm

Report of Senator Schaefer
Click here to download an original copy of Senator Schaefer’s report in pdf format

From the legislative desk of Senator Nancy Schaefer 50th District of Georgia

November 16, 2007

THE CORRUPT BUSINESS OF CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES

BY: Nancy Schaefer
Senator, 50th District

My introduction into child protective service cases was due to a grandmother in an adjoining state who called me with her tragic story. Her two granddaughters had been taken from her daughter who lived in my district. Her daughter was told wrongly that if she wanted to see her children again she should sign a paper and give up her children. Frightened and young, the daughter did. I have since discovered that parents are often threatened into cooperation of permanent separation of their children.

The children were taken to another county and placed in foster care. The foster parents were told wrongly that they could adopt the children. The grandmother then jumped through every hoop known to man in order to get her granddaughters. When the case finally came to court it was made evident by one of the foster parent’s children that the foster parents had, at any given time, 18 foster children and that the foster mother had an inappropriate relationship with the caseworker.

In the courtroom, the juvenile judge, acted as though she was shocked and said the two girls would be removed quickly. They were not removed. Finally, after much pressure being applied to the Department of Family and Children Services of Georgia (DFCS), the children were driven to South Georgia to meet their grandmother who gladly drove to meet them. After being with their grandmother two or three days, the judge, quite out of the blue, wrote up a new order to send the girls to their father, who previously had no interest in the case and who lived on the West Coast. The father was in “adult entertainment”. His girlfriend worked as an “escort” and his brother, who also worked in the business, had a sexual charge brought against him.

Within a couple of days the father was knocking on the grandmother’s door and took the girls kicking and screaming to California.

The father developed an unusual relationship with the former foster parents and soon moved back to the southeast, and the foster parents began driving to the father’s residence and picking up the little girls for visits. The oldest child had told her mother and grandmother on two different occasions that the foster father molested her.

To this day after five years, this loving, caring blood relative grandmother does not even have visitation privileges with the children. The little girls are in my opinion permanently traumatized and the young mother of the girls was so traumatized with shock when the girls were first removed from her that she has not recovered.

Throughout this case and through the process of dealing with multiple other mismanaged cases of the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), I have worked with other desperate parents and children across the state because they have no rights and no one with whom to turn. I have witnessed ruthless behavior from many caseworkers, social workers, investigators, lawyers, judges, therapists, and others such as those who “pick up” the children. I have been stunned by what I have seen and heard from victims all over the sta te of Georgia.

In this report, I am focusing on the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS). However, I believe Child Protective Services nationwide has become corrupt and that the entire system is broken almost beyond repair. I am convinced parents and families should be warned of the dangers.

The Department of Child Protective Services, known as the Department of Family and Children Service (DFCS) in Georgia and other titles in other states, has become a “protected empire” built on taking children and separating families. This is not to say that there are not those children who do need to be removed from wretched situations and need protection. This report is concerned with the children and parents caught up in “legal kidnapping,” ineffective policies, and DFCS who do does not remove a child or children when a child is enduring torment and abuse. (See Exhibit A and Exhibit B)

In one county in my District, I arranged a meeting for thirty-seven families to speak freely and without fear. These poor parents and grandparents spoke of their painful, heart wrenching encounters with DFCS. Their suffering was overwhelming. They wept and cried. Some did not know where their children were and had not seen them in years. I had witnessed the “Gestapo” at work and I witnessed the deceitful conditions under which children were taken in the middle of the night, out of hospitals, off of school uses, and out of homes. In one county a private drug testing business was operating within the DFCS department that required many, many drug tests from parents and individuals for profit. In another county children were not removed when they were enduring the worst possible abuse. Due to being exposed, several employees in a particular DFCS office were fired. However, they have now been rehired either in neighboring counties or in the same county again. According to the calls I am now receiving, the conditions in that county are returning to the same practices that they had before the light was shown on their deeds. Having worked with probably 300 cases statewide, I am convinced there is no responsibility and no accountability in the system.

I have come to the conclusion:

· that poor parents often times are targeted to lose their children because they do not have the where-with-all to hire lawyers and fight the system. Being poor does not mean you are not a good parent or that you do not love your child, or that your child should be removed and placed with strangers;

· that all parents are capable of making mistakes and that making a mistake does not mean your children are always to be removed from the home. Even if the home is not perfect, it is home; and that’s where a child is the safest and where he or she wants to be, with family;

· that parenting classes, anger management classes, counseling referrals, therapy classes and on and on are demanded of parents with no compassion by the system even while they are at work and while their children are separated from them. This can take months or even years and it emotionally devastates both children and parents. Parents are victimized by “the system” that makes a profit for holding children longer and “bonuses” for not returning children;

· that caseworkers and social workers are oftentimes guilty of fraud. They withhold evidence. They fabricate evidence and they seek to terminate parental rights. However, when charges are made against them, the charges are ignored;

· that the separation of families is growing as a business because local governments have grown accustomed to having taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-expanding budgets;

· that Child Protective Service and Juvenile Court can always hide behind a confidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions and keep the funds flowing. There should be open records and “court watches”! Look who is being paid! There are state employees, lawyers, court investigators, court personnel, and judges. There are psychologists, and psychiatrists, counselors, caseworkers, therapists, foster parents, adoptive parents, and on and on. All are looking to the children in state custody to provide job security. Parents do not realize that social workers are the glue that holds “the system” together that funds the court, the child’s attorney, and the multiple other jobs including DFCS’s attorney.

· that The Adoption and the Safe Families Act, set in motion by President Bill Clinton, offered cash “bonuses” to the states for every child they adopted out of foster care. In order to receive the “adoption incentive bonuses” local child protective services need more children. They must have merchandise (children) that sell and you must have plenty of them so the buyer can choose. Some counties are known to give a $4,000 bonus for each child adopted and an additional $2,000 for a “special needs” child. Employees work to keep the federal dollars flowing;

· that there is double dipping. The funding continues as long as the child is out of the home. When a child in foster care is placed with a new family then “adoption bonus funds” are available. When a child is placed in a mental health facility and is on 16 drugs per day, like two children of a constituent of mine, more funds are involved;

· that there are no financial resources and no real drive to unite a family and help keep them together;

· that the incentive for social workers to return children to their parents quickly after taking them has disappeared and who in protective services will step up to the plate and say, “This must end! No one, because they are all in the system together and a system with no leader and no clear policies will always fail the children. Look at the waste in government that is forced upon the tax payer;

· that the “Policy Manuel” is considered “the last word” for DFCS. However, it is too long, too confusing, poorly written and does not take the law into consideration;

· that if the lives of children were improved by removing them from their homes, there might be a greater need for protective services, but today all children are not always safer. Children, of whom I am aware, have been raped and impregnated in foster care and the head of a Foster Parents Association in my District was recently arrested because of child molestation;

· that some parents are even told if they want to see their children or grandchildren, they must divorce their spouse. Many, who are under privileged, feeling they have no option, will divorce and then just continue to live together. This is an anti-family policy, but parents will do anything to get their children home with them.

· fathers, (non-custodial parents) I must add, are oftentimes treated as criminals without access to their own children and have child support payments strangling the very life out of them;

· that the Foster Parents Bill of Rights does not bring out that a foster parent is there only to care for a child until the child can be returned home. Many Foster Parents today use the Foster Parent Bill of Rights to hire a lawyer and seek to adopt the child from the real parents, who are desperately trying to get their child home and out of the system;

· that tax dollars are being used to keep this gigantic system afloat, yet the victims,
parents, grandparents, guardians and especially the children, are charged for the
system’s services.

· that grandparents have called from all over the State of Georgia trying to get custody of their grandchildren. DFCS claims relatives are contacted, but there are cases that prove differently. Grandparents who lose their grandchildren to strangers have lost their own flesh and blood. The children lose their family heritage and grandparents, and parents too, lose all connections to their heirs.

· that The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect in 1998 reported that six times as many children died in foster care than in the general public and that once removed to official “safety”, these children are far more likely to suffer abuse, including sexual molestation than in the general population.

· That according to the California Little Hoover Commission Report in 2003, 30% to 70% of the children in California group homes do not belong there and should not have been removed from their homes.

FINAL REMARKS

On my desk are scores of cases of exhausted families and troubled children. It has been beyond me to turn my back on these suffering, crying, and sometimes beaten down individuals. We are mistreating the most innocent. Child Protective Services have become adult centered to the detriment of children. No longer is judgment based on what the child needs or who the child wants to be with or what is really best for the whole family; it is some adult or bureaucrat who makes the decisions, based often on just hearsay, without ever consulting a family member, or just what is convenient, profitable, or less troublesome for a director of DFCS.

I have witnessed such injustice and harm brought to these families that I am not sure if I even believe reform of the system is possible! The system cannot be trusted. It does not serve the people. It obliterates families and children simply because it has the power to do so. Children deserve better. Families deserve better. It’s time to pull back the curtain and set our children and families free.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy” Proverbs 31:8-9

Please continue to read:

Recommendations
Exhibit A
Exhibit B

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Call for an independent audit of the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) to expose corruption and fraud.

2. Activate immediate change. Every day that passes means more families and children are subject to being held hostage.

3. End the financial incentives that separate families.

4. Grant to parents their rights in writing.

5. Mandate a search for family members to be given the opportunity to adopt their own relatives.

6. Mandate a jury trial where every piece of evidence is presented before removing a child from his or her parents.

7. Require a warrant or a positive emergency circumstance before removing children from their parents. (Judge Arthur G. Christean, Utah Bar Journal, January, 1997 reported that “except in emergency circumstances, including the need for immediate medical care, require warrants upon affidavits of probable cause before entry upon private property is permitted for the forcible removal of children from their parents.”)

8. Uphold the laws when someone fabricates or presents false evidence. If a parent alleges fraud, hold a hearing with the right to discovery of all evidence.

Senator Nancy Schaefer
50th District of Georgia

EXHIBIT A

December 5, 2006
Jeremy’s Story

( Some names withheld due to future hearings)
As told to Senator Nancy Schaefer by Sandra (XXXX), a foster parent of Jeremy for 2 ½ years.

My husband and I received Jeremy when he was 2 weeks old and we have been the only parents he has really ever known. He lived with us for 27 months. (XXXX) is the grandfather of Jeremy, and he is known for molesting his own children, for molesting Jeremy and has been court ordered not to be around Jeremy. (XXXX) is the mother of Jeremy, who has been diagnosed to be mentally ill, and also is known to have molested Jeremy. (XXXX) and Jeremy’s uncle is a registered sex offender and (XXXX) is the biological father, who is a drug addict and alcoholic and who continues to be in and out of jail. Having just described Jeremy’s world, all of these adults are not to be any part of Jeremy’s life, yet for years DFCS has known that they are. DFCS had to test (XXXX) (the grandfather) and his son (XXXX) (the uncle) and (XXXX) to determine the real father. (XXXX) is the biological father although any of them might have been. In court, it appeared from the case study, that everyone involved knew that this little boy had been molested by family members, even by his own mother, (XXXX). In court, (XXX), the mother of Jeremy, admitted to having had sex with (XXXX) (the grandfather) and (XXXX) (her own brother) that morning. Judge (XXXX) and DFCS gave Jeremy to his grandmother that same day. (XXXX), the grandmother, is over 300 lbs., is unable to drive, and is unable to take care of Jeremy due to physical problems. She also has been in a mental hospital several times due to her behavior. Even though it was ordered by the court that the grandfather (XXXX), the uncle (XXXX) (a convicted sex offender), (XXXX) his mother who molested him and (XXXX) his biological father, a convicted drug addict, were not to have anything to do with the child, they all continue to come and go as they please at (XXXX address), where Jeremy has been “sentenced to live” for years. This residence has no bathroom and little heat. The front door and the windows are boarded. (See pictures) This home should have been condemned years ago. I have been in this home. No child should ever have to live like this or with such people. Jeremy was taken from us at age 2 ½ years after (XXXX) obtained attorney (XXXX), who was the same attorney who represented him in a large settlement from an auto accident. I am told, that attorney (XXXX), as grandfather’s attorney, is known to have repeatedly gotten (XXXX) off of several criminal charges in White County. This is a matter of record and is known by many in White County. I have copies of some records. (XXXX grandfather), through (XXXX attorney’s) work, got (XXXX), the grandmother of Jeremy, legal custody of Jeremy. (XXXX grandfather) who cannot read or write also got his daughter (XXXX) and son (XXXX) diagnosed by government agencies as mentally ill. (XXXX grandfather), through legal channels, has taken upon himself all control of the family and is able to take possession of any government funding coming to these people.

It was during this time that Jeremy was to have a six-month transitional period between (XXXX grandmother) and my family as we were to give him up. The court ordered agreement was to have been 4 days at our house and 3 days at (XXXX grandmother). DFCS stopped the visits within 2 weeks. The reason given by DFCS was the child was too traumatized going back and forth. In truth, Jeremy begged us and screamed never to be taken back to (XXXX his grandmother) house, which we have on video. We, as a family, have seen Jeremy in stores time to time with (XXXX grandmother) and the very people he is not to be around. At each meeting Jeremy continues to run to us wherever he sees us and it is clear he is suffering. This child is in a desperate situation and this is why I am writing, and begging you Senator Schaefer, to do something in this child’s behalf. Jeremy can clearly describe in detail his sexual molestation by every member of this family and this sexual abuse continues to this day.

When Jeremy was 5 years of age I took him to Dr. (XXXX) of Habersham County who did indeed agree that Jeremy’s rectum was black and blue and the physical damage to the child was clearly a case of sexual molestation.

Early in Jeremy’s life, when he was in such bad physical condition, we took him to Egleston Children Hospital where at two months of age therapy was to begin three times a week. DFCS decided that the (XXXX grandparent family) should participate in his therapy. However, the therapist complained over and over that the (XXXX grandparent family) would not even wash their hands and would cause Jeremy to cry during these sessions. (XXXX the grandmother), after receiving custody no longer allowed the therapy because it was an inconvenience. The therapist reported that this would be a terrible thing to do to this child. Therapy was stopped and it was detrimental to the health of Jeremy. During (XXXX grandmother) custody, (XXXX uncle) has shot Jeremy with a BB gun and there is a report at (XXXX) County Sheriff’s office. There are several amber alerts at Cornelia Wal-Mart, Commerce Wal-Mart, and a 911 report from (XXXX) County Sheriff’s Department when Jeremy was lost. (XXXX grandmother), to teach Jeremy a lesson, took thorn bush limbs and beat the bottoms of his feet. Jeremy’s feet got infected and his feet had to be lanced by Dr. (XXXX). Then Judy called me to pick him up after about 4 days to take back him to the doctor because of intense pain. I took Jeremy to Dr. (XXXX) in Gainesville. Dr. (XXXX) said surgery was needed immediately and a cast was added. After returning home, (XXXX), his grandfather and (XXXX), his uncle, took him into the hog lot and allowed him to walk in the filth.

Jeremy’s feet became so infected for a 2nd time that he was again taken back to Dr. (XXXX) and the hospital. No one in the hospital could believe this child’s living conditions. Jeremy is threatened to keep quiet and not say anything to anyone. I have videos, reports, arrest records and almost anything you might need to help Jeremy. Please call my husband, Wendell, or me at any time.

Sandra and (XXXX) husband (XXXX)

EXHIBIT B

Failure of DFCS to remove six desperate children

A brief report regarding six children that Habersham County DFCS director failed to remove as disclosed to Senator Nancy Schaefer by Sheriff Deray Fincher of Habersham County.

Sheriff Deray Fincher, Chief of Police Don Ford and Chief Investigator Lt. Greg Bowen Chief called me to meet with them immediately, which I did on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 Sheriff Fincher, after contacting the Director of Habersham County DFCS several times to remove six children from being horribly abused, finally had to get a court order to remove the children himself with the help of two police officers.

The children, four boys and two girls, were not just being abused; they were being tortured by a monster father.

The six children and a live in girl friend were terrified of this man, the abuser. The children never slept in a bed, but always on the floor. The place where they lived was unfit for human habitation.

The father on one occasion hit one of the boys across his head with a bat and cut the boy’s head open. The father then proceeded to hold the boy down and sew up the child’s head with a needle and red thread. However, even with beatings and burnings, this is only a fraction of what the father did to these children and to the live-in girlfriend.

Sheriff Fincher has pictures of the abuse and condition of one of the boys and at the writing of this report, he has the father in jail in Habersham County.

It should be noted that when the DFCS director found out that Sheriff Fincher was going to remove the children, she called the father and warned him to flee.

This is not the only time this DFCS director failed to remove a child when she needed to do so. (See Exhibit A)

The egregious acts and abhorrent behavior of officials who are supposed to protect children can no longer be tolerated.

Senator Nancy Schaefer
50th District of Georgia

(originally posted 12/5/07 at FightCPS.Com)

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Sen. Nancy Schaefer and her husband Bruce have died

What a sad day in America!

After her work against the “system” exposing the corruption and actively bringing awareness to the Public about CPS and how they kidnap children for money, the Great Nancy Schaefer is gone.

The reports state it was an apparent “Murder-Suicide” however, those who know her seriously doubt it.

We the People will mourn the great loss of such a great woman and all the work she has put into making America the land of the free, with her being the brave.

Our deepest condolences go out to the family as the Parents and Children of American will feel a GREAT LOSS.

http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/news/article/31246/

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Kids Murdered In Custody of CPS/DHS

Posted by Sandra Ami

These could very easily be YOUR children!

Hundreds of children die every year in the custody of Child Protective Services.  That’s not something the general public is aware of. But that lack of awareness will hopefully end this winter when the full length documentary, Innocence Destroyed, is released.
Innocence Destroyed is not being produced by a half-witted conspiracy theorist but by former firefighter and federal law enforcement officer, Bill Bowen. Bowen, as you can see in the shorter version of the film he has posted on YouTube and which I have embedded below, is intelligent and articulate and just the sort of man needed to produce such a documentary. When you listen to Bowen, you instinctively know that here is a man you can trust–here is a man who tells the truth…”

full story by: Albany CPS and Family Court ExaminerDaniel Weaver
(  http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-14537-Albany-CPS-and-Family-Court-Examiner~y2009m9d28-Bill-Bowens-documentary-Innocence-Destroyed-about-kids-murdered-while-in-custody-of-CPS-is-powerful )

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is 90 Days enough for a Lying Social Worker Who destorys a life?

Texas: Is a 90 Day Sentence Enough for a Lying Social Worker?

On May 22, 2009 a Corpus Christi TX judge sentenced Grizelda Lopez-Hess, 38, to 90 days in jail. I wonder if she’s out yet. She plead guilty to making a false report of abuse.

According to reporter Mary Ann Cavazos, Grizelda Lopez-Hess phoned the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services on October 9 to make a false report of “indecency with a child”. She accused Ricardo Jimenez of molesting his girlfriend’s daughter, claiming she learned about the abusive situation from her daughter, a friend of the supposed child victim.

But Grizelda Lopez-Hess doesn’t even have a daughter! She made the whole thing up! And she was an investigator for the Children’s Advocacy Center – a former CPS caseworker, child-taker, and supervisor! What a manipulator!

The victim of this lie, Ricardo Jimenez, is called upon to testify as an expert witness, and this false allegation has already been brought up in criminal cases wherein he’s been asked to testify as an expert. But this was not Grizelda Lopez-Hess’ motivation for making such a sick and dreadful false accusation of child abuse.

Grizelda Lopez-Hess said she made the false accusation in retaliation against Ricardo Jimenez’ girlfriend, Misty Guajardo. Grizelda Lopez-Hess blamed Misty Guajardo for a job transfer forced on Lopez-Hess’ husband. But county officials said that the job transfer (a demotion?) was done because Grizelda Lopez-Hess and her husband did yet another dirty deed: they tipped off a suspect in a criminal case. The suspect and his family members testified that indeed they had been tipped off by Grizelda Lopez-Hess and her husband.

Grizelda Lopez-Hess plea bargained. She was to get a two year prison sentence, but that was changed to three years probation and the 90 days in jail. Plus she has to pay a fine and complete 100 hours of community service and attend anger management classes.

Hess’ husband tried to get her off easy. He testified that Grizelda Lopez-Hess would be in danger because while she was in a holding cell two fellow prisoners recognized her as a child-taking CPS agent! But she went to jail anyway and was to be isolated from the other prisoners. Solitary confinement for 90 days? I hope she’s still serving the entire 90 day sentence and that she’s had plenty of time to think about what it means to LIE and falsely accuse people of child abuse.

So there you have it, folks… the truth coming out about a really bad character that the county used against American families. The put Grizelda Lopez-Hess in a position of power and she used it to knowingly harm and harass decent people.

This is the tip of the iceberg! There are THOUSANDS of false accusations happening in this country… and it is time for all these lying idiots to get investigated, prosecuted, and IMPRISONED. Forget jail! One year isn’t enough to pay for all the massive amounts of grief they’ve caused!

Every child taken away from a parent due to a false accusation of child abuse is a child that is being abused by the government child protective services agency and its agents.

So now you have my opinion. What’s yours? What would be the proper sentence for a child protective services social worker who knowingly makes a false accusation of child abuse or neglect?

(taken from fightcps.com)

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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
deaths.

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
mistreatment.

“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.

Keywords: LOS ANGELES COUNTY – FOSTER CARE – CHILD – DAILY NEWS –
PROBE –

VIOLENCE – DEATH – MURDER – US – STATISTIC – COMPARISON – REPORT –
DEPT OF

CHILDREN FAMILY SERVICES – DCFS – REACTION – ABUSE – ISSUE – LIST –
SAFETY –

CALIFORNIA – REFORM

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

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Social Workers AGAINST Child Protecive Services

Child (or agency) Protection?
By Rich Rigney
November 17, 2008


Photo © Reed Hoffmann

“You guys do more damage to kids than the parents!”

The above observation uttered by a loving parent is echoed by many.  Most Child Protective Services Supervisors and caseworkers would consider it malicious slander.

As a Child Protective Services caseworker of eight years, however, I know it to be true.

I’m not alone.

Consider the following irony lamented by Duke Law Professor, Doriane Lambelet Coleman (2006):

“…in the name of saving children from the harm that their parents and guardians are thought to pose, states ultimately cause more harm to many children than they ever help.”

Few in the field argue that Child Protective Services (“CPS”) nationally has myriad problems that are well documented in the form of media, research, congressional sub-committees and expert reports. Documentation supporting this fact is ubiquitous and readily available on-line.

However, the most grievous problem is that those who can most benefit from this knowledge, those who might use it pragmatically to improve the lives of children and families – the caseworkers and supervisors of CPS – appear either ignorant of or indifferent to the damage that removal of children perpetuates.

That is: the most profound problem with “Child Welfare” is that it is not about the welfare of the child.

Rather, it is about the welfare of the agency itself.

The internal paranoia that a “Cover-Your-Agency” (CYA) mentality creates has become so pervasive that most caseworkers and supervisors are determined not to make any decision that might jeopardize their career… and the children are afterthoughts.

The agency hierarchy itself reinforces this CYA mentality due to its’ understandable desire to remain off the front page of newspapers.

This “defensive social work” is helpful in preventing bureaucrat heads from rolling.

“…it has become undeniable that despite many saintly foster parents, the government makes a poor parent. The research shows unequivocally that CPS should be loathe to remove kids from their homes because, in most cases, there is nowhere better to put them.”

The tragic wake of this status quo, however, is strewn with the lives of children and parents.

Estimates I’ve come across in my research reckon that between one-third and two-thirds of those children currently in foster care nationally should be living with their parents.

Furthermore, it has become undeniable that despite many saintly foster parents, the government makes a poor parent. The research shows unequivocally that CPS should be loathe to remove kids from their homes because, in most cases, there is nowhere better to put them.

As a result, the state is stuck between a rock and a hard place: remove children from marginal parents, causing well documented, irrevocable emotional damage (not to mention the physical and sexual abuse that occurs more frequently in foster care), or leave these children with parents who, arguably, should never have had kids in the first place— the “lesser of two evils” if you will.

Enter the “Safety Model.”

The state of Oregon has become one of the last ten percent of our nation’s states to adopt a “Safety Model” guide to protecting our children, created by Wayne Holder, the man Oregon CPS has called the “foremost expert in child protection in the nation.” (I encourage anyone interested to visit his website at www.actionchildprotection.org to understand Mr. Holder’s credentials and the Safety Model as a whole.)

“What do I have to do to get my kids back?”

Those of us in CPS have all heard it. It is inevitably the first question our clients have and it is echoed frequently until the kids are returned.

The Safety Model forces Child Welfare to quantify their answer to this question.

In my experience, most families don’t care how long CPS monitors (or micromanages) their family as long as their kids can live with them in the process. Mr. Holder would probably cite this as THE driving force behind the creation of the Safety Model.

In quantifying their answer to parents’ most pressing question, CPS must delineate for all parties and the court, the necessary “behaviors, conditions or circumstances” in the home required to “manage”- not eliminate- the safety threats that necessitated the removal of the children.

The agency’s answers must be “specific” (i.e. quantifiable). They must be “well articulated.” They must be “least intrusive.” They must be “well defined.” They must provide a “benchmark” (i.e. they must be measurable). They represent the “official record and expectation” for parent-child reunification.

The parents themselves need not change at all prior to the children being returned to the home.

” The Safety Model provides a useful tool that, if used correctly, can save many children from the fate of CPS being their only perpetrator.”

The Safety Model, in addition to its dictates that CPS be as “least intrusive” as possible in intervening to control threats to child safety, requires that these threats be “observable and specific,” “out of control,” “imminent” and expected to cause “severe” harm to a “vulnerable” child.

No doubt for many of you this is a hard pill to swallow. These are unreasonably low standards for our most precious resource.

You, like me, think children deserve more.

The fact remains, it is irresponsible at best and abusive at worst to remove and/or withhold a child from his or her home upon the speculation that a “threat” of danger exists, when we know from the research that removal and placement of children in foster care is always detrimental.

I’m not talking here about severe neglect or physical/sexual abuse.

In five years with Oregon CPS (I worked for three in California previously) I have had only one case with such abuse (and the research puts this type of abuse at about 15 percent combined).

The Safety Model is merely a tool, an attempt to minimize the trauma to children inflicted by their own government. There is no tool or legislation that will ever completely expunge child maltreatment or child deaths so long as the only requirement for parenthood is a capacity for coitus.

I believe that if the state institutes a model, a tool envisioned by the “foremost expert in child protection in the nation,” the state should actually use it.

That is, if CPS is making the rules, they should follow them.

Currently CPS (at least in Oregon) is not, or not consistently.

The sad yet necessary truth is that it is not the job of Child Protective Services to pick the best available situation for kids and place them there permanently.

That would literally be kidnapping.

Rather, it is the job of CPS to work with marginal parents and make them “safe” or capable of providing a “minimum standard of adequate care.” It is CPS’s job to make parents “safe,” not “good.” Again, it is also our job to be “least intrusive” in our intervention.

In America we must accept freedom’s costs with its benefits. As Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said, “There is nothing new in the realization that the Fourth Amendment [illegal search and seizure] protections come with a price.” This is true of many other “protections,” such as the right to procreate and parent.

Unfortunately, Child Welfare is not held accountable for the unattributable damage to children caused by removal from their families to foster care.

However, it is well-documented damage.

Shouldn’t we, like doctors, use our professional judgment to “first, do no harm,” rather than using it to forecast the future?

It is the children who pay the ultimate price for this unqualified prophesying.

The Safety Model provides a useful tool that, if used correctly, can save many children from the fate of CPS being their only perpetrator.

Rich Rigney
Child Protective Services
Coos Bay, Oregon

Meet Rich at MySpace

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CHILD TRAFFICKING, Secret Courts, Judges make MILLIONS on children’s lives

By Sandra Ami
via NY Times

It all started in June 2000 with a simple business proposition, according to the judges’ indictment and more than 40 interviews with courtroom workers, authorities and others.

Robert J. Powell, a wealthy personal-injury lawyer from Hazleton and longtime friend of Judge Conahan, wanted to know how he might get a contract to build a private detention center. Judge Ciavarella thought he could help.

In what authorities are calling the biggest legal scandal in state history, the two judges pleaded guilty to tax evasion and wire fraud in a scheme that involved sending thousands of juveniles to two private detention centers in exchange for $2.6 million in kickbacks.  

The conspicuous wealth Judge Ciavarella enjoyed in Florida was a far cry from the rough East End neighborhood in Wilkes-Barre where he grew up and is still known as “the local kid who made it big.”

“You get enough power and you’re bound to start abusing it, I suppose,” Mr. Monaco said.

Parents who arrived with their children typically left without them.

Nicknamed Mr. Zero Tolerance in the courthouse, he once put a father in jail after he could not pay court-imposed fees for his daughter, whom the judge had previously locked up.

“In the end,” Mr. Dallas said, “it all came down to what the judge decided.”

[I just want you all to keep in mind, this is not just an isolated case, this is happening everywhere. Judges are making a fortune off of the children in ever capacity. Children are worth everything.  And children are also not given independent council in Dependency cases, the entire courtroom is hired by one administration, that includes the parents council. Private Attorneys are not allowed to defend in these courtrooms.  This IS happening where you are, it just has to be investigated and reported, rarely is someone brave enough to do so. Sandra Ami ]

Read the whole story here:   http://tinyurl.com/cxeg9b

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