An Orange County social worker who lied to a juvenile court commissioner in order to take away a woman’s two daughters — and cost the county $4.9 million in a court judgment — was later promoted to a supervisor, county officials confirmed.
She now trains other social workers.
It took Seal Beach mother Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick six-and-a-half years to regain custody of her children, who were 6 and 9 when they were taken from her in 2000.
Fogarty-Hardwick’s oldest daughter, Kendall, is now 20, and filed her own lawsuit against the county and three of its social workers for depriving her of a relationship with her mother.
Orange County Social Services social workers Marcie Vreeken and Helen Dwojak filed false reports and held back evidence which would have cleared Fogarty-Hardwick, an Orange County jury found in 2007. A third social worker was cleared of liability.
The jury awarded Fogarty-Hardwick $4.9 million in damages, with the county responsible for the bulk of the award. The county appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied the county’s request to be heard last week.
Vreeken and Dwojak were never disciplined.
In fact, Vreeken was later promoted, according to county records. She earned $103,441.48 last year as a senior social services supervisor, according to county records.
Dwojak, who was Vreeken’s supervisor, retired from the county in 2006, according to county records.
“I am certain and I stand by my social workers that they did not fabricate, they did not suppress any information and they did not perjure themselves,” said Dr. Michael Riley, director of the Orange County Social Services Agency. “If they had I would have dismissed them.”
Social Services conducted an investigation into how the social workers handled the case and found no wrongdoing, Riley said. “This woman is the epitome of integrity,” Riley said of Dwojak. “They did nothing wrong.”
According to court papers, Vreeken threatened that if Fogarty-Hardwick did not “submit” to her will, she would never see her children again. The social workers also tried in 2000 to coerce Fogarty-Hardwick to sign a document saying she was a bad parent by threatening to take her daughters away, Fogarty-Hardwick alleged.
According to daughter Kendall Hardwick’s lawsuit, Vreeken “attempted to coerce Kendall into visiting her father by threatening that if Kendall did not visit with her father she would be taken away from her mother and ‘put in a home.’ ”
Kendall Hardiwick’s lawuit accuses Vreeken of lying in a Feb. 17, 2000 court report, including failing to disclose her threats against Kendall and her sister that left the two girls in tears and a subsequent argument between Vreeken and Fogarty-Hardwick.
A county commissioner ordered Fogarty-Hardwick’s daughters taken from their mother and put in Orangewood Children’s Home immediately. Vreeken and another social worker went with a uniformed police officer to to take Kendall’s younger sister, who was “screaming and crying for her mother as she hid under the principal’s desk,” according to Kendall’s lawsuit. Kendall was also forcibly removed, leaving her “devastated.”
The girls were later put in foster care.
Kendall Hardwick’s lawsuit also accuses Vreeken of repeatedly lying in court reports and on the stand to thwart Fogarty-Hardwick’s attempts to regain custody of her daughters.
In a March 31, 2000 letter, a therapist wrote to the agency that “Kendall … shows signs of emotional regression. She was tearful throughout the session, begging to go home. … She doesn’t know how much longer she can cope and visibly shook while relating this.”
“Defendants knew of Plaintiffs emotional collapse,” the suit reads. “Yet, while testifying in the juvenile court trial, Vreeken refused to acknowledge the children were mentally deteriorating.”
The social workers instead reported the children “were doing well,” according to the lawsuit.
Fogarty-Hardwick gave her ex-husband full custody in 2002, hoping to protect her daughters. She was then allowed two supervised visits a month for two years. She eventually won 50-50 custody in 2006.
Fogarty-Hardwick sued the county in 2002, arguing the Social Services Agency and its two social workers violated her civil rights. A jury ruled against her.
She sued again, arguing this time county’s policies violated her constitutional rights, including her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
Fogarty-Hardwick’s accused the county of violating her constitutional rights by removing her children without making a finding of imminent danger or serious physical injury; interviewing her daughters without a parent present; holding her children without cause; fabricating evidence; and failing to properly train employees about parents’ constitutional rights.
The jury voted 10-2 in favor of Fogarty-Hardwick. The county appealed.
In the Fourth District Court of Appeal opinion, Justice William Bedsworth wrote, “the evidence adduced at trial obviously caused both the jury and the judge to conclude not only that something seriously wrong was done to Fogarty-Hardwick in this case, but also that the wrongful conduct was not an isolated incident.”
“Despite Fogarty-Hardwick’s complaints, and the concerns expressed by others about the handling of this dependency case, SSA did not investigate the situation or consider assigning different social workers to the matter. Neither of the social workers involved was disciplined. Instead, Vreeken was promoted to supervisor in 2001,” Bedsworth wrote.
Child Protective Services cases are not open to the public, a fact which Riley says prevents him from providing the whole picture.
“We have no agenda to disrupt families,” Riley said. “Our goal is to keep families together.”
Tag Archives: children
An Orange County social worker who lied to a juvenile court commissioner in order to take away a woman’s two daughters — and cost the county $4.9 million in a court judgment — was later promoted to a supervisor, county officials confirmed.
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 )
** WARNGING ** HOW CHILDREN ARE PLACED FOR ADOPTION When they have GOOD parents and Families. IT HAPPENS EVERYDAY.
By Sandra Ami
Sadly, there is a huge cover up, there is a small (and I do mean SMALL) amount of personnel who are claiming to correct the problems; I do also believe that it’s only a front to show people they are trying to do something, this is partially why:
Over and Over we hear of “no funds available” yet if the dollars where truly accounted for, one would find just the Children alone bring in TRILLIONS of dollars.
Again, as I have said, as the REALITY goes (and there is even more)… :
1) First a Child’s name and address come up to Social Services. It could be by anyone, and more often by doctors these days. Once Social Services has a name and address, they then start the process of stealing the child(ren) from the home. Usually in the Public Schools, as it’s easier to get cooperation from the staff when taking children, especially because they too are Govt. Employees.
2) They attempt to interview the parents and EACH WORD THE PARENTS SAY is used in creating the reports AGAINST THEM (and I can give several examples).
3) The SW goes back to the office and (through a pre-formatted form), types ALL THEY CAN negative about the parents, in the reports they will have compiled a list of things the parents have told them that they can use against them, the shock only comes after you appear in court when you realize you have told them things which can include but most definitely not limited to: if the parents drink Soda or Coffee; if the parent(s) were verbally or physically abused (explaining a pattern of abuse in the family to substantiate any claims the SW conjures up); If you dropped out of College- that too can be used against you; They want to know if your parents were divorced, that will be used about your mental stress or inability to connect as you had/have issues with the divorce that you have never dealt with; do you EVER drink alcoholic beverages (you will be deemed a drinker PERIOD); do you work? if you are a mother that stays home, they will report that the ‘stress of being a full time mom’ even if you claim no stress; they will ask if you EVER argue with your spouse (if you are a single parent WATCH OUT) if you EVER argue, that will be held against you as STRESS giving you the INABILITY TO PARENT YOUR CHILD..The list goes on, and their lists in their reports go on. The idea is to put so many allegations against you that it is virtually impossible for you to defend. The things you find to be meaningless (which in actuality are) are in fact things they take advantage of and use against you. IF you take ANY prescription medications, you are automatically deemed, dependent or mentally ill. Therefore they then can recommend you for Mental Health Care, and Counseling which they get paid extra for (it’s all part of the payment plan from the govt.) It doesn’t matter if you have personal Health Care, because the do NOT allow you to use it, they put you on Govt. Health Care Plans so that they can control and monitor all your records, without you having access. Your children will ALSO be placed on these plans to prevent you from accessing your children’s records. AFTER the report is made against you, and the children have been taken, these children feed into the Mental Health (DHHS) industry as well, by placing them on drugs to calm them as they have been traumatized by their kidnapping from schools and are not able to see their parents or go home, but instead thrusted into a place with a group of strangers who, really don’t care about them, as they are just another kid being brought in for money. The child cries profusely, therefore it’s justified they need medication and Counseling (which is more funding, and deeming the child(ren) as “special needs” (more funding). They don’t tell you, that also one criteria for being a Special Needs child is simply being 6 yrs of age or older.
4) There is a TDM (Team Decision Meeting) with the parents to “determine where the children will be placed IF not with the parents” though they have NO INTENTION of placing the children with the parents OR any of those discussed in the TDM. The purpose of the TDM is basically to abide by the law in having one, there is absolutely no other purpose for it. Everything that is said in the TDM will NOT be placed in the reports as required by law. In fact, they can, do and have put into the report that, after the meeting “No FAMILY AVAILABLE” “REQUEST CONFIDENTIAL FOSTER CARE” even after you had discussed family and/or friends for placement, even if those family and friends were present in that meeting.
5) The case goes to court, and in ALMOST ALL cases, the parents are NEVER ALLOWED TO SPEAK, and in Orange County CA, the parents wait outside while the cases are being discussed, leaving NOTHING for the Court Record. The parents are SOMETIMES called in when the FINDINGS are decided upon outside of the parents presence. The parents are in that courtroom for a total of 20 seconds to state they were there and hear the findings read.
6) The parents are told “if you plea guilty, they will allow your children to come home (or with a family member) if you do not plead your child will go into a foster home where he/she is 10 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE”. Parents then substantiate all the claims, even though they are all false and grossly exaggerated, by pleading to protect their children from harm or death. Only to find.. they lied, and your child IS PLACED IN A FOSTER HOME, and NOT sent home with you. You can complain as much as you like, and tell anyone they lied to you, however it was all only words and not in writing, therefore none of what they said matters ((((( THIS IS EXACTLY WHY I TELL PARENTS TO ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN in a Journal.. RECORD EVERYTHING digital recorder if possible, and ALWAYS COMMUNICATE VIA EMAIL when you can )))
But remember, in these “secret courts” no one is allowed Cameras or any recording devices what so ever, UNLESS YOU ARE THE ADOPTIVE PARENTS adopting the child (your child).
7) Now that they have to show that they have TRIED to “RE-UNIFY” the parents, because it’s the law, they will then put the parents through a battery of “services” telling the parents “if you take (ie.) Parenting classes, abuse classes, counseling etc. AND TAKE MEDICATIONS (in most cases) WE WILL GIVE YOU YOUR CHILDREN BACK UPON COMPLETION” these services must be facilitated by the Social Worker, and they fail to tell you they WONT START THESE SERVICES in most cases until it’s too late for you to complete them in time for the TERMINATION of Parental Rights Hearing. They also fail to tell you that IF you should miss even ONE of your appointments that you have FAILED to comply with the Re-Unification process. AND YOUR CHILD IS ADOPTED..
They put the parents through these “services” because (and ONLY because) it brings their Organization more Federal Funding and PRIVATE Non Profit Grants.
The courts, in most cases, provide your child with their own attorney called The Guardian et Lidem or GAL, with whom generally never meet the child.
Each parent is given their own attorney (so they can not form an alliance, while they are being plotted against one another with accusations). Each parent is told they will be able to get the child(ren) if they side with the Social Worker against the other, which actually only to substantiates their case for ADOPTION, however the parents comply to protect their children. (IF you admit your wife/husband is ___ then you will be able to take the children home.. the same is told to the other parent). The parents are desperate to protect the child and get them out of the Children’s home or Foster Home. The parents are also told they are not allowed to discuss the case with ANYONE but their attorneys, not even each other. They are told this from the first day of court. THE SECRETS BEGIN to protect THE GUILTY.
Parents want to tell everyone, they want to scream at the top of their lungs for help.. yet.. even if they do mention it to anyone, the first responses are “you must have done something wrong, they are after all protecting children.. they are CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES” and no one will listen. While Social Services laughs knowing their marketing scheme has worked and people BELIEVE they are there to Protect children.. but little do people know, CPS is FOR REVENUE CORP. ((Many of the Judges, Social Workers and others involved, have started their own Foundations that get funds and Grants when children are taken.. Judges profit off the adoptions they order, Judges, DHHS workers and others involved in this process are on the Board of Directors for agencies such as United Way and other Foundations.
Child Protective Services does Fund Raisers for Untied Way and other Foundations, Untied Way then gives Grants to CASA (the child avocacy hired by the courts to be suposedly unbias on the Child’s behalf after they have been taken) CASA gives grants to Child Protective Services, and CASA (in CA) is in the State Building right next door to the head Child Protective Services office. )
Once 12 months has gone by, there is a REVIEW hearing, the children are STILL NOT HOME, as they have promised over and over and over each month that “if” you do ___, the children will most likely come home after the next hearing.. the next hearing has come and gone, and the parents are told they must do ___ now, all creating more services and more money prolonging the case as much as possible till the 18 mos has run out.. the 18 month hearing.. is THE TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS hearing.. The law states they must place the child in a PERMANENT HOME.. and you have a good chance betting it wont be that of the parents, or any other family member..
(In over 70% of the cases, the children should NEVER have been taken in the first place.. as said by former L.A. Director of Child and Family Services, as well as SOME honest Social Workers and others within the system brave enough to place their jobs in jeopardy to make such statements)
They also fail to tell the parents that it will be likely that the Gay/Lesbian social worker will be or has placed your child with a Gay/Lesbian couple who wishes to Adopt. ((YOUR CHILD)) (boys are often placed with Gay men, and girls with Lesbian couples)
Remember.. in “THE OC” (Orange County, CA) there are between 3000 and 5000 children taken each MONTH, those numbers are higher in San Diego County and Los Angeles County, I’ve been told by a head of the Appealate courts… So.. that’s Souther California alone.. it’s safe to say that an estimated amount of children is in the 10’s of thousands EACH MONTH.. One portion of one state. Other states are equally as bad and it’s argued could be even worse. States I know about that are horrible for these practices and make huge profits off the abduction of children are: CA, OR, FL, NH, CO, TX, TN, KS, KY, NY, NC, NJ, VA, GA; These are just a few, that I have personally found to be so brazen. If you live in another state, don’t think that you are immune from it.
It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do, they can still take your child. Attorneys have had their own children taken, when they have tried to defend the parents in these courts. Neighbors and Family members have also been threatened by the Social Workers that their children will also be taken if they don’t give information to them about the ones in question.
The threats are in abundance. After all .. who are you going to plea to, for the safe return of your child(ren)? The only people you can, are those who Kidnapped them in the first place.
(Keep in mind.. that Doctors are contracted with Social Services, and will lose their contracts if they do not substantiate the claims made against a parent, MANY social workers and people in positions connected are even adopting children.
MANDATED reporters ; nurses, teachers, doctors, councilors, school personnel etc. are all threated with their licenses if they do not substantiate claims, or turn parents in. Many of these professionals are using CPS to retaliate against parents who they do not get along with. Doctors are calling CPS if a parents gets a second opinion, teacher are calling if parents don’t like the teacher, nurses are if there are conflicts with the nurses.. these Mandated Reporters are nothing more than SCOUTS for CPS, to obtain children for Federal and State Funds and Grants from both as well as Non Profits, such as United Way and others. There is so much more..
I was personally told, by a government official, “CPS MUST obtain more and more children each month in order to justify their Budget”
I’ve been told that Social Workers have a quota to fill each month, for children being placed up for adoption. Where are all these children going to come from? Ask yourself, do you really believe there are THAT many parents who abuse or neglect their children?
Social Services (CPS, DCFS and by other names) claim most of their cases are “Neglect” cases. Neglect is defind broadly from a simple sunburn, to a missed doctor’s visit. Neglect can be an unbathed child, or toys left out in plain view. Neglect can be anything the Social Worker wants to define it as.
AND most Social Workers don’t even carry a license in any field of Social Work.
YOU NEED TO KNOW THE TRUTH.. YOUR CHILD ”’CAN”’ BE TAKEN AT ANY TIME FOR NO REASON OTHER THAN FUNDING.
San Francisco Chronicle
Persuasive Writing and Commentary
Entry: Why are these children dying?
A three-piece editorial package
Credit: Editorial Writer Caille Millner
Date: December 3, 2006
Pages: E4, E5
On Foster Care Reform
Why are these children dying?
THE STATE OF California cannot say how many foster children die each year, even though a state law that took effect in 2004 requires counties to release the names, dates of birth, and dates of death for these children. The new law is not being followed by all: The Children’s Advocacy Institute, a San Diego-based research and lobbying group that co-sponsored the 2004 law, requested the names for 2005 from all 58 counties. Nearly a year later, they’re still waiting for two counties to respond.
The names that they do have for 2005 — 48 so far — offer more questions than answers. What does it mean, for example, that nine of the deaths were children age 17 or older, five of whom were within six weeks of their 18th birthday? Are 17-year-olds simply more likely to get in car accidents? Suffer drug overdoses? Skateboard without helmets? Or does it mean the fulfillment of our worst fears — that some children, facing the harsh realities of homelessness and desperation when they “age out” of the system at 18, are taking their own lives instead?
“There’s no way to get more information without going to the courts,” said Christina Riehl, staff attorney for the Children’s Advocacy Institute.
There is absolutely no reason why an advocacy group, a newspaper, an elected official, or any other concerned member of the public should have to go to court to find out what happened when a foster youth dies.
But due to California’s baffling policies on disclosure, it’s extraordinarily difficult for the public to learn who in the system is dying and why. Nearly every bill that has come through the Legislature in the past several years has been stonewalled by the County Welfare Directors’ Association.
Take AB1817, a very modest bill sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Maze, R-Visalia, three years ago. Concerned about a wave of foster children’s deaths in his district, Maze simply wanted legislators to be allowed to review the case files of deceased children in the system. But he couldn’t get his bill out of the Judiciary Committee.
“They said that, as an elected official, I’d just use these cases as a political forum,” said Maze. “I think it’s just baloney. We need to know if there’s some kind of pattern or trend or lack of oversight in case management, because, until we know that, we won’t know how to fix the problem. But needless to say, I’ve been fought against on this issue tremendously by the welfare directors of this state.”
Maze is not the only one frustrated by the lack of information about child deaths from California’s social-services bureaucracies. Last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services determined that the state was violating federal law by failing to file reports about the deaths and near-deaths of children due to abuse or neglect. Threatened with the loss of $60 million in child-welfare funds, this summer the state began requiring counties to file these reports. But — and here’s the rub — the Department of Social Services keeps all names confidential, even in the case of foster children.
Imagine — our state’s most vulnerable children, betrayed by a state system that was supposed to protect them — and we have no idea who they are. A look at the questionnaires the state started providing this July offer only haunting glimpses of their fates:
— On July 30, a 15-year-old foster child died after either jumping or being pushed from a moving car in a suspected sexual assault.
— On Aug. 17, a 2-year-old foster child drowned after her foster parents left her alone in a bath tub.
— On Aug. 24, a 16-year-old committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after telling his sibling that he couldn’t take their legal guardian’s abuse anymore.
Confidentiality is important, especially when it comes to protecting the identities of family members and abuse reporters. We understand, as well, that it’s important to protect the names of abused children who suffer near-fatalities but are expected to recover. But there are no good reasons why the full case files — including names, counties and histories — for dead foster children shouldn’t be open to all of us. There can’t be any accountability without transparency.
When we asked Sue Diedrich, assistant general counsel for the state Department of Social Services, why they couldn’t tell us more, she said that the state could risk its federal funding.
That’s simply not true, according to a federal official who tracks the issue.
“Federal law doesn’t require that a state release (those details), but it doesn’t prohibit those disclosures either,” said Susan Orr, associate commissioner of the children’s bureau in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Indeed, there are at least two states, Georgia and South Carolina, which offer up just the sort of connect-the-dots information that an informed public needs — and unlike California, they haven’t had any threats of a funding cut-off.
There is a solution to this, and this year Assembly members Sharon Runner and Karen Bass even tried to offer it. It was AB2938, which required the release of juvenile court records, and county and state files, in the case of a child death pertaining to abuse or neglect. AB2938 should be expanded to include the deaths of foster children, regardless of whether or not they died as a result of abuse or neglect.
Unfortunately, although the governor and Legislature worked together to pass many important pieces of child-welfare legislation this year, AB2938 wasn’t one of them. The county welfare directors’ association voiced its opposition again, and it didn’t go past its first committee.
For some reason, there are still people who seem to believe that if we don’t get the information, we won’t pay attention to the fact that our children are dying.
They’re wrong. It’s time to resurrect — and expand — AB2938. What we don’t know can hurt us. It’s unconscionable to let children pay the price.
Foster Care Reform
These deaths drew news coverage.
But we need to know what happened
whenever a foster youth dies.
When Conrad Morales’ relatives sent him to live with his aunt and uncle in the mountainside town of Randle, Wash., they thought they were providing him with a better life.
After spending his first 11 years in Los Angeles motels with his mother or relatives’ homes in La Puente, the idea was that the boy might benefit from forests, meadows, fresh air, animals — from the concept of an innocent childhood that his parents, both of whom had spent time in jail on drug and assault charges, hadn’t been able to provide for him.
Two years later, the police pulled Conrad’s body out of a trash can.
The suspects in his murder case are the very same aunt and uncle who were supposed to shelter and protect him. The boy — a high-spirited, popular student and avid birdwatcher — told his best friend weeks before his death during the summer of 2005 that he was being sexually abused and beaten. Now that best friend — and the entire town of Randle — is still wondering how they could have failed to miss the warning signs: the filthy house, the erratic school attendance, Conrad’s requests for make-up to cover the bruises on his face and neck.
Months before his death, Conrad began making desperate calls to his older sister, Vanessa Gallardo, in the Los Angeles area. Gallardo, who had already fought unsuccessfully for custody with Los Angeles County Child Protective Services, was perhaps the only one who called social workers and asked that someone check on the boy. She never found out about that check, but the police estimate he was killed weeks before they received a missing person’s report.
Kayla Lorrain Wood
The life of Kayla Lorrain Wood has a made-for-after-school-TV-special quality to it: She was sexually abused, schizophrenic and depressed. She bounced around in Child Protective Services while her mother racked up drug charges. She was suspected of prostitution. And she died a terrible death — this September, the Moreno Valley police discovered her stabbed and abandoned body after firefighters came to put out a fire in a building where transients gathered.
But beneath this tale of woe lies a 16-year-old girl who loved art, music and animals. Tall and thin, she dreamed of becoming a model — an appropriate choice, perhaps, for a young woman who her mother describes as girly, pretty and frilly. In her foster-care placements, she ran away frequently — to find her family.
Eventually, the police found her body instead.
Could anyone have saved her? In 2005, after an evaluation showed that Kayla was suffering from a mental disorder, Child Protective Services recommended that she be committed to a secure psychiatric facility. She ran away from her group home four days later. Though she later returned, no one followed up on the recommendation.
Although Kayla went missing at least 10 times during her two years in the foster-care system, social services admitted to losing contact with her parents. They didn’t know she was missing until she was already dead.
The life and death of Jerry Hulsey shows how difficult it is for social workers to make the right calls when it comes to protecting children — and how important it is that they do.
Jerry’s biological mother and father were habitual drug users. His first brush with the Department of Social Services came at the age of nine months, when his biological mother passed out from a heroin overdose with him in the car. She was charged with child endangerment and ordered into drug treatment, where she met Vicki Lynn Hulsey, Jerry’s future foster mother.
Though his biological mother couldn’t stay out of trouble — she didn’t complete her treatment program and left her son in the care of anyone who would take him — she did notice that Hulsey treated the boy well. So when she went to prison in 1996, she asked that he be left in Hulsey’s care in Monterey.
Hulsey acted quickly to be certified as Jerry’s foster parent, and by the accounts of friends and neighbors, treated him with love. When she petitioned for adoption, social workers weighed that more heavily than Hulsey’s other problems — namely, her background as a child-abuse survivor, her struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, and her bipolar disorder. In the end, Hulsey’s past caught up with her — she beat 10-year-old Jerry to death this year. An autopsy showed that he had cocaine in his system and that, at 4 feet 9 inches, he weighed 60 pounds.
Hulsey’s deterioration and Jerry’s tragic death shows how difficult it is to predict what will happen in an adoption. But it also shows how important it is for the public to understand social workers’ choices.
Foster Care Reform
It works in South Carolina
FOR MORE than 10 years, South Carolina has had one of the nation’s strongest policies about public disclosure for the deaths of foster children. South Carolina’s clear and succinct policies stand in stark contrast to California’s confusing and disjointed disclosure system.
“We review all the records and talk about what the agency did or didn’t do in a specific case — was there a failure to make a home visit? Did someone not follow a policy concerning documentation?” said Virginia Williamson, general counsel for South Carolina’s Department of Social Services. “The reports talk about agency activities instead of laying out the family’s dynamics or revealing information about siblings or other relatives.”
A public request yields plenty of information. They sent us a document containing summary information about the circumstances of death for children who died in 2004. The document included not just children who had died of suspected abuse or neglect while in active protection, but also children whose deaths were the result of accidents or natural causes and received no public attention. By listing this last group without names, their privacy is protected — but the public can still do comparisons.
Composed in a simple, clear format, each entry is easy to read and analyze. For example, we learned that in 2004, there were nine child deaths due to abuse and neglect while in active protection, one well-publicized child death due to homicide, and 28 accident- and natural cause-deaths. Of the nine abuse and neglect deaths, one was a foster child — Lakeysha Tharp, a 10-year-old in Richland County, of probable asphyxiation. We learn that the foster mother has been charged with homicide by child abuse, and that the foster mother’s son (unnamed, because he is a minor) has been charged with the murder as well.
It’s all there: the case, the lost child, and what’s being done to ensure that her death was not in vain. And the sky hasn’t fallen in South Carolina as a result of such disclosure. If they’re worried about “privacy,” or “liability” or “politics,” the excuses that certain authorities offer in California, it hasn’t stopped law enforcement from serving or social services from protecting. Nor has it stopped the public from carrying on with their private lives. The only difference is that the public also has the knowledge to ask questions and push for improvement.
“It’s always a delicate balance between being accountable to the public for how we do business, the privacy interests of families, and protecting the state from lawsuits,” said Williamson. “But ultimately we feel that transparency and accountability are important.”
So do we.
About the series
California legislators and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made progress this year by approving a series of measures to upgrade the level of consistency and oversight in the state’s troubled foster-care system — but there is much work to be done.
Today’s editorials were researched and written by editorial writer Caille Millner. You can e-mail her at email@example.com.
To read earlier editorials on this topic, go to SFGate.com
— John Diaz, editorial page editor firstname.lastname@example.org
“… 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
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
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.
Some examples of settled cases involving the deaths of foster
–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
Keywords: LOS ANGELES COUNTY – FOSTER CARE – CHILD – DAILY NEWS –
VIOLENCE – DEATH – MURDER – US – STATISTIC – COMPARISON – REPORT –
CHILDREN FAMILY SERVICES – DCFS – REACTION – ABUSE – ISSUE – LIST –
CALIFORNIA – REFORM
All content © 2003- Daily News of Los Angeles (CA) and may not be
republished without permission.
|Nazis And CPS by Suzanne Shell|
We are all aware of the Nazi eugenics programs. What we aren’t aware of are the chilling comparisons between the Nazi Lebensborn program and contemporary American Child Protective Services (CPS) programs. Simplistically, it can be described as follows: In the U.S. parens patriae is the legal principle used to justify state sanctioned kidnapping of children from their families in order to ‘protect’ them. In Nazi Germany, the Lebensborn program was legally used to justify the kidnapping of ‘Aryan’ looking children from occupied territories to be Germanized’; to be raised as good Germans (younger children) or designated as breeders for the German race – to produce 2 – 3 racially pure children then be killed (older children). But, in reality, the comparison is more complicated – and more horrifying – than that. PARENS PATRIAE is a legal term in American law that is defined as – The right of the government to take care of minors and others who cannot legally take care of themselves.
In a Nazi booklet published by SS Gruppenführer Rediess, The SS for Greater Germany – with Sword and Cradle, speaking about the recently Nazi occupied country of Denmark as it related to the Lebensborn program, the German position is stated as, “This people is a Germanic people, and hence it is our duty to educate its children and young people and to make the Norwegians a Nordic people again as we understand the term.”
The similarity between these two principles is that a government has assumed a certain authority, either by law or by fiat, over the population. This authority can be as extensive or limited as the government chooses and as the population will endure. In both stated instances, the governments assumed authority over children.
The majority of reasonably intelligent people today recognize that Nazi attempts to designate one race as superior to others based on physical racial characteristics was nothing more than superstitious bigotry unsupported by science. The Nazis actually created a ‘science’ of racial studies, endorsed by ‘experts’ and supported with manufactured ‘scientific evidence,’ in order to support their pet theory that the so-called Aryan race was superior to all others. They had panels of experts, advisory councils, college courses, and specially trained bureaucrats to develop and implement their ‘racial hygiene’ policies. This cadre of ‘experts’ would devise, implement, oversee, evaluate and propagandize the various racial hygiene programs, including Lebensborn. Nazi society abounded with popular literature, textbooks, and manuals touting this most important Nazi platform. Nazi Germany was inundated with racially based propaganda which extolled the virtues of the Aryan and justified the ‘solutions’ imposed on inferior races.
Of Pure Blood by Marc Hillel and Clarissa Henry is a 1976 book detailing the Nazi Lebensborn program. “Doctors specializing in ‘racial knowledge’, all members of the SS or the police, were out in charge of racial testing at the reception centers. . .The children’s heads, bodies, arms and legs were measured, as well as the pelvis in the case of girls and the penis in the case of boys, and they were then divided into three groups: a – those representing a desirable addition to the German populations: b – those representing an acceptable addition to that population, and c – the unwanted. . .More than 200,000 Polish children were thus declared . . to be ‘racially useful’.
In the United States, the state cannot legally evaluate a person based on their race, or use physical or racial characteristics to judge them. CPS agencies use something much more subtle, but no less specious than Nazi racial hygiene measurements; they use psychological measurements to determine how defective (dangerous to his own child) a parent has been or is likely to be. Under the mechanism of court ordered or coerced ‘voluntary’ psychological evaluations, many parents are being ‘diagnosed’ as a ‘risk’ to their children based on psych eval findings from service providers who are paid for by the state; who conduct their evaluations based on a tainted family history provided by the state; and who, by their own admissions, stand to lose their contract with the state if they submit any findings that are contrary to what the caseworker has ordained.
American law has already established protections for persons who are disabled by virtue of their psychology. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, ( 42 U.S.C 12101, 12102, & 12131 et seq), disability is a physical or mental impairment the substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; having a record of such impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment. Caring for, nurturing and raising their children is undoubtedly on of the most important major life activities of a parent. This country, through CPS, has raised psychology to the exalted status of Nazi Racial Studies on no more scientific evidence than the Nazis had to support their theories and programs. This pseudo-science is used to demonize parents and justify the legal kidnapping of their children in order to satisfy the state’s need for adoptive children.
For example, the most popular psychological test given today is the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Index (MMPI II). According to one whistle blower evaluator, the completed test is fed into a computer that analyses the responses and returns a list of diagnoses to choose from. It is then up to the evaluator to decide which diagnosis applies to the subject. This is not a scientifically-based, measurable, objective diagnosis if it is left up the subjective interpretation of the ‘expert.’ The selected diagnosis is based on a gut hunch, intuition, or maybe wishful thinking, or perhaps a state-contracted fee. Whatever it is based on, it is not based on measurable science in any instance; nor even the most rudimentary common sense in the hands of many self-serving psychological evaluators.
Psycho-sexual evaluations for allegations of child sexual abuse are used by caseworkers as tool of making a determination whether or not the accused was a perpetrator. Many psychological experts will assert that these tools are not designed to be used on anyone who has not admitted guilt. However, caseworkers continue to use this tool inappropriately to validate allegations.
There are volumes of tests employed against parents. This process is inherently flawed based on the fact that once the children have been taken, the parents are depressed, suspicious, angry, anxious, traumatized, worried, frightened, and more. Requiring any person to submit to any psychological evaluation under these horrendous emotional circumstances is clearly setting them up for failure. There is no hope they could present as being ‘normal.’ Naturally, psychological ‘deficiencies’ will show up, and those deficiencies are effectively used by the experts against the parents.
However, none of the findings from psychological tests were ever designed to indicate that the parents actually are mentally impaired or that they legitimately justify the application of any psychological label upon the parents. Experts will admit that the findings of the parents’ tests show that they share some of the same characteristics with others who are so psychologically labeled does not mean that any findings are proof positive that the diagnosis is scientifically accurate.
The United States has a powerful industry backing up this ‘science.’ There are schools and seminars that teach and accredit the psychology of child abuse/child abusers; advisory councils against child abuse that advise powerful political figures and who lobby for intrusive and offensive legislation that undermines the sanctity of the family; cadres of ‘experts’ who analyze, devise, implement, oversee, evaluate and propagandize child abuse and prevention programs in the private and public sector and whose livelihoods depend on the perpetuation of this pseudo-science; and millions of service providers who provide ‘voluntary’ or court ordered services and whose livelihoods literally depend on the removal of children from their homes. There are many ‘expert’ tomes on the subjects of the psychology of children, parents, child abuse, risks of abuse, and prevention of abuse. Parents have no credibility in the face of this multi-billion dollar industry.
These people take this pseudo science very seriously, sometimes with deadly consequences. The May 24, 2000 Rocky Mountain news reported about a therapy technique used on a troubled child in Evergreen, Colorado. The 10 year-old child had been adopted in 1996 and died as a result of this ‘therapy.’ “Sheriff’s investigators say Watkins and Ponder, both therapists, wrapped Candace in a flannel blanket to simulate a womb that the girl should be “born” from. Then, in an attempt to mimic birth contractions, all four allegedly pushed against pillows Candace was lying under.
“Rebirthing is a controversial technique Watkins has used for about a year. It is used to treat children who suffer from attachment disorder, which prevents children from bonding with their [adoptive] parents. Critics of the technique call the treatment radical and say it hasn’t been researched well.” However, these ‘experts’ fail to acknowledge what anyone with common sense can see – that perhaps removing this child from her mother precipitated the attachment disorder in this child; that they caused this child’s psychological problems by employing this pseudo science in the first place.
Traditional parenting practices are under massive attack with responsible parents being targeted for their refusal to conform to this pseudo-science. The ‘virtuous’ parents are those who do not spank or punish or subject their children to any undesirable circumstances such as an argument; and who casually inflict their consciousless brats on decent society saying, “Oh, isn’t my darling so cute?” when he’s really too bratty to bear. Conspicuous by its absence is any expert acknowledgment for the self-evident consequences of this pseudo-science – as demonstrated by offensive childhood behavior from the regular cacophony of temper tantrums in department stores; to bratty kids running out of control in inappropriate places; to children’s complete lack of respect for others; all the way to the extreme of kids mowing down their classmates with guns because they were ‘teased.’
Demonstrating a callous lack of common sense, the practice of this ‘science’ is based on the premise that removing a child from his parents presents less trauma to the child than being merely ‘at risk’ of future abuse if he remained with his family in a dirty house. People often say, ‘They don’t remove a child for a dirty home!” shocked that anyone could even suggest such a vile act. But there are volumes of documented cases where not only were the children removed for a dirty home, but parental rights were terminated based on that initial removal and the resultant, non-scientific ‘risk assessment’ administered by the intake caseworker.
Legalizing Kidnapping Of Children
In Of Pure Blood, the authors report “ . . . many Norwegian women were trapped into going to Germany against their will. The kidnapping process was given a semblance of legality by a Nazi ruling that defied the fundamental laws of a sovereign nation and legalized the separation of mother and child against the mothers’s will.”
Heinrich Himmler, in a speech to officers of the Deutschland division, November 8, 1938 stated, “I really intend to take German blood from where it is to be found in the world, to rob and steal it wherever I can.” Orders were issued to implement this ‘stealing’ of children. These orders had the force of law in Nazi occupied territories.
A Top Secret order, no. 67/1, 1941 from SS Gruppenführer Ulrich Greifelt, head of the Central Office of the SS and SD in Poland ordered: “The children who are recognized as bearers of blood valuable to Germany are to be Germanized. . . .between the ages of six and twelve in state boarding schools, and between ages of two and six with families to be indicated by the Lebensborn society.”
“ . . .the Lebensborn Society will see to the distribution of these children among the families of childless SS men with a view to subsequent adoption. The Lebensborn Society will assume guardianship of the children accommodated in the Lebensborn Children’s homes.
In a Reichsfürher circular dated June 14, 1941: “I think it right that young children of especially good race belonging to Polish amilies should be gathered together and brought up by us . . .health reasons should be given for taking the children away. . . .After a year consideration should be given to handing such children to be brought in childless families of good race.”
Of Pure Blood – “ . . .the Lebensborn organization was the obvious agency for Germanizing the children abducted from Eastern Europe. The program was initiated as early as 1940 . . . .it was decided, in agreement with the Reichsfürher, that it was preferable for the organization to deal with children under six. There was a simple reason for this: Whether Polish, Russian or Yugoslav, at this age they would be more receptive to Nazi indoctrination than the older children . . .Because they were so young, they would remember less which would enable Dr. Tesch, the Lebensborn legal expert, to falsify their identify the more completely. . . .By 1941 in Germany, Party and SS members were falling over themselves in their wish to adopt a child of good blood . . .and so demand had outstripped supply. Withing a few months the round-ups of children in the occupied territories would make it possible to satisfy the demand of childless couples. . .
Who were children targeted by the Lebensborn Society? “. . .all places were children were assembled; children of Polish adoptive parents or unmarried mothers; children having Polish guardians; children of mixed (Polish-German) marriages; children whose parents opposed Germanization; children of mixed marriages whose parents had divorced; children of deported, liquidated, or banished parents (the great majority); children picked up at random; children born in concentration camps, women’s labor camps or children of mothers deported for forced labor; abandoned children; children to whom special orders applied, children sent to Germany for forced labor.” Danish, English, Russian and other eastern European countries all lost children to this legalized kidnapping campaign.
Abducted children were ‘skimmed’ or evaluated according to racial purity, and the acceptable ones, approximately 10%, were Germanized. The others became slaves of the Reich.
“The technique of approaching children in the street did not vary greatly. A hungry child would be offered biscuits (cookies), sweets, sometimes even a bar of chocolate or a slice of bread, thus creating an opportunity to question it about its parents, its home, the color of its brothers’ and sisters’ hair. That same evening they submitted their list of names and addresses to special teams of kidnappers . . .Several days would elapse, and then the child would be taken, the abduction generally taking place at night. The child’s parents would never see it again.
“The kidnapping game does not seem to have been played in accordance with any fixed rules. The decision whether a child was to be sent to its death or back to its parents depended on the whim of a medical examiner or even of the SS man on guard at the door.”
“. . .in 1942, and 1944 . . .kidnappings [in Russia] grew steadily more numerous. In the street, at school, at home, at kindergartens and even in public parks children were the victims of raids which nobody dared oppose. A climate of terror prevailed. . . .[Kurt Heinze, head the Oberweiss home] escorted whole train-loads of children whom the Lebensborn organization rapidly placed in State schools or families.”
One account was remembered by a kidnapped child, “The chief of them immediately insisted that the women, who had a long and tiring journey to a labor camp ahead of them, should let the children go first by bus. . .He also insisted that the mothers should hand over their children voluntarily. Obviously none of the them were willing to be parted from their children. To show he meant business, he fired a shot in the air with his revolver. This of course caused panic among the mothers and children. The Germans took advantage of this to go for the mothers and snatch us from their arms.
“Believe me, that was a moment that none of us will ever forget, even in forty of fifty years’ time. It’s like a horrible, brutal film that keeps on passing before our eyes.”
According to recent government statistics, 67% of child abuse reports are false right off the top. As much as 60-90% of the ‘substantiated’ reports do not meet the statutory definition of abuse or neglect according to anecdotal data. This happens because parents are poorly represented by counsel and threatened, intimidated or coerced by their attorneys and caseworkers into falsely admitting guilt as a condition of seeing their children. By this action, the parents are forced to give the state legal authority to kidnap and keep their children. Once this occurs, the state does not have to prove the child was abused or neglected in order to terminate parental rights. Parents who do resist find themselves having to prove their innocence in order to win their children back, and it often takes months to accomplish.
In America, the presenting incident, which is the report of abuse or neglect, becomes the mechanism to gain access to the child and the family. This is the contemporary ‘skimming’ process. The American CPS ‘skimming’ tool is called a risk assessment. Under the Adoption and Safe Families Act, the primary concern is now the ‘safety of the child.’ Thus, the mere, speculative risk of abuse or neglect satisfies the legal requirements to take custody of children without any evidence of abuse or neglect. This country has effectively legalized the separation of parent and child against the will of both parents and children.
There is a virtual army of people out there looking for children to target. Under mandated reporting laws, anyone who has regular contact with children (teachers, counselors, doctors, dentists, etc.) are required to report suspected child abuse or neglect. The schools are especially effective at reporting suspected child abuse or neglect – not based on statutory definitions but on subjective assessments. They will also provide caseworker access to the children in the school and allow the caseworker to legally ‘kidnap’ the children from the school without notifying the parents, no questions asked. Hospital emergency rooms also provide many children for CPS.
There seem to be no fixed rules for determining which children are taken and which are not regardless of statutory requirements. It depends on the whim of the caseworker, many of whom falsify reports in order to support her claims. The children are subjected to intimidating and often professionally incompetent questions by the caseworkers. They will use coercion, threats, leading questions and even lie in order to validate the report of abuse. They excuse these tactics by rationalizing that a child often is unwilling to disclose abuse and they must use pressure to extract an accusation. They also object vehemently to having all interrogations video taped stating that it would traumatize the child. What it would do is expose their incompetence and predispositions.
The laws do not allow a caseworker to take a child without a court order. Only police can do that. However, under the color of law, they will often take the children by force. Parents routinely report their children being dragged, screaming, from their arms without having been presented with any evidence of abuse or neglect. Midnight raids on unsuspecting, sleeping families are not uncommon.
If an agency suspects the parents might resist their requests to question the children, S.W.A.T. teams have been used to circumvent the fourth amendment in Utah and other states. Michigan is actually considering legislation that allows force if a parent asserts their constitutional rights – which is being defined as uncooperative. One Arizona mother held a police S.W.A.T. Team off for 24 hours until they jumped her and took her toddler by force. All criminal charges were dropped but she never got her daughter back. Her frantic initial phone call to an associate, audio taped before her phone lines were cut, demonstrated her fear as the police kicked their way into her home and pulled weapons on her as she was nursing her baby.
Turning Children Against Their Parents
We must remember that an important element in brainwashing anyone involves trauma. It’s pretty easy to traumatize a youngster simply by denying him his mom and dad.
From Of Pure Blood – “When children were taken for Germanization, “ . . .Psychological methods were used to make a child forget or even hate its parents. He would be told they were dead, and there was nothing honorable about the way they died. The mother would be said to have been of doubtful morality and to have died of tuberculosis, drink or other shameful disease, while the father had died of cancer or drink, or been killed by Polish bandits. The object was to give the child a sense of inferiority about its origins and of gratitude to the Germans who had rescued it from the degeneracy of its home environment.
“In the German Federal Republic we met a young woman who, at the age of five, had been taken to a church by the Germans and shown a bishop’s coffin and told it was her mother’s. Some years later the child was traced, but she refused to go back to her mother, who had survived deportation. ‘I had stood by my mother’s coffin once,’ she said, ‘and I did not want to do that again.’”
Sigismund Krajeski, born in Poznan on April 17, 1933 told Hillel and Henry, “I was taken by force from my family on 20 May 1943.” He went on to describe what they were told by the Nazis, “. . .The child would be told his parents were dead and that he was going to get new ones.”
Mrs. Witaszek, survivor of Auschwitz, whose 4 and 6 year-old daughters were adopted when she was arrested. “Years afterwards my younger daughter told me she had often been kept awake at night, wondering why I had sold her to a foreign family. Did I have so little money that I had to sell her? Children at that age were simply incapable of understanding what had happened to them.”
Kidnapped Aryan children would be subjected to intensive German language classes and were forbidden to speak their native language after a couple of weeks. Discipline was described as ‘very, very strict.’
Children who refused Germanization had to stay in the chapel “ . . .in the dark on their knees with their arms crossed for hours. They wept, and soon fainted. They were punished like that for saying something in Polish or talking about their parents. They were beaten and deprived of food. But even apart from that, the children were always sad. They lived in fear and were homesick . . .”
Many don’t believe we would treat our children so harshly in America. To those I suggest that they talk to the children who have been ‘protected’ by CPS agencies.
I have interviewed many former and current foster children. In the most benign cases, the children are often punished by exasperated foster parents when they cry for their mom and dad by being sent to isolation in their rooms. Children report being punished with isolation and withholding food for praying to be returned home. They are denied affection and understanding and feel depressed and homesick and frightened. When they see their parents, they often act out after the visit out of their natural frustration and impotence to change what they perceive to be unfair and cruel. As a result, they are punished by being denied their next visit with their parents.
They describe being told that their parents aren’t able to take care of them because their parents are ‘sick’ and need help. That it isn’t safe for them to live with their parents. Many children are told that their parents aren’t trying hard enough to complete the case plan and the children live in uncertainty as to what their future holds for them. They are actually told that their parents don’t want them or can’t afford to keep them. Children report that they are told their mothers are prostitutes, or drug users when they know it is false. They are psychologically manipulated until they begin to believe. They begin to resent their parent’s failures and imperfections that prevent reunification. But many of them are ultimately diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder and others similar emotional problems as a direct result of state efforts to undermine their bonds with their parents.
One young boy in Elbert County, Colorado, under the supervision of caseworker Holly Sielaff, was repeatedly forced to deal with the ‘issue’, under the guise of therapy, that his mother had cross-dressed him. The child had no memory of that event, and mom denied doing it. He reports he was verbally abused by his therapist during his court-ordered therapy sessions for his refusal to admit that his mother forced him to wear girl’s clothing. Sielaff then reported to mother in this reporter’s presence and on tape, that they were addressing this issue ‘because it was the child’s reality’ and whether or not it was true, it must be treated as if it were true. Since mom was forbidden to speak of that allegation to the boy, she never learned that he consistently denied it until he was returned home. Many children are not strong enough to resist this kind of abusive psychological pressure.
Many of the children I have spoken with have been runaway foster children. They report being told that they must accuse their parents in order to return home. They are promised that if they accuse, they will be allowed to return home and the state will provide ‘help’ to their parents. If they do make a false accusation based on these promises, they are often denied all access to their parents. This isolation from their parents is used in the vast majority of cases. Besides being used to emotionally traumatize the children to make them more receptive to state suggestions, it also has the effect of preventing the child from reporting to his parents any problems, lies or abuses that are being covered up by state agencies under confidentiality laws and ‘in the best interests of the child.’
If children in state custody are fortunate enough to see their parents, it is usually under supervision, where their every word is scrutinized. They are forbidden to hug, to whisper, or to display too much affection. They are forbidden to speak about what happens in their foster home, and to even report any abuse they suffer there. Many parent-child bonding rituals that have been established in the home, such as singing favorite songs or tickling games are forbidden between the parents and children during these visits for specious and/or undefined reasons.
There are documented cases where the psychological experts and caseworker not only actively subvert the parent-child bond, but actually employ dubious and traumatic methods in order to brainwash the child to bond to his foster parents. In once instance, a five-year-old child in Weld County, Colorado, was forcefully ‘regressed’ to infancy by being placed in diapers and forced to break potty training, forced to crawl rather than walk, fed only from a bottle and denied all access to her mother in an effort to make this child bond to her foster parents. The mother’s act of abuse? She fell asleep after major surgery with her toddler at home, having been denied daycare assistance by Social Services until she recovered, and the child got into a bottle of Tylenol in mom’s purse. No treatment was provided at the hospital for the alleged overdose in spite of mom’s timely response to the emergency.
The most heinous of tactics is to place the child in residential treatment. This often happens to children who are resistant to caseworker indoctrination and especially where there is a risk the child will divulge a truth that is damaging to the caseworker, the CPS agency, the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) or other service provider. Often, caseworkers will predetermine a ‘diagnosis’ of the child in order to facilitate this placement. They can find an ‘expert’ who will validate the diagnosis and present this information to an unsuspecting court or a court who acts with complicity. The court will order the child to the residential treatment facility were they are often drugged. This drugging renders them more susceptible to suggestion and compliance at the expense of the emotional well-being of the child. Since the facility is only provided with the state’s version of the child’s history, the treatment is based on that tainted information.
In Pueblo County, Colorado, there is a story of a young boy who has been institutionalized for four years at La Junta Boys Ranch based on a caseworker diagnosis of psychotic behavior. Mom has been unable to obtain a release for the child, and all reports of the brutality he suffered at the hands of the staff are covered up. He finally had endured all he could and killed some of the turkeys on the ranch. He was shipped to the State Hospital in Pueblo, where for over a month the doctors there insisted he wasn’t psychotic and that he had been misdiagnosed and improperly medicated. The caseworker began lobbying for the original diagnosis because, ‘she would lose the funding for him if he weren’t psychotic.’ The doctors at the State Hospital finally began to capitulate under funding pressure. Meanwhile, this child, now 15, clings to his mother during visits and the doctors are telling him that is inappropriate and denying him this only comfort in his life. This child has been sacrificed on the alter of psycho babble disguised as child protection. Too many foster children would never have been forced to endure such levels of psychological abuse at the hands of their parents from whom the state was ‘protecting’ them.
The women charged with kidnapping children in Nazi occupied territories were called the “Brown Sisters.”
“Actually these women belonged to the NSV, established in 1933 to devote itself to the welfare of the German people. . .To those who suffered under them, these fanatical Nazi women, totally dedicated to the Fuhrer, were perhaps even more loathsome than the killers of the SS or the SD; stony-hearted robots was one description. The sight of these women . . .brutally snatching from its mother’s arms a baby who was smiling at her remains an intolerable memory to those who experienced it.
“The special training of the ‘Brown Sisters’ included intensive courses in which they were taught the racial criteria by which Nordics could infallibly be distinguished, and they were instruct in how to observe a child without being noticed themselves; they were also taught ways of abducting it in the street, at home or at school. . .” Of Pure Blood.
Caseworkers in America also receive highly specialized training pertaining to popular culture parenting techniques, child abuse, child abuse prevention and more, all based on theory rather than science. They are trained on the job to put pet theories into practice, with children and families being the guinea pigs. The good ones become disgusted in short order and leave for greener pastures.
Many ‘protected’ children actively hate the caseworkers who control their lives and their access to their parents. Once free of caseworker control, they often vent their anger in very expressive ways. I have one pair of sisters who opened up in front a video camera with threats and gestures all directed at their Arapahoe County, Colorado caseworker, Dawn Shields. They accused Shields of lying in order to obtain the court order terminating their parents’ parental rights. All of the children I have spoken to express the highest level of disdain, distrust and anger toward their caseworkers and GALs.
Parents universally describe caseworkers as heartless, soulless, evil, deceitful, arrogant, two-faced and more. I have personally seen caseworkers utter the most vicious false statements against a parents on the witness stand in court, then embrace the numb parents in the hall with apologies for what she ‘had’ to do to them. This feigned concern for the parents is abhorrent. At least the Nazis were honest about their bigotry and evil plans.
I have had one caseworker tell me, “I’m sorry for [your son being taken] but that was years ago. Get over it.” It is incomprehensible to a parent that anyone could be so callous and hardhearted to even consider they’d ever ‘get over’ having their child kidnapped by the state for whatever length of time, but especially if the parent-child relationship was destroyed as a result. This attitude clearly demonstrates their lack of understanding of the depths of the bonds that exist between parent and child and how their meddling is, too often, more destructive than helpful.
For an indication of the state of mind of the affected families decades after the children were taken, let’s look to Of Pure Blood, “. . .Parents did everything possible to trace children who were unaware of their existence and will never know the distress the absence still causes. In some Polish villages the grief is still so vivid after thirty years that one ends by wondering how such a thing can be possible.” It is not unreasonable to presume that the pain inflicted by contemporary caseworkers will be comparable and equally unforgettable for millions of American parents. This pain is compounded in many cases by the caseworkers’ casual use of deceit and manipulation of their undeserved credibility with the court in order to win their cases. Many parents not only despise caseworkers, but hate the people they themselves have become as a result of their constant, unpleasant and threatening contact with these toxic bureaucrats. As a result of these abuses, there is little sympathy from victimized families for caseworkers who are assaulted and killed in the course of their work.
Abuse In State Custody
In one indoctrination home, where children were taken before being sent for adoption to Nazi families, there “ . . .is a cemetery in which most of the graves are of ‘victims of Nazi barbarism’. Tadeus Martyn, a member of the Polish commission for Hitlerite Crimes . . .told about the authors about a child named Zygmunt Swiatlowski: ‘He was taken from his parents against their will at Poznan and brought here. . .He felt himself to be Polish and would not be Germanized. . .One day, after refusing to greet a German in German, he was killed on the spot by the woman in charge of the invitation, Johanna Sander. The children who died in the home were buried anonymously, but the German who buried Zygmunt revealed his name to the Polish woman caretaker of the cemetery. So this grave remains the only memorial to the martyrdom of Polish children and Kalisz.’”
Alycia Sosinka, born at Lodz in 1935, taken from her mother in September 1942. “ . . .for months, when my [adoptive] mother came to tuck me in at night I used to jump out of bed and stand at attention . . .” due to abuses suffered during her indoctrination period.
When a Lebensborn home tended by SS ‘nurses’ was liberated by allied forces, a nun who was subsequently charged with caring for the children observed, “These children did not know what tenderness was. They were used to being in bed or living in groups, and were frightened of any grownups who approached them. . .The older children, the three and four-year-olds could not even talk. They merely expressed them onomatopoeically, like young animals. That is typical of children brought up in institutions. Also they were very backward in Mental development in comparison with other children of the same age.
According to Department of Health and Human Services statistics, approximately 50% of the children who die of child abuse, die in foster care. Children in foster care are also subjected to more severe abuse in foster homes than they ever endured in their own homes. The Denver Post began a five part series of articles exposing the unsafe nature of foster care on May 21, 2000. They report that abuses are perpetrated by foster parents, biological children of foster parents, and other foster children. This finding supports the overwhelming number of reports of foster care abuse nationwide received by parents and family rights advocacy groups.
In the summer of 1999, Colorado Governor Bill Owens commissioned a task force to look into the foster care and child welfare issue due to the deaths of four children, three of whom were in foster care. The task force returned their findings if0.20early in 2000, months prior to the Denver Post series, but nothing has been done by Colorado Department of Human Services (DHS) to insure that children are safer in state custody than in the homes they were removed from. Foster care providers are not held to the same standards of safety as parents are. In fact, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) applies only to parents. CPS agencies, foster care providers, and institutions do not fall under the jurisdiction of CAPTA even though they are charged with keeping children safe under CAPTA. The standards of care and safety that foster care providers are required to keep are only defined vaguely in CPS policy manuals.
Abuse of children in foster care is drastically under reported because there is no independent investigative body to whom foster care abuse or neglect is reported. The CPS agency places the children; and chooses, licenses and oversees the foster homes. Reports of foster care abuse and neglect are made to CPS agencies. Abuse and violations of standards of care are investigated by CPS agencies. As a result, most reports are determined to be ‘unfounded;’ after all, how good would it look if they were to expose the level of abuse that occurs in their own foster homes and contract institutions? Even if abuse is substantiated, the providers do not lose their own children or their foster care license, and the abused children will often remain in the foster home. Occasionally, the alleged abuse will rise to the level of a crime, but even then it is not consistently prosecuted and foster care providers openly acknowledge that any penalties imposed on them will be minor at most.
An Adams County, Colorado mother reported that when her children were returned home after over a year in foster care, she caught her 7 year-old son humping her 5 year-old daughter. She was terrified that the children would be removed again. Since she had never been accused of sexually abusing her children, they could only have learned of this in the foster home. An El Paso County, Colorado, twelve year old had his arm broken in a group home while being restrained. He was lucky. Some restrained children die. A youth in DHS custody who resided at the Colorado Boys Ranch was locked up in his room for 23 hours a day, and during his recreational hour, he was shackled and chained. He had not been charged or convicted of any crime. 13 year-old Veronica from Larimer County, Colorado was repeatedly coerced to falsely accuse her father. Upon her return home, she was unable to fall asleep without her bedroom light on and her mother by her side for six months. She’d hide in a closet whenever someone knocked at the door.
Taler Barnes, was taken from his mother at birth due to a false hospital social worker report. While in Kansas foster care, he suffered broken ribs, broken hip, constant bruising, his eyes were gouged until he is legally blind, and he suffered shaken baby syndrome resulting in brain damage. He was emaciated and starving when he was finally returned to his family at 22 months old. During the course of her visits, his mother would photograph the injuries, but the judge ordered her to stop and to remove her web site that documented her case and the abuse her son suffered at the hands of the state. Even the courts cover up foster care abuse.
At the very least, parents report that the children who are returned to them from foster care are not the same children that were taken. They are easily frightened, clingy and needy, they act out sexually or are physically and verbally abusive, they wet the bed, they test their parents’ love and violate established rules, schoolwork suffers, they are haunted and distrusting, and more. Evidently, foster care is not the warm and fuzzy panacea it’s cracked up to be.
Of Pure Blood – 21 September, 1942 – Notes on an SS discussion “ . . .after the sifting has been carried out the children will be separated from the mothers. . .so that no irresponsible hatred will develop among these children. . .children with a good capacity for Germanization will be handed over to the Lebensborn Society, which will arrange for the adoption of these children by pure German families.”
Himmler, recognizing the threat posed by children who were not properly conditioned against their parents, said to Max Sollman, on June 21, 1943, “The children of good race, who obviously could become the most dangerous avengers of their parents if they are not humanely and correctly brought up, should . . .be admitted to a Lebensborn children’s home for a probationary period, where as much as possible about their character should be discovered, and then be sent to German families as foster-children or adopted children.”
“ . . .Children who passed the tests were taken to a Lebensborn reception center; the others generally disappeared without trace, often being dispatched to a concentration camp. Luckier children might be returned to their parents without explanation.”
“ . . .many children became ‘orphans’ when they were taken from their parents . . .”
Leo Twardecki, 11, roused from sleep and kidnapped by three SS men with Alsatian dogs, were herded to a train observed. “I was never adopted. I was too big and too Polish, and no one wanted me.”
German Nazis who adopted the Lebensborn children were told that the children were orphans of German parents and if it was found out that they had a child of inferior race, they would often refuse to keep the child.
Lebensborn children came with a monthly government payment to subsidize their care and upkeep. Their records were falsified and their names Germanized; new birth certificates were issued to support the stories told to the adoptive parents. The Nazi occupied countries never knew about the Lebensborn program until after the war. They all presumed that the children were exterminated or enslaved. In fact, the vast majority were. They were the Nazi’s throwaway children.
CPS agencies, in taking children who do not meet the statutory definition of abuse or neglect from loving homes is creating more throwaway children than they are legitimately saving. Anyone who doubts this only has to look at the adoption web sites, adoption fairs, and adoption catalogs sponsored by CPS agencies. These listings present huge quantities of children available for adoption who have problems that make them difficult to adopt. Virtually all of them are on medications to treat behavioral or emotional problems, they are generally over six years old, and they are not blonde-haired and blue-eyed. Some of them are sibling groups that shouldn’t be separated. Their birth certificates are altered to remove their birth parents names. Sometimes their names are changed making it impossible to trace them. These children come with adoption subsidies – a monthly check from government – medicaid, food stamps, a hefty tax break and intensive support services. Just think what the biological parents could have doh those resources. Since the vast majority of the children are taken due to poverty related issues, the money provided to foster parents and adoptive parents could have prevented the removal of the children in the first place.
Under the Adoption and Safe Families Act, the Federal government pays a $4000 bounty for every child adopted out of foster care who exceeds the 1997 baseline. If the child is ‘special needs’ – and most of them are by virtue of the psychological trauma they suffer at being separated from their parents – the bounty goes up to $6000.
There are many childless couples and others who desperately want to adopt. CPS is the legalized adoption mill. With the law requiring permanency planning in twelve months for children under six, most of these children become adoptable within a year and a half of being taken. Is it coincidence that the Nazi Lebensborn program advocated placement of the children within a year of their abduction and focused on blond-haired, blue-eyed children under six?
In taking the younger children, many older siblings are left to languish in foster care. The real tragedy is that many of these children were very much loved and wanted by their biological parents. These parents fought with everything they had in too many cases only to lose their children. Since the state saw fit to take these children from these loving parents, these children are now alone, unloved and unwanted by the rest of the world. They are the throwaway children, and don’t think they don’t know it.
The two sisters from Arapaho County, Colorado reported that their foster mother told them she wanted their baby sister but didn’t want them. Nobody wants the older, troubled child who knows they were kidnapped. Even the children who are adopted often know that they should never have been taken from their parents. All adopted children exhibit some of the same issues to resolve; abandonment or the fantasy that they were, in reality, kidnapped against their loving parents’ wills. The kidnapping fantasy is, in fact, the truth in many of these cases anymore. And when these children grow up and learn their real parents fought tooth and nail to keep them, they will resent their adoptive parents as being willing participants in their abductions. This is too obvious to deny.
But worse, 25% of state adoptions disrupt. This literally means the children are returned like defective merchandise, creating even more throwaway children. When an adoptive parent returns a child, CPS will offer higher subsidies or threaten to take all other children in order to prevent the adoption from disrupting. Our children are treated like commodities, to be bartered and sold by CPS agencies.
Returning Children Home
The U.S. obstructed the repatriation of kidnapped children. June 11, 1948, Zycie Warszawy reports, “ . .the attitude of the British and American occupation authorities. . .These authorities are not satisfied when a child is tracked down, when evidence of its identity is produced and even its parents (if they are alive) claim it. All that is not enough for them. They do their best to insure that the child is not returned to Poland . . .”
“ . . .there was the ‘interest of the child’ to be considered, that famous interest in the name of which they had been taken from their families in the first place. The British, American and French investigators, often motivated by the most generous feelings, hesitated to create new dramas in the minds of young children who could remember only their adoptive parents. . .No one knew whether children who were being brought up in comfortably-off families would find similar conditions if they were sent [home].
“Thus, the post-war files contained a multitude of reasons why [kidnapped children] stayed in Western Germany.” “Dr. Roman S. Hrarbar, a lawyer who in 1945-7 was head of the Polish mission responsible for repatriating Polish children “It was also claimed that is would be a shock to the child to be returned to its real family. That turned out to be false. . . .[the military authorities in the Western Allied occupation zones] took the view that it was preferable to leave the child in its present surroundings – in the interest of the child – instead of making it get used to new surroundings, unknown to the child. These were humanitarian explanations which covered essentially politically motives.
“Reactions [of children who were identified] varied. Younger ones, who remembered nothing, were surprised. They had to be prepared for the change. The others, the older ones . . .accepted the situation with delight, particularly when we were able to tell them that their parents were still alive and waiting for them.”
This sounds suspiciously like today’s CPS excuse for whatever they do: “The best interest of the child.” While they trot that phrase up at every opportunity, they never define it or describe exactly why a recommended action is in the child’s best interest. They are not even qualified to judge what is in an individual child’s best interest since they don’t know the children as individuals; they don’t know anything personal about the children they kidnap. Many of them even admit that they act for the best interests of children in general, not necessarily for the individual.
The best interests of the child has become the equivalent of the Nazi’s ‘Final Solution;’ a phrase that sound good and justifies their destructive and abusive actions. Clearly, the U.S. has an extensive history of plugging other people’s children into whatever slot they feel is best, the child’s and the families needs notwithstanding, placing political expediency above the humanitarian issue of truly protecting children.
CPS will also say the children need a ‘reunification’ process before being returned home. Why was it acceptable to remove children precipitously from their parents, but they can’t be returned in the same manner? Could this be reverse brainwashing time? Or is it merely a mechanism to extend more control over the family? Whatever it is, CPS is extremely reluctant to allow foster children to return to their birth parents even if they haven’t proven abuse or neglect.
Evaluating The System
As far as the Nazi’s were concerned, the Lebensborn program was a great success. They were evaluated by their experts and their superiors. They were rounding up and distributing valuable Aryan bloodlines. As far as they were concerned, the end justified the means.
It is important to note, that at no time during the Nazi regime, were the subjects and victims of these programs ever consulted for their assessment, evaluation or input into the effectiveness and reliability of the racial hygiene programs; the effects of those programs upon the individuals and families involved; or the moral implications of what was occurring in Nazi Germany and the countries it occupied as it implement its master plan.
Today, CPS agencies undergo the same kind of evaluations as to the effectiveness and efficiency of their programs. The same experts who devise and operate child protection also evaluate it. There is no mechanism whereby an evaluation is conducted by an independent agency or that the clients of this system are ever contacted for their input.
Client complaints are often covered up. David Berns, Director of El Paso County DHS reported to the county commissioners that his agency had received only one complaint for the year ending June, 1999. This reporter knows of seven that were filed during that time. When I protested his report, he amended it a few weeks later to two complaints. He stated that the second complaint had not been filed on proper form, forgetting that their complaint process did not require filing in writing and not knowing that all seven complaints that were unreported were filed in writing.
Later, a Denver paper reported that most counties in Colorado had no complaints against DHS; that the citizens review panels had only heard three complaints for the entire state in the previous year. They speculated that either DHS was virtually perfect, or more likely, that they were stonewalling complaints.
Many family advocacy groups are demanding independent investigations into CPS agencies nationwide. These agencies respond by requesting an internal investigation, or failing that, an outside ‘expert’ in the field. The advocacy groups are resisting, saying that’s like having the Gestapo investigate a concentration camp.
Until there is independent public oversight over CPS agencies; until the confidentiality laws are eliminated; until caseworkers are held accountable and liable for abuses against families; until child abuse is treated like a crime and investigated by law enforcement; our children will continue to be more horribly abused in state custody than they ever were in their own homes. if0.00
Our population of legal orphans will continue to grow and we will produce more human fodder for prisons and mental institutions as a direct result. If we don’t learn our lessons from history, we are doomed to repeat the failures. American CPS agencies are well on their way to becoming the Nazi child kidnappers of the new millennium.
If you think this can’t happen to you, you better start doing some homework.. this is the exact same thing that’s happening where you life. Yes even in America!
Province’s child protection system operates in absolute secrecy
A mother who’s had her children seized cannot speak to them and will not be informed if they die
It was her son’s birthday, but Brenda was having a horrible day.
“My son will be six today, which is normally a very good thing, but I am worried sick about him,” the 26-year-old single mom explained last week.
Brenda, whose real name can’t be used because it would identify children in care, lost her children three years ago when they were seized by the province.
She says she is not allowed to contact them — even a birthday card is forbidden — and would not be informed if they died.
“If I saw them on the street, I would have to go the other way,” she says.
The province seizes hundreds of children annually and if their birth homes can’t be made safe, they are raised in foster homes or awarded for permanent adoption. It all happens quietly because the system is shrouded in secrecy.
Recently, a foster mother killed a foster child and neither the name of the killer nor the victim has been made public, which seems astonishing in a democratic society.
Some Albertans, like NDP MLA Rachel Notley, argue there should be more openness and transparency in the system to ensure it is taking all the necessary steps to protect children.
Brenda says she made “a mistake” that led to her son and daughter being seized, but they were never abused in the home. She says even court officials noted it was evident she loved her children and they loved her, but the court deemed she couldn’t care for them. Brenda, who suffers from agoraphobia or a fear of crowds, says she has since done everything she can to change that, cleaning up her life and taking parenting courses.
Brenda’s world came crashing down after she took in a homeless relative and his family.
“I was really naive,” she says. “I had my cousin and his wife and their three kids and dog show up to my house one night. They said they needed to stay only one or two nights.
“It ended up being six weeks. I was stupid and let them stay. It was an absolute nightmare. I wound up looking after their three kids as well as my own and I got completely overwhelmed and my house went to hell. It was awful.”
Brenda says she finally kicked them out and the next day, child welfare showed up. She believes her cousin reported her to child protection officials out of spite.
“They came and seized both kids,” she says. “I had a bit of a breakdown and it took me a long time to get the house cleaned up. It was really bad. I just couldn’t deal with it. My doctor had me on Valium because all I could do was cry all the time.”
When she finally snapped out of it and cleaned her house, Brenda was given permission to have her son and daughter come for supervised visits. But Brenda and her mother became alarmed at the condition of the children.
They say the little boy and girl “didn’t smell clean” and appeared to have developed skin conditions from not being bathed routinely.
Her two-year-old daughter had bite marks and scratches on her shoulder, back and neck.
“When questioned about it, they said it was from the dog,” says the children’s grandmother, Jenny.
Jenny says during one visit she noticed her grandson had blistering burns on his neck, ear and chest. When her daughter questioned child services about it, she was told the little boy, then three, had “pulled a cup of coffee off a tray in a food court.”
Brenda says she filed formal complaints, but is not aware of anything being done about it.
After a four-day trial in 2007, the children were placed in permanent custody.
Brenda was given a “termination visit” to say goodbye to them. She says it was painful beyond words. “How do you tell your kids that you can’t see them anymore?”
Brenda has a steady job and plans to get married this year. It is her mission in life to get her children back. “I am much more stable now. I am not on my own and I am not vulnerable.” She is saving money to hire a lawyer.
“My daughter is a wreck,” says Jenny. “She loved those children. Nobody has ever loved her children more than she loved those two. She is an awesome mother.”
Under current provincial child protection legislation, reporters can’t look at the files and can’t get details from department officials, since they are not allowed to comment on specific cases. Court documents are sealed.
So who is scrutinizing the system? The NDP says the province’s watchdog, the child advocate, has been leashed, if not muzzled. That’s because he reports not to the legislature like in other provinces, but to the minister of Child and Youth Services, who is his boss.
Hopefully that, at least, will change soon.