Saturday, October 29, 2011

Kentucky - Social worker says she falsified records

By Valarie Honeycutt Spears

A former Kentucky state social worker indicted by an Anderson County grand jury in August has told investigators that she falsified records in abuse and neglect cases, according to a court document recently filed.

Margaret "Geri" Murphy, who resigned in January, is charged with nine counts of tampering with public records in her role investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

Details of nine cases, several involving child sexual abuse, were outlined in a document titled the Commonwealth's Bill of Particulars, filed in Anderson Circuit Court Oct. 18 by Attorney General Jack Conway's office.

The court document says that in one case, which ran from December 2007 through April 2008, Murphy investigated an allegation of sexual abuse of an infant by the infant's mother's boyfriend. In deeming the allegation "unsubstantiated," Murphy allegedly documented that a state police trooper told her that a hair found in the baby's pubic area was tested and found to be dog hair rather than a human hair.

But the officer told an investigator that he never told Murphy that the hair was dog hair, and that it had not been tested.

Two agencies, including police, filed complaints about Murphy's actions in the case, the court document said.

The mother later reunited with her boyfriend, and the case was reopened in October 2010 on the basis of new allegations of sexual abuse by the boyfriend, the document said.

"During that time, Murphy attempted to take part of an interview and examination of the child at an agency in Lexington, and the KSP trooper told Murphy to leave and has indicated he believes Murphy's actions contributed to the child being abused again," the court document said.

Murphy's attorney William Patrick said Friday that he could not comment on the case. But Patrick said a pre-trial conference was set for November. Murphy was issued a criminal summons in August and has pleaded not guilty.

In abuse and neglect cases, social workers make findings about the validity of allegations and document their work in a report titled a "continuous quality assessment."

In a case involving the alleged sexual abuse of an 11-year-old child by her father, Murphy admitted to falsifying the continuous quality assessment, the court document said. In that case, Murphy is accused of documenting that the suspect had been interviewed by state police. Murphy also is accused of documenting that the perpetrator denied the abuse and passed a polygraph.

However, police told an investigator that the suspect had never been interviewed or taken a polygraph.

Murphy "stated that this particular case 'bothered her' because she had falsified information. She admitted that she believed the child had been sexually abused, but still unsubstantiated and closed her case," the court document said.

In 2010, Murphy investigated a report of the sexual abuse of a 7-year-old child and deemed it "unsubstantiated." She had said that the child made inconsistent statements and that she had interviewed the suspect with police, and that the suspect denied the allegations and passed a polygraph test, according to a court document.

But police said they never interviewed the suspect and the suspect never took a polygraph, according to the court document.

The cabinet will not respond specifically to the cases in the bill of particulars, spokeswoman Jill Midkiff said.

"However, upon discovering that there were problems with the way in which Ms. Murphy conducted her investigations in these and other cases not involving falsifications, the Commissioner of the (Department of Community Based Services) had Ms. Murphy's cases reviewed to ensure that appropriate action was taken in accordance with the policies and procedures of the agency," Midkiff said.

Officials in Conway's office would not comment Friday. But in August, Conway said that his office began investigating after receiving a complaint from a resident whose family was in a court case to which Murphy had been assigned.

Tampering with public records is a Class D felony punishable by one to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 on each count.

Here's a link to the court document:


Caught on camera: Shocking abuse at California boot camp under 'sergeant' who 'posed as police officer to kidnap children'

Blog author note:
Where in the world was CPS?! This is totally sick!

By Paul Bentley

Shocking videos have emerged showing horrific abuse suffered by children at a boot camp in California, under a 'sergeant' who has since been arrested for posing as a police officer to kidnap a minor.
Kelvin 'Sergeant Mac' McFarland was arrested in May after he allegedly kidnapped a 14-year-old schoolgirl while pretending to be a police officer, before demanding money from her parents in exchange for her return.

Videos which have been leaked since his arrest appear to show instructors at his 'boot camp' abusing children - intimidating them by screaming abuse inches from their faces before heckling them as they vomit due to exhaustion.

In one of the videos a young boy starts to collapse after lugging around a car tire.

He is then set upon by a team on instructors, screaming abuse centimetres from his face.
One raises his arm at one moment before the boy starts retching and collapses to the ground.
In another video a group of teens appear to be forced to drink large bottles of water in one gulp.
One by one they vomit on the floor as the instructors continue to shout at them to carry on drinking.
Camera phones can be seen thrust into the children's faces as they keel over.

The videos, obtained by the Pasadena Star-News, come after Kelvin McFarland was arrested on May 27 under charges of 'kidnapping, child abuse, false imprisonment, extortion and unlawful use of a badge'.
According to officials, he posed as a police officer and handcuffed a 14-year-old girl who was playing truant from school.

He is then alleged to have held her captive while demanding money from her parents to fund his boot camp.

Some of McFarland's clients have, however, come to his defence since the release of the videos, saying his boot camp programme changed their children's lives for the better.

McFarland served in the military before leaving to set up the Family First Growth Camp in Pasadena.


Predators in plain sight: Priests accused of child abuse appear beyond the reach of law

By Gary Tuchman and Jessi Joseph, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - Former LAPD Detective Federico Sicard still remembers the Monday he arrived at a school to interview children who said a priest had molested them, even though the visit took place 23 years ago.

Sicard found four children at the school, Our Lady of Guadalupe in East L.A., who said they’d been abused by Nicolas Aguilar Rivera, a priest who’d recently arrived from Mexico.

But police never had a chance to interview Aguilar.

“We went to interview the priest and they told us he’s no longer here,” Sicard, who spent more than 20 years on the case, said in a recent interview. “He’s gone. He was taken to Mexico.”

Church officials said they found out about the alleged abuse on a Friday in early 1988 and met with Aguilar the next day to remove him from ministry.

According to a police report, Aguilar told church officials at that meeting that he planned to return to his native Mexico at the beginning of the following week.

The police were notified on Monday morning, but it was too late. Aguilar had already fled the United States for Mexico.

“We made a call to child protective services. Nobody was answering the phone. It was 5 o’clock on a Friday,” said Tod Tamberg, the spokesman for the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

“Monday morning the call was made – a notification was made – and Aguilar Rivera, during the weekend, fled without telling anybody, to Mexico,” Tamberg said.

Sicard said if the police had been notified earlier, Aguilar would have been detained.

After Aguilar fled, more reports of his alleged abuse surfaced. The Los Angeles District Attorney later filed a warrant for his arrest, charging Aguilar with molesting 10 children.

Aguilar is still wanted in Los Angeles for 19 felony counts of lewd acts against a child.

He had been in the U.S. for only nine months.

“We’d love to know where he is, we really would,” Tamberg said. “I mean, the letters demanding his return don’t expire. We’d like him to come back and face justice.”

Aguilar is one of hundreds of former Catholic priests who have faced sex abuse allegations and who now live unmonitored in unsuspecting communities.

For decades, accused priests who were kicked out of the church for allegations of abuse blended back into society. No one keeps track of where they live.

“Unfortunately, they’ve never been convicted,” said Tamberg. “They’re private citizens and so they’re free to move about and live where they want to.”

Nearly 6,000 priests have been accused of molesting children in the United States since the 1950s, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Very few of the accused ever make it to a criminal trial, often because by the time the victims come forward the statute of limitations for the crime has passed. At that point, even if a priest admits to the abuse, he cannot go to jail.

CNN has learned that Aguilar allegedly continued his abuse of children after fleeing to Mexico.

In 1992, four years after leaving the U.S., Aguilar surfaced in Mexico City. Still a priest, he was assigned to the church, Nuestra SeƱora del Perpetuo Socorro, where he met Joaquin Mendez.

“I met him being an altar boy,” said Mendez, 30, who remembered him vividly. He said Aguilar became a close friend of his family.

“Honestly, his presence made me feel uncomfortable. His breath smelled really bad. It was a disgusting smell. Even now I feel the scars of those memories,” said Mendez.

Mendez was 13 years old when, he said, Aguilar called him into his bedroom at the church.

“He said, ‘Come on in. Let me show you some music tapes I made.’ So I go in and then he forced me to pull down my pants. He raped me,” Mendez said.

“I got away from him however I could,” Mendez continued. “He threatened me not to say anything to my family because if I did he was going to do the same thing to my brother.”

But Mendez found the courage to come forward. He said he told his parents and they went to the police.

Aguilar left Mexico City in 1995. Over the next 10 years he continued working as a priest in small towns in the Mexican state of Puebla.

Five formal complaints have been filed against Aguilar in Mexico since his return from Los Angeles. Aguilar is still wanted in Puebla for statutory rape, but authorities there say they’ve lost his trail.

CNN recently received a tip that Aguilar had been seen in Jonacatapec, a small farming town in the Mexican state of Morelos, about two hours south of Mexico City.

Emiliano, a Jonacatapec farmer, told CNN he had seen Aguilar twice. He said he recognized Aguilar from the news. Emiliano took CNN journalists to a bus stop outside of town, the last place he had seen Aguilar.

At the bus stop, a woman told CNN she rides the bus with Aguilar. “I saw him on the bus and he said I should take care of my baby,” she said. “That was all.” She had no idea about his past but agreed to show us where she believed Aguilar lived.

Once in the neighborhood, CNN was unable to find anyone else who knew Aguilar.

Sanjuana Martinez is a Mexican journalist who has written a book about Aguilar. She has also interviewed the priest himself.

“I said I can’t believe it that he’s talking with me,” Martinez said.

In a phone interview with Martinez, Aguilar repeatedly denied the allegations, including the charges made by Mendez.

“All of this has been a series of defamation, slanders,” Aguilar told her. “That is what all of this has been.”

Martinez said she believes it is unlikely Aguilar will ever be arrested in Mexico.

The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Mexico City, Hugo Valdemar, said the church has no further responsibility for Aguilar.

He said the church disputes the claim of rape by Mendez but acknowledged that Aguilar may be guilty of other abuse.

“I’m not saying he may not have done things, because we have the impression that he did,” Valdemar said. “The church has done what needed to be done. It suspended Nicolas Aguilar. He is no longer a priest.”

But church officials in Mexico did not defrock Aguilar until 2009, years after they knew about the alleged abuse. Valdemar said that it’s not the church’s job to hunt down suspects: ”This is a job for the police.”

Tony De Marco is a Los Angeles attorney that represents Joaquin Mendez and others who say they were abused by Aguilar. “There is no desire on the part of the church here to see that he be prosecuted and put in jail,” De Marco said.

De Marco said he would like to see the same policy changes in Mexico regarding victims of clergy sexual abuse that have been made in the U.S.

“You’ve seen things like zero-tolerance policies, you’ve seen compensation to victims, you’ve seen prosecutions of priests and most recently – finally - prosecution of those who facilitated and helped these men ... continue to molest kids,” said De Marco. “Change can happen. That’s my client’s belief and that’s my belief.”

But for now, Aguilar, and hundreds of other accused priests throughout the U.S. appear to remain beyond the reach of the law.

-- CNN’s Luisa Calad, Valeria Longhi and special contributor Jesus Soria contributed to this report.


Records shows Boy Scout officials failed to report leader who molested children in California

By Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Boy Scout officials in the U.S. and Canada not only failed to stop an admitted child molester in their ranks, but sometimes helped cover his tracks, according to confidential records, court files and interviews with victims and their families.

A Los Angeles Times and Canadian Broadcasting Corp. investigation ( ) published Saturday finds scout leader Rick Turley molested at least 15 children over nearly two decades, most of whom he met through American and Canadian Scouting beginning in the 1970s.

Boy Scouts of America officials didn’t call police in 1979 after Turley acknowledged molesting three Orange County boys, records show.

“You do not want to broadcast to the entire population that these things happen,” A. Buford Hill Jr., a former Orange County Scouting executive, said of officials’ decision not to contact authorities. “You take care of it quietly and make sure it never happens again.”

It happened again. Turley returned to his native Canada, where he signed on with Scouts Canada, and continued his abuses for at least a decade.

Now 58 and working at an Alberta truck-stop motel, Turley says he is surprised by how often he got away with it.

“It was easy,” he said in an interview with the CBC, adding that he has learned to control his impulses.

Turley was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted in 1996 of five counts of molesting children. Paroled in 2000, he was later caught trying to draw two pre-teen boys into a relationship and sent back to prison. He was released two years later.

Turley is one of more than 5,000 suspected child molesters named in confidential documents kept by the Boy Scouts of America. The records — called the “perversion files” by the Scouts — include admissions of guilt as well as unproven allegations.

Those files have come to light in recent years in lawsuits by former Scouts, accusing the group of failing to detect abuses, exclude known pedophiles, or turn in offenders to authorities.

The Oregon Supreme Court is now weighing a request by newspapers, a wire service and broadcasters to open about 1,200 more files in the wake of a nearly $20-million judgment in a Portland sex abuse case last year.

The Scouts’ handling of sex-abuse allegations is similar to that of the Catholic Church in the face of accusations against its priests, some attorneys told the Times and the CBC.

“It’s the same institutional reaction: scandal prevention,” said Seattle attorney Timothy Kosnoff, who has filed seven suits in the last year by former Scouts.

Current Boy Scouts of America officials declined to be interviewed and would not say how many files exist or what is in them. Their lawyers have said the records are confidential, to protect victims and because some of the files are based on unsubstantiated tips.

“The BSA has continued to enhance its youth protection efforts as society has increased its understanding of the dangers children face,” the Scouts said in a statement.


Hawaii Couple's Daughter Taken Away for 18 Hours Over Alleged Sandwich Theft

A Hawaii couple’s 3-year-old daughter was taken away from them for 18 hours after they were arrested for forgetting to a pay for two $5 sandwiches.

"This is unreal this could happen to a family like ours," Nicole Leszczynski told Hawaii’s KHON.

The outing-turned-nightmare happened Wednesday while the family was shopping at a local Safeway.

"We walked a long way to the grocery store and I was feeling faint, dizzy, like I needed to eat something so we decided to pick up some sandwiches and eat them while we were shopping," Leszczynski told the news station.

Leszczynski, who is 30-weeks pregnant, her husband, Marcin, and daughter Zophia bought $50 worth of groceries -- but forgot about their two chicken salad sandwiches.

"It was a complete distraction, distracted parent moment," Leszczynski told KHON.

As the family left, they were stopped by store security, who asked for their receipt.

"I offered to pay, we had the cash. We just bought the groceries," Leszczynski told the station.

Instead, the expectant mother told KHON that the Safeway manager called police. They were taken to the main Honolulu police station where they were booked for fourth degree theft. Then Zophia was taken into custody by Child Protective Services.

"When they notified us that they would have to take her because we both would be arrested, I just couldn't believe it, couldn't believe this was happening, because I forgot to pay for the sandwich and that she's never been away from us this long," Leszczynski told KHON.

CPS told Hawaii News Now the department takes a child when both parents are arrested.

Zophia’s mom said she spent a sleepless night worrying about her daughter and shared the ordeal on the parenting website Her post grabbed the attention of hundreds of outraged moms and dads.

"We didn't know where our daughter was, didn't know what the situation was, she didn't have any clothes they just took her right from the grocery store," Leszczynski told KOHN.

Zophia was returned to her parents 18-hours later.

Safeway Management issued this statement: "Safeway is aware of the incident and is working closely with the appropriate law enforcement authorities. The incident is under review but until the investigation is finalized it would be premature to comment."

A day later, Safeway issued an additional statement, saying that there may have been a mistake.

"It appears we may not have handled this matter in the best possible way and we are taking the situation seriously," the store said.

The couple says they never intended to steal the sandwich, and that they plan to argue against the charges when they appear in court in November.

"I hope no one else has to go through this," Leszczynski said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


South Dakota Kidnaps Indian Children and Sticks Them in White Foster Homes

by: Meteor Blades
Wed Oct 26, 2011 at 14:59:32 PM PDT

If you find typos here, it's because my hands are trembling in fury over the keyboard as I write this. That comes from reading Part 1 of National Public Radio's three-part report on yet another round of cultural genocide against the Indians of South Dakota. What it amounts to is state-sanctioned kidnapping. I hope that you'll take action to help bring an end to the continuing effort to separate Indian children from their families. Here are the bullet points from the kick-ass investigation Laura Sullivan and Amy Walters put together over 12 months:

• A 2005 study found that 32 states are, in various ways, failing to comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act. Congress passed that law in 1978 after a century of federal policy had forcibly removed tens of thousands of American Indian children from their families and sent them off to abusive boarding schools.

• Under the law, social services agencies are supposed to place Indian children they remove from troubled homes into Indian foster-care homes. But that requirement is being ignored. And in South Dakota, more than 700 Indian children are removed from their families each year, often under questionable circumstances. Over the years, state records show, only 13 percent of these children have gone to Indian foster parents.

• Anecdotal evidence indicates that foster-care homes licensed to Indians are ignored by the state's social services agency when placing children removed from their families.

• Some children are taken for legitimate reasons, but most are removed because of "neglect," a fuzzy definition that often is arrived at because of a failure of the mostly non-Indian social-service workers to understand Indian culture. "[E]ven Native American children who grow up to become foster care success stories, living happy, productive lives, say the loss of their culture and identities leaves a deep hole they spend years trying hopelessly to fill," NPR reports.

• While Indian children make up less than 15 percent of the state's population, they are more than half the children in foster care. South Dakota receives thousands of dollars from the feds for every child it takes from a family, and typically gets more money if a child is Indian.

• South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugard once headed a group that was a major recipient of federal money provided for foster children. As lieutenant governor, he was on the group's payroll when it received tens of millions of dollars in no-bid contracts, a "highly unusual relationship."

Meteor Blades :: South Dakota Kidnaps Indian Children and Sticks Them in White Foster Homes

"It enrages me," says Crow Creek tribal council member Peter Lengkeek. "We're very tight-knit families and cousins are disappearing. Family members are disappearing."

The Crow Creek tribe has lost more than 33 children in recent years. The reservation only has 1,400 people. Last year Lengkeek asked social service officials to tell him where the children were and who they were placed with.
Seven months later, he received a list. Lengkeek says every single child was placed in a white foster home.

He says if the state had its way, "we'd still be playing cowboys and Indians. I couldn't imagine what they tell these kids about where they come from and who they are."
"It's kidnapping," he says. "That's how we see it."

Except for the obvious reasons, many people may wonder why this matters so much to Indians, why it arouses our fury more intensely than just about any other conflict between Indians and non-Indians in today's world. That's because the foster-care program contains a powerful echo. Our rage arises out of a history that is, for many of us, devastatingly personal.

For instance, among Indians who participate in the Daily Kos group Native American Netroots, at least four of us have relatives who were yanked away from their families and sent to boarding schools (aji: great-grandmother; me, grandmother and great-aunt; navajo: mother; cacamp: grandparents, parents and himself).

Some went to government-run schools; others were taken in by church operations, Catholics and Mormons being among the prominent proponents of this approach to "civilizing" us.

In addition to being physically abused and treated as sexual prey in many cases, children in the boarding schools had their language, culture and religion yanked away. That wasn't collateral damage. It was the whole point. The concept behind the boarding schools, more than 150 of them by 1900, was "Kill the the man," as noted in an 1892 Denver speech by Col. Richard H Pratt, founder of the U.S. Training and Industrial School at Carlisle Barracks, Pa. In short, demolish Indians by literally stealing their children.

Here's cacamp - Carter Camp - giving the short version of his boarding school story:

I was a repeat run-away same as my Mom, so I didn't graduate until I was 19. Mom never did because her Dad hid her from the agent after the first time. In my parents' day the schools were run like military academies where the kids marched in formation and drilled like soldiers. They had disciplinarians and jails and ran farms, which the students worked on to feed themselves. Those were the bad old days. By the time I got there, they were more benevolent but still strict about erasing our cultures. We still had to work on the farm two hours a day and more if we got in trouble.

The Navajo had it especially rough since they were forcefully rounded up like my parents were and taken up [to] Kansas, far from home, while the rest of us were sent by our parents because of poverty. We were high school age; so were the Navajo but they hadn't gone to any school before and most spoke no English so they had "special ed" and were segregated in different dorms. Funny thing though, we met and became friends with students from all over and later on became tribal leaders and American Indian Movement leaders who knew each other and could work together for things like tribal sovereignty.

Back then the Bureau of Indian Affairs agent stole the kids and ran roughshod over the parents and tribe. Today it's the State and the welfare system that is doing the same thing. We call our lost children "Lost Birds" after the baby girl who survived [the] Wounded Knee [massacre of 1890] and was adopted out to a white family but finally (recently) came home to her people to be buried again at Wounded Knee.

Each year we have "lost birds" coming home who have turned 18 and come seeking their families and yearning to learn their culture. Many times they don't even know who to ask for and sometimes they're quite old, grown up and with their own children looking for a connection to their past. Winter Rabbit reminded me of such a lost one. The majority of the stolen kids know their families and come home ASAP, so we have a large population of Indian kids who were brought up outside the tribe and have now come home. They almost all have stories of abuse. Only a few were lucky enough to find love and stability. Most are passed around in the system and bounce from foster home to foster home. This has been going on so long that thousands of lost ones are out there from every nation in America. It needs to stop.

Aji tells the story of her great-grandmother:

[My mom's grandmother] died without ever knowing who or what she was; it's taken a lot of work, years later, to piece her "self" together. Initially, the family thought she was of Scots descent, not realizing that the Scottish surname was that of her by-then-widowed mother's second husband. Her adoptive name was English. There is no record of what her traditional name (or any surname) might have been; they were more interested in covering up the very fact of adoption than anything else.

In the 1870s, the Catholic Church in Michigan was very invested in saving Indian children from an alleged "epidemic" of illness. What they were really doing was stealing kids and farming them out as fast as they could to reliably Catholic families who would ... "save the [wo]man by killing the Indian." No one knows how many were lost to white families via church theft. Hundreds, at a minimum. Probably thousands over the course of one generation alone. But one day in the late 1870s, a good white Catholic couple of English extraction left their home and traveled to the rez for two months, and came back bearing their new little Indian "papoose," promptly given a white name and identity, with never a reference to be made to the adoption, much less from where.

Ironically, when she married, her husband ran his father's logging business, and during the summer months, he traveled around the state; in his absence, she ran the business for him. She hired and fired - you guessed it - Indian laborers, some of whom were undoubtedly relatives, but neither side ever knew it. She died thinking that 1) she was English, and 2) she was the lineal descendant of those English "parents." To this day, I'm not sure how they explained the differences in coloring - probably via the "Gasp! That's not discussed in polite company" method.

Also ironically, after her adoption, her new parents went on to have nine biological children of their own. You'd've thought they could've been a little less greedy about acquiring someone else's child as a possession.

Nobody is suggesting that the foster-case system in South Dakota is treating Indian children the way the boarding schools did back, in Carter's words, in the "bad old days." Or that children are being snatched in quite the same way that the churches did decades ago. But many of today's Indian foster-kids are still losing their culture and the connection to their heritage.

Take the case of Janice Howe, one of the grandmothers that the NPR team focused on. Her four grandchildren, the children of her daughter Erin Yellow Robe, wound up in foster care despite the 1978 law.

Except rarely, that law requires that Indian children be placed with relatives, a tribal member or at the very least, another American Indian. And it requires states to do all they can to first keep a family together through services and programs. Surely, a grandmother qualifies.

But nothing Howe did over 18 months brought her grandchildren back until she told the Crow Creek tribal council that they were about to be put up for adoption. The council passed a resolution warning the state that if the Yellow Robe children were not returned, it would be charged with kidnapping and prosecuted. Nobody thought this would work, but it did.

"Antoinette came in and said 'Grandma, Grandma. We get to stay! We get to stay!'" ...
Howe thinks the babies were treated well. But Rashauna and Antoinette left a size 10 and came back a size smaller. Howe says they hoard food under their pillows and hide under the bed when a car pulls up.

"I feel like they were traumatized so much," Howe says.

The children don't remember their native dance, something Howe says is especially important for Antoinette, the oldest.

"We go to sweats," Howe says. "We have ceremonies at certain times a year. She's got to be getting ready to learn these things that she has to do in order to become a young lady. They took a year and a half away from us. How are we going to get that back?"

Among other tasks, Danny Sheehan works for the Lakota People's law office. He has about 150 case files on removals.

"These are all the different people who had their kids taken away from their entire families. ... Not one of them has had their children left with a relative of any kind."
He hopes one day he can sue. ...

"Maybe if we devoted all our resources to a particular case and said, look, we're going to land on you like a ton of bricks [social services] and make you give this one kid back and sue you and do everything else, they would probably just turn the kid loose," he says. "But it wouldn't change anything. It wouldn't stop them from doing it a hundred times again."

But why should lawsuits be necessary? There is a law against what's being done. It's just not being enforced. A good deal of the reason for that is because the centuries-long efforts to make Indians disappear, to make us invisible, has succeeded. Our political clout in such matters, even in places where we can still be found in substantial numbers, is next to zero. The 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act appears to us to be just another ignored bit of paper, like hundreds of treaties, and nobody official is doing squat about it. When it comes to invisible Indians who enforces the enforcers?

South Dakota Kidnaps Indian Children and Sticks Them in White Foster Homes | comments

by: navajo @ Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 14:35:43 PM CDT
[ Parent ]

-I'm really furious and disgusted with this guy:

Ten years ago, this group was in financial trouble. For several years, tax records show, it was losing money. Then in 2002, a former banker named Dennis Daugaard joined the team. He became the group's chief operating officer. A year later, he was promoted to executive director. And things began to change.

The money the group was getting from the state doubled under his leadership. Children's Home grew financially to seven times its size. It added two new facilities.

State records show it seized on a big opportunity. The state began outsourcing much of its work, such as training foster care parents and examining potential foster homes. Children's Home got almost every one of those contracts.

The group paid Daugaard $115,000 a year. But that wasn't his only job. He was also the state's lieutenant governor - and a rising star in state politics.

The seven years Daugaard spent at Children's Home - and his ability to turn the place around - were prominent features of his successful 2010 bid for governor.


Richard Wexler wrote:

Sometimes I think the Nebraska child welfare system exists just to make everyone else look good. South Dakota tears apart families at the third highest rate in the nation; Nebraska is second worst (Wyoming is #1). The proportion of Native American children in foster care in South Dakota is four times their proportion in the general population, in Nebraska it's closer to seven times higher. Both states are among the ten worst when it comes to using the worst form of placement, group homes and institutions.

A culture of contempt for poor, minority families is deeply embedded in child welfare in much of the nation. That does enormous harm to children when they are torn from everyone they know and love - and it overloads child welfare systems so workers have less time to find children in real danger who really do need to be taken from their parents. Sadly, Nebraska and South Dakota are prime examples. Fortunately, there are many good people in child welfare systems trying to change this, and some states, such as Maine, Alabama and Illinois have made significant progress. Details are on our website.

Richard Wexler
Executive Director
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform

Thu Oct 27 07:56:46 2011

Richard Wexler wrote:

It's not just Indian children who are desperate to go home. Many children who "age out" of foster care head right back to their parents. Even when they can't live together, many former foster children maintain ties to their parents or other relatives.

Consider the results of a study of infants born with cocaine in their systems: One group was placed in foster care, the other with birth mothers able to care for them. After six months, the actual physical development of the infants was better when they were left in their own homes. For the foster children, being taken from their mothers was more toxic than the cocaine. That doesn't mean we can leave children with addicts - it does mean that drug treatment for the parent almost always is a better first choice than foster care for the child. And of course, many children are taken from parents whose only crime is poverty.

None of this means no child ever should be taken away. But foster care is an extremely toxic intervention that must be used sparingly and in small doses. But America has prescribed mega-doses of foster care, even when there are far better ways to keep children safe.

Richard Wexler
Executive Director
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform
Thu Oct 27 07:53:47 2011


Treatment of Native Americans Explored in Documentary

This documentary, by Robin Davey and Yellow Thunder Woman, about the treatment of Native American people by the United States government was screened at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. The film touches on a number of issues including boarding schools, suicide rates, unemployment, and alcoholism.

It mentions a suicide pact made by 10 young boys on the Cheyenne River Reservation. The boys drew numbers and one by one hung themselves. This incident didn’t make the national news. The film asks: “Imagine if they had been white.”

The director statement from the film festival website explains their goals in creating this film:

In making The Canary Effect, our first and foremost goal was to make an accessible statement that was easily digestable for a subject that is complex and often misunderstood. It was also important for us to provide an insight into a world not often visited without the issues being clouded by mysticism and romance. Instead, we chose to tell the story of the struggles of the indigenous people of America in a way that very much relates to the present day in style and content. We wanted to achieve an unforced opinion and to present the information in a way that would inspire debate and allow the viewers to draw their own conclusions. There are so many levels to this story, but above all it was important for us to make it human and to show that, at whatever level you are involved-be it political, scholarly, or living among it everyday-the situation is equally frustrating, infuriating, and heartbreaking.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Georgia Advocate Speaks Out Against Psychiatric Medication Use in Nation’s Foster Care System

Written by: James Swift

Alongside photographs of rocker Jon Bon Jovi and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Giovan Bazan looks downright blithe. Although they tower over him, the tuxedo-clad Bazan wearing a slight smirk, his gelled hair and pierced ears sharply contrasting his suit-and-tie apparel.

With his cheery disposition, you wouldn’t suspect Bazan had a troubled childhood. In reality, the 21-year-old has spent a majority of his life in foster homes, and for most of his childhood, he was prescribed anti-depressants and behavioral disorder drugs.

“I went into foster care at 11 months old,” the Los Angeles native said. “When I was six, they put me on medication.”

By many accounts Bazan has come a long way since his days in foster care. In September he spoke at Atlanta-based CHRIS KIDS‘ 11th annual fundraiser alongside towering protraits of celebrities. He has adressed state legislature multiple times about issues pressing foster youth in the state. He has managed to turn his troubled childhood into a stepping stone, not a crux.

Kathy Colbenson, CEO of CHRIS KIDS and co-organizer of the fundraiser, said Bazan’s combination of determination, will and outlook has set a tremendous example for children around the nation facing similar circumstances.

“I think what he’s doing is awesome,” she said.

Today Bazan holds a number of titles. He is the JUSTGeorgia project coordinator for EmpowerMEnt, an initiative of Multi-Agency Alliance for Children, Inc. that is designed to help at-risk youth within the state. He also serves as a Youth Support Specialist Georgia Department of Family and Children Services, a liaison for the White House Council for Community Solutions, and as owner and CEO of the National Executive Protection Agency.

“It’s a travesty how frequently kids in the foster care system are medicated, and I feel like my foster mom wanted to keep me medicated,” Bazan said. “When they put me on medication, when they started to sedate me, it abused my emotions and controlled my mind to the point where I went from being a child to being nothing short of a vegetable.”

Bazan started receiving psychotropic medication following the death of one of his foster mothers, he said.

“Mommy Karen was very caring, she was very supportive, very loving,” he said, recalling her life. “If I scratched a knee, she would be there to hold me.”

Bazan remembered taking cross-country road trips from California to South Carolina. But he didn’t know the “vacations” were actually for his foster mother to receive chemotherapy treatments. She died of cancer when he was just four-years-old, he said.

After her death, Bazan was taken in by a foster mother that he claimed was vindictive and hostile toward him.

“She was always angry about something that I did,” Bazan said. “I always felt that, for some reason, she always resented me.”

Bazan began receiving behavioral treatment drugs shortly after, he said.

“It started with Ritalin,” Bazan said. Soon after he was prescribed, what he called, a “cocktail of medication” by psychiatrists – primarily anti-depressant drugs.

That little childhood personality that kids have was void,” Bazan said about his experiences in elementary school. “I would come to class and just put my head down and not talk to my classmates. I couldn’t explain it, I didn’t know what was going on.”

Originally he was medicated for displaying symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, he said.

When I was medicated, it was to eradicate a specific problem, which was [being] overactive and hyper,” Bazan said. “In other words, being a child. They medicated me to prevent me from being a child.”

Bazan said it was too much, considering himself overmedicated as a child.

“As time progressed, the dosage of the medication would have to increase because my body would adjust to the medication,” he said. “This medication that they would give me had so many side effects that they would have to counter those side effects with more medication.”

As a child, Bazan said, he was given experimental dosages of psychotropic medication. In elementary school, he said, he received treatment doses that were equivalent to those given to teenagers and young adults.

Ultimately, that’s what they were doing … they were testing on me,” he said. “I was having seizures, I would have horrendous nosebleeds. It was more detrimental than it was helpful.”

In 2010, the Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute released a report showing that overmedication within the foster care system was indeed a problem. About 52 percent of kids in the system had been prescribed psychotropic medication. Bazan found the findings both alarming and horrifying.

“One of the biggest changes that we’re looking to in the future deals with regulating psychotropic medication being administered to foster care children,” he said. “They’re being medicated because they’re coming from abusive homes, when what really happens is the system tends to look at a case and say ‘oh, well they’re having trouble paying attention.’ Well, yeah, they’re having trouble paying attention in school because they’re getting beat up at home and they’re being abused at home. Whatever stress a normal kid has, theirs is exponentially multiplied.”

In 2011, Georgia legislators introduced House Bill 23 (HB 23), a bill aimed at regulating and monitoring psychotropic drug prescriptions within the foster care system. But the bill, also known as the ”Foster Children’s Psychotropic Medication Monitoring Act,” never made it into law.

Bazan said anyone that doesn’t see the dangers of overprescribing psychiatric drugs, to kids or to anyone, should try taking them for themselves.

“Take it for a couple of years,” he said. “That’s what happens to the foster kids. They’re not given medication for a couple of months, and bam, the problem’s solved. Psychotropic medication isn’t designed to be taken like antibiotics, where you can take them for a certain amount of time and the problem is eliminated. You have to take a higher dosage, and you have to take a higher dosage and when it no longer affects you, you have to switch to a more powerful medication.”

According to Bazan, behavioral drugs and other forms of psychiatric medicine pose an imminent threat to kids in Georgia foster care and throughout the nation.

If you can find valid proof that [discredits] what evidence has shown over and over again that it is harmful to youth, then by all means, let me know,” he said. “But you won’t find that evidence outside of pharmaceutical companies, who push that kind of information out there.”


Judge: DHS didn't tell of murderer's record

A Philadelphia Family Court judge says child welfare workers didn't inform him the woman he was granting custody of her young niece had once been convicted of murder.

The now 19-year-old girl is back under Judge Kevin Dougherty's supervision after the arrest of four people charged with kidnapping four mentally disabled adults and keeping them locked in a basement.

A court spokesman said Thursday that Dougherty doesn't recall the city's Department of Human Services or the girl's mother telling him that Linda Ann Weston had been convicted of murder in the starving death of a man she kept locked in a closet.

Authorities took eight children and four young adults into protective custody after Weston and three alleged accomplices were charged October 15. The niece, Beatrice Weston, was one of them. Police say she had suffered horrific abuse.

A spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter declined comment on behalf of DHS, citing confidentiality laws.


Anonymous message to the Family Court Corruption

You need to turn your volume up pretty high to understand what the messenger is saying because their voice is electronically disguised.

We have found the printed version of the message in the above video:

As we observe the dissent against tyranny unfold all around us, the veils of deception are fastly being removed from the people's eyes. As each layer of oppression is being torn apart, it is now time to hold Child Protective Services accountable to the people. For years you have ripped apart families, destroyed children's lives and committed unspeakable abuses to our most precious gift from God.

Your arrogance has surpassed your reason, by never realizing that so many the families you've destroyed are the very same tax payers who employ you. The internet has exposed the vastness of your corruption to these tax payers who have now learned what you do is the very opposite of what they were led to believe. The Unconstitutional codes that created you will be your undoing by the true law which is our constitution.

Because, You hide behind the color of law, believing your actions will not face the consequences of the real law, which is we the people. You Judges who are elected by us willingly and knowingly aid and abet these terrorists. Some of you are being paid off and we know this. That is the highest form of treason to the people and to God. You are public servants who have become corrupted and we know who you are. We hold you accountable from this moment on. Americans have always met tyranny with swift justice
on our own soil and afar. It may be time to evaluate your true intentions behind your positions. This is not a threat but a fair warning from anonymous. We do not forgive, we never forget we are many, we are anonymous.

California auditor: 1,000 state-licensed facilities match sex offenders' addresses

By Michael Martinez, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) -- The California state auditor has found that more than 1,000 state-licensed facilities -- including more than 600 for kids -- matched addresses in the sex-offender registry, saying oversight mechanisms lag behind state requirements.

The state Department of Social Services "cites the lack of resources as the primary reason why it has not implemented an automated sex offender address match and why its oversight mechanisms are falling short of requirements," said the state auditor's report, released Thursday.

Specifically, the report said that 677 foster and group homes and other state-licensed facilities for children matched sex offenders' addresses, as well as 385 state-licensed facilities for vulnerable adults.

The auditor found that almost 600 of the 1,000 address matches were "high risk and in need of immediate investigation," the report said. It was not clear from the report how many foster and group homes are in California, in total.

This month, the state social services agency and county child welfare agencies investigated 99% of the matches and began legal actions against eight licensees of facilities, including four license revocations, said the report, titled "Child Welfare Services -- California Can and Must Provide Better Protection and Support for Abused and Neglected Children."

In six of those actions, registered sex offenders were living or present in the child facilities, and counties found 36 sex offenders having "some association" with foster homes -- prompting authorities to remove children from the facilities and ordering the offenders out of the homes, the report said.

State costs for housing foster children have also grown dramatically, California State Auditor Elaine M. Howle found.

"The percentage of children placed with private foster family agencies — agencies that recruit and certify foster homes and are compensated at a higher rate than state- or county-licensed foster homes — has dramatically increased over the last 10 years and resulted in an additional $327 million in foster care payments during that time," the report said. "The counties we visited admit to placing children with these agencies out of convenience rather than for elevated treatment needs as originally intended."

The state social services agency "generally agreed" with the auditor's findings and outlined an action plan in response to several recommendations, the auditor said.

In an October 7 response to the report, director Will Lightbourne of the California Department of Social Services wrote he agreed that "address comparison provides an additional protection for vulnerable clients in care, and agrees that prevention should be part of the protection."

"We are concerned, however, that performing matches against every known sex offender address may not be the most effective means of prevention and ensuring protection. The process involved in this audit required CDSS and counties to investigate every known address of sex offenders, including addresses that were years and in some cases, decades, out of date," Lightbourne said.

"The California Sex and Arson Registry (CSAR) includes effective dates of address and identifies active and inactive addresses, and future processes to compare addresses therefore should focus on information technology solutions to minimize the need for staff to manually search through and verify information," the director continued. "The CDSS is exploring solutions that leverage technology and key partners to create an efficient and effective process to provide this additional protection."

The state auditor also recommended that the social service agency "complete comprehensive reviews of agencies' licensing activities more timely as well as on-site reviews of state-licensed foster homes, foster family agencies, and group homes. Moreover, Social Services should ensure that rates paid to private foster family agencies are appropriate and should monitor placements with these agencies," the auditor said.

In 2010, child welfare agencies in California's 58 counties received 480,000 allegations of child abuse or neglect. Each county maintains its own child welfare service program, and the state Department of Social Services provides oversight, the report said.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ohio - Verbal, emotional abuse case leads to teacher discipline at Miami Trace

Blog authors note:
Why are teachers and other "authorities" given lesser legal problems than parents or family member accused of the same type of abuse allegations or even lesser allegations? Why are they allowed to treat children poorly and basically only get a slap on the wrist? Why aren't they charged with child abuse? Are their crimes any less simply because they are not a family member? Is the child any less hurt or abused?

OCM News Service

FAYETTE COUNTY — The verbal and emotional abuse of a Miami Trace Middle School special education child has resulted in the discipline of a middle school teacher, the resignation of a teacher’s aide, and a $300,000 settlement with the child’s guardians.

On April 28, one of the child’s guardians alerted Miami Trace to the verbal abuse of the girl and following an investigation by the district, an audio tape of the abuse was presented to district officials by Children’s Services.

“The audio tapes were not the idea of Children’s Services, but the tapes proved that inappropriate comments had been made over a period of four days,” said Miami Trace Superintendent Dan Roberts.

According to court records, Christie Wilt is the teacher who was disciplined by both the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Professional Conduct and Miami Trace Local Schools. Kelly Chaffin is the teacher’s aide who resigned.

Roberts characterized the comments made by the Chaffin as “emotional mistreatment.”

“After hearing the tapes, we acted immediately and gave the teacher’s aide a copy of the tape to share with her attorney,” said Roberts. “She resigned immediately.”

The student was immediately removed from the classroom and transferred to another. She is still a student at Miami Trace.

As for Wilt, there was originally uncertainty as to whether she participated in the emotional abuse.

“We immediately contacted the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Professional Conduct and submitted a full report that their office received on May 5,” said Roberts. “It took the State Department of Education five full months to render a decision.”

The decision was to suspend Wilt’s teaching license for a year, however, that punishment will not occur if Wilt can complete a number of stipulations this school year.

“We will abide by all stipulations in order for her to keep her license,” said Roberts.

The ODE found that Wilt was guilty of some emotional abuse, mainly due to the fact that she allowed her teacher’s aide to verbally abuse the student.

“We would love to let the citizens know the whole story but because the parents signed a waiver that does not allow them to talk about it, we can’t,” said Roberts.

The complaint was also taken to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office and presented to the Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office. It was determined that there was no basis for criminal charges and there was no physical abuse.

Roberts added that the guardians originally requested a $1 million settlement. Recently, the $300,000 agreement was settled on, according to Roberts.

“Miami Trace does have insurance coverage for matters like this, but the taxpayers will bear some of that burden,” he said. “Our mission is always to protect and educate our children. Anytime that mission is not achieved, we are extremely disappointed. Anytime something like this happens, we have to identify that issue and correct it…that is what we did. Mistakes have been made, discipline imposed, and we move forward. We’re regretful but we’re very much committed to this not happening again.”

All Miami Trace teachers are required to undergo five hours of training related to spotting signs of child abuse, verbal or physical, and being cautious about what they say to children.


Jury awards former foster child $2 million from state of Oregon over abuse suffered at hands of foster parents

By Aimee Green, The Oregonian The Oregonian

A Multnomah County jury unanimously awarded $2 million Wednesday to a former foster child who was abused and starved for two years while under the watch of state child welfare workers.

An attorney for the boy successfully argued that the Oregon Department of Human Services repeatedly failed to protect the boy despite repeated reports to a child-abuse hotline. The boy lived in the Clackamas County foster home of Thelma and William Beaver from 2002 to 2004. He weighed more at age 1, when he moved into the home, than at age 3, about the time he was removed from the home.

B.D.'s older sister, then known as Jordan Knapp, also suffered. She weighed just 28 pounds at age 5, when she was flown by Life Flight helicopter to OHSU with a broken skull. The girl's injury -- not a long list of reports of suspected abuse to the hotline -- spurred DHS to remove the children from the foster home for good.

Attorney Scott Kocher filed suit on behalf of Jordan, and days before B.D.'s trial, settled the case with the state for $1.5 million.

The children, along with a younger sister, have since been adopted by one family. Their adopted mom hugged B.D.'s attorney, John Devlin, after the Wednesday's verdict was announced.

Jurors awarded precisely the amount Devlin had asked for.

"This isn't just about helping (B.D.), it's also about helping other foster children by getting DHS to do a better job," Devlin said. "The defense was not only that (DHS) didn't do anything wrong, but that (B.D.) wasn't abused and starved."

Attorneys representing DHS weren't available for comment Wednesday.

Juror David Filmer said he was convinced that DHS didn't do enough to protect the boy, especially after his second hospitalization for failing to gain weight.

"We all really felt that the system was flawed," Filmer said. "That calls would come into the help line, and ...the response was insufficient."

At least 10 of the jurors spread the fault among the State of Oregon and five current and former DHS caseworkers and supervisors: Lesley Willette, Steve Duerscherl, Shirley Vollmuller, Peggy Gilmer and Audrey Riggs. Willette and Vollmuller still work at DHS, while the others have retired, Devlin said.

Because the jury also found that the boy's civil rights were violated, Devlin can seek that his attorneys fees be paid for by the state.

The 3 1/2 week trial included testimony from about 50 witnesses, said Devlin. The boy, who is now 10, took the stand for a short while. He spoke of lingering memories of life in the double-wide trailer that his foster parents and seven other children shared. He said he remembered being forced to sleep in the dog house.

According to lawsuits filed on behalf of the boy and Jordan, the Beavers horribly mistreated the children. A child advocate nicknamed the boy "Mr. Won't Smile." And DHS workers didn't believe Jordan when she repeatedly told them of her suffering. According to her lawsuit, her hands were beaten with a wooden spoon, she was hit with a hairbrush, she was held upside down by her feet and her head slammed against furniture and door frames, and she was forced her to sleep outdoors without blankets.

Thelma Beaver was sentenced to five years in prison for criminal mistreatment of Jordan, and William Beaver received two years of probation. for a lesser charge.

Jordan still faces challenges in her life, but the settlement "will make a big difference in making sure her future is as good as it can be," said Jordan's attorney, Kocher.

The boy has made a "remarkable" physical recovery, Devlin said. The jury's award will compensate the boy for what could be life-long psychological trauma.

"He's not the same kid he was when he was placed in the Beaver home," Devlin said.


Oklahoma - DHS finds funding for benefits, legal defense

By GINNIE GRAHAM World Staff Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY - About $10 million in one-time funding has been found in the budget for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to avoid cutting benefits in two low-income programs and to add $1 million to defend a class-action lawsuit.

On Tuesday, the commission overseeing the agency approved the expenditures, which include avoiding proposed hikes in child-care subsidy co-payments and avoiding lowering monthly assistance to a program for families with developmentally disabled children.

Commissioners also voted to use the money toward the class-action lawsuit filed by New York-based Children's Rights alleging abuse in the foster care system. Trial is set for February in the U.S. Northern District Court in Tulsa.

This brings the total cost of litigation to at least $9 million for private attorneys - $6 million already spent and $2 million previously planned for next year.

DHS Director Howard Hendrick said the funds are from amounts carried over from previous years. He said a new process allows officials to identify carryover funds earlier.

Hendrick said without new funding in the 2013 budget, these cuts may still need to be made.

"We would have found it eventually in January, February or March," Hendrick said. "We have a lot of one-time funds paying for recurring costs, and that's the biggest pause I have about the recommendation. But it's the right thing to do to push on through."

During discussion, Commissioner Jay Dee Chase cut off Commissioner Steven Dow from asking questions and called for a vote on the changes and monthly financial report, which had not been presented.

Procedure allows for further discussion and Dow asked for a "friendly amendment" for a separate vote on the service programs and legal fees.

"I don't accept that," Chase said. "My motion is made and seconded and I don't want to change it."

Dow said he wanted to explore if the $1 million could be used toward increasing foster-care subsidies or in the field offices.

"I'd like to have a conversation and discussion on where else we could spend $1 million before it goes to litigation costs," Dow said.

Commissioner Brad Yarbrough asked Chase to amend the motion so the board could hear the monthly financial report before making an approval.

Commissioners passed the changes by a 7-1 vote, with Dow dissenting.

The meeting ended with a vote to settle a 2007 lawsuit filed by a former foster child, who was subjected to "horrific acts of sexual abuse" by his foster father and his live-in boyfriend.

DHS commissioners and agency attorney Charles Waters refused to state the amount of the settlement or how it is being paid.

Terms were discussed in executive session, and the 7-1 approval was taken in open session.

According to the Oklahoman, the commissioners voted to pay a share of the $1.1 million settlement. The attorneys blacked out the settlement amount in the court papers, but The Oklahoman was able to calculate the amount of the overall settlement because attorneys asked for $308.90 in daily interest until it is paid.

Dow was the lone vote against the settlement and said he has not seen a proposed settlement agreement document.

"I personally did not feel I had enough advance knowledge or notice to make an informed decision," Dow said. "I was uncomfortable being brought in at the last minute."

The victim was a 15-year-old boy in Cleveland County who was placed in the home of Paul Stephen Hull in December 2005, the court records state. Shadow Mountain Behavioral Health System was named in the lawsuit as a contractor with DHS and had a hand in the boy's foster placement.

Hull's live-in lover, Erwin Charles Swender, started molesting the victim, and Hull joined in after the third or fourth assault, records state.

Swender had spent time in an Iowa juvenile facility as a 16-year-old after causing the death of a 22-month-old by hitting the toddler three to four times, according to court records and Iowa media reports.

He had a history with DHS, resulting in the termination of his parental rights to at least seven of his children.

DHS removed him for a few days in February 2006 because of concerns about conditions there. He was returned to the home after Hull agreed to a safety plan, which included keeping Swender away.

The lawsuit alleges Hull ignored the plan, with Swender continuing to live in the home and the two continuing to abuse the boy. DHS removed him for good when he finally told a counselor about the abuse.

The victim said he was abused for several weeks and was exposed to drugs and pornography.

Hull - a former teacher at Oklahoma City's Capitol Hill High School - pleaded guilty in 2007 to attempted rape, forcible sodomy, second-degree rape, lewd molestation and meth possession. He agreed to eight years in prison and to testify against Swender.

Swender pleaded guilty as jury selection began in 2007 to lewd acts with a child, forcible sodomy and meth possession. He was sentenced to 20 years.

The lawsuit alleges DHS left the victim in the home despite suspicions that Hull was ignoring the safety plan.

Since 2005, DHS has paid at least $3.4 million to settle child-welfare lawsuits, according to a Tulsa World investigation. That is in addition to the defense of the class-action lawsuit.


SD - State Dicks Over Hundreds Of Native American Children

Imagine having social workers show up to your home to take your twin babies because someone spread an unsubstantiated rumor that you were abusing prescription drugs. Two months later, your two young daughters don't come home on the bus, and later you learn they were taken from school and put in foster care. Yeah, this happened.

That's what Erin Yellow Robe claims happened to her several years ago, and a major investigation by NPR has revealed that there are many more Native Americans who say their children are being illegally taken from them. The situation is particularly troubling in South Dakota, where 700 Native American children are removed from their homes per year. Both the state's reasons for taking the children, and the way they place them with foster families, are questionable.......

However, many believe that money is the real motivation. States receive thousands in federal funding for every child removed from their home, and they get even more for Native American children. A former governor admitted that since the state is poor, federal money for social services is "incredibly important."

Read the rest of the article here:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Incentives And Cultural Bias Fuel Foster System

Click here to read the article:

Oregon Child Abuse Cases Drop Dramatically in Lane County

By Stacia Kalinoski

EUGENE, Ore. -- After increasing in 2010, child abuse cases in Lane County have dropped dramatically this year.

So far, thirty percent fewer children have been taken into the state's care.

DHS District Manager John Radich attributes that to places like Willamette Family, which is considered an in-home service.

Last year, the state reallocated money for in-home services, so kids didn't have to straight to foster care.

To fund those agencies, Radich says the state took money away from parenting classes.

Radich says parenting classes don't do much good if the kids are in foster care.

But with in-home services, parents get parenting advice, treatment and can stay with their children all at the same time.

Holding her six-week-old baby girl is something Nikia Modrell may not have been able to do, if she was in this position a year ago.

"I would probably still be out on the streets," Modrell said.

And her baby would be in foster care. But thanks to more state funding for in-home services, Nikia is living in a home setting, at Willamette Family in Eugene.

It's a health, wellness, and drug recovery agency.

She can take care of her baby and get treatment for drug abuse at the same time.

"Being able to bond with my newborn is really important and if we were seperated we wouldn't be able to do that," she said.

"The more we can keep the parents connected and involved with the kids, I think the better chance we have of them addressing their issues and behaviors they need to change," said Radich.

"We look at attachment and bonding, we don't want to interupt that process," said Chris Sterling, Oregon Child Protective Service worker.

Sterling says more support from relatives is also a reason for the decline, and so far, the theories seems to be working. In 2010, petitions to have children placed under state custody rose 15 percent in Lane County.


"Twenty to 30 percent less than we had a year ago. I'm a little surprised our numbers are down this much based on the economy," said Radich.

The numbers are now back to where they were before the economy tanked, in 2007.

Last year, DHS had 60 child abuse cases a month in Lane County.

So far this year, it's 40.

Nikia is grateful to be part of this year's success rate.

I'm learning how to be clean and sober. It's everything that I've needed," she said.

Radich says DHS is understaffed, So he hopes fewer cases means his employees can spend more quality time with children in foster care.

Another benefit to fewer cases is that it saves taxpayers money.

Radich says it costs $22,000 a year for just one kid to go through the foster care system in Oregon.


Hitler's Parents Claim Judge Found No Abuse of Little Adolf, Aryan Nation

Hitler's Parents Claim Judge Found No Abuse of Little Adolf, Aryan Nation
Parents of "Adolf Hitler" and "Aryan Nation" claim a judge found no evidence of abuse, but the state still hasn't given their kids back

By Teresa Masterson

Heath and Deborah Campbell, who named two of their children Adolf Hitler and JoyceLynn Aryan Nation, are claiming that a court vindicated them of all abuse allegations last month. But after 33 months in foster care, the children are still not home.

New Jersey Family Court officials had no comment Tuesday.

“Actually, the judge and DYFS told us that there was no evidence of abuse and that it was the names! They were taken over the children's names,” Heath Campbell told NBC 10 Tuesday.

Court records last year stated that the children were not removed from the home because of their names, but because of tangible evidence of abuse or neglect.

Protesting the fact that they still don't have their kids, the Campbells picketed with three other people outside of child services offices in Flemington, N.J. Tuesday. The couple spoke exclusively to NBC 10, saying that the state has no right to keep their children away from them now that the court allegedly ruled that the kids were taken away without cause.

“I don’t sleep, I don’t eat much. I miss my kids. Miss their pitter patters on the floor,” Heath Campbell told NBC 10’s Doug Shimell. “It’s hard. I fall asleep with their pictures.”

The Campbell’s three small children were removed from their Holland Township home by the state in January 2009 after they asked a grocery store in Greenwich, N.J., to write “Adolf Hitler” on their son’s birthday cake.

Though a local Wal-Mart honored the birthday cake request, Adolf Hitler Campbell and siblings JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell were put into foster care.

“They beg to come home all of the time,” Deborah told NBC 10 Tuesday. “They beg to see their dad, they want to see their dad all the time.”

While the Campbells maintained from the beginning that the only reason their children were taken away is because of their given names, New Jersey court documents stated last year that there was alleged abuse and parental incompetence.

A New Jersey appeals court ruled in August 2010 that there was sufficient evidence of abuse or neglect because of domestic violence in the home, and though there was a gag order for both parties in the case (which the Campbells have broken multiple times to deny the allegations), authorities have stated in the past that putting the children into the foster system had nothing to do with their names.

Court records stated last year that both parents were victims of childhood abuse and both were unemployed and suffering from unspecified physical and psychological disabilities.

The Campbells say that a judge will decide by early December if the kids will come home.

"Can't wait for the decision," Heath Campbell said Tuesday. "Can't wait for them to come home."


A Fight For Her Grandchildren Mirrors A Native Past

Suzanne Crow, 58, has made and received a lot of bad telephone calls in her life, including the time she told her family that her 3-year-old son had died in a hospital because there wasn't a doctor on duty to care for him. Life in South Dakota as a displaced member of the Lakota and Dakota Sioux tribes can be tougher than most.

But the phone call she received on a sunny May day in 2007, Crow says, is still one of the worst. A distant relative had just driven by her home in Sioux Falls, and Crow says what she heard instantly connected her past to her present, bringing the next several years of her life to a near stop.

"The cops are at Lena's house," Crow said the relative told her. "I think they're taking your grandchildren."

Read the rest of this story here:

NY Parents Accused Of Kidnapping Their Kids From Foster Care Enter Plea Deal

Read the story here:

Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families

This is a must read and listen to report!

Report: S.D. skirts law protecting Native American children

By Melanie Eversley, USA TODAY

Thirty-two states are failing to abide by the Indian Child Welfare Act, a law passed by Congress in 1978 to stop thousands of Native American children from being forcibly removed from their families and being sent to boarding schools, where they were abused, or into other abusive conditions, a National Public Radio investigation has found.

The problem is most pronounced in South Dakota, NPR reports.

"Cousins are disappearing, family members are disappearing," Peter Lengkeek, a Crow Creek Tribal Council member, tells NPR. "It's kidnapping. That's how we see it."

About 700 Native American children in South Dakota are removed from their homes, some of them under questionable circumstances, NPR finds. The majority of those placed in foster care are sent to non-native homes or group homes, although the Child Welfare Act requires that Native American children must be placed with their relatives or tribes, except in rare circumstances.

South Dakota state officials say they have to do what's in the best interest of the child.

"We come from a stance of safety," Virgena Wieseler of South Dakota's Department of Social Services tells NPR. "That's our overarching goal with all children. If they can be returned to their parent or returned to a relative and be safe and that safety can be managed, then that's our goal."

Critics say the situation appears to be financially lucrative for foster care providers, one of whom has ties with state officials, NPR reports.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teacher Chokes Girl With Sweater, Drags Her Across Playground

Blog authors note:
Teachers are supposed to be in a tursted position - trusted with our precious children. In this position, they are also mandated reporters - mandated to report to the police/CPS if they suspect a child is being neglected or abused.
The below story calls into question not only the trust we put in teachers handling our children but into any report of suspected abuse or neglect they may report.
If teachers are abusing or neglecting our children, just how trustworthy are their reports to the authorities regarding suspected abuse and neglect?
Also, why aren't our children safe from this kind of maltreatment at school?

October 24th, 2011 - By Brande Victorian

Teachers are getting out of hand these days. In Baton Rouge, a 65-year-old school teacher was arrested for allegedly tying a jacket around a 6-year-old girl’s neck and dragging her across the playground to the office. Bruises on the girl’s neck and right leg, and holes in her uniform seem to corroborate the story. For once, it also appears the police is on the side of the people.

“There is no valid excuse to take such action against a child,” says Police Chief Mike Knaps. “I’m in my 31st year with the police department and I’ve never been witness to anything like this before.”

The mother plans to transfer her daughter to a different school while the teacher is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Sounds like it’s time for her to retire.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Grandma: Boy in four foster homes in 14 months

By Rita Price
The Columbus Dispatch Monday October 24, 2011 6:01 AM

The weekly phone conversations are eagerly awaited but rarely make her feel better.

“I hear a defeated little boy,” Mary Ann O’Garro said.

Her grandson often says he wishes he were there, in Washington state, instead of at another new place, O’Garro said. The 8-year-old’s calls have come from many phone numbers.

Franklin County Children Services brought the troubled boy back to Franklin County last year after denying Lenford and Mary Ann O’Garro’s request for in-patient treatment near their home in the Seattle area, where they could visit and work with the child’s doctors.

Their grandson had been placed with them in 2008, a little less than a year after police discovered him beaten, burned and tortured while living with his mother — Mr. O’Garro’s daughter — in a suspected house of prostitution on Columbus’ North Side.

Months of love and therapy hadn’t managed to curb his bizarre and dangerous behavior, the O'Garros and Washington therapists said, so they wanted to try hospitalization.

Children Services disagreed. The agency’s former chief said he thought the boy could be better served, and stabilized, in a foster home here with people trained to support his therapy. But after 14 months back in Franklin County, the boy has lived in four foster homes in three school districts, his grandparents say.

Add in those who provide periodic respite for the foster parents, and the child probably has been in at least 10 homes, Mrs. O’Garro said. “In our minds, there’s no way this could not have damaged him further. He was already traumatized, then he was ripped from our house, and now he’s just bouncing around.”

Because the boy might have been sexually abused, The Dispatch is not naming him.

Chip Spinning, who recently took over as Children Services executive director after Eric Fenner’s retirement, said in an email that no one wants the boy to experience more trauma. But officials still think he should be cared for in a specially trained foster home instead of at an institution. He said the child is making progress and will receive “all recommended services to enable continued progress.”

The moves are unfortunate but happen for a variety of reasons in the child-welfare system, Spinning said. He said he couldn’t share the specifics.

Mrs. O’Garro said it’s hard to be hopeful. She said she has heard various reasons for the boy’s change of placement, including foster parents’ moving, an allegation of abuse against a foster provider, and the child’s intensive needs.

“I have not, to date, ever seen a single document that says he’s been stabilized,” she said. "His level of care has continued to increase. He’s been up to six psychotropic drugs.”

Children Services has acknowledged numerous mistakes in the case, starting with a failure to inform the O’Garros of the extent of the child’s abuse — and his likely need for psychological help — after he was placed with them.

The grandparents say they needed an attorney to get the agency to pay for the child’s initial treatment in Washington. The O’Garros have health insurance, but it isn’t sufficient to cover the expensive mental-health services.

After a review in late 2009, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services cited the agency for its handling of the case and ordered a plan for preventing future violations. Two employees were disciplined as a result of the agency’s internal investigation.

Mrs. O’Garro said she doesn’t know whether Children Services wants the child to return to his mother, to them or to be adopted.

Agency attorneys, a therapist and the child’s court-appointed guardian agreed last week that the boy’s mother, who has been released from prison, could have at least one supervised visit.

“He hasn’t seen her in nearly four years, since she was put in the police car and he was taken in an ambulance,” Mrs. O’Garro said. “That’s his last memory of her.”

The grandparents still struggle with their decision to surrender custody, a move that ultimately allowed Children Services to bring their grandson to Columbus last year. Their attorney, Susan Eisenman, has said the O’Garros made that difficult choice because they couldn’t pay for the treatment he needed and because they hoped the agency would approve a nearby Washington facility.

Instead, they had to put him on a plane.

Mrs. O’Garro cries when she thinks about all the boy has been through. Had he gone to a treatment center, “We think he’d be home with us,” she said. “All we can do now is just hope something positive happens.”