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Tag Archives: Legally Kidnapped

Swain County father, Michael Shannon, has filed a civil lawsuit alleging that the civil rights of him, his daughter, and his father have been violated by key personnel in local and state government.

The lawsuit filed August 15, 2011 in the Swain County North Carolina Superior Court, names Michael Shannon, his father, Scott Shannon and his Daughter, Sierra Shannon as the Plaintiff’s and names the following as some of the Defendant’s.

  •  Michael Bonfoey, District Attorney, Swain County, North Carolina
  • Lanier Cansler,  Secretary of the North Carolina Division of Health and Human Services. (click the link to find more stories of Lanier Cansler on this blog)
  • Patrick Betancourt,  Director of Child Protective Services, North Carolina. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Tammy Cagle, Director of the Swain County Department of Social Services (Tammy Cagle was fired for  insubordination and conduct unbecoming of a state employee detrimental to state service during an investigation into the death of 15 month old Aubrey Kina-Marie Littlejohn)
  • Jerry Smith, Interim Director of the Swain County Department of Social Services
  • Justin Green, counsel to the Swain County Department of Social Services
  • Ellen Thomas-Pullen,  Child Welfare Services Consultant with the North Carolina Division of Health and Human Services
  • Aaron Ammons, Officer of the North Carolina Highway Patrol.
  • Swain County Commissioners
  • Swain County Department of Social Services Board

The lawsuit alleges, among other things, accounts of government corruption so all encompassing that I believe an SBI investigation into this matter is desperately warranted.

This corruption includes, but is not limited to:

  • Failure to obey a custody order,
  • Failure to obey a judges order to pick up a child,
  • Wrongful arrest,
  • Malicious prosecution,
  • Placing a child in a dangerous environment
  • Allowing a child to be abused and neglected
  • Failure to obey statutory law
  • Failure to protect
  • Kidnapping
  • Child abduction
  • Perjury
  • illegal and unethical practices
The Swain County Department of Social Services has been the subject of an intense investigation into their involvement in the death of 15 month old, Aubrey Kina-Marie Littlejohn.  Social Worker, Craig Smith, falsified his records after Aubrey’s death, so it would appear that he followed the laws and policies during an investigation into the suspected abuse of Aubrey.  According to The Citizen Times, When investigator’s informed Smith that they knew he was lying,
“Smith then told the investigators that he was instructed to falsify the records by his supervisor after Aubrey died to show that he followed up with a call to the hospital.

He said he was later called to a meeting with his supervisor, Candice Lassiter, other agency officials and DSS Director Tammy Cagle.

They questioned him about his investigation at the Powell home. Cagle, according to the court papers, told Smith “we have to get everything in order and everything straight.”

The director, Tammy Cagle who is listed as a defendant is Shannon’s lawsuit, was fired  for insubordination and conduct unbecoming of a state employee detrimental to state service, for her apparent involvement in the falsification of records in Aubrey’s case.

It is abundantly apparent that Swain County DSS has broken laws in the case of Aubrey Littlejohn and in an attempt to cover their asses they falsified records and lied.  It is also abundantly apparent to me that these people were completely comfortable in their illegal behavior, so comfortable in fact, that they even held a meeting and discussed how to get “everything in order and everything straight”, or what I refer to as “a document forging party”.

The chances that the Aubrey Littlejohn case is the first and only case in which the Swain County DSS has exhibited this type of illegal and unethical behavior in, is in my opinion, slim to none.  I believe, based on the Swain County DSS’s proven behavior, that the case of Michael, Scott and Sierra Shannon should be looked at by unbiased, appropriate law enforcement.

I have heard the 911 call placed by Scott Shannon when he was being assaulted by Shannon’s mother, I have read some of the court papers and I have talked with Scott Shannon…there is something really fishy occurring in their case, and I believe with the illegal practices that have been brought to light in Swain County, that the Attorney General and the SBI owe a duty to investigate not only the Shannon case, but any other case that has been handled by the Swain County DSS.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of the Swain County Department of Social Services Please contact me at lawdoll1@gmail.com

For more information about Sierra’s case, please visit Michael Shannon’s site at the link below.

Sierra Shannon, 4 years old

A Victim of Child Abuse by

The Swain County, North Carolina

Department of Social Services

in Bryson City, North Carolina

We desperately need your help to save Sierra from the bureaucrats and criminals in the department of Social Services in North Carolina. A civil case was filed in the Superior Court of Swain County North Carolina on August 15, 2011 on her behalf by her father, Michael Shannon and her grandfather, Scott Shannon. The details of the case are below, as well as a link to a copy of the Civil Complaint. If you read these items you will discover a horror story that is almost beyond belief. 28 people are being sued in this case, and all have some responsibility for the abuse that Sierra has suffered since August 5, 2010.

Please read these materials and then take action to do what you can to help save Sierra from continuing abuse by these criminals, uncaring bureaucrats, and others who have allowed her to be abused and illegally taken her from her loving father. I know there is a lot of material to go through, but unless you know the entire story and all of the facts, you can’t understand the full horror of what has been done to my family. If you consider yourself a caring person, please read all of it. The links in the text will open in a new browser window so that you can always conveniently return to this page.

Read more

Man gets 25 years to life for murder of Dae’von Bailey, 6

 

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bailey16-2009dec16,0,741489.story

By Hector Becerra

Marcas Catrell Fisher, 36, pleaded guilty to beating his ex-girlfriend’s son in South L.A. as his 5-year-old daughter watched from the corner of a room, unable to scream.

One month after pleading guilty, a South Los Angeles man was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years to life in prison for beating his ex-girlfriend’s 6-year-old son to death.

Compton Superior Court Judge John Cheroske sentenced Marcas Catrell Fisher, 36, to the maximum term for first-degree murder.

Fisher killed Dae’von Bailey on July 23 in South Los Angeles as the boy’s 5-year-old half sister — who was Fisher’s daughter — watched from the corner of a room, unable to scream. The girl would later tell social workers that she had seen her brother tied up in the hallway, crying, as her father beat him.

Later, she said, Fisher put Dae’von in the shower and told him to “wake up” before dragging him to the bedroom. Fisher eventually fled, leaving his daughter behind with her dead brother.

For almost a month, he eluded a police dragnet before being tracked to an apartment in North Las Vegas.

A convicted rapist, Fisher had agreed to care for Dae’von and his daughter after their mother, Tylette Davis, put five of her six children in other people’s care. The boy and his siblings had been the subject of 10 child abuse or neglect investigations since 1999 by the time he came under Fisher’s care.

In the last three months before his death, Dae’von twice told authorities that he had been physically abused by Fisher, but both times he was left with the man who eventually killed him.

Los Angeles Police Department detectives said that the boy’s body bore bruises in different stages of healing, indicating that he had been abused for an extended period of time.

On Tuesday, a bespectacled Fisher apologized from behind a pane of glass at the Compton courthouse for killing the boy.

Before he was sentenced, Majella Maas, the boy’s kindergarten teacher at Lakewood’s Riley Elementary School, told the court that Dae’von’s death left not only his family grief-stricken. Later, Maas said the boy was the most affection-hungry child she had encountered in 28 years of teaching, always asking for hugs.

After the sentencing, she went to his grave site in a Compton cemetery. It bears no marker, she said, but a cemetery worker knew where it was and led her there.

He had made a makeshift marker for Dae’von’s grave, Maas said.

“He said, ‘Oh, the baby?’ I’ll show you where he is,’ ” she said. “He knew his name instantly.”

hector.becerra@latimes.com

Think It is Not About Money-The Case of Jack and Kathy Stratton

 

http://defeatdcs.blogspot.com/2009/11/think-it-is-not-about-money-case-of.html

 

The following was taken from the excellent http://www.couldyoubenext.com/website.

 

Jack and Kathy Stratton’s nine children have proved to be a veritable cash cow for the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services. The Stratton children have been in foster care for nearly two years, ever since the DSS removed them from their home on charges of neglect. The Strattons have steadfastly denied the charges, and have been fighting to regain custody.During that time, the DSS, through federal funding, has been receiving $9,971.73 per month for the Stratton children, while paying out only $3,600. Net profit: $6,372 per month.

The rest of this story can be read at:

Defeat Children’s Services http://defeatdcs.blogspot.com/2009/11/think-it-is-not-about-money-case-of.html

SJC says newborn removed too fast

 

Seeks to clarify emergency cases involving custody

 

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/11/05/sjc_says_newborn_removed_too_fast/

By John R. Ellement

Globe Staff / November 5, 2009

In a sharply worded rebuke, the state’s high court yesterday said that a judge and the state Department of Children and Families moved too fast to remove a newborn from a Western Massachusetts mother who had already lost custody of two older children because they were not being properly cared for.

In a unanimous ruling written by Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall, the Supreme Judicial Court said that judges handling emergency custody cases must wipe from their minds any information gleaned from other cases involving the same mother or family.

The baby was identified only as Zita.

“It may be impossible to erase a judge’s memory of the prior case,’’ Marshall wrote. “But each party is entitled to an impartial magistrate and a decision based on the evidence presented in her case . . . Zita’s removal by the Commonwealth from her custodial parent implicates constitutional rights of the highest order.’’

The high court ruled that a new custody hearing that could lead to the mother regaining custody of the girl must be held “forthwith.’’

The SJC said it took on the case because it wanted to clearly spell out the rules that judges must follow.

Marylou Sudders, president of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said she feared that the decision may lead judges to completely ignore the history of a mother or a family.

“Parental history is a factor in child abuse and neglect cases,’’ Sudders said. “It doesn’t predict the future, but it is obviously an issue.’’

The Department of Children and Families, she said, “first and foremost has to be a child protection agency.’’

She added: “It is concerning, if, over time, courts do not take into account prior history that is properly introduced in court hearings. Without appreciation for the history, I think that will not be in a child’s best interest.’’

The attorney for the mother, whose name was not released, said she could not discuss specifics because she had not been given permission by her client.

Speaking generally, attorney Dorothy Meyer Storrow said the SJC was right to force judges to rule only on evidence presented in individual cases and to require the Department of Children and Families to meet basic legal rules, especially since the agency has the information at its fingertips.

“There are issues that are specific to one child that aren’t specific to another,’’ said Meyer Storrow, of Greenfield. “If you don’t know what the judge is relying on, she may be relying on something that is inaccurate and you have no way to fix that.’’

She added: “When you are dealing with constitutional rights, we want to make sure that it’s done in a fair way. Sometimes, the fact that a parent can’t meet the needs of one child is actually not relevant to whether she can meet the needs of a different child with different needs.’’

Alison Goodwin, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families, said the SJC ruling does not limit the agency’s efforts to protect children.

“We have an obligation to evaluate each individual situation on its own merits at that time,’’ Goodwin said in an e-mail. “However, there is nothing in this ruling that prevents the department or the courts from considering a past history on fitness nor is the department or the courts required to wait until a child is harmed before custody is granted.’’

In its ruling, the SJC gave an outline of the woman’s history that led the department to decide three months before the child was born that it needed to take emergency action to protect the newborn.

The court said the woman had two children who were removed from her care on May 23, 2008. Two days after the child was born on Dec. 18, 2008, the DCF took emergency custody of the child and prepared to justify its actions at a hearing required by law to be held no more than 72 hours later.

The high court said the most powerful evidence the department provided at the hearing was an unsworn letter from a department social worker that discussed the woman’s prior failures as a mother. The hearing was held before Hampshire-Franklin Juvenile Court Judge Lillian Miranda, who had ordered the older children taken from the home, according to court records.

Miranda granted temporary custody of Zita to the department, a decision the SJC reversed yesterday.

“The judge erred, and therefore violated Zita’s substantive rights, in both respects: her reliance on the petition that was not in evidence, and her reliance on her recollection of the facts of the earlier proceedings involving the other children,’’ Marshall wrote.

Experts worry child deaths will lead to `panic’

 

http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_13273648

By Troy Anderson Staff Writer

Posted: 09/04/2009 08:59:47 PM PDT

FOSTER CARE: Some fear agencies may rashly take youngsters from parents in wake of county fatalities.

By Troy Anderson Staff Writer

Following a series of high-profile deaths of children in Los Angeles County, child welfare experts are warning that foster care agencies could overreact to the renewed scrutiny by tearing hundreds of children needlessly from their families.

Several experts said that when the agencies faced public criticism in the past they have at times acted too quickly to take children from their families and place them in foster care.

They warn this reaction will further overload the system, making it even harder for social workers to help children in real danger.

“Children’s lives – literally – may depend on stopping such a foster care panic,” said Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.

In the past year, well-publicized deaths of a child by the hands of a parent or caregiver in Los Angeles have included Dae’von Bailey, 6; Jasmine Granados, 2; and Lars Sanchez, 4. Bailey and Sanchez’s alleged mistreatment had been reported to DCFS before their deaths.

Bailey’s stepfather, Marcas Fisher, allegedly beat him to death in late July in South Los Angeles.

County Supervisor Gloria Molina last month said the death of a child from starvation, the decapitation of another child and the beating death of another child convinced her that “something did not happen – something fell through the cracks.”

But county officials disputed the idea of a “foster care panic,” saying they have seen no evidence of it.

Department of Children and Family Services Director Trish Ploehn noted the number of detention petitions filed in Juvenile Court has dropped from 941 in May to 896 in July. That’s down from 972 in May to 934 in July of last year.

“Why is (a foster care panic) not happening in Los Angeles?” Ploehn asked. “The answer is our county’s child welfare system, which has been significantly reformed over the past several years, is built on the belief that child safety is paramount and that children should only be removed from their families when necessary due to their safety.”

But Wexler said social workers – fearful they could be disciplined or fired for leaving or returning a child to a parent who later kills them – know they will not face repercussions for needlessly removing children from their families and placing them in foster homes.

“After seeing scores of their colleagues transferred to desk jobs, seeing one county supervisor falsely blaming fatalities on efforts to keep families together, and seeing another declare that heads will roll, every caseworker is running scared.”

Kenneth Krekorian, executive director of Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers, said he’s noticed an uptick in the number of detention petitions filed in Juvenile Court to separate children from their families since the child deaths received widespread publicity.

“I don’t know whether we have enough information yet to see if the increase is due to the deaths of these children,” Krekorian said. “But I would agree with (Wexler). I’ve been doing this for many years and it does seem when there is something in the newspaper about a death of a child, or a notorious case, that there is an increase in filings afterwards.”

County officials said eight social workers are currently assigned to desk duty as investigators probe the deaths and any mistakes made in the cases of the children who died over the past year.

Studies show a third of children are abused in foster care and when they leave the system many wind up homeless, on welfare, incarcerated or dead. A recent county grand jury report noted nearly 70 percent of people in California prisons and jails are “products of the foster care system.”

The concerns about a foster care panic come as DCFS has made what its former director, David Sanders, called “revolutionary” reforms, reducing the number of children in foster homes on any given day from 30,000 in 2003 to 15,553 last month.

The Board of Supervisors has kept vacant for nearly three years the position of an independent entity charged with investigating child deaths and recommending what actions should be taken to prevent future tragedies.

Despite the drop in the number of children living in foster homes, Wexler said DCFS takes children away from homes at a much higher rate than most other large metropolitan areas. After falling for several years, the number of children entering the county’s child protective system rose 24 percent from 8,299 in 2003 to 10,903 in 2007 before dropping to 10,083 last year, according to the Center for Social Services Research at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Board of Supervisors has expressed concerns that DCFS has become too focused on reducing the number of children in foster care. Since the recession began, concerns have mounted that the downturn could result in increased stress in families and more violence in the home.

Although Molina and Yaroslavsky did not return calls for comment, Karen Strickland, executive director of Find The Children, a Los Angeles-based missing children’s organization, said she shares their concerns and has seen numerous cases where social workers have left children in the care of parents who are potentially dangerous to their children.

“I’m concerned about the assessment skills of these workers and the supervision these workers are getting,” Strickland said.

Despite the recent tragedies, Ploehn noted the number of deaths of children from abuse and neglect “known to the system” has dropped from a high of 20 in 1999 to a record low of 11 in 2006. The number increased to 12 in 2007 and 14 last year.

Ploehn said more than 50,000 children were living in foster homes in 1999, the same year the county experienced the highest number of deaths due to abuse and neglect of children known to DCFS.

As DCFS has provided more services to help families stay intact, Ploehn said “children are indeed safer, not only from harm and possible death, but also safer from the negative effects of being separated from their family.”

To prevent a “foster-care panic” in which social service agencies needlessly remove children from homes, foster care expert Richard Wexler offers a few recommendations to the Board of Supervisors:

Expand investigation of high- profile death cases to include equal attention to wrongful removal cases.

Seek changes in state law to provide for “total transparency,” including opening court hearings in child welfare cases, and most case records, to the public and media.

Establish clear public benchmarks for progress, post the data prominently on the DCFS Web site and commit to measuring DCFS by those outcomes, “not by whatever happens to be on the front page that morning.”

Suspend the use of “structured decision-making” in which computers decide when to remove children based on questionnaires filled out by social workers.

“They need to make clear to front-line caseworkers that wrongfully removing a child from a safe home is every bit as dangerous as leaving a child in a dangerous home,” said Wexler.

- Troy Anderson

 

Expert tells how he would prevent ‘panic’ in foster-care system

 

http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_13274570

By Troy Anderson, Staff Writer

Updated: 09/04/2009 09:28:34 PM PDT

To prevent a “foster-care panic” in which social service agencies needlessly remove children from homes, foster care expert Richard Wexler offers a few recommendations for the Board of Supervisors:

Expand any investigation of high-profile death cases to include equal attention to cases of wrongful removal.

 

Seek changes in state law to provide for “total transparency,” including opening court hearings in child welfare cases, and most case records, to the public and press.

Establish clear public benchmarks for progress, post the data prominently on the DCFS Web site and commit to measuring DCFS by those outcomes, “not by whatever happens to be on the front page that morning.”

 

Suspend the use of “structured decision-making” in which computers decide when to remove children based on questionnaires filled out by social workers.

“They need to make clear to front-line caseworkers that wrongfully removing a child from a safe home is every bit as dangerous as leaving a child in a dangerous home,” said Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform in Alexandria, Va.

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said he’s confident an action the board recently took calling on better information-sharing among various government agencies will help prevent tragedies like the recent ones.

“We need to use these tragedies to improve and upgrade DCFS investigations,” Antonovich said. “That’s why we are talking about using more modern technology.”

Social worker’s conduct went unreported

 

State lawmaker alleges coverup; wants attorney general to investigate

 

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/55971877.html

By Crocker Stephenson of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: Aug. 28, 2009

Officials responsible for reporting to the state that a Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare social worker had impregnated a bureau client did not report the incident until Thursday, months later than required by law and only after being contacted by the Journal Sentinel.

A state lawmaker, alleging that child welfare officials may have been involved in a coverup, called on Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to investigate.

The Journal Sentinel reported Friday that Peter J. Nelsen, 56, was sent by the bureau to investigate an allegation of child abuse and later impregnated the child’s emotionally troubled mother, Theola Nealy. Nelsen kept the pregnancy secret, even as the bureau investigated allegations that Nealy abused her 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

The bureau has removed both children from Nealy’s home. The bureau has also removed the child born to Nelsen and Nealy and placed her in Nelsen’s home.

Nelsen, a 12-year-veteran of the bureau, was allowed to resign April 15, according to bureau documents.

Under state law, the bureau, a part of the state Department of Children and Families, was required to report Nelsen to the Department of Regulation and Licensing within 30 days of his departure.

On Thursday, there seemed to be some contradiction about whether a report on Nelsen had been filed.

The licensing department said it had not received anything, but Angela Russell, a spokeswoman for the bureau, contended a report had been filed. She did not say when it had been filed, and later sent an e-mail to the newspaper saying no more information on Nelsen would be released because of laws governing employee confidentiality.

On Friday, David Carlson, a spokesman for the licensing department, said that Nelsen’s report was faxed to the department on Thursday – just as the newspaper was investigating the story.

The Journal Sentinel has formally requested access to Nelsen’s employment file.

“It would appear that a coverup of Mr. Nelsen’s conduct may have been undertaken by state agency officials in violation of state law,” Rep. Stephen Nass (R-Whitewater) wrote Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

Nass also asked the attorney general to investigate Nelsen.

“There is ample basis for the Wisconsin Department of Justice to review Mr. Nelsen’s conduct to determine if he abused his governmental powers and violated Wisconsin law,” the letter says.

Further, the letter says, “The Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare may have used its powers to assist Mr. Nelsen in obtaining custody of the child he fathered with Nealy.”

“The failure of the department to take appropriate action against Mr. Nelsen, and the potential abuse of legal authority to take custody of children requires a thorough review by the Department of Justice for misconduct by public officials,” it says.

Noting that Nealy’s treatment of her children may have given the bureau reason to remove them “does not authorize the blatant abuse of power that appears to have occurred by both a social worker and a state agency that has a solemn duty to protect children.”

Asked whether the Department of Justice was investigating Nelsen or the child welfare agencies, spokesman William Cosh said: “We don’t comment on ongoing investigations.”

Asked if his statement meant there was an ongoing investigation, Cosh repeated the statement.

Also Friday, an injunction hearing on a temporary restraining order Nealy filed against Nelsen earlier this month was adjourned to Sept. 11. Family Court Commissioner Ana M. Berrios warned Nelsen that the restraining order remained in effect and ordered him to have no contact with Nealy.

 

Woman Says She Got Pregnant By Social Worker; He Has Child

 

State Representative Calls For Investigation

 

http://www.wisn.com/news/20606268/detail.html

MILWAUKEE — A social worker who was supposed to be helping a Milwaukee woman got her pregnant instead, the woman said. Now, she’s fighting to get her daughter back.

The baby’s father was assigned to investigate a child neglect complaint about the woman’s other children.

The agency said the social worker broke rules by having sex with a client and but then placed the child with him after they removed the baby from her mother’s home.

“I missed her birthday. He had her,” Theola Nealy said.

Nealy’s daughter, Melina, turned 1 year old in the custody of her former child welfare worker, who is also the baby’s father.

“He started coming over, and it evolved into sex, and I told him I did not want to have sex,” Nealy said.

Nealy said she had sex with the social worker to make sure Child Protective Services would let her keep her kids. She said when she became pregnant, he told her to have an abortion. After she refused, Protective Services soon removed her kids from her home.

“He’s paying me back for one not having an abortion, and two, he took her just to get me back because he knows that’s what hurts me the most,” Nealy said.

Professional rules forbid sexual relationships with current and formal clients. The Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare said the social worker no longer works there.

“Any serious violation of professional licensing rules or standards would preclude continued employment at the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare.” according to the agency.

WISN 12 News found Melina in the arms of her father and the former social worker. Child welfare placed her with Peter Nelsen after they removed Nealy’s children from her home.

“Well, certainly my relationship was inappropriate. I admit that. I’m sure,” Nelsen said.

Nelsen is headed to court to fight for permanent custody of Melina.

“She’s the love of our lives. She means everything to us,” Nelsen said.

“Do you think it was a crime what you did?” WISN 12 News reporter Colleen Henry asked.

“State statutes I suppose would say so,” Nelsen said.

“Do you think you’re going to go to prison?” Henry asked.

“I would certainly hope not. It’s been 11 months,” Nelsen said.

The District Attorney’s Office told 12 News it will not file criminal charges against Nelsen because the sex was consensual, and it’s not a crime for a social worker to have sex with a client. That news devastated Nealy.

“He should go to jail,” Nealy said.

The agency said it reported Nelsen to licensing regulators. It won’t answer questions about why Melina and her brother and sister were removed from their mother’s home, or given the circumstances, whether placement with her father is appropriate.

The case has prompted a request to Wisconsin’s attorney general to investigate. Whitewater state Rep. Steve Nass said an impartial investigation is necessary.

Editorial: Protecting children 24-7

 

http://www.salisburypost.com/Opinion/082009-edit-foster

Taking children away from their parents and placing them in foster care is difficult enough. What happens when something goes wrong at the foster care home? Very wrong?

The Rowan County Department of Social Services unveiled a response plan this week for a problem that’s not discussed much: abuse that occurs while a foster child is left with someone else. The incident that precipitated the plan involved the sexual abuse of a young girl in her foster home by a man left to care for her while the foster parents were out.

The public doesn’t know much about this case; fortunately, the system shields children’s identities. But this little girl’s plight revealed dangerous gaps in a foster system that is supposed to care for children 24/7.

Up until now, the Department of Social Services has not had clear policy on what to do if a child is abused by, say, a friend of the foster family. It doesn’t happen often; besides, the appropriate response would seem obvious. But obvious isn’t good enough, so policy now spells it all out. If abuse is suspected while a child is with a respite caregiver — babysitters, overnight care providers, friends or relatives of the foster parents — the DSS employee who receives the report must notify his or her supervisor, and soon ( HOW SOON?  The North Carolina General Statutes state this type of investigation is supposed to be immediate!) a committee made up of the agency’s top authorities must investigate and decide what to do. If the child is removed from the home, no other foster children will be placed in the home. If the allegations prove true, the foster home may (may?) lose its license.

Foster parents who do their jobs well deserve a special place in heaven. They take in children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned. These fragile children, wrenched from the only home they know, find stability, safety and care in a foster home while authorities work out a plan for them.

That’s the best-case scenario. And admittedly, even the best foster parents may sometimes need someone to fill in while they go out, run errands or even take a trip. They can get the agency’s help in finding other foster parents to fill in, but some foster parents choose to make their own arrangements. From here on out, they’ll have to be more careful about who cares for foster children while they are away — again, something that would seem obvious but apparently is not.

Foster parents have to be at least 21 years old, have a stable home and income, be willing to be fingerprinted and have a criminal records check and maintain a drug-free environment. There’s also required training, and a license to get from the state.

This incident should not reflect on all foster parents, and it shouldn’t scare anyone away from becoming a foster parent. If anything, it illustrates the need for more qualified, caring people to step forward and help care for children in need.

 

DSS unveils new plans to deal with abuse and neglect

 

http://www.salisburypost.com/Area/081909-law-enforcement-protocol-committee-response-plan

By Shavonne Potts

spotts@salisburypost.com

The Rowan County Department of Social Services presented its new plan for responding to allegations of abuse and neglect of foster children Tuesday at the quarterly Law Enforcement Protocol Committee meeting.

The release of the plan comes four months after a child was allegedly molested while in foster care. The grandmother told the Post in June her grandchild was in foster care when she was molested by Larry Maynard Clark, 62. He later committed suicide.

Rowan County District Court Judge Charlie Brown presided over a May 21 hearing on custody of the girl. The hearing was closed to the public and Brown said he could not discuss details of the hearing or any corrective action included in his ruling.

The new DSS plan outlines that the Children’s Services Program administrator or director will be responsible for placement decisions of children already in foster care. The decision will be made when foster parents, group home staff or other caregivers face allegations of criminal behavior, abuse or neglect, or mishandling of financial resources.

Evidence of financial mismanagement may include failure to pay household expenses leading to eviction or disconnection of utilities or filing for bankruptcy.

In this case, a caregiver is anyone who has been selected by the foster parents to provide care for the child, which includes babysitters, overnight care providers, friends and relatives of foster parents who’ve been left in charge in the absence of the foster parents.

Any DSS employee who becomes aware of such allegations must contact his or her supervisor. The program director or administrator will then convene a meeting of the Administrative Placement Committee that includes the director, Children’s Services Program administrator and Children’s Services attorney.

Tom Brewer, program administrator for the Children’s Services division, said the biggest question is what happens to the child during the investigation.

If the committee decides to remove the child, no other child may be placed in that home while the allegations are being investigated.

Brewer also said if the allegations are substantiated, future placement in that home or facility cannot be made without prior approval of the program administrator or director. The team will also decide whether to recommend the state terminate the foster home license.

“There is not a state guideline that says we have to screen people who provide interim care,” Brewer noted. The response plan is something DSS has put in place in the event such an incident occurs.

“We want to go a step further than the state,” he said.

The department also revised its policy on drug-exposed children to require an investigation if medical providers report a mother or newborn tests positive for illegal substances. Those substances now include opioids such as methadone and oxycodone.

Another revision to the policy requires drug testing for all adults, including family members and friends who are living in or visiting the home, before the mother and baby leave the hospital. The previous plan only listed conditions for the mother.

A mother who tests positive for drugs or whose newborn tests positive for drugs will be referred for substance abuse assessment to determine whether she needs treatment. All adults in the home will also be referred for substance abuse assessments if they test positive.

And if adults in the home test positive for drugs and refuse to comply with the policy, DSS can take further action to re-evaluate the safety plan or ask the court to remove the child. The Law Enforcement Protocol Committee’s next meeting will be Nov. 17 in the Stanback Room of the Rowan Public Library.

Comment I left on this story:

Have these people never heard of the Constitution and the right to be free from illegal search and seizure…you are not supposed to be tested for anything unless there is probable cause to do so…To test the mother and the child without probable cause is bad enough, but now to spread this illegal search out to family members, friends, grandparents…”visitors to the home” is ridiculous and completely uncalled for. This from the same department when you call in a report of abuse ignores those reports until the children are dead…(Speaking of CPS as a whole)

They are only doing this because babys are more marketable, and they make more money for them…who will be watching DSS and ensuring that these drug tests really are positive? Who will be managing their checks and balances, since they get bonuses for children who are adopted out of state care…Supporting this is supporting legalized kidnapping!!!!

This is a complete violation of Constitutional protected rights and I don’t know how the people of this state just stand quietly by and put up with it.

If you want to protect children…really protect them, not steal them based on false allegations and lies…then changes the laws that govern DSS, make them criminally liable for their behavior and stop giving them more power to abuse!!!!

Trust me, it will be different, when they come after you for no reason what-so-ever!!!

Cops & Child Protective Services abuse children when they take them from innocent parents

 

http://www.examiner.com/x-14537-Albany-CPS-and-Family-Court-Examiner~y2009m7d27-Cops–Child-Protective-Services-abuse-children-when-they-take-them-from-innocent-parents

July 27, 8:27 AM

I have often argued that Child Protective Services and the police are guilty of abusing children. I don’t mean they are guilty of abuse went they take children from homes where the parents have sexually and physically abused them, or where children have been neglected through starvation and the like. What I mean is that when children are taken from innocent parents, which happens a lot more than the public realizes, they are often abused.

I will be writing some more about this in the coming weeks. Today, however, I wanted to focus on how Child Protective Services and the police traumatize children during the removal process. Can you imagine being four years old or eight years old or even a teenager, and a number of cops and/or Child Protective Services investigators show up at your house. Your parents have done nothing wrong. They have never hurt or neglected you. Yet here is a big cop with a gun, handcuffs and a taser. You start crying. Your mother or father naturally get upset because you are being taken. The cops then threaten your parents. Finally, the cops drag you to the police car, kicking and screaming.

What does that do to a child’s psyche? How long does that stay in a child’s mind? What does it teach children about cops and social workers?

This does not just happen to children during child removal processes. In Amsterdam, New York, the police went on a drug raid, broke the door of a house down, terrorized the mother and her children, and then they found out they had the wrong house. The woman sued the city and won. No doubt she had to use some of the money to get therapy for her children.

In Schenectady, New York, the police were looking for a young marijuana dealer. They thought he was in an apartment, so they busted in, handcuffed children, shot the family dog even though it was so scared it was peeing on the floor, and the person they were looking for was not even in the house. I can imagine what that did to those children.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures. Here are just a few videos which show children being taken from their parents and what effect it has on the parents and children.

The first video is a recent one from April 2009. I am not sure why the cops are taking the kids in this one, but it is obvious they don’t want to go.

To see the rest of this story and the videos click the following link:

http://www.examiner.com/x-14537-Albany-CPS-and-Family-Court-Examiner~y2009m7d27-Cops–Child-Protective-Services-abuse-children-when-they-take-them-from-innocent-parents

Austin Knightly was stolen by NH DCYF and is now up for sale.

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A MESSAGE FROM AUSTINS GRANDPARENTS:

This is a picture of our grandson Austin, which DCYF had taken to look for adoptive parents, even though we were told not to worry about a thing. That the worker was advocating for Austin to be placed in our home, where we would have custody of him before adopting him. Just another lie by the almighty DCYF. After many made up excuses, we were denied placement, even though Austin spent the first three years of his life with us and the next three years visiting us every day, where he also staid weekends. Austin is now considered “Special Needs”, since being taken from his mother by DCYF and is on psychiatric medication. He has suffered dearly and tried to hang himself when first placed in foster care. All he wants is his grandfather, but all DCYF wants is money. Being special needs and on psychiatric medication, makes Austin worth more to DCYF. If he is not returned, I fear the next time he try’s to commit suicide, he will succeed. We will never give up on our grandson, illegally taken by DCYF and kept from us through illegal practices. Austin we love you.

http://www.flds.ws/2009/07/06/anybody-want-to-buy-a-kid-drugs-included/

 

 

 

 

Austin Doped Out of His Mind By CPS

Austin Doped Out of His Mind By CPS

 

 

  

A Closer Look

A Closer Look

His Eyes Can't Even Focus!!!!!!

His Eyes Can't Even Focus!!!!!!

 

Description:

 

This is a picture of Austin at St. Charles Childrens Home in Rochester, NH, doped up on Adderol, which his mother never agreed to, before her rights were terminated.

Even when parents refuse to have their children taken out of state by the foster strangers or put on drugs, the Judge court orders it any way. Parents have no say once DCYF is thrown into their lives. These kids are angry, being taken away from their families.

They have good reason to be. Drugging them does not heal the pain, but the state doesn’t know how to deal with the mess theyv’e made.

This is how the State handles children taken from their families. The State knows nothing about bringing up children. They drug them so the kids can’t fight back and turn them into robots and zombies.

They tell them they no longer have parents. These poor kids feel like they’ve been disowned and their not loved or wanted, when in all reality they are very much loved and wanted by their families they were stolen from due to the decitful practices of DCYF.

Austin, you do have a Mommy who loves you and always will. Grampie and I will fight for your return for as long as it takes. We love you with all our hearts and so does the rest of your family. Don’t worry buddy, you will come home, before your eighteen!

WMUR took the first picture off, because someone who said they were the mother called and wanted the picture off. I know it wasn’t Austin’s mother, but I do have an idea who did call. I guess the truth really hurts as to the children taken and drugged by DCYF!

So please let everyone know Austin’s picture and story is back. Comment and let the State know how you feel about the drugging of children in foster care.

Adderall

Generic Name: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine (am FET a meen and DEX troe am FET a meen)
Brand Names: Adderall, Adderall XR

What is Adderall?

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant. It affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.

Adderall is used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Adderall may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information about Adderall

Do not take Adderall if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam) within the past 14 days. Serious, life-threatening side effects can occur if you take Adderall before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body. Do not use this medication if you are allergic to amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, or if you have hardened arteries (arteriosclerosis), heart disease, moderate to severe high blood pressure (hypertension), overactive thyroid, glaucoma, severe anxiety or agitation, or a history of drug or alcohol addiction. Some stimulants have caused sudden death in children and adolescents with serious heart problems or congenital heart defects. Before taking Adderall, tell your doctor if you have any type of heart problems.

Long-term use of this medicine can slow a child’s growth. Tell your doctor if the child using Adderall is not growing or gaining weight properly.

Adderall is a drug of abuse and may be habit-forming. Keep track of how many pills have been used from each new bottle of this medicine. You should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription. Using this medication improperly can cause death or serious side effects on the heart.

Before taking Adderall

Do not take Adderall if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam) within the past 14 days. Serious, life-threatening side effects can occur if you take Adderall before the MAO inhibitor has cleared from your body.

Do not use Adderall if you are allergic to amphetamine and dextroamphetamine or if you have:

  • heart disease or moderate to severe high blood pressure (hypertension);
  • arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries);
  • overactive thyroid;
  • glaucoma;
  • severe anxiety, tension, or agitation; or
  • if you have a history of drug or alcohol addiction.

Some stimulants have caused sudden death in children and adolescents with serious heart problems or congenital heart defects.

Before using Adderall, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • a congenital heart defect;
  • high blood pressure;
  • heart failure, heart rhythm disorder, or recent heart attack;
  • a personal or family history of mental illness, psychotic disorder, bipolar illness, depression, or suicide attempt;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder; or
  • tics (muscle twitches) or Tourette’s syndrome.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take Adderall.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. It could also cause premature birth, low birth weight, or withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother takes Adderall during pregnancy. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use Adderall without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Long-term use of Adderall can slow a child’s growth. Tell your doctor if the child using Adderall is not growing or gaining weight properly.

How should I take Adderall?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from Adderall.

Take this medication with a full glass of water. Do not crush, chew, break, or open an Adderall extended-release capsule. Swallow the pill whole. It is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking or opening the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.

To be sure Adderall is helping your condition, your doctor will need to see you on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

This medication can cause you to have unusual results with certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using Adderall.

Store Adderall at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Adderall is a drug of abuse and may be habit-forming. Keep track of how many pills have been used from each new bottle of this medicine. You should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription. Using Adderall improperly can cause death or serious side effects on the heart.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, or if it is already evening, skip the missed dose and take the medicine the next morning. Taking this medicine late in the day can cause sleep problems. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of Adderall can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms may include restlessness, tremor, muscle twitches, rapid breathing, confusion, hallucinations, panic, aggressiveness, unexplained muscle pain or tenderness, muscle weakness, fever or flu symptoms, and dark colored urine. These symptoms may be followed by depression and tiredness. Other overdose symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, uneven heartbeats, feeling light-headed, fainting, seizure (convulsions), or coma.

What should I avoid while taking Adderall?

Adderall can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Do not take Adderall late in the day. A dose taken too late in the day can cause sleep problems (insomnia).

Avoid drinking fruit juices or taking vitamin C at the same time you take Adderall. These can make your body absorb less of the medicine.

Adderall side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Adderall and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeats;
  • feeling light-headed, fainting;
  • increased blood pressure (severe headache, blurred vision, trouble concentrating, chest pain, numbness, seizure); or
  • tremor, restlessness, hallucinations, unusual behavior, or motor tics (muscle twitches).

Less serious Adderall side effects may include:

  • headache or dizziness;
  • sleep problems (insomnia);
  • dry mouth or an unpleasant taste in your mouth;
  • diarrhea, constipation;
  • loss of appetite, weight loss; or
  • loss of interest in sex, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Adderall?

Before taking Adderall, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • blood pressure medications;
  • a diuretic (water pill);
  • cold or allergy medicines (antihistamines);
  • acetazolamide (Diamox);
  • chlorpromazine (Thorazine);
  • ethosuximide (Zarontin);
  • guanethidine (Ismelin);
  • haloperidol (Haldol);
  • lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid);
  • methenamine (Hiprex, Mandelamine, Urex);
  • phenytoin (Dilantin), phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton);
  • propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvocet);
  • reserpine;
  • sodium bicarbonate (Alka-Seltzer); or
  • antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine (Ascendin), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Tofranil), or nortriptyline (Pamelor).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with Adderall. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about Adderall.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Adderall only for the indication prescribed
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. (‘Multum’) is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum’s drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum’s drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2009 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.07. Revision Date: 4/12/2009 4:42:24 PM

 

Fundamental legal right often denied parents

 

http://www.freep.com/article/20090705/OPINION05/907050455/Fundamental+legal+right+often+denied+parents

BY VIVEK SANKARAN • July 5, 2009

Last week, the Michigan Supreme Court refused to hear the case of Ronald McBride, a father whose parental rights to his three children were permanently terminated despite the fact that the juvenile court denied him the right to a lawyer throughout the entire case.

The Department of Human Services admitted that the trial court made a mistake. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office conceded that the father’s statutory and constitutional rights were violated and that reversal was required. National groups, including the National Association of Counsel for Children and the Public Counsel Project, urged the court to correct the injustice. And Justice Maura Corrigan, joined by Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly, wrote a powerful dissent providing compelling reasons why the court should hear the case.

All for naught. The court’s one-sentence response: “We are not persuaded the questions presented should be reviewed by the court.”

With that, the court endorsed the permanent severance of the parent-child relationship — often characterized as the “civil death penalty” — without affording the Bay County man the most fundamental of procedural rights: the right to a lawyer.

The McBride outrage was no fluke. But even though the Michigan Juvenile Code and court rules explicitly provide poor parents the right to an attorney in all child protective proceedings, much work remains to be done to implement this right and to ensure that parents receive effective representation.

In 2005, the American Bar Association concluded with respect to parent representation in Michigan that “what was reported to evaluators … and what was observed in court hearings fall disturbingly short of standards of practice.” More recently, Justice Corrigan observed a “disturbing and recent pattern of trial court’s failures to appoint counsel and untimely appointments of counsel to represent parents in child protective proceedings.”

How lawyers help judges

Justice Corrigan’s observations match anecdotal evidence documenting wide variation across the state in the quality of representation provided to parents. Each county sets its own standards for how parents’ attorneys are appointed. Compensation rates, training requirements, and the timing of appointments vary widely. The quality of counsel parents receive often depends on the county in which they reside.

(2 of 2)

And quality counsel matters. Without zealous advocates, parents face an uphill battle navigating the child welfare system. Far too many children are needlessly removed from their homes, and frequently parents feel overwhelmed by a complex system governed by an array of interrelated federal and state laws, controlled by sophisticated professionals who are the only ones who know the rules.

Alone, parents lack the tools to tell their stories or challenge governmental overreaching.

The assistance of a zealous advocate not only reassures the parent that he or she is not alone in navigating the child welfare labyrinth, but also improves the quality of decisions that courts make. By challenging unreliable information and producing independent evidence of their clients’ strengths and supports, attorneys ensure that courts rely upon only the most accurate and complete information available prior to rendering life-altering decisions.

Additionally, these lawyers expand options available to courts by proposing creative alternatives, such as guardianships or other custody arrangements, intensive in-home services to preserve a child’s placement in the home, or extensive visitation between parents and children supervised by family members, friends or neighbors.

Without zealous parent representation, courts lack an important perspective — that of the parent with whom reunification is sought — which increases the likelihood that courts will reach an erroneous decision.

In the child’s best interestNot surprisingly, national studies strongly suggest that strong advocacy for parents dramatically improves outcomes for children. Studies from Washington, New York and California demonstrate that strengthening parent representation leads to fewer children being removed from their homes, shorter stays for children in foster care, and fewer terminations of parental rights — exactly the types of results the system should strive for.

And ensuring that only those children who truly need foster care enter the system would result in significant public cost savings. As evaluators in the State of Washington concluded, “the enhancement of parents’ representation has the potential to save increasing millions in state funding on an annualized basis.”

Fortunately, child welfare leaders across the state recognize the need to strengthen the quality of parent representation, and important discussions will begin in upcoming months to fix the system.

For the sake of our children, we can only hope those talks bear fruit soon.

VIVEK SANKARAN is a clinical assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School.

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