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Category Archives: Deplorable living conditions

A tiny boy’s fight for survival

 

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/news/local/78126302.html

By HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Posted: November 30, 2009, 7:13 AM CST

 

His mother is in jail, and his protector is the state. His home is a hospital, and his health is nearly as fragile as the day he landed in the ER at Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital.

Weighing just 17 pounds, 3-year-old Kayvon Lewis arrived in the emergency room last month extremely malnourished, dehydrated and at risk of heart failure and liver damage. He can neither walk nor talk. He is blind and suffers seizures, sometimes five a day.

His mother, authorities say, was starving him to death, a form of child abuse so rare that doctors almost never see it.

About 200 children each year die from abuse and neglect in Texas. Kayvon escaped death by a thread.

And as is often the case, a lengthy list of people knew about the boy’s eroding condition, but failed to intervene.

“The care Kayvon was given was pathetic,” said Gary Polland, the attorney appointed to represent Kayvon at court after ER physicians had the boy taken into temporary custody by Texas Child Protective Services.

His mother, Marcia Holliday, 30, has been charged with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury by omission, a first-degree felony.

For more than a month now, doctors slowly have introduced the boy to what’s been missing much of his short life: food.

On the night of Oct. 15, according to records, Holliday brought Kayvon to Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital, telling the staff that her son was not eating or drinking and had not wet his diaper all day.

She seemed not to mention, records show, that he was half the size of a normal toddler, or had the head of a boy and the body of an infant — or that he could do none of the things children of his age are supposed to do.

Underlying problems

“He cannot walk, crawl, sit unsupported, pass objects between hands, reach, say ‘mama’ or ‘dada,’ wave ‘bye-bye,’ does not orient to voice,” reads a medical report after his ER exam.

Texas Child Protective Services caseworker Sandra Moy stated the case in more startling clinical terms: “Kayvon T. Lewis’ nutritional level was 9.2 when a normal level is 45 and a low level is 18.”

On the same day, pediatrician Dr. William Risser referred Kayvon’s case to the Child Abuse Resource and Education Center team, an inpatient consultation service for suspected child abuse and neglect cases.

University of Texas-Houston Medical School’s Dr. Oscar G. Larrazolo performed Kayvon’s exam, and the findings were verified by CARE team director Dr. Rebecca Giradet, an associate professor at the medical school and staff physician at Memorial Hermann.

Kayvon, the doctors’ report noted, was first diagnosed at 9 months of age with “failure to thrive” — a catch-all phrase used to describe a child’s condition, not the underlying reason why a child cannot gain weight or develop. Doctors found he had seizures, scoliosis and asthma, underlying health problems. But they told CPS those conditions could not be responsible for his starved state.

“The only reasonable explanation for his starvation is physical neglect,” their report stated.

But as is all too often in the case of abused children, there was no shortage of people who knew about the boy’s eroding condition but for one reason or another failed to intervene.

Weight loss a ‘red flag’

CPS investigated its first complaint about the boy’s care in January 2008. They found Kayvon’s mother was “intoxicated on drugs” and the child appeared to be a “failure to thrive child.” Services were ordered, including sessions with a state dietitian and physical therapist. Nothing about the boy’s small size or condition alerted workers that Kayvon was in enough danger that he should be removed from his home, according to court documents.

On March 27, 2008, while the investigation was still open, Holliday tested positive for marijuana. Still, the boy was left in the home after Holliday promised to enroll in a series of early childhood intervention classes. The case was closed on April 1, 2008.

The following month, he was taken to his pediatrician, Dr. Niala Siddiqi. Kayvon, who was just shy of his second birthday, weighed 18 pounds, 6 ounces. Sixteen months later, on Aug. 28, 2009, his weight had dropped by more than a pound.

Siddiqi did not return calls for comment to the Houston Chronicle.

Giradet, one of the team of doctors who examined Kayvon last month in the emergency room, would not comment specifically on Kayvon’s case. However, she did say that any young child who maintained such a low weight over more than half his life was a “red flag” that starvation was occurring.

Children, particularly those in poorer circumstances, can be found to be malnourished. But starvation abuse of a child is so rare that Giradet has seen it only three times, counting Kayvon, in her decades-long career.

In interviews, Kayvon’s relatives admitted to officials that they had told Holliday to take Kayvon to the hospital on other occasions. But when she didn’t, they did not call his doctors or CPS

“Maternal grandmother and maternal aunt stated that they encouraged Kayvon’s mother, Marcia Holliday to take Kayvon to the hospital for his condition but that she failed to act,” Moy wrote.

There was a second CPS investigation in November 2008. The agency was notified the boy may not have access to his anti-seizure medication. The case, too, was closed quickly after a check found that he did have his medication.

Denies starving her son

Holliday, who was released from the Harris County Jail this past week, denies she systematically starved her son.

“Everything they say (CPS) is a lie. He wasn’t eating or drinking,” she said during a recent interview at the jail. “He has a lot of problems going on.”

Now, two months later, Kayvon’s intake of liquid formula is monitored constantly. Too much food at this stage can overwhelm the underdeveloped organs of his tiny 17-pound body. A white mesh glove has been placed over his left hand to keep him from sucking it. Kayvon was starved for so long, he had sucked his thumb raw and a sore developed.

“Since their bodies have not been seeing normal quantities of fats and carbohydrates, their bodily functions kind of shut down,” explained Giradet. “It’s very dangerous to suddenly feed a starved child normal food. They can go into liver failure, heart arrhythmia. Their pancreas does not make insulin anymore. All of those functions are not working.”

Explanation elusive

Why Kayvon was starved is hard to say.

“Typically these children come from very stressed families,” Giradet said. “It may be one child is singled out and the other ones are getting adequately fed.”

Neither Kayvon’s 6-year-old brother nor his 5-year-old sister showed signs of starvation or other abuse.

Until recently, the children lived with their mother in the Forest Pointe apartments, one of a string of low-income complexes that snake along Northborough Drive in the Greenspoint area of Houston. Both siblings are in foster care.

While Kayvon is out of intensive care, he has yet to try solid food, not even Cheerios or crackers, according to CPS.

Giradet could not say how long it will take a child like Kayvon to recover.

New Report Scalds DHS

 

Accuses Agency Of Allowing Abuse

 

http://www.koco.com/news/21586699/detail.html

TULSA, Okla. –

A child welfare expert said five foster children in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services were scalded in bath water, sexually molested, beaten with tree switches and belts and hit in the mouth – a pattern of abuse the expert called “outrageous and immoral.”

The 121-page report  by independent consultant Peg McCartt Hess was filed Wednesday afternoon in Tulsa federal court as part of a 2008 class-action lawsuit that accuses DHS of mistreating its foster children.

For her report, Hess reviewed case files for five of the nine children named as plaintiffs in the suit against Oklahoma by Children’s Rights, a New York-based child advocacy group.

In the report, two different child welfare experts reviewed a case involving several children in DHS custody and said DHS is inadequate in responding to abuse in a home, that children in DHS care are likely at risk of physical and mental abuse, that social workers have only superficial relationships with children, and that children are at risk of being placed with abusive and neglectful caregivers.

Hess said the abuse and neglect the children suffered while in DHS custody was “wholly preventable.”

The claim is a starkly different story than George Johnson of the DHS said in an interview with Eyewitness News 5 one year ago.

“Any time anything happens to a child in foster care, there’s an immediate investigation,” he said in the November 2008 interview. “That’s the best we can do to work hard every single day.”

At the time, he also said that it wasn’t true that children in DHS care are in danger of being placed with abusive or neglectful caregivers.

“Whether they’re in foster homes or their own relatives’ care, children will die,” he said in 2008. “Accidents will happen, period.”

DHS declined to comment on the new reports until workers have had a chance to review them.

Oklahoma kids in DHS care face dangers, report finds

 

Group seeks reform of state system

 

TULSA — Treatment of children in Oklahoma’s child welfare system has been “incomprehensible, unimaginable, outrageous and immoral,” a child welfare expert stated Wednesday in a report filed in Tulsa federal court.

Read more: http://www.newsok.com/oklahoma-kids-in-dhs-care-face-dangers-report-finds/article/3416727?custom_click=pod_headline_crime#ixzz0WgHKV8kQ

State Supreme Court justice slams DHHR over foster care system

 

http://www.register-herald.com/statenews/local_story_306120858.html

The Associated Press

By Tom Breen

Associated Press Writer

CHARLESTON — For the second time this year, a state Supreme Court justice has blasted the Department of Health and Human Resources by suggesting the agency has systemwide problems that need rapid correction.

In a concurring opinion filed this week, Justice Margaret Workman accused the DHHR of failing to properly protect children caught between the foster care system and an abusive home.

“The intent is to issue a clarion call to the DHHR to provide child protective services with more resources and more direction in protecting children,” Workman wrote.

Workman’s opinion comes roughly two months after Chief Justice Brent Benjamin rebuked DHHR in a different case. He wrote that the agency seems to have systemic problems preventing it from meeting its duties.

The two opinions, along with other concerns, have led some frustrated lawmakers to discuss whether splitting the agency up would make the bureaus and departments that comprise it more efficient.

Workman’s opinion backed the court’s unanimous affirmation of a 2008 decision by Mineral County Circuit Court Judge Philip Jordan. Jordan ordered that children who had been living in an Eastern Panhandle home should not be returned to the woman who ordered them to call her “Mom,” although she was not related to them by blood.

The woman, her son and seven children moved from Maryland to West Virginia in 2001. Over the next six years, the living arrangement was the subject of 11 referrals to DHHR concerning abuse and neglect.

In the Supreme Court’s anonymous, or “per curiam,” decision, the justices wrote that the DHHR substantiated claims of everything from physical abuse to a home with cockroaches falling from the ceiling and farm animals sharing living space with people.

The woman, named in the case only as Rosemary C., eventually lost custody of the children in 2007. A year later, though, after she had completed an improvement plan, DHHR recommended that four of the children be returned to her custody.

Jordan disagreed, and Rosemary C. appealed. By the time the case reached the Supreme Court, DHHR had changed its position and recommended the children not be returned to her.

“It is outrageous that seven children were left in despicable circumstances by the DHHR for more than six years and even then, that the DHHR still sought to place those children back in an unsafe environment,” Workman wrote.

She further wrote that the incident raises concern that it’s only “the tip of the iceberg,” which raises the question “whether we must begin to re-examine child protective services in a more systemic manner.”

DHHR spokesman John Law said the agency wants to further review the justices’ ruling before commenting.

Lawmakers who have read it, though, say it matches their frustration with the agency in matters ranging from foster care to the conditions at the state’s two psychiatric hospitals in Huntington and Weston.

“This is similar to what we saw at Bateman Hospital,” said Delegate Don Perdue, referring to the crowded conditions at the Huntington hospital. “It seems that DHHR has no ability to move quickly to intervene in negative situations like this.”

The Wayne County Democrat, who is chairman of the House Health and Human Resources Committee, said he wants legislation in the next session of the Legislature to address what he calls depleted resources at the agency, starting with hiring more people.

“DHHR needs to ramp up its work force, and it needs to recognize it has really severe problems in terms of being able to do what it needs to do,” he said.

Gov. Joe Manchin said that DHHR has made significant progress in several areas, but that he understands more work needs to be done. Manchin said he’s especially concerned if the agency is failing in its duty to protect children.

“Children are our number one priority and if there’s something wrong, then we need to fix it,” he said. “If that means additional training, more efficiencies, whatever it may be, then let’s look at the ideas on how we can make it better.”

Perdue and some of his colleagues have discussed splitting the agency up, which he said might make it easier to focus on the many tasks it currently has.

Prior to the administration of Gov. Gaston Caperton, many of the functions now handled by DHHR were located in separate parts of state government. Caperton sought the merger of those agencies to make them more streamlined and efficient.

“From what we’ve seen since, it hasn’t really achieved that goal,” Perdue said.

Manchin stopped short of endorsing that idea, although he said he wants to discuss it further with Perdue.

Perdue’s House colleague, Delegate Barbara Hatfield, has been crafting legislation she plans to introduce in the 2010 legislative session to address situations like the one described in the Supreme Court ruling.

“The system is broken,” the Kanawha County Democrat said. “Everyone knows it, but no one is doing anything about it.”

Hatfield’s legislation would create pilot programs offering specialized training and guidance to foster parents, and provide for better tracking of children in the system.

She also wants to see improved training for caseworkers and a boost in their pay to make the agency more competitive with the private sector.

“We have dedicated, good people doing their best,” she said, “but the strain on them is tremendous and there just aren’t enough of them.”

Police investigate baby’s death

 

http://www.poststar.com/news/local/article_8ab4d49e-ca89-11de-ac6f-001cc4c03286.html

By Don Lehman

GLENS FALLS — Police and Warren County officials are investigating the death of an 8-month-old baby in a Montcalm Street apartment, a death that happened weeks after the county Department of Social Services removed the baby from the home because of conditions there but then allowed him to return.

A union official said Thursday that he believed “Social Services failed that baby,” at least in part because of job cuts and an agency restructuring that occurred in recent months. The official, labor relations specialist Jon Premo of the Civil Service Employees Association, said Social Services employees had been expressing concern since the summer about being able to do their jobs amid budget cuts.

It has not been determined how the child, Hayden M. Jones, died, Glens Falls Police said. The child was sleeping on a couch with his mother, Amber LaBarge, on the morning of Oct. 11, and when LaBarge awoke, the baby was dead.

An autopsy performed on the child could not pinpoint a cause of death, but the investigation is continuing, said Glens Falls Police Detective Sgt. Paul Frettoloso.

No natural causes for the death were found, but there was no trauma or any other indication of foul play, and no charges were filed, he said. Police have theorized the baby suffocated.

Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said authorities are awaiting a final autopsy report.

Hayden had been removed from the home over the summer after the Department of Social Services received a complaint about conditions in the 12 Montcalm St. apartment where he had been staying with LaBarge and at least six other people. Hayden’s father was not among those living there, officials said.

The home was littered with garbage and considered unfit for the baby, authorities said. So the child was given to his father, Joshua Jones of Hudson Falls, until conditions at the Montcalm Street apartment improved.

Glens Falls Police Officer John Norton, who was one of the first officers to arrive at the home Oct. 11, said the apartment had no electricity or hot water, maggots in the kitchen and bathroom, and garbage strewn throughout. He said the conditions were bad enough for officers to notify the city Building and Codes office about apparent code violations.

John Ward, the city’s code enforcement officer, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

It was unclear whether workers with the Department of Social Services checked the home after Hayden was allowed to return to LaBarge’s care.

“I think if they had gone back there they would have removed the kid again, definitely,” Frettoloso said.

“It obviously passed the standard to put the child back in the home, but it didn’t stay that way,” said Glens Falls Police Detective Sgt. Peter Casertino.

Hayden did have a crib and clean clothes, and seemed in good health overall before his death, Frettoloso said. LaBarge did not have her own room or bed, and slept on the couch.

It was unclear when Hayden was returned to the Glens Falls home.

In a phone interview this week, LaBarge, 19, said the baby was returned to the home a few weeks before his death, but she could not pinpoint the date.

She said she had asked the Department of Social Services for help earlier this fall because she wanted to get out of the apartment, which is where her mother lives, because she knew the conditions were bad for the child. She said she was told there was a waiting list for “temporary assistance.”

“I told them I needed to get out of there,” she said. “I did everything I could to get out of that place for my baby.”

Labarge, who works at a local fast food restaurant, said she slept with Hayden on the couch the night of his death because he had been “screaming his head off.” She said she thought he was teething.

She said she understood police were continuing to investigate the death, but said, “I’d never hurt my son. That was my baby. I would have done anything for him.”

Premo, a labor relations specialist for the Civil Service Employees Association, which represents 480 Warren County workers, including employees of the Department of Social Services, said workers in the department have expressed concerns to him about their ability to do their jobs in light of cuts and changes to the department in recent months.

He said five caseworkers quit over the summer after a restructuring that changed the on-call caseworker system.

An agency restructuring last month eliminated six jobs, and some were “direct supervisors” that, Premo said, oversaw and assisted caseworkers. Additional layoffs happened during a round of cuts during the spring.

In e-mails to a reporter dating back to late August, Premo relayed concerns that the apparent problems at the Department of Social Services could hurt the services the agency provides and result in a tragedy.

“I do think this is related to the cuts and restructuring,” he said Thursday. “Everybody has been moved from their chairs. It’s a difficult situation. There seems to be blame all-around.”

He said he had discussed the baby death situation with employees of the department, but was not at liberty to say what he believed happened.

Sheila Weaver, the county’s commissioner of social services, said Wednesday she “could not confirm or deny anything to do with” the Hayden Jones case.

Fred Monroe, chairman of the county Board of Supervisors, said Weaver briefed him and County Attorney Paul Dusek about the case recently.

He said it is standard practice for the chairman of the board and county attorney to be notified when a child who had been subject to Department of Social Services action died, though it hadn’t happened before during his two-year tenure at the helm of the board.

“They both cautioned me that we couldn’t say much because there are privacy aspects,” Monroe said.

Dusek did not return a phone call about the matter Thursday.

Mom Charged with Torture, 29 Counts of Abuse

 

http://blogs.bet.com/news/newsyoushouldknow/mom-charged-with-torture-29-counts-of-abuse/

From the Associated Press

Prosecutors allege LaRhonda McCall, 37, and her friend, Steve Vern Hamilton, 38, beat the boy repeatedly — with “fists, bike chains, cables, extension cords, and/or boards,” leaving permanent scars. Hamilton is charged with 24 counts of child abuse.

The charges also allege McCall tortured her son in various ways, including by tying him naked to a ladder and pouring sugar water over him to attract insects. Another time, the charges allege, she poured alcohol on him and lit it on fire, burning the boy. She also allegedly forced him to stand barefoot in the snow for more than 45 minutes.

The alleged abuse was discovered after the boy escaped and ran to a National Guard base for help. All of McCall’s six children have been placed in the care of the state. Her 18-year-old daughter is considered an adult.

McCall has already was convicted and served six months in prison for manslaughter in 1996 for starving her then two-year-old daughter to death.

 

Oklahoma City police say pair admitted beating boy, 14

Read more: http://newsok.com/city-police-say-pair-admitted-beating-boy-14/article/3405115#ixzz0VjaJqRIv

 

 

 

Parents charged in death of girl, 10

 

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/front_page/20091023_Parents_charged_in_death_of_girl__10.html

By John Sullivan and Troy Graham

Inquirer Staff Writers

What 10-year-old Charleeni Ferreira suffered at the hands of her father and stepmother was nothing short of torture, police officials said yesterday, calling her death one of the worst cases of child abuse they have seen.

Charleeni, who died Wednesday, had numerous healed and fresh injuries, including broken bones and a severe head gash that had been stuffed with gauze and concealed with a hair weave. Ultimately, she died of an infection that collapsed her lungs and that had been caused by untreated broken ribs.

Her father, Domingo Ferreira, 53, and stepmother, Margarita Garabito, 43, of Feltonville, both were charged yesterday with murder and endangering the welfare of a child. They were being processed at Police Headquarters.

“It’s unconscionable that someone could have done this to a 10-year-old girl,” said Homicide Capt. James Clark. “You could say it was ongoing torture.”

Charleeni also had injuries that showed she had been sexually abused, but neither parent was charged yesterday with a sex crime. The investigation into those injuries was continuing.

Questions also remained, Clark said, about what motivated the abuse and how such a severe case could have been concealed from the numerous people who would have had contact with girl.

Despite her injuries, which included a recent hip fracture that caused her to limp, Charleeni had a perfect school-attendance record until Monday, officials said.

She was a fifth grader at Feltonville Intermediate, where grief counselors were on hand yesterday to assist students and staff.

Three years ago, the city’s Department of Human Services investigated claims that Charleeni was being abused, visiting the girl in her home several times a week for months. In the end, the agency had to close the case after being unable to substantiate the claims, according to sources who reviewed records in the case.

Clark also said investigators were trying to determine whether police had been called to the home before, but he was unaware of any previous incidents yesterday.

Police and medics responded to the home, in the 4700 block of C Street, about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, after Charleeni’s stepmother found her unresponsive in the bathroom. She died at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children.

Two other people living in the home – Garabito’s 16-year-old and 19-year-old sons – showed no signs of abuse, Clark said. They were staying with relatives yesterday, he said.

It was unclear how long Charleeni had been abused, but the seven-inch gash on her forehead was so old that skin had begun to grow over the gauze, officials said.

In 2006, a nurse at Charleeni’s previous school, Clara Barton Elementary, was adamant that the girl was being abused, according to sources familiar with the case.

After the nurse’s first report in October of that year, DHS took the child to a pediatrician specializing in child abuse, but the doctor could not substantiate the claim.

The nurse was so insistent that DHS initiated services anyway, the sources said.

For 12 weeks, a private child-welfare agency hired by the department visited the home at least twice a week under a now-defunct program called Family Preservation. The program was the most invasive of the in-home services and usually was employed as a last-ditch effort to keep a child in the home.

Although the family was cooperative and there was no indication of abuse, the agency extended the 12-week service, the sources said.

In February 2007, the school nurse made another call to DHS alleging abuse. By this point, DHS was engulfed in a public maelstrom after revelations by The Inquirer that 20 children had died of abuse after they or their families had been known to the agency.

Under the heightened scrutiny, the agency again made an appointment for Charleeni to see the child-abuse pediatrician.

The doctor indicated that there might have been past abuse, but that there was no evidence the girl was being mistreated at present, the sources said.

When asked, the girl told the doctor that she had been abused by her biological mother, who lived in Puerto Rico, according to sources. In fact, the sources said, she was significantly malnourished when she came to stay with her father in Philadelphia.

With two unsubstantiated cases of abuse, DHS closed out the case. The department has no procedure for revisiting an unsubstantiated abuse case once it has been closed, and those cases are eventually expunged.

DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose declined to discuss the specifics of Charleeni’s case yesterday, citing state confidentiality laws.

“However, as the facts of this case become known to DHS, we will have lots of work to do in looking at the recent events that could have led to or prevented this tragedy,” she said in a statement.

Ambrose was appointed in June 2008 and has overseen significant reforms at an agency that gets about 10,000 abuse and neglect calls a year.

A SUZANNE SHELL STORY ON LEGALLY KIDNAPPED

 

http://legallykidnapped.blogspot.com/2009/10/suzanne-shell-story.html

 

WILL THEY ALLOW ANY “NUT JOB” TO ADOPT

 

https://stopcorruptdss.wordpress.com/2009/10/19/will-they-allow-any-nut-job-to-adopt-2/

Look at what this adoptive mother is saying about her adoptive children.   Do you honestly believe that a woman that can say these horrible things about these children is the right person to raise them?

My God with a mother like that, you don’t need enemies!!!

When people called her out about her comments on these children, this woman, Lisa Hill, began emailing, threatening, and harrassing them, while in the public face, claiming it was the other way around.  I know because I have been on the recieving end of her emails and am now suffering under constant and continuing harassment from her for reposting her blog posts.   

It is my belief that if you put public information on a PUBLIC FORUM then you best be prepared for the comments you recieve.  She posted these horrible things about children who from her own mouth have suffered enough. She gave no nevermind to how hurt they would be if they’d come across her derogratory comments about them or how others would treat them if they read the comments and recognized them from the pictures she posted.  Lisa Hill does not have these childrens best intrest at heart, just her own pity party, and it is my belief that CPS should immediately remove these children and place them in a home where they will recieve the love that they deserve…  not the tyrannical ravings of a woman who obviously does not know the true meaning of the word mother.   UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND FORGIVENESS NO MATTER WHAT!

 This woman posted this and then after recieving negative comments thought that she could change her blog to private, I guess she forgot about this other site where she had posted it as well… I am posting the entire thing here, so she can’t deny that she posted it.

I have reposted Lisa Hill’s blog posts under the guidelines of the Fair Use Doctrine, I believe I have made it perfectly clear that I have done so, not only because I find them News Worthy, but also for the purpose of criticism.  I completely and totally disagree with the manner that she speaks of her adoptive children and find her attitude toward them alarming.  Ms. Hill has continually emailed me threatening and harassing me in an attempt to bully me into removing these posts, I refuse to do so. 

This is a non-profit, blog, used to educate people about CPS, Foster Care, Adoption and the deaths or injuries of children that have been in contact or in the custody of Child Protective Services.  Lisa Hill adopted her two older children from Foster Care and I seriously question CPS allowing her to do so after reading what she has posted about them.  I believe that Ms. Hills attitude toward these children is harmful to them and it is that belief that has made me refuse to remove this post.  People need to see first hand how some of the people who adopt foster children really feel about them.  Lisa Hill’s posts brings this issue fully to light and I feel they are  a prime example of why we need better screening for people who adopt children from foster care and the need for continued montoring after children are adopted from foster care.

Lisa Hill has emailed me accusing me of endangering her children by reposting her posts, I do not believe that my repost is  endangering her children, Ms. Hill is the one who posted all of this information on a public forum, I have merely reposted the information that she released to the public.  These are not private facts, but information that she herself made public on several different public forums, she did not have a concern in the world that predators might be able to use the information that she posted to find her children, but now she wants to say that I am endangering her children. 

As a matter of fact, my blog posting carries only the information that she, herself,  posted on the wellness blog site.  On her other blog, where she also posted this, she has the state she lives in,  the town, the names and ages of the children, her husband’s name and occupation and even more pictures of these children and the other two.  That information can also still be accessed by anyone wishing to do so, I have choosen not to publish that information here.

My point is her issue with my reposting her offensive posts has nothing to do with endangering her children, but more to do with the fact that she has now realized how horrible what she wrote about these children really is and wishing to hide the proof of it.  Ms. Hill refuses to accept the responsiblity for her actions and has instead rage a campain against those who have stood up to her and cried foul for what I can only percieve as resentment, anger, and an intense dislike toward the children that she adopted.

She is claiming that these post are fake…which is an outright lie!  I would never post anything that was not the truth, nor would I fake posts!

I will be posting Lisa Hills emails to me at a later date.

 

Fair Use

 

http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/fair-use

 

“[T]he fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include –

the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

the nature of the copyrighted work;

the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole;

and the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”

 Before you read these posts…check out the safety assessment that is filled out when the DSS of my state investigates the family

Pay special attention to section A  1 and 2…according to our own guidelines the cruel manner in which Ms. Hill speaks of her children is continued abuse….

dss-5231

Nut job

http://stanford.wellsphere.com/weight-loss-article/nut-job/810361  SHE HAS REMOVED THIS POST, BUT YOU CAN STILL FIND IT AT:

http://74.125.113.132/search?q=cache:ygXCKTqWrdcJ:www.wellsphere.com/weight-loss-article/nut-job/810361+weight-loss-article/nut-job/810361&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Posted Sep 23 2009 11:11pm

Yep. I am a bad mother. I regret ever adopting my older two kids. They are soooo hard to raise and they came withsooooo many problems. They are emotionally unstable, they lie, steal, manipulate, everything ALL DAY EVERYDAY and parenting them brings me no joy what-so-ever. I always caution people against adopting older kids from foster care unless they are older and finished with child rearing and can focus on a loveless relationship and have the time and energy to run their house like a prison. We were lied to about our kids and not given their files until AFTER their adoption was final. I was so stupid because I thought a loving home and stability would “help” these kids. WRONG. We have had them for 4 years (got them at ages 5 and 6) and they only get better at lying. We just found out today that our now 10 year old has been stealing from us. She is the one everything thinks is so sweet and innocent but they don’t know her. So today Andi stole $20 from us to buy a little thumb sized stuffed animal from a girl at school. Nice. We live penny to penny and yet she feels it’s ok to do this. I noticed money missing and I was yelling at my husband all day telling him that he must have taken it because I didn’t and we weren’t going to have enough money to get by until Friday when he gets paid. Then, the kids came home from school and Miguel told me Andi found a $20 bill in the middle of a bush on the way to school this morning. After interrogation, he admitted what she did and also gave her up about stealing things from the kids at school then SELLING THEM to other people. Great. I am the mother of a 10 year old slanger in the 5 th grade. Oh so proud. NOTHING we do gets to them. No punishments, no rewards, NOTHING drives them to be better people. That’s part of RAD. (Reactive Attachment Disorder) No conscience. I feel like shit because I imagine all the time that something happens that will send them back to their birth mom and how great life would be. From sun up to sun down I have to deal with all their crap. Calls from the school about theft, lying, trying to hurt our animals, last night I became overwhelmed and binged. I felt like such a failure because I turned to the only way to cope I know how. I wanted the world to stop for a moment and when I binge it does. For me, it is not our fault they are this way. We did not abuse or neglect them. Their birth mom did and some of their foster parents but we are left cleaning up the crap forever. Where is the joy? I try soooo hard to give them a normal life but it’s like they don’t want to accept that. All the RAD specialists say there is nothing we can do but try to “condition” them to do the right thing by habit but not because they know it’s the right thing. Since they were neglected so bad during their formative years before 3, their brains didn’t form naturally in that way and they are incapable of ever bonding or feeling empathy. I guess the criminal part of their brains developed just fine because they are great at all that. You would NEVER know it if you met them. they are MASTERS at putting on a fake front. EVERYONE is always telling me how good they are at church and school until stiff comes up missing… Give them a while and they will start to show their true colors. I feel soooo guilty thinking the things I do because I know it is not their fault for what happened to them to make them this way, but I resent being lied to by the state of California and now I am “stuck” with this situation. Everyday this is my existence. I am extra grateful for my other two kids because at least I get the good with the bad. I get to know what it’s like to have a child of mine love me and feel empathy for others. Yes, the kids are in therapy and s ee the therapist at school. I did get a notice from the school that the problems they have are far beyond what they deal with. Duh. Sometimes I find myself looking forward to when they are 12 and we can put them in a boot camp or group home. I look forward to peace. I look forward to some normalcy. That is, if they make it to 12 without going to Juvenal hall from finally stealing from the wrong person or place. Then i feel guilty for thinking those things. Thanks for listening to my vent. I don’t talk about this much because it is so embarrassing, but it is my reality. No judgements please. Unless you have a kid with RAD, you would not understand.

 I have decided to remove her children’s picture, I have left it up here long enough to make the point of what she did by releasing it.  That was my point.   Not only did she speak so horribly of her children, she released their pictures so everyone would know exactly who she was talking about.  I think that in itself shows the lack of concern Ms. Hill has for her children’s safety and well-being.   

Pic of the day… they look so normal don’t they?

 

Crazy Dayz

http://stanford.wellsphere.com/weight-loss-article/crazy-dayz/810360    SHE HAS REMOVED THIS POST, BUT YOU CAN STILL FIND IT AT:

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Posted Sep 23 2009 11:11pm

I LOVE my kids school. So this morning I marched Andi right down to her principals office to tell her that Andi has been stealing from school. Her principal let her have it and is going to decide if she should stay the class Treasurer. Her principal and the entire school knows what my older kids are like so they are very understanding. I won’t lie, it feels good to be validated. as we were leaving, she said to me she can’t imagine how hard it is for us at home with my kids. Just to hear someone say that makes me feel better. To all of you, thanks for the support yesterday. There were about one of you who chastised me for my OWN FEELINGS on my own site, but again I remind you, if you don’t like it don’t read it. This is my safe place. I had SOOO many e-mails from people who have either gone through this or know someone who has adopted older children from foster care and gone though the SAME THING and they appreciate my honesty. There is nothing I want more in the world than for my older kids to change, to have a chance at life, but I should have been told the truth and been allowed to make an adoption decision based on TRUTH.This one person kept saying we chose them not the other way around. Not exactly. I was their daycare provider and they had already had TWO failed adoptions. They were placed with us as a kin placement on an emergency basis because their pre -adoptive mother wanted them out of the house asap. It was a Friday night. Then they kept dragging their feet about placing them somewhere else. They lied to us about their past and assured us that once they had stability all would be well so we agreed that our home would be better than being raised in a group home which is where they were headed at 5 and 6 years old! Just like they didn’t ask for their life circumstance, I did not ask for this either. In that way we are in the same boat. At what point is it enough? when they burn down our house? Miguel has already used knives to cut holes in his mattress so he could hide all the things he steals in there. How long until that knife lands somewhere else? They are both master manipulators and I am not surprised that my 10 year old daughter had a criminal enterprise going on at school. I will NEVER apologize for my own feelings. I will never hold back here because I committed to myself to be real. I KNOW it’s out on the Internet. That is the point. Maybe someone else out there is dealing with this or thinking of adopting older children and it can help them. This is my life. My day to day and I will purge on here how I want to and whenever I damn well want to. :)

 

Crazy Lady!!!

http://stanford.wellsphere.com/weight-loss-article/crazy-lady/810359  SHE HAS REMOVED THIS POST, BUT YOU CAN STILL FIND IT AT:

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Posted Sep 23 2009 11:11pm Brendahas left a new comment on your post “Nut job”:I’m going to report you tomorrow to CPS. I’m just giving you fair warning so don’t be surprised when they come knocking at your door. I know this won’t get published and that’s okay. It’s to you personally. Thank God I have friends who found out the town you live in. This article has been copied and pasted so you can’t deny writing it. They deserve so much better than you.Then she wrote this…Brendahas left a new comment on your post “Nut job”: I’m crazy? Lady, you’re saying you hate your kids and I’m crazy? I have 5 children plus an adopted child and I love them all. You need to be reported. Do those kids a favor and get them the hell out of your house. You are off your rocker. I cannot believe the things you said about these poor children. They deserve to be with someone who can take up the time needed for them and apparently that’s not you. I seriously doubt that CPS will do a damn thing cos you’re a cash cow for them but it will make me feel better. I just hope those kids don’t see what you wrote. You’re a horrible mother and not much of a human being either. $20 is more important to you than them. Go buy yourself a pizza or ice cream, wolf it down and maybe you’ll feel a little bit better!This lady has been leaving me crazy comments ALL night. Here is her profile…http://www.blogger.com/profile/14453734054168347425As if you can call CPS because someone is frustrated with their emotionallydisturbed children. :) YEs! Call the police while you are at it! Oh no! How dare I provide a loving home, safety, a life, a family. Yes! Call CPS! Their case workers will LOVE this. (You know, this is funny… their case workers are FROM CPS! lol ) AND they know exactly how I feel and are trying to get family therapy approved through the state! YES crazy lady. While your at it, get some therapy for yourself. It is VERY sad to have to stalk an adoptive mother who through thick and thin IS raising two children that were adopted from foster care. YEs! Call CPS and tell them that I am a horrible person for living up to my commitments to them and giving them ALL I HAVE EVERYDAY OF MY LIFE. They will be mortified! For sure they will place them with a better woman than I. Maybe someone who beats them, who neglects them, who doesn’t hold them, care for them, take them to church, someone who will not be there team mom for all their sports, or someone who doesn’t take them to school early so they can be in choir or act as a campaign manager so they can get elected to their student councils. Yes. I am worthless and they are MUCH better off in foster care. You sound like a crazy dumb ass. Go stalk someone else. I’m sure CPS will bend over backwards for you after reading all YOUR blogs. hahaha!Geez. This blog world really brings out the crazies. I guess I should have guessed that would happen with such a hard topic, but I will never hide from my feelings and I will always share my hardships in hopes that what I go through might help someone else.

 

Now this wacko is joining in the fun!

http://stanford.wellsphere.com/weight-loss-article/now-this-wacko-is-joining-in-the-fun/810358  SHE HAS REMOVED THIS POST, BUT YOU CAN STILL FIND IT AT:

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Posted Sep 23 2009 11:11pm She writes…

lilibithas left a new comment on your post “Nut job”: Oh boy are you in big trouble , tell us how much you get for the subsidy monthly ?? and did they come to you already drugged ?? are they coded ?? Got you number and your location , this has going out to the media too , also the gov and the Social workers union and many news orgs else , you are a monster why did you take these kids ?? lady if those children are not removed and put in a safe and nuturing home soon , there is going to be hell to pay , while its true that CPS lies you cannot cast blame you adopted them , have you ever heard of the Casey foundation ?? have you ever gotten off your fat ass and got help or did you just do a few hours at the CPS seminar …..we got you you are a disgrace to the familys that do love children and not eat up the money you get , This is gone viral and its too late to shut it down , criminal charges against you for fraud and SLOTH have been set in motion ……you stole those kids and you have the nerve to speak out against the bios , HMM thought CPS didnt tell you anything …..this has already been printed out and on its way , you had better not hurt those children , nancy grace is going to have a feild day with you to if something happens , make sure you stop eating for a while and make sure the kids are not hurt , the police have been alerted too . no copywrite laws broken here

Wow. Someone is off their meds. lol Here is her bio… http://www.blogger.com/profile/06513141679326716598Here is her e-mail… lizzianthus007@aol.com

Going private – who wants an invite?

http://stanford.wellsphere.com/weight-loss-article/going-private-who-wants-an-invite/811029

Posted Sep 24 2009 10:45pm

So those two ladies who are stalking me have gotten out of control. The lilbit one is a lady who lost custody of her daughter while she was in rehab so she is against ALL adoptive parents. She has been leaving VERY threatening e-mails saying she knows where my kids go to school etc so I am going to go private. I have her contact info from her blog and plan to call her local police if she sends me another e-mail, but if anything this experience has shown me what whackadoos there are out in the world and I need to be more careful about our safety. The Brenda one has been leaving comments ALL night and according to my feed which gives me her contact info she has been checking my site every 5 minutes since yesterday. All these women are women who have had children taken from CPS. The crazy Brenda says my kids were stolen from their bio mom. This lady sold my kids for drugs but Brenda believes in all her mind that they are better off with her. It looks as though there was a reason for all these women to lose their kids. I would shutter at the thought of them being able to provide a safe home when they are obviouslymentally unstable. My follower thing says I have almost 200 followers and blogger will only let you invite 100 so I will take the 1st 100 that comment here. (Not the crazies.) lol see you on the private side folks!

20 spots left for an invite! :)

http://stanford.wellsphere.com/weight-loss-article/20-spots-left-for-an-invite/811028    SHE HAS REMOVED THIS POST, BUT YOU CAN STILL FIND IT AT:

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Posted Sep 24 2009 10:45pm

Please don’t forget that if you don’t have your e-mail on your profile, I can’t send you the invite without it so please e-mail me with it asap. See you there! :)P.s. The Crazy Brenda lady is involved with a group of people who have had their kids taken away that believe that ALL adopted kids should be with their bio parents no matter what the abuse. They are a bunch of crazy people who no doubt lost their kids for good reasons. I am sooo sorry they found their way here but you all should know so you can protect your blogs. Her info and the links to all her coo-coo blogs are in the posts below. These nuts have been sending AWFUL posts that I will not publish and now will no longer read. I shutter to think what would have happened to their kids if they still had them. I will close up shop so we are all protected. God help any children those people have. I now feel MUCH better knowing that my kids are with me instead of live wires like that.

Lisa Hill

Lisa Hill

 Top HealthBlogger for the Weight loss Community Blog: http://losewithlisa.blogspot.com/ I am a 32 year old wife and a mother to four beautiful adopted children. I am struggling with a… Full Bio

BioI am a 32 year old wife and a mother to four beautiful adopted children. I am struggling with a food/binge eating addiction and I am disclosing all of my struggles and victories on my site in order to receive and offer support.

Flawed county system lets children die invisibly

 

Miguel Padilla, mistreated and abandoned, killed himself at 17

 

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-miguel11-2009oct11,0,4795548.story?page=1

By Kim Christensen and Garrett Therolf

 

October 11, 2009

Miguel Padilla ran away from a licensed group home in April 2008, but he didn’t go far.

Unknown to anyone at the time, the 17-year-old amputee made his way to a stand of trees near the main driveway. Using his one arm, he climbed into the branches, tied a makeshift noose to a limb and hanged himself.

Nine days passed before a staffer found his body at the sprawling LeRoy Haynes Center in LaVerne, coroner’s records show — and then only by chance.

“To our knowledge there was no search by LeRoy’s or any other authority,” said Dave Rentz, the boy’s minister.

Miguel Padilla died much as he had lived: alone and out of sight, his suicide the final step in a failed journey through Los Angeles County’s child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

At least 268 children who had passed through the child welfare system died from January 2008 through early August 2009, according to internal county records obtained by The Times. They show that 213 were by unnatural or undetermined causes, including 76 homicides, 35 accidents and 16 suicides.

Eighteen of the fatalities were deemed the direct result of abuse or neglect by a caregiver, subjecting them to public disclosure under a recent state law aimed at prevention.

But Miguel and many others perished all but invisibly, their deaths attracting little or no public scrutiny.

Through interviews and previously confidential records, The Times examined his death and that of Lazhanae Harris, a 13-year-old girl slain in March. Both underscore systemic failings, particularly the risks of losing track of abused kids as they commit crimes and “cross over” to the justice system, or as they move through multiple state-licensed homes.

Together, they also illustrate the range of flaws in a system in which choices sometimes boil down to leaving children with families that can’t or won’t care for them, or placing them in foster homes that are no better — and are sometimes worse.

Trish Ploehn, director of the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services, said such deaths, though horrific, do not represent the vast majority of the thousands of cases her agency handles each year.

“The tragic lives and deaths of Miguel and Lazhanae only begin to scratch the surface of the extremely difficult, complex and complicated family circumstances that DCFS social workers are faced with every day,” Ploehn said.

“It is very rare for a child to die of abuse or neglect while in the care or under the supervision of DCFS,” she added, “and we consistently work to perfect our performance to help keep children safe, even after they leave our protection and supervision.”

Ploehn said efforts are under way to improve collaboration between juvenile justice and child welfare officials and to intervene swiftly in the lives of troubled families.

By almost any measure, Miguel’s life would fit the definition of mistreatment: He was abandoned by his mother, largely neglected by his father and left to struggle with untreated medical problems and depression most of his life.

By the time he died, however, he’d broken the law and moved from the care of the county’s children’s services department to that of its Probation Department, which oversees 20,000 juvenile offenders.

Up to half have a history with the child welfare agency, Probation Department Director Robert Taylor said. Ploehn said the proportion was far lower.

In Miguel’s case, interviews and records show, the county failed him time and again — not finding him a stable home, not addressing emotional problems that contributed to his delinquency, not even looking for him when he disappeared.

When the County Children’s Commission, a panel appointed by the Board of Supervisors, took the extraordinary step of reviewing Miguel’s death and four others among abused children on probation last year, it found “serious and consistent deficiencies” in their care. Four were suicides and one died of disease.

“Had the system met its responsibilities, the committee believes that some of these suicidal youth might have made healthier choices and the fifth might have had his health complaints acted upon more timely,” the commission said in a confidential draft report prepared for county supervisors and obtained by The Times.

The draft was never issued in final form.

Abandoned at 10

Miguel Angel Padilla Jr. was born in February 1991 at a Sylmar hospital and later moved with his family to Mexico, where he had two accidents that would shape his life.

When he was about 9, he touched a metal rod to a power line while playing on an apartment building rooftop. He was seriously burned and lost his right arm below the elbow. He later lost the sight in his left eye when a firecracker shattered a pop bottle in his face.

At age 10, he lost his mother, who took his three siblings to Texas and started a new life without him, according to interviews and child welfare records obtained through a court petition.

“Minor’s mother left him when he was little and has never made any attempt to visit or call,” a social worker’s report noted in August 2004.

Shortly after Miguel’s mother left, the boy and his father, Miguel Padilla Sr., moved back to Southern California, to the Santa Clarita Valley community of Newhall.

The father worked odd jobs and spent much of his time in Mexico. The boy was raised mainly by his elderly paternal great-grandmother, Maria Arriaga Hernandez, who by all accounts, including her own, was ill-equipped to care for him.

“She had no real control,” said Rentz, a minister who was close to the family, “but she provided the best she could.”

The family first came to the attention of the children’s services department in April 2003, when social workers substantiated allegations that Miguel’s father had neglected the 12-year-old’s medical, dental and emotional needs.

Their report cited the father’s “lack of cooperation,” poverty and limited job skills. Records also noted Miguel’s suicidal tendencies, which his father attributed to ridicule from other children about his disability.

“Miguel sometimes seems to have a hard time processing information,” a follow-up report stated, adding that he used poor judgment and seemed depressed.

Records show that Arriaga, then in her late 80s, went to Mexico with his father for long stretches, leaving the boy with friends or relatives.

Although social workers visited regularly and drafted a mandatory action plan, even its clearest goals — to get Miguel to school regularly and to get him a prosthetic arm — were never achieved, documents show.

Arriaga told social workers repeatedly that she had trouble comprehending what they said, even though they spoke Spanish. On the signature line of the parenting plan, she scratched an X.

Even so, there is no evidence that the children’s services department tried to remove the boy and find him a more stable environment.

When a reporter visited Arriaga recently at her apartment in Newhall, she referred questions to Miguel Sr., 45.

In an interview, he acknowledged that he lives much of the time in Mexico, where he has two other children. He was unable to drive Miguel to his appointments, he said, because he’d lost his license and was jailed for driving under the influence.

But he denied that he neglected his son or that the boy was emotionally troubled. He suspects foul play in the death, not suicide.

“My son didn’t have no problems,” Padilla said. “He was just a fighter, that’s all, and when I wasn’t around for a while he got away from his grandma. She’s old and she couldn’t handle him too good.”

Child welfare records paint a bleaker portrait, saying Miguel sometimes refused to eat and locked himself in the bathroom for hours, crying. At school, he’d skip recess.

“He said at school he stays in the classroom because he can’t make friends, except for the second or third graders because they are nicer to him,” a social worker wrote in June 2004, when he was 13.

That spring, Miguel was measured for a prosthetic arm he desperately wanted. Months later, he had to be re-measured; he’d missed so many appointments his size had changed.

Meanwhile, he wore a down jacket to hide his disability, said Denise Tomey, executive director of the Carousel Ranch in Santa Clarita, where he spent six months in a riding program for disabled kids.

“He had no self esteem,” Tomey said in an interview. “He walked with his head down and he wore that heavy jacket, even if it was 105 degrees out. He thought people judged him because he was missing an arm.”

Tomey and Rentz both remembered the boy showing a softer side, such as when he helped other kids at the ranch learn to ride and groom horses.

“I have a heart,” he told a probation officer in March 2006. “I care about people. When I have opportunity to do something really bad I think about it.”

But he also had a penchant for trouble: He faced charges for allegedly threatening and assaulting a teacher. He also was accused of burglarizing a home, vandalizing cars and tagging a fence with gang graffiti.

Cumulatively the charges were enough to land Miguel in the care of the Probation Department and in a succession of juvenile hall and group home placements.

Along the way, probation reports show, he joined a Newhall gang; picked up the nicknames “Little Shadow” and “Lefty”; and told authorities he used marijuana and alcohol. He liked school but was “not that smart,” he said, and during one stretch of heavy absenteeism he pulled straight Fs.

By May 2006, his great-grandmother was overwhelmed. “I cannot take him,” she told probation officials. “He is not well. He asks me to make him well. . . . He yells out loud to me, ‘Cure me.’ “

Miguel spent the last two years of his life in multiple placements, running away at least once before going to the Haynes Center. One probation report called him “a continual behavior problem.”

While Miguel was in juvenile detention, psychiatrist Saul Niedorf concluded that the boy’s impulse control had been impaired by brain damage from the electrocution. Until then, apparently, no one had considered that possibility.

Niedorf recommended a “structured, therapeutic setting” for Miguel, and he was sent to the Haynes Center, which is licensed to house 72 boys, in January 2008.

The day after his last court hearing that month, his father and great-grandmother left for Mexico, asking a social worker to visit him in their absence. In a March 2008 letter seeking official permission to stop by, the social worker said Miguel had had no weekend visitors for two months.

“I have been informed that the minor has been struggling lately and I believe he may benefit from the interaction,” she wrote.

A month later he hanged himself.

Taylor, the county’s probation chief, defended his department’s handling of the case but acknowledged that the death highlighted the need to better understand why so many children who pass through the child welfare system end up in the care of his agency.

In hindsight, Taylor said, it might have been better if Miguel at a much earlier age had been placed with someone other than his elderly great-grandmother.

“Finding someone who would have been a better caregiver might have resulted in a different outcome,” he said. “You just don’t know.”

As for youngsters who go AWOL from Probation, Taylor said, about 300 were missing at the time Miguel disappeared and he doesn’t have the staff to track them down.

Dan Maydeck, president and chief executive of the LeRoy Haynes Center, declined to comment, citing legal and contractual restrictions.

Miguel’s death signifies a much broader problem, said Miriam Long, a Los Angeles deputy mayor who worked on children’s issues as an aide to former county Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke.

“A lot of these kids have mental health problems that should have been addressed much earlier in their lives,” she said. “Without sounding too much like a bleeding heart liberal, because I’m not one, they could have been redeemed.”

But Long said they can be difficult, and many adults would rather not deal with them.

“The teachers were happy when they were finally washed out and gone,” Long said. “DCFS was happy when they were gone to Probation, and Probation was glad they were gone and went AWOL.”

Before her retirement last year, Burke got board approval to have Probation search for AWOL children and report any deaths confidentially to supervisors.

Seeing no action, her successor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, got the board last month to reiterate Burke’s order.

“They don’t get it,” he said of the department.

Tomey, the ranch director, knows only that children like Miguel can be helped.

“He really was one of those kids that, if he’d been in the right situation, he would have ended up being a totally different person,” she said.

“His life could have turned out OK, or not. Tragically, it did not.”

kim.christensen@latimes.com

garrett.therolf@latimes.com

Times database editor Doug Smith contributed to this report.

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