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Iowa City Mom sues DHS for placing 5-year-old into Foster Care based on false allegations

 

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-29636-Surry-County-CPS-Examiner~y2010m1d6-Iowa-City-Mom-sues-DHS-for-placing-5yearold-into-Foster-Care-based-on-false-allegations#

 

Iowa City mom, Jessica Wilbur, has filed a civil lawsuit against the Iowa Department of Human Services for placing her 5-year-old daughter into foster care, based solely on the word and signature of the child’s non-custodial father, Robert Nino.

 

The lawsuit, which was filed in Johnson County District Court, alleges that Ms. Wilbur’s constitutional rights were violated by DHS director, Charles Krogmeier and DHS investigator, Paul Lafauce because of the circumstances under which they place her daughter into foster care. 

 

To read the rest of this story, please visit the link above

Kids in Crisis

Weighing the protection of children against the rights of the parents.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9612031/ns/msnbc_tv//

When does discipline cross the line to become abuse?  It’s a tough challenge for the child welfare system to weigh the protection of children against the rights of parents.  In the United States there are only 25,000 caseworkers charged with investigating nearly 2 million child abuse claims each year.  With extraordinary access from the Indiana Supreme Court, MSNBC-TV took an unprecedented look inside the complex world of child abuse investigators.   This is the story of one family torn apart when one of their children makes a claim that ultimately causes trauma for them all.  You can decide who is telling the truth and ultimately whether the state’s actions were in the children’s best interest.

New York’s child abuse hot line can shield false complaints

 

http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=826481&TextPage=1

 

By CASEY SEILER COMMENTARY

First published in print: Friday, July 31, 2009

 Someone is saying terrible things about Nicole Rera.

What’s worse, they’re saying them to the state of New York via the hot line set up to collect anonymous reports of child abuse.

So far, none of the three sets of complaints against Rera, who lives in Gloversville, have been substantiated; the first two have been officially recognized as “unfounded,” while the third is still under investigation.

Rera’s trouble started in January, after she separated from her husband. The couple, originally from Long Island, had been together for 10 years and married for three. Rera says the marriage became increasingly stormy, leading to her decision to move from Florida back to New York with her three children, ages 6 to 10. Rera’s daughter and two sons have conditions that put them on different points of the spectrum for autism.

Not long after she initially settled in Troy, Rera was visited by investigators from Rensselaer County’s Child Protective Services, who said that a call had been referred from the state abuse hot line alleging that she had committed acts of sexual and physical abuse against the children.

Those charges were determined to be unfounded; a few weeks later, another complaint was received, investigated and classified as unfounded. A third complaint was made in May.

“It’s hell,” Rera said. “It’s frustrating. It’s living on pins and needles waiting for these people to show up.”

Needless to say, family services investigators don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing which complaints to follow up on: They’re legally obligated to respond to every complaint of possible abuse. And that’s how it should be.

The baroque nature of the complaints against Rera — I’ll spare you the details, which are stomach-churning — suggest they come from someone with knowledge of family medical history. (Rera is unable to work due to various ailments, and lives on Medicaid and Social Security benefits, along with SSI payments to support her children.)

Rera’s husband could not be reached, either through conventional means or a database search.

Rensselaer County District Attorney Richard McNally says his office doesn’t currently have sufficient evidence to bring charges against anyone for filing a false abuse claim against Rera. In a two-decade career, McNally has never seen anyone charged with filing a false abuse claim.

There are two predominant reasons. First, the intentional filing of a bogus complaint is a Class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail — a crime, to be sure, but not one likely to draw much attention from local enforcement agencies with limited resources and long to-do lists.

(Page 2 of 2)

Also, it’s nearly impossible to build a strong case that someone is abusing the system. Even after a complaint is determined to be unfounded, it would have to be flagged as either egregiously false or part of a pattern. Then local investigators would have to track the complaint back up the chain by matching phone records to the state hot line’s intentionally incomplete records. In order to preserve anonymity, the hot line itself makes no record of the incoming phone number, although the agency does note the time a complaint is received.

But even if law enforcement can link a complaint to a specific phone, they’ll still have to prove the identity of the person using it at that moment.

Like all systems that rely on guarantees of anonymity, from the Internet to government whistleblower programs, the abuse hot line is itself open to a different sort of abuse. The greater-good argument, however, is fairly bulletproof: Even people kind-hearted enough to call the authorities — about hearing terrible sounds coming from the apartment upstairs, or the unexplained bruises on the child who lives next door — need to be assured that an alleged abuser isn’t going to try to exact retribution against them.

Similarly, it’s hard to determine when multiple reports from the same source constitute a pattern of lies. If the fifth complaint turns out to be genuine, it doesn’t necessarily mean the first four weren’t bogus.

Regardless of how many intentionally false claims are made every year — the number could be dozens or hundreds — it’s certain that every one takes time away from the pursuit of genuine cases of abuse.

Any effective solution would have to protect the anonymity of callers to the hot line. A partial remedy the state could take immediately would be to reclassify an intentional false report — something clearly done with malicious motive — as a Class E felony, which would have a deterrent effect on perpetrators and could go a long way to encourage prosecutors.

The state hot line can be reached at (800) 342-3720. If you think a child is being abused, use it. But if you’re thinking of using it to get back at someone, do us all a favor and find another method.

Casey Seiler can be reached at 454-5619 or by e-mail at cseiler@timesunion.com

 

Grand jury looks at CPS

 

http://www.thereporter.com/ci_12866027?source=most_viewed

By Danny Bernardini

Posted: 07/18/2009 01:01:00 AM PDT

Child Protective Services in Solano County was hit with a slew of complaints by the county grand jury Friday regarding how investigations are conducted by the agency.

In its report, the Solano County grand jury points out several problems, including how potential offenders are notified, suspects being prematurely labeled as offenders, how appeals are handled and paperwork issues.

Those discoveries were made during the investigation of the policies and procedures regarding citizens whose names are placed on the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI).

When Child Protective Services receives a complaint of alleged child abuse, a social worker investigates. The worker then must classify the category of abuse and determine whether or not to place the accused on the CACI.

It is also decided if an in-person contact with the family within 24 hours is needed or if a visit to the family within 10 days is appropriate.

A referral is then sent to another social worker who further investigates and interviews those involved. That worker then must determine if the accusation is unfounded, inconclusive or substantiated.

If deemed unfounded, the case is closed. If found inconclusive or substantiated, the child may remain with the family, be removed or placed in the custody of the courts.

Being deemed inconclusive places the name of the accused on the CACI for at least 10 years. If the claim is substantiated, the name of the accused is put on the CACI for life.

Those people put on the CACI are notified by first class mail after their names are sent to the Department of Justice. Being placed on the CACI may prevent someone from being employed where there may be contact with children.

That list contains more than 800,000 names and is not routinely purged of erroneous or unsupported entries, the grand jury said. People can appeal being on the list, but that doesn’t mean the name will be removed.

Because of this, the grand jury recommended the accused be notified before being put on the list, so they have the chance to respond.

The jury also suggested contacting the accused through certified mail with a return receipt to ensure that person is aware they will be placed on the CACI. It was also discovered that in some cases, the accused was not interviewed before being placed on the CACI.

For the full report, visit www.solanocourts.com.

State child abuse registries have faced legal challenges

 

http://www.detnews.com/article/20090604/METRO/906040367/1409/State-child-abuse-registries-have-faced-legal-challenges

Catherine Jun / The Detroit News

Decades after federal legislation triggered the founding of child abuse registries, many states have expanded their policies and procedures, drawing court challenges in several instances.

Still the registries remain controversial, and how they are handled ranges from state to state.

Michigan has over the years both expanded its access to the list and contracted its criteria for listing. In addition to a finding of neglect or abuse, the caseworker must also find a”high” or “intensive” risk to the child’s well-being, save for a few exceptions. Then and now, criminal conviction is not necessary.

“It makes it more difficult to be placed on the registry because it’s looking at our more serious cases,” said Zoe Lyons, manager of the Children’s Protective Services division of the Department of Human Services.

Twenty-three states had policies restricting their central registries to claims that were substantiated, founded or indicated on reports, according to a 2003 report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Approximately 30 states allow or require a check of central registry or department records for individuals applying to be child- or youth-care providers, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway.

Many states began adding names to their registries as early as 1975, following the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which required all states to keep such records to qualify for funding for child welfare programs.

And several have faced legal challenges that in some cases forced child welfare agencies to bolster their due process protections:

• In 1991, a school paraprofessional filed a class action lawsuit against New York state arguing that placing her name on the registry violated her rights of privacy and substantive and procedural due process. She was eventually awarded more than $115,000.

• The Maryland appeals court ruled in 1996 that people accused of abuse or neglect have the right to a trial-type hearing before the state lists them. State officials were soon thereafter required to schedule hearings in front of an administrative law judge in all cases in which it’s requested.• Late last year, a federal appeals court ruling in San Francisco prompted the California attorney general to review that state’s procedures for appealing a listing. The state offers no procedure for a listed person to seek removal from the list.

Child welfare attorneys say that the move to use registries as a hiring tool goes far beyond its original purpose.

“I don’t think the intent was ever to have this be an employment resource,” said Linda Spears, vice president of policy and public affairs at the Child Welfare.

 

My Opinion On This Matter:

First and foremost unless you are convicted in a criminal court or found guilty of abuse by a judge by an abundance of evidence supporting CPS’s Claim…your name should not be on any list.  This list turns people into criminals without ever going to trial.

Most of the people on these lists, should not even be there….CPS is a civil matter.  When CPS substantiates abuse against you it is just their own personal opinion, it is not a matter of law.  Many times it is to get even, as it was in our case…to discredit our valid complaints against them.  There is no trial, there is no evidence…they can do what they want. 

I say these lists need to be abolished, if CPS needs a list to refer to in cases of abuse…then that list needs to be private, employers should not have access to it…NO ONE SHOULD! 

And unless you have actually been convicted in court of the crime of child abuse and neglect…your name should not be on any list…Whatever happened to due process, the right to a fair trial, the right to face your accuser in court and present evidence in your defense….this list is bullshit and should be abolished in all 50 states!

What you dont know will hurt your family.

 

A CPS story about a family torn apart from lies.

 

http://my.kidjacked.com/naiveinnocence/

 

Introduction

March 27th, 2009

I am in my first week of falling down Alice’s Rabbit hole in the CPS disaster.

Here  is my story. Please read it, I will update you later on. We find out today at some time, if we get our kids back.

I highly recommend reading this blog, it gives you an inside view of what it feels like to be unlawfully investigated by CPS.

http://www.postindependent.com/article/20090121/VALLEYNEWS/901209931/1074&title=Rifle%20parents%20each%20face%20perjury%20charge%20in%20custody%20dispute

Rifle parents each face perjury charge in custody dispute

Woman also organized protest against county human services in Sept.

By Pete Fowler
pfowler@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A Rifle woman who organized a protest against the Garfield County Department of Human Services faces prosecution for alleged perjury along with her ex-husband.

Tia Drinkhouse, 36, and her ex-husband, James Drinkhouse, 44, were arrested on warrants Jan. 15 and held on suspicion of perjury. They’re both free on $5,000 bond.

An investigator for the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said in an affidavit that the Drinkhouses both said in court in July, under oath, that they lied or embellished things to try to prevent the other from taking off with their seven children. Both said they believed protection orders they asked for in the past wouldn’t have been granted if they gave true statements in court documents, the investigator said.

James Drinkhouse claimed in a December 2005 motion for a protection order that Tia Drinkhouse said to him in front of their son that she can understand how people can kill their kids and themselves, the investigator said.

In July, James Drinkhouse admitted he lied in the document, saying in court, “I have lied to the court before to protect my children, yes,” according to the investigator.

One phone number for James Drinkhouse was disconnected. Both Drinkhouses had no current public phone listings.

Tia Drinkhouse claimed in a 2003 request for a protection order that James jumped on her and spat on her after he found her packing to leave and she wouldn’t tell him where a recording device was. In court in July, Tia Drinkhouse admitted she knew the allegations weren’t true and said she signed the court document without reading the whole thing, according to the investigator.

Tia Drinkhouse organized a picket and protest against county human services in Rifle on Sept. 8. She claimed at the time her seven children were removed from her home based only on false allegations by her mother-in-law instead of the facts. She said then that many others had similar problems with human services and added, “We just want people to wake up and see what’s going on here. We’re just asking for the system to be fair.”

People at the protest held signs proclaiming, “Social services kidnapped my babies – Yours could be next!” and, “Stop social services abuse of power!”

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
pfowler@postindependent.com

I found this story and felt the need to post it here.  If you are trying to protect your children, honesty is the only way.  When you speak out about CPS, they will try to find anything that you have done wrong to discredit your complaints against them.  In order to succeed in making the changes that are needed you MUST tell the truth in all aspects of your life, you must follow the law, do not give them any ammo to use against you.

Now I do not know the full circumstances of these parents.  All I know is what the news story states and from it I believe the parents were playing the CPS game.  False Allegations, Lies and Perjury!!!  Notice that the parents have been charged, but CPS never is….When CPS goes into court with their lies, perjury and false allegations they are not held accountable for those actions, parents on the other hand, are.  There is no fairness in this CPS system.

I can promise you, that even if the false allegations and lies that this mother spoke of in her campain against CPS were proven, there would be no perjury charges filed against them. 

Stories like this make those of us who are honestly seeking changes look bad and this needed to be addressed.  I do not agree with what the parents in this case did.  I do not believe you should tell lies to “keep the children away from the other parent.”  I also do not believe that children should be removed from their homes based soley on the false allegations of CPS.

I just find it interesting that the parents have been charged with perjury for lies that they told the court, yet CPS workers that get on the stand and lie their asses off never are!  It just proves that there a whole different set of laws…or the lack there of, for child protective services.  Lawdoll

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