Friday, September 2, 2011

Institutionalized abuse of dependent children

Starting with New York City, where a woman used aliases to adopt a dozen legal orphans, and proceeded to abuse them for years, unreported. One child is even missing and presumed dead, yet she collected funds for this missing child for years. She's telling all, laying the blame on the agencies.  The kiddies are unable to function after years of her abuse, and are suing the agencies.

In another story, we have a toddler escaping from the foster home, unnoticed, and drowning. Authorities deem it to be a tragic accident. Funny, when kids get out of their biological parent's home, it's neglect, and all the surviving kiddies are seized to protect them from improper supervision, and are denied the comfort of their parents during their grief for their lost sibling. 

In Illinois, a child's death is ruled homicide, but nobody has been arrested yet. This was in a foster home. 

082211_sylvialee_dngso1.jpgIn New Jersey, a physician -- one of those trusted mandated reporters -- stabbed her adopted daughter over a hundred times for a childhood infraction. 

In Denver, an adopted child is brutally abused and malnourished by this couple.  The caregiver was frustrated with the child, "Marquez admitted she does feel overwhelmed with caring for the girl because she often cries for her mother. She said the 6-year-old girl, who should be completing first grade, wasn't going to school because she wasn't toilet trained."  

Yes. these children want their parents, which makes it very difficult when someone else is charged with caring for them. 

That the normal solutions aren't working for many foster children and legal orphans is so obvious, that any agency's failure to recognize it and alter their practices to cater to the child's best interests shows that they are not fulfilling their mandate to act in the best interests of the children. Their jobs don't suffer for that failure, the courts don't suffer for that failure, the attorneys representing the parties don't suffer for that failure. The children suffer, grievously. 

I have interviewed many caseworkers over the years. I always ask some of the same questions. One of these questions is, "Do you make your recommendations based on the best interests of children in general, or on the best interests of each individual child." Every single one has responded that it is too much work, too involved to make recommendations based on the best interests of each individual child, that they are acting according to the best interests of children in general.

Which is a major reason why children are harmed more than they are helped by child welfare intervention. 

There are better solutions that can be implemented in the current child welfare scheme. But they require more effort on the part of case workers. They cost less, and they have better outcomes, but they are just too darned labor intensive. Which is why so many children are simply warehoused in foster care and redistributed to state-approved parents, who are left to deal with children who want their real mommy and daddy and never stop wanting them. 

This is never going to change, no matter how hard the child welfare professionals try to make it change. 

I tell the parents I work with that there are certain practices and inequities in the child welfare system that are not going to change, and they must learn to work within those parameters, because we cannot change them. Working within the system's flaws is more productive and successful than fighting the system. The state has deep pockets, unlimited resources and unassailable credibility.  No one can defeat that and it is foolish to try. 

But child welfare professionals also have certain obstacles presented by the inherent nature of childhood attachments to their parents, and no matter how hard they try, they cannot overcome those bonds. Yet they foolishly continue to try.

I had one case where a six year-old little girl was refusing to bond with the foster care giver, so the agency (Greely County, Colorado) and psychologist attempted to force the child to bond by regressing her to infancy.

They put her into diapers, fed her only bottled milk, forced her to crawl on her hands and knees and wouldn't let her walk or talk, except to call the foster caregiver "mommy." They forced the child to engage in eye contact with the care giver. They traumatized the child, and the child never bonded with the care giver. 

This child had been removed from a mother who had had abdominal surgery and whose request for respite care during her recovery was denied by the Greeley agency. Mom was on pain killer, and fell asleep. The child got into her purse and took some Tylenol. Mom rushed the child to the emergency room. The child's stomach was never purged by the staff, but they reported mom to child welfare. 

Children want their mommy and daddy. You can't change that. It's about time child welfare agencies conceded to that fact and changed their practices to work within those parameters. Until they do, the kiddies will always defeat their agenda and undermine any positive outcomes simply by doing what comes most naturally to them. . .loving mommy and daddy. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Criminal charges dismissed against Maryanne Godboldo

According to wxyz[dot]com, a judge has dismissed the charges against Maryanne Godboldo arising out of her standoff with police when they arrived with child welfare and a S.W.A.T. team to take her child into custody.

The reason cited was that the removal order was illegal. And it was, according to Federal law and state law.

Like that's a surprise? This is a typical shortcut taken by child welfare agencies nationwide, one that is easily proven and challenged by competent counsel for the parents and children. However, finding a courageous and competent attorney to challenge this kind of legal shortcut is virtually impossible, and the practice continues, unchallenged, in dependency court.

Hyper-vigilant child welfare agencies, their counsel and judges purposely err, citing that it is necessary to err on the side of the child rather than striving not to err. The practice of ignoring constitutional and procedural protections associated with child welfare seizures is institutionalized nationwide, all in the name of protecting children.

And, it would seem most people don't have a problem with this kind of rights violations. After all, we need to protect the kiddies from their abusive parents, even if we have to do violence to the constitution in the process, don't we?