Thursday, October 20, 2011

Adopted Teens Beaten, Starved, and the Court Knew

One feature of courts taking jurisdiction over children has always shocked me. How many times judges, Guardians ad litem and child welfare professionals know the child is being abuse or neglected, and turns a blind eye, or even in some misplaced desire to prove the allegations wrong so that their personal agendas are protected, places the child with the abuser.

Okay, justice is supposed to be blind, but when the scales of justice are tipped by the weight of evidence, it is not justified to put your thumb on the other side and call the scales balanced.

Here is a story of teenage twins who had years of reports about their adoptive parents beating, abusing and starving them, and the professionals and the judge saw fit to place the children with the abusers. Just look at them in this Facebook photo, they look so nice, so loving. They MUST be good parents. Yeah, right.

After twenty years of observations into the child welfare system, this outrageous practice, this lack of discernment, this shocking blindness to facts still renders me speechless.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Babies Stolen and Sold for Adoption

A BBC documentary has exposed a baby trafficking ring in Spain, perpetrated by the Catholic church.

A similar child trafficking ring was exposed in Kansas recently. Children were taken by SRS (Social and Rehabilitative Services) from parents at birth. These were parents who had older children taken, allowing the agency to seize subsequent children as they were born. However, the removal of the infant was not included in the official records of the agency.

The birth certificates of the stolen newborns were filled in with the names of the adoptive parents, and the parents were told the infant either died, or parental rights were terminated. Parents report not having the benefit of court hearings. One mother reportedly had several children taken by this method.

The ignorance of the parents was exploited by unscrupulous professionals masquerading as state action, and newborns were redistributed without benefit of judicial review.

Funny how this never got any widespread media coverage.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Foster children killed in car crash, not wearing seatbelts

Austyn Ackinson, 11; Tony Mitchell, 4; Tayla Mitchell, 10; Andy Dawson, 13; and Jeremy Franks, 17 were children in the home of Howard Mitchell in Kit Carson, Colorado. Three were foster children. Two were legal orphans that were adopted by Mitchell.
Now, they are dead. The Denver Post reports:
Howard Mitchell loaded 12 children into his van Thursday morning, preparing for the drive he made twice each weekday — three times during football season — from Kit Carson to the children's school in Eads.
Mitchell and five children, ranging in age from 4 to 17, were killed when the 15-passenger van he was driving slammed into the back of a semitrailer truck on U.S. 287 about 2 miles south of Kit Carson.
According to the article, the children were not wearing seat belts or in car seats. The father, who was the driver, was a sheriff's deputy. 

There is no mention in the article about the loss suffered by the parents of the killed children. Like they don't even count? Like they were bad parents and they deserved to lose their children?

As in any state, it is state law that children are in car seats or seat belts. But many parents across the country complain that the caseworker transports their children without putting the little ones in car seats and without buckling up the older ones. It enrages them that their children are removed for a dirty house, but that the state employees and service providers can place their children in danger by transporting them without restraining them. 

It makes one wonder why the state employees and service providers are not held to the same standard of care as the parents are.

This is not the first time that foster children have been killed during transport and not have been restrained. It is a common practice in child welfare agencies nationwide. 

This family was licensed to have eleven children, well above the number usually permitted to foster caregivers. One can conclude that this status was an indicator that they were excellent care givers, better than most parents and caregivers.

If this is an example of the best of foster caregivers in Colorado, we should be concerned. These caregivers evidently didn't care about other people's children enough to insure their safety in the car. 

There is no excuse for a sheriff's deputy transporting anyone's children without proper restraints. There is no excuse for a foster caregiver transporting children without proper restraints. 

There is no excuse. 

More news stories.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How it's done in Fremont County, Colorado

A reader posted a comment to my story about Aging Out in Foster Care. I didn't approve it for publication because it contained her phone number. Having been the victim of phone terrorism by abusive, opinionated jerks who made threats of violence and death against me and my family, I cannot allow this publication to expose anyone to potential abuse or threats. However, I take this opportunity to publish her comments as an illustration of how helpless family members are when confronted with a child welfare system:
Who is a good attorney in fremont county colorado that will fight the DHS to save my nephew. I tried to call around and find someone and no one wants to fight the welfare they say what ever the welfare wants to do they will do.
Fremont County Justice Center
Canon City, Colorado
I am very familiar with Fremont County, Colorado, it's child welfare practices, the business going on in the courts, and the players.

These two sentences should raise the concerns of anyone interested in the administration of child welfare and the fair administration of justice in the courts of Fremont County. As this blog reports, this reader confirms that local attorneys are unwilling to represent family members in dependency court because they cannot mount an effective case.

Implicit in this statement is the admission that the courts cannot be relied upon to rule fairly on the law and the merits against an agency out of control.

The Colorado Department of Human Services has repeatedly been informed of the multitude of questionable practices by Fremont County Department of Human Services. The Office of Attorney Regulation has repeatedly been informed that the representation of parents and children is severely compromised in Fremont County dependency cases, and why and how. The Colorado Supreme Court has been advised that the courts in Fremont County undermine public confidence in the judicial process by their refusal to conduct child welfare cases pursuant to the law and the merits.

They've known for over ten years.

Nothing has been done by any supervising agency to correct any of these issues. However, anyone complaining or working for reform of these wrongs has been targeted for retaliation by each of these government institutions. This retaliation includes the unjustified removal of children as a means to control adult political conduct and adverse court rulings without supporting evidence--complete with onerous fines--against offending political activists.

Re ipsa loquiter.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Arnold & Porter Files Pro Bono Lawsuit for Fathers Seeking Custody

Washington D.C. engages in a practice that is duplicated in every state across the country. . .when a custodial parent is investigated for child abuse or neglect and the child is removed from the custodial parent, the agency does not place the child with the non-custodial parent who was not accused of abuse or neglect.

Instead, the agencies will often make the non-custodial parent to prove their fitness before placing the child with his own parent. If the non-custodial, non-accused parent lives in the same state, they will conduct a home study and background check at the very least, which can take months. These are often nit-picky and require the non-custodial parent to prove adequate housing, child care, income, school, etc. If there is a new spouse or live-in partner, that person will also have to be background checked and undergo invasive questioning and intrusions.

Or, as D.C. does, they will often require an out-of-state non-custodial parent to complete the ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children) an even more invasive process which can take six to twelve months.

The ICPC was not intended to be invoked when placing a child with his own parent, it was only designed for out-of-state foster care or adoption. I'm not a lawyer and I knew that this bureaucratic dragnet was not intended to be invoked when placing children with their own parent. One can only conclude that these legal experts intentionally misused the law to keep children in foster care longer and milk the system for the federal funds attached to warehousing children in foster care rather than sending them to the own parent.

This practice violates every protection written into the child welfare laws, that a parent is presumed fit, and absent proof of unfitness, cannot be deprived of the care, custody and control of his own child.

The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief  to force D.C. to stop this practice and monetary damages. While it purports to represent non-custodial fathers and their aggrieved children, I must observe that non-custodial mothers are not excluded from this egregious misuse of government power.

The law requires the agency to place the child with his parents. If one parent is unfit and the other is fit, it's a no-brainer. .  the law mandates the the child with the fit parent who wasn't accused of abuse or neglect. But it's not as profitable for the agency as placing the child in foster care and making a fit parent prove his fitness.

I applaud Arnold & Porter for taking on this important issue on behalf of aggrieved parents and children in Washington D.C.

Papa John's Pizza supports false child abuse reports?

A Denver Papa John's delivery driver smelled marijuana at a home where he made a delivery. So what does he do? He calls the police, reports the odor, and states there was child in the home. The police raid the home, naturally.

Denver Post reports that the Papa John's customer is an authorized medical marijuana user. I remind the reader that medical marijuana use is legal in Colorado. Additionally, most jurisdictions do not recognize that adult drug use automatically constitutes child abuse or neglect. . .there must be proof of harm to the child before state intervention is justified.

Papa John's reportedly stands behind their employee's actions.

Puh-leese. I say Papa John's needs to train it's employees about the presumption of innocence, and about the penalties for making a false report of child abuse, and about the effects of removing a child from the family home when the child is not in legitimate danger.

After all, that's what this was. . .a false report of child abuse. And Papa John's supports that.

So, how does this employee know what marijuana smells like. . .has he/she inhaled?