Thursday, May 1, 2008

Texas, CPS, FLDS and Send in the Clowns

Many of you may not know this, but there are a plethora of parent's rights groups online, addressing issues of divorce/custody and CPS intervention. Well, duh. The Internet is perfect for meeting up with like minded individuals and spreading the news, whatever it is.

I have been a sometime participant and full-time observer of this dynamic since my initiation into the CPS world in 1991. Granted, in 1991, there were no web sites as we know them today, but there were a few groups on Compuserve and Prodigy where we could link up with others across the country. Even in 1996, when I launched my own web site, there were literally only a few (count them on one hand) web sites addressing the issues surrounding CPS and parental rights.

For the record, I am not a proponent of parental rights, I am a proponent of the Fundamental Human Right to Family Association, which rights are equally shared by parents and children. Suffice it to say, I am constantly in touch with what is going on. People see fit to send me information all the time.

And as is usual, whenever there is a huge media firestorm surrounding anything CPS, these groups become quite active. If a kiddie dies in foster care, or kiddies are rounded up into foster care, or a lawsuit is filed or won, you will find the most unstable and wackadoodle of these groups and members responding like ambulance chasing lawyers in an effort to link themselves with the family who is the current star of the media spotlight.

Did I say ambulance chasing? These groups literally contact the starring family and offer their dubious services and radical advice. The trusting victims, eager to grab at a silver bullet, do not even Google the person, much less ask for credible references, are then conned, and often lose their children permanently.

These groups contact the media, the judges, the agency, the lawyers, and make blathering comments on all public forums. They are passionate about this issue, but annoying ignorant. Some are offensively radical. They are tragic, damaged clowns.

One such group, CPS Watch, has an ongoing discussion whereby one member who lives in Florida, Desere' multiple-hyphenated-Howard claims to be in contact with the FLDS families and is offering services. Desere' is reportedly a fosterer who adopted someone else's baby over the parent's objection. Problem is, she doesn't know what she's doing when it comes to helping bio parents. How do I know? In the course of purported advising the FLDS parents she's asked the head of CPS Watch Cheryl Barnes for advice on some of the most basic issues. This is one blind clown leading another blind clown.

It is important for the reader to know that Ms. Barnes is currently facing first degree felony charges in her home state of Missouri for Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Police reports indicate she used a cord-like object to strike her four year old, leaving red marks and bruises on his face, chest and back. Her trial is scheduled for June 19, 2008. She has had any number of her own fourteen children seized and held by CPS several times since 1997 in at least two states. Ten of her children were seized two years ago when she was charged for the felony. I believe she has a child or children in CPS custody now, or until recently. Naturally, she has been very closed about her current status with CPS. After all, this isn't the kind of reference which is beneficial to publish on one's curriculum vitae.

Here's the question Desere' multiple-hyphenated-Howard posed on CPSWatch:
How do we defend any of the parents whose children are spiritually married under the age of 16. Especially if they are pregnant and/or already have children? Isnt this the crux of the case?

Cheryl Barnes responded:

The same way the public schools do. My 13 year old son was given condom at school, by teachers. Is that not "indoctrinating" him into having sex with a 13 year old girl? And couldn't she bcome pregnant? But her responsible mother is expected to put her on birth control - and this IS ACCEPTABLE.

They can't use the "sexual from birth" teaching when it benefits them and ignore it now. I mean honestly, next we'll be required to have all our teens on birth control.

Huh? Is that the best she can come up with? What possesses her think this lame correlation will fly with CPS or the court? It's apples and oranges. Kids having sex with kids, and adults having sex with kids are two different things. But, this is representative of the abysmal quality of services and advice offered by many parents who have started Internet groups and claim "leadership."

The problem is that most of these group members and leadership have the retarded notion that they are experts on how to manage a CPS case, and they convince others of their expertise. It's like a person claiming he's qualified to box the heavyweight champion simply because he got punched in the face by Mohammad Ali.

Many of these people have lost their own children permanently. Many are damaged from the trauma of their individual cases. Some of them are just plain scary-psycho. And some are bona fide batterers and abusers.

Which is my segue into American Family Rights Association (AFRA)*. This organization was the brain-child of a rabid father's rights supporter, Leonard Henderson. The principle was pretty good to start, but it was destroyed by the application of extreme radicalism and misogyny. It is now populated with many father's rights proponents who are fixated on attacking, harassing and waging economic war against their ex-wives, their children and anyone who outs them for what they do. Their techniques of bullying, threatening and punishing their critics are so typical of batters that one can only conclude they are batterers.

But AFRA is not comprised only of deadbeat dads. Like CPSWatch, it's leadership has been consistently populated with abusive parents who are in denial about their own abusive conduct. A similar phenomenon happened to VOCAL (Victims of Child Abuse Laws) in the 1980's. In that instance, VOCAL was infiltrated by child molesters seeking refuge. VOCAL didn't realize it until too late, and it cost the national organization it's credibility. In AFRA's case, this protection for child abusers is institutionalized, because the leadership consists of batters and abusers who are seeking their own vindication in the court of public opinion, and using the truly falsely accused to front their image.

To cite one example of the effectiveness of AFRA's dubious advice and assistance in a high profile case, Brian and Ruth Christine reportedly relied on AFRA advice during their case, and ended up in jail after "rescuing" their children from foster care at gunpoint. Their parental rights were terminated. This was a typical batterer use of force solution, which I'm sure the Christine's didn't realize at the time. They trusted AFRA.

In contrast, FRAI (Family Rights Advocacy Institute) was contacted on a high-profile Court TV case, and we provided consulting services to the attorney who was the liaison for the criminal and civil cases. This family is reunited. FRAI also assisted with arguments on the Jack and Casey He case, which resulted in the reunification of the family. But these lawyers came to us, we didn't look for them.

My point is, when the spotlight shines, the circus is sure to follow. The wackadoodles and clowns swarm all over to exploit the opportunity. And they usually screw it up, ala the Christines. There are many reliable resources on the Internet. Many online family rights/parent's rights groups and organization are not counted among them in my book.

As always, the consumer must beware that the person on the other side of the computer network who claims to be an expert in this may really be a narcissistic sociopath with delusions of grandeur who never got her own kids back and whose only agenda is to make sure the spotlight shines on her and her tragic story. Google them. Get credible references and call them. Make them disclose their track record and the high-profile cases they've handled.

*AFRA does not refer to AFRA Missouri, who has disavowed AFRA due to it's unethical and abusive practices.

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Leave the emotions, propaganda and rhetoric at the door. This blogger is only interested in intelligent, logical, well-thought out, factually based comments which are on-topic, indicating the writer has an open mind and a mature ability to reason.