Month: April 2008

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, General, government, rape, system failure
Foster care provider Lawrence Bright is a predator
Default Foster care provider Lawrence Bright is a predator

Police say 70-year-old Lawrence Bright was a licensed foster care provider, and a persistent predator.

He lived with his girlfriend in this house on Pinnacle Road in Henrietta. There, they cared for several foster children, including the alleged victim.

She told investigators the abuse began in 2002 when she was 13 years old….and continued for four years. She said bright raped her five times a week.

She told investigators that her foster-mother was suspicious, but that Bright went to great lengths to hide the abuse.

She also hid the abuse, telling investigators that she lied to caseworkers, to keep things steady at home.

She did have moments of resistance, telling investigators that at one point she asked if they could stop, but he said he couldn’t, that he, “needed to get as much in before he died.”

And it’s possible she wasn’t Bright’s only victim. She told police that another of his foster children told her that he was having sex with her as well. On that, police wouldn’t comment.

http://rochesterhomepage.net/content…ext/?cid=15518

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, foster care, foster homes, government, system failure
Pluto in Sagittarius Crisis

Source: Astrology & More





A police investigation into a call alleging abuse was handled in the normal and fairminded manner. NOT! I think what typically happens is that the police would go to the house in question, talk to the person who made the phone call and probably arrest the accused, and possibly also the alleged victim (hey, it happens all the time).

But this case is a little more complicated due to the community’s religious isolation and practice of polygamy, which would make it difficult possibly to have a couple of armed forces go in and investigate through normal procedure. So they took the obvious route. Armed with guns and tanks they rounded up ALL the 465 children and their mothers and put them in a city stadium.

A week or so later, the mothers had to leave their children behind so that dna testing could begin on all the children (and parents as well), with the threat that since could take weeks or even months, the children would have to be put in foster homes. An entire village had their children forcibly removed and the sheltered children now losing their last thread of security with being together, now delegated to strangers.

“The children were first placed in a cramped shelter with cots and cribs lined up side by side, then they were transferred to a sports facility where they were removed from their mothers.

More than two dozen of the teenage boys who had done nothing wrong were then shipped 400 miles away to a ranch for troubled teens where they will not only be separated from their families, but they will undoubtedly be exposed to antisocial and delinquent youth. The director of the ranch said that mixing the delinquent teens with the other boys is “going to be difficult.”

What has become the largest custody case in U.S. history could end up being a mistake of epic proportions, even if some cases of abuse or neglect are substantiated.

While I have no idea exactly what has or has not happened in that compound, I am reasonably certain that the state’s recent actions have likely traumatized nearly all of these children.

There is little doubt that being taken away from your home, separated from your parents, jammed into rooms where you are cared for by strangers, and even sent hundreds of miles away to live among behaviorally disordered youth is all horrifying.

Testifying at the hearing, an expert on childhood trauma, Dr. Bruce Perry, wisely said that traditional foster care would be “destructive” to these children.” Dave Verhaagen, Ph.D., APBB, is a managing partner of Southeast Psychological Services in Charlotte and the author or co-author of five books, including “Parenting the Millennial Generation.”

Is this the only way?

camp, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, children, cps, el dorado, Eldorado, family, foster care, foster home, government, news, system failure
Keepin’ the Kids – The Latest News on Eldorado

News Brief: Friday, April 18, 2008

We are very gratified with today’s decision to keep all the children in temporary state custody because it stops the abuse and keeps all the children safe.

This allows us to keep children safe as we conduct a complete and thorough investigation and provide the physical and mental health services they need.

The children’s safety is our top priority. Our goal is always to reunite children with their parents if we can do so and make sure the child will be safe.

Today’s decision is about the safety of children.  It is not a decision about religious freedom. The children will be allowed to worship freely. We respect and value the strong sense of faith these children have.  We are not trying to change them; we are trying to keep them safe.

We’ll continue our efforts to identify the biological mother and father of each child, and it is our hope that the parents will work with us to ensure the safety of their children. On Monday, DNA testing will begin for the children and later in the week, testing will be available for the parents.

We’ll begin moving the children into more appropriate placements where we can provide all the services they need while continuing our investigation. We will try to keep children as close to their families as possible so they may see their parents under the conditions outlined by the judge.

Each child will have several people who are looking out for his or her best interests.  The children will have court appointed special advocates and attorneys who will monitor their child’s care and progress and report back to the court.

This isn’t the end of the legal process or a final determination on the custody of the children.  We will work with the judge, attorneys, special advocates, and hopefully the parents, to make the best decisions we can for the long-term health and safety of the children. We will update the court on the progress of each child’s case by June 5.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z49IR0EubOM]

adoption, awareness, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, government, system failure, videos
Videos:Foster care from the child’s point of view

PART 1

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pu4nldTcpt8&feature=related]

 

 

PART 2

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbrk_Rd8xEU&feature=related]

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART 3

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNIlXOALJjo&feature=related]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART 4

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8C9W5JewDI&feature=related]

cps
Marathon hearing on Eldorado children starts today

CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES

Marathon hearing on Eldorado children starts today

San Angelo courtroom won’t fit all the lawyers for the 416 children taken into state custody.


AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Thursday, April 17, 2008

At a hearing today in San Angelo, Child Protective Services lawyers will try to convince state district judge Barbara Walther that they were justified in removing 416 children from a polygamous group’s compound in Eldorado and that the children would be at substantial risk of abuse if they were to return.

If they don’t prove those things — as well as show that the agency made reasonable efforts to keep the children in their homes — state law requires the judge to send them home.

Tony Gutierrez/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Dan, 24, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has two children currently in state custody. ‘It is lifeless without our kids around here,’ he says at the ranch.

CPS lawyers will argue that the children, who are now in shelters in San Angelo, should be placed into foster care; their parents, members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, will argue their children should be with them.

“You’re dealing with the core essence of humanity: Whether I have the right to parent the children I bring into the world,” said state district judge Darlene Byrne, who oversees the CPS docket of cases for Travis County. “It’s very serious.”

Today’s hearing is a typical step that must come within two weeks of CPS removing children from their home because of abuse or neglect.

But there is nothing typical about this case.

“This is certainly the largest case anybody has been able to identify in Texas or in the country,” said Kim Davey, a spokeswoman for the State Bar of Texas, which helped arrange for some 350 lawyers around Texas to go to San Angelo to represent the children for free. State law mandates that each child be appointed an attorney.

Austin lawyer Tom Ausley said Tuesday he didn’t know who his client would be or whether the child would be old enough to talk to him. The majority of the children are under 5, CPS officials said.

“I wanted to help,” said Ausley, who said he’ll stay with a friend because hotels are booked in San Angelo. “I am going with an open mind.”

Walther’s quaint courtroom at the 80-year-old Tom Green County Courthouse can’t accommodate all the lawyers. Some are expected to watch from the nearby City Hall, where there will be a live video feed to allow lawyers to talk with the judge, said Guy Choate of the State Bar.

It’s not clear how that will work. “Just do the math,” Choate said. “If each attorney spends one minute, that’s seven hours.”

It’s also unclear how long the hearing will last or when Walther — the same judge who approved CPS’ request to remove the children — will make a decision.

It’s possible there could be different outcomes for each child.

CPS’s investigation, which came after a 16-year-old girl at the compound called to report she was being sexually and physically abused by her husband, found teenage girls are required to have sex with much older men they join in “spiritual marriages” and that young boys are groomed to become sexual predators.”This pattern and practice places all of the children located at the (Yearning for Zion) Ranch, both male and female, to risks of emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse,” a CPS investigator wrote in an affidavit.

CPS may argue that the children are not safe with their mothers.

“You have to remember that their mothers were there; they were there and a part of all this,” said CPS spokesman Darrell Azar. “Unfortunately, the women … have been unwilling or unable to protect these children from a pattern of sexual abuse.”

Mothers of the children told reporters this week their children have not been abused.

Rather, they “have been so protected and loved,” said Marie, a mother of three sons who declined to give her last name.

Whether the children are sent to foster care or back home, the judge could order parents to attend counseling, Byrne said. The ultimate goal is always to reunite children with their parents if that can be safely done, she said.

This may be the first in a series of hearings on the children’s fate. The court must make a final decision on where the children live within a year, though a six-month extension is possible.

Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday said it’s important to make sure the children are not being abused.

“Where there has not been abuse,” he said during a KVET-FM appearance, “we’ll get these families back together as soon as we can.”

cmaclaggan@statesman.com; 445-3548

Additional information from the Associated Press

 

The story so far:

March 29-31

A 16-year-old girl who said she lived at the Yearning for Zion ranch in Eldorado made calls to a domestic violence shelter to report she had been sexually and physically abused by her 49-year-old husband. She said she had one child and was pregnant again.

April 3

Law enforcement officials forced their way into the compound with a search warrant and Child Protective Services investigators came inside to interview residents. CPS workers stayed all night.

April 4-7

CPS transported all 416 children from the compound to shelters in San Angelo after determining that some had been sexually and physically abused and the rest were at risk of abuse. Voluntarily, 139 women joined the children. Judge Barbara Walther granted CPS temporary legal custody of the children.

April 13

Walther ordered CPS to confiscate women’s cell phones to prevent witness tampering.

April 14

Women who do not have children 4 and under are no longer allowed to remain at the shelters (state officials said they were coaching children during interviews). Fifty-one women were taken back to the compound; six chose to go elsewhere. A total of 82 mothers of young children remained at the shelters. Roughly two dozen teen boys were taken to another location.

Today

Hearing begins at 10 a.m. in Tom Green County Courthouse.

Source: Department of Family and Protective Services

child death, child sex crimes, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, death penalty, domestic violence, family, General, government, law, legal, rape, sexual assault, system failure, U.S. Supreme Court
Texas Argues Death Penalty For Child Rapists

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/yahoolatestnews/stories/041708dnnatscotus.6c5b97cf.html?npc
 
U.S. Supreme Court to hear Texas argue death penalty for child rapists
08:39 AM CDT on Wednesday, April 16, 2008
By BRENDAN MCKENNA / The Dallas Morning News
bmckenna@dallasnews.com
 
WASHINGTON — Texas says sometimes the sexual assault of a child can be so violent or obscene that the only appropriate punishment is to execute the offender.
 
And Wednesday, Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz will make that case to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that state legislatures have the constitutional right to allow the death penalty for child rapists.
 
The case before the court, Kennedy vs. Louisiana, concerns a Louisiana law and the case of a Jefferson Parrish, La., man convicted of raping his 8-year-old stepdaughter. But striking down that law could call into question Texas’ 2007 “Jessica’s Law,” which allows the execution of certain repeat child sex offenders.
 
The Supreme Court ruled 30 years ago that death was an excessive penalty for the aggravated rape of a 16 year-old girl. But Mr. Cruz said that decision implicitly left open the door for capital punishment for the rape of children in referring to that victim as an adult.
“The damage inflicted on this 8-year-old girl … will remain with her every day of her life,” Mr. Cruz said. “The Constitution does not prohibit elected legislatures from making the determination that the most egregious forms of child rape should permit the jury to impose the most serious sentence.”
 
But the prospect of capital punishment could lead to fewer abuses being reported because most child sexual abuse is committed by someone known to and even loved by the victims, said Judy Benitez, executive director of Louisiana Federation Against Sexual Assault. The group is leading a coalition of victims groups opposed to applying the death penalty for child rapes, including the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.
 
“These are extremely manipulative people,” she said. “They say to the child, ‘If you tell, you’re going to make the police come and take me away, and then how is Mom going to pay the bills.’ They put it very much on the child.”
 
The groups also argue that if the death penalty can be imposed for child rape, it could make some offenders more likely to kill their victims to prevent them from testifying, she said.
Aside from the moral arguments, David Bruck, executive director of the Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse at Washington and Lee Law School, said Mr. Cruz and the lawyers for Louisiana face serious legal hurdles.
 
“The Supreme Court doesn’t take very many easy cases, but this should be one,” he said. “The rape of a child is not the same as killing a child, that’s basically what the court said [in 1977]. … Horrible as the crime is, it is not equivalent.”
 
Mr. Bruck said the court could strike down the Louisiana law and leave Texas’ statute intact because it more narrowly restricts cases in which the death penalty could apply. A ruling is expected later this year.
 
Arguments for and against allowing the execution of those who sexually assault children:
AGAINST
Execution is “cruel and unusual punishment” when applied to child rape cases because the Supreme Court already ruled that it is excessive in rape cases when the victim was not also killed.
 
Executions for child rape mean the penalties for rape and murder are the same so an offender may be more likely to kill a victim.
 
Executing child rapists may make it more likely for some child sexual abuse to go unreported.
 
Louisiana’s law, the subject of the case being argued today, is too broad because it could apply to any rape of a child under 12, not just the most egregious.
 
FOR:

 Execution is not necessarily barred by previous rulings as excessive for all rape cases, merely for the rape of an adult woman.
 
Violent rape of a child is particularly egregious and shows “a degree of manifest evil, that is qualitatively” different from other rapes.
 
Society’s moral standards are evolving to recognize the horror and damage caused by child rape and impose stricter punishments on perpetrators.
 
Louisiana’s aggravated rape law, which also includes rape of the elderly, allows the death penalty only for rape of children under 12.

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, drug abuse, family, foster care, government, medicaid, psychiatry
Special thanks to Former Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn

click here to read the Texas Medicaid Fraud News Reports and Investigation Findings on Its Almost Tuesday’s Medicaid Fraud Page.

In working with abuse cases, government systems, and foster care, there are many obstacles & tragedies on a daily basis.

We fight a system enormously large by comparison (to a single mom on aol) who has the money, resources, and capabilities to win, much moreso than the mom on aol. In the nastiness of red tape, lies, cover-ups, confidentiality excuses, conspiracies, money driven mistakes that cost lives & much more insanity than one would ever expect out of our own government systems

( particularly one in place to “protect children”.)

We see very few rewards.

Many advocates burn out.

By August of 2004 they finally, after much pressure, told me 3 of the medications they put him on. I had requested, demanded, and begged to know what they were giving my son who was coming to visitations acting different.

One visit he would be hyper and non-stop talking – rambling, so fast his mind would be thinking ten thoughts ahead, and he’d get stuck in a stutter from not being able to keep up. The next visit he’d be so groggy and sleepy, despondent, falling asleep mid-sentence, and unable to communicate or think clearly.

I knew it was drugs he was receiving by the foster care system he was thrown into… but which ones? and why? He’d never been on medications prior to foster care (and hasn’t since – to my knowledge).

I began writing letters. I wrote letters to everyone.

I wrote to the news station, the inspector general’s office, the local media, the CCHR, the medical board, the courts, etc., etc.,

Anyone and everyone received a letter from me. I wrote, last time I recall, approximately 1500 letters in the first couple months, begging for help with my fight for my son. But I kept getting no response. I kept seeing this happening to my child, and other children, and my pleas for help falling on deaf ears.

Except for Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn. She listened. I just didn’t know it … yet. I had written her, among the masses, and she actually wrote me back, herself. I was so proud of that letter, and valued it as it was the only effort I saw return to me. As time went by, and I saw little results of my efforts, my hope dwindled, and my case closing and not in my favor.

I had put up a webpage in November/December accusing the Texas county & cps of medicaid fraud and overdrugging our children; and by the end of my case, my son’s name was changed, I was placed under a gag order (now lifted) and I haven’t seen him nor talked to him in over 3 years.

Needless to say I fell … headfirst… into a deep despair & desperation. I had to figure out life without my son, and I’ve never succeeded in that. I doubt I will. The pain is as fresh when I let it come out to the surface as it was then, only difference is I’ve learned how to numb my emotions by separating my memories from myself, and it doesn’t really work, only helps.

Then I look at a page and I read one more article I run across about the work the Comptroller’s done in Forgotten Children, from April 2004, the time my son was taken from me. Although I run this blog and a few others, I do not dive headfirst into the work as I did before – I burnt out. Sometimes I read another CPS case, and I get sick, literally, and throw up.

The trauma its cause my family, my daughter and our relationship, and my entire life and that of my children’s’ is unimaginable. IT cannot ever be repaired; ever. So when I read the Medicaid Fraud investigation concerning psychotropic medications given needlessly to foster children for profit, launched December 16th, 2004 – it hits me hard – considering it was that time when I was writing to Carole Strayhorn begging for help.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn helped.

Foster Children: Texas Health Care Claims Study — Special Report is available as a PDF file (3.8 MB). If you do not already have it, you will need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print the PDF file.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn listened.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart Grandma Strayhorn!!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You made me realise that everything does, in fact, happen for a reason, and that our pain may not have been in vain…. for the 2008 implementation of the changes in the system for providing health care to foster children is proof that something changed. Something.

I just pray we made a difference for the children.

I fought and fought & because I had gone into despair so tragically after losing a losing battle, I left the state of Texas for a long while, and never turned on ews, internet re: cps, or anything related. It was far too painful. Now, nearly 4 years since this nightmare I lived through was written by my fingers on this very same keyboard I type on today, my letters reached – and were read…. and I am reaping the feelings of that one little reward in my work, and it is good. It is real good. So good I cried and laughed at the same time.

I only pray we made a difference and continue to make a difference for the forgotten children I’ll always remember – because one of them was mine.

Again, thank you, to everyone who read. We needed you & you listened.