Year: 2008

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, government, system failure
Checking In: Violations in Texas Foster Care

Below I have compiled a sample of real violations within the foster care system in Texas. These facilities are in major metropolitan areas (ie Dallas/Ft.Worth, Austin, San Antonio areas) and they are listed here exactly as they are reported here by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

While we talk about foster care abuse that goes on, there is a little bit of a difference between saying the words “child abuse” and actually seeing a description of what real adults are doing (or not doing) to these children…. in the name of ‘protection’… and using tax payers money to-boot.

I plan on doing lists like these every once in a while… keep us checking in on Texas Foster Care facilities… checkin’ in on the children.

Standard Number 749.1521(4)

Standard Description: Medication Storage-Store medication covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act under double lock in a separate container

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

Several medications covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act were found in a locked box in an unlocked cabinet. The cabinet was in the foster mother’s office, which was also unlocked. These medications, therefore, were not kept under double lock at the time of inspection.

Standard Number: 749.2471(9)(D)

Standard Description:Verification Certificate specifies the ages and gender(s) of children for which the home is verified

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative The verification certificate at the home did not match the characteristics of the children placed. The certificate indicated the home was verified for children ages 10 to 17 even though a 7-year-old child was placed in the home.

Standard Number: 16102

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative A young foster child was sexually assaulted by an older child in the home. The older child was arrested for sexual assault.

Standard Number: AF22101

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative The evidence gathered supports that the foster mother abused the foster child by striking the child on the head and possibly causing a bruise.

Standard Number: AF23102b

Standard Description: Discipline – Not be Physically

Emotionally Damaging to Child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

The evidence gathered supports that the foster parent struck the foster child on the head as an inappropriate form of discipline.

Standard Number: AF23102a

Standard Description: Discipline – Consistent with

Agency Policies

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

The evidence gathered supports that the foster mother used a restraint that is inconsistent with the PMB restraint system used by the CPA.

Standard Number: 749.1957(1)

Standard Description: Other Prohibited Discipline – Any harsh, cruel, unusual, unnecessary, demeaning, or humiliating discipline or punishment

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

Two children reported foster mother threw a gas cap at one of them when the child rummaged through her purse.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(4)

Standard Description: Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for being able to intervene when necessary to ensure each child’s safety

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative There was an addendum to the safety plan that included the foster child not have access to pens and pencils. The addendum was discussed with the foster mother on 4/4/08 and then sent to her on 4/10/08; the foster mother signed and dated it. The safety plan states that the foster parent will ensure that the foster child does not have access to any sharp objects, including pencils and pens. The foster mother was aware that the foster child had a bag full of ballpoint pens and (unsharpened) pencils just prior to the child using a pen to hurt another child in the home. The foster mother stated she was not concerned about the foster child having the pens and pencils as he needs them for school. The foster mother did not take the necessary steps to ensure each child’s safety in the home.

Standard Number 749.1521(4)

Standard Description: Medication Storage-Store medication covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act under double lock in a separate container

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

Several medications covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act were found in a locked box in an unlocked cabinet. The cabinet was in the foster mother’s office, which was also unlocked. These medications, therefore, were not kept under double lock at the time of inspection.

Standard Number: 749.2471(9)(D)

Standard Description: Verification Certificate specifies the ages and gender(s) of children for which the home is verified

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative The verification certificate at the home did not match the characteristics of the children placed. The certificate indicated the home was verified for children ages 10 to 17 even though a 7-year-old child was placed in the home.

Standard Number: 16102 Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative A young foster child was sexually assaulted by an older child in the home. The older child was arrested for sexual assault.

Standard Number: AF22101

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative The evidence gathered supports that the foster mother abused the foster child by striking the child on the head and possibly causing a bruise.

Standard Number: AF23102b

Standard Description: Discipline – Not be Physically

Emotionally Damaging to Child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

The evidence gathered supports that the foster parent struck the foster child on the head as an inappropriate form of discipline.

Standard Number: AF23102a

Standard Description: Discipline – Consistent with Agency Policies

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

The evidence gathered supports that the foster mother used a restraint that is inconsistent with the PMB restraint system used by the CPA.

Standard Number: 749.1957(1)

Standard Description: Other Prohibited Discipline – Any harsh, cruel, unusual, unnecessary, demeaning, or humiliating discipline or punishment

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

Two children reported foster mother threw a gas cap at one of them when the child rummaged through her purse.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(4)

Standard Description: Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for being able to intervene when necessary to ensure each child’s safety

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative There was an addendum to the safety plan that included the foster child not have access to pens and pencils. The addendum was discussed with the foster mother on 4/4/08 and then sent to her on 4/10/08; the foster mother signed and dated it. The safety plan states that the foster parent will ensure that the foster child does not have access to any sharp objects, including pencils and pens. The foster mother was aware that the foster child had a bag full of ballpoint pens and (unsharpened) pencils just prior to the child using a pen to hurt another child in the home. The foster mother stated she was not concerned about the foster child having the pens and pencils as he needs them for school. The foster mother did not take the necessary steps to ensure each child’s safety in the home.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(5)

Standard Description: Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for not performing tasks that clearly impede the caregiver’s ability to supervise

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative Caregiver failed to supervise a child while they were playing with another child in a separate room. The service plan requires the child to have line of sight supervision while playing with other children.

Standard Number: 749.3041(4)

Standard Description: Physical Environment-foster home must

ensure that flammable or poisonous substances are stored out of the

reach of children

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

A box of matches was found in the hallway of the home by one of the children residing in the home. This child held on to the matches and did not alert the foster parents that the matches had been found. This box of matches was hidden back in the foster parents’ bedroom. Additionally the foster child in respite care over the Thanksgiving holiday was able to access another box of matches that she found in the dresser drawer of the room she was sleeping in. This child started a fire in the wastebasket of the bedroom with there matches. This box of matches was retrieved from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

Standard Number: 749.503(a)(9)A(ii)

Standard Description:

Serious Incident-Report to Licensing no later than 24 hours after determining a child 13 years old or older is missing

Narrative

The operation waited more than 24 hours before reporting to licensing that a 17 year old had run away from his foster home.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(3)

Standard Description:

Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for ensuring each child’s safety and well being, including auditory and/or visual awareness of the child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

Foster mother, Cozette, stated she had talked with her case manager about using a baby monitoring for one of the children in her care due to his seizure disorder. At the inspection of the foster home one of the receivers for the baby monitor was unplugged and under a kitchen cabinet. Cozette stated she had not used the baby monitor on the night that the child had a seizure.

Standard Number 749.1521(4)

Standard Description: Medication Storage-Store medication covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act under double lock in a separate container

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

Several medications covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act were found in a locked box in an unlocked cabinet. The cabinet was in the foster mother’s office, which was also unlocked. These medications, therefore, were not kept under double lock at the time of inspection.

Standard Number: 749.2471(9)(D)

Standard Description:

Verification Certificate specifies the ages and gender(s) of children for which the home is verified

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative The verification certificate at the home did not match the characteristics of the children placed. The certificate indicated the home was verified for children ages 10 to 17 even though a 7-year-old child was placed in the home.

Standard Number: 16102

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative A young foster child was sexually assaulted by an older child in the home. The older child was arrested for sexual assault.

Standard Number: AF22101

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative The evidence gathered supports that the foster mother abused the foster child by striking the child on the head and possibly causing a bruise.

Standard Number: AF23102b

Standard Description: Discipline – Not be Physically or Emotionally Damaging to Child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

The evidence gathered supports that the foster parent struck the foster child on the head as an inappropriate form of discipline.

Standard Number: AF23102a

Standard Description: Discipline -Consistent with Agency Policies

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

The evidence gathered supports that the foster mother used a restraint that is inconsistent with the PMB restraint system used by the CPA.

Standard Number: 749.1957(1)

Standard Description: Other Prohibited Discipline – Any harsh, cruel, unusual, unnecessary, demeaning, or humiliating discipline or punishment

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

Two children reported foster mother threw a gas cap at one of them when the child rummaged through her purse.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(4)

Standard Description: Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for being able to intervene when necessary to

ensure each child’s safety

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative There was an addendum to the safety plan that included the foster child not have access to pens and pencils. The addendum was discussed with the foster mother on 4/4/08 and then sent to her on 4/10/08; the foster mother signed and dated it. The safety plan states that the foster parent will ensure that the foster child does not have access to any sharp objects, including pencils and pens. The foster mother was aware that the foster child had a bag full of ballpoint pens and (unsharpened) pencils just prior to the child using a pen to hurt another child in the home. The foster mother stated she was not concerned about the foster child having the pens and pencils as he needs them for school. The foster mother did not take the necessary steps to ensure each child’s safety in the home.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(5)

Standard Description:

Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for not performing tasks that clearly impede the caregiver’s ability to supervise

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

Caregiver failed to supervise a child while they were playing with another child in a separate room. The service plan requires the child to have line of sight supervision while playing with other children.

Standard Number: 749.3041(4)

Standard Description:Physical Environment-foster home must ensure

that flammable or poisonous substances are stored out of the reach of

children

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

A box of matches was found in the hallway of the home by one of the children residing in the home. This child held on to the matches and did not alert the foster parents that the matches had been found. This box of matches was hidden back in the foster parents’ bedroom. Additionally the foster child in respite care over the Thanksgiving holiday was able to access another box of matches that she found in the dresser drawer of the room she was sleeping in. This child started a fire in the wastebasket of the bedroom with there matches. This box of matches was retrieved from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

Standard Number: 749.503(a)(9)A(ii)

Standard Description:

Serious Incident-Report to Licensing no later than 24 hours after determining a child 13 years old or older is missing

Narrative

The operation waited more than 24 hours before reporting to licensing that a 17 year old had run away from his foster home.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(3)

Standard Description:

Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for ensuring each child’s safety and well being, including auditory and/or visual awareness of the child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

Foster mother, Cozette, stated she had talked with her case manager about using a baby monitoring for one of the children in her care due to his seizure disorder. At the inspection of the foster home one of the receivers for the baby monitor was unplugged and under a kitchen cabinet. Cozette stated she had not used the baby monitor on the night that the child had a seizure.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(5)

Standard Description:

Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for not performing tasks that clearly impede the caregiver’s ability to supervise

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

Caregiver failed to supervise a child while they were playing with another child in a separate room. The service plan requires the child to have line of sight supervision while playing with other children.

Standard Number: 749.3041(4)

Standard Description:

Physical Environment-foster home must ensure that flammable

or poisonous substances are stored out of the reach of children

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

A box of matches was found in the hallway of the home by one of the children residing in the home. This child held on to the matches and did not alert the foster parents that the matches had been found. This box of matches was hidden back in the foster parents’ bedroom. Additionally the foster child in respite care over the Thanksgiving holiday was able to access another box of matches that she found in the dresser drawer of the room she was sleeping in. This child started a fire in the wastebasket of the bedroom with there matches. This box of matches was retrieved from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

Standard Number: 749.503(a)(9)A(ii)

Standard Description:

Serious Incident-Report to Licensing no later than 24 hours after determining a child 13 years old or older is missing

Narrative

The operation waited more than 24 hours before reporting to licensing that a 17 year old had run away from his foster home.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(3)

Standard Description:

Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for ensuring each child’s safety and well being, including auditory and/or visual awareness of the child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

Foster mother, Cozette, stated she had talked with her case manager about using a baby monitoring for one of the children in her care due to his seizure disorder. At the inspection of the foster home one of the receivers for the baby monitor was unplugged and under a kitchen cabinet. Cozette stated she had not used the baby monitor on the night that the child had a seizure.

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, government, system failure
Texas foster care system struggling

Some, but not enough, experience the challenges and joys of opening homes and hearts.


AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Monday, May 07, 2007Yolanda and Michael Gobert tell friends, business associates and fellow members of Little Zion Baptist Church about something they’ve been doing for four years, something they think others should consider: foster parenting.

It’s not an easy sell, and there have been no takers. But, Yolanda Gobert said, “we’re planting that seed.”

Deborah Cannon/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Michael and Yolanda Gobert, center, initially wanted to foster a baby but have discovered the joys of helping teenagers, and now they talk up the foster program every chance they get. Justin, 16, wants to be a politician; Amber, 15, has set her sights on nursing.

The Goberts, who have two teenage foster children, know that there aren’t nearly enough foster parents in Texas. In fact, it’s gotten to the point that some of the children the state has removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect are sleeping in state offices and sometimes hotels because there is nowhere else for them to go.

The Goberts have heard the reasons people say no. People are scared of what an abused or neglected child might be like. They’ve heard the horror stories of children dying in foster homes in Texas. They don’t like the idea of Child Protective Services workers poking around their homes.

And they’re turned off by all the regulations — including a batch added this year.

“A lot of people are saying, ‘Gee, I don’t know if I want to go through that,’ ” said Roy Block of San Antonio, president of the Texas Foster Family Association.

Perhaps worst of all is the risk foster parents take when they open their hearts to a child whose legal guardian is the State of Texas.

“You always, constantly live with the fear that if you say something wrong or do something wrong with the children, they have the right to step in and take the children from you, and you have nothing to say or do about it,” Michael Gobert said.

Still, he urges people to do it.

“If you want to make an impact on society, on the world, I don’t see a better place than through foster care,” he said.

Running scared

In January, the state put in place a series of new rules, the first major overhaul of minimum standards in several years.

No smoking in foster homes. No firearms in certain foster homes (the Legislature is considering reversing that one). Must have a fence or a wall at least 4 feet high around an in-ground swimming pool area.

There are 474 rules for foster homes and the agencies that place children in the homes. They range from how often bed linens must be changed (at least once a week) to whether trampolines may be used as play equipment (no) to how a child may be disciplined.

Officials say the rules are for children’s safety. And state lawmakers are moving to increase oversight of the foster care system in the wake of the deaths of three children in foster homes in North Texas. The Senate passed a bill — expected to come up soon in a House hearing — that would require annual, unannounced inspections of foster homes.

“The state’s running a little scared,” Block said of the January rules. “I’m all for heading these things off so we never have a child injured. But we need homes; we need good homes; we need to not chase away our current homes by making things more cumbersome for them.”

The changes come at a time when there are about 20,000 children in foster care, an increase of about 45 percent since 2001. That’s due to general population growth as well as a recent infusion of money into improving abuse and neglect investigations, which has led to more children being removed from their homes.

The number of foster homes has increased 26 percent in that same period.

“I don’t think you raise treatment standards in the midst of a capacity crisis,” said Scott McCown, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which is an advocate for low- and middle-income Texans. “I think the rules that went into effect in January did just that.”

But state officials say there’s always a shortage of foster parents.

“This is not a new development,” said Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman for the Department of Family and Protective Services, which oversees CPS.

This part is new: In April, 92 children spent at least one night in a state office. That’s up from 32 in January, the first month the state started documenting the practice.

It has put rules into place governing the practice, including a requirement that at least two adults supervise them. Last week, CPS found a placement for a teenager who’d been staying in a state office in Round Rock for seven days.

On Tuesday, a state worker sent an e-mail with the subject line “Critical Help Needed for CPS Children.” She was trying to get the word out to civic and church groups that CPS needed community assistance feeding seven children staying in an office in Fort Worth.

“Finding placement for children who have been removed from their home due to abuse and/or neglect has become quite a challenge for our agency,” she wrote. “You may have heard that we have children sleeping in offices due to a delay or inability in locating placement for them. This can be very uncomfortable (for) the children we serve.”

Crimmins said it’s not just a lack of capacity that’s leading to children sleeping in offices. Frequently, he said, providers refuse to accept children with certain emotional or physical needs, even if the provider is licensed to take a child with those needs.

Over time, the number of foster children with special needs has increased, McCown said.

“Whether kids are more troubled or whether we do more about it is kind of irrelevant for the parent,” McCown said. “You’re still expecting them to do a more complex job.”

More help?

The Goberts decided to become foster parents nearly a decade ago. They wanted to be matched with a baby. But they changed their minds after learning at an informational meeting that they’d more likely be matched with an older child.

A few years later, they came around to the idea of older children. The day after they became certified, Amber moved in. Now 15, Amber is an aspiring nurse who spends a lot of time on MySpace.com. Later came Justin, 16, a 400-meter sprinter who’d like to be a politician.

Foster care is, by definition, a temporary arrangement. It lasts only until the children can be safely returned to their homes or adopted.

It wasn’t until the late 1990s that Texas foster parents were actively encouraged to adopt their foster children, but the change reduced the number of foster parents in the system. Once people adopted, they tended to stop being foster parents.

Another factor affecting the number of foster parents, McCown said, is the reimbursements foster parents receive: $20 to $80 a day, depending on the child’s needs. That’s not enough to cover the cost of raising a child, he said.

The Legislature is considering increasing those rates.

When asked what Texas is doing to recruit foster families, Crimmins pointed out that the state handles placements of just 20 percent of foster children. The rest are placed by private agencies overseen by the state. One private agency in Austin, the Casey Family Programs Austin Field Office, has several recruiting events scheduled in May, which is National Foster Care Month. They set up booths at community fairs. They go on radio shows.

Ann Stanley, director of the Casey field office, said some of the best recruiters are foster families such as the Goberts.

“They don’t sugarcoat it,” she said of experienced families. “They tell you, ‘This is when it’s hard. These are the joys.’

“We tell our foster parents this: ‘Your life becomes an open book. You are going to get questions that are really personal.’ ”

Under a microscope

When a CPS caseworker goes into a home of a potential foster family, he or she may ask about everything from the applicants’ work history to their sexual relationships.

Once approved, the foster home must get fire and health inspections. And CPS workers periodically inspect the homes.

Round Rock foster parent Kelvin Austin said he doesn’t mind the oversight.

“You get used to it,” he said.

But some say the inspections go too far.

Lori Hendley, a foster mother in McKinney, said her placement agency warned families that one home in its network was reported for having expired horseradish in the refrigerator, which could be a violation of standards for food quality and storage.

“You’re really under a microscope,” Hendley said. “You basically open up your home to Big Brother.”

Hendley said she’s seen the worst side of the CPS system. In 2004, she and her husband became foster parents for a baby boy they planned to adopt. But the CPS caseworker decided to place the boy with a friend of the child’s birth mother, she said.

“They pulled him out of our home, and they said, ‘That’s the last you’ll ever know about this child, ever,’ ” she said.

She said friends of hers who were considering being foster parents changed their minds after hearing about the Hendleys’ experience.

But the Hendleys didn’t give up. They now have a 3-year-old foster son. They are adopting him and expect the process to be complete this month.

“We hung in,” Hendley said as the boy chattered in the background, “and the reward is in my lap.”

cmaclaggan@statesman.com; 445-3548

child custody, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, el dorado, Eldorado, family, foster care, General, government, law, legal, religion, system failure
FLDS parents complain of vague custody plans
0520 Polygamist Retreat_BW
Members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints make their way towards the Tom Green County Courthouse in San Angelo, Texas for the first round of hearings regarding the family plans on Monday, May 19, 2008. (AP Photo/San Angelo Standard-Times, Brian Connelly)
Tuesday, 20 May 2008


Michelle Roberts – THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Children from a polygamist sect were the only subjects on the docket Monday at a west Texas courthouse where five judges began handling hundreds of hearings that attorneys for the children’s parents decried for their cookie-cutter approach.

State child welfare officials gave each of the more than 460 children in state custody the same template plan for parents to follow, and judges made few changes. But parents remained without answers to important questions, including whether a requirement that the children live in a “safe” environment means they can’t return to the Yearning For Zion Ranch.

Donna Guion, an attorney for the mother of a 6-year-old son of the sect’s jailed prophet, Warren Jeffs, complained the plans were so vague they would be impossible to satisfy and were contingent on psychological evaluations likely to take weeks more to complete.

“This plan is so vague and so broad that my client has no idea what she can do now,” Guion said of the boy’s mother.

Dozens of mothers in prairie dresses and fathers in button-down shirts, flanked by pro bono lawyers from the state’s most prestigious firms as well as Legal Aid, arrived at the Tom Green County courthouse hoping to learn how to regain custody of their children.

“What the parents are trying to find out here is what they need to do to get their children back, and there’s no clear answer to that,” said Rod Parker, spokesman for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which runs the ranch in Eldorado.

The FLDS parents say they are being persecuted for their religion, which includes beliefs that polygamy brings glorification in heaven.

In one hearing, attorneys complained that the Book of Mormon was confiscated from some of the children at a foster facility.

“If they can openly admit they can take away the Book of Mormon from us today, it’ll be the Bible tomorrow, and it’s outrageous,” said FLDS elder Willie Jessop.

State Child Protective Services spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner said officials have not been able to confirm whether the members’ holy text was taken from them, but they have removed photos, sermons and books of Jeffs, who is a convicted sex offender.

The hearings in San Angelo, 40 miles north of the ranch, are scheduled to run for the next three weeks, and none of the judges would humor any discussion about whether the initial grounds for removing the children in a raid of the ranch last month were valid. It probably will be months before the cases are reviewed again in court.

The state also acknowledged Monday that two more sect members they listed as minors are actually adults. The state has made that mistake at least four times; child welfare officials have complained that church members have not cooperated with their efforts to determine ages and family relationships.

Texas child welfare authorities argued that all the children, ranging from newborns to teenagers, should be removed from the ranch because the sect pushes underage girls into marriage and sex and encourages boys to become future perpetrators.

Church members insist there was no abuse. They say the one-size-fits-all action plan devised by CPS doesn’t take into account specific marriage arrangements or living circumstances.

Some members of the renegade Mormon sect lived in a communal setting in large log houses they built themselves. Others lived as traditional nuclear families in their own housing on the ranch.

CPS spokeswoman Shari Pulliam said the plans look similar now but will be customized as officials get more information.

“It’s logical they all look the same. All the children were removed from the same address at the same time for the same reason,” she said. But “it’s an evolving plan.”

All the plans call for parenting classes, vocational training for the parents and require the parents to prove they can support their children. They also call for safe living environments, though they offer no specifics.

CPS supervisor Karrie Emerson said the parenting classes will be tailored to explain Texas laws regarding underage sex. “The goal isn’t to change any of their religious beliefs per se but just to educate them what might be a problem under Texas law,” she said.

CPS has said that reunification of the families by next April is the goal.

Jessop, however, said the state has made it impossible for parents comply with vague plans and to visit their children, many of whom are scattered to facilities up to 650 miles apart.

“Every parent is accused of being bad, and there’s no cure,” Jessop said.

The unwieldy custody case has been unusual from the beginning. All the children of the ranch were treated as if they belonged to a single household, so the chaotic initial hearing involved hundreds of attorneys for children and parents and broad allegations from the department about the risk of abuse.

So far, 168 mothers and 69 fathers have been identified in court documents; more than 100 other children had unknown parents as the hearings got under way. DNA samples have been taken, but the first results are at least two weeks away.

The children were removed from the ranch during an April 3 raid that began after someone called a domestic abuse hot line claiming to be a pregnant 16-year-old abused by a much older husband. The girl has never been found and authorities are investigating whether the calls were a hoax.

The FLDS is a renegade breakaway of the Mormon church, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago.

Sect leader Jeffs, who is revered as a prophet, has been sentenced to prison in Utah for being an accomplice to rape in arranging a marriage of a 14-year-old follower to her 19-year-old cousin. He is awaiting trial in Arizona, where he is charged as an accomplice with four counts each of incest and sexual conduct.

Court documents listed 10 children of Jeffs living at the ranch. If DNA tests confirm that any of the children are his, the children will be allowed to keep a photo, said Meisner, the CPS spokeswoman.

child abuser, cps, system failures, writing
How to prepare if you are falsely reported for abuse or neglect
416514122_0597a8826f_o.jpg

Because the swing of every pendulum brings with it potential adverse consequences, it is important to emphasize that in the area of child abuse, as with the investigation and prosecution of all crimes, the state is constrained by the substantive and procedural guarantees of the Constitution. The fact that the suspected crime may be heinous – whether it involves children or adults – does not provide cause for the state to ignore the rights of the accused or any other parties. Otherwise, serious injustices may result.
Syl.Pt.3,WALLIS v. SPENCER, 202 F.3d 1126(9th Cir. 2000)
I ran across a group of articles on Helium about CPS and what to do when they come knockin’…

There’s no definite answer but having been through it I have the knowledge of the system and CPS, and even with all the cases I’ve seen, I don’t know how to tell you, this is what you should do. Every case is different and you should contact an attorney for the best personalized legal advice.

Being falsely accused is one of the worst nightmares a good parent can go through. It destroys lives. It kills…. (I’ve read several suicide reports after such family tragedies); most of all, it takes a child’s innocence and childhood from them. It forever changed my world, and it won’t ever be the same. Sometimes, like in my case, the children never come home. Its devastating. I’m still not over it, nor will I ever be. They destroyed me when I lost my boy…. I was a good mom falsely accused.

I couldn’t have prepared for it, when you’re falsely accused you don’t expect to be accused,and you don’t expect to be doubted by the state.If you’ve never dealt with them before, CPS is supposed to help families and until you see for yourself the flaws, there’s no way to believe how wrongly a good parent can be treated. I have faith in the merits of my case, in the system, and in the truth. I never expected my son wouldn’t come home. I knew I hadn’t abused him. However, my faith in the system was where I went wrong. Don’t take for granted it could happen to you. It can happen to anyone, and its the worst pain/nightmare a parent can imagine…. particularly when the child is injured, killed, or never comes home. No parent can prepare for that. Its a tragedy.

# 1 tip I tell parents is to TAPE RECORD EVERYTHING – EVERY VISIT, EVERY INTERACTION with the child, the CPS social workers, the front desk lady, even.TAPE EVERY meeting, phonecall, etc., tape it all. Its value may not be realised until late in your case or even after your case is complete when you recall something that was said, or when something conflicts with something else, etc. Keep those tapes securely in a safe place, and make copies.

5715143.jpgOther best advice I have – don’t take anything for granted, and kiss your babies twice every night that you put them to bed. Once for you, and once for all the parents who can’t kiss their kids goodnight.

They may not be there tomorrow.

Thank you to Helium.com and the writers for their contributions. You can also see my articles on Helium here.

How to prepare if you are falsely reported for abuse or neglect

  • by Dan Weaver October 4, 2004. I will remember that day for the rest of my life. For me, September 11, 2001 fades in comparison bec… read more
  • by Catsy Jones I can remember the day quite clearly. I was sitting on the couch, my husband was packing our things for the move to o… read more
  • by Frances Gordon I’ve had allot of experience with child Protection Services. A great deal of experience. The Departments vary a lit… read more
  • by Shanna Coon No one expects to be falsely accused of child abuse or neglect; yet bogus cases are reported daily to Child Protectiv… read more
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child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, General, government, law, legal, social worker
When Children Services Comes Knocking

Children Services was founded to protect abused children.

However, they have now become the largest group of child abusers.

How do you stop them?

***Force them to obey the laws of the State and the United States of America***

The most commonly broken laws and regulations are:

*Agency staff enters homes and schools without court orders or search warrants.
Just like any other government agent, caseworkers (social workers) cannot enter your home without either your permission or an order signed by a judge or magistrate.

*Children are only to be removed if they are in “imminent danger.”

This does not mean your children can be removed because you spanked them or your refrigerator is broken. (If your home has mold and feces, then they can take your child. If they have sustained life- threatening or permanent injuries, then they can take your child.)

*Caseworkers (social workers) cannot interview your child without your knowledge unless they have a court order to do so.

Schools must cooperate with investigations, but you must be informed. Children should not be taken from school without a court order.

Every effort must be taken to keep a family together before the removal of children. This measure should be taken as a last resort only.

If it is determined that the children must be removed, they should be place with family whenever possible.

Do not sign a case plan unless it has been court ordered! Otherwise, you have been tricked into giving up your rights to fight any/all allegations. You are admitting that you have abused/neglected your children. (These are sometimes referred to as Service Plans.)

It is unlawful for caseworkers (social workers) to threaten you with the removal of your children for exercising your Constitutional Rights.

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, education, family, foster care, General, government, statistics, system failure
Sadly, Statistics Say So….
    • Every day more than 3 children die as a result of abuse and neglect. Over 75% of the child abuse fatalities were children under the age of 5.

    • Children who have been abused experience anxiety, depression, poor self-esteem, substance abuse, and even worse many contemplate or attempt suicide.

    • Over 50% of foster youth become juvenile delinquents and furthermore, commit violent crimes as adults. Studies conducted in prisons have shown that over 50% of the inmates had spent some point of their life in the foster care or juvenile system.

    • Roughly 50% of foster youth do not complete high school.

    Sources:

    California Department of Social Services Research Development Division
    UC Berkeley Center for Social Services Research

    What and How Many Children Are In American Foster Care?

    On September 30, 2004, 518,000 children were in our country’s foster care system. Most children are placed in foster care temporarily due to parental abuse or neglect.

    Average Length of Stay in Foster Care
    The average length of stay for a foster child is 2½ years. However, this figure does not include subsequent re-entries into foster care.

    Age of Children in Foster Care

    Average age: 10.1 years

    Age

    Percentage

    Younger than 1 year

    5%

    Age 1-5

    25%

    Age 6-10 years

    20%

    Age 11-15 years

    29%

    Age 16-18 years

    18%

    Over 18

    2%

    Race and Ethnicity

    As a percentage, there are more children of color in the foster care system than in the general U.S. population. Child abuse and neglect, however, occur at about the same rate in all racial and ethnic groups.

    Ethnicity

    Foster Care

    General Population

    Black, Non-Hispanic

    34%

    15%

    White, Non-Hispanic

    40%

    61%

    Hispanic

    18%

    17%

    American Indian/Alaska Native, Non-

    Hispanic

    2%

    1%

    Asian/Pacific Islander, Non-Hispanic

    1%

    3%

    Unknown

    2%

    N/A

    Two or More Races, Non-Hispanic

    2%

    4%

    Gender

    Gender

    Percentage

    Male

    53%

    Female

    47%

    Foster Homes

    In 2002, there were 170,000 foster homes nationwide.

    Adoptions

    In 2004, 59% of adopted children were adopted by their foster parents. Of children adopted in 2004, 24% were adopted by a relative.

    What Happens to Children Who Leave Foster Care as Young Adults?

    Each year, an estimated 20,000 young people age out of the U.S. foster care system. Many are only 18 years old and still need support and services. Several foster care alumni studies show that without a lifelong connection to a caring adult, these older youth often are left vulnerable to a host of adverse situations:

    Outcome

    Percentage

    Earned a high school diploma

    54%

    Obtained college bachelors degree or higher

    2%

    Became a parent 12-18 months after discharge

    84%

    Were unemployed

    51%

    Had no health insurance

    30%

    Had been homeless

    25%

    Received public assistance

    30%

    *The above information was provided courtesy of the Child Welfare League of America. For more information contact: Child Welfare League of America, 2345 Crystal Drive, Suite 250, Arlington, VA 22002, or cwla.org.

    ChildStats.Gov::

    America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2007 is one in a series of annual reports to the Nation on the condition of children in America. In this restructured report, three background measures describe the changing population of children and provide demographic context and 38 indicators depict the well-being of children in the areas of family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. Highlights from each section of the report follow.

    Demographic Background

    • In 2006, there were 73.7 million children ages 0–17 in the United States, or 25 percent of the population, down from a peak of 36 percent at the end of the “baby boom” (1964). Children are projected to compose 24 percent of the population in 2020.
    • Racial and ethnic diversity continues to increase over time. In 2006, 58 percent of U.S. children were White, non-Hispanic; 20 percent were Hispanic; 15 percent were Black; 4 percent were Asian; and 4 percent were all other races. The percentage of children who are Hispanic has increased faster than that of any other racial or ethnic group, growing from 9 percent of the child population in 1980 to 20 percent in 2006.

    Family and Social Environment

    • In 2006, 67 percent of children ages 0–17 lived with two married parents, down from 77 percent in 1980.
    • The nonmarital birth rate in 2005 increased to 48 per 1,000 unmarried women ages 15–44 years, up from 46 in 2004. The recent increases in nonmarital birth rates have been especially notable among women age 25 and older. Births to unmarried women constituted 37 percent of all U.S. births, the highest level ever reported.
    • In 2005, 20 percent of school-age children spoke a language other than English at home and 5 percent of school-age children had difficulty speaking English.
    • The adolescent birth rate for females ages 15–17 continued to decline in 2005. The rate fell by more than two-fifths since 1991, reaching 21 births per 1,000 females ages 15–17 in 2005. The 2004–2005 decline was particularly steep among Black, non-Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander adolescents. The birth rate for Black, non-Hispanic adolescents dropped three-fifths during 1991–2005.
    • In 2005, there were 12 substantiated reports of child maltreatment per 1,000 children.

    Economic Circumstances

    • In 2005, 18 percent of all children ages 0–17 lived in poverty; among children living in families, the poverty rate was 17 percent.
    • The percentage of children in families living below the federal poverty threshold has fluctuated since the early 1980s: it reached a high of 22 percent in 1993 and decreased to a low of 16 percent in 2000.
    • The percentage of children who had at least one parent working year round, full time rose from 77.6 percent in 2004 to 78.3 percent in 2005.

    Health Care

    • In 2005, 89 percent of children had health insurance coverage at some point during the year, down from 90 percent in 2004.
    • In 2005, 48 percent of children ages 2–4 had a dental visit in the past year, compared with 84 percent of children ages 5–11 and 82 percent of children ages 12–17. In 2003–2004, 23 percent of children ages 2–5 and 14 percent of children ages 6–17 had untreated dental caries (cavities) upon dental examination.

    Physical Environment and Safety

    • In 2005, 60 percent of children lived in counties in which concentrations of one or more air pollutants rose above allowable levels.
    • The percentage of children served by community drinking water systems that did not meet all applicable health based standards declined from 20 percent in 1993 to about 8 percent in 1998. From 1998 to 2005 the percentage has fluctuated between 5 and 10 percent.
    • In 2001–2004, about 1 percent of children ages 1–5 had elevated blood lead levels [greater than or equal to 10 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL)]. The median blood lead concentration for children ages 1–5 dropped from 14 µg/dL in 1976–1980 to about 2 µg/dL in 2003–2004.
    • In 2005, 40 percent of households with children had one or more housing problems, up from 37 percent in 2003. The most common type of housing problem is cost burden, followed by physically inadequate housing and crowded housing.
    • In 2004, the injury death rate for children ages 1–4 was 13 deaths per 100,000 children.
    • The leading causes of injury-related emergency department visits among adolescents ages 15–19 in 2003–2004 were being struck by or against an object (33 visits per 1,000 children), motor vehicle traffic crashes (25 visits per 1,000 children), and falls (20 visits per 1,000 children). Together, these causes of injury accounted for half of all injury-related emergency department visits for this age group.

    Behavior

    • The percentages of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students reporting illicit drug use in the past 30 days remained stable from 2005 to 2006. However, past month use among all three grades significantly declined since 1997.
    • In 2005, 47 percent of high school students reported ever having had sexual intercourse. This was statistically the same rate as in 2003 and a decline from 54 percent in 1991.

    Education

    • The percentage of children ages 3–5 not yet in kindergarten who were read to daily by a family member was higher in 2005 than in 1993 (60 versus 53 percent). A greater percentage of White, non-Hispanic and Asian children were read to daily in 2005 than were Black, non-Hispanic, or Hispanic children (68 and 66 percent, compared with 50 and 45 percent, respectively).
    • Between 1982 and 2004, the percentage of high school graduates who had completed an advanced mathematics course almost doubled, increasing from 26 to 50 percent. Likewise, the percentage of graduates who had completed a physics, chemistry, or advanced biology course almost doubled, increasing from 35 to 68 percent.
    • In 2005, 69 percent of high school completers enrolled immediately in a 2- or 4-year college. This rate was not statistically different than the historic high of 67 percent reached in 2004.

    Health

    • The percentage of infants with low birthweight was 8.2 percent in 2005, up from 7.9 percent in 2003 and 8.1 percent in 2004 and has increased slowly but steadily since 1984 (6.7 percent).
    • In 2005, 5 percent of children ages 4–17 were reported by a parent to have serious (definite or severe) emotional or behavioral difficulties. Among the parents of these children, 81 percent reported contacting a health care provider or school staff about their child’s difficulties, 40 percent reported their child was prescribed medication for their difficulties, and 47 percent reported their child had received treatment other than medication.
    • The proportion of children ages 6–17 who were overweight increased from 6 percent in 1976–1980 to 11 percent in 1988–1994 and continued to rise to 18 percent in 2003–2004.
    • In 2005, about 9 percent of children ages 0–17 were reported to currently have asthma, and about 5 percent of children had one or more asthma attacks in the previous year. The prevalence of asthma in children is particularly high among Black, non-Hispanic and Puerto Rican children (13 and 20 percent, respectively)
  • child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, General, law, legal, social services, system failure children
    Texas Laws on Child Abuse

    Reporting Child Abuse

    Mandated Reporting

    Texas Family Code

    261.101 Persons required to report

    A person (everyone) having cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person shall immediately make a report as provided by this subchapter. This requirement to report under this section applies without exception to an individual whose personal communications may otherwise be privileged, including an attorney, a member of the clergy, a medical practitioner, a social worker, a mental health professional, and an employee of a clinic or health care facility that provides reproductive services. The identity of the reporter is confidential and may only be released by order of court or to law enforcement agency conducting a criminal investigation.

    Texas Family Code

    261.103 Report made to appropriate agency

    A report shall be made to: any local or state law enforcement agency; Child Protective Services if the alleged or suspected abuse involves a person responsible for the care, custody, or welfare of the child; the state agency that operates, licenses, certifies, or registers the facility in which the alleged abuse or neglect occurred; or the agency designated by the court to be responsible for the protection of children.

    Texas Family Code

    261.104 Contents of report

    Person making report shall identify, if known:

    name and address of child; name and address of person responsible for the care, custody, or welfare of child; and any other pertinent information concerning the alleged or suspected abuse or neglect.

    Texas Family Code

    261.106 Immunities

    Persons acting under good faith who reports or assists in the investigation of a report of alleged child abuse or neglect or who testifies or otherwise participates in a judicial proceeding arising from a report, petition, or investigation of alleged child abuse or neglect is immune from civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.

    Texas Family Code
    261.107 False report
    A person commits an offense if the person knowingly makes a report under this chapter that the person knows is false or lacks factual foundation. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor (up to 1 year in jail and/or $4,000 fine).

    Texas Family Code
    261.109 Failure to report
    A person commits an offense if the person has cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect and knowingly fails to report as provided in this chapter. The offense is a Class B misdemeanor (up to 180 days in jail and/or $2,000 fine).

    Child Outcry Statements

    Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 38.072

    Hearsay statement of child abuse victim
    Statements of a child under the age of 13 who is a victim of sexual offenses or assaultive offenses made to the first person 18 years of age or older are an exception to hearsay rule and that person can testify directly as to what the child said to them.

    Privileged Communications

    Civil

    Texas Family Code
    261.202 Privileged Communication
    In a proceeding regarding the abuse or neglect of a child, evidence may not be excluded on the ground of privileged communication except in the case of communications between an attorney and client.

    Criminal

    Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 38.10 Exceptions to spousal privilege
    The privilege of a person’s spouse not to be called as a witness for the state does not apply in any proceeding in which the person is charged with a crime committed against the person’s spouse, a minor child, or a member of the household of either spouse.

    Texas Rules of Criminal Evidence 503 and 505

    The privileged communications afforded by attorney/client and clergyman/ client relationships applies to criminal prosecutions except as noted in the Texas Family Code 261.101 (initial reporting).

    Statute of Limitations

    None –
    murder/manslaughter

    10 years past child’s 18th birthday –
    aggravated sexual assault of a child
    sexual assault of a child
    indecency with a child by contact

    10 years- indecency with a child by exposure

    • All persons are
      required by law to report child abuse.

    • The report can be made
      to law enforcement, Child Protective Services, or the agency regulating the
      facility where the abuse is occurring.

    • Report should contain
      name/address of child and caregiver as well as information regarding the
      abuse.

    • Information about the
      reporting person is confidential except if ordered by court or to aid law
      enforcement in their investigation.

    • Persons reporting in
      good faith are immune from civil or criminal punishment.

    • Persons making
      intentional false reports can be punished criminally.

    • Persons failing to
      make a report can be punished criminally.

    • Hearsay (statement
      made by another person) is usually not admissible in court. In cases
      where a child is a victim under 13, the first person the child told about
      the abuse 18 or over can testify to the hearsay statement.

    • There is no privileged
      communication in civil child abuse cases except for statements to your
      attorney.

    • The only privileged
      communication in a criminal child abuse case is those to your attorney and
      your clergyman.

    • A spouse or other
      family member can be compelled to testify against anyone.

    • The time that a person
      can be charged after committing sexual abuse of a child is up to 28 years
      except in cases of child death in which case there is no set time to bring
      charges after the commission of the offense.

    source: ATCCAC Home Page

    cps
    OOPS!!! Pregnant ElDorado Minor Is Really An Adult…

    Long litany of legal disputes begins in FLDS raid

    By Ben Winslow
    Deseret News
    Published: May 14, 2008
    Legal motions are being filed in several Texas courts challenging the decisions to put 465 people from the Fundamentalist LDS Church’s YFZ Ranch in state protective custody.Meanwhile, Texas Child Protective Services officials conceded Tuesday that a young mother they initially believed was a minor is legally an adult.

    “We received information — credible information — and we now believe this woman who was believed to be a minor in question, is in fact, an adult,” Texas CPS spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner said after a court hearing in San Angelo.

    The mother will remain in state custody alongside her baby boy, who was born in San Marcos on April 29. A hearing on the issue has been continued until Friday. A spokesman for the FLDS Church said the woman in the case, identified as Pamela Jeffs, is 18.

    A spokesman for the FLDS Church accused Texas authorities of disregarding legal documentation to keep the babies in custody.

    “The state wanted to make sure that they got possession of those babies,” said Rod Parker. “If they’d have let mom go, they are afraid the baby will get away from them.”

    On Monday, another young woman gave birth to a boy in Austin. Louisa Jessop’s husband is challenging the decision to keep them in state custody, and a judge held off on ordering them moved to a new shelter in San Antonio. A hearing is scheduled in an Austin court on Thursday.

    In the meantime, the child and his mother remain in foster care.

    “The mother and 26 others are in the ‘disputed minors’ category, which applies to YFZ Ranch residents who CPS believes are minors, or who have provided different ages and other conflicting information to CPS at different times,” Texas DFPS said in a statement posted on its Web site.

    The FLDS insist that Jessop (who they say is 22) and other young women are adults. Texas CPS believes they are underage. The government agency said it is reviewing information about the women deemed “disputed minors.”

    “If CPS determines that any are adults, appropriate action will be taken,” the agency said.

    A massive series of hearings to determine the placement and status of all of the children in state protective custody is scheduled next week before five different judges in San Angelo.

    Lawyers for a Fundamentalist LDS couple went to court Tuesday to get an emergency restraining order blocking Texas authorities from separating a mother from her child.

    Joseph Steed Jessop Jr. turns 1 on Thursday and it is expected he will be separated from his mother, Lori.

    “A CPS worker has told her that after the infant, Joseph Steed Jessop Jr., turns one year old, which will be on May 15, 2008, he, too, will be taken away from her,” Corpus Christi attorney Rene Haas wrote in a motion filed Tuesday in a San Antonio.

    CPS officials declined to offer an immediate response. The judge granted their request for a temporary restraining order, and ordered that the baby’s father, Joseph Steed Jessop Sr., be told where his other children, Ziana Glo Jessop, 4, and Joseph Edson Jessop, 2, are being kept. Haas wrote in court papers that the couple last saw all their children on May 9.

    The judge granted them daily supervised visits until another hearing can be held on May 23.

    In another legal motion filed in San Antonio on Tuesday, three fathers filed a petition claiming their children are being illegally restrained in the custody of Texas CPS.

    The motion said that Texas law enforcement knew the phone call that prompted the raid was likely a hoax.

    “Nevertheless, Amy Marie Dockstader, Natalie Joanne Keate, Britton Bauer Keate, Jameson Rand Keate and Marreta Keate were removed from the community and the relators’ custody,” the fathers’ attorney, Gerald Goldstein, wrote.

    In separate sections, fathers James Dockstader, Rulon Keate and LeLand Keate describe the raid and how their children and wives were taken from them. Dockstader’s attorneys described him praying outside the FLDS temple as law enforcement went inside, Keate’s wife accompanied their children onto buses as they were removed en masse from the ranch.

    The fathers say there is no evidence their children were abused and they have been denied their rights to hearings and due process.

    “This court should order the return of their children and individualized hearings if, and only if, an adequate showing can be made that such hearings are necessary with respect to their families and child,” Goldstein wrote.

    The raid on the YFZ Ranch began April 3 when authorities responded to a call from someone claiming to be a 16-year-old girl, pregnant and in an abusive polygamous marriage to a 49-year-old man. When law enforcement and child welfare workers responded, they said they saw signs of other abuse — including other pregnant minors.

    That prompted a judge to order the removal of all of the children from the FLDS compound. They are now in foster care facilities across Texas. Authorities have said the FLDS culture poses a danger to children, with girls being groomed to become child brides and boys being groomed to be predators.

    “To prove that it has a compelling interest in holding these children, CPS must prove that they will suffer actual harm,” Goldstein responded. “Speculation does not suffice.”


    child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, Eldorado, family, foster care, government, law, legal, system failure
    ElDorado Childrens’ Removal by CPS was based on False Allegations

    But still … they are keeping the kids in foster care…. ?  Why?

    Warrant dropped against man named in polygamist retreat raid

    May 2, 2008

    ELDORADO, Texas (AP) — An arrest warrant has been dropped for a man thought to be the husband of a teenage girl whose report of abuse triggered a raid on a polygamous sect’s Texas compound, authorities said Friday.

    A Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman would not say why the warrant was dropped for Dale E. Barlow, 50, who lives in Colorado City, Ariz. Barlow has denied knowing the 16-year-old girl who called a crisis center.The girl reported that she was a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and that she was beaten and raped at the sect’s Eldorado ranch.

    An investigation led to the April 3 raid, in which state welfare workers took 463 children living at the Yearning For Zion Ranch. A boy was born to one of the sect’s mothers Tuesday; he and the other children remain in state custody.

    Authorities have not located the 16-year-old girl and are investigating the source of the call.

    Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger would not say when the warrant for Barlow was dropped, only that “it is no longer active.”

    Rob Parker, an FLDS spokesman, said the dropped warrant shows the weakness of the state’s case against residents of the ranch.

    “I think that’s just one more piece of evidence that the whole basis on which this raid was premised was unfounded and was inadequately checked out, to the formulation of what basically amounted to an army that went in there and took their children,” Parker said.

    The phone number used to call the crisis center is the same one once used by a Colorado woman, identified as 33-year-old Rozita Swinton of Colorado Springs, accused of making previous false reports of abuse.

    Investigators have not said whether Swinton made the call to Texas authorities, though Vinger said she is “still considered a person of interest.”

    “There is an investigation centering on that,” Vinger said. “We have quite a bit of evidence that still needs to be analyzed.”

    A judge has ruled that children removed from the ranch should stay in state custody until all can have a hearing.

    Child welfare officials told the judge the children were living in an authoritarian environment that left girls at risk of sexual abuse and raised boys to become sexual perpetrators.

    The FLDS is a group that splintered from the Mormon Church, which does not recognize the sect and disavows polygamy.

    In Utah, members of the polygamous church have asked the state’s governor to intervene in its fight with Texas authorities over the custody the children.

    A letter written by FLDS elder Willie Jessop says Texas officials are rejecting Utah-issued birth certificates and other documents as “fake.”

    The letter asks Gov. Jon Huntsman to exercise his executive authority to assist in protecting the civil rights of native Utahns and FLDS members. FLDS parents claim they have been denied their due process by the Texas courts.

    “Without your leadership and personal intervention in this matter, the parental rights of every Utah family is at risk,” Jessop wrote.

    Huntsman spokeswoman Lisa Roskelly said the governor has been in contact with Jessop and was reviewing his request.

    child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, death, family, foster care, government, suicide, system failure
    Abuse changes brains of suicide victims

    Source:By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor
    Tue May 6, 9:47 PM ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Suicide victims who were abused as children have clear genetic changes in their brains, Canadian researchers reported on Tuesday in a finding they said shows neglect can cause biological effects.

    The findings offer potential ways to find people at high risk of suicide, and perhaps to treat them and prevent future suicides.

    And, the researchers said, they also offer insights into how neglect and abuse can perpetuate unhealthy behavior through the generations.

    Moshe Szyf of McGill University in Montreal and colleagues studied the brains of 18 men who committed suicide and who were also abused or neglected as children, and compared them to 12 men who also died suddenly but from other causes, and who were not abused, although some had various psychiatric problems such as anxiety disorders.

    They found changes in the genetic material of all 18 suicide victims. The changes were not in the genes themselves, but in the ribosomal RNA, which is the genetic material that makes proteins that in turn make cells function.

    These changes involved a chemical process called methylation, a so-called epigenetic change involving the processes of turning genes on and off, they reported in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, available at http://www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0002085 .

    “The big remaining questions are whether scientists could detect similar changes in blood DNA — which could lead to diagnostic tests — and whether we could design interventions to erase these differences in epigenetic markings,” Szyf said in a statement.

    Dr. Eric Nestler of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas said both drugs and psychotherapy may act to reverse some of these changes.

    CHANGING THE BRAIN

    “Ultimately we believe that a person who gets better from psychotherapy is inducing changes in the brain,” Nestler told reporters at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Washington where similar research was discussed.

    Szyf’s colleague, Michael Meaney, has shown in animals that parental abuse and neglect can affect the brains and behavior of offspring.

    He has studied the brains of rats, for whom parental care can be demonstrated in how much the mother grooms her pups.

    “You can put two rats on a table and tell which one is raised by a low-licking mother. The one reared by a low-licking mother is more nervous, and fatter,” Meaney said in an interview at the Psychiatric Association meeting.

    Images of the brain cells of the rats show the brain cells of low-licking mothers have fewer dendrites. These are the strands that help one neuron communicate with another.

    Meaney, who also worked on the suicide study, said the research, taken together, demonstrates how early experiences can cause physical changes in the brain.

    He said female rats reared by low-licking mothers reached puberty earlier, meaning they had more offspring.

    Similar findings are true of humans, who often have children at younger ages when times are stressful. The best way to pass along genes in uncertain times is to have more children, he said.

    (Editing by Julie Steenhuysen and Sandra Maler)