Month: September 2013

arrests, child death, cps, death, judicial system, social worker, texas
Accountability in Greenville, Tx with the Arrest of Three CPS Workers

Well this is an event that we do not see very often.  There is so much media coverage, I’ve decided to copy and paste the articles below for Tuesday’s readers to sift through.

There is accountability in Greenville, Texas with three CPS workers arrested on charges that they falsified documents, and mishandled a sexual abuse case, including illegally conducting a  search and seizure – knowingly.

Nobody is above the law, yet this happens in many cases. Rarely, if ever, do we see charges of oppression brought against the social workers – Its Almost Tuesday has never seen this before in Texas. We have seen many cases where charges like this should have been pressed, but never were. We have seen many cases where charges like this should have been pressed but were covered up deliberately.  Take heed, CPS, perhaps times are a changing – we can only hope.

It is our hope that justice will be served and this will serve as a precedence set for future cases involving CPS and families under investigation. It is only through transparency and public scrutiny that government agencies like CPS will be held accountable to not only the minimum standards set by law, but much deserved justice given to the forgotten children of the foster care system.

It is also important to remember, during this time, that media coverage respect that these are real people involved in a very horrific situation. They are grieving the loss of a child, and dealing with emotions of unimaginable proportions. There is no doubt a tremendous difficulty in a daily  struggle to handle such an ordeal that to add to it an onslaught of media coverage must double, triple, or quadruple the degree of pain and heartache they must feel.  While it is vital that the general public be made aware of truths within our child welfare system, Its Almost Tuesday is hopeful that the media will not unfairly sway opinions, or turn this case into a ‘circus’ that may impede such truth and that justice will prevail, whatever that may be.  It is an unfortunate shame (to understate it at the very least) that a child had to die in order for accountability to be sought.  We applaud the prosecutors for seeking such accountability, and for standing against the very essence of a damaged system by arresting those involved in wrongdoings.

Our hearts go out to those affected by the Alicia Moore case, and to those grieving the loss of this child, perhaps there is a tiny bit of solace offered in these arrests, and may truth and justice prevail; so that Alicia’s death can leave a legacy for future CPS caseworkers to remember.. and a lesson learned.

Its certainly not much to offer  our words of support in comparison to the hardships the Moore family faces, so again, our hearts go out to you, and may peace find you well.

Godspeed.

3 CPS Employees Charged in Connection to Alicia Moore Case

By Randy McIIwain
|  Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013  |  Updated 11:08 PM CDT

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Three Child Protective Services employees from Greenville have been charged for their handling of sexual abuse allegations in slain teenager Alicia Moore’s file.

Investigators say three women were indicted by a Hunt County grand jury. The indictments have been sealed, but arrest warrants were issued on Tuesday.

CPS retiree, Laura Ard faces a single count of tampering with evidence, Natalie Reynolds, is charged with three counts of official oppression and one count of tampering with evidence, and Rebekah Ross is charged with three counts of official oppression and two counts of tampering with evidence.

The women were taken into custody. As of Tuesday night, Ard was the only person to post bail.

NBC 5 spoke to Ard after she bonded out of jail. She said she had been with CPS for 30 years and had never been in trouble.

Sources tell NBC 5 that only the charges of tampering with evidence apply to the Moore case and that tampering could include, altering, destroying or fabricating information in Moore’s investigative file.

CPS had an open file on Moore who was a victim of sexual abuse in the months before her disappearance on Nov. 2, 2012.

Moore was last seen about a block away from her home getting off a school bus. The teenager’s body was found days later stuffed into a furniture trunk, dumped along a rural road in Van Zandt County.

Moore’s great uncle, Michael Moore, has been charged with capital murder in her death.

During the Moore murder investigation, investigators with the State Inspector General’s office began looking into accusations that Moore’s CPS case was being mishandled. Officers with the IG’s office spent month’s looking into Moore’s CPS file and turned over findings in a report to the Hunt County District Attorney’s office last month. Hunt County examined the report and presented it to a grand jury, which returned the multi-count indictments.

It is not known at this time if anything in Moore’s investigative CPS file could have been used to possibly prevent her murder or aid in the murder investigation that dragged on until Michael Moore’s arrest in May 2013.

Indictments in CPS case unsealed

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff
September 25, 2013

GREENVILLE — Indictments filed against three current or former employees with the Child Protective Services (CPS) office in Greenville were unsealed Wednesday morning.

The charges allege all three acted together to use a false document in the investigation of the mother of slain Greenville teenager Alicia Moore and that two of the defendants conducted unlawful searches and/or seizures against multiple targets of CPS investigations.

One of those charged, Laura Marsh Ard, is the former program director for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services office in Rockwall.

Ard, 60, of Rockwall, received one indictment for tampering with physical evidence. Natalie Ausbie Reynolds 33, of Fate, received three indictments for official oppression and one indictment for tampering with physical evidence. Rebekah Thonginh Ross, 34 of Greenville, received four indictments for official oppression and one indictment for tampering with physical evidence.

The tampering with physical evidence indictments allege all three defendants acted together on or about Nov. 6, 2012 “to use a record and/or document to wit: the risk asssessment involving Aretha Moore … with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect the course or outcome of the investigation.”

In three of the official oppression indictments, Reynolds and Ross were alleged to have acted together as CPS investigators to have subjected three separate individuals who were under CPS investigations “to search and seizure that the defendant knew as unlawful” on or about Dec. 16, 2011, March 28, 2012 and June 14, 2012.

Ross was also alleged to have subjected a fourth individual under CPS investigation to an unlawful search and/or seizure on June 27, 2012.

The tampering with physical evidence charges are third degree felonies, punishable upon conviction by a maximum sentence of from two to 10 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.

The official oppression charges are Class A misdemeanor counts, which fall under the jurisdiction of a state district court, in this case the 354th District Court.

Dates for arraignment hearings — at which time the defendants will have a chance to enter formal pleas to the charges — had not been scheduled as of Wednesday morning.

Attorney for individual indicted in CPS case issues statement

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff
September 26, 2013

GREENVILLE — Attorney Peter Schulte, who represents Rebekah Thonginh Ross, one of three people indicted in connection with an investigation of the local Child Protective Services (CPS) office, issued a statement this morning on Ross’ behalf:

“Rebekah, who has dedicated the last several years of her life protecting the children of this State, is not guilty of these charges. The truth will be revealed in Court and we ask that the public withhold judgment until all the facts are known.  It’s disappointing that certain law enforcement officials in Hunt County and/or Austin are releasing alleged “facts” about these cases to the media that are simply not true. We have no intention of trying these cases in the news media and hope that the Government decides to follow their legal obligation to not make statements about these cases to the media outside the Courtroom.”

Source: The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Related Stories

OTHER ARRESTS OF CPS WORKERS:

Thumbnail In August 2012, two social workers were arrested at the Columbus Georgia CPS by the GBI and the Inspector General for making fraudulent child abuse reports to get federal funding and pushing others to lie with them.

ThumbnailMIAMI — The teenage foster kids called their rendezvous with men who paid for their affections “dates.” Sometimes they had several scheduled each day.
cps, health, love, mental illness, psychiatry
Until Tuesday-A Must-Read Book About PTSD & a Golden Retriever

So having been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and being a dog lover,i was researching the use of service animals for those with ptsd.

I came across this book that I simply had to mention and I certainly cannot wait to read.

I thought it was ironic that its called “Until Tuesday” but is not affiliated with “Its Almost Tuesday”.

I would love to hear from my readers on their experiences with ptsd and service animals.

I want to also hear from others who have read this book. It looks amazing.

“We aren’t just service dog and master; Tuesday and I are also best friends. Kindred souls. Brothers. Whatever you want to call it. We weren’t made for each other, but we turned out to be exactly what the other needed.”

A highly decorated captain in the U.S. Army, Luis Montalván never backed down from a challenge during his two tours of duty in Iraq. After returning home from combat, however, the pressures of his physical wounds, traumatic brain injury, and crippling post-traumatic stress disorder began to take their toll. Haunted by the war and in constant physical pain, he soon found himself unable to climb a simple flight of stairs or face a bus ride to the VA hospital. He drank; he argued; ultimately, he cut himself off from those he loved. Alienated and alone, unable to sleep or bend over without pain, he began to wonder if he would ever recover.

Then Luis met Tuesday, a beautiful and sensitive golden retriever trained to assist the disabled. Tuesday had lived amongst prisoners and at a home for troubled boys, blessing many lives; he could turn on lights, open doors, and sense the onset of anxiety and flashbacks. But because of a unique training situation and sensitive nature, he found it difficult to trust in or connect with a human being—until Luis.

Until Tuesday is the story of how two wounded warriors, who had given so much and suffered the consequences, found salvation in each other. It is a story about war and peace, injury and recovery, psychological wounds and spiritual restoration. But more than that, it is a story about the love between a man and dog, and how together they healed each other’s souls.

Find out more about this book at http://until-Tuesday.com

aging out, cps
Dallas County Foster Kids Age Out to Troubled Lives…
 Its Almost Tuesday wants us all to remember, stories like these are about the children who live to age-out.  Many do not. Many commit suicide just prior to their 18th birthday. Those are the ones that the system needs to focus on, how that sort of tragedy could have been prevented.
Maybe listening to the ones that live to age-out can give us the answer to saving the next suicide victim-to-be.

After aging out of foster system, some teens’ troubles are just beginning

|by Source of article: JANET ST. JAMES,  WFAA 

Posted on September 5, 2013 at 10:31 PM                                                    Updated Friday, Sep 6 at 4:55 PM

DALLAS — When many high school students are fighting for Independence, Seth Miller seemingly has it all.

He wears what he wants, eats when he wants to, has complete Independence, and an apartment of his own.

But Seth would trade it in a second for one thing.

“One family,” he said. “Even if I had to live in a box — family.”

When Seth was a baby, he was adopted into a large family. The adoption lasted until he was seven, when abuse allegations split up the children.

He remembers what his adoptive mother told him on his last afternoon at home.

“‘You’re just going to spend the night, but you’ll be back tomorrow,'” Seth recalled. “Sometimes I question why she didn’t tell me the truth.”

In the coming years, Seth would live with five other foster families, never feeling part of any of them. Neglect was part of his foster life, he says. Distrust of people and anger at the world grew.

“You were just a number,” Seth said stoically.

At 18, Seth became a legal adult and aged out of the foster care system. He left his last foster family in an attempt to find happiness.

About 1,500 Texas teens age out of the foster care system annually, with few resources to help them survive the adult world. Many struggle with unemployment and crime. Nearly half, according to some research, become homeless.

A few weeks ago, Seth was living in his car.

“I remember one night, I did fall asleep and woke up the next morning and I was like this,” Seth said, leaning on his steering wheel, “and my neck kind of hurt. I never imagined living like that.”

“He called and told me he was homeless,” said Virginia Barrett, a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA.

Unlike state case workers, CASA’s are volunteers charged with protecting the best interests of a single child. There are not enough CASA volunteers for every foster child in North Texas.

Barrett has been Seth’s CASA since he was seven. When the state assistance stopped, this volunteer has kept helping the angry, abandoned young man.

She gathered donations and helped Seth rent an apartment so he could finish his senior year of high school.

“My goal is to make it better,” Barrett said. “That’s what we’re working on.”

She’s trying to get Seth into a supervised independent living program to help him meet his monthly financial needs so he can concentrate on graduating.

Seth has biological siblings he has never met, and never knew existed until a few months ago. For now, Virginia is his only family.

Seth also works full-time at McDonalds. He is determined he will not fail himself.

He believes the system, overloaded with too many foster children, too many unqualified foster families, and too few case workers, let him down.

“I know I’m tough because I went through a lot,” he said. “And I’m going to make it. Because I have to. That’s all I have. That’s the only choice I have.”

Seth would like people to take notice of what he calls a broken system, to protect other vulnerable children who grow up in foster care.

He hopes other foster teens will see him now and know they are a number.

Number one.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

WFAA Reader Comments:

cps
Foster Homes Randomly Inspected After Death of Two Year Old Girl

AUSTIN (August 29, 2013)—Texas Child Protective Services caseworkers have randomly inspected 23 area foster homes in the wake of the arrest a foster mother in Rockdale, who is charged with capital murder in the death of a 2-year-old who was in her care.

Julie Moody of the Department of Family and Protective Services said Thursday caseworkers interviewed a total of 59 children in the 23 homes and removed two children from one of the homes because of the use of inappropriate discipline.

In another case, caseworkers barred a frequent visitor from a foster home until a criminal background check was performed, Moody said.

Sherill Small, 54, of Rockdale was arrested earlier this month on a warrant charging murder and remains in the Milam County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 bond.

The child, Alexandria Hill, 2, died at Scott & White’s McLane Children’s Hospital after she was taken off life support.

Smalls’ arrest affidavit says, “She became frustrated with Alexandria, picked her up, and in a downward motion with a lot of force came down toward the ground with her.”

“She did this twice and on the third time she lost her grip and the victim was thrown to the ground head first,” the affidavit said.

At McLane’s emergency room, the affidavit says, doctors found that the toddler had “subdural hemorrhaging, subarachnoid hemorrhaging, and retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes.”

Small became a foster parent through Texas Mentor, a child placement agency with a dismal history.

State records show it has racked up 59 violations in the past two years. Some of those violations center around routine background checks that weren’t corrected after inspection.

Residential Child Care Licensing has been investigating Texas Mentor since Small’s arrest. The contractor has nearly 70 foster homes in Central Texas.

Texas Mentor sent News 10 a statement after the inspections were announced that said, “We are aware that the state has been in contact with several of our foster homes. Given the recent tragedy, we will cooperate fully.”

Meanwhile Thursday retired U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack has ruled that a class-action lawsuit accusing the state of poorly supervising foster children can proceed.

She certified as a class more than 12,000 abused and neglected children permanently removed from their birth families in the suit brought by the group Children’s Rights.