Author: 14thdaymom

cps, General
What exactly IS the definition of child abuse and neglect?

If you are accused of child abuse, what does that mean? When I was a child, it was common practice to get a spanking, or whopping. It was called discipline.

Now days, spanking your child can get your child taken away from you and suddenly you are labeled an abuser for trying to teach your child tight from wrong. Where do we draw the line? Do parents have to live in fear of disciplining their own child?

What about neglect? CPS often uses the term “neglectful supervision” to justify their reason for involvement in a family’s life. That’s a very elastic term, what does it mean? How do you tell the difference between neglect and simply poverty?

If a family cannot afford to get the child school supplies or new clothes are they really being neglectful?

Let’s take a look at what the experts and the law says is child abuse and neglect.

What exactly IS child abuse?

In defining child maltreatment, experts have focused on both broad parameters and specific types or subgroups of child abuse and neglect.

C. Henry Kempe and colleagues’ “battered child syndrome” identified physical injuries perpetrated on the child by caregivers.

Vincent Fontana’s “maltreatment syndrome” included neglect in the definition of child abuse.

The American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Standards Project defined child abuse as a non-accidental injury that “causes or creates a substantial risk of causing disfigurement, impairment of bodily functioning, or other serious physical injury.”

A group of professionals in child welfare defined “emotional neglect” as the “parent’s refusal to recognize and take action to ameliorate a child’s identified emotional disturbance.”

Another definition of child abuse includes sexual abuse as “the sexual misuse of a child for an adult’s own gratification without proper concern for the child’s psychosexual development.”

The federal government’s legal definition of child abuse and neglect comes under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (Public Law 100-294).

This included child physical and mental abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, and neglect by a person responsible for the child’s health and welfare.

The Child Abuse Amendments of 1984 (Public Law 98-457) expanded the definition of child abuse and neglect to include “the withholding of medical treatment to an infant with a life threatening health condition or complication.”

The National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators’ definition of child abuse and neglect further defined child maltreatment in a broad level as “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death or serious physical, sexual, or emotional harm or presents an imminent risk of serious harm to a person under age 18.”

Critics of the sometimes confusing, inconsistent, plethora of definitions of child abuse and neglect point out such problems as some are too narrow, others too inclusive, and the cross-cultural differences with respect to perceptions of child maltreatment and reporting of such.

The lack of uniformity in definitions and the resulting inconsistencies in their application reflect “the manifold perspectives on these acts, and the inchoate state of conceptualization.

Legislative history

The law was completely rewritten in the Child Abuse Prevention, Adoption and Family Services Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-294).

It was further amended by the Child Abuse Prevention Challenge Grants Reauthorization Act of 1989 (P.L. 101-126 and the Drug Free School Amendments of 1989 (Public Law 101-226).

The Community-Based Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Grants was a program that was originally authorized by Sections 402 to 409 of the Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1985 (Public Law 98-473).

The Child Abuse Prevention Challenge Grants Reauthorization Act of 1989 (Public Law 101-126) transferred the program to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, as amended.

A new Title III, Certain Preventive Services Regarding Children of Homeless Families or Families at Risk of Homelessness, was added to the Child Abuse and Neglect and Treatment Act by the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act Amendments of 1990 (Public Law 101-645).

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was amended and reauthorized by the Child Abuse, Domestic Violence Adoption and Family Services Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-295), and amended by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act Amendmentsof 1992 (Public Law 102-586).

The Act was amended by the Older American Act Technical Amendments of 1993 (Public Law 103-171, 12/2/93) and the Human Services Amendments of 1994 (Public Law 103-252, 5/19/94).

CAPTA was further amended by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act Amendments of 1996 (P.L. 104-235, 10/3/96), which amended Title I, replaced the Title II Community-Based Family Resource Centers program with a new Community-Based Family Resource and Support Program, and repealed Title III.

CAPTA was most recently amended by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-36, 6/25/03), which amended Title I and replaced Title II, Community-Based Family Resource and Support Program with Community-Based Grants for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

CAPTA was reauthorized in 2010, as the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2011 (Public Law 111-320)

This factsheet available for download by clicking here, is intended to help you better understand the Federal
definition of child abuse and neglect; learn about the different types of abuse and neglect, including human
trafficking; and recognize their signs and symptoms.

It also includes additional resources with information on how to effectively identify and report maltreatment and refer children who have been maltreated.

Federal legislation lays the groundwork for State laws
and Neglect and on child maltreatment by identifying a minimum set of systemwide laws, policies, and statutes that define actions or behaviors as child abuse and neglect.

Federal Law defines child abuse and neglect as, at a minimum,

any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or victims, fatalities, exploitation (including sexual abuse as determined under section 111), or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm” (42 U.S.C. 5101 note, § 3)

Additionally, it stipulates that “a child shall be considered a victim of ‘child abuse and neglect’ and of ‘sexual abuse’ if the child is identified, by a State or local agency employee of the State or locality involved, as being a victim of sex trafficking.

Most Federal and State child protection laws primarily refer to cases of harm to a child caused by parents or other caregivers; they generally do not include harm caused by other people, such as acquaintances or strangers.

Some State laws also include a child’s witnessing of domestic violence as a form of abuse or neglect.

For more information on State-specific laws pertaining to child abuse and neglect, see Child Welfare Information Gateway’s State Statutes Search page .

General
Child Abuse and Neglect in the Armed Services

Relatively little research has been done on child maltreatment in the armed services: the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. However, some data does indicate that child abuse and neglect is a serious problem in the military just as in civilian life.

According to NCANDS data, there were 16,673 reports of alleged child maltreatment in the military in 1996.

In 48 percent of the investigations, there were dispositions of substantiated maltreatment of children.

A breakdown of the type of child maltreatment victims found in the armed services follows:

* Forty-two percent were victims of neglect.
* Thirty-six percent were physical abuse victims.
* Fourteen percent were sexual abuse victims.
* Seventeen percent were victims of emotional maltreatment.

Child maltreatment in the armed services has been associated with military life itself and circumstances within, including substance abuse, disciplinary infractions, reassignment, field training, payroll problems, living abroad, foreign spouses, and intra-cultural problems.

John Miller reported that the most vulnerable population in the military for child maltreatment are young enlisted families who have been in the service for less than 3 years.

Within this group are “high-risk families, as in civilian life, characterized by “inexperience, immaturity, lack of social skills, and inability to cope with life’s stresses and problems.”

In a study of the types of child maltreatment in the armed services conducted at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, it was found that 7 percent of the cases were “disciplinary abuse.”

The term was first used in a study classifying types of child maltreatment among the civilian population, and descriptive of the typical pattern of the “military syndrome.”

The abusive parents were described as “rigid and unfeeling… the homes were spotless… abuse was centered upon any child who broke the rules and straps and sticks were used in place of hands.”

Although Family Advocacy Programs personnel in the armed services are required to report cases of child abuse and neglect to the child abuse registry in the state in which the victim lives, much like civilians, most child maltreatment in the military is believed to go unreported and, thus, remains a hidden tragedy

cps, parental alienation syndrome
Experts Say Parental Kidnapping Has The Most Deleterious Long Term Effects on a Child

Each year thousands of children are abducted by a parent, often as the consequences of a divorce, separation, or custody battle. Parental kidnapping, also referred to as “child snatching,” has existed for many years, but only in recent memory has it become widely seen as another form of child maltreatment.

Parental kidnapping by a noncustodial parent is believed to account for more than 100,000 child abductions a year in the United States. Some experts suggest the figures will continue to rise, due largely to the soaring divorce rate in this country. The American Bar Association estimates that 70 percent of children abducted by a noncustodial parent will never see their custodial parent again.

Fathers are typically the kidnappers, as they abduct their children in order to “circumvent a legal system that in 92 percent of the cases grants custody of the child or children to the mother.”

Tens of thousands of dollars are often spent by the custodial parent in an effort to locate and retrieve the child. Additionally, there is anguish, guilt, depression, anxiety, and other physical and mental stresses the parent must go through in both self-blame and wondering about the health and welfare of the missing child.

In many instances, the abducted child is returned home safely “only after the conflict is resolved satisfactorily for the parent kidnapper.”

Because parental abductions are often still viewed by law enforcement authorities as a family matter, they are not always given the same intense efforts in locating the child as children who are abducted by strangers – estimated at upwards of 150,000 annually.

Even when it is given a top priority, locating children taken by a parent can be an almost impossible task, considering the size of the United States.

Further, some abductors take children overseas, further complicating matters and lessening the chance the child will ever be reunited with the custodial parent.
Laws on parental kidnapping are not uniform from state to state, making the task of locating victims and prosecuting abducting parents that much more difficult.

Most experts agree that it is the emotional harm to the child, loss of parental unity, and family bonding that typically have the most long-term impact.

General, murder, news
CPS placed 18 month old child in his aunt’s care – now he’s dead

Two separate investigations will review Child Protective Services’ handling of a Dallas toddler’s case after the child was found dead Thursday in a landfill, a day after his aunt and caregiver reported him missing.

Police believe they found 18-month-old Cedrick Jackson’s remains Thursday morning in a landfill on the Garland-Rowlett line. The Dallas County medical examiner had yet to positively identify the remains or determine a cause of death as of Friday.

Authorities charged Sedrick Johnson, the 27-year-old boyfriend of the child’s aunt, with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury.

Johnson faces additional charges pending the medical examiner’s findings. The toddler had been living in a Lake Highlands apartment with Johnson and his aunt, Crystal Jackson, after CPS placed him in her care.

Johnson told police he had swaddled Cedrick in blankets — something he had been doing since May after the child “made a mess” with ketchup packets, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Johnson told police he unwrapped Cedrick after he heard the child making noises in his sleep. He said the toddler then vomited and became unresponsive. Johnson told police he left the child’s body in a dumpster in northeast Dallas after his CPR attempts failed.

Internal and independent reviews will likely examine why Cedrick was placed in the home of Johnson, who has a criminal history in Dallas County.

The child’s mother, Dishundra Thomas, had allowed Cedrick to stay with Jackson. The arrangement by CPS was not against her will, Thomas said.

However, CPS would not knowingly place a child in a home with an adult who has a criminal history, said Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Johnson was charged with child abandonment in 2010 after police said he left his infant daughter alone in an apartment while he propositioned an undercover officer who he believed was a prostitute, according to court records.

He pleaded guilty in 2011 and was sentenced to four years of probation. Johnson later violated that probation and was sentenced to eight months in state jail in 2016.

Under normal circumstances, CPS officials conduct a criminal background check on each adult in a home being considered for child placement, Gonzales said. She didn’t provide details on Cedrick’s case Friday, citing the ongoing criminal investigation.

The Department of Family and Protective Service’s Office of Child Safety will conduct an independent review of CPS’ handling of Cedrick’s case, Gonzales said. It’s not clear when either investigation will complete.

The Office of Child Safety will issue a report detailing its findings when the investigation is complete, but Gonzales said the office would need the approval of the Dallas County district attorney’s office and law enforcement before releasing the report publicly.

Johnson was still in the Dallas County jail as of Friday evening, with bail set at $503,000.

Vigil in boy’s honor

Friday evening, mourners gathered under a pavilion at Lake Highlands Recreation Center for a community vigil in Cedrick’s memory, where Dishundra Thomas, the boy’s mother, briefly addressed the crowd of about 100 before breaking down, inconsolable. Another read a prepared statement that was barely comprehensible through her tears.

“Baby C.J. was the sweetest little baby in the world,” his mother said. “He meant everything to us. He didn’t deserve anything that happened to him.”

Eventually family members had to escort her away, as she sobbed and screamed, “I want him back!”

The gathering included several families with small children, carrying blue and white balloons, one in the shape of a giant C. Some wore blue T-shirts with an image of Cedrick’s face and the words, “Rest in Heaven.” One woman carried a handmade poster reading “Our Beloved CJ” with photos of the boy.

Linus Walton of Wylie, an acquaintance of the boy’s uncle, spoke as well, saying “He brought people, as we see right now, together. C.J. was loved. His life was not in vain.”

Finally, as the sun began to set, the crowd moved to an open grassy area, where Cedrick’s grand-aunt, Benita Arterberry of Mesquite, said the gesture was symbolic of a soul being commended to God.

“Father, we know that into each life a little rain must fall, and today is a storm,” she said, as the crowd sent their balloons skyward. “We are so grateful to have had him for the time that we did.”

cps
Parents whose rights were terminated can now petition courts: Champion/Moran bill restores parental rights

Every state should follow this lead.

This is an awesome step forward in the fight for child welfare system reform.

Good job Minnesota!!!

Walz-Moran
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed into law legislation allowing the reestablishment of the parent/child relationship. At left, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and Sen. Bobby Champion, at right, Rep. Rena Moran and Sen. Jeff Hayden. Andrew VonBank

Gov. Tim Walz signed into law HF 554, a bill authored by Rep. Rena Moran (DFL – St. Paul), that allows parents who had previously had their parental rights terminated for non-egregious harm to directly seek reestablishment of these rights from the courts.

Currently, only a county attorney can make this petition.

“Whenever we’re able to, we should keep families together and our children deserve to be protected, loved, and nurtured. When they can stay in their community with their parents, this gives them the best outlook in life,” Moran said. “We know all too well that our child welfare system doesn’t seem to always have the best interest of the child in mind, and that’s why it’s important for us to keep working to improve it. Every child deserves a strong future and I thank Governor Walz for signing this important bill into law.”

The House approved the measure by a vote of 130-0 on April 4, and the Senate followed on April 29 with a vote of 66-0 and the governor signed it into law May 6.

Under the bill, petitions for reinstatement of parental rights would only be allowed in cases in which the rights were terminated for non-egregious harm, such as chemical dependency or mental illness, and not for physical, sexual, or psychological abuse.

Studies have shown when children, especially African-American children, remain in the foster system, they face poorer life outcomes than those who remain with their biological families. These include lower lifetime employment rates, a greater chance of experience with the criminal justice system, and higher rates of mental illness and addiction.

The legislation requires the parent to clearly demonstrate the steps they’ve taken to address the underlying issue which led to the termination of rights in the first place, and a judge would make the final decision.

murder
Teen who vanished 11 years ago charged with killing kidnapper Dad

Before you read this article below, I want to put in my two cents worth. THIS BOY IS A VICTIM.

LET HIM GO BACK TO HIS MAMA AND FAMILY THAT HE WAS TAKEN FROM AS A CHILD. That abusive man had no right to take him like that.

By the looks of the comments to this article below, most everyone agrees LET HIM GO HOME.That being said, there’s going to be allot of details in this case that are unknown to the readers so a blanket opinion is not going to necessarily be the right decision

This kid is 17. First of all 17 year olds don’t all think with a sound mind. Obviously his dad was abusive but if that was the case did the kid try to escape or call for help? Did he go to school? Did they see signs of abuse and ignore it? Why didn’t the second wife try to help the kid?

Even if he is totally justified for this killing, he’s now a killer and will need, at the very least, counseling. We can’t just release him back into society and ignore the fact that on top of the abuse he has suffered, he is also going to be traumatized by killing his Dad. He’s going to be severely affected by that and by going to jail.

Abuse is a cycle and often passed down. This kid could end up being an abuser himself. The reunification with his family is going to be an issue as well, as I would guess that he was also a victim of parental alienation syndrome.

There are definitely many factors involved that we,the public, are not aware of. All on all this is a very delicate and sad situation.

WHAT DO Y’ALL THINK? COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW.


Read the original article here.The family of a teenager missing for 11 years finally learned what happened to him this month, when they heard of his arrest for allegedly killing the father who kidnapped him, according to reports.

Relatives of Anthony Templet searched for him for more than a decade after he was snatched from his Houston, Texas, home at 5 years old by his dad, Burt Templet, the family told WAFB 9 this week.

“After 11 years of waiting to hear if my brother was still alive, he is found,” his sister Natasha Templet told local outlet.

“He has been secluded and abused all these years by his own father,” she said. “My brave brother had to defend himself for the last time against that evil man.”

The now-17-year-old told investigators that his father was drunk and started a fight prior to the incident earlier this month.

The teen grabbed two guns to protect himself and eventually shot his dad in the head and torso and then called 911, deputies said. The elder Templet died from his injuries days later.

Court records obtained by KHOU show that Burt was charged with assault three times between 2001 and 2002. Two of the cases were dismissed.

His ex-wife had filed a protective order just two months before the family last saw Anthony, the outlet reported.

“Burt and my mom were together for about 10 years and it was extremely violent,” Natasha said. “I can only imagine what Anthony’s been through.”

Their father eventually remarried, but that woman left him earlier this year. She had also reportedly filed a protective order against Burt and alleged that he knocked out several of her teeth.

Anthony remains incarcerated at a juvenile facility in north Louisiana but has spoken to his sister and his 80-year-old grandmother on the phone.

District Attorney Hillar Moore said his office has been in contact with several of Anthony’s relatives since the teen’s arrest and will review “whatever information anyone has before deciding what action to take.”

cps
Dozens of CPS caseworkers caught lying, falsifying documents
This series of investigative journalism about Texas CPS, originally published January 13, 2015, in the Austin-American Statesman is an awesome read.

I highly recommend taking the time to explore all the articles and links below.

Kudos to Andrea Ball and Eric Dexheimgg for such great work.

Child Protective Services has struggled with high turnover as caseworkers face danger and extreme stress, insome cases lying or falsifying records in an attempt to keep up with overwhelming workloads. But agency officials are optimistic about a new overhaul plan and efforts to identify high-risk cases early.

Agency has been fighting an uphill battle.

Misconduct cases, while rare, indicative of intense workloads and pressure to close cases

  • CPS officials say such violations are rare, but they have no way to track them.
  • Wrongdoing can stem from intense pressure to close cases quickly.
  • CPS discipline for misconduct can be inconsistent.

By Andrea Ball and Eric Dexheimer / Published January 13, 2015

Houston CPS worker Michelle Robinson testifies during her trial at the Harris County Courthouse in October. Robinson was convicted of falsifying records, sentenced to a year probation and ordered to pay a $300 fines

When Child Protective Services received a complaint that a Harris County father had choked his teenage daughter, caseworker Michelle Robinson said she hurried to the house, conducted a thorough investigation, determined there was no merit to the allegations and closed the case.

Except she didn’t. In October, a Harris County jury convicted Robinson for falsifying CPS records, concluding that she’d lied when she said she’d interviewed key sources in the case and that she left the young girl in danger. Robinson was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay a $300 fine.

It wasn’t an isolated case. Since 2009, at least 50 CPS workers have been caught lying to prosecutors, ignoring court orders, falsifying state records or obstructing law enforcement investigations, according to an American-Statesman review of state and court documents.

At least four former CPS employees are currently facing criminal charges for their alleged misconduct.

State officials insist those cases are rare. The employees accused of misconduct found by the Statesman represent a fraction of the 3,400 investigators and foster care workers in the agency.

But the agency cannot definitively say how often it happens since it does not comprehensively track the number of people who were fired for such offenses. It also doesn’t count the number of CPS employees who were punished, but not fired, for such misconduct, because that information is stored only in employees’ personnel files, said Patrick Crimmins, spokesman for the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Officials do have some sense of the scope of the problem because they receive reports of violations that have been confirmed by the Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General, the commission’s in-house watchdog. But those numbers don’t include misconduct that CPS handles internally.
Through a series of open records requests, the American-Statesman identified numerous employees accused of wrongdoing by CPS or the inspector general who were referred to local law enforcement agencies.

The majority of those referrals were for lying on government documents to cover up sloppy casework, with caseworkers often saying they had visited children they had not. In other cases, employees failed to cooperate with law enforcement, lied on their travel reimbursement forms or refused to comply with a judge’s orders.

I think I’ve been very clear. In cases where you falsify documents, that’s a firing offense .-John Specia, commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services

State officials say they take swift action when they find such misconduct.

John Specia, commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services, said lying by caseworkers is never acceptable.

Yet consequences doled out by CPS are inconsistent. Some employees have been fired, but others were not punished at all, the paper’s analysis showed.

Additionally, some supervisors who meted out discipline to troubled workers were later accused of their own misconduct, which some child welfare advocates said contributes to poor morale on the front lines.

Former CPS investigator Dimple Patel, now a research associate at advocacy group TexProtects, says she saw caseworkers falsify documents “a great deal” during her time at the agency.

“Once, a supervisor actually changed a worker’s documentation to state that the worker interviewed the children when they actually did not,” she said. “That supervisor was caught as the printed documents did not match up with the things changed in our computer database. … They both still work for the agency.”

When Specia arrived in 2012, the commissioner made it very clear that he has a zero tolerance policy for such behavior, and indeed it seemed to happen less frequently, Patel said. But records show it still happens.

Pressure to close cases

While each case is different, one clear theme emerges in the personnel and investigation records: An unmanageable workload and intense pressure to close cases compels workers to cut corners

In 2009, Texas’ Legislature ordered Child Protective Services to publicly record every abuse- and neglect-related death in the state – but those reports have not been thoroughly analyzed to help identify patterns to prevent future deaths until now.

Caseworkers obviously don’t enter the profession with the intent to lie about the safety of children, said Randy Burton with Justice for Children. But pressure to close investigations “come hell or high water” has plagued caseworkers for years and can lead to wrongdoing, he said.

I think that pressure has also directly resulted in sloppy casework and finding any excuse by caseworkers to close cases,” said Burton, whose Houston-based nonprofit advocates for child safety. “Once falsification of records begins, it tends to become a pattern. The only way to cover up a lie is with another lie.
The consequences can be devastating. In April 2013, a Corsicana infant was seriously injured by his parents after a CPS investigator failed to check out a neglect allegation against the family but said that she had.

When CPS investigators don’t investigate those cases and lie about it in their reports, not only are they breaking the law but they are putting the children they are supposed to protect in danger,” said Harris County Assistant District Attorney Adam Muldrow, who prosecuted Robinson

Neither Robinson nor her attorney could be reached for comment

Investigating investigators

Allegations of wrongdoing come to the agency in a number of ways. Officials can receive complaints from prosecutors, defense attorneys, teachers or parents.

CPS supervisors also have discovered misdeeds through mistakes in travel reimbursement forms, which raised questions about whether caseworkers actually saw the children.
From there, the agency scrutinizes the allegations. It also sends complaints to the Office of Inspector General, which launches its own investigation.

If evidence of potential criminal wrongdoing is discovered, the case is referred to the local district attorney’s office.

Some regional offices have been accused of misdeeds multiple times. In Smith County, which includes Tyler, prosecutor Tiffani Wickel has reported at least six employees for wrongdoing in the past two years.

In one case, three workers were accused of forging a signature on a removal affidavit to the court because the investigator said she was out of the office when it was due. The investigator quit, and two other employees were disciplined.

Wickel did not respond to questions about whether the women were charged and prosecuted for their alleged misconduct.

Police detectives leave Abilene’s CPS office during an investigation into mishandling of a severe neglect case. Police said the investigation was difficult because of the department’s relationship with CPS.

In another case, three Abilene-area CPS workers were accused of obstructing a criminal investigation into the 2012 death of Tamryn Klapheke, who starved to death days after a CPS caseworker closed the case without visiting the child.
In that situation, former CPS regional director Bit Whitaker signed off on disciplinary action against a supervisor accused of subpar work involving the child. Whitaker, however, was later accused of wrongdoing in the same case.

She was put on paid leave and allowed to retire while the Abilene Police Department investigated allegations that she concealed documents and medical records involving Tamryn and her sisters.
In July, a Taylor County grand jury indicted Whitaker on charges of tampering with physical evidence, a third-degree felony. Sgt. Lynn Beard with the Abilene Police Department says more indictments could come against other CPS employees.

It was very difficult,” Beard said. “We had to investigate people we know

In 2013, three CPS workers in Greenville — Laura Ard, Natalie Ausbie-Reynolds and Rebekah ThonginhRoss — were criminally charged with tampering with evidence in the death of teenager Alicia Moore, who police say was murdered by her uncle after CPS had been warned the girl was in danger. Prosecutors say the three workers falsified documents to justify closing the case without conducting a thorough investigation.
Thonginh-Ross told officials she did it because she was under pressure to close cases and that she was only following Ard’s orders, according to a report by an Office of Inspector General investigator. Ard then blamed her supervisor for issuing an edict to reduce the office’s backlog of investigations, the document states.
Ard said that the ‘state office’ was aware of the manner in which CPS was working,” the inspector general report states. “Ard also said that as long as CPS employees are paid at their current levels that this is the standard of work that could be expected from them,”
cps
5 Times Child Protective Services Separated Kids from Parents for No Good Reason – Reason.com

“The number of children separated from their parents at the border since April is almost equal to the number taken by CPS every three days.”

Even if President Trump’s new order keeps immigrant families at the border from being torn asunder, we will still live in a country where the government can seize children from perfectly loving, competent parents. It happens all the time, and not just to immigrant families—American citizens deal with these injustices as well, thanks to the actions of child protective services.

In a single year, 2016, the number of children placed in foster care was 273,539.

As the National Coalition for Child Protection put it, “the number of children separated from their parents at the border since April is almost equal to the number taken by U.S. child protective services (CPS) every three days.”

In many of those cases, CPS intervention is justified in order to protect children, or provide them care they aren’t getting at home. But not always.

Take the case of “Cassie.” Cassie was mom to Hannah, a one-year-old, and Maya, an 8-year-old. When Cassie noticed Hannah not putting weight on her left leg, she called her pediatrician, who said to give the girl Tylenol and bring her in the next day.

Too anxious to wait, Cassie took the girl to the emergency room at Central DuPage Hospital in suburban Chicago, where an X-Ray revealed a fractured tibia and fibula. The Family Defense Center, which took the case, reports:

Because Cassie couldn’t say for sure how Hannah got the fracture, the hospital staff called the DCFS. Only later did the family learn from two pediatric orthopedics and medical literature that the sort of injury Hannah had is considered to have “low” suspicion for abuse and it is hardly uncommon for parents to witness the incident that caused the fracture(s) to occur.

Unfortunately the x-ray findings, which naturally concerned the parents, marked just the beginning of the family’s nightmare. Without even interviewing [Cassie’s husband] Nate, or talking to the hospital’s own child abuse pediatrician, and without Hannah being seen by a single orthopedist (for whom injuries like Hannah’s are fairly routine), DCFS decided to take both children into State protective custody.

They did this by going to the family’s home, waking Maya, and taking her and her sister to the home of a relative who would serve as foster parent. It was the first time either child had slept away from their parents:

The next day — still without talking to the hospital’s child abuse pediatrician, the family pediatrician, other the family members or friends, or Maya’s teachers — DCFS filed a petition to take custody of both children.

After a three-month legal battle, the parents regained custody of their kids, and the state admitted it had had no case. That alone seems to indicate how easily even a simple visit to the doctor can turn into a child removal case—as it did for the Minnesota mom with the coughing child I wrote about last week.

When she took the child home before she was officially dismissed by the doctor, it was considered “neglect.”

Parents are also being thrown in jail—the ultimate in tearing families apart—on the sketchiest medical charges.

Watch The Syndrome, a devastating documentary on Shaken Baby Syndrome, to see how hundreds of moms and dad ended up in prison thanks to the “indisputable” evidence that they shook their babies—a conclusion that relied upon junk science.

And then there are the cases of “neglect” that are utterly baffling.

A Florida couple I interviewed a few years back had their sons taken away after someone called CPS to report that their son, 11, was playing basketball by himself in the backyard. Normally one of the parents would have been home, but both had been delayed that day. Also, normally one doesn’t think of playing in the backyard for 90 minutes as something akin to torture.

But the cops swung by, anyway. They found the boy was technically without food, shelter, water, or a bathroom—because he didn’t have a key to the house—and child protective services packed him and his younger brother, age 4, off to foster care.

It wasn’t until a month later, in court, when the 11-year-old begged the judge to let him and his brother go back to their parents that the court returned the boys home.

This story was so hard to fathom that some readers thought I made it up, until I provided Reason editors with the court papers to review.

Worst of all are the cases where a mom who has been beaten by her partner has her child taken away because the kid was exposed to violence. That practice was rampant in New York City until the federal court put a stop to it in the landmark case of Nicholson v. Scoppetta.

But even that didn’t stop states like Illinois from taking Rochelle Vermeulen‘s twins away. Rochelle was beaten and choked by the twins’ dad, and so she fled with the kids. But when the dad’s relative called the child protection authorities, Rochelle was told her kids must either stay with a relative of the abuser or go to foster care, even though Rochelle offered to go to a domestic violence shelter with them. For seven weeks, Rochelle was not allowed to see her twins except in supervised visits. Dad, on the other hand, was allowed unlimited contact.

Family defenders like Diane Redleaf, whose book, They Took the Kids Last Night: How Child Protective Services Puts Families At Risk, comes out in October, say that children are routinely taken from their parents, even when there’s no evidence of abuse. In one of the stories in Redleaf’s book, for example, a toddler who fell out of his crib was taken from his parents even though the CPS investigator reported he was healthy and happy at home.

And what about the dad in Michigan whose 7-year-old was taken away when he accidentally bought the boy a Mike’s Hard Cider at a Detroit Tigers game?

Research by Professors Vivek Sankaran and Christopher Church has shown that even children quickly returned to parents can suffer long-term harm from the separation.

As the border separations continue to grip our attention, we should also reconsider policies that allow child protective services to take children from their parents without compelling evidence of neglect or abuse

drug abuse
Owner of Alabama Lab Arrested for Falsifying Drug Test Results in Several Child Custody Cases

Normally we focus on the State of Texas here at It’s Almost Tuesday, but there are always exceptions to the rules. When I came across this story my blood boiled. This woman had the power of children’s lives and families in her hand.

I cannot fathom what compelled her to do such a dispicable act of criminality against families who would have had no way of knowing her to deserve the fate she handed them. Families who lost their children because of this monster.

Losses like that can never be made right. That time, trauma, pain and memories cannot be given back or healed no matter how many court orders are reversed due to her Lab being used . She should not be granted bail. She committed murder against those family units.

NOTHING LESS THAN LIFE IN PRISON WOULD BE SUFFICIENT IN WHAT COULD BE CONSIDERED JUSTICE AGAINST HER. That’s my opinion. What’s yours?

Click here to view the original story.

Investigators are scrambling to determine how many parents may have lost jobs, custody of their children and more after the owner of an Alabama laboratory was arrested for altering the results of drug and paternity tests.

AL.com reports that Ozark, Ala. police officers charged 36-year-old Brandy Murrah with two counts of forgery after authorities received evidence that someone had forged the results of two drug tests performed by A&J Lab Collections, which is owned by Murrah. Now authorities say that the two cases might just be the tip of the iceberg, alleging that multiple drug screenings may have been changed by Murrah, who, despite all appearances to the contrary, I cannot stress enough—is only 36 years old.

Murrah had a contract with Dale County’s Department of Human Resources Dependency court to perform drugs and paternity test on individuals involved in custody cases, but was not involved in criminal cases. The lab company was paid by the individual or reimbursed by DHR, if the testee could not afford it.

“We have no idea at this time how many people did not get their children back because of Ms. Murrah’s alleged fraudulent reports,”

Dale County, Ala., District Attorney Kirke Adams told the Dothan Eagle.

“In my opinion, all cases affected by Murrah’s alleged actions must be redone in order to be fair.”

While this may sound like a routine case, it highlights the immunity to scrutiny that privilege applies.

In 2013, Murrah was arrested and subsequently pleaded guilty to five counts of credit card fraud. She was sentenced to three years probation and yet somehow, the woman who was actually convicted of fraud was allowed to handle sensitive screenings that determined the futures of entire families.

The Murrah investigation was prompted after someone’s drug screening turned up positive. The person called the physician who signed the paperwork and the doctor replied that she did not recall signing the drug test for A&J Lab Collections or Murrah.

The Ozark Police Department, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, Dale County District Attorney’s Office, Dale County Department of Human Resources and Dale County court officials are now sifting through the dozens of tests that Murrah’s company completed each month to see how many may have been altered.

“We anticipate a lot,” said Adams.

Murrah is currently out on $2,000 bond.