Category: child death

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, General, government, law, system failure
CPS v. FLDS: Truth v. Lies: ItsAlmostTuesday v. Media- I CALL FOR A STRIKE

I am disgusted by CPS – again. I am disgusted by the Media – again. I miss my children… again…

So, the saga continues… FLDS, CPS, ElDorado, Media, Rocky, Bullwinkle…. hrrrrm?

My day started out a little emotional with this post as I read the Dallas Morning News Opinion Blog – where Sharon Grigsby posted CPS vs FLDS: 0 for 10 yesterday and i quote:

“The Deseret News and Grits for Breakfast, among others, continue to keep close tabs on those YFZ teens that CPS claims are pregnant. Some on our staff have said they aren’t interested in my continued posts on this topic. Perhaps some readers out there are: Today’s news from the Deseret News is that it turns out no 14-year old girls were found pregnant at the YFZ Ranch during the Great Eldorado…Full Story on The Dallas Morning News:

A lawyer for a 14-year-old girl that is on a list of so-called “disputed minors” said this morning she is not pregnant as Texas child welfare authorities have alleged. “My client does not have children. (She) is not pregnant. She’s the youngest on the list of disputed minors,” said Andrea Sloan.

“The department is communicating to the public that there are 14-year olds who are pregnant,” she said. Texas Child Protective Services caseworker Ashley Kennedy said that investigations were still ongoing.

The bombshell was dropped during the hearing involving Adeline Barlow, 38, the mother of a 10-year-old and the 14-year-old.

That led to quite a discussion when Grits for Breakfast replied as follows:

Posted by Gritsforbreakfast @ 6:29 PM Wed, May 21, 2008

Your observation that “Some on our staff have said they aren’t interested in my continued posts on this topic” confirms my sense that the MSM is less interested in focusing on information that’s not full of salacious accusations against weirdo polygamists. God forbid y’all actually report the truth instead of whatever phony accusation CPS ginned up that day.Pretty amazing that your colleagues would admit it, though. The facts on which they based their opinions were invalid, but they don’t want to revisit their conclusions. I’m asking myself “Why?”, but can’t come up with a single good reason offhand besides some sort of religious bigotry. What else could possibly explain journalists’ callous indifference to truth?

Which led to other comments on DMN Opinion Blog:

Posted by Shirlee @ 6:38 PM Wed, May 21, 2008

Amen! It is very demonstrative of the media’s duplicity that these “corrections” aren’t as widely snapped up and repeated as gospel as CPS’s lies all along, such as their assertion that they were investigating sexual abuse in boys too. That was spread like wildfire through the media, with the implication that the FLDS were guilty. This turned out to be, of course, a red herring to remove attention from their other atrocities. Thanks for having the integrity to point this out.

and

Posted by Kristi @ 7:31 PM Wed, May 21, 2008

Thank you for covering this. I have a friend that keeps saying I should quit yelling their rights have been violated and read some of the books out about them and learn more about their beliefs.

WHY? Their beliefs are irrelevant as far as I am concerned. I don’t have to agree with them or disagree with them – that doesn’t matter. What matters is that people are treated humanely, and that citizen’s rights be protected. REGARDLESS of who they sleep with, or what picture hangs in their room. Jeez.

Thanks for covering this. The mainstream media is nothing but a statist mouthpiece. THey aren’t reporting because all they can do is repeat what the govt. tells them. They are afraid of real investigative journalism.

So here’s my take on it – from the perspective of a parent who has lost her child to false allegations & CPS: First I’d like to thank GritsforBreakfast and DMN Opinion Sharon Grigsby for their guts, perseverance and dedication to this story.

Doesn’t it seem eerily like the OJ Simpson Murder trial? Where everyone tuned in, it was a news sensation who-done-it, bestseller, and yet – in the mix – people forgot about Nicole & Ron, the REAL PEOPLE who were brutally murdered in an act that was not from a movie script, but from domestic violence.

These are children. These are mothers.

These are people who do not live like “normal society” – and this is their lives.

In a letter from a former FLDS member, dan fischer, to the parents involved in these proceedings, one of the things he talks about is the way these families lived, and the way these women lived as mothers. They do not have television, friends, movies or dinners out, or clubs or dancing or even pictures hanging on their walls. They have their children. Their children have their mothers. These children, if they get an education, it is not like they would get in public school. It is a different lifestyle, belief, way of thinking and living. Is it wrong? Who’s to say? IT IS ALL THEY KNOW. To say that they will need psychological therapy is an understatement. These families are forever changed. The children are no longer innocent at all, secure, or stable. They are forever altered.

Imagine today, someone comes into your office, takes your computers, your pictures, your children, friends, families, etc., and says “EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING IS NOT NORMAL AND YOU ARE GOING TO BE RIPPED APART AND IMPRISONED FOR IT” and you just thought that’s the way things were in life … you were behaving as “normal” and someone comes and rips it all to pieces – because we forget that ‘normal’ is a perspective….

You can’t imagine it – I know I can’t… tho’ I can try. Day to day routine & what you know is based on your experiences, surroundings, teachings, and perspective. Duh… right? Now – how does that tie into the law? How does that relate to the system?

There’s the debate. But wait a minute – the children…. aren’t they the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF ALL OF THIS? Remember the children are no longer protected by the sect and their ‘no television’ rules. They are thrown into “normal’ society – for the first time – So they get their first taste of ‘normalcy’ in a place where children are 11 times more likely to be abused than at their natural home? These are children being introduced to society In a place where anger and rage and social workers and doctors and lawyers and psychotropic medications and abuse and lies and faces change and confusion and more abuse and more rage and new foster mothers and new foster fathers and new schools and new kids and danger and fear and confusion fear confusion confusion…. COME ON THESE ARE CHILDREN!

I am a mother first and foremost, and an advocate for children & families. I fight against pedophiles, crooked CPS workers, and system failures within our government. BUT WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING TO THESE CHILDREN?

As a Mother having gone through this CPS involvement and false allegation thing, I want to say this:

– I know that if I had the media reporting lies & making my case into a rumor-filled-gossip office-watercooler-coffee-break discussion, I probably wouldn’t be here typing this blog post right now. I’d be dead, because I would have committed suicide at least 10 times over from the pain and humiliation and suffering that I ALREADY HAD GOING ON added to that media cherry to the top of the rumor cake. No way. I wouldn’t have made it. I do not speak lightly when I say that. I would not be here. My heart goes out to the mothers and children.

As an Advocate-Paralegal who fights against pedophiles, child abusers, and government system failures – I say this:

Lets suppose a 14 year old gets married to an adult… is the sex still considered pedophilia? If a parent ‘consents’ to marry away the child to their sex partner can they essentially thwart the law? What if that marriage – which makes it legal – is forced …. in the name of ‘consent’ but the child never speaks up… or doesn’t know better..?

Child abuse is child abuse. A child has the right to live an abuse-free life. So then, let’s define abuse….Spanking on the butt? To some – yes. To others – no… Some say “Discipline all children with the rod or the child will be unruly” – Others say “Corporal punishment of any kind is abuse…”

Some say keeping these children apart from mainstream society without the ability to choose for themselves whether or not to watch TV or whether or not to go to public school, is abuse;While to others, its a NORMAL WAY OF LIFE.

Go to college v. get a job ? Dog v. cat ? Toilet paper – put it on the roll with the pull side up? Or down?

We could argue all day long as to who is living right or who is living wrong. We could argue all day about whether or not its abusive to live in a sect or abusive to allow no religious teachings in a family.

But we cannot argue truth vs. lie.

We cannot argue the difference between fact or fiction – perjury – telling the truth in the court of law v. falsifying evidence.

WE CANNOT DEBATE WHETHER CPS WORKERS SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT LIE ABOUT THE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES THEY ARE INVESTIGATING…

IT IS NOT OKAY TO LIE ABOUT THE FACTS OF A CASE

IT IS NOT OKAY TO REPORT LIES IF YOU ARE REPORTING THE NEWS

IF YOU KNOW SOMETHING IS NOT TRUE IT IS NOT OKAY TO ADD TO THE PROPOGANDA BY TELLING THE LIE AGAIN AND AGAIN WHEN IT COMES TO REAL PEOPLE’S LIVES & THE EFFECTS IT WILL HAVE ON FAMILIES (isn’t that right Nicole, Ron?)

While everyone has an opinion, not everyone has a child.

Not everyone has a family or a family problem with CPS.

Not everyone has abuse issues in their lives, or conflicts to deal with, or a religious leader telling them one thing with a government telling them another with media saying something else with people giving opinions and everything they know being taken away, and not everyone understands what is involved in a case unless you go through it yourself.

It isn’t an easy thing to deal with when you live in mainstream society I CANNOT IMAGINE that happening to me if I lived in a removed, isolated, lifestyle like FLDS mothers, and I HAVE BEEN THROUGH IT – So if I can’t imagine it, knowing what I know, I KNOW there are most people out there who have no idea what they are talking about.

But everyone has an opinion. So, here’s mine –

I ONLY WISH I HAD THE NEWS REPORTING AND WATCHING OVER MY CASE THIS WAY WHEN I LOST MY LITTLE BOY –

Maybe then I wouldn’t have scars on my arm from my suicide attempts and the tears that fall when I post this – feeling the shame as I still write, admitting it, for the sake of children I don’t know.

If I had this kind of attention to my case, I might have back the years I lost, and the many more to come since my case caused me such despair because I WAS LIED ABOUT BY CPS TOO. Maybe I wouldn’t have lost everything I owned, friends of 20 years and my children.

Maybe my family members that I don’t see or speak to anymore would be over this weekend with my children who are not in my life anymore and we’d laugh together instead of yearning for my children & family back.

Maybe if I had someone to blog about me and my case when my son was forcibly removed and traumatized I wouldn’t have these nightmares about seeing him beaten & drugged in foster care, & the LIES BY CPS WORKERS and GAG ORDERS that made it okay to hurt my child and destroy me so a pedophile could get his revenge – finally – against me – for leaving him and trying to protect my child… REALLY protect my child….

That’s not news. That’s a life. That’s my life. My son’s life. That’s their life & their children’s lives in ElDorado. That’s the lives of your children AND mine, and unless you’ve been through this kind of horrible thing, you just may not understand.

I pray you never do understand -But for cryin’ out loud – tell the truth…. whether you’re reporting on it, or working on the case, or just talking about it to your neighbors.

If mainstream media entertainment “sells” more newspapers based on CPS LYING ABOUT THESE FAMILIES…. I URGE ALL OF YOU TO JOIN IN A STRIKE.

RIGHT NOW I URGE US ALL TO STRIKE AGAINST ANY NEWS REPORTING AGENCY, BLOG, NEWSPAPER, MAGAZINE OR OTHER NEWS/MEDIA SOURCE WHO KNOWINGLY MISREPORTS ELDORADO OR FLDS FACTS & WHO ASSISTS IN SPREADING CPS’ LIES OR WHO FAILS TO CORRECT ANY MISSTATED FACTS OF ANY FLDS/ELDORADO CHILD WHO IS GOING THROUGH THIS TRAGEDY IN THEIR FAMILY.

IF WE ALLOW CPS TO LIE ABOUT A FAMILY & CALL IT ‘NEWSWORTHY’ THEN WE ARE ALSO CHILD ABUSERS WHO SHOULD BE PUNISHED ACCORDINGLY IF WE ARE TO DO RIGHT BY THE CHILDREN. NO FAMILY DESERVES SUCH ABUSE & ATROCITY NO MATTER WHAT THEIR BELIEFS MAY BE – NO MATTER WHAT LIFESTYLE THEY LIVE.

SHOW THE TRUTH WHEN IT IS REVEALED OR BE JUDGED ALL THE SAME. TRUTH IS TRUTH. REPORT IT TRUTHFULLY OR SHUT UP. TRUTH IS TRUTH.

Please. For the sake of these families.

There’s no question about the integrity of truth v. lie ….

just like you can’t be ‘kinda pregnant’….

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)

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    We see very few rewards.

    Many advocates burn out.

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

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

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

    I began writing letters. I wrote letters to everyone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Carole Keeton Strayhorn helped.

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

    Carole Keeton Strayhorn listened.

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

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

    I just pray we made a difference for the children.

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

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

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


    child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, education, false allegations, government, healing, missing child, system failure
    High court ruling is victory for victims of child abuse in Hawaii

    The state Supreme Court has upheld an award to be paid by the state to a Maui girl whose previous injury was under investigation by Child Protective Services.

    Child Protective Services has been told by the state Supreme Court that it is responsible for the welfare of children subject to abuse. A $1.1 million judgment was upheld last month by the high court and will hold the agency accountable for future negligence.

    The state should increase expenditures for the agency rather than be forced to pay court awards.

    The case arose from “very critical” injuries, including broken bones, a torn intestine, severe bruises and bleeding inside the skull, suffered by a 21/2-year-old Maui girl seven years ago, two months after being brought to Maui Memorial Medical Center with a broken leg. Dasia Morales-Kahoohanohano was under the care of her mother, Denise Morales, when the injuries occurred.

    A pediatrician at the hospital had told CPS social worker Ellen Brewerton after the first injury that he did not believe her mother harmed the girl and that “the only logical explanation was Denise’s boyfriend (did).” Morales was arrested but neither she nor her then-boyfriend, Darryl Ramos, was prosecuted.

    The social worker allowed the weekly exchange in custody between Morales and Dasia’s father, Jarrett Kahoohanohano, to resume on the condition that Dasia not be brought to Ramos’ house. Maui police had informed CPS that Ramos had been convicted of crimes seven times, including household abuse for punching a former girlfriend and biting her nose.

    Brewerton went on a two-week vacation five weeks after the broken-leg incident and three days after Ramos and a friend were arrested following a shooting on the Ramos property, but the case was not assigned to another social worker during that fortnight. Dasia’s severe injuries occurred at the Ramos house a week after Brewerton returned to work.

    Lillian Koller, director of the Human Services Department, called the Supreme Court’s decision “unfair to Hawaii taxpayers” and “exasperating for our social workers, whose conduct may be condemned no matter what they do.” Vlad Devens, attorney for Dasia, her father and paternal grandfather, suggested the injuries could have been prevented if the CPS had adhered to its own policies.

    The court’s unanimous landmark decision does not mean that any injury to a child under CPS’s oversight will end up in court. It does mean that any departure from policy leading to injury can be grounds for a lawsuit.

    As Circuit Judge Joel E. August ruled in the case, and the Supreme Court agreed, “DHS’s duty to protect children exists once they are on notice that a significant and unjustifiable or unexplained injury has occurred to a child that is brought to their attention, and there is a reasonable opportunity to verify the injury or the potential risk of future harm.”

    child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, education, false allegations, government, healing, missing child, system failure
    High court ruling is victory for victims of child abuse in Hawaii

    The state Supreme Court has upheld an award to be paid by the state to a Maui girl whose previous injury was under investigation by Child Protective Services.

    Child Protective Services has been told by the state Supreme Court that it is responsible for the welfare of children subject to abuse. A $1.1 million judgment was upheld last month by the high court and will hold the agency accountable for future negligence.

    The state should increase expenditures for the agency rather than be forced to pay court awards.

    The case arose from “very critical” injuries, including broken bones, a torn intestine, severe bruises and bleeding inside the skull, suffered by a 21/2-year-old Maui girl seven years ago, two months after being brought to Maui Memorial Medical Center with a broken leg. Dasia Morales-Kahoohanohano was under the care of her mother, Denise Morales, when the injuries occurred.

    A pediatrician at the hospital had told CPS social worker Ellen Brewerton after the first injury that he did not believe her mother harmed the girl and that “the only logical explanation was Denise’s boyfriend (did).” Morales was arrested but neither she nor her then-boyfriend, Darryl Ramos, was prosecuted.

    The social worker allowed the weekly exchange in custody between Morales and Dasia’s father, Jarrett Kahoohanohano, to resume on the condition that Dasia not be brought to Ramos’ house. Maui police had informed CPS that Ramos had been convicted of crimes seven times, including household abuse for punching a former girlfriend and biting her nose.

    Brewerton went on a two-week vacation five weeks after the broken-leg incident and three days after Ramos and a friend were arrested following a shooting on the Ramos property, but the case was not assigned to another social worker during that fortnight. Dasia’s severe injuries occurred at the Ramos house a week after Brewerton returned to work.

    Lillian Koller, director of the Human Services Department, called the Supreme Court’s decision “unfair to Hawaii taxpayers” and “exasperating for our social workers, whose conduct may be condemned no matter what they do.” Vlad Devens, attorney for Dasia, her father and paternal grandfather, suggested the injuries could have been prevented if the CPS had adhered to its own policies.

    The court’s unanimous landmark decision does not mean that any injury to a child under CPS’s oversight will end up in court. It does mean that any departure from policy leading to injury can be grounds for a lawsuit.

    As Circuit Judge Joel E. August ruled in the case, and the Supreme Court agreed, “DHS’s duty to protect children exists once they are on notice that a significant and unjustifiable or unexplained injury has occurred to a child that is brought to their attention, and there is a reasonable opportunity to verify the injury or the potential risk of future harm.”