Category: government

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, domestic violence, education, foster care, General, government, system failure
Sect Leader’s Daughter Tells Attorney Ad Litem to Step Aside
Legal Ethics
Posted Jun 23, 2008, 07:16 am CDT

By Debra Cassens Weiss

The daughter of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs has told her attorney ad litem in an e-mail to step aside. She sent a copy of the missive to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The teen, 16-year-old Teresa Jeffs, told the newspaper in an interview that Texas lawyer Natalie Malonis is restricting her visits with the people who matter most in her life and has barred her from corresponding with her father, who has been jailed since 2006. The disagreement has created a rift with Malonis.

“The most help you will be to me now is for you to step aside and let me get a different lawyer that I feel like can help me,” Teresa Jeffs said in the e-mail.

Malonis has succeeded in getting a temporary order barring Teresa Jeffs from contact with Willie Jessop, a spokesman for the polygamous sect, the newspaper reports. Another hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday.

Malonis told the paper she is trying to keep the girl free of outside influence. “Right now, that’s not happening,” Malonis said. “There is no question I am absolutely looking out for her. … What’s happening is really a shame because people who purport to care about her are really doing her a disservice.”

Texas law requires attorneys ad litem to represent their clients’ position in court, unless the clients are not acting in their own best interest, according to the story. Malonis has said in court papers that police believe Teresa Jeffs was spiritually married to an older man when she was 15.

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, General, government, system failure
Over 1300 online petitioners say judicial actions in FLDS case is deserving of impeachment

Click Here to view the 1385 Online Petition Signatures to Impeach Texas District Judge Barbara Walther Over FLDS Fiasco

Published by Daniel T. Weaver on Jun 01, 2008
Category: Government/Law
Region: United States of America
Target: State of Texas
Description/History:
Texas Judge Barbara Walther authorized the removal of more than 400 children from an FLDS compound in Texas and their placement in foster care.

Both an appellate court and the Texas Supreme Court have ruled that the children and parents must be reunified. Even now Judge Walther is blocking the reunification by attempting to get parents to sign agreements with Child Protective Services before they can be reunited with their children.

Barbara Walther’s actions constitute one of the greatest violation of constitutional rights in the State of Texas and she should be impeached and removed from office. This petition will be forwarded to Texas lawmakers after enough signatures are collected.

Signing this petition does not mean that you necessarily support the FLDS and their religious views.

(This petition was created by a third party who is not necessarily affiliated with nor is this petition the true reflection of the opinion of It’s Almost Tuesday – the views and opinions of this Petition is wholly its own, and independent of Its Almost Tuesday.  We are simply sharing the petition’s information for those who wish to sign it.)

Petition:

Whereas Texas 51st District Judge Barbara Walther has violated the constitutional rights of more than 400 children and their parents of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church (FLDS);

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther took an oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Texas and has violated that oath;

and whereas both an appellate court and the Texas Supreme Court have sided with the FLDS children and their parents against Judge Barbara Walther;

and whereas the actions of Judge Barbara Walther have resulted in a great financial cost to the State of Texas and its taxpayers;

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther’s actions constitute one of the greatest violations of constitutional rights in the history of the State of Texas;

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther should have known ahead of time that what she was doing was unconstitutional, since the Island Pond Raid in the State of Vermont in 1984 was almost identical, and there are other similar cases on record where judges refused to support unconstitutional raids by Child Protective Services;

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther has impeded the reunification of parents with their children, even after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that they should be reunified;

we ask that proceedings begin immediately for the impeachment of District Judge Barbara Walther of the State of Texas.

Click Here to Sign the petition

The Impeach Texas District Judge Barbara Walther Over FLDS Fiasco petition to State of Texas was written by Daniel T. Weaver and is hosted free of charge at GoPetition.

please promote this petition

 

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, General, government, law
ACP Offers Freedom For Abuse Victims in Texas

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.590626&w=325&h=250&fv=]

 

 

more about “Corpus Christi, TX | KRISTV.COM |Texa…“, posted with vodpod

 

I left my abuser…but he keeps coming after me… nobody was there to stop him…so I went back…

If I leave him, he’ll just come find me… so I might as well stay…”

 

I’m afraid to stay home alone… my ex might show up one day if he finds out where I am….”

 

Its been ten years and still I keep the shades closed on the windows, always wondering if he’s out there…”

 

Climbing out broken windows may be the only way to get to safety…

But now, the state of Texas wants to help keep victims of abuse safe once they do leave the abuse…by keeping residential addresses confidential & forwarding abuse victim’s mail to their safe location.

I don’t live in fear anymore…

 

I cleaned my house with the windows open for the first time in years …”

I’m free…. I finally feel like I’ve

gotten my life back…

 

Thank you ACP!

 

Under a new statewide program, Texans who are the victims of stalkers, sexual assault or family violence crimes can now make their home addresses confidential.

State Attorney General Gregg Abbott outlined the new program on Monday, which is designed to protect their privacy and help keep them safe.People who are eligible can sign up to have the Crime Victim Services Division of the Attorney General’s office designate a substitute address for them.

 

 

 

The division will receive the mail, process it, and then forward it to the participant’s actual address.

The substitute addresses can be used on voter and school registration cards, driver’s licenses and most government documents, including court records.

For more information about the Address Confidentiality Program or to learn more about the eligibility criteria, contact the program at ( 512 ) 936-1750 or ( 888 ) 832-2322.

You can also visit the agency’s web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

This is a wonderful program I recommend for all 50 states – I was a member of this program in another state until I moved back to Texas where they did not have the program in place. Had this program been in place in Texas when my ex found, stalked and utlimately planned and assisted in abducting my son, I may have never lost my little boy.

 

 

 

 

Attorney General Abbott Announces Confidential Address Program For Crime Victims

Victims of family violence, stalking and sexual assault can register for anonymous address

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today announced that family violence, stalking and sexual assault victims may be eligible to participate in a new, state-sponsored address confidentiality program. Eligible Texans can register for an anonymous address that will appear on voter and school registration cards, driver’s licenses, and most government documents, including court records.

The Attorney General’s Crime Victim Services Division will designate a substitute address for eligible victims; receive service of process and mail for the participants; and forward mail to participants’ actual address. During the 80th Legislative Session, Sen. Eddie Lucio authored legislation creating the Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), which authorizes the attorney general to provide this service to crime victims.

“Texas family violence, stalking and sexual assault victims can now obtain a confidential address that will help them protect their privacy and keep them secure,” Attorney General Abbott said. “We are grateful to the victim assistance organizations that partnered with us to ensure this program provides the meaningful protections intended by the Legislature.”

Applicants must meet with a local domestic violence shelter, sexual assault center, law enforcement, or prosecution staff member to discuss a safety plan and learn more about the enrollment process. To get contact information for local shelters, access the Texas Council on Family Violence Web site at www.tcfv.org or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE. To contact local sexual assault centers, access the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault Web site at www.taasa.org or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656- HOPE. Meeting with a victim advocate is vital to this process and required by law.

Sheryl Cates, chief executive officer of the TCFV and the National Domestic Violence Hotline praised the new program: “The ACP is yet another valuable tool available to victims of family violence in protecting themselves from the perpetrators who abuse them. We are grateful to General Abbott and his staff for seeking input from the Texas Council on Family Violence and many other domestic violence service providers in the development of ACP guidelines.”

Annette Burrhus-Clay, executive director of TAASA, added: “Rape is a crime that removes control from a victim; this measure provides one additional avenue for restoring that control.

TAASA is proud to have worked with the Legislature, the Attorney General and other victim advocacy organizations to see this important program through to fruition and we’re hopeful that survivors of sexual violence, stalking and domestic violence will find this a helpful tool on their path to recovery.”

 
 

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

  AN ACT
  relating to the creation of an address confidentiality program to
  assist victims of family violence, sexual assault, or stalking in
  maintaining confidential addresses.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 56, Code of Criminal Procedure, is
  amended by adding Subchapter C to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER C. ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM FOR VICTIMS OF
  FAMILY VIOLENCE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, OR STALKING
         Art. 56.81.  DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
               (1)  “Applicant” means a person who applies to
  participate in the program.
               (2)  “Family violence” has the meaning assigned by
  Section 71.004, Family Code.
               (3)  “Family violence shelter center” has the meaning
  assigned by Section 51.002, Human Resources Code.
               (4)  “Mail” means first class mail and any mail sent by
  a government agency. The term does not include a package,
  regardless of size or type of mailing.
               (5)  “Participant” means an applicant who is certified
  for participation in the program.
               (6)  “Program” means the address confidentiality
  program created under this subchapter.
         Art. 56.82.  ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM. (a)  The
  attorney general shall establish an address confidentiality
  program, as provided by this subchapter, to assist a victim of
  family violence or an offense under Section 22.011, 22.021, 25.02,
  or 42.072, Penal Code, in maintaining a confidential address.
         (b)  The attorney general shall:
               (1)  designate a substitute post office box address
  that a participant may use in place of the participant’s true
  residential, business, or school address;
               (2)  act as agent to receive service of process and mail
  on behalf of the participant; and
               (3)  forward to the participant mail received by the
  office of the attorney general on behalf of the participant.
         (c)  A summons, writ, notice, demand, or process may be
  served on the attorney general on behalf of the participant by
  delivery of two copies of the document to the office of the attorney
  general. The attorney general shall retain a copy of the summons,
  writ, notice, demand, or process and forward the original to the
  participant not later than the third day after the date of service
  on the attorney general.
         (d)  The attorney general shall make and retain a copy of the
  envelope in which certified mail is received on behalf of the
  participant.
         Art. 56.83.  ELIGIBILITY TO PARTICIPATE IN PROGRAM. (a)  To
  be eligible to participate in the program, an applicant must:
               (1)  meet with a victim’s assistance counselor from a
  state or local agency or other entity designated by the attorney
  general under Article 56.92 and receive orientation information
  about the program;
               (2)  file an application for participation with the
  attorney general or a state or local agency or other entity
  designated by the attorney general under Article 56.92;
               (3)  designate the attorney general as agent to receive
  service of process and mail on behalf of the applicant; and
               (4)  live at a residential address, or relocate to a
  residential address, that is unknown to the person who committed or
  is alleged to have committed the family violence or an offense under
  Section 22.011, 22.021, 25.02, or 42.072, Penal Code.
         (b)  An application under Subsection (a)(2) must contain:
               (1)  a signed, sworn statement by the applicant stating
  that the applicant fears for the safety of the applicant, the
  applicant’s child, or another person in the applicant’s household
  because of a threat of immediate or future harm caused by the person
  who committed or is alleged to have committed the family violence or
  an offense under Section 22.011, 22.021, 25.02, or 42.072, Penal
  Code;
               (2)  the applicant’s true residential address and, if
  applicable, the applicant’s business and school addresses; and
               (3)  a statement by the applicant of whether there is an
  existing court order or a pending court case for child support or
  child custody or visitation that involves the applicant and, if so,
  the name and address of:
                     (A)  the legal counsel of record; and
                     (B)  each parent involved in the court order or
  pending case.
         (c)  An application under Subsection (a)(2) must be
  completed by the applicant in person at the state or local agency or
  other entity with which the application is filed.  An applicant who
  knowingly or intentionally makes a false statement in an
  application under Subsection (a)(2) is subject to prosecution under
  Chapter 37, Penal Code.
         (d)  A state or local agency or other entity with which an
  application is filed under Subsection (a)(2) shall forward the
  application to the office of the attorney general.
         (e)  The attorney general by rule may establish additional
  eligibility requirements for participation in the program that are
  consistent with the purpose of the program as stated in Article
  56.82(a).  The attorney general may establish procedures for
  requiring an applicant, in appropriate circumstances, to submit
  with the application under Subsection (a)(2) independent
  documentary evidence of family violence or an offense under Section
  22.011, 22.021, 25.02, or 42.072, Penal Code, in the form of:
               (1)  an active or recently issued protective order;
               (2)  an incident report or other record maintained by a
  law enforcement agency or official;
               (3)  a statement of a physician or other health care
  provider regarding the applicant’s medical condition as a result of
  the family violence or offense; or
               (4)  a statement of a mental health professional, a
  member of the clergy, an attorney or other legal advocate, a trained
  staff member of a family violence center, or another professional
  who has assisted the applicant in addressing the effects of the
  family violence or offense.
         (f)  Any assistance or counseling provided by the attorney
  general or an employee or agent of the attorney general to an
  applicant does not constitute legal advice.
         Art. 56.84.  CERTIFICATION; EXPIRATION. (a)  The attorney
  general shall certify for participation in the program an applicant
  who satisfies the eligibility requirements under Article 56.83.
         (b)  A certification under this article expires on the third
  anniversary of the date of certification.
         Art. 56.85.  RENEWAL. To renew a certification under
  Article 56.84, a participant must satisfy the eligibility
  requirements under Article 56.83 as if the participant were
  originally applying for participation in the program.
         Art. 56.86.  INELIGIBILITY AND CANCELLATION. (a)  An
  applicant is ineligible for, and a participant may be excluded
  from, participation in the program if the applicant or participant
  knowingly makes a false statement on an application filed under
  Article 56.83(a)(2).
         (b)  A participant may be excluded from participation in the
  program if:
               (1)  mail forwarded to the participant by the attorney
  general is returned undeliverable on at least four occasions;
               (2)  the participant changes the participant’s true
  residential address as provided in the application filed under
  Article 56.83(a)(2) and does not notify the attorney general of the
  change at least 10 days before the date of the change; or
               (3)  the participant changes the participant’s name.
         Art. 56.87.  WITHDRAWAL. A participant may withdraw from
  the program by notifying the attorney general in writing of the
  withdrawal.
         Art. 56.88.  CONFIDENTIALITY; DESTRUCTION OF INFORMATION.
  (a)  Information relating to a participant:
               (1)  is confidential, except as provided by Article
  56.90; and
               (2)  may not be disclosed under Chapter 552, Government
  Code.
         (b)  Except as provided by Article 56.82(d), the attorney
  general may not make a copy of any mail received by the office of the
  attorney general on behalf of the participant.
         (c)  The attorney general shall destroy all information
  relating to a participant on the third anniversary of the date
  participation in the program ends.
         Art. 56.89.  ACCEPTANCE OF SUBSTITUTE ADDRESS; EXEMPTIONS.
  (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (b), a state or local agency
  must accept the substitute post office box address designated by
  the attorney general if the substitute address is presented to the
  agency by a participant in place of the participant’s true
  residential, business, or school address.
         (b)  The attorney general by rule may permit an agency to
  require a participant to provide the participant’s true
  residential, business, or school address, if necessary for the
  agency to perform a duty or function that is imposed by law or
  administrative requirement.
         Art. 56.90.  EXCEPTIONS. The attorney general:
               (1)  shall disclose a participant’s true residential,
  business, or school address if:
                     (A)  requested by:
                           (i)  a law enforcement agency; or
                           (ii)  the Department of State Health
  Services or a local health authority for the purpose of making a
  notification described by Article 21.31, Section 54.033, Family
  Code, or Section 81.051, Health and Safety Code; or
                     (B)  required by court order; and
               (2)  may disclose a participant’s true residential,
  business, or school address if:
                     (A)  the participant consents to the disclosure;
  and
                     (B)  the disclosure is necessary to administer the
  program.
         Art. 56.91.  LIABILITY. (a)  The attorney general or an
  agent or employee of the attorney general is immune from liability
  for any act or omission by the agent or employee in administering
  the program if the agent or employee was acting in good faith and in
  the course and scope of assigned responsibilities and duties.
         (b)  An agent or employee of the attorney general who does
  not act in good faith and in the course and scope of assigned
  responsibilities and duties in disclosing a participant’s true
  residential, business, or school address is subject to prosecution
  under Chapter 39, Penal Code.
         Art. 56.92.  PROGRAM ASSISTANCE. The attorney general
  shall:
               (1)  identify state and local agencies and other
  entities, whether for-profit or nonprofit, that provide counseling
  and shelter services to victims of family violence; and
               (2)  require the identified agencies to provide access
  to the program, including making program information and
  application materials available and providing assistance in
  completing program applications.
         Art. 56.93.  RULES. The attorney general shall adopt rules
  to administer the program.
         SECTION 2.  Article 56.54, Code of Criminal Procedure, is
  amended by amending Subsection (c) and adding Subsection (l) to
  read as follows:
         (c)  Except as provided by Subsections (h), [and] (i), and
  (l), the compensation to victims of crime auxiliary fund may be used
  by the attorney general only for the payment of compensation to
  claimants or victims under this subchapter.
         (l)  The attorney general may use the compensation to victims
  of crime auxiliary fund to cover costs incurred by the attorney
  general in administering the address confidentiality program
  established under Subchapter C.
         SECTION 3.  Section 18.005(a), Election Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (a)  Each original and supplemental list of registered
  voters must:
               (1)  contain the voter’s name, residence address or
  substitute post office box address, if required by Section 18.0051,
  date of birth, and registration number as provided by the statewide
  computerized voter registration list;
               (2)  be arranged alphabetically by voter name; and
               (3)  contain the notation required by Section 15.111[;
  and
               [(4)  until Section 13.122(d) expires, identify each
  voter registered by mail for the first time who failed to provide a
  copy of a document described by Section 63.0101 establishing the
  voter’s identity at the time of registration].
         SECTION 4.  Subchapter A, Chapter 18, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 18.0051 to read as follows:
         Sec. 18.0051.  CONTENTS OF LIST: SUBSTITUTE ADDRESS. An
  original or supplemental list of registered voters must contain a
  voter’s substitute post office box address designated by the
  attorney general under Article 56.82(b), Code of Criminal
  Procedure, for use by the voter in place of the voter’s true
  residential, business, or school address if the voter is eligible
  for early voting by mail under Section 82.007 and has submitted an
  early voting ballot application as required by Section 84.0021.
         SECTION 5.  Chapter 82, Election Code, is amended by adding
  Section 82.007 to read as follows:
         Sec. 82.007.  PARTICIPATION IN ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY
  PROGRAM. A qualified voter is eligible for early voting by mail if,
  at the time the voter’s early voting ballot application is
  submitted, the voter is certified for participation in the address
  confidentiality program administered by the attorney general under
  Chapter 56, Code of Criminal Procedure.
         SECTION 6.  Subchapter A, Chapter 84, Election Code, is
  amended by adding Section 84.0021 to read as follows:
         Sec. 84.0021.  CONTENTS OF APPLICATION FOR PARTICIPANT IN
  ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM; CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.
  (a)  An early voting ballot application submitted by a qualified
  voter who is eligible for early voting by mail under Section 82.007
  must include:
               (1)  the applicant’s name and address at which the
  applicant is registered to vote;
               (2)  the substitute post office box address designated
  by the attorney general under Article 56.82(b), Code of Criminal
  Procedure, for use by the voter in place of the voter’s true
  residential, business, or school address; and
               (3)  an indication of each election for which the
  applicant is applying for a ballot.
         (b)  The information contained in an application under this
  section relating to the address at which the applicant is
  registered to vote is confidential, except that the information
  must be disclosed if:
               (1)  requested by a law enforcement agency; or
               (2)  required by court order.
         SECTION 7.  Chapter 221, Election Code, is amended by adding
  Section 221.018 to read as follows:
         Sec. 221.018.  EXAMINATION OF CERTAIN CONFIDENTIAL
  INFORMATION. (a)  Notwithstanding Section 84.0021(b), the
  tribunal hearing an election contest may examine the information
  contained in an application under Section 84.0021 relating to the
  address at which the applicant is registered to vote.
         (b)  Information may be examined under this section only for
  the purpose of hearing an election contest.
         SECTION 8.  The attorney general shall establish the address
  confidentiality program and adopt rules to administer the program
  as required by Subchapter C, Chapter 56, Code of Criminal
  Procedure, as added by this Act, not later than June 1, 2008.
         SECTION 9.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
 

Act takes effect September 1, 2007.

 

For more information about the Address Confidentiality Program or to learn more about the eligibility criteria, contact the program at (512) 936-1750 or (888) 832-2322, or visit the agency’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

STATES WHICH HAVE ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAMS IMPLEMENTED FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE VICTIMS

State (year of implementation) Statute
Arkansas (2005) Ark. Stat. Ann. 27-16-810
California (1998) Cal. Govt. Code §6206
Connecticut (2004)
Florida (1998) F.S.A. §741.403
Illinois (1999) (no funding) 750 ILCS 61/
Indiana (2001) IC §5-26.5-2
Maine (2002) 5 M.S.R.A. §90-B
Massachusetts (2001) M.G.L.A. 9A §2
Nebraska (2003) Neb. Rev. Stat. §42-1201 through 42-1210
Nevada (1997) N.R.S. §217.462
New Hampshire (2001) N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §7:43
New Jersey (1998) N.J. Stat. Ann. §47:4-4
North Carolina (2002) N.C. Gen. Stat. §15C-1
Oklahoma (2002) 22 Okla. Stat. Ann. §60.14
Oregon (2006) 2005 Or. Laws, Chap. 821 (SB 850)
Pennsylvania (2005) 2004 Pa. Laws, Act 188
Rhode Island (1999) R.I. Gen Laws §17-28-3
Vermont (2000) 15 VSA §1152
Washington (1991) RCW §40.24.030


 

 

 

 

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, General, government, system failure
FLDS: READ THE APPEAL COURT RULING: ACTUAL COURT PAPERS

This ruling is an awesome show of the law and how it works.  CPS is rarely overturned.  In particular, to have the Third District Court of Appeals rule so specifically on the terms of what they can constitute “imminent danger” requiring the removal of a child, and also implementing the requirement to make every reasonable attempt to return the child to the home.

This is case law that I’m sure will be used throughout many cases in the future of CPS court.  This is a huge advancement for all families who have been wrongly separated by CPS who have not followed the law like they are now being forced to.  These children will surely find their way into history and law books to come and hopefully save the children of our future from suffering much the same fate.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ACTUAL COURT

RULING OF THE TEXAS THIRD DISTRICT COURT

OF APPEALS MEMORANDUM OF LAW

FLDS vs. CPS

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, education, family, foster care, government, law, system failure
FLDS: Appellate Court Rules CPS HAD NO RIGHT TO REMOVE CHILDREN

http://www.kxan.com/global/story.asp?s=8365745

AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — The Third Court of Appeals has ruled that Child Protective Services did not have the right to remove children from the Yearning for Zion ranch last month.

The ruling comes as a result of a document filed by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid last month. The TRLA is the largest provider of legal aid in Texas, on behalf of 48 FLDS mothers that TRLA is representing in their child custody cases.

“The way that the courts have ignored the legal rights of these mothers is ridiculous,” said TRLA attorney Julie Balovich. “It was about time a court stood up and said that was has been happening to these families is wrong.”

In the decision, the Court ruled that CPS failed to provide any evidence that the children were in imminent danger and acted hastily in removing them from their families. According to the Court, “The existence of the FLDS belief system as described by the Department’s witnesses, by itself, does not put children of FLDS parents in physical danger.”

TRLA will be holding a press conference in front of the courthouse in San Angelo Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

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

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

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

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

Standard Number 749.1521(4)

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

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.2471(9)(D)

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

Technical Assistance Given: No

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

Standard Number: 16102

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

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

Standard Number: AF22101

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

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

Standard Number: AF23102b

Standard Description: Discipline – Not be Physically

Emotionally Damaging to Child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

Standard Number: AF23102a

Standard Description: Discipline – Consistent with

Agency Policies

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.1957(1)

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

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(4)

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

Technical Assistance Given: No

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

Standard Number 749.1521(4)

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

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.2471(9)(D)

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

Technical Assistance Given: No

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

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

Technical Assistance Given: No

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

Standard Number: AF22101

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

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

Standard Number: AF23102b

Standard Description: Discipline – Not be Physically

Emotionally Damaging to Child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

Standard Number: AF23102a

Standard Description: Discipline – Consistent with Agency Policies

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.1957(1)

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

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(4)

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

Technical Assistance Given: No

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

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(5)

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

Technical Assistance Given: No

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

Standard Number: 749.3041(4)

Standard Description: Physical Environment-foster home must

ensure that flammable or poisonous substances are stored out of the

reach of children

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

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

Standard Description:

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

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(3)

Standard Description:

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

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

Standard Number 749.1521(4)

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

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.2471(9)(D)

Standard Description:

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

Technical Assistance Given: No

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

Standard Number: 16102

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

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

Standard Number: AF22101

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

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

Standard Number: AF23102b

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

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

Standard Number: AF23102a

Standard Description: Discipline -Consistent with Agency Policies

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.1957(1)

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

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(4)

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

ensure each child’s safety

Technical Assistance Given: No

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

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(5)

Standard Description:

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

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.3041(4)

Standard Description:Physical Environment-foster home must ensure

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

children

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

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

Standard Description:

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

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(3)

Standard Description:

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

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(5)

Standard Description:

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

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.3041(4)

Standard Description:

Physical Environment-foster home must ensure that flammable

or poisonous substances are stored out of the reach of children

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

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

Standard Description:

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

Narrative

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

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(3)

Standard Description:

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

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still, he urges people to do it.

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

Running scared

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More help?

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

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

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

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

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

The Legislature is considering increasing those rates.

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

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

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

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

Under a microscope

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

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

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

“You get used to it,” he said.

But some say the inspections go too far.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cmaclaggan@statesman.com; 445-3548

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


Michelle Roberts – THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, General, government, law, legal, social worker
When Children Services Comes Knocking

Children Services was founded to protect abused children.

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

How do you stop them?

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

The most commonly broken laws and regulations are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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