Category: health

cps, health, love, mental illness, psychiatry
Until Tuesday-A Must-Read Book About PTSD & a Golden Retriever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

adoption, child adoption, cps, foster child, General, health, love, mental illness
Understanding Ambiguous Loss

For nearly seven years now, I have suffered the grief from losing my son in 2004. I have been paralyzed, lost, and trapped in the pain since 2004.

I have grieved, or so I thought. Maybe I didn’t grieve. I really don’t know for sure, since this sort of thing was not part of my plan as a parent.

How does a parent resolve the unfair loss of a child into the system, that occurred because of a custody battle gone wrong, a spiteful spouse, and system failure?  That resolve does not exist. When the wrongs  are never righted there is no resolution, only the what ifs that run rampant. The frustration and anger is never-ending.

 I never knew it was something with a label, “ambiguous loss”.

 Wow.  There is a term for what I feel.  There is a label that is out there and recognized, as something real, and is far greater than I, alone, can overcome.  I can only feel it every day, every week, month, and year, since the loss of my son, as it eats away the inside of my spirit.

People have said to me, “move on” and “get over it” and “yeah yeah its been years, aren’t you past that yet?” or “at least he’s alive out there, he could be dead, ya know…” or one of a million other ‘words of advice’ in their futile attempts to fix me.   Yet I remain stuck, lost, and sad.  

On top of the myriad of emotions I feel as the mother, I often fear that if it feels this intense for *me* at *my age* with *my understanding of life* as an adult –  I CANNOT imagine how it felt to my eight year old son to go through what we went through!!

I don’t want to imagine how it felt for him, but as his mother, I have no choice but to wonder – which makes the impact of my own emotions that much greater.  It’s a horrible cycle that never ends.   There is no resolution, there is no finalizing the pain.

 So…Ambiguous Loss is what its called.  

Lets learn a little about it and how it affects the children in the child welfare system. As if we can even begin to understand how deeply they feel it as children… as if..


Understanding Ambiguous Loss

source: http://www.mnadopt.org

Ambiguous loss is a term that is used to describe the grief or distress associated with a loss (usually a person or relationship) in which there is confusion or uncertainty about that person or relationship.

There are two types of ambiguous loss:

1) When the person is physically present but psychologically unavailable. An example of this might be when a child’s parent has a mental health diagnosis or chemical use issues which make them emotionally unavailable to meet the needs of the child, even if that parent is physically present;

2) When the person is physically absent but psychologically present. Examples of this would be when a child does not live with a parent due to divorce, incarceration, foster care or adoption;

Ambiguous loss may overlap with trauma and attachment problems and symptoms may be similar to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

A person experiencing ambiguous loss may:

• Have difficulty with transitions or changes;

• Have difficulty making decisions; feeling “paralyzed” or overwhelmed when having to make choices about one’s life;

• Have decreased ability to cope with routine childhood or adolescent losses–not being able to “move on” from a disappointment or loss or feeling “stuck”;

• Exhibit learned helplessness or hopelessness;

• Have depression and/or anxiety;

• Have feelings of guilt.

Ambiguous loss affects adopted children who may think about their birth family, but birth family members and adoptive parents might also experience ambiguous loss. Both birth family members and adopted children may wonder about each other, or may mourn or fantasize about what it would have been like to stay together. Adoptive parents, especially if they adopt after struggles with infertility, may experience ambiguous loss over pregnancies that ended in miscarriages or the loss of the dream of having children biologically.

Pauline Boss, author of Ambiguous Loss: Coming to Terms with Unresolved Grief, writes,

“Although the birth mother is more conscious of the actual separation than is the baby given up for adoption… the birth mother is thought about often and kept psychologically present in the minds of both the adoptive mother and the adopted child.”

Consider how much more this loss might be felt by youth who were not separated at birth but lived with the mother or father for months or years before the separation occurred; or the effect of loss on children who experience multiple placements and caregivers.

Each move from a caregiver is one more time a child could experience ambiguous loss over the separation.

It was once thought that a child could not feel loss over the separation from birth family they had never known; however more recent research has shown that adopted youth may in fact grieve over the loss (Grotevant et al, 2000).

Adopted individuals who were able to discuss difficult feelings about the uncertainty and lack of information about birth family with their adoptive family showed less symptoms of ambiguous loss than those whose adoptive families had more closed conversations (Powell & Afifi, 2005).

Some adopted children make up their own story about the circumstances of their adoption or use “magical thinking” to
describe their imagined adoption scenario when they lack information.

Adoptees have described the lack of knowledge about their biological families and reasons for separation as like “a book without the first few chapters” or as “lives written in pencil that can easily be erased.”

Some researchers have found that ambiguous loss often peaks for adopted youth during adolescence when identity becomes part of the teenager’s developmental tasks.

According to Boss,

“. . . the greater the ambiguity surrounding one’s loss, the more difficult it is to master [the loss] and the greater one’s depression, anxiety, and family conflict”

Why is this?

• It is difficult for a person to resolve grief if they don’t know if the loss is temporary or final;
• Uncertainty about the loss prevents a child’s ability to reorganize roles and relationships in their family;
• There is a lack of a clear, symbolic ritual surrounding the loss;

• The lost relationship is not socially recognized or is hidden from others;

• The griever is not socially recognized (this is often the case with birth family, regardless of whether the child was removed voluntarily or involuntarily);

• The circumstances that led to loss are perceived negatively by others.

In the case of a parent’s death, for example, people understand the loss and rituals (such as funerals) help the child understand and provide closure to the relationship with that parent.

However, as Boss writes,

“Existing rituals and community supports only address clear-cut loss such as death.”

When a child is separated from his or her parents due to child protection intervention, relinquishment or abandonment, the parent may be physically absent but the psychological presence may still be very much in the child’s mind. Knowing the parent is out there “somewhere” can be confusing or  anxiety-inducing for the child. They may wonder if they will run into the parent at the grocery store, for example, or wonder if the parent will call them someday.

Also, because adoption is commonly viewed positively as a joyous event in our society, a child may feel confusion or guilt over being asked to be happy that they were separated from their birth family. Extended family members and community may not recognize or understand that adoption is directly related to the loss of  the original birth family.

Suggestions for helping children manage feelings of ambiguous loss:

• Give voice to the ambiguity. Provide a name to the feelings of ambiguous loss and acknowledge how difficult It is to live with this ambiguity.

• Learn to redefine what it means to be a family.

Boss writes,

“Acting as if the membership list of an adoptive family is etched in stone may in the end be more stressful than explicitly recognizing that the family has some ambiguous boundaries.”

• Adopted children need to be given permission to grieve the loss of their family of origin without feeling  guilty

• Help the child identify what has been lost (the loss may not be limited to the actual parent – the loss could also include the membership of that extended family, the loss of the home or town they were born in, the loss of having a family that looks like them, the loss of their family surname, or for internationally adopted youth the loss of birth country and language;

• Create a “loss box.” In her work with adopted adolescents, therapist Debbie Riley guides the youth as they decorate a box in which they place items that represent things they’ve lost. This gives the youth both a ritual for acknowledging the loss and a way for them to revisit the people or relationships in the future.

• Include birth parents and birth family members in the child’s family “orchard” so the child can literally and figuratively place them in their self-narrative “history”

• Sometimes certain events trigger feelings of loss such as holidays, birthdays or the anniversary of an adoption. Alter or add to family rituals to acknowledge the child’s feelings about these important people or  relationships that have been lost.

For example, adding an extra candle representing the child’s birth family on his or her cake may be a way of remembering their part in your child’s life on that day; or even an acknowledgement like “I bet your mom and dad are thinking about you today” recognizes those ambiguous relationships.

• Don’t set an expectation that grief over ambiguous loss will be “cured,” “fixed” or “resolved” in any kind of predetermined time frame.

Explain that feelings related to ambiguous loss will come and go at different times in a person’s life and provide a safe place for the child to express those feelings.

Adults must be mindful of the trauma that accompanies each transition to a different placement or with new caregivers.

It is important for social workers, foster parents and adoptive parents to recognize how ambiguous loss and grief may affect adopted youth – especially as they near adolescence and young adulthood.

==============================================================================================
For more information:
Ambiguous loss: Learning to live with unresolved grief. Pauline Boss, (1999). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
 
Ambiguous loss in adolescents: Increasing understanding to enhance intervention. L. Ashbourne, L. Baker & C. Male (2002).
 
This free, downloadable pdf is available at www.lfcc.on.ca.
Disenfranchised grief: Recognizing hidden sorrow. K.J. Doka (2002). Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.
 
Adoptive identity: How contexts within and beyond the family shape developmental pathways. H.D. Grotevant, N. Dunbar, J.K. Kohler & A.M.L. Esau (2000). Family Relations, 49: 379-387.
 
Uncertainty management and adoptees’ ambiguous loss of their birth parents. K.A. Powell & T.D. Afifi (2005). Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Vol. 22(1): 129-151.
 
Beneath the mask: Understanding adopted teens. D. Riley & J. Meeks (2006). Burtonsville, MD: C.A.S.E. Publications
accountability, child, corruption, cps, families, financial, funding, government, health, kids, medicaid, medicaid fraud, medical, medication
“Forgotten Children: A True Story of How Politicians Endanger Children.”

By Jason P. Olivarri – Contributing Writer/Southside Reporter02f58cf42f2ebde2

Robert Treviño, a prominent physician and researcher, has fought an uphill battle against the healthcare industry’s ugly side. He tries to expose it in his new book, “Forgotten Children: A True Story of How Politicians Endanger Children.”

Treviño, 58, is president of the South Alamo Medical Group, which operates five clinics in some of San Antonio’s poorest communities.

Treviño said he felt compelled to write “Forgotten Children” to expose the greed, corruption, and favoritism he witnessed at the state and federal levels of the healthcare industry.

“Refraining treatment from an individual to profit is the most unethical greed that I’ve ever seen,” said Treviño, who grew up on San Antonio’s South Side in the Lavaca neighborhood.

Around 10 years ago, Treviño developed the Bienestar/NEEMA school health program with a goal of lowering the odds x of Hispanic children developing Type 2 diabetes.

Treviño’s work has been funded by the National Institute of Health, and he’s published studies that show the benefits of the Bienestar/ NEEMA program.

But Treviño fought for years against state agencies and political forces that he said unfairly favored another school-based program called Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH).

The CATCH program was developed and marketed by physicians from the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston.
Using blood sugar testing, physical education, and informational literature, the Bienestar/NEEMA program strived to show school children, parents and school cafeteria programs the importance of healthy-eating and portion control.

Despite positive results, Treviño said he would have to face and overcome several opponents between 1997 and 2004 before Bienestar/ NEEEMA was instituted in many South Texas school districts.

The Texas Department of Health was the first obstacle. They wouldn’t fund Bienestar/NEEMA’s curriculum.

According to Treviño, they were already leaning toward the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston’s CATCH program.

Though grant review committees are supposed to be non-biased in their decision-making, Treviño said many were already favoring CATCH to where they not only funded it, but also protected it from competition.

Former Texas Department of Health Commissioner Dr. William Archer told Treviño he would never have the Bienestar/NEEMA program in Texas, Treviño said.

Ironically, Archer was also from the Houston area.

“So it was just a very muddy grant process,” Treviño said.

Following a series of remarks Archer made regarding race and letters sent by Treviño questioning his support of CATCH, he eventually resigned, leaving the door open for Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, appointed by Gov. Rick Perry, to take his place.

Sanchez, like Archer, did not last long, resigning after only three years though he gave $4 million to the CATCH program during his tenure.

Shortly thereafter, Sanchez emerged again, this time with a job with the UT-Houston School of Public Health that introduced the CATCH program. As to why CATCH was given such high precedence over Bienestar/NEEMA, Treviño said in his book that much of it had to do with the greed of a $174 billion diabetes healthcare industry.

“So can you imagine if a program (like Bienestar/NEEMA) came that was able to impact and decrease and stop the disease, what would happen to the industry?” Treviño asked.

The Texas Educational Agency (TEA) review board and even the federal Center for Disease Control both influenced the funneling of the annual $17 million for health curriculums to CATCH. They also denied Bienestar/NEEMA and other programs grant funding.

Eventually, the TEA finally gave Treviño permission in 2004 to put Bienestar/NEEMA within Texas school districts.

Above all, Treviño hopes his first-hand account will convince people to take control of their own health as well as their children’s, and not lay that responsibility on the government or pharmaceutical companies.

And in the discovery process, hopefully shed more light on why certain healthcare curriculums were given preference over others.

“I’m hoping the readers, the audience, the new cabinet, our new administration comes into Texas and investigates these events (between Benestar/NEEMA and CATCH),” Treviño said.

For information on purchasing a copy of “Forgotten Children: A True Story of How Politicians Endanger Children,” visit Presa Publishing at 1103 S. Presa St. or call 531-1414. There will also be a book signing from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday at Azuca Nuevo Latino Restaurant, second floor, 713 S. Alamo St.

abduction, child, christmas, cps, health, holiday
Christmas – 3 Years Stuck

If you haven’t read my story, you can find it here –Its Almost Tuesday, The True Story.

This is my 4th Christmas without my son. The first was Christmas 2004; but it is as devastating for me today as then… if not more. It just doesn’t show as much.

I have not spoken to my son, nor have I seen him, received any reports on his well-being, no pictures, no correspondence, nothing. I’m supposed to talk to him on the phone and get supervised visits. But my mother never did play by the rules.

Why? Is she punishing me for acting out against her as a teenager when I ran away from home with my “first love”?

Her persecution of me has gone on so long that at this point, i think she truly believes her exaggerated recollection of my past and her vision of me has been stretched and skewed into another person than who she once remembered as her daughter. I am many things according to her, but those things are based on lies… but to her, they are truths…

The truth is, I AM many things… the ultimate ‘product of my environment’ … but I am not what she says me to be (and she tells everyone – the dog pound, hairdresser, potential mates, grocery store clerk, mailman, that her ‘mentally ill drugged out daughter abused her grandson so he was taken into foster care and she saved his life” (now praise her – praise her, give her the attention she desperately wants to make it worth it)…

It wasn’t worth it … and I never hurt my children…

I’m not here to talk about the merits of my case, its long over, she won – or did she? Nobody won, it was a total loss, mostly, for the children… my son is bearing the brunt of this nightmare.

She didn’t save him… she stole his childhood… she was maliciously revengeful towards me after I fought with her one day and wouldn’t back down and the police were ultimately called on her.

Being 8 years old at the time he was taken, I know my son remembers living at home with me, unless he has blocked it out. He must.

I have tried to get messages to him to call me, but he never does. I am told he is given those messages. I don’t know the truth. I just know that he doesn’t call.

From what I understand, he doesn’t want to talk to me, see me, nor have anything to do with me. I’m told that he does not so much as talk about me.

At all? But we were once so close.

I don’t understand what is going through his little mind. I only survived this from my place, which was barely, not from the child’s point of view. Maybe he’s doing what he must to bide his time and just survive – like me?

Or maybe he is truly confused? Being told over and over again that he was in foster care for being abused, but having good memories of home without abuse… it doesn’t make sense to him.

Maybe he’s blocked it all out and doesn’t remember any of it? He’s repressed it all? Is that possible for an 8 year old?

Then I wonder, does he love me?

Does he miss me?

Does he forgive me?

Does he know the truth?

Will he end up like me? Will he be a mentor to other foster children one day?

Will he self-destruct? Will he turn to drugs? End up in prison? Does he know how hard I tried? Will he believe me if I ever get to tell him one day? Will he hate me forever? Will I live long enough to see him again?

Do I want to see him again and risk his anger coming out on me, being blamed… would I endure it with strength or would that be the straw that broke my back…?

These are questions that haunt me every day of my life.

My sadness is overwhelming. I love him more than I can write, there are no words to describe that love… it keeps me alive. But, my suffering is so strong, I

My coping skills have struggled against themselves, and I’ve found myself retreating into myself, my memories, and my writing, as my self-therapy. It has been so long now that most of the people in my life have never met my son. Most people in my life now have not seen me with my child, he is merely a boy in a photograph. I rarely speak of him as its too painful. I don’t want the questions. I don’t want the confusion on another person’s face as they try to understand what happened. I don’t want to hear “They can’t do that….” anymore. They can, and they did.

I don’t know why I’m writing about it now, except to say that I am in a lot of pain these days, inside my soul. I’ve gone through the gamet of phases, tried a variety of techniques to make it through this, read, written, talked, and meditated… none of it has worked… there is no pain like that of losing a child, and knowing he’s out there, one or two counties away, with my own mother, who knows the truth, that i loved him and cared for him with my life, but whose anger is separating us irreparably.

No matter what, if she were to give me access to him back today, there is a significant loss of several years, taking my child from a boy to a teen that are gone. They cannot be replaced or given back. They cannot fix this for me, ever, no matter the therapy, retribution, justice, forgiveness, revenge, or healing. There is nothing to give back what was taken from us, his 8th year, 9th year, 10th, 11th, and 12th year, and however many more… I will never hear his voice as a child again, and I didn’t get to be around while it changed, to adapt to it.

My mother forever stole my child and I’m sorry, but I cannot get over it. I cannot pick up and move on. I can only do what I do, this blog, and other small activities that keep it at bay inside of me, hopefully by helping others.

Someone asked me the other day how old my children were (they were 8 and 13 when he was taken) , I said to my friend, “my children? Oh, my daughter is 17 now, and my son is 8”.

No wait… he’s not 8 years old anymore… except to me….

I write a check, and put the year 2004. I dream of him, and he’s 8 years old. I’m stuck.

I saw a picture of my son’s step-cousin on myspace yesterday, she was the same age as him, and the last time I saw her, she was 8 too. Now she’s photographed on myspace playing guitar in her own rock band on stage. Woah – SLAM – i thought, how long has it been? Nearly 4 years? No it hasn’t, it was yesterday, its not over, its still happening, the pain is just as strong, and it hurts, losing my baby boy… 4 years – gone… you can’t fix that for me… you can only hope, as I do, each day, that I find the strength to keep breathing for another day… sometimes I don’t know if I can…

Sometimes I don’t want to.

I guess Christmas is still magical for many, but to parents who have lost their children, its dreaded torture. To them, I give you my heart and prayers, and say to you that I understand, I really do… its killing me too…

To the parents that have their children this Christmas, be blessed, plentiful, and not in presents, but in love. Kiss and hug your children two more times each night in remembrance of the lost children who don’t have their parents to show them love. Let them stay up a little late, who cares, Santa’s coming!! Take not for granted that your children are home with you, you are the luckiest person on earth if you are with your child.

For those who are acting out against another parent, alienating children, stop what you’re doing, quit justifying it to yourself, get help, listen to your conscious, resist the anger, and go to a counselor, before the child suffers harm that can’t be fixed…. or before the other parent can’t cope anymore and commits suicide…

it happens…

If you know someone who is abusing a child or other parent this way, seek intervention, and do it soon. Don’t turn a blind eye, deaf ear, or put your head in the sand. You may be able to save a life this Christmas, and what better gift could you give a child but the love of a parent, and the ending of a nightmare that could otherwise cost everything….

Bah Humbug…

I miss you my son – more than you could imagine. Call me. I pray our family steps up at some point to end this suffering for us. .. i pray for that… to save my life…

I pray for a reunion…

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, health, lawsuits, legal
Foster care abuse alleged


Foster care abuse alleged

Two brothers claim in a lawsuit that the state failed to stop their sexual and physical abuse.

By LEONORA LaPETER
Published October 13, 2004


PINELLAS PARK – The two brothers grew up in separate foster homes, but both say they were abused again and again – physically and sexually – while in foster care in Hillsborough County.One brother said he was sodomized in three different homes. The other claimed he was also raped and forced to sit in his urine for hours or kept outside without food or water.

Both brothers, Jesus de la Cruz and Sue F. Flores, claim in a lawsuit against the state Department of Children and Families filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court Tuesday that they told caseworkers about the abuse. But either nothing was done or they were moved to another bad situation year after year, the suit says.

Jesus de la Cruz, now 24 and out of foster care for six years, stood in his lawyer’s conference room Tuesday and held up a poster board picture of himself as a toddler when he was placed into the foster system. Cruz, reeling from the loss of his premature 5-month-old daughter a few days ago, said he wanted to come forward to help other children.

“This has been going on for a long time, … and I don’t want it to happen to any more children,” he said. “They didn’t look out for my safety. They weren’t protecting me.”

A number of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of children who suffered abuse or neglect in the foster care system over the years. But they typically take years to litigate and many are dismissed because of a lack of evidence.

“With these sort of lawsuits there are procedural hurdles that often prevent the court from getting to the substance of the issue, which is, that while the state had these children, they allowed them to get hurt,” said Gerard Glynn, executive director of the statewide children’s advocacy group, Florida’s Children First, in Orlando. “And the question is, should they be allowed to be made whole? … The state does everything in its power to avoid addressing that question.”

DCF spokesman Andy Ritter said the agency had not yet received the brothers’ lawsuit, but department policy prevented him from commenting on it anyway. He said the department has a zero tolerance policy for any abuse in foster care homes.

Asked if anything had changed at the agency since de la Cruz, the youngest brother, left the foster care system six years ago, Ritter said a department representative now visits all 29,284 children in the foster care system once a month.

Joseph H. Saunders, attorney for de la Cruz and Flores, said the brothers’ case files are full of their claims of abuse but show little action on the part of the state to either investigate their plight or check into their foster families.

“The failings of the department resulted from a lack of funding and inadequate staffing of the department,” said Saunders, a Pinellas Park attorney who has also handled some cases on behalf of victims alleging abuse by priests.

Though lawsuits over abuse in the foster care system are difficult to win, some cases have resulted in judgments. Still, there is a statutory $100,000 cap on the state’s liability. Any judgment above that must be approved by the Legislature in a special spending bill.

Some cases have been won by filing a federal civil rights lawsuit. One 16-year-old girl who was repeatedly raped by her foster father in Miami-Dade County beginning when she was 8 years old won a $650,000 settlement this way, said Karen Gievers, her Tallahassee attorney and president of Children’s Advocacy Foundation, a nonprofit organization set up to educate about children’s needs.

De la Cruz, who is now disabled from a car accident, was first placed into a foster care home when he was about 3 years old because his mother, who had six children, was an alcoholic who left them unsupervised and without food, the lawsuit says.

In his second foster care home when he was 7, he claims he was sodomized and his sister was raped by another older son of the family.

In all, he was moved about a dozen times to foster homes in Brandon, Tampa and Plant City and sexually abused by different people when he was 10 and 14. De la Cruz’s sister, who was placed with him, is not part of the lawsuit, and he said he had not seen her in some time.

The other brother, Flores, now 32, was placed in 16 different foster homes. He was not present at the news conference in Saunders’ office Tuesday. But he claims he was sexually abused beginning when he was 9. He said he informed his counselor, but no one believed him, the lawsuit says.

De la Cruz said he also faced disbelief on the part of his caseworkers. They continued to write reports that indicated the abuse was unfounded.

“I was very afraid and I couldn’t trust nobody,” said de la Cruz, who attended Sickles High School in northwest Hillsborough County. “I felt no one believed me, No. 1 because I was a boy.”

He said he had not sought criminal charges against any of the people he claims abused him, but Saunders said he might do so in the future.

He said the abuse has scarred him emotionally and made him question his sexuality, “whether I was going to be gay.”

“I had a lot of anger and I took a lot of therapy,” he said. “If it weren’t for therapy, I’d probably be one of them (an abuser).”

[Last modified October 13, 2004, 00:37:14]

children, General, health, medicine
Government Advisers: Don’t Use Cold Medicines in Children Under 6

Cold medicine

 

Concentrated Tylenol Infants’ Drops Plus Cold & Cough, right, and Pedia Care Infant Drops Long-Acting Cough, left, is shown in a medicine cabinet of the home of Carol Uyeno in Palo Alto, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 11, 2007. Cold Drug makers voluntarily pulled cold medicines targeted for babies and toddlers off the market Thursday, leaving parents to find alternatives for hacking coughs and runny little noses just as fall sniffles get in full swing. The move represented a pre-emptive strike by over-the-counter drug manufacturers – a week before government advisers were to debate the medicines’ fate. But it doesn’t end concern about the safety of these remedies for youngsters. (Paul Sakuma/AP Photo)

 

 

WASHINGTON – Cold and cough medicines don’t work in children and shouldn’t be used in those younger than 6, federal health advisers recommended Friday.

 

Video

No More Kids Cold Medicine

The over-the-counter medicines should be studied further, even after decades in which children have received billions of doses a year, the outside experts told the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA isn’t required to follow the advice of its panels of outside experts but does so most of the time.

“The data that we have now is they don’t seem to work,” said Sean Hennessy, a University of Pennsylvania epidemiologist, one of the FDA experts gathered to examine the medicines sold to treat common cold symptoms. The recommendation applies to medicines containing one or more of the following ingredients: decongestants, expectorants, antihistamines and antitussives.

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The nonbinding recommendation is likely to lead to a shake up in how the medicines – which have long escaped much scrutiny – are labeled, marketed and used. Just how and how quickly wasn’t immediately clear.

In two separate votes, the panelists said the medicines shouldn’t be used in children younger than 2 or in those younger than 6. A third vote, to recommend against use in children 6 to 11, failed.

Earlier, the panelists voted unanimously to recommend the medicines be studied in children to determine whether they work. That recommendation would require the FDA to undertake a rule-making process to reclassify the medicines, since the ingredients they include are now generally recognized as safe and effective, which doesn’t require testing. The process could take years, even before any studies themselves get under way.

FDA Says Over-the-Counter Med Need Further Study

Simply relabeling the medicines to state they shouldn’t be used in some age groups could be accomplished more quickly, FDA officials said.

Indeed, the drug industry could further revise the labels on the medicines to caution against such use. The Thursday-Friday meeting came just a week after the industry pre-emptively moved to eliminate sales of the nonprescription drugs targeted at children under 2.