Category: law

cps, foster care, law, money, parental alienation syndrome
To Find the Law, Follow the Money: How CPS is Funded

Funding state child welfare services involves a complicated web of funding streams, including federal, state and local money.

The largest source of funding dedicated to child welfare comes from the federal government via formula grants or as federal reimbursement for eligible programs like foster care.

The largest sources are Titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act.

Title IV-B includes the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program and the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program.

Title IV-E includes Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, Guardianship Assistance and the John H. Chaffee Foster Care Independence programs.

While all states may receive these funds to use for their designated purposes, some states have been granted Title IV-E Waivers, which allow for flexible use of Title IV-E funds to operate innovative demonstration projects to improve the safety, permanency and well-being of children in out-of-home care, and in some instances work to prevent the need for foster care altogether.

In addition to Title IV-B and Title IV-E funds, which are dedicated to child welfare services, states also tap other federal funding streams, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) and Medicaid. These sources are considered nondedicated, meaning they are not required to be used for child welfare services but may be used for those purposes if the state chooses.

Below is a description of each of these funding streams. For a more detailed look at the issue see the Congressional Research Service’s Child Welfare: An Overview of Federal Programs and Their Current Funding report from January, 2015, the Child Trends, Federal, State and Local Spending to Address Child Abuse and Neglectreport from 2014 and the Child Trends report, Child Welfare Financing SFY 2014: a survey of federal, state and local expenditures, from 2016.

Check out a new brief from Child Trends, An Introduction to Child Welfare Funding and How States Use It, released in January 2016!

Title IV-E

Title IV-E constitutes the largest pool of federal funds used by states, totaling just over $6 billion dollars in FY 2012 and nearly $7 billion in FY 2014. States, tribes and territories with approved Title IV-E plans may be reimbursed for the cost of foster care, adoption assistance, or kinship guardianship assistance, in addition to services for older youth who have aged out or emancipated from foster care.

Title IV-E Foster Care Maintenance

The Title IV-E foster care maintenance payments program allows states to be reimbursed by the federal government for maintenance payments made to provide shelter, food and clothing for eligible children.

In addition, it covers administrative costs, training of child welfare staff and foster parents, recruitment of foster parents and data collection. A child is eligible for these payments if he or she entered foster care through a voluntary placement or judicial determination, was considered “needy” according to the former Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program standards before removal, and currently resides in licensed or approved foster care.

The AFDC program was a federal entitlement program to low-income, primarily single-parent households, that was replaced by the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in 1996. Traditionally these payments would cease upon the child’s 18th birthday.

In 23 states and the District of Columbia, however, payments may be continued until the child reaches 21.

This extension was authorized by the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Fostering Connections Act).

In FY 2013, fewer than 159,000 of the 400,000 children in foster care were receiving foster care maintenance payments.

Title IV-E Adoption Assistance

Title IV-E Adoption Assistance funds must be used to place children with adoptive families in a timely manner, provide for financial and medical assistance, reimburse states for associated administrative costs, and train employees and adoptive parents. Children are eligible for adoption assistance funds if they meet one of five criteria:

  • They are considered needy, according to the former AFDC.
  • They remained in the pre-removal situation.
  • They are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • They are the children of minor parents who are receiving Title IV-E foster care maintenance payments.
  • They were eligible for adoption assistance previously but their adoptive parents died or had their parental rights terminated.

The Fostering Connections Act increased the overall amount of federal spending on adoption assistance payments to adoptive families by phasing out the income eligibility requirements for those payments over time (delinking eligibility from income). As federal spending on adoption assistance payments was expected to increase and state spending was expected to decline, Congress required states to reinvest any state savings from this change in child welfare programs. However, according to the SFY 2012 Child Trends survey, federal expenditures from the Title IV-E Adoption Assistance Program actually declined for the first time, probably because of a decrease in the number of eligible children, and states no longer receive enhanced reimbursed rates through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), a federal law that provided temporary assistance to states during the last economic downturn.

Title IV-E Guardianship Assistance

Title IV-E Guardianship Assistance is similar to adoption assistance and foster care maintenance in that it also covers the training of child welfare staff and guardians in addition to administrative expenses.

However, the primary purpose of guardianship assistance is to provide federal reimbursement to kinship guardians, or relatives, who serve as legal guardians and have previously served as foster parents for the child. For the child to be eligible for these payments, he or she must be leaving foster care in exchange for a legal guardianship with relatives and meet four additional criteria:

  • The child must be eligible for Title IV-E foster care maintenance payments while residing in a prospective kinship placement for six consecutive months.
  • The state must determine that returning home and adoption are not appropriate permanency goals for the child.
  • It must be demonstrated that there is a strong attachment between the child and the prospective relative guardian and that the guardian is committed to the guardianship.
  • Children age 14 or older must be consulted about the potential placement.

The Fostering Connections Act provides states the option to use federal Title IV-E funds for reimbursement for kinship guardianship assistance payments on behalf of eligible grandparents and other relatives who have assumed legal guardianships of children.

As of FY2014, 32 states and five tribes have incorporated kinship guardianship assistance into their Title IV-E plan.

STATES WITH KINSHIP GUARDIAN ASSISTANCE

The following states offer assistance to family under the Kinship Guardiam Assistance program:
Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin

Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Projects

Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Projects allow states to apply for more flexibility in the use of Title IV-E federal reimbursement. These demonstration projects must aim to increase permanency for all children in foster care and/or help children make a successful transition out of care when they reach 18, or in some states, 21; improve child welfare outcomes by focusing on safety and well-being; and prevent child abuse and neglect through early intervention, while also reducing the instances of re-entry into foster care by reducing instances of maltreatment.

Note that the Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Projects will end in 2019 and have not been authorized to continue.

Currently, 28 states, D.C. and the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe in Washington state are operating Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Projects. The states are: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

John E. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program

The Title IV-E John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP) funds are designed to help older youth in foster care achieve independence and self-sufficiency. The program targets children who are expected to be in care when they turn 18, those who are 16 or older and are placed in kinship care or adoptive placements, and youth ages 18-21 who have aged out of foster care.

Assistance with education, employment, financial management, housing, emotional support and assured connections to caring adults are just a few of the services to which these funds are dedicated.

In addition to helping foster youth achieve self-sufficiency, CFCIP funds are also used to provide Educational and Training Vouchers to foster youth, up to age 21.

These vouchers may be used for the cost of attendance at an institution of higher education, up to $5000 a year.

Further, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 amended the Social Security Act to add that CFCIP funds should be used to “ensure that children who are likely to remain in foster care until 18 years of age have regular, ongoing opportunities to engage in age or developmentally- appropriate activities.”

The act also raised the mandatory funding authority of the Chafee Foster Care Independence Programs to $143 million starting in 2020.

Title IV-B

Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services

Title IV-B, Subpart 1 of the Social Security Act, titled the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services, offers states flexibility in creating or expanding child and family services, in partnership with community-based agencies, to ensure that kids can stay safely at home.

This funding may be used for child protective services, including investigations of child abuse and neglect, caseworker activities, counseling, emergency assistance and arranging alternative living arrangements, in addition to family preservation services, time-limited family reunification services, and family support or prevention services.

Family Connection Grants

Family Connection Grants, first established as part of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, support services that help kids in foster care, or those at risk of entering care, to stay connected with their families.

These services are:

  • Kinship navigator programs.
  • Family finding.
  • Family group decision making.
  • Residential family treatment.

The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 appropriated $15 million for FY 2014.

Promoting Safe and Stable Families

Title IV-B, Subpart 2 of the Social Security Act, Promoting Safe and Stable Families, encourages family support and preservation, time-limited family reunification services, and services to support adoption.

This flexible-use funding allows states to develop, establish or expand community-based programs to support family preservation.

Other Federal Funding

Other federal funding for state child welfare services includes the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) and Medicaid.

CAPTA State Grants

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) State Grants, first enacted 40 years ago, and re-enacted most recently in 2010, seeks to improve child protective systems with an emphasis on collaboration between child protective services, health, mental health, juvenile justice, education, and other public and private agencies.

CAPTA funds are authorized to help states make improvements to child protective services, such as intake, assessment, screening and investigation of reports of child abuse and neglect; develop, improve, and implement risk and safety assessment tools and protocols; and case management and monitoring processes.

Finally, the statutory authority for the Children’s Justice Act is housed in CAPTA. These grants administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are available to states and territories to improve the assessment, investigation, and/or prosecution of child abuse and neglect cases.

According to the HHS Report to Congress, states reported their intention to use their CAPTA grant funds to:

  • Improve the intake, assessment, screening, and investigation of reports of child abuse or neglect (85%).
  • Use the funds develop, improve, and implement risk and safety assessment tools and protocols, including use of differential response (73%).
  • Improve case management, ongoing case monitoring, and delivery of services and treatment provided to families (65%).

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Title IV-A of the Social Security Act, provides federal block grants to states.

This flexible funding stream can be used for any purpose, so long as it furthers one of the four main goals of TANF, including providing assistance to families so children can be safely cared for in their own homes. These funds may also be used for foster care or adoption assistance for children who are not Title IV-E eligible.

In addition, up to 10 percent of TANF funds may be transferred to the Social Services Block Grant. The use of these funds is limited to assisting families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line.

Social Services Block Grants (SSBG)

The Social Services Block Grants (SSBG) allow states to implement locally appropriate social services to increase self-sufficiency and independence, reducing dependence on social services.

SSBG funds can be used for more than child welfare services. With five policy goals, one being the reduction and prevention of child abuse, and 28 service categories, states are allowed to tailor services to meet the needs of their residents.

Categories include foster care, substance abuse, case management, adoptive services, counseling, protective services, housing, employment services and more.

See the SSBG 2014 Annual Report for more on how states use this funding source.

Medicaid

Medicaid is an important source of funding for health services—which can include medically necessary health care and mental health— for children and youth in foster care.

It is an open-ended entitlement. States must provide a match based on their population. Key services include Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) and optional targeted case management (limited), rehabilitation services,

Medicaid-funded therapeutic foster care and certain administrative costs. All children eligible for Title IV-E are eligible for Medicaid, and states may extend Medicaid to adopted children or former foster youth ages 18-21 who are not eligible for Title IV-E.

As of Jan. 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act extends Medicaid coverage for former foster youth up to age 26. Medicaid is an open-ended entitlement equal to each state’s Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) rate, between 50-82 percent depending on per capita income.

Adoption and Legal Guardianship Incentive Payments

Adoption and Legal Guardianship Incentive Payments were established in 1997 as part of the Adoption and Safe Families Act. They are designed to encourage states to increase the number of children who were adopted from foster care, adoptions of older children, age 9 or older, and adoptions of children with “special needs” under the age of 9.

The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 extended funding for the incentive payments through 2016 and revised the instances in which a state may receive Adoption and Legal Guardianship Incentive Payments to include improvements in the rate of children who:

  • Are adopted at any age.
  • Leave foster care for legal guardianships at any age.
  • Are pre-adolescents, defined as between 9 and 13 years of age, and leave foster care for adoption or legal guardianship.
  • Are older, defined as 14 years of age or older, and leave foster care for adoption or legal guardianship.

State and Local Funds

State and local funds are typically used to match federal funds or to draw down federal dollars.

The use of state and local funds for child welfare services varies depending on the state and whether it operates a state- or county-run child welfare system.

View the original source of this article at This NCSL Project by clicking here.

The Denver-based child welfare project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation, and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience.

Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or childwelfare@ncsl.org.

NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child welfare issues before Congress and the Administration.

Staff in D.C. can be reached at (202) 624-5400 or cyf-info@ncsl.org.

Additional Resources

Its Almost Tuesday is not affiliated with The NCSL Project.

corruption, foster care, law, money, murder
How much money do foster parents make per kid?

With the government shutdown going on and all because of budget issues…i decided to take a look into some numbers related to foster care.

Especially with the illegal immigrants who bring their children over, or send them unaccompanied…

That’s another issue. let’s look at our own country and what they pay foster parents.

The numbers are shocking.

…..

(to read original source click here. )

A kinship foster family qualifies to receive monthly financial reimbursements and health care assistance for each foster child in their care. .

HOW MUCH IS THE MONTHLY FINANCIAL REIMBURSEMENT?

Financial reimbursement, along with medical and dental coverage, will vary depending on the needs of the child or children. On average, foster families will receive around $675 per child per month.

(That’s about the same amount as one SSI check in Texas)

Then there’s a benefit called Permanency Care Assistance available to you to take permanent custody of the child or children in your care.

The PCA program provides monthly financial assistance up to $545 for each child until his or her 18th birthday, as long as the child remains in your care.

Additionally, you may receive up to $2,000 in reimbursement for activities (such as legal fees) related to reparing to take permanent custody of the child or children.
On any given day, there are nearly 438,000 children in foster care in the United States. In 2016, over 687,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care.

that’s alot of money the state is paying out to foster parents.

let’s do the math

in 2016 there were 687,000 kids in foster homes .. multiply that by 675$ the foster parents are paid for each one of those kids…

687,000 x 675 = $463,725,000.00 PER MONTH … that’s not counting insurance and benefits.

That means the state HAS TO MAKE A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF MONEY OFF EACH ONE OF THE KIDS JUST TO STAY IN BUSINESS.

Now im nobody but a layperson looking at math and common sense but what that tells me is that when a caseworker goes to a home, if they do not find that anything is amiss, there’s no profit in that. so i wonder how many findings of abuse or neglect are budget findings…

Any thoughts on this?

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, children, cps, custody, death, law, lawsuits, legal, texas
Lawsuit Accusing Texas of “Poorly Supervising Foster Children” Moves Forward

“Children are being harmed. And
the state knows it and is basically
disregarding the harm to children”

Julie Wilson
Infowars.com
August 29, 2013

A class-action lawsuit filed in 2011
on behalf of nine Texas children
has been given the go ahead by a
federal judge on Thursday. The
lawsuit accuses Texas of “poorly
supervising foster children,”
reported AP.

The New York-based Children’s
Rights group is behind the push for
justice for more than 12,000 abused
and neglected Texas children that
were permanently removed from
their natural homes.

Executive Director Marcia Robinson Lowry
said the child rights group has sued
more than 15 states for “mistreatment of foster children” and lost just two of those cases.

“Children are being harmed. And
the state knows it and is basically
disregarding the harm to children,”
she said.

Last month Infowars reported on
two-year old Alexandria Hill who
was killed while under the care of
Texas Child Protective Services
(CPS).

Alexandria was taken from
her home because her parents
allegedly smoked pot after their
daughter went to sleep. Foster mom
Sherri Small is facing capital
murder charges for brutally
slamming Alexandria’s head,
causing her to die from blunt force
trauma.

Texas mentor, the agency
responsible for placing Alexandria
with foster mom Small, is the third
largest foster care contractor in the
state.

State records show that Texas
Mentor’s Arlington office was placed
on a six-month evaluation after
they were cited for 114 violations in
56 foster homes over a two year
span, reported the Dallas News.

State funding for CPS has been
increased twice over the past eight
years, but the agency continues to
fail majorly, endangering thousands
of children.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge
Janis Graham Jack of Corpus Christi
said Children’s Rights has provided
substantial “preliminary evidence”
proving CPS caseworkers to be
“overworked.”

The judge also noted a “high turnover among CPS conservatorship workers,” whom are responsible for protecting the
young foster children.

“A caseworker that is so overburdened that she cannot visit the children she is responsible for…cannot fulfill this function,” wrote Judge Jack.

The ruling is based on a three-day
hearing in January and is expected
to proceed hopefully exposing the
corruption and failures inside the
CPS system.

This article was posted: Thursday,
August 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm

accountability, arrest, kidnapping, kids, law, legal, news
East Texas Jury Deliberates on Kidnapping of Boy Hidden for 8 Years

Krystie Tanner

SAN AUGUSTINE, Texas (AP) — An East Texas jury sentenced two women to prison Tuesday after convicting them of kidnapping a Houston boy when he was 8 months old and hiding him for eight years before he was found.

Gloria Walker was sentenced to 30 years for injury to a child and eight years for kidnapping, to be served concurrently. Her daughter, Krystle Tanner, was sentenced to eight years for kidnapping and eight years for the lesser charge of reckless injury to a child, also to be served concurrently.

Earlier in the day the same jury convicted them in the 2004 disappearance of Miguel Morin, who is now 8. Walker had faced up to life in prison, and Tanner faced 20 years.

“We believe that justice was done on behalf of Miguel,” said San Augustine County District Attorney Kevin Dutton.

After the sentences were announced, both women told state District Judge Charles Mitchell they had done nothing wrong, insisting Miguel’s mother had given him away.

“Justice is not served. We have not hurt no child. We loved and cared for him,” Walker said before she and her daughter were handcuffed and taken away by authorities.

Jurors and attorneys for Tanner, 27, and Walker, 51, declined to comment afterward.

Prosecutors told jurors during closing arguments earlier Tuesday that Tanner and Walker neglected Miguel during the eight years they hid him from authorities, denying him appropriate medical care and keeping him out of school.

But defense attorneys countered there was no abduction because the boy’s mother sold him to the women and his parents never showed any concern for their son and refused to cooperate with authorities.

The trial was in San Augustine, about 140 miles northeast of Houston, where authorities say Miguel lived part of the time during his kidnapping.

During the trial’s punishment phase, both Walker and Tanner testified, asking jurors to sentence them to probation.

“I didn’t do nothing wrong,” said a tearful Walker. She also told jurors she had very little contact with the boy, saying she was focused more on dealing with various health problems.

But Tanner contradicted her mother, telling jurors Miguel lived with Walker for extended periods of time. Tanner said she never hurt or abused Miguel.

“I didn’t know they were looking for him. I didn’t know he was missing,” she said.

Prosecutors did not present any witnesses during the punishment phase but did ask jurors for a 25-year-sentence for Walker and an eight-year term for Tanner.

Authorities said Tanner, who used to babysit Miguel, took the boy from his Houston apartment complex when he was an infant and that she and her mother kept him hidden in homes in Central and East Texas, renaming him Jaquan.

Dutton said in his closing argument that claims by Tanner and Walker that Miguel was given to them by his mother are not supported by their actions.

“If Ms. Walker and Ms. Tanner had a right to little Miguel, why wasn’t he in school?” he said. “Why didn’t you get the rest of his immunizations? Why didn’t you take him to the dentist? They knew they didn’t have that right. They knew they couldn’t put that baby out in the public eye.”

Miguel remained missing until March 2012, when Tanner and Walker were arrested. Authorities began investigating Tanner in 2010 after her newborn son tested positive for marijuana. Investigators later determined that she had the missing boy.

San Augustine County Attorney Wesley Hoyt, the other prosecutor in the case, told jurors Miguel stayed missing for years in part because of a flawed investigation by Houston police, which closed the case in 2006.

But Rudy Velasquez, Walker’s attorney, told jurors Miguel’s parents, Auboni Champion-Morin and Fernando Morin, didn’t cooperate with Houston police after the boy was reported missing and never really showed any concern for their son.

A Houston police investigator testified during the four-day trial last week she thought this was not a kidnapping case but one about interference with child custody because she believed the boy’s parents and Tanner had an agreement related to his custody.

“This is not a kidnapping. What has happened is you have a young lady who gave her child away,” Velasquez said. “Ms. Morin was willing to sell her child for $200.”

The boy’s parents were not in the courtroom on Tuesday. But Champion-Morin, had testified her son was taken by Tanner and that Houston police did not keep in touch with her about the case.

Donovan Dudinsky, Tanner’s attorney, told jurors to consider that Miguel is currently not living with his parents but is instead in the custody of a Houston-area couple in deciding whether to believe the parents’ claims that their son was taken.

A Houston judge last month placed Miguel with Junita and Joseph Auguillard, who have also been taking care of Miguel’s four siblings for nearly 10 years under an agreement they have with the boy’s parents.

Miguel has been told about the true identity of his parents and his siblings, and he has been having weekly joint therapy sessions with his parents.

“I hope years later (Miguel) looks back on this day and understands there were good people looking out for him,” San Augustine County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Gary Cunningham said after the sentences were handed down.

___

Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/juanlozano70

accountability, arrest, kidnapping, kids, law, legal, news
East Texas Jury Deliberates on Kidnapping of Boy Hidden for 8 Years

Krystie Tanner

SAN AUGUSTINE, Texas (AP) — An East Texas jury sentenced two women to prison Tuesday after convicting them of kidnapping a Houston boy when he was 8 months old and hiding him for eight years before he was found.

Gloria Walker was sentenced to 30 years for injury to a child and eight years for kidnapping, to be served concurrently. Her daughter, Krystle Tanner, was sentenced to eight years for kidnapping and eight years for the lesser charge of reckless injury to a child, also to be served concurrently.

Earlier in the day the same jury convicted them in the 2004 disappearance of Miguel Morin, who is now 8. Walker had faced up to life in prison, and Tanner faced 20 years.

“We believe that justice was done on behalf of Miguel,” said San Augustine County District Attorney Kevin Dutton.

After the sentences were announced, both women told state District Judge Charles Mitchell they had done nothing wrong, insisting Miguel’s mother had given him away.

“Justice is not served. We have not hurt no child. We loved and cared for him,” Walker said before she and her daughter were handcuffed and taken away by authorities.

Jurors and attorneys for Tanner, 27, and Walker, 51, declined to comment afterward.

Prosecutors told jurors during closing arguments earlier Tuesday that Tanner and Walker neglected Miguel during the eight years they hid him from authorities, denying him appropriate medical care and keeping him out of school.

But defense attorneys countered there was no abduction because the boy’s mother sold him to the women and his parents never showed any concern for their son and refused to cooperate with authorities.

The trial was in San Augustine, about 140 miles northeast of Houston, where authorities say Miguel lived part of the time during his kidnapping.

During the trial’s punishment phase, both Walker and Tanner testified, asking jurors to sentence them to probation.

“I didn’t do nothing wrong,” said a tearful Walker. She also told jurors she had very little contact with the boy, saying she was focused more on dealing with various health problems.

But Tanner contradicted her mother, telling jurors Miguel lived with Walker for extended periods of time. Tanner said she never hurt or abused Miguel.

“I didn’t know they were looking for him. I didn’t know he was missing,” she said.

Prosecutors did not present any witnesses during the punishment phase but did ask jurors for a 25-year-sentence for Walker and an eight-year term for Tanner.

Authorities said Tanner, who used to babysit Miguel, took the boy from his Houston apartment complex when he was an infant and that she and her mother kept him hidden in homes in Central and East Texas, renaming him Jaquan.

Dutton said in his closing argument that claims by Tanner and Walker that Miguel was given to them by his mother are not supported by their actions.

“If Ms. Walker and Ms. Tanner had a right to little Miguel, why wasn’t he in school?” he said. “Why didn’t you get the rest of his immunizations? Why didn’t you take him to the dentist? They knew they didn’t have that right. They knew they couldn’t put that baby out in the public eye.”

Miguel remained missing until March 2012, when Tanner and Walker were arrested. Authorities began investigating Tanner in 2010 after her newborn son tested positive for marijuana. Investigators later determined that she had the missing boy.

San Augustine County Attorney Wesley Hoyt, the other prosecutor in the case, told jurors Miguel stayed missing for years in part because of a flawed investigation by Houston police, which closed the case in 2006.

But Rudy Velasquez, Walker’s attorney, told jurors Miguel’s parents, Auboni Champion-Morin and Fernando Morin, didn’t cooperate with Houston police after the boy was reported missing and never really showed any concern for their son.

A Houston police investigator testified during the four-day trial last week she thought this was not a kidnapping case but one about interference with child custody because she believed the boy’s parents and Tanner had an agreement related to his custody.

“This is not a kidnapping. What has happened is you have a young lady who gave her child away,” Velasquez said. “Ms. Morin was willing to sell her child for $200.”

The boy’s parents were not in the courtroom on Tuesday. But Champion-Morin, had testified her son was taken by Tanner and that Houston police did not keep in touch with her about the case.

Donovan Dudinsky, Tanner’s attorney, told jurors to consider that Miguel is currently not living with his parents but is instead in the custody of a Houston-area couple in deciding whether to believe the parents’ claims that their son was taken.

A Houston judge last month placed Miguel with Junita and Joseph Auguillard, who have also been taking care of Miguel’s four siblings for nearly 10 years under an agreement they have with the boy’s parents.

Miguel has been told about the true identity of his parents and his siblings, and he has been having weekly joint therapy sessions with his parents.

“I hope years later (Miguel) looks back on this day and understands there were good people looking out for him,” San Augustine County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Gary Cunningham said after the sentences were handed down.

___

Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/juanlozano70

Collin County, Texas, cps, custody, death, families, family, law, murder, suicide
Mother Kills Child Before Turning Gun on Herself

Police say apparent murder-suicide occurred after judge awarded custody to father

By Frank Heinz
|  Saturday, Oct 22, 2011  |  Updated 6:32 PM CDT

Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News

Police say the apparent murder-suicide occurred shortly after a judge awarded custody to the boy’s father.

A woman shot and killed her 7-year-old son before turning the gun on herself late Friday morning in Sachse, police said.

Officers forced their way into the home after hearing gunshots and found 43-year-old Karen Hayslett-McCall and 7-year-old Eryk Hayslett-McCall in an upstairs bedroom at about 10:30 a.m.

Sachse police were at the home in the 7100 block of Longmeadow Drive as a precaution when her estranged husband, Rodney McCall, arrived to pick up his son.

McCall had received sole custody of the child in a court hearing at 10 a.m.

“The father knocked on the front door,” Sachse police Chief Dennis Veach said. “We were simply standing by and at both front and rear of the house when we heard three shots from within the house.”

Veach said police had been to the home on several locations but there were not allegations of serious violence.

Police said Hayslett-McCall and her husband were in the midst of bitter divorce proceedings. Veach said police did not know why the father had been given sole custody of their son.

Hayslett-McCall had accused her husband of molesting their son last fall.  A grand jury later found no evidence of a crime, and McCall was cleared.

But McCall had lost his job as a high school teacher.

McCall’s attorney told the Wylie school board in November that the case was “an allegation brought by a woman who is about to lose custody of her children,” the Wylie News reported.

He also told the board that Hayslett-McCall, a former police officer who has a doctorate in criminal justice and a master’s degree in psychology, knew how to manipulate the justice system, the newspaper reported.

The couple had been battling over custody of Eryk for more than a year.

They filed for divorce in Collin County in March 2010, and temporary custody orders were in place in April 2010. By November, an attorney was appointed for the child.

The judge ordered psychological evaluations in January 2011. Jurors were sworn in on Monday for opening statements, and McCall won custody of his son Friday.

Lt. Marty Cassidy said the officers were visibly shaken but did the best they could in a really bad situation.

“It’s a terribly, terribly sad, tragic event, you know, when one person makes a life decision for another who doesn’t have a vote in that decision,” Veach said.

Police said although other family members were at the residence, they were outside greeting police when the shooting happened.

Officials will work with the Collin County medical examiner to confirm the cause of death, but it appears the woman shot the child and then herself.

Hayslett-McCall was a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. UT Dallas released the following statement:

“The UT Dallas community is deeply saddened to learn of this tragic news. Our thoughts and concerns are with the family. Karen Hayslett-McCall left the university faculty in June 2011 and has had no official position with the university since then.”

NBC 5’s Kevin Cokely and Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.

Tuesday’s thoughts:

Was this custody battle worth it?

Collin County, Texas, cps, custody, death, families, family, law, murder, suicide
Mother Kills Child Before Turning Gun on Herself

Police say apparent murder-suicide occurred after judge awarded custody to father

By Frank Heinz
|  Saturday, Oct 22, 2011  |  Updated 6:32 PM CDT

Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News

Police say the apparent murder-suicide occurred shortly after a judge awarded custody to the boy’s father.

A woman shot and killed her 7-year-old son before turning the gun on herself late Friday morning in Sachse, police said.

Officers forced their way into the home after hearing gunshots and found 43-year-old Karen Hayslett-McCall and 7-year-old Eryk Hayslett-McCall in an upstairs bedroom at about 10:30 a.m.

Sachse police were at the home in the 7100 block of Longmeadow Drive as a precaution when her estranged husband, Rodney McCall, arrived to pick up his son.

McCall had received sole custody of the child in a court hearing at 10 a.m.

“The father knocked on the front door,” Sachse police Chief Dennis Veach said. “We were simply standing by and at both front and rear of the house when we heard three shots from within the house.”

Veach said police had been to the home on several locations but there were not allegations of serious violence.

Police said Hayslett-McCall and her husband were in the midst of bitter divorce proceedings. Veach said police did not know why the father had been given sole custody of their son.

Hayslett-McCall had accused her husband of molesting their son last fall.  A grand jury later found no evidence of a crime, and McCall was cleared.

But McCall had lost his job as a high school teacher.

McCall’s attorney told the Wylie school board in November that the case was “an allegation brought by a woman who is about to lose custody of her children,” the Wylie News reported.

He also told the board that Hayslett-McCall, a former police officer who has a doctorate in criminal justice and a master’s degree in psychology, knew how to manipulate the justice system, the newspaper reported.

The couple had been battling over custody of Eryk for more than a year.

They filed for divorce in Collin County in March 2010, and temporary custody orders were in place in April 2010. By November, an attorney was appointed for the child.

The judge ordered psychological evaluations in January 2011. Jurors were sworn in on Monday for opening statements, and McCall won custody of his son Friday.

Lt. Marty Cassidy said the officers were visibly shaken but did the best they could in a really bad situation.

“It’s a terribly, terribly sad, tragic event, you know, when one person makes a life decision for another who doesn’t have a vote in that decision,” Veach said.

Police said although other family members were at the residence, they were outside greeting police when the shooting happened.

Officials will work with the Collin County medical examiner to confirm the cause of death, but it appears the woman shot the child and then herself.

Hayslett-McCall was a professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. UT Dallas released the following statement:

“The UT Dallas community is deeply saddened to learn of this tragic news. Our thoughts and concerns are with the family. Karen Hayslett-McCall left the university faculty in June 2011 and has had no official position with the university since then.”

NBC 5’s Kevin Cokely and Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.

Tuesday’s thoughts:

Was this custody battle worth it?

awareness, child, child adoption, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, custody, domestic violence, families, kids, law, lawsuits, legal, legislation
Texas harms foster children with inattention, shoddy system, lawsuit says
By ROBERT T. GARRETT
Source: Dallas Morning News Austin Bureau
rtgarrett@dallasnews.com

Published 29 March 2011 10:38 AM

AUSTIN — Texas violates the rights of abused and neglected children by running a shoddy foster care system, the New York-based group Children’s Rights says in a class-action federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Too many youths are isolated and linger for years in care, the suit says. The state countered that it is working on fixes and that most foster children are safe.

In the suit, filed in federal court in Corpus Christi, the group zeroes in on about 12,000 youths who’ve been removed from their birth homes by Child Protective Services and kept in the state’s care for more than a year, saying the children suffer after “permanency” deadlines of 12 to 18 months have passed.

Too often, CPS is unable to reunite the child with family or find a lasting home, such as with a relative or adoptive parents, and drops the ball because children from then on aren’t required to have their own lawyer and another adult advocating for them, the suit says.

“Once children cross the line into permanent foster care, the state essentially gives up on their prospects for ever leaving state custody with permanent families of their own,” said Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of Children’s Rights.

Anne Heiligenstein, commissioner of CPS’ parent agency, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the lawsuit threatens to do more harm than good.

“We’re on the right path and will continue to do everything we can to protect Texas children, but I worry that a lawsuit like this will take critical time and resources away from the very children it presumes to help,” she said in a written statement.

Children’s Rights asks the court to order the state to lower caseloads for CPS workers, recruit more foster homes and do a better job of supervising private foster-care providers.

Lowry said some of those extra costs could be offset by eliminating the state’s wasteful spending on institutional care.

“It costs less to run a better system where children get permanence and get out of foster care,” she said.

The department has warned state leaders for months that the suit might be filed. A memo sent to legislative leaders in September emphasized large amounts of attorneys’ fees that have been awarded to Children’s Rights in similar lawsuits in other states.

The memo also touted CPS overhaul legislation passed in 2005 and a foster-care overhaul passed two years later for bumping up staffing and making sizable reductions in CPS workers’ caseloads.

The suit highlights the plight of nine unnamed children that the group wants the court to accept as a representation of the class of about 12,000 youngsters in Texas’ mostly privatized system of long-term foster care who it alleges have been mistreated.

One of them is “A.M.,” a 13-year-old from Canton who with two half sisters was removed from her home after witnessing fights between her mother and her mother’s boyfriends. The department “has separated her from her sisters, shuffled her from one placement to another, placed her in inappropriate foster homes and left her for years in an institution,” the suit says.

It says Texas frequently fails to keep children in the “least restrictive setting” and is too quick to move them into institutions and give them psychotropic medications.

David Richart, executive director of the National Institute on Children, Youth and Families, which tracks lawsuits in child welfare and juvenile justice systems, says Lowry picks her targets carefully and almost never loses a case.

“The writing’s on the wall here,” Richart said, and Texas leaders should “spend time improving their CPS system instead of being in a reflexively defensive mode.”

awareness, child, child adoption, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, custody, domestic violence, families, kids, law, lawsuits, legal, legislation
Texas harms foster children with inattention, shoddy system, lawsuit says
By ROBERT T. GARRETT
Source: Dallas Morning News Austin Bureau
rtgarrett@dallasnews.com

Published 29 March 2011 10:38 AM

AUSTIN — Texas violates the rights of abused and neglected children by running a shoddy foster care system, the New York-based group Children’s Rights says in a class-action federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Too many youths are isolated and linger for years in care, the suit says. The state countered that it is working on fixes and that most foster children are safe.

In the suit, filed in federal court in Corpus Christi, the group zeroes in on about 12,000 youths who’ve been removed from their birth homes by Child Protective Services and kept in the state’s care for more than a year, saying the children suffer after “permanency” deadlines of 12 to 18 months have passed.

Too often, CPS is unable to reunite the child with family or find a lasting home, such as with a relative or adoptive parents, and drops the ball because children from then on aren’t required to have their own lawyer and another adult advocating for them, the suit says.

“Once children cross the line into permanent foster care, the state essentially gives up on their prospects for ever leaving state custody with permanent families of their own,” said Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of Children’s Rights.

Anne Heiligenstein, commissioner of CPS’ parent agency, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the lawsuit threatens to do more harm than good.

“We’re on the right path and will continue to do everything we can to protect Texas children, but I worry that a lawsuit like this will take critical time and resources away from the very children it presumes to help,” she said in a written statement.

Children’s Rights asks the court to order the state to lower caseloads for CPS workers, recruit more foster homes and do a better job of supervising private foster-care providers.

Lowry said some of those extra costs could be offset by eliminating the state’s wasteful spending on institutional care.

“It costs less to run a better system where children get permanence and get out of foster care,” she said.

The department has warned state leaders for months that the suit might be filed. A memo sent to legislative leaders in September emphasized large amounts of attorneys’ fees that have been awarded to Children’s Rights in similar lawsuits in other states.

The memo also touted CPS overhaul legislation passed in 2005 and a foster-care overhaul passed two years later for bumping up staffing and making sizable reductions in CPS workers’ caseloads.

The suit highlights the plight of nine unnamed children that the group wants the court to accept as a representation of the class of about 12,000 youngsters in Texas’ mostly privatized system of long-term foster care who it alleges have been mistreated.

One of them is “A.M.,” a 13-year-old from Canton who with two half sisters was removed from her home after witnessing fights between her mother and her mother’s boyfriends. The department “has separated her from her sisters, shuffled her from one placement to another, placed her in inappropriate foster homes and left her for years in an institution,” the suit says.

It says Texas frequently fails to keep children in the “least restrictive setting” and is too quick to move them into institutions and give them psychotropic medications.

David Richart, executive director of the National Institute on Children, Youth and Families, which tracks lawsuits in child welfare and juvenile justice systems, says Lowry picks her targets carefully and almost never loses a case.

“The writing’s on the wall here,” Richart said, and Texas leaders should “spend time improving their CPS system instead of being in a reflexively defensive mode.”

child, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, divorce, domestic violence, families, family, fear, General, kids, law, lawsuits, legal, murder
Help! I fell in love with the boogeyman!

(c) Forever May, 2009

The boogeyman.

Everybody knows the boogeyman isn’t real. Right?

Well, to some, the boogeyman is very real and he is the one you love.  How does someone fall in love with the boogeyman?  What makes the boogeyman become what or who he is? A monster – an abuser…

Abuse at its worst is when the one person you look to as your life partner hurts you.  That’s the person you should trust, confide in, turn to, and be there for…. til death do us part does not mean a death because of the very relationship the wedding vows refer to.  The pain is ten-fold, the emotions run especially high, the betrayal, and bitterness is raw, and in the end – the wounds & scars run deep. Very deep.

I have been an advocate against domestic abuse for years. I know the cycle of abuse. I know the pain. I know the scars. I lost my son to domestic abuse.  So, I would know better than to involve myself into another abusive relationship. I would never mean to get in a relationship with a man who would hit me or take my freedom and will away from me. I know the signs, the symptoms, the who gamet.

If you have noticed my blog has been slow posting over the last year or so, this is the reason.  I somehow managed to get myself into a relationship, again, with an abuser. Its taken me a year and 1/2 and several dozen attempts to get away.  I did, finally, get out.

*I* fell into the cycle again knowing better…. I know SO WELL what to look for, what to avoid, and what to do – I’ve been through this before. I couldn’t believe where I found myself again.  I asked “why did this happen” each time I would be swallowing my tears, hiding in my dark room, or  sneaking past his sleeping quieted body to the fridge to grab a piece of bread and scurry away to eat it without waking him or his rage…How did *I* get trapped by another monster?

He was the boogeyman, you see, wearing a disguise.  He offered me a helping hand when I needed it badly, and he was so beautifully charming.  He had a good paying job, a nice house, car, he worked hard, he was kind, sensitive, good looking, a good listener, we had fun times together.  We had so much in common on our views, opinions, passions, and goals. It was perfect…too perfect.  He even got me a puppy.

Sure, I thought “this is too good to be true” and was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I was expecting another shoe to drop.

I didn’t expect it to be a boot …( a steel-toed boot).

I had plenty of space, as his job took him out of town for weeks at a time too. While he was away, I would have plenty of time to myself, to do my thing.  It was my time to recharge my inner batteries so-to-speak.

The weekends when he was home we’d have a great time together.  Then I told him I wanted to get a job.  Instantly, he changed into the boogeyman.  He quit going to work, became extremely possessive, and if I had a job interview, he would subversively sabotage any chance I had of getting it.  A job meant indepedence.  A job meant I would leave.  He lost his job then his car, and eventually his house.  He moved us into an old house that had once been scheduled for demolition and every other week I was running away from home, but with my dog by my side, it was difficult to find anywhere to go for any period of time.  I went to the shelter. I wanted to work, but the inconsistency of my life couldn’t allow me to keep a job.  I went back after I would run out of options, just to leave again within the next few weeks.

For the first year and 1/2, no matter how abusive it got, he hadn’t “hit” me.  The abuse was mental, verbal, emotional, psychological, financial.  Intimidation tactics, threats, but he always promised he’d never hit me.  I lost all my friends, one by one, who got tired of the “drama” or who were afraid of him coming over there.

Then he hit me for the first time.  It was an “accident” he said, a “freak accident.” Right.

I was so afraid and in shock I stood frozen in the corner he’d backed me into and then played possom all night until I had the chance to run. I went into a shelter, but was kicked out of the shelter for eating yogurt after 9pm. I was starving – food had been a special commodity with him. 

Back I went with the utmost of apprehension… the second time he hit me, a week later, he didn’t just hit me, it was an all out brawl, and my dog bit him… the puppy he’d gotten me… protecting me.  He threatened her.  I left that day and never went back.  I had the good fortune of some of his friends who were nearby, picked my dog and I up from the corner gas station, and had a feeling the abuse had been going on, but weren’t sure.  He kept me too isolated to know. 

Now they knew, and his secret was out.  Finally, I was out too.

He still tries, and thinks I’m his, and will be home. I received roses yesterday.  I won’t budge.  My things are still at his house, in my bedroom there that has notes he painted for me all over the walls and ceiling.  His obsession with me hasn’t diminished, & he can’t control me anymore.  So far he’s had the desire to save face in front of his friends enough to leave me be.  So far.

What happened to him that made him this way?  If you ask him he’ll say it was all my fault, an accident, or a result of my “craziness”.  He’ll never admit he’s a monster.  He doesn’t seem that way at first of course.  He has a good side, a good heart, a generous nature, but the flip side is a controlling abusive man.

Whats going on in his mind?  Why is he abusive?  Thats why this topic is particularly involving my focus right now.  Why did I fall into it again, even knowing so well what to avoid and look for.

It goes to show one can never have too much knowledge. Thank goodness I’m away and safe.  I thought he was going to kill me one day. He might have. I am sad for the way things turned out, but knew it was the only choice, for me to leave. 

I want to reunite with my son one day, and I want to have a close relationship with my daughter and granddaughter, and my son too, which I could never have with an abuser around me.  He didn’t see himself as an abuser, so he didn’t see things the way I did.  He has the mind of an abuser, fits exactly the profile in the article to follow.  So exact in fact, its spooky, like it was written about him.

There’s some very useful information about domestic violence and abusers in the following articles, how abusers’ minds work how their loved ones can deal with them, and where to find help.

Thank you for your patience and loyalty over the past year while I was dealing with this.  As for me, I’m okay, a little traumatized again, with my PTSD acting up. Hypervigilence at its best… or worst, I guess.  

I’m making new friends, finding support of wonderful people around me, and enjoying the peace. I’m starting to feel happy again, and hope again.

For anyone out there involved in an abusive relationship, take it from me, its not your fault, stay strong, and there is a light out there somewhere – keep trying to find it.  I know its hard and frustrating and often times hopeless.

You can make it, and you don’t deserve to stay.  Its hard getting out. I know.  Have faith in yourself and keep trying to find a way out.

I think I’ll stay single for a while though.

Thanks again for your support!

 _________________________________

For More Information read:  Exploring the Mind of An Abuser