It was 4 days before Christmas, 2004, when I arrived at my scheduled visit with my 8 year old son. The visitation center was getting ready to be closed until after the new year. I waited, and waited. I had driven over two hours in sleet and snow with an arm full of presents to give him for the holiday.
After about a half hour or so, the Director of Collin County CPS, Claudia King, came in to inform me that there would be no visit that day. When I asked why, she told me he “forgot” it was visitation day. I knew that could not be true.
When she proceeded to tell me it would be after the New Year before I could reschedule, I threw a fit and threatened to file emergency court papers if I did not get to see my son that week, before Christmas. She finally agreed to reschedule for the following day. Her reluctance was a red flag to me so I came the next day with a tape recorder and camera.
When my son arrived the following day, he was scantily clothed in a pair of shorts and a cut off red t shirt that had no sleeves. He wore no socks, and no jacket, and it was snowing that day. He had a pair of mittens on, pink girl mittens. His shirt had blood all over it. He had dried up blood in his nose. His eye was freshly cut, near his brow, and blood filed the whites of his eyeball.
The following are notes from that visit and the audio can be downloaded here.
I had only one more visit with him after that – a few months later.
It would be more than ten years before I was able to see him, or talk to him again. Once he was an adult. It was more than a decade after this and one other visit before I was allowed to see so much as a photograph of my son.
It was this visit that uncovered the abuse he suffered in that home. It was this visit that haunted me and became the story, “It’s Almost Tuesday”
I tell every family involved in the system that my advice, most of all, is to record as much as you can. Record everything!
If I hadn’t recorded this visit, I wouldn’t have been able to go back and listen to what he was telling me. I wouldn’t have had the proof of the abuse which my lawyer had to leverage good release from foster care.
Unfortunately my was released into the custody of our abuser and the parental alienation and brainwashing was set in motion. Our sacred mother/child bond was severed and our lives destroyed. my relationship with my son – as it stands today- (almost 2 decades later) is, I am almost certain, beyond repair. Barring a miracle.
Regardless, my child in these audio recordings was taken from me and forever gone. Nothing can give back that time. No amount of money, apologies, sanctions, not God, not Satan, not a judge, social worker- not a single person or thing can give back my little boy.
The best I got back was an adult version of my son, who is as broken as I am. Or more broken as I am. I don’t know hope broken he really is, and I may never know.
That haunts me every single day of my existence.
As for me, I was murdered in cold blood, just because I haven’t taken my final breath yet does not mean I was not murdered.
He was 8 years old in the following three audio recordings.
Below are notes from the transcript of these audio recordings.
The time stamps are the markers for each note.
Thank you for your support over the years.
4:25 my child tells me that he was not there the day before this visit. he was told that i never showed up the day before which was not true. I was there the day before to visit him and had been lied to by the director, Claudia King when she told me the day before that my son “forgot” that he had a visit.
5:30 my son describes the 3 of the other foster kids ganging up on him and the incident that occurred when they threw rocks at him in front of the foster mother
6:20 my son says “i’ve learned how to control my anger” he says – who has told him he needs to learn how to control his anger? That means to me that he’s getting angry and someone’s saying “You need to learn to control your anger!”
7:10 He asks “what sister?” . henn i ask about his visit and he tells me he sprained his ankle playing dodge ball at PE – Was he taken to the doctor?
7:56 I’m really ja…. piped up right now” he says … sounded like he was gonna say “jacked up” but he said “piped up” where did he learn those words?
8:39 – describes how they gave him pills he’s not supposed to take because they “forgot” and how it triggers his muscles and he can’t control his hands, and how it keeps him “going and going and going” and how its a “good thing” – is he being told in there that making my son a drug addict is a good thing?
14:28 I tell him to wear more clothes than sleeveless top and wet pants in the snow – he says that’s all the clothes he has, the rest are in the wash.
15:10 he shows me the camera he bought with a $50 gift card from a party (a party??)
The caseworker takes photos with the camera – I would like to have a copy of all pictures taken with that camera.
16:50 talks about being afraid to plug things in since being at his cousins… and cuts off into totally separate topics, obvious effect from the drugs of “speeding”
22:20 Argues with me about playing with fake guns and talks about the target his foster father set up and how his foster brother can shoot it “in the heart” over and over again. He says “everybody plays with fake guns”
24:30 mentions how foster parents don’t have much money. He said he got his foster sister to take pictures of his eye when he got beat up … who is the foster sister? where are the pictures?
he says the foster mother doesn’t look at the pictures they take.
25:15 He says he’s got a cold (did he go to the doctor?)
25:52 he says “I just want to hug you” and says “I only have a few more months until I’m out of foster care” he tells me that he won’t have to stay more than a year to a year and 1/2. Who is telling him this?? He says he worries that it’ll be too long before he gets out that they’re tearing apart his life.
26.55 his Daddy (stepfather) calls, and they won’t allow him to say Merry Christmas, even supervised. Ryan gets upset and starts crying. I tell Ryan his daddy misses him and he says “I miss him too”.
28:08 hear people crying in the background.
28:27 I tell him to be strong and tell him that alot of people love him.
28:29 Everything time I go home from a visit i just scream at my foster mom Cuz each time she walks in, it’s not you.
20:55 You okay? What are you thinking I’ll give you a penny for your thought?
He said I don’t know what I’m thinking – – well, i’ve been having visions. he talks about “visions”he’s been having, like the kind of visions Jesus Christ has.
Parental alienation syndrome(PAS) is a term introduced by child psychiatrist Richard Gardner in 1985 to describe a distinctive suite of behaviors in children that includes showing extreme but unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent.
Parental alienation is the intentional targeting of a parent by the other parent, but it also can be done by another non-parent adult in the child’s life.
In its severe form it is referred to as”obsessed alienation”.
Parental Alienation Syndrome has been described as the brainwashing of the child’s mind much like a cult leader would brainwash the cult members.
It is an intentional act with the goal being the interference with the relationship and affections between a child and the targeted parent. The longer the alienation is allowed to continue the more damaging the long term effects will be.
If the alienation is allowed to continue uninterrupted for too long, the relationship can become so damaged it is irreparable. Without strict intervention the parent/child bond will be unfixable. The bond will be forever severed.
In my case, the alienation began when my son turned 8 in 2004.
I became the targeted parent in an unnatural campaign of hate by my own mother. She was bitterly angry at me for reasons that had nothing to do with my son, so she teamed up with my ex-husband (despite knowledge that he was under investigation for multiple sex crimes against children). The two of them ABDUCTED my son from church on mother’s day.
When court ordered by the judge to return my son to me, they voluntarily placed my son in foster care to keep him from coming home. He was abused in foster care.
As a defense, my mother and ex made false allegations of horrific acts of child abuse against me. The claims of abuse were brutal. Those allegations of abuse against me were never substantiated.
Had they been true, I would have been a monster to ever do anything to my child. I didn’t even believe in spanking my children.If anything, I was overprotective.
In retrospect, my (fatal) mistake was a belief that if i was truly innocent (which I was), then the system would not wrongly convict me.
I believed that without concrete proof of abuse, they would not take away my parental rights. I was a good, loving, attentive parent.
In other words, I believed in the system.
I believed in the United States Constitution and the rights of families to raise our children free of government interference.
I believed the government protected those rights.
I believed in the law.
I believed that cases were judged by their merit and on the weight of the evidence presented.
I had been foolishly NAIVE.
I learned the hard way that merit had nothing to do with it.
Until I saw for myself, first hand, I would have never known how crooked and corrupt the system can be. I had no idea how flawed the sudden really is. By the time I figured all that out, it was too late.
Nevertheless the entire process of losing my son, and the campaign of alienation was so strong (see obsessed alienation) it extended into my entire family.
My family, two brothers who are attorneys, another brother and a sister and all of their spouses, ALL failed to intervene or attempt to stop the tactics my mother and ex employed.
All of the members of my family knew the allegations against me were false and that my ex was under investigation for sex crimes.
It was over ten years before I saw or talked to my son again. I still have no contact whatever with any of my family. They are all in my son’s life though and I am not.
By the time I saw my son again- it was at my father’s wake. My father passed away in May of 2010- 5 years later – my son was not my little boy anymore but the shell of a damaged young man.
He has been on a self destructive path ever since.
What Is An Ambiguous Loss?
The grief associated with the loss of a child to P.A.S. is an experience so painful and deep. The loss is called ambiguous or unresolved.
This type of loss is often described as an “ambiguous loss,” which is a term used to describe the nature of trauma, grief or mourning people endure when they have experienced a loss that is open-ended. (Boss, 1990).
Targeted Parents encountering alienation from their children are experiencing an open-ended loss. This type of loss is often times more difficult to come to terms with than the grief of morning a death.
When someone we love passes, the absence of the person is final and the mourner recognizes this finality.
In dealing with my grief, I have said many times that if my son had died, I could have layed him to rest, and grieved. I could have moved on, with a place to visit him, at his grave.
Of course I have heard the argument that as long as he is still alive, he is somewhere out there in the world. There is hope of a future in that. But is there?
At first, i believed that one day it would happen.
I visualized it.
We would embrace.
We would talk through the night, tell each other our stories and life experiences while we had been apart.
We would compare notes and both understand what happened to us.
We would hug and cry and get to know each other again. Then, one day, it happened.
I did reunite with my son. It was, to me, glorious, but not at all as I imagined.
He refused to talk about what happened, so I never have been able to tell him my side of things.
Instead he spoke of tall tales. Experiences that he has had that I can’t imagine could have been real.
He didn’t engage me, but talked over me and through me. He told me things almost to see if he could shock me.
He was a stranger.
It was only after that first reunification, that I saw how the years of brainwashing he endured (and STILL endures) have damaged him. Our bond that was once so close, was gone.
In fact, the harm done was so incredibly deep that I am struggling to accept that my years of hope had been nothing more than an illusion.
Is this really what my mother wanted to do to us? Did my family really think we deserve this pain?
Finding my son again only led to me losing him again.
It has been almost 17 years since our loss and I am grieving today, as deep, if not deeper than the day he went to church and never came home.
I lost him.
To learn more about ambiguous loss and ambiguous reunification, click here.
The following two pictures are of me before I lost my son, and during the initial months after he had been taken. In the moment of the most stressful times. (Warning, that picture is graphic, but an honest representation of the whole body response to stress and grief).
I was so affected by the loss of my son, my friends described me as “disconnected” when they talked to me. I spent the first few months writing over 1500 letters to anyone I could think of desperately begging for help. I would not allow myself even a moment to rest. I felt like I didn’t deserve to rest while my son was locked away in foster care.
The stress from the grief quickly landed me in a hospital having emergency surgery. The doctors had to drain an antibiotic-resistant infection from my eye socket and nasal cavities. The doctors said if it had reached my brain, it would have killed me. They said I was hours away from deaths door by the time I got to the emergency room.
It took almost a year before the scars on my face faded and I could bear to look in the mirror again.
I never was the same again. You can see it in the after picture below, I was dead inside.
I became someone new.
I became a mother, murdered. I became “she”.
Broken heart syndrome
The heartbreak of grief can increase blood pressure and the risk of blood clots. Intense grief can alter the heart muscle so much that it causes “broken heart syndrome,” a form of heart disease with the same symptoms as a heart attack.
Stress: What is it, exactly?
Stress links the emotional and physical aspects of grief.
The systems in the body that process physical and emotional stress overlap, and emotional stress can activate the nervous system as easily as physical threats can.
When stress becomes chronic, increased adrenaline and blood pressure can contribute to chronic medical conditions.
Research shows that emotional pain activates the same regions of the brain as physical pain. This may be why painkilling drugs ranging from opioids to Tylenol have been shown to ease emotional pain.
Depression is a mood disorder, not a normal part of grief
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinicaldepression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.
Depression is not a normal part of grief, but a complication of grief.
Sidney Zisook, MD, a grief researcher and professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, says people can distinguish normal grief from depression by looking for specific emotional patterns.
“In normal grief, the sad thoughts and feelings typically occur in waves or bursts followed by periods of respite, as opposed to the more persistent low mood and agony of major depressive disorder,” Zisook says.
He says people usually retain “self-esteem, a sense of humor, and the capacity to be consoled or distracted from the pain” in normal grief, while people who are depressed struggle with feelings of guilt and feeling worthless.
They also feel a limited ability “to experience or anticipate any pleasure or joy.”
Complicated griefdiffers from both depression and normal grief. M. Katherine Shear, MD, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University’s School of Social Work and director of its Center for Complicated Grief, defines complicated grief as “a form of persistent, pervasive grief” that does not get better naturally.
It happens when “some of the natural thoughts, feelings, or behaviors that occur during acute grief gain a foothold and interfere with the ability to accept the reality of the loss.”
What are the Symptoms of Complicated Grief?
Symptoms of complicated grief include persistent efforts to ignore the grief and deny or “rewrite” what happened.
Margaret Stroebe, PhD, a bereavement researcher and professor of clinical psychology at Utrecht University, says that recent research has shed light on many of “the cognitive and emotional processes underlying complications in grieving, particularly rumination.”
Research shows that rumination, or a repetitive, negative, self-focused thought, is actually a way to avoid problems.
People who ruminate shift attention away from painful truths by focusing on negative material that is less threatening than the truths they want to avoid.
This pattern of thinking is strongly associated with depression.
Rumination and other forms of avoidance demand energy and block the natural abilities of the body and mind to integrate new realities and heal.
Enduring the experience of parental alienation is also a profound psychological trauma experienced by the targeted parents. It is both acute and chronic, and externally inflicted. It is thus a type of domestic violence directed at the target parent. The fact that children witness such abuse of a parent also makes alienation a form of child abuse. The events that plunge a parent into the role of an alienated, targeted parent is especially damaging to those who are closely attached to their children and were actively involved in their lives.
Research by Stroebe, and others show that avoidance behavior makes depression, complicated grief, and the physical health problems that go with them more likely. Efforts to avoid the reality of loss can cause fatigue, weaken your immune system, increase inflammation, and prolong other ailments.
A Vicious Cycle of Passing on Childhood Traumas
Parental alienation is also a form of complex trauma. It is no coincidence that the pathology of the parent who engages in alienation is often born in complex trauma from the childhood of that parent, and that the current processes of attachment-based parental alienation are transferring onto the targeted parent a form of complex trauma. From a psychodynamic perspective, the processes of parental alienation represent a reenactment of the childhood attachment trauma of the alienating parent into the current family relationships.
When my mother was, herself, a child, she endured the loss of both parents. As an infant, her father passed away from a plane crash which decapitated him at the young age of 30.
My grandfather was the pilot of the plane that went down, killing him and leaving three young children without a father. The time period was the early 1930’s. It was a difficult time with WWI ending and with third Reich and Adolph Hitler’s Nazi Regime rising power in Germany.
The youngest of three children, my mother didn’t remember losing her father, but was only told about his death by her paternal grandmother. She had taken the three children following her son’s death, and kept them hidden away from their widowed mother who eventually died of cancer at age 39. In effect, my mother never knew either one of her parents, and developed psychiatric malformaties from the attachment traumas resulting from the loss of both parents in her own childhood.
Understanding that, I can understand where her own twisted justifications came from for taking my child. My mother is an extremely damaged woman as the direct result of being orphaned as a child. Still, knowing doesn’t make it less painful, heal it or make it any easier to come to terms with.
In fact, it’s the opposite. It is exactly her sad history of own traumatic childhood experiences that make it obvious to anyone looking in who knows her (such as my three older brothers and my older adopted sister) . They all know that what she’s done to me is wrong and she should have been forced to get help for her own issues rather than to be allowed to transfer them onto me via alienating my son from me. They know her family history. There is no excuse that any of them did nothing to stop her.
in my opinion, they are even more guilty of the P.A.S. abuse, as she is obviously sick and so sick, as a matter of fact, that she doesn’t even see it. A true indication it’s mental illness. My siblings, though, can all see it. They all know all too well how broken and mentally disturbed she is.
My father took care of her until his death, even though they were divorced, because, as he’d say, “I take care of her because I can remember her before she was so crazy”.
If any of them had stopped her, I might still have a relationship with my son. If any one of them had stopped her my son might have been able to grow up without being abused and traumatized by her.
I have heard from people who knew our family say that ‘if it weren’t for your mother, you might have actually had a good life.” and “She ruined your life, and you had such potential.” and “How sad it is what she did to you and your children”
I can’t count the times I’ve heard people say things like that.
People THAT KNEW HER.
Truth is, she murdered me with the full assistance of my brothers and sister.
Particularly me oldest brother, who actively funded and facilitated her murdering me. I may still be breathing but what she did, with my brother’s help, absolutely killed me.
If I could, I wouldd have them charged with the crime of murder.
They must strive to achieve the triumph of light over the darkness of trauma, and find their way out of the trauma experience being inflicted upon them. They must free themselves from the imposed trauma experience, restoring their psychological health within the immense emotional trauma of their grief and loss.
As much as targeted parents desperately want to save their children, they cannot rescue their children from the quicksand by jumping into the quicksand with them. If they do,they will both perish.
Who Am I now?
When i first lost my son, I was obsessively dedicated to fighting the system that allowed for him to be taken.
I spent thousands of dollars and worked tirelessly to file pleadings, write letters, join causes and support groups. You name it, I tried it.
In my obsession, I would say, “my son, [his name], repeatedly emphasising that he was MY SON, MY son. MY SON.
After some time, when the realizations began that said he wouldn’t be coming home .. he became my son (less his name), to my boy, the boy, the child.
I began to de-sensitive myself from being a mother of a child would never be coming home.
When [you lose] someone close to you – or someone close to you dies, your social role changes, too. This can affect your sense of meaning and sense of self.
Caregivers face especially complicated role adjustments. The physical and emotional demands of caregiving can leave them feeling depleted even before a loved one dies, and losing the person they took care of can leave them with a lost sense of purpose.
“Research shows that during intense caregiving periods, caregivers not only experience high levels of stress, they also cannot find the time and energy to look after their own health,” says Kathrin Boerner, PhD, a bereavement researcher and professor of gerontology at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.
This can result in the emergence of new or the reemergence of existing ‘dormant’ health problems after the death of the care recipient. These health issues may or may not be directly related to the caregiver’s grief experience, but they are likely related to the life situation that was created through the demands of caregiving,” Boerner says.
It can be hard to make life work again after a close family member dies. Losing a partner can mean having to move out of a shared home or having to reach out to other loved ones for help, which can further increase emotional stress and worry.
“Most often, normal grief does not require professional intervention,” says Zisook.
“Grief is a natural, instinctive response to loss, adaptation occurs naturally, and healing is the natural outcome,” especially with “time and the support of loved ones and friends.”
Grief researchers emphasize that social support, self-acceptance, and good self-care usually help people get through normal grief. Shear encourages people to “plan small rewarding activities and try to enjoy them as much as possible.”
But the researchers say people need professional help to heal from complicated grief and depression.
“The thing about grief and depression and sorrow and being suicidal is that you can’t reach out.
For many people going through a hard time, reaching out is impossible. If your friend is in grief, reach out to them. Do the legwork. They’re too exhausted!”
Credit…Sylwia Kapuscinski for The New York Times By Michael Winerip Sept. 23, 2007
THIS is a nice moment in Joe Rabiega’s life. At 31, he has a good job as a research coordinator for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is happily married and feels blessed that his wife of five years, Tiffany, is pregnant with their first child.
His hope is to give that child a happier upbringing than the one he had. Mr. Rabiega’s parents divorced when he was 8, and though they were supposed to share custody, he said, his father, a truck driver with a drinking problem, did everything possible to turn him against his mother and eventually kept him from seeing her.
“He bullied my mother into giving up custody,” Mr. Rabiega said. When he was still allowed to visit his mother, he’d have to stay by the phone to take a call from his father at 4 every afternoon and 8 each evening. He said his father trained him to spy on his mother’s socializing and spending habits.
“His ability to manipulate her was so lopsided, it never got to the point where a court heard it,” he said in a phone interview. “His threats of violence made it clear she’d never get me.”
Continue reading the main story For several years, he said, until his late teens, he didn’t see his mother and believed everything his father said about her.
“He took me to the police station and told them my mother abandoned me, even though it was completely not true,”
Mr. Rabiega said. “He had the entire neighborhood convinced that my mother no longer wanted me.
“He had me convinced without him, I had nobody,” Mr. Rabiega said. “When he’d been drinking, he’d get out his gun and threaten to kill himself if I left him.”
Thanks for reading The Times. Subscribe to The Times It wasn’t until Mr. Rabiega was an adult that he began to see his mother in a different light, he said. “She was a seamstress in a garment factory who didn’t graduate from high school. She was weak, no one to guide her, no money, no education, no resources to fight for me.” At one point, he said, she attempted suicide.
Mr. Rabiega is one of 40 research subjects in a new book by Amy J. L. Baker, about parents who turn a child against the other parent, “Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome.” Dr. Baker, the research director of the Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection at the New York Foundling, does not identify the subjects by their real names, but Mr. Rabiega (called Jonah in the book) agreed to let his name be used for this column. “If this can help people, it’s worth it,” he said. “I really compare what I went through to people who are kidnapped and brainwashed.”
Continue reading the main story Most people would agree that one parent has the power to turn a child against the other parent; however, classifying the behavior as a mental health syndrome, as Dr. Baker does, has met with considerable criticism in the past.
“It’s been a very controversial area,” said Dr. Baker, 48, who lives in Teaneck, N.J., and has a doctorate in psychology from Teachers College at Columbia.
Dr. Baker’s book is written in an academic style and sticks closely to the stories of the 40 adult subjects, ages 19 to 67, who describe being wrongfully manipulated by a parent.
It is an attempt to take the sensationalism out of the subject. Accusations of such manipulation have been an issue during high-profile celebrity custody battles, like the ones involving Woody Allen and Mia Farrow and Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger.
There is none of that in Dr. Baker’s book, which includes a seven-page bibliography of scholarly research. Instead, she tells the stories of ordinary people like Mr. Rabiega, struggling into their adult years with the damage they describe from having been manipulated into hating a parent.
While most research has focused on children, Dr. Baker looks at these children once they’ve become adults. A key question she set out to answer: Do any of these kids grow up and figure it out? “That I can answer yes,” she said. “I can’t say how prevalent it is, but I have found lots of people.”
Some of what she found undercut earlier research. When therapists first described the behavior in the 1980s, they talked about it as manipulation by mothers to punish fathers. This drew criticism from some women’s groups, who dismissed the syndrome as something concocted by lawyers for abusive fathers trying to improve their custody chances.
Continue reading the main story Dr. Baker said her research — both for the book and with several hundred subjects over the last five years — indicates a mother or father is equally likely to do the manipulating. It is “truly 50-50,” she said.
Other patterns emerged from her 40 subjects: 75 percent were the products of divorce, and 58 percent were divorced themselves;
70 percent suffered depression; 35 percent developed problems with drugs or alcohol.
And perhaps the saddest: Half of the 28 who had children said they were estranged from their own children.
Dr. Baker believes the behavior is prevalent enough to qualify as a syndrome in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the bible of the American Psychiatric Association. While that’s not going to happen soon — the manual won’t be revised again until 2012 — she hopes her research might cause social workers and therapists who investigate custody cases to be more aware.
“If you believe it’s possible for a child to be brainwashed by one parent, the job of a custody evaluator is a lot harder,” she said.
The challenges in such cases can be daunting. How do you know if the scorned parent is being unfairly victimized or if that parent is abusive and deserves to be scorned? “It’s a lot of investigating, and there’s no one definitive tool,” Dr. Baker said.
Some of that investigative muscle is missing from her own research. Dr. Baker did not interview parents for their version of events, nor did she cite independent sources like court records that could corroborate the stories.
“I did what I could,” she said. “This is just one study. It’s a very new field and there’s little research. The point is to give voice to these people who have not been heard.”
It is also hard to get people to talk publicly about family dysfunction. Mr. Rabiega was willing to speak partly because both his parents are dead.
He said that when he was in his 20s, he again developed a relationship with his mother, but that his father’s “brainwashing” had been so strong, he couldn’t entirely overcome it.
“It was hard for me to fully love my mom,” he said. “If she needed me to do something or needed money, I didn’t want to and I’d get angry. My father implanted a disgust and disdain in me for my mother that wouldn’t go away and tainted our relationship.”
Ten years of therapy helped, he said, as did his wife and finding religion. “It helped when I reconnected with my mom, she held nothing against me,” he said. “She reiterated it was my father’s fault, and I had no choice.”
“Unfortunately,” he said, “I realized a lot after my mother died.”
If you are accused of child abuse, what does that mean? When I was a child, it was common practice to get a spanking, or whopping. It was called discipline.
Now days, spanking your child can get your child taken away from you and suddenly you are labeled an abuser for trying to teach your child tight from wrong. Where do we draw the line? Do parents have to live in fear of disciplining their own child?
What about neglect? CPS often uses the term “neglectful supervision” to justify their reason for involvement in a family’s life. That’s a very elastic term, what does it mean? How do you tell the difference between neglect and simply poverty?
If a family cannot afford to get the child school supplies or new clothes are they really being neglectful?
Let’s take a look at what the experts and the law says is child abuse and neglect.
What exactly IS child abuse?
In defining child maltreatment, experts have focused on both broad parameters and specific types or subgroups of child abuse and neglect.
C. Henry Kempe and colleagues’ “battered child syndrome” identified physical injuries perpetrated on the child by caregivers.
Vincent Fontana’s “maltreatment syndrome” included neglect in the definition of child abuse.
The American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Standards Project defined child abuse as a non-accidental injury that “causes or creates a substantial risk of causing disfigurement, impairment of bodily functioning, or other serious physical injury.”
A group of professionals in child welfare defined “emotional neglect” as the “parent’s refusal to recognize and take action to ameliorate a child’s identified emotional disturbance.”‘
Another definition of child abuse includes sexual abuse as “the sexual misuse of a child for an adult’s own gratification without proper concern for the child’s psychosexual development.”
The National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators’ definition of child abuse and neglect further defined child maltreatment in a broad level as “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death or serious physical, sexual, or emotional harm or presents an imminent risk of serious harm to a person under age 18.”
Critics of the sometimes confusing, inconsistent, plethora of definitions of child abuse and neglect point out such problems as some are too narrow, others too inclusive, and the cross-cultural differences with respect to perceptions of child maltreatment and reporting of such.
The lack of uniformity in definitions and the resulting inconsistencies in their application reflect “the manifold perspectives on these acts, and the inchoate state of conceptualization.
A new Title III, Certain Preventive Services Regarding Children of Homeless Families or Families at Risk of Homelessness, was added to the Child Abuse and Neglect and Treatment Act by the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act Amendments of 1990 (Public Law 101-645).
The Act was amended by the Older American Act Technical Amendments of 1993 (Public Law 103-171, 12/2/93) and the Human Services Amendments of 1994 (Public Law 103-252, 5/19/94).
CAPTA was further amended by the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act Amendments of 1996 (P.L. 104-235, 10/3/96), which amended Title I, replaced the Title II Community-Based Family Resource Centers program with a new Community-Based Family Resource and Support Program, and repealed Title III.
CAPTA was most recently amended by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-36, 6/25/03), which amended Title I and replaced Title II, Community-Based Family Resource and Support Program with Community-Based Grants for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.
CAPTA was reauthorized in 2010, as the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2011 (Public Law 111-320)
While CAPTA provides definitions for sexual abuse and the special cases of neglect related to withholding or failing to provide medically indicated treatment, it does not provide specific definitions for other types of maltreatment such as physical abuse, neglect, or emotional abuse.
While Federal legislation sets minimum standards for States that accept CAPTA funding, each State provides its own definitions of maltreatment within civil and criminal statutes.
The first step in helping children who have been abused or neglected is learning to recognize the signs of maltreatment. The presence of a single sign does not necessarily mean that child maltreatment is occurring in a family, but a closer look at the situation may be warranted when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination.
This factsheet available for download by clicking here, is intended to help you better understand the Federal
definition of child abuse and neglect; learn about the different types of abuse and neglect, including human
trafficking; and recognize their signs and symptoms.
It also includes additional resources with information on how to effectively identify and report maltreatment and refer children who have been maltreated.
Federal Law defines child abuse and neglect as, at a minimum,
“any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or victims, fatalities, exploitation (including sexual abuse as determined under section 111), or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm” (42 U.S.C. 5101 note, § 3)
Additionally, it stipulates that “a child shall be considered a victim of ‘child abuse and neglect’ and of ‘sexual abuse’ if the child is identified, by a State or local agency employee of the State or locality involved, as being a victim of sex trafficking.
Most Federal and State child protection laws primarily refer to cases of harm to a child caused by parents or other caregivers; they generally do not include harm caused by other people, such as acquaintances or strangers.
Some State laws also include a child’s witnessing of domestic violence as a form of abuse or neglect.
Relatively little research has been done on child maltreatment in the armed services: the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. However, some data does indicate that child abuse and neglect is a serious problem in the military just as in civilian life.
According to NCANDS data, there were 16,673 reports of alleged child maltreatment in the military in 1996.
In 48 percent of the investigations, there were dispositions of substantiated maltreatment of children.
A breakdown of the type of child maltreatment victims found in the armed services follows:
* Forty-two percent were victims of neglect.
* Thirty-six percent were physical abuse victims.
* Fourteen percent were sexual abuse victims.
* Seventeen percent were victims of emotional maltreatment.
Child maltreatment in the armed services has been associated with military life itself and circumstances within, including substance abuse, disciplinary infractions, reassignment, field training, payroll problems, living abroad, foreign spouses, and intra-cultural problems.
John Miller reported that the most vulnerable population in the military for child maltreatment are young enlisted families who have been in the service for less than 3 years.
Within this group are “high-risk families, as in civilian life, characterized by “inexperience, immaturity, lack of social skills, and inability to cope with life’s stresses and problems.”
In a study of the types of child maltreatment in the armed services conducted at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, it was found that 7 percent of the cases were “disciplinary abuse.”
The term was first used in a study classifying types of child maltreatment among the civilian population, and descriptive of the typical pattern of the “military syndrome.”
The abusive parents were described as “rigid and unfeeling… the homes were spotless… abuse was centered upon any child who broke the rules and straps and sticks were used in place of hands.”
Although Family Advocacy Programs personnel in the armed services are required to report cases of child abuse and neglect to the child abuse registry in the state in which the victim lives, much like civilians, most child maltreatment in the military is believed to go unreported and, thus, remains a hidden tragedy
Two separate investigations will review Child Protective Services’ handling of a Dallas toddler’s case after the child was found dead Thursday in a landfill, a day after his aunt and caregiver reported him missing.
Police believe they found 18-month-old Cedrick Jackson’s remains Thursday morning in a landfill on the Garland-Rowlett line. The Dallas County medical examiner had yet to positively identify the remains or determine a cause of death as of Friday.
Authorities charged Sedrick Johnson, the 27-year-old boyfriend of the child’s aunt, with injury to a child causing serious bodily injury.
Johnson faces additional charges pending the medical examiner’s findings. The toddler had been living in a Lake Highlands apartment with Johnson and his aunt, Crystal Jackson, after CPS placed him in her care.
Johnson told police he had swaddled Cedrick in blankets — something he had been doing since May after the child “made a mess” with ketchup packets, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Johnson told police he unwrapped Cedrick after he heard the child making noises in his sleep. He said the toddler then vomited and became unresponsive. Johnson told police he left the child’s body in a dumpster in northeast Dallas after his CPR attempts failed.
Internal and independent reviews will likely examine why Cedrick was placed in the home of Johnson, who has a criminal history in Dallas County.
The child’s mother, Dishundra Thomas, had allowed Cedrick to stay with Jackson. The arrangement by CPS was not against her will, Thomas said.
However, CPS would not knowingly place a child in a home with an adult who has a criminal history, said Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Johnson was charged with child abandonment in 2010 after police said he left his infant daughter alone in an apartment while he propositioned an undercover officer who he believed was a prostitute, according to court records.
He pleaded guilty in 2011 and was sentenced to four years of probation. Johnson later violated that probation and was sentenced to eight months in state jail in 2016.
Under normal circumstances, CPS officials conduct a criminal background check on each adult in a home being considered for child placement, Gonzales said. She didn’t provide details on Cedrick’s case Friday, citing the ongoing criminal investigation.
The Department of Family and Protective Service’s Office of Child Safety will conduct an independent review of CPS’ handling of Cedrick’s case, Gonzales said. It’s not clear when either investigation will complete.
The Office of Child Safety will issue a report detailing its findings when the investigation is complete, but Gonzales said the office would need the approval of the Dallas County district attorney’s office and law enforcement before releasing the report publicly.
Johnson was still in the Dallas County jail as of Friday evening, with bail set at $503,000.
Vigil in boy’s honor
Friday evening, mourners gathered under a pavilion at Lake Highlands Recreation Center for a community vigil in Cedrick’s memory, where Dishundra Thomas, the boy’s mother, briefly addressed the crowd of about 100 before breaking down, inconsolable. Another read a prepared statement that was barely comprehensible through her tears.
“Baby C.J. was the sweetest little baby in the world,” his mother said. “He meant everything to us. He didn’t deserve anything that happened to him.”
Eventually family members had to escort her away, as she sobbed and screamed, “I want him back!”
The gathering included several families with small children, carrying blue and white balloons, one in the shape of a giant C. Some wore blue T-shirts with an image of Cedrick’s face and the words, “Rest in Heaven.” One woman carried a handmade poster reading “Our Beloved CJ” with photos of the boy.
Linus Walton of Wylie, an acquaintance of the boy’s uncle, spoke as well, saying “He brought people, as we see right now, together. C.J. was loved. His life was not in vain.”
Finally, as the sun began to set, the crowd moved to an open grassy area, where Cedrick’s grand-aunt, Benita Arterberry of Mesquite, said the gesture was symbolic of a soul being commended to God.
“Father, we know that into each life a little rain must fall, and today is a storm,” she said, as the crowd sent their balloons skyward. “We are so grateful to have had him for the time that we did.”
Before you read this article below, I want to put in my two cents worth. THIS BOY IS A VICTIM.
LET HIM GO BACK TO HIS MAMA AND FAMILY THAT HE WAS TAKEN FROM AS A CHILD. That abusive man had no right to take him like that.
By the looks of the comments to this article below, most everyone agrees LET HIM GO HOME.That being said, there’s going to be allot of details in this case that are unknown to the readers so a blanket opinion is not going to necessarily be the right decision
This kid is 17. First of all 17 year olds don’t all think with a sound mind. Obviously his dad was abusive but if that was the case did the kid try to escape or call for help? Did he go to school? Did they see signs of abuse and ignore it? Why didn’t the second wife try to help the kid?
Even if he is totally justified for this killing, he’s now a killer and will need, at the very least, counseling. We can’t just release him back into society and ignore the fact that on top of the abuse he has suffered, he is also going to be traumatized by killing his Dad. He’s going to be severely affected by that and by going to jail.
Abuse is a cycle and often passed down. This kid could end up being an abuser himself. The reunification with his family is going to be an issue as well, as I would guess that he was also a victim of parental alienation syndrome.
There are definitely many factors involved that we,the public, are not aware of. All on all this is a very delicate and sad situation.
WHAT DO Y’ALL THINK? COMMENT BELOW AND LET US KNOW.
Read the original article here.The family of a teenager missing for 11 years finally learned what happened to him this month, when they heard of his arrest for allegedly killing the father who kidnapped him, according to reports.
Relatives of Anthony Templet searched for him for more than a decade after he was snatched from his Houston, Texas, home at 5 years old by his dad, Burt Templet, the familytold WAFB 9 this week.
“After 11 years of waiting to hear if my brother was still alive, he is found,” his sister Natasha Templet told local outlet.
“He has been secluded and abused all these years by his own father,” she said. “My brave brother had to defend himself for the last time against that evil man.”
The now-17-year-old told investigators that his father was drunk and started a fight prior to the incident earlier this month.
The teen grabbed two guns to protect himself and eventually shot his dad in the head and torso and then called 911, deputies said. The elder Templet died from his injuries days later.
Court recordsobtained by KHOUshow that Burt was charged with assault three times between 2001 and 2002. Two of the cases were dismissed.
His ex-wife had filed a protective order just two months before the family last saw Anthony, the outlet reported.
“Burt and my mom were together for about 10 years and it was extremely violent,” Natasha said. “I can only imagine what Anthony’s been through.”
Their father eventually remarried, but that woman left him earlier this year. She had also reportedly filed a protective order against Burt and alleged that he knocked out several of her teeth.
Anthony remains incarcerated at a juvenile facility in north Louisiana but has spoken to his sister and his 80-year-old grandmother on the phone.
District Attorney Hillar Moore said his office has been in contact with several of Anthony’s relatives since the teen’s arrest and will review “whatever information anyone has before deciding what action to take.”
My last post about the BREAKING NEWS in Houston where a judge made an unprecedented move when ordering CPS to have NO CONTACT with children it removed from their natural home.
At the end of the video a statement is made that I think needs to be reiterated, and that’s how big a deal it is to take a child from their parents.
IT IS A HUGE DEAL.
It is against the constitutional rights of the parents and the kids!
How big a deal is it? Its been 14 years since my son was taken from me. We have since been reunited now that he’s an adult, but not without scars. As I tried to share in my posts about ambiguous loss, parents often learn the hard way, as I did, how hard it will be when they meet back up with their kids one day.
The expectations of what will happen when they reunify and what actually happens are not the same. It blindsides them when what they’ve built up in their minds are expectations almost impossible to meet. Kids who were separated from their families grow into dysfunctional adults, and the parents never heal.
The family in Houston lost their children for three days. That’s horrible and it’s awesome to know it was acknowledged as wrong. I lost TEN YEARS with my son. The judge showed justice in their case, but there’s countless other families who did not get that justice. It is a big deal to take children from their families. It’s such a big deal that it NEVER GOES AWAY.
No matter what. It is a lifelong curse. The kids become a case number to the social worker but the social worker becomes the person that changed that kids life path entirely. A decision like that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
There is nothing that can make that right. There would be no amount of money that could fix the damage done to my relationship with my son. There is no telling how our lives would have fared if he had not been taken from me. NOTHING can mend that pain that I still feel EVERY DAY, even 14 years later. Some days are better than others. Some days I might almost go without thinking about it, but something will always remind me. Some days I can’t escape it. I can’t go back in time, and I can’t erase the memories. I still feel the anger and have to stuff it inside. I still carry guilt just comes with the questions … the could’ve been, should’ve been torture.
Its been 14 years and still it is a big deal. Fortunately I have the support and understanding of two people very close to me. My husband who was put in a boys home 30 years ago but recalls it like it was yesterday. My best friend sadly understands as well since she lost her kids too many years ago. She still has not reunited with hers. They are adults now too, after 9 years since they were separated. She suffers the grief so deeply. It truly haunts her.
I can talk to her or my husband any time I need to. i know it’s been 14 years and sometimes I catch myself feeling like I’m just repeating myself over and over again. I know that they’ve both heard my story and thoughts a thousand times over.
They know that they’ve heard my story before. Still, they listen to me with understanding and compassion like it’s the first time I’ve told them.
That’s because they understand how big a deal it was when my kid was taken from me.
If only the CPS workers had understood what a big deal it was when they took him from me.
I feel badly for the children who are taken from their families at the border because they are the innocents.
I find it difficult to feel badly for the parents because they are not the innocents.
The adults know ahead of time that what they are doing is illegal, and they are doing it anyway. They are putting the innocents at risk of being taken.
There are ways to come into this country LEGALLY. If they enter the U.S. LEGALLY (albeit it may take longer or require more effort) but that would not place the children at risk of being taken.
That being said, I cant help but to point out that all the outrage is making me sick.
These children and their fate is being used and exploited politically and the outrage I believe, is being media driven.
If you are truly outraged over this issue, then you should have been outraged a long time ago.
Just like parents who commit a crime, do drugs, or abuse their children, know they might have their children taken away if they get caught, these immigrants know if they cross the border illegally and get caught, they may lose their children.
This atrocity has been happening in the United States to OUR CHILDREN, U.S. CITIZENS, with the foster care system EVERYDAY… FOR YEARS.
Many times the parents who lose their children to foster care did NOTHING wrong.
These families are separated from each other in their very own home in their very own country… keep that in mind…
Are we saying foreign children matter more than our U.S. children?
June 22 (UPI) — At birth, the brain is the most underdeveloped organ in our body. It takes up until our mid-20s for our brains to fully mature. Any serious and prolonged adversity, such as a sudden, unexpected and lasting separation from a caretaker, changes the structure of the developing brain. It damages a child’s ability to process emotion and leaves scars that are profound and lifelong.
That’s bad news because, although President Donald Trump has ended his “zero-tolerance” immigration policy of separating parents and children at the border, there are some 2,300 childrenwhose reunification with parents remains uncertain.
In my psychiatric and therapeutic practice, I work with children and adults who as children experienced unexpected and lasting separation from their parents. Some fare better than others. Some struggle with major psychiatric disorders, whereas others have no psychiatric diagnosis. Yet, their feeling of safety and trust in others is compromised. The impact of separation trauma is everlasting.
Born to be nurtured
Altricial species, such as humans, are dependent upon parental care for survival and development after birth. The parent is necessary to regulate the offspring’s temperature and to provide food and protection against environment threats. This is accomplished through parent bonding with the offspring that nurtures a deep attachment. The newly born learn quickly that signs of parental presence, such as an image, voice, touch or smell, signal safety.
Studies in mammals show that infants naturally conform to parental emotions. The presence of a calm and caring parent produces the feeling of safety in a child. On the contrary, parental distress and fear activate the infant’s brain circuits that are responsible for processing stress, pain and threat. The ability of a caretaker to regulate the offspring’s emotions is an adaptive function encoded in our genes. Before people have our own independent experiences, we start learning what is safe and what is dangerous in the surrounding environment through observing and interacting with our parents. This increases our chances of survival and success in the world.
Numerous studies show that parental presence is more important than the surrounding environment for the emotional well-being of an infant or a very young child. As long as the parent is present and remains calm and caring, the child is able to endure many threats and adversities. Metaphorically speaking, the caretaker is the world for the young child.
Separation alters the brain’s structure
The parents’ presence is also necessary for a person’s harmonious growth and development. That includes the development of our psychological and social functions, such as our ability to respond to stress and self-regulate our emotions or our ability to trust others and function in a group.
Any serious and prolonged disruption of parental care, especially in infants and very young children, alters how the young brain develops. Very young children, younger than 5 years old, separated from their parents cannot rely on their presence and care anymore, which causes their stress levels to spike. As stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine and norepineprhine rise, they alter physiological functions of our bodies to better prepare us to cope with threat. However, prolonged increases in the levels of stress hormones disrupt physiological functions and induce inflammation and epigenetic changes — chemical alterations that disrupt the activity of our genes. Turning genes on or off at the wrong time alters the developmental trajectory of the brain, changing how neural networks are formed and how brain regions communicate.
Studies of children who were separated from their parents or neglected by their parents, and experimental research on animals, consistently show that the disruption of parental presence and care causes a precocious and rapid maturation of brain circuits responsible for processing stress and threat. This fast-track development alters the brain’s wiring and changes the way how emotions are processed.
Short, sharp separation quickly causes harm
Laboratory studies show that it doesn’t take long for separation to hurt these infants and children.
In laboratory rodents these changes in brain wiring are triggered when a pup is separated from its mother for a mere two to three hours a day for a several consecutive days. We know the stress to the pups is caused by the mother’s absence, not by other changes in the environment, because the researchers continued to feed the pups and maintain their body temperature during the experiment.
Premature maturation of stress and threat processing networks in the brains of children separated from parents stunts the child’s development and leads to loss of flexibility in responding to danger. For example, most of us are able to “unlearn” what we may have initially considered threatening or scary. If something or someone is not dangerous anymore, our defense responses adapt, extinguishing our fear. This ability to unlearn threat is compromised in maternally separated animals.
The subsequent reunification with a parent, or the replacement with a new caretaker, may not reverse the changes caused by this early separation stress.
Pictures of the brain reveal altered brain structures
Brain imaging studies demonstrate structural and functional changes in the brains of children separated from their parents. Specifically, the stress of separation increases the size of the amygdala, a key structure in threat processing and emotion, and alters amygdala connections with other brain areas. On the molecular level, separation alters the expression of receptors on the brain cell’s surface involved in stress response and emotion regulation. Without the right number of receptors, the communication between neurons is disrupted.
The trauma of either permanent or temporary separation poses general health risks and affects academic performance, success in career and personal life. In particular, the loss or separation from parents increases the likelihood of various psychiatric disorders, including post-traumatic stress, anxiety, mood, psychotic or substance use disorders.
The feeling of safety and the associated ability to bond with others, the ability to detect and respond to threat, as well as the ability to regulate one’s own emotions and stress are vital. Early reprogramming of neural circuits underlying these functions can directly or indirectly alter the child’s physical, emotional and cognitive development and causes lifelong changes.
Jacek Debiec is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and an assistant research professor in the Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan.
This article was originally published onThe Conversation. Read the original article.
From Jordan Merson, Jeffrey Epsteins’ victims lawyer:
There is nothing more heinous or outrageously offensive than when those who have money and power in our society use it to viciously sexually abuse and dehumanize those who are powerless, young, naive and easily influenced.
Jeffrey Epstein’s actions as set forth in the new criminal allegations against him are inexcusable and deplorable, for it is claimed that the billionaire financier used his money, power and influence to sexually abuse, sexually assault young girls.
If Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused you when you were under 18 years old, you may have a civil claim and be entitled to monetary compensation.
This is separate from the government’s criminal prosecution.
New York has changed its statute of limitations so your claims, no matter when they occurred, will be revived on August 14, 2019 for a limited window.
If you have any questions, please call child sex abuse lawyer Jordan Merson of Merson Law, representing the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, one of the nations prominent sex abuse and child sex assault victims attorneys. (212) 603-9100