Tag: law

cps
Texas Woman Heading to Prison For Abusing 3 Year Old Son

Story posted 2013.12.29 at 09:41 AM CST SAN ANTONIO (AP) —

A San Antonio woman is headed to federal prison for 28 years after pleading guilty to recording herself having sex with her 3-year-old son and sending the video to a former boyfriend.

Kimberly Epperson’s sentence Friday came after the 25-year-old agreed to a plea deal that set her punishment between 15 and 30 years for one count of production of child pornography.

Chief U.S. District Judge Fred Biery told Epperson she’d made a “sacrificial lamb” of her son who would have a lifetime of his own to remember the abuses. Prosecutors say Epperson and ex-boyfriend Wade Perkins had “used” the boy multiple times over weeks.

Perkins was sentenced in October to 30 years.

The San Antonio Express-News reports Epperson’s attorney said she’d been manipulated by Perkins.

Story posted 2013.12.29 at 09:41 AM CST

cps
A few things you should know about CPS litigation

Because knowledge is power –

This article is from the Texas District and County Attorneys Association at  http://www.tdcaa.com/node/2496

By Pamela Kemp Parker
Special Projects Attorney with the Office of General Counsel, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Austin

If you are new to CPS cases, the learning curve is steep.
What follows is a roadmap for this important but often disorienting legal terrain.

A growing awareness of the unique legal, social, and psychological issues confronting abused and neglected children and their families in recent decades has produced an army of judges, lawyers, child advocates, and social workers better equipped than ever to handle the unique landscape of child protective services (CPS) litigation. For attorneys new to this area of practice, however, the field’s increasing complexity makes getting up to speed a daunting task.

Any attorney who has been in the trenches knows why the learning curve is so steep: a maze of constantly changing federal and state laws, an alphabet soup of acronyms, a variable cast of parties in every lawsuit, and myriad special laws governing everything from paternity, to Native American children, to interstate and international placements. It isn’t possible to produce an exhaustive compilation of what an attorney representing the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) needs to know in a brief article, but what follows is intended as a roadmap for this important but often disorienting legal terrain, with citations and resources for further research. Although this is only a fraction of what a successful practitioner needs to know, I hope that a close look at the infrastructure underlying this field of practice will make it easier to build the necessary expertise.

The big picture

In 1997 Congress enacted a fundamental truism of child welfare litigation into law: Child safety is paramount in every decision at every juncture.1 Although it almost seems unnecessary to say out loud, the reality of child welfare litigation—the frenetic pace, heavy caseloads, high stakes and limited resources—makes the mantra of child safety a useful touchstone for practitioners.

Another pillar of child welfare policy is the concept that every child needs the most permanent living arrangement possible, as quickly as possible. Ideally, permanency means services that prevent a child from being removed from her home or allow a child to be returned home as quickly as possible. When a child cannot be returned home, however, her need for permanency requires timely decisions to afford her a safe and stable placement. After too many years of children languishing in foster care, both the Texas Legislature and U.S. Congress enacted statutory mandates that compel timely progress and review of cases and, most importantly, impose strict time limits for reaching a final determination in a child welfare case.2

Another significant concept, reflected in both policy and law, is a renewed emphasis on the role of the extended family and friends in resolving abuse and neglect issues.3 This philosophy takes many forms, but the Family Group Conferencing model is a prime example.4 In this model the first effort to aid a family in crisis is to provide a forum for the family to craft its own solution. A facilitator convenes relatives, friends and other members of the community important to the family, but the focus is on encouraging the family to draw on its own strengths and create a uniquely appropriate plan to address child safety.

With the increased focus on families, greater emphasis is also placed on an aggressive search to find any and all possible relatives or family friends who are potential caretakers when it’s determined that a child can no longer be safe in her home. To this end, DFPS provides a parent with a Child Placement Resources Form at the time of removal and must evaluate each person on the form and complete a home study of the most appropriate substitute caregiver before the adversary hearing.5

A hearing for every occasion

The rhythm and progress of a child protection lawsuit is dictated by federal and state laws that require a series of hearings that begin when a child is removed from a family’s home. The following are broad descriptions of the purpose and timing of these standard hearings. For details about the statutory requirements, issues and procedural prerequisites, consult the resources cited below. In addition, the Office of General Counsel for DFPS anticipates releasing the Practice Guide for DFPS Attorneys in the fall of 2008. Attorneys who represent the agency also currently have access to HOTDOCS, a software program with standard pleadings for DFPS litigation.6

Emergency removal. If a child has been removed with no prior court order, the agency must appear in court no later than the next business day (usually this is an ex parte hearing/order) and provide sufficient evidence of “a continuing danger to the physical health or safety of the child if returned to the home or evidence that the child has been sexually abused and is at substantial risk of future sexual abuse.”7

Alternatively, DFPS may seek an ex parte order prior to a removal and in that instance must provide sufficient evidence of “either an immediate danger to the physical health or safety of the child, or that the child has been a victim of neglect or sexual abuse.”8

In addition, in either of these circumstances the agency must also provide sufficient evidence:

•    that there is not sufficient time, consistent with the child’s physical health or safety, to hold an adversary hearing;

•    that it would be contrary to the child’s welfare to remain in the home; and

•    that reasonable efforts were made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal.9

Non-emergency hearing. If there is no urgent need for removal but the child’s safety is at risk if left in the parent’s care, DFPS can seek a court order authorizing removal following a noticed hearing. This type of order requires sufficient evidence to prove:

•    that it would be contrary to the child’s welfare to remain in the home; and

•    that reasonable efforts were made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal.10

In every removal, the original petition in the Suit Affecting the Parent Child Relationship (SAPCR) is verified by the caseworker’s supporting affidavit, which must detail specific facts about household conditions, medical findings, allegations of sexual abuse or physical abuse, or other circumstances that make removal of a child necessary, as well as the efforts made to obviate the need for a removal.

Adversary hearing. Within 14 days after DFPS takes a child into custody in an ex parte proceeding, the court must revisit the issue of removal and either enter temporary orders or return the child to the family.11 At this hearing, if the court appoints DFPS as the child’s temporary managing conservator, the court must enter temporary orders and find:

•    danger to the child’s physical health or safety and that it is contrary to the child’s welfare to remain in the home;

•    the urgent need for protection required immediate removal; and

•    that despite reasonable efforts to prevent or eliminate the need for removal and to return the child home, there is a substantial risk of continuing danger to the child in the home.12

At this juncture the agency attorney also typically seeks any necessary orders for visitation, child support, paternity testing, psychological testing, drug assessment or testing, physical examinations, discovery, or other orders needed to protect the child, facilitate the child’s return, or find optimum placement for a child.

Status hearing. No later than 60 days after a temporary order is entered, a status hearing must be held.13 Its focus is:

•    the contents of the service plan;

•    designation of the person authorized to give medical consent for the child;

•    the status of diligent search efforts for any missing parents; and

•    a warning to parents that unless the parent can offer the child a safe environment, termination of parental rights is an option.14

Permanency hearings. The first permanency hearing must be held no later than 180 days after DFPS is named as temporary conservator.15 Notice is required and all parties must be given a copy of the permanency plan at least 10 days prior to the hearing.16

At the hearing, the court must:

•    thoroughly assess all facets of the case;

•    return the child to the home if it is safe to do so;

•    enter necessary orders to ensure progress toward permanency; and

•    set a dismissal date.17

A subsequent permanency hearing must be held within 120 days of the last permanency hearing.18

Final hearing. The driving force that dictates timely resolution of a child welfare case is the requirement that no later than one year after DFPS is named conservator (or at most an additional 180 days later if the court finds that extraordinary circumstances necessitate an extension), the court must either enter a final order or dismiss the lawsuit.19 DFPS may seek termination of parental rights and appointment of DFPS or another caretaker as permanent managing conservator. Although it is sometimes necessary, naming DFPS or another caretaker as a child’s managing conservator without termination of the child’s parental rights is only appropriate if no other, more permanent option is available. Without question, this stage of the litigation requires the most careful preparation, adherence to procedural requirements, and close coordination between DFPS staff and attorneys representing the agency.

Evidence of DFPS’ efforts to locate a missing parent, a parent’s compliance with the service plan, and the child’s adoptability may all be crucial at this juncture. If termination of parental rights is requested, there must be clear and convincing evidence of at least one statutory ground for termination of parental rights and that termination is in the child’s best interests.20

Placement reviews

If the final order names DFPS as managing conservator, the court must review the child’s placement at least every six months until the child ages out of foster care.21

DFPS must submit a placement review report addressing all aspects of the child’s status at least 10 days in advance, and the court must make findings as to the appropriateness of the placement, the efforts made to meet the child’s needs, and any additional services the child needs.22

Who qualifies as a parent?

In child protection litigation, sometimes half the battle is figuring out who is a party to the action. If a child is born to a married woman, her husband is the presumed father and must be named in a suit seeking to restrict or terminate parental rights.23 Similarly, if a man has lived continuously with a child during her first two years of life and has held himself out to be the child’s father, he may also qualify as a presumed father.24

A presumption of paternity can be rebutted only by an adjudication of paternity or a valid denial of paternity filed by a presumed father with a valid acknowledgement by another person.25

If the mother is not married when a child is born (and wasn’t married within 301 days before birth) and no man has been adjudicated to be the father, the legal ramifications of alleged father status become important. Texas maintains a paternity registry, which allows an alleged father to protect his rights by registering; if he fails to do so, he allows a child to be legally freed for adoption without service of process.26

The process of checking the registry and terminating parental rights of a man who fails to register is not difficult, but getting accurate information as to potential fathers, obtaining paternity testing where possible, and handling new information that may not surface until the eve of a final hearing can be tricky. The best strategy is to make every effort to resolve the paternity question as early in the litigation as possible to streamline the litigation and make the best use of limited resources.27

Search and serve

When parental rights are at stake, due process requires that a parent be served with the lawsuit or, at a minimum, the agency must exercise due diligence in an effort to locate a missing parent before a court can authorize substitute service, usually by publication. Generally, DFPS pleads for termination of parental rights in the alternative in the initial petition. This strategy avoids the necessity of serving parties again when and if the decision is made to pursue termination of parental rights. If a default judgment is taken, compliance with the Service-members Civil Relief Act requires proof that a parent is not an active member of the military.28

Acronyms and lingo

Being familiar with the language always makes navigating new terrain much easier. A few key terms include:

Adam Walsh: The federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which requires (among other things) that child welfare agencies conduct fingerprint-based FBI checks on all prospective foster and adoptive homes and, for federally funded placements, imposes either a permanent or a five-year bar on placements if a caretaker has a conviction for specified crimes.29

ASFA: The federal Adoption & Safe Families Act of 1997 which amended Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.30

Baby Moses: The tag given to cases involving infants left at a designated facility, which are not treated as abandonment, to promote safe delivery of infants who might otherwise be left in trash bins or similar perilous circumstances. Special procedures regarding confidentiality, notice, and termination of parental rights apply in these cases.31

CAC: Child Advocacy Center, a multi-disciplinary center designed to minimize the trauma on a child by limiting the number of interviews and to promote collaboration between medical, law enforcement, social work, legal, and other child welfare professionals.32

CAPTA: The federal Child Abuse Protection and Treatment Act, most recently reauthorized and amended by the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003.33

CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocates, volunteer guardians ad litem appointed to advocate for a child in court.34

CCEJ: Court of Continuing and Exclusive Jurisdiction. After the adversary hearing, if another court is the CCEJ as result of a custody case or another CPS suit, the court must transfer the suit to the CCEJ or, if mandatory transfer grounds exist, order the transfer of the suit from the CCEJ, or order the transfer of the case to the court having venue of the suit.35

FBSS: Family Based Safety Services. These are protective services provided to a family before a child is removed from the home. These services are designed to avoid a removal and reduce the likelihood that a child will be abused or neglected.36

IV-D: Title IV-D of the Social Security Act creates the state’s child support enforcement program. Texas receives a substantial federal subsidy for this program. The Child Support Division of the Office of Attorney General (also known as the IV-D state agency) is responsible for the establishment and enforcement of child support.

IV-E: Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, the source of federal foster care and adoption assistance funding and the accompanying restrictions and requirements.37

Family Reunification Services: These are protective services provided after removal to support a family and the child during the child’s transition from living in substitute care to living back in the home.38

Kinship Care: Caretaking by relatives or “fictive kin,” friends of the family that function like relatives.

Order to Participate in Services: A court order to compel a parent or caretaker to participate in services designed to avoid the need to remove a child.39

SWI: Statewide Intake, a centralized DFPS office located in Austin where members of the public or professionals can report child abuse via the telephone or the Internet.

Special circumstances

In some cases, laws applicable to special situations and populations require particularized knowledge to competently resolve a CPS case. If you find yourself in a case with one of these issues, you must get help before you proceed.

For example, if a case involves:

•    a child with Native American heritage: Any removal or termination of parental rights of an “Indian child” is subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act.40

•    a foreign-born child: If a foreign-born child is in DFPS custody, DFPS must give notice to the foreign consul.41

•    an undocumented child: If an undocumented child cannot reunify with her family, the child will probably be eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, which is an avenue for obtaining Permanent Resident status.42

•    a child to be placed outside Texas: If a child will be placed outside of Texas, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children may require advance approval from the state where the child will be placed.43

•    a child from another state: If Texas does not have “home state” jurisdiction or there is a prior custody determination in another state, consult the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act to assess to what extent a Texas court can assert jurisdiction beyond temporary emergency jurisdiction.45

Where to get help

Fortunately, there are excellent resources, mentors, checklists and guides available to help the busy practitioner wade through the daunting blend of legal, medical, mental health, financial and educational issues that modern child welfare litigation presents. Using these tools, we can best follow the advice of an early child advocate, Sitting Bull, who urged, “Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life we can build for our children.”46

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for CPS policy, rules, resources and updates about new initiatives; www.DFPS.state.tx.us.

Administration for Children and Families for Children’s Bureau, with federal law and child welfare policy handbook; www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/.

Texas Lawyers Care for child welfare-related articles, practice guides, expert witness information, and legal research; www.texaslawyerscare.org.

American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law for articles, news, legislative updates and links to many other resources; www.aba.childlaw.org.

National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges for technical assistance, training, and research; www.ncjfcj.org.

National Association of Counsel for Children for training, publications, and advocacy; www.nacchildlaw.org. D

Editor’s note: For more information, the author can be contacted at 512/929-6635 or pamela.parker@dfps.state.tx.us.

Endnotes

1 Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, P.L.105-89, §102.
2 42 U.S.C. §675 (5)(E) (state must file termination of parental rights for child in foster care for last 15 out of 22 months, or in case of aggravated circumstances, unless exception applies); Tex. Fam. Code §263.401 (dismissal of DFPS suit after one year unless extraordinary circumstances warrant extension of no more than 180 days).
3 42 U.S.C. §671(a)(19) (mandatory preference for adult relative that meets child protection standards over non-related caretaker); Tex. Fam. Code §262.114 (DFPS must evaluate relatives or other potential caregivers identified by parents and perform home study of most appropriate caregiver); Tex. Fam. Code §264.751 (relative and other designated caregiver support program).
4 Tex. Fam. Code §264.2015 (family group conferencing as strategy to promote family preservation and permanency).
5 DFPS Designated Caregiver Form 2625.
6 Contact Chrissy Sanders, Legal Assistant, Office of General Counsel, at 512/438-5606 or chrissy .sanders@dfps.state.tx.us, to request HOTDOCS.
7 Tex. Fam. Code §262.107; §262.104 (a)(5) and (b) (in addition to general danger to physical health or safety, removal authorized based on specific harm caused by a parent or caretaker’s use of controlled substances or by allowing a child to remain on the premises where methamphetamines are manufactured).
8 Tex. Fam. Code §262.102.
9 Tex. Fam. Code §262.102 (a)(2)-(3); §262.107(a)(2)-(3); DFPS can claim federal funding for children who qualify for Title IV-E, but only if a court finds at the time of the removal that it was contrary to child’s welfare to remain in the home and that reasonable efforts were made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal. 42 U.S.C. §671(a)(15)(B); §672(a)(2)(A)(ii).
10 Tex. Fam. Code §262.113.
11 Tex. Fam. Code §262.201(a).
12 Tex. Fam. Code §262.201(b).
13 Tex. Fam. Code §263.201.
14 Tex. Fam. Code §§263.006; 263.202; 266.007.
15 Tex. Fam. Code §263.304.
16 Tex. Fam. Code §263.301.
17 Tex. Fam. Code §263.306.
18 Tex. Fam. Code §263.305.
19 Tex. Fam. Code §263.401 (dismissal after one year; 180 day extension possible).
20 Tex. Fam. Code §161.001(2); Holley v. Adams, 544 S.W. 2d 367 (Tex. 1976) (list of best interest factors).
21 Tex. Fam. Code §263.501.
22 Tex. Fam. Code §263.502-.503.
23 Tex. Fam. Code §160.204(a) (possible permutations that warrant presumed father status include child born during marriage, or within 301 days of a terminated marriage, child born during attempted marriage, or marriage after child’s birth with voluntary assertion of paternity if father takes specific actions)
24 Tex. Fam. Code §160.204(a)(5).
25 Tex. Fam. Code §160.204(b).
26 Tex. Fam. Code §160.402 (paternity registry); §160.404 (termination without notice to alleged father unless established parent-child relationship or man has filed paternity suit).
27 A variety of mechanisms exist for establishing paternity, Tex. Fam. Code Ch. 160, Subch. C. (establishing parent-child relationship); Subch. D. (acknowledgement of paternity) and Subch. G (adjudication of parentage).
28 Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. App. §511 et seq.
29 P.L. 109-248; See also 42 U.S.C. §671(a)(20)(A).
30 P.L. 105-89.
31 Tex. Fam. Code Ch. 262, Subch. D; §263.1015 (no service plan required) and Tex. Fam. Code §161.001(1)(S) (termination ground for abandoned infants).
32 Tex. Fam. Code Chapter 264, Subchapter E.
33 P.L. 108-36.
34 Tex. Fam. Code Ch. 264, Subch. G.
35 Tex. Fam. Code §262.202-.203.
36 40 Tex. Admin. Code §700.702.
37 42 U.S.C. §670 et seq.
38 40 Tex. Admin. Code §700.703.
39 Tex. Fam. Code §264.203.
40 25 U.S.C. §1901 et seq.
41 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 21 U.S.T. 77, Article 37.
42 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(27)(J).
43 Tex. Fam. Code Ch. 162, Subch.B.
44 Tex. Fam. Code §§152.102(7); 152.201(a)(1) (“home state” is state where child lived with a parent or person acting as a parent for at least six months prior to the filing of the SAPCR).
45  Tex. Fam. Code Ch. 152.
46  Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Sioux, See The Indian Child Welfare Act Handbook: A Legal Guide to the Custody and Adoption of Native American Children, B.J. Jones (American Bar Association, Family Law Section, 1995), p.1.

Published in The Prosecutor, May-June 2008, Volume 38, No. 3

accountability, Collin County, Texas, corruption, crime, lawsuits, RICO, system failure children
RICO Lawsuit Against County & District Clerks Association of Texas

FOTP Editor Files RICO Lawsuit Against County & District Clerks Association of Texas

federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit in Sherman last week. Fussell is our editor for the six Collin County newspapers FOTP Group has planned. This lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of the federal district in Texas, includes several plaintiffs — including Fussell’s sister, who lives in Midlothian — who allege the County & District Clerks Association of Texas of committing fraud, racketeering, money laundering and a mountain-full of other crimes. The petition (see documents below) is intense reading material. It’s been redacted of plaintiffs names (seven in all) for publication, but it is public record in the court file system.
 Some excerpts:

 (emphasis added)

“…create a criminal enterprise under the misrepresentation of a Government Office, for the express intent to reclassify Plaintiffs as offenders, or abusers to meet a condition precedent for CDCAT to fraudulently qualify Plaintiffs’ family and children for CDCAT Multiple Employer Welfare Benefit Plan and Trust.”

“…entered into various Rule 11 agreements absent Plaintiffs’ consent, discussion, or agreement.  Plaintiffs are still unable to obtain a record or accounting of such Rule 11 agreements.  Said actions constitute a serious Breach of Fiduciary Duty, and Plaintiffs request this court to issue relief as allowed by law.”

“20.       Various District County Courts issued a “General Order, which is described as a standing order to protect property and children pending litigation of a divorce or child custody order. .. Included in the standing order is the following:

“No party to this lawsuit requested this order.  Rather, this order is a   standing order of the Collin County District Courts that applies in every divorce suit and every suit affecting the parent-child relationship filed in  Collin County.  The District Courts of Collin County have adopted this order because the parties and their children should be protected and their  property preserved with the lawsuit is pending before the court.”

21.       Defendants created the standing order which has the same effect as a Protective Order under Texas Family Code Section 85. The rules of procedure are significantly different for processing cases in which the parties are parties to a Protective Order verses processing a court case when the parties are free from such.

Readers and researchers will see one phrase used repeatedly, and the context of this is crucial to understanding  the entire case. Lisa Fussell is not just any editor of mine. Her father is the architect of an investment vehicle Collin County’s government implemented for themselves: a Multiple Employer Benefit Plan

“Said order, reduced to writing, will also include multiple clauses and contractual terms as necessary for Defendants to process the Divorce Decree as a contract which purports the parties agree to participate in Defendants’ Multiple Employer Benefit Plan. “

This is pretty powerful verbage too, as this gets to how the judiciary in Collin County (and probably all over the country) is basically one gigantic corporation:

Certain Plaintiffs represented themselves through the duration of their cases.  A significant amount of Defendants success depends on misrepresentation by association attorneys.  Absent this advantage, Defendants resort to wholly falsifying court documents or tampering with government documents.  Plaintiff, [redacted by publisher], had previously divorced in Collin and Grayson Counties.

Through the course of [redacted by publisher]’s present involvement with Defendants, CDCAT completely rewrote Plaintiffs previous Divorce Decrees, which were entered by the presiding judge after her ex-husband signed a 2002 waiver under the waiver provision.

Defendants fraudulently rewrote the orders as Agreed Orders moreover adding provisions into the order that enrolled [redacted by publisher]’s children so as to receive benefits from the Multiple Employer Benefit Plan.  Defendants not only added and rewrote the previous orders, but moreover forged [redacted by publisher]’s signatures, backdated clerk stamps and substituted Official Notary Statements.

So, what happens when one goes up against the “Corporation?”

“The Honorable Judge John Roach Jr. forewarned her of his intended retaliation a month before the DA filed the charges.”

“[Another plaintiff] was falsely imprisoned on a court order that was never set for hearing.”

“[Another] Plaintiff was indicted on a court order that was vaguely rendered that does not exist.”

A list of the generalities that are being alleged that the County & District Clerks Association of Texas committed:

  1. Abuse of Process
  2. Statutory Fraud
  3. Fraud of Nondisclosure
  4. Bad faith
  5. Defamation
  6. Malicious Prosecution
  7. Mail obstruction and unlawful mail opening
  8. Negligent Misrepresentation, and
  9. Conspiracy

 The plaintiffs filed suit against the County & District Clerks Association of Texas (CDCAT), which is “under the authority of the International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers (IACREAOT),” specifically alleging the following:

[Emphasis by The Ellis County Observer publisher]

–> Plaintiffs recently discovered check dispersing of substantial sums of money from the court Registry of certain court cases in which Plaintiffs’ children are designated in the Odyssey System as “Secured Parties”

–> Defendants further retaliated against Plaintiffs who unsuccessfully inquired about the registry checks utilizing various forms of intimidation which included abuse of power.  Plaintiff, contacted the presiding officer of the commissioner’s court, Keith Self, about the Registry disbursements in collin county that where discovered in the family law case. (See exhibit B).

Within five days, said Plaintiff was brought before the court in a disposition for the family law case, however,  the disposition was a unexplainable thrust on plaintiff mere days after his inquiry to Judge Self.  The family law councilor questioning him focused the “deposition”  to the subject of the inquiry to Commissioner Self.  A few examples are “have you been harmed in some way because of any money transferred in the Registry”, and “what do you think the checks you saw written in the Register mean to you?”

 Documents:
[Word Document | Click Here to Read, Download or Print | Federal Lawsuit vs. CDCAT]

[PDF | Click Here to Read, Download or Print | CDCAT Bylaws]

 See Also: Freedom of the Press Group Collin County https://www.facebook.com/pages/Freedom-of-the-Press-Group-Collin-County/187102218005916

See Also: FOTP Group Editor Re-Indicted http://www.elliscountyobserver.com/2011/06/09/1-of-my-editors-has-been-re-indicted-in-collin-county/

See Also: Brooke Muncie-Weltzer Bogus Kidnapping Arrest; McKinney Cops Cover-Up
http://www.elliscountyobserver.com/2011/05/09/collin-county-brooke-muncie-weltzer-didnt-kidnap-her-son/

See Also: ARC of Texas Process in Texas Courts System:
http://www.elliscountyobserver.com/2011/05/27/chart-arc-process-in-texas-court-system-does-ellis-county-work-this-way-too/

ARC Chart Below:

Program

1. Academy of Special Needs Planners

2. ARC (Non-Profit Corporation)

3. Municipal District

4. Court System

Players

1. Title IV-D (Attorney General)

2. DFPS

3. Judges

4. Bank of America and JP Morgan Bank

5. Psychologists / Home Study Experts

6. Special Needs Attorneys

7. Abusive Parent

8. Our Children

9. Protective Parent

10. Law Enforcement

 Process

1. The Court orders Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)

2. The Special Needs Attorney determines the wealth of the family

3.  One of the parent becomes the target of the courts, DFPS, and law enforcement

4. To obtain evidence the Court orders a psychological exam and a home study

5. The Court utilizes the evidence to build an adverse case against one parent

6. The build a stronger case DFPS testifies in Court about the TI’s drugs, abuse, mental instability

7. Judge removes conservatorship rights

8. Special Needs Attorney assumes temporary guardianship using the temporary guardianship form

9. Working in cooperation with DFPS and the ARC program – the children are labelled with special needs

10. A trust fund is established by the Special Needs Attorney vis-a-via the ARC

11. Bank of America and JP Morgan Bank then invests the money or borrow against assets

12. The trust fund is overseen by the municpal districts and the Title IV-D Office

Outcome $$

1. Pooled Trusts

2. Liens

2. Domestic and international 501C corporations

3. Retirement Funds

cps
This is M.D. one of the children not forgotten…
Source of Stories: PLAINTIFFS’ ORIGINAL COMPLAINT FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF AND REQUEST FOR CLASS ACTION in the recent lawsuit filed on behalf of 12000 foster children in the State of Texas against Governor Rick Perry, Thomas Suehs, Executive Commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission of the State of Texas and Anne Heiligenstein, Commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services of the State of Texas.

There are several “named plaintiffs” suing the Texas system. They are children who have had to live in foster care on a long-term basis and they represent a “class action” suit on behalf of over 12000 other foster children.

Usually a foster care stay is approximately 12 to 18 months if all goes well, but for the not so fortunate, the stay in foster care may last for years. Many children never find a permanent home, and “age out” of foster care as a young adult who has not learned how to find a sense of security or how to trust people.
These children have become a product of their environment, harmed by the failure of a government system that needs not just an overhaul, but a miracle to fix. Whether an oversight created some problems or a lack of financial funding for a private foster family or residential facility occurred because of some bureaucratic red tape – the effects trickle down and the leftover mess is cleaned up by the ones that matter the most – the children – and when I say cleaned up, I mean dealt with.

Most of the time, the higher ups will never put a face to the name – or number these innocent children have become. Most of the time, these are not accidents, or unforeseen circumstances, but completely preventable and avoidable situations that leave these children paying the ultimate price by living in an unimaginably painful world. Negligence, abuse, misconduct, untrained workers, caregivers with backgrounds that should keep them from working in any environment ‘designed’ to protect children….are some of the causes for the damage done to these children. Caseworkers carry too high a workload with too little incentive or not enough pay for long hard overtime work hours so the turnover rate is high. The need to hire more workers often means they are not always experienced or even properly trained to deal with the depths of the situations they will encounter in their job. The real life situations of a child that they must protect if at all possible, realizing their decisions may change the course of many lives forever. That is not a light responsibility to be taken, and when the workers are hired and fired or quit so often that motivation to do the job right is low, lives can be ruined. Destroyed. By one choice made, or one decision.

I can barely touch the issues our system must address in order to affect a noticeably positive change that those families named in the lawsuit as well as those who are not. will benefit from. One thing is clear, anyone involved in the system will become someone new before its over with. The lawsuit outlines what the issues are that the children see in their daily lives when living in foster care. The lawsuit places the failures on the table for all to see now, not just the children, but anyone else who has not, until now, taken a look.

Its Almost Tuesday is thrilled that legal action has been sought to find justice for these children and families. Meanwhile we await the outcome of the battle ahead that the lawyers must face, and we can only cross our fingers that the outcome we can anticipate will be in favor of the children. We can only hope it will not only be in favor of the children, but also begin the road to remedy the harmful effects they have suffered. Somehow. Having said that it only seems appropriate now, to take the time to get to know these children, starting with M.D. the first named child plaintiff in the lawsuit.

M.D. is the first of many stories we will share. Remember, these stories are real. These experiences have been lives of children not unlike yours or mine — they have been caught up in an unfortunate trap set by a system out of control.

Child Welfare. Child Protection. How much do we see in these stories? Have these children been protected?

If they had been we would not watch as lawsuits are filed. If they were protected, I would not be writing this blog; or introducing you to these children. Although we will only learn their initials and not their full names, we will hopefully learn something about who they are – and not forget them.

Its Almost Tuesday commends all the survivors of the foster care system, applauds them for their courage when living in a world they never should have known…

This is the story of M.D.

M.D. is a fourteen-year-old girl from Corpus Christi, in Nueces County. M.D. was originally brought into state custody at age eight, placed with relatives, and then again brought back into state custody at age ten. Over the four years that M.D. has most recently been in the care of the state, DFPS has repeatedly failed in its obligation to provide for her safety and wellbeing. Instead of providing her with services and therapy to address the maltreatment that caused her removal from her parents and the abuse she suffered while living in a DFPS-selected placement, DFPS has compounded that trauma by placing her for years in inappropriate institutions; failing to provide her with critically-needed mental health evaluations and services; over-medicating her with powerful psychotropic medications; failing to seek and secure an appropriate permanent home for her; and subjecting her to numerous and frequent placement moves that have prevented her from establishing lasting relationships with caregivers, therapists, or even other children.

When M.D. was eight years old, DFPS removed her from her parents due to neglect by her mother and abandonment by her father. After nine months in the state’s custody, DFPS placed M.D. in conservatorship with her aunt and uncle. However, when M.D. was ten years old, DFPS removed her from this home, because her cousin sexually assaulted her while she was
under the aunt and uncle’s conservatorship.

After removing M.D. from her relatives’ home, DFPS moved the ten-year-old child through three foster placements over the next six months. Eventually, DFPS placed M.D. in a foster home in Dallas, over 400 miles from her home community.

Toward the end of 2007, DFPS moved M.D., still only ten years old, to an institution, an RTC in Victoria. After three months in this facility, M.D. became suicidal. She stayed there for almost two and a half years, steadily deteriorating both emotionally and psychologically. During this time, DFPS assumed PMC of the child.

From the RTC, DFPS sent M.D. to an acute care facility just outside of Houston, without making any permanent plans for her. After two months, DFPS moved M.D. 300 miles away to yet another RTC in Denton.

While at that RTC, M.D. and another young child left the facility and walked to a nearby retail establishment where M.D. was raped. After the rape, DFPS did not provide M.D. with any special counseling, even though M.D. was so traumatized that she had started cutting herself.
Instead, RTC staff chastised M.D. for leaving the facility. In the midst of the emotional turmoil resulting from the assault, DFPS sent M.D. to a juvenile detention center after a disturbance at the RTC.

During the four years that M.D. has been in foster care, DFPS has moved her through at least seven different foster placements, as well as hospitalizations. For much of this time, this young child has been kept in institutions of one kind or another – RTCs, psychiatric centers, and detention facilities. With such an existence, M.D. has been unable to form any lasting relationships.

M.D. is currently placed in an austere, restrictive short-term therapeutic placement in San Antonio. M.D. has no privileges of any kind. She has no visitors. She cannot have any toiletries. She is warehoused and alone. Her DFPS caseworker has said that M.D. will be transitioning from this facility to another RTC.

As M.D. has moved through the foster care system, she has been given numerous psychotropic medications. These drugs have been used as a chemical substitute for the care, counseling, and permanent placement in a family that DFPS is obligated to seek and secure for her. M.D. is now diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression.

While M.D. is nominally in the eighth grade, she has been placed in a number of schools attached to the institutions where she was placed. In those schools, she has been advanced from one grade to the next based on her age. Her true academic progress has been constantly interrupted by her placement in a series of far-flung facilities.

Although DFPS knew early on that M.D.’s parents were not capable of parenting her, and in fact had removed her from their care in 2005, it was not until July 2010, more than three years after she was brought into foster care for the second time, that M.D. was freed for adoption.

Despite the fact that M.D. has consistently asked to be adopted, DFPS has continually failed to seek and secure a permanent family for this lonely child. At the age of fourteen, M.D. faces the prospect that she will age out of care after four more years of being shuffled around the state from institution to institution.

Defendants have violated M.D.’s constitutional rights by failing to protect from her from harm while in their care; failing to provide adequate supervision over her foster care placements; subjecting her to frequent moves across the state far from her home community; failing to arrange for adequate therapy to address the trauma she has suffered both before and while in DFPS custody; subjecting her to unnecessary psychotropic medications; keeping her for long periods in institutions; and failing for years to identify or plan for an appropriate permanent placement.

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, family, General, government, system failure
An 8 year old’s childhood deferred… what happened?
I have a serious problem with an 8 year old murdering anyone – 8 year olds aren’t generally of a disposition to shoot anyone with a rifle execution style; i don’t even think i KNEW what a rifle was at that age.  I am not in a position to say what i think might have gone on behind the scenes so i don’t think i will go there; but i did want to share this story; and offer my prayers to this child, who is still – just a child –

8-year-old accused of killing father, another man

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona (AP) — An 8-year-old boy is charged with murder in the shooting of his father and another man in a rural community in eastern Arizona, authorities said Friday.

The boy was charged with two counts of premeditated murder in the death of his father, 29-year-old Vincent Romero, and 39-year-old Timothy Romans, St. Johns Police Chief Roy Melnick said.

Police arrived at the home within minutes of the shooting Wednesday, Melnick said. They found one victim just outside the front door and the other dead in an upstairs room.

The boy, who prosecutors say had never been in trouble before, initially denied involvement in the shooting but later confessed, Melnick said. Read the full story here.

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, system failure
Breaking The Silence – Moms Losing Child Custody To Their Batterers?

This is the program that aired on Public Television in October of 2005.

The documentary tells the stories of children who are taken away from their protective mothers.

October is domestic violence awareness month

This October –

Listen.

Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories (BTS) chronicles the impact of domestic violence on children and the recurring failings of family courts across the country to protect them from their abusers. In stark and often poignant interviews, children and battered mothers tell their stories of abuse at home and continued trauma within the courts. The producers approached the topic with the open mindedness and commitment to fairness that we require of our journalists. Their research was extensive and supports the conclusions drawn in the program. Funding from the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation met PBS’s underwriting guidelines; the Foundation had no editorial influence on program content.

However, the program would have benefited from more in-depth treatment of the complex issues surrounding child custody and the role of family courts and most specifically the provocative topic of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). Additionally, the documentary’s “first-person story telling approach” did not allow the depth of the producers’ research to be as evident to the viewer as it could have been.

PBS has received a substantial body of analysis and documentation from both supporters of the documentary and its critics.

It is clear to us that this complex and important issue would benefit from further examination. To that end, PBS will commission an hour-long documentary for that purpose. Plans call for the documentary to be produced and broadcast in Spring 2006. We expect that the hour-long treatment of the subject will allow ample opportunity for doctors, psychologists, judges, parent advocates and victims of abuse to have their perspectives shared, challenged and debated.

About The Documentary, And The Malicious Fathers’ Rights Attacks Against It

Critics of Child Abuse Film Miss the Point in Rush to Defend Fathers”. Article By Paul J. Fink, Judge Sol Gothard, and Tasha Amador. Article addresses misconceptions circulated by fathers’ rights activists about domestic violence and the documentary. In particular focuses on writings by fathers’ rights activist Glenn Sacks.

The Latest Fathers’ Rights Attack Against “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories. Pro-PAS nonsense masquerading as fact.

“Custody Fight”, by Bob Port. A supportive article about the documentary. (This article is also available on my blog.)

The National Organization For Women On “Breaking The Silence”. This article is also available on my blog.

Angry Fathers’ Rights Activists Vs. PBS.

Caught In The Middle: Documentary shows how kids can be pawns in abuse, custody cases”.

Press Release From Stop Family Violence .

Stop Family Violence – Petition To Air “Breaking The Silence”.

Stop Family Violence: Shocking PBS Documentary Exposes Secrets Of Family Court.

October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Includes mention of “Breaking The Silence” and fathers’ rights protests.

Blogcritics: An Important Documentary – “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

Blogcritics: Fathers’ Rights Activists Livid Over Airing Of “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, system failure
Breaking The Silence – Moms Losing Child Custody To Their Batterers?

This is the program that aired on Public Television in October of 2005.

The documentary tells the stories of children who are taken away from their protective mothers.

October is domestic violence awareness month

This October –

Listen.

Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories (BTS) chronicles the impact of domestic violence on children and the recurring failings of family courts across the country to protect them from their abusers. In stark and often poignant interviews, children and battered mothers tell their stories of abuse at home and continued trauma within the courts. The producers approached the topic with the open mindedness and commitment to fairness that we require of our journalists. Their research was extensive and supports the conclusions drawn in the program. Funding from the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation met PBS’s underwriting guidelines; the Foundation had no editorial influence on program content.

However, the program would have benefited from more in-depth treatment of the complex issues surrounding child custody and the role of family courts and most specifically the provocative topic of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). Additionally, the documentary’s “first-person story telling approach” did not allow the depth of the producers’ research to be as evident to the viewer as it could have been.

PBS has received a substantial body of analysis and documentation from both supporters of the documentary and its critics.

It is clear to us that this complex and important issue would benefit from further examination. To that end, PBS will commission an hour-long documentary for that purpose. Plans call for the documentary to be produced and broadcast in Spring 2006. We expect that the hour-long treatment of the subject will allow ample opportunity for doctors, psychologists, judges, parent advocates and victims of abuse to have their perspectives shared, challenged and debated.

About The Documentary, And The Malicious Fathers’ Rights Attacks Against It

Critics of Child Abuse Film Miss the Point in Rush to Defend Fathers”. Article By Paul J. Fink, Judge Sol Gothard, and Tasha Amador. Article addresses misconceptions circulated by fathers’ rights activists about domestic violence and the documentary. In particular focuses on writings by fathers’ rights activist Glenn Sacks.

The Latest Fathers’ Rights Attack Against “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories. Pro-PAS nonsense masquerading as fact.

“Custody Fight”, by Bob Port. A supportive article about the documentary. (This article is also available on my blog.)

The National Organization For Women On “Breaking The Silence”. This article is also available on my blog.

Angry Fathers’ Rights Activists Vs. PBS.

Caught In The Middle: Documentary shows how kids can be pawns in abuse, custody cases”.

Press Release From Stop Family Violence .

Stop Family Violence – Petition To Air “Breaking The Silence”.

Stop Family Violence: Shocking PBS Documentary Exposes Secrets Of Family Court.

October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Includes mention of “Breaking The Silence” and fathers’ rights protests.

Blogcritics: An Important Documentary – “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

Blogcritics: Fathers’ Rights Activists Livid Over Airing Of “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, system failure
Breaking The Silence – Moms Losing Child Custody To Their Batterers?

This is the program that aired on Public Television in October of 2005.

The documentary tells the stories of children who are taken away from their protective mothers.

October is domestic violence awareness month

This October –

Listen.

Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories (BTS) chronicles the impact of domestic violence on children and the recurring failings of family courts across the country to protect them from their abusers. In stark and often poignant interviews, children and battered mothers tell their stories of abuse at home and continued trauma within the courts. The producers approached the topic with the open mindedness and commitment to fairness that we require of our journalists. Their research was extensive and supports the conclusions drawn in the program. Funding from the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation met PBS’s underwriting guidelines; the Foundation had no editorial influence on program content.

However, the program would have benefited from more in-depth treatment of the complex issues surrounding child custody and the role of family courts and most specifically the provocative topic of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). Additionally, the documentary’s “first-person story telling approach” did not allow the depth of the producers’ research to be as evident to the viewer as it could have been.

PBS has received a substantial body of analysis and documentation from both supporters of the documentary and its critics.

It is clear to us that this complex and important issue would benefit from further examination. To that end, PBS will commission an hour-long documentary for that purpose. Plans call for the documentary to be produced and broadcast in Spring 2006. We expect that the hour-long treatment of the subject will allow ample opportunity for doctors, psychologists, judges, parent advocates and victims of abuse to have their perspectives shared, challenged and debated.

About The Documentary, And The Malicious Fathers’ Rights Attacks Against It

Critics of Child Abuse Film Miss the Point in Rush to Defend Fathers”. Article By Paul J. Fink, Judge Sol Gothard, and Tasha Amador. Article addresses misconceptions circulated by fathers’ rights activists about domestic violence and the documentary. In particular focuses on writings by fathers’ rights activist Glenn Sacks.

The Latest Fathers’ Rights Attack Against “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories. Pro-PAS nonsense masquerading as fact.

“Custody Fight”, by Bob Port. A supportive article about the documentary. (This article is also available on my blog.)

The National Organization For Women On “Breaking The Silence”. This article is also available on my blog.

Angry Fathers’ Rights Activists Vs. PBS.

Caught In The Middle: Documentary shows how kids can be pawns in abuse, custody cases”.

Press Release From Stop Family Violence .

Stop Family Violence – Petition To Air “Breaking The Silence”.

Stop Family Violence: Shocking PBS Documentary Exposes Secrets Of Family Court.

October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – Includes mention of “Breaking The Silence” and fathers’ rights protests.

Blogcritics: An Important Documentary – “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

Blogcritics: Fathers’ Rights Activists Livid Over Airing Of “Breaking The Silence: Children’s Stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Petition:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click Here to Sign the petition

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

please promote this petition

 

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

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

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

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ACTUAL COURT

RULING OF THE TEXAS THIRD DISTRICT COURT

OF APPEALS MEMORANDUM OF LAW

FLDS vs. CPS