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Short-Changing the Child Advocate
November 28, 2014 permalink
The government of Ontario is expanding the oversight powers of the provincial ombudsman, André Marin, over several areas, not including children's aid societies. Instead, bill 8 is giving that authority to the provincial child advocate. But according the the current advocate, Irwin Elman, the powers in the proposed bill are inadequate for the protection of all of Ontario's children. Quoting the Toronto Star: "Under the proposed legislation, the advocate would only have the right to compel information during a formal investigation, and then only in cases involving Children’s Aid. In all other areas of his mandate, the advocate would continue to have no more right to information than what is currently available to the general public under Access to Information laws and through the media, Elman notes."
Link to the text of the bill Bill 8, Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014, or read a local copy (pdf). The parts of interest in child protection are:
The Toronto Star outlines the dispute.
Ontario’s Child Advocate demands more power to probe abuse
Proposed new investigative powers fall short of protecting the province’s most vulnerable children and youth, says Irwin Elman.
Ontario’s official child advocate says proposed legislation giving him ombudsman-like authority to investigate Children’s Aid Societies falls short of protecting all of the province’s most vulnerable kids.
“All of the children and youth in (my) mandate are equally vulnerable . . . not just those who have been placed in the care of a Children’s Aid Society,” Irwin Elman says in his submission to the standing committee reviewing the Kathleen Wynne government’s sweeping new accountability law.
Those in Elman’s mandate currently left out of the legislation include young people involved with youth justice, mental health, developmental services, children’s treatment centres, residential schools for deaf, blind and severely disabled children, as well as First Nations children and those with special needs.
The advocate’s office also needs the power to compel information from all relevant sources when a young person makes a complaint, including the authority to question government or agency staff and the right to enter related premises, Elman says in his submission to be delivered Wednesday.
Under the proposed legislation, the advocate would only have the right to compel information during a formal investigation, and then only in cases involving Children’s Aid. In all other areas of his mandate, the advocate would continue to have no more right to information than what is currently available to the general public under Access to Information laws and through the media, Elman notes.
“The ability to require governments, service providers, institutions and public bodies to provide information is a critical component of the effective and independent discharge of the mandate of the provincial advocate,” he says.
“By granting these significant powers, the legislature will enable the provincial advocate to better protect children and youth and to hold institutions to account,” he adds.
Elman illustrates “the gravity of the situation” by highlighting the cases of several children under his mandate that he has been powerless to help, including a 10-year-old boy in a group home who was put in physical restraints 108 times in 13-months without generating any concern from government or Children’s Aid officials.
Likewise, he has been unable obtain any information about the sexual assault of a 12-year-old autistic boy in a children’s mental health facility, beyond what was reported in the media last year. Nor was he able to get a briefing from the provincial Coroner or Children’s Aid officials about a recently adopted foster child who was found dead in the car of his adoptive father last July.
Elman, the province’s first independent advocate for children and youth, has been pushing for more access to information about children in his mandate, especially those who die in care, since he was first appointed in 2009.
Elman is also seeking whistleblower protection for employees of service providers who report concerns.
Without the changes, the provincial advocate would be the only officer of the legislature — and the only child and youth advocate in Canada — lacking these powers, Elman argues.
“As a general rule, the status, rights and privileges of legislative officers ought to be equal,” he says.
Ontario’s ombudsman, auditor general, chief electoral officer and commissioners for information and privacy, environment, integrity and French language services all have powers to investigate anything within their mandates and to compel disclosure of any relevant information, Elman notes.
The proposed amendments would put Ontario’s child advocate on an equal footing with the other independent officers of the legislature as well as other advocate offices across Canada, Elman says.
The changes would enable him to “better protect children and youth, hold institutions to account, and more powerfully elevate the voices of young people in the province,” he adds.
In its submission Monday, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, which represents 44 of the province’s 46 societies, also urged the government to broaden the advocate’s investigative powers and to give him the same authority to compel information as the ombudsman.
Source: Toronto Star
Mr Elman himself posted to Facebook:
The caution in my optimism was well served. I am entirely disappointed in potential Amendments to Bill 8 the government is considering.
They continue to resist granting my Office access to information including deaths of children other than those connected to a CAS and no other investigatory powers other than what is proposed.
They continue to sit with systems on this issue and not with children
Source: Facebook, Irwin Elman
There is more detail in Elman's press release:
Bill 8 must provide the same protection to all vulnerable children and youth in Ontario, says Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth
TORONTO, Nov. 26, 2014 /CNW/ - The Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth is calling on the government to protect all vulnerable children and youth under his mandate by making changes to Bill 8, Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act, 2014. Bill 8 passed second reading on November 18th and is currently before the Standing Committee on General Government for public hearings this week.
"While I welcome new powers to investigate serious incidents and concerns involving children and youth under the care of the children's aid society or a licensed home where a children's aid society is the placing agent, the bill fails to provide the same level of protection to other vulnerable children and youth in the province," said Provincial Advocate Irwin Elman speaking to a legislative committee in Toronto.
If passed, the bill would make Ontario's Provincial Advocate the only child and youth advocate in Canada with limited jurisdictional powers for conducting investigations. Further, the Provincial Advocate would have less authority and tools to carry out his mandate compared with the other six independent Officers of the Legislature.
"Every year, my Office receives an average of 4,000 calls from children, youth and their families with concerns about their care. Access to information is critical for looking into these concerns. Currently, as the Provincial Advocate, I lack the power to compel a government employee or a service provider to share information. This makes it very difficult to carry out my job and look into concerns involving the treatment of children and youth," said Elman.
Recommendations proposed by the Provincial Advocate to the Standing Committee on General Government to strengthen Bill 8 are as follows:
- Investigate complaints from vulnerable children and youth in all areas of the Advocate's mandate – not just in children's aid society or residential licensee where a children's aid society is a placing agent;
- Ensure accountability by enabling the Advocate's Office to obtain information in the course of its duties, specifically when it reviews complaints or conducts reviews under the Act;
- Provide whistleblower protection for service providers who make reports to the Provincial Advocate. Whistleblower protection under the Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006 covers only employees within the Ontario Public Services and does not extend to employees who work in transfer payment agencies; and
- Enable the Provincial Advocate to communicate Coroner's recommendations where such information is already publicly available.
"The bill fails to protect employees who work in agencies who wish to report a serious incident to the Advocate," continued Elman. "We must create a safe environment where any employee can come forward with concerns involving the treatment and safety of a child or youth."
"These changes are necessary to ensure that all vulnerable children and youth are treated equally and offered the same level of protection and that the Provincial Advocate has the necessary tools to hold organizations to account," said Elman.
About the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth
The Office of the Provincial Advocate reports directly to the Legislature and provides an independent voice for children and youth, including children with special needs and First Nations children. The advocates receive and respond to concerns from children, youth and families who are seeking or receiving services under the Child and Family Services Act and the Education Act (Provincial and Demonstration Schools). The Provincial Advocate may identify systemic problems involving children, conduct reviews and provide education and advice on the issue of advocacy and the rights of children.
The Office is guided by the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and has a strong commitment to youth involvement.
"While the proposed changes are a significant step forward, we encourage the government to move toward international norms and national best practices so that any child or youth entitled to any service provided in Ontario can have recourse to investigation and advocacy support from the Provincial Child and Youth Advocate in a timely, child-sensitive way. Vulnerable children need access to simple and appropriate advocacy support with a focus on their best interests to navigate complex systems and support good outcomes."
—Marv Bernstein, Chief Policy Adviser, UNICEF Canada
"OACAS believes the scope of investigative powers should mirror the full scope of advocacy services provided by the Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth (PACY). PACY should be able to investigate matters pertaining to all children for whom the Office has an advocacy mandate. Children and youth receiving other provincial services, as well as those placed in residential settings by non-CAS agencies, should be equally eligible to access PACY's investigative functions."
—Mary Ballantyne, Executive Director of OACAS
SOURCE Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth
For further information: Media Contact: Eva Lannon & Associates, firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.300.9721
Neil Haskett has issued a call to arms on Facebook:
**Before making any other posts** We've got a troubling post from the Child Advocate, Irwin Elman that after a meeting with the MCYS, the Liberals do not intend to make any amendments to Bill 8. This means there will be no accountability of CAS!!
Until Monday please make this a priority for all the great families being torn apart and more importantly, the safety of kids in care.
We hate to play hardball on the wall but many of us have spent 7 days a week here for over 8 years and this is our last chance for a very long time.
If necessary, the wall will be locked from any further posts.
Please email the Minster, (Hon Tracy MacCharles) and the Liberals below demanding they accept the proposed changes to CAS by the Child Advocate and the Ombudsman.
Hon, Tracy MacCharles
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
56 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2S3
Grant Crack, MPP
Chair, Standing Committee on General Government
Joe Dickson, MPP
Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on General Government
Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...
Alberta Foster Suicide
November 27, 2014 permalink
Alberta's Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff has released 15-YEAR-OLD TONY – An Investigative Review, available in a local copy (pdf). It is about a boy without a name, Tony is only a pseudonym. He hanged himself. Graff does not say when or where, only that it was somewhere in Alberta in the autumn of 2012. A news report from the CBC continues to keep him anonymous.
In a second enclosed report the Edmonton Journal dignified him with a name, Tyrell Darc Skylar Raine, and location, Slave Lake Alberta. The boy was put on the path to suicide with prescriptions for psychotropic drugs, Celexa, Seroquel, Zyprexa and Risperidone along with the anti-seizure medication Topamax.
Child Advocate calls on province to take 'meaningful action'
Del Graff calls for action after investigating suicide of a 15-year-old aboriginal boy
Alberta’s Child Advocate is calling on the province to take “swift, decisive and meaningful action” after conducting an investigation into the death of a 15-year-old aboriginal boy in government care.
The boy — referred to in the report by Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff as “Tony” — was found unresponsive in 2012, hanging in the playground beside his group home. He died in hospital two days later.
“Although attempts were made to keep Tony connected to his family, and his First Nation community, it was not enough,” Graff wrote.
Graff made three recommendations in his report, including that the Ministry of Human Services require a suicide risk inventory be completed for all young people in its care — at all times, and not just at the point of crisis.
"It is the only way that change will happen.”
‘Always smiling and joking’
Tony first entered government care when he was 10-years-old.
“Many remembered him as a ‘cute kid’ who was always smiling and joking,” the report said. “He loved sports, rap music, drawing and camping in the bush.”
The boy suffered from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Although he experienced academic delays, the report said younger children looked up to him. He was even the president of the student council in junior high school.
Over his five years in care, he was moved 13 times and had eight different caseworkers. The report says he tried to harm himself at least four times and that “it was apparent that his intent was getting stronger.”
When he was 13-years-old, Tony was placed closer to his home community so he could have more contact with his family. However, the report says that within two weeks he had damaged property, left without permission and threatened staff.
At age 14, his grandfather — with whom Tony lived with before being placed in government care — was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Tony began running away from the home shortly after. A week after he turned 15, he assaulted a staff member. He was arrested and held in custody overnight.
Tony was last seen leaving the group home with a shoelace in hand after an argument with his girlfriend. He was found hanging in the playground shortly after.
'Intervention system must change'
Graff’s investigation found there are systemic issues hampering the child intervention process.
“Tony’s experiences and his death by suicide contains a clear and compelling message that the child intervention system must change,” Graff wrote. “There are other young people like Tony. We must not wait any longer.”
The report said the government must ensure aboriginal children in care maintain relationships with their families. In this case, Graff said Tony did better in placements that "connected him to his culture and shared traditional teachings with him."
Graff also said that while Tony had made several improvements throughout his time in government care, the gains could have continued if information had been shared between care providers.
"A direct dialogue between a child's previous and future caregivers would enable those who are going to care for a child to benefit from the insights and experiences of those familiar with the child," Graff wrote.
Teen suicide report urges systemic change
Tyrell Darc Skylar Raine was just 15 years old when he walked out of the White Buffalo Healing Centre, tied a shoelace to a piece of playground equipment, and hanged himself.
Two young residents found him there and he was rushed to a hospital in Slave Lake, then airlifted to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton. He could not be saved.
On Wednesday, Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff published an investigative report into Raine’s death, and issued three recommendations to prevent similar deaths in future.
He said front-line caregivers must do more to encourage meaningful relationships in the lives of aboriginal children in care and that they must do a better job of sharing information about what works with each child. He also said suicide risk assessments should be required on a regular, ongoing basis — not just when a child is in crisis.
Raine’s suicide, he said, “was not an isolated, impulsive event.
“During his last four years, he attempted suicide at least four times. … Caregivers informed caseworkers of his suicide attempts. Looking at these incidents together reveals a pattern of attempts following periods of stress and uncertainty.”
Graff’s report — which uses the pseudonym “Tony” instead of the boy’s real name — paints a heartbreaking picture of a young man who was losing his beloved grandfather to a terminal illness while being moved to 13 different homes over five years.
He was on three drugs to control violent outbursts associated with exposure to alcohol in the womb and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
After he died, workers found his writings, which revealed suicidal thoughts.
Human Services Minister Heather Klimchuk stopped short of saying the province would formally accept the recommendations.
“With respect to these recommendations, of course we’re going to look at them and most definitely get back to the advocate,” Klimchuk said.
“An investigation means we can look for outcomes together. It’s not about assigning blame, its about working together. … My sense is they’re very valid recommendations.”
Wildrose critic Jeff Wilson said the report “highlights the need for this government to start implementing and tracking recommendations (Graff) has been making.
“Whatever they’re doing, it quite frankly isn’t working,” Wilson said.
Tyrell Raine’s mother, Rosanne Tracy Raine, said while she’s happy the report might prevent future deaths, losing her son has been “very, very hard.
“I would not wish that upon any other mother ... it’s the hardest thing I ever went through,” she said Wednesday.
The last time she spoke to her boy was four days before his death. They argued because he wasn’t taking his medication, but she called him the next morning.
“I said everything is OK, things will be fine. I still love you.”
She never spoke to him again.
Source: Edmonton Journal
Parents Don't Need to Know About Daughter's Death
November 27, 2014 permalink
The mother of Australian foster teenager Karmah Jayne Hall found out about her daughter's suicide only from a posting on Facebook. That is bad enough, but when she called for confirmation, the foster agency and Family and Community Services both refused.
Foster care tragedy: Karmah Jayne Hall's family learnt of her death on Facebook
The biological family of a 14-year-old girl who took her own life while in foster care have told of their anguish about learning of her death via Facebook.
The family of Karmah Jayne Hall, who suicided at her foster parents' property in Sydney's north-west, claim authorities failed to inform them of her death in September.
They told the ABC they were also shocked to discover Karmah's foster father had been investigated over allegations he abused a 12-year-old girl in his care. The NSW Ombudsman cleared the man of the allegations, made five years ago.
Karmah was removed from her biological parents when she was 11 months old due to family violence and had lived with the same foster family in Kenthurst since.
Her mother, Donna Rathborne, had regular contact visits with her daughter who went missing on September 2 and was found in a shed on the foster family's property three days later. Ms Rathborne said she was stunned to hear about her daughter's death on Facebook.
"My daughter Kate rang me and said, 'Mum, I've just seen on Facebook - Rest In Peace, Karmah," Ms Rathborne told the ABC.
"I inboxed the young boy and he said, 'I'm in Cairns and my mother just told me that Karmah committed suicide'.
"I said, 'No that's not right. It's just not right'."
Ms Rathborne said she rang the foster agency, Wesley Dalmar, and Family and Community Services, which both refused to confirm the death.
Her daughter Kate then contacted the principal of Karmah's school, Galston High, who confirmed the family's worst fears.
The report comes a day after the NSW Auditor-General found that Family and Community Services is only reviewing the placements of half the foster children in its direct care.
Police are preparing a report for the coroner.
Source: The Age
November 26, 2014 permalink
A Breitbart-London article shows the professions that attract students with the highest IQ: physics, astronomy, philosophy, mathematics, engineering, computer science. And the lowest IQ profession? Social work.
Scientific Proof That Public Debate Is Dominated By Stupid People
Have you ever picked up a newspaper, read a story about the teaching unions and thought: how on earth did these people get into positions of influence? Why is everyone so stupid? Well, you're not alone. And, if a graph that landed on my desk yesterday is right, there's a scientific basis for your frustration: you're probably a lot smarter than they are.
The chart, created by data scientist Randy Olson in June, shows the average IQ of US college majors in various subjects. The data is plotted against gender too, but we'll come to that can of worms in a minute. Physics, engineering, philosophy and computer science are the hardest subjects with the smartest students. Social work, health and education scoop up the dregs. ("Gender Studies" doesn't even make the cut.)
But hang on. Social workers, teachers, the NHS... aren't these all the groups we're relentlessly told to "listen and believe" and whose tweets and impassioned blog posts kick off media storms on a near-daily basis? The BBC, the Guardian and the Labour Party treats these professions as somehow sacred. They're our proud, hard-working backbone, protectors of the people, brave morally unimpeachable trustees of the nation. So they are allowed disproportionately large voices in our debates and awarded undeservedly privileged status in our national culture.
Yet aren't these same groups the ones so hopelessly incompetent that they're snatching babies from perfectly fit parents, allowing children to graduate dumb as boxes of frogs and killing off our elderly relatives in filthy, haphazardly run hospital wards? If only nurses put as much effort into keeping their patients alive as they do into strike action and marches against the evil Tories.
The truth is, compared to every other profession, these are some of the least intelligent people in society and thus to anyone with any common sense the last people who should be invited on TV and given national newspaper blogs to talk about serious issues. Yet up pops the Guardian with a sob story from a nurse about how hard she works and that's supposed to affect how we believe the NHS should be run.
And just look at the way power works these days on social media. Remember Dr Matt Taylor, the hero scientist who landed a probe on a comet? His achievement was totally overshadowed by feminist critics who picked on him for wearing a saucy but totally harmless shirt and abused him on Twitter for being a "sexist." The bulk of the criticism came from the sort of people I just described.
And when you look, too, at risible enterprises such as the Everyday Sexism project, you see a pattern emerge: dig down into individual tweets and you invariably see "nurse," "teacher," "social worker" or something similar in the bio. Why are we allowing people so obviously ruled by emotion instead of reason to chart the course of national debate?
It's galling because the smartest members of our society are rarely heard from. Physicists and mathematicians aren't always the most camera-friendly of people, though they are the ones who move human civilisation forward. What we consider news these days seems more concerned with gender pronouns than it does scientific progress. When was the last time you saw a scientist on Newsnight? Can you even remember one?
Of course, there are all sorts of reasons some people don't like IQ as a measure of intelligence. Some people say it's biased against women and non-white test subjects. And we should note that the scores above are inferences from SAT scores and not specially-tested students. But IQ remains one of the most accurate gauges we have of a person's future success and earning potential in today's economy. And it's a pretty solid indicator of their reasoning skills, too.
Now let's consider gender. It's not accurate to say, based on the data above, that "women are thicker," although I know that's what you'll have been wondering. But if it's true, as some claim, that there are similar numbers of men and women in each percentile of IQ, why do we see the graph above? If the smartest women aren't learning how to land probes on asteroids or unlocking the secrets of the universe with maths, what are they doing? Where are they?
The best guess from feminists trying to explain away graphs like the one above is that those unmarked subjects in the middle of the graph—history, foreign languages, English, law—attract roughly equal numbers of male and female students but that the women studying those subjects are a lot cleverer than the boys. The problem is, many of the jobs these degrees lead to, in lawyers' offices and research organisations, don't have much purchase on the media. So we only ever hear from thick birds.
But women and men aren't equally distributed in IQ quartiles. So that explanation doesn't hold water. Here's an infamous graph that makes for uncomfortable reading for Women's Studies professors and other academic champions of "equality." This data is uncontroverted, but not uncontroversial: Larry Summers got fired from the presidency of Harvard University just for alluding to it.
What this chart shows is that women tend to fall around the "average" IQ compared to men, who are more often outliers. That is to say, more of the very smartest and very stupidest people are men, while women tend to cluster around the mean. There are vanishingly few women who score over 130 on an IQ test and are classified as having "very superior intelligence." Make of that what you will.
What will be frustrating to many readers is how little heed is paid to the smartest among us, who, if we only listened more often to them and stopped running them down as autistic geeks, video game freaks and oddball science professors, might have better ideas than the "education experts" and social workers who currently dominate discourse in the public square about how society ought to be organised.
It's not as simple as: we need more men on TV. But perhaps we should learn to be less needlessly sensitive to superficial irrelevancies such as the sex organs of the speaker, and concentrate on what they're saying, how smart they are and what they do. It's not too much to ask that the media should want to get the best possible people in front of the nation to explain complex concepts and explain their ramifications.
November 26, 2014 permalink
Alabama social worker Bari Joy Williams was caught driving with a five-year-old girl while smoking a crack pipe. The relationship of the child to the driver was not disclosed.
Social worker charged with smoking crack while driving on I-65 with child in car
HOOVER, Alabama - A manager of a Birmingham substance abuse treatment center faces charges after authorities said she was driving down I-65 smoking a crack pipe with a young child in her car.
Bari Joy Williams, 44, of Gardendale, is charged with chemical endangerment of a child, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, said Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector. Williams was arrested Nov. 20, and released from the county jail after posting $12,500 bond, records show.
Police and court records provide this account of what happened: About 2:30 p.m. last Thursday, a man called police to report a woman driving erratically on Interstate 65 southbound and told police he thought the driver was smoking crack cocaine while she was driving. The caller told police there was a child in the car.
Officers on patrol found the car and followed it to a parking lot in the 1500 block of Montgomery Highway. The officer walked up to the car and saw Williams holding a crack pipe in her right hand. The bottom part of the pipe was wrapped in a washcloth to prevent lip burns.
The officer knocked on the window, and the woman inside tried to hide the pipe. Once she rolled down the window, the officer said the "smell of burnt crack cocaine was overwhelming."
Williams got out of the car and began yelling that she was a social worker and the pipe belonged to her husband. A search of her car turned up a small amount of crack cocaine.
She later told police she was having family problems and relapsed. The 5-year-old girl in the car with her was taken into the custody of the Department of Human Resources.
Williams told police she was the substance abuse director for Olivia's House, according to court records. Efforts to reach Williams and Olivia House officials for comment were unsuccessful. A woman who answered the phone at the center said Williams was the clinical manager there.
Court records show Williams is set to make a court appearance on Wednesday.
Source: Birmingham News
November 26, 2014 permalink
Milwaukee child protectors (DCF) thought a mother could not protect her own children, so they were taken into foster care. DCF protected the children so well that an eleven-year-old girl became pregnant. The father-to-be was the teenaged grandson of the foster mother. DCF returned the pregnant girl to her mother, who arranged for an abortion.
11-year-old Milwaukee girl sexually assaulted in foster care
An 11-year-old girl placed in foster care for her safety wound up sexually assaulted and pregnant.
Last December, a mom got a stunning phone call from an urgent care clinic.
“They were at urgent care because my daughter had been complaining about sore throat. She had been really sick," said the mom, who WISN 12 News is not identifying to protect the daughter. “She said, ’Well, your daughter's pregnant.’ I said, ‘What?’”
The woman on the other end of the phone was the foster mother the state tasked with caring for her 11-year-old daughter.
“They took my children away from me, saying I couldn't protect them. Then, she's placed in a home where something horrific like that was able to happen,” the mom said. “I didn't know what to think. I didn't know which way to turn. I felt like my world was just coming down.”
State records show the state removed the 11-year-old from her home on Milwaukee's north side after allegations her mom abused her.
It moved her to live with a foster parent trained to supervise kids with special behavioral needs. It was there prosecutors said the girl was sexually assaulted by that foster mom's 16-year-old grandson. WISN 12 News has learned he has special needs as well.
“We took a child from a home where she was being physically abused, and put her in a home where she's now being sexually abused,” state Rep. LaTonya Johnson said.
Johnson sits on the Committee on Children and Families. She questioned why the girl was in that foster home. State records show two complaints against the foster mother.
The one in 2008 was deemed unfounded. In 2013, the Wisconsin Department of Child and Families reported that "concerns existed related to the level of supervision provided by the treatment foster parent for the child.” DCF said it addressed the concerns with the foster parent.
“To me, that's an immediate red flag,” Johnson said.
DCF left the girl with the foster mom. Four months later, the 11-year-old was pregnant.
As required by law, DCF posted a report of this so-called "egregious incident."
When WISN 12 News asked for details, DCF said state law requires that "All reports be confidential" including "any document relating to the investigation, assessment and disposition of a report."
“They tell you very little what the department did as a result. It doesn't tell you anything about whether the department messed up. If they dropped the ball. If they made the wrong call,” Johnson said. “They claim that it's for the privacy and protection of the child.”
Johnson said the laws actually protect DCF.
“We're protecting them from having to take the heat,” Johnson said.
“I couldn't imagine that. She's still a baby herself,” the mom said.
After the sexual assault, the state returned the 11-year-old to her mom's custody, and together they faced the difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy.
“I didn't want her to have the baby and have the baby be a constant reminder of what happened to her,” the mom said.
She's speaking out in hopes no other family has to go through this.
“I'm quite sure I'm not the only person they failed, and I'm quite sure I'm not the last person they're going to fail,” the mom said.
Last year, DCF reported 34 incidents considered "egregious" in Milwaukee County, including death. So far this year, there have been 15.
The 16-year-old boy was charged with sexual assault but was never tried. The court found him mentally incompetent to stand trial.
The biological mom was never charged with abusing the girl and went through parenting classes. She's relieved to have her daughter home.
If you'd like to see the reports DCF makes public on egregious incidents in Milwaukee County and statewide, click here.
Source: WISN-TV Milwaukee
Two Newfoundland Foster Teens Charged
November 26, 2014 permalink
Two Newfoundland teenagers in foster care are in the news. A thirteen-year-old girl has assaulted a social worker. In a separate incident, another teenaged girl was in a disturbance at a group home in Conception Bay South
Teen assaults social worker, another causes disturbance
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary arrested a 13-year-old girl Monday afternoon for assaulting a social worker.
The girl was turned over to her parents and will appear in court at a later date.
On Monday night in a separate incident, the RNC charged another teenage girl with mischief after a disturbance at a group home in Conception Bay South.
The 16-year-old was held for court.
Both teens were receiving some kind of government care.
Family Reunited After 32 Months
November 25, 2014 permalink
Christopher Booker reports on the reunification of a Russian-Latvian family living in Holland. The Antonova children are returning from 32 months separation after a judge ruled that they should never have been removed in the first place.
This case illustrates the futility and irrelevance of the court process in child protection. When a family has been wronged, the courts take so long to get things corrected that the family suffers irreparable damage. This abuse cannot be corrected until the interlocutory rules are changed. Children should stay with their parents until after an evidentiary hearing demonstrates that there is a need for child removal.
Twins returned to family after 32 months of hell spent in 'care’
A Dutch case of children kidnapped by the state mirrors what is being done on an unprecedented scale to so many families in Britain, says Christopher Booker.
Anyone wishing to see just how shocking the behaviour of our “child protection” system can be should watch an utterly chilling video on YouTube (see below: “Kidnap of children from their mother by Dutch social services…”). It shows 11-year-old twins screaming in protest as they are seized by social workers and carried off by a mob of policemen, from the loving home they have now not seen for nearly three years.
Although they belong to a Russian-Latvian family resident for years in Holland, it is a scene re-enacted every day in Britain, thanks to a system that the Dutch children’s minister said in 2009 should be an “inspiration” to social workers in his own country. Having reported on this awful story more than once before, I now write about it again because this very day, in the town of Nijmegen, those children will be rushing joyfully into the arms of their mother and their brother Ilja Antonovs (who shot the film) – because last week, a judge ruled that the children should never have been removed in the first place.
I have followed this case because, in so many ways, it mirrors what is being done on an unprecedented scale to so many families in Britain – except that here it is usually not possible to report on them in anything like such graphic detail. This is due to the suffocating secrecy surrounding what our social workers and family courts get up to. As so often in Britain, the Dutch case involves the system colluding with a dysfunctional and absent father to remove children from their family on quite ludicrous grounds, the chief of them being merely that, when at home, the children spoke Russian, not Dutch.
Since March 2012, their mother and Ilja, now 26, have fought an extraordinary battle through the courts, with the aid of two capable and committed lawyers, to get the twins freed from the “living facility” where they were placed by the social workers, at a yearly cost to Dutch taxpayers of €80,000 (£60,000) for each child. Twice the Dutch court of appeal ruled that the children, who were utterly miserable, deprived of their phones, forbidden to watch television or read newspapers, and generally mistreated, should be returned home – only on each occasion for this to be overturned by a judge in a lower, family court. The case has attracted considerable publicity in Russia and Latvia, and even, after it was reported here, in leading Dutch newspapers.
Finally, one judge asked for an assessment of all the family by an independent psychologist. She could not have produced a more favourable report, or been more coruscating about the conduct of the social workers. She was particularly contemptuous of their absurd claim that the only reason for holding the children so long was the mother’s failure to “co-operate with professionals”, an excuse only too familiar here in Britain.
The children, the psychologist found, had been traumatised by the whole experience, as by the quite unnecessary placing of the girl in a “special needs” school, and they should be freed to return home immediately. Last Monday, the judge agreed, and today the family will be reunited.
The real hero of this story is Ilja, who has twice had to miss his place at St Andrews University because of his need to fight for his family, for humanity, for justice and for truth. His tireless efforts to get publicity for his family’s plight on one occasion landed him in prison, on another forced him to flee abroad. I only hope St Andrews will now recognise what an impressive young man he is, as at long last, he hopes to take up his promised place there.
Source: Telegraph (UK)
Advocate Gets CAS to Investigate Abusive Foster Home
November 22, 2014 permalink
Vern Beck found child abuse in a foster home in which CAS failed to alert police about reports of abuse. A day after he posted the story on Facebook, police showed up to interview foster children and action is underway by CAS to have the home closed.
Within the past 15 minutes I finished a video recorded interview with a boy who described how his CAS foster father sexually assaulted him while the boy was bathing in the bathtub. The boy describes that the CAS foster father did this while the foster mother was out of the house.
In addition the CAS workers have become aware of this from other children in the home but as of tonight have not called the police nor have taken the other foster children out of the home. It seems that the CAS workers (unregistered) are trying to prevent a police investigation into sexual abuse of young boys in this home.
I will be contacting the police and the CAS workers to let them know that I have the boy's disclosure video recorded and that full police investigation is required. The boy also states on the video that he does not trust the CAS workers and that the only person he trusts to reveal this information to is myself.
Tragically, many children have lost all faith in CAS workers who as we all know are not registered with the Ontario College of Social Workers.
Vernon Beck An update to this story: 24 hours after I interviewed a boy who alleged he was being sexually abused in a CAS foster home, police came to interview the boy as well. The police interviewed the other boys in the CAS foster home and found that they reported being sexually abused as well. Another CAS foster home will be shut down. More details to follow.
Vernon Beck I already got the boy returned after I had previously videotaped him and contacted the CAS early in the summer The boy was a Crown Ward for over 8 years. Once CAS was notified of my previous interview, they made arrangements to have him returned to his good home where he belonged all along. This sexual abuse came to light after the boy had been returned to his parents in spite of the CAS wanting to keep the kid in the abuse home as long as they could. The kid was a cash cow to the CAS.
Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch
Be Careful Calling Poison Control
November 22, 2014 permalink
Parents now need fear calling poison control when their child ingests a possibly toxic substance. An anonymous mother found her baby chewing ant bait. She is worried poison control will alert CPS.
Will poison control call CPS on me?
Ok, so just now I was getting ready in the bathroom with the baby (he's 10 months) he crawled behind the toilet and got an ant bait and was chewing on it. He didn't appear to ingest anything. (We put it there before he was born and didn't realize it was there).
I called poison control. She said he should be fine. But she asked for my address, will she call CPS? I'm worried.
I know it's horrible. I'm crying feeling like the worst mother in the world.
I actually crawled on my hands and knees to baby proof my house. We have outlet covers, latches on the cabinets, dressers mounted to the walls, we threw away all of the other ant baits and somehow missed this one. It's my roommate's bathroom and I rarely use it. (Hence why I don't clean it regularly.)
Social Worker Forced Entry
November 21, 2014 permalink
When a CPS worker returned to the home of Laura and Jason Hagan for a follow-up visit, the parents refused to let them in without court authority. The worker called for police help. While their three children were watching, police repeatedly pepper sprayed and tasered the parents and the family dog, continuing their assault even after being alerted of Jason's recent hospital visit for chest pains. Police charges of resisting arrest were dismissed by the local court, and the parents are now suing the police officers.
Parents Tasered, Sprayed, Handcuffed—as Kids Watch
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
On November 14, 2014, Home School Legal Defense Association filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against Chief Sheriff’s Deputy David Glidden and Sheriff Darren White of the sheriff’s department of Nodaway County, Missouri. The suit charges Glidden and White with unlawfully forcing their way into the home of HSLDA members Laura and Jason Hagan on September 30, 2011, in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights.
A child protective services (CPS) caseworker had been inside the home several days earlier to investigate a report of a messy house and had returned for a follow-up visit. When Jason and Laura declined to allow her inside she summoned Glidden and White.
When Deputy Glidden arrived at the Hagans’ home he demanded to be allowed inside. Jason opened the door and told Glidden that he could not enter unless he had a court order.
Glidden said he would enter anyway.
At the Front Door
As Jason turned to go back inside, Glidden sprayed him with pepper spray—first at the back of his head and then directly in his face. Glidden also sprayed Laura, who fell to the floor. Glidden then turned to Jason, who was still standing, and shot him in the back with his Taser. As Jason fell, Laura closed the front door. Glidden triggered the Taser three more times through the closed door.
Sheriff White joined Glidden on the front porch. Together they forced open the door and found Laura and Jason lying on the floor. Glidden sprayed Laura in the face a second time while White sprayed Jason and tried to turn him over onto his stomach.
Laura shouted to the officers that Jason had been taken to the emergency room earlier in the week for chest pains. White nevertheless continued attempting to turn Jason over and sprayed him a third time when he was unsuccessful. The officers also sprayed the Hagans’ dog with chemical agent and threatened to shoot it if it didn’t stop barking.
Finally, the officers handcuffed and arrested Laura and Jason and charged them with resisting arrest and child endangerment.
All of this took place in front of the Hagans’ three young children, who were then taken to the emergency room to be evaluated for exposure to pepper spray.
No Child-Welfare Exception to the Fourth Amendment
At Jason and Laura’s trial, the judge determined that White and Glidden had violated the Fourth Amendment when they forcibly entered the Hagans’ home without a warrant. “The State has not offered sufficient, if indeed any, evidence of an exception that would justify a warrantless entry,” the judge wrote in his ruling. The case against Laura and Jason was dismissed.
HSLDA is representing the Hagans in a lawsuit against the two officers who attacked Jason and Laura and terrified their three young children in their own home.
The Fourth Amendment strikes a carefully crafted balance between a family’s right to privacy and the government’s need to enforce the law. In most situations, government agents cannot simply force their way into a home. Instead, they must explain to a neutral magistrate why they need to enter the home, and they must provide real evidence to support that need. This rule applies to all government agents. Court after court has agreed that there is no social services exception to the Fourth Amendment.
All too often, law enforcement officers and child-welfare workers act as if the Fourth Amendment does not apply to CPS investigations. They are wrong. The Fourth Amendment is a legal shield that protects people from exactly the kind of mistreatment the Hagans endured.
HSLDA is firmly committed to protecting the front door against unlawful invasions. As the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said in HSLDA’s seminal Fourth Amendment case Calabretta v. Floyd, “The government’s interest in the welfare of children embraces not only protecting children from physical abuse, but also protecting children’s interest in the privacy and dignity of their homes and in the lawfully exercised authority of their parents.”
The court added, “The reasonable expectation of privacy of individuals in their homes includes the interests of both parents and children in not having government officials coerce entry in violation of the Fourth Amendment and humiliate the parents in front of the children.”
High Cost to Children
According to Doriane L. Coleman, a Duke University law professor, ignoring the Fourth Amendment rights of families during CPS investigations comes at a high cost to the very children government agents are supposed to be protecting. In her aptly-named article, Storming the Castle to Save the Children: The Ironic Costs of a Child-welfare Exception to the Fourth Amendment, Professor Coleman says that home investigations “epitomize deep intrusion[s] in both symbolic and actual respects.” They can shatter the innocence of even the youngest of children, causing a broad range of emotional responses, including “trauma, anxiety, fear, shame, guilt, stigmatization, powerlessness, self-doubt, depression, and isolation.” (47 William and Mary Law Review 444 (2005)).
All of this makes Fourth Amendment litigation a serious matter. It is a crucial part of defending our civil liberties. When HSLDA takes cases like the Hagans’, we do not intend to show disrespect for law enforcement officers. We know that they have a difficult job.
But there are rules, and they exist for a reason.
Law enforcement can only work if our officers follow the laws themselves. If we stand by and allow law enforcement to flagrantly disregard our Fourth Amendment rights, those rights will be eroded and eventually ignored. And real parents and real children will continue to be harmed.
Cases like this one don’t just protect the rights of one family. They protect the rights of everyone.
Would you please consider standing with Laura and Jason Hagan by supporting the HSLDA’s Homeschool Freedom Fund? Your tax-deductible donation will be used to pursue this and other civil-rights cases.
Thank you for all you do to support homeschooling and parental freedoms.
HSLDA Senior Counsel
Alberta Reverts to Foster Death Secrecy
November 20, 2014 permalink
Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley says that regulations approved by the legislature without discussion amount to undoing the legislation opening records of provincial foster deaths.
Alberta NDP leader slams Tories’ publication ban rules
EDMONTON - In a searing minority report, NDP Leader Rachel Notley said a Tory-dominated committee flouted 12 expert opinions and ignored opposition pleas to reconsider new rules governing publication bans for children who die in provincial care.
Notley said the committee passed a regulation written by Alberta Human Services “with barely any deliberation,” despite expert concerns from the Child and Youth Advocate, the Privacy Commissioner, several child advocacy groups and the Canadian Media Lawyers Association (CMLA).
In the three-page report, Notley says the committee was “careless” and the resulting regulations “effectively reinstate the publication ban and further reduce transparency and accountability in the ... death review process.”
“Both the process and the regulations as passed are deficient and do a disservice to the children in government care and to the public interest in improving conditions for them,” Notley wrote.
Early in 2014, the province repealed a sweeping publication ban that prevented media from publishing the names of children who died in provincial care, replacing it with a law that allowed families, government and others to apply for a ban when required. That application process is ex-parte, which means it can be done by going before a judge without notifying anyone.
This means the government can apply for a ban without notifying family members, and anyone can apply for a ban without notifying the media.
“The Supreme Court of Canada has explicitly stated that publication bans must be exceptional and that the removal of notice requirements ... is a ‘significant step backward’ in Alberta law,” Notley wrote, citing the submission from the CMLA.
“Several of the government’s own appointees and acknowledged subject experts noted that the use of an ex-parte process ... will create imbalances in application,” explaining that court applications are easier for government lawyers to navigate than vulnerable families who have lost children in care.
Further, Notley said the new guidelines governing when the province will seek a ban means “virtually all children who die in the care of this government will remain subject to a publication ban.”
Human Services Minister Heather Klimchuk said she is aware of the report but hasn’t read it, and that she has no plans to reopen the legislation. However, she said she will look at the concerns about ex-parte applications.
“If that’s something I need to look at, I will look at that,” she said. “As the new minister, these are issues that are very important to me. All I know is that as of late, we have not applied for any publication bans.
“I can assure you they’re only used for very good reason.”
Source: Edmonton Journal
Reform Cuts Half of British Adoptions
November 20, 2014 permalink
After Judge Munby handed down a judgment requiring social workers to do their job properly, adoptions in Britain have dropped by 51 percent. Christopher Booker also reports that Peter Lewis, the man in charge when Jonas Stadden died in foster care, is collecting annual pay of £318,000 for a four day week.
Adoptions collapse after judge denounces 'sloppy’ social workers
The Government’s flagship adoptions policy lies in ruins
Scarcely a day goes by now without more public evidence of disquiet at how lamentably our “child protection” system has gone off the rails. On Tuesday, for the second time, parents convinced that their children had been wrongly removed from them went to Brussels to appear before a sympathetic committee of the European Parliament. This time they were protesting at the ruthless pressures brought on them by social workers for daring to put their case to the MEPs. It prompted one committee member, Tatyana Zdanoka, to say: “In my experience the UK is unique in Europe for the secrecy of its family courts and for the threats and bullying by authorities of parents who want to speak out about their treatment.”
In Somerset, where I live, there has been some stir over the sacking of a second director of our county’s children’s services department, in advance of yet another Ofsted report giving it the lowest possible rating of “inadequate”.
Peter Lewis, who came from Haringey, where he replaced Sharon Shoesmith after her sacking over the “Baby P” scandal, was revealed last summer to be earning £318,000 for working a four-day week. Yet this was the man at the top last winter when I reported one of the most tragic cases I have ever covered. This was the death in his council’s “care” of a much-loved little Down’s syndrome boy, Jonas Stadden, when our county coroner refused to hold an inquest on the truly appalling circumstances surrounding the way the child died (see my articles in January: “A mother’s diary records the death of a boy in care” and “Parents 'numb with grief” as inquest is refused”).
And now we have startling evidence of how an excoriatory landmark judgment last year by the head of the Family Division, Lord Justice Munby, has blown a mighty hole in the Government’s flagship policy that requires many more of the 68,000 children in state care in England and Wales to be placed for adoption, and all within a maximum of 26 weeks. Emphasising yet again how sending a child for adoption is one of the most draconian decisions anyone can take, Munby ruled in the case of “Re: B-S” that the “sloppy practices” of too many of those involved in the child protection system “must stop”. The inadequate “reasoning put forward in support of the case for adoption” by local authorities, and also by “too many judgments”, he said, was “nothing new”. “But it is time,” he warned, “to call a halt.”
Now we can see the results of Munby’s judgment in the latest figures showing that, between April and June this year, the number of “placements” for adoption fell from the same period in 2013 by a staggering 51 per cent. The Government’s flagship policy lies in ruins: all because the social workers and judges have been told on the highest authority to start doing their job properly.
Source: Telegraph (UK)
Missing Boys in Peterborough
November 19, 2014 permalink
Levi Moore, 13, and Connor Bolton, 10, are missing in Peterborough. Since there is no mention of family in the news, they could be escaped foster children.
Two boys remain missing
Two runaway boys were still missing late Tuesday night, a day after Peterborough police revealed their disappearance.
Const. Peter Sejrup said the boys, aged 13 and 10, were still listed as missing as of late Tuesday night .
Levi Moore is 13, white, 5'2" and 100 pounds with brown hair and prominent eyebrows. He was wearing an orange Philadelphia Flyers jersey, black pants and a black bicycle helmet, police said, and was riding a black and red Supercycle bicycle.
Connor Bolton is 10, aboriginal, 4'5" and 80 pounds with dyed red hair. He was wearing a camoflague coat, black pants, a red DC ball cap and a black/brown bicycle helmet. He was riding a blue and white Dirt Jumper bicycle.
The boys were last seen unday at about 11:10 a.m. in the area of the Walmart on Chemong Rd., police said.
Bolton was also seen at the Esso station/Macs convenience store at Hwy. 7 and Old Keene Rd. at about 2:30 a.m. Monday, police said.
The boys are believed to still be together, Sejrup said.
Anyone knowing their whereabouts can call city police at 705-876-1122 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.
Source: Peterborough Examiner
Nameless Baby Taken over Unadjudicated Allegations
November 18, 2014 permalink
A Montreal mother has lost her baby daughter to Batshaw Youth and Family Centres. She has spent two years jumping hoops for Batshaw. She did anger management with the therapy. The baby's grandmother tried to get custody, but Batshaw disqualified her. It seems grandma is herself a former foster child. Recently visits with the baby have been cut back because of allegations of abuse by a social worker. There is of course, no tribunal to adjudicate the allegations. As usual in this kind of case, Batshaw is mum. The family cannot mention their own name or the name of the baby in public.
Young mother fights to get her 4-year-old back from youth protection
MONTREAL – A 20-year-old mother of two will never forget the day her first-born daughter was taken away by youth protection in May of 2012.
“That was one of the worst days of my life when I lost her. Everything fell apart, and it’s been a fight ever since to get her back,” said the young mother who Global News can’t identity to protect the child’s identity.
The four-year-old girl was first placed in foster care over allegations of neglect and physical abuse between her biological parents. Her mother has been fighting to get custody for more than two years, and insists she’s done everything her social workers have requested.
“I did therapy. They said anger management, I did anger management with the therapy,” said the mother, “It’s false hope all the time, do this and then we’ll send her back and then, nothing!”
The child’s maternal grandmother has also attempted to get custody, but says she was denied due to her history with youth protection.
“I was also a DYP child, well what was called Ville Marie at the time. Because my children were in the DYP system they refused me to have my granddaughter.”
The mother says her weekly visits with her daughter have recently been reduced over allegations that the four-year-old was sexually assaulted by both her mother and her new 19 year-old boyfriend.
“To be accused, I’m her mother — that’s the last thing I would do to my daughter!”
Both the mother and boyfriend blame the social worker for what they call false accusations.
“I think he’s just stupid because he has no proof on it he’s just putting this stuff in her head,” said the 19-year-old, who is now no longer allowed to even see the four-year-old. The mother is hoping to increase her visitation rights but doubts she’ll get her daughter back anytime soon.
“There’s so many times I want to cry with her and I know I have to hold back the tears and tell her, ‘it’s ok, I’ll see you again in a few days or in a week at the next visit,’” she said.
Batshaw Youth and Family Centres has refused Global News’ request for an interview on this case. But we are told there is a specific process in place to investigate sexual and physical abuse allegations. The little girl’s family adamantly denies there was ever any sexual abuse.
“I think it’s all just pathetic, they’re looking for any way to try to keep my daughter in foster care,” her mother said.
The director of Head and Hands in NDG believes young parents are often victims of discrimination.
“We see a lot of cases like this,” said Jon McPhedran Waitzer. “Young parents by and large are labelled by pretty much everyone in their lives. And unfortunately sometimes the most so by the institutions that are there to support them as people who have made bad decisions and who are [going to] continue making bad decisions.”
There’s a new child in the picture since September. The young mother in question just gave birth to a second baby girl. But her family is still far from complete. She dreams of the day when she’ll have both her daughters at home.
“I just want youth protection to know that no matter how hard they try it’s not gonna work,” she said, “I’m never gonna give up on my daughter as long as it takes, she will come home!”
Source: Global News
DHS Dog Bites Boy
November 18, 2014 permalink
An Oklahoma family had their son taken into foster care a week age. There he was mauled by a dog. The family cannot say the boy's name in public. They cannot publish pictures of their injured child. The state DHS will not respond to questions about the incident, giving instead a paragraph from one of their manuals.
Child attacked by dog while in foster care, Oklahoma family demanding answers
SEMINOLE COUNTY, Okla. – A child is attacked by a dog while in foster care, now one Oklahoma family demands answers.
They feel like the state has let them down, but the Oklahoma DHS says this was just a terrible accident.
Just last month, the little one year old boy was the picture of happiness. But a picture taken this weekend shows nothing but pain.
His face scarred, with close to 20 stitches across his cheek.
“I want someone to pay for my grandson’s disfigurement,” said Tracy McNabb, the young man’s grandmother.
The little boy, whose name will remain anonymous, was taken by DHS last week and placed into a foster home.
“The person they were put in care with had a dog,” said Kathy Hudson, concerned family member. “The dog attacked him.”
“I’ve heard he had extensive face surgery, and many stitches,” said McNabb. “The system that is supposed to protect children, totally failed.”
Today, Oklahoma DHS showed KFOR their policy regarding foster home’s with pets:
Animal and household pet safety.
- Animals are in good health, do not show evidence of carrying disease and do not present a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of children.
- Documentation of current rabies vaccinations administered by a licensed veterinarian for dogs, cats, and other applicable pets is provided by the Bridge resource applicant or parent.
- When an animal bites a child, the Bridge resource applicant or parent contacts the assigned child welfare (CW) specialist immediately.
OK-DHS tells KFOR while they’re aware of the situation, this truly was an accident.
“My question is, what kind of care giver is that,” said Hudson. “Do you still trust them?”
According to the DHS, the child was placed into another foster home on Monday.
Social Worker Stabbed
November 17, 2014 permalink
A New Jersey social worker is on life support after being stabbed 21 times. No names are available.
Social worker stabbed 21 times in Camden office building
A New Jersey social worker is hospitalized after being stabbed repeatedly inside a state office building.
CAMDEN, N.J. (WPVI) --
A New Jersey social worker is hospitalized after being stabbed repeatedly inside a state office building.
The stabbing occurred around 1:30 p.m. Monday in an office building on the 100 block of Haddon Avenue.
Action News is told the woman, who is an employee with the Department of Children and Families, was stabbed 21 times in the incident.
"She was on top of her just stabbing her and stabbing her," Angel Moore explained.
Moore, of Camden, tells Action News that she was with her caseworker on the fourth floor of the state office building when the attack occurred.
She says it was that much more terrifying to see the attacker was someone she has known since childhood - someone Moore described as a person who has been dealing with mental issues for years.
"I know she's been through some stuff. She takes medication. I just talked to her mom, she has not been taking her medication," Moore said.
Witnesses we spoke with say the attacker simply pulled out a knife and started stabbing the employee repeatedly.
The victim was rushed to Cooper University Hospital for treatment. She underwent surgery and is now on life support.
Larry Randall, the victim's union representative, says this incident could have been avoided if this building was equipped with metal detectors.
Randall says, "It's almost appalling. Because if you think about what our members do ... you need to be protected when you're inside these buildings."
The attacker did run from the building, but police say a suspect has been arrested.
The names of the victim and suspect have not yet been released.
Source: WPVI-TV Philadelphia
The next day the attacker was named as Taisha Edwards. The social worker in critical condition is Leah R Coleman. The attack came two days after police were removed from child welfare offices.
Camden woman identified as attacker in child welfare worker stabbing
CAMDEN — The woman who brutally attacked a social worker on Monday with a knife — stabbing her more than 20 times, according to reports — has been identified as a city resident.
Taisha Edwards, 30, was charged with criminal attempted murder, aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a knife, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful possession of a weapon.
She is being held in the Camden County Jail on $500,000 bail. A court date has yet to be set, Andy McNeil, public information officer for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, said.
Leah R. Coleman, 29, of Camden, who works with the Department of Children and Families, was reportedly stabbed multiple times shortly after 1 p.m. inside the state office building along Haddon Avenue.
Edwards was monitored by Coleman, police and union officials said.
Camden County officials said Coleman was in critical but stable condition as of Tuesday morning. She was transported to Cooper University Hospital in critical condition following the attack.
The attack comes two days after the departments of Children and Families and Human Services reorganized the Human Services police force and pulled all of its officers out of the children welfare offices to save money on overtime, a long-standing problem in the department.
New Jersey could respond to the attack by implementing more family-friendly policies, or by stepping up security. They chose the security option.
Following N.J. caseworker stabbing, Camden building will get armed guards and security officers
TRENTON — Armed guards and security officers with metal detector wands will be stationed inside a Camden office building following the violent attack Monday on a child welfare caseworker by a client she had been supervising, a top union official said today.
After a contentious and emotional morning meeting today between child welfare employees and Department of Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake, the decision was made later in the day to install security and armed guards at the Haddon Avenue building, said Hetty Rosenstein, state area director for the Communications Workers of America.
Blake’s spokesman Ernest Landante did not return a call or email seeking comment. The department has not made any public statement since the attack.
But child welfare workers in Camden and across the state have asked for far more protection, Rosenstein said. The union filed a grievance Monday night demanding security guards and metal detectors for each of their county and local offices.
They also want the Christie administration to reconstitute the special Human Services Police unit that until Saturday had officers inside many offices, not for security purposes but in order to escort caseworkers to dangerous homes or help locate missing children. The child protection unit was disbanded to alleviate excessive overtime costs, according to the Department of Human Services, which oversees the 92-member police force.
“It should not take someone nearly stabbed to death to get security in every office,” Rosenstein said.
Taisha Edwards, 30 of Camden entered the building Monday at 1:10 p.m.and attacked Leah R. Coleman, 29, a caseworker for the Division of Children Protection and Permanency, with a steak knife, stabbing her multiple times, according to police. A fellow employee pulled Edwards off Coleman, who is in critical but stable condition at Cooper University Hospital, Camden, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Coleman is “awake and smiling at times. It sounds like she is doing okay,” Rosenstein said. “She is not out of the woods yet.”
Edwards was charged with criminal attempted murder, aggravated assault, aggravated assault with a knife, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and unlawful Possession of a Weapon. She is being held at the Camden County Jail on $500,000 bail, according to a statement from Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo and Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson this morning.
The attack comes two days after the departments of Children and Families and Human Services reorganized the Human Services police force and disbanded a unit created a decade ago to improve working conditions at what was widely regarded as a mismanaged and under-funded child welfare system. Over the years, however, the overtime became a source of strife for officers not assigned to the child welfare unit, according to current and former state officials and officers. Beginning Saturday, police officers have been stationed at three state psychiatric hospitals spread out across the state and are dispatched wherever they are needed.
Since the assault, a Human Services spokeswoman has denied that Human Services police officers had ever been “stationed” inside the offices or were removed from them last week. But Rosenstein, as well as four other past and present child welfare employees and police officers who spoke to New Jersey Advance Media on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to speak to the press said officers reported to work at these offices every day.
Child welfare workers are “traumatized” by the attack on their colleague, Rosenstein said. “We’ve got petitions signed by thousands of workers” to bring the officers back, she added.
Adopting Stolen Children
November 17, 2014 permalink
Iowa held an adoption ceremony in which hundreds of families finalized their adoptions. But outside the courthouse some real parents reminded them that they were receiving stolen goods.
‘We Want Our Kids Back,’ Protestors Gather Outside Courthouse on Adoption Saturday
DES MOINES, Iowa – Hundreds of families made their adoptions final at the Polk County Courthouse during the “Adoption Saturday” event.
For some adoptive families it can take months even years for the state and or adoption agencies to make sure the home is suitable and stable for children to be adopted into. After three years of caring for her now son, Cayden, Julie Hess, says today was about giving Cayden a better life.
“They don`t have to worry about where they are gonna go the next day or the day after, its permanency for them.”
However there are some families not in favor of “Adoption Saturday.”
“I want them back. They should have never been taken from me,” says Jeanne Munson as she protest outside of the courthouse.
She says family members should be considered first before children of the state are adopted by what she calls “strangers.”
“They shouldn’t be taking these kids away from parents and grandparents and families that love them then putting them in a strange home,” says Munson.
Munson cared for her four young grandchildren until the Department of Human Services removed and separated them into different homes in 2009. The last time she saw all four of her grandchildren together was this summer.
Munson says the courts and the Department of Human Services did not take into consideration the children’s well – being under her care. Instead she says the state is corrupt by purposely trying to divide families and luring adoptive families with cash.
“That`s how they get people to adopt children and that`s how they get foster families to adopt children is by giving them a paycheck.”
For over a year, Munson and the other protestors have met with legislators to pass a bill allowing family members easier access to adopt relatives. Munson says, ” We want to make sure that families get the opportunity to adopt these children or take a guardianship over them before the state can get a hold of them.”
However, if it wasn’t for the state and other adoption agencies, Hess says there would be nothing worth celebrating on “Adoption Saturday.”
“He needs a safe environment for his young life. That`s what he needs.”
The group of protestors plan to meet with legislators next week.
They All Look the Same to Me
November 17, 2014 permalink
A social worker looking for a child in a Massachusetts school grabbed the wrong boy. Melissa Gauthier says her son Makya was taken in a mistake that could have been tragic.
Mom: DCF mix-up lands child in care of stranger
FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — The mother of a Fall River student said she is furious with the Massachusetts Department of Child and Family Services. She said a DCF worker mistakenly signed out her 8-year-old son from school on Friday.
According to Melissa Gauthier, a social worker was able to sign out a student from the office of William S. Green Elementary, then take her son, Makya, by the arm out the front door before realizing she had the wrong child.
Gauthier explained to a Boston TV news station that her son was told by the social worker she was there to take him to see his parents.
Aside from the mix-up, there was no reported harm and Makya was picked up and taken home by his father moments later.
But, for a mother, this is a mistake that could have had terrible consequences.
“I’m furious because God forbid that wasn’t a DCF worker. It’s scary for me, let alone my 8-year-old song who’s asking himself what happened to my Mom and Dad as he’s being taken out by his arm by a stranger. “
DCF reportedly told Gauthier they will investigate what happened.