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April 18, 2015 permalink
Manitoba has recently been in the news for its practice of housing foster children in hotels. Now it turns out that when a judge wants to release a foster child from police custody he languishes in jail until a foster home is available.
Manitoba accused of violating rights of foster children stuck in jail CTV National News: Children in police custody
The Manitoba government is under fire after a provincial watchdog said children in government care are languishing in jail due to a lack of foster care spots.
Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said the province is investigating after Children’s Advocate Darlene MacDonald said she receives calls from judges who want to release youth from police custody, but can’t because there is nowhere else to put them.
Manitoba’s Child and Family Services is looking into the matter, Selinger said, and working to create more placements for foster children.
"If in fact, there’s any children staying in any kind of correctional facility longer than necessary, we want to make sure that’s not the case,” Selinger said Wednesday.
However, critics say it is a human rights violation, and are calling on the provincial government to do more.
Progressive Conservative critic Ian Wishart says police custody is not an appropriate place for a vulnerable child, and that the government isn’t moving fast enough to end the practice.
“Kids that don’t need to be in institutions should not be in institutions,” Wishart said.
Manitoba has more than 10,000 children in care and the vast majority are aboriginal.
Youth who break the law are placed at the Manitoba Youth Centre, a correctional facility for kids. They are also placed there when they are picked up off the streets.
A girl who asked not to be identified told CTV News that spending time at the Manitoba Youth Centre became somewhat normal for her as a teen.
As a ward of Child and Family Services since infancy, the girl said she has been in and out of youth jail six times.
A runaway, she was picked up repeatedly for breaking curfew, and has also been charged with assault. The girl says she and others have remained in remand before because there was nowhere else to go.
“It makes us feel like we are not wanted, like they don’t want to get us out of there,” she said.
No one knows how many kids are being kept in jail when they should be released, because officially, no one is keeping track.
Provincial departments such as Manitoba Justice don’t have statistics, and neither does Child and Family Services -- the agency responsible for kids in care.
Cora Morgan counsels youth who have been involved with the law. Increasingly, she’s been speaking with kids who have been left in the Manitoba Youth Centre.
In some cases, she said, they want to stay in jail to avoid hotels.
“In the past two years, I’d say it’s happened around 20 times,” Morgan told CTV News.
Officials are now working to add more shelter beds and foster care spaces. The province estimates as many as 160 new emergency placements are needed by deadline.
The criticism over the lack of foster spaces comes after recent violent incidents involving Manitoba children in government care.
Earlier this month, a 15-year-old girl under the care of Manitoba Child and Family Service was severely beaten outside a Winnipeg hotel. The girl and the 15-year-old boy subsequently charged in the beating were both in foster care and were being housed at the same hotel at the time of the attack.
On Wednesday, the 15-year-old girl was taken off life support.
In light of the attack, the province has vowed to stop using the hotel system to house children by June.
Baby Neglected by CAS
April 18, 2015 permalink
Jenn Feero reports on the care of her newborn while in CAS care. Alberta social workers rebuffed similar complaints by Jamie Sullivan. Her baby was dead four days later.
UNBELIEVABLE C.A.S what a joke they are! NEW Born baby Neglected!
I Had a visit with my little man Ryder today and got the shock of a life time! Went to change his little bum and I opened his diaper up to a mess of poop, blood and a very red little bottom. He has such a bad bum rash it's beet red and blistered and bleeding! He had a minor rash two weeks ago and no one has taken care if it now it has gotten so bad it bleeds and my baby boy screams in pain!
Some lazy cunt is being paid to care for my son so why the fuck is he in the shape he is in he certainly wouldn't look like that if I had him. The foster mom sends no bum cream and doesn't mention any rash nothing! He spent the hour of visiting time crying in pain if you hold him under his bum he cries because it hurts so bad. Like WTF is she doing with my son obviously nothing!!!
Not to mention his cheeks are all broke out and red and his skin is all dried out. They aren't taking good care if him at all. Every time I see him he has new rash or break. There is always something wrong with him and no one seems to notice or no one seems to give a fuck at least!!
If CAS showed up at my place to check on my son and he was in that shape they would rip him out of my home so fucking fast, but because they placed him there he is safe and it's ok because they know it all and they do everything right
I brought it to worker's attention she didn't seem to think it was a big deal! Hello lady are you friggin blind? Look at my kid. He is not being taken care of properly. A monkey could do it better
Don't listen to anything I say though. I'm just the stupid parent that didn't have her kids. What do I know? I can't tell them nothing. They are CAS, the child care professionals, they know it all and they say he's fine and safe so he is fine and safe!!! Yeah what a fucking joke!!! Give me my kid back so he can be taken care of properly. It's not that hard. Some bum cream and a bum change every hour or so, some baby lotion for his delicate skin and some love, care and attention how hard is that? Like you're really that lazy you can't take the time out of your busy day to care for a helpless little baby. CAS is USELESS.
Source: Facebook, Jenn Feero
April 18, 2015 permalink
Following repeated criticism in the press, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto has permanently closed the Motherisk program. There may still be legal actions to undo past injustices caused by Motherisk. Earlier articles:     .
Sick Kids shuts down hair tests at Motherisk lab
Decision comes after a Star investigation into tests used in criminal and child protection cases across Canada.
The Hospital for Sick Children has permanently discontinued hair drug and alcohol tests at its embattled Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory after an internal review “further explored and validated” previous, and as yet undisclosed, “questions and concerns.”
The decision, announced on Friday, comes amid a Star investigation and mounting pressure from critics to shutter the lab, whose hair drug and alcohol tests have been used in criminal and child protection cases across the country, typically as evidence of parental substance abuse.
“Over the past six weeks, the hospital has continued to review its decision to suspend the laboratory’s operations,” Sick Kids said in a statement. “The hospital has concluded that this laboratory service is not required for its ongoing operations.”
The province appointed retired Appeal Court Justice Susan Lang late last year to probe the reliability and accuracy of five years’ worth of drug hair tests performed by Motherisk, from 2005 to 2010.
In March, Sick Kids temporarily suspended all non-research operations at Motherisk, after Lang’s review and the hospital’s review revealed new information, pending the results of Lang’s review, which are expected by June 30.
The hospital has declined to elaborate on the nature of that information. A hospital spokeswoman said on Friday that Sick Kids is not taking media inquiries.
Toronto lawyer James Lockyer, who criticized the hospital’s secrecy in his submissions to Lang on behalf of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, called the hospital’s silence “disquieting.”
“It is a drastic decision, to permanently close down an important operation which, until recently, the hospital was strongly defending,” he said. “The ‘wait and see until the independent review is completed’ only (heightens) concerns about what went wrong.”
Criminal lawyer Daniel Brown, who urged Lang to broaden her review on Motherisk in the submissions he helped prepare for the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, said the hospital “has an immediate obligation to publicly share the results of their internal review so that problems identified during that review can be swiftly corrected.”
In its statement Friday, Sick Kids said it would not provide further details to “maintain the ongoing integrity of the independent review.”
“We understand the public may want more information on the findings that have led the hospital to make this decision, and we believe that it is most appropriate for that disclosure to come through the independent review,” the hospital said.
Health Minister Eric Hoskins refused to answer questions on why there is so much secrecy surrounding the problems uncovered at Motherisk and instead issued a statement by email about Lang’s review.
“The independent review is ongoing and we have confidence in the work that is being carried out by the Honourable Susan Lang,” he said.
Sick Kids recently temporarily reassigned medical oversight of Motherisk, which also counsels pregnant women on which medications are safe to take, amid questions from the Star about the ties between Motherisk director and founder Gideon Koren and the drug company Duchesnay.
The questions related to the lack of disclosure of the funding Motherisk receives from Duchesnay in a booklet for pregnant women co-written by Koren and featured on the Motherisk website, which heavily promotes the use of Duchesnay’s drug Diclectin to treat morning sickness.
The hospital has said it is aware of the concerns about Koren and Duchesnay and is continuing to investigate. It has declined to comment on whether Koren has been removed as director of Motherisk. Koren did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.
The Star investigation of Motherisk began late last year, when an Appeal Court overturned the cocaine-related convictions of Toronto mom Tamara Broomfield after fresh evidence criticized the hair drug tests results Koren presented at her 2009 trial.
Broomfield was sentenced to seven years in prison for feeding her toddler cocaine after Koren testified that tests of her son’s hair showed that he had regularly consumed large amounts of the drug for more than a year leading up to a near-fatal 2005 overdose.
Statement from Hospital for Sick Children
Operations of Motherisk Drug Testing Lab Closed
April 17, 2015 (Toronto)
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) announced today that it will not be reinstating the non-research related activities of the Motherisk Drug Testing Laboratory. The Government of Ontario launched an independent review of the Motherisk hair analysis program, with the full support of SickKids, in November of 2014. The Honourable Susan Lang has been leading the independent review.
Based on information available in November 2014, SickKids made the decision to continue operating the drug testing laboratory. On March 5, 2015 as a result of new information arising from the ongoing analysis by the hospital and the independent review by Justice Lang, SickKids suspended the operations of the laboratory.
Over the past six weeks, the hospital has continued to review its decision to suspend the laboratory’s operations. Questions and concerns have been further explored and validated. The hospital has concluded that this laboratory service is not required for its ongoing operations. For these reasons, the operations of the laboratory will not be reinstated.
To maintain the ongoing integrity of the independent review, SickKids will not be taking media inquiries at this time. We understand the public may want more information on the findings that have led the hospital to make this decision, and we believe that it is most appropriate for that disclosure to come through the independent review.
Lockyer represented Broomfield at the Appeal Court. The fresh evidence he presented came from Craig Chatterton, deputy chief toxicologist in the office of the chief medical examiner in Edmonton, who challenged Motherisk’s findings and said the method the lab used to test the boy’s hair was a preliminary screening test, and the result should have been confirmed with a gold-standard test.
The terms of the independent review were set after Sick Kids told the Star it started using the gold-standard test to analyze hair for cocaine in 2010.
When she announced the review, Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur said it was the first step that could spark a larger inquiry.
The Criminal Lawyers’ Association, the Family Lawyers Association, the Innocence Project and the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted have since called for the scope to be broadened.
Toronto lawyer Katharina Janczaruk, chair of the Family Lawyers Association, said on Friday that the hospital’s announcement bolsters the case for expanding the review beyond 2010, to include whatever new information has arisen about more recent issues in the lab.
“We have a right to know what the new information is because it may have an impact on current cases,” she said.
A spokesman for the review declined to comment on the news from Sick Kids on Friday.
Source: Toronto Star
Meitiv Children Don't Come Home
April 14, 2015 permalink
Police picked up Rafi, 10, and Dvora, 6, children of the high-profile Meitiv, family and turned them over to Maryland child protectors. The parents only found out when the children failed to come home. They spent several panicked hours searching. CPS apprehension without notice is commonplace, though rarely mentioned in the press. Possibly because the public interest in this case is so high, CPS did not apply its usual tactic of placing the kids in foster care, but returned them to the family later that night, though only after extorting more concessions from the parents. Previous Meitiv stories:  . Two articles are enclosed.
‘Free-range children’ taken into custody again in Maryland
Earlier this year Danielle and Alexander Meitiv were investigated by Montgomery County after letting their children, 10 and six, walk home alone from a park a mile away from their house. (Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post)
The two Montgomery County children who were picked up last year while walking home alone were taken into custody again Sunday, authorities said.
The children of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv were taken into custody by county police at a park about 5 p.m. and turned over to the Child Protective Services agency, said Capt. Paul Starks, the county police spokesman. The children’s mother said they were released to the couple at 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
The parents said the children, who are 10 and 6 and have been described as “free-range children,” had been expected home at 6 p.m. Sunday. When that time passed, the parents said, they began looking for them.
“We have been searching for the kids for hours,’’ the mother said in a Facebook posting. They learned of the children’s whereabouts about 8 p.m. The mother said they later spent about a half-hour at the CPS offices in Rockville without being allowed to see them.
Starks said police were dispatched after a stranger saw the unaccompanied children in the park near Fenton and Easley streets. He said police took the children to the CPS office.
No charges had been placed, Starks said, and the matter remained under investigation.
After CPS investigated the earlier incident, the Meitivs were notified that a finding of “unsubstantiated neglect” had been made. That is one of three findings that can be made in neglect investigations. The others are “ruled out” and “indicated.”
An official said that the “unsubstantiated” finding is typically made when CPS has some information supporting a conclusion of child neglect, when seemingly credible reports are at odds with each other or when there is insufficient information for a more definitive conclusion.
The Meitivs’ case prompted debate about responsible parenting, child safety and the government’s role. The couple takes the view that children learn self-reliance by being allowed to make choices and progressively experience the world on their own.
Source: Washington Post
‘Free-range’ kids and our parenting police state
They were coming home from a park, on this gorgeous, blossoming weekend, after playing.
And for this, a 10-year-old and his 6-year-old sister ended up in the back of a squad car. Again. For hours this time.
In the bizarre nationwide culture war over how much freedom children should have to play outside alone, the youngest combatants — Rafi and Dvora Meitiv — are the ones being damaged the most.
This is getting pretty ridiculous. Somehow we’ve morphed from being a village that helps raise children to a parenting police state.
The Silver Spring siblings were about 2 1/2 blocks from their home Sunday when Montgomery County police got a call reporting them — gasp — playing alone.
“The police coerced our children into the back of a patrol car and kept them trapped there for three hours, without notifying us, before bringing them to the Crisis Center, and holding them there without dinner for another two and a half hours,” their mom, Danielle Meitiv, said to her Facebook friends. “We finally got home at 11 pm and the kids slept in our room because we were all exhausted and terrified.”
What a pathetic way to fight about parenting styles. Because the kids are the biggest victims in all this.
Imagine the cops telling two young children to get into the car as they argue that they know their way home, they know where they are going and that their dad said they could walk home. This is what happened in December. And Rafi and Dvora had nightmares about police snatching them that time, their mom told me.
Mom and Dad were dragged into court for that incident, and the nation debated whether they are good or bad parents. Montgomery County ruled that they were guilty of unsubstantiated child neglect. Which means no one could decide who was right.
This time, police were called again by an adult worried about these kids playing outside alone.
Capt. Paul Starks, the county police spokesman, told The Washington Post that the children were taken into custody about 5 p.m. and turned over to Child Protective Services. They were released to their parents at 10:30 p.m. Starks said the matter remains under investigation.
Danielle Meitiv, a climate-science consultant, offered a scarier account of what happened to her children. “The cops said they would drive them home, then kept the kids in the patrol car for three hours,” she told me Monday. “Wouldn’t even let them out to use the bathroom.”
Imagine the message our society is sending the Meitiv kids by holding them in the back of a squad car and in a crisis center for nearly six hours because they were playing alone outside. And if what Danielle said is true — that police initially told the kids they were going to just drive them home — how is this not a kidnapping?
It’s outrageous, really.
If that adult who called police was worried about the kids, why not talk to them? Ask them where their parents were? Walk them home?
Or maybe it was someone who recognized the Meitiv kids, hated their parents’ very public “free-range” advocacy campaign — multiple television appearances included — and decided to get back at them.
If this is how we respond to children playing alone, my kids and I would’ve been locked up multiple times. Walking the dog around the block? Call the Capitol Police! Getting a Popsicle at the corner store? Alert the social workers! Getting me the cheese I ran out of while making dinner? Book ’em!
We need to get a grip. I get that it’s a scary thing to let kids go. But it is absolutely necessary for them to become normal, functioning adults.
My kids play basketball and lacrockey (a made-up hockey/lacrosse thing) in our alley on Capitol Hill. It’s not a suburban cul-de-sac, believe me. The other day, a motorcycle cop rode up to them and asked if they had seen a man running past them.
This was the search that ended on H Street in Northeast Washington, with the capture of a man suspected of killing a security guard at the U.S. Census Bureau.
Did I let them play in the alley the next day? You bet.
Because when I drove past the fatal crash on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway earlier this year, I did not stop driving, either. There are risks in living, no matter what.
Our rapid march toward police-state parenting has got to end.
Today, when you look at the readiness checklists for first grade, you’ll find that we are concerned only with their academic performance, being able to “expand sight words” or “read a graph” or “locate the seven continents and four oceans.” Really.
But take a look at the first-grade readiness checklist from a 1979 book, “Your Six-Year-Old — Loving and Defiant.”
Back then, your child was ready for first grade if he or she had two to five permanent teeth, were at least 6 years and 6 months old and these:
- Can your child tell, in such a way that his speech is understood by a school crossing guard or police where he lives?
- Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home?
- Can he be away from you all day without being upset?
Yeah. Life skills, social development. Becoming actual people, not just little graph readers. We’ve kind of forgotten about that, haven’t we?
Source: Washington Post
Social Workers on Leave
April 14, 2015 permalink
Foster parents Danielle Yates and John Yates failed to adequately nourish their two foster children. The children lost weight under their care. So far, there is nothing unusual. The parents were diverting a stipend for the children for their own use as portrayed two centuries ago by Charles Dickens. What makes this story unusual is that the parents were arrested. Ordinarily foster parents are only prosecuted after their wards die. Even more unusual, three Oregon social workers have been suspended, though they got the mildest possible reprimand, a paid vacation.
DHS employees put on leave after foster parents charged with not providing food, medical care
YAMHILL, OR (KPTV) -
Three employees of the Department of Human Service's child welfare program are on paid administrative leave following the arrest of two foster parents on charges they did not provide adequate food or medical care to two young children.
Danielle Yates, 31, and John Yates, 42, were taken into custody at 6 p.m. Wednesday after they were indicted by a Yamhill County grand jury.
Deputies said the victims, a 4-year-old boy and 5-year-old girl, had been in the couple's care at their Yamhill home for four years.
In that time, the children actually lost weight, according to detectives. A special investigations unit said the kids spent about a week in the hospital during the Christmas holidays after their condition was discovered by a relative.
A special investigations unit conducted interviews and examined evidence, including medical records, and determined the suspects "were not providing adequate nourishment or medical care to the children," according to the sheriff's office.
The couple has legal guardianship over the children.
Danielle and John Yates were booked in the Yamhill County Jail on two counts each of first-degree assault and first-degree criminal mistreatment.
Their bail was set at $350,000 each.
Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to contact Detective Marc Brodeur at 503-434-7506.
The Department of Human Services, released a statement Friday saying the department's director, Lois Day, called on a Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) to conduct a review of the case and identify any potential systemic issues and areas of improvement.
April 13, 2015 permalink
Vanessa Wasiela reports one of the most frivolous pretexts ever for intervention in a family — accidentally hitting a child with a newspaper.
So today I got call from CAS. Meeting with her Thursday! What happened is my hubby, myself and daughter went to Walmart. My daughter was misbehaving so the hubby stayed in car with her. Our daughter is special needs. Anyway the hubby threw a newspaper in the back seat, sadly his aim was off and accidentally hit our daughter with the paper! She started screaming, the hubby asked: what's wrong? She kept screaming: you hit me! He kept saying no because he didn't know he had accidentally hit her at that point! Finally she screamed: you hit me with the paper. He said he was sorry! But too late, somebody had heard our daughter. Took down the car plate then called cops. Cops came, talked to my daughter and myself. I explained, cops felt all was fine but said I could use resources since I have a special needs child and disabled hubby! Why in heck does this worker want to meet at my home? I told her she couldn't come in our home, but we would be happy to meet her at her office. She wanted us to pull our child out of school early, we said no! Finally she said ok how about 5:30 Thursday. Which we was fine too. Can they open a case because of an accident? We don't hurt our child! Even our daughter says it was an accident!
Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...
Foster Teenager Missing
April 13, 2015 permalink
Teenager Jacob Buttineau is missing from his foster home and is believed to be in the area of Midland or Barrie Ontario.
Missing 15-year-old last seen April 10 in Tay Township
TAY TOWNSHIP – Police are asking for the public’s help to find a 15-year-old boy missing from his Tay Township home since April 10.
Jacob Buttineau was last seen leaving home at 10:50 a.m. His foster parents contacted Southern Georgian Bay OPP when he did return by his 9 p.m. curfew.
He is described as white with a thin build. He stands five-foot-10 and has black, straight, medium-length hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a black and green New York Giants baseball cap, a blue hoody and black jeans.
Investigators believe he may be in the Midland or Barrie area. Anyone who has seen him or is aware of his whereabouts can contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122.
Source: Midland Mirror
April 10, 2015 permalink
What kind of research do judges conduct while deciding whether to separate children from parents? They watch porn. Four British judges are out of a job after mis-using court computers.
Judges dismissed after watching pornography on court computers
Judicial Conduct Investigations Office says the four men have left their roles after what it described as "wholly unacceptable conduct"
Three judges have been removed from office and a fourth has resigned after allegations they viewed pornography on court computers, it has been announced.
The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) said in a statement that Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, and Chris Grayling, the Lord Chief Justice, had investigated allegations against the men.
They concluded that it was an "inexcusable" use of court equipment and condemned the judges' conduct as "wholly unacceptable".
The material viewed did not include images of children and was not illegal, a spokesman added.
But he refused to disclose whether the pornography had been viewed during court cases while the judges were sitting on the bench.
A statement from the JCIO said: "District Judge Timothy Bowles, Immigration Judge Warren Grant and Deputy District Judge and Recorder Peter Bullock have been removed from judicial office following an investigation into an allegation that they viewed pornographic material on judicial IT equipment in their offices.
"The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice were satisfied that the material did not include images of children or any other illegal content, but concluded that this was an inexcusable misuse of their judicial IT accounts and wholly unacceptable conduct for a judicial office holder."
Another judge, Recorder Andrew Maw, who sat at Lincoln County Court, was also found to have viewed similar inappropriate material on his judicial IT account.
"The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice would likewise have removed Recorder Maw had he not resigned before the conclusion of the disciplinary process," said a spokesman.
Judge Bowles sat at Romford County Court in east London, Judge Bullock was on the court circuit in the North East, including North Shields County Court, and Judge Grant served in the lower immigration tribunals based in central London.
In 2005 Judge Bullock was involved in a prominent case at Newcastle County Court when Jimmy "Five Bellies" Gardner - a close friend of Paul Gascoigne, the England footballer - was declared bankrupt.
The cases were not linked and are understood to have taken place at different times and places.
One of the judges said he had been suffering from "severe and undiagnosed depression" at the time of the allegation.
Mr Grant, who now works as an immigration law specialist at a firm of north London solicitors, said: "I do not wish to comment save to say that for some years before, and during, the period covered by the conduct which formed the subject of the complaint laid against me I was suffering from severe and undiagnosed depression.
"I request that the privacy of my family and myself be respected so that we are allowed to continue with our lives."
Father-of-five Mr Grant, of Golders Green, north London, was educated at the Royal Newcastle Grammar School and Cambridge University, and has an interest in jazz.
Source: Telegraph (UK)
Kopyto Ousted as Para-Legal
April 10, 2015 permalink
The law society has denied Harry Kopyto the right to practice as a para-legal. Kopyto plans to appeal.
Kopyto vows to fight ‘until my last gasp’
Fresh off a Law Society Tribunal good-character decision denying him a paralegal licence, disbarred lawyer Harry Kopyto is vowing to continue battling the regulator “until my last gasp.”
“I’m outraged and I’m extremely disappointed and the decision is a litany of factual and legal errors as well as distortions of the evidence that was heard,” says Kopyto, 68.
“Am I going to appeal?” he adds. “Does a bear defecate in the woods?”
The comments follow a decision by the tribunal’s hearing division last week denying Kopyto a licence to practise as a paralegal. Following his disbarment in 1989, Kopyto continued to provide paralegal services and, when the Law Society of Upper Canada began regulating paralegals in 2007, Kopyto applied to continue practising under the grandparented provisions included in the new rules. The law society has since brought good-character proceedings to determine whether he can practise as a paralegal.
In coming to its decision to reject his application, the panel seemed at pains to acknowledge Kopyto’s efforts to assist people who can’t afford legal services.
“We have reached this conclusion despite much evidence of the dedication Mr. Kopyto has shown to the causes of his clients,” wrote panel chairwoman Margot Blight.
“Those clients whom he called to testify expressed gratitude to him. We accept that he has sought, throughout his career, to improve the lives of the disenfranchised and the disadvantaged and has represented many clients without seeking any payment. Although this is evidence of good character, it is insufficient to meet the good character requirement of the act, in view of the panel’s many concerns, set out below, and in particular its conclusion that Mr. Kopyto is ungovernable.”
Of particular concern was the panel’s finding that Kopyto had engaged in unauthorized practice.
“Mr. Kopyto acknowledges having provided unauthorized legal services on hundreds of occasions since his disbarment, and on numerous occasions since giving the undertaking,” wrote Blight.
“Typically this consisted of him preparing and filing pleadings in the Superior Court (which is not permitted for paralegals), or engaging in correspondence in respect of Superior Court matters, using his client’s name. . . . For official purposes, Mr. Kopyto’s clients were self-represented, but in fact, he was fulfilling the role of representative using their names. . . . He would propose to conduct discoveries in writing. When this was opposed, he coached the client or arranged for a lawyer to conduct the discoveries. He either coached the client or arranged a lawyer for other court appearances.
“These tactics have sometimes had the desired effect of avoiding Mr. Kopyto’s involvement becoming an issue. However, they have given rise to problems in addition to the obvious breaches of the scope of paralegal practice rules.”
Other concerns noted by the panel included Kopyto’s financial obligations, including his difficulties with the Canada Revenue Agency. According to the panel, Kopyto “does not pay taxes, except through garnishment by CRA of his old age pension.” It also found he had paid nothing towards the costs orders made against him by various courts and tribunals over the years totalling more than $80,000 since 1985.
For his part, Kopyto is unrepentant. The decision, he says, made no reference to the evidence of about 20 witnesses, most of whom were clients, who appeared on his behalf. It also failed to consider what he says is an enviable legal record, including “over 75 cases that have changed the law, including getting the Human Rights Code amended to cover homosexuals and lesbians in the 1980s.”
Kopyto says he’ll be pursuing four grounds of appeal:
- The institutional bias of a panel selected by a minority of lawyers who determine who can participate in a fundamental public institution such as the justice system.
- Alleged personal bias by Blight, whom he says acted as counsel against one of his witnesses in an unrelated proceeding.
- His overall objection to lawyers deciding on who can be part of the legal system, including their paralegal competitors. “They’re protecting their turf,” he says. “There’s a constitutional issue there regarding access to the courts.”
- The ruling’s “endless litany of factual errors,” including the suggestion the Canada Revenue Agency is garnishing his pension. “The CRA is not garnishing my income,” he says. “I don’t know where she got that from.”
Kopyto says the appeal will be expensive, however, given the need to pay for transcripts from the years of proceedings in his case.
“Where am I going to get the $75,000 to pay for the transcripts, which is a prerequisite for proceeding on the grounds of appeal that related to the evidence that she heard?” he asks, noting the proceedings have been going on since 2009 and have included two previous panels.
As for what happens to his practice now, Kopyto says he’ll continue assisting people but hints the battle over his own status is largely about making a point.
“I would have retired years earlier but for these proceedings,” he says. “There’s no personal consequence for me. I’m appealing in order to change the law.”
He adds: “I’m not closing shop. I’m providing free legal advice and assistance to clients who otherwise would not be represented.”
Kopyto notes, for example, that the immigration rules allow paralegals and agents to appear at immigration hearings as long as they act for free, something he says the law society has taken issue with. “I’m continuing to do that,” he says.
“It’s not just another chapter,” he adds. “I wouldn’t be Harry Kopyto if I ever gave up fighting for justice until my last gasp.”
For its part, the panel acknowledged some of the positive aspects of Kopyto’s crusade in its decision on the good-character issue.
“We have no difficulty concluding that Mr. Kopyto is sincerely devoted to pursuing his clients’ causes, and that he has great empathy for them. He is generous, he is appreciated by his clients, and he is dedicated to them. And although these qualities denote good character, they do not justify permitting an individual to provide legal services who considers himself to be exempt from applicable laws and rules, including those regulating his profession, whenever his conscience finds it to be convenient.”
Source: Canadian Lawyer
Social Work Witchcraft
April 9, 2015 permalink
Former British Columbia social worker Heather Carr died in a fire. Investigators found the fire was the result of a pagan ritual gone wrong. Did your social worker act like a witch? Maybe she was.
B.C. woman set on fire in supposed pagan ritual was social worker on Schoenborn file
KAMLOOPS, B.C. — A B.C. woman who died this week after being found ablaze in Riverside Park was a former social worker in Merritt who went on long-term disability after three children in her case-management file were murdered by their father.
Heather Arlene Carr was discovered on fire by emergency responders just after 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze but the 40-year-old died in hospital a few hours later.
Police initially suspected suicide, but BC Coroners Service investigators believe the death was accidental. According to posts on Facebook, Carr’s death was the result of a pagan ritual gone wrong.
Carr, a Thompson Rivers University graduate, was a social worker in Merritt. She had the file for Allan Schoenborn’s three children: Kaitlynne, Cordon and Max.
Schoenborn killed the three children in April 2008 inside the Merritt home they shared with their mother, Darcie Clark.
Carr went on stress leave after the murders and was later placed on long-term disability.
In 2010, Schoenborn was found not criminally responsible for the killings by way of a mental disorder. He remains in psychiatric custody in Port Coquitlam.
Carr was active among Wiccan groups on social media, operating a Facebook group called Being Pagan Out of the Broom Closet.
A post on that page said Carr died as a result of “severe burns suffered in a ritual gone horrifically wrong.”
The B.C. Coroners Service and the RCMP continue to investigate.
Source: The Province
Teens in Foster Hotel Fight
April 9, 2015 permalink
A teenaged girl is in a coma after she was beaten by a teenaged boy. Both teens were in custody of Manitoba CFS and housed in a hotel. CFS is placing the entire blame on the boy.
Teen girl's family in shock over vicious attack in Winnipeg
'She didn't deserve that,' says aunt of teen, who remains in a coma
The aunt and brother of a 15-year-old girl who was viciously beaten this week in downtown Winnipeg say they're disturbed by the assault and the serious extent of her injuries.
"I'm still in shock. I can't believe that happened to her. She didn't deserve that," the girl's aunt told CBC News in an interview Thursday evening.
The teen has been in critical condition in a Winnipeg hospital since she was found badly beaten early Wednesday morning on Hargrave Street near St. Mary Avenue.
"I didn't want to believe it was my sister there," said the teen's brother.
The aunt and brother are not being named to protect the identity of the girl, who is a ward of the Child and Family Services system as well as a minor and a victim of sexual assault.
The aunt said her niece is in a coma with severe head injuries. Her head is badly swollen and she cannot open her eyes, she added.
"I only went for a visit for, like, 15 or 20 minutes. I didn't really want to stand that much longer, looking at my sister like that," the brother said.
"She might not even make it the next couple nights," he added.
Boy charged with aggravated assault
A boy, also 15 years of age, has been charged with aggravated assault and aggravated sexual assault.
Winnipeg police said the suspect and victim know each other.
Both were in government care and were housed at the same downtown hotel, a few blocks away from the place where the victim was found.
"It's my understanding that they were walking around together downtown and some kind of argument ensued between the two of them," Const. Chris Wingfield told reporters earlier Thursday.
The teen's aunt described her niece as a good girl who was kind to everyone, and her brother said he and his sister were very close. The siblings lived with their grandmother in a home in Winnipeg's North End.
However, they said the girl had friends who were a bad influence, and she ended up in the child welfare system in part because she was running away from home.
"Taking off every once and a while without telling my granny … that's part of the reason why," the brother said.
When asked what she would say to her niece's alleged attacker, the aunt said, "You almost killed my niece. You should've just walked away from her if she was getting you mad. You didn't have to beat her up so bad, because she looks really bad."
2nd incident in a year
The latest attack marks the second incident within a year involving a teenage girl who was in the child welfare system.
In August 2014, the body of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine was recovered from the Red River in Winnipeg, over a week after she was reported missing.
Like the victim in the latest case, Fontaine was staying at the same Winnipeg hotel while in care last summer. She left the hotel and disappeared.
Fontaine's death is being investigated as a homicide, but no arrests have been announced.
Her great aunt, Thelma Favel, said she's disgusted to hear there is now a similar case. She wants the provincial government to fix the system.
"They shouldn't be called Child and Family [Services] because they don't care," Favel said Thursday.
"They don't care about the child. They don't care about the families that love their child."
The province says it will end the practice of housing children in care in hotels — a practice that was meant to be a last resort — by June 1.
Manitoba has about 10,000 children in care, and on any given day, dozens are put up in hotel rooms because there aren't enough foster homes.
Provincial child advocate Irwin Elman wants to ban the use of hotels for foster children in Ontario.
Ontario urged to ban use of hotels, motels for foster children
String of Manitoba attacks prompts Ontario child advocate to demand ban on opaque practice of placing kids in hotels, motels when homes unavailable.
Ontario needs a policy to prohibit children’s aid societies from placing kids in hotels and motels when foster and group homes aren’t available, the province’s child advocate says.
“When the children’s aid is considering where they should put a child, I don’t want them to think about a hotel,” said Irwin Elman.
Manitoba announced Thursday it was banning the practice as of June 1 in the wake of a string of attacks on foster children being cared for in hotels.
A girl living in a Winnipeg hotel was sexually assaulted, beaten and left for dead Wednesday. A 15-year-old boy, also staying in the hotel, has been arrested.
Last November, 15-year-old Tina Fontaine was murdered after running away from a hotel placement.
Child welfare officials in Manitoba have had trouble finding enough foster and group homes to care for about 10,000 children, mostly aboriginal. They have been promising since 2006 to stop using hotels and motels where dozens are cared for on any given night.
Ontario’s Child and Family Services Act is silent on the use of hotels and motels, according to a spokeswoman for provincial children’s minister Tracy MacCharles.
“Following apprehension of a child, a Children’s Aid Society must place the child in a place of safety,” Ali Vitunski said in an email. “Hotels are not specifically mentioned.”
But the act doesn’t preclude their use.
The main concern is that a child must be safe and secure, Vitunski said. It would be up the discretion of individual agencies to use them, she added.
Elman asked the ministry how often Ontario children are placed in hotels and motels when news about Manitoba’s problems hit the headlines last fall.
“Here’s what we were told: We don’t know. And we don’t have any policies, directives or guidelines. We don’t think it’s a problem. But you should ask the agencies,” Elman said.
After writing Ontario’s 46 children’s aid societies, 24 responded to say that they rarely, if ever, used hotels or motels, he said.
“But what about the others? We just don’t know.”
Elman isn’t against children’s aid workers helping a former youth in care, who may be already living independently, stay in a hotel or motel for a short time to avoid going to a homeless shelter.
“But for children in care, if they have no group home or foster home available, I don’t want them to think, I know, we’ll use hotels,” he said. “I want them to get proper resources for kids. And the province needs a proper policy for that.”
Only one of the children’s aid societies Elman contacted mentioned any policies on the practice.
The Children’s Aid Society of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, which serves the Cornwall area near the Quebec border, acknowledged hotels and motels were regularly used in the area until about seven years ago “when our kids were in crisis and we had a shortage of homes.”
But under the agency’s revamped family-based care model “it ended the option to ever think that a child could go to a hotel,” director of service Angela Arcuri said in a telephone interview Thursday.
Under that model, the goal is to ensure that every foster child is cared for in a family setting. Of about 280 children in care in the agency today, all but one is living with a family, she said.
“It took a lot of (work) to be successful in helping locate different options for our kids other than hotels,” Arcuri said. “But it was worth it because the outcomes when our kids were there (in hotels) were very poor.”
A spokeswoman for the Ontario Association for Children’s Aid Societies, which represents the province’s 46 agencies, agreed that “hotels are not a good place for teenagers to live.” But the sector would be leery of a hard ban on their use, said Virginia Rowden.
Since children in Ontario can legally leave foster care at age 16, agencies don’t have many options to help if a child that age doesn’t want to go to a group or foster home setting, she said.
“You try to steer them to the best possible resource, perhaps a family member or a responsible adult they know,” she said. “But if nothing is going to work and the hotel is no longer a resource, are you saying go out and live on the street?
“I’d rather be able to offer a kid a hotel or motel room with a worker coming in or staying nearby or in the same suite than have the kid walk out.”
Source: Toronto Star
Child Protected by Punching Pregnant Mother
April 9, 2015 permalink
When the Hunt County Texas sheriff's office was called to assist CPS, the deputies knew how to protect the child of pregnant mother Deanna Robinson-Katsuki. They punched her while she was pinned in a corner. The punch is on video, YouTube and local copy (mp4). The video is incomplete because it came from a home security system that recorded in 30 second intervals, then switched to another camera. Two articles are enclosed, the mother's side and the sheriff's side. The sheriff says the mother tried to grab an officer's gun.
Texas Deputies Caught on Camera Punching Pregnant Woman During CPS Visit
Texas deputies stormed into a home with state Child Protective Services workers workers to seize an 18-month-old child last month, forcing the child’s pregnant mother into a counter before punching her at least twice in the back of the head.
The mother, Deanna Robinson-Katsuki, who was almost nine months pregnant, ended up jailed for six days on charges on felony charges that she assaulted an officer and “interference with child custody.”
Part of the incident was captured on a home surveillance camera, a horrific 30-second video showing Hunt County sheriff deputies punching her at least twice as she screams to inform them that she is pregnant.
Since her release from jail, she has given birth, but that child was also seized from her by CPS, but placed in the custody of her mother. However, her 9-year-old stepson was also seized from her and placed in foster care, separated from her 18-month-old son who is in a different foster location.
The incident took place on March 4 at her parent’s home after she had agreed to meet with Department of Family and Protective Services, which is how Texas refers to the more commonly named Child Protective Services, who wanted to check on the welfare of her son.
She agreed to meet with them but when they arrived, they were accompanied by sheriff’s deputies who told her they were taking her son from her.
She asked for a court order, but the deputy flashed her a piece of paper and did not give her a chance to read it. When she asked to examine the document more closely, she said the deputy told her, “that’s not going to happen.”
That was when she attempted to shut the door on them, which led to the deputies forcing their way inside.
The video was first posted on Brett Sanders’ blog and is now going viral. This morning, Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks posted the following statement on the department’s Facebook page:
A Facebook page titled That Happened has also emerged in support of Robinson-Katsuki, which offers more details and photos, including a photo of a letter she received from the Quinlan Independent School District removing her from the “Quinlan ISD Hall of Fame,” where she was inducted in 2008 for her military services in Iraq in 2004, citing her arrest as “conduct deemed unworthy.”
But she has not been convicted.
Also on the Facebook page is a post from a friend who is vouching for her credibility and innocence.
Below is her full statement to PINAC:
The Hunt County CPS investigators asked me to meet them at 8:30pm on the night of March 4, 2015 for an interview and health/welfare check of my 18 month old son. I complied.
At approximately 8:15pm there was a banging on the door that sounded like what I imagine the Gestapo might have sounded like. I opened it to see a large Hunt County Sheriffs Officer on the porch steps, there were 2 more officers behind him. He asked “Are you Deanna Robinson?” I said yes I am. He asked if I was the mother of (my 18 month old son’s name – which was horribly mispronounced) I said yes I am. He said “we are here to remove your son”. I replied “nobody is touching my child without a court order or a warrant….”
He reached behind him and one of the other officers handed him a solid, opaque pocket folder. He opened the folder, revealing approximately the top 1/3 of a sheet of white paper with writing on it. Then quickly closed the folder again and passed it back behind him. I asked to examine the document. He responded “that’s not gonna happen”, so I attempted to close the door again.
Before I could get it closed, he shoved the door open, in the process shoving me backward several steps into the kitchen. My son was standing behind me and a little to my left. All 3 officers had entered the kitchen by that point. The first officer yelled “there’s the kid, somebody grab him….”
I began screaming and trying to block his access to my child. He immediately grabbed me, spun me around and then the two officers seen in the video shoved me into the corner and forcefully pinned me there, slamming my knees, legs, thighs into the lower cabinets, slamming my abdomen into the kitchen counter and even pinning my head down onto the counter initially. I was handcuffed at that point. My parents quickly came to see what the commotion was and my mother grabbed my son to remove him from the middle of the physical aggression. Only after I had been handcuffed did the CPS investigators even bother to enter the house.
I was personally familiar with one of the investigators, Michelle (Hughes. The other CPS Investigator, who is seen turning around and watching my assault while remaining silent and offering no intervention is Jay Borton). She was well aware of my condition and the advanced stage of my pregnancy. At 38+ weeks pregnant, my appearance makes it quite obvious as well. When I noticed Michelle, I began screaming out for her to intervene or at least to verify/remind the Sheriffs Officer that I was pregnant. Again, she remained silent, did not intervene in any way and in fact, turned her head aside when I called out to her.
The video speaks for itself here. Near the end of the clip the officer who is standing aside can be heard to say “somebody shut her up”.
I cannot explain the short duration of the video clip because it was captured by a home security camera that was mounted inside the adjacent room on a wall. The system, apparently, was programmed to record for 30 second intervals and then shift to the next camera (I’m speculating here, based on what I was told. I didn’t install or have any personal knowledge of the camera or system).
Ultimately I was taken to the Hunt County Detention Facility and my son was taken from the arms and the safety of his maternal grandparents’ home, despite their protests, willingness, ability and repeated requests to retain physical custody of him. The paperwork and forms that CPS left behind were all marked “REFUSED NONCOMPLIANT” on the parent signature line, even though I obviously never even saw any of the forms, much less refused to sign them.
I was jailed for 6 days, charged with felony “Assaulting a Police Officer” and “Interference with Child Custody” while my family scrambled and borrowed to pay the bail bond. I am a decorated Veteran of the Iraq war; I have ZERO criminal history, no alcohol, drug or any other problems. I had never been arrested before this night.
During my incarceration I was kept in a holding/processing cell the entire time, and it was explained to me that this was because the facility lacked a medical area appropriate for a pregnant woman. The holding cells do not have beds and the fluorescent lights are left on 24 hours/day. Officers do checks on the holding cells every 15-30 minutes. Each time I encountered any medical personnel, I explained that I had been assaulted during my arrest and I asked to have my injuries documented (either on paper or with photographs). Each time (4 different encounters) I was denied with only the feeble explanation that I “could contact Internal Affairs if I wanted to pursue that kind of thing”. Despite repeated requests, I was never provided with prenatal vitamins or my regular medications.
On the third day, Jay Borton(the CPS Investigator who is seen in the video) came to the jail to meet with me. I was taken to an interview room where Borton placed his business card on the desk between us and stated “I’m Jay Borton, I currently have custody of your son. I’d like to ask you a few questions.”
I replied “I’d like to speak to an attorney, please sir.”
Upon hearing that he snatched the business card back up off the desk, slammed his folio shut and stood up. He began to walk out of the room but instead he stopped in the doorway and said “well, let me ask you this…do you want your court subpoena sent to your home address or your parents’ address?”
I replied “I’d like to speak to an attorney, please sir.”
Borton began to sneer at me “you’re a fool, you must WANT the State to make decisions about your kids” and then he left the room.
Once I was released on bond, I made an urgent appointment with my OB/GYN and finally had my injuries examined & documented and had the status of the baby evaluated.
I was actually inducted into the Quinlan ISD Hall of Fame in 2008 in association with an incident that happened during my deployment to Iraq in 2004. Subsequently I have been removed from the Hall of Fame, citing my arrest as the reason for removal.
As of today, my 18 month old remains in foster care (as well as my 9 year old step son, however they are separated in different locations) – I’m not allowed to know where he is, and despite a court order from March 13th that they be transferred to the custody of my parents. I have only been allowed to “visit” my son for an hour 3 times between the arrest and now. Each time I have been allowed to see him he was sick; with visible dark, runny snot, wheezing, sneezing, coughing and breathing difficulties (have video). He was otherwise perfectly healthy when he was removed. I have been adamantly insisting he get medical care and have been ignored, and eventually was told that I could not attend his medical appointments nor was I allowed to know the name of the provider/pediatrician who would be treating him.
My family and I had put in 3 separate requests to be able to have visitation with them for the Easter Holiday. The first request was verbal (in person but tape recorded), the second & third were in writing (email). They were all ignored. No reply or acknowledgement whatsoever.
I hope I have covered enough. Please feel free to reply if you have additional questions.
This is a developing story, so come back later for more details. There are still many questions that have not been answered, including why does it appear that one of the deputies appears to be wearing a shirt that reads “police” on the back.
It should be noted that since the incident, the Department of Family and Protective Services has come under fire from Texas Governor Greg Abbott after three children have died in its care this year.
Hunt County Sheriff Addresses Pregnant Arrest Video
Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks Wednesday addressed the circumstances around a video that appears to show a deputy punching a pregnant woman.
During a news conference, Meeks said deputies with the Hunt County Sheriff's Department were called in to assist taking custody of a child alleged to have suffered abuse or neglect.
Two deputies, a Quinlan police officer and two CPS workers arrived at the home of Deanna Robinson-Katsuki's parents and said they had a warrant to take custody of her 18-month-old son.
Robinson-Katsuki, who was 38-weeks pregnant at the time, asked to see the warrant and Meeks said deputies showed it to her and allowed her to read it.
Meeks said the situation quickly became chaotic as the woman began yelling that they weren't taking her child. She tried to close the door, but a deputy was able to push the door open and enter the residence.
Meeks said Robinson-Katsuki then became combative, shouted profanities and struck one of the deputies in the face.
At this point, Meeks said, the video in question begins and shows officers attempting to put Robinson-Katsuki under arrest for assaulting an officer, resisting arrest and interfering with child custody.
In the video, it's alleged by Robinson-Katsuki that the deputies pushed her into a corner as one of them hit her with his fist. Meeks said at the time when the woman was struck she was not handcuffed and that she was resisting arrest.
Meeks said there is more evidence present than what the video shows and that more time was needed for investigators with the Texas Rangers to determine what happened throughout the incident.
He added that saying a deputy punched a pregnant woman was only one possible narrative in the story and that a second possible narrative could be that a pregnant woman attempted to take a deputy's gun.
"I believe that we can say that that is a possibility," Meeks said. "Which narrative is correct? I don't know. That is for the Texas Rangers to determine."
When pressed by reporters, Meeks refused to definitively say whether Robinson-Katsuki tried to grab the officer's weapon, that it was only a possibility, and said his department was awaiting filing charges on the allegation until after the Texas Rangers completed their investigation.
"From what I understand, she had got some of his ammo belt off and was reaching for his gun when he delivered the blows to keep her from reaching his service revolver," Meeks said, of his discussion with his deputy about the incident.
"I don't know how many blows that the deputy made. I believe by looking at it that he was trying to keep her hands away from his gun. If someone gets your own gun, you can be killed by a pregnant woman as well as you could a 16-year-old child."
If the investigation shows the deputy acted outside of the law or violated policy, Meeks said the deputy will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Meeks added that his office has not received any complaint from Robinson-Katsuki, or her attorneys, regarding the recorded incident.
The investigation by the Texas Rangers is ongoing.
Robinson-Kutsuki denies she reached for the deputy’s gun.
“That notion is ludicrous,” Robinson-Kutsuki said. “There is nothing that I did, and there is nothing in my mind that exists that warrants that kind of treatment on an extremely pregnant woman.”
Her attorney went on to tell NBC 5 they do not view an investigation by the Texas Rangers as independent, and they are calling for the officer to be removed from duty while the investigation continues.
“There is absolutely no excuse and no justification for what happened to me,” Robinson-Kutsuki said.
Fast for Grandson
April 9, 2015 permalink
A Manitoba woman is fasting until the province returns her baby grandson to her family. Even on a hunger strike, the press will not disclose her name.
Woman fasting to protest CFS decision to take grandson
Meghan Roberts reports on a woman who is fasting to protest the seizure of her grandson by Child and Family Services.
A woman, who can’t be identified because her grandchild is in the care of Sagkeeng Child and Family Services, says she will fast until the child is returned.
She said her one and a half year old grandson was taken from her 17-year-old daughter after the girl missed a curfew in her group home.
"Even if she was 3 or 4 hours late, why take him?” she asked. “There's no drugs or alcohol or abuse."
The woman said she was not contacted before the child was placed in care.
According to the women, both she and her other daughter, who is 30-years-old, volunteered to provide a safe home for the child, but Sagkeeng CFS said no.
The woman says a previous file with CFS regarding an incident related to the family, but not perpetrated by a family member, is holding up the process.
The woman began a spiritual fast on Saturday to demand the return of her grandson to his family and bring awareness to the issue of children in care.
Source: CTV Winnipeg
Innocence is No Defense
April 8, 2015 permalink
Parents encountering child protectors often believe that as long as they have done nothing wrong the courts will preserve their family. That is not how the law works. In case there was any doubt, a California court has removed a teenaged daughter from blameless parents who did all the right things.
California court: State can take custody of out-of-control kids even if parents not to blame
SAN FRANCISCO — The state can remove an out-of-control child from the custody of a parent even if the mother or father is not to blame for the child's behavior, a California appeals court said Thursday.
If children face substantial risk of harming themselves, it doesn't matter whether the parent did anything intentional to put them in that position, the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled.
"When a child thereby faces a substantial risk of serious physical harm, a parent's inability to supervise or protect a child is enough by itself to invoke the juvenile court's dependency jurisdiction," the court said in its 3-0 ruling.
The court disagreed with another state appellate court that ruled in 2010 that a parent had to be shown to be culpable for a failure or inability to supervise or protect a child. Such conflicts between appeals courts are often resolved by the state Supreme Court.
Thursday's ruling goes against the commonly accepted understanding that a court has to find the parents did something wrong to remove the child, said Dan Mayfield, a San Jose attorney who specializes in juvenile law.
"It broadens the government's power," he said.
The ruling came in the case of a Los Angeles County mother whose teen daughter repeatedly ran away from home and had a child at the age of 15. The appellate court said the girl remained incorrigible despite her mother's best efforts, which included looking for her each time she left home, sending her to live with her grandparents and calling the police and Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services for help. The mother was identified in court documents only as "Lisa E." and her daughter as "R.T."
"(The) mother in this case was neither neglectful nor blameworthy in being unable to supervise or protect her daughter," the court said.
But state law is clear that children can still be taken if they have suffered or are at substantial risk of suffering serious harm that a parent is unable to stop, Associate Justice Brian Hoffstadt wrote.
"We do appreciate the clarification the court made that the welfare of the child is what's paramount here," said Armand Montiel, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. "Our work is based on the fact that the child's safety is job one."
The court's ruling upheld a juvenile court's decision to assert control over R.T. and allow the county to place her elsewhere. The county placed her back with her grandparents.
The mother appealed the decision. The girl turned 18 while the appeal was pending.
A call to the mother's attorney was not immediately returned.
Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune
No Cross-Dressing for Tots
April 8, 2015 permalink
When Jennifer Giordana let her five-year-old daughter Maddie dress in a boy's Easter outfit, Texas child protective services stepped in to save the girl.
Child protectors are supportive of gay and lesbian adults, even boasting of a high level of adoptions by same-sex couples.      . But the slightest hint of irregularity in a child is grounds for intervention.
Mum of 'tomboy' girl accused of child abuse for letting her pick boys' outfit for Easter
Jennifer Giordana let her five-year-old daughter pick out a boys' suit rather than a frilly dress for an Easter outfit
A mum who let her five-year-old 'tomboy' daughter pick out an outfit designed for boys has been accused of child abuse.
Jennifer Giordana let her daughter Maddie pick out a traditional boys' suit as an Easter treat rather than a frilly dress from the girls' section.
But Jennifer said the shop assistant was filled with "disgust" when she saw Maddie in the outfit and the little girl left the store in tears.
"The woman's face was just a face of disgust," said Jennifer, who was shopping in Martha's Miniatures in Texas.
"She told me that I was promoting wrong behavior and that parents should not let their children choose the way that they dress if it's cross-gendered."
Jennifer told American news site KTEN: "Maddie's a tomboy.
"She's preferred to dress in boys' clothes since she was about three years old."
The upset mum then posted about her experience on Facebook and supportive friends responded by giving the business one-star reviews.
But a Martha Miniatures' employee hit back, saying: "I was so shocked she asked for a boys' suit for the child.
"I asked her why she was encouraging this."
Another post went on to say: "This is child abuse from the mother."
The store's Facebook page has since been removed.
Although laws against business discrimination are in force in Texan cities such as Austin, Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth, Grayson County – where the store is located – does not.
Attorney Bobbie Peterson-Cate said: "It depends on what they're refusing the service for – for sexual orientation, no, it is not illegal."
But Giordano thinks it is still a bad business move to look down on her for allowing Maddie to dress how she wants.
"People don't need to pick on little kids for what they're wearing," she said.
Source: Daily Mirror (UK)
Parents Not Heard
April 8, 2015 permalink
Parents in child protection actions rarely get a chance to speak during the court hearings that determine the fate of their children. The judge does not invite them to give their side, and parents who attempt to speak are menaced by bailiffs rattling handcuffs.
An NPR report (mp3) on a recent judicial decision has brought this practice to light.
Giving Birth Incognito
April 8, 2015 permalink
Rosemarie M Chavez, who had already lost custody of eleven children, tried to save her twelfth by giving a false name to her California maternity hospital.
Mom gave birth under fake name to give officials the slip
MARYSVILLE, Calif. — A woman who gave birth to her 12th child in a neighboring county gave the hospital a fake name to avoid child-protection workers, authorities said.
Rosemarie M. Chavez, 36, was booked Saturday into Yuba County Jail here on a suspicion of child stealing charge, said Sgt. Tom Oakes of the Yuba County Sheriff's Office.
Chavez had signed a contract with Yuba County Children's Services, agreeing to check in with the agency after she gave birth. However, she checked into a hospital in Nevada County using a pseudonym, had the baby, then checked out, Oakes said.
Police eventually caught up to Chavez in Solano County, but her 8-day-old baby was not with her when she was taken into custody. The baby's father, who was not arrested, helped lead police to a fourth county, Santa Clara, where they found the baby in San Jose, Calif.
Chavez' other 11 children are in protective custody, Oakes said.
Chavez has a history of drug abuse and child neglect, a Yuba County Children's Services spokesman told KOVR-TV, Sacramento.
Source: USA Today
April 5, 2015 permalink
Britain will be electing a new parliament on May 7. Christopher Booker comments on what ought to be a campaign issue — the child protection system.
Children in care – the scandal that this election will ignore
In the past few years, record numbers of children have been taken by the government into a broken system, writes Christopher Booker
Over the coming weeks, I hope to explore some of the huge political issues that will scarcely be mentioned in this claustrophobically unreal election campaign. This week it is what I have often described here as one of the most disturbing scandals in Britain today, the catastrophic state of our highly secretive “child protection” system.
By any measure, this should be a political issue. Largely hidden from public view, it operates almost entirely under laws passed by Parliament. But we are given many horrific glimpses of just how badly it has broken down, in ways those laws never intended – not least in the horrific abuse of some 2,000 children in Rotherham, Oxford and elsewhere, many of whom were in the state “care” system.
In the past few years, record numbers of children have been taken into this system, currently almost 100,000 in the UK as a whole. Yet there is ever more evidence to show that far too many of them have not only been snatched from their families for wholly inadequate reasons (while the plight of others, such as Baby P, is ignored), but then suffer far more in “care” than they did before they were removed.
This system has become a major industry. With our 80,000 foster carers earning up to £500 a week or more for each child, the cost of “looked after children” alone has soared to nearly £4 billion a year, and within five years, according to the Local Government Association, “children’s services” will account for a fifth of all the money raised in council tax.
Of late, thanks above all to the heroic efforts of Sir James Munby, the current head of our family courts, some senior judges have been questioning parts of this system more trenchantly than ever before. In one recent judgment, (2015) EWFC 11, Munby went out of his way to highlight some of the methods whereby local authorities and social workers routinely flout basic principles of the law by bringing cases for the removal of children that rely only on unsubstantiated allegations and hearsay, “sometimes at third and fourth hand”.
He has emphasised before how removing a child from its parents is one of the most serious decisions the courts and the state can ever take. Yet what may seem to a local authority an “impressive” case, as in the one he was hearing, too often turns out to be only a “tottering edifice based on inadequate foundations”.
One could cite a whole succession of recent judgments, by Munby and others, where local authorities, social workers and even other judges have been torn apart for their flagrant disregard of both the spirit and the letter of the law as laid down by Parliament. But with one or two shining exceptions, notably John Hemming (who deserves, regardless of his party, to be soon returned as Lib Dem MP for Yardley, Birmingham), our politicians never seem to question what is going on in their name, or even to show the slightest interest in it.
The only responses of successive governments, both Labour and the Coalition, have been smugly to defend the system, claiming that if it goes wrong at all this is only in “a tiny minority” of cases, and to do all they can to drive up the mere 5 per cent of children in “care” who now go on to be permanently adopted.
One disastrous consequence of this has been merely to encourage the social workers to take even more loved and undamaged children into “care” because it is much easier to find parents to adopt them.
The scale of the unnecessary suffering all this is inflicting on tens of thousands of children is unimaginable. Despite the heroic efforts of a handful of judges, the only people who can ultimately do something to remedy this colossal scandal are the politicians. But in this election, as on so much else, they will remain oblivious and silent.
Source: Telegraph (UK)
Wikwemikong Creates Native CAS
April 3, 2015 permalink
Wikwemikong establishes child protection agency
Wikwemikong First Nation child protection agency writes its own Children’s Bill of Rights
Wikwemikong is the latest First Nation community in northern Ontario to certify its own child protection agency. The Manitoulin Island-based agency joins six other aboriginal children's protective agencies in the region.
The children's advocate for Ontario said Wikwemikong is well qualified to keep its children safe and rooted in its culture.
Irwin Elman visited Wikwemikong recently and said he was impressed.
"I certainly heard the need for a community based child welfare system and service in that community and I welcome it."
Elman said the Ministry of Children's and Youth Services encourages First Nations to form their own children's protective agencies. He said it helps children maintain their culture and family ties, but it is a rigorous process to form the agency.
"They are able to adopt practices, cultural practices, that are appropriate for the community," said Elman. "But there's not a lessening of standards in terms of how much protection a child needs or the amount of care and nurturing they get."
Elman said the Wikwemikong agency will succeed because it has a strong sense of community. He said the agency has written its own Children's Bill of Rights.
"I think under Chief Peltier's leadership there and his council, I think that's a remarkable achievement."
Success vs CAS
April 1, 2015 permalink
Chris York recently had a CAS action against his family that he was not free to tell about. Now he can give the full story.
April 1, 2015
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE:
Here it is folks......
As I was previously under a gag order via section 45(8) of the CFSA as you all are aware... today was the day I had to attend court against the CAS in a child protection case. Kim Shook was in attendance with me and first of all I would like to start by saying...
Kelly Aird (CAS worker).... I TOLD YOU SO!
Secondly it is with great pleasure to tell you all that the CAS has withdrew its application entirely as I knew they would with no findings of any child in need of protection and then went on to state that they wished to thank me for providing such great care for my children based on the medical info that was brought forward to the court and it is clear that myself and my wife Pam Smart-York are providing great care to meet the medical needs of both of our children and thanked us for providing such in depth reports to the court and as such fully believe that the childrens medical and emotional needs are being met. They stated cooperation is paramount in their investigation which of course I laughed under my breath as this never happend and never will.
So it is very possible folks to beat these monsters and as I stated before I DO PRACTICE WHAT I PREACH IN THIS GROUP WITH MY OWN ADVICE.
I hope others can learn from this and move forward and I look forward to assiting many more of you in the future going forward.
It is a bittersweet day and I feel like I just hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time ever.
Case dismissed on the very 2nd court appearance and they stated that they hope they never have to see me in court again in the future.
As a result of the case no longer being a proceeding before the court section 45(8) NO LONGER APPLIES
VICTORY VICTORY VICTORY!!!!!!
Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...
Complaint Against Judge Wood
Particulars of DH Suit
March 31, 2015 permalink
Father DH, who prefers to restrict his identity to his initials, formally requested in January the assignment of a new judge to replace the biased Thomas M Wood. From the document:
My concerns are not speculative. During a conversation with the Executive Director, Marty Rutledge of Family, Youth and Child Services of Muskoka, he bragged about having, "Tom Wood in his pocket".
Mr. Rutledge later wrote to me bragging he was placing my complaints about the CAS before TM Wood. This would [temporarily] circumvent my complaint regarding the CAS's conduct to the Family Services Review Board.
Privately, DH reported that at a court hearing presided by judge Wood after the request the judge changed his attitude, actually administering the law properly. Then in May DH filed his Plaintiff's Response to the Demand for Particulars. To keep all this material in one place, find the documents on the page DH vs Family, Youth And Child Services Of Muskoka" . Link to an earlier article on DH
The tiny Muskoka children's aid society, and judge Wood, have been the subject of a disproportionate level of complaints for the past several years. On April 1, Muskoka CAS will be merged into Simcoe Children's Aid in Barrie.