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Surviving Uncle Deprived of Custody

February 28, 2015 permalink

Angila Wilson was murdered by her estranged husband. Angila's brother, Frank Wilson, promised to look after the children if anything happened to her. But nearly a year later her three children are still in British Columbia foster care.

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NDP joins call for slain woman’s kids to be with family

Angila Wilson
Angila Wilson was murdered in her Clearwater home in the spring of 2014. Though her brother wishes to take them, Wilson’s three children remain in care 10 months later.
File photo

The NDP’s spokesperson for children and family development is calling on the provincial government to reunite the children of a woman killed in Clearwater last year with her family members in Hope.

Doug Donaldson said he also wants to see an investigation launched to determine why it’s taken so long to do so.

Angila Wilson was murdered in her Clearwater home on April 20, 2014. Her three children — ranging in age from three to seven — have been in foster care since, despite Wilson’s brother’s family attempting to take them in.

“I think that when you look at the horrific situation that started this — the murder — this is one of the most grievous cases one could imagine,” Donaldson said.

“I believe what’s needed is for the children to be placed in permanent care immediately with the family and an investigation be held to determine how this happened.”

Wilson’s estranged common-law husband, Iain Scott, is charged with first-degree murder. He was denied bail this week and is slated to return to court for a preliminary inquiry in May.

Frank Wilson, Angila’s brother, said he told his sister before she died that he would take her kids in if anything happened to her.

“I’m here to try to have my sister’s wishes met,” he said. “I feel as though they [the children] have been let down by the system because they are still in foster care and they should be in the care of a family member.

“The whole point was for them to be integrated into our family as an adoption.”

Leanne Bowcott, who is married to Frank Wilson and was close with his sister, said Angila Wilson fled Scott three times in the years leading up to her murder — at one point staying in Bowcott’s Hope home for three months.

“She expressed to us on several occasions that if anything happened to her, ‘Could you please take care of my three children?’” she said.

“We want the children to have a home — a permanent home. They’ve experienced trauma like no child should experience.”

Bowcott said the Ministry of Children and Family Development refuses to transfer the file for Wilson’s children to Hope from Clearwater — a necessary step to have them re-united with family members.

“She would just be horrified that her children are not with us,” she said.

“It’s been a rough 10 months to say the least. They need a home. They need to be loved. They need a family.”

The children are presently in foster care in Hope, and they are allowed limited visits with family members.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Ministry of Children and Family Development called the situation “tragic and difficult,” but said he could not speak to the specifics of individual cases.

Source: Clearwater Times

Family Law Gets Muddy

February 28, 2015 permalink

The Fluffy Puppies Get Muddy

Ralxa Begooshka, which may be a pseudonym, is enjoined from publicly mentioning the names of her children. But the foster mom of two of her children has published a book, The Fluffy Puppies Get Muddy". Amazon portrays the author:

Vicky L. Govier lives in the beautiful village of Thorndale, Ontario, in the big house where Diesel and Ruby make their home, along with her husband and four children.

Source: Amazon.com

In this blurb Govier counts two of Begooshka's children as her own. While the real mother is silenced, the foster mom posts pictures of the children to her own Facebook account.

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Ralxa Begooshka

So the CAS had the judge make an order that I am not supposed to post anything on social media about the CAS and/or my case and/or my kids and/or the trial, etc., although I do not know the exact wording of it as I have never been provided with a copy. They have tried to use my posts in this group under multiple Facebook accounts against me in court including saying I am breaking this order. Part of me is so fed up with their BS that I am wanting to start posting sections of the recordings I have made and very disturbing things in the more than 5000 pages of disclosure I have. I don't know how to blur out parts though and if they are paying close enough attention, even if I use yet another account, then there's a possibility they will try to use this against me as well. I know the CAS never gets in trouble for contempt of court, but I also know that they tried to reopen the trial based on one post in this group, which they were unsuccessful in doing, but since they don't have anything else now they are trying to twist things to make it look like I was breaking the supervision order, and they reapprehended my two youngest children who I had under temporary care and custody without any evidence and without warrants and the judges wouldn't listen and sided with them and in my opinion committed judicial misconduct. Anyway, the point of this is, since CAS is so good at trying to intimidate people and like to lie about things they can do to make your life even worse (like illegally kidnapping your children isn't bad enough), I am just wondering legally if they decided to pursue it how much trouble I could get in for breaking this order to not post things? Patricia Miller (the OCL who is guilty of a lot of different things herself including lying to the court and not following the rules of the OCL) also threatened to go after me about posting things about my children, even though the foster parents are guilty of doing it and they aren't even their kids. http://www.amazon.ca/The-Fluffy-Puppies-Get-Muddy/dp/1486604080 If you click on read more you can read the about the author and while it doesn't name my children (she does post pictures of my kids on Facebook though, including two with my preteen daughter in her housecoat), it says that she lives with her husband and four children, however her husband and her only have two children. The other two children are my children. Again, just wondering if this would be a criminal proceeding, a civil proceeding, if anyone has actually gotten in trouble for something like this before and what the consequences were? I honestly can't think of worse consequences than what they have done and are trying to do to our family right now anyway. It's not like they don't already cancel my visits on a weekly basis as well.


The recordings are only audio, but that is what the OCL threatened me with despite letting the foster parents get away with it. Not to mention I have no idea how she got access to my private highest privacy settings account, which is where the information she quoted came from. In this group I don't post identifying information but if they know what's going on and are paying attention then they can figure out my fake accounts. The OCL is not happy that I have named her and been open about how she has lied and isn't doing her job properly either. Then finding out that she used to be a lawyer for the CAS seems like a huge conflict of interest to me.

Source: Facebook, Stop the CAS ...

Exoneration Impossible

February 27, 2015 permalink

British social workers snatched a baby because of abuse by her father. Police cleared the father when finding he had been out of the country at the time of the alleged abuse. But social services kept the girl anyway.

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Social workers are sitting in judgment argues ANN WIDDECOMBE

SOCIAL workers snatched a newborn baby after her father had been accused of child abuse but comprehensively cleared when police discovered he was not even in the country at the time of the alleged incident.

Services won't admit wrong and still haven't returned the child

That did not stop a West Lothian social worker entering a note on the file that he had been “charged” with child abuse, a straightforward libel.

Refusing to admit they were wrong, the social services concerned have still not returned the child who was taken last August.

I say again that social workers in such cases should be named and the council sued for exemplary damages, because nothing else will stop them destroying the lives of innocent people.

I could almost say that they should lose their own children for a while so that they would know what it feels like but that would be unkind to the children.

What a pity they cannot feel such mercy for other people’s little ones.

Of course there are cases where social workers are damned if they do and damned if they don’t and the media shower opprobrium on their heads if they leave a child in danger but when social services are told by police that there is no case and they still proceed to intervene and then not only to persist with their actions for months but to compound it by a lie on the family’s notes, they should be brought firmly and publicly to book and subjected to the sort of punishment which might deter others.

In another incident Darlington social workers removed a child from his parents because they disapproved of the father’s politics.

He had connections to the English Defence League which is a perfectly lawful organisation if not a particularly nice one. They too should have to pay large damages rather than just be rebuked by a scandalised judge.

Already there is solid evidence that some social services are refusing to allow people to foster or adopt if they will not sign up to believing in gay marriage. These power-crazed bureaucrats now believe themselves to be censors of other people’s beliefs.

Perhaps they should go and live in a totalitarian state where they would feel perfectly at home.

The former Tory Minister writes exclusively for the Daily Express

Source: Daily Express (UK)

Judge Disgusted with CAS

February 27, 2015 permalink

Vernon Beck

A Judge contacted Canada Court Watch recently in confidence to report that in the view of the Justice, the children's aid society was not a very credible organization with workers brutally overstepping their authority under the law. The Justice will be speaking publicly about this in the not too distant future but has asked to remain anonymous for now. Whistle-blowers are beginning to come out and wiling to speak when the time is right. All parents must keep up the fight to bring accountability and transparency to CAS by not giving in. Correction to the CAS system as it is presently operating is imminent.

Source: Facebook, Canada Court Watch

negative judge

Innu Shut Down Child Protection

February 27, 2015 permalink

The chief of an Innu band in Sheshatshiu Labrador forced the local child protection (CYFS) office to close over the placement of a foster child. The closure ended with an undisclosed agreement.

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Band council forced closure of CYFS office in Sheshatshiu

Dispute stemmed from foster placement of an Innu child

The Child, Youth and Family Services (CYFS) office in Sheshatshiu was forced to close for several hours between Monday and Tuesday, according to a band council member there.

Sheshatshiu rally
During a protest in 2013, demonstrators in the Innu community of Sheshatshiu boarded up the local Child Youth and Family Services office protesting the number of Innu children sent outside the community for foster care and treatment.
Labradorian file Photo

Jack Penashue, Sheshatshiu’s social health director, told The Labradorian that band chief Andrew Penashue asked CYFS to leave the Innu community due to a dispute over the foster placement of an Innu child.

Jack Penashue said the rest of the band council supported the chief’s decision.

“It had to do with a child, an Innu child, relocated outside of the community,” he said.

“The chief has the ultimate decision in regards to what direction is taken. So he was supported by the council and then we had a meeting … Tuesday morning.”

According to Jack Penashue, the office was allowed to reopen Tuesday at noon after a meeting between band council members and representatives from CYFS.

“We had a conference call with (CYFS officials) and through that conference call we made a commitment to work on some of the confusion and also the disagreements.

“So we have a timeline to work (on) developing some capacity in regards to foster parents.”

The Innu First Nation reserve has been at odds with CYFS many times in the past. The main issue involves where Innu children are placed in foster care after they are put in government custody.

“The chief felt that, if it’s an Innu child, we should do every effort in the best of our abilities to have that child stay in the community,” said Jack Penashue.

“If Innu children are supposed to be taken out of the community, the community needs to know about it, or especially the leadership.”

Jack Penashue said better communication between the band council and CYFS could have prevented the office closure.

“We need to be working together collaboratively,” he said.

The Labradorian’s request for an interview with CYFS Minister Sandy Collins was met with an emailed statement from the department.

A spokeswoman wrote that, due to confidentiality laws, the department can’t comment on specific cases.

The statement did, however, note government policy on providing protective services in Sheshatshiu: “The government of Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to providing child protection services in the community of Sheshatshiu in a manner that ensures the safety and well-being of children and youth, while respecting the culture of Innu community members. Wherever possible, children and youth requiring out-of-home placement are matched with an appropriate foster family in their home community.”

It went on to say the department takes a collaborative approach with aboriginal leaders and communities to improve planning for the safety and well-being of children and youth.

The statement also pointed to financial expenditures made in child protection in Labrador, including “a new team for Sheshatshiu, which includes six new positions.”

The Labradorian was unable to reach Andrew Penashue for comment.

Source: St John's Telegram

Drunk and Disorderly Child Protection

February 26, 2015 permalink

Justin Arthur Reyna, a conservatorship specialist for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), was charged with drunk driving and resisting arrest. The response of his employer? He remains on the job, working with children.

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CPS Worker Arrested for DWI, Resisting Arrest

AMARILLO -- A worker with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) is facing serious allegations. The agency is also known as CPS.

The worker deals with children on a daily basis and is still on the job despite being arrested on two charges.

Justin Arthur Reyna, 23, was arrested in the early morning hours of New Year's day for allegedly driving drunk and resisting arrest.

He has since bonded out of jail and is back on the job.

Reyna began working with the DFPS last July as a conservatorship specialist.

That means he has direct contact with children who have been removed from homes and parents who are being investigated by the state.

Officials with the agency say they've been informed of the charges saying Reyna is innocent until proven guilty and would not comment further

Two local agencies that work directly with DFPS would not comment about this specific case but had this to say.

"Normal expectations are that we would have people who would be responsible in dealing with children". Said April Leming, the executive director of "The Bridge."

Lara escobar of the court appointed special advocacy group known as CASA said, "We have every faith CPS will handle this the right way".

Agency guidelines stipulate that anyone with DFPS who is arrested on allegations like this must inform their supervisor within five days. Reyna has apparently done that.

If Reyna is convicted, they may take further action up to and including firing.

The regional director or section manager will make a final decision on any further actions, if any, taken against Reyna.

Source: KAMR/KCIT

London Rally

February 25, 2015 permalink

A rally against London CAS is scheduled for Monday March 2.

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London Ontario rally

Rally Against London CAS! Families fighting for their rights!

date
Monday, March 2
time
9:00am - 2:00pm EST
place
on the public sidewalk outside London CAS 1680 Oxford Street East London Ontario Click for map

Lets all band together & hold a rally outside the London CAS office at 1680 Oxford Street on Monday March 2nd 2015! Lets all show CAS & the world how corrupt the family courts are & Ontario Child Protection! It's time for a change & if we all don't act now our kids will be lost forever! Bring your signs lets show everyone that things need to change now! We are stronger in numbers & together we can beat these monsters & bring our children home!

Source: Facebook

Parricide of Social Workers

February 25, 2015 permalink

Jason Hendrix, the adopted son of Kevin and Sarah Hendrix, murdered his adoptive parents and a twelve-year-old sibling, then died later in a shootout with police. Both parents were in social services and were the kinds of professionals who should have been able to prevent this kind of tragedy. Father Kevin Hendrix worked for the Whitley County Circuit Court Clerk as a domestic violence and disability intake clerk. Mother Sarah Hendrix was a social worker and professor at Union College.

Adopted children bear a burden unknown in past generations. When they reach the age of reason, they come to understand that they are not abandoned by their parents, but stolen by the social services system. The burden is accentuated when the adoptive parents are the kinds of professionals who mediate the child theft.

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Family's murder shocks Ky. social workers

Sarah Hendrix
Sarah Hendrix
Photo: by Drew Mahan, pastor Forward Community Church.

Dr. Sarah Hendrix built what seemed, to her closest friends, a perfect family.

She was a prominent social worker and professor at Union College, dedicated to mending Kentucky's broken families. She and her husband, Kevin, were hobby beekeepers, a regular presence at their small-town farmer's market, who fell in love with two foster children, adopted them and raised them alongside their own biological children.

"I thought they hung the moon," said Dr. Peggy Munke, a close friend and director of Murray State's social work program.

But what happened to the Hendrix family this month sent tremors through the social work community across the state. Sarah Hendrix, her husband and her 12-year-old daughter Gracie, a bubbly middle school cheerleader, were murdered in the sort of violent explosion she spent her life trying to prevent in other people's families.

Her son, Jason Hendrix, 16 — a straight-laced high school junior and member of the ROTC, a devout church-goer, who by all accounts adored his family — is believed to have shot all three, one by one, as they walked into their Corbin home on a Wednesday afternoon.

No one knows why.

Then the boy loaded six guns into his mom's SUV, drove to Baltimore and opened fire on police officers who tried to stop him. The teen died in the shootout.

"What happened to her is exactly what we're in this business to avoid," said Dr. Ruth Huber, who mentored Sarah Hendrix as a doctoral student at the University of Louisville. "As social workers we like to fix things, to make them better. But there's no fixing this. We can't even find the very first answers: why? What happened?"

'Sometimes, there are no explanations'

Jason Hendrix arrived at his church for youth group around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 11. Nothing seemed amiss, said Drew Mahan, pastor of Forward Community Church, a non-denominational church the Hendrix family had joined several years earlier.

"He was totally normal, the same Jason we'd always known and loved," Mahan said. He gave kids piggyback rides; he'd recently bought a guitar and was trying to learn worship songs.

Mahan said he gave them no reason to worry, no indication that he had, according to police, just massacred his entire family and left their bodies in their tidy, suburban home.

Corbin police said each member of the family was killed between 4 and 6 p.m., according to The News-Journal in Corbin.

Each was shot multiple times in the head as they entered the home, police told the newspaper. Jason Hendrix allegedly put pillows to their faces to muffle the thunder of the gunfire. Kevin Hendrix died wearing the jacket and tie he wore to work; Sarah was believed to have been attacked on her way in from the garage.

"How am I making sense of it? I'm not. And I don't think we will ever be able to make sense of it at all," Mahan said. "We have replayed this thing in our minds, looking for what we all might have missed. But as difficult as it is to understand, I think there's nothing."

Their bodies were not discovered for three days, after Jason Hendrix was killed in a gun battle with police more than 600 miles away. Baltimore police alerted Kentucky authorities that something might be wrong at the house.

The Baltimore Sun reported Jason Hendrix had with him a backpack full of ammunition and six guns — four .38-caliber revolvers, a 9 mm pistol and a double-barreled shotgun.

By then, no one had heard from his family for days.

Kevin Hendrix worked for the Whitley County Circuit Court Clerk as a domestic violence and disability intake clerk. Donna Broughton, his supervisor, said she received a text message from Kevin Hendrix's phone on Wednesday evening. The message said he'd come down with something — a sore throat and vomiting — and wouldn't be at work the next day. Broughton does not know if Kevin Hendrix sent the message himself.

Mahan said he recently counseled Jason and Kevin Hendrix through a problem in their relationship, but it was a typical teenager disagreement and both seemed eager to work through it.

The entire family was active in the church, he said, which held its weekend services in a Cineplex. They arrived at 7 a.m. on Sundays to help set up: Jason always hung lights and swept the parking lot; Kevin took out the trash, Gracie set up the chairs.

Jason was polite and "happy-go-lucky," he said. He had a lot of friends and mentored the younger kids.

Munke, who often traveled to conferences with Sarah Hendrix, said the family was close. Sarah often talked about her children and how proud she was of who they were growing up to be.

"She was the kind of person who embodied what we hope a good social worker would be," Munke said. "She loved life, loved living and saw the funny in the world."

But the Hendrixes recently caught Jason circumventing parental controls on his computer to access gaming sites. They were angry at him and took his computer and phone privileges away, Munke said

Some have suggested that his rage over that punishment led to the killings.

Munke, a professor of social work and mental health, believes it was shame, not fury.

The Hendrixes began fostering Jason when he was barely over 1 year old and adopted him soon after, she said. Adopted children often feel a deeper sense of obligation to their parents, she said. And with that comes a greater need for approval.

"He was so used to being an almost perfect kid, he didn't know how to handle it when his parents were disappointed in him," Munke said. "And he snapped. Sometimes there are no explanations."

Coping with tragedy

Kentucky's most prominent social workers, in all corners of the state, are left grappling with questions of a magnitude they imagined they'd only consider from a professional distance.

"I've seen a fair amount of violence, I used to work with street gangs, but when it happens to someone you know, it's unsettling," said Dr. Terry Singer, dean of the University of Louisville's Kent School of Social Work. "Nobody ever thinks that will happen in their circle. It's eerie, it's a different experience, there aren't many words you can find to describe it."

Sarah Hendrix was already a successful businesswoman when she enrolled in the Kent School's doctoral program, which she completed in 2006. Kevin Hendrix worked for the clerk's office and was passionate about his bees. Broughton recalls a day he asked to run to the post office to pick up a delivery: a new queen bee. He returned with a tiny box, fed her honey and showed her off to his co-workers.

The family's two oldest children, both away at school, survived. Fred Thomas, Sarah Hendrix' son from a previous marriage, is a student at the University of Kentucky. The Hendrixes' oldest daughter, Lizzy, goes to Berry College, a private school in Georgia. The family was often seen in the neighborhood, walking its miniature pinscher.

"Our family has been affected by the most horrific of tragedies," the family wrote in a statement. "All of us are attempting to make sense of this loss. We are buoyed by the love and support of so many of you who knew and loved Sarah, Kevin, Jason and Gracie."

Dr. Barbara Head, a professor at the University of Louisville, who studied with Sarah Hendrix, said her most startling realization last week was that no one, not even one of most highly regarded social workers in the state, is immune from family violence; no one can be sure they'd see it coming.

"I teach death and grief, but that doesn't make it any easier for me," Head said. "It's so shocking and surreal you don't really grieve the loss of that person until you can answer the question of why. And there are no answers in this case. It's a meaningless, tragic death. ... So the person you're grieving gets lost in the details of how it all happened. And sometimes it takes quite awhile to get back to that person."

The family chose to have all four — including Jason — side-by-side at a joint funeral Sunday. They were all to be buried together — what Hendrix would have wanted, Munke believes.

Some of Hendrix's friends are left looking for some sort of meaning. Huber sent an email around the social work communities, called "Promises that Comfort Me." She listed Bible passages she hopes might help them cope: "I will carry you," she included. "I will give you rest."

But for Singer, there's no comfort, no lesson to be learned to make their deaths meaningful.

"There's no takeaway, just sadness," the doctor said. "I suppose that's one of the reasons I stay in this business is the hope that we can find ways to prevent this. But people are complex and problems are complex. I know we really desire to wrap them up neatly, because if we can understand it, we can control it. It's never that simple."

Reporter Claire Galofaro can be reached at (502) 582-7086. Follow her on Twitter at @clairegalofaro.

Donations

An account has been set up to help the Hendrix' family pay for funeral expenses and associated costs. Donations can be made at gofundme.com/mjgq4w

Source: Courier-Journal

Social Worker Stabbed

February 25, 2015 permalink

Tylor Nataway has been arrested for stabbing a social worker in Yellowknife. No other details are available.

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Social worker assaulted at Centre Square Tower, say police

A man has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a social worker at Yellowknife’s Centre Square Tower.

RCMP say they were called to the lower end of the tower’s mall at around 1pm on Friday, February 20.

Tylor Nataway, of Yellowknife, was subsequently arrested. He faces a charge of assault with a weapon and is appearing in court today.

The victim was treated at Stanton Territorial Hospital for injuries that are not life-threatening.

Source: My Yellowknife Now

Happiness is a Warm Gun

February 25, 2015 permalink

British social worker James John Gurie knows how to provide warm and loving care to children. He brings guns to work. Music for this article (mp3).

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Social worker struck off for taking guns into Monmouthshire child care home

REGISTERED residential child care worker has been struck off after taking guns into a Monmouthshire home and letting two young people fire them.

James John Gurie’s removal from the Register of Social Care Workers means he will no longer be able to work as a residential child care worker in Wales.

A Care Council conduct committee found Mr Gurie guilty of misconduct after he had failed to protect the welfare and safety of residents and colleagues at the residential child care home where he worked. All the charges related to an incident in March 2014 when Mr Gurie took two firearms to work and allowed two young people to fire them in the grounds and area surrounding the residential care home.

Mr Gurie, a team leader at the care home which has not been named, was not present at the hearing held in Cardiff.

The conduct committee found that the registrant’s conduct, by allowing young people in his care to use firearms in the grounds of the home, at times without supervision, was “wholly inappropriate and unacceptable”.

In reaching its decision, the conduct committee took into account that the young people were very vulnerable, with complex needs, and that one of them presented a significant risk to himself and others.

The Committee found Mr Gurie’s conduct called into question his suitability to remain on the Register and fell short of the standards set out in the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers.

It was decided that the registrant had breached parts of all but one of the Code’s standards. These included the need to ensure the behaviour of individuals did not harm themselves or others and upholding public trust and confidence in social care services.

In deciding on a sanction, the committee took into account that Mr Gurie had co-operated with the Care Council to a certain extent and that the incident was isolated, with the registrant having no previous record of misconduct.

However, the committee believed Mr Gurie had abused the trust of the care home manager and that of the young people; his conduct posed significant risk to the young people and others at the home, and he had shown serious disregard for the Code of Practice.

Chair of the committee, James Crowe, said: “The registrant showed a serious departure from the relevant professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers.

“The registrant’s conduct could have resulted in serious harm to the young persons involved and potentially to others. The Committee also finds that the registrant abused his position and the trust that had been placed in him in relation to supporting vulnerable service users.

“The Committee concluded that a Removal Order is the proportionate sanction in the light of the seriousness of the misconduct.”

Source: Monmouthshire Beacon

warm gun

News NOT

February 20, 2015 permalink

Do you think fixcas is unfair to social workers, showing only stories of their failures? The enclosed article from Community Care, a site advocating for social workers, is an example of why there is little point in reading news coming out of the social services system itself. It tells of a disciplinary action. The name of the perpetrator is not mentioned. The name of the victim is not mentioned. The specifics of the offense are not mentioned. Why bother posting this kind of non-news?

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Social worker who admitted to child neglect has been suspended

The social worker received a 12 month ban after being cautioned by the police

A Coventry social worker who received a police caution for “child cruelty” has been banned from practising for 12 months.

A Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) panel heard the social worker had been cautioned in April 2014 for an incident relating to the neglect or ill treatment of a child. The panel was not able to disclose the exact details of the offence or relationship of the child for legal reasons.

‘One off’

The misconduct was a one-off, and because it was seen as unlikely to be repeated the panel found removing the social worker from the register would be disproportionate.

However, because she did not attend the hearing and declined to submit written evidence, there was also no indication the social worker in question had insight into her actions, the panel said.

‘Serious allegations’

The panel’s finding stated: “The core of the allegation relied on by the HCPC relates to a single event, albeit serious. The registrant is an experienced social worker and will have had relevant training in safeguarding and risk assessment in order to work with children.

“Nevertheless, the panel is satisfied that the shortcoming of the [social worker] could be remedied without difficulty.”

The hearing was held in private to protect the child’s identity.

Source: Community Care

Foster Kids Abandoned Behind Bars

February 20, 2015 permalink

When a teenager is released from jail, mom or dad comes to pick him up. But what if the legal parent is the state? In Illinois foster children released by a court stay in jail for weeks or months until the state can find a social worker to take him home.

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Illinois' child welfare system leaves kids stuck in jail

There’s a kid in the Cook County juvenile jail right now who isn’t supposed to be there. A judge ordered his release on January 29.

Because he is a juvenile, WBEZ isn’t using his name, but his problem is not unique. Even after a judge has ordered their release, lots of kids wait weeks, even months to be picked up.

Their deadbeat guardian is the State of Illinois, and these kids are stuck in juvenile jail because the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) can’t find a place to put them.

A WBEZ analysis of data from Cook County found that in the three-year period between October 2011 and October 2014, there were 344 instances when kids waited a week or more in the jail for DCFS to come pick them up.

Last year the longest wait was 190 days—more than half the year.

And it’s not just that there are a lot of young people waiting. They are waiting specifically because of the failures of DCFS.

Kids get sent to the juvenile jail for a number of reasons. Some are waiting for trial, others are serving a punishment. No matter who they are or why they’re there, kids can’t leave unless someone comes to take custody of them.

The data doesn’t account for how many of the 344 times involved the same kid held more than once, so to check on daily counts, we asked jail staff to give us a snapshot of every kid who was waiting to be picked up. On the day we asked, Oct. 16, 2014, there were 19 kids in the jail who had been ordered released by a judge and were just waiting on a guardian to pick them up.

Thirteen were waiting for DCFS.

“I think it sends a very disturbing message to a child to say there’s no reason for you to be held in detention, but we’re not working hard enough, or we’re not making you enough of a priority to find a place for you to go,” said Bruce Boyer, the director of the Civitas Childlaw Clinic at Loyola University Chicago.

”We’re talking about children that a judge has looked at their case and said, ‘There’s no risk here. This child should be at home or in a community based setting, whether it’s a foster home or somewhere else.’ So, that’s incredibly disruptive to the child,” he said.

Antoine Brown has lived through that disruption.

Brown is 25 now and lives in Marion, Illinois. But when he was 14, Brown spent about six months in Cook County’s juvenile jail waiting for DCFS to find him a bed.

“It kinda like crushes your spirit so you’ll be like ... I don’t care anymore so I’m just gonna act out and do whatever I want to do,” Brown said. “It’s hell. I mean, if you’re not a cool person then you get picked on.”

Jennifer Vollen Katz with prison watchdog John Howard Association says Brown’s frustration is typical for kids stuck in jail.

“You will see the behavior begin to deteriorate, because that’s just an incredibly high level of frustration for a young person to grapple with,” Vollen Katz said.

Vollen Katz says that’s especially bad because this is a population at a crucial point. The choices they—and their caregivers—make will decide if these kids move on from a troubled childhood to become successful adults, or get stuck in the so-called prison pipeline.

“The system has failed them time and again, so for the system to tell them, if you do this then you’re gonna get to go and for that not to actually happen, I think is just another indicator that trusting authority is probably not a safe bet for some of these kids," Vollen Katz said. "And that’s not a message we want to be giving them."

Boyer says many of the kids forced to wait have been in the child care system for most of their lives. Often they’ve been abused or neglected, passed from foster home to foster home.

That means most of these young men and women truly have special needs.

“These are the needs that really require treatment, whether it’s counseling or other kinds of services. And these are the sorts of things that frankly are just not available in the detention center,” Boyer said.

DCFS spokesman Andrew Flach says the department is aware of kids languishing in jail, but right now the department isn’t planning any changes to fix it.

Flach says more money would help, but the state also needs more well-run residential treatment centers able to care for these children.

Flach believes leadership from new Director George Sheldon will eventually fix problems like kids waiting in jail.

Loyola’s Bruce Boyer says the best way to address the problem is to keep kids out of jail in the first place.

“If we had resources for dealing with kids who get into conflict with the law, that would allow us to find placements in the community for them that would be a lot less expensive than maintaining kids in a very expensive detention facility,” Boyer said. “I don’t know how we break out of this cycle, but we have to figure out a way … to be more farsighted.”

Cook County estimates that it costs more than $500 a day to house one person in the juvenile temporary detention center.

And those instances when kids waited a week or more—the time they spent waiting on DCFS adds up to more than 7,300 days in Cook County juvenile jail.

That’s almost $4 million taxpayer dollars spent over three years.

And for all that money, the kids didn’t get special counseling or intensive therapy. Instead, they got all the wrong lessons about the justice system, and a pretty direct message that they don’t matter. At least not enough.

Source: WBEZ Chicago

Anonymous Call to Arms

February 18, 2015 permalink

Anonymous

The group Anonymous has directed its attention to the child protection system. A YouTube video (local copy, mp4) addresses Ontario's children's aid societies. Owing to the furtive nature of this group, it is impossible to tell how it is connected to other actions by Anonymous.

Addendum: Anonymous has compiled several videos of Joey Knelsen deleted by YouTube at the request of the (Canadian) government. The Anonymous video is on YouTube. Fixcas is assisting in preserving this material by keeping a local copy (mp4).

Can Politically-Incorrect Man be a Father?

February 18, 2015 permalink

British social workers wanted to take a baby from a father. One of their reasons was his former membership in the politically-incorrect English Defence League. Judge James Munby blocked the social workers and ordered the baby back with his dad.

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Why the judge was right to reunite a child with his EDL-supporting father

Social engineering is not the job of Sir James Munby, still less the borough council that argued it was ‘immoral’ to allow the young father to bring up his son

A child is born to a woman while she is serving a prison sentence for sexual offences involving a minor. Using its powers under the Children Act, Darlington borough council arranges foster care for her baby boy. Social workers decide to put the child up for adoption.

But the boy’s parents object. The father, now in his mid-20s, wants to bring up his son with the support of his own mother and stepfather. The child’s mother supports his application, and does not put herself forward as a carer. By the time the council makes its application to the court, she is out of prison — but no longer in a relationship with her son’s father.

He already has two children with a previous partner, though they are not being brought up by him. The failure of his former relationship, however, is not the main reason that social workers think his new son should be taken away from him.

They regard his behaviour as “immoral”. For one thing, they claim, he was once a member of the English Defence League. For another, as a 17-year-old he once had sex with a girl aged 13 and accepted a police caution.

To his credit, the most senior family judge in England and Wales took over the case. Sir James Munby, president of the family division, spent three days in Middlesbrough listening to evidence. In a judgment delivered this week, he dismissed the council’s arguments in typically forthright terms.

What, he asked, was the relevance of the social workers’ assertion that the father’s under-age sex offence was immoral? “The city fathers of Darlington and Darlington’s director of social services are not guardians of morality,” said Munby. “Nor is this court.”

And what had the father’s admitted offence got to do with care proceedings involving his son? “Some 17-year-old men who have sexual intercourse with 13-year-old girls may have significantly distorted views about sex and children, and therefore pose a risk to their own children of whatever age or gender, but that is not automatically true of all such men.”

It was extraordinary that the council should have relied on the father’s alleged membership of an extremist group, the judge continued. “The mere fact, if fact it be, that the father was a member, probably only for a short time, of the EDL is neither here nor there, whatever one may think of its beliefs and policies.”

There are two sides to every story and, no doubt, the social workers saw the case very differently. Perhaps they genuinely believed that the child was at risk from his father. No doubt they believed that adoptive parents would be able to give the little boy a better life. Fearing the dreadful consequences that have occurred when social workers have failed to protect children from abusive carers, they must have thought that adoption was the safer option.

But I find Munby’s conclusions entirely convincing. Despite a pre-birth plan, the council took nine months to bring the case before a court — a delay the judge said was shocking and an abuse of its powers under section 20 of the Children Act 1989.

Neither the social workers nor their lawyers seemed to understand that they needed to produce hard evidence in support of their allegation that the toddler was at risk of neglect. Claiming that the father “lacks honesty with professionals” proved nothing.

It’s easy to forget that, until Munby took over the high court family division, judgments such as this would not have been published, even anonymously, and local authorities would not have been named and shamed. Even so, the judge was merciful to the allocated social worker, who had clearly been out of her depth.

Why, to take her as an example, should the hapless [social worker] be exposed to public criticism and run the risk of being scapegoated when, as it might be thought, anonymous and unidentified senior management should never have put someone so inexperienced in charge of such a demanding case. And why should the social workers… be pilloried when the legal department, which reviewed and presumably passed the exceedingly unsatisfactory assessments, remains, like senior management, anonymous beneath the radar? It is Darlington borough council and its senior management that are to blame, not only [the social workers and their team manager].

What the council failed to understand is that the relationship between parent and child must be severed only where “nothing else will do” to protect the child’s welfare. It is not enough to show that a child could be placed in a more beneficial environment.

As Mr Justice Hedley said in 2007: “Society must be willing to tolerate very diverse standards of parenting, including the eccentric, the barely adequate and the inconsistent … It is not the provenance of the state to spare children all the consequences of defective parenting.”

These comments were endorsed in the supreme court two years ago by Lady Hale. As she said: “The state does not and cannot take away the children of all the people who commit crimes, who abuse alcohol or drugs, who suffer from physical or mental illnesses or disabilities, or who espouse anti-social political or religious beliefs”.

But surely the interests of the child are paramount? Surely this little boy would be better off if he were adopted by two loving parents rather than brought up by a young man who smokes cannabis, sometimes drinks too much and who has already had two failed relationships? Maybe, but that’s not a decision for the judges and, still less, for social workers. As Munby concluded:

I can accept that the father may not be the best of parents. He may be a less than suitable role model. But that is not enough to justify a care order, let alone adoption. We must guard against the risk of social engineering, and that, in my judgment is what, in truth, I would be doing if I was to remove [the child] permanently from his father’s care.

Munby was right. The judges are not there to put right all the wrongs of society.

Source: Guardian (UK)

Mother Tortured

February 17, 2015 permalink

A recalcitrant mother was subdued by Michigan police with a taser used in drive stun mode. In drive stunning the taser is held against the body of a victim already restrained for the purpose of inflicting pain.

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Police use stun gun on mother at McDonald's

ESSEXVILLE, MI (WNEM) - A woman remains behind bars after being arrested during an alleged assault at an area McDonald's restaurant on Thursday.

The woman was having a meeting with a Child Protective Services worker at the restaurant on Center Avenue in Essexville around 5 p.m. when she became upset. The woman then took her children into a bathroom and wouldn't come out.

The woman then came out of the bathroom and allegedly assaulted the worker.

The woman began a struggle with officers and allegedly tried to bite one of them before making an attempt to grab the officer's stun gun.

An officer deployed a stun gun but that did little to subdue the woman. Officers then executed a method called "drive stunning", which intends to cause pain without incapacitating the target.

The children were taken back into their temporary care. The mother is currently jailed.

No one was injured.

Source: WNEM Saginaw

Food Drive

February 17, 2015 permalink

Windsor-Essex children's aid, supported by Sun Life Financial and Sobeys, took the occasion of family day to collect food for foster children. Many donors go away from this kind of drive with the warm feeling of helping a child in need. But in the past fixcas has found that donations to social services agencies were split among the social workers, stolen by a social worker [1] [2] [3] or sold for cash to foster children.

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Family Day Food Drive

food

Sun Life Financial along with Sobeys on Manning Road hope to provide food for 1000 Windsor families.

On Family Day, Monday, February 16th, volunteers will gather at Sobeys from 10am to 2pm to fill boxes that will be distributed to families by the Children’s Aid Society.

“We recognized the need that exists in our community to support families who may be struggling. Good nutrition and healthy living are keys to a positive lifestyle. By partnering with the Children’s Aid, this food drive will go far in reaching out to the 1 in every 8 children in our area that the Children’s Aid provides services to.” remarked Paul Lue Pann, Financial Centre Manager of Sun Life’s Anchor Drive office/.

Bill Bevan, Chief Executive Officer of the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society comments, “What better way to spend Family Day then to gather your family together, come to Sobeys and give a couple hours to help families in need. The Children’s Aid Society is most appreciative to Sun Life Financial, Sobeys and the people of Windsor-Essex who are supporting this effort.”

Source: Windsorite

KFC Promotes Foster/Adoption

February 17, 2015 permalink

KFC is promoting foster care and adoption in an advertisement YouTube and local copy (mp4). It follows the life of a foster/adoptive child from the day he is dropped off by a social worker through to his return to his adoptive family as an adult. Not all foster/adoption placements are as successful as the fantasy in the ad.

CAS Racism

February 17, 2015 permalink

Ontario is contemplating gathering data on foster children by race. One prospective culmination is the creation of a new Black children's aid society. Black Canadians can look forward to an agency whose only mission is breaking up black families.

Persons offended by the collection of race data can obstruct when filling out questionnaires. For the race question check the box marked "other", then write in a nationality such as "Canadian". Even better, write in the universal "human" race.

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Ontario may collect race-based data on kids in care

Children’s Minister Tracy MacCharles will consider ways to fix systemic issues affecting black families, and hasn’t ruled out creating a separate CAS.

Effy
Effy, 13, has her hair done by volunteer hairstylist Venessa McGregor, 27, at the Children's Aid Society of Toronto office in Scarborough. The lunch room is transformed into a hair studio for 70 girls and five boys in care who benefit from a program called Beautiful Hair, Beautiful Me, which provides specialized hair care for black children living in foster and group homes.
Jim Rankin / Toronto Star Order this photo

Ontario’s children’s minister, Tracy MacCharles, will look at having all children’s aid societies in the province collect race-based data on the kids in their care.

MacCharles is also considering several changes in keeping with the goal of keeping families intact and, when those efforts fail, to improve the experience of children in care.

The moves come on the heels of a Toronto Star investigation that found Ontario’s most vulnerable children are in the care of a child protection system that is often unaccountable and secretive.

The probe revealed for the first time that 41 per cent of children and youth in the care of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto are black, though only 8.2 per cent of the city’s under-18 population is black.

MacCharles, who became Minister of Children and Youth Services last summer, is so concerned by those numbers she’s considering a province-wide count of black kids in care to determine the extent of the challenge. Few of Ontario’s 46 children’s aid societies track such data, and those that do keep the statistics secret.

Black community leaders have complained for years that their children are taken into care at rates far higher than white children. They say it is hard to get government to pay attention without hard statistics.

“I think there’s a lot more receptivity to looking at (race-based data) in this sector and beyond,” MacCharles said of the government’s current attitude. “We’re also looking at this notion of disaggregated data, which includes black children and youth in care, in schools, and in our youth justice system,” she added.

Without committing to making such data public, MacCharles told the Star: “My bottom line is, any data that helps improve the security and safety of children, I’m willing to have a hard look at.”

The Star used sources to obtain the Toronto data, later confirmed by the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, which had been quietly sharing the numbers with leaders and advocates in the city’s black communities.

MacCharles hasn’t ruled out setting up a new children’s aid society focused exclusively on black children. Black community leaders argue that might be the only way to overcome systemic biases.

“I’m open to all ideas,” MacCharles, MPP for Pickering-Scarborough East, said in an interview with the Star.

“The starting point for me is, are the CASs across Ontario culturally appropriate in terms of the programs and services and supports they provide?”

MacCharles also wants to examine systemic reasons that might fuel the breakup of black families, such as poverty and the lack of affordable housing. Other ministries such as education and health, she said, must be involved in finding a solution.

The Star investigation also found that almost half of children and youth in foster or group homes are on behaviour-altering medication, such as Ritalin, tranquilizers or anticonvulsants. In group homes, the number is even higher.

Children aid societies have failed to act on troubling statistics they have been aware of for years, the Star found, including the fact that more than half the children in their care do not graduate from high school.

CAS involvement is one of the main reasons children in care are absent from school. Because of frequent moves, many are forced to deal with several unplanned school changes. And because there’s no obligation for a new school to enroll them during the term, they sometimes wait weeks to return to class.

“It’s important to keep kids in school wherever we can and to minimize that kind of delay,” said MacCharles, who is troubled by these issues. “I’ve seen the results of kids not being in school, some in child welfare and some not, and it’s worrisome.”

She stressed the need to consult children’s aid societies on changes and also made clear that while the province fully funds them — at a cost of $1.5 billion a year — they are private corporations, with each determining its own programs and services.

“CASs know their communities best,” she said. “I just don’t want to overstep and get into their territory.”

MacCharles was accused of taking a timid and slow approach to child welfare changes last week, after her response to recommendations made at the inquest into the death of 5-year-old Jeffrey Baldwin, who died in 2002 after being kept locked in his bedroom, repeatedly beaten and rarely fed by his grandparents, who had a separate record of child abuse that wasn’t checked by the CAS that placed him with them.

MacCharles refused to consider a recommendation to amalgamate the 46 agencies, and confirmed that a central database containing such records won’t be fully ready until 2019 or 2020 — up to four years past the deadline set by the coroner’s inquest.

There are about 23,300 children and youth in care in Ontario. Most children removed from their parents are returned within a year, while children in continued need of protection are made Crown wards.

In 2013-14, about 7,000 children and youth were wards of the province, living in foster care or group homes, and 1,000 more were on the path to joining them. The government effectively remains their parent until they are adopted or turn 18. However, youth can decide to leave care at age 16.

Margaret Parsons, executive director of the African Canadian Legal Clinic, says the ministry needs to move faster to reduce the number of black children and youth in care.

“This is an urgent crisis. We’ve been saying it for years,” she said, noting community leaders have been discussing the overrepresentation with the province since 2006.

Lawyers, black community leaders and child advocates blame cultural misunderstandings as well as the stress and neglect created by poverty for some of that imbalance. They also believe systemic racism is at play within the child protection system, policing and schools.

During reporting for the Star’s series, a Peel CAS worker noted her agency received a call because school officials thought roti was not a healthy lunch for a child.

After the Star series appeared, Parsons’ clinic was swamped with calls for help from black families who have had children apprehended.

She wants the government to mandate the involvement of African Canadian community organizations whenever a child worker is called to investigate a black family. They could, for example, help draft a plan of care to keep the family intact and ensure the plan is followed.

As a last resort, Parsons says her clinic will push for an African Canadian children’s aid society — an option she will present to MacCharles at a meeting this week.

Parsons’ clinic is also part of an initiative by the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies to draft a “practice guide” for working with black families. It will help educate child-care workers about systemic racism, the impact of migration, and a host of cultural, religious and ethnic issues related to the black community, said the association’s Virginia Rowden.

It is also directed to police, school boards and medical professionals, who represent the majority of referrals to children’s aid societies.

“It’s not just how the CASs serve these families, but how these families end up at the door of CASs,” Rowden said.

Leading the project is Kike Ojo, Peel CAS’s respected senior manager of diversity and anti-oppression.

Part of the project, Rowden said, is to try to get a handle on how many black children and families are involved with agencies in Ontario.

Five-year review

Reporters can be reached at children@thestar.ca

Ontario’s current five-year review of the Child and Family Services Act seeks to modernize and clarify language in the legislation, among other improvements.

The Children in Limbo Task Force, a coalition of children’s advocates, says terms such as “custody,” “apprehend” and “probation” demean and stigmatize children and youth who are experiencing abuse or neglect in their homes.

The task force is urging Children’s Minister Tracy MacCharles to replace them with more humane language.

MacCharles says she is “very supportive” of doing away with terms that describe these young people as criminals.

“I think language is very important, and especially important when it comes to talking about the care and welfare of children,” she told the Star.

“Anything we can do to reduce the stigma is important.”

Source: Toronto Star

racism

Liverpool Rally

February 16, 2015 permalink

Brits in Liverpool rallied against family judge Robert Dodds.

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Parents whose children were taken away stage protest against Liverpool family court judge Robert Dodds

Families gathered at court today to express anger at judge who was rebuked by Court of Appeal

Liverpool court rally
The protest outside Liverpool Civil and Family Court against Judge Robert Dodds

PARENTS whose children have been taken away at the hands of a Liverpool family court judge staged a protest outside court today.

Families from Merseyside held banners in protest against Judge Robert Dodds outside Liverpool Civil and Family Court this morning.

Justice chiefs were recently asked to investigate Judge Dodds, who was accused of being “gratuitously rude” and “unprincipled”.

He was criticised by the Court of Appeal in two separate rebukes issued within days of each other.

Judge Dodds was told that he should be “embarrassed” by his “unrestrained and immoderate language” after he told a 13-year-old girl that her case was “codswallop”.

The dad of the girl, told The ECHO: “He said the case was ‘codswallop’. I couldn’t believe how he spoke to us. I was in shock. It’s totally wrong. He was very rude and we just wanted to be treated fairly.”

The father-of-five from Birkenhead added: “My wife and I are very happy Judge Dodds is under investigation. He’s still sat in there today, though.”

The organiser of the protest said: “I can’t see my daughter anymore. She was unfairly taken away from me after her birth.”

On a Facebook page she said: “Protest against Judge Robert Dodds. Very rude and unfair behaviour towards biological parents who enter his court.”

Another mum had her children taken away from her two years ago and is not allowed to see them.

She said: “It’s disgusting what’s going on. I’m very close to my kids. I feel like I’ve been bullied.”

The mother-of-two from Toxteth was in court today fighting for contact with her children.

Another mother protesting today had her 15-year-old daughter taken away from her and put in a foster home last week.

The 52-year-old said: “What they’ve done is absolutely shocking. My daughter is not well. No one will listen to me.”

A spokesman for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office said: “HHJ Dodds’ conduct is now the subject of a disciplinary investigation which will be conducted in accordance with the Judicial Discipline (Prescribed Procedures) Regulations 2014.”

Source: Liverpool Echo

Judge Tries to Clean Up Family Court

February 14, 2015 permalink

Christopher Booker commends judge James Munby for his efforts in cleaning up the mess in British family courts. In British family law, children can be permanetly separated from parents in a case in which the parents are not even admitted to the courtroom.

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Why don’t the family courts obey the law?

Too many cases are standing the fundamental principles of British justice on their head, writes Christopher Booker

James Munby
Lord Justice Munby, head of family courts
Photo: BRIAN SMITH

For two years, Lord Justice Munby, the head of our family courts, has been heroically fighting to restore some semblance of justice and common sense to our horribly secretive and corrupted “child protection” system, which I have been reporting on here since 2009 as one of the most shocking scandals in Britain today.

Two weeks ago, Munby again made headlines when he and two other judges in the Appeal Court magisterially tore apart a Liverpool judge, Robert Dodds, for his handling of a case-management hearing involving an intelligent boy, described as an “over-achiever” at school, who was desperate to return to live with his mother.

In 2012, Liverpool social workers sent the boy to live with his abusive father, who was sent to jail for assaulting him. They then placed him miserably in 14 different foster homes. The social workers were now considering that it might be best for him to return to his mother. But Dodds refused to hear any evidence and, without issuing a formal judgment or even giving his reasons, instantly ordered that the boy must remain in care.

After highly critical rulings from the other two judges, Munby weighed in by saying that he wished to emphasise two “important” points. The first was that it is “one of the oldest principles of our law”, going back 400 years, that “no one is to be condemned unheard”. Any “parent faced with the removal of their child must be entitled to make their case to the court”; and if they wish “to give evidence in answer to a local authority’s care application”, they must be permitted to do so. Secondly “there is the right to confront one’s accusers”, and to cross-examine any important witness on whose evidence the local authority is relying. Judge Dodds’s adoption of such a “ruthlessly truncated process” in this case was “fundamentally unprincipled and unfair”.

Just when Munby was making these points another case came my way which, as so often in the family courts, stood those fundamental principles on their head. A woman in Wales, after being made pregnant from a rape, lived for some years with the father, who continued to treat her so violently that she eventually fled with her son to a women’s refuge. They then began living happily with a new partner by whom she had two more sons. Because of her past involvement in violence, however, Denbighshire social workers intervened to say that, unless she handed over her oldest son to his father, they would also remove her other two boys. She had no choice but to obey.

When the middle son was two, his mother took him to her doctor to look at a small bruise, which he said was nothing to worry about. But, on learning of this, the social workers insisted that the boy be examined by another doctor, who said that the injury might be “non-accidental”, i.e. a sign of parental abuse. On a court order, the two boys were taken into care, and over the following months, through several court hearings from which the parents were excluded by their lawyers, they were shocked at “contact sessions” to see both the boys displaying many cuts and bruises (which they photographed).

Last April, the couple were summoned to a final hearing to decide their sons’ future. The mother was represented by lawyers she had been given by Women’s Aid, which works closely with the local authority. As an intelligent woman, studying for a university degree, she and her partner arrived early at the court, for what was scheduled to be a five-day hearing. They were armed with files of evidence and a list of witnesses they wished to call, all of which they believed would demolish the local authority’s case.

But the mother describes how they were astonished to be told by their lawyers that again they would not be permitted to enter the court. Half an hour later, the barristers emerged to say that the judge had decided that their two boys should be placed for adoption. There was no judgment for them to see, and no possibility of any appeal against his decision. This Wednesday the couple will have a final “goodbye session” with their sons, never to see them again.

What makes this even odder is that two months later the same judge, Gareth Jones, made national headlines for ruling that Anglesey social workers acted “above the law” in removing a nine-year-old boy from his family without a court order. This judge is clearly capable of upholding the law when he sees social workers acting improperly. But, since we cannot know what happened in his other courtroom weeks earlier, we cannot know how a planned five-day hearing came to be cut to just 30 minutes; or why those lawyers told the parents that they were not allowed even to enter the court, let alone to give evidence. We can only surmise what Lord Justice Munby might say were he given the chance to pronounce on a case that seems so flagrantly to have flouted those same fundamental rights under the law that he was recently so insistent must be upheld.

Source: Telegraph (UK)

Foster Kids Fed Bleach

February 13, 2015 permalink

Kansas foster mother Pam Pertl, who got an F in physiology, made her foster kids drink bleach to mask traces of marijuana in an upcoming urine test. The incident occurred last summer, there is no news of the outcome of the charges.

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Foster teen says she drank bleach to mask cannabis

marijuana
'Pot ticketing' officer reassigned

BUNKER HILL, Kan. (AP) — A 54-year-old Kansas foster mother faces a felony charge of endangering a child after one of the teenagers under her care said they drank milk laced with bleach to “clean up” urine samples of marijuana traces, authorities said Friday.

Russell County Attorney Daniel Krug said that Pam Pertl of Bunker Hill was charged Thursday with misdemeanor marijuana possession, felony distribution of marijuana and felony aggravated endangerment of a child.

The Russell County Sheriff’s department said in a press release Thursday that deputies were called June 5 after a social worker and state officials reported Pertl and three foster teens in her care tested positive for marijuana. Undersheriff Max Barrett told The Associated Press on Friday that Pertl and two of her foster teens tested positive for marijuana, a third juvenile tested negative and a fourth was not involved. All four juveniles have been placed elsewhere.

The department did not release juveniles’ names or ages, but said they were female teenagers who had been living with Pertl in Bunker Hill, a town of about 100 residents in central Kansas.

Barrett said one of the teens told the social worker that Pertl and the teens also drank milk mixed with bleach to try to mask their urinary drug samples.

“They were trying to use the bleach to be able to clean up their UA,” their urinary analysis samples, Barrett said.

It was unclear Friday if Pertl had a lawyer. Calls to a phone listing under Pertl’s name were not answered Friday.

The sheriff’s department has been aware of Pertl as a longtime foster care provider and has had issues with her before, Barrett said.

“She is a foster mom who we have had a lot of trouble with, and in the last year we’ve had a numerous number of runaways from her home, so it’s a person we’re very familiar with,” Barrett said.

Theresa Freed, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Children and Families, said in an email Friday she could not comment on cases, but said foster parents “are held to high standards.”

“If it is determined a foster home is unsafe, children will no longer be placed there,” Freed said. “Any report of abuse or neglect made to the Department for Children and Families is taken seriously.” Krug said.

Pertl was released Thursday on $40,000 bond. Her next court appearance is scheduled for July 10.

Source: KSNT News

Unborn Fetus is Legal Child in Ontario

February 12, 2015 permalink

David Froom appeared in a courtroom with a pregnant mother-to-be. Because it was a child protection proceeding the judge wanted him out of the room. No said Mr Froom, there is no child under the law until it is born. Judge Deborah L Chappel ruled that there was a child in this case. This ruling sets Ontario back to the days when abortion was homicide. Here is letter by David Froom (pdf).

fetal rights

earlier news