Child ‘protectors’ accused of destroying families

CPS1[1]California lawmakers have voted unanimously to order an audit of the state’s powerful Department of Child Protective Services after testimony from parents who stunned their representatives with testimony of atrocities.

“It’s the most helpless feeling in the world when this happens to you. It feels like there is no hope left. I have not seen my daughter since December… she doesn’t even look like the same child any more. There is nothing in her eyes. She looks hopeless and there is just nothing I can do…”

That was from Dr. Ruby Dillon, whose daughter, Alexis, was removed from her family 16 months ago.

The audit plan passed the committee unanimously, and now the California state auditor, who has subpoena powers, will investigate CPS.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who sponsored the bill and organized parents to speak about their experiences, said it’s a good step forward.

“Now we are going to be able to pull back the veil and see what happened, what went wrong so that we can then gather data on how to fix it.”

Donnelly says a lot has gone wrong.

Child Protective Services is supposed to help children and families overcome stressful events in life, and stay together and healthy. But there are families who say that CPS does anything but that.

Family members testified before the legislative hearing that CPS actually has worked to destroy, not restore, their families. And others suggested there was a profit motive in the situation.

 

Read more:

 

Native Americans trade tales of heartache, anger over displaced children in Rapid City summit

Elijah Bearsheart, left, with his daughter, Keanala, 1, and family, Kehala Diserly, Kiari Diserly, 3, and Yamni Pederson, 5, as they listen to testimony during the Indian Child Welfare Act summit Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City, S.D. The summit was called in response to charges that South Dakota breaks the Indian Child Welfare Act, which requires that Native American children removed from homes must be placed with relatives or put in foster care with other Native American families except in unusual circumstances. (AP Photo/Rapid City Journal, Benjamin Brayfield)

Elijah Bearsheart, left, with his daughter, Keanala, 1, and family, Kehala Diserly, Kiari Diserly, 3, and Yamni Pederson, 5, as they listen to testimony during the Indian Child Welfare Act summit Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City, S.D. The summit was called in response to charges that South Dakota breaks the Indian Child Welfare Act, which requires that Native American children removed from homes must be placed with relatives or put in foster care with other Native American families except in unusual circumstances. (AP Photo/Rapid City Journal, Benjamin Brayfield)

RAPID CITY, South Dakota — Between choked sobs and streaming tears, more than a dozen Native American families delivered testimony Wednesday in Rapid City about how their children were taken from them by South Dakota social workers.

Those stories from parents — specifically details about the difficulty in regaining custody of Native children placed in non-Native foster homes — filled the first day of the Great Plains Indian Child Welfare Act Summit in Rapid City.

More than 250 people from reservations and organizations across the Midwest were at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center for the conference. Wednesday focused on testimony from families about alleged violations by South Dakota under the Indian Child Welfare Act. Thursday and Friday are to focus on potential solutions.

The Indian Child Welfare Act was enacted in 1978 to protect Native culture and tribal identity from the unnecessary removal of Native children by state and federal agencies. South Dakota tribal officials allege that South Dakota has violated the law since its inception, but those complaints have gained new impetus after an expose by National Public Radio in 2011. The Oglala Sioux and Rosebud Sioux tribes, along with three Native American parents, filed a lawsuit against the state two months ago.

Richard LeCompte, 54, a heavy-machinery operator in Rapid City, was among those who shared their stories on Wednesday.

LeCompte said he had spent a year battling the state to regain custody of his 8-year old son, who was placed in foster care after he was molested by a family member.

LeCompte said he saw no end to his struggle. He had appeared in court 15 times and said, like many others giving testimony, that South Dakota set an impossibly high standard for him to meet.

"The Virgin Mary could not have met that criteria," he told the crowd.

At times, Wednesday's testimony evoked frustration and anger among tribal officials. Cyril Scott, president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, speaking during a recess, said each child placed in non-Native care was a blow to the integrity of tribal culture.

 

Read More:

Trial of Mass. foster care system opens with testimony of abuse from former ward

massachusetts[1]BOSTON - Beginning at age 8, Lauren James bounced among at least 14 different foster homes, along the way being forced to scrub floors, clean up after dogs, miss meals and take up to five psychiatric mediations at a time.

Now 24, she was the opening witness Tuesday in a case aimed at putting the Massachusetts foster care system on trial.

The federal class-action lawsuit was filed in 2010 by Children's Rights, a New York-based child advocacy group that alleges that thousands of children in state foster care are being abused and neglected. The group claims the state Department of Children and Families has violated the constitutional rights of children by placing them in unstable and sometimes dangerous situations.

James described a turbulent childhood marked by the death of her father just before her 6th birthday and her mother's suicide when she was 12. She said she was shuttled between foster homes and sent to live with her mother between ages 8 and 11. Then, after her mother died, she hopped from foster home to foster home.

A version of this column originally appeared in startribune.com.

Trial Before A Family Court

Injustice-lights-framed-dreamstime_xs_19885693The evidence is gathered. It began with an accusation from a vague report that a child was being harmed in some way. There was no physical evidence, only a report of some kind of mental abuse. The twelve year old girl was of a group of girls. She, and others began to have seizures, crying out, and an anonymous report was made to the government authority that would investigate.

An investigator was sent to compile the report. The little girl told the investigator that a baby sitter had mentally tortured her. The abuse had led her to become very disturbed. She began to black out, have hallucinations, and could barely hold anything on her stomach. She was sent by the investigators to a doctor, who, after a thorough examination, concluded that, even though there were no outward sings of abuse, the abuse was indeed of the mind, and the doctor had good reason to believe that the baby sitter had indeed performed some type of abuse on the child.

The parents, of course, had great concern, and fully cooperated with the investigation. After all, it was they who had first noticed the problem with the girl. Upon interview, the little girl named some of her friends, who had also been cared for by the baby sitter, and they, too, had developed various stages of mental issues, which upon seeing the baby sitter, would manifest in hysteria.

The parents of all these girls were appalled. The baby sitter was.brought up on charges of child abuse of the most base type. In court the girls would describe games that she would play with them, and even during testimony they would become distraught.

The government investigators reasoned now that if this baby sitter, indeed, all the baby sitters in the employ of the agency, could be doing this form of child abuse, then how could the parents not notice this for so long a period of time. It was decided to question the parents also. The evidence was clear. Most of the parents were simply too wrapped up in their lives to attend to the welfare of their own children, and this very fact led to this massive amount of abuse at the hands of this group of trusted caretakers.

In closed court, with no jury several of the parents were brought up. While there was no actual physical evidence to support the allegations, the circumstantial evidence was overwhelming, combined with the Doctor's report of the mental state of the children, and the investigator's reasons to believe that something sinister was at hand here.

After the hearing the initial little girl was removed by the court and placed in the care of the government. The parents' lifestyle was seemed to be just too unorthodox and they should not be trusted with a child, not even their own! There was no reprieve. There was no defense. The judge's decision was final. It would later be revealed that this judge was a protege of a certain councilman who had an interest in the holdings of the parents of the first little girl. The judge fully understood that an unfavorable ruling against them would earn him the political gratitude of the councilman, which would quickly translate into votes come next election, and assure the judge of a continued tenure of office. Of course the ruling would lead to the public and financial ruin of the family, forcing them to sell their holdings at a reduced rate with the councilman more than willing to pick up at mere pennies on the dollar.

Before the investigation was over more baby sitters were brought up on charges, with the children's stories becoming more and more detailed until some of the baby sitters were actually brought up on criminal charges, and more than a few of the children were removed from their homes.

I know you think I am talking about the CPS. I apologize for misleading you. I was describing the Salem witchcraft trials. Now, do you understand? Do you FINALLY understand?

Loving a Child in the ‘Hard Cases’

The pro-abortion crowd will often throw up the usual hard cases when it comes to their demand for abortion on demand. One hard case often raised is that of rape. They will argue that surely no woman would ever want to carry and give birth to the product of rape.

But the truth is, many do, and many have. Many women choose to keep their baby, and either raise him or her themselves, or give the baby away for adoption. And there are many such individuals who were the product of rape who are so very glad their mothers allowed them the choice of life.

There are even entire organisations which have now been set up by those pleading for the right to life for those conceived via rape. As but one example, consider rape-survivor Rebecca Kiessling. She has a website devoted to putting a human face on this issue.

As she says, “Have you ever considered how really insulting it is to say to someone, ‘I think your mother should have been able to abort you’? It’s like saying, ‘If I had my way, you’d be dead right now.’ And that is the reality with which I live every time someone says they are pro-choice or pro-life ‘except in cases of rape’ because I absolutely would have been aborted if it had been legal in Michigan when I was an unborn child, and I can tell you that it hurts.

“But I know that most people don’t put a face to this issue – for them abortion is just a concept – with a quick cliche, they sweep it under the rug and forget about it. I do hope that, as a child conceived in rape, I can help to put a face, a voice, and a story to this issue.” Her site is found here: www.rebeccakiessling.com/index.html

But here I wish to tell the story from the point of view of a mother. One very moving story appeared a few years ago which is well worth reporting on. The lengthy testimony of a teenager who was raped and left pregnant is worth reading in its entirety, but let me just offer some parts of this amazing story:

Little Phoebe “will never want to know the truth about the man who gave her life. She was conceived on a cold December evening when Elizabeth – then a 16-year-old virgin – was dragged into the back of the van and raped. All that Elizabeth will be able to tell Phoebe one day is that her father was a stranger in a hooded top who forced himself upon her. She has no idea of the man’s age, ethnic background, even height, such was the confusion of that evening. Indeed, he could be one of three possible individuals.

“One of the few things that Elizabeth is sure of is that she was raped three times that night, by three different men. That Phoebe exists at all almost defies belief. Practically everyone who knew exactly how Elizabeth had fallen pregnant – doctors, siblings, even her own father – urged her to have an abortion as soon as possible. The only person who pleaded with her to at least consider having the child was her mother, Sarah. Today, Elizabeth and Sarah are together to tell their remarkable story to the Mail….

“‘Everyone, save for mum, thought I should have an abortion,’ she says. ‘My dad even made an appointment at the clinic, and they showed me the little blob on the scan, I presume, to convince me that it was just a mass of cells and the whole thing would be over quickly. But I couldn’t go through with it. At school, my friends – most of whom didn’t even know about the rape – couldn’t understand why anyone my age would want to have a baby rather than an abortion. And the few I did tell about what had happened were even more horrified that I would want to go through with the birth. But I did. And I don’t regret it for a moment. Every time I look at Phoebe, I know I made the right decision. I never wanted to end my baby’s life just because of how she came to be’….

“News of the impending addition to the family caused a deep rift. The other Cameron children – Julian, 32, Nicholas, 29, and Alice, 13 – were horrified. One day, Sarah found a note Alice had typed on her computer. It read: ‘Dear God, please help me to love this new baby, because at the moment, I hate it.’

“As Elizabeth’s bump grew, though, people outside the home had to be told – and the inevitable tuts ensued. ‘People have been horrible,’ admits Sarah. ‘But that just made us more determined to fight for this innocent little child. She had not asked to be conceived, had she?’ On September 15, 2006, little Phoebe arrived weighing a healthy 8lb 4oz. Sarah stayed by Elizabeth’s side during the long labour and was the first to hold the little girl. Both new mum and grandmother admit they were relieved that their only feeling on setting eyes on her was one of adoration.

“As Sarah puts it: ‘She was so pretty, with thick dark hair and beautiful blue eyes. People may wonder how it is possible to love a child conceived in this way, but believe me, I love her even more because of it. All the hatred I felt towards those men disappeared when I saw the baby. I put Phoebe on Elizabeth’s breast and that was the most moving sight. In that moment, it wasn’t about her being attacked in some car park, it was simply about the precious moment a new mum holds her baby.’

“Elizabeth concurs. ‘I have never, ever blamed Phoebe for what happened. While it was terrifying, knowing that I was going to be a mum made me look forward and focus on something else. I suppose I have tried to look beyond what happened, to the life that was created’.”

The article concludes, “And Phoebe? What will Elizabeth tell the child when that difficult subject has to be broached. ‘If I have to, I will say that she was the good that came out of something bad. And I will tell her that, however she came to be, I have never ever regretted having her, and I would not be without her for the world’.”

This is quite an amazing story, and well worth reading in its entirety. Truly good can come out of evil, and this is a great example of it.

www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1043041/I-raped-left-pregnant-16–I-love-baby.html

 

A version of this column originally appeared in www.billmuehlenberg.com.