STOP taking OUR children – ALL children belong under the protective umbrella of loving parents.
Yesterday, the parents of Baby Bella met with Senator Brownsberger, Co-Chair of the Judiciary, and Anne Landry, Committee Counsel. The meeting was the result of a request made at last Thursday’s hearing before the Judiciary Committee where public discussion was heard on very many important bills.
Specifically related to the request for a meeting was to be able to tell the Senator what is going on behind the scenes with the state kidnapping children from loving homes. (Some of these result in forced adoptions where the parents never see their children again).
All bills related to children and families/DCF’s taking of children were the impetus for attending, none the least of which were JUSTINA’s LAW, and a law that would prevent children from being removed from parents due to a disability, (which is discrimination protected under the ADA, but happens never the less, and with all too much frequency). CONFIRMED! “very common” – States needlessly take custody of OUR children!
We are very grateful for the Senator, on short notice, shifting gears to be able to meet with Baby Bella’s parents, who were just coming from their 2-hour visit with their daughter at a DCF office in Lynn, Massachusetts. (Baby Bella has been a ward of the state of Massachusetts, and in that state’s custody since she was 3 months old, despite that she was born in Alabama, and lived in Alabama at the time.) We are also extremely grateful to Anne Landry for taking the time to hear Baby Bella’s story and for taking the picture!
Baby Bella’s parents had, without a chance to stop before their visit with their daughter, driven over 35 hours straight to make their visit on time. It is ordinarily a 23 hour drive providing traffic and no accidents or weather intervene, a trip they have been forced to make for over a year, usually for just a one, (1), hour visit.
Typically, the parents visits are scheduled separately, not on the same day, or even within days of each other, putting even more strain on the parents with travel, finances, jobs, and more, but yesterday’s was the rare, joint and extended for an hour visit because Christina had not seen her daughter in over 3 months.
These pictures are from yesterday’s visit, exhausted, stressed, and heartbroken parents in a rare and “supervised” visit with a daughter who has no comprehension of who these people ‘really’ are. How any agency can do this to children and families is part of what we wanted the Senator to know, but is only the tip of the iceberg of the troubling things that go on at DCF that we communicated to the Senator and Ms. Landry.
We are hopeful that we will have future opportunities to shed even more light on what is happening to children and families that we do not believe the Legislators, or the Governor are aware of, but yesterday was a first step, and from there we went to the Governor’s office. Hopeful to tell the Governor first hand the story of Baby Bella, we were unable to meet with him, but did get the opportunity to tell Baby Bella’s story to two of his aids. It is a story that EVERY Governor, Legislator, taxpayer and concerned parent should hear, and know, a story that is too similar to very many other stories of what is, and has been going on in Massachusetts for far too long, and a story that never should be allowed to happen – ever.
LEFT: Linda S. Spears, new Commissioner of the Department of Children & Families, in her downtown Boston offices. (Monday,March 16, 2015). Staff Photo by Nancy Lane
TODAY’s Herald article, Report: DCF appeal system drowning in backlog sheds more light on the dysfunction of DCF, and should be read in terms of how everyday children are traumatized by being ripped out of their homes and away from everything they know, and thrown into a situation with total strangers, with little to know understanding of what is going on. Add to that, it takes years before an appeal is even heard, if ever “fairly” reviewed, and each and every day more damage is done to these children and families when Foster Care Children are Worse Off than Children in Troubled Homes – The Child Trafficking Business.
From the REPORT on Massachusett’s DCF:
“As a result, the Department is unable to operate within its mandated Timeliness regulations,” the report found. “It should be noted that the Massachusetts Timeliness regulations are less demanding on the Department than those of other states examined.”
The fair hearing appeals make up a small percentage of all abuse and neglect cases. For example, there were 24,500 “supported” reports of abuse and neglect in 2014, less than 8 percent of which were challenged in an appeal. ***Editor’s note: For at least the first year, if not longer, parents whose children have been taken are so overwhelmed and busy jumping through hoops under threat from DCF that they will never see their kids again, appeals aren’t even on their radar. This 8% means nothing, and the backlog is going to explode as this continues un-interupted ***
The report also found the fair hearing system, under which caregivers can appeal DCF’s removal of custody, lacks fundamental fairness.
“We will argue that the Fair Hearings currently have too many pieces missing, resulting in an unsound structure that can produce unfair outcomes for appellants,” the report states.
In a review of 32 randomly selected decisions, the group found “multiple instances where, in our opinion, the quality of the initial investigation was not sufficiently comprehensive,” the reports states.
“In one case involving serious allegations, for example, the investigator neither interviewed the teenage victim despite no apparent factors negating the need to do so nor gathered readily available evidence from obvious sources. …
“In another case where a seasoned teacher was found to be neglectful, the Area Office investigation relied solely on the testimony of a six-year-old child with a known history of complications and failed to consult with others who were present at the alleged scene (these witnesses fully supported the appellant at the Fair Hearing and the decision was reversed).”
As reported by the Herald last month, the group found DCF has seen a “steep increase” in the number of people determined by the agency to have abused or neglected a child who are now appealing those decisions, overloading an already burdened system.
The solution to this “already burdened system” is to STOP wrongfully taking children, especially before anything even remotely close to a “fair” investigation has occurred. The end all solution, which has been the battle cry for years by those in the know, is to ABOLISH CPS. Instead, what has occurred in almost every state, including Massachusetts, is that the name of the agency has changed from Child Protective Services, because it has proven to be a colossal failure, but nothing more than the name and initials have actually changed. Therefore we have the alphabet soup that defines CPS across the country, i.e., DCF, DCS, DSS, DYS, DHS, and on and on it goes. Perhaps it’s time to listen to Senator Schaeffer. This has gone on long enough and is destroying hundreds of thousands of children – – – for generations: