How Did 70-Plus Children Go Missing From The Kansas Foster Care System?

OCTOBER 11, 2017 6:44 PM

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Care Kids’ Stories Tell Of Neglect And Despair

From turning to aerosol-sniffing to the devastating realisation they wouldn’t be going home, Indigenous children have told of the effects of being forcibly placed in care.

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The stories of their young lives are contained in a report released by the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory titled Voices: What Children Have Told Us — Child Protection.

“The decision to remove us from our mum and dad destroyed our family,” one child said in the report. “I know that my brothers and sisters have also all suffered because of it.

“I notice with Dad that whenever I talked about the past or about what happened and my brothers and sister are doing he puts his head down and looks real upset. I know he feels broken because of what happened.”

Another child told of not being fed by the carers they had been placed with.

“When the carers wouldn’t feed us, my brother and sister would go through the bin and find food for me. They would put it in their mouth to clean it before giving it to me, making sure it was clean and safe.”

Another child told of how they sought solace in sniffing aerosols after being taken from their home.

“I got into sniffing aerosols there,” the child said. “The carers must have known we were doing it. There were empty cans lying around everywhere. They never tried to do anything about it. I think DCF (Department of Children and Families) would have known too.”

Many told of being confused and left in the dark about what was happening to them.

“Welfare came to talk to us. I was 10 years old,” one child said. “They said Mum needed some time to sort out housing for us. So they told me … we would go into respite care for two weeks. We agreed … and were placed in a foster home ….

“Even though we were told it would be only for two weeks, I was in that home for almost two years.”

Royal Commissioners Mick Gooda and Margaret White said they had wanted to hear directly from children, which they did through youth forums, speaking with child detainees and talking with children in communities and the city.

More than 430 stories were collected.

SNAICC, a national body that represents Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families, said the stories demonstrated a pattern of denial of the basic rights, ongoing policy and practice failures in the NT.

In a statement it said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children accounted for nearly 90 percent of children in out of home care in the Territory — an unacceptable figure.

https://nit.com.au/care-kids-stories-tell-neglect-despair/

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DCF Sued After Palm Beach Children Burned With Grease By Guardian

‘DCF failed to protect my children’

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. – Vivienne Otero is suing the Department of Children and Families, and other agencies, for negligence. Otero claims DCF failed to protect her children, when they put them in the custody of a woman named Debra Galloway.

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4-year-old Carlton spent 10 days in the intensive care unit in 2015.

“Burns from head to toe. All the way from the top of his head all the way to the bottom of his pelvis. He was actually put back into a diaper. He couldn’t eat because his face was severely burned,” says his mother Vivienne Otero.

“They said grease was tossed on him. He was tied up and grease was tossed on him. ”

Carlton’s one-year-old sister, Alani, also burned.

“The burns, took out her hair, all of her hairline,” she said.

DCF temporarily removed Carlton and Alani from Otero’s care in 2014. She won’t talk about why.

A look at the Palm Beach County Clerk’s Office shows Otero has a history with the law.

DCF placed them in the care of Debra Galloway, a grandmother of the kids’ half brother.

Otero’s lawsuit demands answers and accountability, regarding why DCF gave Galloway custody, considering her long criminal history, including an arrest for murder.

“She was arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, multiple violations of probation, yet for whatever reason, ChildNet, Children’s Home Society and under the supervision of DCF, approved the placement,” says Otero’s lawyer Adam Hecht.

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In addition to the burns on both her children, Otero claims Galloway also abused her daughter.

She had bruises all over her body, on her thighs, outside of her thighs, on her back, on her chest, on her stomach,” says Otero.

Police arrested Galloway, but a judge declared her mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Otero wants DCF to own up to their dangerous mistakes.

“Only an animal could do this to children. Only an animal to anybody,” says Otero.

The lawsuit demands money, so that she can properly care for her children.

When asked for comment, DCF would only say “The department is aware of, and reviewing this pending litigation.”

A DCF source told Contact 5 state law does allow a guardian to have a criminal felony history. Placements are determined on a case by case basis.

In a statement, the Children’s Home Society of Florida said, “While we do not comment on active cases, I can assure you that Children’s Home Society of Florida takes our responsibility to Palm Beach County’s children seriously, and our top priority is always their safety and well-being.”

ChildNet said they would not comment.

http://www.wptv.com/news/local-news/investigations/dcf-sued-after-palm-beach-children-burned-with-grease-by-guardian

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DCF/COURT NEGLECT OF WILLIAM BISERNI – PART 2

by Jane Gallagher

Family Civil Liberties Union
Connecticut Co-director

I am sad to say as I write this story, my sweet son, William Biserni, has not been home with his loving mom and family since October 24, 2014. That is over 860 days my child has not seen the people and the home he loves and grew up in.

dcf1Our happy life as we knew it ended on the day of the violent removal of my innocent 12-year-old son by a mob of DCF social workers and the Brookfield, Conn. police with a falsified search and seizure that was based on fraud and false claims made by William’s father, who a few years earlier had told the courts he did “not want to pay for a child he did not want.” They violently kidnapped my 12-year-old child and took him from his home in handcuffs as he played video games on a Friday afternoon with his best friend. The police also twisted my shoulder to the point that I needed surgery.

The father claimed that I wasn’t returning William to him for visitation when, in fact, he wasn’t coming to get him. He really had little or no contact with William in the early years of his life, which was fine with me, but the state came in and demanded child support and visitation. Otherwise, William would still be safe at home with me.

DCF Connecticut took this deadbeat father’s claims at face value. He also alleged William needed Ritalin and wasn’t getting it in my care, despite Conn. state law saying that DCF cannot take a child solely on the basis of a parent refusing to drug their child. In reality, outside of the damage caused by DCF, William functions fine mentally and never should have been put on any psychotropic drug.

For the last 2 ½ years William has been removed from his mother for no reason other than false allegations made by the father, who now wants his parental rights terminated so that he will have no responsibility for his son. There is also the false psychological report by DCF-contracted psychologist David Mantell of New Britain, whose claim to infamy includes a 1970 study in Munich, Germany wherein he mentally tormented human research subjects in a study that was attempting to see how badly people were willing to harm others with electric shocks when ordered in the study to do so (the victims weren’t actually shocked, but the research subjects thought they were severely torturing other humans). Now Mantell just torments children and parents under DCF Conn. contract.

http://www.bostonbroadside.com/dcf/department-of-children-families-dcf-victim-now-advocate-fighting-for-her-child-and-others/

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Review Of 250 Reports By DCF Investigators Accused Of Lying Shows 40 Percent Falsified

Caseworkers at the Florida Department of Children and Families are being forced to shoulder nearly unbelievable workloads, leading some to falsify records, according to a new report by an Orlando TV news station.

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A single child protection investigator in the (DCF) had at one point 32 cases with 77 accompanying children, show DCF documents provided to ABC affiliate WFTV.

The state agency tasked with overseeing child welfare in the Sunshine State gave the ABC News Channel 9 Investigates team – which carried out an examination of DCF employee record falsifications, running the segment Wednesday night – records indicating 59 employees had been terminated since sometime in 2014, reporter Daralene Jones said.

There are 267 DCF investigators currently deployed throughout DCF’s Central Florida classification region.

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But, as Jones noted, the number didn’t factor in the hundreds of employees contracted by the state through what it calls community-based care agencies (what it commonly refers to as CBCs) and, statewide, through sheriff’s offices.

Of Florida’s 67 counties, six county sheriff’s offices have child protective divisions who take lead on child welfare reports over DCF investigators – of those six, four are in the Tampa Bay area (Manatee, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco), one is in the Orlando (Seminole County) area. The other is Broward County.

The report cited the average caseload for DCF investigators is currently between 18 to 21. One former DCF investigator Jones spoke with, who remained anonymous for the report, said he’d had 34 cases at one time during a particularly busy point before he was arrested for falsifying reports in portions of some of his investigations. At the time of the arrest, he told Jones, there were 24 open cases involving 36 children.

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll told state legislators in a committee meeting last week he’d like to get that number down to 15.

But is that possible?

A memo dated Feb. 28, 2017, cites March 1 as the day the agency – under Carroll’s directive – is set to streamline management of cases by reducing “excessive documentation,” so child protection investigators can move more swiftly in opening and closing their cases.

As of Wednesday, “less than 4 percent of our CPI workforce is carrying a caseload of more than 30 open investigations and 18 percent of the workforce has a caseload of 25 open investigations,” Carroll said in the memo.

Carroll refused multiple interviews with Channel 9.

http://floridapolitics.com/archives/233061-review-250-reports-dcf-investigators-accused-lying-shows-40-percent-falsified

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Miami Mother Demands Answers After Teenage Daughter Found Dead

17-year-old girl was living in DCF group home, woman says

By Neki Mohan – Anchor/Reporter

MIAMI – Police are investigating after a 17-year-old girl was found dead last weekend in Miami.

“I don’t know how she died. I haven’t ID’d her, I haven’t seen a body. They’re telling me that there is no body,” the girl’s mother, Vickie Menard, said.

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Menard said her daughter, Christine McGowan, was found dead last Saturday.

Christine was in the care of a Department of Children and Families group home facility.

Menard said her daughter was the mother of a 3-year-old and had been in state custody for two years.

The single mother of four told Local 10 News that she had hoped the state could help her with Christine, who was determined to rebel.

She said she could not watch her daughter while working to support her family.

“She just didn’t always make the best decisions, but I felt it was only because she was young, not because she was just bad and, you know, too much out of control,” Menard said.

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Menard said she had hoped to be reunited with her daughter and was working with the court for that to happen. She said the two spoke daily, but she never got a call from her on Nov. 9.

She said she found out nearly a week later from the director of Christine’s group home that her daughter was dead.

“I do want answers. I feel like if she was found dead at home near me, everyone and law enforcement would be on me,” Menard said.

Miami-Dade police confirmed that it is investigating the death, but could not immediately provide specifics about the case.

http://www.local10.com/news/miami-mother-demands-answers-after-teen-daughter-found-dead

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BEWARE A FRIENDLY GUY WITH A SALES PITCH

I am sitting here shaking my head and beating myself up for failure to do due diligence when approached by a representative by the name of Travis Lipp to change my credit card processing.

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I was happy with the system I was using but always willing to upgrade to make my business more efficient and to save money on all the necessities of doing business.

Travis approached me under the guise of advertising, and I could see how he tied the credit processing in with advertising via printed coupons from the terminal but in all honesty it was credit card processing.

So he gave the pitch promising lower fees with almost identical service, there was a $15 per month fee that I would be charged but when I figured it in with the prices it was still a better deal.

Signed up and the nightmare began the first weekend we used the service, I am still in contact with the processing company, they seem to be willing to work with me at this time to cancel my services with them.

What this letter is about is Travis Lipp I have called his number, 813-417-6221 again and again, I have left text messages and ask for his assistance in figuring out the huge list of charges and fees that I was told did not exist. I have been patient and polite leaving voicemail after voicemail text after text. When he wanted my money he was far more attentive. I want to have a serious discussion about all of the fees, and late deposits that are in direct contrast to his promises.

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So I am writing everyone who would be dealing with Travis Lipp to use caution and to check reviews, and not just jump in based on a friendly guy who just wants to make a living and help small business succeed.

Check out this site to get in depth information and check out Eliot Management Group and their ratings.

https://www.cardpaymentoptions.com/credit-card-processing/worst-merchant-accounts/

Once again Eliot is working with me at this time, I will update this after my account issues are resolved.

Feel free to contact me and ask more questions, and TRAVIS LIPP in Tampa Florida, Sales Representative for Eliot Management Group please contact me, return a call or text. I would love to talk with you to find out if you were misinformed by the company, or just lied to me.

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Father Begins Hunger Strike In Response To Alleged Harm Of Children Under DCF Care

On Sunday evening, Raymond Schwab sat down to eat a meal of beans, rice, fried plantains and a salad.

He suspects it may be his last meal for awhile. Schwab, whose children have been under the supervision of the Kansas Department for Children and Families for almost a year, began a hunger strike Monday.

The drastic move was precipitated by news of his son being sent to a psychiatric residential treatment facility.

Raymond and his wife, Amelia Schwab, received the notification by email on Thursday from KVC, a private agency that has a contract with the DCF. In December, KVC also notified the Schwabs of a hotline report alleging abuse of three of their children.

“(The hunger strike) is a lack of not knowing what else to do before our kids go through more,” Amelia Schwab said.

“It’s a nonviolent protest against injustice,” Raymond Schwab said.

The couple spent Monday at the Kansas Capitol trying to reach the governor and other legislators about their case. They were joined by Odalis Sharp, of Auburn, and seven of her children. The “Sharp Family Singers” recently gained national attention for singing during the anti-government occupation in Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that ended in the fatal shooting of LaVoy Finicum on Jan. 26. Victoria Sharp, one of the older Sharp children, reportedly witnessed the shooting.

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The troupe broke into song several times Monday at the Capitol, gathering onlookers.

“Our family is here to stand by (the Schwabs),” Sharp said.

Sharp herself has had two cases with the Department for Children and Families.

“We have a broken system,” she said. “Families are being robbed of their children and the state is abusing them.”

The Schwab’s problems began in April 2015 as they prepared to move their family to Colorado from Topeka. During that time, they were accused of emotional abuse and five of their six children were removed. Their eldest is an adult. In July, the DCF concluded that the abuse allegations were unsubstantiated, but the children have yet to be returned.

Raymond, a veteran, alleges it is because he has used medicinal marijuana to treat chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. Having made the move to Colorado, his use of marijuana — for medicinal or recreational purposes — is legal. However in Kansas, it is prohibited.

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Determining whether an allegation is true is separate from a recommendation to remove children from the home, said Theresa Freed, communications director for the DCF.

Freed also said she had been advised of Raymond Schwab’s hunger strike. The department isn’t able to comment on specific cases.

“Our interest is the privacy and confidentiality of children in the cases, not in arguing with people publicly,” said Freed.

The Schwabs don’t deny the need for investigating allegations. However, the system needs reform, Amelia Schwab said.

Raymond would like judges to have less power in the decision to remove children. He also would like to see more transparency in the process.

The Schwabs and the Sharps rely heavily on their faith. Amelia Schwab said they have to keep faith.

Sharp, who always reads scripture before leaving her house, said, “It’s going to take God’s hand.”

Last week, the Schwabs had a supervised visit with their children. Amelia Schwab said the visits are difficult because the children are confused about what is happening, but Raymond and Amelia aren’t allowed to talk about the case with them.

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The couple also is allowed a one-hour, supervised phone call once a week. Amelia said it has been difficult for them to miss events such as holidays and birthdays.

Raymond Schwab said he has stopped using cannabis so that he can pass a urinary analysis test and that the hunger strike will end once his children are returned.

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Harvard Finds Florida Among Most Politically Corrupt States In U.S.

Harvard Law School’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics is out with a fascinating new report measuring legal and illegal corruption in American states, and Florida does not fare particularly well.

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The deep dive is here, but here’s the short take:

  • Illegal corruption is “moderately common” in Florida’s executive branch.
  • Illegal corruption is “very common” in the state’s legislative branch.
  • No state has a high ranking for illegal corruption in its judiciary.

When it comes to “legal” corruption, Florida falls into the “very common” category in both the executive and legislative branches.

Florida is also listed as one of America’s most corrupt states, along with Arizona, California, Kentucky, Alabama, Illinois, New Jersey, Georgia, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Rhode Island, and Texas.

The Safra Center compiled its corruption rankings in part by surveying news reporters covering state politics across  the country, in addition to the investigative reporters covering issues related to corruption during the first half of 2014.

http://floridapolitics.com/archives/191150-harvard-says-florida-one-of-americas-most-politically-corrupt-states

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