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Postby [email protected] » Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:36 am

Thought you all would like this one.... ... 353723.htm

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Postby RKeyser » Tue Apr 25, 2006 11:39 am

I agree; WOW

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Postby Momof31995 » Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:57 pm

i really cant say this surprises me since it has been said many times on this forum

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Postby mrsmac » Tue Apr 25, 2006 2:07 pm

Wow, as an adoptee from back in the 50's and a member of a Christian adoptee club now, im posting this so others in my club will understand what im trying to tell them....
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. Galations 6:2

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Postby Greegor » Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:24 am ... 353723.htm

Apr. 16, 2006 By Valarie Honeycutt Spears HERALD-LEADER STAFF WRITER

Foster child adoption push investigated

Kentucky's inspector general is investigating complaints that some state child protection officials are using foster children as "bartering items" in an adoption push that a recent report equated to the "black-market selling of children."

Veteran state social workers and other professionals who work with vulnerable families allege that, under federal pressure to increase the number of Kentucky foster children who are adopted, some administrators in the Cabinet for Health and Family Services are inappropriately recommending to courts that the rights of biological parents be terminated.

In January, the Louisville-based National Institute on Children, Youth and Families Inc. and the Kentucky Youth Advocates released a report titled The Other Kentucky Lottery that raised concerns about expedited or "quick trigger" foster care adoptions.

Cabinet Inspector General Robert J. Benvenuti III says an intensive investigation into the allegations has been under way since January and could result in both administrative actions and criminal prosecutions.

At the same time, judges, social workers, biological parents and advocates -- typically intimidated by confidentiality laws -- are speaking out about how a well-conceived federal idea to prevent children from languishing in foster care has increasingly led to "quick trigger" adoptions, in which children are separated from their parents too quickly or without evidence to justify the removal.

"There are complaints that some supervisors and workers are unwilling to listen, complaints about the arrogance of power," said David Richart, executive director of the National Institute on Children, Youth and Families. "I suspect this is happening in other states. We appear to be one of the first groups to identify this as a problem."

The number of children moved from state foster care to adoption in Kentucky increased from 384 in 1999 to 902 in 2005. That resulted in $1 million in bonus money paid to the state in 2004 under a federal program designed to encourage states to move more children into adoptive families. The state gets paid a bonus of $4,000 for each child that is adopted out, more if it's a special needs child.

Critics of the adoption system say the incentive money motivates the state to quickly -- sometimes carelessly -- shift children into adoptive homes. A whistleblower lawsuit filed last fall by a fired state social worker alleges that the Cabinet stands to lose millions if it fails to meet time frames set by the federal government.

Federal and Cabinet officials, such as adoption services branch manager Mike Grimes, defend the movement to find children permanent homes more quickly and say that a judge must approve any Cabinet recommendation.

Grimes denied that incentive money is motivating premature terminations of parental rights. He said the state pays out more in subsidies to adoptive parents of special needs children than it receives in federal bonuses.

Tom Emberton Jr., commissioner of the Department for Community Based Services, which oversees foster care adoptions, said he requested the Inspector General investigation of the allegations. So far, Emberton said, he has seen no evidence of quick-triggering adoptions.

He also said the investigation isn't over: "I don't want to paint a picture that we aren't concerned."

In the past, Grimes said, as long as children were safe and policies followed, there was no rush to remove them from foster care. Federal laws passed in the late 1990s, however, forced the state to place children in adoptive homes more quickly.

"It was a huge shift in thinking and practice," he said.

Parental rights debate
The struggle has roots in a debate between people who fiercely believe in parental rights and those who think children are better served by a permanent adoptive family if biological parents can't quickly solve their problems.

The controversy has put those who administer the system at odds. Some in the Family Court system complain that, in some cases, the Cabinet sets unrealistic expectations for biological families so they will fail and their children end up in a state-arranged adoption.

In some cases, judges have stepped in to keep adoptions from happening.

Fayette Family Judge Tim Philpot said the push for foster care adoptions is so new that problems are just beginning to come to light. He recently stopped an attempt by the Cabinet to terminate a mother's parental rights because advocates were concerned the mother hadn't been given a "fair shot" to get her kids back.

"The key to all of these cases is whether you have a judge paying attention," Philpot said. "The foster care review boards and the (court appointed attorneys) are also the eyes and ears of the court."

The January report was based on 225 complaints received on an anonymous hotline. The hotline was set up because many in the child-protection system were afraid they would be violating confidentiality laws by making their concerns public.

Social workers in Hardin County, for example, reported that supervisors picked adoptive families based on how those families could benefit the Cabinet or because supervisors thought the families were owed a favor, according to the report. Emberton said the allegations are under investigation.

Social workers from other parts of the state said supervisors forced them to tear families apart just to raise the number of adoptions of foster children.

"Management staff use children and especially infants as bartering items," one social worker says in the report. "There is not a lot of difference in the system than the black-market selling of children."

Richart said he is working with the complainants involved in 22 cases now under review by the state Inspector General's office, and that there are dozens of other questionable cases that he expects will be scrutinized.

The crux of the debate is the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act, which was passed in 1997. The law allows courts to terminate custodial rights if a parent fails to improve his or her situation, but it also encourages courts to take into account a parent's efforts to reform.

The law was intended to move children into more stable adoptive homes, rather than moving them from home to home in foster care.

Federal authorities started cracking down on Kentucky in 1999 for allowing children to languish in foster care and found the Cabinet out of compliance again in 2003 for not correcting the problem quickly enough. The state faced $1.7 million in fines if the situation didn't improve.

Since the law was passed, child welfare professionals have expressed concerns that it gets more children into adoptive homes at the expense of parents who are in the greatest need of help.

The goal of the law should be to get children out of foster care, said Richard P. Barth, a child welfare researcher and professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, "not to keep kids from going home to their parents."

But many advocates in Kentucky fear that's exactly what's happening. They say the threshold for terminating parental rights has been lowered.

"Ten years ago, we mostly saw burns, physical and sexual abuse" as reasons for removing children from their parents, Lexington attorney T. Robin Cornette said. "Now, sometimes we are in court not because parents don't love, feed, house or get their children to school, but because of substance abuse. It can be marijuana to much more serious addiction issues. And you don't have as much time to improve as you used to. It's the family law equivalent of the death penalty."

Low-income families are especially vulnerable because they don't have money to pay for legal representation or expert court testimony, Cornette said.

In February, the Kentucky Court of Appeals issued a ruling that could help impoverished parents whose children have been removed. The court ruled that the Cabinet had to pay for substance abuse treatment and a mental health assessment for a Fayette County woman in an effort to reunite her with her 14-year-old daughter.

From bad to worse
Not all cases of alleged "quick trigger" adoptions involve biological families.

The attorney for former state social worker Pat Moore says Moore was fired because she criticized her supervisors for insisting that two foster children be placed with an adoptive family in Verona in Boone County even thought the family, among other problems, allowed a man described in court documents as a pedophile convicted of sex crimes to be around the children.

In her whistleblower suit, Moore said the Cabinet was forcing the adoption to keep its numbers high.

Court records show that Cabinet supervisors pushed for the adoption even though those same supervisors acknowledged that the prospective adoptive home should not have been approved and a private foster care agency deemed the home unfit.

According to a memo from Cabinet officials that is included in the lawsuit file, there had been a half-dozen complaints about the prospective adoptive parents, which the Cabinet never substantiated.

In a September 2004 court petition to remove the children from the home, Thomas W. Beiting, a court-appointed guardian, told a judge that both parents had criminal records. Beiting also noted that a son living in the home had been convicted of multiple felonies, including drug convictions, and that the foster mother's brother, a convicted child abuser, had been in the home around the foster children.

"It is obvious that this home probably should have never been approved," said a July 2004 report that summarized a meeting between three regional supervisors and was included in the court file. But the supervisors went on to push for the adoption.

"It is our recommendation that we proceed quickly with the adoption, while building in the greatest safety net as possible," the report said.

In 2004, according to court records, Campbell County Judge Michael Foellger went against the Cabinet recommendation and ruled that the Verona family should not be allowed to adopt the children. The Cabinet declined to comment on the case, citing confidentiality laws.

Moore's attorney says the case illustrates how the state is rushing to get kids out of foster care and into adoptive homes. The Cabinet was especially eager to place these children because they were classified as having special needs, attorney Shane Sidebottom said.

He said Moore was fired for going against regional management's judgment:

"The state found foster parents willing to adopt, and even though the state knew the family had major problems, the state needed to get the kids out of the 'system,' regardless of how unfit the foster parents were."

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Postby Dazeemay » Sun Apr 30, 2006 11:44 am

Kentucky Inspector General Investigating whether Children Inappropriately Removed from Families to Increase State Foster-Care Adoptions and Federal Financial Bonuses
The Kentucky Office of Inspector General is investigating whether children whose mothers are domestic-violence victims, and others are being inappropriately removed from their families to increase state foster-care adoptions and federal financial bonuses. The matter is also under review by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, by various grass-roots organizations and, most recently, by Gov. Ernie Fletcher. Source. Valarie Honeycutt Spears, Louisville Herald-Leader,

Foster adoption under review
By Valarie Honeycutt Spears
LOUISVILLE - A shoe and a hair bow.

That was all Allie Kiger had left of her four young children after state child-protection workers took them without warning from their day-care one day in 1999 and placed them with an adoptive foster family, said Kiger, of Lexington.

Virginia Durrance's story cuts even deeper. Her teenage daughter was diagnosed with cancer after state workers in Georgetown took the girl five years ago. Durrance said she learned of the girl's death in 2004 only when she read her obituary in the newspaper.

Kiger and Durrance were among several women who told of losing their children to foster care, or losing their parental rights, at The Truth Commission, a conference in Louisville yesterday that was sponsored by Women in Transition.

The state Office of Inspector General is investigating whether children -- those whose mothers are domestic-violence victims, and others -- are being inappropriately removed from their families to increase state foster-care adoptions and federal financial bonuses. The question is also under review by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, by various grass-roots organizations and, most recently, by Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

The state legislature is also being asked to investigate.

"This witnessing of truth is so important," said Deb Miller, director of public policy for Louisville-based Kentucky Youth Advocates, after she heard the women speak. "We need to spread this word if we are going to make fundamental changes to state child protection services."

'Quick-trigger' adoptions

Kentucky and other states are under pressure from the federal government to get children into adoptive homes quickly, under laws designed to keep children from languishing in foster care. The law requires that termination of parental rights be initiated if a child was in foster care 15 of the previous 22 months. The end result is that parents have less time to fix the problems that brought state child-protection workers into their lives.

In January, KYA and the National Institute for Children, Youth and Families in Louisville released a report, The Other Kentucky Lottery. It raised concerns about "quick-trigger" foster care adoptions and inappropriate removals by the Cabinet for Families and Children. Cabinet officials asked the state inspector general to investigate.

Earlier this month, domestic-violence officials told the Herald-Leader that the cabinet had removed the children of about 50 women served by the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program. Domestic-violence workers from other parts of the state also allege that the cabinet has been telling women that shelters aren't an appropriate atmosphere for children.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher, as a result, met with cabinet officials last week to ask about allegations that the cabinet is increasingly taking children away from women who have done nothing more than seek help for domestic violence.

David Fleenor, senior policy advisor for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, assured Fletcher "that the Cabinet was not," said Vikki Franklin, a cabinet spokeswoman.

Sherry Currens, executive director of the Kentucky Domestic Violence Association, said she was not aware that the governor had discussed the issue with cabinet officials.

Fletcher's press secretary Jodi Whitaker said Fletcher expects to hold a follow-up briefing.

Tom Emberton Jr., the commissioner of the Division of Community Based Services, said that he has initiated contact with those involved with the domestic-violence issue, and that he has asked staff members to look into the process and report back to him. No findings have come out yet, said Franklin, the cabinet spokeswoman.

Emberton said the vast majority of staff members do their job by the book, but the investigation is necessary to ensure that all staff members follow cabinet policy.

Meanwhile, David Richart, executive director of the National Institute on Children, Youth and Families, said he will ask members of the state legislature's Health and Welfare Committee to hold a hearing on the issue of termination of parental rights and foster care adoptions, including the allegations that the cabinet is removing the children of domestic-violence victims.

Grass-roots movement

At the same time, biological parents and advocates from across Kentucky are initiating a grass-roots movement to bring about policy changes for child protective services. One group is active in south-central Kentucky and another has started in Perry County.

Jennifer Jewell, executive director of Women in Transition, the Louisville group that sponsored the conference, said she started collecting information from biological families several months ago when she realized that 60 percent of the children being removed by state child protection workers were not victims of physical and sexual abuse, but were deemed as being neglected by their families.

The staff members at Women in Transition are finding that neglect, as defined by many state workers and court officials, often means that parents don't have enough money or appropriate housing, Jewell says. And when faced with termination of parental rights, many parents can't afford a lawyer who is responsive, she says.

Women in Transition will host a candlelight vigil at 5 p.m. May 11 at the L&N Building at Ninth Street and Broadway in Louisville, for families who have lost their children to termination of parental rights or foster care.

By this summer, the group hopes to determine what policy changes need to take place at the state and federal level, Jewell says.

Richart said some front-line state social workers are at odds with the decisions made by supervisors who push expedited adoptions. And Richart says it's important to note that many removals of children by the cabinet are appropriate.

"There are families whose parental rights should be terminated," Richart says, "but it needs to be a selected and well-thought-out process, and not affected by federal financial adoption bonuses."

Fighting for custody

After speaking at yesterday's conference, Kiger explained that she met all of the goals social workers set for her, including protecting her children from an alleged sexual abuser and paying child support to the state while her children were in foster care.

"But they terminated my rights anyway when I asked for state medical assistance. They came and took them while I was at work, saying I wasn't cognitively and financially able to care for my four children," Kiger said.

Kiger is not allowed to see her four oldest children, and she says she doesn't even know where they are. But she said that when the cabinet took her fifth child at birth, she fought hard and convinced court officials that she should regain custody of her.

Durrance has regained custody of her younger daughter and has moved from Georgetown to Louisville, where she is volunteering in a program that helps other parents in her situation.

She said the cabinet wanted her younger daughter to be adopted, but she said the child's foster mother in Georgetown spoke out because she thought Durrance deserved another chance.

Durrance also credits child-protection workers and advocates in Louisville with helping her find housing and giving her a chance to succeeed.

Before that, Durrance said, "I guess I was naive about what the cabinet could do and what they wanted from me."
This is not legal advice;hopefully wisdom

To put it in simple terms…when the authorities ARE the perpetrators and the perpetrators ARE the authorities, there is no earthly justice or recourse, at the end of the day (unless the American people wake up).

Therefore, those who have achieved the highest levels of power seek to ‘enjoy’ the most grievous and extreme injustices. For many of those in the highest circles of power, the greatest statement of power is to perpetrate the greatest possible injustice…the savage, brutal traumatization and abuse of an innocent child. MattTwoFour

"Ultimately, the law is only as good as the judge" --- D.X. Yue, 2005, in "law, reason and judicial fraud";site_id=1;objid=45;curloc=Site:1

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