Parental Rights, Parental Rights Activist, Fight CPS Corruption, childrens Rights, Legal issues, Parent and child Activist, Civil Rights


Yes, I believe that parental rights should be constitutionally protected through the proposed Parental Rights Amendment:


The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a

fundamental right.


Neither the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without

demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest

order and not otherwise served.


No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to

supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.

To sign this petition please go to I encourage everybody to look at this petition.


view:  full / summary

DCFS Workers To Be Fired Over Death Of Palmdale Bo

Posted by Diane Vigil on August 31, 2013 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Posted on 31 July, 2013 by L

LOS ANGELES ( — The Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) has taken the first steps to fire four employees in connection with the death of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy, a county official said Tuesday.


County CEO Bill Fujioka announced the move on Twitter “based on an internal investigation” into the death of Gabriel Fernandez on May 24.


The recommendation was made by DCFS director Philip Browning to discharge the four employees, Fujioka said. The two social workers and two supervisors are on paid leave pending a hearing in August.


KNX 1070′s Claudia Peschiutta reports three other employees will be reprimanded as a result of the investigation

In a memo dated July 30 (PDF) addressed to DCFS staff, Browning called the decisions “difficult” and acknowledged that the “action may cause stress and concern” among staffers.


“We finally got to a conclusion which really indicated that staff really performed far below our expectations in this case,” Browning told KCAL9′s Jeff Nguyen.


The four employees facing termination are union members who will have a chance to challenge the discharge notices in two weeks, in an internal hearing.


“This is the first step in a process in a long-term investigation,” L.A. County spokesman David Summers said.


Tammi Stephano of the National Safe Child Coalition has organized a number of protests against DCFS.


“We’re not going to go away,” Stephano said. “If somebody doesn’t make sure and enforce that the right thing is done, they’re going to create a problem bigger than they possible expect right now.”


Authorities were tipped off to the abuse on May 22 after the Los Angeles County Fire Department was called out to the 200 block of East Avenue Q-10 on a report of a boy who was not breathing.

CA to audit CPS

Posted by Diane Vigil on August 26, 2013 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (0)

June 6, 2013 in California, Child Protective Services, corruption, DCFS, Kidjacked


I was so happy to learn that California lawmakers have voted to order a long overdue audit of Child Protective Services.


We have a baby...for awhile at least

We have a baby…for awhile at least!


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.


Parents around the state have had to deal with horrendous actions of CPS, like the Donnelly family.


One officer can be heard saying, “I’m going to grab your baby, and don’t resist, and don’t fight me, okay?”


Donnelly said he felt compelled to act, as a father, and as a legislator.


“The footage is frightening for parents everywhere to think that your children might be confiscated should CPS disagree with your parental instincts. It’s chilling to think that a government agency can take your child right back to a hospital that you as a parent have lost faith in, but it happened.”


Donnelly began demanding answers. In a letter, he asked Sheri Heller, director of California’s Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees CPS, to account for how this was allowed to happen.


Heller responded that she couldn’t share that information with an assemblyman, unless a judge ordered her to do so. Donnelly responded, “It has become clear that CPS answers to no one, but this abuse of power cannot be tolerated.”


You can read the rest of the story at: Child ‘Protectors’ Accused of Destroying Families


Was it just a coincidence that I received a letter only yesterday demanding someone investigate the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services?


Department of Children and Family Services, Los Angeles County is "Shawshank"

Department of Children and Family Services, Los Angeles County is “Shawshank”

I am glad they are finally getting the investigation they need, maybe we’ll actually get some justice.


Related articles

10 Things You Should do if CPS or DCFS is Investigating You

Posted by Diane Vigil on August 26, 2013 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)

10 Things You Should do if CPS or DCFS is Investigating You

1: Take any accusations seriously. ←Click To Open No matter how absurd or unbelievable the CPS/DCFS social worker’s claim(s) may seem, please understand that the social worker is dead serious, and most likely presumes – no… most likely BELIEVES that you are guilty as accused. Even if the social worker doesn’t admit that s/he is at your home to take your children, often times that IS EXACTLY why they are there. It is our experience, over 20+ years, that the majority of CPS social workers develop a cynical view of life and assume that you are UTTERLY GUILTY until YOU PROVE that you are not: the opposite of the way the “justice system” is supposed to operate.

2: Ask what the accusations and charges are. ←Click To Open Most typically, the CPS/DCFS social worker wants to keep you from knowing exactly what you have been accused of — sort of keeping themselves on a “general fishing expedition” — but it is required by state and federal law to tell you the exact details of the accusations at first contact with you. Be wary! Do not settle for the vague and general charges called “neglect” or “abuse.” Neglect and abuse are broad categories – not the legally-required “details” of the accusations or charges! You are entitled to know the “details & specifics” of what you are accused of committing.


3: Say as little as possible. In fact – BE QUIET! ←Click To Open In criminal law it is ALWAYS strongly suggested that you talk to NO ONE but your attorney. Think about it. Virtually ALL CHARGES that CPS or DCFS levels against you are CRIMINAL CHARGES. And while CPS or DCFS is there ONLY to take your kids, the police can and often will show up later for the parents! In fact, open your mouth and tell the CPS investigator just enough to “make their case” and you can start packing an overnight case as the police will be called by CPS who will be at your door to take you away.

Sure, it is totally natural that innocent parents who have nothing to hide will want to explain everything to a CPS social worker because such parents would assume that ANY reasonable person would see that there is nothing wrong going on. But CPS and DCFS social workers are commonly ANYTHING BUT reasonable. They become entrenched in a culture that is uniformly cynical about ALL PARENTS. Frankly, you are presumed guilty by the majority of CPS and DCFS agents. The exhausted, over-worked social worker who just fought the crowded freeways to make it to your home is there on a mission. That mission is most often to find evidence to support what the social worker already believes to be true – that you abused your child just as the neighbor, relative or anonymous tipster claimed.

If you don’t talk to them –just as you are always told to never voluntarily talk with the police if they are accusing you of a crime– you take their power away. They will not be able to use your own admissions, statements, and your very words against you. For example” “Have you ever spanked your toddler?” Do you really think there is a good answer to that question? The majority of CPS and DCFS social workers abhor most any form of parental punishment.


4: The minute you become aware that your family is being investigated, YOU MUST find an attorney who has experience in fighting CPS or DCFS. ←Click To Open An attorney EXPERIENCED in CPS and DCFS cases and courts is mandatory! Juvenile Dependency courts are worlds unto themselves. Your most seasoned and experienced lawyers when first stepping foot into a Juvenile Dependency courtroom are totally dumb struct as if they stepped into It’s a Small World at Disneyland. Most lawyers –even experienced Family Law attorneys– who are not experienced with CPS/DCFS mistakenly think that it is their job (as it would be in any other court setting) to find out what CPS or DCFS wants and then communicate all the details to their clients. Shockingly, doing exactly that often leads to total disaster and the loss of your children.


5: Be courteous and polite to CPS social workers & investigators. ←Click To Open Let’s face it, when a “government investigator” –without any advanced notice– knocks insistently on your door, well-dressed, looking all official with a county badge; exuding the authority of the government; is well-prepared, PRIMED and READY to level accusations of child abuse or neglect against you: most people would be SHOCKED! If you’re human you’d also be scared too. As government is getting bigger and bigger every year they are getting more and more powerful and intrusive in the lives of ordinary citizens. We are all a bit nervous and threatened by the power of the state as we witness weekly examples of government power wielded unfairly on Investigative TV News programs and in the lives of our own families and friends.

What could your reaction possibly be to a surprise home-visit from a government agent? No one appreciates surprise visits by any one! Perhaps the dishes are unwashed; maybe you haven’t cleaned house for a day or two; say that there are a collection of beer bottles on the coffee table from the football game the day before; could be that you’re not dressed in appropriate attire as you would be IF EXPECTING guests… So when you are surprised and ACCUSED TO YOUR FACE of child neglect or child abuse it might be natural that you are shocked, defensive, upset, angry and a little hostile. As Homer Simpson would say: “Do’ah!”

Guess what? An angry demeanor toward the CPS social worker or DCFS investigator is considered evidence of your guilt. Your perfectly natural, upset and angry reaction to being accused of harming your child will very OFTEN BE USED as evidence of your violent and abusive personality.


6: Never invite any CPS or DCFS social worker or investigator into your home unless he or she has a warrant or court order. ←Click To Open If a County CPS/DCFS social worker requests that you invite them into your home politely refuse. If he or she insists or suggests that not allowing entry will work against you or will ensure that your children are taken away from you HOLD YOUR GROUND. Politely ask to see their warrant or court order to come into your home. It the CPS social worker or investigator claims to have a warrant, insist on seeing it: in fact they owe you a copy! Why? Would a Social worker lie? YES. Police and government agents often suggest they have a warrant or outright lie and claim to have a warrant when they do not. It makes their task of finding needed evidence against you so much easier! If the CPS/DCFS government agent cannot produce a warrant, firmly but politely tell them that they will have to remain outside until a warrant is presented. They will be annoyed. But you will be far better off – legally. If the agent says it is an EMERGENCY call their bluff. Insist that they explain how it is an emergency and what constitutes an emergency. Typically, in so-called “emergency situations,” the police and the CPS social workers come together and even then it is not necessarily an emergency but a working relationship that some CPS agents have with associates on the police force.

Do not even open the door to allow the CPS agent look into your home to see your children: they can see something that creates an “emergency situation” even if it is not true.

Be FIRM. You should not waiver nor give in to thinking: “What’s the harm?” There is no compromise here: no exception. If you invite a County CPS investigator or a Los Angeles DCFS social worker into your home, you have just waived your Federally-protected fourth amendment constitutional protection. Just like a police detective intent on hauling you to the police station for questioning would love for you to willingly invite them into your home, a CPS social worker who is openly or secretly intent on taking your children from you WILL FIND SOMETHING IN YOUR HOME TO JUSTIFY THE REMOVAL OF YOUR KIDS.

This happens every day all over America and even more often in Southern California where CPS and DCFS agents are the most ruthless social workers anywhere. The bar for removal is “whatever it needs to be” as far as the social worker is concerned. A legal prescription in your bathroom cabinet, a beer bottle on the coffee table, a kitchen knife not in the drawer, a broken window, a back door without a deadbolt, a missing smoke detector, a swimming pool without its own secondary safety fence: whatever might be necessary to fill out the paperwork to justify removal. If this particular social worker set out to take your child, allowing them innocently into your house will ensure that your child is taken from you. You now have a year or a lifetime of HELL before you.


7: Demand that CPS tape any interrogation of your child. ←Click To Open Subjective reports of what a child said or did not say is hardly ever adequate. Ask that any interrogation be recorded. You could produce your own recorder (as a back-up) just in case the CPS or DCFS investigator “loses” their tape between the interrogation and a subsequent court hearing where you might have “wished” that you had such a tape.


8: If you are accused of physical abuse, immediately have your doctor give your child a thorough physical exam. ←Click To Open Ask your doctor to write a letter stating that there are no bruises or injuries observed, nor any other health-related issues that would raise any concern or suspicion of child abuse or neglect. Obviously go to a doctor whom you trust. If a CPS or DCFS social worker suggests a doctor for you, or suggests that they know where you can see a doctor at NO CHARGE (as attractive as that may be), NEVER visit with a doctor recommended by CPS. What you may not know is that these doctors are a regular part of the CPS system and they are commonly called as expert-testimony witnesses by CPS as a witness against the parents. They are paid handsomely for their testimony.


9: Create a list of relatives and friends who are willing and able to care for your children if CPS takes them. ←Click To Open If your children are removed from your home, or the court is demanding that your children must soon leave your home for some period of time it is always better that your children are taken in by relatives or friends. Are you aware that children placed in foster care are sometimes abused or mistreated by people working the foster care system for a “pay check?” There is the flip side to that where some truly loving foster parents sometimes become smitten with your kids and start their own campaign with the court and petition for adoption! Having your kids in foster care is simply adding one more level of stress and complexity to your plate.


10: Never admit guilt, even if pressured by a CPS social worker to do so in exchange for leniency or getting your kids back. ←Click To Open If you are innocent of neglect or abuse why would you buckle to the pressure of a CPS agent’s demands to have you admit to false accusations? If you are accused or charged with neglect because someone has informed the county CPS system that you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, the social worker who is investigating those accusations may have good-reason to be concerned for your kids’ safety.

Even if you privately agree that maybe you drink too often or too much that does not mean that you have to incriminate yourself in this investigation. Bite your tongue. Admit NOTHING! Even if you recognize that you have a problem that needs to be addressed this is not your DOCTOR; this is not your PRIEST; this is not your LAWYER. Wrong person! Wrong time! This person is not here to HEP YOU. This person is here to collect evidence to support the accusations made against you and to TAKE YOUR KIDS. Period.

Do not admit guilt. Instead, work with your doctor, pastor or even your private CPS defense attorney to find the professional help you might need need (and professional help that the courts will recognize – no sense paying twice because a treatment program is not court-approved). By NOT ADMITTING GUILT, you can then honestly work on any issues you have and work with the court to keep your kids under your roof or to get your kids returned to you when appropriate.

By mistakenly thinking that admitting guilt to a social worker is justified is often a fast trip to jail – removing many of the options that you need right now to get your life in order. In any potentially-criminal situation NEVER voluntarily do anything until you contact an attorney: preferably a compassionate and understanding attorney who works with parents, kids and the Juvenile Dependency Courts on a daily basis. They will offer you frank advice that will be better than unnecessarily sitting locked behind bars. CPS social workers and investigators are not above lying to you to encourage you to confess or admit to something that you might not even be guilty of – just to get you arrested and your kids in their control.

Parental Rights in California

Posted by Diane Vigil on August 26, 2013 at 9:25 PM Comments comments (0)

STATE LAW - At High Risk!


California law does not protect parental rights as fundamental rights.


California Family Code § 3105


(a) The Legislature finds and declares that a parent's fundamental right to provide for the care, custody, companionship, and management of his or her children, while compelling, is not absolute. Children have a fundamental right to maintain healthy, stable relationships with a person who has served in a significant, judicially approved parental role.


(b) The court may grant reasonable visitation rights to a person who previously served as the legal guardian of a child, if visitation is determined to be in the best interest of the minor child.


(See also sections 3102, 3104)



California Education Code §§ 51938–39 require parental notification and allow parental opt-out for sex education.






The California Supreme Court’s ruling in re Marriage of Harris 96 P.3d 141, 149, 151 (Cal. 2004) deprives custodial parents of their constitutional rights to deny grandparent visitation if a non-custodial parent supports it.

In Fenn v. Sheriff, 1 Cal. Rptr. 3d 185, 201 (Cal. Ct. App. 2003), the CA Court of Appeals found that , in light of Troxel, California Family Code § 3102 allows the court to order grandparent visitation against the wishes of fit parents.




No resolutions have been introduced in the California legislature supporting the PRA or opposing U.N. conventions that threaten parental rights.

Carver County Corruptio

Posted by Diane Vigil on August 26, 2013 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Carver County Takes Lead Position of Counties in US Showing Signs of Corruption

Carver County CPS Case/Theresa Katka

Posted on April 17, 2013 41


The Carver county Child Protection case of Theresa Katka and her six children has taken quite a turn in the past few months. In previous posts we explained a troubling case involving Judge Janet Barke-Cain of Carver county removing six children from a mother who lives in Illinois. The children were placed with a woman by the name of Krystle Chastek and her live in boyfriend, Melmar Lahr who reside in Wright county, MN. Ms. Chastek and her boyfriend have been the caregiver for the Katka children since August of 2012, four Katka children currently live in the Chastek home. Krystle Chastek has twice applied for a foster care license by the state of MN, both times Krystle has been denied due to her criminal record and various other concerns about her home and lifestyle. Wright county was asked to do an investigation and assessment of Krystle Chastek by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Wright county sent a negative report to the Minnesota Department of Human Services suggesting Krystle Chastek be refused a license. Wright county also suggested the children be immediately removed from the care of Ms. Chastek and her live in boyfriend. Carver county refuses to remove the children. During a hearing in Wright county a Carver County social worker by the name of Kayla Schaap took the stand in Wright county in support of Ms. Chastek stating, “Carver county has a different opinion than Wright county”… although she did not state what that opinion was.

Krystle Chastek criminal complaint:

Domestic Assault report on Krystle Chastek from McLeod county, MN: 200912criminalcomplaintkrystle

The Minnesota Department of Human Services denial of foster care license for Krystle Chastek. MDHSKrystleMelmerOrderofDenial

Carver county has trial scheduled at the end of April for Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) of Theresa Katka. Reasons for the TPR or removal of her six children from her care are unknown. Carver county continues to claim Theresa is a drug and alcohol addict, although Theresa has cooperated and passed several drug tests ordered by Carver county since August 2012. UA testing along with fingernail and hair testing.

Theresa Katka is a resident of Illinois, not Minnesota. Judge Janet Barke-Cain of Carver county determined in a jurisdiction hearing that Carver county has jurisdiction of Theresa Katka and her six children. How this is possible with Minnesota law on jurisdiction is unknown.

Carver county is making thousands in federal and state funding for the placement and control of Theresa and her children.


Posted by Diane Vigil on August 26, 2013 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)


Parents organize to fight child-services-agency abuse


There have been horror stories in abundance recently about the misbehavior of child protective services workers across America who abuse parental rights and traumatize children.

Some of those tales have come out of Pennsylvania, and now a coalition of parents is saying they’ve had enough.


They are organizing under the name of the Operation CYS Reform and Family Law Reform and aim to stamp out abuse first in the state, and then nationwide.


“We The People of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania demand that our legislators in Harrisburg and Washington address public concerns about unacceptable conditions with CYS, related agencies and Pennsylvania’s judiciary,” they said in a statement.


“We have set a guideline of changes we would like to see implemented into these two branches of government. A nationwide campaign is being conducted by activists, advocates, and victims of each state in an effort to have our voices heard on the problems facing American citizens in our current form of child protection agencies and family law courtrooms.”


They cite cases such as that of 14-year-old Danieal Kelly, who had cerebral palsy.


In 2006, authorities said, she was starved and tortured to death by her mother in Philadelphia. She weighed 42 pounds when she died.


Her death happened even though Dana Poindexter, a CYS case worker in Philadelphia, was investigating the Kelly home due to reports of prior abuse and supposedly making regular visits. Furthermore, Mickal Kamuvaka, the head of a Pennsylvania Department of Human Services contractor, was being paid by the state to provide a social worker who would visit the Kelly home twice weekly. Kamuvaka never did it and instead he used the case to commit health care fraud.


Poindexter and Kamuvaka were two of eight people to serve lengthy prison sentences for their role in Kelly’s death. Kamuvaka also received another 17 ½ years for his role in the health care fraud.


Kelly’s death was supposed to have sparked a full top to bottom review of Pennsylvania’s Child and Youth Services system, which was supposed to lead to wholesale changes, but the new parents organization, already with about 100 members, says that’s just not so.


WND spoke to about 20 people in this group, and all said they are victims of corruption within Pennsylvania social services, primarily in CYS.


The charges range from abusing benefits and ignoring real cases of abuse to ordering children back to the custody of their abusers and huge investigations of bogus claims.


Another case cited is that of former psychologist Jim Singer. In 1986, Singer reported a case of suspected child abuse to CYS after he said one of his patients, a female minor, indicated she was being abused by her father.


As a psychologist, Singer was a “mandated reporter.” Mandated reporters are individuals in certain specialties, like psychologists, who are required by law to report any suspected child abuse they see as part of their professional duties.


Singer also followed other protocols, including bringing in at least one other medical professional to confirm his patient’s story. That doctor, Dr. Albert Varacallo, has since written a number of politicians on Singer’s behalf.


But rather than having his own allegation of abuse investigated, CYS began investigating Singer.


According to a video report on Singer, two separate CYS case workers confronted Singer’s patients in attempts to obtain negative information.


In one instance, CYS officials approached another individual who had also reported abuse and revealed Singer’s private information.


“They [CYS officials] kept pressuring me to say something against him [Singer] and I kept telling them I didn’t know him. They then proceeded to tell me that Dr. Singer had reported child abuse. Before they left my home, I knew that Dr. Singer had reported child abuse. I knew who the perpetrator was and I knew who the victim was,” the individual explained.


Singer told WND that revealing personal information by CYS to his patients breaks all rules of professional ethics, and he believes this was done with the intention of intimidating him in order for him to reverse his allegation that his patient accused her father of abuse.


Within a year of making his allegation to CYS, Singer was on the receiving end of seven separate professional complaints to the Pennsylvania Psychology Board. In 1992, the PPB took Singer’s license after a long and convoluted bureaucratic process.


In 1996, an investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police headed up by then-Lt. Ivan Hoover concluded that Singer was the victim of rampant corruption on the part of CYS, PPB, and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office.


But that report went nowhere.


According to a study done by the Tribune-Democrat an astonishing 49 percent of cases of child abuse deaths in Pennsylvania involved circumstances where CYS had previously been warned about problems in the children’s families.


Similarly, according to a 2008 study by the Leadership Council, approximately 58,000 children are handed back to their abusers every year in the USA.


In an exclusive interview with WND, Tina Popolizio, a resident of Chester County, Pa., said her daughter was one of those 58,000.


She says in 1997, she had a daughter with her husband. They divorced in 2007, with Tina getting custody and her husband getting regular visits. She said she noticed changes in her daughter about six months after the divorce, but couldn’t figure out exactly what the problem was.


On March 14, 2010, the 13-year-old called the Crime Victims Center of Chester County and told them that her father had been molesting her. Despite that report, CYS case worker Mandi Campbell continued to order the daughter to have regular supervised visits with the ex-husband. Campbell even approved four unsupervised overnight visits.


An investigation cleared the husband, and full visitation was restored.


“I believe that Chester County CY&F (Children Youth and Foster Services) did not do a thorough investigation. They refused to intervene on four unsupervised visits while the investigation was still going on, placing [my daughter] with her identified sexual abuser. They refused to see that the refusal of mental health treatment for a child who apparently needed help, was neglect and did not help (her daughter) to obtain treatment,” the mom said. “(Her daughter) disclosed while we were living in Bucks County, so Bucks County CPS refused to go against Chester County CY&F, and would not open up their own investigation.


She noted the father eventually received therapy, but “by that time it was too late, the delay caused the police investigation to close because the police had no one to speak with about her mental health …”


According to other members of Operation CYS Reform and Family Law Reform, cases in which children are returned to abusers aren’t the only thing that needs reform. In some cases, several members told WND, frivolous charges of abuse against parents and guardians receive thorough investigations which include taking children from stable homes.


Ron Shegda said that in 2011 he had been taking care of his 56-year-old sister with Down syndrome for about seven years when a case worker from the Northhampton County Office of Developmental Programs named Donna Reeck decided to remove her from his home. He was subsequently charged with abuse after his sister purportedly accused him, and he told WND that he hasn’t seen his sister since she was removed from his home. A local article on the case stated that the evidence of abuse was flimsy.


“The district attorney’s office said there was no indication of abuse by Shegda or the employee of Mercy Special. The D.A.’s investigator said during his interview with Lorraine she would say ‘yes’ to anything,” said a report.


An email to the Northhampton County Office of Developmental Programs as well as the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, which oversees CYS of Office of Developmental Programs, were unreturned. Shegda told WND that his case is part of a much larger problem that needs immediate attention.


“When some horror, such as a kidnapping, is inflicted on a loved one, we call the perpetrator a criminal. In Pennsylvania, similar to occurrences nation and worldwide, The Department of Human Services (which oversees CYS) increasingly acts inhumanly by snatching away our loved ones from our very homes! They do this without warrants, without evidence, and with punishing consequences if anyone dares question their actions.


“Our constitutional rights of security of our persons and homes, due process, confronting our accusers, and free speech are violated at every turn when these wheels are set in motion. Human Services never admits they are wrong. Instead, they intimidate and threaten innocent, normal families, in the name of greed and the personal agendas or incompetence of workers involved,” he said.


Vickie Correll-Rick lives in Schuylkill County in Pennsylvania and is a foster parent who said that she had her foster child removed from her home in February 2013 after Correll-Rick encouraged that foster child to file charges against her previous foster parents for child molestation. Correll-Rick said not only was her child taken away but that same child was then placed with their abusers.


“My foster daughter was removed from our home in February 2013 on a demand by Schuylkill County CYS caseworker Lindsay Yanuzzi. This being the first safe home for the 15-year-old-girl while being held hostage in the system for over 10 years. She came from a home where a foster mother, father, son and cousin sexually and physically abused and tortured her and her four siblings for over four years under the watch of Lindsay Yanuzzi (SCCYS) and KidsPeace,” she said.


In California, the issue of Child Protective Services abuse has become championed by Republican state assemblyman. There has been no such politician on a statewide level in Pennsylvania, however, WND spoke with one local politician ready to investigate abuse in his county.


Stephen Barron is the Comptroller for Northhampton County. In an interview with WND, Barron said that his office is planning on bringing in an outside auditor to do a top to bottom review of Northhampton County’s Office of Developmental Programs. Barron, who said he worked in Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services prior to being elected comptroller, said he believes that many social workers suffer from group think and jump to conclusions based on prior experiences.


“Social workers often make determinations based on prior cases and assume that all families are similar,” he said.


WND reported earlier when four California social services agency workers were fired for their involvement in the case of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez, who, authorities allege, was beaten and killed by his mother and her boyfriend.


And three others, according to County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, were disciplined.


But activists contend there needs to be a lot more cleanup done at Child Protective Services, the agency that involves itself in the lives of children and families.


Authorities report Fernandez sustained a fractured skull, his ribs were broken, his skin was burned by cigarettes and BB pellets were lodged in his chest and his groin. His death was reported in May and the subsequent criminal case now is getting under way.


In an interview with WND, leaders of parents rights groups said they were sad, but not very surprised.


After WND reported on the effort of California Republican gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Tim Donnelly to audit CPS for abuses of power and confiscations without justification, those with power began taking steps to correct the problem.


Much attention also came to the issue when baby Samuel Nikolayev was removed by police from his mother’s arms because his parents sought to obtain a second medical opinion about a health matter he had.


Democrat Mike Gatto, from Los Angeles, said that the state agency was too lax (citing the Gabriel Fernandez case), and Republican Tim Donnelly said they are, in some cases, too aggressive and “overzealous.”


Legislators agreed that there are instances within the system of overly aggressive and random confiscation of children (such as the Nikolayev case), and yet there are cases like Gabriel’s where a child dies for being lost in the process.


Ed Howard is senior counsel for the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law. He said that “behind the concerns of assembly members is a concern about whether CPS is using its extraordinary powers (that of removing children from their families, and that of saving a child from abuse and death) to take children in a manner that is wise, accountable, and not arbitrary.”


The baby’s mother, Anna Nikolayev, now is one of those who does not trust the system.


Crying, she said, “You can’t break into my house and take my child. They ripped my child out of my arms.”




County workers rebuked for misusing powr in child welfare case

Posted by Diane Vigil on August 28, 2012 at 3:35 AM Comments comments (0)

July 2, 2012

The mother acknowledged she unleashed a bitter torrent of accusations against the social workers who took her children last year, calling incessantly to claim they were being abused in foster care.


But what the workers did in return has drawn a stern rebuke from a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge. Amy Pellman, a jurist with deep experience in the county's child welfare system, said they misused their power by retaliating and harassing the family.



Widespread deficiencies found in L.A. County's oversight of abused children


After she affirmed a referee's decision to return the children to their mother, Pellman declared that the workers acted out of "bad blood" to unravel the family's progress and place the children at risk of being retaken by the county. "They told me they hate me just as much as I hate them," the mother said in an interview.


The mother, who spoke on the condition that her family not be identified in The Times out of fear that such a disclosure might prompt increased scrutiny, said she never felt more broken. "Every time there's a knock on the door, my heart skips a beat," she said. "It can go wrong so easily. I still carry the scars."


Social workers for the county Department of Children and Family Services often say they feel nearly helpless, managing high caseloads, struggling to meet minimum requirements for paperwork and visits, and too infrequently fulfilling the field's higher aspiration to perform a complex balance of dogged investigator and patient cheerleader so troubled families can eventually succeed.


Nevertheless, they wield enormous power over people at perhaps the most vulnerable point in their lives. They are able to impose intrusive restrictions and requirements on parents, and judges rely overwhelmingly on their reports to make decisions. When that power is abused, a family's already daunting recovery is made more difficult.


The family in this case had struggled with chronic homelessness for years, leaving the parents sometimes unable to meet their eight children's basic needs, and the father's alcoholism sometimes erupted in domestic violence.


But the family also had strengths. By the time the mother was reunited with her children in November, they had an apartment. The father complied with a stay-away order while receiving counseling and was willing to live in his car to save his construction earnings so the family could pay the rent. The children all earned straight-A's and excelled in sports and dance with their parents' support.


However, Pellman concluded that two social workers central to the case — neither of whom would comment for this report — maliciously contacted their landlord to say the mother and eight children were violating lease restrictions against so many living in the single-bedroom apartment. They were soon evicted.


The workers also contacted the school of one girl to say she no longer lived within its boundaries. The school initiated expulsion proceedings.


The family eventually won a special waiver to allow the girl to remain in the school. They also narrowly avoided sinking back into homelessness by using a savings account for one child's braces to pay a deposit for a new apartment set at the high cost of $4,000 because of the mother's poor credit.


"I don't know how we did it. I don't know how we survived," said the father.


Because of the father's order to remain outside the home during therapy, social workers subpoenaed apartment building security videos and made almost daily visits to ensure he was not living there. During one such visit, the children alleged that the workers improperly ordered them to disrobe in a common area to check for bruising.


Pellman's rebuke of the county's actions in the case was delivered in a hearing attended by The Times. Michael Nash, the presiding judge of Los Angeles County's juvenile courts, issued a blanket order allowing news coverage of previously confidential dependency courts this year.


The hearing was scheduled to consider financial sanctions against the department, and she noted that the social workers' actions occurred when the mother appeared to be finally succeeding against the odds.


"You are there to support this family, not harass them," Pellman told case supervisor Juliet Macias and social worker Eleanor Clements at the hearing. "If a parent is being nasty or obnoxious or disrespectful then you are the professionals, right? You are not to respond in kind, OK?"


Pellman's use of the sanctions process is a judicial power that judges have increasingly exercised in recent years against the department. From 2010 to 2011, sanctions nearly doubled from $25,000 to $48,000, most often because of late or missing court-ordered reports on some of the 35,000 children under the department's oversight.


Pellman has two decades of experience in child welfare and once led the highly regarded Alliance for Children's Rights, using her position as legal director to press the county to conduct more frequent visits to children removed from their families and placed in foster care.


In this case, she decided she was unable to impose sanctions because she said the retaliation likely violated the department's own policies, not one of her court orders.

County Can Remove Children from Negligent Parent's Home

Posted by Diane Vigil on August 20, 2012 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Losing a child is the most painful event that a parent could ever endure, but the California Supreme Court will allow social services to match a loss of life with a loss of custody when a parent's negligence resulted in a child's death.

In In Re Ethan C., et al, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services can remove surviving children from a parent's home when the parent's negligence was the superseding cause in another child's death, even if the parent was not found criminally negligent in the death.

Continue reading County Can Remove Children from Negligent Parent's Home.

County Can Remove Children from Negligent Parent's Home

Posted by Diane Vigil on August 20, 2012 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Losing a child is the most painful event that a parent could ever endure, but the California Supreme Court will allow social services to match a loss of life with a loss of custody when a parent's negligence resulted in a child's death.

In In Re Ethan C., et al, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services can remove surviving children from a parent's home when the parent's negligence was the superseding cause in another child's death, even if the parent was not found criminally negligent in the death.

Continue reading County Can Remove Children from Negligent Parent's Home.

County Can Remove Children from Negligent Parent's Home

Posted by Diane Vigil on August 20, 2012 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Losing a child is the most painful event that a parent could ever endure, but the California Supreme Court will allow social services to match a loss of life with a loss of custody when a parent's negligence resulted in a child's death.

In In Re Ethan C., et al, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services can remove surviving children from a parent's home when the parent's negligence was the superseding cause in another child's death, even if the parent was not found criminally negligent in the death.

Continue reading County Can Remove Children from Negligent Parent's Home.