Foster child regularly abused, sedated, restrained, and locked in seclusion. Uvea Spezza-Lopin’s story.

State Sen. Sara Gelser takes her seat in the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Salem, Ore., Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Gelser introduced language in a measure Tuesday to require the state Department of Human Services to present a plan to minimize out-of-state placement for children in foster care. (Bryan M. Vance / OPB)

State child protection agencies claim that there are not enough foster homes to place children so they have to send them out of state to house them in horrific group homes that the 2018 Family First Preventative Services Act intended to stop funding because FBI records show that children “were being pimped out of group homes”. That is exactly how one children’s advocate from Washington State described it while in Washington D.C. pushing for the Family First Act to pass. It did, and churches across the country filled state capitols up to say that they could no longer afford to run their group horrifically abusive group homes.

It should be noted too that even though states claim that there are not enough foster homes to place children and that they have to warehouse many of the children in motels, juvenile detentions, psychiatric facilities and other nightmarish places that vulnerable children do not belong, that parents and extended family members such as grandmothers and aunts across the country and around the world claim that children are being taken away from their families and placed in these horrific places when they should not be. Is the church creating orphans for funding through the state? Good question.

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Trustee notes from Chairman Allen Hagood of Arkansas Children’s Baptist warning the churches that they could no longer afford to house children in their horrifically abusive group homes.

A girl that was abused by the Oregon foster care system is joined by Paris Hilton in Washington D.C. in an effort to federally regulate what’s often called the troubled teen industry. Others call it the foster care to prison pipeline.

Paris Hilton says that she was abused in boarding homes so what is Uvea Spezza-Lopin’s story?  It is unclear why Uvea Spezza-Lopin was removed from her family, but what happened to her afterwards hits buttons that children advocates have been pushing lawmakers all over the country to address for years.

At the age of 9-years-old Uvea Spezza-Lopin, in the custody of the Oregon foster care system, was flown outside of Oregon to a psychiatric residential treatment facility in Montana. “There, she was regularly sedated, restrained and locked in a seclusion room”, said Lauren Dake, a reporter that has been investigating the case since she learned of it.

“The 9-year-old child told her biological mother she was being given shots to calm her down, said Annette Smith, the child’s court-appointed public defender. The child has experienced trauma, Smith said, and has emotional and behavioral challenges. But she has not been diagnosed with a psychosis. Smith said she confirmed with the facility in Montana, owned by Acadia Healthcare, that they were giving the girl injections of Benadryl and other antihistamines when the girl misbehaved”, Lauren stated.

Chemical injections caused concerned and lawmakers finally got involved after the then 9-year-old child told her biological mother she was being given “shots to calm her down”, said Annette Smith, the child’s court-appointed public defender. The child has experienced trauma, Smith said, and has emotional and behavioral challenges. But she has not been diagnosed with a psychosis. Smith said she confirmed with the facility in Montana, owned by Acadia Healthcare, that “they were giving the girl injections of Benadryl and other antihistamines when the girl misbehaved”.

“She needs to learn coping skills and ways to calm her body that don’t use emergency injectables,” Smith said, adding both she and the girl’s mother became concerned for the child’s safety. Smith also contacted state Senator Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, who chairs the Senate Committee on Human Services and has been a vocal proponent of foster care changes.

At only 9-years-old Uvea Spezza-Lopin was being restrained, drugged, and held in solitary confinement. All three of those tactics are abusive and if a parent or anyone outside of the state was to treat a child in such a way it would be considered abuse. Imagine tying a child up, injecting them with drugs, and locking them in a closet. That is pretty much how Uvea was treated by state workers at the age of nine. The attorney and Gelser contacted Oregon’s Child Welfare officials, officials from Oregon’s Child Welfare asked the Montana facility to stop injecting the child, according to Smith and Gelser.

“It’s been 21 days since DHS was notified that a small child was being chemically restrained with injections, which you’re not supposed to do in Oregon facilities, and somehow she’s still there, and no one is going to check on her,” Gelser said. “We’re trusting the same facility that started abusing her in the first place. We’re trusting that they won’t do it anymore because we asked them nicely. That wouldn’t be enough for my kid.”

Gelser said she pressed Marilyn Jones, the head of Oregon Child Welfare, for information on who the state was contracting with to check on the child. First, Gelser said, Jones gave her a name for a program that didn’t exist in Montana.

After more pressing, the senator said, she was given another contact and reached someone who said they never made any face-to-face contacts with the children in facilities, despite what state officials say is supposed to happen.

“The attorney and the caseworker have both said there’s been no face-to-face visit,” Gelser said. “ … No one can tell me when someone last saw this child that wasn’t employed by the facility, and it is abundantly clear that no DHS employee has been to see her since she was left there in October.”

Of course Orgegon state officials declined to speak to this case, citing the child’s privacy. States always claim that they “are protecting the child’s privacy”, but what is happening to children in foster care is not the states protecting them. What is happening in closed secret courts across America that claim to be “protecting the child’s privacy” is not protecting the children. States are protecting themselves and at the children and their families expense. Oregon also declined to say whether a third-party contractor has visited all of the children currently placed out-of-state. Of course they had not.

“We hired a third-party contractor that are responsible for visiting them,” Department of Human Services spokesman Robert Oakes said. “It’s in their contract to visit them.” Oregon Public Broadcasting filed a public records request seeking the contract of the third-party contractors. Did they receive it?

Smith then turned her focus on to getting the girl home. Smith, the child’s attorney, said she can’t give away too many identifying details about the young girl to protect her privacy, but said “She is so fun. She is a bright-eyed, beautiful little blonde girl. She’s so creative. She’s artistic. She likes to sing and perform … She’s a special kid. She’s funny.”

“And the girl is really focused on getting back home to Eugene”. Which is what most children in foster care want, to be back home. Children are not being abused in their homes the way that states claim they are. Statically, states can not justify between 75% to as high as 98% of removals. Yet the children seldom find their way back home. Many runaway and end up being sex trafficked. Other end up being “pimped out of group homes, and about 75% of the children that survive foster care to age out end up incarcerated within two years of aging out. Thus the foster care to prison pipeline.

“She tends to perseverate on contact with her family,” Smith said. “ … It’s probably the most important thing to [her], when she gets to see her mom and her sisters.”

Having the child out of state has restricted access by people who are engaged in the child’s well-being, Smith said. The child was placed in several foster and group homes before being sent out-of-state, and the state didn’t feel they had an appropriate place for her in Oregon.

“… It’s interrupted the ability to lay eyes on her and have that close interaction with her,” the lawyer said. It also made her more susceptible to child traffickers. That is what is rarely discussed. Like most public defenders, Smith has an overwhelming number of cases. Unlike a lot of public defenders who represent children in the system, she says she’s committed to making face-to-face contact with each of her clients. She has visited the child in Montana once and tries to stay in contact with her client.

“A recent Oregonian article revealed some lawyers representing foster care children have never even talked to them”, said Lauren Dake.

“Her being home means she will be safer and have more eyes on her, but it also means she has to start over, develop a new rapport, feel safe in a new setting,” Smith said. “ … But it does make me feel better she will be in Oregon.” Senator Gelser said “We Need To Do A Better Job Taking Care Of You”.

“There is a point where you’re having conversations that are theoretical. And then there’s a point that it’s real. … There is a real child experiencing this,” Gelser said. “If I [treated my child this way] would DHS come get my child from me? We wouldn’t tolerate this. We have taken these children from their families. We have said, Your family can’t care for you and we’re putting you through the trauma of taking you into our care and … we need to do a better job taking care of you.’”

Sara Gelser Blouin documented Spezza-Lopin’s case in 2019. Her story helped create momentum for eventually bringing all of the Oregon children placed in out-of-state placements back home.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, said what it boils down to is “congregate care without oversight becomes congregate abuse. That is what we discover all too often when we look into the system,” Merkley said at the press conference, according to audio captured by KUER radio.

Uvea Spezza-Lopin is joined by Paris Hilton in Washington D.C. calling for more oversight into treatment facilities that house vulnerable children.

Uvea Spezza-Lopin is joined by Paris Hilton in Washington D.C. calling for more oversight into treatment facilities that house vulnerable children.

“Mikaela’s Law” to hold guardians ad litems accountable for what happens to children under their watch.

Evita Tolu testified that she has drafted “Mikaela’s Law” at a Joint House and Senate Committee saying that she needs help holding guardians ad litems accountable for what happens to children under their watch.

Mikaela’s Law.com Justice for Mikaela, Sara, Melissa, and Missouri Children. This video was created by John LaDue media producer for @fujbc Families United for Justice in Butler County Missouri. Thank you John and everyone for your support of MikaelasLaw.com

Evita Tolu testified at a Joint House and Senate Committee meeting on child abuse and neglect in Jeff City, Missouri on 11/16/21, on behalf of Mikaela and Sara Haynes. Mikaela took her own life to save her sister Sara after her father, Charles Michael Haynes had already pleaded guilty to molesting her step sister, Melissa Hogg.

Ms. Tolu says the court appointed guardian ad litem, Jennifer R. Williams arrogantly advocated for the child rapist, Charles Michael Haynes to stay out of prison! She asked for support to save Missouri children from sexual abuse, suicide, emotional abuse, and mutilation.

“Michaela Haynes, she took her life after she was repeatedly sexually abused by her father in the custody of DFS, and screaming to everyone please help me! Everyone pretended nothing happened. Michaela, to save her little sister took her life on December 1, 2013. Charles Michael Haynes was arrested for molesting his stepdaughter, and finally went to prison in December 2018”, said Evita Tolu.

Even after Charles Michael Haynes was arrested for molesting Mikaela’s sister Melissa Hogg in 2013, he continued to molest them, and accused their mother, Cindy Randolph of educational neglect. The children were taken into state custody and appointed a guardian ad litem, attorney Jennifer Williams in May of 2016,

“Williams testified in court that Cindy made up the sexual abuse allegations and said that Haynes should have access to his two biological daughters”, said Tolu. “The girls were placed with the molester’s 90-year-old mother. She was blind, deaf, and heavily medicated using painkillers and insomnia meds”.

“Michaela began cutting herself. Cindy took her daughter to the hospital for self-mutilation. At the hospital Michaela told everyone what was happening at her grandmother’s house. Williams, the court-appointed guardian seized the children from Cindy and put them in foster care. Williams then testified that the already convicted child sodomizer should be placed on probation instead of going to prison”

Cindy Randolph says the GAL, Jennifer Williams threatened the eldest daughter “with being taken away from their mother if they testified”. Then Cindy found out that Williams was taking money from Charles Haynes. Cindy says, “the children’s court appointed attorney was representing the deviant convicted child pedophile who molested the oldest sister, Michaela’s second sister Melissa, and then he molested Michaela herself and now there is one child left and guess what she is going to be molested unless we do something about it”.

Evita Tolu goes on to address immunity clauses in the judicial system that protect workers such as Jennifer Williams from being held accountable for what happened to them under her watch. “There is no reason this person needs immunity. We need to protect our children and not enrich those who represent them” Tolu said.

“I drafted the law that removes immunity from guardians ad litems. There is no reason why a Missouri licensed attorney should not be held accountable for the way that attorney represents a child. I need all the help I can get for this case.”

To find out more click “Mikaela’sLaw” .

Turpin children’s court-appointed public guardian (GAL) got the money. They didn’t. Victim’s advocate cried.

See the source image
Melissa Donaldson, Abuse Melissa, Donaldson, Riverside Country’s director of victims services, cried as she said the Turpin siblings were sometimes left alone to figure out the complicated processes in the social services system. Photo, OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY, COUNTY OF RIVERSIDE

Riverside Country’s director of victims services, Melissa, Donaldson cried as she said the Turpin siblings were left alone to figure out the complicated processes in the social services system after the children were rescued from prison-like conditions three years ago. Newsweek reports that the Turpin children were starved, shackled, and locked in rooms. An ABC investigation shows that the social services system was charged with helping the children transition to new lives but failed. Riverside County hired an independent law firm to investigate the claims.

Melissa Donaldson, Riverside County’s director of victims services said several of the children “felt betrayed by how local officials handle their cases. There were instances where there was neither a safe place for the children nor food. When the case first broke, I obviously got thousands of offers of help … dentists and doctors and people saying, I will serve these kids pro bono. Please, send them my way. I had to pass on those referrals to the Child Protective Services workers and the hospital. And none of them were utilized”.

The director cried saying that the reason she spoke out on the situation was “because we have to fix” the system”. A lawyer for the Turpins, the “foster family”, who are now serving life sentences in prison denied the allegations, but ABC says they are investigating.

“The shocking abuse in the Turpin home went unnoticed in the community of Perris, about 60 southeast of Los Angeles, until then-17-year-old Jordan Turpin escaped from the house and called police. Jordan and one of her sisters gave their first media interview for a segment on Friday’s episode of ABC’s 20/20”, Newsweek reported.

Donations and support for the children poured in from around the world after the story first broke, but the children do not have access to the money that was donated to them. Newsweek reports that “the money was placed in a trust controlled by a court-appointed public guardian”. Joshua Turpin, now 29, told ABC News that he “could not access funds to cover transportation needs and when he asked for help from the county’s deputy public guardian assigned to his case, she would just tell me; Just go Google it. I called the public guardian’s office and she refused to let me request for a bike,” he said.

Jeff Van Waganen, a Riverside County Executive Officer says his office “hired a law firm run by former federal Judge Stephen G. Larson to analyze the services provided and the quality of care they received. A report is due by the end of March”.

“The County of Riverside is committed to conducting a thorough and transparent review of the services provided to the Turpin siblings and to improve and strengthen the County’s child welfare and dependent adult systems”.

November is national runaway month.

Homelessness is a growing problem and affects all of us. Homeless people can come from all walks of life. Some have good families that worry about them. Others may not. It is estimated that unaccompanied youth make up 50% of the homeless youth population and they are unsheltered. 66% of all homeless people live with no shelter at all and often in places that are not meant for human habitation. Poverty is the highest risks factor that leads to homelessness.

Homeless children, foster care system, refugees, and LGBTQ youth are the most likely victims of childhood sexual assault. It is estimated that 100,000 children are sexually exploited in the United States each year.

Children runaway from bad situations at home, foster homes and adoptive placements. Predators and even recruiters for cults, and sex traffickers wait outside bus stations, parks, malls, and other areas where runaways are likely to be found.

Most homeless people are men and a large number of them are under the age of 25. In January 2020, there were 580,466 people experiencing homelessness in America. Most were individuals (70%), and the rest were families with children. They lived in every state and territory, and they reflected the diversity of our country.

Lynn’s Warriors offers Five Easy Steps:

1. Daily communication with your child

2. Build trust so your child will come to you about anything, including sexual dialogue and pornography they may see online.

3. Don’t over-react. Instead engage, educate and empower your child against predators.

4. Know everything about online platforms that your children frequent including FB, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Gaming Apps.

5. A MUST: Use safety filters on your children’s phones, tablets, laptops, computers and all digital devices in your home.

Related articles:

Runaways, Mental Health Disparities, and Homelessness,

The future of children in foster homes is not too bright! Why?,

Too few lawmakers address foster youth aging out or the failed foster care system. Let’s fix it.,

Fostered or Forgotten?,

Parents Mental Health, Foster care, Addictions, and Prisons,

Homeless People,

How Foster Care Youth Become Trafficking Victims,

Child Sex Trafficking and the Child Welfare System,

88% of children rescued in sex trafficking operations were trafficked from state custody!,

Pastor of Texas church and board member of a foster parent association, a father of adopted children himself, arrested for producing and transporting child pornography,

Maryland judge kills himself as feds arrive to arrest him for sexually exploiting children – including filming teenage boys at his hunting cabin,

Settlement in Abused Teenager’s Hush Money Lawsuit Days Before Trial Against Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert,

Delaware pastor convicted of child sex abuse. Alicia is awarded $1.5 million, but says it’s not about the money.,

“Their word was golden”. How did church leaders go unnoticed for so long?

Ted Cruz says Biden Administration secretly flies planes from the Texas Mexico border to Florida, Tennessee, and New York!,

Kentucky high school hosts drag pageant featuring male teens in lingerie giving lap dances to staff,

Brett Blomme, Milwaukee’s juvenile judge pleads guilty to child porn charges,

Municipal employees, a firefighter, a teacher, a professor, a pilot, and a city councilman are included in the list of arrestees. 161 Suspects Arrested in Human Trafficking Operation: Only 10 Missing Children Rescued,

Laurent Martinez on sex abuse inside the church,

Judge sentences man 15 to 40 for sexually assaulting foster children.,

Speaking of the foster care to prison pipeline….PBS interviewed Ken Mascara, the sheriff of St. Lucie County in Florida.,

Church leaders protected the church for decades, not the children. Nebraska AG now releasing a report.,

Sexual predators abound in prominent offices from Louisiana to West Virginia. Sheriff Jack Strain, sexual predator guilty on ALL counts. DA Walter Reed was allowed to serve his short sentence at home.,

Family separations are cutting at the very core of our society. Human rights violations contribute to conflict.,

Florida Department of Corrections Officer Sentenced for Civil Rights Conspiracy to Assault Youthful Offenders,

17 Tips for Professionals Addressing Abuse

Proud Boys say they are tortured and confined to inhumane conditions often associated with solitary confinement because of their beliefs.

Proud Boys leader, Henry “Enrique”Tarrio asked that his sentence be reduced or that he be allowed to finish it under house arrest because he says, “This place needs to be shut down immediately.” He says that he is afraid that something will happen to him in the jail and that guards are abusive.

Tarrio describes inhumane living conditions that are often associated with solitary confinement which is something that is against UN and US peace treaties, the constitution, and state laws. He claims that besides the abuse by the officers that his cell is regularly flooded with dirty toilet water from a neighboring cell and that he and others are denied medical care. He witnessed another prisoner who suffered from a seizure wait for about a 1/2 hour before anyone arrived to see about him.

District attorney caught bribing witnesses and lying to get his way in court.

Georgia Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney, Mark Jones guilty of perjury, attempt to violate and violating his oath, offering bribes to prosecutors, influencing testimonies, and preventing a crime victim’s testimony.

Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit District Attorney, Mark Jones was charged with; attempted perjury, attempting to violate and violating his oath, offering bribes to prosecutors, influencing testimonies, and preventing a crime victim’s testimony.

Prosecutors do it all of the time so how did this one get caught? Apparently, crime victim Chris Bailey was able to find a way after “not being assisted through the complexities of the criminal justice system”, the indictment states. Sounds simple enough, but that happens every day all over the United States too.

Jurors were unanimous on 3 of 9 charges but the suspended D.A. pled guilty to 4 counts in exchange for his 4 of his 5-year sentence to be served on probation and a $1,000 fine, Gee Whiz. No more bribing and lying in the courtroom for 5 years. He submitted his resignation letter to Governor Brian Kemp.

“You didn’t line your own pockets. You didn’t do some of the things that normally are involved when we think of public corruption. But I think you got so caught up in being the DA that you forgot about the people you ran to represent,” The judge said.

Superior Court Judge Katherine Lumsden had Jones taken into custody immediately, denying his request to turn himself in on Friday. Acting District Attorney Sheneka Terry will continue to the role. The judge noted that the corruption case against Jones was different from some others.

“It is important for the citizens of Georgia to know that our office will not hesitate to enforce the rule of law, including when it involves the actions of a public official,” Attorney General Chris Carr said.

Jones was captured on a body camera meeting a homicide detective outside a downtown Columbus bar and saying to the officer that the suspect should have been charged with murder instead of involuntary manslaughter.

“When I watched that body cam video, all I could think was, this does not make people trust the system.  Justice does not mean winning at any cost. If it becomes that, then we have much bigger problems than the criminal justice system has already, and we can’t afford to let that happen”, Lumsden told Jones. “

Two prosecutors testified that Jones had offered them $1,000; offering one to pay to secure a murder conviction, and the other to pay to say a case was ready for trial when it wasn’t.

It sounds as though the district attorney got a big ahead after becoming the D.A. and bullied officers and other district attorneys until they decided to stop it. His place in office did not last long. As for the rest of us commoners maybe we need to start wearing body cameras of our own to stop the bullying and lying, but wait! They don’t allow people to walk around recording them and they will confiscate those if they catch you.

Family separations are cutting at the very core of our society. Human rights violations contribute to conflict.

Peacemakers work to expose the atrocities at the border while peacebuilders are working to change the systemic problems that operate child welfare systems in the United States. The government claims that the conflict between parents and the United States government is overwhelming the judicial system and causing the children to linger in state custody longer. Children rights activist claim that the children’s rights are being violated. Lawyers claim that both the children and parental rights are being violated. The states claim protective custody of the children. The United nations says that the United States must stop separating migrant children from parents. U.S parents say that the government is too intrusive in their lives and that the government has too much control over what happens to the United States’ own  children.

Many children grow up in juvenile detention facilities, group homes, foster homes, and adoptive homes. These children usually have lower academic scores, fewer resources, and struggle with depression. This problem has created a conflict between U.S. parents and the government because there are many psychological, emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical ways that children being separated from their family affects them. Grassroots groups have popped up around the country and civil organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Parental Rights Foundation have filed lawsuits.

U.S. parents, immigrant parents, and other family members of children that have been taken into state custody claim that the government is not doing enough to protect the children in government custody and that the children would be better off with their own families.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes 30 articles that detail unique human rights. But  immigrant and American children that are taken into state custody lose their rights to due process, their family, their nationality, their heritage, their culture, and their security of person. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) points out that the United States has no excuse for not signing The Convention on the Rights of the Child. This failure by the United States government leaves children subjected to civil rights violations such as with the refugee children who make up over half of the world’s refugees.

Most Americans think of children being used as soldiers and for sex trafficking as something that happens in other countries, but in all actuality, the United States leads the world in child sex trafficking and pornography. The United States is the number one buyer and seller of children and porn.

Child labor is used in many industries around the world who exploit children for their cheap labor and the United States is no exception. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, child soldiers, police abuse, and child sex-trafficking are some of the ways that children’s rights are violated. Children that are put in state custody are more vulnerable to such atrocities.

Research gathered by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that children who live with nurturing families in supportive communities achieve higher academic scores and build stronger personal connections. That report also shows the importance of confronting poverty in the United States and around the world because children need their family and the family needs children, but it is also important to create successful families that can provide for themselves.

Peacebuilders want to incorporate global and American values to protect children’s rights by removing the poverty factor that often leads to family separations. In the United States, the Department of Children and Families has been set up under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The problems the agency faces stem from a lack of accountability. HHS is immune to common law because it operates under public health laws that are based on the idea of protecting the general public from sickness and diseases. In such case, the agency is not under oversite of any other agency and does not have to abide by common law principals. The result is that individual human rights are violated under public health policy.

Rights of children are being violated around the world and in the United States. Recently there was an article in the news about children being imprisoned inside the United States. The article refers to immigrant children at the border but actually there are children that are separated throughout the United States for several reasons. Sometimes children are abused or neglected. There are also the tragic cases where a child’s parents are killed in an accident or die from a fatal disease. Most Americans believe that when HHS makes a decision regarding a child’s “best interest” that the state is looking out for the individual child. However, that may or may not be true.

There is no definition for the best interest of the child, and most of HHS definitions pertaining to “family” have no reference to biological family. What is even worse is that statistically speaking, most of the American children that have been separated from their own biological families were not separated because they were abused. American children are almost always separated under the assumption of neglect, without due process, where an opinion is made under public health law, not common law, that “the best interest of a child” will better be served in another setting. Most often that setting refers to a complete stranger’s home where the child loses access to his or her own family and culture.

Data from the Casey Foundation shows that 30% of U.S. children live in households with less than a $25,000 income. Children in state custody or non-family placements tend to drop out of high school, abuse drugs, become pregnant teens, and are incarcerated at higher rates than children who grow up with their own supportive families.

A common argument made by people that are unaware of how HHS operates is that sometimes parents have to leave the state or country for work and have to leave their family behind at home. People often argue that military families have to leave their children to work in other countries. And while it is true that many Americans leave their families behind to work in other countries, the separation is not forced at the hands of governments. This adds to the confusion when it comes to people from other countries being upset about being separated at the border and what is happening to them and their families.

Human rights are essential to peace. It is essential that peacebuilders create policies that address children rights issues that children and their families face in the United States. Children need loving family, safe communities, good schools, and other support services that social justice workers and other professionals can provide to make communities safer and stronger for future generations. Stronger individuals create stronger families, and stronger families build stronger communities.

Children from low-income families fare better when the family is given the financial opportunity to move to neighborhoods with higher social-mobility rates, better schools, services, and health care.  Peacebuilders will have to create policies and programs that address the educational needs of parents so that they can obtain skills that lead to employment that will allow them to support their children. Programs also need to be created that will address parenthood, teen pregnancies, single parenthood, and the importance of extended family members. People also need skills to manage their finances and maintain housing.

References

ACLU, (2019), New lawsuit Seeks Damages for Traumatized Children and Parents Torn Apart by Family Separations, aclu.org press release, ACLU 100 year, retrieved From, https://www.aclu.org/press-releases/new-lawsuit-seeks-damages-traumatized-children-and-parents-torn-apart-family

General Assembly of the United Nations. (1948). The universal declaration of human rights. Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml

Habib, Yamily, (2018), Imprisoned children: when the United States breaks its own record in violation of human rights, Al Dia News Media, Retrieved from, https://aldianews.com/articles/politics/immigration/imprisoned-children-when-united-states-breaks-its-own-record-violation.

Hamilton, Lisa, (2019), 2019 Kids Count Data Book, State trends in child well-being, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Retrieved From, https://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-2019kidscountdatabook-2019.pdf

Menon, Rajan, (2020), The shame of child poverty in the Trump era: Poor kids lose as billionaires cash in, Alternet Media Inc. Retrieved From, https://www.alternet.org/2020/02/the-shame-of-child-poverty-in-the-trump-era-poor-kids-lose-as-billionaires-cash-in/

Shah, Anup, (2003),  Rights of the Child, Global Issues, Social, Political, Economic and Environmental Issues That Affect Us All, Retrieved from, https://www.globalissues.org/article/152/rights-of-the-child

The Guardian, (2018), UN says US must stop separating migrant children from parents, Policy of separating families to control migration ‘unlawful and violates rights of the child’, Retrieved from, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/05/un-says-us-must-stop-separating-migrant-children-from-parents

UNICEF.org, (2020) Child rights and why they matter, Every right, for every child, Retrieved From, https://www.unicef.org/child-rights-convention/child-rights-why-they-matter

Instead of Critical race theory let’s talk about time.

Even though I am white I consider myself to be culturally sensitive.

With so much in the news today about critical race theory and white privilege I have to say that even though I am white I can appreciate other cultures. White people are capable of assessing their own biases and thinking critically about what we see and hear. I won’t say that all white people take the time to assess every situation. Who has time? We are all busy with our own lives!

Some people are open minded, others can be closed minded. That is not a race issue. It’s not even a moral issue about race. Being open minded isn’t always a good thing. Though sometimes it can be. Sometimes an idea is worth considering and sometimes the idea is so bad that no one wants to talk about it. The idea doesn’t have to become a race or ethnic issue.

The issue of critical race theory and white privilege is just too controversial to say that it has to be accepted unless someone is racist. May be that parts of the theory apply sometimes and that some parts of the theory are true, but the theory like all other theories is not a one-size-fits-all that will fix the world. Many white people see the critical race theory as racists and feel like it is dividing the country by race even further.

It is not always appropriate to express every thought. It is okay not to speak feelings out loud. That is not to say that feelings should be suppressed to the point that they create anger or rage. Though it is okay to be outraged at times.

Having an open mind can lead to growth and improved relationships. It can also lead to tolerating behaviors that should not be accepted because it’s just not a healthy way to live. There is a difference between accepting a person for who and what they are and condoning their behavior. I like to consider the way that other people feel about particular things. It doesn’t mean that I have to feel the same way or agree.

Stereotyping a person because of their physical features is not something we should do. Take for instance a disabled person in a wheelchair. They may or may not need help opening a door and it would be inappropriate to just grab their wheelchair and start pushing them around without their consent. Why should we think that it is okay to force any ideas and thoughts on others?

Healthy discussions can stir emotions without creating dysfunctional drama. While it is true that we should consider how a coworker or friend felt about the last bright idea that we had, it is probably better to have an open mind the next time we approach them with a new idea. Just because someone doesn’t agree all of the time doesn’t mean that they will always disagree. It is possible to find common ground with people that disagree sometimes. All people share similar goals of some kind.

Time is something that has always fascinated me, but others never seem to want to talk about that. I feel like I have lived my life as a slave to time. This idea probably came about when I realized that other cultures think of time in various ways. Most countries live life in a hurry to be some place at a specific time while some cultures think of time in a different sense. Chinese people have a different understanding of time than Americans do. They think of time as a suggestion. It could be acceptable for something to arrive after a certain time because something else that is considered more important took precedence over the time on the clock. Some people in Papua New Guinea live in the present and do not think of the past as connected to the future at all.

The world is becoming more globalized than ever before. The internet and the ability to easily travel between different countries has raised awareness to different cultural views. America has been said to be the “melting pot” of the world because of the varying cultural differences of the people that make up the United States. Some people may think now that America is actually melting and falling apart, but I don’t think so. I think that Americans will learn to live with each other the way that we always have and with that being said I hope that people start talking about things like time and why it means so much to us and other important issues that all humans face.

Sexual predators abound in prominent offices from Louisiana to West Virginia. Sheriff Jack Strain, sexual predator guilty on ALL counts. DA Walter Reed was allowed to serve his short sentence at home.

St. Tammany Sheriff, Jack Strain is guilty on ALL sex crime charges! What about the children in Louisiana foster care because of Predator Sheriff Jack Strain. Jack Strain, the child sex predator sheriff from St. Tammany Parish was prosecuted yesterday, But there is more to this story! What about the children in state custody that were called liars and placed on psychotropic drugs when they reported abuse? The mothers that fled with their children? The people that committed suicide? The countless victims that were not in court?

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain walks into the St. Tammany Parish courthouse in Covington before the start of closing arguments in his trial on eight counts of sex crimes on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. (Staff photo by David Grunfeld, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)PHOTO BY DAVID GRUNFELD DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

A mother that fled Louisiana because her child was abused in St Tammany Parish joined a peer support group back in 2018 where she told this outrageous story about what happened to her family in Louisiana at the hands of the St Tammany and Louisiana State government. At the time, she was hoping that Louisiana SB291, a family law bill presented by Regina Ashford Barrow would pass. No one knew that God already had a plan and that Sheriff Jack Strain would eventually be prosecuted for his crimes. Unfortunately, justice will not happen just yet, but this is a start.

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain was found guilty in Covington, Louisiana on eight counts of sex abuse against boys, and four counts of aggravated rape, two counts of aggravated incest, one count of sexual battery, and indecent behavior with a juvenile yesterday, November 8, 2021.  

Predator Sheriff Jack Strain will be sentenced on January. 18, 2022. Strain’s attorneys asked that he not be taken into custody Monday night, but prosecutors objected, telling the judge a “mere drug dealer” would be remanded to custody immediately.

“The evidence was compelling, overwhelming and convincing”, North shore District Attorney Warren Montgomery said. Skip Keen, a victim and his family embraced each other after the verdict. Maybe now the victim and his family can finally begin to heal. Though, healing won’t be easy and the scars never go away.

26 witnesses including 5 men victims testified against the predator sheriff. Belinda Parker Brown from Louisiana United International was there to watch the trial and advocate for the victims and their families.

Mark Finn’s mother Patricia Finn discussed how the sexual abuse by former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain negatively affected Mark Finn’s behavior his entire life.

Mark Finn’s mother Patricia Finn, is comforted by a supporter after she talked about the how the alleged sexual abuse by former St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain negatively affected Mark Finn’s behavior his entire life, while she awaits a verdict in Strain’s trial at the parish courthouse in Covington on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. The Times-Picayune doesn’t typically name victims or alleged victims of sex crimes. Finn has publicly identified himself in news stories. (Staff photo by David Grunfeld, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)PHOTO BY DAVID GRUNFELD DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY

Strain showed no emotion and did not testify. He hugged his family and kissed his wife before being taken out of the courtroom. Prosecutors urged other victims to testify. Defense attorney, Billy Gibbens  focused on attempts tp discredit the victim’s testimony saying that “the entire case is a massive conspiracy of the U.S. government and state officials to crush Strain”. But the victim’s stories tell the truth about why Jack Strain was finally prosecuted and brought to trial.

Assistant District Attorney Collin Sims states that “common sense would tell them a conspiracy of that nature would have been impossible to coordinate”. Calling the defense theory, a “phantom conspiracy”.

The predator was elected to be chief of the police department in his hometown of Abita Springs at the age of 23. He is now 59 years old, so for 36 years Jack Strain had the power to do with the people whatever he wanted.

A the age 33, he became the Sheriff of St. Tammany Parish.  He lost that in 2015 when a federal investigation into privatized work release programs became public. “That work release program, what some might have been seen as simply cronyism, became the subject of a federal corruption investigation that revealed more shocking accusations — that decades before Strain had molested young boys in his orbit, continuing to do so with family members even as sheriff”, reported Sara Pagones of the Advocate in New Orleans.

The predator, Sheriff Jack Strain, also faces 16 counts of corruption that will be heard in December. Authorities charged in the federal probe include Jack Strain, and Keen and David Hanson. Prosecutors say that the three conspired a kickback scheme to privatize the work release program that was ran by the predator Sheriff’s Office. They then turned the company over Hanson and Keen’s adult children.

Justice will not happen on Earth just yet, but some people can begin to heal.  Maybe more will be prosecuted. There are still parents living in other states whose names I will not mention, but I do know that they fled St. Tammany Parish because of the predator Sheriff Jack Strain, and the child welfare system in Louisiana that failed to protect, or help them with their children after they were notified of the abuse by the predator sheriff.

There is more to this story. Children are still in state custody under the foster care system because the abuse was reported and the officials in St. Tammany Parish called the children and their parents liars. The Louisiana Department of Health placed children on psychotropic drugs to help them cope and deal with “their delusions”. Some mothers fled with their children. Some people committed suicide. There are countless victims that were not in court. Will the federal government investigate how the children and their families suffered? Will the people that covered up the crimes in St. Tammany Parish ever be exposed for their part in what happened to the victims?

Walter Reed, the district attorney for St. Tammany and Washington parishes for three decades and was convicted on 18 counts of fraud and corruption is no longer allowed to practice law. Walter Reed was allowed to serving some of his mere 48-month federal prison sentence at home because he was an undercover drug dealer for the government’s “War on Drugs”. West Virginiaallowed him to escape the prison sentence and return home to Covington in August 2020 “due to health concerns”. That sentence ended in October 2020…..but how many prisoners get to go home to die? Really West Virginia?

Walter Reed sold a condominium in New Orleans in order to pay restitution estimated at $125,000-$130,000 to the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office after an extensive post-conviction battle to stay out of prison and to keep his law license! “Prominent public figures and attorneys offered documents noting his work as an undercover narcotics agent with the New Orleans Police Department and his role flushing out the sniper in the 1973 Howard Johnson’s attack”.

“The committee found that (Reed) had violated duties owed to the public, the legal system and the profession,” the report said, adding that his actions were “clearly intentional” and for his own personal benefit. His misconduct “caused harm to the public, the legal system and the profession.” While the committee said Reed’s work as a police officer and courage in the sniper incident were mitigating factors, as a long-tenured DA, “should have known better than to engage in the crimes for which he was convicted”.

So basically, for more than two decades people in St. Tammany parish had no one to turn to when it came to be sexually attacked, or their children being sexually attacked. To top that off the warden in West Virginia was more concerned about the man that should have prosecuted the sexual predators than the victims in Louisiana.

Sheriff Jack Strain would not arrest child sexual predators. The local county child protection workers sometimes even stated that they were “afraid to say anything”. Child protection services in Baton Rouge would send parents that tried to protect their children from sexual predators back to the fearful workers in St. Tammany Parish. There is no system of redress for these children or their parents, unless the federal government steps in to investigate.

IN RE: Disciplinary Counsel – Applicant Other; Petition for permanent resignation from the practice of law in lieu of discipline; April 20, 2021 Petition for permanent resignation from the practice of law in lieu of discipline
granted. See order. JTG, JLW, SJC, WJC, JBM, PDG,
https://www.ladb.org/handler.document.aspx?DocID=9581

Listen to WWLTV’s report on YouTube

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