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

See the source image
A woman sits at the steps of the BC Legislature as hundreds of people, many youth who have aged out of foster care, rallied to ask for better support for youth aging out of care. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Someone sent information this morning that said “Youth speak out on ‘aging out’ of foster care; requesting extension on age limit”

Lane Ball out of Huntington Beach, West Virginia is developing a story with Nexstar about how foster care facilities push for the “aging out” limit to be extended. We hope that somewhere in the development that he realizes there is a financial incentive to keep children in state custody, and most importantly, we hope that Lane Ball reports how badly the foster care system is failing our most vulnerable youth. If Lane doesn’t “get it” and report it, you can bet that we will.

Young adults that age out of foster care often do not have familial ties to their own biological families. Sometimes it is because the family was so bad that the child could not be safe around any of them, but for the most part, about 90% of the time, the state severs a child’s ties with biological family members out of “respect” for the foster placement’s wishes.

It is most of the time too difficult for foster “parents” with very little training to integrate the new family with the biological family. The result is that children age out of foster care very often not knowing who they are or where they came from.

What makes it even worse for them is that throughout their lives in foster homes, they are about 80% of the time prescribed psychotropic drugs “to help them cope”. Once they age out, they no longer have access to their medicines.

Many will turn to street drugs and about 75% of the aged-out youth will end up in jail or prison within 2 years of aging out. It is reported that at least 1 in 7 foster children will fall into the hands of human sex traffickers. I think the number is higher because social workers are not required to report missing foster children. There are no amber alerts for them, and city reports show that between 60% to as high as 99% of children rescued in sex trafficking stings were in state custody before they were trafficked. Even the Department of State admits that the U.S. foster care system is a problem.

Less than 3% of foster children ever go to college and less than 2% will ever graduate. Foster placements simply fail to teach the vulnerable youth how to make it in this world and by the time they turn 18 and hit the road, they are ill prepared for what life throws at them.

Lane’s report today shows that lawmakers are taking notice. He says, “When someone ages out of foster care, it can be difficult adjusting to life as an adult. This past year, the federal government offered a safety net for individuals not quite ready to be on their own, but that will soon no longer be the case”.

“Supporting Foster Youth and Families Through the Pandemic Act”  created specifically to aid foster children during the Covid pandemic expires on September 30, 2021. Apparently, the Annie E. Casey Foundation is pushing for legislation that will support foster youth between the ages of 18 to 27-years-old.

Some CASA advocates as well as US Senators Sherrod Brown from Ohio, and  Shelly Moore Capito from West Virginia are taking notice and working on legislation that will provide support for foster youth that are aging out.

West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito stated, “Throughout my time representing West Virginians in Congress, I’ve consistently worked to deliver needed resources and support to our state’s foster children, and help improve West Virginia’s foster care system as a whole. As legislation is introduced, I’ll prioritize the well-being of those in foster care, regardless of their age, who were particularly hard hit by the pandemic”.

Senator Brown from Ohio said, “It’s critical that Congress act now and extend the moratorium on ‘aging out’ of foster care. Now more than ever – as we continue to recover from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot afford to cut young Ohioans off from critical housing and support services. Every young person deserves a safe and stable place to call home”.

Other senators from other states do not seem to be concerned about foster youth until they realize that there is something in it for them, and there is now about $100 Billion ASFA 1997 dollars and the Trillions of dollars put out into communities through the American Rescue Plan, The Family First Act, the American Family Plan, and countless other Acts that have been made to increase access to quality healthcare and services. Hopefully lawmakers will get on the ball and help desperate, vulnerable foster youth that have no ties to family that can support them.

As Lane Ball develops his story, I hope he does he research well and reports the facts about how badly the state has failed our most vulnerable children that are now becoming young adults and being set free in this messed up world. Our prayers go out to them that God will clear the path and work with everyone’s Hearts and Minds to make each foster youth a successful member of society, hopefully by beginning before they age out not knowing what to do. We pray for people that care to make a powerful difference in their lives each and every day so that they can become the people that God created them to be.

I offer two solutions; (1) place children will family or someone that they already know and trusts so that their lives are not disrupted any more than it has to be, and (2) localize foster care so that youth do not end up in strange places with strange people far from where they no their way around. This will prevent children from being trafficked and provide more stability.

If you want to offer any solutions, please do so in the comment section. Thanks for reading. We look forward to hearing from you.  

Alaska state worker arrested on child pornography charges one day after adopting 4 kids

A white balding man's mugshot

A malware alert on a company computer led IT to report an Eagle River man with four adopted foster children to the FBI. Now he is facing child pornography charges. Agents arrested John Daniel Brooks, 51.

State records show Brooks is an analyst-programmer for the Department of Environmental Conservation, and a registered foster parent with whom the state Office of Children’s Services had placed four children, ages 1 to 13.

Brooks and his wife had officially adopted the children just one day earlier. Casey Grove, from Alaska Public Media in Anchorage says, “Agents searched Brooks’ home and devices and found hundreds of digital images of child pornography hidden in various computer folders, and when they asked him, Brooks said he was sexually attracted to children. He admitted that he had agreed to become an assistant with one of his daughter’s scouting group, in part because of his attraction to children, according to the charges”.

Brooks has worked for the Department of Environmental Conservation since 2010, and he was placed on unpaid leave this week, so taxpayers are still paying him. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking anyone with further information about Brooks’ activities to call the FBI at (907) 276-4441.

Borderline Personality Disorder or Adoptee? — Finding Joy…….

I came across a video on youtube where Dr Ramani was talking about borderline personality disorder (bpd) and how to recognise it from the 9 traits of it. Watching it I thought wow! This sounds so much like the traits of an adopted person. There are the 9 traits according to Dr Ramani. You can […]

Borderline Personality Disorder or Adoptee? — Finding Joy…….

What happened to mandated reporting? Eastern District Court of Missouri Recused From Family Court

See the source image

The entire Eastern District Court of Missouri has recused its judges from a lawsuit in the Missouri family court system. Missouri’s Family Court System is so bad that investigative reporter, Megan Fox created a catalog to keep up with the cases!

Lawsuits filed by Attorney Evita Tolu in the 21st Judicial Circuit Court of St. Louis claim that the guardian ad litem (GAL) Elaine Pudlowski, psychologist Dr. James Reid, and therapist Jennifer Webbe VanLuven, conspired to diagnose a child with a fraudulent mental disorder. A leaked email from Judge Michael Burton and a leaked Zoom call with almost forty guardian ad litems conspiring to help Pudlowski led to Burton resigning in August.

The lawsuit was dismissed and the defendants got away with their crimes when they were awarded immunity. Attorney Evita Tolu appealed arguing, “Judicial immunity for court professionals exists not for the protection or benefit of a malicious court professional, but for the benefit of the public, and it is not limitless.” She further argues that according to the law the allegations of overbilling and violating court orders and professional standards do not meet the requirements for judicial immunity.

Attorney Evita Tolu later filed a motion to disqualify the District Court stating that the judges of the Court of Appeals for the Eastern District should recuse themselves because of their close professional and possibly personal relationships with retired Judge Mooney, whose spouse is a defendant. The Eastern District issued an order granting the motion.

There are other lawsuits against the same court professionals. Apparently Missouri legislators know that there is a problem with the Missouri Court but they have not taken any action for accountability to add integrity back to the court.

A mother is sued Elaine Pudlowski, Frankel Rubin, Klein, Payne and Pudlowski, P.C., James D. Reid, James D. Reid PhD, LLC, Brian Dunlop and Dunlop and McCarter for violation of 42 U.S.C and injunctive relief. According to the complaint, the guardian ad litem, Frankel was Pudlowski’s employer and is responsible for her conduct. Devon Arseneau alleges that “Pudlowski acted outside the scope of her licensure, expertise, and terms of her court appointment by misrepresenting her qualifications for this case to the court. Devon Arseneau alleges Pudlowski has no training in the following: mental health issues; alcohol or drug addiction; medicine; trauma, domestic violence; sexual abuse of children; or childhood and adolescent development, yet determined and represented to the court that the child was not at risk”.

Court medical records reveal a history of mental health issues and psychotropic medications incongruent with Reid’s diagnosis of the Plaintiff’s former husband. Reid admitted to falsifying elements of the report, but the reports continue to be handed out to certain professionals per the court order.

Brian Dunlop, the guardian ad litem for Austin Arseneau, intentionally blocked reporting of sexual abuse so that it would not be addressed in court proceedings and refused to allow his client’s therapist to testify. Dunlop also allegedly failed to seek therapy for his client while the child was being molested. What happened to mandated reporting?

ASFA 1997 Incentivized Foster Care ~a taxpayer’s opinion

Let’s break something down as far as Title IV-E goes. The Department makes a TON of money off our kids when they remove them. Incentive based kidnapping is the real plague in the states. I’ll use numbers based on where I live. First, they receive the report. Doesn’t matter how true or false it is. It’s their foot in the door to your livelihood. They’ll create a false claim of immediate danger because Title IV-E must have proof of a “Service plan” and they have to show reason for removal. Once removed the department gets paid $3k/child and $4k if they are disabled or handicapped. That’s only within the first month. Afterwards, they take the children to doctors, psychologists, and therapists under their grant and pay. They claim one child as 3 to triple the money back on their efforts. Once again, libel and slander. Not to mention coercion and collusion. Lastly, they put them into foster care such as emergency foster facilities or foster homes. No check are made for the welfare of the children so practically ANYTHING could happen to our babies and they exercise plausible deniability, yet won’t investigate the claims of the children or yourself if you find out. The foster facility gets a check for $3k/mo per child. This is suppose to go towards food, medical and clothes. Yet time and again we see children with dirty or worn clothes, dirty faces, bruises and so on. You may be wondering how much does 1 state’s “Department” gets out of all of this? Our state got $2.2 BILLION in August of 2020 alone!!! Scary huh? Sadly I’m sure it’s more in some other states but this is the real truth! Look it up. I’m sure you’ll find it. We need to protect our children from these kidnappers and abusers and speak out!!! Contact your Senators, mayors, governors and all public officials about the corruption they are Llowing through their absolute refusal to act!!! Tell your Senators to REPEAL the Adoption and Safe Families Act and to return our children!!Remember these children are the future of our nation and if we give up now the future is lost! Speak out! BE HEARD!! DON’T GIVE UP!! ~ Annalee Bobbitt

See the source image

Related Articles : What I wish I had known. Case Preparation Child Welfare CasesFrom a mom shoved in the system:,How to approach a legislator, lawyer, judge, and any other important person in a legal case., Think it won’t happen to you? Mom, who got $9.6M in same case, daughter sued Orange County. A look at the Right To Lie Case.

How to approach a legislator, lawyer, judge, and any other important person in a legal case.

HAVE A 3 MINUTE, 5 MINUTE, 15 MINUTE SPEECH READY. MAKE YOUR WORDS COUNT. Someone messaged me asking about organizing Louisiana to approach legislation. Okay. Great! She said she had already talked to lawmakers, etc. Wonderful! Building relationships is important. Raising awareness and educating lawmakers and others about how the bills affect us is what we do. But when I ask questions about what she is talking to the lawmakers about and which lawmakers she feels like are open to working with us, I got nothing, “Thank you for your time”. ….. So idk what to think about that but messages come through all day and all night all of the time. I am not a mind reader and I do not know one. And this is why it is important to have a statement ready that gets attention. “I am talking with legislators”. That is a good attention grabber, but what legislators did you talk to about what? I have no idea who you are or what you are talking about unless you tell me. I know thousands of stories but not everyone’s. And this brings me to an important point that Connie and my grandfather taught me long ago. HAVE A 3 MINUTE, 5 MINUTE, 15 MINUTE SPEECH READY. MAKE YOUR WORDS COUNT.

Related Articles : What I wish I had known. Case Preparation Child Welfare Cases, From a mom shoved in the system:,

17 Tips for Professionals Addressing Abuse

Dr. Tchividjian, an accomplished leader in law ethics and in churches offers 17 tips to address abuse. Tchividjian told Roys Podcast that he was motivated by a shortage of lawyers who understand the distinct needs of sexual abuse victims. “Many of them (lawyers) should not be doing this,” he said. “They don’t understand victimization. They don’t understand the church … And they end up re-victimizing their own clients. I’ve encountered so many of these survivors who’ve been actually re-victimized by the very lawyers who are supposed to be advocating for them.”

Dr. Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian, the grandson of Dr. Billy Graham; a Florida attorney who served as an Assistant State Attorney in the 7th Judicial Circuit of Florida, where he created the first Sex Crimes Division at the Office of the State Attorney and served as Division Chief; Founder and former Executive Director of GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment), an internationally recognized non-profit organization that equips faith-based organizations with the tools they need to correctly respond to allegations of sexual abuse and educates them on how to create safeguards to protect children and other vulnerable people within their communities; who published scholarly articles such as, “Predators and Propensity: The Proper Approach for Determining the Admissibility of Prior Bad Acts Evidence in Child Sexual Abuse Prosecutions” (American Journal of Criminal Law) and “Catching American Sex Offenders Overseas: A Proposal for a Federal Mandated Reporting Law” (UMKC Law Review; Boz also currently serves as an adjunct professor at Stetson University; and is an Assistant Professor of Law, Liberty University School of Law, Lynchburg, VA, and offers professionals tips to professionals that address abuse, When the Child Abuser Has a Bible: Investigating Child Maltreatment Sanctioned or Condoned by a Religious Leader, and Practical Suggestions for Legal Protections ….

17 Tips for Professionals Addressing Abuse

1. Review penitent privilege and other potential legal issues with the prosecutor prior to commencing the investigation.

In some states, various laws and privileges may make a criminal investigation of a church leader more challenging. If the investigator is not fully aware of these laws and legal issues, review them with a prosecutor well-versed in the subject. 

Although some states may have laws or court rules recognizing that certain communications between an ordained minister and a penitent are confidential, these states often have exceptions if the communication pertains to child maltreatment.14 It is equally important to determine who has the authority to waive the privilege. Generally speaking, penitent privilege is designed to protect the confidences of the penitent, not the clergy person. Accordingly, if the child victim or even a child abuser waives any confidentiality concerning communications with a church leader, the government may be able to access these communications, and any documents generated as a result. 

It is also important to review the state criminal code on aiding and abetting criminal conduct, before or after the fact, as well as state law on conspiracy to commit criminal activity. In many instances, the pastor or church leader may not have directly committed the criminal conduct but will have encouraged or provided instruction on the commission of the criminal conduct. 

It is equally important to review the state mandated reporting law. If the pastor is a mandated reporter and failed to report instances of child physical or sexual abuse to the authorities, this conduct is criminal in many states. 

Finally, review state laws pertaining to emotional abuse. Although these statutes are rarely enforced, many states prohibit egregious conduct that inflicts mental harm on a child. For example, forcing the child to publicly or even privately confess responsibility for being sexually abused may violate the law in some states.15

2. Understand the general dynamics of secrecy in a particular religious setting. 

In many churches condoning or sanctioning violations of the criminal law, there are numerous steps taken to disengage the church from the local community.  Even when parishioners interact with the general public, some pastors stress the importance of maintaining distance from those outside of the church community. In one instance, a pastor teaching that babies must be struck with dowel rods urged parents not to physically strike infants at Walmart or in public settings simply because others outside the church “may see this as abuse.”16

3. Understand that faith issues are often distorted and manipulated in order to coerce victims to submit to abuse. 

Child abuse within religious environments is often carried out by those who use common scriptural terms and twist their meaning to accomplish and justify their criminal acts.  For example, physical and/or sexual abuse may be justified as a necessary expression of “God’s love.”  Thus, the victim is manipulated into believing that such criminal conduct is condoned by God and therefore acceptable.  These environments also tend to be very legalistic, whereby children are taught that God’s approval of them is based upon their “good behavior,” which is usually determined by their obedience to the very adults who inflict the abuse.  It is critical to understand these dynamics when approaching and interviewing children and adults living in such an environment.  Oftentimes, they will initially be very defensive of the abuse and the abusers because they have been conditioned that such behavior has been ordained by God. Wes Stafford, who endured physical and sexual abuse at a Christian boarding school, writes:

The boarding school staff abused us in every way a child can be abused—not only physically and emotionally but spiritually as well. We were terrified of their powerful and vengeful God, reminded daily that we were little sinners in the hands of their angry God.17

4. Understand the unique spiritual blocks and problems the child victim may have.

A child who has been forced to “confess” her sins to a pastor or congregation will likely accept that he or she is responsible for her abuse and may be worried about the wrath of God if she cooperates with a governmental investigation. Some child abuse victims have been “shunned”— a period of forced isolation as a means of discipline or to otherwise reinforce the belief the child is actually to blame for his or her own abuse.18

Given familial, religious and societal pressures to be strong, some boys may be reluctant to acknowledge abuse out of fear of being labeled weak. C.S. Lewis notes this was a factor in his reluctance, and the reluctance of his classmates to disclose the physical and emotional abuse inflicted at their boarding school: 

Vanity helped to tie our tongues…A boy home from school…would hate to be thought a coward and a crybaby, and he cannot paint a true picture of his concentration camp without admitting himself to have been for the last thirteen weeks a pale, quivering, tear-stained, obsequious slave.19

Accordingly, the forensic interviewer may need to spend additional time in building rapport, offering reassurance, and in otherwise earning the trust of the victim.20 The MDT will need to select a mental health professional competent to address the child’s emotional and spiritual injuries.21

5. Understand that exploitation of authority is at the heart of abuse perpetrated and/or ignored by those within the faith community.

From the earliest age, children are taught to respect and obey their elders.  Unfortunately, abusive church leaders often distort their role and authority by claiming to speak for God.  This type of environment provides no accountability for those in leadership.  This form of authoritarian control tends to cultivate over time and usually results in an environment where; 1) leadership is unresponsive to concerns raised by parishioners regarding suspected abuse; 2) reporting abuse to outside authorities is discouraged or even prohibited, and; 3) adults are openly valued more than children.  Such environments produce parishioners (adults and children) who are initially unwilling to report criminal behavior and are uncooperative with criminal investigations.  Investigators must make every effort to communicate with these individuals away from their authoritarian leaders with the understanding that it will take patience and time to gain their trust. 

6. Look for church records. 

Increasingly, pastors and other church leaders use social media in spreading their message.22 Accordingly, examine church websites, Facebook pages and other sites for sermons or other messages relating to a case of child abuse. If, for example, a parent who beats his baby with a dowel rod says this was taught in church sermons or parenting classes, obtain any recordings of these messages. If there are no recordings, ask the pastor if he has a written copy of the sermon or sermons. If this form of “discipline” was taught as part of a parenting class, obtain all records and course materials. 

If a child abuse issue has been brought to a church council or otherwise addressed within the church body, obtain any minutes of the meeting and interview anyone who may have been in attendance. These witnesses may have significant knowledge about the abuse, the parties involved, and the role of a religious leader in protecting an abusive party, and in ostracizing a child victim.

7. Determine the absence of church child abuse policies. 

A growing number of churches have policies in place to protect children. These policies may include background checks, limiting or excluding situations in which a church worker or volunteer is alone with a child, and some sort of training on child abuse for those working with children.23 However, churches that condone or sanction abusive behavior will usually not have taken the time to develop or implement child protection policies.   Documenting this absence may assist an eventual jury in seeing that a particular religious leader was fully aware that the policies he was promoting violated state law—and he and other church leaders had no intention of confronting  known  or potential child abusers.

8. Explore the educational background of the religious leader. 

Some church leaders have received little or no formal Bible education (Bible School, Divinity School or Seminary) and thus have never studied scripture in its original Hebrew or Greek languages or otherwise mastered the very scriptures they are citing in support of abusive practices. Obtaining this information, as part of the interview or interrogation of a religious leader, may help an eventual jury understand why it is the pastor or church leader could stray so far from generally accepted interpretations of scripture and could otherwise establish him or herself as the definitive source of knowledge on all things related to God.24 This information may also be relevant to determining whether the pastor or church worker is properly ordained or is otherwise leading a recognized church for which penitent privilege and other legal rights pertain. 

9. Look for evidence documenting whether the criminal behavior is a result of the religious leadership’s uniquely held beliefs. 

When a religious leader expounds extreme views—such as hitting infants for “selfish crying”—it is helpful to establish that these views are uniquely held by the pastor and/or local church leadership being investigated.   Many churches are part of a larger body of churches which make up a denomination.25  Each denomination has certain governing rules and leadership structures that each church must follow. Furthermore, most denominations have some degree of centralized authority that is exercised from its headquarters. The investigator should always contact the denominational headquarters to assist in determining if such positions are endorsed by the denomination or whether they are simply the result of the peculiar beliefs of the local church.26   Non-denominational churches are those that do not have any formal association with other churches and are usually not subject to any form of central authority.  Since non-denominational churches do not have a centralized leadership structure that can be contacted,  the investigator should attempt to communicate with the religious or educational institutions the leader has attended  to determine if they have taught, currently teach, or in any way adhere to these extreme views. If the investigator can establish that the educational institutions the leader has attended condemn particular views, it becomes much easier to establish that a religious leader’s views are distinct from mainstream religious views—including those who taught him theology.  

10. Check with prior congregations that have been served by members of the church leadership.  

Many pastors and staff have served numerous congregations and, in some cases, a congregation removes them because of their unbiblical teachings or behavior. Accordingly, it is important to ask where else the church leader/s may have served and then contact church elders, leaders, and/or congregation members of those churches. In some cases, the investigator will be able to show a pattern of an individual who is out of control in his teaching and practices. This evidence will assist the prosecutor in proving that a particular leader was not practicing religion—he was practicing child abuse in the name of religion. 

11. Look close to home for evidence of abuse

Leaders who espouse beliefs that foster abusive church environments often practice these beliefs in their own home. In his autobiography, C.S. Lewis describes a childhood boarding school as a “concentration camp”27 and notes that the headmaster’s physical and emotional cruelties were also inflicted on his own family.28 

Investigators must make every attempt to contact and interview family members of the suspect.  As in most abuse cases, the family members who no longer live under the same roof as the perpetrator will often be the most willing to disclose the abusive home environment. Joy Davidman (the wife of C.S. Lewis) found that after she left Douglas Gresham (an abusive first husband) that she was able to confront him and to protect her children. Davidman wrote Gresham: “It must be a great surprise to you that I now have such powers of resisting your commands and persuasions. Throughout our marriage you could always make me knuckle under one way or another, and I’m sure you find difficulty in understanding that them days are gone forever.”29

Just as Davidman and her children 30 were able to speak of their terror once separated from the abusive party, investigators may find that family members who have some distance from an abusive religious leader will likewise be able to speak more freely. Oftentimes, investigators will discover a common thread between the pastor’s spiritual rhetoric, his behaviors at home, and the behaviors replicated in other church families. 

12. When interrogating a religious leader, be prepared to play in his ball field. 

Perhaps the most famous, and one of the most effective cross-examinations in history, was

Clarence Darrow’s cross examination of William Jennings Bryan in the “Scopes Monkey Trial.”31 Darrow, an agnostic, understood the value in using scripture itself to undermine the religious tenets espoused by William Jennings Bryan.32 Investigators and prosecutors confronting a religious leader using scripture to justify their conduct will gain little traction in citing child maltreatment laws or other “secular” institutions or regulations—but religious leaders are oftentimes very willing to discuss the biblical basis for their conduct and teachings.  It is important for investigators to realize that the church leader will most likely have a greater familiarity of scripture and thus will attempt to use such knowledge to manipulate its meaning to justify and/or explain the abusive behavior.  Prior to the interview, the investigator should seek out the opinions of local clergy and biblical academics who can provide insight to the precise scripture passages the investigator expects to address in the interview with the church leader. It will also be helpful to find out what translation of the Bible the religious leader is using. If the suspect cites a passage from scripture, the investigator will want to be able to read the passage in the same translation the suspect uses. It is crucial that the investigator remember  the objective is not to win a theological argument, but to simply expose the leader’s condoning or sanctioning of criminal behavior.   

As an example of possible investigative questions to pose, consider these:

Pastor, you told us the Bible requires parents to discipline their children with a rod. In Proverbs 13:24 it states “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” Is that the verse you are relying on in support of hitting children with a rod? What does it mean when the verse says to be “careful” in disciplining a child? Is there anything in that verse, or any other part of scripture, that teaches the necessity of hitting babies? Is there anything in scripture that teaches where on the body a baby should be hit? That teaches a child’s clothes should be removed and it is the bare bottom that needs to be hit? That it is acceptable to cause injuries or even draw blood? Are there other theologians or religious leaders at the university you attended or at the other churches you served who would disagree with you? Why would they disagree? Is it possible they may be right? 

Are you familiar with the passage in Luke 17:2 whereby Jesus says, “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones”?  Would you agree that Jesus has some extremely harsh words for those who hurt children?  Do you believe Christ’s words are applicable to the man who sexually assaulted this girl?  Do you think it is possible that blaming the child for “seducing” the adult into a sexual relationship may also cause that child hurt?33  

Questions along these lines will force the religious leader to justify his teachings and practices and will either force him to back away from his words and conduct—or will expose the extremity of these views. For example, there simply is no verse in the Bible explicitly stating that babies should be hit with dowel rods, or that children are responsible for being sexually assaulted. Advocating for such positions will expose the leader’s self-created doctrines which will be very clear to anyone who subsequently listens to the interview with the religious leader. 

13. Explore the concept of “submission” during the investigation.

If the pastor or church leader justifies abusive conduct toward women and children in the congregation by citing Bible verses pertaining to submission,34 it may be helpful to discuss his views on portions of scripture requiring church leaders to submit to the government.35 As one example as to how this might work, consider the following set of questions:  

Pastor, in the book of Romans, it states: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God

has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”36 Do you agree with the teaching contained in this verse? Are you aware that it is a crime to have sexual contact with a child? Are you also aware that you are required to report to the authorities whenever you have a reasonable suspicion that a child has been sexually abused? Accordingly, when you failed to report the abuse of this child to the police, you not only violated state law, you violated the teachings of your own church? 

14. If the religious leader cites materials or sources outside of the Bible—find them. 

A religious leader teaching that infants should be struck for “selfish crying” or who advocates any other unlawful behavior towards children will often cite non-scriptural resources such as “parenting books” or pamphlets, which are loosely based upon unconventional and warped interpretations of particular biblical passages.37 For example, one survivor of child physical abuse explained that her parents precisely followed the disciplinary techniques contained in a book written by Roy Lessin.38 The victim describes the procedures used as follows: 

My first spanking was when I was six months old. My mother spanked me for crying after she put me to bed. She had to spank me repeatedly to teach me not to cry when she put me down. I know about this incident because my mother used to tell all the new mothers about how young I was when she started spanking me. My last spanking occurred when I was thirteen years old. The Roy Lessin spankings that I remember most vividly took place between the ages of three and seven…My father would explain the reason for the spanking…I had already developed irritable bowel syndrome and would feel my guts cramp up with anxiety during his speech. Then he would ask me to take off my pants and underwear. I would feel deeply embarrassed because my father was not supposed to see me naked….The stick, paddle inscribed with Bible verses, or belt would swish violently through the air before slapping painfully…I would scream in pain and anguish…My parents were never concerned about the marks they left on my body…Pulling up my pants was incredibly painful…After we prayed, it was time for me to be happy. But my insides would be a mess…It would be a lesson I’d learn for life—being falsely happy regardless of how my body felt…39 

If a religious leader or parent informs the authorities that they discipline pursuant to a book or manual such as the Lessin book, it is important to obtain a copy of the book and ask the party inflicting or encouraging the abuse if the procedures taught in the publication were routinely followed or recommended in a particular home or church. Such a book  is evidence that should be seized and turned over to the prosecutor. In essence, you have  discovered a “how to” manual for abusing children. 

When seizing the material, note its location and photograph it. Materials of this nature found in the pastor’s office closely connect him to the book. If the book or other materials are in the church library, determine if the pastor must review and approve all materials placed in the library. Also, check with congregation members to find out who has borrowed or checked out these materials. The investigator may be able to establish a clear pattern of a church leader recommending these materials to particular families, and the children in these families being subjected to abuse.   

15. Ask for a “demonstration.” 

If a religious leader advocates hitting babies with a dowel rod, ask him to produce the rod and demonstrate the force he would recommend by striking a doll. Make sure to video record the “demonstration.” If the pastor strikes the doll with excessive force, this is evidence there are few, if any boundaries when inflicting blows. If, on the other hand, the pastor strikes the doll lightly, this may assist the prosecutor in establishing the pastor’s beliefs are disingenuous. After all, if a baby has bruising or other injuries, it likely required a blow more significant than a light tap. 

If a pastor claims that infants should be hit for “selfish crying,” show him some video or audio tapes of infants crying and ask him to distinguish between needful and “selfish” cries. It is critical to record the pastor’s attempts to distinguish or explain these various cries. This will likely be powerful evidence that there is little rhyme or reason to the pastor’s teachings. 

16. Confront the religious leader with evidence. 

Generally speaking, confronting a suspect with physical evidence increases a chance for a confession.40 If the investigator has physical evidence of children being abused in a congregation, such as photographs of bruises or other injuries, it may be helpful to confront the religious leader with these photographs and ask him if the injuries depicted are excessive. If the leader says no, it is evidence that he does condone excessive discipline in violation of the state’s penal code. If the leader acknowledges the injuries are excessive, he is conceding that some of his church members have violated the law.  

17. Objectivity and respectfulness is critical. 

An investigator should not assume that everyone in a particular congregation agrees with the pastor’s views or conduct. In addition to the children abused, there may be parents or others who are skeptical but may be afraid to speak out because they fear ostracism or are worried about damaging the church. Accordingly, an investigator who remains respectful of religious views during the course of the investigation is more likely to find witnesses willing to speak with him or her. Although the nature of the crime will necessarily involve a discussion of theology, the investigator must be mindful that his role is to collect evidence—not to reform a particular church. 

An investigator may want to attend worship services or otherwise make him or herself available at public gatherings of the congregation. The investigator should freely distribute his card and otherwise express his concern about the welfare of children. Making himself known as a resource to the entire congregation increases the chance the investigator will receive a phone call, perhaps in the middle of the night, from a worried parent or parishioner who believes that children are being abused—and that can lead the investigator to evidence. 

Part of the Criminal Law Commons, Criminal Procedure Commons, Law and Psychology Commons, Religion Law Commons, and the Sexuality and the Law Commons

References at Tchividjian, Basyle and Vieth, Victor, “When the Child Abuser Has a Bible: Investigating Child Maltreatment Sanctioned or Condoned by a Religious Leader” (2011). Faculty Publications and Presentations. 53. https://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/lusol_fac_pubs/53

Divorcing millennial parents choosing to keep their children in their homes by Birdnesting.

So what is birdnesting? Birdnesting is like nesting. Parents take turns going back to the nest to care for their little ones. Separated parents rotate in and out of the family homes so the children do not have to bounce back and forth from one parent to the other. Exes may stay in a spare bedroom, built in apartment, or some other way that the house is converted for nesting.

Many millennials believe this is the best way to raise stable children. Others disagree. Malin Bergström, a scientist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and a child psychologists disagrees that birdnesting parents are doing the right thing for their children. “This is a type of protecting children and sheltering them from reality, basically. I think that is a threat to mental health.” Instead she thinks that moving the children about makes them resilient and gives them the “tools they need”.

A health equity study Malin Bergström was involved in shows little difference in the mental health of children who lived in a traditional nuclear family with two parents and children that live with typical joint custody arrangements. Nonetheless. Divorce can be unsettling for children as well as for the rest of the family and many parents are choosing to birdnest as a way to keep family stability.

Lawyers say that birdnesting is on the rise in family courts. A study by Coop Legal Services out of the United Kingdom says that 11% of divorced or separated parents have tried it. In Sweden, divorced parents have rotated homes since the 1970s. Recently westerners are picking up on the idea and it is showing through pop culture. Mad Men’s Anne Dudek and Matthew Heller went public about nesting after their divorce in 2016. Splitting Up Together is a television show about birdnesting on-again off-again parents. Off duty parents get the garage which seems kind of “normal” to me.

A family law attorney from Britain Stephen Williams, says that birdnesting cuts court fees and is a cost-effective solution for parents that split up. Another British lawyer from Ashtons Legal believes that birdnesting is more about an increase awareness to children’s mental health. “People have become far more savvy about needing to think about their children’s development,” he says. “I think that is a really, really good progression, basically, because often those issues were pushed to the background, and it was the parents’ often problematic separations which came to the fore.”

Birdnesting parents believe that they are raising healthier children. Linnea Andersdotter who was birdnested as a child and is now 36 says that “It felt like a very dramatic thing when they first let me know that they were going to split up, and when I found out I didn’t have to move, that really helped me not freak out about the situation,” she says. “I was kind of kept in a safe little bubble whilst they were sorting out the break-up thing.”

But critics argue it can create a “halfway house” situation which doesn’t help children process the reality of their parents’ separation. Eline Linde, who lived in a nesting household says she found the experience “strange and confusing”. “I didn’t know if it was mum or dad’s house, or if they were working out if they were getting back together”.

Family-law solicitor Ben Evans believes it works for some couples because it can help “buy them a bit of time and ease the pressure on them. Both parties can mull over future steps, he argues, and avoid knee-jerk or costly decisions”. Buscho says a nesting period also provides “breathing space” that can facilitate reconciliation or help partners figure out what they want their long-term co-parenting plan to look like. t Bergström argues that nesting stalls the divorce. Åse Levin, a 50-year-old graphic designer agrees with Bergström’s argument and says that birdnesting made it difficult for her to move on with her life. “I know that both of us had real anxiety being in that apartment… you didn’t have your things, so it wasn’t a cosy place to go to,” she recalls. “You’re stuck in some kind of bubble or something, you cannot do anything. You cannot go forward.” I wonder though of maybe the apartment was too small to feel like a home to begin with and if a bigger home would have made a difference in her perceptions about birdnesting. Nesting can raise new challenges for parents though because they may have to change their routine. Bodil Schwinn says birdnesting is working well for her and her former partner, “You need to have a good relationship with your ex,” she states.

I like the idea of birdnesting parents and believe that this new trend will make stronger healthier families. Let me know what you think.

Think it won’t happen to you? Mom, who got $9.6M in same case, daughter sued Orange County. A look at the Right To Lie Case.

A look at the “Right To Lie” case where Mom got $9.6M and then, the daughter sued Orange County.

Child Protection workers costs taxpayers billions every year in lawsuits that most people are completely unaware of, and would be outraged about if they understood. I found Kathlee Arthur a few years ago in my research on the subject. Kathlee Arthur is a woman from Washington State who advocates nationally for foster children and their biological families. She informed me about the “Right To Lie” case that at the time she was using to raise awareness to legislators to show how devastating it is when social workers get away with lying on the stand to keep children separated from their biological families.

Deanna Fogerty-Hardwick lost custody of her minor children, Preslie and Kendall. Deanna Fogerty-Hardwick filed suit and won. Later, her daughter Preslie filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the County and employees of the SSA. In 2011, a jury awarded Fogarty-Hardwick $4.9 million in damages. Orange County then appealed the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court at the taxpayer’s expense. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case. During that time though, interest and additional attorney fees were racking up the costs that Orange County was charging taxpayer’s to fight for the “Right To Lie”. The total payout came to $9.6 million. The county also incurred an additional $1 million for its own legal costs on the case. None of the social workers that fought were ever held accountable for lying in court to destroy the family. None of the people making the decisions to fight for the right to lie in court ever had to pay out of their own pocket to make that argument.

Preslie showed the courts that the social worker employees acting under color of state law maliciously used perjured testimony and fabricated evidence to secure her removal from her mother and that the state abused it’s power when it violated her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights to her familial relationship with her mother. Federal appellate court No. 15-55563 D.C. No. 8:13-cv-01390-JLS-AN opinion affirmed that Orange County is not immune from liability when workers perjure themselves to adopt a child out to complete strangers.

The ruling issued by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is based on the same events that caused a jury to award Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick $9.6 million from Orange County in 2011 after she alleged that social workers used fabricated evidence to cause a court to remove her two daughters from her custody for six and a half years! The district court denied absolute and qualified immunity to the individual defendants.

Preslie’s complaint targets conduct well outside of the social workers’ legitimate role as quasi-prosecutorial advocates in presenting the case. The court concluded that Beltran v. Santa Clara County disposes of the issue. In Beltran, the court held that social workers are not entitled to absolute immunity from claims that they fabricated evidence during an investigation or made false statements in a dependency petition affidavit that they signed under penalty of perjury, because such actions are not similar to discretionary decisions about whether to prosecute. The court also concluded that defendants’ use of perjured testimony and fabricated evidence in court in order to sever Preslie’s familial bond with her mother was unconstitutional. In this case, Preslie has produced more than sufficient admissible evidence to create a genuine dispute as to whether her removal from her mother’s custody violated her clearly established constitutional rights, and defendants’ case for qualified immunity from these charges is not supported by the law or the record. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. (Justia, Hardwick v. County of Orange, No. 15-55563, 9th Cir. 2017)

The County could be on the hook to pay out once again. Still, California’s social worker employees that are fighting for the right to lie in court have not been held accountable for perjuring themselves. Those workers did not lose their jobs, go to jail, or spend any money out of their own pocket. Instead, after trying to destroy this family completely and then lying about it, they get to spend money they can access that we put in the Social Security Fund for retirement and disabled people. And Congress let’s state employees get away with this every day.

“No official with an IQ greater than room temperature in Alaska could claim that he or she did not know that the conduct at the center of this case violated both state and federal law,” Judge Stephen Trott wrote in the opinion. “Perjury is a crime under both federal and California state law, as is the knowing submission of false evidence to a court. … Because they are supported by the record as a whole, we construe the facts Preslie offers in support of her allegations in the light most favorable to her.”

Hardwick’s allegations are the same as her mother’s. In 2000, Orange County Social Services agents Marcie Vreeken and Helen Dwojak fabricated testimony “that (Fogarty-Hardwick) had caused her daughters to skip a mandatory visit with their father, when in fact the problem was caused by a visitation monitor.”

Hardwick said that there are other lies that the social workers delibertly and maliscously told the court; when they said that Fogarty-Hardwick had turned her daughters against their visitation monitor and when they told the court that Fogarty-Hardwick had told her children that their father was trying to take them away from her.

Thankfully the court disagreed with the assertion that Orange County attorneys argued that it was not clearly established in civil court at the time of the events in question that in situations such as Hardwick’s, those involved had “the right to be free from deliberately fabricated evidence.”

Orange County officials have maintained that its social workers never wronged Fogarty-Hardwick or her family. Neither employee was disciplined and Vreeken was later promoted to a position in which she trains other social workers. County records show Vreeken was still employed in 2015, when she earned $132,466 in total compensation. County Supervisor Todd Spitzer said that social workers often face difficult decisions when deciding when and whether to separate a child from their parents and that it was important for those employees to know that the county backs their decisions. “Social workers have an immense responsibility to protect children, and I’d much rather have a social worker err on the side of taking a child from the home than leave a kid where there might be suspected child abuse,” Spitzer said. “It’s a delicate balance, and social workers needs to know that if they do that the county will back them up.”

I have to disagree that social workers are lying In court to protect children. They are lying in court to get away with destroying the very people they are created to serve. I hope others will consider this case and seriously ask themselves if anyone should ever have a right to lie about another in court.

Related Articles : What I wish I had known. Case Preparation Child Welfare CasesFrom a mom shoved in the system:,How to approach a legislator, lawyer, judge, and any other important person in a legal case.

Fostered or Forgotten?

It is time to stop the foster care to prison pipeline.

See the source image

We have to stop the foster care to prison pipeline. There are people sitting in jails and mental hospitals that do not even know who their family is or where they came from and public defenders and social workers “drop the ball”. Leaving them there with no one to advocate for them, and do you want to know how it almost always ends? It almost always ends in solitary confinement until they kill themselves or a jailer loses it and kills them.