Bogus social worker examines baby

April 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

 

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Bogus social worker examines baby in Gloucestershire
Police warn parents to be vigilant after incident involving young woman with fake ID badge calling at a home
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theguardian.com, Friday 25 April 2014 05.21 EDT
Child protection conferences – how to demystify them
Families have been told to be vigilant in Gloucestershire after an incident involving a bogus social worker. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian
Police have urged parents to be vigilant after a bogus social worker called at a house and examined a baby.

The woman, who claimed she was from Gloucestershire social services, was carrying a false ID badge and a black zip-up folder.

She visited a mother in Deerhurst Place in Quedgeley, Gloucestershire, and told her there were concerns for the welfare of her four-month-old son.

The bogus social worker asked to carry out checks and listened to the boy’s heartbeat with a stethoscope during the incident, which took place at 2pm on Wednesday.

Detective Inspector Andy Dangerfield, of Gloucestershire police, said: “We don’t know what the motivation for this was but clearly it is very concerning. Our inquiries are ongoing. We have visited houses in the area to warn local people and would urge everyone to be vigilant.

“Remember, do not accept people into your house unless you are 100% sure you know who they are. You can always tell them to stay outside until you have made your own inquiries and if you are suspicious in any way, then call police.

“We have liaised with our partners at Gloucestershire social care services and they have alerted their staff to this incident.” The woman is described as white with “slightly tanned skin”, in her late 20s or early 30s, between 5ft 6ins and 5ft 7ins tall, with dark shoulder-length bobbed hair.

She had freckles on the left side of her face and wore a black trouser suit with a cream v-neck blouse with frills at the front.

Dangerfield asked anyone with information about the woman to contact the force on 101.

Gloucestershire county council said: “When a social worker calls at your house you will be shown an ID badge, and the reasons for the visit will be explained to you.”

Society briefing
Sign

How are some of the law students paying their way in ILLINOIS top law schools ? The appearance they are dealing in control substances ?

April 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

Well what a racket they have The big H Her ion or whatever you want to call it ?

They are starting out to find out ways to usurp the law or just what points to pay to play and get that leg up or that shoot up?

Thanks Loyal   a campus!!!!!

This felt a little bit like a backhanded, sneaky-snake way of getting around the rights that Amendment 64 affords us. And while I wasn’t surprised that someone was trying to move such bills through legislation, I was surprised that it was happening in ILLINOIS as well.

April 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

 

Parenting: Language of politics irks and inspires pot-smoking mom

Words carry heavy weight in bills regarding child endangerment — is cannabis a target?

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PUBLISHED: APR 25, 2014, 3:29 PM
By Brittany Driver, The Cannabist Staff

Since the publication of my article “Lessons learned from Child Protective Services” I have been silently schooled by the Internet. Browsing early comments of the piece revealed that while I had captured the sentiments of CPS fairly well, I’d apparently really missed the mark on parents’ rights. You do not have to let someone in your home without a warrant, and if someone does want inside — they’d better have one in hand. Heard.

I received more education recently when I was contacted by Laura Pegram of the Drug Policy Alliance about SB14-177 and SB14-178, two Colorado Senate bills introduced during the 2014 legislative session. “As far as we know, the legislation plans to make changes to both the civil and criminal code which might recriminalize some aspects of A64 in regard to parenting,” Pegram wrote. “I wanted to make sure you were aware of it as it seems especially relevant to your column.” She included the early proposals of the bills and wished me well.

Sure, I talk a big game, but I have never really been one to take my political views further than my own soapbox. (But oh, how I love that soapbox.) So I read both bills and gritted my teeth most of the way. This felt a little bit like a backhanded, sneaky-snake way of getting around the rights that Amendment 64 affords us. And while I wasn’t surprised that someone was trying to move such bills through legislation, I was surprised that it was happening in Colorado — the home of the free (joint with purchase of an eighth) and the brave (your way over here and take a dab).

Let’s be clear y’all — recreational pot use has been legal in Colorado since December 2012 when Gov. John Hickenlooper signed voter-approved Amendment 64 into law. It’s not a new thing to have the legal right to toke in your home (or other private residence or space) here in Colorado.

Politics: Why is Congress not interested in regulating marijuana banking?

By the time retail weed was being sold legally on Jan. 1, 2014, CPS — a division of the Colorado Department of Human Services — had an idea of what to expect. In my past discussion with the representative from the Denver child-abuse hotline, I was asked if I’d tried all other means of medicating before settling on marijuana. Was I sure it was the only thing that worked for me? CPS did not reply to my questions by the time I submitted this article, so I will have to sum it up for you. Basically, CPS believes that when parents use marijuana, whether medically or for purposes of recreation, they are not performing their duties as caregivers to the best of their abilities.

But it’s harder to condemn someone for using an illegal substance once that substance is no longer illegal. In an effort for the state to have a universal definition for “drug endangered child” — and a basis for what is not acceptable in a home with any controlled substances — Colorado Sens. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, and Linda Newell, D-Littleton, introduced SB14-177 and SB14-178. Both bills were proposed additions to existing statutes.

The idea of the current statutes (C.R.S. 18-6-401, see (1)(c)) is that we need to protect kids from being in the presence of selling, using or manufacturing of controlled substances — particularly methamphetamine. It’s clear and precise. You cannot synthetically create a controlled substance in your home, and you can’t sell or buy specified ingredients with the intent of using them to make meth. If you do so, you are putting your child, or the child you are caring for, in a situation in which they would be labeled drug endangered.

In stark contrast, the proposed changes per Sens. Newell and Kerr appeared incredibly far-reaching. And the wording was too general:

“A child’s health or welfare is threatened by the impairment of the person responsible for the care of the child, as defined in section 19-1-103 (94), if the impairment of the person is due to the use of either a controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-102(5), C.R.S., or any legal substance capable of causing mental or physical impairment.”

By using the term “controlled substance,” under which marijuana is still classified as a federal Schedule I drug, and without explicitly excluding marijuana, SB14-177 and SB14-178 would surely put cannabis users on shaky ground. The language, as originally proposed, was so broad in fact that it would also effectively make it child endangerment for the caregiver to have their prescribed Xanax (at particular doses) or even Robitussin A-C; both can be found on the federal list of controlled substances.

I’m curious if Sens. Kerr and Newell thought that by not having used the word “marijuana” specifically that it would slip under the radar and go unnoticed by advocates and enthusiasts alike.

If they did think that, they were wrong – because these bills felt like bull’s-eyes on the back of many in the cannabis community. And not just parents. An uncle, a grandmother, a friend — they all could be putting your child in danger according to these bills, just by having their legal, prescribed medicines. They wouldn’t even have to take it. The bills extended to the possession of controlled substances in their inclusion of scenarios in which a child would be drug endangered — successfully making a friend with weed no longer a friend indeed.

Pot and Parenting: The stigmas around marijuana remain an issue for parents. Glass of wine with dinner? Socially OK. Smoking a bowl? Social no-no.

After my first reading of the drafts I just kept thinking, “Wait … what? How can they do that?”

Coloradans passed Amendment 64, right? So how could a new law be passed that makes the simple possession of a legal substance — within Colorado’s legal parameters — grounds for removal of a child? I know there aren’t going to be investigators peeking in medicine cabinets for Ambien (another legal controlled substance which according to SB14-177 and SB14-178, on the same premises, would make a child drug endangered).

I wondered if people who designed a bill to help children would be so pointed and obvious in targeting a certain sect of parents. Are people really still trying to make it harder for good parents who just happen to smoke weed? Was I being paranoid, or was this a disapproving sideways glance from some anti-marijuana folks?

It turned out I wasn’t alone. Questions were being raised by marijuana advocacy groups.

The bills were something the Drug Policy Alliance had some strong opposition to. In a coalition email I was included in, Pegram detailed problems with the bills: “The two separate definitions contradict each other in terms of what they consider substances that could lead to drug-endangerment. This discrepancy is very confusing and does nothing to clarify definitions of endangerment for law enforcement or child protective services. Nothing in either of these indicates any effort to keep the family intact, provide services or therapy for the family, or offer any solid plans for training for officers or reporters” — which is why they are claiming they need these new laws.

In addition, the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, or COLOR, sent its own letter voicing disapproval of both bills, with concerns over proposed drug-testing language. The letter read, in part: “Medical groups across the country agree that laws like SB14-177 and SB14-178 undermine maternal, fetal and child health. This bill would punish and stigmatize drug addicted pregnant individuals instead of ensuring access to medical care and treatment services.”

Pegram invited me to meet up with group from DPA, which would be organizing in the basement of the Capitol before the Senate Judiciary Committee was to meet. There was also word on Facebook that several parents groups and marijuana advocates would be organizing in front of the Capitol. The curiosity was getting to me. That, and the disbelief that something this obviously anti-cannabis might pass in a legal state. I mean, I’m trying to help be a bit of a mouthpiece here — I wanted to be there. And I felt like I had no excuse not to go. I live a short bus ride from downtown, I had no real plans for that day and I knew it was time to practice what I preach by taking things a step further than my soapbox.

Up next week: Mrs. Driver goes to the Capitol
Have you been inspired to take part in the political discourse? Tell me about it in the comments.

Words carry heavy weight in bills regarding child endangerment — is cannabis a target?

Tweet this story
Facebook
Share on Google Plus
Share on LinkedIn
Pin It on Pinterest
Email
Print
PUBLISHED: APR 25, 2014, 3:29 PM
By Brittany Driver, The Cannabist Staff

Since the publication of my article “Lessons learned from Child Protective Services” I have been silently schooled by the Internet. Browsing early comments of the piece revealed that while I had captured the sentiments of CPS fairly well, I’d apparently really missed the mark on parents’ rights. You do not have to let someone in your home without a warrant, and if someone does want inside — they’d better have one in hand. Heard.

I received more education recently when I was contacted by Laura Pegram of the Drug Policy Alliance about SB14-177 and SB14-178, two Colorado Senate bills introduced during the 2014 legislative session. “As far as we know, the legislation plans to make changes to both the civil and criminal code which might recriminalize some aspects of A64 in regard to parenting,” Pegram wrote. “I wanted to make sure you were aware of it as it seems especially relevant to your column.” She included the early proposals of the bills and wished me well.

Sure, I talk a big game, but I have never really been one to take my political views further than my own soapbox. (But oh, how I love that soapbox.) So I read both bills and gritted my teeth most of the way. This felt a little bit like a backhanded, sneaky-snake way of getting around the rights that Amendment 64 affords us. And while I wasn’t surprised that someone was trying to move such bills through legislation, I was surprised that it was happening in Colorado — the home of the free (joint with purchase of an eighth) and the brave (your way over here and take a dab).

Let’s be clear y’all — recreational pot use has been legal in Colorado since December 2012 when Gov. John Hickenlooper signed voter-approved Amendment 64 into law. It’s not a new thing to have the legal right to toke in your home (or other private residence or space) here in Colorado.

Politics: Why is Congress not interested in regulating marijuana banking?

By the time retail weed was being sold legally on Jan. 1, 2014, CPS — a division of the Colorado Department of Human Services — had an idea of what to expect. In my past discussion with the representative from the Denver child-abuse hotline, I was asked if I’d tried all other means of medicating before settling on marijuana. Was I sure it was the only thing that worked for me? CPS did not reply to my questions by the time I submitted this article, so I will have to sum it up for you. Basically, CPS believes that when parents use marijuana, whether medically or for purposes of recreation, they are not performing their duties as caregivers to the best of their abilities.

But it’s harder to condemn someone for using an illegal substance once that substance is no longer illegal. In an effort for the state to have a universal definition for “drug endangered child” — and a basis for what is not acceptable in a home with any controlled substances — Colorado Sens. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, and Linda Newell, D-Littleton, introduced SB14-177 and SB14-178. Both bills were proposed additions to existing statutes.

The idea of the current statutes (C.R.S. 18-6-401, see (1)(c)) is that we need to protect kids from being in the presence of selling, using or manufacturing of controlled substances — particularly methamphetamine. It’s clear and precise. You cannot synthetically create a controlled substance in your home, and you can’t sell or buy specified ingredients with the intent of using them to make meth. If you do so, you are putting your child, or the child you are caring for, in a situation in which they would be labeled drug endangered.

In stark contrast, the proposed changes per Sens. Newell and Kerr appeared incredibly far-reaching. And the wording was too general:

“A child’s health or welfare is threatened by the impairment of the person responsible for the care of the child, as defined in section 19-1-103 (94), if the impairment of the person is due to the use of either a controlled substance, as defined in section 18-18-102(5), C.R.S., or any legal substance capable of causing mental or physical impairment.”

By using the term “controlled substance,” under which marijuana is still classified as a federal Schedule I drug, and without explicitly excluding marijuana, SB14-177 and SB14-178 would surely put cannabis users on shaky ground. The language, as originally proposed, was so broad in fact that it would also effectively make it child endangerment for the caregiver to have their prescribed Xanax (at particular doses) or even Robitussin A-C; both can be found on the federal list of controlled substances.

I’m curious if Sens. Kerr and Newell thought that by not having used the word “marijuana” specifically that it would slip under the radar and go unnoticed by advocates and enthusiasts alike.

If they did think that, they were wrong – because these bills felt like bull’s-eyes on the back of many in the cannabis community. And not just parents. An uncle, a grandmother, a friend — they all could be putting your child in danger according to these bills, just by having their legal, prescribed medicines. They wouldn’t even have to take it. The bills extended to the possession of controlled substances in their inclusion of scenarios in which a child would be drug endangered — successfully making a friend with weed no longer a friend indeed.

Pot and Parenting: The stigmas around marijuana remain an issue for parents. Glass of wine with dinner? Socially OK. Smoking a bowl? Social no-no.

After my first reading of the drafts I just kept thinking, “Wait … what? How can they do that?”

Coloradans passed Amendment 64, right? So how could a new law be passed that makes the simple possession of a legal substance — within Colorado’s legal parameters — grounds for removal of a child? I know there aren’t going to be investigators peeking in medicine cabinets for Ambien (another legal controlled substance which according to SB14-177 and SB14-178, on the same premises, would make a child drug endangered).

I wondered if people who designed a bill to help children would be so pointed and obvious in targeting a certain sect of parents. Are people really still trying to make it harder for good parents who just happen to smoke weed? Was I being paranoid, or was this a disapproving sideways glance from some anti-marijuana folks?

It turned out I wasn’t alone. Questions were being raised by marijuana advocacy groups.

The bills were something the Drug Policy Alliance had some strong opposition to. In a coalition email I was included in, Pegram detailed problems with the bills: “The two separate definitions contradict each other in terms of what they consider substances that could lead to drug-endangerment. This discrepancy is very confusing and does nothing to clarify definitions of endangerment for law enforcement or child protective services. Nothing in either of these indicates any effort to keep the family intact, provide services or therapy for the family, or offer any solid plans for training for officers or reporters” — which is why they are claiming they need these new laws.

In addition, the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, or COLOR, sent its own letter voicing disapproval of both bills, with concerns over proposed drug-testing language. The letter read, in part: “Medical groups across the country agree that laws like SB14-177 and SB14-178 undermine maternal, fetal and child health. This bill would punish and stigmatize drug addicted pregnant individuals instead of ensuring access to medical care and treatment services.”

Pegram invited me to meet up with group from DPA, which would be organizing in the basement of the Capitol before the Senate Judiciary Committee was to meet. There was also word on Facebook that several parents groups and marijuana advocates would be organizing in front of the Capitol. The curiosity was getting to me. That, and the disbelief that something this obviously anti-cannabis might pass in a legal state. I mean, I’m trying to help be a bit of a mouthpiece here — I wanted to be there. And I felt like I had no excuse not to go. I live a short bus ride from downtown, I had no real plans for that day and I knew it was time to practice what I preach by taking things a step further than my soapbox.

Up next week: Mrs. Driver goes to the Capitol
Have you been inspired to take part in the political discourse? Tell me about it in the comments.

Best read of case law on the subject and great argument

April 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

 

Citation. 530 U.S. 57,120 S. Ct. 2054,147 L. Ed. 2d 49,2000 U.S.
Brief Fact Summary. The paternal grandparents brought a petition requesting visitation of their granddaughters. The mother agreed to some visitation, but did not agree to the extended visitation requested. Mother appealed the court’s granting of visitation as unconstitutional.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The court’s presumption that it is normally in the best interest of children to spend time with the grandparent failed to provide any protection for Granville’s fundamental constitutional right to make decisions concerning the rearing of her own daughters
Facts. Tommie Granville and Brad Troxel had two daughters during their relationship, but never married. After the two separated, Brad lived with his parents (the daughters’ paternal grandparents) and regularly brought his daughters to their home for weekend visitation. He committed suicide, but the Troxel grandparents continued to see the daughters on a regular basis. Several months later Granville informed the Troxels that she wished to limit their visitation to one short visit per month. The Troxels filed a petition for visitation, requesting two weekends overnight visitation per month and two weeks of visitation each summer. Granville asked the court to order one day per month with no overnight stay. The Superior Court ordered visitation of one weekend per month, one week during the summer, and four hours on each of the Troxels’ birthdays. Granville appealed, during which time she married Kelly Wynn. The Washington Court of Appeals remanded the case, with the Superior Cour
t finding that the visitation was in the children’s best interests. Nine months later, Wynn adopted the daughters. The Court of Appeals reversed the order, finding that under statute nonparents lacked standing unless a custody action was pending. The Court did not pass on Granville’s constitutional challenge to the visitation statute.

Issue. Does the Washington statute allowing any person to petition for visitation rights at any time infringe on the liberty interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children?

Troxel v. Granville

Held. The statute unconstitutionally infringes on the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Nationwide, enactment of nonparental visitation statutes have attempted to recognize that children should have the opportunity to benefit from relationships with statutorily specified persons such as grandparents. The cost of this is a substantial burden on the traditional parent-child relationship. The liberty interest of parents in the care, custody and control of their children is perhaps the oldest fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.
The Washington statute allows any person to petition the court for visitation rights at any time, and the court may grant such visitation rights whenever visitation may serve the best interest of the child. A parent’s decision that visitation would not be in the child’s best interest is accorded no deference, placing the best-interest determination solely in the hands of the judge.
No court found that Granville was an unfit parent. There is a presumption that fit parents act in the best interests of their children. So long as the parent is fit, there will normally be no reason fro the State to interject into the private realm of the family to question the ability of that parent to make the best decisions concerning the rearing of that child.
The trial court gave no special weight to Granville’s determination of her daughters’ best interests. The court instead placed the burden on her to disprove that visitation would be in the best interest of her daughters. The court must accord at least some special weight to the parent’s own determination.
There is no allegation that Granville sought to cut of visitation entirely. Many other states proved that courts cannot award visitation to third parties unless a parent has denied visitation to the concerned third party. Based on the finding that the statute is unconstitutional, there is no reason to consider if the Due Process Clause requires all nonparental visitation statutes to include a showing of harm or potential harm to the child as a condition precedent to granting visitation.
Dissent. Neither the provision granting any person the right to petition for visitation nor the absence of a provision requiring a threshold finding of harm to the child provides a sufficient basis for holding that the statute is invalid in all its applications. That the Constitution requires a showing of actual or potential harm finds no support in this Court’s precedent. At a minimum, besides the interests of the State and the parent, the interests of the child must be considered. A parent’s rights with respect to her child are limited by the existence of an actual, developed relationship with a child, tied to some embodiment of family. The State has an interest in protecting children against the arbitrary exercise of parental authority that is not in fact motivated by an interest in the welfare of the child. Presumptions notwithstanding, there may be situations where a child has a stronger interest at stake than mere protection from serious harm caused y the termination of visi
tation by a person other than the parent.
Discussion. The Court found the statute unconstitutional because it was overbroad in that any person could petition for visitation at any time, and also the presumption that a fit parent would act in the best interests of the child was not recognized.

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