Thanks to the Illinois child welfare system.

July 11, 2017 § Leave a comment

Lawsuit Reveals Child Welfare’s Assault on Battered Mothers, Their Children

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richard wexlerFor a mother of two daughters in Will County, Illinois, known in legal papers as Kelly, the morning of May 1 began with her being thrown against a wall so hard she saw stars. When she looked up, she saw the man who did that to her — the father of her children — holding a gun and threatening to use it. Then the father took one of the children and fled. Kelly was terrified the father would hurt her child.

But, as is documented in a civil rights lawsuit filed by the Family Defense Center in Chicago, that was just the start of a nightmare that has not ended — thanks to the Illinois child welfare system.

Someone — Kelly doesn’t know who and probably never will — called the Illinois child abuse hotline. Even though the father is facing criminal charges and even though Kelly has primary legal custody of the children, caseworkers for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services apparently leaped to the conclusion that, somehow, all this was Kelly’s fault. They coerced her into letting them put both children with the alleged abuser’s parents. A private agency now oversees the case. The alleged abuser has liberal contact with his children while Kelly hasn’t had a visit with them for a month.

Meanwhile, caseworkers are forcing Kelly to jump through all the usual hoops, including a “mental health assessment” and “anger management.” (Remember, she’s not the one who threw someone against a wall, she’s not the one who pulled out a gun, and she’s not the one facing criminal charges.)

Then, according to the complaint, in what may be the single most candid statement ever uttered by a child welfare worker, a caseworker for the private agency explained how the system really works: The case, she explained, is a “maze.” Like mice in a cruel lab experiment, both parents are at the “beginning of the maze.” The children are at “the end of the maze.” She then said that “whichever parent finished his or her services first” wins — that is, he or she would get the children.

By now some may be wondering “where are the courts — aren’t they supposed to approve all this?” But child welfare agencies have ways around pesky nuisances like due process of law. In this case, they effectively blackmailed Kelly into giving up what few rights she had. They told her that unless she agreed to a so-called “safety plan” in which the children were placed “voluntarily” with the abuser’s parents, she’d have no contact of any kind with her children.

There is nothing to suggest this case is unusual. In an almost identical case last year, Illinois reached a settlement agreement to curb the abuse of “safety plans.” They violated the agreement and have yet to adopt the policies they promised to follow.

And Illinois is not alone in blaming mothers for being beaten.

In Utah, a legislative audit report found that children “witnessing domestic violence” is the single largest category for so-called “substantiated” maltreatment.

In New York City the practice of tearing children from their mothers just because the mothers had been beaten was largely ended only after a settlement that followed a federal judge’s scathing 183-page decision in a class-action lawsuit. (My organization’s vice president was co-counsel for the plaintiffs.)

As the decision explains, the lead plaintiff in that case, Sharwline Nicholson was beaten mercilessly by a boyfriend when she decided to break off the relationship.

But even as she was bleeding profusely, suffering from a broken arm, broken ribs and gashes to her head, as she called 911 and waited for an ambulance to take her to a hospital, she arranged for a neighbor to care for her children.

But that wasn’t enough for the city’s child protective services agency. As Nicholson lay in her hospital bed, CPS took the children from the babysitter and threw them into foster care with strangers — where one of the children was abused. Nicholson was charged with “engaging in domestic violence” — presumably by throwing her body into her abuser’s fists.

“It reached the point where I said ‘Oh, why did I call 911,’” Nicholson said.

Cases like this keep happening because of the child welfare system’s penchant for embracing fads — and for always blaming parents, especially mothers, for anything that happens to children.

So a study reports the obvious: Witnessing domestic violence can be emotionally harmful to children. Instead of embracing the obvious solution — arrest the batterer and put him in jail — child protective services rushes to blame the victim — and tear apart the family.

As usually happens when child protective services takes a swing at “bad mothers,” the blow lands on the children. As a succession of experts testified in the Nicholson case, while witnessing domestic violence may indeed be harmful to children, tearing those children from the victim of that violence is far, far worse. One expert called it “tantamount to pouring salt into an open wound.”

Fortunately, the New York City child welfare agency has largely abided by the settlement. And the New York State Court of Appeals effectively extended it statewide.

But that leaves 49 states where battered mothers have to think twice about seeking help — because of what the “helpers” might do to their children. That’s 49 states, where practice in these kinds of cases can boil down to “please pass the salt.”

Richard Wexler is executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.

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The appearance that he’ll get the pension as well that everyone else didn’t get as a buy out ….

February 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

Controversial DCFS director resigns

Arthur Bishop in 2010Arthur Bishop was appointed Friday to head the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. 2010 photo (Michael Tercha / Chicago Tribune / July 16, 2010)
By Christy GutowskiTribune reporter6:45 p.m. CST, February 26, 2014

Ending weeks of speculation, Arthur Bishop today submitted a letter of resignation as director of the state’s child welfare agency.

Gov. Patrick Quinn appointed Bishop last month to lead the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

But, within weeks of the appointment, Bishop’s administration was dogged by controversy over revelations that he pleaded guilty in 1995 to misdemeanor theft for misusing money meant for patients at the Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center. Bishop also has been involved in a paternity case since 2003, according to court records.

In a letter to Quinn, Bishop, 61, alleged the governor’s political rivals were behind the controversy.

“I am aware that we are in the midst of a contested election, and that my documented accomplishments, dedication, and almost 20 years of exemplary work are in this environment, simply irrelevant,” he wrote in a letter to Quinn, obtained by the Chicago Tribune.

“While your political rivals may be willing to attack me in an effort to obtain some modicum of political advantage, I cannot agree to be used as a distraction to the real issues that face the State and the children that remain in State custody.”

His resignation is effective Friday.

Bishop, an ordained minister with more than 35 years in human services, began his career at DCFS in 1995 as a caseworker and rose to deputy director. He left the agency in late 2010 when Quinn chose him to oversee the state’s juvenile justice department.

Bishop’s 2010 appointment also was controversial because he lacked a corrections or juvenile justice background, but Quinn then defended his pick, arguing the department was moving in a new direction that focused more on rehabilitation. Facing the most recent criticism, Quinn again defended his pick.

Bishop said the governor did not seek his resignation. He had originally faced a felony in the 1995 theft case but, after two years of court proceedings, Bishop accepted a plea deal in which the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor, court records showed.

cmgutowski@tribune.com

Twitter: christygutowsk1

Divorce Corp what a great movie Documentary It shows what true scumbags they really are without acting!!

January 12, 2014 § Leave a comment

Dear Legislators,

Subject: A must see documentary movie – Divorce Corp

Last night, I watched the premier of the documentary movie Divorce Corp at AMC Showplace, Galewood 14, 5530 W. Homer St, Chicago (773 413 1970), which talks about the ruthless exploitation of divorcing parents, and the lack of oversight over the trial judges and their appointees.

This is a must see movie for each and every one of you so that you could pass the laws which would eradicate this problem, and which would put an end to this “barbaric” era of the family courts. In fact, you have a moral obligation to see this movie, because you, the legislators have created this “monster” by blindly enacting the laws which empower the trial courts to enrich the private attorneys and other appointees at the expense of divorcing parents and their minor children. No trial judge or any governmental employee should ever be put in a position where he or she could generate an extremely lucrative business to the private sector without any recourse available to the citizens.

Here in Illinois, we, the court-abused divorced parents have been bringing to your attention for several years that the family law judges and their appointees are financially destroying us and our children under the most despicable disguise that this is serving the minor children’s “best interests”.  In 2010, the Illinois Family Law Study Committee, POD 1 report identified and referred to the present domestic relations system as a “cottage industry”. Our efforts to close down the “cottage industry” have been successfully thwarted by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA).  That’s not surprising. The ISBA and its attorney members have personal pecuniary interests in allowing the “cottage industry” to grow and prosper.

The Divorce Corp documentary, indeed, evidences that the family courts are profit centers; multi-billion dollar industry; and the nation’s shame and problem.  The minor children have become the mere “commodity in trade” in this environment.

Slavery was once legal, profitable and widely accepted by those in power.  However, it had to end because it was unethical and inhumane. The brutal exploitation of divorcing parents and their children, under the color of law, must also end.

Therefore, please exercise your conscious, fulfill your moral obligation and go see the documentary so that you could acquaint yourself with the harsh reality, and so that you could enact the better laws.

Respectfully submitted,

Milijana Vlastelica

Community Activist

The appearance they all fit this bill. Would you want a Guardian ad litem with this kind of training?

January 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

Would you want a Guardian ad litem with this kind of training?

Posted on January 1, 2014

This is a look at two businesses. One financial the other legal. Both deal with sensitive information, rules and regulations. Both have training programs to give the tools needed to stay within accepted standards and compliance. Both are radically different.

With these two examples ask yourself who is better trained to handle difficult situations?

1. Training consists of 8 weeks of in class study during which the process, rules and regulations are learned. There is some applied training where the students are able to study situations as a means to gain experience. Students are tested at certain points. This allows for the trainers to verify at least a minimal understanding to perform the job. There are also group discussions which at times involve people who have experience. These veterans able to give real life experience as to what the new trainees can expect. There is some role playing between seasoned professionals and the new trainees.

After 8 weeks of in class training the new trainees are able to put what has been learned to practical use. While in a real environment there are seasoned people available to answer questions. There is also several weeks of quality control to make sure the new trainees are doing the work properly and to correct any issues right away. This type of mentoring and internship tapers off over time depending on how quickly the new trainee learns.

Throughout this training there is constant feedback to the new trainees. In the working environment that feedback is even more important as a mistake made could cost the company financially. Handling other people’s money can become highly charged especially when something is perceived as going wrong. There are layers upon layers of company as well as legal rules and regulations involved to make sure those handling financial transactions are within compliance. Support from seasoned employees assures and reinforces the understanding that is needed to help customers while staying within compliance.

2. Training consists of 16 hours of in class study during which theory is learned. There may be some applied training where students are able to study situations as a means to gain experience. There is no testing during the 16 hours of training nor at the end.

After 16 hours of training there is no feedback to the new trainee. There is no mentoring or internship for the new trainee. Experience is gained at the expense of the consumer. There is no means of testing whether the new trainee is within compliance or whether or not there is a basic understanding of the rules that govern the way he/ she is to operate.

While dealing with a person’s finances is a world apart from dealing with the complexities of a divorcing family there are similarities. Both can become highly charged when something is perceived as going wrong. Both can have a huge impact on the individual(s) involved both currently and into the future. It is the training though that defines how well one does the job in question.

With the training examples given we see the training one receives for handling people’s money and for handling people’s lives. We see that with one – the process given to train people is extremely careful in its approach. That there are tools and systems to give support so that errors may be caught before they become major issues and hurt a person or family. There are safeguards in place to help the trainee to continue to refine what has been learned and gain experience and to do so not at the expense of the consumer. With the other we see a training process that has been developed to handle people – children and families – who are in crisis and need help. The actions of these trainees have the very real possibility of scaring the people they are supposed to help. There are no tools to help the trainees at any time. Experience comes at the expense of the families and children.  There are no safeguards in place to prevent this damage from happening. There are no systems to catch errors before they become issues.

The first is an example of a training process that is used by businesses. The second is used by the Judicial Branch in training Guardians ad litem. Would you rather  have a Guardian ad litem who has gone through a training process that has clearly defined goals, offers some means to measure understanding and offers support through mentoring and internship programs? Or would you rather have someone who has gone through the current training process of sitting in a room and warming a seat for several hours?

The answer is obvious. The Judicial Branch has a training process for Guardians ad litem that in a business environment would fail to meet the needs of consumers. Under the current model the Judicial Branch would be overwhelmed with problems and it would either go out of business because of competition from businesses that have better training programs or it would change to meet the needs of those it is supposed to serve.  But…. The Judicial Branch is not a business but a monopoly that is accountable to no one. It also has lost sight who it is supposed to serve – being more concerned with how the stakeholders will react than consumers. As a result sub-standard training is allowed and even encouraged. Where those that come up with the training (the stakeholders) curriculum do so based on their own experience. To say (or post on ones “Professional Trainings” page) that one has experience in developing training does not mean one has the necessary tools or experience to do so. Currently there is no cohesiveness in the goal of Guardian ad litem training.

The training for Guardians ad litem should be removed from the control of the Judicial Branch and the stakeholders that are enmeshed in deciding what is acceptable training. Training should be done by professionals who know and understand the goals that are to be achieved and have experience in developing curriculum.

Family Court and Guardian ad litem reform on Facebook or email us at MeGALalert@gmail.com

This happens in every court house in ILLINOIS its called the COTTAGE INDUSTRY

December 23, 2013 § 2 Comments

Parental Alienation -Cover-up of a ‘Foreseeable harm’

Emotional and Psychological abuse is all about Power and Control.  It is the misuse of that power and control where the abuse is defined. The Best Interest of the Child statute of Virginia was written to give Judges ‘wide latitude’ in determining the presence of abuse in the family.  Parental alienation is the abuse of power and control by the custodial parent and can be prevented.  Parental alienation is not a mystery, and understanding domestic violence, abuse, and the dynamics of power and control are all that are required to prevent it.  Dr. Samenow understood this and accurately refers to abusers as ‘controllers’.

High Conflict divorce is also not a mystery. All the research into High Conflict divorce shows that they are defined by the extensive litigation.  Janet Johnston is the best known researcher of high conflict divorce and parental alienation. Her work dating back to the the 1990′s shows that 80% of divorce cases are settled, either up front, or as the case moves through the process.  Studies have found that only 20% of divorcing or separating families take the case to Court.  Only 4-5% ultimately go to trial, with most cases settling at some point earlier in the process.’   Janet Johnston also found there to be a ‘severe psychopathology’ in one or both parties, in high conflict divorces where visitation is litigated.  My ex-wife has never even attempted to settle.  My case has had over 50 hearings and I have been put in jail 4 times, at the request of my ex-wife. Her father was convicted of accomplice to murder, and the Court still has no psychological information about my ex-wife or her head injury.

Domestic Violence is also almost always present in High Conflict Divorce. Peter Jaffe is one of the World’s leading experts on children, domestic violence, and custody.  The research used by Jaffe to support the claim that Domestic Violence is present in 75% of that 5% of Couples that actually go to trial.  The research into Jaffe’s research is supported by multiple studies and very well documented.

Children in the Crossfire: Child Custody Determinations Among Couples With a History of Intimate Partner Violence,” Violence Against Women, Vol. 11, No. 8, August 2005, – See more at: http://americanmotherspoliticalparty.org/ampp-article-library-family-court-custody-abuse-dv/1-research-articles-family-court-bias-custody-abuse-battered-moms/11-high-conflict-cases-likely-have-history-of-domestic-violence#sthash.5e6VnhXN.dpuf

In 1997, The Virginia Commission on Domestic Violence Prevention conducted a study into Custody Cases.  The study found that in custody cases where there was also a domestic abuse case in court, only 25% of the custody files referenced the existence of the domestic abuse case.  So, of all the cases in Virginia that are high-conflict, about 50% of the domestic violence is not even considered by the Court in making Custody decisions.  This is a systemic failure.

In my relationship, I had no power or control.  My friends, family and everyone that knows me or my ex-wife and her family, knows that I had no power or control. Dr. Samenow was given the witnesses that would confirm the imbalance of power, control and money in the relationship. Dr. Samenow never contacted my psychiatrist or 5 other witnesses that were provided to verify the abuse of power in the relationship.  I even provided Dr. Samenow with a signed release to speak to my psychiatrist who began treating me for depression and abuse, 2 years after my ex-wife’s traumatic brain injury.  The head injury was very serious and was also identified as a source of conflict in the relationship, in a deposition for the personal injury lawsuit.

Dr. Samenow was also shown a ripped shirt that I had brought into his office, as evidence of domestic violence.  My ex-wife had assaulted me, in front of our children, on January 19, 2008. She attacked me from behind as I tried to escape her anger. She woke me out of bed to help her find her keys, which were in my pants pocket  on the floor. Before she woke me up, she had already taken my car keys.  She was also already in a state. When I found her the keys the anger did not dissipate.  After 8 years, my conditioned response, at this point, was to flee, not to fight.  When I attempted to leave and go to the gym, I found my keys missing.  She mockingly claimed she had no idea where the keys were and followed me around the house, as I looked. I wanted out of there, so I picked up a tray of her jewelry beads, and explained very calmly, as my children were right there, that if she gives me the keys, I won’t turn over the tray.  She didn’t give me my keys to leave, so I overturned the tray and calmly grabbed another tray.  I asked her a second time to for my keys and calmly turned over the second tray.  My ex-wife flew into a rage and began hitting and scratching me from behind, ripping the shirt, I showed Dr. Samenow, from my body. The police found me behind a locked door with our children.  When they were taken out, I broke down. This event is a microcosm of the dynamic of our relationship and this entire divorce and Dr. Samenow completely misrepresented it to the Court. My ex-wife would become irrational, use instrumental aggression and prevent me from escaping, I would then respond with an elevated reactive aggression.  I am not proud of my reactions, but they were not the source of conflict. Just like our divorce.

Here is what Dr. Samenow included in his report about the incident:

Ms. Mackney spoke of her husband’s explosive nature in citing a particular incident in which Mr. Mackney became upset and scattered her jewelry materials all over the room. This was after an argument which had eventuated in each taking the other’s keys.

“He took the drawers out and threw the jewelry – thousands of dollars worth of jewelry. There were two trays sorted by size. He dumped both of these. I was trying to stop him. I called the police. He was going to delete my work files on the computer.”

Dr. Samenow failed to include the Domestic Violence of my ex-wife. I was the one to call the police on her, and I threatened to delete her work files because her father took the shirt, I brought in to show him as evidence. My nature is also not explosive, as anyone has known me or dated me would tell you.  I have no history of violence or aggression in my relationships. None.  Dr. Samenow also withheld my reports of my ex-wife attacking me on our honeymoon, while I was driving our rental car.

Judge Bellows became aware that there was evidence of domestic violence, that Dr. Samenow left all of it from his report, in April 2009.  Dr. Samenow was paid by my ex-wife as a witness to testify after Dr. Zuckerman had testified that there was ‘no reason’ why I should not have access to my children.  Dr. Samenow got on the stand and I pulled out the shirt and asked him under oath if he had seen the shirt before.  He admitted that I brought it into his office to show him, but there is no reference to it in his report.

The legal profession and the psychological profession are failing to protect children from a foreseeable harm, by ignoring the dynamics of power and control and the presence of Domestic Violence.  The Courts who are responsible for managing the conflict and are beholden on the Psychological professionals and forensic evaluators to understand the conflict.  The law empowers Judges to also obtain information about the conflict through other methods, such as Guardian Ad Litems, Parenting Coordinators, and Court Appointed Special Advocates.

The Law, as written, empowers Judges to protect children from parental alienation.  They have the tools at their disposal to determine the presence of abuse.  Judge Bellows knew there was domestic violence and that Dr. Samenow failed to report it.  Two months later, he held me in contempt of court and took away visitation with my children for not includinga receipt, when I faxed a copy of a lease to my ex-wife’s attorney.

Judge Bellows covered up for the fraud of Dr. Stanton Samenow and failed to protect children from a foreseeable harm, especially when you read all the motions that were filed with the Court that he denied.  Judge Bellows chose to protect the professional reputation of Dr. Samenow and Judge Ney over protecting children from abuse.  Judge Bellows was the Judge in another case where Dr. Samenow testified as a witness for the Commonwealth and was also accused of not documenting the facts accurately.

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How to Get a Guardian ad Litem in Illinois shoved down your throat illegally?

December 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

The appearance that you need one is just a crook of ship, So it is the money they will steal off of you with the Judge giving them consent to steal form the whole family ?

How to Get a Guardian ad Litem in Illinois

by John Cromwell, Demand Media

In any divorce or custody hearing, it is of the utmost importance that a child’s interests are considered. To ensure a child is legally protected, Illinois has created the guardian ad litem position. A guardian ad litem, or GAL, is a volunteer attorney who acts as a third party investigator who reviews a child’s family situation. She presents a report to the court, which details her findings and presents her recommendation as to what should be done with the child. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may need to request the appointment of a guardian ad litem.

Judge Appointment

Some Illinois judges will appoint a GAL in every case that involves custody, but most do not, since few attorneys are available for the position. An Illinois judge will consider appointing a GAL when the child in question is very young, parents have demonstrated dishonesty to the court, or child abuse is suspected. A judge may also appoint a GAL when he thinks a more in-depth investigation into the child’s background is necessary. A GAL has significant freedom in investigating the family — especially since the attorneys of both parents have the right to cross-examine the GAL regarding her report.

Petitioning for GAL

If a judge does not appoint a GAL on his own initiative, any party seeking custody of a child may petition the court to appoint a GAL. When preparing the petition, you should state why the court would be able to arrive at a better decision for the child with recommendations from a GAL. Under Illinois law, you should discuss whether the current evidence is sufficient to enable the judge to make a decision, what other methods for gaining information about the child’s case are available and whether the parents can afford to pay for the GAL’s services. Once the petition has been prepared and filed, the court will hold a hearing on the petition. Non-petitioning parties with a claim to custody can object to the appointment of a GAL at this time.

Advantages

A GAL has one goal, which is to ensure that a child’s best interests are looked after. A GAL is generally a good judge of character and can determine which parent is best suited to have custody. She is not affiliated with either side, so her findings or communications with either party are not privileged.

Disadvantages of a GAL

Generally, if parents have the financial resources, it will be their responsibility to pay for a GAL’s services. But the GAL does not work for either parent, and is not a friend or confidant. In some ways, a GAL is another judge, since her report generally carries significant weight with the court. As a result, you will need to treat every interaction with the GAL as if you were interacting with the judge. Try to be as courteous as possible and follow the GAL’s instructions.

 

a system that has falsely accused her of Pediatric Falsification Disorder (aka Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy),

December 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

Wow?

http://dfcs.dhs.georgia.gov/sites/dfcs.dhs.georgia.gov/files/related_files/site_page/Munchausen.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18661364

http://ican4kids.org/documents/CANProtocol/ap5.PedatricCondition.pdf

http://ican4kids.org/documents/CANProtocol/ap5.PedatricCondition.pdf

http://medical.mandatedreporterca.com/lesson3/lesson4p1.htm

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