The Child Representative statute is unconstitutional IN IL. BUT WE USURPED THE LAW WE NOW HAVE a “custody czar.”
September 11, 2013 § Leave a comment
The Child Representative statute is unconstitutional
By Scott Colky
The members of the Special Subcommittee of the Illinois State Bar Association who wrote and lobbied for the “Child’s Representative” statute were well-intentioned, hardworking attorneys and judges who cared deeply for children. The statute has had a positive impact on attorneys who represent children by requiring mandatory education and training.
The goal of the Subcommittee was to create a Guardian ad Litem who could investigate the
child’s situation and report to the court regarding their conclusions. In addition, they wanted the same individual to be able to subpoena witnesses, call witnesses at trial and advocate what the Child’s Representative believed was in the child’s best interest. In light of the fact the Child’s Representative would have the powers of both the Guardian ad Litem and the Attorney for the Child, a prohibition against cross-examining the Child’s Representative was included in the statute.
Prior practice BUSINESS as usual
Prior to the enactment of the Child Representative statute, the court could appoint either a Guardian ad Litem or an Attorney for the Child. When an attorney was appointed to represent young children, the appointment was usually as a Guardian ad Litem (GAL). The GAL would interview the children and advocate what that attorney believed was in the children’s best interest. However, in situations where the children were older and voiced strong preferences, the appointment was usually as an Attorney for the Child (AFC). The AFC was bound by his traditional role of advocating his client’s wishes even if the attorney believed those preferences were not in the children’s best interests. In those cases, the AFC would request that the court appoint a GAL to investigate the situation and to report what she felt was in the child’s best interest. This created a problem. The court had to appoint two attorneys to do the job now performed by the Child’s Representative, thereby increasing the cost of the litigation.
Prior to the enactment of the Child’s Representative statute, the ethical requirements of an attorney appointed to represent children were easily defined. The AFC had a fiduciary relationship to her client and functioned in the traditional role of an attorney. The GAL, however,
stood in the shoes of the children and was a party to the litigation. In re the Parentage of Ryan Griesmeyer, 302 Ill.App.3d 905, 707 N. E. 2d 72 (1st Dist. 1998). The guardian investigated, created a report for the court and was subject to cross-examination. In re the Marriage of Karonis, 296 Ill.App.3d 86, 693 N.E.2d 1282 (2nd Dist. 1998).
Section 506 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act defines the role of a Child’s Representative, stating that…”[t]he child’s representative shall have the same power and authority
to take part in the conduct of the litigation as does an attorney for a party and shall possess all the powers of investigation and recommendation as does a guardian ad litem. The child’s representative shall consider, but not be bound by, the expressed wishes of the child…” “The child’s representative shall not be called as a witness regarding the issues set forth in this subsection.” 750 ILCS 5/506.
A Child’s Representative owes a duty to whom? Certainly not the child, because it is the Child’s Representative’s sole discretion to determine what they believe is in the child’s best interest and to advocate that position. If the position she takes is not in the child’s best interest, where is the accountability? The statute gives the Child’s Representative unfettered discretion to determine best interest. And, by virtue of their appointment, the Child’s Representative has enormous
credibility and influence with the court, who is relying on this individual to be the court’s eyes and ears. The Child’s Representative’s most dangerous tool is that he or she is able to convey hearsay information to the court.
Hearsay information does not usually come into evidence as it is considered unreliable. The basis of the unreliability is that the declarant cannot be cross-examined. Entire statutes have been created such as “The Dead Man’s Act” to prevent hearsay from coming into evidence. While there is an established body of law regarding exceptions to the hearsay rule, the most important factor in those exceptions is the reliability of the statement.
Courts have traditionally required that doctors, psychologists, and witnesses come to court and testify, so that the truth finding process, highlighted by cross-examination, could take place. Only in the situation where an expert testifies that they relied on hearsay information does that hearsay information come into evidence. However, the information is admitted not for the truth of what the expert was told by the declarant, but to serve as the basis of what the expert relied on in forming that opinion, Wilson v. Clark, 84 Ill.2d 186, 417 N.E.2d 322 (1981). Further, those hearsay sources could then be called as witnesses and other evidence attacking what the expert relied on could be introduced at trial.
This is not the case with our “custody czar.” For example, the Child’s Representative has the ability to speak to mental health treaters who have a confidential relationship with the children. The Child’s Representative is able to incorporate that information into their recommendation and reports to the court. Since neither the Child’s Representative nor the mental health treater can be
cross-examined, the court receives hearsay information that cannot be challenged.
The child’s representative statute is unconstitutional
The Supreme Court of Illinois in Lulay v. Lulay, 193 Ill.2d 455, 739 N.E.2d 521 (2000) held that grandparent’s visitation was unconstitutional because parents have a fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody and control of their children. The Illinois Supreme Court reiterated this position two years later in Schweigert v. Schweigert, 201 Ill.2d 42, 772 N.E.2d 229 (2002).
Because raising children is considered a fundamental liberty interest, it receives heightened protection under the due process clauses of both the State and Federal constitutions. Article 1, section 2 of the Illinois Constitution provides that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law nor be denied equal protection of the laws.” See In re M.H, et al., 196 Ill.2d 356, 751 N.E.2d 1134 (2001); In the Interest of J.B. and T.B., 328 Ill.App.3d 175, 765 N.E.2d 1093, (1st Dist. 2002); and Lulay v. Lulay, 193 Ill.2d 455, 739 N.E.2d 51 (2000). Due process in its most basic form requires that a litigant have the right to appear and present evidence. The litigant also has the right to cross-examine witnesses.
It is a well-established principle that a public hearing before any tribunal or public body means the right to appear and give evidence and also the right to hear and examine the witnesses whose testimony is presented by opposing parties. See E. and E. Hauling v. County of DuPage, 77 Ill.App.3d 1017, 396 N.E.2d 1260 (2nd Dist. 1979) and People ex. rel. Robert J. Klaeren II
v. Village of Lisle, 316 Ill.App.3d 770, 737 N.E.2d 1099 (2nd Dist. 2000).
right to cross-examination:
“Due process is not a technical concept unrelated to time, place, and circumstances; rather, it is flexible and calls for such procedural protections as a particular situation demands. Procedural aspects of due process require that a person be given notice and an opportunity to be heard and to defend in an orderly proceeding adapted to the case. Due process is not denied when a party fails to avail himself of the opportunity to be heard after it is offered to him. [citation omitted] While section 1-20 of the Juvenile Court Act (Ill.Rev.Stat. 1981, ch 37, par 701-20(1)) entitles respondents to certain rights including the right to be present [and represented by counsel] and to cross-examine witnesses, the proceedings are not intended to be adversary in character. The primary concern is the best interests and welfare of the child.” [citation omitted]. In re D.L., Jr., 226 Ill.App.3d 177, 589 N.E.2d 680 (1st Dist. 1992).
Even cases involving child support arrearages recognize the right to cross examination:
“The rights to cross-examine and to present evidence are so basic as to be grounded in due process. Collectively, they constitute the litigant’s day in court. Illinois Constitution, Art II, §2; [cites omitted] Defendant’s citations to the effect that the scope and extent of cross-examination are matters for the trial court’s discretion do, of course, express sound principles of law but are not applicable to a situation of complete denial. We conclude that the procedure followed in the instant case effectively denied the plaintiff her day in court, and the resulting order must
therefore be reversed and remanded for a proper hearing.” In re the Marriage of Jamal, 98 Ill.App.2d 180, 240 N.E.2d 246 (1st Dist. 1968).
Based on the foregoing, 750 ILCS 5/506 violates procedural due process by creating an individual who can report evidence to the court and not be subject to cross examination. As a result, litigants are denied due process and “their day in court.”
Unfortunately, courts have become comfortable relying on the “custody czar” to help them make very difficult decisions regarding children. However, the statute is so fundamentally flawed that it not only violates due process, but equal protection as well.
The protection provided by the equal protection clauses in the Constitutions of the United States and Illinois is identical. The government is required to treat similarly situated individuals in a similar manner. The government, therefore, may not treat different classes of persons on the basis of criteria wholly unrelated to the purpose of legislation. In re R.C., 195 Ill.2d 291, 745 N.E.2d 1233 (2001).
Under the equal protection clause, courts are required to treat similarly situated individuals in a
similar manner. Nonetheless, parents who are going through custody, removal, visitation and parentage cases are all treated differently depending on whether the court appoints a GAL, AFC or a Child’s Representative for the children.
Under 750 ILCS 5/506, the decision as to the type of child’s advocate is completely left up to the court’s discretion. There is no criteria or guidance given to the court to help them determine which type of child’s advocate should be appointed. Therefore, although individual litigants may be similarly situated, they may have the right to cross-examination if a GAL is appointed but will not have the right to cross-examination if a Child’s Representative is appointed.
Courts apply strict scrutiny to classifications affecting fundamental rights. In re A.A., 181 Ill.2d 32, 690 N.E.2d 980 (1998). “To survive strict scrutiny in the equal protection context, as in due process analysis, the means employed by the Legislature must be necessary to advance a compelling state interest, and the statute must be narrowly tailored to the attainment of the legislative goal.” [cite omitted] In re R.C., 195 Ill.2d 291, 745 N.E.2d 1233 (2001).
There is no compelling reason why litigants in custody cases should receive such disparate treatment. No rational basis exists for the court to hear unchallenged hearsay in some cases, and to allow the truth finding process to take place in others.
It is understandable that judges want to receive as much information as is available in cases involving children. These are tough cases and the consequences are great. However, in the Legislature’s desire to protect children, it has enacted a statute that rejects concepts of basic fundamental fairness and has replaced these concepts with a “custody czar.” Thanks David
August 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
Courts Start Demanding Actual Answers From Team Prenda
from the and-on-and-on dept
Of course, the main reason for making this filing isn’t to reopen the cases, or to make laughable claims about Alan Cooper, but rather this:
However, Plaintiff has reached the outer-limits of what it can learn without the coercive power of formal discovery. As such, Plaintiff respectfully requests the Court to issue an order scheduling a Rule 26(f) conference so it resolve this matter as quickly as possible.
Basically, it’s Paul Hansmeier asking the court for a fishing expedition against Cooper and his lawyer Paul Godfread. It’s hard to see this as anything more than an attempt to be a nuisance.
However, it seems highly unlikely that magistrate judge Noel is buying anything that Hansmeier is selling. Instead, his latest order shows that he’s getting pretty damn tired of Team Prenda’s runaround. It makes no mention of Hansmeier’s filing, denies the local counsel Michael Dugas’ request to be dropped from the case (noting that he signed the forged papers), repeats the findings of Judge Wright in California, and then orders AF Holdings/Team Prenda to explain why Judge Wright’s findings shouldn’t apply equally to these cases:
The plaintiff shall file a memorandum of law on or before August 26, 2013 showing cause as to why Judge Wright’s factual findings are not binding against it in these cases under the common law doctrine of issue preclusion. See, e.g., Bechtold v. City of Rosemount, 104 F.3d 1062, 1066-67 (8th Cir. 1997) (issue preclusion appropriate under Minnesota law if (1) the issues are identical; (2) the prior adjudication ended with a final judgment on the merits; (3) the plaintiff was a party to the prior adjudication; and (4) the plaintiff was given a full and fair opportunity to be heard on the adjudicated issue).
The Clerk of Court shall correct the docket to reflect that Mr. Michael K. Dugas remains counsel of record for the plaintiff. Although he filed a notice of withdrawal and substitution, his withdrawal was not effective upon filing under Local Rule 83.7(b) because it would delay the progress of this case. He signed the complaint to which the forged documents were attached. If Mr. Dugas wishes to withdraw as counsel of record for the plaintiff, he must proceed in accordance with Local Rule 83.7(c) and establish good cause to do so.
In other words, Team Prenda’s can’t just ignore Judge Wright’s ruling here, and it certainly sounds like Judge Noel has no time for Hansmeier’s plans to play discovery games.
Meanwhile, back in the Navasca case in Northern California, it appears that the recent sanctionsagainst Team Prenda that Judge Edward Chen awarded have been ignored by Team Prenda, and a magistrate judge in that court, Nador Vadas, would like to know why. Oh, that’s not all Judge Vadas would like to know. It appears that Judge Vadas is now taking a special interest in the now-infamous Paul Hansmeier deposition from this case, which was one of the key documents that convinced Judge Wright that Prenda was up to no good. Judge Vadas has some questions he’d like AF Holdings to answer, and they are the kinds of questions that Paul Hansmeier, Paul Duffy, John Steele and Mark Lutz probably don’t want to answer about who actually is behind AF Holdings and the various “trusts” such as Salt Marsh:
Hansmeier testified that AF Holdings was owned by a trust, but he could not testify about the name of the trust…. In a May 2, 2013 filing, Mark Lutz, who identifies himself as someone who “manage[s] various adult content related companies, including AF Holdings LLC,” declared that “Salt Marsh is the name of the trust that owns AF Holdings”…. At the hearing, AF Holdings should be prepared to identify the name of its owner and any entity or person having a financial interest in the outcome of this case, beyond Salt Marsh.
AF Holdings should be prepared to explain why it represented that there were “no known persons, associations of persons, firms, partnerships, corporations (including parent corporations), or other entities (other than the parties themselves) that may have personal or affiliated financial interest in the subject matter in controversy, or any other kind of interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of the proceeding other than the parties.” Doc. No. 2 (Certificate of Interested Entities).
AF Holdings should be prepared to explain why Paul Hansmeier was designated as its 30(b)(6) deponent instead of Mark Lutz.
Paul Hansmeier was unable to testify about “the exact mechanisms by which the money goes from” to AF Holdings from the law firms that represent it…. AF Holdings should be prepared to explain these “exact mechanisms” at the hearing, and also should be prepared to provide an accounting of the funds it has received from persons it has sued or threatened to sue for copyright violation based on allegedly illegal downloading of its adult titles.
Those all seem like important questions. Questions that would be easy to answer if there were nothing nefarious going on, but which Team Prenda has avoided answering in any meaningful way for months. The hearing at which they need to have such answers ready will be on August 28th. I imagine it will be quite interesting.
- When Even Totally Bogus Copyright Threats Over Court Documents Comes Close To Shutting Down A Site, Something’s Broken
- Comcast Confirms That Steele-Hansmeier Controlled IP Address Used To Seed Content
- GoDaddy Support Recordings Show Same Caller Claimed To Be ‘Alan Cooper,’ ‘Mark Lutz’ & ‘John Steele’
- Prenda Lawyer Would Like Future Documents Sealed Because Techdirt Commenters Said Mean Stuff About Him
- Team Prenda Ordered To Pay Yet Another $64k In Yet Another Case
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Andrew Norton (profile), Aug 21st, 2013 @ 8:41pm
Lutz depositionAnd to go with the ‘AF Holdings should be prepared to explain why Paul Hansmeier was designated as its 30(b)(6) deponent instead of Mark Lutz.’ Mark Lutz was due to be deposed at 9am this morning at the state bar of Georgia (http://ia801600.us.archive.org/7/items/gov.uscourts.gand.188990/gov.uscourts.gand.188990.44.2.pdf)
He didn’t show. Judge O’Kelley’s not going to look favorably on it. Of course, maybe the reason he didn’t show was because the deposition order was worded to specifically name Lutz, and state that 30(b)(6) substitutions are not acceptable as he is the material witness, not ‘the company’.
That One Guy (profile), Aug 21st, 2013 @ 8:54pm
Re: Lutz depositionOh please tell me the judge is as we speak writing out a bench warrant, having even one of those scumbags dragged to court in cuffs would be awesome, and give at least some evidence that lawyers or no they still have to follow the rules or suffer the consequences(something that has been sorely lacking to date).
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Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:04am
Re: Manning got 35 yearsYou need to check your time machine. That was posted some hours agohttp://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130821/07423624269/bradley-manning-sentenced-to-35-years.shtml.
Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:09amHow does our system let something like this go so far? Why do our courts give such leniency in the face of such shenanigans? If I was on trial, why do I think I would be severely punished for [not showing up to depositions, committing fraud, ignoring court orders, etc…] but it seems like these people get a slap on the wrist, a continuance, and another chance? I will let my lawyer friends know they don’t have to wear pants to court next time…
Lurker Keith, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 12:11am
another go aroundLooks like it’s time for another chorus of “we Plead the Fifth.”
I have a feeling this time will be worse than last time… & last time they were targeted for various investigations, including RICO suspicions. Those investigations may pick up steam if another judge throws some more facts at them.
Anon E. Mous (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:37am
Re: Lutz depositionI think we all know why Lutz didn’t show, there is no way Lutz will make it through a Q&A session.
The Prenda gang will go into damage control mode here and deny, appeal and make motions to dismiss this Judge from re-opening this.
We have all sen how Team Prenda works and the usual tactics they employ when they are in trouble. That being said can anyone here see Steele letting Lutz answer any question regarding anything to do with these trusts and entities that were set up.
Now way is Steele going to let Lutz answer anything, especially after Lutz Q&A session with the Judge in the Sunlust case where Lutz bumbled his way through and Steele had to feed him answers from the gallery before he got caught.
It is the same reason Hansmeier went and answered the questions in the deposition and not Lutz, they know Lutz will get trapped and it will be entered as a matter of record with the court.
I find it highly amazing that Hansmeier who claims to no nothing of these cases much like Steele keeps popping into them and submitting documents to the court about them, now why would that be?
The Prenda gang will do everything they can to keep Lutz away from this, look for Lutz to be unable to be reached for the next while (I am sure John is running out and buying Lutz an airline ticket to Mexico right now).
Lutz will never be able to keep all the stories straight about who and how he owns this and all these different entities and who Salt Marsh and what type of trust these are.
Lutz plain and simple isn’t smart enough, and neither is the Prenda gang apparently for a bunch of guys who know nothing about any of this, but yet are submitting documents to the court on it…lol
Should be interesting to say the least, don’t sell those popcorn stocks just yet people.
Anon E. Mous (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:47am
Re:That is because the Prenda gang for so long has used the gaps in the system to take advantage of it. These guys have looked for antiquated pieces of legislation and statutes to sue people.
They have done this time and time again, and when it is lucrative and that easy cash is coming in, it is easy to forget your oath to uphold the laws as an officer of the court.
Judges calendar are usually so full they don’t notice stuff like this, and the Prenda gang when they faced a Judge that did simply withdrew the cases from that court and re-filed elsewhere.
The Prenda gang Judge Shopped as part of it’s strategy and loves to file in states that are overburdened and is troll friendly.
It is only because of opposing counsel and the internet community that started to get word out to the people and the courts that there was something very wrong going on here that Prenda is now finding it self accountable to a degree.
It’s just Judges are now turning a skeptical eye to how these guys have played the justice system for ill gotten gains.
Postulator (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 1:52amThese Prenda assclowns may find themselves locked up and facing contempt charges if they continue on their current course. You can’t get to live it up in the Caribbean with your hard-earned (I mean, fraudulently earned) money if you’re doing time.
Anonymous Coward, Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 5:54am
Re:Maybe because they aren’t on trial? First, Prenda has only been involved in civil suits, not criminal ones. Second, they have been the plaintiff’s lawyers, though maybe also the plaintiff – okay, almost certainly the plaintiff. But this whole thing is not a trial, nor does it involve a participant in a trial (maybe, sort of). It is effectively a administrative investigation – and they may not have actually broken any laws (as opposed to some lawyering rules) Now, we follow it obsessively, but this is deep weeds administrative stuff. Sending law enforcement to wrangle up their children so that said children can be raped to death by super-max inmates as an object lesson is considered just a wee bit overkill at this point (even for the bizarrity of this situation). When – and I really do believe that “if” is not on the table at this point – they are actually charged with a crime, then yes, their children can be served up to the Blood God. But we’re still at the point of a meter maid watching a car to see if the meter dings; they generally do not send SAT out to round you up so you can watch her wait for you to be in violation (though I apologize if I just gave some city’s SWAT team ideas).
JohnnyRotten (profile), Aug 22nd, 2013 @ 10:12am
Re: Re:John Steele, is that you?
Seriously – pretending that the whole Prenda saga is about them forgetting to dot an “i” or cross a “t” is ludicrous in the extreme.
A bench warrant for missing a deposition without cause isn’t some sacrifice to a “Blood God” or inviting “rape” by “super-max inmates”, nor is it unusual or exceptional.
Wait – are you OOTB in disguise?
August 23, 2013 § Leave a comment
By BETH HUNDSDORFER — News-Democrat
Douglas W. Oliver, one of the defendants linked to the St. Clair County courthouse drug scandal, pleaded guilty to federal distribution of heroin charges on Wednesday.
Oliver, 47, formerly of Fairview Heights, entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Clifford J. Proud.
Oliver was charged along with his mother, Deborah Perkins, in a three-count indictment of the federal charges of conspiracy to distribute heroin, possession with intent to distribute heroin and maintaining a drug involved premises.
“How do you feel today?” Proud asked Oliver before accepting his plea.
“Nervous,” he responded.
“Outside of that?” Proud asked.
“Great. Great. Wonderful,” Oliver responded.
Oliver could face up to life in prison on the federal charges. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to recommend the low end of the sentencing range, 30 years.
Oliver also agreed to forfeit any interest in a home at 20 Kassing Drive in Fairview Heights.
Oliver’s sentencing is set for Dec. 13 before U.S. District Judge David Herndon.
Perkins traveled to Chicago to purchase heroin with Oliver occasionally putting in some money, according to court documents. Perkins would give Oliver heroin to sell, then have him repay her.
“(Oliver) would deliver heroin for Perkins to others, such as Sean McGilvery in Belleville, IL,” the court document stated. “McGilvery was one of Perkins’ principal subdealers.”
Sometimes, Oliver would deliver messages for Perkins to those subdealers about prospective heroin sales, the documents stated.
Former Circuit Judge Mike Cook, 43, was arrested outside McGilvery’s home on North 38th Street in Belleville in May. He was later charged in federal court with misdemeanor heroin possession and a felony weapons charge. His trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 1.
Perkins, 65, pleaded guilty earlier this month. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 8. She could receive 27 years in prison if the conspiracy can be linked to the overdose deaths of 30-year-old Jessica Williams, whose body was found in Washington Park, or 20-year-old Jennifer Herling, who died from an overdose at Perkins’ and Oliver’s home on Kassing Drive in Fairview Heights.
Oliver is facing more time than his mother due to previous drug convictions. Oliver was convicted in 2002 of possession with intent to deliver cocaine. He was sentenced to more than eight years in federal prison on the charge, where he had to spend at least 85 percent of his sentence before he was eligible for release. In 2006, a petition to revoke his parole was filed because Oliver was arrested on cocaine and heroin possession.
Both Perkins and Oliver face state charges for concealing the body of Williams. Those charges are pending.
In a court document filed in federal court on Wednesday, it stated that in March 2012, Oliver gave Williams a small amount of heroin. It further stated that on Sept. 28 or 29, he gave Herling a small amount of heroin.
Both women later died.
“(Oliver) did not sell the heroin in question …. and never intended to harm (them),” the document stated.
Despite the lengthy sentences Oliver and Perkins are expected to receive in federal court, relatives of Herling and Williams who attended Thursday’s hearing encouraged St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly to continue prosecution on the state case.
“Doug and his mom aren’t the only heroin dealers in St. Clair County,” said Cindy Farris, Herling’s older sister. “He needs to make an example of them.”
Charges against Perkins and Oliver are still being pursued, Kelly said. State prosecutors were working hand in hand with federal prosecutors so that they didn’t interfere with the federal prosecution strategy.
“Five defendants were charged last week on heroin-dealing and related charges,” Kelly said. “So the fight goes on.”
Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at email@example.com or 618-239-2570.
WHAT EFFERTS ARE MEASURABLE TO THE PUBLIC AND TO THE ABUSED CHILDREN AND PARENTS BY THIS SYSTEM OF Increase in number of Oklahoma children in DHS custody frustrates reform efforts
August 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
The number of Oklahoma children in state custody is soaring.
That number has risen from about 8,000 four years ago to 10,428 today — frustrating Oklahoma Department of Human Services officials in their efforts to meet performance targets agreed upon as part of a settlement agreement to a federal class-action lawsuit.
“We’re not where we want to be,” acknowledged Deborah Smith, DHS’s director of child welfare services.
Smith discussed the agency’s efforts to meet the performance targets of a five-year child welfare reform plan during Wednesday’s inaugural joint meeting of four DHS citizens’ advisory panels.
Progress is being made, Smith assured panel members.
Smith noted that the agency recruited 796 new traditional foster homes in the fiscal year that ended June 30, which were actually 15 more than the agency’s goal of 781 for the year.
But with increasing numbers of children being taken into DHS custody, the state still has a great need for more high quality foster homes, she said.
DHS has had less success in recruiting therapeutic foster homes that are needed to take in children with emotional problems. The agency had a target of 150 new therapeutic foster homes last fiscal year, but was only able to recruit 86, Smith said.
The rising number of children in custody also has contributed to DHS falling short of its targeted goal of eliminating the use of state shelters for children under 2 by last Dec. 31.
Smith said 47 children under age 2 spent at least one night in shelters during the first 6 months of this year.
She said 20 of those children fall under an exemption that allows shelter stays for young children who are part of large sibling groups, medically fragile or babies of teen mothers in custody.
Smith said she chose to let the other 27 spend the night, despite the agreed-upon goal, because workers were not comfortable with alternative family placements or foster homes available at the time.
She lamented that the number of children under 2 spending nights in shelters has risen in recent months and said 17 such children spent 150 nights in shelters in June.
Rising numbers of children in state custody also are hampering DHS in its efforts to reduce caseloads to manageable levels, she indicated.
The agency needs to have been hiring and training about 80 workers a month for the past 9 or 10 months to be on pace to meet the goal, but has only been able to hire about 50 workers a month, she said.
“It’s scary work,” Smith said. “It’s overwhelming.”
Steven Dow offered an informed perspective on Smith’s report, having once served on DHS’s governing commission that was abolished by voters in November before being named as a member of the new DHS advisory panel on children and family issues.
“It sounds like in some areas sort of significant progress has been made,” he said. “In other areas, I think there’s clearly a lot of work still to be done and I think some of what we had in mind has not happened as rapidly as we wanted.”
“The number of increasing kids in care is obviously very disturbing and the fact that we’ve not been able to increase the number of child welfare workers adequately means we haven’t been able to drive down caseloads to numbers that we wanted,” he said. “And the fact that we still have young kids in shelters is in my mind a deep concern.”
Karen Waddell, chairwoman of the new DHS advisory panel on children and family issues, said she is puzzled by the dramatic increase of children in state custody, but looks forward to working with DHS officials, church groups and other organizations to come up with solutions.
“I think the panels are designed to help provide a partnership for our children — not necessarily for the Department of Human Services, but for our children and families,” she said. “I see lots of different groups and people and synagogues and churches and everybody saying, ‘Let’s make this happen.’”
August 16, 2013 § Leave a comment
March 21st, 2013
Modern Woman In Wanting To Be For Herself, Has Destroyed Herself
Take a look at the political debates raging today, and compare them to those of just ten years ago. In America, women can now be infantry, and homosexual marriage is gaining legal sanction, state by state. A man who was a Democrat by the standards of 2000 or even 2008, might well be a Republican now. Put two and two together, and it becomes clear that our political discourse is utterly hostile to anyone but morons and children – who else would reverse their views so quickly? It’s impossible to be principled when your beliefs are just a rehash of the latest propaganda blasts from Hollywood or talk radio. To be educated, one must read broadly, across time and place, and that means reading principally the works of dead men.
Recently, I came upon the writings of a man who lived more than fifty years ago, and yet his writings on the sexes are more apt than ever.
Julius Evola was a philosopher in the early to mid-20th century. Born a noble, he was an intermittent admirer and ally of fascism in Italy, and even of Nazism in Germany. Evola sought to trace the threads of the great civilizations, and identify what they had in common. He draws on sources as disparate as Aztec mythology and ancient Indian rites, and writes on many topics. And his work is not without controversy. Thankfully, there is no rule that one must agree with all of a man’s work before accepting any of it. Evola is not very well known, but with the internet and translations of his works spreading, discussion of his ideas is rapidly increasing.
Here, I’d like to highlight some of Evola’s thought on the sexes. Instead of reviewing or criticizing his work, I have posted some interesting excerpts and comments, and I encourage others to explore his works on their own. Quotations are taken from Revolt Against The Modern World, unless otherwise noted.
The Essence of Femininity: Selfless Dedication To Another
This occurs when the feminine principle, whose force is centrifugal, does not turn to fleeting objects but rather to a “virile” stability in which she finds a limit to her “restlessness.” Stability is then transmitted to the feminine principle to the point of intimately transfiguring all of its possibilities… What is needed therefore is a radical “conversion” of the feminine principle to the opposite principle; moreover, it is absolutely necessary for the masculine principle to remain wholly itself.
…there are also two types available to the feminine nature. A woman realizes herself as such and even rises to the same level reached by a man as warrior and ascetic only as lover and mother… [the feminine is] totally giving of herself and being entirely for another being, whether he is the loved one or the son, finding in this dedication the meaning of her own life, her own joy, and her own justification.
In Evola’s philosophy, to be feminine is to dedicate yourself selflessly to an external cause; masculinity is pure virility – as in the action of the warrior or the pure detachment of the ascetic. “To realize oneself,” he writes, is “to reduce in a woman all that is masculine and in a man everything that is feminine.” Within every person is a mix of the masculine and the feminine, but excellence lies in being a paragon of one’s sex. While a man’s success comes from achieving self-sufficiency and independent action, a woman achieves order by cleaving to a masculine force. Even in the absence of a man, she will seek to submit herself to some greater force.
As the blogger Roissy once wrote, without a strong man in her life, the Western woman simply seeks alternative masters to which she submits, typically idols with the seal of society’s approval like careerism and progressiveness. For instance, you will find that support for multiculturalism among Westerners is very high among single white women; as these women marry and have children, and yoke themselves to a man, their support for liberalism fades.
Evola goes on to mention women who have achieved this feminine ideal. There is the Aztec mother who dies in childbirth, a death as valiant as the warrior’s on the battlefield, in his estimation. Another is the Hindu woman, who ends her life on the flames of the funerary pyre of her husband, to join him in eternal afterlife.
Likewise, there is a profound meaning in the legend about the Kalki-avatara, which talks about a woman who could not be possessed by anybody because the men who desired her and fell in love with her turned into women as the result of their passion.
As far as the woman is concerned, there is true greatness in her when she is capable of giving without asking for anything in return; when she is like a flame feeding itself; when she loves even more as the object of her love does not commit himself, does not open himself up and even creates some distance; and finally, when the man is not perceived by her as a mere husband or lover, but as her lord. [emphasis added]
This Hindu legend is prescient – it accords with my observations — that the more a man gives to his woman, the less she will love him. The more he veers from his own pursuits to accommodate hers, the surer feminine betrayal is to follow. Nearly every time I hear of some man moving to another city to join his lover, she dumps him within the year. I recall reading the blog of woman complaining, how she had disliked her man’s playing in a band. She had finally got him to stop playing with them, and shortly after she laments that she now sees him as less of a man. This is fairly typical – when a man gives in to his woman’s demands and sacrifices for her, her respect and desire for him diminishes and deteriorates.
The Modern Woman, Long Before the iPhone and OKCupid
Evola tells of how men have abdicated their power, how they made women their equals and pushed them into formerly male spheres.
…the results have been the degeneration of the feminine type even in her somatic characteristics, the atrophy of her natural possibilities, the suppression of her unique inner life. Hence the types of the woman-garconne [flapper or tomboy] and the shallow and vain woman, incapable of any elan beyond herself, utterly inadequate as far as sensuality and sinfulness are concerned because to the modern woman the possibilities of physical love are often not as interesting as the narcissistic cult of her body, or as being seen with as many or as few clothes as possible, or as engaging in physical training, dancing, practicing sports, pursuing wealth, and so on…
Because of the woman’s increased egocentrism, men will no longer be of interest to her; she will only care about what they will be able to offer to satisfy her pleasure or her vanity. In the end, she will even incur forms of corruption that usually accompany superficiality, namely, a practical and superficial lifestyle of a masculine type that has perverted her nature…
The same holds true for the results of the Western “emancipation” of women, which is on its way to infecting the rest of the world faster than a plague…Modern woman in wanting to be for herself has destroyed herself. The “personality” she so much yearned for is killing all semblance of female personality in her. [p.164-165]
The men critical of modern women are quick to blame recent inventions, like the smartphone, or online dating, or even ‘the pill’ and antibiotics, as the cause for the disappearance of femininity. And their criticism of modern Western women mirrors Evola’s, yet Revolt was published in 1934, easily predating any of those technologies by decades. While things like texting may have an impact, the fact that Evola could anticipate these criticisms some eighty years ago suggests that these recent technologies are mere sidenotes to the change that modernity has wrought.
Evola makes a similar criticism of American women, back in 1945:
The much-vaunted sex appeal of American women is drawn from films, reviews and pin-ups, and is in large print fictitious. A recent medical survey in the United States showed that 75 per cent of young American women are without strong sexual feeling and instead of satisfying their libido they seek pleasure narcissistically in exhibitionism, vanity and the cult of fitness and health in a sterile sense. American girls have no hang-ups about sex; they are easy going for the man who sees the whole sexual process as something in isolation thereby making it uninteresting and matter-of-fact, which, at such a level, it is meant to be. Thus, after she has been taken to the cinema or a dance, it is something like American good manners for the girl to let herself be kissed — this doesn’t mean anything. American women are characteristically frigid and materialistic. The man who has his way with an American girl is under a material obligation to her. The woman has granted a material favor. In cases of divorce American law overwhelmingly favors the woman. American women will divorce readily enough when they see a better bargain. It is frequently the case in America that a woman will be married to one man but already engaged to a future husband, the man she plans to marry after a profitable divorce. [emphasis added, from Civilta Americana]
Here we have a man, some seventy years ago, saying how American women are uniquely constituted to be pumped and dumped by players – “they are easy going for the man who sees the whole sexual process as something in isolation.” Long before the advent of the pill and safe sex, before no-fault divorce and the surge in the divorce rate, before middle class women went to college en masse, before the supposed ‘golden age’ of the 1950′s, you have a man penning ideas that are now conventional in the manosphere.
A Misogynist, He Is Not
As you begin to peel back the curtains on what modern Western women are like, it’s easy to become a misogynist – to simply write women off as inferior, even contemptible. There are two problems with this; for one, you are seeing woman at her worst, in a tiny slice of her time on Earth. It would be like taking an athlete and branding him a failure because he lost a game once. For another, you’d be practicing the same nonsense feminists do – judging men and women by the same standard. If one believes that men and women occupy different roles, comparing them on the same measure makes about as much sense as… judging a quarterback by how fast he can run a marathon. It’s not a point unique to Evola, but he states it well:
We cannot ask ourselves whether “woman” is superior or inferior to “man” any more than we can ask ourselves whether water is superior or inferior to fire…
There can be no doubt that a woman who is perfectly woman is superior to a man who is imperfectly man, just as a farmer who is faithful to his land and performs his work perfectly is superior to a king who cannot do his own work.[Eros, p.33-34]
Western-Style Romance Makes Men Of Women
True to form, Evola does not spare European romantic traditions, which he accuses of making women into men.
The love Europe has celebrated is the love that does not tolerate the other person’s lack of commitment. Now when a woman, before consecrating herself to a man, pretends that he belongs to her body and soul, not only has she already “humanized” and impoverished her offering, but worse yet, she has begun to betray the pure essence of femininity in order to borrow characteristics typical of the male nature – and possibly the lowest of these: the yearning to possess and lay claims over another person, and the pride of the ego… [p.165]
The blogger Roissy is very much in agreement with Evola here, when he advises men to give less than they get, though perhaps not for the same reasons. According to Evola, true femininity means devotion with, or without reciprocation. The female egocentrism that Evola profiles comes to form a repulsive fusion with Western-style romance; men are told to make pathetic, emasculating displays of affection. American women have the gall to say that such men are ‘proving their manhood.’ Considering that this is what Valentine’s Day has become, it is easily the most wicked holiday on the calendar.
In case there is any doubt as to what Evola is referring to, consider these Rihanna lyrics:
So boy forget about the world cuz it’s gon’ be me and you tonight
I wanna make your bed for ya, then imma make you swallow your pride
Want you to make me feel like I’m the only girl in the world
Like I’m the only one that you’ll ever love
Like I’m the only one who knows your heart
Only girl in the world…
Like I’m the only one that’s in command
Cuz I’m the only one who understands how to make you feel like a man [Rihanna – Only Girl]
As Evola says, this possessiveness is a quintessentially masculine pose, and yet in modern America, only women have the license to do it. A man who takes a woman his as his own, who publicly and proudly, tells her she must show her love for him through regular cooking, cleaning and sex, is ‘domineering’ and ‘controlling.’
By Evola’s philosophy, for a woman to elect a priority above that of her lover or son is to suppress her femininity; devotion to her career over all is betrayal, an infidelity of which all polite people now approve. The masculine man who would be master often faces a dilemma – the woman refuses to dedicate herself to him. Alternatively, to accommodate her is to suppress his masculinity and endanger the relationship. Beset by this problem, there is no solution – only ignoble compromises.
Modern women will hardly make their men a priority at all, as evidenced by their steadfast refusal to try and please their man, except with deviant sexual acts. Many a man will do as I do, and simply resort to promiscuity. Since few women in the West will agree to submit or aim to please in any meaningful way that would make a lengthy relationship attractive, he compensates for the absence of quality with an increase in volume. He sleeps around, constantly seeking new charges to mask the emptiness evident in each. Evola contends, that with such incomplete men and women, with such adulterated gender roles, sex has been reduced to nothing but its mechanical, physical elements.
The Appeal of Traditionalism
Nowadays, we like to think we are urbane and cosmopolitan; we’ve seen all the world has to offer, and chosen only the best of it. In reality, we are some of the most provincial, narrow-minded humans to have ever lived. Societies across thousands of miles and years have lived by similar timeless principles, yet we think we’re better and ignore all that. Which is plausible, except that the more change and ‘progress’ we experience, the more dysfunctional society gets.
When I listen to most people argue, I get this nagging feeling that the terms of the debate are all bullshit; before the debate has even started, both sides have agreed not to even consider whether certain beliefs are true. If you wonder whether these beliefs are valid, say about whether women working hurts their families, it doesn’t matter how much truth you can marshal to prove your point. So if you ever dare to question beliefs that are common but false, you may be told that you’re ‘arguing for the sake of arguing,’ or that your views ‘belong in the 1950′s’, the 1800′s, or even the Medieval Age. Invariably, these people think they’re being cute, but all I can think is how foolish they are. Why are the people of a hundred or a thousand years ago automatically wrong, while people today are automatically right?
Turns out, they aren’t. As men ignore convention and rediscover the truth, by dint of personal experience and sage advice, they will find themselves increasingly drawn to traditionalism.
comment of a reader below
At 65, I grew up in the ‘feminist generation’ and have watched the pampered baby boom women from childhood chase the will-o-the-wisp of ‘having it all’ as they grew more lonely and bitter with more and more men as sexual partners. They chased these demeaning and dangerous liaisons as the elite feminist leaders said they deserved.
The young duped feminist adherents blind following of these elites directions has bred more discontentment among these dupes than the dupes have sown with the devastated ‘ no fault’ divorced husbands and destroyed single mother raised feral or dysfunctional children, if they even had children.
In the nursing home as I visit my mother regularly, taking her coffee, treats, recent photos of distant grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc… and generally dote on her I see women of my generation who are without health or dying. They are very candid with me about their regrets and mistakes, probably the first time in their lives. They openly talk of their regrets; of the decent boy who wanted a wife and kids when pop culture told her she was a loser if she went that direction.
These women are extremely regretful of following the lead of current feminist philosophy. They have paid a great price, and for those who had children as single mothers, these women’s price wasn’t nearly as great as their children and the men who gave them their children.
It is only my humanity that keeps me from excoriating these ill and dying women for the generational destruction their hubris has caused their own children. Besides, they beat themselves up enough. No one could add to that sadness of regret.
These women’s greatest regrets weren’t that they only made VP of some national or international firm, not CEO, but that they did not stay faithful to the loving men in their lives and to their own children, but to the ‘career’, the feminist image, etc….. everything but the things that made them women.
The ones who express the greatest regret are the ones who state they chose to not have children. I suspect they chose abortion and those murders haunts them to their dying days. It should, and beyond. But that is a God thing, not mine.
Their stories and their end days tell it all. But where is the media that showed them burning bras in the 1960’s. That has abandoned them too. They are left alone with death and regrets. While the media and the pop culture elite feminists delude another generation of young women into throwing away their lives for the edification of another gender studies prof.
[SPA Cross-Post] Reuniting with birth family – the Minnesota Family Reunification Act goes into effect
August 14, 2013 § Leave a comment
[SPA Cross-Post] Reuniting with birth family – the Minnesota Family Reunification Act goes into effect
As of last Thursday, August 1 2013, the Family Reunification Act went into effect. This law allows foster youth 15 and older who were never adopted to have the option to reunite with their birth parents.
The law stipulates that the birth parents must be able to demonstrate that they have resolved or addressed the issues that were the reason for the youth’s removal. According to the Children’s Law Center of Minnesota, only a county attorney may be able to file a petition for reunification under this act. There are some issues that would prevent restoration of parental rights to a child; for example, if a parent had a termination of parental rights due to sexual abuse, death of a minor, or was convicted of egregious harm/ specific crimes (see Minnesota Statute 260C.007, subd. 14).
Other restrictions include the length of time the child has been in foster care since the termination of parental rights has occurred as well as the following:
- Both the responsible social services agency and county attorney agree that reestablishment of the legal parent and child relationship is in the child’s best interest;
- The parent is willing and has the capability to provide day-to-day care and maintain the health, safety, and welfare of the child;
- The child has been in foster care for at least 36 months after the court issued the order terminating parental rights;
- The child is 15 years of age or older at the time the petition for reestablishment of the legal parent and child relationship is filed;
- The child has not been adopted; and
- The child is not the subject of a written adoption placement agreement