September 24, 2013 § Leave a comment


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Added to Health within Stress:

The Institute of HeartMath Resilience Programs for the Military – Conducts research and provides education to help people reduce stress, self-regulate emotions, and build energy and resiliency through tools, technology and training.

Added to Health within Smoking & Drug Dependency:

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center – Tobacco Free Living – Offers effective resources to end tobacco use and information regarding the harmful effects of tobacco and secondhand smoke.

Added to Health within Wellness & Fitness:

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center – Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System (NOFFS) – Combines human performance and injury prevention strategies, resulting in safer training while yielding positive human performance outcomes.

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center – Health Promotion and Wellness – Manages innovative and evidence-based health promotion and wellness programs and services that facilitate readiness and resilience, prevent illness and injury, hasten recovery, and promote lifelong healthy behaviors and lifestyles.

Added to Health within Navy, Marines Corps and Coast Guard andOther Services & Resources within Wounded Warrior Programs:

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center – Wounded, Ill and Injured Health Promotion – Provides evidence-based health promotion programs and services that facilitate readiness and resilience, prevent illness and injury, hasten recovery, and promote lifelong healthy behaviors.

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center – Wounded, Ill and Injured Intimacy and Relationships – Provides information and resources dedicated to addressing issues impacting relationships, intimacy and the sexual health of those who have been wounded, ill and injured.

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center – Wounded, Ill and Injured Nutrition –  Details nutritional information and resources dedicated to addressing the role of nutrition for those who have been wounded, ill, and/or injured.

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center – Wounded, Ill and Injured Injury Prevention – Lists practical tools, educational resources and evidence-based prevention strategies that help keep wounded, ill and injured sailors healthy.

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center – Wounded, Ill and Injured Substance Abuse – Links to educational materials and resources to help understand the negative effects of binge drinking, misuse or abuse of over-the-counter and prescription medications, and the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.

Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center – Wounded, Ill and Injured Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Lists PTSD resources to promote resiliency and build psychological fitness for those recovering from PTSD, as well as information for family members and providers.

Added to Health within Army:

Army Wellness Centers – Provides services designed to promote and sustain healthy lifestyles and improve the overall well-being of Soldiers, Family Members, Retirees and Department of the Army Civilians.

Added to Health within Suicide Prevention:

Real Warriors – Suicide Prevention Tools for Warriors – Defines warning signs and tools for help. For immediate help, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK and press 1. You can also send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support.

Added to Health within Army and Benefits & Compensation withinBranch Specific Health Resources:

Guard Your Health – Offers a central place for Army National Guard Soldiers and family members to find information and resources on health and medical readiness.

Added to Health within Polytrauma/Multiple Injuries:

Veterans with Multiple Sclerosis – Coordinates with the VA MS Centers of Excellence to support care and support services for Veterans with multiple sclerosis and their families.

Added to Health within Stress and Other Services & Resources withinWounded Warrior Programs:

Moving Forward – Operates a free, on-line educational and life coaching program from the VA that teaches problem solving skills to help better handle life’s challenges.

Added to Other Services & Resources within National Organizations:

Military Outreach USA – Serves Service Members, Veterans and their families by connecting them to a network of individuals and faith-based resources in their local community.

Added to Montana within Homeless Assistance:

Volunteers of America – Northern Rockies – Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program – Offers services to assist in reintegrating homeless Veterans to meaningful employment.

Added to Colorado within Housing:

Homes for All Veterans – Manages services to promote housing stability and alleviate chronic homelessness. Funded through a grant from the VA.

Added to Colorado within Health:

Operation TBI Freedom – Assists Veterans and active-duty military personnel with service-related traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that occurred on, or after, September 11, 2001.

Added to Massachusetts within Benefits & Compensation:

Massachusetts Benefits for Dependents of a Veteran – Presents information about state-level Veterans’ benefits available to dependents.

Added to Michigan within Housing:

Michigan Veterans Homeowners Assistance Program (MiVHAP) -Assists Service Members and Veterans with funding assistance to prevent foreclosure.

Added to Family and Caregiver Support within Tips & Guidebooks for Families:

Parenting for Service Members & Veterans – Built by VA Mental Health Services in partnership with DoD’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) to provide a free online course for military and Veteran parents with information and strategies to improve their parenting skills.

Added to Family and Caregiver Support within Coping with Deployment:

Everyone Serves – Handbook for Families & Friends of Service Members – Helps families and friends of Service Members throughout the deployment and reintegration process. Produced in partnership with Blue Star Families.


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The National Resource Directory (NRD) provides Wounded Warriors, Service Members, Veterans, their families and others who support them access to more than 14,000 federal, state and local services and resources to support recovery, rehabilitation, and communityintegration.

The NRD has the following folders on the national and state/local levels:


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September 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

Undocumented LA County Parents on Pace to Receive $650M in Welfare Benefits

SEPTEMBER 17, 2013
William Bigelow
Source …..

We-Accept-Food-Stamps-signLos Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich has announced that illegal alien parents in the county will collect a projected $650 million in welfare benefits in 2013. The data was collected from the Department of Public Social Services, which also stated that more than $376 million in CalWORKs benefits and food stamps combined were given to illegal alien parents for their native-born children.

Every month roughly $54 million is forthcoming in welfare payments,  nearly $20 million in CalWORKs and $34 million in food stamps. The assistance is given to an estimated 100,000 children of 60,000 undocumented parents in the county.

Antonovich said that the $54 million issued in July 2013, as compared to the $53 million in July 2012, was further evidence of how much illegal immigration is costing the U.S. He said:

When you add the $550 million for public safety and nearly $500 million for healthcare, the total cost for illegal immigrants to county taxpayers exceeds $1.6 billion dollars a year. These costs do not even include the hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually for education.

three mile high rad release on general public just short of japans mess ?

August 17, 2013 § Leave a comment


People living in the area around Harrisburg Pennsylvania call the area around Three Mile Island, otherwise known as (TMI), the ‘valley of death’. Why would the residents near the plant call it a Valley Of Death, when officials say no one died and no one was injured?
In this article, we will explore how and why a coverup happened after the Three Mile Island nuclear accidental meltdown. We will also see if this coverup perhaps exposes a pattern of coverups after every nuclear accident, or was this a one time event? Finally, we will explore your concerns, that if a coverup happened, how this coverup scenario would affect you and your children, or your whole family?
There are many nuclear power plants all over the United States. Wouldn’t you agree that you and your family may be affected negatively in case of an accident, if there is a pattern of covering up that an accident even happened or minimizing the severity, after a nuclear accident happens?

After all, how do you know if and/or when you need to evacuate if the utility and government agencies are denying that a nuclear accident even happened? What if they kept claiming that no harm was caused and the amounts released were ‘minor’? Radiation is invisible, so even with a deadly exposure, you would never know. Very few people own Geiger Counters, and that is the ONLY way to verify if these ‘experts’ are telling the truth.

In the article; ‘Three Mile Island: Exposing the Government’s Cover Up of Our Most Infamous Nuclear Accident’ it explains how many people died — and are still dying — at Three Mile Island . “ This article goes into some detail about all of the initial assurances of safety and no harm caused to people by radiation by regulators, government, and the utility company involved. All of these assurances turned out to be, well, hokum, but I will leave that to you to decide.
In the following video, Dr. Gordon Edwards PhD describes what happened at TMI that contributed to the meltdown.
To view the entire 9 video series given by Dr. Gorden Edwards; Nuclear Power, Hope or Hoax Speech, click on;
In a book about Three Mile Island: ‘They Say Nothing Happened’, “Harvey Wasserman, co-author of Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience With Atomic Radiation, stressed that the what happened account comes amid virtually complete inactivity by U.S. media in following up the Three Mile Island accident. (Wasserman has written about the aftermath of TMI for Harrowsmith—5-6/87—and other publications.)” (This same thing happened after Chernobyl, and is now happening after Fukushima. This same scenario seems to happen after EVERY SINGLE NUCLEAR ACCIDENT, but again, research this and see if it really the truth, or if you can verify the opposite.)
In the article above, they interview a lady who did door to door cancer surveys years after the accident, and she said that she found cancer cases AT EVERY HOUSE, who lived downwind of the plant at the time of the accident . This article also points out how the medical industry and the media served as the means to help cover up the whole disaster and all of the consequences of it.
Same old, same old.. The pattern repeats itself… ad nauseum.. In Russia at Chernobyl, at TMI in the USA, and now in Japan at Fukushima. The same coverups are done and the same lies are used. The same deceptive practices are foisted on an innocent, trusting public, only the nuclear accidents are getting worse and much bigger. They are now potential global life extinction events involving multiple reactors and spent fuels pools, instead of just one ‘small’ reactor.
In a report; ‘Investigation: Revelations about Three Mile Island disaster raise doubts over nuclear plant safety’, it talks about how the official govt report and NRC both said that no one was hurt or killed by TMI, just the same as at Fukushima now. At Chernobyl, even to this day, the nuclear apologists say that only a small number of people were hurt or killed.
This same report illustrates that the cancer rate of downwinders was increased by 80% over average citizens not exposed. Read the chilling reports of ‘downwinders’ who experienced high radiation dose signs, which were completely ignored and discounted by the nuclear industry. What happened downwind of TMI after the accident there, sounds just like what is happening around Fukushima and also what happened at Chernobyl.
Another Coverup At Three Mile Island? Lies Discovered About Control Rods
At TMI, just like at Chernobyl and Fukushima, there was an initial cover up phase (in addition to as it was happening) right after TMI-2 meltdown happened. The public was not warned or given the proper information, and no specific radiation readings were provided to anyone, (just like after every other nuclear accident).

The NRC Rogovin Commission and the Kennedy Commission claimed that all 69 out of 69 control rods were inserted during the emergency cooling effort, (which is called a scram) and that they all worked properly. (This same type of thing happens after every nuclear accident, with assurances from government, utility and regulators, that the accident will not cause any “immediate harm” and that everything is under control.

Later, everyone involved on the nuclear industry, media and government side came out with public statements officially assuring everyone that not only did all control rods work properly, they all claimed that no one was harmed or killed, and that no harmful amounts of radiation were released. This all turned out to be an absolutely callous lie.
At TMI-2 it was found that the entire central control rod group failed to fall into the core, which is required in order to cool the reactor and keep it from melting down. The rod group circling core central became known as “The Void at the Center of the Core”.
The GEND report was produced to answer questions raised about these control rods. They found that only 61 of them actually did get inserted into the nuclear core, but the rest DID NOT fall. This is part of what caused a partial meltdown of the core, resulting in 20 tons of nuclear material melting down, with a huge radiation release, that resulted in massive numbers of cancers, genetic diseases and deaths.
 Three Mile Island Alert
Information about Three Mile Island’s 1979 partial meltdown emerged when Dr. Steven Wing of UNC-Chapel Hill found a 400 percent increase in cancers among those exposed downwind.”
The following video goes into cover ups and denials of any radiation leaks at Three Mile Island.
The authorities and experts claimed that; “there is NO ACCIDENT. It did not occur inside the reactor, it happened OUTSIDE The reactor.. Therefor it was not an accident, just a failure of a piece of machinery outside the reactor. There is no relationship between that (TMI) and what is called a nuclear accident.”

The authorities said things like:

“No evacuation is needed”
“People should ‘stay indoors’”
“All radiation released is within ‘limits’”
“A little xenon was released”
“We are trying to keep everyone informed”
“We do not know if there will be any more uncontrolled emissions”

“There is no danger to public health”

“We have absolutely no information about this accident. The record of the nuclear industry stands for itself”

“The very idea of evacuating a city of that side is absurd”

“We are advising people to stay indoors until further measure”

“There may have been a release of xenon, but it was within acceptable limits, and safe operations”

“We have to get on with our jobs”

“We don’t know if there will be further uncontrolled ’emissions'”

“We don’t know what we are detecting at this point, but we think people should be moved”

“Pregnant women and children should leave in a 5 mile area surrounding TMI until further notice”

These are the things that can be expected after any nuclear accident anywhere, as part of the nuclear playbook, about how to deceive people. Regulatory agencies did not call for any mandatory measures forcing people to leave town. They did not call for mandatory evacuations, even after they knew a meltdown had happened.

The governor eventually called for pregnant women and children to leave within a five mile radius of the plant via a VOLUNTARY evacuation, rather than a mandatory evacuation, which should have been done. But then the nuclear industry would have looked bad, and they could not have that.

There were severe communications problems. Conflicting statements came out of the utility, the governor and the NRC.
The meltdown of TMI was called “The Void at the Center of the Core” by a GEND report in 1983 on the TMI-2 endoscopy examination. Reproduced via Xerox a press release from CII [Coalition for Independent Investigation] in 1986. Developed from a public admission in mid-1982 about that endoscopy and its revelations.
“Independent measurements provided evidence of radiation levels up to five times higher than normal in locations hundreds of miles downwind from TMI.
According to Randall Thompson, the lead health physicist at TMI after the accident (a veteran of the US Navy nuclear submarine program and a self-confessed “nuclear geek”), radiation releases were hundreds if not thousands of times higher than the ‘official’ numbers used by mass media, regulators and government officials. Some other insiders, including Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear industry executive turned whistle-blower, concur.
Gundersen offers evidence, based on pressure monitoring data, for a hydrogen explosion shortly before 2 p.m. on 28 March 1979, which would have provided the means for a high dose of radiation to occur. Gundersen cites affidavits from four reactor operators according to which the plant manager was aware of a dramatic pressure spike, after which the internal pressure dropped to outside pressure.
Gundersen also notes that the control room shook and doors were blown off hinges. However official NRC reports refer merely to a “hydrogen burn.” The Kemeny Commission referred to “a burn or an explosion that caused pressure to increase by 28 pounds per square inch in the containment building.“
Only two radiation meters at TMI were operational. Two meters went off scale, so they were ignored, as they were assumed to be ‘defective’. Radiation exposure ‘estimates’ were used, rather than radiation readings downwind of the plant. (This same technique is used after every nuclear accident. Either the monitors are turned off, not working or readings are ignored. If all else fails, the radiation monitors are called ‘defective’, so that the nuclear industry will not have to deal with the fallout, both in terms of radiation and in terms of public outrage.
Another study suggests Three Mile Island radiation injured people living near reactor. “Several hundred people at the time of the accident reported nausea, vomiting, hair loss and skin rashes, and a number said their pets died or had symptoms of radiation exposure, he said.”
After adjusting for pre-accident cancer incidence, we found a striking increase in cancers downwind from Three Mile Island….it is known that plant radiation monitors went off scale when the accident started.”
“Using better analytic and statistical techniques, he found that among the 20,000 people who lived near the plant and close to the plume’s path, lung cancer and leukemia rates were two or more times higher than what they were near the plant but upwind from the plume.
Among those in the most direct path of the plumes, lung cancer incidence went up by 300 to 400 percent, and leukemia rates were up by 600 to 700 percent.”
In TMI Facts [Source: Arnold Gundersen, expert witness TMI 1994 trial said that; “TMI’s radiation monitors onsite were off-scale; radiation estimates are based math assumptions were applied upon off-site dose readings.
Early on in the accident, the NRC estimated that only 10,000,000 total curies of radiation were released. The NRC estimate is based on a report by NRC manager, Mr. Lake Barrett. NUREG-0637, Appendix C.

Barrett used time averaged plume dispersion (Chi/Q); assumed the center (highest concentration) of the plume hits the detector; and then averaged this amount over many days of radiation gas releases. Time averaged plume dispersion can be wrong on the low side by a factor of 10. Center line Chi/Q can be wrong on the low side by a factor of a 1000. Averaging the data is wrong on the low side by a factor of 3.4.

Barrett recorded the maximum curies released each day; the grand total of each day’s recording adds up to 36,062,000 total curies released at TMI; yet the official record issued by the NRC in their final report, insists that only 10,000 total curies were released.

During the 1994 TMI Trial, John Daniel (industry’s expert), determined that 17,000,000 Curies were released. Industry’s own expert estimated that more radiation was released than the NRC, the guardian of public safety, had announced.
Another industry expert report by Dr. Sinovy V. Reytblatt, structural engineer from the University of Bridgeport, estimated that 8-10% of containment was released as result of the spike in pressure inside the containment. The containment had 10 billion curies inside of it. So 10% of 10 Billion curies = 1 billion curies total was released.

Insider in charge of monitoring radiation at TMI says radioactive release was 100s or 1,000s of times higher than gov’t admits

A thorough analysis of the TMI accident indicates that releases were 100 to 1000 times higher than the NRC estimated and that the containment failed after the hydrogen detonation. (This same scenario also happened at Fukushima.)
NRC and FEMA continued to use extremely low radiation release scenario even after the analysis showed much higher radiation releases happened during the accident. To this day, the regulatory bodies still say no one was killed or harmed by the radiation releases at TMI, despite all of the new evidence showing the opposite.
NRC’s mischaracterization of what was released at TMI continues to this day. For example NRC’s Senior Advisor for Emergency Preparedness Patricia Milligan’s claimed that when giving a lecture at Harvard School of Public Health, Radiological Emergency Planning: Terrorism, Security, and Communication of August 7, 2008, that when emergency plans were initially written NRC/FEMA did not know that there had been a core melt down.
However now that NRC knows that there had been core melt and that our data still “shows” only a “small release” of radiation occurred, emergency plans and guidelines based on a then lack of understanding of the seriousness of the accident thereby are too conservative.

The lessons learned from TM were applied to either the other TMI reactor or to Fukushima. Thus those lessons will also not be applied if and when a nuclear accident happens near you and your family. You may at this point be feeling like you are concerned, worried and/or angry, and these feelings are entirely normal.

The continued under reporting of TMI’s huge radiation release is used to justify reducing the area in which emergency planning is necessary. The nuclear industry generally waters down response planning and exercise scenarios and pushes for weakening or eliminating existing safety, emergency response and civilian notification in cases of accidents to this day.

There was much chaos, minimization and miscommunication during the Fukushima crisis, and non action afterwards. The plant operator knew within several hours of the tsunami that the plant was in meltdown, but it took many days to weeks before evacuations happened.)

If you would like to find out in detail what happened at TMI, watch the following video series about it.

In case the video gets deleted from Youtube, copy and paste the following title into the Youtube search box and you should be able to find an alternative place to watch it.

NUCLEAR MELTDOWN: Three Mile Island Aftermath – ‘We Almost Lost Detroit’ too… (1982)

Perhaps Sir Walter Scott said it best, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” So what effect does the TMI and Fukushima deception have on you and your family?

Three Mile Island – Podcasts

Find out more about what REALLY happened via these two podcasts;

Fairewinds on Troubling Events During Nuclear Disaster: “Noise that sounds like rain when it’s not raining” — Family had 5 pets die within hours, all found with ‘milky white’ eyes — Woman engulfed in wave of heat, later told kidney ‘died’ (AUDIO)

Bottom line, what we have learned from the videos and podcasts above, is that we cannot count on anyone to tell us specific information that we need to protect our families and communities from harm caused by the nuclear plant owning utility, the government, the mass media (most of it owned by GE, a nuclear plant sales organization). We certainly cannot count on the nuclear regulators, such as the NRC and the IAEA who seem to act more like a nuclear marketing agency than someone charged with protecting the public.
Even the Emergency Management Agencies that are supposedly neutral, seem to have been coopted, because they promise to provide specific radiation information after a nuclear incident or accident, but then never do. They report at best, that radiation levels are ‘not harmful’, or should not cause concern.
Bottom line, you are on your own. You will not get any radiation readings, and if you do get any, you probably cannot trust them, because they will NOT be taken downwind, which is where it really counts. As we have seen and heard, radiation readings taken by regulators and the nuclear plant operator are typically down played and reduced by 100 to 1,000 fold, if you get any specifics at all. Because all you get is general information, which says nothing, there is no information provided on whether you should evacuate or not, much less which direction to go in.
If you do not have a Geiger Counter, you are at the mercy of these bafflegab merchants who run their organizations like a fiefdom that does not have to tell anyone anything, certainly not in a timely manner, even in event of an emergency. Protect yourself and your family. Buy a good radiation meter and have some spare batteries ready to operate it.. Your life may depend on it, especially if you live within several hundred miles of a nuclear plant.

Three Mile Island Radiation Release Coverup Exposed – 1 Billion Curies Released; via @AGreenRoad
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The Battle Of Chernobyl Movie; via A Green Road Blog
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What really happened at Fukushima?
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Windscale: Biggest Covered Up UK Nuclear Disaster? via A Green Road Blog
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How Dangerous Is 400-600 Pounds Of Plutonium Nano Particle Dust Liberated By Fukushima? Via A Green Road Blog
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12 reasons why all nuclear power plants must be shut down
Depleted Uranium Effects In The Human Body, via A Green Road Blog
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August 16, 2013 § Leave a comment

In honor of our 90th anniversary, we’re counting down the days (83) until our Nov. 7 Annual Luncheon with 90 tidbits about the BGA:

In June 2009, the BGA welcomed new executive director, Andy Shaw,an award-winning Chicago journalist who spent 37 years covering local, state and national politics, business, education and day-to-day news. When he took the helm of the BGA, the organization was in crucial need of revitalization — a limited watchdog group with a staff of two. The BGA has since undergone a remarkable evolution.

In honor of our 90th anniversary, we're counting down the days (83) until our Nov. 7 Annual Luncheon with 90 tidbits about the BGA:

In June 2009, the BGA welcomed new executive director, Andy Shaw,an award-winning Chicago journalist who spent 37 years covering local, state and national politics, business, education and day-to-day news. When he took the helm of the BGA, the organization was in crucial need of revitalization — a limited watchdog group with a staff of two. The BGA has since undergone a remarkable evolution.


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

Increase in number of Oklahoma children in DHS custody frustrates reform efforts

The number of children in state custody has soared 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.
By Randy Ellis Modified: August 15, 2013 at 12:24 am • Published: August 15, 2013

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.

Reducing caseloads

Rising numbers of children in state custody also are hampering DHS in its efforts to reduce caseloads to manageable levels, she indicated.


The number of children in state custody has soared 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.
By Randy Ellis Modified: August 15, 2013 at 12:24 am • Published: August 15, 2013
Currently, only about 22 percent of DHS workers have caseloads within levels agreed upon as part of the settlement. The agency needs to increase compliance to 45 percent by the end of the calendar year to meet its target, Smith said. 

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.’”

San Diego County, and the social workers for alleged violations of their civil rights. They say Mark Mann is still included on CACI as a substantiated abuser.

August 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

Seizing Spanked Kids May Leave County Liable


     (CN) – A couple who once hit their children with a wooden spoon on reality television can seek punitive damages from San Diego County, a federal judge ruled.
Mark and Melissa Mann first made national headlines in 2009 when they appeared on an episode of the now-canceled reality series “Supernanny” to learn new child-discipline techniques.
“At that time, the parents stated their intention to stop using wooden spoons to strike their children as a form a discipline, but apparently resumed using wooden spoons by the time the events giving rise to this action occurred in April 2010,” U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel wrote Thursday. “The parents report they learned to use a wooden spoon in a parenting class offered at their church.”
San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) had become involved after receiving a report from the preschool attended by the Manns’ triplets on April 6, 2010, about possible child abuse.
The school’s director had been concerned with a mark left on one of the triplets, N.E.H.M., by the wooden spoon Mark Mann had used to paddle the child a night earlier.
Mark had been alone with the 4-year-old triplets and their 6-year-old sister that evening when N.E.H.M. began misbehaving.
Mark said N.E.H.M. was splashing soapy water around the bathroom, and that he attempted to spank her with a wooden spoon, but missed and hit her lower back instead. The spoon left a red welt. Mark had also struck another one of the triplets, M.N.A.M., on the buttocks with a wooden spoon for splashing soapy water, also leaving a mark.
Nobody had been home when social worker Andrea Cisneros tried to visit the Mann house on April 6 so Cisneros spent 15 minutes interviewing the 6-year-old sibling, N.G.P.M., at school the next day.
N.G.P.M. denied any abuse at home, and said that her parents discipline her by giving her a “time out or a whoopin’,” which she described as three or four spanks with her clothes on. She said the triplets were not given these “whoopin’s.”
That same day, Cisneros went back to the Mann home where she physically inspected the other children and interviewed them. She took pictures of N.E.H.M.’s lower back, listened to Melissa Mann’s explanation of the father’s “horrible” night with the children, and then left the house.
After consulting with her supervisor, Lisa Quadros, Cisneros immediately went back to the home to have Melissa Mann sign a voluntary safety plan that stated Mark Mann could not be left alone with the children.
Although distressed about it, Melissa Mann signed the paper after Cisneros told her the children could be removed from the home if she didn’t. Melissa Mann later complained to Quadros about Cisneros’ behavior.
Cisneros also interviewed Mark Mann at his job and got him to sign a safety plan in which he agreed not to physically discipline the children. The social worker told Mark that the children could be removed from the home if he did cooperate.
Cisneros then called Melissa Mann the next day to let her know that she needed to take pictures of the mark on M.N.A.M.’s buttocks. Though Melissa Mann asked Quadros to send a different social worker, Quadros refused. Melissa Mann then called someone higher up who agreed to send a more experienced social worker with Cisneros.
Cisneros and Angela Redmond went to the Mann house to take the pictures, but noticed that M.N.A.M. had an additional bruise on his forehead.
Melissa Mann said the boy had bumped his head on the countertop and became upset that the social workers wanted to take a picture of the bump. She let them and then told them to get out of the house. Later that evening, she called Quadros to apologize for not being “courteous,” but said that “it just feels manipulative like you’re making this out to be something that it’s really not.”
The next day, Ms. Mann spoke to Quadros and told her that she wanted to prove that the children were not in danger. She volunteered to take them to their pediatrician, but Quadros asked that they instead undergo an examination at the Chadwik Center at Rady Children’s Hospital.
The physician at the hospital concluded the mark on N.E.H.M.’s lower back was consistent with Mr. Mann’s story and that the bruise on M.N.A.M.’s head was “most likely accidental.”
Around the same time, Cisneros had begun preparing a Detention Report and application for a protective custody warrant to remove the children from the Mann home. Cisneros’ original report was 13 pages long, but Quadros told her to delete approximately two pages of information.
The deleted information included: a report by school officials that they had never seen any other bruises on the children prior to the incident at hand; Ms. Mann’s complaints about Cisneros, including her request to be assigned a new social worker; and Ms. Mann’s offer to take the children to see their pediatrician and her subsequent agreement to take the children to Children’s Hospital.
Cisneros also added a paragraph stating that the Manns had not been cooperative and that the agency had concerns over the safety of the children. Cisneros later testified at her deposition that she could not think of a time where either of the Manns did not comply with a request by HHSA personnel.
Based on Cisneros’ report, the children were removed from the Mann home and sent to Polinsky Children’s Center, where they were examined by a physician without the Manns’ consent.
Based on a report submitted by the HHSA that they had made a “substantiated” finding of physical abuse, Mark Mann was listed as a child abuser on California’s Child Abuse Central Index (CACI).
The children were released into the custody of their paternal grandmother, with the provision that the Manns could not be left alone with the children. A trial in juvenile court that summer found that the children were not at a substantial risk for future harm, and HHSA’s petition was dismissed.
The Manns then sued HHSA, San Diego County, and the social workers for alleged violations of their civil rights. They say Mark Mann is still included on CACI as a substantiated abuser.
Curiel found Thursday that the defendants deserve qualified immunity only from the Manns’ civil rights claims for interviewing N.G.P.M. at school, the Polinsky examinations, and Mr. Mann’s inclusion on CACI as a child abuser.
The defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity or summary judgment for their actions in obtaining and executing the protective custody warrant, the court found.
“The question remains whether Cisneros and Quadros intentionally or recklessly falsified the Detention Report and Warrant Application,” Curiel wrote. “Plaintiffs assert the social workers were retaliating against the parents for challenging their authority. Plaintiffs support this theory with the fact that, after Ms. Mann’s complaints about Cisneros, HHSA surreptitiously prepared and filed the Detention Report and Warrant Application to remove the children from the home, in addition to the fact that Quadros and Cisneros removed exculpatory evidence from Detention Report and Warrant Application.”
The Manns can also pursue punitive damages, according to the ruling.
“As discussed above, there are disputed issues with regard to plaintiffs’ claim that defendants retaliated against them,” Curiel wrote. “Whether defendants were retaliating against plaintiffs is relevant to whether defendants were motivated by evil motive or intent, or whether they acted in reckless disregard to plaintiffs’ federally protected rights.”

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August 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s getting hot at the State Department. Yesterday, 200 people protested outside the agency’s office in DC, with 60 brave activists risking arrest by blocking the front entrance.1

These everyday activists — reported in the Washington DC publication The Hill as a group of “college students, religious leaders and grandmothers”2 — are helping to shine a spotlight on the sham State Department review process that put an oil industry contractor in charge of the environmental analysis of the “game over for the climate” Keystone XL pipeline.

Just before our action, the State Department announced that its Inspector General had in fact launched an investigation into corruption by that contractor, ERM.

We’re making progress, but climate change is more urgent than ever – and yet the Obama Administration is still considering approving Keystone XL.

It’s up to us to convince President Obama to reject Keystone XL once and for all. Chip in $10 to build a massive civil disobedience campaign to keep the pressure on.

IMAGE: Protestors sitting-in at the State Department

The signs people held as they sat-in opposing the pipeline were truly moving: “Grandmother” “Veteran” “Farmer” “Rabbi” “Jersey Shore Survivor of Hurricane Sandy.”

Yesterday’s action was a powerful testament to the growing movement against the Keystone XL pipeline, and the growing commitment from Americans across this country to draw a line in the sand and demand that President Obama reject Keystone XL. Just two weeks ago at 350’s SummerHeat action in DC, 55 people were arrested for occupying ERM’s office.

It’s clear that this pressure is being felt by the President. And his recent public statements suggest he may be moving to our side on this issue. But the Tar Sands oil industry is pushing harder than ever for approval of Keystone XL. We can’t let up until President Obama rejects this pipeline once and for all.

While the DC police refused to arrest the protestors sitting in yesterday, these activists powerfully demonstrated that our movement is bigger than ever, with over 75,000 people signing the Keystone XL Pledge of Resistance3 and committing to risk arrest if necessary to stop President Obama from approving Keystone XL.

Over 75,000 people pledging to risk arrest if the State Department recommends that this “game over” for climate pipeline is in our national interest — that’s big. And it takes an army of organizers working on the ground with volunteer action leaders across the country to plan hundreds of civil disobedience actions.

CREDO, the Other 98% and Rainforest Action Network have big plans to keep sending a message to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry. We’re planning momentum building arrest actions at TransCanada’s headquarters in Houston and in Secretary Kerry’s hometown of Boston. And we’ll be announcing hundreds of activist-organized Pledge of Resistance actions across the country where folks will be ready to risk arrest if President Obama and the State Department recommend approval of Keystone XL.

It’s a huge organizing effort. And it’s what we need to do to win on Keystone XL. Help make it happen.

Chip in $10 to urge President Obama to reject Keystone XL.

We believe organizing makes a difference. It’s more powerful than advertising. More true to our values than DC lobbying. And we can’t do it on the massive scale necessary to win this fight without your help.

Thanks for fighting Keystone XL.

Becky Bond and Elijah Zarlin
CREDO Action

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