Monday, June 22, 2009

In My View: Dad deserves better deal in Illinois law

http://www.sj-r.com/opinions/x931198271/In-My-View-Dad-deserves-better-deal-in-Illinois-law

In My View: Dad deserves better deal in Illinois law


By Staff Report
THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER

Jun 19, 2009

Father’s Day focuses our attention on the importance of the role of fathers in children’s lives. As perennial as the traditional Father’s Day gifts, pronouncements on the virtues of fatherhood by elected officials such as Barack Obama are offered to reinforce its value. When tied to proposed legislation, these statements have often included a suggestion that many fathers need to act more responsibly.

Likewise, the current presumptions of Illinois family courts that ensure divorced fathers’ access to their children influence our perceptions of the value of father engagement. Their minimum standards for the parenting roles of separated fathers underwrites the value by which all fathers, married and separated, are measured.

The de facto minimum parenting schedule used by Illinois courts is “every other weekend” with a weekly non-overnight “visit.” This is what most fathers have to contend with. This minimal number of overnights with their children is, according to at least one national child development specialist, a “child-unfriendly” schedule befitting of only “disinterested” fathers.

Illinois judges, family court protocols and many legislators have continued to acquiesce over the past decades to this inadequate standard that can be a barrier to fathers acting more responsibly.

Our courts’ presumed parenting schedule prevails regardless of the father’s close geographic proximity and track record of responsible fathering. It is a cookie-cutter presumption that states, in effect, “fathers need not put their children to bed, help them with their homework, nor help get them ready for school” — the very activities associated with being a responsible father.

The Children’s Rights Council (CRC) of Illinois provided new minimum guidelines to reform judicial protocols at the Illinois Family Law Study Committee in Waukegan on Jan. 26 of this year. The directors of the CRC of Illinois also listened to the testimony of child development and parenting experts, including prominent psychologists Dr. Alan Ravitz of New York University and Dr. William Pinsof at Northwestern University, at the committee’s hearing in downtown Chicago.

The expert testimonies provided to the Illinois Family Law Study Committee offer Illinois’ judges, attorneys and legislators the academic research and examples needed for serious reform. They need only the willpower to create new child-friendly parenting time standards, to demand mandatory parenting agreements, and to adopt other reforms that have met with success in other states.

Along with reforms to court protocols, respected clinicians at the Family Institute at Northwestern University have developed alternative processes that would help redirect vengeful, sociopathic and uncooperative parents away from corrosive litigation which is ill-suited to family dissolutions, and toward constructive co-parenting solutions. Rather than children’s future lives with their parents being steered by overworked legal professionals who often lack the “special training to deal with ... these disputes” (Firestone and Weinstein), processes such as Integrative Family Therapy could provide a system of intermediate-term counseling blended with mediation to help parents “put the kids first.”

The benefits of updating Illinois family court protocols are many. They include decreased transfers of children between separated parents, greater father involvement in their children’s schooling, fewer animosity-generating court battles, greater communication and incentives for parents to cooperate with each other, more father engagement, fewer “Disneyland dads,” improved post-divorce adjustment, fewer outcomes that scar children, less elevating of one parent into a monopolizing role and clearer signals to all parents that children in Illinois need a meaningful relationship with both parents.

Illinois is poised to place fatherhood onto a more solid footing. Adoption into law of recommendations from the Illinois Family Law Study Committee would send a positive signal that promotes fatherhood as a value. But will our legislators go far enough in adopting significant improvements to current Illinois family law? Do they have the political fortitude to revise our statutes so that Illinois family courts become significantly more child-friendly?

All of these reforms and alternatives to judicial processes could be put into law. But like all changes to the status quo, there will be resistance. Concerned citizens will need to advocate that legislators should provide Illinois children of separated parents the opportunity for the responsible fathers they deserve and set a positive example for all families.

Mike Doherty is chairman of the Children’s Rights Council of Illinois (www.equalparentingillinois.org). He can be reached at

kidsneedbothparents@yahoo.com.



www.myspace.com/familyrights

http://www.youtube.com/user/joemaflage

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Speaking Out

I was born in Windsor Canada and came to the states in the early 70's. My family was the first bi-racial family in Belleville Michigan and we dealt with fighting for our civil rights for many years. In current years, I have been disappointed with the politics which has a lot to do with the family courts today and the buddy system needs to stop for the children's best interest. I have learned the courts can ignore the abuse by one parent's gender. One can have all the proof in the work then the judge can ignore the evidence despite the best interest of the children. The same judge can make the rules but can also admonish you for following those same rules.
It is fair for the court to be run by an opposing attorney? Is the court looking in the best interest of the children or hiding the crimes of one of the parents? When does a judge become a judge in the best of the children and not in the best interest of the criminal and the politics? Judge Nancy C. Francis out of Washtenaw County has done everything she can to keep me separated from my children. Judge Nancy C. Francis has been protecting a mother who has greatly abused and neglected her children, while allowing other individuals to do the same. Judge Nancy C. Francis's sister is State Rep. Alma Wheeler. Politics and the best interest of the children do not mix; instead it has destroyed the future of good children and has tried to break the spirit of a father who wanted to protect his children. I'm Charles Wright and I'm willing to testify before Congress about the corruption in the family court of Washtenaw County by Judge Nancy C. Francis. For Judge Nancy C. Francis to call herself a "civil rights activist" is a slap in the face to every civil rights activist who has lost their lives for our civil rights.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Catholic Social Services Covers Up but Lary Holland responds

Dear Mr. Garvin,

It has come to our attention that Catholic Social Services has been withholding records upon request from non-custodial parents. It is imperative that Catholic Social Services follow the law the Child Custody Act of 1970 and not obstruct legitimate requests from parents to have access to records involving their children, even when that parent is not the "residential parent."

I am supplementing this email with a section from the Child Custody Act of 1970, see MCLA 722.30.

722.30 Access to records or information by noncustodial parent.

Sec. 10.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a parent shall not be denied access to records or information concerning his or her child because the parent is not the child's custodial parent, unless the parent is prohibited from having access to the records or information by a protective order. As used in this section, “records or information” includes, but is not limited to, medical, dental, and school records, day care provider's records, and notification of meetings regarding the child's education.


If Catholic Social Services is in possession of any medical and similar records, it should provide them to parents upon request, unless there is a protective order in place PREVENTING such disclosure. Certain notes may be of a confidential nature, however those can be properly redacted and if requesting parents are not satisfied can move the court for additional disclosures by your agency.

I am currently soliciting other parents requests associated with Catholic Social Services, and would like to know more about the procedures that are being implemented within your organization.


Lary Holland

Host and Producer of Get Your Justice Live

http://spotlight.getyourjusticelive.com

Every Wednesday and Sunday Night Live at 8PM EST








Visit Children Need Both Parents

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Multi-million-dollar lawsuit filed by three foster children

10:44 AM PDT on Saturday, April 28, 2007

By SUSANNAH FRAME / KING 5 News


Related Content
Photos, videos confiscated

Blog: 10 Years of Red Flags
SEATTLE - Three young girls just filed a multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Washington State, saying caseworkers didn't work hard enough to get them out of a foster home where they were allegedly raped, fed drugs, and beaten.

Now, for the first time, we're hearing from the 12-year-old girl, Monica, left behind after the state took her foster sisters out of the home.

She's the most vulnerable of the three girls involved in this horrific case.

Monica, the youngest, is developmentally delayed.


KING

Monica is developmentally delayed.
Complaints and warnings about her adoptive father, Enrique Fabregas, span a 10-year period.

But after the older girls got out of his house, it took a year-and-a-half and the Redmond Police Department to get Monica to safety.

Last week, there was a rare reunion for two foster sisters who are now separated after years of alleged abuse in Kirkland and Redmond at the hands of their foster dad, Enrique Fabregas.

They seemed like two normal girls catching up on the latest: clothes, make-up, and Monica's favorite class -- choir.

But these sisters' lives aren't anything close to normal.

Monica was born with fetal alcohol syndrome.

She had a drug-addicted mother with a boyfriend - Enrique Fabregas - who worried social workers from the beginning.

As a toddler Child Protective Services recommended Monica be taken from her home, in part, because the boyfriend was a cocaine addict and put Monica in hazardous situations.

The state had evidence, including a videotape of him putting the toddler in dangerous places: a freezer, a washing machine, alongside a busy highway in a cow costume.

David P. Moody, with the law firm of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, represents Monica and her foster sisters.


KING

Estera Tamas
"It's appalling," he said. "It's unbelievable why DSHS (Department of Social and Health Services) then proceeded two years later to license this man to care for young girls."

Despite a criminal history for drugs, theft, and assault and that strange tape, the state gave Fabregas a foster license to care for Monica, by himself when she was four.

"I think it's just disgusting," said Estera Tamas, Monica's former foster sister, who is now 20 years old. "So, no, they should have never given Monica to him."

Fabregas eventually adopted Monica, and took in two more foster girls: teenagers Estera and Ruth Tamas.

Red flags piled up. KING 5 analyzed 10 years worth of complaints, Department of Social and Health Services reports, and letters written to the state and found roughly 60 separate warnings of abuse or neglect.

Teachers reported that they saw Fabregas kissing Monica like a girlfriend at school. Estera reported that Fabregas had raped and fed her drugs since she was 12.

Ruth reported he slapped and hit her.


KING

Ruth Tamas
But DSHS found no evidence that any of it was true.

Estera and the other teen were finally taken away from Fabregas after he refused to take a sexual deviancy test.

His foster license was revoked.

Yet Monica, the foster child he adopted, stayed behind.

"But even then, they forgot about Monica, and allowed Monica to stay with this pedophile, this sexual victimizer for 16 additional months," Moody said.

In that time, more warnings of abuse came into the state through citizen letters and from Monica herself.

"And we weren't there to see if she was OK or not, so God knows what was happening," Estera said.

When asked why the child remained, DSHS issued this statement:

"Monica continued to deny any concerns and denied any abuse in her home."

The statement goes on to say that Mr. Fabregas was interviewed by Kirkland police and claimed that no abuse had taken place. Police believed him.

This is what finally got Monica to safety: Redmond police confiscated hundreds of photos and videos of child pornography, and obscene images of Fabregas posing in women's lingerie, some with guns.

Police identified him having sex with two of his daughters in the evidence.

Monica's been in a loving foster home in Eastern Washington for a year. She says she feels safe there.

"Because I know they're not going to do anything bad or something," she said. "I know it's like OK to live here and I'll be loved and stuff."

She also says she's ready for normal adventures.

"I would like to go places I've never been before like Silverwood, Disney Land, Wild Waves."

She wants to be a kid.

"Yeah, because I wasn't able to be a kid before," she said.

All the girls are working on healing, getting a piece of that childhood back.

"It seems like our lives changed a lot," Estera said to her sister. "I'm glad that you're doing better."

"I'm glad that you're better too," Monica said.

Monica is now in a safe foster home in Eastern Washington.

Enrique Fabregas is in the King County Jail, awaiting trial on charges of sex crimes.



Related Content
Tamas v. State of Washington lawsuit

DSHS Child Abuse Hotline
Complete response to KING 5 from State of Washington Department of Social and Health Services:

This is in response to your question posed to DSHS about the removal of a child from her home following allegations of abuse.

The short answer to your question is that MF was removed from her home by Kirkland Police Department at the request of DSHS and placed in foster care from July 29, 2004 through August 18, 2004 due to allegations that Enrique Fabregas was abusing foster child ET (not MF).

The foster child was removed from the home as well. Only these two youths were iving with Fabregas at that time. To assist with the investigation, Mr. Fabregas agreed that MF would remain in foster care pending law enforcement and DSHS investigations. MF was returned to her home on August 18, 2004.

Kirkland Police and DSHS investigated allegations of child abuse, including conducting interviews of the children and of Mr. Fabregas to determine if the allegations were true (for criminal purposes) and whether MF was at risk of abuse and/or neglect (for child welfare purposes). No allegations of abuse or neglect were made as to MF by anyone and she denied any concerns at home.

Mr. Fabregas was interviewed by Kirkland Police and claimed that no abuse had taken place. Police believed him. No charges were filed and no search warrant for the Fabregas home was executed - criminal proceedings which DSHS could not control. Since no allegations were made or uncovered in these investigations, the legal basis to permanently remove MF (by initiating a dependency action) was not met. In our state, to remove a child from his or her home, there must be sufficient facts to meet this burden:

(a) the child's health, safety, and welfare will be seriously endangered if not taken into custody;

(b) an affidavit is filed by the department setting forth specific factual information showing grounds that the child's health, safety, and welfare will be seriously endangered if not taken into custody. At least one of the grounds must demonstrate a risk of imminent harm to the child.

(c) the court finds reasonable grounds to believe the child's health, safety, and welfare will be seriously endangered if not taken into custody (see full text of RCW following close of this letter).

Absent proof of abuse or neglect, MF was returned home. MF continued to deny any concerns, and denied any abuse in her home. No other information was available to DSHS until 2006 when a referral was received about MF. Police investigated and got a warrant to search the Fabregas home. Child pornography was discovered. MF was removed.

This case demonstrates the rare, but grievous, result of one of the greatest challenges in child welfare: how to provide safe homes for children while balancing the legal requirement of producing evidence that a child has been harmed in the home and should be removed.

Respectfully,

Mike Tornquist

Administrator, Division of Licensed Resources

Department of Social and Health Services

Children’s Administration



Full text of RCW 13.34.050

(1)The court may enter an order directing a law enforcement officer, probation counselor, or child protective services official to take a child into custody if: (a) A petition is filed with the juvenile court alleging that the child is dependent and that the child's health, safety, and welfare will be seriously endangered if not taken into custody; (b) an affidavit or declaration is filed by the department in support of the petition setting forth specific factual information evidencing reasonable grounds that the child's health, safety, and welfare will be seriously endangered if not taken into custody and at least one of the grounds set forth demonstrates a risk of imminent harm to the child. "Imminent harm" for purposes of this section shall include, but not be limited to, circumstances of sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation as defined in RCW 26.44.020; and (c) the court finds reasonable grounds to believe the child is dependent and that the child's health, safety, and welfare will be seriously endangered if not taken into custody.

(2)Any petition that does not have the necessary affidavit or declaration demonstrating a risk of imminent harm requires that the parents are provided notice and an opportunity to be heard before the order may be entered.

(3)The petition and supporting documentation must be served on the parent, and if the child is in custody at the time the child is removed, on the entity with custody other than the parent. Failure to effect service does not invalidate the petition if service was attempted and the parent could not be found

RCW 26.44.050 states in relevant part “Upon the receipt of a report concerning the possible occurrence of abuse or neglect, the law enforcement agency or the department of social and health services must investigate and provide the protective services section with a report… A law enforcement officer may take, or cause to be taken, a child into custody without a court order if there is probable cause to believe that the child is abused or neglected and that the child would be injured or could not be taken into custody if it were necessary to first obtain a court order pursuant to RCW 13.34.050….”

Former CPS director sentenced to 10 years for child molestation

BY JACOB JONES
The Daily World
Saturday, June 6, 2009 1:16 AM PDT

JACOB JONES | THE DAILY WORLD Gary E. Anderson, a former supervisor with Child Protective Services, was sentenced to a minimum of 10 years in prison Friday after pleading guilty to first-degree child rape and molestation.


Print Version | E-mail This Story

Judge rejects recommendation of 1 year in jail and treatment


Gary E. Anderson leaned into the podium, his head lowered and the blue jail jumpsuit draping off his thin frame.

The 67-year-old former Child Protective Services director told the court he did not understand how he could spend 36 years of his life defending children, including his own, and now stand guilty of raping a 9-year-old girl and molesting another girl of the same age.

“I’ve broken a sacred trust not only with these children, but those who love them,” he said Friday. “I broke their hearts. ... I am sorry for what I’ve done.”

Anderson pleaded guilty to first-degree child rape and first-degree molestation last year for “numerous” times when he touched the two girls inappropriately, according to court records. He admitted his conduct in a plea agreement recommending an alternative sentence of one year in jail as well as sex offender therapy and supervision upon release.

Superior Court Judge Mark McCauley rejected the recommended Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative on Friday, saying Anderson deserved prison despite pleas from the victims’ families to grant treatment.

“I have really struggled with this decision,” the judge said. “There was such a trust. There are multiple victims. His conduct went on for years.”

McCauley sentenced Anderson to a minimum of 10 years to life in prison with annual reviews to determine whether he can ever be released.

Anderson’s eyes dropped to the table. His supporters in the audience wept softly.





“These crimes, from my point of view, are horrific crimes,” McCauley said, noting he had given substantial prison sentences to other offenders who never even touched a child.

The judge said the victims and their families have to live with the consequences of Anderson’s actions for the rest of their lives. He said he is also concerned about any chance Anderson could re-offend, despite his age.

“I just can’t in good conscience grant a (sentencing alternative),” McCauley said.

Court records stated Anderson first acknowledged he had touched the girls inappropriately when confronted by their parents in January of 2008. He was charged with raping one girl and molesting the other.

The state Department of Social & Health Services said he worked for Child Protective Services for 36 years and retired in 2000. He supervised social workers, but rarely interacted with children.

Anderson was arrested in March of 2008 and unanswered questions about other possible victims delayed his sentencing for months.

Deputy prosecutor Katie Svoboda said everyone involved should be better off with the long case finished.

“It took a lot of work,” she said. “This is a hard case and a hard call (by the judge).”

Svoboda had joined the defense in recommending the alternative sentence with therapy, but said a prison sentence was “well-warranted.”

Defense attorney Brett Purtzer called a polygraph examiner and a psychotherapist to the stand Friday to testify about Anderson’s chances of benefiting from treatment.

“If Mr. Anderson is not an individual that qualifies for (the alternative sentence),” Purtzer argued, “then that person does not exist.”

The attorney presented several letters of support for Anderson and one of the victim’s parents asked the court to allow for treatment instead of prison.

Anderson said he had taken full responsibility and wanted the chance to understand why he had done such things. He believed the alternative sentence and treatment would give him that chance.

“This (sentencing alternative) truly is a privilege,” McCauley told him. “There’s no right to go through this treatment.”

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Know parental rights

It's time to tell of two facts as they relate to the Friend of the Court Citizens Advisory Committees, as defined in the Friend of the Court Act:

1. The CAC is limited to an advisory nature only under MCL 552.504(a)(1).

2. The CAC must review each grievance that alleges gender was used as a determining factor in the custody of the children rather than the best interest of the children per MCL 552.526(5).

Given the two items above, why/how did Ingham County's CAC just spend more than $700 on lobby furniture for the FOC office?

If you believe that you were discriminated against in your children's custody, be sure to review 552.526(5), and use the language from that when filing your grievance to ensure the CAC reviews your grievance.

Also, if you have filed a grievance previously citing gender bias, contact your county clerk and request a copy of the annual report specified in 552.504(a)(1)(d) to ensure that your grievance was included in the annual report to the Legislature.

Robert Kerr
Lansing

(Title IV of the social security act specifically Title IV-D and Title IV-E are the most counter productive sections)

37.8% of single mothers are divorced, 41% never married, and only 6.5% widows. Brookings Institute, “Assessing the Impact of Welfare Reform on Single Mothers”, Part 2, 3/22/04

“The strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison, is that they were raised by a single parent”. C.C. Harper and S.S. McLanahan, “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration”, Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Assoc., San Francisco, CA, 1998

In 1996, 70% of inmates in state juvenile detention centers serving long sentences, were raised by single mothers. Wade Horn, “Why There Is No Substitute For Parents”, IMPRIMIS 26, NO.6, June, 1997

72% of juvenile murderers, and 60% of rapists came from single mother homes. Chuck Colson, “How Shall We Live?” Tyndale House , 2004, p.323

70% of juvenile delinquents, and 70% of Child murderers, come from single mother homes. Richard E. Redding, “It’s Really About Sex”, Duke Univ. Journal of Gender Law and Policy, Jan.1, 2008

“After controlling for single motherhood, the difference between black and white crime rates disappeared.” Progressive Policy Institute, 1990, quoted by David Blankenhorn, “Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem,” New York, Harper Perennial, 1996, p.31

71% of all adolescent chemical/substance abusers, 80% of all prison inmates, came from single mother homes.
Bob Ray Sanders, “Hey Y’all, Let’s Fill The Hall (Of Fame), Ft. Worth Star Telegram, Oct.28,2007 Mona Charen, “More Good News Than Bad?”, Washington Times, Mar.16, 2001 (citing Bill Bennett, “The Index of Leading Cultural Indicators: American society at the end of the 20th Century., New York, Broadway Books, 1994)

Children brought up in single mother homes are:

9 times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances,
14 times more likely to commit rape,
20 times more likely to end up in prison, Chuck Eddy, “The Daddy Shady Show”, Village Voice, Dec. 31, 2002

"(I)n a recent study by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation. Comparing statistics for its Kids Count report, the organization reported that Detroit ranks No.1 in unmarried births among the nationĂ¢€™s 50 largest cities. Of the 16,729 babies born in Detroit in 1997, 13,574 were black, 1,679 were white and 817 were Hispanic. Seventy-one percent were born to unmarried mothers. This compared with a state average of 33 percent and a 50-city average of 43 percent."

Detroit is the worst offender on our list of America's most dangerous cities, thanks to a staggering rate of 1,220 violent crimes committed per 100,000 "

In 2003, there were 1.5 Million unwed births, and less than 1% were put up for adoption. Fagan and Fitzgerald (above)

Only 4% of college graduates have illegitimate children, and only 16% of college graduates get divorced, compared to 46% of high school dropouts, who marry in smaller numbers to begin with. Dr. David Popenoe, “The Future Of Marriage In America; “The Frayed Knot – Marriage in America”, The Economist, May 26, 2007

50% of single mothers are below the poverty line, their children are 6 times more likely to be in poverty than children with married parents. Chuck Colson, “How Shall We Live”, Tyndale House.

The illegitimacy rate went up more than 300% since 1970. House Ways and Means Committee, Nonmarital Births to Adults and Teenagers and Federal Strategies to Reduce Nonmarital Pregnancies, appendix “M”, 2003

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Say "NO" FOR ALMA WHEELER SMITH FOR GOVERNOR

Say "NO" to Alma Wheeler Smith for Governor, who has not done anything to stop the corruption in the Family Court in her own district of Washtenaw County because of her sister (Judge Nancy C. Francis). State Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith has suggested to raise taxes by $500.00 to those individuals who are making $50,000.00 or more a year during these hard economic times.