Oregon's child welfare agency has agreed to pay $7 million to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of two children who were nearly starved to death by foster parents the state approved for them. The Yamhill County foster parents who for years withheld food from the two preschoolers and subjected them to other abuse, John and Danielle Yates, are each serving 2 ½ years in prison. According to the lawsuit, caseworkers and their supervisors ignored complaints and obvious problems during the 2 1/2 years the children lived with the couple. A state review of the case found that a caseworker saw the emaciated children less than a month before doctors at Randall Children's Hospital determined they suffered from chronic starvation. But the caseworker did nothing. At Randall, the lawsuit says, doctors found the children resembled victims of a famine: their ribs visible, their bellies protruding and their brain development severely affected.
Landmark Federal Lawsuit Charges Missouri With Failure to Protect Foster Kids from Powerful Psychotropic Medications
Watchdogs Children’s Rights, National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) and Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics have today filed a landmark, civil rights complaint against Jennifer Tidball, Acting State Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services and Tim Decker, Director of the Children’s Division of DSS, on behalf of all minor children and youth who are or will be placed in Missouri’s foster care custody. The first class action lawsuit to shine a federal spotlight solely on the overuse of psychotropic medications among vulnerable, at risk populations – such as Missouri’s 13,000 children in foster care – the complaint alleges longstanding, dangerous, unlawful and deliberately indifferent practices by the defendants.
A Florida couple is accused of hundreds of sex crimes involving 11 young children in Alabama, authorities said. The charges leveled against Daniel W. Spurgeon and Jenise R. Spurgeon stem from allegations of abuse sustained by their foster and adopted children when they lived in Alabama years ago, Florence police said. The allegations have been under investigation since Florida authorities contacted Florence police last July about crimes that occurred in Cape Coral. The Florida investigation led police to believe children in Alabama also may have been abused, said Florence police Sgt. Brad Holmes. Daniel Spurgeon is charged with 115 counts of first-degree sex abuse, 122 counts of child abuse, four counts of first-degree sodomy, four counts of sexual torture, three counts of domestic violence by strangulation or suffocation, six counts of first-degree rape, 115 counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes, six counts of incest and 11 counts of first-degree human trafficking. Jenise Spurgeon is charged with 100 counts of child abuse, one count of domestic violence by strangulation of suffocation, 11 counts of first-degree human trafficking, 100 counts of endangering the welfare of a child and 100 counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published a study comparing "mental and physical health outcomes of children placed in foster care to outcomes of children not placed in foster care." The study claims to be the first of its kind looking specifically at these health outcomes. Similar to other past studies looking at outcomes comparing foster children to those not placed in foster care, the results of this new study were predictable: "We find that children in foster care are in poor mental and physical health relative to children in the general population, children across specific family types, and children in economically disadvantaged families... Children in foster care are a vulnerable population in poor health, partially as a result of their early life circumstances."
When 6 year old Samuel Mitchell had difficulties in school stemming from a brain injury at birth, his mother sought help. Eventually, Child Protective Services of Colorado decided that they could do a better job of caring for Samuel, and they seized him from his family and locked him away in a facility where they turned him into a medical guinea pig. He spent years being heavily drugged, and when his mother and the ACLU investigated and exposed some of the corruption, there was retaliation. Lisa lost her son's childhood to a state that profited from years of drugging him. Her son's Guardian ad Litem (GAL) once told Samuel: "You're worth a lot of money." But now, Lisa has gained access to years of records and is blowing the whistle on the state, revealing a corrupt drugs-for-profit system that capitalizes on children seized by CPS and put into the foster care system.
Currently there are over 415,000 children in foster care in the U.S. today, according to the 2014 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS). What if you accepted that foster care was not a decision made “in the best interest of the child” but rather a financial decision made in the best interest of the state? What if you realized that the majority (75%) of children being removed from their home and placed into foster care was not due to imminent danger of abuse, but rather due to poverty, and are now being abused by the foster care system? What if you acknowledged that many of the foster homes these children are being placed into was worse than the one from which they had been removed? What if you learned about some of the stories of children who were abused in foster care, children who suffered emotional trauma of being “kidnapped” from their home, forced to take psychotropic drugs for the resulting emotional traumas they endured, physically, emotionally and sexually abused, or even used in sex-trafficking rings? What would you do with this information?
In December of 2014 Health Impact News reported on the class action lawsuit filed against the State of Texas and their foster care program brought by the group Children’s Rights, a New York-based advocacy group. The group was representing 12,000 foster care children as the plaintiffs. After legal proceedings that lasted about one year, where the State of Texas tried to get the case dismissed, U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack ruled against the State of Texas in December of 2015 stating that the foster care system named in the lawsuit was unconstitutional, and needed to be replaced with one that is constitutional. In her 255 page ruling, Judge Jack stated: "Texas' PMC (Permanent Managing Conservatorship) children have been shuttled throughout a system where rape, abuse, psychotropic medication, and instability are the norm."
Child welfare is an industry and industries are self-protecting ecosystems. Think about it, the only time the federal government pays me is when I take somebody’s kid. And as soon as that kid’s in foster care they instantly become a commodity, and the industry starts to wrap around, doctors, lawyers, judges, social workers, advocates, whole organizations. The industry is committed to this intervention, this taking other people’s children, ‘cause that’s what it needs to survive. And it’s on auto pilot and it’s going to do whatever it has to do to stay alive.
Our nation's Child Welfare system is corrupt, and there are few now who do not recognize the problems. American children in foster care are being abused. And that abuse is far greater than if the children had been left with their families in troubled homes. (See: Foster Care Children are Worse Off than Children in Troubled Homes.) Where there is disagreement is in how to fix the Child Welfare problem. The current Child Welfare system is rife with corruption, as billions of dollars in federal aid cannot be collected by states unless they put children into the Child Welfare system. Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon understands there is a problem, but his solution is to spend more federal taxpayer money, not less. Responding to a BuzzFeed investigative report that found "deaths, sex abuse, and blunders in screening, training, and overseeing foster parents at the nation’s largest for-profit foster care company," Senator Wyden sent a letter to all 50 governors in the United States addressing the issue. As a result, Senator Wyden is now proposing to spend more federal money on foster care in a supposed attempt to protect foster children. Is this really the correct solution? Will more government oversight and spending solve the current problems in the foster care system? If you were to put that question before the many tens of thousands of parents in this country who have had their children taken away from them by social services like CPS, they would give you a resounding "NO!" as a reply. If lawmakers are truly concerned about the incredible abuse of children in today's foster care system, perhaps they should start interviewing the parents of these children who are taken out of homes, in many cases homes where they are loved by their parents, and are then put into abusive foster care centers or homes. More government and more federal funding is NOT the answer: it is the problem.
Former Foster Parent Speaks Out on Corruption: Falsified Information & Failure To Protect Children from Abuse
Every day children in foster homes are abused and neglected. Many of those children are over-medicated and some even have seizures or fall into bouts of depression as a result of the unnecessary pills they are prescribed. How does this happen? It happens because there are so many children stolen by Child Protective Services, that there aren’t enough employees to handle supervising the children’s placements.