A Simple Trade: How a Humble Graduation Celebration for Foster Children turned into a Propaganda Coup for Scientology. Names were Taken.
A Simple Trade:
How a Humble Graduation Celebration for Foster Children turned into a Propaganda Coup for Scientology: Names were Taken.
The Business of Child Abuse:
By Joshua Allen
I first heard about this story a couple of days after the soon to be described event. I was more than a little surprised but I shouldn’t have been. The circumstances were such that I wanted to find more than a couple credible sources to confirm what can only be described as an unintelligible breach of ethics and downright stupidity by the organizers of a recent graduation celebration for foster children.
At the celebration, foster teens and a few adolescents received a donated bag filled with various sundries lotions and gift cards and as we see below, much more.
The breach took place a bit less than 2 weeks ago on Wednesday June 30th, and was by organizations that for the most part have a reputation for sincerely wanting to help graduating foster teens – but instead sent them, foster parents and ignorant administrators and CEO’s on a road paved with good intentions to the usual destination.
Surely the event organizer Pam Woods, (Ex Wife of disgraced former United Care CEO Craig Woods) and the current administrator of a group home that was forcibly split off from United Care a couple of years ago must have understood the obvious impropriety when she allowed the Headquarters of Scientology in Los Angeles to partially sponsor a graduation ceremony for foster teens at their banquet hall located within the Scientology Los Angeles compound.
The participants who were willing to speak reported that Scientologists (recognized by their uniforms among other things – you can Google it) handed out leaflets and interacted with foster parents, foster teens and foster children with nary a peep of concern or outrage from the organizers and various administrators who should have known better or at least said something at the time about what is clearly a violation of common sense, title 22 regulations and confidentiality laws regarding foster teens and foster children. Oh, and a little thing called Church and State but let’s not quibble.
One individual who would only speak off the record said, “…I was shocked when the pretty Scientologist in her blue uniform came to the podium, spoke for perhaps 20 minutes about L. Ron Hubbard and his book, and then screened a 5 or 10 minute clip of a film. The clip… depicted an abusive father who berated and verbally abused his young boy and then smashed the child’s various art work several times while growing up until finally the now older boy painted a mural which the horrible father couldn’t destroy.”
When asked about the content of this clip, others at the event confirmed the above description as true. Said another, “…It seemed inappropriate for foster children to be exposed to this… Many of the children and teens had parents who did things like this or much worse and it certainly wasn’t the time or place for such a depiction.”
After screening the clip and speaking a bit more about the success Scientology in New York had working with violent teens, the Scientologist at the podium announced a surprise for everyone in the audience.
Each and every person in the ballroom was set to receive free of charge a DVD of the entire film, a book or literature about scientology and joy of joys and absolutely free of charge!!!! an introductory class for anyone who chose to stay after the event! And some including the kids may have done just that!
To facilitate this, a blank contact list was passed around by various Scientology adherents to every adult, child and teen participating in the event asking for name, address and telephone number so that additional information can be provided at a later date. The blank lists was passed around to the various tables while the individuals encouraged everyone more than once (including the foster children) to write down their names and contact information.
Many of the foster parents who had never heard of Scientology innocently put down their contact information and allowed the foster teens whom they had brought to the graduation to do so thinking the organization (Scientology) something like the various coalitions and organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs that help foster children and teens graduate, emancipate from the system and apply for colleges, vocational schools, and independent living facilities as well as loans and grants for their continuing education.
In other words, the foster parents believed it was something that would offer material help to the foster children in a manner approved and sanctioned by DCFS, Community Care Licensing and the various group homes and foster organizations who attended.
In fact, many of the foster parents had no idea that Scientology is considered to be a religion. Some of the teens were a bit more “hip,” to this, having seen the depiction of Scientology on one of the more famous episodes of South Park.
(The author will allow the famous episode of South Park as well as numerous Google references to Scientology speak for itself should the reader have more interest in the subject matter. The reader can therefore judge for themselves if exposing vulnerable foster teens that are emancipating from the system with few possessions and even less adult guidance, received an appropriate and ethical as well as a legal tradeoff by enjoying the use of the Ballroom facility as well as receiving other free goodies for their graduation ceremonies).
And it should be noted that many of the graduating teens had their foster brothers and sisters at the celebration who were much younger and who were also provided with, and encouraged to fill out the blank contact list. This is especially disturbing.
Again, to stress, many of the foster parents allowed this to happen as they assumed the organization had been cleared to do this by their foster agencies, group homes and event organizers, and did so as they believed the foster teens and children would receive further benefits, goods and services. Something that everyone associated with foster care in Los Angeles believes is sorely lacking. One questions therefore what the Scientology Institute in Los Angeles plans to do with this information?
The foster parents, the teens, as well as many of the attendees originally arrived with an invitation that included a pleasant graphic, a date and time about the event. More than one participant was shocked when they realized the location of the event upon arrival. And even that would have been acceptable (but perhaps still questionable) had there been no proselytizing, propaganda and collection of confidential information by an organization that remains controversial to say the least.
What were Pam Wood and the other organizers thinking? One hopes that they were simply sandbagged and really had no idea but what does this say about their collective intelligence and common sense?
And think about the double standard. Imagine if at this event, (which to repeat was a graduation celebration for foster teens) a Christian organization had screened a clip about the Gospel of Jesus, passed out Christian Literature, gave out a free film that advocated for their particular denomination, and then took down contact information of everyone in the room including foster children and foster teens while offering a free class right after the event to trusting participants.
Or to add to this point, what if the Mormon Church had done this, or an Islamic organization, or a Jewish group? This is not neuroscience, although apparently certain individuals involved with this fiasco should avail themselves of such practitioners.
Or in lay terms, they should have their heads examined.