Joshua Allen Online

The Business Of Child Abuse: The Good, The Bad, The Corruption

Posts Tagged ‘Child Abuse

Riverside agency director indicted. How to ‘Shortchange,’ abused and neglected children without really trying.

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The Business of Child Abuse

By Joshua Allen

Vivian Lieska Benn, the CEO and owner of the Riverside ‘ Family Hope,’ Foster Family Agency, was charged with 6 felony counts of embezzlement and money-laundering.

Ms. Benn is accused of spending about $400,000 in public funds, which were allocated for the care of abused and neglected children.  The public money was spent on such things as Ms. Benn’s personal mortgage, trips to various casinos, assorted ATM withdrawals, cruises, timeshares, and those cute red shoes in the window at Bloomingdales, which she just had to have.

The foster care agency was her piggy bank.  And one wonders if some  CEO’s and directors from questionable agencies, are just a little bit nervous right about now. Tick tick tick tick tick…

The District Attorney opened an investigation, when an audit revealed hundreds of thousands of dollars were missing.  This led to evidence of money laundering and embezzled funds.

The District Attorney Paul Zellerbach put out a written statement;

“The lives of these children have already been severely disrupted so for someone who has been entrusted with their care to steal funds intended to benefit those children is certainly one of the worst crimes Imaginable.”

Apparently, the  Riverside County Auditor-Controller’s Office, and their District Attorney, who initiated a 3 year investigation after the audit, take these things more seriously than do our Los Angeles County counterparts.

This is the first time in memory, one recalls an actual indictment, because of financial improprieties from a foster agency director, CEO, or board member.

And it took Riverside county to do it.

And this outrageous and self serving statement, was spewed out by Social Services spokeswoman Sayori Baldwin;

“A review of Family Hope showed none of the children’s services such as food, clothing, medical needs, counseling or tutoring were shortchanged as a result of the theft.”

Now lets get this straight.

Benn is accused of stealing close to a half million dollars (that we know about), from monies meant for foster children.  Yet the abused and neglected children were never “shortchanged?”  Does this spokeslady really believe this?

The abused and neglected children weren’t shortchanged?

Consider all the monies which were siphoned, and contemplate the good that money could have done. What extra services and benefits would our foster children have received?  Tutors, lessons, heck, some of these kids haven’t been to a movie in years, let alone a Dodger game.  We are talking about stuff.  Stuff to make the lives of foster children a little less miserable.

And according to the D.A, Vivian Benn took the money to the casino. And one doubts she succeeded on her double down.

Now in Los Angeles county, there never seems to be a prosecution of a bad guy or gal.  Not for paying ghost employees as a favor to your mob buddies, not for buying condos, and not for having friends and family on the payroll even though they are sick at home, or living in another state.  And no county concern, for working a few hours a week, yet being paid full time 6 figured salary.

Previously, the only consequence of skullduggery, was the agency being closed down, along with the return of a fraction of the missing dollars.  This only happened after strained negotiations with agency attorneys, who behaved and were treated by county officials, as if the discredited agencies had the upper hand.

Ms. Benn, who has been involved with other children agencies in the past, including one called ‘Hintons Manor,’ has made a good living providing for our child abuse victims during the past decade.  At Hintons Manor, during the years 2004, and 2005, Ms. Benn has salaries listed at about $100,000 annually.

Then in 2011, which is the only other tax return listed, this same agency is documented as having negative assets and liabilities. And why are there no tax returns for the missing years?

This all presumably happened,  during the same decade as the money laundering and funneling of funds into shell accounts, which took place at the the Family Hope Foster Agency.

Benn was a busy lady.  And there are legitimate doubts regarding the effectiveness of her lucky number at the Pachanga Casino.

Three cheers, and the sound of one hand clapping to Riverside county officials, who got it right.  Yes it is “small potatoes,” in the scheme of things.

Well, small potatoes, except to the abused and neglected children. Because, unless you are the spokeswoman for Riverside County social services, who noted all was well, these foster children are always shortchanged.

Without really trying.

Written by joshuaallenonline

September 9, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Big government foster care: For mediocrity to triumph, indifferent people do little.

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Big government foster care: For mediocrity to triumph, indifferent people do little.

(It takes a murder to kickstart reform)

The Business of Child Abuse

By Joshua Allen

(First published at

Residents of Los Angeles County, reeling from allegations of gross incompetence and probable negligence by Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), have been blessed with the creation of a blue ribbon commission, set up by county supervisors.  The allegations arose after social workers and supervisors failed to prevent the torture and murder of a young child in Palmdale, despite ample evidence that the child was in great danger.

DCFS director Browning moved to immediately fire four employees associated with this tragedy.  Seeking to fire employees so quickly is in itself is a kind of reform, since union rules, including a ridiculous appeal process, make it almost impossible to fire a social worker for mere incompetence.  Similar incompetence once resulted in a two-week suspension.  Just ask Rocio La Voie.

Ms. La Voie received a ten-day suspension for actions not so different from the incoherence exhibited by the four employees associated with the horror in Palmdale.  Indeed, Ms. La Voie believed that her original suspension was too harsh, and appealed it!

Mr. Browning has his hands full with recalcitrant unions, a much too high percentage of impossible-to-fire employees, and politicians who have gotten it wrong, decade after decade.  During the past 15 years, the number of children in foster care has decreased from a top of over 65,000 to a little over 21,000 today.  Yet the budget for DCFS is within about 10% of what it was, when foster care placements were at a peak.  By any measure, this large reduction in foster care placements, while maintaining a similar budget, should have resulted in significant savings, as well as a huge improvement in overall care for our abused and neglected children.  Yet there has been no savings, and by all accounts, no improvement in overall care.

In the Palmdale case, Mr. Browning has shown a willingness to take on the union, as a first small step towards real reform.  However, it wasn’t such a difficult call, since the incompetence demonstrated by these workers was so egregious.  The test will come from future cases, which won’t have a tortured child and extensive media coverage.

So where are we now?  And what reforms will this blue ribbon commission recommend?  It is difficult to imagine that the head of this commission doesn’t already know what recommendations shall come out of the current investigation.  Some of us worry about the “power of pedigreed professionals.”

The head of the commission is David Sanders.  David Sanders was a previous director of DCFS for three years and couldn’t fix things then.  Not even close.

Later, after three other directors left (one for the Casey Foundation), Sanders wanted his old job back.  Sanders lost out to Browning and is now, with the commission, in a perfect position to “ankle-bite, and peck away.”

Sanders worked for the Casey foundation for over a decade and advocates the implementation of Casey’s foster care agenda, which has always included keeping children away from foster care as long as possible, maintaining and supporting at-risk families, and seeing foster care as a solution only in the most extreme cases.

Some worry that this emphasis on family reunification and keeping birth families together at all cost, while noble, risks keeping abused and neglected children in birth homes for too long a period, risking further abuses.

The county now wants to hire an additional 150 social workers and extend training for up to a year.  An earth-shaking event occurred recently when a social worker in training recently flunked out of the Academy.  The shortage of social workers was so acute that everyone who entered this training Academy would pass.  Think about that for second, and be very afraid.  DCFS director Browning has promised to put a stop to this practice, and there is no reason to doubt his word.

And finally, the most recent kerfuffle is the continuing drama of children’s services inability to find placements within 24 hours, for foster children removed from their homes.

Social workers, unable to find placements for these children, put them in holding cells or err centers euphemistically called the “Children’s Welcome Center.”

The holding locations don’t have enough volunteers to properly feed and or manage the needs of infants, or maintain order, in controlling a volatile mix of young teens from various backgrounds.  The police were called on more than one occasion.  This is reminiscent of the old McLaren Hall, which in the bad old days sort of functioned as a jail for foster children, who couldn’t be placed in foster homes.

To be fair, no child spent more than a few days in these holding centers.  And nobody believes that it’s optimal — not even the Times, who get to write about it every six months or so.  The situation is so bad that various nonprofit law firms are threatening lawsuits and fines to force the county to allocate funding to mitigate the problem.  A tall order during bankrupt times.

The publicity surrounding the torture death of Gabriel Fernandez in Palmdale caused an increase in the number of calls to the hotline.  The county had more foster children than they could handle.  Ominously, this meant numbers of abused children would not have come to the attention of authorities without the publicity from this murder.  Director Browning plans to increase contracting with nonprofit foster agencies to meet the demand for bed space.

However, the concern, as always when it comes to agency nonprofits, is how far DCFS will go in overlooking unscrupulous practices to assure that the county has enough bed space (read: money) for abused and neglected children?  Audits have shown mismanaged spending and large financial handouts to friends and families.

There was always an unwritten rule that as long as the children are properly cared for, the county would kind of, sort of overlook tens of grand here and there, as long as one doesn’t take too much.  Unless, of course, a child dies, in which case all bets are off.

Part of the problem is how CEOs of foster agencies received county contracts.  Contracts were awarded to individuals who were not properly vetted and were unqualified.  Often minority politics played a role toward obtaining contracts.  Proposals were accepted, if completed properly, and if the agency had enough initial money to begin operations.

Agency board members were never scrutinized; one was recently found to be in prison while still serving on the board of directors.  It was not necessary for CEOs to have college degrees; CEOs needed only to delegate necessary tasks to those who did have proper qualifications.  At some foster agencies, board members, and CEOs, were some of the least educated, and most unqualified, among their own employees!

However, all this is old news, and the real scandal is that once again, it took the torture and death of an innocent child to trigger momentum towards reform.  Momentum, which will eventually peter out, until the next child dies.

And we begin the process all over again.

Written by joshuaallenonline

September 6, 2013 at 9:39 am

Posted in Child Abuse

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Teens Happy Homes: Contract discussed behind closed doors: Which Agency is Next to Crumble?

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Teens Happy Homes: Contract discussed behind closed doors: Which Agency is Next to Crumble?

The Business of Child Abuse:

By Joshua Allen

We have been writing about Teens Happy Homes, and other agencies of concern for over 3 years.  For 3 years we warned the county, and anyone else who would listen, that the system of audits in place are inadequate, and so weak, as to encourage malfeasance. Children’s welfare suffers when there is malfeasance.  How can it be otherwise?

Foster Care Agencies have a Board of Directors.  This Board is supposed to be supervising, the agencies care of abused and neglected children, and they also monitor an agencies finances. However, since board members are almost always friends and family, they do neither.  And therefore, the children suffer, as they always have.

So it comes as no surprise, about today news. LA TIMES STORY

The County Board of Supervisors, is going through the motions, and finally considering closing Teens Happy Homes.  This after years of warnings, destroyed financial records (which happened the same week as one of the audits), and the deaths of abused and neglected children.

“The routine audit of Teens in 2003 faced problems from the beginning. Shortly before auditors arrived, a sewage backup destroyed many financial records. The remaining documents painted a picture of financial chaos.”

One would think the above quote, which came from the Previous Times Story, would have caused a large red flag warranting significant attention.  But that didn’t happen.  And now, apparently, because of county incompetence, children are dead.  There is no other way to put it.

One of the new proposals, by Zev Yaroslavsky, would be to hire 6 or 7 additional monitors to track agency finances.  This is a good start.

Why has such an obvious partial solution taken so long?  It is a question best asked, while pondering the thousand mile stare of sexually abused children.

Older foster kids know when money is being siphoned from its intended purpose.  Go ask some of the kids – ask them what gifts they received for Christmas from their agency.  One agency had no gifts for 2 out the past 3 years.  This, while 3 staff members received almost 10% of the gross.  Does that sound right?

Whistle blowers, who risk everything, including violence, feel betrayed, when they come forth and nothing happens.  When officials throw up the hands and say, “…there is nothing I can do.”

There must be a cap on top salaries, perhaps in the $125,000 range?  Especially when an agency has a gross below 6 or 7 million dollars.  If foster care workers want to make more, perhaps the private sector is a more suitable solution, rather than toiling in the trenches.

The Agency Board of Directors must be unconnected to the CEO’s, who is answerable to them.   Shouldn’t board members be people who do it only to contribute their time and energy towards helping abuse victims?  Instead, we have boards made up of friends and family members, or employees of the agency, who police their own, and often, get little, under the table deals.

When auditors come, especially financial auditors, a practical idea would be to interview lower staff members, and do so in private.  Auditors must see such individuals away from the prying eyes of the administration, who may be timing the interview, as they sit outside the door.

Shouldn’t whistle blowers have some form of protection, beyond getting a lawyer they can’t afford, and waiting years for any sort of resolution?

Administrators, directors, treasurers, and other 6 figure staff members must be able to prove they actually work full time, or something close to a 40-hour week.  That is, proof, beyond silly time cards, which mean nothing in the scheme of things.

How many days and hours per week, can some of these guys be away from the office?  Who holds them accountable? Their cousin Vinny?  Dad?

Foster agency salaries, for the most part, are paid for by our taxes.  These are not private foundations.  This is part of the problem, because heads of these places, consider the non-profit agencies to be their personal businesses.  And these agencies are not theirs to do with as they chose.  Not when they take tax money to survive.  They belong to us, and are accountable.

Finally, and most obvious:  Why are foster parents, who hurt foster children, allowed to pop up somewhere else and do it all over again?  This last part hurts, because we are big fans of foster parents, and consider it one of life’s toughest and most thankless jobs.

But the good ones don’t do it for “thanks.”  And that is why, it is so egregious, when money is siphoned away.  Because it is money that could be helping these children, rather than lining pockets.

Thank heavens for good foster parents, and good social workers, and supervisors.  Because it is this group of people, beyond everyone else, except for foster children,  who know how bad things can really be.

Written by joshuaallenonline

May 2, 2013 at 8:32 pm

If I Wanted Foster Care To Fail:

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Big Government Foster Care: If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail.

The Politics of Child Abuse
By Joshua Allen

I saw a viral video awhile back.  The video has several million hits by now.  You can see the video here
We were inspired a bit, and borrowed the format to our focus on Child Abuse and Foster Care issues.  So with credit and due appropriately proffered, here is our take.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

I would create an “Academy,” where new County Social Worker (CSW) applicants train, before working with abused and neglected children.  In this academy, not one applicant would ever flunk out.  Never. Every applicant would pass, and become a CSW, despite idiocy, incompetence and mental illness.

Strange, angry, ignorant, or slow social workers would be mixed in with the competent, stellar, and dedicated. Thus the entire department would be tainted, and appear foolish, because of a few (too many) individuals.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

I would make it almost impossible to fire any county social worker. Incompetent, or mentally challenged workers, would be transferred to departments and locations where they did minimal harm – for a while.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

I would provide as few educational benefits as possible for abused and neglected children. Then foster teens could return home, or age out of the system, with minimal tools and skills.  Numerous foster teens would be homeless or incarcerated.
Donations would be solicited from the community , with minimal financial oversight.  Monies set aside for educational purposes would be misspent by unscrupulous executives.  Executives who, with minimal work and even less education, want to be rich overnight.

At rubber chicken affairs, I would trumpet educational achievements of a few hand-picked foster teens that did well, despite horrific adversity.

However,  at the same time, I would ignore  thousands of foster teens who fail to graduate, can barely read, and are almost 4 times more likely to need Special Education.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

There would be no accountability for foster agency executives to account for their working day. Auditors would examine time cards as if they were recorded by Mother Teresa.  Underlings, or coworkers, would never be questioned to determine if executives actually did anything .

Executives from agencies would be Board Members of their own agency.  Board of Directors would include friends and family, who would  evaluate their own job performances.  Executives would set their own salary, authorize their own bonuses, and dole out contract caseloads to friends and family.  Conflicts of interest would be ignored by county politicians, who with a shrug would say, “There was nothing they could do.”

Gross mismanagement would never be grounds for an executive being removed, or board members being held to account. Never. Taxpayer money would be considered grains of sand.

Not one board member would ever suffer consequences when they knowingly allow a director to mismanage, steal from, or damage foster children.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

Social workers would spend the majority of their time on paperwork, documenting the 10% of their time they actually spent helping abused and neglected children.
In reports, social workers would learn to document fake percentages and goals, to demonstrate statistical success.  Measurements, and goals documenting progress, would be obsessed over.  A typical observation would read like this:

“Baby Johnny’ will scream and throw objects once per day rather than 3 times daily, Showing a 75% improvement by the end of this quarter.”
Hundreds of regulations, rules, policies and procedures would be created, which only a retired-in-place bureaucrat could understand.  And policy makers would believe every new rule and bit of paperwork, actually improved the well being of abused and neglected children.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

County lawyers would be responsible for a caseload of 200 abused and neglected foster children.   Therefore, many attorneys would do a mediocre job protecting abused and neglected children.

At Children’s Court,  hearings would last 5 minutes.  Birth Parents would meet their lawyers for the first time a few minutes before their hearing. Lawyers for foster children would be paid the lowest hourly rate for any attorney in the county, creating a weak incentive for highly skilled attorneys to engage in child welfare.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

Caseloads of Contract Social Workers would not be cross checked across county lines.  Contract social workers will have many cases beyond what is allowed.   Abused and neglected children would then receive minimal contact, or assistance from their social worker.  Those entrusted to monitor such things would turn a blind eye.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

I would move abused and neglected children to 4 or more homes during their time in foster care. The norm would be minimal stability, bonding, or nurturing at this horrible time in their lives.

Foster children would be given minimal information regarding their cases or dispositions.  Anxiety and depression, caused by bad policies and apathy, would be typical.

Concepts such as “Fast Tracking,” would be ignored by judges and social workers alike, who give birth parents 3rd, 4th, 5th, even 6th chances over several years. Frequent delays, all in the name of  “keeping the family together,” would do exactly the opposite.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

I would believe politicians when they say we are well on the way to fixing things, even though they said the same thing year after year, while hiring 5 new heads of Children’s Services during the past decade,  while repeating the same old promises we call lies.

I would accept as gospel, policy decisions originating from university and communications think tanks, from ‘scholars’ and ‘experts,’ who live as far away from MLK Blvd, Korea Town and Santa Ana as class and money provide.

A professor or Esteemed Professional who adopted a foster child cared for by nannies, would be a consecrated expert.  Yet the foster parent from Santa Ana, who raised 3 children to productive adulthood, would be locked out of any discussion, because of difficulty with English fluency, problems negotiating a prominent universities map, and difficulty arranging child care for 12 hours.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:   

In a huge county like Los Angeles I would assign 1 or 2 newspaper reporters, to occasionally cover events regarding foster care, child abuse, and family court.
Foundation publicists, and sideways talking politicos, would control the conversation.  Investigative journalism would be minimized as non-news worthy, ‘solution based journalism’ (Foundation Speak), would rule the Huffingtons.

If I wanted Foster Care to Fail:
Not one birth parent would ever be held legally accountable, for making false accusations against the foster parents who care for their child.  The damage such false accusations cause to children, would be considered a normal part of the business of child abuse.  Lying, and false accusations by a birth parent, would be met by a slight admonishment and lecture, without consequences, or other measures of deterrence.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

I would teach Foster Children, Foster Parents, and Social Workers to ignore hypocrisy, and accept lies, stupidity, and deceit as a normal part of Children Services, something impossible to change.  I would teach that the only way an idealistic worker could survive and continue, is by accepting defeat.

Pathetic money wasting programs such as “Wrap Around,” and poorly run programs like “Family Preservation,” would never be challenged, or improved.  An alliance of vested financial interests, along with government monitors, who fear answering for their failures, would continue year after year.

Such programs and agencies would provide owners,  a top 1% income, and lifestyle, which the typical foster child, will never know, and only dream of ;  “ …from just across the bay.”

So Basically, it’s this.

If I Want Foster Care to Fail:

I Would Do Nothing at All.     I Would Do Nothing at All.     I Would Do Nothing at All.

Joshua Allen Online
The Business of Child Abuse

Written by joshuaallenonline

September 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Dear Judge: This Time I’ll Do it Right! The Business of Child Abuse

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Dear Judge: This Time I’ll do it right!  

The Business of Child Abuse

By Joshua Allen

Dear Judge,

Hey I know it wasn’t your fault for taking my kids away.  That damn social worker lady what’s her name – she’s the real criminal.  What’s a little tweaking anyways?  I’m a good parent, the kids love me don’t they?  They always say it when that dumb social worker asks.

And that first judge!  Who the hell is that SOB to tell me that I need to be drug tested?  The hell with dirty tests!  It’s the damn system that destroyed my family.  That judge is paid a big hunk of change to rip families apart.  They all make money from us, from all of us. But I know you’re different from that other guy.

And that mother-of-all-fights we had last night.  G-d was that a bitch of a fight or what!  We were both messed up good I know…sorry?   But hey, at least I gave as good as I got!

But why is the county so uptight?  The kids weren’t touched, so what’s the big deal? Damn neighbors snitchin to cops, I bet I know which one too.  Always so nosy, asking about the kids.  Who the hell are they to offer to take care of them?    Why can’t people just mind their own business!  Lots of people do worse things to kids than I did, and they still have them.  It’s not fair.

Why don’t the cops go after the real criminals.  You know the freaks that do those unspeakable things to their kids?  We never did nothin like that.  It was all lies.  Why did they make my kids lie?

What did those county nutheads say?  The allegation was substantiated?  Unsubstantiated?  What the heck is that?

Their father should be getting out of the joint soon anyways.  And yeah,  he’s got to stay away but they can’t check that all the time, can they? Anyways, just like you said, he won’t be around.

I love my kids, why can’t you see that?  Okay I shouldn’t have missed those visits.  Especially the youngest ones birthday.  Anyways she’s just 3 so she doesn’t really care.  But yeah,  I’ll  make it up to her I  always do.  Just ask her.

But maybe you can tell my why is my oldest so angry all the time?  He shouldn’t be taking stuff from the store.  What are they paying that foster parent for anyways? You should check that out.  

And who the hell is she to say I can’t talk to my kids any time, day or night.  She’s poisoning them against me!  That’s why they’re so angry.  They’d probably be back with me by now if that lady hadn’t been speaking smack to that lazy CSW.  You should check her too.

She never even returns my calls!   Okay, it probably wasn’t too smart to yell at her those times, especially when I need my kids, I admit it, that wasn’t smart.  But can’t they see how much the kids love me?  How they cry when it’s time for me to leave the one hour weekly visit at McDonald’s?

What’s the foster parent so mad about anyways, so I missed a few visits when I were supposed to be there – the kids ate real good didn’t they?  They love McDonald’s.  I took them there almost every day when I still had money before losing that job for tweaking.    

And yeah it was uncool to use before the baby was born.  But I know better now.  Next time I’m pregnant I’ll do it right.  They need their mommy.  Especially the baby.  She’s got all sorts of problems but I’ll take her to the best doctors.  I still got the Medi-Cal card, I never lost it.  Doesn’t that prove something?  

Anyways all that’s behind me.  I’m barely using these days, not for a couple of days anyways.  And I’m taking those parenting classes.  Haven’t missed a single one and I have the papers to prove it.

That other judge said I’d get the kids back soon if I could just string together a few clean tests and my grandmother gets a bigger place.  That’s what mom did when I was a kid.  We all came home real fast after the county took us.  Why’s it so different now?  

Look,  when my babies come home it will be different this time.  We’ll do it right.  No more partying.  No more tweaking.  And we’ll just be a happy family this time. I’ll put them back in school, I’ll be there for them you’ll see…

Or not.    The Politics of Child Abuse

Written by joshuaallenonline

June 15, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Child Abuse For Dummies: How to Get your Child Back While Really Trying

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Child Abuse for Dummies: How to Get your Child Back While Really Trying

The Politics of Child Abuse

By Joshua Allen

DCFS Has “Taken your kid.”

(The Talk) 

When social workers come to your home to remove your children:

Put your shirt on before opening the door. And incidentally, how come your shirt is off every time a social worker comes to your home?

If social workers are taking your baby for neglect: Don’t light up a cigarette (or anything else) while they are there and your kids are crying. You can do that when they’re gone. Oh, and don’t make a scene, it’s not good for the children.

Now this is important:

Gather up as many clothes as possible so the social worker can put them in a garbage bag to bring to the foster home. It may be days before your children have a change of clothes. Foster parents should buy or have on hand some clothes right away. But they are busy the first few days, taking your kids to the doctor,specialists, enrolling into school or special needs, visiting shrinks, taking them to children’s court, the dentist, or the offices or a half-dozen other social workers, investigators or lawyers.

And… if your child needs any medicine please make sure the worker gets it before they leave. The latter is a big deal.

Don’t scream or act stupidly in front of the social workers, therapists the judge, anyone else, and especially your children. I know it’s hard, but Really;

Don’t yell, scream or cry!

It doesn’t help your cause. It will add more time to your separation, and frankly, haven’t you screamed enough?

Get the Emergency Workers phone numbers. The Emergency worker is the guy or gal who comes to your home with the cop to remove your children. They know you’re hurting, but be polite. You need their help to learn what your new friends want you to do.

Here is why;  More days than necessary will pass before your child is entered into the data base if the ER Worker is difficult. Nothing happens until your kids become a number in the system. Until then, you will be in limbo before anyone can tell you your child’s status, whom you should call, or where to visit your kids, where to take your classes, drug tests, find shrinks, – or do whatever else the county wants you to do. So be nice.

When you call your social worker (or anyone else), leave one message, or if you really must, two. Don’t do more. I know you want to, but don’t. Really, don’t. Every message beyond a couple is counter-productive. (That means it won’t do you any good).

Your phone message should be direct, clear and polite. Don’t complain, blame, or inventory your problems. It’s probably okay to say you’re concerned and want to do right by your kids. Be concise, leave contact info, (Be sure to have paid minutes on your cell phone), and express gratitude in advance to them for returning your call.

Faux (fake) or not, gratitude goes a long way towards helping your cause, if for no other reason then it differentiates you from all the other angry resentful buzz killers social workers have to deal with on a daily basis.

Remember, your goal is to learn what you need to do, (to get your children back), the best way to do it, where they are, and how frequently you can visit your children. Anything else is unpleasant commentary and won’t help you.

Visitation can be tricky.

Try to work with the foster parents and be reasonable regarding time and distance. If you insist on daily 3-hour-monitored visits close to your home (which will be monitored by the foster parent), your children will probably be moved to another home from the nice one the worker just found at 3:00 am last night. The foster parent just won’t do it. Nobody will.  And nobody beyond the judge – not even your children – want daily-3-hour-monitored-visits a week. This may be new, but try to understand what’s best for your children.

Think about it.

It can’t be good for your kids to be bounced to another home, right? You do get that? It happens a lot and it is just terrible for kids. Yes you want them back, (just like you wanted that rock). But think. The most important thing is to minimize their suffering through this ordeal which if your honest, is most likely your fault.

If the county worker or judge says ‘jump through hoops,’ do it. ‘Jump through hoops!’ Yes sir, no sir, do you want another sir? You know the drill – again, you do want your kids back right? Jump, twist, stand on your head…whatever. It doesn’t matter who is right, not this time.

There is no principle except to be with your children.

Don’t blame the County, the Social Workers, the Judge, the Foster parents, your children, their Teachers, their Doctor, your Neighbor, or ‘the System’ for having your kids ripped from their home. Everyone has heard it a million times and it’s usually a lie – Almost always. Even when it’s true you likely won’t be believed. Instead, look in the mirror. You’ll probably find your answers there.


If you have two dimes to rub together, GET A LAWYER! Do whatever it takes to get your own lawyer. I can’t stress this enough. If you wait for the one the county provides you’ll be waiting for your kids, maybe for a long time.  In life you get what you pay for, and that includes lawyers. This is not a time to be cheap. You want your children back? Repeat…Get a good lawyer, and pronto. Sell your possessions if you must, (the legal ones), but just do it.  Make the greatest sacrifices of your life.  It’s time.

Basically, the amount of money you spend to reunify with your children is inversely proportional to the amount of time they are away from you. There are many exceptions of course, but how often do you see wealthy kids in foster care?

If you must settle for the county provided attorney offered to you, then it is okay to break the above rule regarding leaving only 2 phone messages, since you may have to call a dozen times before getting a call back, (if you’re lucky).

You’ll probably meet that government provided attorney initially a few minutes before your first hearing at children’s court. And you won’t want to talk much unless they ask a question since they will probably be reading your file for the first time as will the judge the first minute they see your face. Your lawyer will need those precious 5 minutes to read your file before your hearing, so wait until they ask you something.

If you’re a man and you are supposed to stay away from the wife or the children whom you hit, (or worse) then Stay Away. Don’t sneak back to your lady/wife/partner/girlfriend/baby mama, even if she agrees. Yes, they often agree, ( I know, it’s terrible), but stop being selfish.

Take the monitored visits like an adult you are and do what you have to do to be back into your kids’ lives.

Follow the judges rules. Yes, the rules may be unfair, stupid, wrong, or more likely, were put there for all the right reasons. Will fighting court orders get your kids back faster? Has it ever worked for you before?

Go to the meetings, stay clean, and go to those anger management groups or family therapy. Do the 12 steps or whatever. They might work. What’s life without hope? 


Somehow keep your job, or get one. Clean floors if you have to. “Do the right thing.” And as I previously noted, keep your shirt on. (Actually that goes for ladies too, err… unless that’s your job I suppose). And if the county wants clean piss tests, well…do the impossible, stay clean. How much do love your kids? You keep saying it…

Oh, and don’t scare the social worker, the majority are females and often touchy-feely…they don’t respond well to loud words, anger, 20 phone messages, dozens of emails, lies, threats, resentment or generalized stupidity. And well…yes, occasionally the workers are nuts.

So remember; smooth sailing, that’s what it’s about. Therefore your best move is to be polite, kind, considerate and obsequious. (That means compliant or servile). As far as the system goes, a little honey goes a long way.

It’s unfortunate, but a lot of birth mothers seem to choose a perpetrators warm body in bed over being with their children.

You’re not one of those are you?

If the guy, baby father, boyfriend, husband – whatever – needs to stay away, make him stay away. Call the cops, if you have to move – move! If grandma isn’t allowed visitation then don’t sneak her to your home or to that monitored visit at McDonalds. And if you – yes you – are supposed to stay away until clean, then get clean.

By the way, you should learn to like McDonalds since you’ll be meeting your kids and the monitor there quite a bit. The place should charge a table fee for all the non-paying birth parents they have at their establishments every week. So be polite and buy the lunch for your kids instead of making the foster parent pay. They’re really not getting as much money as you think. And, well, it makes a good impression with both your kids and the foster parents whom you want on your side. (So they tell the social worker what a great parent you are).

When you visit your children, look decent, grooming goes a long way. Show up on time, be polite with the foster family, apologize to your kids, and hug them. Don’t argue with the worker or foster parents in front of them.

Don’t disparage the foster parents, and don’t tell your kids they are returning home right away when you have no bleeping idea. Don’t behave like a jerk in front of them, just stop that type of behavior and wake up.

Don’t tell your kids to lie about how bad the foster home is. It will further damage your children should they be forced to move to another home because of your thoughtlessness and stupidity. It won’t get them back one second faster. It will do the opposite. And everyone including your kids will resent you for it. That may not matter much to you but if you’ve read this far it probably does. And it really stinks.

Walk through Hell-Fire and Brick Walls to get your children back. Isn’t that what good parents do? If this means improve your character, get clean, take classes, get a job, stop tweaking, or find G-d. Then do all those things and really mean it. Show everyone, especially your children, you want to be a better parent.

Take responsibility, it will help you and your children. If you have a problem with the foster home, make a respectful concern to your attorney and the social worker. Don’t make stuff up about the foster home. It won’t speed up reunification and will probably delay it.

Hopefully you haven’t perpetrated too many unspeakable things to your children and they can forgive you. It happens so don’t give up hope. Children want to love their parents, they really do. Give them a reason to.

Don’t forget to apologize to your kids again, and take responsibility. Own it. When appropriate, hug them and tell them you love them. Thank all that’s good and decent for the second chance. There may not be a third, or fourth, or fifth…
And finally, and this is my own take on things and it won’t hurt;

It always helps to pray.

The Business of Child Abuse

Written by joshuaallenonline

April 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm

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