Thursday, November 6, 2008

Senator Roach Attacked Again

Excuse me, I have to look over my shoulder....

Yep, the Senate Republican Caucus and the Senate Ethics Committee and yep...several DSHS workers at high levels read this blog and are documenting what I say.

They are really glad I am blogging because they want to use something...ANYTHING...against me.

Today, I called the attorney for the Senate Ethics Board. He told me that after he received a complaint from the foster mother that the board would have to look into whether or not my trying to help a constituent was, in fact, unethical.

(Note: The foster mother's complaint was about what I was saying...I never used her name...but she thought I was talking about her and just didn't like free speech. Her name was used in open it was public...but I never used it. The Ethics Board with Senate Republicans agreeing---without asking I know this---have decided to expand the complaint on their own. They want to find me guilty of unethical conduct for helping a constituent and fighting tyrannical government. That, by the way, is what I do when government wants to take away rights. God forbid an elected official who battles for rights. That is so passe.)

I guess it is OK to help...sometimes. For instance, the Department of Transportation wanted to put a round-about on a rural state highway in my district. Most of us felt it was a bad idea to put cattle trucks and logging trucks (essentially big semis) in a round-about. We also thought that it was wrong to take the private property it would have required to put in the round-about when they would not have had to take any private property to put in a traffic light at the same spot.

I fought hard to influence government. After all, they serve the people and the people did not want any of what they were dishing out. And, today there is no round about.

There is, by the way, no manual that is given out when you become a state senator. You work for the people you represent.

In the same area of the round-about (Enumclaw) DSHS took a child and has ignored the law that says family should be the first consideration for placement. They actually had two positive in-home placements for relatives (the grandparents and an aunt/uncle). DSHS actually hid the fact of the aunt and uncle from the judge. That's right. They did not want the child with relatives so they withheld information from the judge.

And, as I have been told...DSHS has almost totally ignored a court order to let the grandparents see their grandchild. For months and months, in fact...they were told (a lie) by the CASA that they had been ordered NOT to see their grandchild by the court! Imagine how they felt when they found out they were lied to all those months.
Where the heck is an ethic board when the attorney CASA lied to these people?

So, now the Senate Ethics Committee wants to attack me for calling it like it is. Surely, there must be something wrong when a Senator fights for an individual family. Why would anyone spend their time that way?

I have asked only two things from DSHS...that they follow the law and the court orders.

Oh, and, yes, after the fact, I expressed my displeasure that they put this mother and child in a home with 13 people and one bathroom. Oh, I certainly did tell them about the restraining order that the foster mother had against her old lover. It would have been irresponsible if I had not done so. And, I certainly did report and demand an investigation when little Lisa showed up at daycare with a black eye! That was not happening without me! People who care about kids do not put them in danger. (Let's see...wasn't it DSHS that put the pyromaniac teenager back in the home with four other children...only to have two kids burn to death?)

How about it...I am being persecuted for trying to help people against an agency that forces a child to stay with parents that are starving her!! (Pls. see earlier PRR: the 14 year-old who weighed 47 pounds.)



Anonymous said...

Pam this is standard operating procedure all over the country , in NH lawyers are facing the same things when they challenge CPS. Look up Paula Werme

Anonymous said...

DHS, CPS, whatever it is called in whatever state you find it; it boils down to them being bullies.

They are used to running over and abusing the rights of people who cannot fight back. This is what they do to regular people.

When you came onto their radar they no doubt looked up your personal information on state computers including that of your families. They couldn't find anything so they were left with the resort to file an ethics complaint, or the threat of.

They are bullies pure and simple. You can't use diplomacy with a bully; you have to knock them on their butt.

Please be proactive and take this to the court. That is the only thing that is going to stop them.

Legally Kidnapped said...

You just keep going Pam. You have become a hero to the family rights movement.

cc tillett said...

Dear Senator Roach,

You make me proud and put smiles on many family faces.

Washington State families WILL stand behind you.

CC Tillett

Anonymous said...

Good for you Pam. You have people second guessing themselves! There are so many lies told by DSHS and CASA's all over the country,someone needs to speak out even if it upsets someone else.You ma'am have hit the nail on the head and NOBODY wants to hear the truth.Thank you for all your work and I hope to see this exposed on a national level really soon so everone in the US knows it can be them if this doesn't come to an end.Keep picking away at the people who hide information,lie to take children and those who don't care what happens after they are taken.

Anonymous said...

Keep at it Pam!!You will never know the support you have from families going through this crap. DSHS has only one mission...Seek and destroy. They will never know their own effects on these families unless it brought in front of their noses. I can only hope you have been getting supportive comments since you are one a few trying to expose this garbage.Stay strong,too many people are counting on you!The only unethical thing that has taken place is DSHS on a mission and now being shamed.Withholding information is also unethical,maybe that should be looked into.

Anonymous said...

You are a Leader! It seems that no one but YOU has your sight on the real problem. I never would have believed there were this many worthless, finger-pointing, name -calling, judgemental, lying, look-the-other-way, lowlifes in OUR system. No one but YOU, wants the laws or disregard of laws, to be looked at, and closely. No one but YOU, wants those laws upheld. No one but YOU wants these illegial acts corrected. Look in the mirror all you guilty people who call yourself "The System". Pretty nasty sight isn't it?

beverly tran said...

You must remember Pam, if what you do and say angers others, it means you have struck a chord and are going in the right direction.

The time has come...

Beverly Tran

Anonymous said...

Pam I dont know if you want to post stories on here but here is one , you also may want to contact Richard Wexler , I am still following your blog but had to remove myself as I am redoing my daughters blog

November 8, 2008

DCS removes too many kids from homes, report says

Advocate says many could be safe in homes with more monitoring

By Tim Evans

The Department of Child Services is removing too many Indiana children who could be safely left with their families, potentially endangering some of the very youths the agency is trying to protect, according to a report by a national child welfare reform advocate.

The influx is clogging already congested juvenile courts, leaving thousands of children without the required oversight of independent advocates and overwhelming the supply of foster and adoptive parents, the report says.

It also is costing Indiana taxpayers tens of millions of dollars a year for the care of these children.

Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, cited the April death of Indianapolis foster child Destiny Linden as an example of what can happen when DCS removes children who he believes could have safely remained in their homes with monitoring by caseworkers. Although no evidence of neglect was found in Destiny's case, she died after being placed for a nap on her stomach rather than on her back, as experts advise.

In other states recognized as having successful child protection programs, such as Illinois and Alabama, Wexler said, Destiny would have been left with her mother or another relative. Instead of placing her in a foster home, child welfare workers would have kept a close eye on the family and provided services to address the source of its problems, such as substance abuse, domestic violence and child care.

He said the high number of children entering the system prevents caseworkers from having the time to work with Indiana families in that way.

New data compiled by Wexler's group show Indiana removed children from their families in 2007 at a rate of 4.86 per 1,000 children, more than 20 percent above the national average of 3.93.

Since 2004 -- the year before the state launched a reform push that included hiring 800 new caseworkers -- the number of Indiana children removed each year has jumped by 10 percent while dropping by 4 percent nationwide.

Wexler said he has seen no evidence that suggests abuse or neglect is occurring at a higher rate in Indiana than elsewhere, or that the growing number of Hoosier children living in poverty is a factor in the higher removal figures for Indiana.

But DCS Director James W. Payne said the numbers can be explained in several ways:

» They reflect a greater incidence of reports of abuse and neglect.

» DCS has been investigating more of the reports it has received.

» The agency has found evidence of abuse or neglect in a higher percentage of cases that were investigated than it did a year ago.

That said, Payne acknowledged the state is removing a larger number of children than he'd like to see and that his agency has taken steps to address the problem as it moves forward with its ongoing reform effort.

Training has been started to help caseworkers make better decisions about removal questions, he said.

Payne said it could take two more years to complete that training and fully implement strategies designed to help more troubled families without removing children.

He said he already is seeing positive results from the effort, including a drop in the percentage of children removed from families in certain less-serious cases. In October, he said, the state removed children in 34 percent of such cases, down from 41 percent one year earlier.

Wexler said Payne is missing the point -- and that there is no evidence Indiana children are any safer because of the high removal rate.

Although removing large numbers of children might sound like the state is doing a better job of protecting abused and neglected children, the two don't always go hand-in-hand, said Wexler, a frequent critic of the Indiana reform effort.

He said the best and most widely accepted indicator of the success of a child welfare system is in the recurrence of abuse or neglect of children who have been involved with the system. The lower the rate, the better.

But in Indiana, the percentage of children "revictimized" has increased slightly each year from 2004 to 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The state's re-abuse rate has grown from 6.3 percent in 2004 to 7.7 percent in 2006 -- or more than 500 of the 6,722 children who left the state's care that year. Payne said the rate for 2007 was about 8 percent.

"When you are seeing no increase in safety but a huge increase in removals," Wexler said, "that means your system is getting worse."

DCS removed 7,712 Indiana children from their parents in 2007 -- 369 more than the previous year -- according to Wexler's study, which is based on data that states submit to the federal government.

That number is continuing to rise in 2008.

Data from the DCS Web site shows removals have risen in each quarter for the past year. The number of children taken from their parents jumped by more than 41 percent between the period of September to November 2007 and the period of June to August of this year. For the same periods, reports of abuse coming into DCS increased by just 1 percent.

Payne defended the removals, noting the agency's decisions to separate children from their parents must be backed up by a court:

"That means an independent judge has said, 'Yes, these kids need to be safe.' "

Dawn Robertson, spokeswoman for the family rights group HonkForKids, said she questions the "independence" of many of those judges based on the experiences of families she knows who have dealt with DCS.

She said many parents go to court with no or inadequate legal representation, and decisions are made after very brief hearings.

"There does not seem to be, with most judges, an independent and unbiased review of all the facts of the cases," she said. "It's very one-sided. DCS' word is considered gospel."

Research by University of Connecticut School of Law Professor Paul Chill supports Robertson's claims. He found too many children across the U.S. are being removed without evidence that they are in "imminent danger" and that, once a removal is made, the initial allegations are too often taken as fact by courts.

Wexler said that approach would not be a problem if all cases were clear-cut. But most fall into a gray area, he said, and the approach of "erring on the side of the child" can be more harmful than many minor instances of abuse and neglect.

Finding ways to keep more children safe without tearing apart families is a much better approach to dealing with those types of cases, Wexler said. Family preservation, as the approach is called, has been touted as one of the keystones of Indiana's child welfare reform effort, launched in 2005.

But Wexler said the state's removal numbers belie a commitment to the new philosophy.

He offers several arguments in favor of family preservation, including a new study by the MIT Sloan School of Management that found children placed in foster care for marginal reasons -- situations where investigators could legitimately disagree about whether to remove the child -- have worse long-term outcomes than children left with their families.

The study showed these children are more likely to get involved in the juvenile justice system, become pregnant at an early age, wind up in jail and, as adults, earn less.

Wexler said he suspects the explosion of removals in Indiana may have contributed to Destiny's death in April.

Destiny had been removed from her mother not because of any harm caused by physical abuse or neglect, but because the young mother refused to move into a domestic violence shelter or press charges against a man who had raped her.

The 12-week-old Indianapolis girl died eight days after being placed in a foster home that -- despite several serious complaints about the way in which the foster parents cared for other children in their custody -- had been allowed by DCS to care for even more children.

She also was on a waiting list for an independent advocate, who might have fought for her removal from the foster home.

"Destiny never needed to be taken from her mother. Her (mother's) only 'crime' was to be, herself, a victim of domestic violence," Wexler said.

"The data show Indiana moving full-steam backwards, and that means you are going to see more tragedies like the death of Destiny Linden."


Anonymous said...

I do not live in your district, I don't even live in your state but I am following your fight -a good fight.
Stay strong. You are doing what is right. You ran for office and were elected to fight for your constituents. And that is what yo uare doing.
Do not go quietly into the night.
Many other states are experiencing what your state is experiencing with CPS. CPS'power defies the Constitution and this must stop.

All the best from NYC-

Anonymous said...

If you want a picket of the ethics committee in your behalf, just say the word.
Jan Smith