Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Oh, Great! Someone In Honduras Is Reading This Blog!

I just looked at the counter map and someone has been to this blog from Honduras. Gads! I hope they let me back in!

Pam Roach Headlines Washington's Online School Graduation

My aide, Brian, helped with my speech delivered Sunday at the Insight School graduation. He found the following quote which earlier in life I would have memorized:

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure...than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat"

Teddy Roosevelt

A Reader Writes About The Redistribution Of Children

A PRR Reader writes:

"...The bottom line is that when the wrongdoing is there, whether it be the caseworker or supervisor, someone needs to hold them accountable. The only reason our neice was taken from us is because somebody else wanted her. NOT another family member but someone the caseworker chose. To SendSamHome, don`t give up. We won`t even if we`re still fighing a year from now. If we give up, they win!!"

Monday, June 29, 2009

An American In Honduras Writes To "The Wall Street Journal"

The following letter-to-the-editor answered a Wall Street Journal article. Keep in mind that the Obama administration is siding with the leftist president and Chavez. The Honduran Supreme Court, the Congress and the military all agreed that the elected president was holding a illegal election. They constitutionally and peacefully removed him. The couple of hundred protesters are part of the 800 Venezuelans Chavez flew in before the attempt at holding an unconstitutional election.


Several months ago, Hugo Chavez sent energy saving light bulbs throughout many parts of Honduras to be disbursed. It was only one of the many attempts President Mel Zalaya has used, together with his buddy Hugo Chavez, to ingratiate himself to the Hondurans in preparation of the constitutionally illegal attempt for re-election of himself after his legal term ends. Light bulbs were given to those who have sporadic and unreliable electricity, and to the many who do not have electricity.

For both the haves and the have-nots, the attempt to purchase votes using light bulbs was demeaning and corrupting. It is something that the freedom loving people of Honduras, both the educated and the less educated, could see without the light bulbs.

What happened on Sunday in Honduras is a refreshing blast of the freedom loving spirit of 1776, something that is now so foreign to the majority in the USA it is not even recognized as democracy in action. Hondurans through constitutional means ousted a president who conspired to become the single and perpetual leader, dictator, and ultimately despot.

From Another Reader..."Is There 'Trafficking' In Children Through CPS?"

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Reader's Comment On 80%":


I have not reviewed this material...but what the heck...it is part of the national discussion and in the spirit of the 4th of July..let it rip!

Hondurans Fear For Their Country!!

Written after I asked for an update. I did not edit. This was written very quickly. Note the last question.

Hi Pam,
We are very worried about the situation in Honduras, because Mel Zelaya is a Bad Bad president he says that he is still the president and Chavez says that he is going to take Venezuelan and nicaraguan militaries inside Honduras. And what it hurst them Chavez, Mel , Evo Morales and Correa is that they can take anymore drugs no more money for them Thats what it hurts them the most. Jose (name removed) is very worried because chavez is taking in militaries , I dont understand why CNN and other Americans Are lying in the news, They dont know the truth His son is the worst drug dealer in Honduras all the drug comes from Venezuela. I dont want Honduras to be like Venezuela. Please dont believe the lies what they are saying about the Honduras military they did the best thing for our country. The party is over for Mel and all his monkeys they wasted all the money reserve we had. I will be in touch. Would Usa will permit venezuela to introduce honduras territory?


Last question: Would the United States allow Venezuela to introduce their military troops into Honduras?

Reader's Comment On 80%

"80% is an inflated number. Remember that when a child is removed from their parents they are also removed from their grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins, pets, homes and their innocence. You can't tell me that of all these children there aren't some good relatives out there who would die just to help their families and the children. I am sick to death of lies, allegations and downright incompetence on the states part in removing children. If a young parent is on drugs - get them help, help the children place them with relatives until that parent gets their act together. putting children with strangers and adopting them out thus severing all ties with their entire family is wrong and the state of Washington is the worst state in the union. This state does not care about these kids only the money they can bring."

Dear reader: It is more than the money they are after. And, I agree with this reader and will forward the message to the source of the 80% guesstimate.

Update From Honduras Regarding Coup Attempt (?)

This is a note from a Honduran friend on the coast (6 hour drive from the capitol).

Sunday 5:50 PM


Well, to tell the truth... things are a little bit hectic right now in Honduras.

The former president is in Nicaragua and a new president has been appointed by congress.

We still do not know what the fate of Mel Zelaya will be...

From another friend on the coast:

Sunday 8:45 PM

Our little area is of little consequence politically. That is perhaps why my neighbors struggle so. We are fine and all the people we know are happy with ousting a president who chose to ignore the Honduran constitution with designs to become the next dictator along with his good friend Hugo Chavez. People are celebrating the new temporary president.

I wrote to my friend: "Send more as you can. The news is reporting that the UN and the Obama Ad. want Mel (nick name for the president) back in office." The response was:

Monday 6:30 AM
"I know. I heard that and I am very concerned for the USA. The people here, even liberals, are very happy with the results. For the most part we want freedom."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Honduran President Arrested As He Tries A Leftist Takeover

I am very worried.

Over the weekend the current president (knowing that he would not be reelected) had ballots printed for an advisory election that would alter the constitution as it applies to elections in Honduras.

The head of the military refused to distribute the ballots that were declared unconstitutional by the Honduras Supreme Court. The leftist president fired the general. Military heads quit in support of the general.

800 "advisers" were sent from Hugo Chavez to help with the election designed to set a despot in place forever!

The military administers elections in Honduras. When the military refused to help with an illegal election the ballots were taken by the president and held at his palace. The president declared he would hold an election despite the supreme court unanimous ruling that to do so was unconstitutional.

The streets teemed with protesters over the actions of the president.

The general was ordered by the supreme court to resume his post because he had been dismissed without cause.

Today the president was arrested and flown by helicopter to an undisclosed location.

Honduras is a very poor country and ripe for take over. Fidel Castro, and the pres. of Nicaragua were also supportive of the actions of Pres. Jose Manuel Zeleya, a leftist elected in 2005.

We need to do more to help the people of Honduras. 80% are very poor. There is not enough wealth in the country to address the problems of hunger, living conditions, health needs and education. Americans are there. I know many. But we need to work faster!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

DSHS Does A "Cruel Lilly-Flip" (Now We Have A Name For The Game)

Cruel Lilly-Flip v (2009): The DSHS act of luring relatives into thinking they will be treated fairly and then moving forward with the taking of a child. An action without warning. Committed by DSHS with motivation. 1. to show power over financially strained relatives, 2. retaliate against relatives who dare fight to keep their kids, 3. cover-up departmental mistakes or wrongdoings, 4. move quickly to place child in a promised location, 5. establish the need for more government clock hours, 6. reap more federal dollars. Always unnecessarily hurtful. Part of a stream of actions designed to hurt primary caregivers. SYN CHANGE UP, DOUBLE CROSS, SCREW JOB.

Well, at least there is a name for it.

On Tuesday of this week the department went out to the grandparents for a new study. The grandparents were delighted. The first study made them out to be thieves, etc.

On Wednesday I met with Sec. Susan Dreyfus about CPS in general...but this case did come up and I thanked her for the fact that there was a new study being done. (She had all the paperwork on the case in front of her.) I also stated that since there were no accusations of harm to Lilly that she never should have been taken in the first place. And, that that general issue needed to be addressed within the department.

On Friday, during a one hour visit with Lilly, I received a call from Lilly's grandmother. She was in tears. The social worker said Lilly would not be able to speak for 2 minutes on the phone with her mother as she had done on all other visits. And...Lilly told her grandmother that she now has a new name. And, she has been learning how to write the name. The name is that of the paternal great-grandparents.

You know...if you are going to take the child (who was not abused in any way and there were no accusation of abuse) how bad is it to undertake another home study (because the first one was either done by an incompetent or done with the specific purpose in mind of taking the child to give to a predetermined "other" person)...and to then be able to cover your ass by now being able to say..."Well, Senator Roach, we did correct the home study," but in reality have already made the decision?

You look at what they do...not believe what they say.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sen. Roach, Rep. Roach, and Ethan Roach In Berlin, Honduras, CA

The only ones smiling in this picture are the Americans. The man made lake behind us was put in by another non-profit. It was a fish farm project. The village can now not afford the $65 USD for the fry. This will be my next project area. Dan served as a translator for us. I was very proud that he is fluent in Spanish. Four of my five children served LDS missions and are fluent in other languages. Comes in handy!

Look at Ethan in the front. He has his arm around his new friend, Dario. We invited Dario to come with us to Berlin. Ethan, Dario, and 20 other boys played soccer while the clinic in Belaire was operating. There is no language barrier in friendship.

The Mountain Village Of Berlin Is One Of The Poorest Places

Here you see a blond child. When not malnurished...this child's hair will turn black. Dan and Ethan (8) and I went with Dr. Noe to the village. It was so sad to see this. Berlin people made their way down to the clinic in Belaire.

Eye Care Clinics In Honduras

Eye screening came first. This is in Belaire at one of three clinics I support. Two VOSH (Volunteer Optometrists Helping Humanity) members, led by Dr. Chris Barry of Bellevue, are doing the first screening. My organization arranged for the visit and hosted them. It was a great trip! Very successful!

Lines at all three sites were long all day. This is in Jutiapa where we set up at the office of a good friend of mine.

After exams glasses were distributed. Docs brought all the fancy equipment that you have in your optometrist's office. The docs worked inside small HOT rooms. There was no air conditioning.

Here is the inventory sitting on top of a mud stove. 800 people were seen. Ten percent had cataracts! I want to go back down with a surgeon now that we have identified those who need surgery.

Honduras Pictures As Promised

Here is my 8 year old grandson at a bird sanctuary outside of the Copan Ruins in Honduras. Smart kid. I think he is leaning away so he doesn't get his eyes poked out!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

60,000 Hits

Congratulations to us all!

Today we topped 60,000 hits.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson is dead so now we will see something good about him in the press. Personally, I am disgusted by the press exploitation to the extent of FOX News giving a run down on the man's personal health history. Is nothing private?

OK...so he made himself look like Elizabeth Taylor. And, there were the financial problems and the sham marriages and the non-conviction of child molestation charges. But, the press delighted in the downward spiral.

It is taking his death to have the press remember the King of Pop in any way positive at all. Too bad he can't see it.

CASAs Organizations Will Be Given A Forum To Promote Their Work To DSHS...Anyone Want To Get Involved With This One?

Please send through the comment section your name and email if you want to monitor the situation or even testify. Otherwise...there will be a one-sided presentation of the program. I will not publish your contact information. If you want to comment on this new development please do so by separate comment.


PS...We do not know the time or place yet.

Senator Roach Meets With New DSHS Sec. Susan Dreyfus

Yesterday's meeting was a one-on-one for almost one hour. Just the two of us.

I have always said when it comes to bureaucrats and politicians, "Watch what they DO. Don't just listen to what they SAY." You know what they really want by watching their actions.

Dreyfus is a straight shooter. She is the only (and I stress only) one within DSHS or DCFS (for which she is responsible), to take any action to correct the way good people have been treated. Giving the grandparents of Lilly a new home study is an evidence that at least she...has seen some problems. Everyone else in this case has only dug in heals and pushed forward to take a child..."hell or high water."

One hour is a lot of time. I went prepared with written material. We spoke open and honestly. We share many goals.

An attorney in this field once told me that 80% of children taken from families should be taken. (This number comes from an attorney who has worked many cases. This is simply a reminder that there are some parents who are a danger to their children.) We focused on those that are not. It was a very good first meeting.

PS I have gotten a few comments on the 80% issue. Give me a number.... I am open to changing that. I also think that families can be helped to be able to keep their kids. But, before that help comes...what do you suggest? First, I want to deal with the stealing of kids from good families. Then, maybe we need to find out why so many kids die. And...the one that is in my mind is the little girl that had her eyes poked out with a pin by her mother... In the meantime I will call the attorney and see if they stick by the number. 2:43...I called the attorney and seems he really doesn't claim it is that high. He was making the point to me in coversation that there are plently of homes that mistreat children. To that I agree and not to agree would be to ignor the number of children who ARE abused.

Note: The number taken in King County is way high and that is going to be addressed by DSHS.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More Good News...New Home Study For Lilly's Grandparents


For six months I have been pushing for a new home study in the case of little Lilly. Three weeks ago I spoke to new DSHS Director Susan Dreyfus from a German countryside home. The conversation lasted 50 minutes. She was listening and a new home study is currently being done.

Yesterday, Lilly's grandparents got a fair shot...the only one they have been given. A new interview process has begun.

This circumstance is a major break though for all citizens and bodes well for our citizens and children.

Remember the first study was laced with lies and broad statements that left negative impressions of the grandparents who had raised Lilly since birth. Did they steal a computer from Swedish Hospital? No, it was given to them by DSHS as a refurbished computer donated by Swedish for foster care providers. (I will only use this one example...there are many.) It took repeated intervention by a State Senator (me) to get the home study corrected. The case was in court for a quick permanent placement outside the home and CPS took its sweet time...on purpose. NOTHING GOOD was said about the grandparents in the report. No community awards, etc. I only ask that the law be followed and that people be treated fairly!

So....Let's celebrate.

I am behind in sleep so will report on today's very good meeting with Susan Dreyfus tomorrow. She is the ONLY administrator within DSHS (and top dogs have come and gone)to actually take action.

Night, night. and, I am sure I will sleep tight. Two good days in a row!

Note To "Send Sam Home"

I have only recieved one comment from you. I save them all and checked. Please try again the system does work.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Angry Foster Woman's Ethics Complaint Against Senator Pam Roach Dismissed

More later on this good news...but the ethics complaint against me by the foster woman in the Stuth Case has been dismissed. There will be a formal announcement tomorrow and the 11 page report will be public.

I will release the report to all of my legislative colleagues. Several have declined to work with constituents on CPS cases waiting for this report.

I will also be asking for a full financial accounting of the expenses.

Thanks to all of you for your support. And, to my detractors.... Please reevaluate your way of thinking on the issues of protecting families. It is the law. And, I will continue to stand up for families.

Status On Important Court Case And Ethics Complaint

The judgement that the State Supreme Court will give in the case argued June 2, 2008, "The Dependency of ALSB," is something to watch.

The oral argument is a MUST for those interested in CPS issues. Please go to the TVW site or previous PRR link.

ALSB involved an Hispanic man who followed all the guidelines set out by the department as conditions for his getting his daughter back. He met the conditions and the state adopted her out anyway. The fact that a decision has not yet been rendered may mean that the court is in deep disagreement and dissents are many. It usually takes about six months and this has taken a full year. This one is making its way around the court.

And then there is the case of the foster woman in the Stuth Case and the complaint she filed against me.

She might be pretty mad. You know, she did lose her license, for cause I might add. She lost the child that she was promised and that the whole machine of government was trying to steal for her...but she also lost the money that comes with the foster system. She lost two kids so that was a hunk of money for her. Remember, the Ethics Board director, attorney Mike O'Connel, has said they are not interested in interviewing me again. I was interviewed 5 months ago...they interviewed many other people and like the biological grandparents in the Stuth Case and in Lilly's Case, I will have no ability to counter the lies. You are guilty if enough people lie. You know...I don't even think they interviewed the Stuths. How can that be? They just don't want to interview people who actually appreciated my efforts?

My Appointment With Director Dreyfus Tomorrow

Tomorrow, I have an appointment with our new director of DSHS, Susan Dreyfus. While I was in Germany I had a long conversation with her and I find her to be very concerned about making sure we are doing the right things to keep families together and at the same time protect children who really are in danger.

I look forward to our meeting and hope readers will all respect the fact that the conversation will be confidential. My understanding of the issues is known by any reader of this blog. I will communicate my concerns and leave with her a written list of suggestions.

In the meantime, there is a new home study being done for Lilly's good grandparents. I have hope that this one will be fair and not full of lies and distortions. And, another case has just come in today. Yes, another 3 year-old girl...No surprise, huh?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Home Soon

Many of you have been asking about pictures and I will send a series as soon as I get home. Honduras was also promised and I will send some from there also.

Lilly....Many of you have asked about our special three-year-old taken by the state for no good reason at all. We are making progress. I cannot comment at this time. But, we are making progress. I have had phone contact with the department in my absence and will be meeting with them when I get home.

Best wishes to you all and I will check in as soon as I get home and get a night's sleep.

I want to say "Thank You" to Claire, a wonderful daughter-in-law. All of my sons have made wonderful choices. Claire has been a wonderful hostess and I hope I have been a big help to her. She is a wonderful mother and wife. I have had a real good look at military wives on this trip. Claire has many friends and I have enjoyed getting to know more about the military when a spouse is deployed.

We are all counting the days until John returns. Everyone's metal is tested when the family is in the military.

You are wonderful Claire. Thank you for being so incredible!

"THEY ALSO SERVE WHO ONLY STAND AND WAIT." (That how the poet put it. He didn't care for kids, have a baby, etc. They do more than just stand!)

What Is Better Than Belgian Waffles Or French Crepes?

Claire's American Banana Bread

Makes 1 9x5 loaf (Make two...it is that good!)

2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup buttermilk (you can buy it powered)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 chopped pecans (or walnuts)

* Preheat oven 325 degrees. Grease 9x5 inch loaf pan.
* Beat eggs. Add buttermilk, oil, bananas
* Add sugar, flour, soda, salt. Mix well. Add nuts
* Pour into loaf pan. Bake 1 hour 10-20 minutes
or until toothpick comes out clean.

A Day In Paris

What would you do with only one day in Paris? Hard choices but all are good.

Saturday I left at 2 AM on a bus trip to Paris along with airmen and relatives from the squadron. It was the quickest trip I could find...and was the least expensive at $86 USD. Service personnel and their families have trips available any weekend and destinations rotate.

This was a: "Here you are in the heart of Paris. We'll see you at 6 PM."

Planning on coming back again with family I chose the Palace of Versailles which is a bit out of the way and the Eiffel Tower which I figured the younger I climb it the better!

Four of us made the subway transfers to the end of the line. Versailles.

For 26 Euros you get entrance into the palace and the 1,000 hectare garden.

"It was Louis XIV's wish to embark on a monumental creation, brilliantly combining the greatest artists of his time, that led to the achievement of an incomparable palace." (This straight from the tour pamphlet.)

The place is huge and ornate beyond an American's belief. There are no castles or palaces built in America. Marie Antoinette lost her head over this issue. She wanted an even more elaborate edifice. She got it. And, then she got it. Got it?

But the French people now benefit in a big way. There were thousands of visitors each paying a pretty big sum. Think how much this would be if the whole family went! And, they do from all over the world. I couldn't count the languages spoken. It was truly magnificent and a great site in history...Kings, Queens, the Treaty of Versailles ending WWI, etc.

The top of the Eiffel Tower was a goal. No problem. You hike 690 steps to the second level and then take an elevator to the top. (You pay about 12 Euros for the entry plus the elevator from the middle to the top.) Children are free but I pity the parent who carries the child up. None under six will get up this thing in decent time.

But what a view! Paris is spread out before you and it is awesome!

When Hitler took Paris he wanted to go up the Eiffel Tower. But, the French cut the cable so he couldn't. He is pictured in a book I bought at the Eagle's Nest standing with the tower in the background.

The tower was not destroyed during the war because of the value to communications. Oh, the tower was up and running two days after liberation. All Europe is history and all interesting. (Confession...My BA is in history. Maybe it's just me)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Impressions Of Germany

Modern Germany is very clean. Honestly...you can drive for miles and not see a single piece of litter.

There are many HUGE wind turbines that generate energy. They have three blades and remind me of a country wide Mercedes advertisement. (What a great ad campaign that would be!)

The population is decreasing. It is "very expensive to have children."

The high steeple churches in the small towns are all hundreds of years old. I wonder what someone would have seen from each of the belfries during WWII. What happened in that very field behind the house? Everyone is quiet on the subject and no one asks.

The round-about is big here and so are the sausages.

Steeped in history the story line goes back to the Holy Roman Empire. There are ancient ruins dating back 2,000 years. There are cathedrals, castles, and monuments from many wars....There is Legoland and many hiking trails. There is the Black Forest and familiar folk tales.

It is the land of Wagner. And, now Rod Stewart posters are all over...he will be here in September.

It is one of the "states" in the European Union. The Americans are loved.

I was buying gas (about $10 USD per gallon) and bought a piece of apple strudel from the restaurant next door. (Had to try it out!) The waiter asked, "Are you English?" I answered , "No. American." He put an extra piece in the box and marked it as one piece.

I will be here again to visit my family. They are here for several years. The thing I will miss most in Germany is my son and his family.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Reader's Comments Comment

Thank you to so many of you who have been asking a variety of good questions and bringing up great points. I have been devoting as much time as possible to family (with a few side trips) and will be back in soon to address some of our mutual concerns.

I do have email where I am and I do have the ability to call (not at taxpayer expense) the office and the department and have continued to work even as I am away. But, there is lots of catching up to do.

You saw the previous entry. Please go to the site and comment to the Olympian if you can,


Oh...to my one and only daughter...The answer is YES.

OLYMPIAN Reports On New Director's Intentions

DSHS leader backs change to state foster care system

The Olympian | • Published June 17, 2009

New Department of Social and Health Services Secretary Susan N. Dreyfus told foster care experts Monday that she will embrace a 2004 lawsuit settlement as a way to improve the system.

It was encouraging to the panel, which recounted halting changes by the department under two previous leaders.

“I think we’ve had five years of starts and stops,” said Jess McDonald, who once headed Illinois’ child welfare system.

He is a member of the Braam Panel. It was created to oversee a settlement that called for improvements such as lower caseloads for social workers, more social worker visits to foster homes and faster checks on foster children’s educational and health needs.

“I see well-intentioned people try to move forward one step at a time. But what I don’t see is a commitment to using the Braam settlement as a way to move forward,” said Jan McCarthy, a mental health expert from Georgetown University.

A year ago, attorneys representing the state’s roughly 10,000 foster children complained the state was dragging its heels. A judge agreed with them and ordered the state to speed up improvements.

Dreyfus, who left a social service role in Wisconsin, said she considered the lawsuit before taking the Olympia job and agrees with its goals.

“What you will find with me is someone who is committed to seeing the implementation of this settlement,” she said. “Not because it’s a settlement, but because everything that’s in it is good for the children who come to the attention of the system. I would not argue with any of it.”

Panel members seemed pleased with her approach to changing the Children’s Administration, a division of her 19,000-employee agency.

“You bring an excitement and an enthusiasm that I hope permeates the whole organization by noon tomorrow,” McDonald said.

But they also said she faces more challenges than changing the bureaucracy. Panel chairman John Landsverk noted the recession makes it “an absolutely abysmal time from a budget prospective.”

Casey Trupin of Columbia Legal Services, representing the foster children in the case, asked Dreyfus to commit to improvements that could be proved, not “data spin.”

“They have to be permanent changes,” he said.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Washington State's Unemployment Rate Hits 9.4%

Please work to pay off credit cards and pay off your home as early as you can.

Have a garden.

Develop an alternative skill in case you lose a job so you can have something to "fall back on."

Strengthen family ties as families should help families in times of financial crisis as well as emotional or physical crisis.

Give to your church or other organization that you know you might turn to if you are ever in need.

If you are OK...is there someone you can help?

OK... So Belgium Chocolate IS Something To Snob About

Good grief! The chocolate is wonderful in Belgium!

I was determined to do Brussels by the book (that would be Rick Steve's book) and I did.

I took a military tour so enjoyed the company of young enlisted men and women and a few retirees on the day trip to Belgium. We took a bus.

Here was my list:

Buy chocolate from the world's best chocolate makers,
Eat mussels and fries,
Have a Belgian Waffle with strawberries and whipped cream from a street vendor just like Rick does in his video,
Enjoy St. Michael's Cathedral and the the old part of the city.

I collect elephants purchased in the country where they were made and added to my collection. There was perfect weather and I had a wonderful visit.

I brought a nice box of chocolate back to my daughter-in-law. She did offer to share...but I haven't seen the box around lately :o)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Brame Oversight Panel...Please Attend If You Can

Message from friend Dave Wood:

The Braam Oversight Panel meets tomorrow (June 15) starting at 1:00 pm in the Cherberg Bldg, Hearing Room 3, on the Capitol campus. It continues Tuesday morning at the Red Lion Inn directly across from the SeaTac Airport. Public comment will be taken. See the agendas on the Braam Panel website. This is the closest thing we have to any official agency holding the Children's Administration accountable for anything. For those of you who don't know, it grows out of a class action lawsuit against DSHS several years ago in Whatcom County for children in foster care being moved many many times and other supposedly forbidden acts like separating siblings in foster care. Late notice, I know, but it's worth sitting in for anyone who has the time. I will be there to try to keep the bureaucrats, including the new DSHS Secretary, all sweetness and light, as honest as possible. Colville may not even be mentioned, for example, unless we bring it up. And thanks, Cheri, for alerting me. I would have missed this summertime gathering. Dave

Guardian Ad Litums And CASAs Hide From Oversight And Accountability

Tremendous power. No accountability. No change of venue when they have it in for the family.

The CASA for the Stuths was really very bad. I tried to bring this to the attention to the authorities. What happened?

He was awarded "CASA of the Year" by King County CASA administrators. (They actually protected the guy's ass!)

You should have been at the State's Sunshine Committee to hear the King County CASA folks defend their secret domain! (Please see previous PRR.) They even brought along a judge to say how bad opening the system to public oversight would be. (It was really pathetic.) They were defending a system that hides the facts about CASAs and GALs. They would rather have complete secrecy...complete autonomy...and no accountability to the public at all!

I argued we needed to have the sun shine on these people. They should have to file public disclosure statements like all the executive, judicial and legislative branch employees. What happened?

The King County CASA administrators came down to testify that disclosure would ruin the program and that NO ONE would sign up to be CASAs. Have you ever heard such BS?

Only on rare occasions.

Note: There are 600 CASAs just in King County. Let's see the stats on these people and on the program. How many are used over and over by certain social workers? I think they should be randomly drawn. How many of the 600 are actually used? The list of questions could go on and on.... OPEN THE DOORS!

If we have this system in our government...it should be an open system!

KING 5 Expose On CASAs and Guardian Ad Litems


(Please go to KING5.com to link video. Pam)

Friday, June 12, 2009


The KING 5 Investigators are exposing more problems in the case of "Poca," the 4-year-old child from Snohomish County who was abruptly taken from her foster parents more than a month ago. That was the only stable home the child had ever known.

In a continuing investigation, the KING 5 Investigators dig into a different problematic side of the state’s child welfare system: the role of Poca’s court-appointed advocate, Christopher Desmond, known as an Attorney Guardian ad Litem. He’s charged with independently investigating what’s going on in Poca’s life and then giving his recommendations to the court on who should raise her. In essence, Desmond is the independent voice of the child in court.

Desmond has been paid by Snohomish County to be Poca’s Guardian ad Litem for the last two-and-a-half years. He fought hard to get Poca removed from Dick and Amy Langley, the foster parents who raised her since the age of 4 months.

Desmond has made it clear that Poca needed to be taken away from her foster parents and stay away from them, forever.

In court last week, he told Superior Court Judge Anita Farris that he believes Poca hasn’t been able to lead the best life possible with the Langleys.

"She hasn’t thrived in their care, at all," said Desmond.

Poca came to the Langleys as a fragile infant who was born critically ill. She weighed just 2 pounds 4 ounces at birth. Doctors suspected she was exposed to drugs in utero, but couldn’t prove it. The Langleys had a long track record of caring for special-needs and drug-affected foster children.

Over the years, Poca’s been diagnosed with several special needs stemming from neurological problems.

Last month Poca was taken from the Langleys after the state and the Guardian ad Litem reported to the judge that the foster parents were unfit trouble-makers. They were accused of creating problems and false accusations about the birthparents in an effort to make sure she never went back to them.

"In my opinion, she should not go back to that environment, not in the near future or the far future," Desmond reported to the judge in open court.

When the KING 5 Investigators first spoke to Governor Christine Gregoire about the case she emphasized how pivotal this attorney was in Poca's removal.

"The independent attorney for the child (Chris Desmond) was independent in its recommendation to the court and the court, based on those facts, made its decision," said the governor.

Desmond recently lashed out at the foster parents in court. He said they must be lying or exaggerating Poca's special needs because she’s doing remarkably better since being taken away.

"No (negative) behaviors are being seen," said Desmond. "I can only conclude that they are lying about her behaviors or the environment in their home is causing her behaviors."

Desmond also told the court he thinks the Langleys have lied to Poca's doctors over the years. Because of that, he said, her medical needs haven't been adequately met.

The KING 5 Investigators looked into that. If true, that would mean 11 different experts, including evaluators at Children’s Hospital, therapists at Providence, and a school psychologist, who have issued detailed reports about Poca’s needs, would have all misdiagnosed her.

One of those specialists is Dr. Stephen Glass, a noted pediatric neurologist who cared for Poca for 3 years. He says there is no way all those experts could have been snowed by the foster parents year after year.

"This is a very complex child who on the surface may cosmetically appear normal but at the same time her developmental needs are extensive and she has prospered because of what this family (the Langleys) has provided," said Dr. Glass.

KING 5 also found Desmond didn't call Poca’s pediatrician, her pre-school teachers, or her neurologist before recommending she be taken from the Langleys. Training literature for Guardians ad Litem says child advocates should interview people with pertinent information about the child, including teachers and doctors, to make the best recommendation to the judge possible. Dr. Glass was shocked he never got a call.

"I think the process of making this decision was categorically irresponsible," said Glass.

To get a full picture of a foster child like Poca, Guardians ad Litem are trained to "meet with the child at least once a month, where practical."

The Langleys say in 30 months, Desmond visited Poca in their home just four times. He declined to comment to KING 5 about his work, citing confidentiality laws.

"He (Desmond) hasn't spent any quality time with us. He hasn't sat down with us and visited with us and talked with us about any of his concerns," said foster parent Amy Langley.

Desmond told the judge recently that even though Poca has called the Langleys mom and dad for most of her life, she's showing no problems after being taken from them. Acclaimed child attachment expert Dr. Susan Spieker from the University of Washington says that is a very unlikely scenario.

Poca was abruptly taken from her foster parents.

"There's no way it is not a traumatic experience," said Spieker.

Dr. Spieker also told KING 5 that based on her 30 years of research, a lack of emotion is a bad sign. It could mean the child is shutting down psychologically.

"It's inevitable that they (children removed from parent figures) would have challenging behaviors. In fact, I would say it might be a good sign (to act out). If they are so traumatized by the experience of multiple separations, that they’re totally withdrawn and are not expressing negative emotions, then maybe we should be really worried,” said Spieker.

Poca wasn’t moved to her birthparents when taken away from the Langleys. She was put into the home of family friends of the biological parents, who are not licensed foster parents. Poca had met them just a few times before the transition.

After KING 5 started asking questions, the Department of Social and Health Services hired an outside agency to evaluate the Langleys in an "Adoption Home Study" to see if Poca should ever go back to them.

After four years, DSHS is finally pursuing the legal means to sever the parental rights of Poca’s parents permanently, which would mean she would be legally free to be adopted. A court hearing to start that process was supposed to happen on Friday, but has now been postponed for two weeks.

The vast majority of Guardians ad Litem in Snohomish County are trained volunteers (VGALS), who report to a case manager. Attorney Guardians ad Litem, like Chris Desmond on the other hand, are paid with taxpayer dollars and don't report to any superior.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lilly Not Out Of The Dark Forest Yet. She Is Still Held Against Her Will

In Germany's south is the Black Forest. The trees are so dense that you cannot see the light above. It is a scary place where evil lurks.

Sadie, (4), did not have a book of fairy tales so I bought one at Ramstein Air Base. We snuggled on the couch after Jack (2) was in bed and I read to her, "Hansel and Gretel."

What an awful story! There is a father who lets the evil step-mother take his kids out into the forest to abandon them to the wolves. The kids meet a witch who is a cannibal. After weeks of mistreatment, Gretel saves the day by shoving the old witch into the oven where she dies an awful death. When the kids find the jewels and head home they learn their wicked step-mother is dead. Hansel and Gretel then gleefully share their riches with their old man who should have been thrown in the dungeon as an accomplice to attempted murder.

Stories for children are sometimes dark. And, today's real life stories are often dark.

While I have been gone I have been working for Lilly. She was taken for no good reason. Progress is being made. Susan Dryfus, new DSHS head, does seem to have the right philosophy...Families First. Her test will be how she deals with the establishment she inherited. Can she implement the law? Her test will be to remove her road blocks.

Will Lily make it out of the forest? Will she be unharmed? (Not a chance on the second question.) You can bet all the jewels in the world couldn't heal her problems created from childhood trauma.

Sightseeing In Bavaria...Going On The Road

Tomorrow, in the spare car, I will take off to see parts of Bavaria and maybe some of Austria.

My goal is to go to Neuschwanstein Castle ("Mad King" Ludwig's castle that Disney used as a model) and maybe Kehelsteinhaus (the "Eagle's Nest" where Hitler robbed Tom Cruise's character on the one hand...and Allied Troops on the other).

Luxembourg was great. And, I will take short trips to Paris and Brussels.

Mostly, I am enjoying my grandkids. I check in at the office everyday thanks to a great phone plan here, and check in with people at home. I know, for instance, that while I am on the road...the rest of the family will be working in the garden and having a BBQ after the work is done. HANG IN THERE FAMILY....I PROMISE TO BE BACK IN TIME FOR THE HARVEST!

I raised my kids on "The Little Red Hen." So, I doubt they will let me eat! My defense will be: "If anyone else needs me in Europe I will be there for them, too!"


Friday, June 5, 2009

Luxembourg Heavy On History

There are a whole lot of castles here but I gravitate to more recent history.

GPS in Europe has changed much of the experience. I can't believe this. The back roads are what we know as single lane asphalt roads (and we really don't have them expept as driveways) and yet they are mapped and in the GPS. I have successfully reached destinations both ways...but I used GPS to get to the WWII Musee National D'Historie Militaire in Diekirch, Luxembourg.

These things move me. Castles don't.

The museum covered what is known in Europe as the Battle of the Ardennes. We know it is as the Battle of the Bulge.

December, 1944 was the liberation of Lux. and Belgium. It was Hitler's last gamble, really. And, it cost us dearly. It was -23 C during the crossing of the River Saur and the mine fields that lay ahead.

General George Patton is buried in Luxembourg in one of the 11 US National Cemetaries on foriegn soil. I didn't know that. Nor did I know that there are dozens of monuments across the Ardennes to memorialize the United States war losses.

The Saur River was our principle obstacle and assault boats (that's what they called them) came under a hail of machine gun fire. There were more than 700 lives lost just in the crossing.

Civilians ripped up bed sheets to make winter camo for our boys.

And, there was a special display in honor of an F-16A pilot based here at Spangdahlam AFB, Germany (right across the border) who was killed during night exercises in 2002. The sons and daughters of the liberated still honor us.

This memorial museum was stocked with the firearms of both armies. Remington, Colt, Smith and Wesson, Browning are still names we know. There was the Jeep. There was the Harley Davidson motorcycle. Hershey's was part of the ration.

I will see castles. But, this is where the heart is. Thank you, to those who serve.

Dr. John Hilger, MD, Donates To Clinic In Honduras

While I am here in Germany some very special friends are helping with a new project for Honduras.

Dr. John Hilger of Tacoma is retiring and he has donated his operating room to one of my project sites. Thank you, John. Your donation will help many.

I also want to thank friend, Cheryl Marshall, for coordinating the transfer and storage of the equipment. The lighting and opertating tables are very heavy and had to be disassembled. Much of the medical equipment is fragile and needed special packing. Cheryl has helped on projects before. Thank you so much.

And, husband Jim... thank you for your help in the move. Farm life keeps the guys young ladies. I do believe my man is just as strong and helpful as when I married him.

Thanks to all the other good friends and to the Butlers for offering the storage area. The container will go out in the fall.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kindergarten In Germany

I really like the kindergarten teacher. She is over 50 and has spiky hair!

I have to hand it to Sadie. Every morning she gets on the bus and goes to school not knowing the language. And, she loves it!

Today I visited and didn't understand a word of it! But, the teacher was animated and fun. I could tell she loves her work.

Inga speaks fair English. She rides a scooter to work and her husband, Conrad, has the car. She has lived in this town of 400 for 51 years and her mother was born here before her. The Catholic Church across the street was built in the 1700's. The Allied Army marched right through here. This was really a time to wonder.

Today, USAF A-10s and F-15's leave contrails in the sky over the heads of Sadie and the other children. Somehow, the jets link the future with the past. The church and the children. America and freedom. It was a quick lesson in history...just leaving the church and the school and looking up to see our mark in the sky which has been there for 65 years now.

Groundbreaking Possibilities...Thank You KING 5 And Susannah Frame

Investigators: Judge considering legal first in Poca's case

11:31 PM PDT on Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Video: Judge considering legal first in Poca's case
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A huge battle brewed both inside and outside a courthouse in Everett Tuesday over a tiny 4-year-old foster child. The KING 5 Investigators have been exposing the case of "Poca" for weeks, shining a light on the state's poor decision-making and red tape that led to the child being taken from the people who've raised her – her foster parents. Tuesday, the foster parents went before the judge to ask if they could be granted the right to request that Poca come back to their home.

It was an explosive hearing.

Outside the courthouse friends and strangers alike rallied for Poca. They’re angry the state and a judge had her taken from the family who raised her since infancy – her foster parents, Amy and Dick Langley of Snohomish County.
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Investigators: State of Injustice

After nearly four years with them, she was taken away last month.


The state accused them of meddling in the case to deliberately keep Poca from ever going back to her birth parents, and the judge agreed. CPS took Poca away from her parents when she was a few months old because of abuse and neglect concerns.

In court Tuesday, the Langley's asked Judge Anita Farris for something nearly unprecedented in Washington state: to allow them –not the biological parents, but the foster parents – to officially weigh in, or become a party to, the custody case.

Historically, foster parents do not have such rights.

Deane Minor, their attorney, says the Langleys should be given the rare opportunity because after so many years, they should be able to present evidence to the court on why Poca should be allowed to go back to their home.

"We have a huge problem. This child has spent not just her formative months, but formative years in one family home (the Langleys). And a legion of experts agree that she's done well there," said Minor.



While the attorney for DSHS, Assistant Attorney General Shara Delorme, agreed that the Langleys should be officially heard in court, everyone else involved said: no way. The birth parents' attorneys, Adam Ballout and Monty Booth, and Poca's court-appointed advocate, Chris Desmond, said the Langleys aren't fit. The attorneys accused them of lying about Poca's special needs, such as a seizure disorder, and about her difficult behaviors stemming from neurological problems, including having a hard time with transitions. They say that she's doing much better now in her brand-new foster home with people she’s only known for a few weeks.

"None of these (difficult) behaviors are being seen, so I can only conclude that either the Langleys have been lying about her behavior or they have created an environment in their home such where (Poca) was displaying those behaviors. In my view it's not in the best interest for the child to return to that environment, ever.Now, or in the new future or the far future," said Desmond.

After months of studying the case, the KING 5 Investigators have found the Langleys in the past have been mislabeled as liars and troublemakers, and that Poca was unfairly removed.

Judge Farris said she is troubled by the Langleys' actions in the case. "There is evidence in this case that is very, very concerning, said Farris." Despite that, she ruled she will take the rare position of considering the Langleys be able to intervene in the court case so they can answer to criticisms and present evidence.


Amy and Dick Langley

"I'm glad the judge is going to consider it. Frankly, I'm not real hopeful that the judge is going to rule in our favor in this, but I'll be praying about it," said Dick Langley.

The judge is expected to make her decision sometime soon.

Since the KING 5 Investigators started asking questions, the governor has intervened in Poca's case. She's called for a thorough independent investigation of exactly what has happened.

The new DSHS secretary, Susan Dreyfus, tells KING 5 they are finally working to legally sever the biological parents’ ties with Poca.The state is expected to ask the judge to sign off on that change in the case on June 12.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

On The Street Corner

This morning I stood on the corner of Waldlehrpfod and Koblenzstrasse with my four- year-old granddaughter, Sadie. We weren't the only ones waiting for the school bus. But, I will say I didn't look ANYTHING like the other omas. And, I couldn't understand a thing they were saying!

Here I am with my spiky hair (which never goes gray), in my jeans (instead of a dress), and wearing a hooded, zippered sweatshirt instead of a knit sweater. God Bless America!

They were probably saying, "Who the heck is that old woman in the spiky hair?"

This little town is really a village like you think of in the story books. All the homes are older and so German. There are hardly any cars. You can stand here for 10 minutes and maybe a motorcycle comes by. In fact, there are hardly any people to be seen. It is just small! But, there are a few kids that emerge from the window boxed homes which are surrounded by small but beautiful gardens. And, in this shrinking country...only one child per house.

One of my self assigned duties is to walk Sadie to the bus stop. Tomorrow, I will get on the brightly caricatured painted bus with Sadie and my camera. I have visited many private and public schools schools in China and Honduras and now I will take a peek at the German schools. Just what do they provide this American family for 35 Euros ($50) a month? I think you will be surprised.