Silence of the Lambs

CPS would rather shut up than deal with scrutiny

The calls come to my voice mail with depressing regularity. At least once a week, sometimes more.

"Please help me," callers beg. "Child Protective Services stole my kid."

The stories that follow are unique only in the details. Mom or Dad insist that they've done nothing wrong. And even if they did, once, they swear they've turned things around. They're doing everything they can, but they can't seem to make any progress in the system.

Please, they say, can't New Times get to the bottom of what's happening with their case?

The short answer is, no. We can't.

And that's just the way CPS likes it.

The fact is, unlike trials for embezzlement or murder or even rape, CPS dependency hearings, which determine custody and whether parents continue to have the right to raise their children, are closed to the public. The agency's paperwork is also sealed.

And that means the entire system operates without scrutiny from outsiders, be they reporters or advocates. (There's a state ombudsman, but he is legally barred from releasing specifics about cases.) We never get to see the evidence that would determine whether kids are wrongly being taken from their parents, as so many callers insist on my voice mail, or whether CPS is instead erring on the side of leaving kids in unsafe homes.

We can write about the big picture because CPS has to release some statistical information every six months. But we can't look at the heart of the system: the individual families who are forced to deal with it. Even when those families are crying out for their cases to be reviewed, we simply can't get enough information to determine what's really going on.

Our tax dollars pay for this system. Even more importantly, we all depend on it to protect our state's youngest and most helpless citizens.

None of us has any idea whether it's working.

Here's the good news: An Arizona state senator plans to introduce a bill that would let the sunshine in. Senator Linda Gray, R-Mesa, wants changes for CPS that include opening up dependency hearings and paperwork.

It's a really good idea, one that the Legislature needs to follow through on. And if Governor Janet Napolitano is serious about improving CPS, as she's claimed, she, too, must get onboard.

In the past two decades, 17 other states have opened dependency hearings to the public. As far as I can tell, not one has reported major problems with open hearings. And this should tell you something: Not one has since reverted to a closed system.

More recently, Arizona tried a pilot program to open a small number of cases — about 10 percent — to the public. A report, prepared by an ASU graduate student at the conclusion of the pilot program last year, found no real problems with increased openness.

And yet when the pilot program ended, we went right back to closed doors.

I can't understand why. Unless, of course, CPS simply doesn't want anyone keeping an eye on it.


Liz Barker Alvarez, the spokeswoman for CPS, tells me that Arizona has "one of the broadest laws when it comes to sharing information about families involved in the child welfare system."

Maybe — and I think this is a big "maybe" — that's true on paper. But it's definitely not true in reality.

Here's how dependency hearings work in Arizona. Supposedly, anyone — including parents who want help in getting their kids back, or grandparents who insist that the wrong person has been handed custody, or even the media — can petition for the hearing to be open.

But the court rarely seems to take the petition seriously, much less agrees to open things up. I've had parents beg the judge to let me in. Nope, the judge decreed. That was that. I didn't even get a chance to argue my case. And if you think getting into court is tough, getting records is even worse. Public-records laws simply don't apply.

That's why advocates like Richard Wexler, director of the Virginia-based National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, are calling for a "rebuttable presumption of openness." Basically, a hearing would be open unless someone could demonstrate to the judge why it should be otherwise.

Hearings and records should be closed, Wexler argues, only if lawyers for the parents or the child want them closed — and if they can convince the judge "by clear and convincing evidence that opening a hearing or record or portion of a hearing would cause severe emotional damage to a child." Notice that the request would have to come from the parents, or the child's lawyer. CPS wouldn't be allowed to ask for closure.

It's a good idea. Because, for all the talk about how secrecy is necessary to protect children, the reality is much different.

When the doors are closed, it can be easier to focus on keeping the wheels turning than on achieving true justice. One example: As my colleague Paul Rubin reported earlier this year, lawyers who handle CPS dependency hearings sometimes don't even meet their clients until they get to court ("Outrageous Fortune," April 19). Rubin also found lawyers taking on as many as 500 new cases a year.

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7 comments
concerned
concerned

Just a few months ago a mother agreed to an adoption of her child. Unbelievably this has so far resulted in the following order being 'depublished':

"....We confirm prior Arizona law holding that ineffective assistance of appointed counsel may constitute reversible error in the severance context. We further hold that for assistance of appointed counsel to withstand constitutional scrutiny, it must satisfy standards of fundamental fairness."

It is not however 'vacated.'

Nor 'initially' was the following (this is a final effort recognising the urgency of gettign something 'published' concerning an opinion that was obviously in part inspired by the attention the Times article brought to an opinion last May. My first draft correctly recognised the duty judge as abusing his discretion. Subsequently it appeared i had missread who had vacated first seven then seventeen paragraphs and somehow I confirmed that I was wrong, that it was the author in fact who had done that.... so I apologise to that author for my levity a few minutes/months ago here):

----------------------this must again be the law of this land!----------

P28 Instead, the inquiry should be focused on the quality of assistance required to satisfy due process; that is, what fundamental fairness demands in a particular situation. See Lassiter, 452 U.S. at 24-25. The benchmark of fundamentally fair procedure is whether an individual whose interests are at stake has the opportunity to be heard at a meaningful time in a meaningful manner. Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 333, 96 S. Ct. 893, 47 L. Ed. 2d 18 (1976). Therefore, to be effective such that the standards of due process are met in a termination proceeding, appointed counsel's representation must have provided the parent with the opportunity to have been heard meaningfully. See In re Geist, 310 Ore. 176, 796 P.2d 1193, 1205 (Or. 1990); In re J.C., Jr., 781 S.W.2d 226, 228 (Mo. App. 1989); In re Moseley, 34 Wn. App. 179, 660 P.2d 315, 318 (Wash. App. 1983). Factors to consider in determining whether representation meets the standards of due process include counsel's: active participation in every critical stage of the proceedings; investigation of the procedural and factual history of the case; contact with the client; contact with witnesses prior to the hearing; review of documents pertaining to the case and [*22] the case file; and efforts at procuring evidence in support of the parent's defense. See Resource Guidelines at 22-23. This is not intended as an exhaustive list. The standard remains: if counsel's assistance or lack thereof deprived the parent an opportunity to be heard meaningfully, the parent received ineffective assistance of counsel.

P29 The above considerations do not mean the court should second-guess the unsuccessful strategies of trial counsel with the benefit of hindsight. See Strickland, 466 U.S. at 689-90. Omitted futile acts and reasoned tactical decisions in and of themselves will not form the basis of a successful claim for ineffective assistance of counsel in termination proceedings. See State v. Meeker, 143 Ariz. 256, 262, 693 P.2d 911, 917 (1984) ("disagreements as to trial strategy or errors in trial tactics will not support an effectiveness claim so long as the challenged conduct could have some reasoned basis"); In re T.M.F., 573 A.2d at 1045 ("Trial counsel should be excused for not doing a useless act and wasting the time of the court and the expert."); Geist, 796 P.2d at 1205 (parent's "generalized, after-the-fact critique of . . . counsel's tactical decisions" [*23] rejected as basis for claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in termination hearing).

P30 In rejecting the Strickland prejudice standard, we recognize that other courts that have adopted a "fundamental fairness" standard for evaluating claims of ineffective assistance of counsel are divided about requiring a showing of prejudice parallel to that in Strickland. See Calkins at 226-28. We decline to adopt this additional requirement for several reasons.

P31 First, in criminal proceedings, the defendant enjoys greater procedural protections, including a higher evidentiary burden (beyond a reasonable doubt) and the availability of post-conviction relief. Calkins at 231. These practical protections do not exist in the scope of parental termination proceedings. Thus, ineffective assistance of counsel is more likely to undermine the reliability of the final judgment in severance proceedings. Adding a requirement to show Strickland prejudice would be an unnecessary hurdle to ensure the reliability of the final judgment. See Strickland, 466 U.S. at 694-95 (showing of prejudice must undermine confidence in the outcome of the case in light of burdens of proof and totality of evidence). Second, [*24] the ultimate goal is a fair trial. If counsel is ineffective, no fair trial has been received and the prejudice is the lack of a fair trial. Calkins at 230. Third, it is untenable that, upon a showing that counsel's performance was so deficient the parent was deprived of an opportunity to be heard in adversarial proceedings, she would not be able to establish that she suffered prejudice from a decision rendered without her interests voiced in a meaningful manner. See supra P 27.

P32 Finally, in severance proceedings we have the additional interest in expedited determination of a permanent placement for the innocent child. See T.M.F., 573 A.2d at 1041. Criminal procedural protections against ineffective assistance of counsel would severely infringe on that interest. In criminal proceedings, a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel can only be established after the judgment becomes final because, before that time, a defendant could not show actual prejudice resulting from the representation. See State ex rel. Thomas v. Rayes, 211 Ariz. 411, 414, P13, 214 Ariz. 411, 153 P.3d 1040, 1043 (2007). Thus, if there is ineffective assistance of counsel in a criminal trial, after having gone through a full [*25] trial, the judgment is vacated and the case must be retried. Such prolonged proceedings would detract from the interest in expedited permanent placement of a child.

P33 Our reasoning does not mean that appellate courts should assume or readily find ineffective assistance of counsel simply because a parent in a severance proceeding on appeal can point to isolated instances of alleged failures of counsel to possibly adequately communicate with the client or to diligently prepare for trial. In those cases, a parent and the juvenile court may have a number of means to effectively create a record as to ineffective assistance of counsel prior to appellate review, including any party raising that issue before the superior court at the appropriate time or newly appointed appellate counsel seeking post-trial relief to have the superior court determine whether counsel's representation was so deficient as to deny the parent an opportunity to be heard meaningfully. See Ariz. R. P. Juv. Ct. 88(D) (permitting appointment of new appellate counsel in discretion of juvenile court presiding judge) and 46(E) (authorizing motions to set aside judgment in juvenile proceedings similar to motions under Ariz. R. Civ. P. 60). [*26] n7 As explained below, these alternative proceedings to determine ineffective assistance of counsel are unnecessary here because we conclude the record is clear, if not overwhelming, that Mother's counsel was ineffective.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Footnotes - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -7

Alternatively, an appellate court could remand the matter to the juvenile court for evidentiary hearings and findings on the effectiveness of appointed counsel. See Ariz. R. P. Juv. Ct. 88(F) and 91(F); In re Condry's Estate, 117 Ariz. 566, 568, 574 P.2d 54, 56 (App. 1977). In JS-4942, we reversed and remanded the matter to the juvenile court for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the parent had received adequate notice of the hearings against him and whether the parent had received effective assistance of counsel. 142 Ariz. at 242, 689 P.2d at 185. Given the need for expediency of a final determination in establishing permanency for the child, we disapprove of this approach in cases such as this when the only issue is the effectiveness of counsel's assistance and the record showing ineffective assistance is overwhelming.- - - - - - - - - - - - End Footnotes- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Application

P34 Mother argues her trial counsel did not engage in adequate preparation for the termination hearing, and that the record in [*27] fact demonstrates he did nothing beyond appearing in court at the appointed date and time of the hearing. Mother further points out that presenting only Mother's testimony was grossly inadequate to refute the case manager's testimony that Mother had not participated in any services.

P35 We hold that counsel's representation did not pass constitutional muster. As of December 2005, Mother had stated to counsel that she had participated in urinalysis screening. Apparently counsel did nothing to procure documentation of that screening; instead, he asked her to provide that documentation during his direct examination of her at the termination hearing. Likewise, counsel for Mother asked her to procure documentation of participation in counseling services on the date of the hearing, but apparently did nothing to obtain verification of those services on his own. Meanwhile, CPS, the party moving for termination of Mother's rights, verified Mother's participation in counseling services. Likewise, as counsel made a point of asking Mother whether she had called him to ask him to subpoena witnesses, it does not appear that counsel performed any independent investigation to determine what witnesses [*28] he could call in addition to Mother in her defense. n8 This, combined with counsel's apparent unfamiliarity with the case - as demonstrated by the fact that he had to inquire as to the grounds alleged for termination before he cross-examined the State's witness n9 - raises serious questions as to what, if any preparation counsel engaged in prior to the termination hearing.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Footnotes - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -8

If, as ADES alleges, the record indicated that counsel for Mother had decided not to call witnesses in addition to Mother, such decision in and of itself may have been a reasonable strategic or tactical decision that would not form the basis for an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Given that the record is replete with statements by counsel indicating his lack of preparation prior to the hearing, the record indicates that this was not a conscious decision of counsel not to call witnesses.9

Counsel was apparently unfamiliar with the statutory grounds for termination as well, as he repeatedly referred to a "twelve-month ground" for termination. See A.R.S. � 8-533(B)(8) (grounds for termination based upon child remaining in out-of-home placement for nine or fifteen months).- - - - - - - - - - - - End Footnotes- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

P36 In addition, the record indicates that [*29] counsel did not maintain adequate contact with Mother. The record indicates counsel did apparently have some discussions with Mother between the time Child was found dependent and the time of the termination hearing. These discussions were apparently less than substantive, as, at the termination hearing, Mother had no understanding of the severance procedure and had to conduct her own research. In addition, the record reflects Mother did not learn the date and time of the termination hearing from counsel, even after she called counsel's office. Instead, an office assistant told her to call the court. Mother had to call the court a week prior to the hearing for that information.

P37 Equally troubling is counsel's conduct casting aspersion on Mother's diligence in remaining engaged with the proceedings. There is no apparent reason from Mother's standpoint why her counsel would raise her questionable sobriety at the outset of the December 2005 hearing and her apparent failure to attend a drug test at a subsequent hearing without the issue having been raised by any of the other parties. Furthermore, counsel's comment that, "I'm informed she is around because she does call the policemen [*30] occasionally" at the same hearing was unnecessary, derogatory, and further served to indicate that Mother was irresponsible when it came to maintaining contact both with himself and people in authority. Finally, when Mother testified as the only witness on her own behalf, counsel for Mother cross-examined her as to her contact with him, at times effectively testified as to whether he received messages from her, and then proceeded to lecture her about the necessity of producing documentation in her defense. Particularly problematic in the scope of this discussion was his remark that, if Mother did not produce documentation reflecting her participation in services, both he and the court would presume it did not exist. By so conducting himself before the court, counsel effectively acted as an advocate against Mother by propounding his own understanding of her neglect in the case. n10

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Footnotes - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -10

In analyzing this matter under the Strickland standard, both Mother and ADES have engaged in a prejudice analysis. While we have declined to adopt the Strickland test, we have weighed all of the factors and conclude that even if a Strickland prejudice element was required, the overwhelming evidence of ineffective [*31] assistance of counsel here leads us to conclude that Mother was prejudiced and we have no confidence in the outcome of the case and final determination based on counsel's deficient performance. See 466 U.S. at 687, 694-95.- - - - - - - - - - - - End Footnotes- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

P38 In proceedings where the weight of the government, in addition to Father's interests, and potentially the position of Child, were against her, the only advocate to whom Mother could look to speak for her was her appointed counsel. Counsel has an ethical obligation to represent competently and with reasonable diligence and to maintain proper communication with the client. Ariz. Supreme Court Rule 41, E.R. 1.1, 1.3 and 1.4. When her counsel did not undertake the efforts necessary to speak meaningfully on her behalf, and instead actually spoke against her, the juvenile court became an inquisitorial, rather than adversarial, system of prosecution directed at her. This is not the means by which an accurate and just decision to terminate a parent-child relationship is procured under our system of justice. See Lassiter, 452 U.S. at 27-28. "Each party must be competently and diligently represented in order for juvenile and family courts to function effectively." Resource Guidelines at 22. [*32] We therefore hold, given Mother's trial counsel's ineffective representation, the proceedings to terminate her parent-child relationship were not fundamentally fair and vacate the severance order as to her.

CONCLUSION

P39 There is sufficient evidence to support the juvenile court's order terminating Father's parent-child relationship with Child. We cannot uphold the termination order as to Mother, however, because she did not receive effective assistance of counsel. When counsel is ineffective, the entire adversarial process is undermined and what can appear to be clear and convincing evidence to support termination of the parental relationship may be illusory. Accordingly, we affirm the order of the juvenile court insofar as it relates to Father, but vacate that order insofar as it relates to Mother and remand the matter to the juvenile court for further proceedings.

tammie anderson
tammie anderson

Dear New Times- I wanted to dump this letter in your hands- I have been dealing with a CPS situation trying to get a kid out of a home involving abuse that has lasted now for seven years. There is a lot that parets can do- but the main key is to keep calm- this stuff is so hard to deal with- I should know- I have been dealing with it for over 7 years. I want to tell parents that have cases pending with CPS that don't feel that CPS is doing their JOB to keep writting till someone does do their job. Do not stop till something changes, because our kids need us to fight to the bitter end and if that means going to blows with the idiots they have over at CPS then put on the gloves!

Tammie Anderson Advocate for the rights of the disabledSelf advocate specialist PO BOX 7481 Tempe, AZ 85719

October 4, 2007 REVISED

Ms Deborah M SchaeferYavapai County Courthouse120 South Cortez Street #410Prescott, Arizona 86301

Dear Ms Schafer,

Thank you for your letter, it is a nice addition to what is starting to feel like the never-ending stream of letters in this matter, and all related matters that have resulted. I would like to take this time to correct a obvious error on your part, which is either a deliberate stonewall tactic or just an attempt to discredit me as a person who is seeking remedy from your office. In your response you use the word �decline� with regard to my action to provide you with information. This is not the case, I did not decline to provide you information, in fact I directed you to a signed order that should have supported all requests I have made for all ADA accommodations that have otherwise been scoffed, ignored, stonewalled, and shoved under the proverbial carpet. Let me make a few points clear at this point if I may, firstly I am not under the impression that you or anybody in Yavapai County take very seriously the nature of the claims that have been made in this matter. Second, as a result of not complying with the law there has been loss, and damage, and harm to not only myself but to a minor child, who by no fault of her own is now so messed up in the head that there is very little chance she will ever lead any sort of normal life.

This is a very serious claim, and your office can pretend that I have �declined� to provide you with information but in truth I have been jumping over and over the hoops that are put in front of me, and I deserve a little more respect that a stonewall tactic. I am aware that there is a liability issue in this matter, and that a judges career is on the line, and that all the previous cases that she may have screwed up are also going to fall under question. That however is not my problem, and frankly it can not be your problem either, your duty, and your job is to look at the facts in the case file, and see how many times this situation might have had another outcome if this case had acknowledged my disability even once. I have provided the court with my medical records, on several occasions, and there is more evidence to support my position and I will not continue to re-state it over and over. It serves only to humiliate me, as a person with a disability to have to restate my disability over and over, and that should not have to be the course I must take in order to get you or anyone else to do the job you are being paid to do.

There are specific recommendations that might have been followed, if anyone would have even shown me an ounce of dignity in this matter, but it has just been a big joke to so many people. Well to me it has not been a joke; it has been embarrassing, and humiliating and horrible.

Many assumptions regarding who I am, and what I am able to contribute to my daughters life, and to the world around me have been based on the bias that was allowed to prevail in this matter, and even if this bias was legal, which it is not, it would still be the absolute reason why a minor child has been in a home that I (a person with a brain injury) have been advocating to have her removed from for over seven years. So many hearings were never even scheduled; so many times my concerns for her welfare have been ignored under the dubious assumption that I have a �mental� problem. When in reality this has been tested, and found untrue. I have a neurological problem, and have undergone a course of treatment that has not been easy to accomplish. I will continue to live with this disability the rest of my life, and it will never go away, but this does not mean that I have nothing to offer my daughter, or this world, or my community.

In truth, by following the course of treatment, including anticonvulsants, and attempting to pursue higher education I have come to understand the world on much better terms. I am confident that it would be very easy for many people to see my complaints go away, and to see me stop sending letters to the Court of Appeals, and to the press. But I will not dishonor my journey of recovery by ceasing this action, and I will continue to advocate for my rights under the ADA. What right does anyone in that courthouse have to bully someone with a disability who is trying to get away from an abusive marriage anyway? And further, what gives anyone in that courthouse, or in this State the right to limit my access to my daughter on the exclusive basis of my disability? This is not a custody arrangement this has been a hostage situation and this has been a situation that has been very unfair for too long.It may have been resolved over 4 years ago if I had been acknowledged for having a brain injury, not being insane- and the court acting to respect me as a person with a disability. I have requested accommodations at both of my colleges, and I must tell you the same documentation the court has yielded a prompt and courteous understanding from people in the community that serves persons with disabilities. Those who work with persons with disabilities understand the challenges are great enough to achieve equality, and have worked by my side- not against me.

When you put the title ADA next to your name it needs to matter, and if you are not willing to make your title matter then you should resign yourself to someone who is willing to make the tough choices that sometimes must be made in cases like this. I know it is not easy to look as people in a small town who have behaved poorly and made the life of a person with a disability even more difficult. But the law does not allow this conduct in our courts, and it is your job to stop it when it happens.

It needs to concern you that you are involved in a matter where requests have been made over and over for extended hearing time (something that would not cost anyone a dime) to provide, and yet some of those requests were never even acknowledged.

The judge herself signed my medical records, and made me disprove the burdens placed on me, then continued to act with absolute disregard for the findings I provided the court, and frankly this is not only an insult to me as a person with a disability, it also shows that this judge has no respect for the doctors, and professional that have treated my condition and taken the time to address this court. Many people have gone out of their way to provide documentation to this case, in an attempt to intervene, and this should have yielded at least an acknowledgement that there was an error, and a reversal of previous orders. Simply put, I have put my heart into providing everything requested of me, only to have more demands placed on me. I have had my medical records in that courthouse now for years, and doctors that know the stress and damage this situation has caused to my actual condition have taken the time to testify in that court, and write letters to that court. There is to my knowledge 5-6 court files and if everything were going well, do you think this case would be taking up so much space?

The reason why this case is as big as it is, is because I keep saying the same thing over and over- and this same thing is that just because I have a brains injury, does not mean that I have nothing to say about the crap situation my daughter is enduring. And just because I have a brain injury, does not mean that I do not know who I do not want around me or my daughter, and I have every right under the law to assert this and if even one person would have taken the time to stop making fun of me, and hear me- they might have noticed there is nothing funny at all about isolating a minor child, and being a bully to a woman with brain damage trying to leave her abuser in the first place.None of this is funny, least of all, the stonewall tactics, but I have become adapt to them, and I am well-prepared and ready to deal with this one today.

In closing, here is what I am going to do, I am going to advice about 40 newspapers and television stations that you are having a difficult time finding the documents in that file, you know the ones that request accommodations, and make mention of the lack of them, and I will see if I can get you a support team over there by next week to help sort that file out. I know it�s a big file- I will shoot for about a team of 40 people to start with and see if they can help you do your job. If you still need help finding or locating the appropriate documents to conduct your �initial� report please do not hesitate to make another request of me. Let me know if you wish to decline my support, I can be reached via e-mail. And by the way e-mail is the best way to get a quick response from me.

Please send all e-mail inquiries to:Attention: advocate for the disabledcivileader@yahoo.com

I will respond within 5-6 days in most cases, with a formal letter for a fee of $35.00 per word in cases lasting more than 7 years. For example this letter will be billed at the rate of :1720 words @ $35.oo per word=$ 60,200.00�The rest of this document is free of charge:�This document with an original signature costs extra a fee of 25,000 for this document with an original signature�This document with a type written signature will average 10,000 to reprint, and permission to duplicate may be sought by contacting the advocate directly by mail�This document is pending a patent and protected by authors intent to copyright any party seeking to duplicate this document in part or in whole must request written permission

No signature was given to the parties in the document delivered this day, and the revised document does not include the authors original signature, the only original signature that appears on this document is preserved in the file sent to the Court of Appeals, and is on the second copy of the document sent to the Library of Congress for copyright.

This document is intended to make the point that my life and my time is not free to take advantage of. I am a human being, and I have been deeply harmed by this matter and continue to seek remedy without relief. To write and write and write and write only to get another stonewall is simply not an acceptable manner in which to handle a matter that involves a serious breach of so many civil rights. My time is not free, my talents are not for you to exploit, or for anyone else to make use of for their own gain. This is my work, this is my writing, it is the result of much pain, and it should not need to be stated but I have had enough. I am tired of the way this case has impacted my life. I am a disabled woman and I have a right to be treated with dignity, and I have a right to access the courts, and I had a right to walk in there and ask for the order of protection for me and my child that would have prevented the last 7 years of abuse and torture she and I have endured.This is my statement, this is my pain, this is how this case makes me feel, to feel this way day in and day out without relief year after year is a discredit to the entire legal system. No person needs to feel the way I have been made to feel, I have only tried to use my rights to resolve a problem, and there is nothing legal about the way I have been treated. This is my grievance in a nutshell. If you can find one reason why you think it is ok to let the courts show bias to parents with disabilities and make their lives a living hell while they watch their kids suffer then I want to hear it, till then don�t expect another letter from me, because I have been saying everything I have to say in legal pleadings for the last seven years. The only thing I want to know is when are you going to reverse the orders that were entered without ADA accommodations and grant some temporary relief that begins to make some sense. When you have my child in a safe location, away from that brain dead monkey who has been abusing her and me for the last seven years, let me know- I would love to be available to help my daughter in her healing process. I suspect in will take the rest of her life to undo what he has done to her, and even then, I honestly doubt she will be normal. Every time I talk to my daughter she seems to be getting more and more disturbed mentally. I have made so many requests to keep her under the care of a doctor that I have lost count. I am so concerned about her, and the potential threat she may present to other children as she attempts to act her conflicts out.Make no mistake this child is in a lot of pain, and needs to be treated immediately. On my last conversation with her she began to scream into the phone �your disgusting I hate you I never want to speak to you again�. This sort of reaction happens every time I try to break down the walls he has in place to get her therapeutic intervention. You see he cannot abuse me anymore, but he can still manipulate her, excite her emotions, and then she acts in a abusive manner. It has been this way for over 7 years, and she has paid the price for every one of his sick little games.There are a lot of reasons why I needed that original order of protection from this lunatic, and when I finally got the courage to leave him I knew he would try this. I just never knew he would have so much help from so many educated people who should be able to catch him at his abusive games.What he has done to me in that courtroom, making me provide my medical records, knowing what was wrong with me, shaming me then using circumstances to create a specific response is pathetic. There is no excuse to treat a person with any disability in that manner, and I will not accept it any longer.Now, as a result of ignoring the situation for so long my daughter is very disturbed, and I doubt there is much that will fix that. He ruined my life, shamed me for 7 years in that court, and has acted as if he is entitled to the orders he has without the ADA that I have been entitled to all along!Meanwhile each and every time I try to work within the insanity, I am mocked, ridiculed. Well wake up- I am not the one abusing a KID- and making fun of someone with a disability- that is just mean and sick and all this entire time I am the one who has been made to be evaluated for a mental impairment!The only thing wrong with me is that I was beaten and raped, and lacked the judgment to know what I was doing when I married this lunatic, but the longer I stay away from him, and follow my doctors advise the better I feel. There is no reason to keep ignoring me, and just because you cannot see my disability, does not mean you have the right to ignore it.All people with disabilities deserve to be treated with some dignity- and this situation passed that point about 5.5 years ago, this marked the two year mark of being ridiculed by the police for having �lost custody� when I never had a chance in the first place.

Everyone with a disability deserves the dignity of being able to leave an abusive marriage, without having to endure ridicule, and torture, and abuse, and be shamed.

Please submit payment to Tammie Anderson in the amount of 60,200.For this response at this timeNote as a trained monkey she may not be entitled to anything but bananas, but she is a skilled advocate (at your service) and since you are content to request letters from her over and over on this matter, please note that all future letters will be billed according to this scale. Should you wish to renegotiate this payment scale, please feel free to submit a formal bid, it will be considered, and reviewed. In the meantime, do your job.

Have a lovely day.Oh and by the way, in the time it took to write this letter the child who has been deeply damaged as a result of your office not doing its job might have enjoyed a court order for the removal from that environment and a court order demanding a medical examination, and a court order that protects both her and her mother from addition harm, and or damage, including emotional and mental abuse, and or exploitation of a minor child and person with a disability- all of which are ILLEAGAL as HELL.

CcCourt of AppealsGovernors Office

Georgia
Georgia

Once again, thanks to Sarah Fenske for speaking out. Ithought courts were just. CPS argues and lies to thebench. Pass the word.

Rosemary VanGorder
Rosemary VanGorder

Well said, Ms Fenske! You have done your homework on the real issues behind child protection services. Families should not suffer from tax-supported programs that destroy precious bonds. Wake up, America.Thank you, Sara.

Bonnie Russell
Bonnie Russell

The problem is not crooked judges, greedy indifferent lawyers...although they *are* problematic. The problem, as is mentioned on www.FamilyLawCourts.com - is indifferent neighbors, government officials who place children Last on any list of importance.

The business of government is Business. This is never more clear than in family court.

The site even has a section for Arizona. No more harrowing than any other state.

EndGame
EndGame

An Inconvenient Truth about Child Protective Services, Foster care, and the Child Protection "INDUSTRY"

CPS Does not protect children...It is sickening how many children are subject to abuse, neglect and even killed at the hands of Child Protective Services.

every parent should read this .pdf fromconnecticut dcf watch...

http://www.connecticutdcfwatch...

http://www.connecticutdcfwatch...

Number of Cases per 100,000 children in the USThese numbers come from The National Center onChild Abuse and Neglect in Washington. (NCCAN)Recent numbers have increased significantly for CPS

*Perpetrators of Maltreatment*

Physical Abuse CPS 160, Parents 59Sexual Abuse CPS 112, Parents 13Neglect CPS 410, Parents 241Medical Neglect CPS 14 Parents 12Fatalities CPS 6.4, Parents 1.5

Imagine that, 6.4 children die at the hands of the very agencies that are supposed to protect them and only 1.5 at the hands of parents per 100,000 children. CPS perpetrates more abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse and kills more children then parents in the United States. If the citizens of this country hold CPS to the same standards that they hold parents too. No judge should ever put another child in the hands of ANY government agency because CPS nationwide is guilty of more harm and death than any human being combined. CPS nationwide is guilty of more human rights violations and deaths of children then the homes from which they were removed. When are the judges going to wake up and see that they are sending children to their death and a life of abuse when children are removed from safe homes based on the mere opinion of a bunch of social workers.

Currently Child Protective Services violates more civil rights on a daily basis then all other agencies combined, Including the NSA/CIA wiretaping program�

FOSTER CARE IS A 80 PERCENT FAILURE:. A Brief Analysis of the Casey Family Programs. Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study. By Richard Wexler

http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:E2PcWEpNCD4J:www.nccpr.org/rep...

or for .dochttp://www.nccpr.org/reports/c...

HOW THE WAR AGAINST CHILD ABUSE BECAME A WAR AGAINST CHILDRENhttp://www.nccpr.org/issues/1....

A recent study has found that 12-18 months after leaving foster care:

30% of the nation�s homeless are former foster children.27% of the males and 10% of the females had been incarcerated33% were receiving public assistance37% had not finished high school2% receive a college degree50% were unemployed*Casey Family Programs National Center for Resource Family Support

Children in foster care are three to six times more likely than children not in care to have emotional, behavioral and developmental problems, including conduct disorders, depression, difficulties in school and impaired social relationships. Some experts estimate that about 30% of the children in care have marked or severe emotional problems. Various studies have indicated that children and young people in foster care tend to have limited education and job skills, perform poorly in school compared to children who are not in foster care, lag behind in their education by at least one year, and have lower educational attainment than the general population.*Casey Family Programs National Center for Resource Family Support

80 percent of prison inmates have been through the foster care system.

The highest ranking federal official in charge of foster care, Wade Horn of the Department of Health and Human Services, is a former child psychologist who says the foster care system is a giant mess and should just be blown up.

http://abcnews.go.com/print?id...

This study found thousands of children already in foster care who would have done better had child protection agencies not taken them away in the first place.

Front-page story in USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/news/n...

The full study is available here.http://www.mit.edu/~jjdoyle/do...

The bottom line? - the foster care system nationwide for the most part turns out young adults that are nothing more than walking wreckage...

francine
francine

Yeah, well, Sarah I have a different perspective, as I was the foster parent of three children whose mother thought they were "stolen" from her by CPS. She didn't bother to get up in the morning, she didn't send them to school, she didn't feed them, and she made them do drug runs for her because she was on crack. CPS didn't take them away fast enough, because she didn't actually physically beat them. Now they are 25, 22 and 20, trying to recapture childhoods and educations that were lost because the hands of CPS were tied. For every case that goes one way, there's a case that goes the other. Read my book: "Foster Mom." I won't link, because I'm not trying to sell it.

 
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