Pennsylvania: Former CPS Worker Charged With Human Trafficking
With all of the reporting coming out in recent days concerning Child Protective Services (CPS), it’s no wonder that this has occurred. The only question that remains is: Why have not countless hundreds, or even thousands, also been charged? Yet, an ex-CPS social worker is now facing charges of human trafficking after recruiting a mother who was her client into prostitution in exchange for a favorable custody recommendation, according to authorities.
Candace Talley, 27, of Winslow, New Jersey, was working for the Division of Children and Youth Services in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, when she coerced the mother, whose children were in foster care and whose case Talley was managing, into working as a prostitute, the Delaware County District Attorney’s office announced Thursday.
Talley drove the woman to and from jobs and took more than 25% of the money that was made, authorities said. Talley also promised the woman she would help falsify her drug test results to help her case. Talley was part of an “extensive prostitution ring,” the district attorney’s office said in a press release.
Talley was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of human trafficking for financial gain, promoting prostitution, making threats and other related charges.
That’s not all, CPS has also worked hand in glove with Planned Parenthood to not only kidnap kids from loving homes but blackmail pregnant mothers to murder their unborn children in order to get their children back that CPS kidnapped from them; and those that refused were told that once they gave birth, CPS would be there to kidnap that child from them too.
CPS also failed to return children they kidnapped from mothers who chose abortion to get their kids back.
This was posted on our website December 6, 2018. Chicago Lakeshore Hospital’s 60-bed children’s unit is Uptown. The hospital faces state and federal scrutiny after a rise in complaints alleging sexual and physical abuse by hospital employees and patients.
A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Cook County public guardian alleged that children as young as 7 were sexually abused, while others were injected with sedatives to control them and physically attacked, at a Chicago psychiatric hospital. Child welfare officials, meanwhile, allegedly worked with the hospital to cover up the abuse.
Charles Golbert, the Cook County public guardian, filed the lawsuit on behalf of seven children who are in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and who had been involuntarily admitted to Chicago Lakeshore Hospital in 2017 and 2018.
“These kids are entitled to justice for what happened to them at this facility,” Golbert said in an interview Wednesday. “DCFS knew perfectly well about all of the problems and dangers at this hospital.”
He added that he hoped the lawsuit sent a strong message to DCFS: “You cannot keep kids at placements once you know the placement is dangerous.”
ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune in separate investigations last year revealed numerous allegations of sexual abuse, assault and patient safety violations at the hospital. In response, state lawmakers and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which monitors DCFS as part of a federal consent decree, demanded the agency take action.
DCFS’ acting inspector general had previously raised concerns with the agency about the safety of children at Lakeshore. The ACLU took DCFS to federal court following the news reports, and late last year the agency agreed to stop sending its children to the hospital and removed those who remained there.
“We support this effort to hold responsible those who have done harm to children in the care of DCFS,” the ACLU’s Heidi Dalenberg said on Wednesday.
Chicago Lakeshore Hospital CEO Patricia McClure-Chessier said in a statement that officials “have always placed the health and safety of the children we treat as our top priority.” She said it was “tragic” that Golbert chose to “malign health care providers instead of addressing the root of this statewide crisis: a lack of state funding which prevents children from getting appropriate care at the right time and in the right place.”
She said she will “vigorously defend Chicago Lakeshore Hospital using facts rather than the egregious distortion that has been portrayed before the press.”
DCFS takes allegations of abuse seriously and has not allowed children to be placed at Lakeshore this year, spokesman Jassen Strokosch said in a statement. He said the agency, which has a new acting director, has hired more than 300 employees since April and has “begun to make dramatic improvements to overcome the challenges that have plagued the department for decades.”
“DCFS is committed to protecting the children of Illinois and providing the best possible services to the children in our care,” Strokosch said.
The lawsuit detailed abuse at the hands of employees and other patients, alleging children found themselves at a “hospital of horrors” instead of a safe environment where they could focus on their treatment.
One 14-year-old girl, according to the lawsuit, was allegedly sexually assaulted multiple times by a nurse who showed her pornographic videos as well as allowed her and others to fill out their own medical paperwork and to use the nurse’s vaping device. The girl and others reportedly escaped from the hospital and were missing for several months.
That nurse, according to the lawsuit, was charged this year with attempted murder in an incident involving her housemate. Her nursing license was revoked.
The lawsuit also claims a male hospital employee entered the room of a 12-year-old girl and forced her hand on his genitals and grabbed her breasts. A 7-year-old boy was allegedly forced to perform oral sex on his older roomate, who had previously physically abused him. And the hospital didn’t put precautions in place to protect an 8-year-old girl who also was sexually assaulted by a peer, the lawsuit alleges, despite the hospital knowing the boy had previously sexually assaulted his roommate.
The lawsuit, which seeks monetary compensation for the children, alleges that DCFS relied so heavily on Lakeshore because it “had worn out its welcome” at other psychiatric hospitals in the Chicago area. Psychiatric hospitals were reluctant to admit DCFS children because state budgetary constraints delayed payments to them, and DCFS routinely kept children in psychiatric hospitals after they had been medically cleared for discharge, according to the lawsuit.
In June 2018, ProPublica Illinois first reported on children trapped in psychiatric hospitals because DCFS struggled to find them appropriate placements. Golbert filed a lawsuit last December on behalf of the hundreds of children who remained in psychiatric hospitals after being cleared for release. That lawsuit is pending. DCFS said at the time that finding appropriate placement for children is challenging and that the agency was working to reduce the need for hospitalization and build up additional places for children.
DCFS’ desperation for a psychiatric hospital that would accept its children led agency officials and Lakeshore to engage in “concerted efforts to cover-up or discredit the allegations of abuse,” according to the lawsuit, which also alleged the hospital failed to repair broken video cameras and destroyed existing video in an attempt to hide evidence that could corroborate the allegations.
The lawsuit names Lakeshore, its owner Signature Healthcare Services, former hospital CEO David Fletcher-Janzen, a number of hospital employees who worked there at the time of the allegations and several DCFS officials, including former department chief Beverly “B.J.” Walker.
Last December, the hospital was days away from losing federal funding. Officials said they would terminate Lakeshore’s Medicare agreement because the hospital could not ensure its patients were free from sexual and physical abuse and it did not have sufficient policies to investigate the allegations.
One year later, the hospital finds itself in a similar position. Federal officials notified Lakeshore that they plan to terminate its Medicare agreement on Monday, the latest deadline in a long list of dates that have been extended. The hospital has filed temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions in federal court to fight the termination. Lakeshore officials have said losing the federal funding could force the hospital to shut down.
An inspection last month by the Illinois Department of Public Health on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found deficiencies that “immediately jeopardize the health and safety of its patients,” federal officials wrote in a letter to the hospital.
In her statement, McClure-Chessier said Chicago Lakeshore Hospital “has always cooperated with regulators in a transparent way and we work diligently to correct any problems that arise while treating the most difficult and troubled populations — populations other hospitals cannot or will not treat because of acuity or inadequate reimbursement.”
Texas lawmakers want to protect families wrongly accused of Child Abuse
In response to an NBC News investigation, lawmakers want families to be allowed a second medical opinion before a child is taken from a home.
HOUSTON, TX – Texas lawmakers are calling for stronger safeguards in the state’s child welfare system after an NBC News and Houston Chronicle investigation found children had been taken from their parents based on disputed medical opinions from doctors trained to spot child abuse.
The reporting showed that child welfare workers removed some children from homes after receiving reports from state-funded child abuse pediatricians that were later called into question, leading to traumatic family separations and months-long legal fights.
Rep. James Frank, chairman of the Texas House of Representatives committee that oversees the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services, said the investigation exposed serious problems.
“I’m very concerned with the premature, unnecessary removal of children, and I think it happens a lot more than people in Texas understand,” said Frank, a Republican from northern Texas.
Frank said he plans to call for a series of legislative hearings in the coming months to explore potential improvements. Some legislators have suggested creating a way for courts, child welfare workers or accused families to request a second medical opinion before the state removes a child from a home.
Texas provides $5 million in grants each year — including $2.5 million from the agency that oversees Child Protective Services — to support the work of child abuse pediatricians, a small but growing subspecialty of doctors who examine children who come into hospitals with suspicious injuries. The Texas grants deputize some of the doctors to review cases on behalf of child welfare investigators, who then rely on their reports when deciding whether to remove children from parents.
Frank acknowledged that these state-supported physicians have a difficult job and that they play a critical role in protecting abused children, likely saving lives. But he said he’s heard from numerous parents in recent years whose children were removed by Child Protective Services based primarily on a report from a child abuse pediatrician and despite contradictory opinions from other doctors.
In those cases, Frank said he thinks child welfare workers are sometimes too deferential to agency-funded abuse doctors and fail to complete a thorough investigation before taking children.
“In most cases, the doctors aren’t saying ‘This is child abuse,’” Frank said. “They’re saying that they are concerned that it’s child abuse. And so I don’t know there are enough checks and balances to make sure that we have confirmed that it really is child abuse.”
Rep. Harold Dutton Jr., a Houston Democrat and lawyer who has represented a mother who says she was wrongly accused by a child abuse pediatrician, said he has begun discussions with Frank to figure out potential improvements.
“We haven’t come up with anything yet, but we’re working towards it,” he said. “One of the things that needs to happen is we need to better define when CPS should remove children. We’ve got to do a better job of that.”
In a statement, Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman for the Department of Family and Protective Services, said the agency relies on the expertise of child abuse pediatricians when its caseworkers and other medical specialists are unable to determine if a serious injury is a result of abuse.
“We believe this process has worked well to detect abuse in complex cases and has protected children,” Crimmins said. “But any process — particularly one with the lives of children and their families at stake — can be improved, and we want to work with legislators and stakeholders to do just that.”
In interviews, leading child abuse pediatricians said they are careful to rule out underlying medical conditions and accidental causes before issuing their opinions. The doctors acknowledged that a mistaken child abuse diagnosis can result in a child being taken from caring parents. But overlooking warning signs, they said, could lead to a child being left in a dangerous home, with potentially fatal consequences.
To state Rep. Gene Wu, the issues raised by the NBC News and Chronicle reporting were familiar. Wu, a Houston Democrat and lawyer, sometimes handles cases involving Child Protective Services and allegations of abuse.
“I have personally dealt with a couple of cases … where you had day-to-day physicians who said, ‘This is a typical type of bone break that is common in children of this age because they’re learning to walk,’” Wu said. “Then the case gets looked at by the child abuse expert and they say it might be child abuse, and then everyone sort of freaks out.”
In those instances, Wu said, “CPS is sort of caught in this damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation.”
Child abuse pediatricians are trained not only to identify abuse, but to identify medical conditions that can mimic abuse. The doctors say they rule out or fail to confirm abuse more times than not.
But Wu said when medical specialists are focused on finding and preventing child abuse, it’s natural that some run-of-the-mill injuries may appear more sinister.
“If you’re a hammer, then everything is a nail,” Wu said.
In many cases, the only doctor consulted by Child Protective Services and called to testify in court is the child abuse expert who initially flagged the concerns, in part because many families do not have the money to hire seasoned lawyers or outside medical experts.
To address that, Frank and other lawmakers have suggested requiring Child Protective Services to seek additional medical opinions in some instances before removing children. Another fix, Wu said, might be to create a mechanism for courts across the state to bring in independent experts to evaluate medically complex cases and offer a second opinion.
“We could create a pot of money that courts could dip into,” he said. “One party could make a motion to the judge to request an independent expert, and the state could have a list of medical experts to take a look at it.”
There are no “easy solutions,” he cautioned.
“I’ve described the CPS system as a very finely balanced seesaw,” Wu said, “and if you tip it too much you’re going to take kids away from good parents, and if you tip it the other way, you’re going to have dead kids. … Whatever we do, we need to make sure that this policy solution doesn’t tip the balance.
AG Paxton Urges HHS to Repeal Rule that
Violates the Religious Liberty of Texas’
Faith-Based Foster Care and Adoption
AUSTIN, TX – In a letter today to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Attorney General Ken Paxton urged prompt repeal of an Obama-era rule that violates the religious liberty of Texas’ faith-based foster care and adoption service providers by requiring them to abandon their core religious beliefs as a condition of receiving federal funding under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.
“People of faith should not be required to forfeit their sincerely held religious beliefs as a condition of helping Texas’ most vulnerable children,” Attorney General Paxton said. “We’re asking HHS to repeal its unlawful rule on child welfare funding or, alternatively, grant the state of Texas an exemption from the rule.”
Attorney General Paxton, in his letter to Lynn Johnson, the assistant secretary at HHS’s Administration for Children and Families, pointed out that the rule on Title IV-E funding exceeds statutory authority, violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and conflicts with Texas law.
Last session, the Texas Legislature enacted House Bill 3859, which protects the religious liberty of child welfare organizations and prohibits the state from granting or refusing to grant funding to such organizations because of their religious beliefs, including the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Texas’ share of Title IV-E funding is administered by the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) through its Child Protective Services, which works with secular and faith-based communities to find loving homes for children removed from their homes due to abuse and neglect.
Some faith-based providers who receive Title IV-E funding through DFPS require potential foster care or adoptive parents to share a particular religious faith, be a member of a congregation, or agree to the provider’s statement of faith. But the federal rule requires those organizations to abandon their deeply held religious beliefs as a condition of receiving funding.