CPS Ignored Pleas For Help

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CPS ignored pleas for help

Teacher says Bureau of Child Welfare ignored pleas for help

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin  –  A FOX6 Investigation has found that kids with disabilities are dying in Wisconsin from abuse and neglect, despite repeated calls to child protective services.

It’s a frustration shared by many who work to keep kids safe, including mandated reporters like teachers.

“I feel like I failed so much because I don’t view my job as a teacher — I view my job as also protecting them because they are disabled,” says April Eckdahl, a special education teacher in Milwaukee.

Eckdahl says she’s watched the child welfare system in Milwaukee County fail kids in her classroom.

“They need an advocate and I just feel really powerless even though I have done everything I can do.  It makes me really, really worried about all those kids,” Eckdahl said.

A FOX6 review of state records shows 15 disabled kids have died in Wisconsin in the last five years, even though there were repeated reports of abuse and neglect to county welfare agencies.  Nine other disabled kids were seriously injured, despite repeated calls to child welfare agencies.

Our research got the attention of Disability Rights Wisconsin.

“Until something bad happened, nothing was done,” says Lisa Pugh, public policy director for Disability Rights Wisconsin.

A boy with autism drowned while his mom got high.  A toddler with cerebral palsy overdosed on morphine.  A blind, paralyzed six-year-old was left in a scalding hot bath.  A little girl starved, locked in the basement.

These families had previously been reported to CPS — sometimes dozens of times.  When FOX6 took a closer look we noticed most of them had one thing in common.  The victims, children with disabilities, couldn’t talk or had a hard time communicating.  When that happened, investigations would stall, or be shut down altogether.

“If they can’t have the kid, the student tell them — literally say out loud what is going on, they just close it,” Eckdahl says.

Eckdahl says she spent an entire school year trying to get the Milwaukee County Bureau of Child Welfare to help one of her students with autism.  kids Before she became a teacher, she was a social worker.

“She is being sexually abused and nobody is helping her,” Eckdahl said.

In the classroom, her eight-year-old student used Barbie dolls to tell her teacher what was happening at home.

“She turned Barbie over and put Ken on top of Barbie,” Eckdahl says.

Then the student said, “and then boyfriend lays down next to me and says, ‘I’m sorry.'”

Eckdahl says it was the worst thing she’s ever heard.

“It’s classic manipulation.  Like, ‘I’m sorry.  I’m going to do it again later, but I’m sorry right now,'” she says.

Eckdahl says she reported suspected sexual abuse and neglect at least 15 times.  When caseworkers would come out to the school, though, nothing would happen.

“It took me a long time to build that relationship with her.  They are not going to tell some random person that they just met.  They need to build a rapport with someone,” Eckdahl said.

She says children with autism will often have a lot of anxiety.  They will repeat themselves and change the subject to avoid talking about traumatic or uncomfortable topics.  That’s why, Eckdahl says, specialists should be brought in to interview these kids after allegations are reported.

After reviewing FOX6’s research, Disability Rights Wisconsin officials saw a pattern.

“It appears that clearly there’s no one in the room or required to be part of that investigative process that would have any level of expertise in communicating with a child with a disability that has difficulty communicating,” Pugh said.

It’s an issue that’s now getting the attention of lawmakers in Madison.

“There’s been a number of situations in which we’ve had children die in this stateWe’ve had a number of situations in which children continue to be abused.  So we have to make some changes,” says Ismael Ozanne, the Dane County district attorney.

One of those proposed changes comes with the Justice for Children package.

“The need for this legislation is now,” Ozanne says.

The Justice for Children package is a series of bills, supported by Attorney General Brad Schimel, aimed at making Wisconsin kids safer.

“Many cases involving children with special needs indicate repeated calls to child protective services and in one fatal case there were more than 20 calls,” Pugh testified.

While the legislation doesn’t specifically focus on kids with disabilities, if passed, it would require Child Protective Services to get police involved every time abuse or neglect is reported.

“We are asking human services to actually share information with law enforcement and the prosecution,” Ozanne says.

Remember the girl with autism in Brookfield, forced to live in her basement?  Her family was reported to county child welfare agencies 40 times in eight years.  It wasn’t until a concerned citizen called police directly that she was removed from her home.

In Dane County, another teenage girl with disabilities was helpless and suffering.

“We found that child had been in the basement for six years.

That child had been malnourished to the point of having her physical growth permanently stunted,” Ozanne said.

Her family was reported to the Dane County Department of Health and Human Services eight times, but nothing was done until police got involved after the girl was found wandering the streets.

“That is a problem,” Ozanne says.

Eckdahl agrees.  She says when she walked her student to her bus at the end of the school day she felt helpless.

“I feel like I am sending her right back to be abused,” Eckdahl said.

Eckdahl made a trip to Madison to advocate for her former student, whom, she says, is still not safe.

“This was a little girl with autism,” she told lawmakers.  “And she was trying to do the best she can to articulate to us, the people that she trusts, what’s going on with her.”

She told lawmakers what she’s been trying to tell the Milwaukee Bureau of Child Welfare for a year.

“I don’t think I should have to be worried when I put her on the bus.  I don’t think I should have to be calling 15 times and then still have a case shut.  Their jobs were made to help and protect kids,” Eckdahl said.

Disability Rights Wisconsin has initiated an investigation to see if the Milwaukee Bureau of Child Welfare followed proper protocol when investigating the teacher’s reports.

The organization also hopes to craft new legislation, to be introduced next year, that would specifically address the investigative process used in Wisconsin when victims of abuse and neglect are children with disabilities.

The End Of Innocence

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Make A Difference

Franklin D. Roosevelt speaks of Four Freedoms

On this day in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addresses Congress in an effort to move the nation away from a foreign policy of neutrality.

The president had watched with increasing anxiety as European nations struggled and fell to Hitler’s fascist regime and was intent on rallying public support for the United States to take a stronger interventionist role.

In his address to the 77th Congress, Roosevelt stated that the need of the moment is that our actions and our policy should be devoted primarily–almost exclusively–to meeting the foreign peril.  For all our domestic problems are now a part of the great emergency.

Roosevelt insisted that people in all nations of the world shared Americans’ entitlement to four freedoms: the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship God in his own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

After Roosevelt’s death and the end of World War II, his widow Eleanor often referred to the four freedoms when advocating for passage of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Mrs. Roosevelt participated in the drafting of that declaration, which was adopted by the United Nations in 1948.

Americans’ entitlement to four freedoms

  1. Freedom of speech and expression.
  2. Freedom to worship God in his own way.
  3. Freedom from want.
  4. Freedom from fear.

EPA Toxic Mine Spill

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Before the Toxic spill and After.

Diné Couple Resume Life After Mine Spill

We are scared.  Many have lost crops.  The heavy metals released from the mine spill is very toxic to babies and Elders and anyone who has health problems.  My well is capped, I destroyed my small garden, and moved my horses….

SHIPROCK, NM  –  Rows of dried corn stalks stand in front of Earl and Cheryle Yazzie’s home.  On a portion of land where melons grew, a pair of puppies sniffed, then nudged ruined fruit.

Months after the Gold King Mine spill, the couple, like many farmers in San Juan County, continues to worry about the future of their farm.

On Aug. 5, the spill released millions of gallons of toxic wastewater into a tributary of the Animas River.

The mustard yellow plume flowed through the Animas into the San Juan River, which flows through the northern region of the Navajo Nation.  The Yazzie residence is about a mile north of the river that they have used to irrigate their crops.

“This was an eye opener for everybody,” Earl Yazzie said about the spill and subsequent actions by government officials and residents in response to the spill.

On a recent Wednesday, Yazzie said he wants to see testing results from federal and tribal entities before he decides to again irrigate his farm with San Juan River water.

Since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has accepted responsibility for the spill, he said, the agency should be supplying a clean water source and start testing the soil on farms.

The toxic spill received nationwide attention and, as The Daily Times reported on Sept. 9, environmental activist and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich visited the farm while touring the Navajo Nation.

During the visit, Brockovich listened to the Yazzies as they talked about efforts to save their crops and why they opposed resuming irrigation with the suspect river water.

Cheryle Yazzie said she remains angry and disappointed by the response of government officials, especially since it seems no one “can do anything.”

“A lot of people, I think, don’t understand the real casualties, the effects of this.  Sure, it’s not going to happen this instant, but we’ll see it in a few years,” she said.

At the time of Brockovich’s visit, officials had set up a water tank to irrigate a section of the Yazzie farm.  When asked if that effort helped the crops, Earl Yazzie said it helped, but the crops did not mature.

“The whole field was lost.  Our crops were a loss.  It really affected me,” Yazzie said.

Cheryle Yazzie recalled previous seasons when people would visit the farm to buy produce.  The couple estimates they suffered a financial loss of more than $10,000.

Earl Yazzie is a lifelong resident of this town and grew up on a farm, learning how to work the ground from his parents and grandparents.
“To see this actually happening, it made me think about things.  I thought, `This is going to destroy our farm life,’” he said.

When asked if they will be planting crops during the upcoming season, Cheryle Yazzie said she is opposed to that if the river water is going to be the source of irrigation for the crops.

“We don’t want that water on our land,” she said, adding she remains proud of the Shiprock residents who opposed reopening the irrigation canal that delivers river water to the farms.

The answer is not as easy for Earl Yazzie, who said he would have to evaluate the situation in the spring.  He reiterated the need for testing.

An effort by federal lawmakers to address the spill came on Dec. 18 when New Mexico”s Democratic U.S. senators, Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, along with U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-Santa Fe, included a provision to support monitoring efforts in the end-of-year appropriations bill before Congress.  That provision directs the EPA to coordinate with states and tribes impacted by the spill to develop a plan for independent monitoring, according to a joint press release from the lawmakers.

It also directs the EPA to provide support for the monitoring efforts of states and tribes.

Udall said in a press release that the provision will help hold the EPA accountable and ensure it keeps its commitment to prioritizing transparency in water quality monitoring.

“If a situation like a flash flood or thunderstorm were to cause contamination in the water once again, we need the EPA making determinations and giving prompt warnings to impacted communities based on the best scientific advice,” Udall said.

Luján was pleased that the provision was included.

“There are serious concerns about the effects that this spill will have on our communities in the months and years to come, and it is critical that there is a coordinated effort to conduct long-term monitoring of the Animas River,” Luján said in the release.

Heinrich acknowledged that families deserve to be compensated for damages incurred because of the spill, and he said he will continue to work on overhauling federal hard rock mining and abandoned mine policies.  Mining interests have successfully blocked efforts to update the Mining Act of 1872, which allows mining companies to obtain claims for a small investment and does not require companies to clean up inactive or abandoned mines.

EPA officials and an agency contractor, using taxpayer dollars, were working to clean up the Gold King Mine when they caused the spill.

It Begins Here, Now

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Make A Difference

Make A Difference:  a New Resolution

You KNOW that you deserve MORE;  you wakeup, shower(or maybe you shower at night, or both, my point is: you keep yourself clean), dress nice, have breakfast(I hope you have enough to eat), then you go about your business for the day.

Who else do you KNOW deserves MORE, your family, your friends????

OK, now comes the hard part:  WHAT exactly do you, your family, and your friends deserve MORE of????

  1. Respect
  2. Consideration
  3. Trust
  4. Thoughtfulness
  5. Accepted
  6. Liked
  7. Loved
  8. Jobs
  9. Education
  10. Understanding

I KNOW that I deserve MORE, just as my family, friends, and neighbors deserve MORE.

Change begins within one’s own self with the desire for something different.  How can we affect change without first changing our own self, i.e. meeting the same standard.

~Robert StrongBow~

After the last year and four months I have finally realized that there are many people who are very unhappy with the Violence, racial strife, lack of respect, lack of friendship, lack of good will, Elder Abuse, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, and very little genuine love.

Yesterday, while discussing our direction for the next year, the subject of New Year Resolutions suddenly became very real, and I saw it play out.  I ignored my two agitators when I awoke from my unplanned nap, and instead drew my new notebook and old days notebook close and went to work.

I have tested this repeatedly today in several different situations and I am very happy with the results, which was 100% positive, very positive.  I do want to tell everyone that I have been involving my Step-Father more and more for insight, comparison of opinions, and in search of ideas, with more and more interaction.  He was present at my last test, but when I brought the matter up after we had left, it occurred to me that we had finally more than communicated, after all these years he knew….

I CARE, and I know there are many more that care, and it is time for US to do all we can, but give me another few minutes to try to convince as many of the LEMMINGS to help, as possible.

I hear the beautiful people spout their racial rhetoric and TALK, and time and time again the LEMMINGS take up the chant, SEVERAL OF THESE LEMMING IDIOTS ARE RIGHT HERE ON WORDPRESS, and you can tell one or two by the fact that they never post during mid-morning while “SHE” is on TV, they wouldn’t dare miss HER HYPNOTIC BS, so they can spread more racial strife.

FIRST, I want to remind all Texans that as a promise for letting lotto into Texas, all proceeds would go to education….  OH SO SOME OF YOU REMEMBER.

OK, what all the beautiful people couldn’t care less about telling you is that all the education you want is right there on that internet FREE for the taking.  IF YOU DON’T know how, email me, but I expect honesty.

I hope and pray you will join with us to help 2016 get started right, if you do, copy Our graphic “MAKE A DIFFERENCE” and post it every time you get a chance.

Now I want you all to watch this short video about Bullying please, the name is “The Silent Word”.

 

 

Colorado DHS Setting Good Example

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CO DHS setting good example with Hotline in place.

Colorado hotline expands reporting of suspected Child Abuse and Neglect


Child abuse reporting

State and local officials encourage Coloradans to report suspected child abuse and neglect.

People living anywhere in Colorado can call the state child abuse/neglect hotline: 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437), to speak to a representative 24 hours a day, every day.

People suspecting abuse of children or at-risk adults living in Boulder County can also call the county’s own hotline: 303-441-1309, also 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Information about Boulder County’s child welfare programs and services: bit.ly/1PmW8Uz

Colorado Department of Human Services information about preventing and reporting child abuse and neglect: bit.ly/1FiAkQH

With the approaching first anniversary of the launch of a toll-free statewide telephone hotline for reporting child abuse and neglect, child-welfare officials are urging Coloradans to stay vigilant if they’re concerned about a child’s safety and well-being.

The Colorado Department of Human Services announced that as of Dec. 20, state and county officials had received nearly 205,000 reports of suspected child abuse or neglect since the hotline went live on Jan. 1 — both through the new state hotline and from people contacting counties’ and the state’s human services offices.

“There is a growing understanding in our community that we all play a role in keeping our kids safe,” state Department of Human Services Director Reggie Bicha said in a news release.

Bicha said the 1-844-CO-4-KIDS hotline is integral to help Coloradans spot and report signs of child abuse and neglect. “One call can save a child,” he said.

Of the total 204,983 calls received by Dec. 20 about possible child abuse or neglect, 26,461 were made on the state hotline, according to Department of Human Services spokesman Lee Rasizer.  Of that total, 4,516 came from Boulder County, 706 from Broomfield County and 5,395 from Weld County.

Under a system in which calls are evaluated and determinations made about whether further assessments and investigations are merited, and how rapidly those assessments and investigations need to be made, 88,441 of the total calls to the state’s hotline and Colorado counties were accepted for assessment and 32,709 were assessed and investigated, Rasizer said.

Accepted for assessment and possible further action, he said, were 1,678 of the original 4,516 reports originally received about possible child abuse or neglect in Boulder County, 183 of the 706 reports received about situations in Broomfield County, and 1,793 of the 5,395 reports about possible abuse or neglect in Weld County.

The state child abuse and neglect hotline links callers at all hours to the appropriate official.  All calls are confidential and will be routed to the county where a child resides.

Boulder County also has its own child abuse hotline, 303-441-1309, said Jim Williams, spokesman for the County Department of Housing and Human Services.  But in emergencies, call 911.

“The hotline technology allows callers to be connected around the clock with screeners who can discuss their concerns with them,” Williams said. 

Did You Make A Difference Today?

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