Tag Archives: CoverUp

CPS Ignored Pleas For Help

.jpg photo of Children that died due to CPS inactivity.
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.

EPA Toxic Mine Spill

.jpg photo of Toxic Waste spill.
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.

Shame On U.S.

.jpg photo of Child with U.S. Flag
Shame on U.S.

We have a serious problem in our country, and it begins and ends in the job place.

I’m going to give you the solution to our problem before I tell you how Our Children and Families are paying the price:

  • All Child Maltreatment calls are answered and investigated by Local Law Enforcement
  • Washington monitors State CPS Offices very closely

Our Children and Families are paying the price

Everytime a problem arises at one of our State CPS Offices, we hear one stock answer: “We need more money and more help”.

The taxpayer is taxed enough already.  Millions of Dollars are being wasted and mismanaged already.  Here are just a few examples of how our tax dollars are being spent:

  1. 6,000 uninvestigated Child Abuse case files are thrown in a dumpster by CPS employees.
  2. A major part of required paperwork is not filled out correctly, or not done at all.
  3. CPS answering machines mysteriously erase all Child Abuse calls.
  4. CPS employees file “manufactured” evidence with the court system.
  5. CPS employees file erroneous Child Abuse reports during off hours against people they do not like.

As it is now, State CPS Offices are corrupt and seriously mismanaged.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv42L1XkCBY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5JZx5J5W5U


 

Panel Charged With Eliminating Child Abuse Deaths
February 25, 2014

http://www.npr.org/2014/02/25/282359501/panel-charged-with-eliminating-child-abuse-deaths

12 MEMBER PANEL APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT IN 2013

A federal commission to prevent children’s deaths from abuse and neglect held its first meeting on Monday. Figuring out the extent of the problem is just one challenge facing the new commission.

(CT – Commission talking)
About 1700 children die in the U.S. each year as the result of abuse and neglect.  At least that’s the official count.

Many experts think the real number is much higher.

“DEATHS AT THE HANDS OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS”????

(CT)
The stories are usually too horrific for people to think about; children beaten, stabbed, abused to death often at the hands of family or friends.  And often in families that have already raised red flags with authorities.

HEAD OF “EVERY CHILD MATTERS” GIVES SUGGESTION

Michael Petit, who heads an advocacy group called Every Child Matters, says one problem is that the cause of death is often in dispute.

And I think knowing what those three or 4,000 deaths are is going to be important to us, in terms of what’s the cause of death, who is that’s doing the crime, and so forth, right?

FORMER CHILD WELFARE OFFICIAL CHAIRS THE COMMISSION????

(CT)
But panel members say there is a lot that is known about such deaths, such as their prevalence in households with a history of domestic violence or drug abuse.

(CT)
Others have been down this road before and we’ve still got child deaths.  I think we’re idealistic to think that we’re going to stop all child deaths.

(CT)
The panel could make some progress reducing them.  It has two years to complete its work. ∗∗∗∗(3 months left)


Child Abuse And Neglect Laws Aren’t Being Enforced, Report Finds
January 27, 2015

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/01/27/381636056/child-abuse-and-neglect-laws-arent-being-enforced-report-finds

The numbers are grim.  Almost 680,000 children in the United States were the victims of abuse and neglect in 2013.  More than 1,500 of them died.

FEDERAL OFFICIALS SAY NUMBERS ARE LOWER????

Federal officials say they’re encouraged that the numbers are lower than they were in 2012.  But children’s advocates say abuse is so often not reported that it’s impossible to know if there’s really been a decline.

DATA IS FLAWED

“This is just something that’s chronically underreported,” says Elisa Weichel, a staff attorney with the Children’s Advocacy Institute, which published the report Tuesday.

She says abuse and neglect cases — especially those resulting in death — are often not disclosed as required by law.  That lack of information has led to other problems in the system.

“It all boils down to having the right amount of data about what’s working and what’s not,” Weichel says.  “And when your data is flawed, every other part of your system is going to be flawed.”

NOT ONE STATE MEETS MINIMUM CHILD WELFARE STANDARDS

Her group has found plenty of flaws.  The institute conducted a three-year study and found that not one state has met all of the minimum child welfare standards set by the federal government.

LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE

“Whether or not individual states can meet a reporting standard to us is not where the emphasis ought to be,” says Ron Smith, director of legislative affairs for the American Public Human Services Association, which represents child welfare administrators.

“It needs to be on making sure that the kids who need assistance are getting assistance, and the families that need assistance are getting the assistance,” he says.

Smith says state and local officials complain that they spend too much time filling out federal forms and trying to meet requirements that aren’t necessarily best for kids.

Instead, he says, they want flexibility on how to spend federal funds so they can focus more on keeping families together.

Just in case someone wants to look at this report or download it:

CAI Holds Congressional Briefing to Unveil New Report:
SHAME on U.S.
Failings by All Three Branches of Our Federal Government Leave Abused and Neglected Children Vulnerable to Further Harm
January 27, 2015

http://www.caichildlaw.org/Shame_on_US.htm