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.
Lead Investigator in the case, former GBI Agent, facing Child Abuse charges
Monroe County, Georgia – Prosecutors are no longer seeking the death penalty in a deadly child abuse case because the lead investigator in the case is facing child molestation charges.
Amanda Hendrickson is the woman accused of killing her 5 year-old daughter Heaven Woods in May of 2014. Lawyers argued more than 100 pre-trial motions this afternoon as Amanda Hendrickson sat quietly in court.
District Attorney Richard Milam says one reason they dropped the death penalty is because of the lead investigator in the case. Milam says that’s former GBI agent Charles Woodall, is facing child molestation charges. “(If we) call him in as a witness brings into the trial all of the things that he’s accused of doing. So therefore, we’re going to try to avoid that as much as possible but when you’re asking a jury to make that consideration you really need to give them everything,” said Milam.
Milam says now they’re seeking life with or without parole in the case.
One of Hendrickson’s defense attorney’s Burt Baker says dropping the death penalty is appropriate in this case. Baker says Hendrickson has an intellectual disability. “Our client was given an IQ test, in the I believe it was the third grade, where she scored in the intellectually disabled or mentally retarded range,” said Baker.
Woods died in a Monroe County hospital with a broken arm and five broken ribs. Hendrickson’s boyfriend, Roderick Buckner, pleaded guilty in June to first degree child cruelty in the case, he received a life sentence. “Milam says Hendrickson’s trial is currently scheduled for September.
Federal judge finds Texas has “broken” foster care system, says she’ll order changes
AUSTIN, TX – Long-term foster care in Texas is “broken” and routinely does grave harm to children already dealt a tough hand, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack of Corpus Christi said the state violated the Constitution by keeping about 12,000 youngsters for years in an underfunded and poorly run system “where rape, abuse, psychotropic medication and instability are the norm.”
Defendants John Specia and his staff at the state Department of Family and Protective Services have “the best intentions, she wrote. ” But the system, despite 20 years of reports and attempted fixes, keeps harming the children it’s supposed to help”, the stinging opinion reads.
Jack, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, ruled in favor of nine children who sued the state in 2011 on behalf of all Texas children in long-term foster care.
Their lawyers, who included members of the Dallas-based Haynes and Boone firm, said Texas’ foster care system forces thousands of youngsters to live in poorly supervised institutions. The department frequently moves the children from one place to another and often splits up siblings, plaintiffs said.
Jack agreed, saying Texas routinely violates the children’s 14th Amendment rights to be free from harm while in state custody.
Julie Moody, a spokeswoman for the protective-services department, said it’s disappointed with Jack’s ruling. The state has insisted that plaintiffs’ lawyers have ignored recent improvements that followed the Legislature’s sweeping changes to Child Protective Services in 2005, along with an overhaul of foster care two years later. They also repeatedly boosted the agency’s budget — Texas current spends $1.4 billion a year on Child Protective Services.
“Texas performs comparably with other states in this area, and has steadily improved,” she said.
While Texas fiercely contested the suit, officials didn’t immediately say whether they would appeal Jack’s ruling.
The case centers on children removed from their birth homes by Child Protective Services who then linger for at least a year, sometimes 18 months, in foster care. Because CPS and its contractors have been unable to reunite them with their birth families or find a lasting home with relatives or an adoptive parent, the youngsters are in limbo.
Even though judges work to try to avoid it, many children then enter CPS’ “permanent managing conservatorship.” At that point, the state often drops the ball because the law does not require that the children have their own lawyer and another adult advocating for them, plaintiffs argued – and Jack agreed.
She found that CPS has too few conservatorship caseworkers, so their huge caseloads cause them to fail to pay enough attention to their charges.
“Texas’ foster care system is broken, and it has been that way for decades,” Jack wrote. “It is broken for all stakeholders, including DFPS employees who are tasked with impossible workloads. Most importantly, though, it is broken for Texas’ [permanent managing conservatorship] children, who almost uniformly leave state custody more damaged than when they entered.”
Jack said that within 30 days, she would appoint a special master to develop a sweeping plan for improvements.
The cost to the state is uncertain but likely to be in the millions. CPS has authority to employ more than 9,200 people, though turnover is a chronic problem, as the judge noted.
Jack said she’ll ask the special master to recommend how many more CPS workers should be hired and how many more child-care licensing inspectors should be added.
She’s requiring each child in long-term care to have an attorney ad litem as well as a court-appointed special advocate.
The judge also said the special master will study “child-on-child abuse” at group homes and treatment centers. The master will push for the state to move children who do not have severe physical or behavioral impairments into the least restrictive settings possible.
CPS also would have to improve case files it keeps on the children – including annual photos, to help in identifying runaways. The state also will have to stop placing certain foster children in unsafe placements like “foster group homes that lack 24-hour awake-night supervision,” Jack said.
Marcia Robinson Lowry, the founder of New York-based Children’s Rights, which led the effort and has filed similar suits in more than a dozen states, called Jacks’ decision “stunning” and painstakingly researched.
“Texas certainly has one of the worse foster care systems in the country,” Lowry said.
Elmwood Park Special Education teacher charged in alleged Child Abuse
Elmwood Park, NJ – A special education teacher at an Elmwood Park elementary school has been charged with child abuse and simple assault and released after posting bail, authorities said Monday.
Ashley Frabizzio, 30, of Butler, was arrested Saturday after an investigation that started last Thursday, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said in a statement. Molinelli said the investigation began when detectives of the Elmwood Park Police Department were notified by an administrator of the Sixteenth Avenue Elementary School of allegations against Frabizzio.
No details were provided concerning where or when the abuse was alleged to have occurred, or the relationship between Frabizzio and the children allegedly affected.
Molinelli said the investigation was conducted jointly by his office’s Special Victims Unit and the Elmwood Park Police.
Frabizzio was charged with two counts of fourth-degree child abuse and two counts of simple assault, a disorderly persons offense.
Municipal Court Judge Anthony Gallina set bail at $2,500, and ordered Frabizzio released when she posted 10 percent of the bail.
He also ordered that she have no contact with the alleged victims, the school or school personnel.