Archive for the ‘Foster Care’ Category

Social Services Approved Pimp as Guardian

January 23, 2010

The Prince George’s County Department of Social Services approved a pimp to be the guardian of a 12-year-old girl three months after he started selling her for sex on the streets of Washington, court documents show.

Shelby Lewis has pleaded guilty to taking four girls from his Temple Hills home to D.C., where he made them to sell their bodies and then turn the cash over to him. Lewis has been jailed pending his March sentencing in D.C.’s federal court. The 42-year-old faces 15 to 20 years in prison.

Lewis admitted to starting his pimp business in March 2006. The first girl he sold for sex was a 12-year-old referred to only as “S.H.”

In June 2006, Lewis “was officially permitted to serve as the guardian of S.H. by the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services and her custodian, her paternal aunt, Gloria Sockwell,” federal prosecutors wrote in court documents.

Full Article and Source:
Prince George’s Social Services Approved Pimp as Foster Father

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Family Sues Foster Home Over Woman’s Death

August 31, 2009

Relatives of a 63-year-old Rochester woman who died three years ago have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a foster care facility for the elderly.

The lawsuit alleges that staff at the Rehoboth Disabled & Elderly Foster Care in Rochester failed to make sure Cletus Ilene Sedlacek was on 24-hour oxygen the morning of Aug. 7, 2006, as required.

She was found at 9:41 a.m. that day, lying face down in the yard. She died seven days later at Saint Marys Hospital.

Her daughter, Veronica Lynn Mahoney, who is trustee for the heirs, has filed the civil lawsuit against the facility and its owners, DeAnn and Armin Schrimpf of Oronoco and DeAnn Schrimpf’s daughter, Amanda Beery.

Attorney claims

The multi-count complaint alleges negligence, wrongful death, negligent training and supervision of staff, medical malpractice and fraud.

Mark Solheim of St. Paul, attorney for the defendants, said Minnesota and federal law prohibits him from disclosing information related to Sedlacek’s medical condition and her residency at the group home.

“But I can tell you the allegations that have been alleged against my clients will be vigorously defended. We do not believe my client deviated from the standard of care,” he said. “We believe the plaintiffs claim damages that are grossly overstated.”

Full Article and Source:
Family Sues Foster Home Over Woman’s Death

Appeal to Reinstate Lawsuit

August 12, 2009
Rhode Island’s child advocate asked a federal appeals court to reinstate a lawsuit that seeks an overhaul of the state’s foster-care system.

A federal judge earlier this year had dismissed the complaint, which alleged systemic abuse and neglect of some of the roughly 3,000 children in state custody.

The lawsuit, which sought class-action status, named 10 children as plaintiffs. Because minors cannot bring federal lawsuits on their own, Rhode Island Child Advocate Jametta Alston and Children’s Rights, a national advocacy group, appointed a group of adults to represent the children’s interests in court.

But US District Judge Ronald Lagueux dismissed the suit in April, saying the adults did not have close enough relationships with the children to act on their behalf.

Alston and Children’s Rights appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Boston.

Full Article and Source:
Advocate seeks to revive R.I. foster-care lawsuit

See also:
Judge Dismissed Suit

>Fewer Kids in Foster Care

July 2, 2009

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Slightly more than a decade ago, 52,000 children were in the custody of the State of Illinois.

Over the years that number dropped considerably — to nearly 16,000 — due to relatives stepping up to keep families together. However, African-Americans still dominate the group, said a spokesman for the Department of Children and Family Services.

As of April 30, there were 15,912 children statewide in foster care. In Cook County, there were 6,816. Of that county total, 79 percent are African-American, according to DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe.

Foster care is the temporary placement of children outside their homes due to abuse, neglect or dependency. Wards of the state are either in non-relative foster homes, homes with a relative, or in group homes or centers.

Marlowe: “The ultimate goal is to return the child home once issues are resolved. When that’s not an option, the department advocates for subsidized guardianship or seeks adoption for the child.”

Full Article and Source:
Fewer kids in foster care than a decade ago

Fewer Kids in Foster Care

July 2, 2009
Slightly more than a decade ago, 52,000 children were in the custody of the State of Illinois.

Over the years that number dropped considerably — to nearly 16,000 — due to relatives stepping up to keep families together. However, African-Americans still dominate the group, said a spokesman for the Department of Children and Family Services.

As of April 30, there were 15,912 children statewide in foster care. In Cook County, there were 6,816. Of that county total, 79 percent are African-American, according to DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe.

Foster care is the temporary placement of children outside their homes due to abuse, neglect or dependency. Wards of the state are either in non-relative foster homes, homes with a relative, or in group homes or centers.

Marlowe: “The ultimate goal is to return the child home once issues are resolved. When that’s not an option, the department advocates for subsidized guardianship or seeks adoption for the child.”

Full Article and Source:
Fewer kids in foster care than a decade ago

>Public Guardian Speaks Out

June 30, 2009

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A child whose mother set her on fire and 100 other foster kids in state custody will lose “all counseling services” if Illinois is allowed to cut its Children and Family Services budget by 50 percent on July 1 as planned, a Cook County Public Guardian says. Robert Harris claims the budget cuts will eliminate “all counseling services to children who are in state care due to physical or sexual abuse, neglect or dependency.”

On behalf of more than 100 foster children, Harris sued the Department of Children and Family Services and Gov. Pat Quinn, whose budget calls for DCFS funding to be cut by 50 percent.

Harris asked the Cook County Court to enjoin Quinn and the DCFS from terminating counseling services for children in custody without due process and “without individual consideration of each child’s needs.”

Harris says the children have “all suffered extraordinary trauma in their young lives,” such as “physical and sexual abuse, witness(ing) domestic violence” and neglect.

Full Article and Source:
Foster Kids Endangered by Huge Budget Cuts in Illinois

See also:
Governor, Guardian and DCF Being Sued

Public Guardian Speaks Out

June 30, 2009
A child whose mother set her on fire and 100 other foster kids in state custody will lose “all counseling services” if Illinois is allowed to cut its Children and Family Services budget by 50 percent on July 1 as planned, a Cook County Public Guardian says. Robert Harris claims the budget cuts will eliminate “all counseling services to children who are in state care due to physical or sexual abuse, neglect or dependency.”

On behalf of more than 100 foster children, Harris sued the Department of Children and Family Services and Gov. Pat Quinn, whose budget calls for DCFS funding to be cut by 50 percent.

Harris asked the Cook County Court to enjoin Quinn and the DCFS from terminating counseling services for children in custody without due process and “without individual consideration of each child’s needs.”

Harris says the children have “all suffered extraordinary trauma in their young lives,” such as “physical and sexual abuse, witness(ing) domestic violence” and neglect.

Full Article and Source:
Foster Kids Endangered by Huge Budget Cuts in Illinois

See also:
Governor, Guardian and DCF Being Sued

>25-Year-Old Lawsuit Settlement

June 26, 2009

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The stories were horrifying and heart-wrenching: a boy beaten bloody while in foster care; a 15-year-old girl tortured and starved to death by a mentally ill guardian; a 5-year-old fatally scalded by his mother after state officials removed him from a safe foster home.

It’s no wonder such egregious cases of abuse and neglect have helped drive a 25-year-old lawsuit over how the Maryland Department of Human Resources and the Baltimore Department of Social Services care for the state’s most vulnerable children and adolescents.

That’s why the settlement announced this week between advocates for Baltimore’s children and the city’s foster care system represents a potentially tremendous step forward for the health and well-being of children in Maryland.

Some of the requirements:
1. The state must make sure children in its care have case plans and that they actually receive the health care, educational support and other services identified in those plans.

2. The agreement would allow the state to free itself from federal court supervision for the first time since 1988 if it meets dozens of specific goals and maintains that performance for an 18-month period.

3. Each caseworker will be responsible for no more than 15 children, and a single supervisor will be responsible for no more than six caseworkers.

4. The system has agreed to hire an outside expert with broad credibility in the field to monitor its progress and make periodic reports.

Full Article and Source:
A milestone for youths – Our view: Maryland now has a unique opportunity to fix its long-broken child welfare system; for the sake of future generations, it can’t let that chance go to waste

25-Year-Old Lawsuit Settlement

June 26, 2009
The stories were horrifying and heart-wrenching: a boy beaten bloody while in foster care; a 15-year-old girl tortured and starved to death by a mentally ill guardian; a 5-year-old fatally scalded by his mother after state officials removed him from a safe foster home.

It’s no wonder such egregious cases of abuse and neglect have helped drive a 25-year-old lawsuit over how the Maryland Department of Human Resources and the Baltimore Department of Social Services care for the state’s most vulnerable children and adolescents.

That’s why the settlement announced this week between advocates for Baltimore’s children and the city’s foster care system represents a potentially tremendous step forward for the health and well-being of children in Maryland.

Some of the requirements:
1. The state must make sure children in its care have case plans and that they actually receive the health care, educational support and other services identified in those plans.

2. The agreement would allow the state to free itself from federal court supervision for the first time since 1988 if it meets dozens of specific goals and maintains that performance for an 18-month period.

3. Each caseworker will be responsible for no more than 15 children, and a single supervisor will be responsible for no more than six caseworkers.

4. The system has agreed to hire an outside expert with broad credibility in the field to monitor its progress and make periodic reports.

Full Article and Source:
A milestone for youths – Our view: Maryland now has a unique opportunity to fix its long-broken child welfare system; for the sake of future generations, it can’t let that chance go to waste

>Governor, Guardian and DCF Being Sued

June 25, 2009

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Governor Pat Quinn and two Department of Children and Family Services officials are being sued over state budget cuts that will eliminate counseling services to abused children in foster care.

The children filed suit–110 wards of the state, listed in the complaint only by their first names. Also listed as a plaintiff is Robert Harris, Public Guardian of Cook County.

Named as defendants are Governor Quinn, as well as Erwin McEwen, Director of DCFS, and D. Jean Ortega-Piron, Guardianship Guardian of DCFS.

The complaint explains that “The children bring this action challenging the failure of the defendant, Pat Quinn, Governor of the State of Illinois to implement a budget which funds the Department of Children and Family Services in a manner consistent with the Department’s responsibilities to the children in its care.”

As a result of the current state budget, the general revenue fund for the Illinois DCFS will be cut in half, ending “all counseling services to children who are in state care due to physical or sexual abuse, neglect or dependency,” a decision already announced by Director McEwen.

Full Article and Source:
IL Governor Pat Quinn and DCFS officials sued over state budget cuts

See also:
Senior Protest Against Gov. Cuts