Tuesday, 17 May 2011
State take your kids? Submit to their oversight program, or they'll give them to somebody "more qualified."
Stand by for the next "kidnapping" arrest: a Michigan couple who flee to Canada with their 7-year old son who is wanted by CPS for drinking the wrong kind of lemonade at a ball game.
(WXYZ) - All parents make mistakes, but in Michigan, one mistake could cost you your child. Critics say it’s happening all too often because we have one of the worst laws in the country when it comes to how and when the state can take your children.
“It was an unbelievable nightmare! Far worse than the death of my first child,” said Claire Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s son was taken from her for only three days but it was a harrowing experience her family will never forget.
It started as a night out with dad at a Tiger’s game and ended with their 7-year old boy in foster care.
“I felt totally helpless, I felt desperate,” Zimmerman told Action News Investigator Heather Catallo.
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Experts say a child’s time in foster care is often prolonged because DHS requires the parents who are not even accused of abuse or neglect to comply with something called a “service plan” or “service agreement.” It’s a list of requirements that can include psychological evaluations and parenting classes, which often conflict with parents work hours. If you fail to follow the plan you may not get your kids back.
Steinberg and other lawyers say there’s another major flaw with the system: the state fails to place children with family even though Michigan law requires DHS to try to do that. In Leo’s case, Steinberg says DHS refused to release him to his aunts and even his own mom, who had nothing to do with what happened at the ballpark.
“What’s happening in Michigan is a pattern of kids being taken away from parents against whom no allegations are made, simply based on the other parent’s conduct,” said University of Michigan Law Professor Vivek Sankran. Sankran challenges DHS decisions in the court daily and he’s alarmed by what he calls the “guilt by association” problem. Sankran says both DHS and the courts are equally to blame for perfectly “fit” parents losing their children.
“We are one of two states in the country that have this type of doctrine. Most states have clear case law that unless you make allegations against a parent, that parent gets their kids back immediately,” said Sankran.
Sankran points to another troubling case. Bryson Stone’s mom abused drugs and willingly gave up the baby to his biological father, Milton Stone, right after Bryson was born.
“They said I would be able to take him home, and I was there at his birth,” said Stone.
Instead of allowing Milton to take his own son home, Wayne County DHS workers had Bryson put in foster care, even though Milton was never accused of abuse or neglect.
Milton is currently the foster parent to his cousin Antonio. This means Michigan DHS approved Milton to foster parent his cousin, but refuses to let him parent his own son.
Donita Sanders FOR 3 YEARS NOW I HAVE BEEN GOING THRU THE SAME THING..I AM THE AUNT OF NAPOLEON MOORE'S DAUGHTER...MY SISTER IS THERE MOTHER, AND BECAUSE MY AT THE TIME 7 YEARS OLD NIECE FATHER HAD SEXUALLY MOLESTED HER, SHE RIGHT ALONG WITH MY NEPHEWS WERE TAKING, I UNDERSTAND THAT THEY HAD TO INVESTIGATE..BUT WHAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND IS HOW THEY CAN JUST TAKE MY SISTERS RIGHT FROM HER 4 CHILDREN WHEN SHE WAS NEVER CONVICTED OR ACCUSED OF ANYTHING...THE MAN WHO DID IT WAS CONVICTED AND SENTENCED TO PRISON..THEY NEVER GAVE MY SISTER A CHANCE...THE TOOK HER NEW BORN CHILD WHO AT THE TIME WASN'T EVEN BORN..THEY TOOK MY NEPHEW WHEN AT THE TIME HE WAS OUT OF STATE VISITING HIS FATHER..AND TOOK MY OLDEST NEPHEW, WHEN HE WAS NEVER AROUND TO EVEN WITNESS ANY OF THIS HAPPENING...THE STATE CLAIMED THEY TOOK THE KIDS BECAUSE OF MY SISTER FAILURE TO PROTECT HER KIDS.
In related news . . .
In November of 1925, the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling of the Amherst County Circuit Court. A petition for certiorari was filed, briefs were submitted and on May 2, 1927, the United States Supreme Court upheld Virginia's eugenical sterilization law by a vote of 8 to 1 [274 U.S. 200 (1927)].
In his opinion, Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. relied on an earlier case, [Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1904)], which upheld a Massachusetts law requiring school children to be vaccinated against smallpox in support of the Court's decision. The assertions of the expert witnesses at Carrie Buck's original trial laid the groundwork for Chief Justice Holmes' resounding statement, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
On October 19, 1927, Carrie Buck was the first person in Virginia sterilized under the new law.