Oklahoma Needs to Do More to Protect Children

According to a new report, although improvements have been made, reforms in Oklahoma’s DHS system have failed to adequately protect children. Despite the report’s findings, the state is defending their failure to address several critical issues. We, Rob and Kathleen Raskin of Las Vegas, Nevada, want to know why. If you are also invested in putting an end to corruption and abuse in child protection agencies, please join us in demanding answers.

Unlike many other states, Oklahoma’s DHS is subject to regular reviews, so there is a system of checks and balances in place. Unfortunately, these checks are the result of a lawsuit, so they are mandated and were not something the state decided to undertake because it was necessary. Their hand was forced, and now it appears they are doing the bare minimum they can get away with. The report said the agency failed to make “good faith efforts,” but that is putting it mildly.

Foster children in Oklahoma have not been removed from foster homes that were proven to be unsafe, sometimes putting them at the mercy of sexual predators, drug addicts, and monsters who assault and batter. Rather than reducing worker caseloads, as was their original goal, they have managed to increase them.

Only four of nine areas targeted for improvements actually saw them. In the other five areas, efforts were woefully inept. One area that doesn’t seem to have been addressed at all is how the state agency plans to deal with special needs children who are in the system.

Sheree Powell, the Director of Communications for Oklahoma Department of Human Services, said, “We’re very encouraged and excited about the progress and we’re looking forward to the next commentary that we think will be even better.” We say we’ll wait and see what happens in the future, because actions speak louder than words.

Learn more about why Oklahoma leads the nation in abuse by foster parents.

 

Oklahoma’s failings have had tragic consequences.

Why Isn’t Arizona Using Foster Care Money on Foster Children?

Why isn’t the State of Arizona using the money they are being given for foster care to improve the lives of foster children? That’s what we, Robert and Kathleen Raskin of Las Vegas, would like to know. Arizona receives $56 million in no-strings aid from the feds, but they did not accept the funds because they haven’t come up with a plan of how they’ll use it.

Thanks to an agreement with early childhood organization First Things first, the state is provided with millions in federal money that is supposed to go toward foster children. The state contributes an additional $7 million that is allocated to cover the child care expenses incurred by foster families and family members who are caring for children while they are in the custody of the child protection organization. The stipend, however, is ridiculously low. So where is the money?

The support these families need is very much deserved, but their needs are woefully unmet, with wait lists up to eight months long and thousands of families left in the lurch. Studies have shown that affordable child care is one of the keys to keeping children out of the system in the first place. In a system that rewards caseworkers for placements, is it ethical to refuse to provide funds to these families, thus increasing the likelihood of placements?

What will happen to families with dependent foster and at-risk children who can’t afford child care? They will be left with few options, and these include leaving children home unattended, quitting work and relying even more on government support, and an increasing number of foster parents choosing to leave the system entirely. At a time like this, when good foster parents are needed, this would also be detrimental to children’s health and safety.

We the People DEMAND the State of Arizona do the following on behalf of its children:

  • Ensure foster parents and other providers have adequate access to child care
  • Raise the amount you pay child care providers – this hasn’t been done in 19 years!
  • Provide funding for child care provider training

Get it together, Arizona. Your state has over $56 million provided for these purposes. The fact that you are leaving families and children in crisis while you sit on these funds is unconscionable!

 

Learn more about how Arizona DFC kidnaps kids LEGALLY.

The State of Arizona has been sued before, and they can be sued again.

When will the children of Arizona be protected?

West Virginia Mother Sues HHS

When a West Virginia girl admitted her father was sexually harassing her, her mother reported it to the West Virginia Health and Human Resources department. It is the department’s duty to protect children when they report abuse, but what did workers do in this case? They decided the girl had been coerced into making false allegations and deliberately presented their theory as fact during the subsequent investigation.

Child protective workers involved in the case claimed to believe the child’s allegations, but they said the opposite in hearings. Well, corrupt workers, which one is it? Do you believe her or do you not? Is it more important to “win” a case than it is to protect a child? That’s what we, Rob and Kathleen Raskin of Las Vegas, Nevada, would like to know.

While it saddens us that this vulnerable child was placed in harm’s way once again thanks to the broken child protection services system, we are happy to see another parent taking the battle to court. The child’s mother, who will remain nameless in this report, is now suing the department and individual workers for violation of due process rights, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, alleged negligence, and more.

If the statutory purpose, goals, and child protective powers of the agency exist to protect children, then what is the point of the agency’s existence when kids aren’t protected? The system is corrupt, and it needs a complete overhaul. This WV mother is seeking punitive damages and attorney’s fees from the agency and the individuals involved, and we hope she and her children see justice served.

 

Here’s what one West Virginia whistleblower has to say about CPS corruption.

 

Here’s an insider’s look at CPS corruption in West Virginia.

How the White House Can Help YOU Fight CPS

The White House has an online petition website where any citizen can file a petition, and if you get 100,000 electronic signatures by the deadline they may consider your request. Currently there is a very important petition on the website, one that deals with corruption in child protection agencies.

The petition demands complete reform and accountability for Child Protective Services and the Department of Human Services, with the ultimate goal of combating the corruption that has run rampant in these agencies. Furthermore, the petition demands immunity protections be lifted from the caseworkers, supervisors, and judges so they can finally be brought to trial for the crimes they commit against American children and families every day.

We, Kathleen and Robert Raskin of Las Vegas, strongly urge you to sign this petition so it’ll gain traction. If we want to overhaul these agencies we need to be a grassroots force to be reckoned with. Let’s give ’em heck! Our voices WILL be heard!

You can Sign the Petition Here!

The Fight for Ryleigh

Here at StopDHR Corruption we hear so many tragic stories of foster children who are bounced from placement to placement, never able to find the right home. The story of three-year-old Ryleigh is not one of them. Ryleigh’s great-aunt, Kathleen McGinty, is desperate to keep the child in her care. This placement would be ideal because McGinty is able to provide a stable, loving home while also keeping the girl with her biological family. This seems like a no-brainer, but instead one child protection agency has turned it into a complex nightmare.

Mellisa Mirick was a teen mom and drug addict who was stripped of her parental rights, losing daughter Ryleigh and two older daughters from other fathers in the process. Mirick was a troubled soul who was never able to regain control, and she passed away. Ryleigh’s biological father was stripped of custody while the girl’s mother was still alive, and shortly after her death the baby’s grandmother died, too. So returning to her parents’ care or grandparents is not a possibility. What is the next best thing then? To be placed with family.

Still just a toddler, Ryleigh has already lived in no fewer than five different homes. She was taken into custody shortly after her birth, so the child has had no stability in her young life. This has been proven to negatively affect a child’s ability to bond and to increase trauma, but the child’s best interests are clearly not being considered here.

Although child protective services workers are allowed to foster and adopt children, they are not permitted to take on placements that may be a conflict of interest. That is exactly what happened when Safe Children Coalition worker Jolee Grobleski concealed the fact that she had little Ryleigh in her home with the intent to adopt her while her organization managed the child’s case.

A so-called “neutral” committee continues to side against Kathleen McGinty, and today the child remains with Grobleski. We, Rob and Kathleen Raskin, demand answers.

Justice for One Texas Family

On a sweltering summer day in Harris County, Texas, Melissa Bright sat her five-month-old son on a lawn chair so she could help her toddler daughter out of her wet clothes after playing in the sprinklers. When baby Mason fell from the chair and hit his head on the driveway, no one could have predicted it would lead to an extended nightmare.

After The Brights sought immediate medical attention for the infant, and hospital personnel determined the child had an injury that was not consistent with a fall and was instead consistent with child abuse. Later the baby was found to have a blood clotting disorder that contributed to the severity of the injury, but a CPS supervisor removed both children from their parents and placed them with their grandmother anyway.

Unfortunately, little Mason’s injuries were too severe for his grandmother to handle on her own, and to make matters worse she lived an hour away from the baby’s parents. After trying to have the baby placed with a closer relative, CPS failed to respond, so the couple took their baby home to care for him. CPS had no grounds to remove the children from the home in the first place, so that should have been the end of it.

The family and their attorney received a tip from an investigator letting them know the real reason their children had been removed from the home: at least ten child protective services workers had pressured the tipster, who is with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, to file criminal charges against the family despite a lack of evidence of any wrongdoing.

Monday in court a judge sanctioned the agency and fined them $127,000, which is meant in part to offset legal and medical fees. CPS, you are not above the law. You can cover up your immoral and illegal actions, but they won’t stay hidden forever. Not as long as citizens like us, Rob and Kathleen Raskin, are here to hold you accountable.

How You Can Take Action Against DHR Corruption

This will come as no surprise to Alabama residents, but Blount County DHR is at it again. This time they are being investigated for making false reports and for placing children into the foster system without trying to place them with relatives first. You can help fight corruption in the system by sending a fax to your congressman.

 

Click Here To Fax Congress About DHR Corruption

We are working on responding to the many inquiries we’ve received about how to fight CPS and DHR. We’re putting together some resources that will help you to contact your legislators and to join grassroots efforts. One thing you can do is create your own petition for others to sign through this fax website and others like it.

Check back for more updates about what steps to take first if your family has been harmed by child protective organizations. We are Robert and Kathleen Raskin, and we are in this fight together with you. It’s time to put an end to the corruption that is destroying families and lives once and for all. Won’t you join our cause?

Kansas Settles with Father of Murdered Toddler

The State of Kansas has settled with the father of a child who was killed by her drug-addicted mother’s boyfriend despite being reported to child protective agencies many times.

Jayla Haag-Waters tested positive for meth at birth, and if she’d been removed from her mother by the state when she should have been, she might not have died also testing positive for meth at just 18 months old.

In the days before her death, baby Jayla suffered horribly. When her grandmother brought her to the emergency room in March of 2002 claiming the tot had fallen down some stairs, she had bruises, bleeding on the brain, malnourishment, severe head injuries, a fractured jaw, and her teeth had been forcibly removed with pliers.

The child’s mother, Alyssa Haag, admitted to investigators that her boyfriend, Justin Edwards, had repeatedly struck and strangled her daughter. Both she and her boyfriend had smoked methamphetamines in front of the baby throughout her short life.

Jayla Michelle Haag Watters died March 30, 2012. It’s taken years for the state to settle with her father, but they finally did, paying him $75,000 for not intervening and protecting the child when it was their moral and legal obligation to do so. The money can never bring his daughter back, so it’s too little, too late for the father, Steven Watters. The settlement does send a strong message to the state, however—protect children or pay.

Senate President Susan Wagle said the case is something she’s ashamed of, and indeed she should be. Everyone involved in this case, and those who should have been involved yet were not, should be ashamed.

In 2013 Alyssa Haag was sentenced to 31 months in prison for her role in her daughter’s death. That means she has since been released. Hopefully she is on the state’s radar now, because she’s still young enough to have more children.

This is not where any father should have to go to visit his daughter. RIP Jayla.

In memory of Jayla Haag-Watters. A touching tribute for a beautiful baby. This never should have been allowed to happen. Her blood is on the state’s hands.

 

Ithaca Believes in the Power of Play

In The Ithaca Voice Mayor Svante Myrick stated, “We believe in the power of play. Given the choice between living here, where your kids can run outside and find a bunch of friends to play with, and another city where just allowing your kids to walk home from the park could get you arrested, we know that families will joyfully choose Ithaca.”

Too many good, loving families are being torn apart by interference from child protection agencies because in today’s society letting your child play unaccompanied is viewed by many as a crime. Parents who want their children to be able to learn how to negotiate life on their terms own in certain reasonable settings and situations will finally have the right to do so in this forward-thinking New York city.

The mayor’s proclamation is non-binding, which means it isn’t going to be introduced into local laws. While it isn’t legally binding, it will lay the groundwork for a new societal standard in the area. Under this new non-binding proclamation, Ithaca children will be permitted to:

  • Travel to and from school without an adult.
  • Play outdoors independently.
  • Remain unattended for a reasonable period of time.

Mayor Myrick also went on to say, “Unstructured outdoor free play has been shown to improve children’s creativity, social skills, communication skills, conflict resolution skills, socio-emotional learning, behavior self-regulation skills, (and) ability to assess and manage risk.”

This is a tremendous first step toward taking the child protective system’s power back and giving it to families, and it’s a huge win for the families of New York. Ithaca is following Utah’s lead, as the state passed their own free-range parenting law in May of this year. We hope to see more cities and states follow Utah and Ithaca’s lead.

The family in this video is just one of many who have been harmed by child protection workers for letting their children be normal kids.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zZlKOlvau4

Learn more about the free-range movement from its founder.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ln_tYVoDpM

Learn more about the legalization of free-range parenting in Utah.

Texas Finally Takes Steps to Protect Foster Kids

If the court doesn’t order it, is the state responsible for doing the right thing for their foster children? According to the State of Texas, no, it is not, and we, Kathleen and Robert Raskin, are here to challenge that.

While it is true that court action is often necessary to bring change in the system, in a moral society that cares for its most vulnerable members, it shouldn’t be. Although the 10,000 children in Texas’s foster care system have made great strides in federal appeals court recently with the upholding of much of a ruling that was meant to protect them, the state still has a way to go with regard to the rights of children who are caught up in the system.

What does the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling mean? It means the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services must:

  • Train their conservatorship caseworkers better
  • Caseworkers must visit foster children more often to ensure their safety
  • More investigators must be brought on
  • Cases must be investigated faster when a child claims abuse
  • Caseloads must be managed better
  • More residential child-care licensing investigators and inspectors must be hired
  • Better quality and geographic dispersal of foster homes and treatment beds must be made available
  • Workload standards must be established

The court failed to enforce the establishment of a 24-hour hotline foster children can use to report abuse, but without this hotline, children may not know where to turn for help. Texas, you are making progress, but you still need to do better. Get these kids the hotline they need and deserve!

Want to learn more about the state of the foster care system in Texas? The following videos tell the story of families who were failed by the system.