NC Gets Tough on Parental Reunification Laws

We, Kathleen Raskin and Robert Raskin, are sad to report that yet another child has died due to corruption within the organizations that are meant to protect them. On Oct.25, 2015, a woman named Samantha Nacole Bryant lost custody of her toddler son, Rylan Ott, after she and her boyfriend were in a drunken fist-fight in her Carthage-area home. This fight involved both alcohol and guns, so the system stepped in to protect the boy, but unfortunately for Rylan, they did not do nearly enough to ensure his continuing safety. Both Rylan and his sister were placed in temporary custody, only to eventually be returned to a mother who remained unfit to parent.


Rylan’s Story

In Moore County in April of 2016, a child who drowned after he was returned to his mother’s custody. Rylan, who was just 23 months old when he died, was able to slip out from his house and wander a half-mile to this pond. He was reunited with his mother without any prior observation by child protection agencies, so there was no attempt to make sure she was fit to parent or that her parenting skills had improved since he was initially removed from her care. He had only been in her care for four months when tragedy struck.


The DSS Response

A caseworker claimed in her report that Rylan’s mother visited the child while he was in care three times a week, but his guardians say this is not true. Rylan’s Guardian Ad Litem, Pam Reed, and the boy’s kinship parents, Shane and Amanda Mills, had attempted to argue in court that Samantha Bryant was still an unfit mother, and they were proven correct too late. His mother is now being charged with child abuse and involuntary manslaughter, but the caseworker who was involved has not been penalized or charged with any wrongdoing. His case has undergone a second investigation, but the results of this are not public. The Moore County DSS director resigned as a result of this case.


Rylan’s Law

As a response to Rylan’s senseless death, Rylan’s Law was enacted. This bill requires social workers to document and observe two successful visits between children who are in state care and the parents they were removed from before they can be reunited. Until this law was passed, this was considered to be a “best practice,” for obvious reasons, but why it was not a requirement is less clear. This law is intended to close this loophole in an effort to strengthen this broken system, and it will help other children to be spared from Rylan’s fate in the future. We are Kathleen Raskin and Robert Raskin, and we won’t stop fighting to protect families and children until this corruption has been stopped.

Custody Battle? What You Need to Know About DHR Abuse

When a couple decides to divorce, one of the most underhanded tactics that is sometimes employed is getting child protective agencies involved. Of course if a child is actually being abused the authorities need to be notified, but all too often the truth is the parent has committed no crime, the child is not in any danger, and the parent is simply using the system as a weapon. We are Robert Raskin and Kathleen Raskin, and we want you to know that if your soon-to-be-ex has called DHR to try to get revenge on you or to gain control of the children, these are the facts you’ll need to know. If you are thinking about putting your child through this yourself, consider the fact that you may be the one who is not a fit parent.


The Immediate Danger to Your Child

Outside of the perils of an uncertain foster care system, there are other horrors that your child could experience once these agencies are involved in a contentious divorce. They will be cross-examined by investigators and asked to answer traumatic questions about the parents they love. This can border on a full-blown interrogation, and it is not an experience your child will soon forget. In most cases, a physical examination by a doctor, or even a gynecologist in the case of false accusations of sexual abuse, will also be a part of this process.


Consider the Potential Outcome for the Child

If the parent who must win at all costs uses CPS or DHR and is successful, that leaves children in a terrible position. Separating a child from a loving parent is wrong and will leave long-lasting damage that they may very well carry over into adulthood and into their own future relationships. In the present, they will suffer depression, anxiety, fear, and anger, and once they are put into foster care or a group home they will also risk abuse. Children who are lost in the system often do not have good outcomes when they transition into adulthood, so you could be setting them up for a life of misery.


How This Tactic Can Backfire

There are many cases when child protection agencies were involved that resulted in the children being permanently removed from the family and placed up for adoption. Sure, your ex could end up out of the children’s lives, and thus also out of your own. However, there are consequences to making false reports, and you may also end up out of your children’s lives for good. The court could very well determine that neither of you are fit to parent once they see that you or your former partner are willing to use and abuse a child in this way. This is Robert Raskin and Kathey Raskin, reminding you that these agencies should only be called if you are certain beyond any shadow of a doubt that they are in danger.

Los Angeles Social Workers Face Trial

We are Kathleen Raskin and Robert Raskin, and we are dedicated to raising awareness of shortcomings and corruption in organizations that are responsible for protecting children. One case in Los Angeles has shocked us and many others to the core, and that is the tragic murder of little eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez, who was savagely tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend. When paramedics arrived at the scene, the boy’s mother claimed he had been roughhousing with siblings and had then fallen and struck his head, but the physical evidence painted a different picture—one of abject horror.


Red Flags Were Everywhere

Superior Court Judge Mary Lou Villar said, “red flags were everywhere,” because Gabriel’s injuries, his frequent absences from school, and the multiple calls his teacher made to child protective services made it clear that this child was in danger. The workers who stand accused of wrongdoing and their attorneys insist the case was closed before Gabriel was killed, but that is not much of a defense, as clearly there is no situation in which a case in which a child was being so viciously—and obviously—abused should have been closed in the first place.


The Charges

Four social workers who were responsible for protecting the child are now going to stand trial, and they are being charged with felony child abuse and falsifying documents. Gabriel’s mother and her boyfriend were indicted on murder charges in 2014, and they are currently awaiting trial, though the two have pleaded not guilty. Unlike the mother and boyfriend, however, there is a chance that the workers may not be punished for their complicity, as cases like these have been attempted before, but they typically are thrown out of court or there is a not guilty verdict.


Passing the Buck

Despite the fact that many officials failed this child, thus contributing to his death, no one seems willing to accept the blame. Social workers and sheriff’s deputies were all informed about Gabriel’s injuries on multiple occasions, and despite many visits to the home and investigations, no one stepped in to help this child, who had specifically asked his teacher if she could call workers on his behalf. She did, but no one came to the child’s rescue, and for that they need to be held responsible. We are Kathleen Raskin and Robert Raskin, and we are eager to see justice done.

Who Makes False Allegations of Child Abuse?

There are myriad reasons someone may make allegations of child abuse against another individual or a family, and all too often these claims were completely fabricated. What families go through in the face of false allegations of abuse is well-documented, but when these claims are proven to be false, what happens to the accuser? According to the National Conference of State Legislature, in 2012 there were 105 bills introduced that dealt with reporting abuse in 30 different states and in the District of Columbia. Every one of them included a penalty for failing to report suspected abuse, but not nearly enough included harsher punishments for those who make false allegations.

A Worst-Case Scenario

Imagine being woke up by a child welfare worker in the middle of the night and accused of a horrible crime against your own precious son or daughter when you have done nothing wrong at all. It sounds like something out of a nightmare, but the difficult truth of the matter is that this happens to people across the country, and we are all at risk. Anyone can make a false allegation of child abuse, and indeed many people do for a variety of reasons that may include custody battles, family and neighbor disputes, personal grudges, and overzealous workers, to name just a handful of countless examples.

The Aftermath of a False Accusation

If an individual makes an accusation against you, no matter how baseless it is and how obvious the motivation, it will be taken seriously and investigated by the state’s social services, who are bound by law to look into every claim. This kind of claim can result in the removal of your child from your home, which will expose them to the dangers of the foster care system, and a court battle to clear yourself and regain custody can decimate your family’s finances. Your family, reputation, and financial future can all be destroyed in the blink of an eye by someone who has used one of these organizations as a weapon.

Are States Doing Enough to Stop This?

One example of a state that has taken steps to deter those who would use child protection organizations to control or get revenge on another person is Oregon, where new legislation has been enacted that makes a knowingly false report of child abuse to a private or public official a Class A violation, and subsequent false reports are Class D felonies, which are serious crimes that may involve heavy fines and even jail time. More such legislation is necessary, however, because the accused family may never be able to undo the damage the accuser has caused, and it’s only right that the person who caused such anguish should bear the brunt of carrying it, as well.

Are Kids Really Safe in Foster Care?

More than 250,000 children in the U.S. enter the foster care system every year, and this includes children who have been removed from loving homes due to false allegations and those who removed by overzealous and corrupt DHR representatives. Executive Director Tammi Stefano of the National Safe Child Coalition said, “The minute you call child protective services, you can rest assured that the investigation will not be done properly. Chances are the child will not be protected.” This is because cases of child abuse are criminal cases, and DHR workers are not law enforcement officials, nor are they qualified to investigate criminal cases.

Tragic Flaws in the System

There are many cases that tragically demonstrate that the children who are removed from allegedly abusive households are often put into abusive foster homes where they will be further abused. Former foster parents are currently in prison for everything from distributing child pornography to sexual abuse and even including cold-blooded murder. There have also been reports of DHR and CPS workers resigning rather than facing prosecution for the deaths of children who were removed from their homes and then handed over to their murderers. Until there is more accountability for DHR workers and they are finally stripped from the power they too often wield over helpless families, this will continue to happen to innocent parents and children.

Is There a Chance this Could Happen to Your Child?

That statistics speak for themselves: According to one report by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau Division, in 2012 in the state of Chicago alone, 171 children were abused while they were in the foster care system. This, of course, is just the reported incidents of abuse, and it’s only one year of many, and one state of many. The true incidences of abuse in foster care may never be able to be accurately reported, but they are likely to be much higher than what is known. One study claimed that approximately 28% of children are abused while in the foster care system. This number becomes even more tragic when you consider how many children are removed from their homes due to false allegations.

Why You Should Not Call DHR to Report a Crime

DHR workers are not law enforcement officers such as police or detectives, and they do not have the training or the qualifications. This has led to many serious mistakes that sometimes lead to abuse or even murder at the hands of the very foster parents who were entrusted with the child’s safety. In 2013 CPS took thousands of children away from their parents in Los Angeles, and 570 of these children were murdered while they were being held by the system. The system that is used to screen foster parents is flawed, and though there are many loving and safe foster homes, far too many child offenders and people who only take in children for a check still manage to slip through the cracks.

What Can You Do to Keep Your Child Safe from Harm?

If you suspect a child has been abused, then a serious crime has been committed against the child, and this crime needs to be investigated by qualified law enforcement officers before a child is removed from the home. If a DHR or CPS worker shows up at your house and wants to take your child due to suspected child abuse, demand to have a lawyer present before you speak to them, and do not let them into your home or let them interview your children unless your lawyer advises it. Your child’s safety and their life could depend on it.

As Billy Jackson’s Career as Judge Ends, We’re Fighting CPS One Corrupt Official at a Time

As of January, the career of Judge Billy Jackson of Lauderdale County is over. He turned in his resignation in December of last year and will not be running for re-election this year. If you’re unfamiliar with our personal experience with Judge Billy Jackson, know that this is the individual who refused to let Judy or Kathey to speak in defense against the allegations against them and took guardianship away with no consideration of their constitutional right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Neither Judy nor Kathey were allowed to even take the stand in the courtroom before guardianship was given back to Danielle’s abusive legal birth mother, the only person who ever willingly gave up parental rights in the first place.

Billy Jackson’s Legacy

Billy Jackson ruined the life of our niece and the lives of countless other families. In the years following our case, she has been unable to battle her mental health issues, has gained a great deal of weight, and is suffering through severe bouts of depression that have affected every aspect of her life. She is no longer the smiling, happy child that we raised. And we refuse to let our voices be silenced.

Jackson cited his reasons for leaving as family and financial matters, but we’d like to think that we’ve made some impact on his decision with our unwavering effort to expose both the incompetency and the corruption in the child “protective” services system, which starts from the initial social workers who are motivated by financial gain and continues all the way up to judges, such as Billy Jackson, who receive kick backs from every child who goes through the foster process. People like this judge along with Denise H Burch of Burch Law Group, Sara Hendershot, DA Chris Connolly, Labrisco Cook and Patricia Miller, and other individuals involved in these situations should be ashamed of themselves for destroying families, disallowing due process, and getting the profits from it all.

One Hopeful Note

Our goal is to make more and more people aware of the plights of the families and children that are wrongfully being victimized by the corrupt CPS system. As of right now, all it takes is to look at the numerous stories around the web like ours and the rip-off reports and complaints made against these officials. With any luck, this is a good sign for the cause against DHR corruption specifically and national CPS corruption.