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.

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.

The Need for Private Foster Care Reform

In the state of California during the 1980s it was believed that putting children in private foster homes, but unfortunately so far that has not been the case. Although the state has spent $400 million annually each year on the organizations that are responsible for training, vetting, and providing foster parents, the rates at which children in these privately approved and selected homes are abused is not any lower than those that are in publicly approved placements. In fact, those children fared much worse, as one study that determined they were one-third more likely to be victims of serious abuse than the children in the state-supervised homes were.

What’s the Difference?

The key difference between private and public foster care is who is in charge of training, and who determines where these allegedly at-risk children will end up. Private providers, who earn money through the placement of children, have accepted thousands of people who have been convicted of crimes into the program, and this underhanded and greedy kind of decision making may be one of the key reasons for the startling amount of abuse of both kids and the system that is currently going unchecked in far too many cases. Currently in LA County, 80% of children who are removed from their homes who do not end up living with their grandparents will end up in homes selected by these extremely questionable private agencies.

Organizations for Reform

There are several key organizations that are dedicated to reforming the child protection system and protecting children’s rights. Many experts and child advocates believe that far too many children are being removed from their homes and placed into care without good cause, and the rates at which these children are subject to abuse in privately chosen foster placements are at least as great as those that are placed into care through state agencies. Children who are placed with relatives do better than children who are left in what is commonly referred to as “stranger care,” but when there is no alternative, it’s crucial that the care they are getting is through an agency that has to answer to a higher authority that is not profiting from the same system.

Alternative Solutions

Countless studies have shown that the vast majority of kids are in far greater danger when they are removed from troubled homes and placed into foster care, and the fact that so many of these allegations are baseless and the child in question was in no danger in their own home just makes the situation that much more tragic. If these organizations have their way, child protective services workers will have their power reigned in, and fewer children will be taken from their homes to begin with. A safer alternative is to set up better safeguards and services for families in crisis that will give them the tools they need to raise their children in a positive environment.

What Can Be Done?

The system is corrupt, and many believe it is beyond reform and needs to be abolished. Because it is funded by more than $20 billion annually in taxpayer money, it is possible to draft new laws that will require that people who are suspected of child abuse to be investigated and prosecuted by the justice system the same as they would any other criminal. Although the current system was started with the well-meaning goal of protecting children, it is clearly not working in its current form, and the result is that social workers and agencies that are not trained in law enforcement are being allowed to act as officer, judge, and jury. That isn’t morally right, and it is certainly not the way this country’s government is supposed to work.

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.

Adoption is now Big Business!

There are a few social entities that come with a positive public connotation to them. Adoption is viewed as a process for those who elect to give back to the world while taking children to care for. It’s up there with what is considered to be one of the more humane acts of life, and there are countless cases where adoption not only saves a child’s life but is equally rewarding for the parent.
It concerns me that adoption has turned from such a beautiful gesture of warmth, love and community to what many would consider private enterprise. While it may sound that adoption is solely focused on the needs of society; pairing children who do not have parents with established adults capable of care, today, Adoption is a 13 billion dollar industry.

It seems that wherever there is a dollar to be made, close by you will find the justification behind the corruption fueling the billion dollar pipeline. In this case, how can we trust the motivation of the adoption industry? Parents want children, and in the law of supply and demand, the supplier must meet the demand to capitalize on the profit. For this reason alone, there has been a great increase in homes that are broken up and kids parceled out through the same system that originally vowed to honor and protect them.

You may have heard the adage “it takes a village to raise a child,” well it seems that the village needs to start protecting them. Certainly there are millions of children who benefit from being placed in a home that betters their situation, however, the motivations behind keeping the adoption industry running as what I would consider a full fledged business is morally sick and corrupt.

One search for “adoption corruption” and fingers (on the web) point to international practices and mentions some corrupt practices that relate to human trafficking and some other shady topics. However little to no mention of what is going on right here at home.

There are agencies, both domestic and international that have flawless ethics and do not relent in their standard to simply help bridge the gap between children in need and families who can help. However, the middle ground… The gray area that no one seems to discuss at large is what needs attention. Our families are turning into prey, by a corrupt justice and social system. We must stand up and let our voices be heard right now!


Improper Diagnosis of Infantile Rickets Results in Removal of Child

This is just another example of how devastating an improper diagnosis can be and just how difficult it can be to reverse the damage that has been done. Proud parent, Rebecca Wanosik, is fighting to regain custody of all five of her children after a pediatrician misdiagnosed her two month old child as a victim of child abuse.

The series of unfortunate events began with Wanosik taking her daughter, Zeydn to receive medical care for a broken arm and three fractured ribs. The pediatrician failed to properly diagnose Zeydn with infantile rickets and assumed that the child must be a victim of abuse. This false conclusion led to the pediatrician making a call to the state child protection services that removed all of the children from the home and placed the children in foster care.

Desperate for help, Wanosik consulted with endocrinologist, Dr. Michael Holick who concluded that Zeydn suffered from a vitamin D deficiency along with a connective tissue disorder that was responsible for causing the injuries. Now Wanosik must wait on the state’s decision to whether she will be able to regain custody of her children. “Our children have suffered enough, and it is time to rebuild our lives to establish a new sense of normalcy together. It is time to start healing.” Wanosik said.