Cracks in Canada’s Foster Care System

They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but that isn’t necessarily true when you are talking about the child protective system of our neighbors to the north—Canada. We are Robert Raskin and Kathey Raskin, and the sad fact is, the US isn’t the only country that needs to overhaul its child protection agencies. While most of Europe and Australia take a “family welfare” approach to child protection that is geared toward reuniting families, Canada instead focuses on the welfare of the child, so they are quick to remove children and put them into care.


One Baby’s Story

For one Canadian baby who was born with opiates in his system, Canada’s system resulted in the child being placed in a foster care home for two years as the court case experienced delay after delay. The parents had many chances to turn their lives around to regain custody, but their issues were too deeply entrenched, leaving the baby to become very securely attached to its foster parents as the case dragged on. The child already is at risk for learning disabilities and behavioral disorders thanks to his opiate addiction, and now, thanks to the system tying him up in legal limbo, he risks attachment disorders as well.


Lasting Effects

In Ontario, children under six years old are not permitted to be in foster care for more than twelve months, and there is a very good reason for this. When a child this young is put in foster care, they may not have any memories of their biological family, which means the foster parents effectively become the only parents they have ever known. When they are ripped away from their foster parents, the negative effects can be lasting, and these include both attachment disorders such as attachment anxiety, regression, and undermining the child’s sense of security and ability to form bonds with others.


How Common is This Issue?

In 2011, there were at least 30,000 children in foster care in Canada. The majority of these children will have court hearings at some point to determine whether or not they will be returned to their parents or be placed for adoption. In some jurisdictions, cases like these are resolved in a week’s time, while in others cases can average 20 weeks. There have been 132 cases in the system for more than two year. If you ask us, Robert Raskin and Kathey Raskin, this is far too long when you consider the risk to the child and how much is at stake when it comes to the child’s future relationships.

Killer Caseworker to Be Released from Prison

We are Robert Raskin and Kathleen Raskin, and as parents and grandparents ourselves, we know that every parent’s worst fear is that something will happen to their child. For one Maine mother, the pain of losing a child has increased exponentially because her daughter’s killer is being released from prison. Little five-year-old Logan Marr was suffocated by Sally Ann Schofield, who was a former child services state worker who was acting as the girl’s foster mother at the time of her death. Schofield is now being placed on probation, and one condition of this is she is not to be around children under the age of 16. Unfortunately for Logan’s family, this comes many years too late.


A Fatal Mistake

Unfortunately, Logan did not like her foster mother, and she reacted to this by throwing tantrums, which Schofield did her best to escalate. On the day of Logan’s death, which was January 31, 2001, the girl, who was five, resisted being put in a high chair that is meant for infants. Schofield reacted to this by putting the child in the basement and using approximately 40 feet of duct tape to bind the child to the chair and to bind her mouth shut. When she checked on the girl over an hour later, she was dead from suffocation. Before calling emergency services, she hid the tape and concocted a story about the child falling from the high chair, which the evidence at the scene did not support.


Schofield’s Sentence

At the trial, the jury recommended that Schofield be charged with murder, but the judge did not agree and convicted her of the lesser charge of manslaughter instead because he believed that the experienced caseworker, who should have known better, did not intend to kill the child. Schofield was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The lead prosecutor in the case was quoted as saying, “I haven’t seen one iota of acceptance or responsibility on the part of that woman.” Schofield was convicted and went to prison in 2002, and her release date is April 25th of this year, so in total the killer foster mom served just 15 years.


Schofield’s Release

In January of this year Logan’s mother, Christy Darling, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. This same month she received a letter notifying her that Schofield will be released from prison in April. She says her daughter’s killer’s sentence was not nearly enough, and many agree. Darling is working to keep her daughter’s memory alive, and her death served as a catalyst for transforming the Maine foster care system. Since the girl was killed, the number of children who have been removed from their homes in the state has dropped by 30 percent, the number of foster children placed in group homes has dropped to just 10 percent, and the number of children in foster care has been cut in half. This is Robert Raskin and Kathleen Raskin, and we encourage you to check back with us so you can stay up-to-date on the latest DHR corruption news.

DCF Worker Charged with Falsifying Reports

This month Vanessa Arias, 33, a former employee of the nonprofit Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services, which is a subcontractor of the Florida DCF, was arrested after an investigation determined that she documented a welfare check that never happened. According to DCF records, she was fired in January. We are Kathey Raskin and Robert Raskin, and we are committed to bringing these cases to light so families and other concerned citizens can be made aware of the shortcomings within the systems that are set up to protect children.


A Tragic Case of Neglect

There were five children living in the household in question, and one girl reported to the police that her mother had been staying in the house sporadically, leaving the children to fend for themselves when she was not there. The girl told the police that she had been caring for her younger siblings and getting them ready for school every day on schedule, but the children had been using a single wax candle as their only source of light or heat. Between 2005 and 2014, 140 people died from fires in the state of Florida alone, making this a very risky situation for children.


What Arias’s Report Said

At the time of her false report, the disgraced DCF worker reported that the children were free from any visible signs of abuse or neglect, and all of their basic needs were being met. Within a week the Kissimmee Police Department visited the home in response to yet another report of neglect. It was during this visit that they determined Arias had not only not visited the home at all, she had not returned more than a dozen calls from the children who were depending on her for help.


The Case Against Arias

After her arrest, Arias was booked into Osceola County Jail, and her bond was set at $2,000, which she has since posted. Her trial is still pending as of this report, but the Office of the State Attorney, 9th Circuit, has said that they will prosecute.  In response to the charge that the worker knowingly stated erroneous information, DCF released a statement that said, “The department has no tolerance for any individual compromising their integrity and, thereby, potentially jeopardizing the safety of a child.” In this case law enforcement was called in, but how often does this same thing happen when the case goes unreported? We are Robert Raskin and Kathey Raskin, and we, like many others, demand answers.

Beware the Forensic Interviewer

If you are being investigated by DHR or another child protection agency, you’ll need to be aware of the forensic interview and what it can mean to your case. We are Robert Raskin and Kathey Raskin, and we are dedicated to raising awareness of this process so you can arm yourself with the knowledge you’ll need to protect your family as you navigate the system. Your child will be separated from you for this interview, so the time to get the info you need is before this happens and not after it’s too late.


What is Forensic Interviewing?

This interview is crucial, as it will yield the information these organizations need to get the criminal prosecution they are seeking. This will be the first step in your typical investigation, and it is used to determine whether or not a child has been subjected to abuse, neglect, or other harm. The results of this can be used as evidence in court. Although the interviewer is ethically bound to use non-leading techniques and to remain a neutral and non-objective party, if you are not present, you may not be able to ensure that this standard is upheld.


One Tragic Case

Forensic psychologist Stuart Greenberg offers a particularly disturbing look at how this system can go wrong. The doctor evaluated over 2,000 people during the course of his 25 years of testifying as an expert in court, and his findings resulted in the removal of many children from loving, caring parents whose only crime was being involved in a divorce or other case where the other party was willing to use the court and child protective systems for revenge. Greenberg’s damning testimony caused a huge amount of damage, and it was later revealed that he was in counseling himself because he was well-aware that he was not able to empathize with his clients.


Can the Damage be Repaired?

If you experience a bad evaluation, there is still hope. It took more than three years for the state of Washington’s court system to account for the damage this crooked psychologist caused, and it may never have come to light if it weren’t for one tenacious mother’s refusal to accept his findings. If you feel that you have been the victim of an unscrupulous investigator, document everything and refuse to stop demanding answers until your issues are addressed. There are plenty of people working in this system who have malicious intentions and are not afraid to lie to get the outcome they want. We are Robert and Kathleen Raskin, reminding you not to let them get away with it.

Medical Kidnapping: What You Need to Know

Parents beware: If you disagree with your physician over what your children eat and what medical care they receive, you run the risk of having your kids kidnapped by the state. Most loving parents believe that having a sick child is their worst nightmare, but once child protection organizations become involved, an illness can quickly become exponentially more nightmarish. These tragic cases have resulted in death, and they have robbed parents of the right to research alternative treatments that they believe are in the best interests of their child. We are Robert Raskin and Kathleen Raskin, and before you become another statistic, we’d like to help you learn how to protect your family from this very real and devastating threat.


How the Healthcare System Works

In medical school physicians are taught to view healthcare in a very rigid way, with a heavy emphasis on pharmaceuticals and a lack of willingness to explore or even consider alternative therapies. Today the healthcare system operates much like a franchise, and patients are often forced to try ineffective and even dangerous therapies that are based on their diagnosis and the doctor’s finances and insurance more than they are based on the individual patient’s needs. When you are dealing with serious and time-sensitive issues in which you need a physician’s cooperation to get necessary treatment, but you want to have some input before you consent, this could be a recipe for disaster.


How Physicians Help to Kidnap Kids

If you as a parent disagree with a diagnosis or prognosis your child has received, your physician could report you to DHR, CPS, or other organizations, resulting in your child being removed from your home when they may need you more than ever. Other issues a doctor may report you for include choosing to seek out a second opinion, not following their recommendation, wanting to use an alternative vaccination schedule, or modifying your child’s diet. It is hard to believe that feeding your child in the manner that you have deemed healthy might be considered abuse, but the definition of abuse is so broad today that it is hard to define, meaning it is easier to act on unsubstantiated claims.


What Parents Can Do

One of the most important steps parents can take to prevent this from occurring in their family is to interview physicians before there is any immediate medical need so you can make sure their philosophies are in agreement with your own. If you wait until there is pressing medical need before you seek out a doctor, you may just end up randomly paired with a medical professional who is not the right choice for your family, and they can do a lot of damage in a short period of time. We have all been told that we should share everything with our doctors, but unfortunately this can be dangerous in today’s healthcare system. Know your rights, and it will help you to do what is right for your child.

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.

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.