The Long Road to Recovery for Missouri’s Broken Foster Care System

The Long Road to Recovery for Missouri’s Broken Foster Care System

Six months after the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the US Department of Health and Human Services released a case study of Missouri’s Department of Social Services’ 2019 performance, it revealed they scored poorly at preventing a child in state custody from going missing. Thanks to the diligence of Rob and Kathleen Raskin, this issue will not only be reported in Missouri.

Missouri’s DSS appointed a new Acting Director, Robert Knodell, in late 2021. He says he studied the 2019 report, which reviewed the cases of 59 children in the foster care system. He identified four fundamental issues to address, as follows:

  1. Missouri lacked the policies necessary to identify factors that make a child more vulnerable to go missing in the first place.
  2. A lack of evidence that Missouri agencies took the required actions to locate children missing from the foster care system
  3. One in three children’s cases didn’t show evidence of a health and safety checkup after they’ve returned to foster care.
  4. Missouri’s case management system doesn’t accurately identify children missing from foster care.

Knodell says the DSS addresses these issues via technology updates and budget increases to support caseworkers and the entire foster care system. He also states the 59 children from the 2019 report have been identified and are safe in the care of the Children’s Division.

According to Brad Whitley, the regional inspector general of the Office of Evaluation and Inspections in Kansas City, MO, the OIG had discovered these same problems across the entire state. In other words, it wasn’t isolated to one area, such as rural or urban. Furthermore, he cites evidence for this exact problem across the entire country.

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Missouri Man Accused of Molesting Multiple Foster Kids Since 1995

Missouri Man Accused of Molesting Multiple Foster Kids Since 1995

A news report from yesterday reveals that a man in Lincoln County, MO, Ronald Gene Graham, Jr., has been accused of sexually molesting multiple foster children. According to the court’s records, authorities allege some victims were as young as 12. The charges include 10 felony counts of statutory rape, statutory sodomy, and child molestation, dating back to 1995.

As usual, you’re not likely to hear this type of report outside of the local news coverage area, which is why Ron and Kathleen Raskin are always on the prowl to bring reports of injustice against foster children to light. While we always hope to never find something new to report, we always do.

Graham currently has three foster kids living in his home, and the total headcount of kids that have been placed with him by the state is 42. Prosecutors expect more victims to come forward as time passes. Meanwhile, according to court documents, his wife was never aware of the abuse, of which some occurred while she was out of town.

When asked by local news if these two would continue to have the current three foster kids, prosecutors refused to comment on an ongoing investigation.

Regardless of what legal speedbumps may make this process difficult, it seems this is going to be the size of case in both scope and severity necessary to gain traction and public attention until whatever mistake or loophole or whatever allowed this situation to continue all these years to finally be confronted and fixed.

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COVID Ravages Alaska’s Already-Broken Foster Care System

COVID Ravages Alaska’s Already-Broken Foster Care System

On average, Alaska’s Office of Children’s Services (OCS) struggles to find homes for 3,000 foster children. Now that COVID has limited the already insufficient number of qualified workers, facilities, and eligible foster families, there has been a scramble to find temporary housing.

Thanks to the unstoppable commitment by Rob and Kathleen Raskin and their loyal supporters, stories like this won’t go unnoticed as they take a backseat to the ongoing drama of disease, politics, and war.

The desperately insufficient 1,100 licensed foster homes in Alaska have dropped to 650. This has resulted in OCS workers pulling 40 – 50 hour shifts per week to stay in hotels with these youths. The consequence of this is a staff turnover increase from an already high 30% to an unprecedented 60%.

Unfortunately, the underlying systemic failure is not likely to be resolved when the COVID problem has been adequately addressed. Instead, it’s going to take a deliberate push from within, and possibly without, by lawmakers and citizens to fix this. While the OCS itself seems genuinely concerned and committed to solving the problem, every day that passes without a solution means hundreds and possibly thousands of children are more vulnerable than ever.

Best case scenario…

The ideal case of a child being adopted to a good family via the foster care system is still a story about a person with a dark, traumatic secret. They were adopted and often abused, abandoned, and neglected by the people who gave them life. Many of these people need ongoing support to cope with the trauma, so it doesn’t dominate their lives.

Where are the resources to help kids aging out of the foster care system lead ordinary and productive lives when resources are too scarce to take care of the kids in need of homes today?


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Foster Parents Accused of Prostitution Ring

Foster Parents Accused of Prostitution Ring

A foster parent in Manhattan, 51-year-old Sharice Mitchell, is being charged with running a sex-trafficking operation out of her home with her foster kids. Join Robert and Kathleen Raskin as they lead you to another case of mismanagement by the child foster care system that caused more kids to slip through the cracks.

From Nov 2018 to just a few days ago, Sharice had been considered a model citizen for helping get youths off the streets by offering them a home. But unfortunately, the authorities weren’t informed that her live-in boyfriend, Kareen Mitchell, 38, is a registered sex offender with a history of sex trafficking underaged and/or vulnerable girls on and off the streets.

Since the law permits foster children to leave home at 18, it also offers parents and children financial assistance until they’re 21. That’s when Kareen’s plan kicks in. By using a combination of physical and psychological coercion, Kareen would get these young women to agree to become prostitutes to basically pull their own weight.

Unfortunately, New York’s Child Welfare System doesn’t require annual checkups, nor does it need to know about other people or residences outside of what’s registered by the foster care system.

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Pueblo DHR Pleads No Contest in Case of Toddler Murdered by Foster Parents

Pueblo DHR Pleads No Contest in Case of Toddler Murdered by Foster Parents

15-month-old Aiden Seeley, pictured above, is now dead. Unfortunately, the Pueblo Colorado Dept. of Human Resources took this boy and his two siblings from abusive parents and stuck them with foster parents that were even worse. Once again, we can thank the Raskins for shedding light on stories of foster care abuse so the rest of us get a peek behind the curtain and the injustices that plague our nation’s family legal system.

Here’s a recap of the case:

The child’s parents (pictured above) plead guilty to abusing their three children, along with underfeeding them and doing drugs in front of them. So, a court decided to give the children a better life by sending them to a foster family, pictured below.

Less than three months later, the youngest child, Aiden, 15 months, is tortured and later dies in the hospital of his injuries. His 5-year-old brother witnesses everything and cries every night.

The court decides to send the remaining two kids back to their original parents. However, less than three months later, the 5-year-old boy is flown via helicopter to the Children’s Burn Unit in Denver for second-degree burns resulting from his mother bathing him.

This went to trial, and the DHR pleaded no contest. They paid out $6M to the remaining siblings and parents in exchange for making all of this go away. Fortunately, the deadbeat mother’s Aunt Rachel, a nurse, is the 5-year-old boy’s caregiver. She still speaks out about the injustice.

For more about this story, click here: 2/7/22:

Update on the Spurgeon Trial

Update on the Spurgeon Trial

To recap, the husband, Daniel, already received 25 years of hard time (no probation) for multiple counts of physical and sexual abuse and torture of minors under this couple’s care. Additionally, after an ongoing legal battle between this villainous duo and the state, Jenise Rae Spurgeon, 58, finally pleaded guilty to 11 counts of aggravated child abuse.

In exchange, 14 of her 15-year sentence is probation. That may not seem like enough, but thanks to the ongoing efforts of Robert and Kathleen Raskin to stay up to date on these failures of the foster care system, we can breathe a sigh of relief that these two are out of the child torture business.

Moreover, this has precipitated a class-action suit by the victims against the Alabama Department of Human Resources for their negligence and ineptitude. In multiple child abuse cases, some of which ended in death, the police discovered deplorable conditions inconsistent with the reports of routine visits and welfare checks by DHR allegedly occurring within a week of a crime.

In this case, Florida authorities discovered some of the kids intoxicated near the beach, which uncovered that Alabama authorities had no idea the children were moved out of state, which is not allowed. Even worse, they were gone for several years, and the Alabama DHR visits are annual at minimum. This spells outright fraud.

I wish I could see these two scumbags’ heads roll into a basket in the town square, but for now, we’ll have to accept the victory we’ve been given. I think we can all agree that DHR needs to be stripped of its authority to do anything other than to fix itself or be fixed by some other means.

Alabama DHR Victimized Due to Their Own Bad Reputation

Alabama DHR Victimized Due to Their Own Bad Reputation

In the most recent lawsuit against the Alabama DHR, a Pike County woman with foster kids is accused of forging drug tests sent to remain in custody of her foster children. Judge rules in favor of protecting DHR from releasing documents that reveal who blew the whistle on this deadbeat mom. Meanwhile, woman’s lawyer positions this as DHR trying to avoid releasing documents that could threaten their otherwise bad reputation even more.

This is just one of many such reports of the ongoing troubles involving foster children, the DHR, and the family courts. This is always brought to you by Robert and Kathleen Raskin, the crusaders in the battles against any institution that allows children to suffer.

So, while we often comment on DHR’s poor performance as ongoing culprits in so many cases of child abuse, neglect, and even death, this is one case where it appears their greatest enemy is themselves. Thanks to the ongoing litigation, legal steps are being taken to hold DHR accountable for their poor performance. Time will tell if they’re able to fix what ails them.

In this case however, it seems blood on the water is bringing out the sharks, as the negligent woman’s attorney’s only defense is to shift blame back to the DHR because they already have a bad reputation. Meanwhile, the proof has already been presented that the plaintiff has forged all documents indicating that she passed the drug tests necessary to continue on as a foster mother.

Subsequent drug testing reveals not only marijuana, which is legal in many states, but methamphetamine, which is legal in zero states, and for very good reason. While the DHR deserves to suffer the results of its own inadequacy, this is no excuse for other negligent parties to abuse the situation for their own personal gain. At the end of the day, it’s the kids whose safety hangs in the balance. They deserve better than this.

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Florida Foster Care System Responsible for Passing 70+ Kids Through this Child Molester’s Loving Home

Florida Foster Care System Responsible for Passing 70+ Kids Through this Child Molester’s Loving Home

Robert and Kathleen Raskin are back with another example of gross negligence on the part of the state’s responsibility to the safety of foster children.

Florida’s Dept. of Children and Families (DCF) announced sweeping changes to their foster care system six years ago, which Gov. Rick Scott used as a political football to suggest they were at the vanguard of the movement nationwide. This would be great if it were true. The conclusive evidence laid out within an ongoing expose by USA Today proves otherwise.

According to authorities in St. Augustine, FL, Rick Hazel (pictured above) and his wife were the longest-running foster parents in the city’s history. They were viewed as the model family since they were active in their church and community and seemed to put their money where their mouths were when it came to stepping up for the children.

When Rick Hazel was arrested in 2019, investigators found evidence of his multiple rapes and sexual abuses toward these kids on his cell phones and on a hidden video camera rigged to film the kids taking showers. More than 70 kids have passed through this household, according to state records. Yet, unlike the other states Florida claimed to be ahead of, only Florida had no process in place to interview or counsel children that were proven victims of foster care abuse.

According to pediatric neuropsychologist Thomas Dikel, the penalty for not helping these kids now can result in psychological problems, drug addiction, suicide, and even abusing children themselves later in life. Needless to say, Florida is not on the cutting edge of anything, and these children need the care they need when they need it.

For more about such scandals involving state negligence over foster children and family courts, continue to follow this blog by the Raskins.

For more information about this ongoing story, click here:

Texas’ Ongoing Problems with Foster Care Abuse

Texas’ Ongoing Problems with Foster Care Abuse

As of May 2021, at least 23 children have died in Texas’ long-term foster care since 2019. This information comes from a 387-page report compiled by a court-appointed monitor ahead of a federal court hearing. This is the result of a decade-long lawsuit that details some progress but maintains an undue risk of harm to the children dependent on the system, nonetheless.

As always, you can count on the diligence of Rob and Kathleen Raskin to keep you up to date on all things involving the abuse of children in state foster care.

According to U.S. District Judge Janis Jack, who presided over this hearing, six of the 23 cases were confirmed dead of neglect or abuse by their caregivers. Others are still under investigation. Judge Janis found in 2015 that Texas violated the children’s constitutional rights. What followed was an order to the Dept. Of Family Protective Services and the Health and Human Services Commission to follow her long list of reforms still not being followed.

According to Judge Janis, her monitors learned that several placement facilities closed and reopened under different names to escape citations from the state. State officials say a permanent rule to ensure this can never happen again has since gone into effect.

The report also revealed that three contractors responsible for finding living arrangements for the children had placed them in unlicensed facilities. In one such case, a 3-year-old boy was found unresponsive on the floor, bleeding from his ear. He later died. According to his daycare, previous such injuries were reported to the boy’s caseworker.

Other examples of abuse and neglect include a toddler found floating in a pool having drowned. Also, a teen having committed suicide while under a suicide watch and an escaped teen found murdered on the side of the road. All were supposed to receive around-the-clock supervision.

For more information about this story, click here:

Alabama State Trooper Arrested for Child Rape

Alabama State Trooper Arrested for Child Rape

Robert and Kathleen Raskin are staunch advocates of fairness and justice for child foster care. They tirelessly point out ongoing breaches of justice by the family courts and most notably by the Department of Human Resources, the state body that oversees child protective services. Alabama alone has so many lawsuits directly implicating members of the DHR that there’s a class action suit naming specific individuals. After deeper research into this matter, it seems that the problem doesn’t stop with them.

In May of 2021, Christopher Bauer, an Alabama State Trooper, was arrested in Montgomery for the rape and sodomy of an 11-year-old-girl. If this isn’t bad enough, Bauer has previously been kicked out of the FBI for the rape of a coworker. However, a string of sexual assault cases didn’t stop him from getting accepted by the Alabama State Troopers because he used a forged document on FBI letterhead to give himself a clean record and assure he was eligible for rehire. What’s worse, Bauer was an Alabama police officer before joining the FBI. He was Air Force before that. Sensing a pattern here?

Let’s be clear: not only did all of these agencies get duped by the same guy, but all of them also checked in with each other and failed to detect a problem. The best detectives in the state didn’t detect a problem. If children in Alabama, foster or otherwise, are supposed to be protected by the DHR and the state police, it’s the FBI’s job to ensure that patterns of injustice are investigated for sex trafficking across state lines. Yet it seems none of these agencies are equipped to stop the perpetrators from joining their forces. It’s a classic case of hiring a fox to guard the henhouse, but of epic proportions.

While the Raskins are staunch advocates of state’s rights, they’re bigger advocates of the safety of children. This is why they wholeheartedly support the creation of a federal agency charged with overseeing the DHR to ensure they’re doing their jobs and protecting the children.

Please join us in fighting the corruption where you live.

For more information about the state trooper investigation, click here: