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Foster Children & Families: Listen to This Foster Child – Get Out ASAP

26 Feb

20161201-img_61811_slide-8536a7cce35dc0ac3fe1ddd8d52b60147a7e0c9d-s1100-c15The Foster Care System, including the failed one in Arlington County, continues to be exploited and milked by foster parents, medical professionals, and county employees, at the expense of Arlington families and children.   We have kept tabs on the Arlington County Department of Human Services and the County Attorney’s that represent them, hoping it would improve and that they would truly put the children and their families of Arlington first.   But, to our disappointment and those of taxpayers who pick up the bill for their waste, nothing much has changed — in fact it has even gotten worse.    They treat families and the foster children like criminals (they even have jailed their families and the foster children), and seem to prefer breaking up families, rather than keeping them together.   More federal dollars for breaking up families!  Sad!

If you are in foster care, listen to this child speak about their experiences.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/508608745/509179603

Get out as soon as you can!   If they try to bribe you with benefits to stay in…ask yourself how have they treated me and my family.   If they treated you like a prisoner or abused you, and treated your family like criminals while you were in foster care, then don’t think it will change after you turn 18 — it will only get worse.   You are the evidence for their abuse and exploitation, and they don’t want to lose control of you to protect themselves.   They are not doing it for you but for themselves!

Families, if you live in Arlington Virginia with children, we recommend you get out of Arlington as soon as you can.    The system in Arlington and the folks running it don’t seem to care to change their ways, but continue to treat children as prisoners and families as criminals.   Until the Arlington Department of Human Services and the Arlington County Attorney’s office cleans house, its not going to get better.

Judge Newman Up for Reappoinment

30 Nov

originalThe Honorable Chief Judge Newman is up for reappointment.   His reappointment interview at 1:30 pm on December 2, 2016 before the  Senate Committee for Courts of Justice and the House Judicial Panel Friday, December 2, 2016 House Room C — General Assembly Building in Richmond.

If you have something to say, good or bad, try to make it or submit your comments directly to the Committee.

Justice and Mercy: We Can Only Wish that Some Arlington Judges Showed It

17 Nov
Chief Judge Newman

Chief Judge Newman

A very touching piece appeared awhile ago in the online publication, “Inside Nova.”   The article spoke about the Honorable Chief Justice William Newman and the struggles he endured through segregation in Arlington and his philosophy of being a judge.

To his credit the article reflected how he was positively viewed by members of the legal bar as fair — a goal to which he aspired.   As one lawyer quoted in the article said:  “Judge Newman today? All right!”

That quote reflects both the perceived fairness of Judge Newman, and the perceived unfairness of other judges on the Arlington bench.

As those who have read this blog over the years know, there were and continue to be some very bad apples on the bench in Arlington Virginia court.     They have been known to deny parties their constitutional right to chosen counsel, refusing to recuse themselves when clearly having a conflict of interest, blatantly denying a party’s right to a speedy trial, and having ex parte discussions with one party without properly informing the other party.

One part of the solution that should be seriously considered is the persistent proposal of merging the small (and not very busy) Arlington Court with the Alexandria court.     A bigger merged court would create efficiencies, eliminate waste, and present a wider variety of judges to hear cases.

In addition, Judge Newman can take steps to improve the performance of the other judges by reviewing their case handling by regularly surveying users of the courts (attorneys, parties, and court observers).

It is only through such measures that all parties appearing before these Arlington courts will be shown “Justice and Mercy,” not just those who go before Judge Newman — and Arlington will finally get a quality of justice in its courts that the community deserves.

See, “Inside Nova.”

Setting the Standard for Substandard Care of Children in Foster Care

10 Jan

Readers of Arlington Parent News are now well aware of how Arlington DHS/CPS mistreats its foster children, and how many of the GALS and the Arlington Family Court judges often act against the best interests of those children — instead feeding the coffers of those that “serve” the foster care industry to the detriment of the foster children.

On December 17, 2015, a US Federal Judge Janis Clark clearly laid out the standard that these entities should be following in order not to violate the constitutional rights of the children in the foster care system.   (M.D. v Greg Abott, USDC Southern District of Texas, Civil Action 2:11-CV-84)    Arlington gets a big “F” under that standard.   Its high time the Arlington County Board to shake up that agency and require it to seriously reform its practices BEFORE it takes in another child and stomps on their constitutional rights.

Here are some hightlights from that opinion:

The Constitution imposes upon the State affirmative duties of care and protection.” Id. at 198-200. These duties arise when the State takes a person into custody, thereby limiting that person’s freedom to act on her own behalf. Id. at 200. Custody, in other words, creates a “special relationship” between the State and that person, which triggers a constitutional duty to provide basic needs. Id.

when the State restrains an “individual’s freedom to act on his own behalf—through incarceration, institutionalization, or other similar restraint of personal liberty,” the State assumes an affirmative duty to provide basic needs. DeShaney, 489 U.S. at 200

…the Fifth Circuit held that, under the Fourteenth Amendment, the State owes its foster children “personal security and reasonably safe living conditions.” Hernandez v. Tex. Dep’t of Protective & Regulatory Servs., 380 F.3d 872, 880 (5th Cir. 2004)

…The Fifth Circuit is not alone. With near unanimity, the other circuits have found that states owe a duty of care to their foster children. See e.g., Tamas v. Dep’t of Social & Health Servs., 630 F.3d 833, 846-47 (9th Cir. 2010); James ex rel. James v. Friend, 458 F.3d 726, 730

 ….A foster child’s right to be free from an unreasonable risk of harm “encompasses a right to protection from psychological as well as physical abuse.” R.G. v. Koller, 415 F. Supp. 2d 1129, 1156 (D. Haw. 2006); see also LaShawn A. by Moore v. Kelly, 762 F. Supp. 990, 993 (D.D.C. 1991)….Moreover, foster children “have a substantive due process right to be free from unreasonable and unnecessary intrusions into their emotional well-being.” Marisol A. by Forbes v. Giuliani, 929 F. Supp. 662, 675 (S.D.N.Y. 1996)…Harm, both psychological and physical, can be inflicted in a variety of ways, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological maltreatment. “[T]he Constitution requires the responsible state officials to take steps to prevent children in state institutions from deteriorating physically or psychologically.”

…Foster children need not wait until actual harm occurs before obtaining relief. This has been made most explicit in the prison context, where the right is characterized as the right “not to be subjected to the unreasonable threat of injury.”

….Regional Director Bowman agreed that placing children far from home negatively affects the bonds and connections that children need to be emotionally healthy. Yet 39% of children are placed out of their home region and 60% are placed out of their home county…

…Cross-state moves also impede primary caseworkers’ ability to visit their foster children..

….In addition, separating siblings harms foster children.

…Inappropriate placements also harm foster children.

 …Lastly, placing sexually abused children with other children in foster family homes and foster group homes causes an unreasonable risk of harm…

….Plaintiffs have proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that DFPS’s policies and practices amount to structural deficiencies that cause an unreasonable risk of harm to all class and subclass members

….

— Judge Janis Clark