Category Archives: Indifference

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines INDIFFERENCE as: lack of interest in or concern about something

Overworked And Under Paid, But Still Dumping Case Files

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How Can CPS Be Above The Law? This is an on-going thing, deleted answering machines, active case files never investigated, manufactured court documents, kidnapped Children, and 90,000 immigrant Children given over to slavers, and to this day, not one has ever been found.

A ‘horrific’ crisis. Hundreds of California Child Abuse reports intentionally
discarded

MADERA COUNTY, CA  –  Children faced “incredible pain and suffering” when a Madera County social worker intentionally discarded hundreds of child abuse reports last year, according to government emails uncovered in a Fresno Bee investigation.

Department emails examined by The Bee indicate at least some of the 357 reports may have been neglected for up to two months.  The emails, obtained through a public records request, reveal a behind-the-scenes crisis in the fall of 2019 with Madera County Social Services workers scrambling to investigate hundreds of abandoned abuse referrals.

While sources said there is no known evidence that any child died as a result, emails show workers feared children suffered more abuse while reports were stuffed in waste bins and gathered dust around the social worker’s desk between September and November last year.

Deborah Martinez, the county’s social services director, outlined her dread in a Nov. 7 email to the county’s chief administrative officer at the time.

“There is no doubt that at a minimum, her actions placed children in danger,” Martinez wrote.  “The ultimate impact to children and families (in) our community can’t be known but based upon some of the allegations that were made this social worker likely caused incredible pain and suffering.”

Dozens of the dumped cases were emergency reports — cases involving allegations of physical or sexual abuse, the emails show.

Multiple children later were removed from their homes days or weeks after their alleged abuse initially was reported, according to two department sources.

“Some were investigated and found substantiated — those kids would have been abused for that time,” one employee said in an interview.  Two department employees were interviewed on condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation for speaking with The Bee.

Officials have not released the name of the social worker at the center of the controversy, but have confirmed she no longer is employed at the department.

The Madera County Sheriff’s Office in November launched a criminal investigation that remained open, more than four months after the case came to light.

Meanwhile, state officials said the Madera department never notified the California Department of Social Services.  State authorities only learned of the case when The Bee contacted them for comment.  State officials are scheduled to be in Madera this week.

The consequences and scope of the crisis remain unclear — and ongoing.

‘VERY DISTURBING’

At least 75 of the 357 reports involved possible sexual or other physical abuse, requiring social workers to respond within 24 hours.  Another 248 reports involved allegations of neglect and required a 10-day response, according to the emails.

Some of the cases may have been ignored for up to two months.

The outcomes of the remaining 34 reports are unclear, but may have ultimately been determined unfounded.  Martinez, the county’s social services director, declined to say specifically, but noted that not every report leads to an investigation.

It’s unclear exactly how many children were involved in the 357 reports.  Officials wouldn’t say whether each report is made for an individual child or whether reports group siblings together.

Martinez also refused to say how many children were removed from their homes in connection with the reports, saying those details were part of the ongoing criminal inquiry.

Two employees told The Bee some children would have been removed sooner had reports been investigated properly.

“All those reports could have led to a child’s death,” one employee said.  “You don’t want a child to die on your watch.  It’s the biggest fear for a department — a child’s death.”

Managers and supervisors were outraged when the problem finally surfaced in early November, according to the emails.

“They also state what was found puts children of Madera County at risk and in harm’s way,” Chris Aguirre, an eligibility supervisor, wrote in a Nov. 14 email to Martinez.  “The story I was told is very disturbing and I am appalled at what the worker did.  Any person would find the story horrifying.”

Martinez responded, acknowledging the department was “in crisis” and described it as “pretty horrific.”

“Something I never imagined we would be facing and we are working on safeguards to ensure that it can never happen again,” she replied to Aguirre.

Martinez learned of the deserted cases late in the day on Nov. 6.

The employee was placed on leave the following day and escorted from the building. Martinez initially declined to comment on the issue, including the worker’s status. But after The Bee obtained the department’s emails, Martinez confirmed the worker’s employment formally ended Nov. 12.  She declined to say whether the worker was fired or quit.

A DEPARTMENT IN CHAOS

How the issue was uncovered remains unclear, and Martinez refused to say during a recent interview with The Bee.

All of the reports appear to have come through the department’s telephone hotline number, the emails reveal.

In the emails, workers describe “pieces of paper” and “post its” that “added up to referrals” found “on and around her desk.”  Reports also were hidden in special locked waste baskets, typically used for shredded documents, employees told The Bee.

Workers described to The Bee seeing the locked blue waste bins taken into a conference room where they were dumped out.  Workers searched for “blue sheets,” the form workers are supposed to fill out when reports come in through the department’s hotline.

Emails describe social workers racing to catch up with the backlogged caseload as the department conducted its internal review.  Employees believed it would take up to a full month just to enter each case into the department’s system for review.  On Nov. 15, an email was sent to all social workers interested in working overtime to help with the backlog.

Some of the referrals didn’t have a time or date indicating when the report came in. Employees in mid-November were instructed to enter “today’s date” in the appropriate field if they couldn’t find the proper date, emails show.

Supervisors and managers worried that some abuse reports may have fallen through the cracks altogether.

“Remember that this backlog dates back to September (maybe August but there is no evidence of that),” Danny Morris, deputy director of the Madera County Department of Social Service, wrote on Nov. 20.

The emails also reveal the challenges department supervisors faced sorting through the pile of abandoned reports, including questioning whether overtime pay was available, the effect on other cases, and the strain on workers.

“Social work supervisors would like OT (overtime) to process the backlog of CPS referrals that were just recently discovered,” a department supervisor wrote to Martinez in a Nov. 13 email.  “Is this something you would be willing to discuss?”

Martinez responds to Aguirre saying “I can’t pay OT and going through the lengthy process to request authorization for straight time pay has not proven to be beneficial in accomplishing the goal.”

Eventually, social workers were paid overtime, but not social work supervisors, the emails show.

Supervisors also feared falling behind on other cases while the department worked through the backlog.

“I guess I am having a hard time figuring out which areas we can sacrifice and have lack of attention in order to meet the needs referenced,” Shanel Moore, a program manager, wrote in a Nov. 20 email.

It’s not clear when the department finally cleared those cases, but as of Jan. 2, the department still had 27 referrals to complete.

“Could we encourage our (social workers) to get them done as we would like to get these wrapped up soon so we can move on with our lives,” Heidi Sonzena, a program manager, wrote in a Jan. 2 email.

STATE LEFT IN THE DARK AMID CRIMINAL PROBE

The Madera County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 7 opened a criminal investigation, the same day the social worker was suspended.

Kayla Serratto, spokeswoman for the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed the investigation continues.  She declined to release any details.  The Sheriff’s Office denied a public records request seeking case documents, citing a need to protect the now months-long investigation.

“Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the case will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office,” Serratto said.

A state official said the California Department of Social Services was unaware of the case until contacted for comment by The Bee.

“We were not informed by the county and made contact after (The Bee’s) referral about this,” said Scott Murray, spokesman for the California Department of Social Services.  Murray confirmed the state now is looking into the matter.

State officials also acknowledged the county department was not legally required to alert the state.  Murray on Tuesday said state officials are scheduled to be in Madera County this week.

Martinez refused to answer questions about why the state did not know about the case.

Emails show at least some of the department’s top people wanted to keep the episode quiet, even within the office. Supervisors discussed concerns over specific employees learning of the incident.

Officials also discussed the possible ramifications of The Bee’s investigation. Martinez on Dec. 11 wrote it was “unfortunate for there to be an article on this topic,” saying “the county could use a break.”

The following day, Martinez sent another email saying the department would “just deal with the aftermath.”

‘RED FLAGS’ MISSED?

Employees interviewed by The Bee said the department likely missed “red flags” in the weeks before the disaster unfolded.

Child abuse reports typically spike in the fall, from August to around October, when schools resume after the summer break, Martinez acknowledged.

“The largest segment (of reports) are from educators — teachers,” Martinez said.

But that didn’t appear to happen in the fall of 2019 — until the rest of the reports were unearthed and the catastrophe erupted, employees told The Bee.

Martinez wouldn’t comment on what may have motivated the worker to discard the referrals.

“That’s a terrible thing to happen,” said Michael S. Wald, an emeritus professor of law at Stanford, who has drafted major federal and state legislation regarding child welfare.

Wald said the larger question is whether the department had any safeguards in place and, if so, why they apparently failed.

“That’s the bigger issue,” he said.

Martinez also said she couldn’t comment on what actions have been taken to prevent similar situations in the future because her department was still discussing preventive measures.

One employee said they were not aware of any new policies or safeguards, but said at least some steps have been taken, including the addition of a new group of hotline workers who screen calls.

“They completely brought in a new team,” an employee said.

NOT THE FIRST – OR WORST – BACKLOG EVER

News of the neglected abuse reports comes about two years after a 2018 Madera County Grand Jury report revealed a backlog of more than 1,000 cases in the department.

That unrelated backlog was linked to an “exodus of social workers” from the department between 2014 and 2016, the report found.

“During the period when DSS (Department of Social Services) was lacking social workers, a large number of client cases were left open, and services were not provided for these children,” according to the report.  “There were over 1,000 of these referrals, some up to two years old.”

Martinez inherited the backlog of the more than 1,000 referrals when she took over the department in June 2017.

As the most recent crisis developed in November last year, Martinez reminded her colleagues she helped resolve the prior backlog through “aggressive and continuous recruitment,” hiring more workers, and implementing other accountability measures.  That only came after failed attempts to reduce the backlog by having social work supervisors work extra hours.

Imagine That, I Found Some Different Numbers

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There is a war being waged for Our Children, and they desperately need your help.

Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis,
and HIV/AIDS are out of control,
and then some…

Emerging Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea: What’s New and What Now?
March 06, 2017

A decade ago, there was still only five treatment options for gonorrhea, and even then, they had to try one, then another, and another before finding one that worked. On this day in 2017, CDC finally admitted what many of us already knew, gonorrhea was now wearing a SuperGonorrhea cape, and not 1 of the 5 known treatments had any effect on this STD.

STOP THE PRESSES!  STOP THE PRESSES!!!!

The above information isn’t completely correct….

Navy’s Outbreak of Drug-Resistant Gonorrhea Traced to Single Bar Hog

October 2012
8,000 sailors with super gonorrhea and over $3 million in medical expenses.

Syphilis Call To Action-2017-04, a pdf from the CDC

Adolescents are disproportionately affected by STIs and STDs.  Young people ages 15 to 24 represent 25 percent of the sexually active population, but acquire half of all new STIs and STDs.

  • This year alone, 10,000,000 young people, 13 years-of-age to 23, will contract one (1) or more STI or STD.
  • 35 percent of teens ages 14 to 19 have Human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Girls age 15 to 19 have the highest rates of Gonorrhea and the second highest rate of Chlamydia of any age group.

Chlamydia is a result of homosexual sex.  Chlamydia isn’t the most dangerous sexually transmitted disease, but it is the most common in the U.S.  However, Chlamydia can do serious, lasting damage to a woman’s reproductive system, in addition to potentially causing fatal complications to a fetus during pregnancy.

Gonorrhea is particularly concerning for disease specialists due to the emergence of antibiotic resistant strains of Gonorrhea, and continues to climb at an alarming rate.

Syphilis is already higher than anytime in the last 30 years, and continues to climb at an alarming rate.

Syphilis in pregnancy is the second leading cause of stillbirth globally, and also results in prematurity, low birthweight, neonatal death, and infections in newborns.

First, it must be said that HIV/AIDS stats are possibly as much as 50% or even higher, due to the fact that it is unknown how many cases go unreported, and there is no list compiled for Children newborn to 13 – 15 years-of-age.

HIV remains a leading cause of death worldwide and the leading cause of death globally among women of reproductive age.

Misguided beliefs about the disease, and sexual violence have contributed to these high rates.  Women under the age of 40 including pregnant women are most affected.

Apparently, our government is operating in a plethora of sexual promiscuity and unsafe practices (but we already knew that).  The data shows Washington DC also has the highest rate of gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV patients in the country.

However, our Dear Allies, the UK, seems content to be doing their best to keeping step with Our Dear Law Makers, and, by the way, Our Climate Change Brow Beaters in NATO, France, would just love to loudly protest their standing, although, as is their way of doing things, I’m pretty sure it would be well after the chance of doing something a bit easier to change things, as was the “Hitler entering The Rhineland Armed” fiasco.

Russia doesn’t seem to be wrapping up before hitting the sheets either, as it’s in the top five European countries for seven out of the eight diseases studied.

It’s probably because they’re not Putin any effort into progressing the federation’s conservative base.

RESOURCES:
https://www.duffelblog.com
https://www.cdc.gov

https://www.ncsl.org/
https://www.alarms.org/std-statistics/
https://www.kff.org/global-health-policy/fact-sheet/the-global-hivaids-epidemic/
https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-highest-rates-of-hiv-aids.html

 

Texans Stand Behind A Sheriff With Heart

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Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is urging adults to to keep an eye out for signs of abuse.

Harris County Sheriff: ‘We cannot let
a health pandemic become a
Child Abuse pandemic!’

HOUSTON, TX  –  With children spending all their time at home, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez is urging adults to be more vigilant about the children around them and to keep an eye out for signs of abuse.

“The number one reporters of child abuse are teachers,” Sheriff Ed Gonzalez wrote in a tweet.  “But kids aren’t seeing them right now.  Neighbors and other family members, PLEASE pay close attention.”

We cannot let a health pandemic become a child abuse pandemic!  The number one reporters of child abuse are teachers, but kids aren’t seeing them right now.  Neighbors and other family members, PLEASE pay close attention.  Learn more at @Childhelp & the National Child Abuse Hotline

— Ed Gonzalez (@SheriffEd_HCSO) March 23, 2020

“It’s the time to be proactive (about child abuse) because we may be in this for the long haul,” Gonzalez told KPRC 2 in an interview.

“If you hear what sounds like painful screaming, things like that, that would be a red flag,” Gonzalez said.  “You see clear bruising or things like that, anything like that… make sure and call the authorities and let us know, because we need to know.”

The Texas Department of Family Services offers educational videos and other materials to support parents and neighbors on its website.

“Right now the children aren’t seeing their teachers,” Gonzalez said.  “It behooves all of us to step up, as neighbors, as family members, and keep a close eye, and make sure that we’re paying attention to anything out of the ordinary.”

Suspected Child Abuse can be reported to local authorities, or using the National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453 (24 hours a day, seven days a week).

If you see or suspect Child Abuse, please call 911 immediately!

One Million Moms Need Our Help

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Disney continues to push an anti-family and anti-child agenda on us.

Disney Still Pushing AntiChild
AntiFamily Agenda

WARNING!  An upcoming Marvel Studios movie will include a homosexual superhero and a same-sex kiss in the film The Eternals, set to hit theaters on November 6.

One Million Moms needs your help to make sure as many people as possible are aware of Marvel pushing the LGBTQ agenda on families in the upcoming superhero movie The Eternals, which will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios.

1MM wants parents to be forewarned so they are not caught off guard with this upcoming Marvel film.  This would surprise most conservative families since it would be unexpected so 1MM needs your help in getting the word out to as many people as possible.

Marvel has decided to be politically correct instead of providing family friendly programming.  Marvel should stick to entertaining, not pushing an agenda.

Please share this with your friends and family to make sure they are aware of the gay superhero character in The Eternals and not blindsided by it.  As moms, we all want to know when Marvel is attempting to desensitize our family by normalizing the LGBTQ lifestyle.

TAKE ACTION

Sign our petition to Marvel Studios stating that your family will not watch the film The Eternals since its inclusion of an openly gay superhero goes against your beliefs and values.

Good Information And For My Doubters

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How Medical Professionals should address Child Physical Abuse.

Medical Professionals – Trauma: How to address Child Physical Abuse

Arne H. Graff, M.D., is the division chair of Child Abuse Pediatrics at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minnesota.  His desire is to equip providers for potential child physical abuse (CPA) cases, helping them feel as comfortable as possible and removing the fear of reporting.  He offers perspective on CPA and what trauma professionals’ responsibilities are in this scenario.

How did you get into the child abuse field?

While I was working in North Dakota, a physician at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo talked me into working with him in a volunteer clinic.  While there, I ran into enough child abuse cases that I realized I needed to get out of it or get better.  So I did a fellowship in child abuse pediatrics.

Is child abuse common in Minnesota?

Around 84,000 reported cases of child maltreatment are reported each year in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services and documented in the Child Maltreatment Report for 2017.   Minnesota has as high an incidence as some other states, like California, but doesn’t see as large of numbers due to population differences between Minnesota and the other states.

There are about 1,500 identified maltreatment deaths in Minnesota each year, but this is assumed underreported due to the difficulty in identifying many of the deaths as clearly caused by maltreatment.  In Rochester, Minnesota, and the immediate region, we have around 400 reported maltreatment cases each year.

(1,500÷365=4.1 Child Maltreatment deaths per day just in Minnesota, so how can so many distort the numbers by saying there has ever been 5 Child Maltreatment deaths each day in the last 100 years and possibly the last 150 years)

Which children are at highest risk of abuse?

A young child or infant is at highest risk.

Are any children overlooked for abuse?

Yes — teenagers.  I don’t want us as providers to just focus on little kids.  Teens have a similar CPA pattern as other children.  It’s important you consider whether abuse is occurring if you see a 15-year-old with an injury that doesn’t align with the history. Don’t assume because they’re teenagers, they aren’t experiencing abuse.

Who abuses children?

People who have access to children hurt children: parents, child care providers, grandparents and school personnel.  Anyone has the capacity to hurt children.

That said, it’s important to know that 82% of abusers are ages 18 to 44, and 80% of CPA is inflicted by parents, according to data from Child Welfare Information Gateway.

Is denial of mechanism of injury common in these cases?  If so, any advice?

Since we don’t know how often abuse is missed, we can’t guess at how often it’s denied.  Personal experience is that even with serious injuries, denial is common. Considering that one of the caregivers may not have knowledge of events that occurred with his or her partner, denial can be a normal answer.  Therefore, asking about domestic as well as pet violence is important, and also interviewing caregivers separately.  By emphasizing mandated reporting requirements and indicating concern about their child, we hopefully will maintain a working relationship with the family.

Any tips for assessing a child’s injury?

Every injury presented must be consistent with the child’s medical history and developmental ability.  If it doesn’t line up, ask why.  It doesn’t mean there’s abuse occurring, but it does mean something’s going on that doesn’t make sense.

Our job is to consider the injury’s cause — medical, accidental and then nonaccidental trauma — as well as medical history and mechanics.  It’s not our job to immediately assume, if we don’t like how it looks, that somebody’s abused the child. We have to start with ruling out other options, especially with a nonverbal child.

In 30% to 40% of cases we see, we have to say we can’t determine if an injury was abuse or accidental, and we need to consider potential options for the injury.

How should I determine which tests are needed?

First, it’s important to know that exams have limits.  You can’t determine abuse simply by physical exam.  However, being financially responsible means to not shotgun and do every test available.

If you need to consult on a potential CPA case, my colleague Donald (Chris) C. Derauf, M.D., and I are available 24/7 every day for curbside consults at no cost.  We do 300 to 400 of these a year.  You may call us through the MATC to discuss what you’re seeing in a case, and we can advise on screening.  We are your resource and encourage people to call and bounce things off us.

How do I figure out who did it?

You and I don’t care.  It’s not our job.  Our primary role is to prove it’s not abuse and look at accidental injuries or other conditions that may have caused the injury.  Also, our job is not to rule out people who may have abused the child, or determine reason or intent — leave that to the legal system.

How can I help stop CPA?

If you can recognize CPA early through a sentinel event — a case where injuries in children nonmobile or under age 4 can’t be explained by a simple accident, such as significant bruising to the head or neck — you can make a difference.  For these children, consider the injury to be caused by someone.  Bruising in a nonmobile child should be a red flag if not immediately explained by multiple people.

Sentinel injuries, without witnessed accident, carry high risk of further injury or death.  According to an article by Sheets and others in the April 2013 issue of Pediatrics, 27% of kids who’ve been seen by a provider and demonstrated to have had a sentinel event will return with serious injuries or dead.

What’s my responsibility?

 These are critical steps for providers in potential CPA cases:

  • Identify other possible injury causes.
  • Recognize these things are serious.  Once considering CPA as a potential cause, you are a mandated reporter.  It doesn’t have to be proved, just suspected.  You can’t simply write in your notes that you’re concerned and not report.  You must contact child protective services about a safety plan and tell them why there’s concern.
  • Conduct testing in a timely manner; it’s important for safety and complete diagnosis.
  • Remember multiple types of abuse can coexist.  Do a complete exam for neglect; don’t just focus on a bruise.
  • Don’t send the family home until all test results come through, or the child potentially may be going into an unsafe environment.  While you’re doing your work, child protective services (CPS) will develop a safety plan.  We can’t send the family out until this plan is finished and documented by the physician.
  • Make a complete description of the injury, including photos.

Any suggested approach with the family if CPA is suspected?

Since it’s not our role to decide who did it, I usually use this approach and advise providers to consider it.  I say to the caregiver present: “With this type of injury, without a known medical problem causing it or a witnessed accident, I am concerned someone may have hurt your child.  Because of this, I am a mandated reporter and have already spoken with child protective services.  They will want to talk with you about safety plans for your child.  I also want to recommend some tests that may better tell us why the injury occurred and if there are other injuries present we cannot see on the exam.”

It’s important to help families understand that just because the child looks happy and OK, it doesn’t rule out other injuries.

Any pitfalls you’d suggest avoiding with CPA?

We fail to recognize our blinders.  If you’re homeless or a minority, statistics say CPA cases are overreported, according to a 2011 publication in Journal of the National Medical Association.  However, studies indicate if you’re white middle class and present with an infant to the emergency room, people don’t even think about abuse. Also, if we know members of the family personally, there’s a tendency to say, “They are nice people.  They wouldn’t do this.”

If we think there might be abuse, we need to get CPS involved, period.  Letting our biases influence who we report puts kids at risk.  Remember, reporting may help services be put in place to assist the family.

Which patients who’ve survived potential CPA need transfer for further work-up?

The work-up needs to be completed at the time the concern is raised.  Depending on the child’s age, it may include:

  • A dilated eye exam by an eye expert, to be completed within 48 hours
  • A skeletal survey immediately and again in two to three weeks
  • A head CT if under age 1 or obvious head trauma
  • Abdominal labs

If testing can’t be completed, transfer to a larger center is indicated.  If testing can be done and a safety plan put in place, the child may be evaluated at the local site only and be watched overnight or be sent home, depending on tests and exam.

Resource: MayoClinic.org
This publication can be seen HERE complete with links.