Category Archives: CPS Tainted Numbers

Child Fatalities: Information Denied, Children Endangered

.jpg photo of Child Abuse Deaths information
Child Abuse Deaths are intentionally Tainted

By Jenifer McKim

It is a federal mandate for states to publicly disclose information about child fatalities caused by abuse or neglect so that such tragedies can be prevented in the future.

But obtaining that grim data can be difficult because of the time it takes and money it costs.

A new report tabulating and describing publicly, for the first time, the deaths of children linked to abuse and neglect between 2009 and 2013 in Massachusetts grew out of a public records request filed under the federal Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act, which requires states to provide certain information about the children’s histories when asked.

INFOGRAPHIC: An interactive look at 110 Massachusetts child abuse and neglect deaths

~ Out of the shadows ~
Untold stories of 110 child abuse and neglect deaths
“Shining light for the first time on the brief lives and deaths of 110 Massachusetts children between 2009 and 2013 — a third of them under the watch of the Department of Children and Families.”

The request, filed by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting to the Department of Children and Families, took months of negotiations and nearly $4,500 to produce what ultimately totaled 110 cases.

That’s a price too high and a process too complex to allow the kind of public scrutiny of data that might save children’s lives, say many child advocates.

“When it is so difficult, many groups will simply give up, especially when they don’t have the resources,” said Christina Riehl, a senior staff attorney with the nonprofit Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law.

Indeed, nationwide, many states fail to provide adequate public information about child abuse and neglect deaths that is required under CAPTA, according to the advocacy institute’s recent report titled “Shame on Us,” which faults the federal government’s lack of oversight of the estimated 1,500 maltreatment deaths a year.

READ MORE: Out of the shadows: Shining light on state failures to learn from rising child abuse and neglect deaths

Advocates and officials nationwide are pushing for more government transparency related to maltreatment deaths. Change can’t happen and fixes can’t be made if the public is denied information, said Michael Petit, an advisor for the Washington, D.C.-based child advocacy group Every Child Matters and a member of the new federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities.

Petit said the public is denied information by government officials “who use confidentiality laws as a shield to protect agencies.”

Massachusetts receives about $500,000 annually through CAPTA for improving child protective systems. Yet the commonwealth is one of only two states in the U.S. that did not provide timely child fatality data for the federal government’s report, “Child Maltreatment 2013.” State officials attributed the delays largely to waiting for death information from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which has notoriously long delays in its system.

The New England Center’s effort to obtain fatality data illustrates the protracted challenges in extracting such information.

The nonprofit news center first requested the data in December, 2013, filing a public records request for three years worth of child fatality information — including the age and gender of child who died, previous abuse and neglect reports involving the child, and any state services provided to that child.

A month later, the Center revised its request, asking for just one year of data in hope of speeding up the process. But DCF said it would need to charge $2,023 to search for records and redact confidential information.

The Center appealed the fee in April 2014 to the Massachusetts Secretary of State, arguing that the high price tag posed a “significant barrier” to obtaining information and was tantamount to a denial — an appeal soon rejected.

After several more months of negotiations, NECIR joined forces with the Boston Globe and expanded the request to five years’ worth of CAPTA data. By the summer of 2014, the state issued a new price of $4,468 — estimating the data collection and redactions would take 123 hours to complete. The payment was made in August.

But by January, 2015, when Gov. Deval Patrick was handing the reins of the state to newly elected Gov. Charles Baker, DCF had still not released any information.

When the Center contacted the new Baker administration in January to call attention to the long-delayed public records request, the state apologized. But, internal DCF emails obtained by NECIR, show officials discussed the timing of a release through a political lens.

In one email, DCF chief of staff Ryan FitzGerald said to several DCF communications staff that top officials likely wouldn’t be too concerned about the release of data from the prior administration because, “anything that comes out of it won’t reflect on them,’’ he wrote. “And on the flip side, I’m concerned it only looks significantly worse for us and the previous administration, the longer this drags on.”

In the end, the state released the first three years of data on Jan. 21 and the next two years of data in phases through the end of March. However, DCF declined to provide any record of allegations of abuse and neglect that were dismissed by the state before a child died, citing legal restraints.

In April, NECIR appealed this decision to the Secretary of State, claiming such information is key to learning about what went wrong in cases where the state knew about a troubled family but dismissed concerns. Shawn Williams, supervisor of records, ruled on Sept. 14 that the state either has to provide the information or provide “with specificity” why records are being withheld. DCF quickly responded – again denying the request. NECIR plans to appeal again.

It does appear state officials plan to be more open with at least limited information in the future. In July, Baker announced “administration-wide measures to improve transparency and public access to government records and information, including a reduced and streamlined fee structure and more efficient communications and responses to requesters.”

Earlier this month, NECIR requested 2014 and 2015 fatalities data. State officials said results should be provided in eight weeks and – considering the time it took to provide earlier data — the information will be free.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR CHILDREN

.jpg photo Indifference toward Child Abuse
Give me anything but Indifference to child abuse

Good Morning, nothing like a little pre-work preparation to get the creative juices flowing, and also to supply you with some things that hopefully will go right with a good, wholesome lunch.

On September 19, 2015, in the following post, you might recall that I wasn’t real happy at being forced to endure out-and-out lies and ignorance when reading statistics for Child Maltreatment. The obvious coverup by CPS and DHHS is in fact a crime, and the roughly 12,000,000 instances of Child Maltreatment in Our Country per year is a whole lot more than 5 skeletons in America’s closet per day.

When I get finished in several hours, there will be little room for doubt that the 8 to 11 Child Deaths daily that I stated in this post below me could be considered on the low side of the actual number PER DAY!!!!

CPS – THE UNTOUCHABLES
https://notinmyworld.org/2015/09/19/good-parenting-29/

OH, IMAGINE THAT, I WILL SEE YOUR 12,000,000 INSTANCES OF CHILD MALTREATMENT, AND RAISE IT WITH AT LEAST PART OF THESE 10,000,000 STIs or STD’s per year.

SEX EDUCATION, STIs, AND STDs IN OUR SCHOOLS

Adolescents, age 13 and up, are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

These young people represent 25 percent of the sexually active population, but acquire half of all new STIs and STDs, which amounts to 10,000,000 per year. BUT HOW CAN THIS CONFLICTING NUMBER EVEN SLIP BY THE MOST HARDENED, INDIFFERENT LEMMING: Young people in this age group represent approximately 24 percent of new HIV diagnoses.

CPS Worker Found Guilty Of Official Oppression

.jpg photo of Corrupt CPS worker
Rebekah Ross Thonginh

Hunt County, TX  –  One of three people indicted in connection with an investigation of the local Child Protective Services (CPS) office has been found guilty of official oppression.

A bench trial for Rebekah Ross Thonginh concluded Thursday afternoon in the 354th District Court.  Thonginh had been charged with four counts of official oppression and one charge of tampering with physical evidence and had pleaded not guilty.  Prosecution proceeded on only one count of official oppression, a misdemeanor, filed in connection with an allegedly unlawful search and seizure in December 2011.

Thonginh was found guilty of the charge by Judge Richard A. Beacom and was sentenced to one year in county jail, with the sentence probated for two years.  Thonginh was also fined $2,000, ordered to complete community service and to serve 30 days in the Hunt County Jail, starting no earlier than Oct. 8.

Thonginh was indicted by the Hunt County grand jury in September 2013 alongside Laura Ard and Natalie Ausbie Reynolds, who have also entered not guilty pleas and have trials pending next month.

Ard, of Rockwall, received one indictment for tampering with physical evidence.  Reynolds, of Fate, received three indictments for official oppression and one indictment for tampering with/fabricating physical evidence.

The charges alleged all three acted together to use a false document in the investigation of the mother of slain Greenville teenager Alicia Moore and that Ross and Reynolds conducted unlawful searches and/or seizures in connection with CPS investigations.

The tampering with physical evidence indictments allege all three defendants acted together on our about Nov. 6, 2012 “to use a record and/or document to wit: the risk assessment involving Aretha Moore … with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect the course or outcome of the investigation.”

In three of the official oppression indictments, Reynolds and Ross were alleged to have acted together as CPS investigators to have subjected three separate individuals who were under CPS investigations “to search and seizure that the defendant knew as unlawful” on or about Dec. 16, 2011, March 28, 2012 and June 14, 2012.

Ross was also alleged to have subjected a fourth individual under CPS investigation to an unlawful search and/or seizure on June 27, 2012.

CPS – THE UNTOUCHABLES

.jpg photo of CPS Director
Elizabeth Middleton, the SVSS director

Day after day, I’m forced to endure out-and-out lies and ignorance, and I am talking about the statistics for Child Maltreatment.

Even when the truth comes shining through, the INDIFFERENCE of WE THE PEOPLE shine even brighter.

I have shown documented proof of CPS and DHHS faulty and intentionally altered stats time after time.

Children’s Advocacy Institute Report

How can there be just 686,000 reports of  Child Maltreatment when there are about 3,000,000 calls reported.  However, when you recall that less than 25% are ever reported, which translates to 12,000,000 most probable instances of Child Maltreatment.

So, in all reality, we aren’t even near 5 Child Deaths daily, the number is somewhere between 8 to 11.

It’s bad enough with Child Maltreatment files found in the dumpster, Child Maltreatment visits not being made, and even answering machines with Child Maltreatment calls are mysteriously erasing themselves;  but when CPS is caught red-handed breaking OUR LAWS, they are given a get-out-of-jail-FREE, time after time!!!!

Don’t quiet believe it????  Well My Friend, be sure and catch my next post….

CPS INTENTIONALLY TAINTING NUMBERS!!!!

Abused Kids Not Destined to Be Abusive Parents, Study Finds

That theory has been supported by past research. But, Widom explained, those studies have been hampered by limitations, such as working “backward” — starting with parents accused of abuse, and asking them if they’d been mistreated as kids.

Conventional wisdom says that abused children often grow up to be abusive parents, but a 30-year study of American families suggests it’s more complicated than that.

In one striking finding, researchers uncovered little evidence that physical abuse is passed from one generation to the next.

“That was extremely surprising,” said lead researcher Cathy Spatz Widom, a professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in New York City.  “The theory has been that children of parents who were abused are at increased risk of physical abuse.”

That theory has been supported by past research.  But, Widom explained, those studies have been hampered by limitations, such as working “backward” — starting with parents accused of abuse, and asking them if they’d been mistreated as kids.

“The problem there is, you miss the parents who were abused but did not go on to have these issues,” Widom explained.

Her study, published in the March 27 issue of Science, followed two generations of families, including over 1,100 parents and their kids. More than half of the parents had been abused or neglected as children, back in the 1960s and 1970s; the rest had no history of abuse, but were from similar backgrounds.

To see whether the children of abused parents were at risk, Widom’s team used three sources: Records from child protective services (CPS); interviews with parents; and interviews with their children once they were young adults.

Overall, the researchers found, children of abused parents were at no greater risk of physical abuse.  And that was true whether the information came from parents’ or children’s reports, or CPS records.

Based on CPS reports, for example, almost 7 percent of kids born to abused parents suffered physical abuse, versus just over 5 percent of the comparison group — a difference that was not statistically significant.

In contrast, children of abused parents were at higher risk of sexual abuse or neglect, the finding showed.

There’s no clear explanation for the difference between physical abuse and other forms of mistreatment, according to Widom.

“It’s really puzzling to us,” she said. “We need more research to dig into the reasons.”

Dr. Kristine Campbell, a pediatrician who studies child abuse, commended the work.

“This is a very impressive research effort,” said Campbell, an associate professor at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City.

“There has long been acceptance that abuse is passed down through generations, almost like eye color or skin tone,” Campbell said.

In her personal experience, she added, “I’ve seen this presented as a reason to suspect a parent of abusing a child. I’ve also seen parents terrified that they are predestined to abuse their child because of their own histories of maltreatment.”

But these findings show that’s not the case, Campbell said.
Widom agreed. “Parents shouldn’t feel they’re doomed to continuing the cycle of abuse,” she said.

Her team did, however, find that authorities may have a “bias” toward detecting abuse when parents have a history of child mistreatment.

The researchers looked at the rate of official CPS reports among all parents and kids who reported abuse or neglect: When it came to families where parents had been abused, about 30 percent of abuse cases involved an official CPS report; among other families, CPS picked up only 15 percent of abuse cases.

How would that happen?  Widom speculated that parents with a history of child abuse may use more social services in general.

“Each time you’re in contact with social services,” Widom said, “there’s an opportunity to be observed by the people working for those agencies, and they’re mandated to report suspected child abuse.”

But that does not mean abuse is “over-detected” in those families, Campbell stressed. Instead, she said, the findings imply that the system often misses child mistreatment — especially in families where parents have no history of abuse.

Despite that sobering take-away, Campbell also saw “good news” in the findings.

“The substantial majority of parents who have experienced child abuse will never abuse their own children,” Campbell said.

And for those struggling to get past their childhood mistreatment, many communities have programs that help young moms and dads build their parenting skills, she added.

According to Widom, future studies should dig for the reasons why some abused kids become abusive parents, while many others do not.

Campbell agreed. “If we want to work on child abuse prevention, we need to better understand the perpetrators of abuse,” she said.  “My experience is that very few parents who abuse their children can simply be dismissed as ‘monsters.'”