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!

The Secret Password

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Protect Your Children From Predators

Protect Your Children From Predators:
The Secret Password –
please pass it forward!

By: Kait King

I am very proud to introduce Ms Kait King, a true Writer Extraordinaire.

I don’t mind telling everyone that I have been Blessed every way possible, since starting that little one page gift to Google+ and all it’s users 5 years and 7 months ago, and Ms Kate King is one of those Blessings, a very large Blessing to be exact.

I met Ms King shortly after I opened our website.  I can tell you what I remember from back then: Ms King was a very good writer, and well educated.  But I was glad that I wasn’t standing in front of her, because I was humbled to tears.  This very special Lady was as good a Parent and Mother, as any that has ever walked this earth… and I stand by my words today.  There was only one thing that struck me as odd, she was working on a project with the name of “The 3 Pigs”.

OK, just one more thing, a warning, if anyone does not follow this link to The Secret Password©, you are going to miss something you will never forget….

You can continue to read the whole original story on Ms Kait King’s site, The Writer’s Blogk, by selecting the link immediately following this short excerpt. . Thank You all for reading, and when you are finished reading this unforgetable story, please do as Ms King wishes: Please Pass It On!
Robert StrongBow

A copy of a letter I sent to all of the primary schools to save children – simple and super effective!  Please pass it on

My son is 29 years old now and it has always amazed me at how many parents through those many years, and even now, who have no idea about the concept of the Secret Password.

I used to work as a National Intelligence Support Officer for the police.

via Protect Your Children From Predators: The Secret Password – please pass it forward!

TX AG – Keep Your Children Safe Online

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The Child Exploitation and Fugitive Apprehension Units, formed and overseen by the Office of the Attorney General, work relentlessly to keep our children and communities safe.

Cyber Safe­ty

Texas children access the Internet all the time — using social media, instant messaging, apps on their smartphones and chat rooms.  But dangerous child predators lurk online, too.  They’re trying to gain children’s trust for evil purposes.

Recent studies show that 1 in 7 young people have experienced unwanted sexual solicitations online — and 1 in 3 have been exposed to unwanted sexual material online.

The Child Exploitation and Fugitive Apprehension Units, formed and overseen by the Office of the Attorney General, work relentlessly to keep our children and communities safe by arresting sexual predators/child pornographers and bringing them to justice.

The resources below are intended to help Texas parents protect their children’s safety — especially online.

10 -17 – Age range of children most often targeted by child predators online

527 – Arrests for online solicitation of a minor and promotion of child pornography in Texas

704 – Convictions for online solicitation of a minor and promotion of child pornography in Texas

Questions & Answers About Cyber Safety
in Texas

How can I help fight back against online child predators?

Knowledge is power.  Educate yourself — and your children — about cyber safety. Talk to your kids, nieces and nephews, and any adolescent who has access to the Internet about staying safe on the Internet.

Tell them:  If they receive any inappropriate contact online, talk to you immediately. It’s OK.  They won’t get into trouble.  You’re there to help protect them.

As technology evolves, so do the tactics used by child predators.  They may use social media, smartphone apps, chat rooms and more — all in an attempt to secure the trust of your children and convince them to meet in person.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® has an online program that teaches kids and adults how to be safe online.  Visit them at netsmartzkids.org

What is “sextortion”?

Sextortion is a tactic used by online predators to blackmail, groom, entice, coerce, lure and extort their victims into complying with their demands for sexual photos and videos.

These images are used by predators and, often, shared with other predators online. A single victim’s image might be shared with thousands of other predators.

Sextortion predators pose as the child’s peer (or someone of similar age) to gain their trust and illicit images.  The predator will often threaten to share the victim’s photos online unless they receive more images.

If you suspect a child has been targeted for sextortion, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately.  You can also simply dial 9-1-1.

What challenges does law enforcement face?

When it comes to finding, arresting and convicting online child predators, law enforcement agencies face several challenges.  These include:

  • Staying connected to what’s happening on the Internet both locally and across the globe
  • Advances in technology (and the tactics that child predators use)
  • The size and scope of the network of child predators who share images and tips with each other online
  • The sheer amount of potential leads to follow: The FBI recently reported that on just one anonymous Internet network, Tor, 1.3 million sexually explicit images of children were discovered

What is the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU)?

Introduced in 2003 in order to address the limited resources law enforcement has to fight back against such a large, growing threat as Internet child predators, the CEU investigates and responds to complaints of child pornography online.

The CEU is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Internet Crime Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.”  The Texas Attorney General’s CEU is one of three ICAC Tasks Forces Texas — the other two being the Dallas and Houston police departments.

Which laws protect children online?

The primary law to help protect children online is the “Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).”

This law aims to protect children’s personal information on websites (and other Internet services, including apps) that are aimed at children under 13 years old.  The law also applies to any general audience website that knows it is collecting personal info from children that age.

COPPA requires these sites and apps to notify parents directly and get their approval before they collect, use, or disclose a child’s personal information.

Learn more about COPPA

Additionally, there are other federal and state laws that address cyber safety for children.  These include:

  • Electronic communication providers and remote computer service providers must notify the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) CyberTipline if a user commits a child pornography offense. (U.S. Code 2258A)
  • It is illegal to solicit anyone under the age of 17 (minor) — or anyone the offender believes to be under the age of 17 — online for sexual contact or to have sexually explicit communication. (Texas Penal Code 33.021)
  • It is illegal to possess or promote child pornography. (Texas Penal Code 43.26)

How You Can Help

Here is a collection of helpful resources from around the Web that will help you protect your children online.

ConnectSafely.org
Information on youth safety and social media

Chatting with Kids About Being Online
Guidance for parents and teachers

StopThinkConnect
Department of Homeland Security messages and tools to promote cyber safety

Cyber Tipline
Reporting suspected child sexual exploitation or child pornography

Cyberbullying
Texas Education Agency resources

Chat Shorthand
Parents’ guide to Internet lingo

Indifference Will Never Stop Child Abuse….