Sunday, March 31, 2013

Words from a Family Advocate

If you don't know your Rights, You have NONE.
Check out the video below;and then Start >>> Here

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Allegation Defense OR Prevention???

In one of the many groups I participate in, to know ALL sides of any issue,  a reply to a member was given. For those in Foster Care, this may be of concern?
Reply by member:
1)“...One of my biggest pet peeves is that the MAPP and PRIDE trainings are totally insufficient to prepare anyone to foster. They focus mostly on the children that you will have in your home, however, do not concentrate on allegations and/or documentation..”

In addition:2) “…I think it should be mandatory upon becoming licensed that every foster parent have some kind of legal protection…...
New Mexico has a unique approach to fostering. They have placed the fostering system under the state insurance umbrella, a good start....”
  • My additional Comments on 1):
I most firmly agree with 1). Only to add None of us are truly prepared to defend ourselves when the Agency comes knocking at our door.

However, a while back in our discussion group, this same issue was brought up.. And myself, being a curious sort, plus looking for more information to add to our NFPCAR website, I did a bit of research on if there were any courses to address this issue. And to my surprise, I did find one “Allegation Prevention – Interactive”-3.0 hours training credits, presented by Foster Care & Adoptive Community.

So I purchased this course for $4.95.. And then started reading. (Download Course)
The first paragraph was very encouraging: “Accusations can happen to a foster parent at any time. They are always "at risk". There is no suit of armor to protect them from erroneous allegations. It isn't a matter of "if" a foster home will have an allegation, it is a matter of "when". There are, however, many things a foster family can do to minimize the risk of allegations. This course is designed to make you aware of the steps you can take to lower the risk of accusal..”

However, after going through the course, I came to the same conclusion   ie “do not concentrate on allegations and/or documentation..”

But, I encourage everyone to read this course and see what they think. I have attached it for your review.
In addition, I have listed links relating to False Allegations, one may want to review at the bottom of this post.

And do send me your comments on the Questions that are asked at the end of this training document. BTW, I still did reply for my 3 hours of training.
FYI, here are the questions:
1. After having read this course, what might you change or do differently in your home?
2. What frightens you the most about being a foster parent?
3. What in this course surprised you the most regarding the possibility of allegation
4. What tips or experiences would you like to share with other foster parents?

Comments on 2):
“…I think it should be mandatory upon becoming licensed that every foster parent have some kind of legal protection…”

I agree. However, and unfortunately, those who are and/or have been Foster Care Givers, are in reality “Contracted” by the agency.. And, through time, subtle changes in statutes, this has come to mean, you, as a Foster Care Giver are responsible for yourself. Yes, hard to believe, since the agency may say, and/or express the thoughts that “We are a Team??”

Let me drift a bit to share a story of the Agencies alleged “Team Approach”
For those of you who are old enough, in our Western Character World, there were two heros.. ie the Lone Ranger and Tonto… They traveled together throughout the West to Stop the Bad Guys harming other innocent people.

One day, while they were traveling in the open lands, they were confronted by a group of hostile Indians.
So, the Long Ranger asks Tonto, “What are we going to do??”
Tonto’s reply was, “What do you mean Pale Face?
May you find Strength in your higher power,
Granpa Chuck

1.   Search Results

1.    False Allegations: One Foster Parent's Story - Fostering Perspectives
Indeed, allegations of abuse and neglect by foster parents are found to be ... nsufficient training and support from DSS can contribute to these situations. In other ...

2.    False Allegations: One Foster Parent's Story - Fostering Perspectives
False Allegations: One Foster Parent's Story ... future MAPP training in her ...

3.    Foster Care
Foster Parent Allegations False Allegations...the Dark Side of Foster Care. Allegations ... Online training for new & licensed foster parents. Hannah and Her ...

4.    National Foster Parent Coalition for Allegation Reform
Featured Power Point Training ... 80 percent of allegations are false. ... An Organization Originated by Foster Parents Falsely Accused, but has Evolved to ...

5.    Online Guide to Adopting from Foster Care - False Allegations -
These statistics from the National Foster Parent Association, paint a bleak picture. ... If you are parenting a child who has a history of making false allegations, make .... Even if your toddler-aged child is potty trained before he or she comes into ...

6.    NACAC | Parent Groups
As a parent group leader, you probably already know that false allegations of .... of your local foster care association) who might provide training for your group. ...

7.    Handling False Allegations of Child Abuse and Neglect › AdoptionParenting After Adoption
False Abuse Allegations: What Parents Can Do: A Checklist Laws (2002) Suggests what adoptive and foster parents can do to protect themselves from false ...
  1. [PDF] 

2.    Child Safety: Curricula for Staff and Foster Parents by Susan ...
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
1. careful selection, preparation, and training of foster parents;. 2. staff adequately ... in foster homes, and that false allegations are made, and is nonjudgmental. ...

9.    Foster Parents; False Allegations! Part 1 of 3. - National Foster ...
Aug 18, 2011 – Foster Parents; False Allegations! ... In almost all training classes for foster parents someone invariably raises their hand to ask about this storm, ...

10. false allegation «
Online Training for Foster Parent Relicensing; Accepted by most agencies. Parent Project Online - Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lawless America needs new leadership

Below I have included a blog post from Legally Kidnapped, if you want to comment on LK's post, just click on the title below. 
I am not publicly affiliated with Legally Kidnapped. However, in an effort to know ALL sides of any issue, I have shared many thoughts. For the record, here is my Public Affiliation.
Myself, I have been a Family Advocate for over a decade. However, my experiences include being a son, a father, and a grand father.
Before one reads LK's post, I would like to share a few of my beliefs relating to the Family Movement:
  1. Here is a vision created by a very active advocate in the State of WA, when I shared with her Our Groups basic philosophies:
    "We are joining forces with all persons affected by Parens Patriae to include parents, extended family, foster parents and father's and mother's rights groups. While this is a difficult endeavor due to various divisions, the focus will be on challenging the system with the unified goals and commonalities that each is suffering under in family courts and through CPS.”
    (See Definition: Parens Patriae)
  2. We, as an Organization, believe in the "Team Approach"- Yes there may be a designated leader. However, each member of the group is on equal footing as a member of the group for their particular experiences.
  3. We believe that True Reform comes from the Bottom Up and NOT the Top Down. A major reason why we, through Sharing, Caring, and Guidance, that the individual becomes an Advocate for themselves to defend themselves and their precious family.
    For example, here is a great starting point to know the state statutes particular to your concerns: State Statute Summary Index relating to Family Court.
  4. Our Organization, a mere dot in this gigantic universe, was established in 2001 as a group of Foster Care Givers and Adoptive Parents, who were Falsely Accused. However, throughout the many years, we have guided many, no matter what the mix of their family.
So with the above thoughts, do read some of Legally Kidnapped's thoughts below.. Keeping in mind if LK and/or myself are put on Lawless America's Black list, this reminds me of the tactics used by the Child Protective Agency.
For example in my life journey, my late wife and I were put on such a list as explained on this page.
Enjoy. For I can not teach anyone. I can only make them think. Our Families are the most Important Resource we have in our nation, if not the world... And, yes it is worth it to continuously suggest how we can go in Similar Directions as one Strong Group.

Lawless America needs new leadership
Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Original Link:
It's too bad that Bill Windsor is such an ass.  It really is.

For a short while there, it almost seemed like we had a leader who was breathing new life into the Family Rights Movement.  A leader who was to do a great thing in traveling the country, taking down the stories of those who were suffering at the hands of our corrupt courts and government agencies with the goal of putting them all together in one place.  It seemed for a while like we would finally have somebody who could rally the victims all together under one banner.  Many people believed in him.  He gave them hope.  He gave them a voice.  He showed them that they are not alone.  He promised them wonderful things.

Nobodies will be Somebodies at Meet Me in DC as Senators and Congressmen and women agree to meet - February 5-6, 2013

Then it all went to ####, apparently, as his enemies rose, called him out and Bill Windsor reacts to it...

University of Montana Employee emails what is perceived as a threat to Kill Bill Windsor

He names and shames fellow victims of Judicial or Government Corruption as enemies of the movement to save America from Judicial and Government Corruption.

Allie Overstreet is the latest to lie, slander, and libel Bill Windsor and Lawless America

Then he threatens them with Judicial and Government Corruption.

Bill Windsor of Lawless America has requested corrections and retractions to defamation, libel, and slander

Now I've been following along with Lawless America for quite a while.  And I, like many others, still like the original concept.  Rally the people, so that together they will have a stronger voice.  Make the movie.  And the video's that he's been posting are great.  So to #### with those who do not agree with Bill Windsor!

But instead Mr Windsor decides he's going to deal with the liars and slanderer's like he said from day 1...

Bill Windsor has filed Criminal Complaints against Allie Overstreet, Sean Boushie, Claudine Dombrowski, Elizabeth Hope Hernandez, Kimberly Wigglesworth, and Brannon Bridge

Bill's reaction to those who are ###### with him shows the kind of a man he is.  If you're not smart enought to see it, then I am truly sorry for you.  You do need a thick skin to be in any movement that exposes government corruption.  I don't think that Bill Windsor has that.  Instead he has a vindictive streak and his reaction to all of this is making it lots of fun for those who oppose him and very difficult for those who he blames for it all...

If you speak out against injustice of any kind, there will be those who criticize you.  There will be those who try to distract you from your cause.  It's a part of the game.  It's the nature of the beast.  How you respond to it will define you in the eyes of your followers.
While I would and did recommend long ago that Mr Windsor just suck it up and ride the wave because there is no such thing as bad publicity, I'm afraid that it's a little too late for him.  He has shown the kind of person that he is.  So instead I would recommend that perhaps it's time that he step aside.  He is giving the rest of us a bad name.  And while normally, I would just let it go and let him fade out like the assholes of the past...

Threatening to #### with other peoples cases, especially a parent who is fighting for their family, by "working with the attorney for her ex" is pushing it just a little too far and is perhaps as low as you can go.  Posting their personal info on a popular website or Facebook page with the intent to harm them and or their cases is extremely unprofessional and cold.  So instead I recommend that you all simply quietly separate yourselves from Windsor so that you don't screw something up and become the next person on his #### list. 

Allie Gate Part Deux

"But don't let facts or anything like that stand in Bill's way of doing his favorite past time that is outing mothers desperate to get their children back and threatening them with more harm."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

False Abuse Allegations: Do’s and Don’ts for Divorce Attorneys

(Note: As a Family Advocate, I am not affiliated with Kevin Hickey. However, the information presented is advice that one may want to consider. Also, please know the State Statutes, particular to your concerns. Here is a great starting point: “State Statute summaries relating to Our Families”.)~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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With an increasing number of divorce attorneys reporting anecdotal evidence that false allegations of child abuse are on the rise in custody fights, it’s becoming more likely that at some point in your career, you will be faced with that situation yourself.

It’s easy to look at these cases in the same terms and in the same light as any protracted, heated custody case – but that would be a mistake. Allegations of abuse have a way of sticking, even when patently false or clearly made for the purpose of gaining a litigation advantage. And their impact on your innocent client’s life can be devastating and permanent.

If you find yourself in the position of representing a parent who has been made the target of false allegations of abuse, follow the suggestions below to stay proactive and be the best advocate for your client that you can possibly be.

  • Do educate your client – in practical terms – about his or her rights and what they mean.

Despite the fact that almost every American can, by now, recite the Miranda warnings verbatim, most still don’t understand what they mean in practical terms.

Take a moment with your client to go over each of his rights, and come up with various scenarios in which those rights might come into play. Conduct some role-play sessions, if you think it would help your client understand exactly what he has to do to invoke and protect his rights in various likely scenarios (i.e., informal interrogation, asking to search his home, etc.).

At a minimum, stress to your client how important it is that he not to speak to investigators outside your presence, and make sure he’s prepared for the inevitable attempt by investigators to make him feel uncomfortable about invoking his right to counsel.

  • Don’t presume good will on the part of the investigators.

Ideally, we should all be able to rely on the impartiality of law enforcement officers.

But practically speaking, it’s foolish to ignore the fact that those law enforcement officers are human beings and, as such, prone to believing a child’s complaint to be true. When that normal human instinct is paired with a cop’s training and permission to deceive, it’s even more important to be scrupulously attentive to every detail, every communication – and to question even the most basic assumptions.

Question everything they tell you, especially if the communication concerns procedures that impact your client’s rights. Do not take anyone’s word at face value.
  • Do retain a criminal defense attorney if you’re not experienced in this area.

If criminal charges are on the table, talk to your client sooner rather than later about the possibility of retaining a criminal defense lawyer to assist you in defending her against these charges.

Your expertise lies within the family court system – but in many cases, the threat of pending criminal charges can implode an otherwise sound strategy.

In such cases, it’s essential that you bring into the team someone with experience in the criminal courts, so that you both can work together to devise a revised strategy that takes into consideration your client’s needs in both contexts.

  • Don’t hesitate to reach out to experts in your area for information and help.

In the same vein, it’s imperative that you reach out for help sooner rather than later. Talk to other lawyers who have handled similar cases and get their impressions about personalities, procedures, and strategies you’re likely to encounter.

By the same token, reach out to mental health professionals in your area who have experience in forensic abuse investigation and interviewing, who can assist you in evaluating the case against your client.

Also, get in touch with any nonprofit entities in your area or state that might offer assistance in child abuse and neglect cases. These organizations may have their own agendas that may not always coincide with your client’s best interests, but they may have access to a broader set of data that can assist you in crafting your case.

  • Do familiarize yourself with standards in your state for treating counselors and experts.

If your client and/or the children involved in the case have been interviewed, counseled, or otherwise interacted with mental health professional, the first thing you must determine is what type of professional with which you are dealing.

Is it a psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed social worker, etc.?  Many times it is a licensed social worker. Remember that a LCSW is NOT a psychologist or psychiatrist – and that means there are different statutes and ethics rules that apply.

Further, the issues involved in forensic interviewing of children, and the nuances involved in false allegations of abuse cases, many times rise above the training level of a LCSW. Yet the LCSW will insist on continuing to be involved.

Watch for that and be prepared to file a motion to have the LCSW removed from the case if he/she insists on providing counseling to the children.

It can’t be overstated: become intimately familiar with your state’s practice standards and ethical obligations for treating counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

Read everything – the statutes, the regulations, the guidance letters and informal ethics opinions.

The more educated you are on those practice standards, the more quickly you can pinpoint gross conflicts of interest and violations of the standard of care in your client’s case.

This happens much more often than one might think, and debunking the resulting opinion becomes much easier in court when you can identify for the judge exactly how the opining expert violated his own professional standards of responsibility and care.

  • Don’t take the child welfare workers’ word for the process and deadlines – do your own research and insist they follow the letter of the law.

Whether consciously or through long-standing casual practice, sometimes child welfare agency workers play “fast and loose” with the procedural rules.

Do not take the welfare worker’s word for anything when it comes to procedure, especially regarding your client’s right to appeal an adverse determination.

Go back to the statute and any accompanying regulations, and insist that the procedures laid out therein are followed to the letter.

  • Do take a team approach with other experts and lawyers.

A successful defense strategy against false abuse allegations usually requires the involvement of other experts as well as, potentially, a criminal defense attorney.

Rather than treating these individuals as resources on individual points and issues, consider bringing them all together (preferably face to face, but on a telephone or Skype conference call if necessary) and engendering a team atmosphere.

You may be the quarterback of the team – the client is the coach, the ultimate decision-maker – but when you can get all the players on the same page, creative and successful strategies often result.

Such an approach also reassures your client, who is obviously dealing with an overwhelming emotional upheaval, and ensures she will be more likely to remain capable of contributing to her case in a meaningful way.

  • Don’t wait to raise objections to treatment and procedure – bring them up as soon as you become aware of them.

It’s imperative that you call attention to problems in the investigation as you become aware of them. Failing to do so can result in a chain reaction, where one professional relies on the (unreliable) opinion of another, which then becomes enshrined in the court record.

  • Do consider associating with an attorney who’s familiar with false abuse cases.

False abuse allegation cases are a unique hybrid of legal entanglement, impacting not only divorce and custody issues but also criminal defense and civil rights.

In particularly egregious cases (and depending on jurisdiction), there may be colorable state or federal legal claims against the investigating agencies, case workers, and/or participating counselors that need to be identified and considered when selecting specific strategies earlier in the process.

Having the assistance of someone whose practice consists largely of cases where innocent parents are wrongly targeted as child abusers can mean the difference between a successful defense and vindication for your client or your client being wrongly tagged as a child abuser for life.