Sunday, May 08, 2005

Beyond appalling

Thanks to Vanessa for this link: Before Schiavo, DCF sought to let abused girl die
Fifteen years after brain damage put Terri Schiavo in a persistent vegetative state, the Florida Department of Children and Families went to excruciating lengths to block the removal of a feeding tube that was sustaining her. Fifteen days after a toddler was beaten nearly to death despite DCF cataloging numerous alarming signs of abuse, the agency began seeking a Do-Not-Resuscitate order for her.

.... Then-DCF Secretary Kathleen Kearney had sent Dr. Eric Handler to Palm Beach County to assess Moesha, who was admitted to Bethesda Memorial Hospital in Boynton Beach on Jan. 11, 2001, and transferred to Delray Medical Center's trauma unit the next day. She was unconscious with a swollen brain, bruised liver, broken bones and black-and-green welts. Some breaks and bruises were old — having been detected, though unexplained, during a monthlong stay at Miami Children's Hospital that had ended just weeks prior, with doctors and nurses pleading that DCF not release Moesha to her uninterested mother. ....

DCF asked a judge to appoint an attorney ad litem to pursue a Do-Not-Resuscitate order. ....

DCF's missteps were so obvious and horrific that a grand jury recommended the firing of nine DCF workers, and the cases of Moesha and two boys who died in 2000 became teaching tools for new DCF hires. ....

On the day Moesha was scheduled to go home, Pierre-Louis did not show up because she was, instead, trying to help her boyfriend get out of jail. Yet DCF let the girl leave with Pierre-Louis — and, while debating whether the Miami-Dade office or the Palm Beach County office should have jurisdiction, did not follow up when Moesha missed doctor appointments on Jan. 8, 10 or 12. On Jan. 11, Moesha was barely alive at Bethesda.

The girl DCF gave up on four years ago has been spending recent days in her wheelchair in Palm Beach County Courtroom 11B, as lawyers for DCF try to convince a jury that the agency should not have to pay for her continued medical care. Often referred to in DCF records as the "V/C," for "victim child," Moesha has been renamed Marissa Amora. ....


At 11:22 AM, Anonymous Vanessa said...

Thanks for putting it up :).

Although I really read that article more as pointing out the hypocrisy of only selectively valueing life more in high profile cases such as Terri's or anything to do with abortion but having the opposite view when it comes to caring for anyone else. is more specifically about her and what happened to her.
Besides PalmBeachPost, there seems to be precious little reporting done on her :(.

What's most appaling to me isn't the DNR but the fact that they sent her home without investigating properly and even now still refuse to take responsability for their mistake by hiding behind semantics saying they were only alerted to "neglect" and not "abuse". Like that makes it all alright.

I am happy she found a seemingly caring and loving family which probably doesn't happen too often given her medical condition but it shouldn't have ever been allowed to come to that :(.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger GrannyGrump said...

It often seems that child welfare workers base their decisions on Magic 8-Balls or something. Kids get taken from healthy, loving families for bogus reasons, but others get returned to brutal abusers or inexplicable reasons. It's as if child welfare has been infiltrated by Satan or something! I'm not saying CPS workers are evil; I"m saying that the system is broken beyond repair. They need to scrap it and build something new from scratch. Like when Marty Kniseley looked at the Byberry State Hospital near Philadelphia, and shut it down. She said, "This is broken beyond where it can be fixed." I think Florida CPS, and a lot of CPS agencies, have reached that point.

At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Vanessa said...

I think they probably just suffer from the same problems as everything else: understaffed, underfunded, overworked, etc :(.

And cynically enough, there will always be enough funds for legal costs because winning a case like this will save them millions *sighs*.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger GrannyGrump said...

Well I hope being held accountable for the damage that happens when they fail might motivate them to stop failing!

I'm betting that the money's there but it gets spent on fatcat bureaucrats instead of salary for enough staff to keep track of the kids.

Like I said, they shouldn't try to fix what's there. They should start from scratch. Think, "What's our job here?" and figure out how to do it -- and include parents and foster parents and adoptive parents and people who went thru the system as kids in that process! Not just a bunch of ivory-tower pencil-pushers.

At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Josephine said...

Actually Ive been in foster care I kinda know whats going on. Kids draw 30grand of federal dollars for the state. Kids like me who were abused but easy to care for get kept. Kids who have behavior problems due to real abuse are harder to place and arent worth the 30,000 or the money they have to pay to the foster parents. Thats why it looks like those kids always go back. They are unhelpable. Meanwhile kids like mine-and yes I have difficulties in parenting due to bisexual parenting and damage done in foster care- would be worth more than 100,000 to the state. They are all attractive and one is a baby. They would be able to take my kids and milk the fed for all its worth(and give them up for adoption for even more fed dollars) and have 5 easy going kids to abuse and mistreat while getting paid. I know of several kids who were taken from barely difficult home as children and then raped and abused in foster care. In fact the best way to insure your kids dont stay in foster care is to instruct them to act up. The DHS workers wont want to keep them then. They are less fun. DHS workers love kids that will talk to them and be nice-they feel like heros. If the kids is mean and diruptive it feels less good. Like your maybee doing something bad.
Also its less likely that a parent who is truly abusive and neglectful will have a job. Parents of foster children are charged child support. My husband would have the money while druggy donny wont. Thats why my children look more appetizing than druggie donnies or dopey donnas.

If you have money, your kids are well behaved and attractive, you are uncoopertive(they use this to claim you are voilent) or someone has something against you- ie and ax to grind, then if they get your kids they wont want to give them back. The ax can be your white and well off or your catholic and they are baptist.

The only help a foster care worker can give is to the children and thats taking them away. DHS has actually come to my home due to a nosy nieghbor situation. I yelled at them I told them about the attempts of my foster mother to force me to abort ny oldest daughter. I named off every person I knew who was raped I yelled about the the fact that my foster mother had a brother in law who was a police officer. See to get away with stuff she would have him go in a suspend tickets and citations against the social workers and they(the SWs) would look the other way. One of my foster sisters was being sexually abused by a man of 23. He got her pregnant and they forced her to have an abortion. He had to pay for it and they SW wouldnt even let her have a tylenol for the abortion. They guy didnt get prosecuted. My foster mother didnt get in trouble for letting in happen and the SW didnt get investigated. The baby & pregnancy just went away. I yelled all this stuff as they "serched" my house and took pictures. They left came back a week later and dismissed the case. And when I say yelled I mean yelled. I walked behined them to every room telling them what I thaught of them. It was kinda theraputic. After having been in foster care from the time I was 14 till nearly 18 it felt real good to tell them what I thaught.

At 11:41 PM, Blogger Christina said...

josephine, hugs! Yikes!

There are good foster parents (my sister and her husband, and friends of my family, for examples), and there are kids that are rightly placed and do well as a result. But one of the MH clients I used to work with was raped in foster care and her sister burned to death under suspicious circumstances in the same foster home.

That's why we need people who've been through it to be part of the solution. People who've been hurt when it screwed up, and people who are the success stories. To see what's going wrong, what can be done right.

Throwing more money at it won't fix it -- I could quit my job and raise three or four foster kids for what the feds pay the state for monitoring just one of them! Where the heck is that money being spent?!

At 2:48 PM, Blogger Josephine said...


It gets reabsorbed into the state budget. In other words they spend it on other thing. There are actuallt nearly a thousand kids in the tenessee foster care system who have simply vanished. Id love to be a foster parent but if I tried to sign up its more likely my kids would wind up foster kids. The system is so corrupt there is no fixing it. It needs to be scrapped and this type of thing needs to be left to the churches. I say only if you are going to charge the adult with something then the child should not be removed. My mother should have gone to jail for what she did to us. And those who abused me but no. There were several girls in the same house(hell same converted garage as me.. 13 of us in fact) as me who had no real reason to be in foster care.. They were "unruly" In other words "I dont want to watch her".. Were it up to me Id say tough.. Get up in the morning make her breakfast and here are some noce classes you can go to to learn how to communicate with your kids.. But Im not in charge am I..

At 10:33 PM, Blogger GrannyGrump said...

josephine, I agree it needs to be scrapped.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Glenda Jones said...

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