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 Class-action suit says state didn’t do enough to keep children safe

The four students attended Floyd I. Marchus School, operated by the Contra Costa County Office of Education. The public school offers special education services and integrated counseling to 85 children with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Students are referred to the school from districts in Contra Costa County and neighboring counties.

The class-action suit, alleging battery, negligence and civil rights violations, also names the California Department of Education, the Contra Costa County Office of Education and members of the staff at Marchus School as defendants. The suit also names State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, in his official capacity as state schools chief, although the incidents occurred before he took office in January.

Lawsuit against DHS claims agency 'failed to protect children'
 

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, families and former employees are moving forward with a class action lawsuit that was filed against the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

They plan to sue the agency for what they call "failing to protect children."

 
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"I heard it over and over and over and over again, and it's sort of, where there's smoke there's fire," attorney Rachel Bussett said.

Bussett represents more than a dozen people, including former DHS employees, who allege the state agency is blocking families from reuniting.

"No children died under my watch at that time, and then I have to get permission from somebody higher than me to remove children who have never been to the home, who haven't talked to the worker, and a child dies four months later," former DHS worker Heidi Stingley said.

Former employees, such as Stingley, claim they were wrongly terminated.

"The fact of the matter boils down to if something goes wrong, it's not upper management that made the decisions that are held accountable. It's the workers that had the concerns," former DHS caseworker Dahn Gregg said.

The former employees also allege DHS is violating a previous class action civil rights lawsuit the agency settled in 2012, which targeted its foster care system.

"Thorough reviews of the new cases presented to us found no evidence of improprieties," DHS officials said. "We are quite confident our actions have been justified, in the best interest of the children involved, and these allegations are without merit."

Members of the group involved in the lawsuit said they have a meeting scheduled for Friday with Gov. Kevin Stitt in an attempt to persuade him to make changes at DHS. They said they plan on filing the lawsuit this month.

Source : https://www.koco.com/article/lawsuit-against-dhs-claims-agency-failed-to-protect-children/27022833

SELF-DESCRIBED hippies from northern NSW are suing the state's Department of Community Services for removing their two healthy children from their care without a good reason.
The couple - who cannot be named despite wanting to tell their story and not being guilty of any offence - were last week awarded legal costs, believed to exceed $50,000, for the fight to have their children returned.

They could not afford a lawyer so represented themselves in court. The mother told The Australian that the money would be used to pursue DOCS further. A judge has found their children were taken for no good reason, in an apparent abuse of power by welfare workers.

A federal class action lawsuit filed out of Southern California states that the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services has kidnapped “thousands” of children without warrant or reason.

According to the suit, which makes mention of several social workers and investigators, Riverside’s operation “makes a habit” of kidnapping young children.

Speaking with the Courthouse News Service, the Plaintiffs’ attorney, Shawn McMillan, said that he “uncovered an alarming trend” when investigating similar cases in the area the year prior.

Lawsuit against DHS claims agency 'failed to protect children'
 

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, families and former employees are moving forward with a class action lawsuit that was filed against the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

They plan to sue the agency for what they call "failing to protect children."

 
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"I heard it over and over and over and over again, and it's sort of, where there's smoke there's fire," attorney Rachel Bussett said.

Bussett represents more than a dozen people, including former DHS employees, who allege the state agency is blocking families from reuniting.

"No children died under my watch at that time, and then I have to get permission from somebody higher than me to remove children who have never been to the home, who haven't talked to the worker, and a child dies four months later," former DHS worker Heidi Stingley said.

Former employees, such as Stingley, claim they were wrongly terminated.

"The fact of the matter boils down to if something goes wrong, it's not upper management that made the decisions that are held accountable. It's the workers that had the concerns," former DHS caseworker Dahn Gregg said.

The former employees also allege DHS is violating a previous class action civil rights lawsuit the agency settled in 2012, which targeted its foster care system.

"Thorough reviews of the new cases presented to us found no evidence of improprieties," DHS officials said. "We are quite confident our actions have been justified, in the best interest of the children involved, and these allegations are without merit."

Members of the group involved in the lawsuit said they have a meeting scheduled for Friday with Gov. Kevin Stitt in an attempt to persuade him to make changes at DHS. They said they plan on filing the lawsuit this month.

Source : https://www.koco.com/article/lawsuit-against-dhs-claims-agency-failed-to-protect-children/27022833

There are concerns some babies are taken too hastily.

Figures released by the New South Wales Government show the number of babies taken from mothers by the Department of Community Services (DoCS) is on the rise.

In NSW, there has been a staggering 70 per cent rise in baby removals from maternity wards.

In 2007, 215 babies were taken by DoCS. In 2009, 363 babies were taken.

Sometimes it is justified, but there are concerns some babies are taken too hastily.

 

Minnesota-Parents-Sue-CPS.jpgDwight D. Mitchell (center at podium) is the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit of parents suing the State of Minnesota for kidnapping their children via Child Protection Services. Image courtesy kaaltv.com.

This past week (April 2018) a group of Minnesota parents filed a federal civil rights lawsuit accusing Dakota County and the State of Minnesota for kidnapping their children and placing them unnecessarily into foster care.

The lead plaintiff in the lawsuit is Dwight D. Mitchell, who founded an association of parents called Stop Child Protection Services From Legally Kidnapping, which has about 250 members in Minnesota.

Montana CPS may soon see their day in court. At least, if Representative Rodney Garcia (MT HD52), has anything to say about it. Their agents, and their organization, as a whole, may soon face a judge, with their actions being under legal scrutiny. Representative Garcia aims to assure such a day, as he announced during an interview on Friday’s edition of Northwest Liberty News’ show. The lawmaker wants to move to file a Class Action lawsuit against Montana state CPS.

 “They think they’re above the law…and I’m going to show them that they’re not.”

Parents may sue over alleged child removal fraud, the Child Protection Inquiry has heard.

Former foster father Michael Jarome Hayes appears in a photo taken by San Diego police in 2013. San Diego Police Department

San Diego County has agreed to settle two lawsuits by former foster children who allege the county failed to protect them from abuse by a former foster parent, then invaded one of the children’s privacy during resulting litigation, according to papers filed Tuesday in federal court.

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed an Eddington woman’s lawsuit that sought to force the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to allow her contact with her 7-year-old daughter, who in May was living with her father’s girlfriend in Ellsworth under an agency safety plan.

U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker said the case belonged in state court because “federal courts do not have jurisdiction to issue child custody decrees.”

More >> Federal judge dismisses lawsuit against DHHS from mother seeking contact with her daughter

The lawsuit in federal court offered a rare public glimpse into a process usually handled privately as part of the state’s Child Protective Services system and in family court. It also objected to a practice DHHS caseworkers rely on in emergencies to remove children from environments they consider unsafe without securing court orders. That practice, the use of out-of-home safety plans, has received increased attention within DHHS as Maine’s child welfare system has come under scrutiny recently following the deaths of two young girls whose families were involved with Child Protective Services.

Toni Barronton, 33, claimed in the lawsuit that DHHS violated her right to due process after it reneged on a decision to let the girl live with her temporarily after her father, Patrick Lynn, 32, allegedly violated his probation by using drugs.

Lynn’s girlfriend allegedly has not allowed Barronton to see the girl since Easter. Prior to his arrest, Barronton had weekend visits with her daughter twice a month, even though Lynn has sole parental rights and responsibilities, according to court documents.

Parental rights and responsibility refer to decision-making over children, such as where they attend school, the religion they practice and the doctor they see. Legally, Lynn may make those decisions without consulting Barronton, but the department has acted as if Barronton’s parental rights have been terminated when they have not been, her attorney, Ezra Willey of Bangor, said.

The lawsuit was filed in May in U.S. District Court in Bangor. It is rare for a case concerning a family matter and the state’s child welfare program to be filed in federal court.

Under Maine law, matters involving children, including divorces and protective custody cases, are not public. The federal court case made public details that ordinarily would be sealed in state court.

Walker called the argument Willey presented “misguided.”

“Clearly, the state has afforded and continues to afford Barronton access to procedural due process based on her natural parental relationship to [her daughter],” he said.

Jackie Farwell, spokeswoman for DHHS, said the judge made the right decision.

“The federal judge correctly recognized that child custody matters belong in state court, where parents’ rights are fully protected,” she said Wednesday.

Willey said Thursday that he would file additional motions in the case and would consider appealing Walker’s decision to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The attorney also said that Walker does have the authority to rule on an administrative action by a state agency, which is what Barronton asked him to do.

“What my client is challenging is the DHHS administrative action that was taken by a caseworker to place my client’s child with a non-family member, through a ‘safety plan,’ when there were no safety or other concerns with my client, but instead the concerns were with the child’s father,” Willey said. “This is absolutely unconstitutional conduct. No one, other than a judge, can prohibit or otherwise block contact between a biological parent and her child, especially when the other parent cannot have contact or otherwise make decisions for the child due to safety concerns on his end.”

The attorney said that the only place Barronton could challenge the safety plan was in federal court because under Maine law it could not be challenged in state court.

“That is the issue,” Willey said. “So, the judge essentially gave DHHS the green light to do whatever they want, outside of the scope of state court, to interfere with a parent’s fundamental, constitutional right to parent her child free from governmental interference, with no repercussions. That is a very dangerous precedent set by this judge — this case boils down to constitutional checks and balances, and my client was depending on the federal judiciary to place some limits on the overwhelming power of DHHS.”

In addition to the federal lawsuit, Willey has filed in Bangor District Court a motion to modify the custody agreement that gave sole parental rights and responsibilities to Lynn after Barronton did not show up for a court hearing three years ago.

A hearing in that matter has not been set, according to Willey.

Lynn is scheduled to be sentenced on the probation violation, which he has admitted, on Aug. 29 at the Hancock County Courthouse in Ellsworth.

While federal judges do not ordinarily consider child custody cases within the U.S., federal courts have jurisdiction in child custody cases under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

A mother living in Mexico earlier this year sought to have two of her children returned to her after they visited their father in Maine. The case was settled out of court and the children are to be returned to their mother next week, according to documents filed in federal court in Bangor.

Source : https://bangordailynews.com/2019/07/12/news/bangor/federal-judge-dismisses-lawsuit-against-dhhs-from-mother-seeking-contact-with-her-daughter/

  

TWO children who suffered abuse at the hands of their stepfather are suing the Department of Human Services for failing to protect them.

The pair was subjected to almost daily beatings over 16 months.

Teachers kept a log of the children's injuries and made numerous reports to DHS.

But despite six trips to hospital, the children were not rescued until 2008 when X-rays showed multiple fractures in both.