Lawsuit against Montana CPS to move forward

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.”

Federal judge dismisses lawsuit against DHHS by mother seeking contact

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/


Couple awarded $50k to sue NSW DOCS

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.

NSW Parents sue for $18m after babies taken

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.

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

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

Children sue Victoria Department of Human Services for failing to stop brutal beatings by stepdad

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.

A young mom took a leap and sued DHS. It may have been doomed to fail.

SA Government backflip lets failed kids sue

Law Society of SA: New child protection Bill is fatally flawed
Chloe Valentine’s grandmother explains why urgent changes needed.  Lawyers slam new child protection Bill.

THE State Government has been forced injto another embarrassing backflip after being caught out attempting to stop young victims, who have been failed by the child protection system, from suing for compensation.

LANDMARK RULING: Foster children can now sue local authorities for abuse

A Supreme Court ruling which has overturned previous precedent and made history, will now allow children abused whilst in foster care to sue the local authorities that placed them.

Those who have been abused, as well as child rights campaigners all over the country who have fought tirelessly to establish this duty of care which should have been acknowledged a long time ago, will be delighted by the ruling.

The case which came before the Supreme Court saw Natasha Armes, now 40, from Nottingham, win against Nottinghamshire County Council after Supreme Court justices ruled by a majority of four-to-one that it was liable for abuse she suffered as a child 30 years ago.

Marcia Lowry, with new secret funding source, resumes lawsuit against New York City foster care

Lowry new York better childhood Letitia JamesA nonprofit law firm representing a group of New York City foster youth has resumed long-running litigation against the city’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) and the state agency that oversees it.

A Better Childhood (ABC), along with its white-shoe litigation partner Cravath, Swaine & Moore, has delivered a nearly 300-page filing to a federal courthouse in lower Manhattan, with new evidence and allegations of money grabbing by nonprofit foster care agencies, frequent protocol violations, and too-frequent abuse of children, many of whom are staying too long in foster care in violation of federal law.

Cravath and ABC, led by the high-profile child welfare litigator Marcia Lowry, are seeking class certification in the lawsuit Elisa W. v The City of New York, so that remedies they seek for the 19 children named in the case would apply to the more than 8,000 children in the city’s foster care system.

Norwegian Nightmare: 'Barnevernet' Preys On Children and Parents

One of the first things you notice about Norway when you visit is how beautiful it is. But there is a very dark side of Norway that most of the world knows nothing about. It's called Barnevernet, and it can be as cold and brutal as the Norwegian winter. 

Barnevernet means "child welfare." It's Norway's network of local child protection service offices. But to its victims, Barnevernet means anything but protecting children. 

'Barnevernet' Takes American Children

After moving to Norway from Atlanta for her husband's employment, American mother Natalya Shutakova's three American-born children were taken by Barnevernet two months ago for alleged child mistreatment.
Shutakova and her Lithuanian husband were jailed for 24 hours and told they could get two years in prison for discussing the case. They're waiting to hear if they will lose custody of their children for good. All three are American citizens.

Horrifying outcomes for CYF kids warrant a 'whole new model' - Tolley

"Horrifying" statistics show children under the care of Child Youth and Family are struggling to break free from a cycle of continued abuse and re-victimisation, a major report has found.

A high-level interim report into the systems used by the state carer calls for a complete overhaul of the way it operates.

Children were not being put at the centre of care, and a "fragmented system" lacked common purpose or accountability.

That left a "concerning level of re-abuse for children who have been in care".