Words on Paper and Smiles by Politicians Don’t Help Abused Children!

13 Apr

Figure 1 The doll was one of a few ragged  items sent with my daughter from the foster home in 2001

I am “Danielle’s” adoptive mother,  I was at the doctor’s office one morning while my mother in law was babysitting her; at the time, she was only eleven years old.  In the waiting room,  I picked up the newspaper and read the headlines: “Woman Admits to Killing Her Son”. It was an article about the confession– there were intimate details about Wendy’s life and the murder of her two-year old son. Initially, I thought it was an article about some stranger in a faraway place. As I read on, it became evident that this was MY daughter’s birth mom! This was how I discovered the details about Danielle’s previous family. I was shocked and saddened by the information!

December 20, 2010 President Obama signs the S.3817 the “CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010 (Rosenthal, 2010) (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

CAPTA is a Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act; it is a law for child abuse/death prevention, along with programs that promote shelter and recovery from domestic abuse. CAPTA looks impressive on paper and the intentions of the president and representatives were to prevent the ongoing evils of abuse to women and children. The original law was passed in 1988 and has been amended several times up until October of 1996. After years of it’s stale existence, the law was revisited again in December of 2010.

President Obama signed the S.3817 the “CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010. This law now includes the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) that assists women and their children who are at risk for abuse. Unfortunately, this law is not changing the statistics. Lynn Rosenthal is White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, said “Prevention efforts will help parents by addressing high risk-factors like substance abuse, mental illness and domestic violence.” (Rosenthal, 2010) I’m certain Ms. Rosenthal had sincere intentions and hopes on that day the law was passed. CAPTA looks great on paper, but since the 2010 updates, there are still over 772,000 victims of abuse and nearly 2,000 children die annually. (Rosenthal, 2010)

Cameron Simley came close to death when Wendy poured blazing hot cooking oil all over his body in an attempt to kill him. Seventy percent of his body was badly burned. They had to airlifted him to a specialized hospital. Doctors, hospital staff and relatives reported the abuse to Child Protective Services numerous times. However, after months of recovery, this vulnerable child was sent home to the same mother. Within a few weeks, while the young boy was playing quietly with his toys in the bedroom, Simley put him in the crib and punched him to death! Mom killed him with her own two hands. (The Times) (Let’s hope system has improved, 2005) One year later she had a baby girl, “Danielle”, then she had two more children! These kids were tormented routinely by the same woman that killed her two year old son.

Unfortunately, no positive change has occurred  after President Obama approved the updated law. At the time CAPTA originally went into effect,  the number of deaths from abuse was 1.3 per day annually. Reports in 2010 show that the number of deaths are continually growing at an alarming pace: from 1.3 to 5 deaths since the beginning of this law. (US Department of Health and Human Services, nd.) A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds, more than five children die every day as a result of child abuse. (Childhelp.org National Child Abuse Statistics ) qtd. (2010). (Child Maltreatment 2009).  

Abused children feel like they have no way to speak up for themselves (notice the revelation in Danielle’s therapeutic drawing).

I am sincerely grateful for the efforts and concern the members of Congress and the president yielded by approving CAPTA along with FVPSA. We can all thank the following authorities who made it happen again in 2010 as well as the originating authorities: Senator TomHarkin, Senator Mike Enzi, Senator Lamar Alexander, Representative George Miller, Representative John Kline, Representative Carolyn McCarthy, Representative Todd Platts, Senator Chris Dodd, and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Representative Gwen Moore. Co sponsors to commended also are the following representatives: Al Franken [D-MN] Orrin Hatch [R-UT], John Kerry[D-MA],Mary Landrieu [D-LA], Mel Martinez [R-FL], and Charles Schumer.

Were the endeavors of these Congress men and women in vain? Clearly the statistics show that this law is stagnant.  What changes need to be made to get this law into real action with real results? The cases of abuse and deaths climb. The current statistics are not acceptable, nor is this the outcome lawmakers intended by enacting the CAPTA law and its amendments.  The purpose was to help promote and prevent child abuse and death. The federal government is handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars to each state to help fund the prevention campaigns, yet the number of deaths of a child per day are increasing. Prompt change is necessary; we all need to help rescue these vulnerable children from abuse and murder.

I’m looking for attorneys and other professionals with knowledge and motivation to help me advocate for the thousands of children here in America. Perhaps the first step would be to sue the Delaware County agencies that failed to rescue Cameron. It seems apparent that it would be easy to hold them accountable; they have no defense or excuse. By suing these agencies, perhaps the case would get major press coverage and other people from all over the U.S. will begin to share similar encounters they’ve witnessed from negligent government agencies.

Can you help me? I am a student at SUNY Empire State College; my daughter’s history of abuse has inspired me to get educated and prepared to advocate for children like her.  She was destroyed physically, mentally and emotionally for eight years of her life before she came into my care. I adopted her when she was nine. New York authorities allowed Wendy to raise three other children after she killed Cameron. She routinely tormented the children with hot cooking oils, drowning attempts and “beat the shit out of them.”  (Breaky, 2005)  Danielle and the two other siblings have never recovered; Danielle is now 19 years old, but  still completely traumatized and dependent. Her brother and sister have been institutionalized for years now and have major psychiatric issues.

I do not have a law degree but I do have intense motivation and communication skills. Together, we could connect with other sources that will assist us. My daughter’s case is not an isolated event; I’ve worked for Children’s rescue homes during this past decade and have seen firsthand, numerous cases of negligence by caseworkers in Child Protective Services and foster care. I’m asking you for your advice, how can a mother like me help CAPTA be more than a useless piece of paper? What do you propose needs to happen and how can I be the liaison of change?

Please contact me by email with any information, ideas, or assistance; every idea is important, I welcome your input: Daniellesmom777@gmail.com

You can read the full story about my daughter at: http://wp.me/p2jzgC-x the essay includes intimate details about her life and her current adult life activities.

Bibliography

Breaky, P. (2005, June 09). Woman Pleads Guilty in Death. Retrieved March 24, 2012, from The Daily Star. The Newspaper for the Heartland of New York. Delhi News Bureau: http://old.thedailystar.com/news/stories/2005/06/09/simley1.html

Childhelp.org National Child Abuse Statistics . (2009 nd.). Retrieved February 24, 2012

Let’s hope system has improved. (2005, June 16). Retrieved March 24, 2012, from The Daily Star. The Newspaper for the Heart of New York: http://old.thedailystar.com/opinion/edits/2005/06/ed0616.html

Rosenthal, L. (2010, December 20). President Obama Signs Critical Legislation to Prevent Child Abuse and Domestic Violence. Retrieved from Whitehouse.gov: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/12/20/president-obama-signs-critical-legislation-prevent-child-abuse-and-domestic-violence

US Department of Health and Human Services. (nd.). Retrieved February 24 Administration for Children and Families • 370 L’Enfant Promenade, S.W. • Washington, D.C. 20447, 2012, from Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/cblaws/capta/

1.) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2010). Child Maltreatment 2009. Available from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/index.htm#can

Legislative Authority:

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, as amended

U.S. Code Citation:

42 USC 5101 et seq; 42 USC 5116 et seq

ACF Regulations:

45 CFR 1340

Summary of Legislative History:

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) was originally enacted in P.L. 93-247. The law was completely rewritten in the Child Abuse Prevention, Adoption and Family Services Act of 1988 (P.L.100-294, 4/25/88). It was further amended by the Child Abuse Prevention Challenge Grants Reauthorization Act of 1989 (P.L. 101-126, 10/25/89) and the Drug Free School Amendments of 1989 (P.L. 101-226, 12/12/89).  (US Department of Health and Human Services)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2010). Child Maltreatment 2009. Available from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/index.htm#can http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/index.htm#can

CAPTA new OBAMA signs send to US Representatives and WordPress 4-13-2012

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9 Responses to “Words on Paper and Smiles by Politicians Don’t Help Abused Children!”

  1. thefosteringlove April 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    This is excellent! It is absolutely horrifying to me how much power CPS has over our children- and that is one of the things that needs to change. The fact that here in TX my testimony of the child IN my home it’s even asked for in court- horrifying. The fact that I have had numerous caseworkers never visit my child, never MEET the child they are taking about in court- horrifying and shameful. I have had numerous children who have never met their lawyer either- the person set to represent that child has NEVER MET their client!!- shameful! This is what is happening to the least of these, the quality of support and advocating our most vulnerable are getting! And while the patent does nothing month after month these children are sitting in limbo with no permanency… Waiting. Waiting for what?- to be extended because everyone is waiting for the parent to get it into gear? Waiting to be ripped out of the home they know and live and have thrived in for a year, 18 months so they can return to the person who didn’t protect them in the first place?? I read a blog by a former foster child who aged out of care with no adoption. And she did a post on new rules for foster care and one was “if the parent does nothing in the first 3 months, a move to terminate automatically happens”– no more pf this waiting a year to see if the parent is going to do something! A parent who is serious is going to get their butt in gear an FIGHT for their child immediately. That’s one thing that Could help our kids out. Great post! Anything I can do to help- I will!

  2. help4yourfamily April 14, 2012 at 3:21 am #

    I’ve been thinking about your post since I read it earlier today and here is what I think. As a Social Worker, I did my internship at Social Services so, if you don’t mind, let me take a moment to give a broader view of the issue here. Social Service agencies are run differently state to state meaning that each state (and sometimes within the state, each county) runs the Social Service system which houses Child Protective Services. This leads to vast differences in the way each branch is run even within the same state. For example in my state, Maryland, Baltimore City CPS workers are supervised by Master’s educated Social Workers, but the actual worker themselves only need some college experience, while in my county, all the workers are Master’s level educated. Similarly, the caseload is different according to where you are. In the city, the workers have a significantly higher caseload than in the counties, and even in the counties the caseloads are too high. There are two pieces of the puzzle- differences in the level and quality of services and high caseloads.
    You know what? I’m going to write a post on this. Let’s keep the conversation going because I have more to say…stay tuned 🙂 This is an important issue you have hit on. You can expect the post Tuesday, I already have my Monday post set. Thank you. Your daughter is lucky to have you.

    • daniellesstory April 14, 2012 at 4:06 am #

      Nice to hear from you! I appreciate your perspective! I do know that the caseloads are unacceptable, I’ve noticed that through most organizations I have dealt with having foster children and Medicaid. It’s so sad also that the amount of pay people get in this line of work at a Master’s level compared to politicians at the same or lesser! So frustrating!

  3. help4yourfamily April 17, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Reblogged this on help4yourfamily and commented:
    Here is the blog I was referring to in my post earlier today.

  4. daniellesstory May 2, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    Reblogged this on daniellesstory and commented:

    What changes need to be made to get this law into real action with real results?

  5. help4yourfamily May 2, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    Hello, I tagged you. Please check it out: http://www.help4yourfamily.com

  6. jodie caruolo July 31, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    Good cause!

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