Tag Archives: law

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

I Lured Her with Food

4 Apr

One of the most effective way to reach out to someone that is angry and closed off to you is to invite them out for dinner. It works every time! In the past week I’ve taken two children out for lunch and had an amazing time. One of the girls was Danielle. She’s always very busy these days doing drugs I hardly ever hear a peep out of her. Numerous times I have texted and called her but she does not reply. However, I caught her at a time she must have been hungry and she finally reciprocated my attempt to communicate. It’s pretty sad that my own child uses me for food and money but I don’t care at all. I’m so grateful to find a crack in the seal.Like the intricate design of the car, capable of denying rain from penetrating every inch of the windows and doors, she keeps us out. We went out to eat and had such a great time together! It was so much fun that neither one of us wanted it to end…..stayed there for 6 hours. Food is a great motivator for everyone and the restaurant setting facilitates conversation and emotional connection.

Danielle Never Met Her Brother Because Mom Killed Him…

24 Mar

Image

Danielle drew this self-portrait at the age of ten

She is not afraid because someone is attempting to break in to the house, worse yet, someone called “mom” is pouring blazing hot oil on her back, right in her own home. In fact, over five children per day are being killed at the hands of their parent (s). Cameron died at the age of two, his sister was born a year later, and she never had the privilege of meeting him but she met his mother and boyfriend, they gave life to her. “Danielle” the sister he never met, soon became their next target.

Wendy and her boyfriend Kinson were frustrated by his constant crying; he was in a lot of pain after coming home from the hospital. Cameron had recovered just enough from the first murder attempt but our local Department of Social Services allowed him to return to mom without counseling, evaluation or help. In fact, the grandmother begged DSS not to let the boy go back to his mother. If that’s not enough to convince you of injustice; Wendy, the boy’s mother even mentioned that she had serious mental health issues and previously had abused animals when she was a child. I believe she was indirectly saying that she was not capable of taking care of that little boy. The doctors at the hospital provided statements indicating the child had been intentionally burned with hot cooking oil from head to toe. These criminal facts did not stop the local caseworker from sending little Cameron back to his murderers. He died in his crib, less than a month after DSS  shipped him back into the home.

I am Danielle’s adoptive mother, I was at the doctor’s office one morning and my mother in law was babysitting Danielle. I was bored in the waiting room so 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 was evident that this was MY daughter’s birth mom! This was the how I discovered the details about Danielle’s previous family. I was shocked and saddened by this information!

I went home to pick Danielle up from her Gram’s; as I approached the door of her home, I saw Danielle on the front porch reading the morning newspaper! Since when did she ever find interest in the local news?! She was mortified and afraid, it was obvious she had read the article, so I calmly asked “How do you feel about all that”? “I’m afraid”. She replied. “Afraid of what?” I said. “I don’t want people to know she is my mom”. Danielle said. “Oh, don’t worry, you have a new last name and nobody will know” I replied. Her father and I have been dealing with the aftermath of that shock plus the abuse and neglect she experienced with her biological mother and foster parents for years now; that was just a small fragment of pain.

At the age of eight, we gave her a safe home and a loving family; that wasn’t enough so I took her to therapy, doctors, hospitals, clinics and churches for years. Currently, Danielle is now 18 years old; she has been permanently dismissed from two local school districts for behavior and truancy. She is addicted to pills and heroine; she has already been arrested, she has been hospitalized a couple of times, she lives in poverty, and has no friends; just people that she buys and sells drugs to. Danielle is the master of manipulation; she has ruined the reputation of our entire family bloodline throughout the years of destruction. We’ve had numerous encounters with the police, social workers and Child Protective Services. Danielle has falsely accused me and her father of many imaginary crimes. We’ve had authorities invade our privacy each time she didn’t like our household rules. She is a chronic thief and liar but I truly love her. I can’t explain how much love and concern I still have for a girl that has put our family through constant abuse and chaos. The only thing that I can attest for is this: her early childhood memories are so incredibly severe that she has chosen to cut them off entirely. She lives in a world of pretend: “Pretend those horrible things didn’t happen to me so that I don’t have to remember the pain”. Image

This is a doll they sent with her when foster care first placed Danielle in our home for adoption at age eight

This is not an unusual story, murder and abuse happens every day to children all over America. The last time statistics were reported, over five children per day die at the hands of their parents. (US Department of Health and Human Services) Cameron’s caseworker, CPS and the local Dept. of Family Services were never investigated or held responsible for the death of that precious two-year old boy till this day! I often wonder how many more counties around the U.S. get away with manslaughter and abuse. It’s very evident that the county was negligent in this one small case, I want to know who can help me advocate for the thousands of children here in America that are in the same situation. I’m just a mother, I never went to school for law; all I wanted was to take care of children that needed a loving mom.

Today I decided to check out the internet to see if there were any online news stories in regard to Wendy Smiley’s confession in order to confirm the accuracy of this article I wrote. Surprisingly, I found an article with information I was totally unaware of. For the past ten years, nobody knew what type of specific abuse my daughter encountered before we met her. She had refused to acknowledge any of her past entirely. Danielle was a sealed vault at all her therapy sessions, not one time has she ever given us even a clue about any abuse. Her choice to keep her abuse a secret is devastating because it has been keeping her locked up in a dark and painful world. Also, her internal feelings have made her angry at her father and I, she has taken her anger out on us constantly and ruthlessly all these years. My patience and love for her was always being challenged and she took me to my limits but I kept telling myself, something very terrible must have happened in her previous life. Today I finally discovered the truth about Danielle and her sibling’s abuse and it’s worse than I ever imagined. Below are a few excerpts from The Daily Star, The Newspaper for the Heartland of New York:

 “(birth mom) She said, “Cameron was suffering from burns (that she later admitted to inflicting). He was crying all the time and getting on my nerves.” “It got very bad, and I couldn’t take it anymore.” “Kinson and I had discussed taking his life from him.” “Cameron was in his bedroom, playing with his toys.” “I went in and laid him on the bed and punched him in the stomach three times,” she said… According to court documents, Simley told State Police Investigators Timothy Allan and James Greenwood, “People should know I would do something like this because I used to kill and mutilate animals.” She also said, “The state took my other children away because I beat the hell out of them.”… Simley also told officials that she had tried drowning Cameron before the burning incident. She also said she tried drowning her other three children. She said all of her children were taken away from her and eventually adopted. ” (Breaky 2005)

I’m not a detective, investigator or forensic scientist but common sense tells me that a few agencies should be held accountable for neglecting to prevent the death of Cameron plus severe abuse Wendy later inflicted upon her other three children. For starters, Cameron should NEVER have been placed back with Wendy the first time she tried to kill the two-year old with hot oil! The Daily Star seems to have the same school of thought:

“What we’ve learned since her onslaught of remorse is sickening, especially when you realize that the death and suffering of children could have been prevented. After Cameron’s death, Simley returned to Syracuse where she had three more children, which were taken away from her because she “beat the hell out of them,” she confessed. …she (Wendy Simley) admitted intentionally burning Cameron with grease, causing burns on 70 percent of his body. Doctors and neighbors called the state child-abuse hot line, according to Simley’s step-mother, who said she also called the hot line and the Delaware County Department of Social Services about other evidence of abuse such as pinching and punching. The burns were suffered two months before the fatal beatings. Where was the intervention that could have saved Cameron’s life?… We don’t know how much clearer the evidence of abuse has to be. The system obviously failed to protect Cameron from a mother who was not fit to be responsible for a child’s welfare…” (The Daily Star June 16, 2005)

Image

This is what Danielle wrote when I asked her to reflect about her feelings after reading about Wendy’s confession.

I’m looking for attorneys, and other professionals with knowledge and motivation to help me advocate for the thousands of children here in America that are in the same situation. 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 with faulty government agencies related to child protection and welfare.

Can you help me? I’m just an adoptive mother that is angry with our current system, 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. The Simley case is not an isolated event, I’ve worked for Children’s rescue homes off and on during this past decade, I’ve seen firsthand, numerous other cases of negligence by caseworkers in Child Protective Services and foster care. I’m not going away, this will be my legacy: She liberated thousands of children from abuse all over America and many more will be safe in future generations.

I would appreciate any comments that could direct my crusade.

Kind Regards,

Danielle’s mom

 

This is a card she gave me, occasionally Danielle would let her guard down and show her love for me.

Works Cited

Breaky, Patricia. “Woman Pleads Guilty in Death.” 09 June 2005. The Daily Star. The Newspaper for the Heartland of New York. Delhi News Bureau. 24 March 2012.

“Let’s hope system has improved.” 16 June 2005. The Daily Star. The Newspaper for the Heart of New York. 24 March 2012 <http://old.thedailystar.com/opinion/edits/2005/06/ed0616.html&gt;.

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-118428652.html

US Department of Health and Human Services. nd. Administration for Children and Families • 370 L’Enfant Promenade, S.W. • Washington, D.C. 20447 February 24 2012 <http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/cblaws/capta/&gt;.