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Falsely Accused

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  1. Standing in the Shadow
    of the Law
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  2. The DO’s and DON’T’s
    WHEN
    Falsely Accused
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  3. The Little Known “DIRTY TRICKS”
    of DCFS/CPS/DSS
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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"For more than a decade we’ve watched as children under Child Protective Services' care have been abused and beaten to death, foster parents have been alienated, and dozens of lawsuits have been filed," she said. "All attempts to force the Children’s Administration to make improvements and protect Washington children have failed."
(Sen. Val Stevens, 39th District Legislator rebukes children’s agency, The Columbian, June 24, 2008)

Senator Pam Roach
 (R) 31st LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT
 Olympia Office:
 202 Irv Newhouse Building
 PO Box 40431
Olympia, WA 98504-0431
(360) 786-7660
 Fax: (360) 786-7173

Go To Senator Pam Roach's Blog Spot

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In The News

Legislative Update

March 8, 2010
 

Foster Care Justice Alliance

Defending the Rights of the Child

http://www.FosterJustice.com

 

 

 

"This bill is all about paying attention to children who have formed relationships with their caregivers, and making sure when they are being moved to another setting, that attention is paid to the fact that they have lived with the family for a year or more.  This bill requires that when a child has lived with a caregiver for a year, and is being moved to another placement, that caregiver may request a hearing of the court, to review that placement and assure that this is in fact in the best interest of the child.  This is, I think, a bill that really is in the best interest of children and I urge your support."

Rep. Ruth Kagi, 32nd District, ELCS Chair

House Floor Debate on SB 6416, March 4, 2010

 

 

UPDATE

 

HB 2735, to notify foster youth of their rights under current law, has made final passage out of the legislature and on to the governor!  It was touch and go there for a while, right up to the last hour before the deadline to get out of the Senate.  But your senators and the senate leadership listened to all the calls and e-mails and voted it out.  It passed unanimous so you can thank all of them.  Thank you!

 

 

UPDATE

 

The Senate Bills 6416 and 6730 have made it out of the House, where they were amended, so they return to the Senate for concurrence.  The legislative session ends this Thursday, March 11.  There is no time to waste.  Please contact your senator in support of the amended bills.

 

We believe that across the board the language as passed out of the House was better than what was in the underlying bills.  Since the bills had overlapping language, and sections that moved back and forth between the two bills, it is easier to give a side-by-side analysis of the Senate and House versions of the two bills combined:

 

 

House language

Senate language

If a child is moved from a home where the child has lived for a year or more, the foster parent or relative caregiver has 10 days to petition the court on the issue of placement only, unless the child is being moved to a court-approved permanent placement, such as return home or adoption.

Only relative caregivers may petition the court, and only if a birth parent agrees to the petition.

 

Does not prevent the caregiver from petitioning the court if the child has been returned to a different parent or moved to an adoptive home.

Requires DSHS to give relative caregivers the same 5-day notice that they are already required to give foster parents before moving a child.

Same effect as House language.

DSHS to report annually on placement changes for children who have resided in the home of a foster family, relative caregiver, or other suitable person for twelve consecutive months or longer, including the reasons for changing the placements of those children.

No such provision.

Relatives, caregivers, and others with significant relationship to the child allowed to submit testimony in writing to the court, and the court is required to consider it when making placement decisions.

No such provision.

When a child has been placed with and resided in the home of a foster family, relative caregiver, or other suitable person for twelve consecutive months or longer, the notice required must be provided in writing and must specify the reasons for changing the child's placement.

Only relative caregivers are given notice in writing specifying the reasons for moving the child.

There is no provision that creates presumptions about a particular placement.

 

However, current law requires relatives to be considered first for placement, and absent good cause, the wishes of the birth parent regarding placement are to be followed.

Creates a presumption that any placement with a relative selected by the parent is a good one.

Guardians Ad Litem are required to call CPS if a child reveals to them that he/she has been abused.

Investigation of abuse is excluded from the duties of Guardians Ad Litem.

 

 

We support the amended language for these reasons:

 

  • Every child deserves to be protected.  The proper focus is on the well being and best interests of the child.  Creating special rights for persons who are not parties to the case that are not based on the child's well-being is dangerous ground.  Unless all children are protected, based on their right to well-being, the effect is to treat the child as chattel than can be inherited.
  • The presumption that a placement is a good one if it was selected by a  parent, who has already been determined by the court to have abused or neglected this same child, is tenuous at best.  This prevents social workers from doing social work, and limits the court's ability to find what is in the child's best interest.
  • If a petition to the court must be approved by the very parent who is alleged to have harmed this child already, it seriously biases the information given to the court.  Further it renders the entire provision pointless, since the parent already has a paid attorney and the right to petition the court at any time.  It is much better to say that the caregiver can only petition if the child is being moved from one out-of-home placement to another.
  • The original language would not allow grandparents or siblings that are not the current caregiver to submit evidence to the court and have it considered.
  • The original language does not hold DSHS accountable for the trends in the aggregate data, shown by an annual report on children that have been moved.

 

 

ACTION ITEM: Contact your senator in SUPPORT of the HOUSE VERSIONS of SB 6416 and SB 6730 to protect children in all foster care placements from unnecessary moves.  It is urgent that you do so today.  The bills are likely to go into conference soon to reconcile the differences.  The legislative session will be over in a few days, and it will be too late.  Your senator needs to hear from you.

 

If you don't know who your senator is, click here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder

 

 

Senator

E-Mail

District

Phone

Senator Randi Becker

becker.randi@leg.wa.gov

District 2

(360) 786-7602

Senator Don Benton

benton.don@leg.wa.gov

District 17

(360) 786-7632

Senator Jean Berkey

berkey.jean@leg.wa.gov

District 38

(360) 786-7674

Senator Dale Brandland

brandland.dale@leg.wa.gov

District 42

(360) 786-7682

Senator Lisa Brown

brown.lisa@leg.wa.gov

District 3

(360) 786-7604

Senator Mike Carrell

carrell.michael@leg.wa.gov

District 28

(360) 786-7654

Senator Jerome Delvin

delvin.jerome@leg.wa.gov

District 8

(360) 786-7614

Senator Tracey Eide

eide.tracey@leg.wa.gov

District 30

(360) 786-7662

Senator Darlene Fairley

fairley.darlene@leg.wa.gov

District 32

(360) 786-7662

Senator Rosa Franklin

franklin.rosa@leg.wa.gov

District 29

(360) 786-7656

Senator Karen Fraser

fraser.karen@leg.wa.gov

District 22

(360) 786-7642

Senator Randy Gordon

gordon.randy@leg.wa.gov

District 41

(360) 786-7641

Senator James Hargrove

hargrove.jim@leg.wa.gov

District 24

(360) 786-7646

Senator Brian Hatfield

hatfield.brian@leg.wa.gov

District 19

(360) 786-7636

Senator Mary Margaret Haugen

haugen.marymargaret@leg.wa.gov

District 10

(360) 786-7618

Senator Mike Hewitt

hewitt.mike@leg.wa.gov

District 16

(360) 786-7630

Senator Steve Hobbs

hobbs.steve@leg.wa.gov

District 44

(360) 786-7686

Senator Janéa Holmquist

holmquist.janea@leg.wa.gov

District 13

(360) 786-7624

Senator Jim Honeyford

honeyford.jim@leg.wa.gov

District 15

(360) 786-7684

Senator Ken Jacobsen

jacobsen.ken@leg.wa.gov

District 46

(360) 786-7690

Senator Jim Kastama

kastama.jim@leg.wa.gov

District 25

(360) 786-7648

Senator Claudia Kauffman

kauffman.claudia@leg.wa.gov

District 47

(360) 786-7692

Senator Karen Keiser

keiser.karen@leg.wa.gov

District 33

(360) 786-7664

Senator Derek Kilmer

kilmer.derek@leg.wa.gov

District 26

(360) 786-7650

Senator Curtis King

king.curtis@leg.wa.gov

District 14

(360) 786-7626

Senator Adam Kline

kline.adam@leg.wa.gov

District 37

(360) 786-7688

Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles

kohl-welles.jeanne@leg.wa.gov

District 36

(360) 786-7670

Senator Chris Marr

marr.chris@leg.wa.gov

District 6

(360) 786-7610

Senator Rosemary McAuliffe

mcauliffe.rosemary@leg.wa.gov

District 1

(360) 786-7600

Senator Bob McCaslin

mccaslin.bob@leg.wa.gov

District 4

(360) 786-7606

Senator Joe McDermott

mcdermott.joe@leg.wa.gov

District 34

(360) 786-7667

Senator Bob Morton

morton.bob@leg.wa.gov

District 7

(360) 786-7612

Senator Ed Murray

murray.edward@leg.wa.gov

District 43

(360) 786-7628

Senator Eric Oemig

oemig.eric@leg.wa.gov

District 45

(360) 786-7672

Senator Linda Evans Parlette

parlette.linda@leg.wa.gov

District 12

(360) 786-7622

Senator Cheryl Pflug

pflug.cheryl@leg.wa.gov

District 5

(360) 786-7608

Senator Margarita Prentice

prentice.margarita@leg.wa.gov

District 11

(360) 786-7616

Senator Craig Pridemore

pridemore.craig@leg.wa.gov

District 49

(360) 786-7696

Senator Kevin Ranker

ranker.kevin@leg.wa.gov

District 40

(360) 786-7678

Senator Debbie Regala

regala.debbie@leg.wa.gov

District 27

(360) 786-7652

Senator Pam Roach

roach.pam@leg.wa.gov

District 31

(360) 786-7660

Senator Phil Rockefeller

rockefeller.phil@leg.wa.gov

District 23

(360) 786-7644

Senator Mark Schoesler

schoesler.mark@leg.wa.gov

District 9

(360) 786-7620

Senator Tim Sheldon

sheldon.timothy@leg.wa.gov

District 35

(360) 786-7668

Senator Paull Shin

shin.paull@leg.wa.gov

District 21

(360) 786-7640

Senator Val Stevens

stevens.val@leg.wa.gov

District 39

(360) 786-7676

Senator Dan Swecker

swecker.dan@leg.wa.gov

District 20

(360) 786-7638

Senator Rodney Tom

tom.rodney@leg.wa.gov

District 48

(360) 786-7694

Senator Joseph Zarelli

zarelli.joseph@leg.wa.gov

District 18

(360) 786-7634

 

 

Thank you again.

Any Good News for Your State email me

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Senator Pam Roach announces Public Hearing on DCFS ~ April 16, 2009

 
Washington State Senate
Sen. Pam Roach
 
For immediate release                                           For interviews contact:
April 13, 2009                                                  Sen. Pam Roach (360) 786-7660
 
Senator Pam Roach announces Public Hearing on DCFS
 
 
Olympia…Sen. Pam Roach, (R-rural Auburn), has set April 16, 2009 as the date for a special legislative hearing on “DCFS: Agency Problems.” The meeting begins at 12 noon in the John A. Cherberg Building on the Olympia Campus, Senate Hearing Room 1.
 
“The Division of Children and Family Services is fraught with problems,” said Roach. “They fail to protect children by not following the law requiring placement with good, biological relatives and too often do not remove children in harm’s way. They have systemic problems with inaccurate reporting on the ground level.”
 
In January, State Ombudsman, Mary Meinig, released a scathing report citing deficiencies in the department. The report states that the ombudsman reviewed more than 150 child fatalities or near fatalities during its two year study. DCFS had an increase in citizen complaints against the department, often used foster providers who had not been given background checks, and had a 62% increase since 2006 in issues involving inappropriate permanency plans or delays in permanency.
 
“This report finds that our children are in danger,” added Roach, “and nothing is changing at this agency to turn its unsafe culture around.”
 
Another report released by Stevens County Prosecuting Attorney, Tim Rasmussen, who will attend the meeting, finds serious problems within the department. It states that relatives of the child are not notified or considered for placement, and that DCFS workers have developed a pattern of “shopping” for health care providers and counselors supportive of their objectives. 
 
“I have come to believe a pattern of misconduct exists within the local department that has resulted in corruption,” reports Rasmussen. “The department uses the confidentiality requirement as a shield to disclosure and discovery of misconduct by the workers.”
 
“The report from Stevens County is indicative of a system wide problem that must be addressed,” warned Roach. “The purpose of the hearing is to identify specific organizational problems within the agency in hopes of giving guidance for future, more lawful interactions with the public.”
 
“Simply put, this system needs help saving children,” said Roach. “Money isn’t the answer. The answer is accountability and lawful involvement.”
 
“There is a growing degree of interest by legislators regarding the outcomes within DCFS,” Roach added.
 
“We need to shine light on this agency, and the public needs to be involved in order to correct its deficiencies.”
 
 
For more information contact Senator Pam Roach at (360) 786-7660 or via e-mail at Roach.pam@leg..wa.gov.
Cheryl Marshall
Session Aide to Senator Pam Roach
202 Newhouse Building
PO Box 40431
Olympia, WA  98504
360-786-7660
marshall.cheryl@leg.wa.gov

Back to Top

Little Girl Poca And Our Foster Care System
May 2009

This five part story – one part a day all this week – tries to look behind the headlines to explain:

  1. The fight between DSHS and the foster family that wants to keep Poca;
  2. Important questions that have gone mostly overlooked in all the media stories about the case;
  3. Why reunification with biological parents – most of them deeply damaged individuals – is the primary goal for DSHS and the Courts in these cases;
  4. What dealing with DSHS is like from a family law attorneys’ perspective; and
  5. Why all the media outcry on this case may not end up helping little girl Poca.

Back to Top

 

Legislative Update ~ March 10, 2009

 

Foster Care Justice Alliance

Defending the Rights of the Child

http://www.FosterJustice.com

Legislative Update

STATUS:

 

PASSED UNANIMOUS IN SENATE - Sent to the HOUSE:

·       SB 5431: Children returning to foster care return to the same foster family

·       SB 5510: Encouraging Early Engagement of All Parenting Resources (Senate version)

·       SB 5811: Strengthens the Ombudsman (and other issues - see below)

 

NOW ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:

·       HB 1782: Encouraging Early Engagement of All Parenting Resources (House version)

 

STILL IN SENATE RULES:

·       SB 5803: Informing Adoptive Parents of the Limitations of Adoption Support

 

 

ACTION ITEMS:

 

·       Contact your senators in Senate Rules: Please bring SB 5803 to a vote. 
       If this bill doesn’t get to the Senate floor by Thursday, it’s dead.  Prospective adoptive parents deserve honesty.

·       Contact your both your representatives: Please vote YES on HB 1782

 

 

UPDATE

 

Thanks to you, our bills are moving forward, but still need your help.  The deadline to get out of the house of origin is this Thursday, March 12.  Bills that do not make this deadline are dead.  All our bills made it out of committee, but we still need to help SB 5803 get to the Senate floor for a vote.  The senators on the list below are the ones that can make it happen.  There are lots of bills competing for attention; the ones that make it are the ones whose supporters make the most noise.  That's where you come in.

 

SB 5803 requires the department to inform prospective adoptive parents of the limitations of adoption support, in particular, that it will not provide for residential care services.  Too many parents that adopt high needs, high risk children are not adequately informed of the risks involved.  While most children will not require such intensive care, for those that do, it can bankrupt their family.  Contact your lawmakers, and tell them that adoptive parents deserve to know the truth before they adopt.

 

If you don’t know who your legislators are, use the district finder: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder.  Or just call the toll-free number 1-800-562-6000.  The operators will help you figure out your district.  Ask to pass a message to all your legislators to vote YES on HB 1782, SB 5803, and to support the Foster Justice legislation.

 

You’ll notice that this e-mail has been sent from our new e-mail list server, using the fosterjustice@live.com e-mail address.  The siritalaw@winisp.net address is being phased out, although mail sent there will be forwarded to our new address for a time.  This upgrade means that individuals can subscribe/unsubscribe to these mails without requiring me to do it manually.  As our direct subscriber list nears 2000 and our indirect subscribers already top 5000, this was long overdue!  You can add/remove yourself from the list directly on our website: http://www.fosterjustice.com/about/contact.htm.

 

Thank you!

 

Gary Malkasian

FCJA President

 

 

Senator                                   Phone                          E-mail

Franklin, Rosa                         (360) 786-7656           franklin.rosa@leg.wa.gov

Hewitt, Mike                           (360) 786-7630           hewitt.mike@leg.wa.gov

Brown, Lisa                            (360) 786-7604           brown.lisa@leg.wa.gov

Eide, Tracey                            (360) 786-7658           eide.tracey@leg.wa.gov

Fraser, Karen                         (360) 786-7642           fraser.karen@leg.wa.gov

Haugen, Mary Margaret          (360) 786-7618           haugen.marymargaret@leg.wa.gov

Kauffman, Claudia                  (360) 786-7692           kauffman.claudia@leg.wa.gov

Keiser, Karen                         (360) 786-7664           keiser.karen@leg.wa.gov

King, Curtis                             (360) 786-7626           king.curtis@leg.wa.gov

Kohl-Welles, Jeanne               (360) 786-7670           kohl-welles.jeanne@leg.wa.gov

Marr, Chris                             (360) 786-7610           marr.chris@leg.wa.gov

Murray, Ed                              (360) 786-7628           murray.edward@leg.wa.gov

Parlette, Linda Evans             (360) 786-7622           parlette.linda@leg.wa.gov

Pridemore, Craig                     (360) 786-7696           pridemore.craig@leg.wa.gov

Regala, Debbie                       (360) 786-7652           regala.debbie@leg.wa.gov

Schoesler, Mark                     (360) 786-7620           schoesler.mark@leg.wa.gov

Stevens, Val                            (360) 786-7676           stevens.val@leg.wa.gov

Zarelli, Joseph                       (360) 786-7634           zarelli.joseph@leg.wa.gov

 

 

 

Don’t know who your representatives are? Click here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder

All e-mail addresses: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/memberemail

 

Toll Free Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000

FCJA 24-hour Message Line: 1-484-288-4364

Foster Care Justice Alliance, P.O. Box 233, Woodinville, WA 98072-0233

 

http://www.FosterJustice.com

http://www.SiritaLaw.com

Join Us in Facebook: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/202325

 

Foster Care Justice Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  Tax deductable donations can be made online, by mail, or in person at any Bank of America branch (WA State): http://www.fosterjustice.com/donate/donate.htm

 

 

Legislative Update ~ January 28, 2009

Foster Care Justice Alliance

Defending the Rights of the Child

http://www.FosterJustice.com

Legislative Update

January 28, 2009 

Contents of Update

 

INTRODUCTION

“DSHS has no standards for where they place children. They have no conscience when leaving a child in harms way (black eyes and guns). They are completely out of touch with the thinking of ‘normal’ people and they really are not accountable to anyone so make no one accountable to them. The ones at the top do not discipline poor performance of DSHS employees or contracted agencies and pass off decision making to those lower on the totem pole.”

Senator Pam Roach, 31st District

August 28, 2008

Pam Roach Report, Blogspot

 

ACTION ITEMS:

·       Come to the rally Thursday, Feb. 5, 12 noon in front of the Capitol Rotunda in Olympia!

·       Call your legislators:

o      Ask them to support Early Permanency, Continuity of Care, and findings of the Foster Care Justice Alliance Think Tank Report

o      Ask them to restore funding for CASA, Medicare, and other vital services for foster kids

·       Volunteer to be a court observer

Back to Contents of Update

 

THE BUDGET

The budget is the big story this session.  There is a $6 billion deficit.  As required by law, the governor delivered a balanced budget to the legislature – balanced by slashing vital services, such as the Washington State CASA, Foster Care Health Centers, housing assistance for foster care youth aging out of the system, and Medicare treatment.  Bill introductions have been much slower this session; anything that costs money is unlikely to get much support.  Hard choices have to be made.  The challenge this session is to hang onto funding for those things that are vital.

Back to Contents of Update

 

THINK TANK REPORT

On November 1st, 2008, we brought together experts in law, mental health, attachment, and child welfare to discuss foster care and make specific policy recommendations.  The report can be downloaded from our website, http://www.FosterJustice.com/leg/FCJA Think Tank Report.doc.

 

The report has been published and distributed, the legislative session is underway, and the first legislation proposed by us since incorporating has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Val Stevens, 39th District.

Back to Contents of Update

 

 

RALLY IN OLYMPIA – Thursday, FEB. 5, 12:00 NOON

Next Thursday, we are joining Senator Pam Roach in front of the Capitol Rotunda in Olympia in a rally calling for greater accountability from DSHS.  Come join us, show your support, and help get the word out.  We need hundreds of foster parents and other concerned citizens to show up in support of our foster kids.  Join us!

Back to Contents of Update

 

FOSTER FAMILIES UNDER ATTACK

The horror stories continue.  Foster children placed in high risk situations.  Foster parents who complain are subject to retaliation.  I have to echo what Senator Roach said in the quote above; some decisions defy the logic that any normal thinking person would have.  We need your support to continue this fight.  Please consider donating to the Foster Care Justice Alliance.  We are a 501(c)(3) organization.  Donations are tax deductable.

We also need volunteers to be impartial court observers.  If you can volunteer a couple hours to go to court in your local district, to observe a dependency case, please contact me right away.  We need court observers in every county.

 

Don’t know who your representatives are? Click here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder

All e-mail addresses: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/memberemail

Toll Free Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000 

http://www.FosterJustice.com

http://www.SiritaLaw.com

Find Me in Facebook: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/202325

 Back to Contents of Update

 

SB 5431 Regarding placement of a child returning to out-of-home care

 

Status: Referred to Human Services & Corrections

If a child returns home, and then returns to foster care, this bill requires the department to place the child with the same foster family, if the family is willing and available, and in the best interest of the child.

 

ACTION ITEM: Thank Sen. Stevens for sponsoring this bill and thank Sen. Hargrove and the entire Senate Committee for co-sponsoring it!  When the all the committee members sign on as co-sponsors, that’s usually a pretty good indication a bill will pass the committee.  Great first start for the first FCJA bill.  Ask Sen. Hargrove to please schedule this bill for a hearing.

Senator Val Stevens                (360) 786-7676           stevens.val@leg.wa.gov

Senator James Hargrove         (360) 786-7646          hargrove.jim@leg.wa.gov

 

Back to Contents of Update

 

SB 5510 Encouraging Early Engagement: Regarding notification in dependency matters

 

Status: Referred to Human Services & Corrections

 

Supported by the Child Welfare Advocacy Coalition

  • Modifies the Notification of Dependency (foster care) to inform the parents that both need to be consistently involved in services from the start, even if one wants the other to have custody, or risk permanent loss of parental rights.

  • Adds a Warning Notification after six months of no contact to repeat that permanent loss of parental rights may result from no contact

  • Modifies the Notification of Termination of Parental Rights to include 15 months of no contact as an aggravating circumstance not requiring reasonable efforts, if the parent had reasonable opportunity for contact and was properly notified.

 

Download our position paper here: http://www.fosterjustice.com/leg/Encouraging%20Early%20Engagement%20of%20All%20Parenting%20Resources.doc

 

ACTION ITEM: Thank Sen. Stevens for sponsoring this bill and thank Sen. Hargrove, Sen. Swecker, and Sen. Shin for co-sponsoring it!  Thank the senators, and ask Sen. Hargrove to please schedule it for a hearing.

Senator James Hargrove         (360) 786-7646           hargrove.jim@leg.wa.gov

Senator Paull Shin                   (360) 786-7640           shin.paull@leg.wa.gov

Senator Val Stevens                (360) 786-7676           stevens.val@leg.wa.gov

Senator Dan Swecker              (360) 786-7638           swecker.dan@leg.wa.gov

 

Back to Contents of Update

 

Continuity of Care and the Importance of Psychological Relationships

 

Status: Not yet introduced

 

We are seeking a statutory right to intervene for visitation, placement, and child safety for children that are languishing in foster care.  Children form very deep bonds, often in the only home they have ever known, and yet the child has no right to maintain that bond.  We have seen children removed from foster homes as retaliation because the foster parent complained about the case – and the foster parent has no recourse to protect the child.  We believe that intervention is a last resort, which may be appropriate in certain circumstances:

 

  • The child is languishing in foster care

  • The child’s due process rights are not being protected

  • The privacy of the birth parent is respected, including limited records access, with personal information and unfounded allegations removed

  • The intervener has no involvement in parental rights

  • Circumstances detrimental to the child exist if relief is not granted

 

This is a very complex issue.  Read more about it in our think tank report: http://www.FosterJustice.com/leg/FCJA Think Tank Report.do

Download our position paper here: http://www.fosterjustice.com/leg/Continuity%20of%20Care%20and%20Psychological%20Relationships.doc

 

ACTION ITEM: Talk to your legislators about the bonds children form in long term foster care, and the importance of psychological parents.  Ask them to support the FCJA Think Tank Report.

 

Back to Contents of Update

 

HB 1183/SB 5609 Concerning legal representation of children in dependency proceedings

 

House Status: Heard by the Judiciary Committee

Senate Status: Referred to Human Services & Corrections

 

Supported by the Child Welfare Advocacy Coalition

Requires the court to determine if a foster child over the age of 12 needs an attorney.  Under current law, a child 12 or older can request an attorney.  Even if a child doesn’t request one, the court can still order one for the child now.  This bill would simply require the court to consider and make a determination.

An attorney can help a child stand up for their rights, when they are being moved unnecessarily, or when they haven’t had visitation with siblings.  Foster Justice supports this bill.  But attorneys cost money, and anything that will cost money is going to have a hard time this session.

 

ACTION ITEMS:

Ask Sen. Hargrove to please schedule SB 5609 for a hearing.

Thank Rep. Pedersen for hearing HB 1183 – please PASS! 

Senator James Hargrove         (360) 786-7646           hargrove.jim@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Jamie Pedersen               (360) 786-7826           pedersen.jamie@leg.wa.gov

 

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HB 1607/SB 5477 Visitation rights for grandparents.

 

House Status: Referred to the Judiciary Committee

Senate Status: Referred to Human Services & Corrections

 

Proposed by GROWS (Grandparents Rights of Washington State)

Allows grandparents to petition the court for visitation with a grandchild, if:

 

  • a substantial relationship exists between the grandparent and the child

  • the relationship was actively encouraged by the parent

  • contact has unreasonably been denied

  • the child would suffer harm if contact is not awarded

  • contact is in the child’s best interest

 

This is a complex issue that does not relate directly to foster care, however, many of the kids affected by this are foster kids, and many of them would have become foster kids if the grandparents had not stepped in.  Although this bill speaks to any grandparent with a substantial relationship, my main concern is for the grandparents that have become the primary caregivers for years at a time through an informal arrangement, and then lose all contact with the child when the natural parent returns.  There’s no doubt in my mind the child is harmed by that, and it happens far too often.  This ties in to our own proposal for continuity of care, and in fact a representative from GROWS participated in our think tank.

 

ACTION ITEMS:

Ask Sen. Hargrove to please schedule SB 5477 for a hearing.

Ask Rep. Pedersen to please schedule HB 1607 for a hearing. 

Senator James Hargrove         (360) 786-7646           hargrove.jim@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Jamie Pedersen               (360) 786-7826           pedersen.jamie@leg.wa.gov

 

Back to Contents of Update

 

Contacts

 

Toll Free Legislative Hotline: 1.800.562.6000

Find out who are your legislators: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder

E-mail addresses for all lawmakers: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/memberemail 

FCJA Facebook Page: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/202325

http://www.FosterJustice.com

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Letter to WA Representative

Hello Rep Kagi,

I would like to discuss some recent developments with family rights here in the State of Washington and around the country. We are joining forces with all persons affected by Parens Patriae to include parents, extended family, foster parents and father's and mother's rights groups. While this is a difficult endeavor due to various divisions, the focus will be on challenging the system with the unified goals and commonalities that each are suffering under in family courts and through CPS. I am meeting with a national foster parenting interest group next week and we will be discussing ways to do this.

I have several areas that I will be addressing this legislative session but there are five that I will share at this time. The first is making the DSHS/CPS head an elected position.  The affect on families with little to no due process rights, weak evidence laws and unbridled CPS power needs to stop. Our elected officials cannot be trusted to appoint to this position anymore.

The second is the free use of our Social Security money to pay for the destruction of the family and Civil Rights violations. Perhaps those in elected positions have found ways to make money and won't need the extra government support, but many of us who are close to retirement do need it and we are requiring that this funding and the state acceptance of this funding stop and to find alternative funding for necessary child protection. The Federal Government is borrowing this money and has no intention of paying it back. This constant borrowing affects only older persons of limited means and is discriminatory.

This brings me to the third. Child Protective Services should be restricted to misdemeanor and felony actions only. The rest should be delved out to private industry funded by foundations and other means. This can greatly reduce CPS staffing and shift the emphasis from child removal to family preservation.

The fourth is regarding mandatory reporters and who they have to report to. Right now they have two options - one CPS and the other the police or face legal actions against them. With the advent of change, the other option would be family preservation programs for non-legal issues.

The fifth is the constant screening out or ignoring of extended family seeking third party custody or guardianship. There is a different set of criteria for extended family than foster. Foster parent's character defects are frequently ignored while extended family go under a microscope with every issue made out to be a major concern. The stated percentages of extended family placement are not correct because they leave out unsubstantiated removals. The percentages of family care is much lower. 

Sincerely,
Jan D. Smith
Washington State Extended Families

Washington Foster Parents Unite, Fight Lawmakers

Day to Day, December 18, 2006 · A group of foster parents in Washington state became the first in the nation to unionize earlier this year. Now they're preparing for the first legislative session as an organized body, and they have plenty of issues they plan to take up with state lawmakers.

Austin Jenkins of Northwest News Network reports from Olympia.

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References & Links
Family & Children Agencies~~Legal Statutes & Courts~~Other Government Agencies~~Other References

1.      Reference:

Family & Children Agencies

Legal Statutes & Courts

Other Government Agencies

Other References

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http://www.washingtonfamiliesunited.net/whoweare.htm
Elaine Wolcott-Ehrhardt

http://www.king5.com/localnews/investigators/stories/NW_070909INV-poca-independent-reviewer-KC.264ff0f7.html

Hi there,

This is Susannah Frame. I'm an investigative reporter for KING TV, and over the last several months I have been investigating and airing
stories about a foster child nicknamed Poca. Here is a link to the stories if you're not familiar with them.
http://www.king5.com/localnews/investigators/stories/NW_051209INV_state-of-injustice-index-JM.1b963b7f.html

I'm now working on a story about what message the Langley's (foster parents of Poca) situation gives to foster parents. I would like to include a group interview of several foster parents for this story. You have probably seen this kind of thing on TV before there's a big group of people and the reporter asks questions and people raise their hands to answer, etc. There's no requirement to speak or be asked specific questions of any one individual. The purpose is more to show a group with the message that more than one foster parent has been through a similar situation.

I am writing to see if any of you feel as though you've been retaliated against by the department, a CASA, Judge, etc. for asking for services, complaining about case plan, disagreeing with direction, etc. Some examples: Have any of you been threatened that your foster child will be removed from your home if you don't stop complaining, disagreeing, etc.? Have any of you quit being a foster parent because of treatment by the department? Are any of you considering not accepting any more placements because of past treatment by the department? Have you had a child removed from your care after 24 months?

If you feel as though your situation (past or present) fits with these scenarios, I would love to have you come to be part of our group interview.

The place is: KING TV
333 Dexter Ave. North
Seattle 98109 http://maps.google.com/ (
http://maps.google.com/ )

The time is: Monday, October 5th.
Arrival Time 6:45 pm
Interview at 7 pm to 8 pm
Can you please respond to me by email to let me know if you can make it? I would really appreciate that as we hope to get a handle on
how big the group will be as soon as possible.

Please feel free to call me with questions at the number below.

Thank you very much!
Susannah Frame
Investigative Reporter
KING 5 Television
206.448.3876
_____________________________
 

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