Family Giving Up Custody of Abused Boy!

I find this story absolutely sickening, deplorable and sadas this boy’s life may already be destroyed as well as the family that adopted him in hopes of giving him a better life.

To tell the adoptive parents that for him to get help he must be given up…and in the end the system will just let him go on in own at age eighteen whether he is prepared or not tells us what the system thinks of our children!

This was reported on Channel 9 News is Colorado…Thank you News 9 for sharing this story with the public:

JEFFERSON COUNTY – Their father is still in prison, their mother served her time, but six children left in the wake of what Jefferson County Human Services employees describe as the worst case of child abuse they had ever seen continue to pay for the crimes of their parents.

There were six children under the age of 6 found in a motor home in the dead of winter in January 2002. The children were dirty and cold, the temperature inside was just 36 degrees. There was no running water.

Jefferson County Human Services soon discovered the conditions inside the motor home that kept the family on the run for years may have been the most pleasant part of the children’s existence. Those who were old enough, soon began to detail stories of widespread sexual abuse at the hands of both parents along with physical violence and neglect.

Now, four years following the conviction of their parents, Gerald and Eva Hurley, the children are still reeling from the experience. The pain has spread to the families who decided to take the children in as their own, hoping to give the children a new life.

Despite their best efforts, the family that eventually adopted the youngest of the Hurley children has made the heart-wrenching decision to give him up.

9NEWS is not using the legal names of those involved with this family to protect the identity of the child, who is now 6 years old. He was just a few weeks old when his parents were arrested and was adopted 18-months later.

“Mike” and “Lisa,” who live in Jefferson County, adopted the boy we’re calling “Bobby.” They already had one child of their own when they decided to adopt. The couple says shortly after bringing their new son home they realized his behavior was not normal, even for a newly-adopted child.

"Bobby"...not his real name

"Bobby"...not his real name

“In the home he would attack us randomly,” Lisa recalled. “He would run up behind you and bite you on the thighs or attack his siblings.”

Lisa said the toddler, then 3 years old, even attacked the family dog.

“He tried stabbing the eyes out of the dog,” she said.

After Bobby was kicked out of three day cares, Lisa says she decided to stay home. Nothing the couple tried seemed to work.

“It came to a point he was so out of control it was absolutely unsafe for himself and everyone else,” she said.

After a 90-day hospitalization at The Children’s Hospital, the couple says Bobby lashed out at his brother again.

When they took him to the state mental hospital at Ft. Logan he broke a nurse’s nose. Doctors there recommended Denver’s Mount Saint Vincent’s residential treatment center where he’s been ever since.

Earlier this year, Jefferson County Human Services told the couple they would have to prepare for Bobby to return home. The couple says they were told funding for the boy’s care had run out.

Jefferson County Human Services cannot comment on the specific case because of privacy concerns. They do say it is their policy not to hospitalize children forever. A spokesperson says the county is always looking for a more permanent home.

The couple was faced with what they describe as an impossible decision, bring the boy home to the three other small children in their home or face a civil charge of dependency and neglect.

“We had to choose our healthy children over our unhealthy child and that’s been awful,” Lisa said holding back tears.

She and her husband say they were told Bobby wouldn’t develop the same behaviors his siblings were showing because he was so young at the time of the abuse. They say those promises turned out to be wrong.

Two people who know a lot about the behaviors the Hurley children display are Jim Brandon and Vickie Armstrong. The former state lawmakers are foster parents to Bobby’s twin brother and sister and they say they do not plan to adopt any time soon.

“She asks me all the time when am I going to adopt,” Armstrong told 9NEWS earlier this month speaking about her foster daughter she’s been caring for since 2002.

9NEWS agreed not to give the twin’s names to protect their identity.

Armstrong and Brandon had adopted four children before taking in the Hurley children and say they need to protect the rest of their family from the same kind of future Lisa and Mike are facing.

“No family should adopt a special needs child until the county of record guarantees that they will pay any out-of-home treatment or voluntary placement,” Brandon said.

They say they fear their foster children will someday need residential treatment and they say they can’t afford to foot the bill alone.

“It’s very likely that our kids will need some kind of help in the future that we can’t afford and the only way we can provide it to them is to not adopt them and keep them as foster kids,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong and Brandon think state laws need to change to help parents such as Lisa and Mike. They feel the law needs to address situations when parents are faced with a decision like Lisa and Mike’s.

Once they relinquish parental rights, Lisa and Mike will have one last meeting with Bobby to say goodbye. Then, they will be allowed no more contact with the boy.

“He’s 6,” said Mike, also holding back tears. “He knows who his parents are.”

The parents say this was the best decision for them and for the boy they could make at this time. Bobby’s Guardian Ad Litem (an attorney who fights for the rights of the child) agrees.

Rep. Mo Keller, (D-Jefferson County), known as a mental health advocate, says sometimes the county needs to force decisions like this. Counties, she says, need to make a long-term plan for the placement of children like this that does not include life in an institution.

“You don’t want to have children confined in an institutional setting for multiple years or for the rest of their lives,” Keller said. “We have found through many years of experience this is not the best for them because they become institutionalized,” she continued.

Keller says there is one way for families to give up custody of a child but not sever all ties with him or her. It is what Keller describes as a lower category of dependency and neglect called “beyond the control of the parent.”

Dependency and neglect cases are typically filed in juvenile delinquency cases involving human services. The civil action is also used less frequently in cases such as Lisa and Mike’s.

The parents say their lawyer has advised them that having a dependency and neglect action on their record could be detrimental to their other children and their business.

So, on Dec. 30, despite the fact the couple wants to remain connected to Bobby in someway, they will share with a Jefferson County magistrate their plans to give up their parental rights. Joe Stengel, an attorney with Benson & Case who represents the family, says he feels the county sends a bad message.

“Our society encourages people to adopt and when they do and things go wrong you see what happens to good parents,” Stengel said. “The system has turned against them when all they wanted to do is be good parents and take a child into their lives and make them have the best life that they could give it.”

During an interview with 9Wants to Know in 2004, the boy’s biological father Gerald Hurley said Jefferson County made up the charges against him so they could sell his children. A court order severed his parental rights following his conviction.

The boy will most likely stay in the treatment facility he is in right now until his adoptive parents relinquish their rights, according to Keller. Then, she says, the county will make plans which could include a stay in a therapeutic foster home where he could remain, unless he is adopted again, until he is 18. After that, he will be on his own.

Hurley received a 12-year sentence in a plea deal. Both he and his wife received relatively short sentences because the county could not prove where the abuse occurred.

Hurley is serving his sentence in Canyon City. He could be eligible for early release in 2013. His wife, Eva, has already been released from prison. She is now a registered sex offender in Tyler, Texas where she is working at a local ice cream shop.

The Agony of Foster Care Does NOT End When You Leave It!

I am a firm believer that though one may leave the foster care system the foster care system never leaves you.

One may go on with their lives, and they need to, but the system and one’s expereiences will always remain a part of you…one must learn however to not allow it to control them.

The article below is an interesting one in light of this:

Bittersweet Christmas: Holidays hard for foster kid
By Janine Zeitlin • • December 23, 2008

Lakiesha Moss decks the walls of her Fort Myers apartment with construction-paper snowmen and wreaths by her 7-year-old daughter, Keashana.

She reminds her that Christmas means family and Jesus’ birth.

Their tree stretches about 6 feet. Her holiday decor fills a few boxes.

Moss, 21, tries to craft merry memories for her two daughters to overcome the ones stashed in her own childhood.

“I wouldn’t call them holidays,” said Moss, who entered foster care at 14 after her mother abandoned her. “We didn’t have a Christmas, trees or gifts. We’d watch all our friends ride bicycles and have fun with their toys.”

The onslaught of the holiday offerings may sound Christmas blues for the lonely-hearted and those far from family. But, for those who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their families, the pain runs deep.

But, for many who are too old for foster care, the bond is not to the state. Or to blood. They define family as caring mentors or advocates. During the holidays, they turn to those who have shown them what Christmas can mean.

Some say these young adults need more support.

Signs of cheer can stir depression and resurrect hardly greeting card reflections. Few can conjure many, if any, happy holidays with their families.

“For kids who don’t have good memories, it just brings more loneliness and sadness,” said Judi Woods, executive director of Footsteps To The Future, which mentors young women in foster care or those who have left it.

“You think about how many people will be alone on Christmas, way too many foster kids will be alone. The reason they’re still alone is because their picture is on nobody’s dresser.”

A Christmas a few years back, she soothed girls who had become suicidal.

There are almost 70 young adults in a program that provides some state support for former foster children once they turn 18 as long as they attend school. But, for most, it’s not enough to survive.

The Children’s Network of Southwest Florida gave the young people gift cards and hosted a party at Mike Greenwell’s Family Fun Park in Cape Coral with the Children’s Home Society of Florida.

“We do try to keep them safe and happy,” said Aimee McLaughlin, a network spokeswoman.

Moss returns to Our Mother’s Home, a place for girls in foster care and their babies in San Carlos Park, for the Christmas party.

She moved there seven years ago with Keashana, then 1. Her first Christmas seemed like a dream. Not accustomed to feasting as a family, she felt strange sharing a dinner.

“Everybody was so close and taking pictures. I’ve gotten used to it. … I feel like that’s my family,” said Moss, an Edison State College student who hopes to become a school therapist. “There’s just a real connection. There’s love.”

Mary Lewis, the organization’s executive director, said she hears from or sees about 10 graduates a year around the holidays.

“Christmas is a time of memories, and I think they’re trying to fill themselves up with some of that love,” Lewis said.

Desiree Lewis-Dahlte remembers being relegated to a separate table during holidays spent in foster care and receiving meager presents when compared to the booty of blood-related children.

Now 25, she was 4 when she entered foster care.

“A lot of foster homes, they do stuff, but for their real kids they do more stuff,” she said.

After her adoptive father abused her at 16, she entered care again and met Woods. This year, Lewis-Dahlte is low on cash but wants to show her boys a happy Christmas.

Woods invited the mother and her sons, 4 and 5, to her home after hearing she was scheduled to work a 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. cooking shift at Denny’s.

“I’ve just got this soft place in my heart for her,” Woods said. “If they have no place to go, they’ll come with me.”

Lewis-Dahlte, who rears her boys in a Pine Manor duplex, plans to attend candlelight service with Woods, stay at her home, and rouse around 5 a.m. to open presents.

“I try to make it better for my kids,” she said.

Woods contacts the young women in her program to ensure they have a place to stay. She worries about the young men.

Dominic Nealy, 18, doesn’t have Christmas plans. He hasn’t put up a tree in his east Fort Myers apartment he shares with his fiancee.

This will be one of the first Christmases he will be out of jail in recent years.

Nealy was arrested about a week before Christmas 2007 on a robbery charge and released months later into foster care.

He didn’t have transport to attend the network’s party. He can’t afford a car. He pedals a loaned bike.

He said he hasn’t had a warm holiday since 1999. The next year, his uncle, a strong father figure, died.

Nealy does consider Richard Sapp, a fatherly figure in his child welfare past. Sapp heads the organization that runs two group homes, Chariot House and Hope House, where he lived.

Sapp said past residents sometimes swing by near holidays.

“Once the kids connect with you, they sort of rely on you as a family member,” he said. “We try to wean them from us. We don’t want them to develop a dependency and want to steer them in the right direction for independence.”

Nealy one day hopes to have children with his fiancee.

Maybe then Christmas will feel different.

“I believe in Christmas but don’t too much care about it,” Nealy said. “I just look at all the Christmas decorations and keep on going. … But I don’t want them to have the same kind of lifestyle I have.”

Nannette Miller and her family bought presents for an 18-year-old former foster child and her two children after Miller’s 11-year-old offered to sacrifice her Christmas to someone in need. The Fort Myers hair stylist found the family through Footsteps.

She feels the community and the child welfare system need to embrace these young adults beyond the holidays.

“I would hope the system changes and these kids are taken care of and at 18 years old, they’re not just let lose,” Miller said. “They’re not getting the support they need to make their life work for them.”

Bitter Life Teaches Foster Youth to NOT Limit Herself!

I think it is important for foster youth or foster alumni to read and hear about others who have gome through the system who have made it, who have not proclaimed themselves as victims.

Therefore I was delighted when I read the article velow in the Idaho Statesmen and felt the need to share it here for those who may not get alerts dealing with foster care.

Bitter life experiences teach foster child not to limit herself
Katherine Jones/Idaho Statesman

“Everything has made me, me,” says Brittany Mars. She was born to parents addicted to drugs, moved from foster home to foster home until she was 18, transformed her life after a failed adoption and now is a happy, successful college student. “I just think that to narrow it down to my foster family or even (my siblings) is too narrow. There is so much more in this life that has made me who I am,” she says. “Every experience, and every place we go shapes us in one way or another.”

As a toddler, Brittani Mars developed her sense of what “family” meant – by watching television. She’d see kids in a loving environment with doting parents enveloped in a sense of security with happy endings. It certainly wasn’t what her house was like.

She says: “I knew we were missing out on something. As a kid, I always knew I wanted to have what they had (on television). I never experienced that until I was adopted. Or maybe in foster homes, but they never lasted.”

Brittani is the second of four children born to parents addicted to drugs. Her parents separated, her father disappeared and, when she was 3, her mother lost custody. When Brittani was 7, her mother’s parental rights were terminated – about seven years late, Brittani says.

“I was born addicted to meth. I should have been taken from mom at that point”

Brittani was adopted when she was 7.

“I never felt as if I’d have a home and family and somebody to call my own (but then I did)

Her adoptive mother was diagnosed with a degenerative disease. Brittani was, she admits, quite a handful, and at age 10, she went back into foster care. It was, and still is, painful for both her and her adoptive family.

“I was still acting out, lying, doing anything I could to get attention, either positive or negative. I was a lot of work I was getting counseling, but I think we didn’t start early enough.

“(However), I was transformed with the failed adoption. I learned I couldn’t just treat people how I wanted. I couldn’t just do whatever I wanted. I lost everything I cared about because I couldn’t get my act together.”

In Idaho, there are almost 2,000 kids in foster care. In Boise, the number of foster families has not increased in six years, though the number of children in need continues to grow. There is a nearly desperate need for foster families in general, and in particular, families willing to care for adolescents, sibling groups and pregnant teens.

Brittani lived in six foster homes between the ages of 10 and 18. Although some of the homes were difficult and even traumatic, some of them were exactly what she needed. One family took her to church, where she found a faith to count on. She was assigned a caseworker who gave her rock-like support. In another home:

“I moved in with an older single ladyIt was a really perfect place for me. She gave me freedom and independence, but with structure and rules. She wasn’t always in my face and she wasn’t touchy-feely. She gave me the space I needed to heal.”

But Brittani still craved the sense of family. In one last move before she was 18, she found a place that she now calls home.

“A few key people in my life made a significant impact on who I am and have gotten me where I am today. At the same time, (there’s something internal that’s) a testimony to the human spirit and the willingness to do what it takes to survive.”

Today, Brittani is a well-adjusted 19-year-old student at Northwest Nazarene College, studying social work. She doesn’t make a secret of her childhood, but she realizes it’s a lot for people to digest.

“Kids in care are so stereotyped. When people find out you’re in foster care, they automatically assume you are bad; they see you differently. Kids in care are just like kids anywhere else, except they’ve gotten help

“Kids have behaviors. That’s not why they’re in foster care. It’s because they’re hurting and need to be loved and they need people to care for them. There are ways to remedy behavior problems; there’s always a solution.

One of the things she was given – that she created – is a wisdom rising from her past.

“I value relationships a lot more. I know what it feels like to lose people you care about

“Everyone has goodness, and there’s weakness in everyone, too. But even the hardest mean-spirited person cares about something.”

Although originally cut off from them, over the years Brittani has been in contact with her biological family. Some of her siblings are fine, yet others are trapped in the legacy of abuse, drug use and psychological trauma. “I don’t know why it worked for me,” she says.

“(But) it’s important to know where you come from. It’s important to resolve issuesIt would be a shame to go through all of this for nothing.”

Her past has led her to where she is – and to where she will go. From her foster family’s church work with an organization in Rwanda, Brittani learned about the genocide there.

“That awareness awakened a passion in me for children and what they’ve gone through.

“I’ve always loved children, especially those neglected and abused. I can relate to them and what they’ve been through. My experience doesn’t begin to relate to what they’ve gone through in Rwanda, but at the same time, I do know what it’s like to feel loss and pain

“We’re all called to help people. I hope my degree in social work can help me understand where I come from, grasp everything I have gone through and (learn) how to use that to help others.”

Brittani has dreams for her life. “College, first of all,” she says. “Here I am. Hallelujah.” And working with neglected or underprivileged children in the inner city or a group home.

“Life goes on. It’s scary. I’m terrified to end up like my mom. That’s why I’m in college. I’m not a strong believer in higher education (she values life experiences), but that sets me apart from my mom. She couldn’t do college.

“We’re only limited by how we limit ourselves.”

Story of a Surviving Orphan Train Rider

From the mid 1850’s to to 1930 over 200,000 youth were moved by train across the United States. Many were adopted while others ended up in orphanages or other type of foster care.

In some cases their families knew of the move and in other cases the youth were just removed from the streets and placed on the train in hopes of offering them the opportunity of a better life.

Most would never have contact with their birth families again. There was no such thing as “open adoption” or “reunion registries”.

Today there are but 15 survivors from the Orphan Train days. The following is the story of one survivor.

Orphan Train rider Stanley Cornell’s oldest memory is of his mother’s death in 1925.

“My first feeling was standing by my mom’s bedside when she was dying. She died of tuberculosis,” recalls Cornell. “I remember her crying, holding my hand, saying to ‘be good to Daddy.’ ”

“That was the last I saw of her. I was probably four,” Cornell says of his mother, Lottie Cornell, who passed away in Elmira, New York.

His father, Floyd Cornell, was still suffering the effects of nerve gas and shell shock after serving as a soldier in combat during WWI. That made it difficult for him to keep steady work or care for his two boys.

“Daddy Floyd,” as Stanley Cornell calls his birth father, eventually contacted the Children’s Aid Society. The society workers showed up in a big car with candy and whisked away Stanley and his brother, Victor, who was 16 months younger.

Stanley Cornell remembers his father was crying and hanging on to a post. The little boy had a feeling he would not see his father again.

The two youngsters were taken to an orphanage, the Children’s Aid Society of New York, founded by social reformer Charles Loring Brace

“It was kind of rough in the orphans’ home,” Cornell remembers, adding that the older children preyed on the younger kids — even though officials tried to keep them separated by chicken wire fences. He says he remembers being beaten with whips like those used on horses.

New York City in 1926 was teeming with tens of thousands of homeless and orphaned children. These so-called “street urchins” resorted to begging, stealing or forming gangs to commit violence to survive. Some children worked in factories and slept in doorways or flophouses.

The Orphan Train movement took Stanley Cornell and his brother out of the city during the last part of a mass relocation movement for children called “placing out.

Brace’s agency took destitute children, in small groups, by train to small towns and farms across the country, with many traveling to the West and Midwest. From 1854 to 1929, more than 200,000 children were placed with families across 47 states. It was the beginning of documented foster care in America.

“It’s an exodus, I guess. They called it Orphan Train riders that rode the trains looking for mom and dad like my brother and I.”

“We’d pull into a train station, stand outside the coaches dressed in our best clothes. People would inspect us like cattle farmers. And if they didn’t choose you, you’d get back on the train and do it all over again at the next stop.”

Cornell and his brother were “placed out” twice with their aunts in Pennsylvania and Coffeyville, Kansas. But their placements didn’t last and they were returned to the Children’s Aid Society.

“Then they made up another train. Sent us out West. A hundred-fifty kids on a train to Wellington, Texas,” Cornell recalls. “That’s where Dad happened to be in town that day.”

Each time an Orphan Train was sent out, adoption ads were placed in local papers before the arrival of the children.

J.L. Deger, a 45-year-old farmer, knew he wanted a boy even though he already had two daughters ages 10 and 13.

“He’d just bought a Model T. Mr. Deger looked those boys over. We were the last boys holding hands in a blizzard, December 10, 1926,” Cornell remembers. He says that day he and his brother stood in a hotel lobby.

“He asked us if we wanted to move out to farm with chickens, pigs and a room all to your own. He only wanted to take one of us, decided to take both of us.”

Life on the farm was hard work.

“I did have to work and I expected it, because they fed me, clothed me, loved me. We had a good home. I’m very grateful. Always have been, always will be.”

Taking care of a family wasn’t always easy.

“In 1931, the Dust Bowl days started. The wind never quit. Sixty, 70 miles an hour, all that dust. It was a mess. Sometimes, Dad wouldn’t raise a crop in two years.”

A good crop came in 1940. With his profit in hand, “first thing Dad did was he took that money and said, ‘we’re going to repay the banker for trusting us,’ ” Cornell says.

When World War II began, Cornell joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps. He shipped out to Africa and landed near Casablanca, Morocco, where he laid telephone and teletype lines. Later he served in Egypt and northern Sicily. While in Italy, he witnessed Mount Vesuvius erupting.

It was on a telephone line-laying mission between Naples and Rome that Cornell suffered his first of three wounds.

“Our jeep was hit by a bomb. I thought I was in the middle of the ocean. It was the middle of January and I was in a sea of mud.”

With their jeep destroyed and Cornell bleeding from a head wound, his driver asked a French soldier to use his vehicle to transport them. The Frenchman refused to drive Cornell the five miles to the medical unit.

“So, the driver pulled out his pistol, put the gun to the French soldier’s head and yelled, ‘tout suite!’ or ‘move it!’ ” Cornell recalls.

Once he was treated, Cornell remembers the doctor saying, “You’ve got 30 stitches in your scalp. An eighth of an inch deeper and you’d be dead.”

Cornell always refused to accept his commendations for a Purple Heart even though he’d been wounded three times, twice severely enough to be hospitalized for weeks. He felt the medals were handed out too often to troops who suffered the equivalent of a scratch.

His younger brother served during the war in the Air Force at a base in Nebraska, where he ran a film projector at the officers’ club.

As WWII was drawing to a close, Stanley Cornell headed up the teletype section at Allied headquarters in Reims, France. “I saw [Gen. Dwight] Eisenhower every day,” he recalls.

On May 7, 1945, the Nazis surrendered. “I sent the first teletype message from Eisenhower saying the war was over with Germany,” Cornell says.

In 1946, the 25-year-old Stanley Cornell met with his 53-year-old birth father, Daddy Floyd. It was the last time they would see each other.

Cornell eventually got married and he and his wife, Earleen, adopted two boys, Dana and Dennis, when each was just four weeks old.

“I knew what it was like to grow up without parents,” Cornell says. “We were married seven years and couldn’t have kids, so I asked my wife, ‘how about adoption?’ She’d heard my story before and said, ‘OK.’ ”

After they adopted their two boys, Earleen gave birth to a girl, Denyse.

Dana Cornell understands what his father and uncle went through.

“I don’t think [Uncle] Vic and Stan could have been better parents. I can relate, you know, because Dad adopted Dennis and me. He has taught me an awful lot over the years,” Dana Cornell says.

Dana Cornell says his adoptive parents have always said that if the boys wanted to find their birth parents, they would help. But he decided not to because of how he feels about the couple who adopted him. “They are my parents and that’s the way it’s gonna be.”

Stanley and Earleen Cornell have been married 61 years. She is a minister at a church in Pueblo, Colorado, and is the cook at her son’s restaurant, Dana’s Lil’ Kitchen.

Stanley Cornell believes he is one of only 15 surviving Orphan Train children. His brother, Victor Cornell, a retired movie theater chain owner, is also alive and living in Moscow, Idaho

Law Lets Little Boy Down…Destroys Family!!!

How could the system allow such a travesty to happen…and they wonder why youth involved with the system may turn out, in their words, bad! Do they think of the potential damage they are causing to this boy? Cases such as this absolutely disgusts me and is but more proof the system needs dramatic overhaul!!!

Law Lets Little Boy Down!!!!

Note: Campbell Brown anchors CNN’s “Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull” at 8 p.m. ET Mondays through Fridays. She delivered this commentary during the “Cutting through the Bull” segment of Tuesday night’s (12/16/08) broadcast.
(CNN) — As a mother, I can hardly bear to imagine what the Larson family is going through.

The Utah couple this past weekend said goodbye to the little boy they legally adopted six months ago.

The boy’s name is Talon and when they took him in, they say he had drugs in his system, and that his birth mother had been declared unfit. They took care of the child, and have loved and cared for him for the last six months.

But this couple has now lost their son because the birth mother is part Native American.  Watch Campbell Brown’s commentary »

She’s a member of the Leech Lake band of the Ojibwa tribe. Her tribe went to court and argued that the mother had changed her mind and the tribe won the right to take custody of this child.

A federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act gives the tribe a legitimate claim.

This was a law that was designed to keep Native American children with Native American families. It was passed in 1978 amid concerns by Native Americans that their numbers were dwindling and that they were losing their culture.

The law allows them to broadly declare who is Native American. For example, the birth mother is apparently only one-quarter Native American. The little boy apparently is less than that.

The Larsons say he doesn’t even meet the blood requirements to become a member of the tribe.

But the outrage here is this: The little boy isn’t going back to his birth mother.

He is expected to go into foster care, perhaps with other siblings already in foster care, again because the birth mother has been declared unfit.

So, a little boy is being taken away from loving parents who have cared for him for the last six months and put into tribal foster care because that is what the law says is the right thing to do.

To me, that is a ridiculous law.

If there is concern in the Native American community that children are being lost to the tribe through adoption because of unfit parents, then focus on strengthening your families so that your children won’t be parentless.

It seems to me that entirely lost here is what is in the best interest of this child. The Larson family is going back to court to try to get their little boy back. I wish them the best of luck.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Campbell Brown.

Thank you Campbell Brown!!!!

Fed Judge Orders GA Find Perm Homes for Foster Youth

It is about time a Federal Judge has stepped in and done something…of course if ASFA1997 were enforced by states this action would not be necessary!!

Atlanta Journal Constitution
Judge orders state to find homes for 500 kids

Monday, December 15, 2008

A federal judge on Monday ordered the state child welfare agency to improve its efforts at finding permanent homes for 500 children who have lingered for years in foster care in Fulton and DeKalb counties.

Some of these children are older teens, or those with emotional problems, who tend to be more difficult to place. Many are under the age of 10 and don’t have severe emotional problems. But all have been in the system for three or more years.

The nonprofit that brought the lawsuit, Children’s Rights Inc., recently filed a contempt of court motion, asserting the state has failed to abide by the settlement that promised to find homes for more of these children.

This resolution, negotiated over four months, calls on the state to use national experts and local service providers to undertake intensive individual reviews and craft strategies to find the children permanent homes.

The agency must also establish a special “permanency unit” to consolidate and coordinate the efforts.

“With this agreement, DFCS has made a commitment to take every reasonable step to ensure that the children who have been languishing in custody will not spend the rest of their childhood as wards of the state,” said Ira Lustbader, associate director of Children’s Rights.