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Disabled Parenting Discrimination in Family Courts

July 9, 2014 in due process, family court, family rights

I am a disabled parent who had five beautiful children. I was born at only 24 weeks gestation and had brain damage that caused cerebral palsy. I grew up enjoying a normal childhood in farming country, building dens, playing in hay stacks and having a free run of our village.

English: A collection of pictograms. Three of ...

A collection of pictograms. Three of them used by the United States National Park Service.

I married my childhood sweetheart at the age of 18, gave birth to a son. After five months, I took an evening job as a receptionist to support us as my husband went through university. A few years later and after giving birth to four more children and helping out in my husband’s electrical store, he dropped a bombshell, he didn’t want to be married anymore, he’d tied himself down too young by being with me. I thought at the time that was the worst day of my life but it was nothing compared to the custody nightmare that was about to follow. After obtaining a residency order in my favor, he locked me in our home and left with all our children, including my three week old newborn baby. I was absolutely frantic and called the police.

Police Discrimination

I showed them my court order but they informed me that as I had married the father of my children, all they were prepared to do was do a ‘safe and well’ check, despite the fact that my newborn was totally breastfed and dependent. After leaving, telling me rather curtly that ‘There’s more than one way to feed a baby’, I was forced to beg my ex-husband on the telephone for the return of our children. 24 hours later, he returned only my two year old and newborn, keeping my older children at an unknown location.

CPS Interrogation

From the moment the police had been called, CPS got involved and that was the start of a two year harassment campaign from them, most of it centred around my disability. They asserted incorrectly that I was not able to bath my babies because I had refused to answer what I viewed as discriminatory questioning about my parenting skills and I was told I had to consent to a social worker coming in to bath my children every day and if I didn’t, they’d be removed from me.

On one occasion they broke down my front door when I had gone out. People would turn up unannounced to ‘spot check’ me and they kept this up for a two year duration. I was court ordered to attend a parenting class but I refused to comply, saying that I had successfully cared for my children for years while my husband was working and didn’t need any classes. I asked why my able bodied husband was not asked to attend a class and I was told he didn’t need one as he didn’t have my disabilities.

On meeting me for the first time, the first words from the guardian ad litem’s mouth were “Oh goodness, how do you cope?” Not hello, or nice to meet you . I knew from that point that I was in for a rough ride.

Court Bias

When the case went to court, I discovered that the police had failed to honor my court order because ‘there were disability issues’. I was shocked and appalled that in the 21st century, people could still be deemed unfit to be a parent because they are disabled.

By the time all the interviews had been conducted, more than seven months had passed so when it finally went to court, the judge said the older children had been with their father for months and it would be cruel to move them so he awarded him custody – a delay that only happened because of the fact that I had to prove myself fit to parent and as a disabled woman I had higher standards to meet than your average able parent.

Fast forward a whole decade and my ex-husband was still pursuing me through the courts for custody. After being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis in 2010, my health deteriorated. I had to have major surgery. This was brought up in court and it was asserted I was not ‘fit’ enough to be a mother, despite having hired help. I was also accused of abusing prescription drugs because I had to take medications. It was inferred by the Guardian ad litem that my children may be acting as ‘carers’ for me, in spite of my assistant’s employment with me. Shockingly, the court allowed all these accusations to be levelled against me. I was informed I had to answer questions about my disability because my health was the reason my ability to parent was under scrutiny.

I was allowed to keep my two youngest children but I shouldn’t have had more than a decade of my life trying to defend my right to be a parent just because I was born disabled.

No Disabled Parents Rights

I found out that there is no law to protect the relationship between a disabled parent and their children. The American’s with Disabilities Act doesn’t have a section on parenting and two thirds of dependency statutes allow a court to determine that a parent is ‘unfit’ on the basis that they are disabled.

Disabled parents frequently struggle to retain custody and are the only group of people where it is legal to discriminate against them. Up to 80% of parents with an intellectual disability will have their children removed. For physical disabilities the rate is 40% or higher and for those with physical disabilities going through custody disputes, 13% will be treated unfairly on the basis of disability. Parents who have psychological disabilities such as bipolar disorder or anorexia will very often have their children removed if they come under the radar of the authorities. In addition – sometimes a disabled parent will be denied the right to any visitation because of court judgements that are stereotypical and the court assumption that children will be forced into ‘caring’ roles with their parent, a view that doesn’t support what researchers have found.

After my experiences I have launched an official complaint with the government and I hope to create amendments to disability discrimination laws so that child custody cannot be decided on the basis of disability. I also hope to outlaw interrogation about disability so that in the absence of any real child protection concerns, disabled parents shouldn’t have to ‘prove’ they can be parents.

Sources:

Kidjacked, accessed July 6, 2014, http://kidjacked.com/

Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S Department of Education, accessed July 6, 2014, http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/hq9805.html

Parents with Learning Difficulties, Child Protection and the Courts, accessed July 6, 2014, http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/files/library/Booth-parents-with-lea-diff.pdf

Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and their Children, National Council on Disability, accessed July 6, 2014, http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2012/Sep272012/

The Family Law System: Custody and Visitation, National Council on Disability, accessed July 6, 2014, http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2012/Sep272012/Ch7

Determining the Best Interests of the Child, Child Welfare Information Gateway, accessed July 6, 2014, https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/best_interest.pdf

Find the Best Anorexic Treatment Programs and Dual Diagnosis Rehabs, Bulimia.com, accessed July 6, 2014, http://www.bulimia.com/topics/anorexia/

When a Parent has an Eating Disorder, The New York Times, accessed July 6, 2014, http://consults.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/20/adult-children-of-eating-disordered-parents/

Stand up and Fight!

June 10, 2013 in California, Child Protective Services, CPS, domestic violence, family court, family rights, jail, justice, Nevada

CPS in California have been accused of destroying families.

The audit plan passed the committee unanimously, and now the California state auditor, who has subpoena powers, will investigate CPS.

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who sponsored the bill and organized parents to speak about their experiences, said it’s a good step forward. [Read more]

Family Court

Family Court

Not only that, but now the State of Nevada is investigating the family court. You can watch the video here.

If you have an ongoing case with CPS or the family courts, please take the time to send a letter to your legislators and the governor of your state.  Make it simple and clearly lay out the facts of your case. Don’t go into details – they will get them later.  Have a friend read your letter before you send it.

If you don’t have a case.  Please write your legislators and ask them to investigate.  We all know that what happens in family court is against the law, so they exist only on the whim of the state. Show your representatives that this is something close to you and important to their constituents and they will get involved.

Finally, please watch the video and if that really makes you angry that she would sit there and do nothing, tell her about it! This woman should know better.

 

Patricia Doninger
Domestic Violence Commissioner
Eighth Judicial District Court
Family Division Administration

Family Courts & Services Center
601 N. Pecos Rd., 3rd Fl
Las Vegas NV, 89101 USA

Phone: (702) 455-2434
Fax: (702) 455-5551

Judicial Assistant: Mary Williams, Legal Secretary

Be sure to send a copy of the letter to your legislators if you live in Nevada.

You can use this service to find out who your legislators are.

This campaign will run until the 4th of July!  Our families deserve independence!

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Diabetic Needs Help

February 21, 2012 in Child Protective Services, Pennsylvania

Hold on to your kids: Why parents need to matter more than peers

My name is Edward Bogan (and my wife Kimberly) here is my story, please find time to read this. WE NEED HELP.

BCCYS illegally took my children Monday afternoon from there home.  BCCYS Took my children Monday 2/13/2012 @ 1:30pm

The big guy in the videos is Eds case worker thru BCCYS (The blonde hair girl is Noelle and she works for him) Greg the case worker came to the house Monday morning when Ed told him not to because it was his birthday and Ed told him to come Tuesday. But he showed up unannounced on Monday when Ed was in the basement with the kids.

Ed didn’t hear him knocking, but Greg heard the tv in the living room on and assumed they were home. He called the police, the police had maintenace open the door. When Ed heard someone walking around upstairs he came up and found 2 police officers standing there. Ed freaked out. The police said that Greg heard the tv on and they wanted to check the kids to make sure they were alright. So Ed let the police check the kids but told Greg that he wasnt allowed in because of what he had just pulled.

To have police in his house with 4 little kids scared was too extreme and there was no need for it. So Greg took that as Ed not complying with him or BCCYS any longer so he came back 3 hours later and took the children. Hence the videos that were posted on youtube and facebook.

My 8 yr old little girl, Hailey is a type 1 diabetic who receives at least 5 shots a day. They took her from her home without getting any of her medications. When I found this out I made some phone calls and found out where and who to deliver it to. Since then my oldest daughter Katelynn who is 11 has been calling us and informing us of Haileys medical conditions.

BCCYS Placed my child in a home WITH NO MEDICAL TRAINING OR KNOWLEDGE IN DIABETES. They did not know how to give her the shots, nor her regimen (how much she should eat at each meal, how many carbs, how often she should eat, and when to administer the shots, nor the locations of where to give the shots). When she began to become really sick Alyssa my 9 yr old stepped up to the plate and started giving Hailey her shots. But regardless, other steps weren’t taken and Haileys blood sugar numbers have gone crazy.

I got a call from my kids Tuesday morning saying how sick Hailey was with a bad belly ache, and a headache, and she felt really tired. (Which are signs of ketone acidosis … which happens when a diabetic eats too much and doesnt recieve enough insulin.)

I have been calling around nonstop since then trying to find out answers of why they took our child and placed her with foster parents that cant take care of her medical needs. When I spoke to Greg and Michele (Gregs supervisor) they said they were concerned for Haileys health but they had nowhere else to place her and that they would eventually get the foster mother some beginners training classes in diabetic awareness.

When the childrens case worker “Mr. Ed” they call him found out Alyssa had been giving her sister the shots he threatened her and yelled at her not to tell her parents. And after I spoke with Michele and Greg and told them how unhappy I was at their poor decisions in caring for and treating my daughters medical needs a few hours later they took my daughters cell phone from her to eliminate all contact.

My daughter called us screaming saying they were taking her phone, and she screams “get off me!!” just before the phone hangs up…. and that was the last we heard from our children.

THEY ARE PUTTING MY DAUGHTERS LIFE AT RISK!!! And no one is listening to me. I need help before something terrible happens to her.

Katelynn and Hailey have learning disabilities and are suppose to go to an afterschool reading program to help them. Since they were taken they have NOT attended. And because they don’t have adequate transporation for all the kids, they take the 3 girls to school and then they bring my son. Who has been late to school this week because of it.

How can CYS take children from a home that has no allegations of abuse or neglect and place them in a foster home that is not meeting there required medical and educational needs??!!

Please help our family. Something is seriously wrong with this system and children are being hurt in the process.

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It’s child abuse…

December 21, 2011 in child abuse, Child Protective Services, corruption, lawsuit, Michigan

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres

I wonder when CPS will get around to doing their job?  If, as Richard Thompson asserts, that this is indeed child abuse, and I believe it is, then it’s about time the hypocrisy is exposed.  Kids are in school to be educated, not indoctrinated.

 

Student Sues School District and Teacher After Being Punished for Expressing His Religious Beliefs

The Thomas More Law Center filed a federal lawsuit yesterday afternoon against the Howell Public School District located in Howell, Michigan, and teacher, Johnson (“Jay”) McDowell, for punishment and humiliation heaped on a student after he expressed his religious belief opposing homosexuality when asked by the teacher during class. [copy of lawsuit]

The student, Daniel Glowacki, a junior at Howell High at the time of the incident, was specifically asked by McDowell about his feelings on homosexuals. Daniel responded that as a Catholic he was offended by the gay and lesbian lifestyle. Because of his answer, Daniel was ordered to leave the classroom under threat of suspension.

As news of the incident spread, homosexual activists across the country hailed McDowell as a hero and vilified Daniel and his family, as “bigots”, referring to Daniel’s religious objections to the homosexual agenda as “hate” speech. McDowell is head of the school’s teachers union. The Michigan Education Association, the state teachers’ union, supported McDowell’s actions.

National lesbian TV host, Ellen DeGeneres got in on the anti-Glowacki campaign. Daniel even became the subject of a school assembly.

The incident occurred on October 20, 2010, the day that Daniel’s Economics class teacher, Jay McDowell, wore a purple “Tyler’s Army” t-shirt, as part of a national campaign promoted by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to highlight alleged “bullying” of homosexuals.

Rather than teach academic courses that day, McDowell decided to spend the entire day promoting this national pro-homosexual agenda, which included showing his classes a video concerning such “bullying.”

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of TMLC, commented: “Rather than teach the required Economics curriculum for which he is paid, McDowell, with the full knowledge of school officials, used his position of authority to promote his homosexual agenda at taxpayer’s expense. This case points out the outrageous way in which homosexual activists have turned our public schools into indoctrination centers, and are seeking to eradicate all religious and moral opposition to their agenda.”

Thompson added, “It defies common sense for schools to ban all sorts of unhealthy foods while at the same time promoting the homosexual lifestyle, which hard statistics show increases drug abuse, suicides and reduces the life expectancies by several years. Schools that promote such lifestyles are engaging in a form of child abuse.”

The incident all started when McDowell ordered a student in his classroom to remove her confederate flag belt buckle because he was offended by it. Daniel pointed out the teacher’s obvious hypocrisy: the teacher can promote a message that might be offensive to students, but students can’t wear clothing that expresses a message that is offensive to the teacher.

Homosexual Agenda - Support Daniel Glowacki 2In total disregard of his professional responsibilities as a teacher and the constitutional rights of his students, after ordering Daniel to leave the classroom, McDowell asked the remainder of the class whether anyone else did not accept homosexuality. A student raised his hand, and McDowell ordered him out of the classroom as well.

In this case, the teacher became the bully, and the students who opposed his homosexual agenda became his victims.

A 14-year old openly gay student who supported McDowell at subsequent school board meeting appeared on the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to discuss his speech. The student was rewarded with a $10,000 academic scholarship by a digital media company.

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan filed the lawsuit on behalf Sandra Glowacki and her son Daniel in the federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. TMLC is representing the family at no charge.

The lawsuit claims that Daniel Glowacki’s constitutional rights to freedom of speech and equal protection have been violated by the policies and actions of the school district and McDowell. Among other things, the lawsuit seeks nominal damages, a declaration that the school policies and actions violate the Constitution, and injunction to prohibit further constitutional violations.  

In cooperation with the NEA, the MEA, and the HEA, and in furtherance of the national agenda of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (“GLAAD”), the School District permitted the celebration of “Spirit Day” at Howell High School on October 20, 2010. On Spirit Day, people who support the acceptance of homosexuality wear the color purple.

In fact, the School District permitted its teachers to sell purple t-shirts with the slogan “Tyler’s Army” to students and teachers to promote the 2010 Spirit Day. “Tyler’s Army” is a reference to Tyler Clementi who committed suicide after a video of him having sex with another male student in his dorm room was posted on the Internet.

Senior Trial Counsel, Robert Muise, handling the case, stated: “Homosexual activists, with the willing and complicit support of public school districts and teachers’ unions throughout the country, are using our public schools to foist their destructive agenda on our children, thereby creating a hostile learning environment for those students who oppose this agenda on religious and moral grounds.  This case is just one example of the pernicious effect these activists are having on our students and in our community.  We intend to stop it.”

The Howell School District and the Michigan Education Association (“MEA”), which is a subsidiary of the National Education Association (“NEA”), along with the Howell Education Association (“HEA”), which is a chapter of the MEA, have forged a symbiotic relationship and have worked with one another to adopt policies, that promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle and to prohibit religious opposition to homosexuality. The school district has promoted the concept that religious opposition to homosexuality is equivalent to bullying, hate speech, and homophobia in order to eradicate such opposition.

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Divorce and the Children

July 30, 2011 in domestic violence, family court, parent-child relationship

With about two million people getting divorced every year in the United States alone, and one and a half million children affected by these divorces, there’s clearly an urgent need to get through this process with dignity, respect and compassion. Unfortunately, this does not always happen and, as a result, children suffer. It’s in the news everyday and transcends social class.

Divorce Happens – This Doctor Helps Protect The Innocence Of Children
And Teaches Parents How To Minimize The Damage

July 30, 2011 – Dr. Mark Robert Banschick designed The Intelligent Divorce book series and The Online Family Stabilization Course as a way to help divorcing parents avoid the common mistakes that end up hurting children during a divorce. The mission of the project is to teach parents how to raise well-adjusted children despite the pressures that divorce puts on everyone.

Video: “It’s Working Out”

A blueprint that every adult should use as they go through a divorce, The Intelligent Divorce advocates on behalf of kids through books, an online course, seminars and a media campaign. Based on hundreds of case studies, current research and decades of experience, Dr. Banschick teaches parents how to handle divorce with dignity, strength and intelligence.

The first book in the series, Taking Care of Your Children (2010), focuses on the well being of kids by teaching parents effective communication strategies that help them gauge how their children are doing with the divorce. And, if their child is in trouble, Dr. Banschick’s pragmatic approach teaches parents how to make a positive difference.

The second book, Taking Care of Yourself (2011), helps parents take control of their lives by handling anger, pain and anxiety more productively; learning about finances and healthier living; and dealing realistically with the world of attorneys, therapists and difficult ex-spouses. On this note, the third book, scheduled to come out in 2012, centers around Dealing with a Difficult Ex.

Mark R. Banschick, M.D. is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. The Intelligent Divorce project evolved from his work as an expert witness in custody disputes. Dr. Banschick has appeared on the CBS Early Show, The Ricki Lake Show, WCBS TV Morning News, and has been quoted in The New York Times, Divorcemagazine.com, firstwivesworld.com, and regularly contributes to the Huffington Post.

Dr. Banschick is currently working with a production company on a sample pilot television show designed to educate the public about divorcing with your children in mind, despite the difficult feelings and power struggles that come with the territory.

For the two million people divorcing each year in this country and the one and a half million children who are affected, The Intelligent Divorce is a project worth pursuing. As part of a public outreach effort, Dr. Banschick is open to media contact and interviews on topics of divorce and parenting.

For more information please visit Dr. Banschick’s website, www.TheIntelligentDivorce.com

Cathy Meyer, Founder, DivorcedWomenOnLine.com: “It isn’t merely a book; it’s a tool that anyone going through a divorce should be required to implement. It belongs on the desk of all divorce lawyers, judges, child psychologists, and every divorced or divorcing parent.”

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