Sunday, April 22, 2018

Child Welfare Reform Hidden in Tax Cuts


H.R.253 - Family First Prevention Services Act of 2017115th Congress (2017-2018) | Cancel alerts BILL Hide Overview Sponsor: Rep. Buchanan, Vern [R-FL-16] (Introduced 01/04/2017) Committees: House - Ways and Means Latest Action: House - 01/13/2017 Referred to the Subcommittee on Human Resources. (All Actions)  Related Bills (5) Summary: H.R.253 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text) Listen to this page There is one summary for H.R.253. Bill summaries are authored by CRS. Shown Here: Introduced in House (01/04/2017) Family First Prevention Services Act of 2017 This bill amends part E (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance) of title IV of the Social Security Act (SSAct) regarding, among other matters: (1) mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment services and in-home parenting skill-based programs, (2) foster care maintenance payments for children with parents in a licensed residential family-based treatment facility for substance abuse, and (3) payments for evidence-based kinship navigator programs. Part B of title IV (Child and Family Services) of the SSAct is amended regarding, among other matters: (1) time limits for family reunification services for children in foster care or returning home, (2) grants for the development of an electronic interstate caseprocessing system to expedite the interstate placement of children in foster care or guardianship or for adoption, and (3) targeted grants to increase the well-being of children affected by substance abuse. The bill appropriates certain funding to Department of Health and Human Services for FY2018 for competitive grants to states, Indian tribes, or tribal consortia to support the recruitment and retention of high-quality foster families. The bill amends part B of title IV of the SSAct to reauthorize through FY2021: (1) the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program, (2) promotion of safe and stable families program, (3) funding reservations for monthly caseworker visits and regional partnership grants, and (4) funding for state courts. Part E of title IV of the SSAct is amended to: (1) revise the John H. Chaffee Foster Care Independence Program and related provisions, and (2) reauthorize adoption and legal guardianship incentive programs through FY2021. The Government Accountability Office shall study the extent to which states comply with certain SSAct requirements relating to the effects of phasing out the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program income eligibility requirements for adoption assistance payments. Related Bills: H.R.253 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text) A related bill may be a companion measure, an identical bill, a procedurally-related measure, or one with text similarities. Bill relationships are identified by the House, the Senate, or CRS, and refer only to same-congress measures. Bill Latest Title Relationships to H.R.253 Relationships Identified by Latest Action H.R.1892 Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 Related bill CRS 02/09/2018 Signed by President. H.R.2742 Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act Related bill CRS 06/21/2017 Received in the Senate. H.R.2834 Partnership Grants to Strengthen Families Affected by Parental Substance Abuse Act Related bill CRS 06/21/2017 Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance. H.R.2847 Improving Services for Older Youth in Foster Care Act Related bill CRS 06/21/2017 Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance. H.R.2866 Reducing Unnecessary Barriers for Relative Foster Parents Act Related bill CRS 06/21/2017 Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Case Law to Use in your Case

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Kinship Bill Passes House on the Way to Senate

Kinship Proposals Pass the House
You did it! Your hard work made a difference. The PA House of Representatives passed three bills this week that aim to help grandparents and other kin caring for children outside of the child welfare system in Pennsylvania.
  • HB 2133 creates a Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program to help grandparents and other kin identify and access supports and services to help them raise the children in their care. 
  • HB 1539 allows for grandparents or other close relatives to pursue temporary emergency guardianship to care for a child whose parent has entered a rehabilitation facility for treatment of a drug or alcohol addiction or has been subject to emergency medical intervention due to abuse of drugs or alcohol.
  • HR 390 tasks the Joint State Government Commission with studying the trend of "grandfamilies" and the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania, and making recommendations to the General Assembly for next steps.
Thank you to all the organizations who signed-on to PPC’s letter in support of HB 2133. We sent the letter to the full House ahead of the bill’s consideration.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Childhood Begins at Home

Childhood Begins at Home Campaign Launched
We are pleased to announce that Childhood Begins at Home, a home visiting campaign PPC is a partner in, officially launched this week with an event at the Lancaster Women and Babies Hospital with Lancaster District Attorney Craig Stedman, Mary Lee Steffy of Nurse-Family Partnership and state Representatives Bryan Cutler, Keith Greiner, Brett Miller, Steven Mentzer and Mike Sturla.
Far too many of Pennsylvania’s youngest children are at risk of child abuse and neglect, live in poverty, and experience poor education and health outcomes. At times, parents and others raising these children also need support to improve their education, health and economic stability. 
Together with our partners, the Campaign is working to educate the public and policymakers about the benefits of evidence-based home visiting for at-risk families and communities and ensure these vital programs receive a $6.5 million increase in the 2018-19 state budget. 
We’ll also be holding events in Delaware, Lehigh, Luzerne and Washington counties to again bring together policymakers, child welfare, law enforcement and health leaders, representatives from four evidence-based home visiting models, and families who have benefitted from voluntary home visits. 
The Campaign is just getting started spreading the news that evidence-based home visiting can lead to better outcomes, so stay tuned! 
Read our newly-released Childhood Begins at Home report to learn more, and don’t forget to follow the Campaign on Facebook and Twitter Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program Bill Passes Committee Vote 
House Bill 2133, which would create a statewide Kinship Caregiver Navigator Program, was voted out of the House Children and Youth Committee on Tuesday. PPC extends its gratitude to Chairwoman Watson, Minority Chair Scott Conklin and Representative Eddie Day Pashinski for their leadership and to all the members who voted in support of the bill.
PPC sent a sign-on letter in support of the bill in advance of the committee’s consideration and is urging organizations to sign on to this letter to the full House of Representatives, as the bill is expected to be voted on by the full House as early as next week. 
In addition to HB 2133, the committee also approved HB 1539, which would allow for temporary emergency guardianship for grandparents raising grandchildren due to the opioid crisis, and HR 390, which would task the Joint State Government Commission with studying the trend of grandfamilies across the state. PPC supported both pieces of legislation. 
We are still collecting caregiver stories so there is time for families to tell us about how HB 2133 would positively impact them. Grandparents or other relatives raising grandchildren outside of the child welfare system who would like to share their story can email Ashleigh Brunsink.

Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) State Plan Update
Child care funding received a huge win earlier this year when legislation passed in Washington that included an unprecedented increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), Pennsylvania’s main source of federal support for the Child Care Works subsidy program. The historic investment would nearly double the commonwealth’s CCDBG discretionary funding in FY 2018 and provide an opportunity to not only reduce the unmet need across the state, but also make important improvements to child care quality standards.  Along with the funding increase at the federal level, the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has been hard at work developing the CCDBG state plan for 2019-21 and this week announced it will release the plan to the public on April 26, 2018. The plan will likely include a detailed proposal on how to effectively allocate the CCDBG increase and the priorities OCDEL will focus on in the coming years. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Gearing up to Take More Babies


Objections and Corrections to the Report of the Social Worker Example

[Parent’s Name]
[Street Address]
[City, State Zip Code]
[Phone #]
[Change this next part to match the header information for your court case. You should be able to get this information from other paperwork already filed in your case. Try to make the header match what they have already done.]
[Center the next four lines and type in all caps:]
JOHNNY DOE, JR (DOB 4-5-1992)
JANIE DOE (DOB 2-3-1996)
Persons alleged to come
within the provision of
the Juvenile Court Law.
(get numbers from YOUR paperwork)
Clerk No. [33637, 33637]
Detention Date: March 21, 2000
Disposition Date: June 2, 2000
Review Date: December 15, 2001

To the Honorable INSERT JUDGE’S NAME HERE IN CAPS, Judge of the [Superior] Court of the State of [California], in and for the County of [Los Angeles]:
[Double space the rest of the text. Indent paragraphs ten spaces.]
The Honorable Court above-named is hereby advised that the REPORT OF THE CHILD WELFARE CASEWORKER herein, as prepared and typed is ERRONEOUS AND INCORRECT in the following particulars, to wit:
[Here’s where you get to be creative. Go through your caseworker’s court paperwork and find every error, no matter how trivial. Even trivial errors show how incompetent the person is. You will list each error separately with corrections as in the sample. This sample is derived from an actual case I worked on in 1991. The names, dates, and some details were changed. The case I worked on was dismissed after similar paperwork was given to the judge. Remember to double space everything below.]
1. Page One: JOHNNY DOE is not 8 years old. He was 10 as of April 5, 2002.
2. Page One: Mother’s name is ELIZABETH SMITH, not Doe. Address given by caseworker is incorrect.
3. Page Two: COUNT 1: “On or about March 21, 2000, minors were found to be dirty.” Minors were out playing in the yard, climbing trees to get fruit, and doing what most kids do when playing outside, getting dirty. There was nothing abnormal about their being dirty.
4. Page Two: COUNT 2: The caseworker erroneously stated, “Mother has recurrent mental problems that periodically render her unable to care for children.” Mother’s mental problem was temporary due to stress from her husband’s deportation, her father’s death, and the detention of her children by CPS. The problem is not recurrent and does not “periodically render her unable to care for the children” as suggested by the caseworker.
5. Page Three: “November 15, 2000” court date given by the caseworker is incorrect. The correct date is November 12, 2000.
6. Page Three: The Doe children were not taken after the mother was admitted to Bellview Mental Hospital. A caseworker arrived to detain the children from their grandmother’s house and then advised the mother to allow herself to be admitted to Bellview because she was grieving and upset.
7. Page Three: On March 21, 2000 when Janie and Johnny were detained from their grandmother’s home they were not injured, neglected, or abused in any way.
8. Page Three: Problems with police officer on November 1, 1999 occurred when police arrived to arrest Mr. John Doe, Sr. for deportation and the mother was cuffed and beaten by the arresting officer. This arrest does not affect or reflect on the stability of her current home life with her new husband, Mr. Thomas Smith.
9. Page Three: Mother quit her job on June 20, 2001, not “shortly after her marriage” as stated by the caseworker. The job is no longer needed for support of the family as her new husband is earning enough to support them and is willing to do so. Mother is needed at home to care for the children.
10. Page Three: Date of marriage to Thomas Smith is incorrect. The correct date is November 29, 2000.
11. Page Three: “Mrs.”, not “Ms.” – The caseworker knows that Mrs. Smith is not separated from her husband, but throughout the report she implies that Mr. and Mrs. Smith are not together.
12. Page Three: While her husband was visiting family in Nevada, Mrs. Smith called Dr. Hoar only twice for advice during a two week period, not “frequently” as stated by the caseworker, and those calls were only about Johnny’s behavior, not about both children.
13. Page Three: Mrs. Smith has not only “largely complied” with the Reunification Plan, she has completely complied with all aspects of the plan.
14. Page Three: Mrs. Smith never told Dr. Hoar that she “couldn’t handle Johnny anymore and wanted to give him up,” as stated by the caseworker. What actually happened is that Dr. Hoar tried to talk Mrs. Smith into giving him up and putting him in a mental hospital. Mrs. Smith did not want to do that. During the session Mrs. Smith did not state that she had been upset.
15. Page Four: Janie does not have “sporadic behavior problems” in her home or at school as suggested by the caseworker. At home the mother has never seen indications of such problems and has received no such reports from Headstart. Attached please find “Exhibit A” – a letter from Headstart stating they have not observed or complained of any “sporadic behavior problems” from Janie.
16. Page Four: Johnny’s behavior problems are only occasional and not a “continuous problem” as stated by the caseworker in her report. Attached please find “Exhibit B” – an evaluation of Johnny’s behavior by Dr. Goodman in San Francisco, dated November 3, 2001.
17. Page Four: The improvement in Mrs. Smith’s parenting has been going on for years, not just for the last few months. Attached please find “Exhibit C” and “Exhibit D” – certificates of completion provided by parenting class instructors in January 1997 and November 2000.
18. Page Four: There has been no “substantial, recent regression” due to a separation from Mr. Smith. Mr. and Mrs. Smith are still living together; he simply took a two week vacation to Nevada to visit his sick mother. Therefore this should not be used as a basis for the caseworker’s request for another six months of services at taxpayers’ expense.
19. Page Four: Dr. Hoar wants the case prolonged for another six months because once the case is dismissed the mother will find a different therapist, and Dr. Hoar will no longer be receiving CPS money for seeing her and her children. Therefore, Dr. Hoar’s report should not be considered by the court. Mrs. Smith intends to find another therapist for the children when the case is dismissed as the children do not like seeing Dr. Hoar as therapist, and are even afraid to tell this to him. Under these circumstances, it is unlikely the children will progress adequately in therapy. For these reasons, Mrs. Smith’s request to have Dr. Hoar removed from the case can hardly be called “an indication of poor judgement” as stated by the caseworker. She did so solely for the benefit of the children and with concerned regard for their psychological functioning.
20. Page Four: Recommendation that the minors be readjudged dependents of the Juvenile Court is inappropriate as the family has been functioning well during the last six months that they have been together. The case should be closed at this time.
21. Pages Four and Five: Recommendations 2, 4, and 5 are also inappropriate as the case should be closed.
22. Pages Six and Seven: Service Plan for mother and caseworker is inappropriate as the case should be closed.
Executed 10 December 2001 at Los Angeles, California.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.
(Signature) Elizabeth Smith
Sample form created by: Linda J. Martin,

When you are done, make two complete copies of it. Also write a brief cover letter explaining to your attorney that you want this submitted and used in the next hearing. Include your name and phone number on the cover letter and request that they contact you to discuss it. Take it personally to your attorney’s office and have the secretary DATE-STAMP YOUR COPY. This will give you proof that you submitted this to your attorney.
If you find that you are too late to get this submitted to your attorney before the court date, take 1 copy for the judge and 1 copy for yourself, 1 copy for your attorney and 1 copy for each other party in the case such as the caseworker, the child’s attorney, your wife’s attorney, and even one for the CASA. Every one will need a copy.
Your attorney may ask for a “Continuance” so they can study the document before giving it to the others. This will mean rescheduleing for another hearing on another date. This will also mean that your children will be in temporary care for awhile longer too. That is why it is important to get this to your attorneys office as soon as you can before the court date!!

Declaration of Facts Example

Declaration of Facts
I, ______________________________, state:
(Your Name)
1. I am the mother/father of three children: (Names of kids.)
2. This declaration is being written (state reason for writing the declaration of facts – for example, “in support of a motion to return children to mother” or, “to explain my side of the case to the court”.
3. This is in reference to (Case Name, Case Number, Date Filed and the name of the court.)
4. (Just state facts one at a time… I’ll give some examples.) On June 2, 2002 I let my children go to school as usual and while they were there a CPS employee interviewed them without letting me know first.
5. There were no witnesses to this interview and to my knowledge no recording was made.
6. My children were detained by the CPS employee and I was not notified by the school so by 4:30 when they didn’t come home from school I was worried about them and called the school to find out if they knew anything.
7. At first nobody wanted to tell me where my kids were and the phone was handed to three different people. Finally the principal got on the line and told me that CPS took my three kids because my son, Johnny, had a bruise on his arm and said I did it.
8. The bruise happened because he climbed the apple tree and then got scared and couldn’t get down. I climbed up there and grabbed him and had to lower him down by his arm and that’s how he got bruised.
9. By the time I got off the phone with the principal of the school, it was only a few minutes before five PM so I called CPS but only got a recording and nobody would answer. It was Friday and I couldn’t get through to them all weekend and even went to the office twice but it was closed. That was why I didn’t check on them for two days – not because I didn’t care which is what the worker, Judy Jones, made it sound like in court on Wednesday.
10. I haven’t seen my children in three weeks because they say I’m a danger to them. This is not true. In fact most of what they say about me is not true which is why I’m contesting the charges and asking for a full trial to make them try to prove their untrue statements.
11. The CPS employees I talk to on the phone are extremely rude to me. They are Judy Jones and her supervisor, Mr. Smith. Judy Jones said very sarcastically: “You should never have had kids if you were going to hurt them. People like you make me sick.” This woman, Judy Jones, won’t believe this happened in the apple tree.
12. I am requesting a court order for the return of my children immediately.
[NOTE: This last part should state the exact words used, just change the date and place to match your circumstance.]
Executed January, 1, 2018 Town, State
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
(Your Name)

The First Woman to Expose CYS Nancy Schaffer GA She was Murdered for it!
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Johnstown pediatrician Dr. Johnnie Barto Arrested for horrific sexual abuse.
Barto hearing

Criminals are Foster Parenting

 DCF OVERSIGHT: Criteria uncovered by the Herald in a Department of Children and Families manual shows a stunningly permissive set of rules for screening potential foster home parents, allowing a history including sex offenses involving minors, violence such as manslaughter, and drug offenses such as trafficking cocaine and heroin within 1,000 feet of a school.