Saturday, July 4, 2015

Michigan Billed Medicaid in the Murder of Ricky Holland

Ricky Holland was murdered in Michigan foster care.

The same people who were in charge then, are still in charge now.

This is why nothing has changed and this is why Michigan should continue being under federal court monitoring.

Michigan foster care 'a persistent and dire problem'

10 years after Ricky Holland, state improves but still fails kids

LANSING – A girl was injured during an unsupervised visit with the parents she'd been taken away from. Kids with a history of inappropriate sexual behavior were placed in homes with younger children. A child ran away and police weren't notified for days.

A decade ago, the death of Williamston 7-year-old Ricky Holland at the hands of his adoptive parents revealed fatal flaws in the state's safeguards for foster kids. Seven years ago, a class-action lawsuit in federal court mandated improvements.

Still, Michigan continues to fail hundreds of kids a year, court-appointed monitors say.

State officials and private providers said Michigan has taken big steps to protect kids — improving training, investigations and the way abuse is reported — but bad things will continue to happen because child welfare is a large, complex system full of large, complex problems.

"I would never contend that we could prevent all risk to children; that would be a mistake,"

said Maura Corrigan, who headed the state's human services agency from 2011 through the end of last year. "But Michigan is doing a lot to aggressively investigate these incidents."

Still, inspections of both state and private foster care agencies reveal case workers continue to make some of the same mistakes that preceded Holland's death in July 2005.
Records are poorly kept. Case workers remain overtasked. Investigations happen too slowly. Warning signs go unheeded, allowing kids to be placed in dangerous situations.

Michigan's "failure to achieve the minimum safety standards for children in foster care is a persistent and dire problem," monitors in the lawsuit wrote in their most recent report in April. Available data shows Michigan has fallen short of federal standards by 1,240 children who suffered repeat maltreatment and 434 abused or neglected in foster care since a modified settlement was signed in 2011.

Seven foster children died between January 1 and April 24, 2014, the monitors reported.
State employees and private providers describe numerous ongoing challenges: A year-old, $61 million computer database is still plagued with problems, leaving caseworkers with incomplete or incorrect information. Funding is strained for services that might prevent abuse. Tips on suspected abuse are still handled inconsistently. In response tofederal oversight, the state Department of Health & Human Services issues a blizzard of bureaucratic paperwork, taking up time better spent working with families.

But Patty Babcock, director of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare, said one of the biggest problems — in Michigan or anywhere else — is that society has accepted failure.

"If this were medicine or aviation, we would never tolerate the number of errors that are made," she said. "We would never tolerate this many bad drugs going out or planes going down."

'A messy business'
Child Protective Services visited Ricky Holland's home four times in the years before he was killed. Seventeen months after his death, the state conceded, among other failures, that "additional investigative steps should have been taken."

Licensing investigators still uncover similar problems statewide. Dozens of violations have been found, for example, at public and private agencies in Ingham and Kent counties, where DHHS is testing new reforms meant to prevent maltreatment.
Among the more serious findings:

A February 2014 investigation found state workers waited days after a child went missing before making the proper notifications.

A March 2012 investigation revealed a 4-year-old was injured after he leaped out of his foster mother's moving vehicle. The foster family repeatedly told Catholic Charities of West Michigan they struggled to meet the boy's "extensive mental health needs."

A February 2010 investigation revealed a young girl was found with a dislocated elbow after a Bethany Christian Services caseworker left the girl alone with her father, in violation of a court order.
The chief reason problems persist is that foster care "is still, and always will be, a system of very vulnerable families and therefore unpredictable and chaotic situations," said David Gehm, president and CEO of the Flint-based Wellspring Lutheran Services. "We're getting better results, but it'll always be a messy business."

Ricky Holland

Look back: The search for Ricky, the arrests and trial
The foster care system, 10 years later: Michigan foster care ‘a persistent and dire problem’

"You can't anticipate everything, but when we identify situations, we deal with them aggressively," saidSteve Yager, executive director of DHHS' Children's Services Agency. "If we had a crystal ball, that would be ideal."

Even Children's Rights, the New York-based group that sued Michigan partly in response to Holland's death, credits DHHS with building the infrastructure to improve "a system that was very sick," said Sara Bartosz, the group's lead counsel.

"But it's not just about building structures, but knowing how to work within those structures and implement them properly," she said. "There's something going on in Michigan that is unsound that's allowing the kind of safety numbers we're seeing."

'The grand design'
Yager contends Michigan's numbers remain high partly because the state is doing a better job finding and documenting abuse.

And he said the state hopes to continually improve. In Ingham County, for example, DHHS is piloting predictive analytics, looking for factors common in past abuse cases so they can intervene early in families showing those factors now.

Michigan is trying to learn from Florida, a few steps ahead in its own reforms followinga string of child deaths. Babcock, whose Institute for Child Welfare was created to make Florida reforms research-based, told the State Journal one the biggest hurdles to success is the lack of a systemic response. Agencies "work in silos and the money doesn't follow the child," she said.
Michigan's answer is Kent County.

Currently, DHHS pays private agencies based on the amount of time kids spend in foster care. In Kent County, the state will experiment with payments based on results, such as getting kids into safe homes more quickly.

The five private agencies in the pilot are developing a broader, more collaborative way of serving kids, a model they've likened to a shopping mall. The agencies are the anchor stores but "kiosk" groups readily offer mental health, substance abuse treatment, homelessness prevention or other services.

"The idea that we have to do a better job at prevention to control costs is also good for children," said Jim Paparella, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids-based D.A. Blodgett–St. John's, one of the agencies in the pilot. "That's kind of the grand design."

State Rep. Earl Poleski, R-Jackson, who chairs the House human services spending committee, said the state must ask more of local communities because "ultimately, government cannot be mother and father to everyone, and adults have to take responsibility."

By the numbers

141: Number of children in foster care who were abused or neglected between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. That's down from 230 kids mistreated in the October 2009-September 2010 reporting period, but higher than 111 reported between October 2007 and September 2008.

99.35%: The share of Michigan foster kids who were safe from harm in the 2013-2014 period, shy of the federal standard of 99.68%. But 99.62% of foster kids were safe in the 2007-2008 period.
74: Number of foster parents who were perpetrators of abuse or neglect in 2014. Nearly 22,000 biological parents perpetrated abuse that year.

14.9: The rate per 1,000 of all Michigan kids up to age 17 who were confirmed victims of abuse or neglect in 2013, up from 12.9 in 2009. The national rate fell in that time.

Sources: Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count Data Center

A timeline of reform

Halving caseloads, thereby doubling the amount of time foster care workers can spend with children, has been one of the most affective reforms to keeping Michigan foster kids safer, state and private agency officials said. But that's one of many reforms implemented over the past decade:

2005: Mandated reporter hotline created for streamlined reporting of suspected abuse or neglect.

2009: Maltreatment in Care Unit created within Child Protective Services for specialized
investigations of abuse or neglect in foster care. Also created was the Children's Services' Data Management Unit, to gather and analyze data in a more timely and accurate manner.

2011: Implementation of MiTEAM, a new case practice model for child safety. Following a review in 2013, the model was enhanced and continues to expand.

2012: A centralized intake hotline for reporting abuse and neglect was created. Also, a policy prohibiting corporal punishment in foster care implemented.

2013: Work begins on a pilot in Kent County for performance-based foster care funding.

2014: A pilot Safety Planning Practice Initiative launched in Ingham County, testing the use of "predictive analytics" for early intervention in maltreatment cases. New training for safety assessments and planning was implemented. And a new quality assurance process was implemented to gauge quality of services provided to children and families.

Source: Michigan Department of Health & Human Services

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American History of Using Kids as Lab Rats

This video is a brief lecture on the atrosities of the medical community.

Slaves, and their children, were used as medical experiements.

What is even worse, it still continues today with children in foster care.

Look at the overmedication of foster children with psychotropic medicaition and the ability to fraudulently bill Medicaid.  ..Foster kids are labrats used for clinical trials of psych meds.

Mythical theories are perpetuated in universities as workers in the child welfare industry are quick to label and judge the future liklihood of child abuse, based on the color of one's skin.

The disgusting history behind modern gynecology from Joy DeGruy PublicationsRead "Medical Apartheid: The Dark History...
Posted by For Harriet on Tuesday, March 31, 2015
The disgusting history behind modern gynecology from Joy DeGruy Publications
Read "Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present" -

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Florida Privatizes the Crime of Child Poverty

As child poverty increases, so does the rate of child removals into foster care because poverty is a profitable crime for privatizations.

Florida child poverty is ate 24%.

Privatized agencies have no inherent interest in preventing children from being removed nor is there any motivation for early reunification.

The longer a child stays in foster care, the more revenue is generated for the privatized agency, particularly in Medicaid fraud.

Top with the fact that there is no regulatory oversight of the privatized agencies and you have your reasons why Florida, as well as other privatized states, is seeing a sharp spike in the number of kids in foster care.

State of Florida sees sharp spike in number of kids in foster care

  • Photo via wikimedia

The number of Florida children in the state's foster-care system has reached its highest level since 2008 – driven by both a spike in the number of kids being removed from their homes and a drop in the number being discharged after a stint in foster care.

In the last 24 months, the number of children in what's known as out-of-home care has reached 22,004 statewide, up from 17,591 in 2013.

These and other trends are included in a report developed by the Department of Children and Families for a recent meeting of the state's privatized community-based care organizations, which oversee foster care and adoption services.

Child-welfare professionals say there are multiple reasons for the surge, among them the state's new method for assessing risks to a child's safety. The new methodology involves looking past a single incident that prompts a visit from a child protective investigator to the likelihood of danger down the road.

"The safety methodology requires that the investigators ask a lot more questions regarding (a family's) past history," said Mark Jones, CEO of the Community Partnership for Children, which serves Volusia, Flagler and Putnam counties. "The more questions they're asking, the more red flags they're seeing, and they're seeing that children may not be safe for the long term."

DCF Assistant Secretary for Child Welfare Janice Thomas agreed.

"In our previous practice, we did (put) a lot of focus on what was happening right then, specifically what had been reported to the hotline," she said. "Now we are trying to take a different lens to that family and include any kind of prior history that we have."

Jones, who said his agency had seen a spike of 35 percent in out-of-home placements over the last nine months, also noted that over time, the number of children in the system typically varies.

For instance, he said, the last spike came in 2012, due to the state's prescription-drug epidemic. The Legislature responded to concerns about so-called "pill mills" earlier this decade by cracking down on prescription-drug abuse, leading to more child-protection actions.

"Every three or four years, we see the pendulum swing, from family preservation to child safety," Jones said. "I think it's got less to do with methodology and more to do with the focus in the media, specifically on child safety and child deaths."

A wave of media reports on child deaths in 2013 culminated in sweeping new legislation that went into effect a year ago this week.

"The cultural environment that we have right now is one where no one wants a kid to die, ever," said Mike Watkins, chief executive officer of Big Bend Community Based Care. "And the easiest way to make sure kids don't die is to remove them. I think the department and pockets, certain communities like Miami, Broward and West Palm Beach, are extremely risk-averse and decide to remove the child if there's any question."

Watkins also pointed to the fact that the state's population has increased since 2008, when the number of people moving to Florida fell due to the recession. "Now that's picked back up," he said.

Many agree that another factor is high turnover among child protective investigators at DCF and the six sheriff's offices that handle child-protection cases, and among case managers at the community-based care organizations.

The 2014 child-welfare reform law was accompanied by an increase of $21.2 million for new child-protective investigators. However, because there is still a high rate of turnover among the CPIs, as they're known, many are relatively new and more likely to err on the side of removing a child from the home.

And while the community-based care organizations got $10 million in new funding last year and $29.1 million in new funding this year, they say it won't meet the need caused by the uptick of children in foster care.

"It will not be enough," Watkins said. "The new dollars don't take in the projections we're seeing."

Former state senator Ron Silver, who handles legislative affairs for Our Kids, the community-based care lead agency in Miami, agreed.

"We're very grateful for what they've done," he said. "But that was catch-up time. They gave us more money, but they had not given us (increased) money for a long period of time."

According to DCF, between May 2013 and July 2014, the number of children receiving Our Kids in-home services in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties increased more than 63 percent, while the number in out-of-home care increased nearly 36 percent.

The increased numbers also have revealed statewide gaps in family services that allow children to stay with their parents after verified findings of abuse or neglect.

Christina Spudeas, executive director of the advocacy group Florida's Children First, said she found the most troubling aspect of the DCF report to be the fact that "in-home services to prevent removal have declined since a peak in 2012.”

"The key to successfully leaving children in the home after an allegation of abuse or neglect is to have the right services provided to the family at the right time, with sufficient oversight," Spudeas said. "If the lead agencies are not working hard to have those services in place, then they are part of the problem."

But DCF's Thomas, who has worked in child welfare for more than 30 years, said the new methodology was still being implemented and would ultimately succeed.

"The practice we've established is the best I've ever seen," she said. "It's the best we've ever practiced in Florida, in my opinion. ... People are still learning it."

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Detroit Mack Alive Community Center Parade Calling For Veterans

Hello everyone my name is Samuel Hill, and I’m on the veterans committee at Mack Alive Community Center located at 3746 Fischer St. Detroit MI 48214. I am reaching out to everyone because of the need for a veteran’s presence in this year’s parade.

Mack Alive Community Center, founded by State Representative Alberta Tinsley- Talabi, is celebrating it’s 24th annual Mack Alive parade. The date of the parade is August 22, 2015, starting at 10am - 12pm, the route of the parade starts at St. Jean and Mack, and ends at E. Grand Blvd and Mack where there will be available space for vendors, free health screenings, free food giveaways, free hair cuts, bounce houses for the kids, etc…

The veterans committee is also happy to announce that we have acquired the property in order to move forward with our veterans homeless shelter. There are a lot of exciting things happening at Mack Alive, and we welcome each and every one of you. I am also asking that you pass the word through your networks. Together, we can make this a veterans presence to remember.

Please R.S.V.P. with Mack Alive at 313-824-3900 or 

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Where is the $77,000 Special Needs FOIA Whistleblower?

Whenever I see stories, or experience similar responses from governmental units, about astronomical FOIA charges, I can only ascertain the calculations were done for one of two reasons:

A.  The school administrator is a complete and utter moron; or,

B.  Someone is trying to hide some fraud.

At this juncture, I must choose all of the above.

It does not take over 4000 hours to do a server search.  All that needs to be done is pull the record to see who was assigned to administer the child's services.

No one even contacted the parent to discuss assistance in honing down the search parameters.

Someone needs to blow the whistle.

Goodrich Area Schools
Bylaws & Policies

The Board of Education expects all its employees to be honest and ethical in their conduct, and to comply with applicable State and Federal law, Board policies and administrative guidelines. The Board encourages and requires staff to report possible violations of these Board expectations. Parents, volunteers, contractors and concerned citizens are encouraged to report possible violations, when done in good faith belief.

It is the responsibility of an employee who is aware of conduct on the part of any Board member or employee that possibly violates Federal or State law, or Board policy, to call this conduct to the attention of his/her immediate supervisor. If the employee's immediate supervisor is not responsive or is the employee whose behavior is in question, the employee may report to the Superintendent. If the reported conduct relates to the Superintendent, the report may be filed directly with the Board President.

After such a report is made, the employee will be asked to put the report in writing. Any employee making such a report shall be protected from discipline, retaliation, or reprisal for making such report as long as the employee had a good faith belief as to the accuracy of any information reported. Employees are subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, for knowingly making a false report under this policy. Employees may also be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, if they are aware of a violation of Federal, State, or local law involving or relating to the business of the District and they do not make a report confirmed in writing to a supervisor in accordance with this policy.

The Superintendent shall develop administrative guidelines necessary for implementation of this policy, including the development of forms upon which such reports may be made.
M.C.L.A. 15.361 et seq.

Adopted 7/15/11

School district charges mom $77,000 for Freedom of Information Act request about her son

GOODRICH, Mich. (WXYZ) ­ Nineteen­year­old Mitchell Smith has special needs, but while mainstreamed at Goodrich High School he fit right in.

“Did you have a lot of friends at school?” I asked him.

“I have a lot of them,” he replied smiling.

While surrounded by classmates of different abilities,

Mitchell made goals. He beat many in cross country, running a twenty­two minute 5k.

He passed a test to qualify as a basketball referee. “I think that would be a great job,” said Mitchell.

As his classmates researched what to do after high school, he did too.

He learned about Ready for Life, a program that teaches life skills while mainstreaming special needs students on a college campus.

“I decided last year I wanted to go there,” said Mitchell.

“We visited a couple times and I liked it a lot.”

Then Mitchell and his mom met with school leaders to talk about his continuing education after high school, something state funded because of his special needs.

The decision?

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Monday, June 29, 2015

2 charged with embezzling from Detroit school program

And people wonder why Detroit children do not fare well in school.

2 charged with embezzling from Detroit school program

Detroit — The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office has charged a high school principal and a nonprofit chief operating officer with embezzling money that was targeted toward at-risk students at Detroit schools.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged Western High School principal Rudolfo Diaz and Esperanza Detroit COO Cecilia Zavala with stealing money from Esperanza Detroit.

The agency provides services and in-house counselors to at-risk students at Western International High School and other Detroit public schools.

According to Worthy, in April 2014, the DPS' Office of Inspector General noticed irregularities with some checks issued by the organization.

A member of Esperanza Detroit took an internal audit and turned findings over to the Detroit Police Department, which then turned it over to the prosecutor's office.

It is alleged that from November 2011 until May 2014, Zavala, 35, of Wyandotte, embezzled more than $100,000 from Esperanza Detroit for her own personal use, including using the organization's credit and debit cards without authorization to pay for restaurants, jewelry, a car and stays at hotels.

From October 2013 through May 2014, it is alleged that Diaz, 35, of Lincoln Park, received checks totaling $10,400 written on the Esperanza account and used it for his personal use. It is also alleged that he aided and abetted Zavala in embezzling money from the nonprofit.

Zavala has been charged with embezzlement more than $100,000, embezzlement more than $1,000 (nonprofit) and embezzlement more than $1,000.

She has also been charged with conspiracy embezzlement, using a computer to commit embezzlement more than $100,000.

Diaz has been charged with embezzlement more than $1,000, conspiracy embezzlement, embezzlement more than $1,000 (nonprofit) and conspiracy to embezzle.

"The allegations in this case reveal a complete disservice to and disregard for the students and the community as a whole," Worthy said in a statement.

Zavala and Diaz are expected to be arraigned at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in 36th District Court.

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Will U.S. Senate Probe Non-Profit Child Welfare Orgs, Too?

QUESTION:  If the U.S. Senate Finance Committee can probe the nation's largest for-profit foster
care firm, then how come it cannot probe the nation's largest non-profit foster care firm?

ANSWER:  Because you cannot audit God!

On the non-profit side, Medicaid fraud is the biggest revenue stream, oops, I mean, cost-reimbursement in child welfare, yet no one wants to probe it but me.

Here is a list of the biggest non-profit Medicaid fraudfeasors in child welfare:

Catholic Charities

National Council of Jewish Women

Lutheran Services of America

There are many, many more religious-based, non-profits, which, allegedly, provide child welfare services.  I call it being paid for torture and rewarded through fraudulent billing practices.

I have submitted a formal request for a pdf of the letter sent to The MENTOR Network and will post as soon as it arrives.

For more "deeply disturbing news articles" on the horrors in foster care, go to Legally Kidnapped or just keep coming back here to stay on top of all news dealing with Medicaid fraud in child welfare.

Like us on facebook. Legally Kidnapped  Beverly Tran


US Senate Committee Probes Nation’s Largest For-Profit Foster Care Firm

The leaders of the powerful US Senate Finance Committee last week sent a six-page letter to the nation’s largest for-profit foster care company, National Mentor Holdings, requesting detailed information about the firm’s business practices and treatment of the thousands of children in its care.

That request to Mentor marks the latest step in the committee’s sweeping inquiry into privatized
foster care, which began in April when the committee, citing BuzzFeed News’ reporting, asked all 50 state governors about their foster-care contracting practices. The letter to Mentor, signed by the committee chairman, Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R-Utah) and ranking member, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) cites “deeply disturbing” news articles that focus on “what appear to be serious deficiencies” in the company’s foster care operations.

BuzzFeed News has published extensive reporting about the foster-care giant, detailing problems such as deaths and abuse in foster homes run by Mentor in Maryland and TexasIllinois, and Massachusetts.

Yesterday, a week after the Senate letter was sent, the company announced it was pulling out of foster care operations in five states. In a statement, Mentor said that the move was the result of a “comprehensive review” that began in January “to ensure we are delivering service excellence to every child in every home, while maintaining stable, sustainable financial performance.” Mentor will continue to provide foster care in at least seven states.

The company trades on the New York Stock Exchange as Civitas Solutions LLC, and markets itself as The Mentor Network. It is controlled by New York-based private equity fund Vestar Capital Partners.

In outsourced foster care, states pay organizations such as Mentor to recruit, train and oversee foster parents. The organizations even get paid to provide caseworkers and clinicians to monitor the children in their care.

As BuzzFeed News has reported, the firm has turned privatized foster care operations in the US into a profitable business over the last three decades. But there have been troubles, including at least six child deaths in the company’s homes since 2005, as well as cases of sex abuse. An investigation into a baby’s death in Massachusetts found “serious violations of child placement regulations.”
Investigators in Illinois found a “culture of incompetence.” A prosecutor in Texas has called for a federal investigation of the company after a two year old was murdered by her foster mother, who had been hired by Mentor.

Senate Review
The Senate committee’s new focus on Mentor shows that it is looking not just at state governments but at private contractors as well. As of late last year, the company said it had 3800 children in its care in 15 states.

The Senate letter cites “tragic consequences” resulting from “serious errors in judgment by Mentor.” The letter requests information on how much federal money, from the so-called Title IV-E funds, which are meant to support foster care, Mentor receives. That’s something that even the federal Administration for Children and Families, which oversees the program, doesn’t know, because the funds are distributed directly to states, which don’t have to report which contractors they hire.

The letter also requests information about whether Mentor uses non-disclosure agreements in settling cases with children who may have been harmed in its care. “Since January 2005, has Mentor entered into any agreements concerning non-disclosure/confidentiality clauses with the legal representatives of children who were, or who are now, placed in Mentor foster care homes?”

Sources have told BuzzFeed News that former employees of Mentor sometimes have signed restrictive confidentiality clauses, and that the firm has required confidentiality when it settled lawsuits with children harmed in its homes. A Mentor spokesperson said that the firm does not have the ability to keep an incident a secret.

The letter also requests information about Alliance Human Services, a non-profit organization that frequently works with Mentor. As BuzzFeed News has reported, some states contract with Alliance, which then subcontracts the work to the for-profit company, Mentor.

And the senators asked about whether Mentor pays bonuses for placements of children at homes, or whether there are targets, or quotas. Former employees have alleged that pressure for profits drove the company to cut corners on care — a charge Mentor denies.

In its statement, Mentor said it is “engaged in an on-going dialogue with the Committee” and would continue to respond to the committee’s questions.

Mentor Pulling Out of Five States
In a filing Wednesday with the SEC, Mentor announced it will be pulling out of foster care in Texas, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana and North Carolina. It says it will “transition” the 1000 children living in its foster homes in those states to other facilities.

Sarah Magazine, the company spokesperson, said there was no relationship between the Senate’s questions to Mentor and the timing of the announcement that the firm was pulling out of foster care in five states. It also said that BuzzFeed News’ reporting did not influence its decision.

One Texas prosecutor who has called for a federal investigation of Mentor said he was delighted to hear that the firm is getting out of the child welfare business in his state.

“That’s wonderful,” said Milam County District Attorney W.W. Torrey. “It’s super.”

Torrey prosecuted a Mentor foster mother named Sherill Small in 2014, who murdered her two year-old foster daughter, Alexandria Hill in 2013. Torrey has said Mentor should never have placed the little girl with Small.

Mentor put the girl in Small’s custody despite the fact that five children had been removed from her care as “failed placements.” An internal Mentor document stated that Small “reported feeling stressed out, and will express that she is unable to care for the children in the home.” Mentor has expressed regret about the “poor judgment” it made in that case.

“How could they have been any more negligent?” he said. “Abject negligence!”

The firm said the move out of the five states would “strengthen financial performance” and help it improve its services. “I am confident,” said CEO and President Bruce Nardella, “that these changes will make us a better provider and a stronger company.”

Earlier this year, the company also stopped providing foster care in Illinois, where it had custody of 485 children. The firm said that move had nothing to do with a scathing state investigation that found a “culture of incompetence” at the company and denied that it had such a culture.

Indiana is one of five states from which Mentor is pulling its foster care business. An earlier version of this post stated incorrectly that Georgia was one of the five states. Jun. 24, 2015, at 4:32 p.m.

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Sweeping It Under The Rug - Baby LK Report For June 28th 2015

Baby LK recaps the week in news for the child protectino industry.
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Yet Another Reason Why Michigan Child Welfare Should Remain Under Federal Oversight

Michigan does not care about its children, nor does it care about a child's future.
Michigan foster youth

Michigan Attoreny General Bill Schuette does not care about the state's children, nor does he care about their future.

The reason Governor Snyder signed the Religious Adoptin Bills, allegedly,  was because the majority (just about all of them) of Christian child placing agencies threated to shut down, which would have put the state in direcgt violation of the federal consent agreement and cause the state to lose millions in federal funding.

What bothers me the most is not the fact that LBGT kids in foster care are beated, raped and drugged (billing Medicaid) and the state does nothing about it,not even reporting these transgressions.

Nor is it the fact that these victims of the state eventually run away or age out to live on the streets because these Christian child placing agencies do not condone the existence of these youth.

It is the simple fact that the Michigan Democratic Party has done absolutely nothing, for years, about the horrors in Michigan Child Welfare.

Governor Rick Snyder needs to be impeached for simple fact that he allowed the state to be strong-armed, neigh, blackmailed, by these contracted religious organizations to defraud the federal court and violate the civil rights of Michigan citizens.

This is just another reason why federal Judge Nancy Edmunds should not allow Michigan to be released from its federal oversight.

What about LGBT kids?

Calin is 17, slight, with a close-cropped haircut and delicate features that suggest he's younger than his years.

He's smart, well-spoken, and can describe the despicable things that have been done to him in the calm, firm voice of a survivor.

Calin is transgender — born with female anatomy, he identifies as male — and in foster care at a residential placement center. He's one of hundreds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Michigan children in the state's care who seem completely overlooked in decisions about state adoption policy.

Earlier this month, the state Legislature passed a law, promptly signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, allowing adoption agencies the right to refuse service to prospective LGBT adoptive parents. It was a preemptive move designed to dilute last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage.
Some faith-based adoption agencies, which account for about half of the $20 million Michigan spent last year on adoption services, threatened to close shop otherwise. It was a threat lawmakers couldn't ignore. Because the law passed, those agencies say, they'll stay in business.

But none of them — state lawmakers, those adoption agencies — seem to realize there are kids like Calin.

In the child welfare system, neither sexual orientation nor gender identity must be considered when placing a child in foster care. So finding a safe home for an LGBT kid is a hit-or-miss prospect.
Take LGBT families out of the mix, as Lansing did this month, and it becomes even harder.

"We're taking young people who have few options, and giving them fewer options," says Jerry Peterson, executive director of the Ruth Ellis Center, a Highland Park-based youth social services agency.

Statewide, there are more than 13,000 kids in care. About 2,200 of those kids are seeking adoption.
Conservative estimates suggest 5% to 10% of kids in care are LGBT, but Peterson believes — as a 2014 study on foster kids in Los Angeles County found — that it's as much as one in five, about twice as many as in the population as a whole.
When a placement fails, it's hard for the child.

"Not only have these young people been rejected by their families of origins, they have been rejected by five or six foster families as well, if they come out while in care, and the families say you can't live in my home," Peterson said. "I struggle with a child welfare system that claims to have the safety and well being of the child as paramount concern, when in fact the system perpetrates trauma over and over again by refusing to acknowledge who they are."

Adopted as an infant by a family member, Calin, which isn't his real name, says he suffered years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his adoptive mother. Before he knew he was trans, he came out as a lesbian. He says his mom didn't respond well. She started taking him to church more often, and told him he risked going to hell. She took away his phone and computer, wouldn't allow him to spend time with friends. And the physical abuse continued.

When Calin realized he was trans, he thought things might get better. He'd always acted like a boy. Knowing he was trans, Calin thought, might help his mother make sense of him.

It didn't. Increasingly isolated, in despair, he attempted suicide, taking so many pills he went into acute kidney failure and came close to causing permanent damage. But after he got home from the hospital, things seemed OK. His mom, he thinks, was scared she'd lose her child.

Then it got much, much worse.

There was an argument, over a cell phone Calin pays for himself. Calin says his mother pushed him into the bathtub, trying to take it from him. He said she hit him, scratching his face, and when he climbed out, his uncle tripped him, pinning him on the ground, slapping his face and choking him.

The police came. Calin went to the hospital.

And his mother left him there.

In a court hearing, he listened as a social worker testified that his mom had said she didn't care what happened to him, that she wouldn't take him home.

Now he's in care, waiting to age out of a system that isn't built to accommodate kids like him.
For Calin, adoption isn't the goal. He says he's not scared of his mother any more. But he can't go back home. Calin dreams of starting his own business, maybe in California, where he believes he can find acceptance. He turns 18 early next year. The end of this — and the beginning of adulthood — is in sight.

But he knows what he has lost.

"Sometimes, I wish I could be in foster care, with a foster family," he said. "For the simple fact that you still get to be a kid."

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Michigan Christian Child Welfare Medicaid Fraud Laws

It has taken me a moment to reiterate what I have been proselytizing for years about Medicaid fraud in child welfare, but, for now, I can give another reason why no one will talk about it.
I cannot respout links on every issue in this faith-based adoption bullshit, but I can reiterate the eminent problems with privatization.

I cannot respout the links on every issue in this faith-based adoption privatization bullshit, but I can reiterate the eminent problems with Medicaid fraud in child welfare.

I can, also, remind the good Christian-based child placing agencies in Michigan that I know what you do and I know what happens with parents who are gay and end up with a child abuse case, just because they are gay, and it is not good.

I can, also, remind the good Christian-based adoption agencies in Michigan that I know what you do and I know what happens with foster children who are gay, and it is not good.

This has everything to do with covering up Medicaid Fraud in Child Welfare, in the name of God.

That is why no one will listen, see, or speak upon Medicaid Fraud in Child Welfare...too much frederal money would be lost and too many would lose their jobs and the name of God.


Snyder signs controversial faith-based adoption bills

Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder signed a controversial package of bills Thursday allowing faith-based agencies to turn away gay and lesbian couples seeking state-supported adoptions.

Snyder signed the bills without ceremony, just one day after the Legislature sent him the legislation. The law goes into effect immediately. The ACLU of Michigan vows to challenge it.

The new law allows faith-based adoption agencies to invoke their sincerely held religious beliefs in denying adoption placement services to gay and lesbian couples who want to be parents. The agencies would be required to refer gay and lesbian couples to another adoption agency.

In a statement, the Republican governor emphasized the bills puts adoption practices, already in use, into law.

Snyder’s quick signature of the bills came after Senate Republicans held an unexpected vote on the legislation Wednesday that was not on the chamber’s published agenda. The bills cleared a Senate committee in late April.

The swift passage and gubernatorial signature took opponents by surprise and left little time for members of the business-dominated Michigan Competitive Workplace Coalition to get direction from corporate leadership on whether they could oppose the bills, said Shelli Weisberg, legislative director for the ACLU of Michigan, a member of the coalition.

“By the time they all tried to get it through the hierarchy of where they would be on these bills, they were being signed by the governor this morning,” Weisberg said Thursday. “They moved so fast. I had no inkling they were moving until Wednesday morning.”

The coalition was formed last year to lobby Snyder and the Republican-controlled Legislature for a ban on discrimination in hiring, housing and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Snyder’s office said that adoption rates in Michigan have continued to increase in recent years. In the 2014 fiscal year, 85 percent of children in the foster system were adopted, up from 70 percent in 2011. As many as 13,000 children reside in Michigan’s foster care system at any given time, according to lawmakers.

“The state has made significant progress in finding more forever homes for Michigan kids in recent years and that wouldn’t be possible without the public-private partnerships that facilitate the adoption process,” Snyder said in a statement. “We are focused on ensuring that as many children are adopted to as many loving families as possible regardless of their makeup.”

In fiscal year 2014, Michigan spent $19.9 million on contracts with private agencies for adoption services, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. It accounted for about 85 percent of the $23.2 million the state spent that year on adoption support services.

Seventeen of Michigan’s 62 adoption placement agencies are faith-based, according to the Michigan Catholic Conference.

The ACLU said Thursday it is preparing to challenge the new law in court by contending the adoption agencies serve as agents of state government when placing children under contract with the DHHS.

“It’s illegal for the state of Michigan to discriminate in these placements,” said Rana Elmir, deputy director.

Paul A. Long, president of the Michigan Catholic Conference, praised the governor’s action Thursday, saying the new law “will ensure the state does not discriminate against social service agencies that serve the poor and vulnerable while providing foster care and adoption services to the general public.”

Critics have said the new law gives faith-based adoption agencies a legal license to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

“Gov. Rick Snyder has proven today that he has utter disdain for the welfare of children in Michigan and that he cares only about empowering backwards discrimination,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a national advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. The group placed a full-page ad, “Shame on Gov. Snyder,” in Friday’s The Detroit News.
Opponents of the new adoption law have compared it to the religious freedom law Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed in March that caused a national uproar because it would have allowed private businesses to refuse to serve gays and lesbians. Pence later reversed course and signed a second law banning discrimination against gays and lesbians for public accommodations and business services.
“We hope that Gov. Snyder is prepared for the same amount of backlash that was seen in Indiana when they passed similar RFRA-style legislation and we encourage the people to raise up their voices in protest,” Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, said in a statement Thursday.

Snyder has vowed to veto a Religious Freedom Restoration Act bill modeled after Indiana’s ill-fated law if it’s not tied to a bill adding sexual orientation to Michigan’s law banning discrimination in workplaces, housing and public accommodations.

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