Saturday, March 31, 2012

Conyers: Proposed Consent Agreement Inconsistent With Our Values

(DETROIT) – Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released the following statement in response to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s new proposed consent agreement between the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit.  Last week, Representatives Conyers, Hansen Clarke, and Gary Peters sent a letter to Governor Snyder requesting his administration to explain its position and to provide documentation detailing the reasoning behind its position on several key legal provisions currently being considered as part of a proposed consent agreement between the state and the City of Detroit.  The letter requested the Snyder Administration to provide a response prior to taking any further legal action concerning the matters discussed in the letter.  The Governor’s office has yet to respond to the request.
U.S. Representative
John Conyers, Jr.

                “I appreciate efforts to find common ground in terms of resolving Detroit’s financial crisis, but cannot support any approach which does not create a true and viable partnership between the State and its most important city,” said Rep. Conyers.  “I remain concerned that the State is forcing the City into a one-sided consent agreement that violates our values and principals and does not adequately respond to Detroit’s financial problems or lack of adequate services.  Based on the latest draft and reports, I would note the following initial concerns:

1.            No Response from Governor to Congressional Inquiries – On March 22, Hansen Clarke, Gary Peters and I wrote the Governor asking for important oversight information concerning voting rights act issues, collective bargaining rights, the Open Meetings Act, the impact of certification of the voter referendum on the EM law;  and the State’s ability to appropriately oversee emergency managers and consent agreements.  I would have hoped that with the State pressing for an agreement, they would have responded to our letter, but as of yet we have received nothing.

2.            Ignoring Voters’ Will – Thirty days after the more than 226,00 voters filed petitions on seeking a vote on the Emergency Manager Law in November, the Snyder Administration has not fully reviewed or certified the petitions.  If certified, this will suspend the EM Law.  The State should expeditiously review the petitions before forcing a one-sided consent decree on the City.

3.            Lack of Specific State Assistance – Although the proposed consent agreement provides for various forms of “technical assistance” and promised facilitation of refinancing, days away from a possible cash shortfall, we have yet to see any firm or tangible financial commitments from the State.  Even these incredibly modest suggestions are subject to further agreement by Lansing and the proposed consent agreement contains no enforcement mechanism for these provisions.  This is in contrast to the situation in virtually every other major city facing financial crisis, including New York City, Cleveland, and Philadelphia.  Given the more than $200 million in unmet revenue sharing promises, this is a glaring and harmful omission.

4.            Attack on Collective Bargaining Rights – The proposed Consent Agreement continues the Snyder Administration’s unlawful and unfair attempt to end collective bargaining rights for municipal employees.  Instead of allowing the City and its unions to negotiate in good faith, as they have done thus far, the proposed consent agreement continues to ask only one stakeholder – the unions – to reopen negotiations to make further sacrifice and to jettison their pension rights, their right to seek safe workplaces and to protect against outsourcing of public services, among other things.

5.            Preventing Outside Parties from Protecting Their Legal Rights in Court – Although the latest permutation of the consent agreement no longer contains the specific punitive actions that prior version did, section 6.1 of the draft continues to unfairly treat the City as being in possible default for actions by union employees, potentially including lawsuits challenging the EM Law or any consent agreement.”   

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Feds Settle $6.85 Million in Medicaid Fraud in Child Welfare

Residential Youth Treatment Facility for Medicaid Recipients in Marion, Virginia Agrees to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations

Ladies and gentlemen, witness, before your eyes Medicaid fraud in child welfare.  Today, you are presented with 6.85 million reasons why someone needs to listen to me.  Tomorrow will be a few more million.

Wake up people.  The fraud is rampant.  The children are harmed.

Will Pay $6.85 Million to Settle Allegations of Providing Substandard Adolescent Psychiatric Services Universal Health Services Inc. 

(UHS) and two subsidiaries have reached a settlement in a False Claims Act lawsuit with the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Justice Department announced today. Under the settlement, UHS and its subsidiaries, Keystone Education and Youth Services LLC and Keystone Marion LLC, which did business as the Keystone Marion Youth Center, a residential facility in Marion, Va., agreed to pay $6.85 million to the United States and the commonwealth to settle allegations that they provided substandard psychiatric counseling and treatment to adolescents in violation of Medicaid requirements, falsified records and submitted false claims to the Medicaid program. UHS closed the Marion facility earlier this year.

This settlement resolves a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Megan Johnson, Leslie Webb and Kimberly Stafford-Payne, former therapists at the closed facility. UHS and its subsidiaries have paid an additional amount under the terms of the agreement to the former therapists to settle their separate discrimination and attorney’s fees claims. The United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia had intervened in the lawsuit on Nov. 4, 2009.

Under the False Claims Act, an entity that submits false or fraudulent claims to the government is liable for three times the government’s damages, plus a civil penalty for each false claim. The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.

“The Justice Department is committed to investigating cases in which health care providers have put patients at risk by failing to meet the appropriate standards of care,” said Stuart F. Delery, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Today’s settlement demonstrates our commitment to protecting the integrity of the Medicaid program and making sure that patients who rely on federal health programs receive the care they deserve.”

“This settlement resolves disturbing allegations that Universal Health Services Inc. and its subsidiaries in Virginia made false records and presented false claims to Virginia Medicaid in connection with sub-standard care to emotionally troubled youth at a residential treatment facility in Marion, Virginia,” said Timothy J. Heaphy, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. “This result, which provides substantial reimbursement to the Virginia Medicaid program, demonstrates our strong partnership with the Virginia Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and our commitment to use all available means, including civil remedies under the False Claims Act, to combat health care fraud.”

“Any organization providing substandard health services then sending inflated bills to taxpayers, as UHS is alleged to have done, can expect intense scrutiny by government investigators,” said Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. “Those intent on defrauding our programs should know that we will continue to work closely with State law enforcement agencies to fight Medicaid fraud.”

“This settlement, which returns a substantial sum to the Virginia Medicaid program, is a testament to the strength of such a collaborative partnership,” said Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia Attorney General. “This case sends a clear message that fraud and exploitation of our most vulnerable citizens will not be tolerated in the commonwealth.”

Acting Assistant Attorney General Delery acknowledged the efforts made by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia, the Virginia Attorney General’s office, the Civil Division of the Justice Department, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General and the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

This resolution is part of the government’s emphasis on combating health care fraud and another step for the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) initiative, which was announced by Attorney General Eric Holder and Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in May 2009. The partnership between the two departments has focused efforts to reduce and prevent Medicare and Medicaid financial fraud through enhanced cooperation. One of the most powerful tools in that effort is the False Claims Act, which the Justice Department has used to recover $6.7 billion since January 2009 in cases involving fraud against federal health care programs. The Justice Department’s total recoveries in False Claims Act cases since January 2009 are more than $9 billion.

Republicans argue detention reforms coddle criminals

Republicans argue detention reforms coddle criminals

Democrats say the serious issue of Immigration and Customs Enforcement ensuring detainees' safety and health is being belittled.

WASHINGTON Republicansin Congress mocked the Obama administration's plans to improve conditions for immigrants held in county jails and detention facilities Wednesday, saying that a raft of reforms written byU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement amounts to coddling lawbreakers.

U.S. Judiciary Chairmen John Conyers, Jr. and Lamar Smith
In a hearing titled "Holiday on ICE" Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, took aim at recent administrative changes designed to improve medical care for detainees, reduce incidents of sexual abuse, and increase access to safe water and outdoor recreation, among other reforms.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement made the changes after coming under fire from news reports, human rights groups and internal investigations for putting immigrants who have not been convicted of crimes in detention facilities plagued by sexual assaults and inadequatemedical care.

Democrats on the committee took aim at the sarcastic title of the hearing, saying it belittled the serious issue of the agency's poor track record of ensuring the safety and health of detainees incustody. To help make that point, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) displayed graphic photographs depicting immigrants with fatal wounds and medical conditions that went untreated in detention facilities.

The ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee,John Conyers Jr.of Michigan, had asked Smith to reconsider the title of the hearing. "I hope we can agree that the manner in which we treat immigrants in our detention facilities is not a laughing matter," Conyers wrote in a letter sent Tuesday.

Smith was undeterred.

"ICE has decided to upgrade accommodations for detained illegal and criminal immigrants," he said during the opening minutes of the hearing. "While we would all like to be upgraded, we don't have the luxury of billing the American taxpayers or making federal law enforcement agents our concierge."

"Detention is no holiday," said Gregory Chen, director of advocacy for the AmericanImmigration Lawyers Assn., who attended the hearing. "I think they should be embarrassed to describe people who are deprived of their liberty as if they were on vacation."

There are about 33,000 immigrants and asylum-seekers held in local and county jails and other detention facilities across the country, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Many are waiting for an immigration judge to decide whether they will be deported. The numbers have surged dramatically from the mid-1990s, when the average daily population of immigration detainees hovered about 7,500.

The increased detainee population is in part a result of an aggressive enforcement effort by the Obama administration. Last year, 396,906 people were deported, a record number for the third consecutive year.

"I would like to be clear that no member is against the humane treatment of detainees," said Rep.Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley). However, Gallegly portrayed the 400 pages of new detention standards made public in February as part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to put the interests of illegal immigrants ahead of the interests of American citizens and taxpayers.

The best way to help immigration detainees is to deport them more quickly, Gallegly said, "not to roll out the welcome mat at a posh detention facility."

John Conyers' Letter to Chairman Smith Re Title of ICE Hearing, March 27, 2012

Maura Corrigan Is A Medicaid Gamer

The purpose of removing families from the rolls is to have them transition to the federal welfare Social Supplemental Income program.  Tapping the federal funding streams is the basis for this analysis and the schemes are typical Maura Corrigan.

Michigan officials disagree on strain caused by removal of thousands from welfare rolls

LANS­ING - There has been no major fall­out af­ter thou­sands of Michigan fam­i­lies were re­cently re­moved from the welfare rolls, the di­rector of the De­part­ment of Human Ser­vices tes­ti­fied today.

Michigan DHS Director Maura Corrigan and her alter ego
The Queen of Child Welfare Fraud (a.k.a. "Queen Gamer")
"There hasn't been an uptick in the food banks; there hasn't been an uptick in the home­less shelters," Maura Corrig­an told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Ser­vices.

"We've been looking at that," Corrig­an said. "It's a dog that didn't bite, as far as we're concerned."

But Gilda Jacobs, pres­ident and CEO of the Michigan League for Human Ser­vices, which opposed the welfare cuts, said Corrig­an's information is inconsis­tent with what she is hearing.

"It is way too early to get some hard data," Jacobs told the Free Press. But she said at least two agencies she's heard from are expe­ri­enc­ing increased de­mands for food and oth­er as­sistance.

The de­part­ment projected more than 11,000 Michigan fam­i­lies would lose their cash as­sistance late last year af­ter the state set a new four-year cap on receiving the ben­efits. Of­ficials pre­vi­ously used a five-year fed­eral lim­it, but said some fam­i­lies had received ben­efits for 10 years or longer, due to exceptions.

Asked if she is mon­itor­ing what hap­pens to heads of house­holds and their chil­dren af­ter the ben­efits are cut off, Corrig­an said her de­part­ment is mon­itor­ing.

TRANSLATION: Child Protective Services has not submitted total removals for the month of March.

About 1,000 fam­i­lies are taking advantage of a program offered through her de­part­ment and the Michigan State Hous­ing Devel­op­ment Au­thor­ity under which they can receive an­oth­er six months of hous­ing as­sistance as long as they show they are in a work program or have a job, Corrig­an said.

Thou­sands of oth­ers rejected offers of that as­sistance and Corrig­an said she be­lieves a signif­icant number of those did not want to come forward because they are in­volved in the "under­ground econ­o­my."

"We're at the epi­center of the enti­tle­ment cul­ture," Corrig­an tes­ti­fied.

"This is the vulnerable against the gamers. We have a fair number of people gam­ing the system. The gamers take away resources from the truly vulnerable."

Stop.  Hold that thought.

"Gamers".  I have heard that term used before.  Actually, I know that term well.  I had previously attributed Madame Corrigan with authorship and may now state that I was correct.

Michigan "Health Insurance Claims Assessment Act of 2011"  Public Act 142 of 2011.

Signed by Gov. Rick Snyder on February 20, 2011.

Introduced by Sen. Roger Kahn (R) on April 27, 2011, to repeal a 6 percent use tax on medical services health care providers, and replace it with a 1 percent tax on health insurance claims. These taxes are designed to “game” the federal Medicaid system in ways that result in higher federal payments to Michigan’s medical welfare system. This bill creates the new tax.

Continue reading.

Jacobs said Corrig­an and her de­part­ment should not be looking at the system through a lens that as­sumes widespread cheating "as opposed to how can we help people who are struggling in an econ­o­my that is just starting to recover."

How about focusing on Medicaid fraud in child welfare?   How about antitrust violations of child placing agency contracts?  Perhaps, Madame Corrigan, if you spent a few moments admitting that fraud flourishes throughout your Department in its entire cost reimbursements to the feds, you may find out that there are hundreds of millions being gamed under your leadership.

Madame Corrigan, how dare you attribute the financial woes of the state on a handful of people who are struggling to make it.  How much are we really looking at?  A million?  Let me show you where the big Medicaid bucks are being gamed.

What is the difference between the welfare gamers and Medicaid gamers?  I am going to answer this.  A welfare gamer is a person who trying to survive off state assistance of 200 percent below the poverty level, whereas, a Medicaid gamer is how your Department scams the feds through taxes to make up for the hundreds of millions in Medicaid fraud penalties you have to pay back?

Did I get that correct, Madame Corrigan?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How Medicalizing Grief Turns Into Dollars

Click here to see how this applies to child welfare:

How Medicalizing Grief Turns Into Dollars

The proposed revisions for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) – the handbook for all disorders mind and brain – have been under serious fire in recent months, and the issues don’t appear to be quieting. The newest change to inspire protest from the mental health community is the idea that grief, once excluded from the definition of depression, is now included within it. This means that people grieving over the death of a loved one could theoretically go to their psychiatrist and be prescribed pills to treat the “condition.”

To treat people with antidepressants who are not depressed but simply grieving has no scientific backing to it at all. Critics, writing in the journal The Lancet, beautifully outline why the medicalization of grief is misguided for so many reasons. Antidepressants don’t do anything to the moods of non-depressed people, they point out, so there’s little likelihood that they would work to reduce grief. Arthur Kleinman, a medical anthropologist, says that since the APA wants to allow for treatment of the normal grieving process, it had to first yank it from Normalcy and plunk it down in the realm of Abnormal, or worse, “make it over into a disease—ie, depression.”

One has to wonder if money isn’t part of the issue. Some have wondered whether the newly restricted definition of autism isn’t partly about finance, since fewer kids will fall into the definition and be eligible for the services for which they were previously eligible. Medicalizing grief will no doubt result in many more prescriptions for antidepressants. “Its ubiquity,” says Kleinman, “makes grief a potential profit centre for the business of psychiatry.”

Also disturbing is the fact that the DSM continues to shorten the normal grieving processes. The DSM-III considered grief for up to one year acceptable, the DSM-IV only two months. No other culture, Kleinman says, considers two months a normal amount of time to grieve. They must be shaking their heads at us silly Americans and our strange attitude towards grief. Cultures across the globe vary hugely in what’s considered a normal timeframe to grieve, some devoting the remainder of the lifespan to mourning the loss of a loved one.
Why do we need to grieve? Does it allow the brain to process the events and recover from them? Perhaps. Robbing it of its ability to do so seems shortchanging, and possibly unhealthy. This is a fundamental difference between grief and clinical depression: grief, in many ways, makes sense, as there is direct cause for the feelings of sadness, loss, sleeplessness, and lack of concentration. With depression, there is often a less direct link between circumstances in one’s life and the symptoms of depression, and their severity.

And taking it a step further is the issue that our generation may just not want to deal with any kind of painful feelings, however necessary. We seem to be less and less willing to sit with our emotions, especially ones that are hard to figure out. “So that the now young adult generation,” writes Kleinman, “…may no longer want or need the suffering of grief to affirm its humanity, redeem its deepest values, and frame its collective and personal experience of loss. I had always imagined that if something like that happened, there would be a loss of the human.” It may be that our changing attitude towards psychology is making us less willing to experience our own feelings – or perhaps we are simply less capable of it than previous generations, since it’s increasingly suggested to us that pills can take the place of other methods of coping.

Critics call for the APA to reconsider its proposal. “Grief is not an illness; it is more usefully thought of as part of being human and a normal response to death of a loved one. Putting a timeframe on grief is inappropriate—DSM-5…please take note.”

Would you want to take a medication if it would help lighten the pain of grief? Or is it better to experience it, work through it, and wait for it to lift in its own time? There is undoubtedly a place where grief becomes depression when it does not lighten for a long time. But considering it a symptom of depression from day one seems like a damaging way to define it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Join Us for a Forum on Racial Profiling, Federal Hate Crimes Enforcement and “Stand Your Ground” Laws: Protecting a “Suspect” Community

Please join us for a forum on the Federal hate crimes enforcement authority and
racial profiling and “Stand Your Ground” laws on Tuesday, March 27, in Rayburn House
Office Building Room 2237, from 3 PM – 5 PM.

Please note: this is not a formal hearing and will not be streamed on Judiciary website.  I will post the video hearing in its entirety as soon as available.
Join Us for a Forum on Racial Profiling, Federal Hate Crimes Enforcement and “Stand Your Ground” Laws: Pr...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fighting to Control the Meaning of ‘Obamacare’

Fighting to Control the Meaning of ‘Obamacare’

On Monday, the Supreme Court will begin three days of arguments over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The act is often called “Obamacare,” primarily by Republicans, as a term of disdain. Democrats have tried to limit the term’s use to reshape perceptions, but that has been a tough sell. Grant Barrett, a vice president for the American Dialect Society, says it is almost impossible to persuade people to discontinue the use of a political word. “It’s an invitation to have your heart broken. You forbid it, and they start writing it on the bathroom stalls.” Now Democrats seem to be embracing the term, launching a Twitter campaign that seeks to build positive associations for it.

Fox News
MARCH Number of times “Obamacare” has been used from March 1 to 23, according to transcripts kept by ShadowTV.
JUNE 12 The Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty uses “Obamneycare” to link the plan to one Mr. Romney signed as governor of Massachusetts.
Number of times “Obamacare” was used each month by members of Congress as recorded in the Congressional Record.
Uses of “Obamacare” in debates, television interviews and major speeches from May 1, 2011, to March 11, 2012, (or until a candidate dropped out), as transcribed by Federal News Service.
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL Republican candidates use “Obamacare” to fire up the base, promising to repeal the law.
JAN. 7 Representative Steve King of Iowa uses “Obamacare” more than 60 times in a speech. In the Congressional Record, Mr. King has used the word nearly five times as often as any other lawmaker.
JULY 8 Quoting an editorial in The Wall Street Journal, Roy Blunt of Missouri, then a congressman, and Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona enter the word into the Congressional Record for the first time.
MAY At a campaign speech in Iowa, Mitt Romney criticizes Democratic health care plans, saying, “The path of Europe is not the way to go. Socialized medicine. Hillarycare. Obamacare.”
APRIL 30 A spokesman for FreedomWorks, a group affiliated with the Tea Party movement, writes on the group’s blog: “Barack Obama is busy promoting his own version of HillaryCare. You can call it ObamaCare.”
FEB. 11 Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan says that while opponents use “Obamacare” in a derogatory sense, he also uses it because “it’s going to go down in history as a major accomplishment of the President’s.”

MARCH 23 The Obama campaign posts on Twitter, “If you’re proud of Obamacare and tired of the other side using it as a dirty word, complete this sentence: #ILikeObamacare because ...”
OCTOBER Democrats object to the use of the term “Obamacare” in mailings paid for with Congressional funds, saying that it violates a rule against using the mailings for political reasons.
FEB. 18 Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida argues against the use of “Obamacare” on the House floor. “It is meant as a disparaging reference to the president of the United States, and it is clearly in violation of the House rules against that.”
AUG. 15 Mr. Obama uses the word in a speech, adding, “I have no problem with people saying ‘Obama cares.’ I do care. If the other side wants to be the folks who don’t care? That’s fine with me.”

DECEMBER The Department of Health and Human Services buys advertising on Google so that a link to its web site,, appears at the top of searches for “Obamacare.” An official tells Politico that this is part of an effort to “get accurate information to people about the new law.”
MARCH Jeanne Schulte Scott, a lobbyist, writes in the journal Healthcare Financial Management: “We will soon see a ‘Giuliani-care’ and ‘Obama-care’ to go along with ‘McCain-care,’ ‘Edwards-care,’ and a totally revamped and remodeled ‘Hillary-care’ from the 1990s.”
MARCH 23 Mr. Obama signs the Affordable Care Act into law.

Former Detroit DHS Director Whistleblower Lawsuit

Shenetta Coleman Whistleblower Lawsuit Against City of Detroit

Trayvon Martin killing puts Sanford, Florida on edge

Trayvon Martin killing puts Sanford, Florida on edge

(Bloomberg) -- This isn’t the Florida retirement Becky Drumheller imagined back home in


She and her husband arrived March 24 in Sanford, a city about 20 miles north of Orlando consumed by the killing of Trayvon Martin, a black, unarmed 17-year-old Miami Gardens resident who was shot Feb. 26 in his father’s gated community by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman, whose mother is Hispanic and father is white, has claimed self- defense and has not been arrested, a decision that has prompted rallies across the nation, and that residents say has fractured this city of 54,000.

“There is so much negativity,” Drumheller, 63, said as a driver honked and motioned her out of the way in a shopping-mall parking lot. “It’s overwhelming.”

The Sanford City Council will hold a special meeting this afternoon at which Martin’s parents are expected to speak. In addition to the 1,200 seats at the Civic Center, where the meeting will be held, an overflow viewing area with a video screen has been set up at a nearby park.

Martin’s parents will lead an eight-block march to the Civic Center.

“The events that have recently occurred here in the city of Sanford have certainly taken a toll on everyone,” acting police Chief Darren Scott said at a news conference. Scott was appointed to the position today by City Manager Norton Bonaparte after former Chief Bill Lee stepped aside last week.

Florida to Washington

The U.S. Justice Department last week opened a civil rights inquiry into the incident. Fourteen Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking that as part of it he “explore the applicability” of the federal hate-crime statute and other federal laws.

Tomorrow, Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will hold an unofficial hearing on Capitol Hill seeking to bring attention to the Justice Department probe of the shooting.

The forum starts at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Matt Morgan, a spokesman for Representative John Conyers of Michigan, the top Democrat on the panel, said in an e-mail today. Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, will testify, said Ryan Julison, a family spokesman.

Force Meets Force

The Congressional Black Caucus, which has been calling for formal hearings to probe the shooting, will hold briefings this week to “raise the level of awareness around the country about hate crimes and racial profiling,” Representative Barbara Lee, a California Democrat and former caucus chairwoman, said today in a statement.

Representative Xavier Becerra of California, a member of the Democratic leadership, said it was “incomprehensible” how long it took for Florida leaders to act after the shooting.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson, the civil rights activist, has advocated a voter-registration drive with the aim of electing officials who would repeal Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

Local officials said the law, which relieves a citizen of responsibility to retreat when he feels threatened in a public place and gives him the right to “meet force with force,” prevented them from making an arrest after Zimmerman killed Martin. The teenager was walking to his father’s home after buying Skittles candy and an iced tea from a convenience store.

Suspended From School

The Orlando Sentinel, citing “authorities” whom it didn’t name, reported today that Martin attacked Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk. That matches the account that Zimmerman gave police and was corroborated by eyewitnesses, the newspaper reported.

Julison, the Martin family spokesman, said today that the teenager was in Sanford because he was suspended from school last month for having a baggie that contained marijuana residue in his book bag. The family believes the suspension had nothing to do with the killing, he said.

Scott today urged patience for residents who want a “quick and positive resolution in this tragic event.”

“We do have a system in place, a legal system,” he said. “It may not be perfect, but it’s the only one we have.”

Why Nobody Wants To Adopt Older Boys From Foster Care

Rosenblum: Adoption agencies' new hard-to-place worry? Boys

At Children's Home Society & Family Services, Molly Rochon and her team of adoption professionals remain steadfast in their resolve to find loving families for all their waiting children.

That is because there are big adoption bonuses to be made.  Remember, there is a bonus check at the end of every adoption rainbow!

But Rochon is baffled by a new group sharing longer waits to be adopted, along with older children, siblings and children with chronic health conditions: boys.

Ok, think of it this way.  You have a teen aged boy, young man who was ripped from all he knows and has spent the majority of his life being shipped from lock up to lock up (the politically correct comfort term is residential placement) where he keeps being cut off from all he knows, raised in a cage like an animal (comfy foster care term is "cabin") fed the cheapest and worst food (agency profit takes precedence), beaten, raped, drugged with the looming vision of life on the streets when he ages out at 18.  Would you be angry (that is the comfy term for chronic health)?

"When it comes to families, we just have more boys [waiting] than girls," said Rochon, senior country relations manager at the St. Paul agency. "We place more girls. It's just what families want."

Boys in foster care tend to be more aggressive as a form of survival and also become sexually active at a very early age in foster care.  See, foster kids are not allowed to be embraced.  A human cannot exist without human touch, human compassion, therefore it becomes a situation of seeking out self compassion, by any means necessary.

How many more? In 2006, families expressing a gender preference chose girls over boys 391 to 166. In 2009, the split was 213 girls and 88 boys; in 2010, 121 and 38. Last year, it was 78 girls and 31 boys.

The drive for daughters, Rochon said, cuts across the agency's international and domestic programs and is noted regardless of the child's age; families frequently express interest in a girl "as young as possible."

Baby dolls are much more fun to play with!

Could it be that there simply are fewer adoptable boys in general? Nope. Boys are more commonly eligible for adoption than girls. Said Rochon: "It's just unexplainable."

It is explainable, you just do not want to talk about the hell these boys experience in foster care.

U.S. Department of State figures support her contention. From 1999 to 2011, the department's Office of Children's Issues tracked nearly 234,000 adoptions worldwide: 141,000 girls and 83,000 boys, with the rest unspecified.

Rochon wouldn't be less concerned were the phenomenon reversed. "It troubles us that people who want to have a family limit themselves in ways that result in many children waiting longer for families," she said.

Why don't you talk about the boys who are being returned by foster and adoptive families because the child placing agencies are withholding and fabricating social histories of the hell these boys have suffered in foster care?

The trend may surprise many who have long believed the opposite is true, which it is in some parts of the world. China's one-child rule, for example, has created extreme ratios favoring boys.

Worse are tragic consequences of gender preference, such as a 22-year-old woman in Afghanistan killed in January by her husband and mother-in-law after delivering her third girl (no matter that the male primarily determines the baby's gender).

Distractionary slant of reporting which has nothing to do with the situation at hand: boys emotionally, physically, psychologically and sexually suffer in foster care.

And yet, adoption experts say a quiet shift to girls has been taking place for quite some time. "I wasn't the least bit surprised," said Joe Kroll, executive director of the St. Paul-based North American Council on Adoptable Children. His agency finds homes for foster children, many of them older, which makes placement harder regardless of gender.

Kroll adopted a daughter in 1975 from Korea, when "people kept boys and let girls go." Now girls are placed more than boys by a "ballpark" of 52 to 48 percent, he said.

In 2010, 64 percent of waiting children with AdoptUSKids were male, said spokeswoman Kathy Ledesma.

While Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota doesn't allow gender requests, the issue has come up. "There is some thought that it's due to the way the landscape of adoption has gone -- the kids are older, with some behavior challenges," said spokeswoman Rachel Walstad. "There may be a perception that those behaviors manifest more aggressively in boys."

Conversely, some parents may see daughters as future caregivers. "There's a perception that girls will take care of you when you're older," said Amy Brendmoen, a Children's Home Society spokeswoman.

No.  The perception is a girl will not attack you when suffering from post traumatic stress episodes of foster care.

Dan and Jane Kramer once believed that a girl would make their family complete. The Kramers, formerly of Minneapolis, live in East Lansing, Mich., where Dan, 43, teaches at Michigan State University and Jane, 42, is a photographer. Jane was adopted through LSS. They married in their mid-20s.

After the couple struggled with infertility, Dan brought up the idea of adopting an infant girl from China. While he was eager to experience that special father-daughter relationship, "I wasn't there yet," Jane said. "I tried to convince myself that we didn't need a family, we didn't need kids."

Why don't you come down here to Detroit and adopt one of these boys who have been processed through Wolverine.  Whatever happened to "Made in America"?

After her father died suddenly in 2004, Jane reconsidered. By then, wait times for infants were up to three years, so they looked at older children of both genders. But the girl dream remained strong. "In our hearts, we still envisioned a girl," Jane said. "We had a name." Their nursery was decorated in floral.

After saying no to a healthy older boy, Jane called her father-in-law and asked, "Why do I feel so awful?"

Because you know that boy will end up living on the streets when the foster care system kicks him out with his garbage bag of worldly possessions on the street when he turns 18.

"When you first tried to get pregnant, you just wanted to be parents," he said. "What's changed?"

What changed?  The internet with sites like Legally Kidnapped.

Suddenly, everything in the nursery "was so insignificant," Jane said. "We just wanted to have a child." They adopted Eli, now 8, on her 39th birthday through Children's Home Society. Joyful doesn't begin to express their life with him. Eli plays soccer and baseball, studies Mandarin, "and has really brought us out of our shells," Jane said.

"At some point, you have to let that dream evolve."

At some point, the truth will come out.

Michigan DHS Neglected Detroit DHS, Rights To Be Terminated

I just adore Madame Corrigan (spoken in a high British accent), the arrogance of indifference, the indolence of immunity, the dismissive concerns that it was her Department of Human Services and her legislating from the bench that allowed  the malfeasance and misfeasance in Detroit Department of Human Services in the first place.

See, Michigan DHS is the recipient of federal grants whereby there are certain mandated guidelines in order to continue eligibility of its grant management of its subrecipients.  One of its subrecipients was Detroit DHS.

If the Madame does not make it look like her Department has been in federal compliance of its funding, then Michigan is going to loose a whole lot of money, the same way the feds do not want to grant Detroit any more Head Start money.

Michigan DHS failed to provide for the necessary needs of the City of Detroit DHS.  Those necessary needs were financial guidance and regulartory oversight as a subrecipient, pursuant to OMB Cir A-133.  As a result the City of Detroit has failed to financially thrive.  Reasonable efforts have been made to prevent removal of Federal Financial Participation Rates of certain grants in HHS OIG DAB rulings.  It is in the best interest of the City of Detroit to recommend termination of the public right to corporate oversight of the State of Michigan and place the City of Detroit into federal receivership.

Michigan DHS is just as jacked up, if not more, as Detroit DHS.  

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, Madame Corrigan.  Andrew Arena needs to expand the scope of the task force to include your history of paper shredding and white out.


Maura Corrigan demands City Council hand over Detroit Department of Human Services/ March 2, 2012
 State illegally withholds $8 million meanwhile, causing thousands to go without services; no documentation for charges of mismanagement 
State wants Wayne Metro CAA to take over; WMCAA board meeting Thursday, March 15 at 2 p.m. at 2121 Biddle, #102 Wyandotte, MI
By Diane Bukowski 
March 3, 2012 

DETROIT – Maura Corrigan, who cut 15,000 Michigan families off public assistance and then recently called most of them part of “the underground economy” and “gamers” in published remarks, came to Detroit March 2 to demand that the City Council voluntarily cede control of the Detroit Human Services Department. 
Corrigan said she wants the Wyandotte-based Wayne-Metropolitan Community Action Agency (WMCAA), run by an 18-member board dominated by wealthy suburban and corporate representatives from areas like Grosse Ile, to take over after DHS is de-designated as Detroit’s “community action agency.” 
Her reason? 
“Our goal is that Detroit residents receive every single cent of government assistance that is due to them,” Corrigan said. Corrigan is head of the state Department of Human Services, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder. She was previously a right-wing State Supreme Court justice. 
Corrigan said the state is withholding nearly $8 million in federal community services block grants from the city’s DHS, and will not renew the contract for the city’s $17 million home weatherization program March 31. After not being paid for several weeks, contractual weatherization workers were laid off Dec. 14, leaving hundreds of Detroiters, mostly seniors, with half-completed work on their homes. 
The rest of the department is essentially shut down, according to Cecily McClellan, Vice-President of the Association of Professional and Technical Employees. No funds have come in from the state since Oct. 1, 2011. She said there are no funds and personnel left for the department to distribute emergency food resources, pay back due energy bills, prevent evictions, and repair houses using mainly small Black contractors, who are also not being paid. 
“The funds are already suspended,” Councilwoman JoAnn Watson told Corrigan. “Our people are not able to get service, and because they were cut off welfare by the State, the only place they can go is the city, and now they cannot get service there either because the state is illegally withholding the funds. These grants(WCMAA board meets Thurs. March 15 at       were intended for the people of          2 p.m. at 2121 Biddle, #102 Wyandotte, MI.)  Detroit to have services and employment.” 

Chris Griffiths demands the City Council stand up to Corrigan, while Bertram Marks and APTE V-P Cecilyn McClellan listen
Corrigan said a joint investigation by state and federal inspectors along with the FBI is going on to turn up “potentially illegal misuse of funds.” She threatened that if the Council did not agree to voluntarily give up control of DHS, “we will move forward with adversarial proceedings to de-certify DHS as a community action agency.” 
During her exchange with City Council members, Corrigan refused to address them by their titles, for example calling Councilwoman JoAnn Watson “Ms. Watson.” She snubbed city residents who packed the chamber in support of the city’s DHS by walking out before public comment. 

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson tells Corrigan the state cut-off of funds to DHS is illegal.
“Those folks who just left think we are stupid,” said one speaker afterwards. “I’m not stupid, I have two college degrees and studied law. Nobody in this room is stupid. But she said the people of Detroit don’t understand. She threatened you [the Council] with no basis. She even said she lost the paperwork involved. Do not give away DHS simply because they walked in here and asked you to.” 
During public comment, Chris Griffiths stood to declare, “I speak for the people of Detroit in asking you to disapprove the transfer of funds belonging to us. The people of Detroit need jobs and we will lose those jobs if this happens. Corrupt individuals from the state have come in under the pretense of helping us but they are robbing us.” 

Angeles Hunt of DHS advisory board tells Council to stand up for DHS
Angeles Hunt, who is a City of Detroit retiree and now serves as an elected member of the Human Services Commission, said, “I want to know how this can be done without even any notification to us. The City Council must fight for DHS.” 
Several building contractors testified that they are owed millions in funds for work they have already done in the weatherization program. 
In an aside, Councilman Kwame Kenyatta said regarding Mayor Dave Bing, “We have one administration locked up, maybe we need the current one locked up too.”
Bing has already agreed to a voluntary de-designation of DHS in an exchange of letters with the governor’s office, although he is not authorized to do so without City Council consent according to law.  He did not bother to come himself or send representatives to the Council hearing, enraging many Council members as well as the public. 
Only Council President Pro-Tem Gary Brown openly supported voluntary de-designation. 
“I wholeheartedly believe that the city ought to get out of the business of things it doesn’t do well,” Brown said. “I support a Detroit-based Detroit-headquartered entity being designated.” 
Corrigan however countered that  a “community action agency” has to comply with specific requirements, and that  since Wayne Metro is already a CAA, it can continue services without fund cut-offs while Requests for Proposals for private contracts are submitted. She said the City of Detroit would not be eligible to submit such a proposal.
“Last spring, we became aware of severe problems with DHS,” Corrigan said. “They have fallen far short of what is required by federal law even though the state provided technical assistance. . . there is strong evidence of years of mismanagement, misuse of funds, and criminal activity.” 

Standing room only crowd packed Council chambers 3 2 12
Corrigan claimed “50 to 74 percent of the money” allocated to DHS went to residents who were ineligible.  She claimed the department was double-billing the state DHS and Department of Education for various services. She did not produce evidence of this, claiming it was currently under wraps due to the criminal investigation. 
Corrigan claimed she had provided the City Council with numerous notices of illegal DHS practices, but Councilman Kwame Kenyatta, who heads the Community Services Committee, said his committee has not received any such notices. 

Councilman Gary Brown speaks in favor of de-designation of DHS
VOD obtained a package of reports on the city’s DHS by the Bureau of Community Action and Opportunity, the subdivision of the state’s DHS which has the ONLY authority to recommend de-designation. The reports are dated in August, 2010, June, 2011, and December, 2011. They completely contradict Corrigan’s allegations. (To view entire package including state audits of DHS, federal and state regulations for de-designation of a CAA, and exchange of letters between Mayor Bing and the Snyder administration, click on . This download is only available for 7 days from date of this post, so it would be helpful to print it out. Document was too large for attachment to this post. If you miss the deadline, email and we will send you a copy.)
They are essentially routine reports on audits conducted of various divisions of the city’s DHS, which cite minor problems such as workers forgetting to include the quarterly DHS supplement for SSI payments in household income. That supplement is $41.00. The reports say clearly that the households would be eligible for service even with the funds included.  In some cases, the Bureau noted that DHS workers had incorrectly cited sources of income that should not have been included, but still allowed services. 

More Detroiters demand Council stand firm against state attack on Detroit DHS
In general, the Bureau says that all discrepancies they pointed out have been resolved, except for three findings, one of which was not the fault of DHS. 
 That was that the city’s budget and finance departments used DHS funds to pay $384,175 in interest on debt repayments for the $1.5 billion pension obligation certificate (POC) borrowing during the Kilpatrick administration in 2005. The state asked for reimbursement from the department. 
The Bureau also found that ONE two-member household was not eligible for weatherization assistance because its yearly income of $8,074.00 exceeded the poverty limit of $7,404. 

Councilwoman Brenda Jones opposed the voluntary de-designation.
The state also found that the department did not do criminal checks on a handful of contractual workers and asked that they do so. Nowhere in the reports does the Bureau recommend that the city’s DHS be de-designated as a community action agency.
(See box with requirements for de-designation, none of which Corrigan has followed. Also note box describing WMCAA board of directors, in particular its CEO Louis Piszker, who runs a for-profit agency out of WMCAA’s Ecorse office, mostly likely a complete conflict of interest. Perhaps Corrigan needs to be investigating WMCAA instead.)

Members of Young Detroit Builders who came to 2010 City Council hearing; three of them are now in college.
Since this story was published, VOD has found that funds the Detroit DHS provides to Young Detroit Builders (YDB) have also been cut. YDB is an educational and training program that helps young adults ages 18-24 earn their GED’s while getting hands-on construction training, doing community service and earning a living allowance. They receive counseling and mentoring as well. Many graduates of the program have gone on to college, including several of those in the picture at the right, who testified at a City Council hearing in 2010.
Officials said YDB funds administered by the city DHS are still owed for the months of August and September, 2011, and that no funds have been received from that grant since then. As a result, many of the workers who run the program have not been paid for weeks, and some have been forced to leave. YDB representatives who were present at the March 2 hearing were on the list to speak, but the hearing ended before they were allowed to do so. Their website is at .

Shenetta Coleman, former director of Detroit DHS (Photo from Facebook)
For background information on how Mayor Bing and the daily media conspired to dismantle Detroit DHS over the last several years, read the whistleblower lawsuit filed by Shenetta Coleman, former director of DHS, at Shenetta Coleman lawsuit best, Coleman alleges she was fired by Bing because she objected to the usage of DHS federal grant funds for renovation of the Herman Kiefer Health Complex in order to combine DHS with the Detroit Department of Health, for payment on the city’s POC debt, and to pay staff who did not work for DHS.