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Why Are Our Children Dying Under For-Profit Foster Care?

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Tim 3:1-5 KJV

IF EVEN ONE CHILD DIES IT IS TOO MANY – BUT 86???

Adopting out for moneyI continually ask myself how much EVIL the ADULTS of this country can put upon our children. You have willy-nilly sex for self-satisfaction, not caring what the circumstances could be or take any responsibility for your actions. You use drugs as a touchy, feely, I know what I am doing thing and then you haven’t the decency to take care of the children you produce.

Then there are those on the other side commonly referred to as Corporate America or Public-Private Partnerships involving themselves in our children’s lives for nothing more than money and their corporate bottom line – looking at every aspect of their lives to make a profit!

MENTOR, America’s largest For-Profit Foster Care Firm has just been investigated by the US Senate Finance Committee. It has to have gotten pretty bad for the Feds to start paying attention.

Headed by Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), they recently released their bipartisan report dealing with the mistreatment of our countries most vulnerable children, those in foster care. Because of this report, we are once again given another bill called the Child Welfare oversight and Accountability Act of 2017 (S.1964). Why do we need legislation to make sure that our children are well taken care of and not mistreated, even murdered?

Have some of us totally lost all common decency and human compassion? It appears so and like with so many other things, MONEY is at the head of the table.

Launched two years ago following inquiries to all 50 of our state governors and only 33 of them responding in response to complaints regarding the private foster care system across the country. Why these governors could not take care of the problem in their own states is still a mystery.

“The lack of oversight of the nation’s child welfare system, at both the state and federal level, is unacceptable. The Child Welfare Oversight and Accountability Act, which I introduced today with Ranking Member Wyden (D-Oregon), would help to ensure better government oversight and protect children in foster care in Utah and across the country.”

A recent bout of national media attention concerning questionable behavior by private for-profit agencies, with abuse and neglect by foster parents working for those providers, and in some instances, abuse and neglect which caused children’s deaths, led the Finance Committee to investigate this issue. As the Finance Committee has primary jurisdiction over Federal child welfare and foster care funding and policy (largely through the Social Security Act), the Committee launched an investigation in April 2015 to examine the privatization of foster care services.

mENTOROne specific private company, The MENTOR Network – one of the largest for-profit providers of foster care services in the United States – voluntarily provided data and analysis that showed that over a 10-year period, approximately 70 percent of children’s deaths were unexpected.

This is why I am opposed to any and all private companies who are allowed to take over any type of services when their bottom line is PROFIT at the expense of others.

Can you imagine this country has gone so far out of control into an “It’s all about me attitude”, that in 2015, 671,000 children in this the greatest country in the world were in out of the home Foster Care Services and basically treated like raw meat?

Information which was received from the MENTOR Network specifically reviewed incident reports about the deaths of children in the company’s care, an internal morality report, legal settlements, case notes, foster parent applications and other documents.

The Committee concluded that children who were under the legal authority and care of their individual states and who were receiving services from private, for-profit agencies and being paid for those services had been abused, neglected, denied services – some even died.

In Mentor’s case, investigations into fatalities were never investigated and followed-up on; autopsy reports were left pending for YEARS, excluded from files and the majority of the children who died were never the subject of internal investigations – even when their deaths were unexpected.

Adding insult to injury, families of these children and victims of other inadequate care had received compensation in financial settlements in the millions of dollars.

As the need for private for-profit and non-profit providers of foster care services had grown, oversight of these entities by State agencies as well as Federal oversight of the States has been, inadequate.

This Link will take you to the letter sent from Senator Hatch to the Mentor Network.

As far back as 2004, on a dirt road in rural Maryland’s eastern shore, a 15-year-old boy was being dropped off at the Last Chance Farm where four couples lived, all related to each other and all NOT being paid or supervised by the government, but a giant corporation named the National Mentor Holdings, which over the previous three decades had turned their guardianship of foster children into a gigantic CASH COW! At any given time, they had an average of over 3,800 children and teenagers in foster homes in over 15 states around the country.

What came next for the 15-year-old was sexual abuse which continued even after he reported it to the caseworker – she felt her job with the company was more important than the welfare of the boy. It wasn’t until 2011, that the police descended on the Last Chance Farm. Extreme case? Not if you take the time to research.

CHILDRENIn Georgia, former State Senator Nancy Schaefer exposed the Georgia ‘Child Protective Services” (CPS)for Child Abuse and the Human Trafficking the Foster Children flowing through their care. Link In GA at the time, CPS would receive a bonus every time they removed a child from their home. Her article “The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services” can be found here.

In 2016, an article was presented entitled “The U.S. Foster Care System:  Modern Day Slavery and Child Trafficking”. Never ever believe there isn’t a great deal of money to be made in Trafficking.

Foster care is seen as an “industry” – a business where children become a commodity that profits doctors, lawyers, judges, social workers, advocates, and other organizations, an industry that can only exist by taking other people’s children, an industry that damages the very children it purports to be helping. The trauma inflicted on children by the foster care industry is inexcusable.

Molly McGrath Tierney, the former Director of the Baltimore City Department of Social Services stated, “we’re digging a wound so deep, I don’t believe we have a way of measuring it. This dismantling of families – it has enormous consequences. Kids that grow up outside of families – they don’t master the things that can only be learned in that context, like who to trust, how to love, and how to take care of yourself, and that frankly does more damage than the abuse and neglect that brought the kid to my attention in the first place”.  LINK

Legislators and government agencies will tell you Foster Care is “Best for the Child”, but what kind of best are you removing them to?  The dismantling of families rather than trying to heal from within is digging a wound so deep, that in most cases it can never be repaired.

Know that in many cases accepting foster care as “best for the child” is, in fact, a “financial decision” and what is best for the state and corporate America and unfortunately some of the workers within the system.

How many of America’s children are in Foster care – as of the year 2014 – 415,000 have been ripped away from their families to be entrusted to an industry that only looks at their “profit line” and not the child itself.

In 2015, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) has demanded a response from the Obama administration to whistleblower claims that thousands of those children have been released to sponsors with criminal records that include homicide, child molestation, and human trafficking. Legal advocates for the children say many have wound up in abusive situations, where they- have been forced to work to repay debts or living expenses. Some children simply stop showing up for immigration hearings and vanish.

Do you think Grassley got one? I can’t find any notation that Obama released anything to Grassley, but according to Grassley, at least 3,400 children had been placed where the sponsors had criminal records. Does it matter if “proper screening” is taking place when they ignore the results of the reports?

Lydia Joyner at 18 had lived in 35 different homes and had 18 different social workers. Adding to the stripping of who she was, her name was changed 4 times and at 18, the doors open wide and you are thrown out into the world to survive.

Do you believe Pizzagate is made up or a figment of someone’s imagination? Human Trafficking and Pedophilia has been a major business in the entire world increasing dynamically since the 1980’s – be it for pleasure or business profit. Pictures of children are sold to the buyer to then pick the kind of child they want and in many cases, government workers and/or state offices are receiving payouts for their leads and help. In relation to foster care, in 2017 the current reimbursement to state and local government agencies for each child taken into foster care is $6K a month, yet the foster care parent receives about one 10th of that.

Because of a directive under then-President Clinton, HHS was directed to develop an internet site to “link children in foster care with adoptive families” so we will be able to window shop for children on a government website. If you don’t find anything you like there, you can surf on over to the ‘Adopt Shoppe.’ Link

Obama while president saw fit to make changes within the Dept. of HHS especially in the earmark process which rewarded programs politically – focused more on “connections” than “successful programs”. Political supporters were given “Pay-for-Success” (PFS) grants with little or no oversight.

The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) received a grant of $1 million to assess the feasibility of asthma-related PFS projects benefitting low-income children. Harvard Kennedy School Social Impact Bond Lab received its $1.93 million grant to provide technical assistance to ten local and state governments to build their capacity to pursue PFS projects. And there are many more. Do you think just maybe all this money would have been better spent protecting and saving the lives of our children?

What it is, is a form of using our children, especially low-income children as guinea pigs.

We have come no further than the practice between 1854 and 1929 of moving orphan children by train (Orphan Trains) across the country and even into Canada into what America was told were “worthy” families of good reputation.  LINK

Although these children then as today, were supposed to be “treated in their new homes as family members”, more often than not most of these children ended up as indentured servants. Some families were even allowed to “PRE-ORDER the children they wanted with certain traits like “blonde hair and blue eyes”. Does this bring memories to your mind?

Sad but true, studies have shown that the Orphan Train children were treated better than Foster kids of today.

Alexandria HillTake little Alexandria Hill – Mentor was also her “Foster Care Provider” and got paid well for finding a “caregiver” for her. Small, blonde, innocent 2-year-old Alexandria was brutally murdered by her foster mother on a hot July evening in Texas in 2013 by swinging her until her head crushed into the floor. Her foster mother Smalls, claimed it was an accident.

Alexandria’s father, Joshua, sitting in the hospital waiting room anguished had an official from the State of Texas show up and the father asked what he should do. The official with his caring NOT, replied, ” “She’s in your custody now. That’s up to you.” The parents agreed to take the little girl off life support, and Alexandria was declared dead on July 31.

DEAD – now she was given back into the custody of her parents!

How did Mentor approve this household when the husband was a known crack user, flaws in the background information, but Mentor never did a recent background check? If they’d asked for one, they would have learned that Sherill Small had been convicted in 2002 of aggravated kidnapping and robbery after she and an accomplice in the kidnapping of a pregnant convenience store clerk in 2000. If ask, her sisters would have told Mentor about Sherill willingly.

Why was she taken from her parents?  A caseworker wrote that the parents smoked marijuana and that the mother periodically had grand mal seizures.

My question to Senator’s Hatch and Grassley – JUST WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS OTHER THAN WRITE MORE REGULATIONS OF WHICH ARE NOT FOLLOWED OR MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE?

 

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School Choice: The Hidden Dangers! Must Be Watched Videos!

It is essential that parents and parents-to-be fully understand what is happening in our education system and to fully understand what “School Choice” means to them and their children. When every education system offered (public, charter, voucher private/religious) must be aligned to a certain set of standards, that is NOT a choice.

Again I want to remind you this slow shift in the control of your children through their education has been around for over 100 years. This is not a PARTY “D” or “R” thing, both are involved. What you are seeing is a “pass of control” if you will, from the “unions to the corporate” cronies or from one group of “bad guys” to another group of “bad guys”. Understand none of them are your friends.

This is “SKILLS-BASED EDUCATION”! So you ask what is the difference between skill-based education and knowledge based education.

SKILL-BASED:  This form of education is more about teaching our children “WHAT” to think and it centers around developing and applying specific skills that can then be used to obtain the required knowledge for the workforce. From a teacher’s point of view, it changes the way lesson planning is done. Whereas before the focus would have been on how they could teach the class about a certain topic, skills-based learning means that the focus is now on how that topic can help the children to develop and learn certain skills. In other words, “dumbed down education” and this is where you get 2+2=5 or whatever a child wants. The goal is for the child to be able to justify their anser not so much as if it is correct.

ACADEMIC/KNOWLEDGE BASED:  Teaches a child “HOW” to think and to build upon the knowledge that the pupil already has. There are clear learning objectives set out which link to the activity undertaken, helping the child to see how their existing knowledge will help them to complete the task. For teachers this can mean having more one on one time with pupils to talk through how they are finding the task/subject and giving any additional help they may need. This can seem time-consuming but it will ensure that all pupils are engaged and learning during the lessons and that they will all succeed.

These videos will show you and go into more detail about behind the “double-speak” words which are being used in regard to education/school choice:

PRIVATIZATION:

Understood Meaning:  Allowing a true and free market to work i.e., private schools

Hidden Meaning:  Cronyism in the form of Public-Private Partnerships

SCHOOL CHOICE:

Understood Meaning:  A parent can choose from a wide range of different schools and options

Hidden Meaning:  Parent’s can choose from a narrow range of schools deemed acceptable by the government with no real choice

EDUCATIONAL SAVINGS ACCOUNTS:

Understood Meaning:  A tax-free savings account into which parents may place their own earnings to use for the education options they choose from for their children

Hidden Meaning:  Entitlement programs in the form of vouchers subject to total government control

ACCOUNTABILITY:

Understood Meaning:  That the system (teachers, school boards & government) are answerable to parents & taxpayers

Hidden Meaning:  Answerable to your State and through the ESEA Federal government bureaucracy

LOCAL CONTROL:

Understood Meaning:  Local school districts are setting policy

Hidden Meaning:  The state determines a narrow range in which school districts may have a narrow range of pre-selected options

COMPETENCY:

Understood Definition:  Proficiency in an academic area

Hidden Definition:  Skills-based emotional and psychological training to be used in industry (utilitarian)

“Educating” the Workforce:  The Lie we’ve Unwittingly Embraced:

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4

Keep in mind that foundations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Walmart Family Foundation, ALEC, and others have invested deeply and supported BOTH Common Core and Choice/Vouchers.

Example: Education legislation just passed yesterday by Florida includes:

Praises from Jeb Bush and his lapdogs; critics are referring to it as manipulative and detrimental to traditional public schools;  the 278-page bill eliminates a section of Florida’s often-criticized, 2011 teacher merit-pay law; changes standardized testing rules; mandates 20 minutes of recess for elementary school children (exempting charter schools); expands a controversial teacher bonus program and provides new bonuses for most teachers for the next three years.

It also provides financial incentives for successful charter schools to open in neighborhoods with struggling traditional public schools and demands that school districts share some tax money with charters.

Gov. Scott’s $82.4 billion budget is a less than 1% increase from the current year. It includes $20.4 billion for PreK-12 schools, or $7,221 per student, about a $25 increase on the current year, the smallest jump since Florida began to climb out of the recession. House Speaker Corcoran’s push to use $200 million to entice charter schools to compete with chronically failing public schools and another $200 million to pay teachers bonuses based on SAT scores made the cut. (Keep in mind NO ONE will answer a question about the fraud and corruption going on within the Charter school system, not even if any of the money is being paid back or if anyone is going to jail.)There was a great deal of conversation surrounding transparency regarding the closed-door negotiations. But then the lack of transparency in Florida is nothing new since our legislature has for several years received a D or F in that area.

When called on the closed-door meetings, House Speaker Coocoran stated, “Under Article III (of the state Constitution), we have that right, and I’ve said it to you guys from the beginning: One of my biggest criticisms coming in as speaker was, we’re the body closest to the people, the Legislature. And what we’re going to do is, we’re going to go out there and we’re going to grab that authority.” Whew, he certainly sees himself as important. They change everything else in the Constitution, why never the bad things?

Lawmakers also approved legislation on Friday that would increase funding available to students under the state’s de facto voucher program and strengthen protections for expressions of religion in public schools.

Again all this entitlement and lack of oversight in regard to Charter schools with our legislators owning or being associated with Charter schools and at the same time writing and voting on Charter school legislation.

Our State colleges also took a $30.2 million cut, but then the amount being paid to college professors is enough to blow a person’s mind. The amount of debt our children graduate from college with is inexcusable. Take UCF, now the largest college in the country just gave their coach Scott Frost a 300,000 annual raise. The American Athletic Conference coach now earns $2 million per year after one season on the job.

 

This forward movement to control our children through education is controlling every aspect of government at this time. Parents was to fix it is to STOP re-electing these same old pieces of legislature bull and get some new blood in and if they defy us, then move them out too. They are re-call measures you know!

 

 

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Cold Calculated Screwing with Our Kids!

On Friday, March 6, a Tampa Bay Times reporter actually called a spade a spade. His article was right on regarding how these State Superintendents/Commissioners of Education and State School Boards are messing with our kids. The article addresses Florida kids, but from what I have been reading, this article reflects back to what is happening all over America.

Parents are waking up and realizing you are using them as collateral – “future collateral” – for the corporate public private partnerships and cash cow donations to the pockets of legislators. Read and see if this fits where you live. Time to start calling them out and removing them – elected or governor appointed.

YOU ARE MESSING WITH OUR KIDS LIVES

Crayons

The Real Error Message on Florida’s Computers

by Daniel Ruth

Perhaps it is because the state is governed by a walking motherboard that so many apparatchiks in Tallahassee’s bureaucracy seem to think of the populace as automatons who bleed algorithms.

How else to explain the indifference to Florida’s schoolchildren and the unemployed who have been treated as if they were Orwellian cogs doing the bidding of Tallahassee’s grand and glorious sigh tech wizards of faux pas.

In recent years, Florida’s high priests of education have hammered away about how our little dickens need to be repeatedly tested to make sure they are reaching Socraticesque heights of brilliance and classroom accountability.

But that same degree of accountability doesn’t extend to the very agency responsible for the assessment — the Florida Department of Education, which deserves a dunce cap for its ineptitude in ensuring that if you are going to subject school children high-stakes testing, you darn well better make sure the kiddos can actually take the exam.

Last week, eighth-, ninth- and tenth-graders were supposed to take an online state-mandated writing test. But when many of the little munchkins attempted to log on to school computers to begin the exam, their gizmos locked up. Some students were kicked off the system in the middle of the test, answers were lost and still other pupils received inexplicable error messages.

Widespread technical problems plagued at least 36 counties around the state, including Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco. Who cooked up this cyber practical joke? Hackers Without Borders?

It all could have been easily avoided, had only a tone-deaf Tallahassee not decided to go all “Harry Potter’s” Severus Snape. For months the state’s school superintendents had warned Education Commissioner Pam Stewart that her department’s transition to a new testing regimen was too rushed, that the state’s schools had not had time to properly implement the software for the computerized testing system. And they were ignored.

While Stewart claimed everything would be fixed, the glitches persisted.

If Tallahassee’s geniuses were truly interested in measuring student achievement rather than merely crunching numbers to create a false sense of classroom accomplishments, the Parris Island of testing would be suspended until students were assured they don’t have to worry about also having to contend with the cyber gremlins plotting against them. Fat chance.

“You’re always going to have implementation issues,” Senate Education Committee Chairman John Legg, R-Trinity, sniffed. But Legg and Stewart are ignoring the disservice they are imposing on the state’s students, whom they expect to academically and emotionally prepare for high-stakes testing, only to be told, “Sorry, the computer crashed. Come back tomorrow, or the day after that, and be prepared to go through this all over again.”

How fair is that? How can test scores from students under the additional pressure of being jerked around by state computers remotely be regarded as a reliable academic measurement? If students are expected to arrive for a test fully prepared, why isn’t the Florida Department of Education under the same mandate to have a test ready to take? Too much to ask?

Apparently so.

At the same time the Department of Education’s hamster was working overtime on the treadmill to keep its computers running, over at the oxymoronically titled Department of Economic Opportunity, out of work Floridians would be better off filing for unemployment benefits from a loan shark than expect much help from Tallahassee.

A state auditor general’s report has issued a damning indictment of DEO’s computer problems associated with its $77 million CONNECT website, which is supposed to help unemployed Floridians file for benefits.

The auditor general lambasted DEO for: requiring applicants to use their Social Security numbers to log on to the CONNECT system; mishandling some 408,356 claims; permitting 20,535 potentially ineligible claims to be paid because of dubious safeguards; consistently entering wrong data into the system; overpaying some claims; and having almost zero accountability controls in place.

Other than that, everything was fine.

But that didn’t stop DEO’s executive director Jesse Panuccio from sitting on the scathing report for weeks until he could release it in a late Friday afternoon document dump in the vain hope no one would notice he oversees Tallahassee’s answer to a Third World bus system.

What do these two stories share? When Florida’s most vulnerable populations — its schoolchildren and the unemployed in dire need of assistance — turn to their state government for help, all they get in return is, “Error Message: Invalid Proper Value.”

http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/ruth-the-real-error-message-on-floridas-computers/2220373