These Are The People "Protecting" Our Children

Stories here are reproduced under the Fair Use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.


| EJF Home | Find Help | Join the EJF | Comments? | Get EJF newsletter |


| Families And Marriage Book | Abstract | Family site map | Family index |


| Chapter 8 — Child "Protective" Services —Who's Minding The Minders? |

| Back — Children Who Die Or Are Murdered In Foster Care |



[EJF comments are in Courier font]

New York ACS worker arrested in rape of teen

Richland, Washington, Child Protective Services worker pleads not guilty to cocaine possession

DSS hides behind kids

Arapahoe, Colorado, county's fumbling creates a family's nightmare

Oklahoma Department of Human Services child welfare supervisor charged with domestic abuse

Dozens in Sacramento, California, Child Protective Services have criminal records

Corpus Chisti CPS supervisor given 90 days in jail for making false allegations

Merced, California, police use Taser on unarmed, legless man in a wheelchair while taking his 2-year-old daughter from him

Relatives question why Tennessee child protective services took mother's three children away after she was stabbed and her baby kidnapped

Pennsylvania woman loses her baby to CPS after poppy-seed bagel gives false positive on drug test


New York ACS worker arrested in rape of teen


© 2006by Rocco Parascandola, Newsday, Inc.

January 28, 2006 — Police on Friday arrested an Administration for Children's Services supervisor after a 15-year-old female relative accused him of repeatedly raping her for more than a year — most recently while three younger relatives were in a room nearby, police sources said.

The allegation was quickly followed by an accusation from another female relative, in her early 20s, who told detectives the man also sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager, sources said.

Travis Davis, 41, of West 142nd Street in Harlem, was charged late Friday with one count of rape and two counts of performing a criminal sex act, police said. He is expected to be arraigned Saturday. In a statement earlier in the day, an ACS spokesman said the ACS supervisor who was arrested had been immediately suspended without pay.

Detectives also had interviewed both the older female relative and the 14-year-old daughter of the man's girlfriend, police said.

Police said the 15-year-old and her mother went to the 23 rd Precinct in East Harlem and reported the allegation at about 3:30 AM Friday, after the teen told her mother she was afraid to see Davis. She told police he had been raping her since about 2004, police sources said.

Officers located Davis at his residence, where police said some of the assaults were alleged to have occurred.

At a news conference, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the ACS worker has made statements to detectives.

The Administration for Children's Services, in a statement that did not name the supervisor, said the man had worked for ACS for a decade. A department spokesman said his $57,796-a-year post there was largely administrative, training prospective foster and adoptive parents in the Division of Family Permanency Services.

In past years, he had monitored case records from ACS headquarters and worked in the Neighborhood Based Services Division as a liaison with community groups and organizations, the statement said.

The 15-year-old told detectives the latest incident occurred January 21, 2006, in Davis' Harlem apartment, sources said.

She said the assault included rape and occurred while three other relatives — two girls, both 8, and a boy, 4 — were in another room, sources said.

Detectives do not believe that the three younger children were harmed, sources said.

The arrest was the latest setback for a city agency that has come under scathing criticism after the deaths in recent months of four children whose families had been investigated by ACS.

A series of changes were sparked by the Jan. 11 murder of Nixzmary Brown, 7, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, who authorities said was tortured and beaten by her stepfather. Both the stepfather and the girl's mother have been charged with second-degree murder in the slaying, and both are being held without bail.

Already under way is a citywide review of the thousands of child protective cases under ACS' jurisdiction, ordered by ACS Commissioner John Mattingly. On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that workers with law enforcement experience, such as retired police officers, will be hired and spread through the agency's 14 field offices to improve coordination and communication between ACS and police.

Earlier this week, a Bronx mother was charged with trying to drown her 5-month-old baby in a bathtub. An ACS caseworker had visited the home two days earlier and urged an aunt to let the mother and child live with her, because the mother appeared to be suffering from post-partum depression, police and ACS sources said.


Richland, Washington, Child Protective Services worker pleads not guilty to cocaine possession


January 29, 2006 (AP) — A Child Protective Services employee has pled not guilty to a single count of cocaine possession, but state officials say the employee has been suspended from any direct dealings with children.

Officers say they found the drug in the purse of Geri Lee Foraker, 36, after she was stopped Friday in West Richland for reportedly driving erratically. Ms. Foraker is a supervisor in the Richland office of the state Child Protective Services agency.

Geri Foraker pled not guilty Thursday in Benton County Superior Court.

Kathy Spears, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Social and Human Services, said Foraker remains employed by the agency but will not serve as a CPS worker or supervisor on any cases involving children until the criminal case is resolved.

A decision on whether she will keep her job also will be made then, Spears indicated. "We hold our social workers to a high standard because they work with vulnerable children," she said.

According to court documents, Foraker told officers the drugs belonged to her brother.

Blood samples were taken from Ms. Foraker at the hospital after her arrest. Test on the samples will be done at the Washington State Patrol crime lab in the next few weeks, said West Richland Police Chief Layne Erdman.

Foraker was given an April 3 trial date and released from jail on her own recognizance.


DSS hides behind kids


© 2006 by Boston Herald editorial staff

February 8, 2006 — Trust us, the Department of Social Services keeps saying, whether the case is that of a brain-injured child or children left alone by their dysfunctional mother.

Trust us, we're the DSS and we're here to help.

Well, now we know that the agency that was supposed to protect Haleigh Poutre neglected her as badly as her adoptive parents, allowing her to suffer months of horrible abuse. And now we know that the agency that was supposed to protect her wanted to remove her from life support just six days after she was admitted to a hospital with brain damage.

Now hapless Commissioner Harry Spence thinks she's just a miracle child, breathing on her own, picking up toys on command. But last September 19, his agency asked for court permission to remove her from her ventilator and feeding tube. We know this now only because of the court-ordered release of a redacted brief.

What else don't we know about this case? Even Haleigh's biological mother was forced by DSS to sign a gag order in order to see the child. The agency continually hides behind its supposed need to protect the privacy of the children it serves, when time after time it is merely covering up its own incompetence.

We're the DSS and we're here to help.


Arapahoe, Colorado, county's fumbling creates a family's nightmare


© 2008 by Susan Greene, Denver Post Columnist

June 26, 2008 — Josh Raykin had never spent even a night away from his parents.

That is, until Arapahoe County snatched the 8-year-old from his home after an abuse allegation that social workers dragged their feet investigating.

The ordeal began while Josh was playing outside one day before dinner in April. A neighbor knocked on the door to tell his dad that police had come to take Josh away.

The strawberry-blond kid with pale blue eyes was born in 1999 after Michael and Melanie Raykin tried for 15 years to conceive. Michael, a courier, and Melanie, a hairstylist, work extra hours to send Josh to Denver's Montclair Academy and give their boy advantages they never had as kids in the former U.S.S.R.

"He means everything to us," Michael says.

But on the sidewalk late that day in April, deputies wouldn't let him go near the son whom the county suspected Raykin of molesting in ways too intimate to be described in these pages. Deputies said the allegations came from Michael's young nieces — girls the couple hadn't seen since they went into foster care months earlier because of abuse allegations in their immediate family. The girls also had pointed the finger at their grandfather, but charges were dropped.

"They blew my mind. I didn't know what to say," says Michael, whose most serious brushes with the law had come with a few speeding tickets.

Mother, father and son were forced to sit on their curb as neighbors watched and whispered, and deputies waited for a case worker to arrive. Josh, complaining he was hungry and cold, started hyperventilating.

Once the social worker came two hours later, he wouldn't release the boy to his aunt nearby, nor tell the Raykins where he was taking Josh. Instead, he told Melanie to pack a bag for the boy she had never once left once with a sitter.

Josh screamed, "Leave them alone. They're the best parents in the world," as the case worker prodded him into his car.

He spent a week with an Aurora foster family that required the Jewish kid to pray to Jehovah at each meal. They took away the Pokemon toothbrush and stuffed toys that his mom had packed for him. They shut off his shower after five minutes. And most days, he says, they made him wash toilets with a washcloth.

For one sleepless week, the Raykins made phone calls, met with lawyers and sat in Josh's room "taking turns breaking down." Human Services CPS refused to allow them even one phone call to tell their only child they loved him, were fighting for him and would come for him soon.

Melanie says CPS social workers kept pushing her to say her husband molested their son, insinuating that such an admission would set Josh free. They suggested that Josh having once kissed his cousins on the lips — as is the norm in his parents' culture — was a sign that he had been molested. As social workers saw it, Michael's habit of buying his son toys and taking him to the movies was "grooming" to cover up sexual abuse.

Though counties normally interview kids before yanking them from their homes, it took Arapahoe County a week after removing Josh for that interview to take place.

"And now, because of that interview, he knows about things that I don't want him to know at 8 years old," says Michael, crying.

Michael passed a lie-detector test. His innocence claim was buoyed by a sheriff's investigator who rallied to his side until a judge released Josh, finding "there is not reason to believe any inappropriate sexual activity" took place [Guilty unless and until you can prove you are innocent].

CPS Human Services cited confidentiality laws when asked about its fumbling of the case. "We only remove the child from the home when we believe or know to be true that staying in the home is not in the best interest of the child," said county spokeswoman Nichole Parmelly [It frequently seems that what CPS social workers believe are the voices in their head].

Two months later, Josh has nightmares and trouble falling asleep [and he and his parents will probably be troubled the rest of their lives by this incident].

"We live, we work, we're quiet, we pay taxes. We came from such a hard world to be free in a country where, just like this," says his mom, snapping her fingers, "they can grab your kid away from you right off your street."


Susan Greene writes Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Reach her at 303-954-1989 or


Oklahoma Department of Human Services child welfare supervisor charged with domestic abuse


© 2009 by Jay F. Marks, NewsOK

April 30, 2009 — A Department of Human Services supervisor in Jackson County is on leave in Altus after being charged with assaulting her teenage son.

Kathryn Jan Davis, 39, was charged Monday with domestic abuse in the presence of a minor.

Davis attacked her 16-year-old son — scratching his face and trying to stab him in the leg with a fork — after he hid a box of wine from her Sunday night, according to court papers. Her 13-year-old daughter was also in the house at the time.

Davis was arrested after Altus police arrived at her home. She refused to explain the fight with her son, according to an officer's affidavit.

The teen told police he tried to hide a box of wine from his mother, who has a drinking problem, the affidavit states. She jumped on him when he refused to give it back, he said.

Officers noted two scratches on his face.

Davis' children were left at home when she was arrested after they assured police they would be able to get themselves to school the next morning.

DHS officials said Ms. Davis has worked for the agency since 1999. She is a supervisor in the child welfare division in Jackson County.

Davis is on annual leave, but officials would not say whether she went on leave because of her arrest.


Dozens in Sacramento, California, Child Protective Services have criminal records


Abstracted from story by Marjie Lundstrom and Sam Stanto, Sacramento Bee

March 22, 2009 — Drug possession, domestic violence, repeatedly driving drunk, assault with a deadly weapon — any one of these charges or convictions could lead child protective services workers to remove children from a home or force a parent into counseling. But all of those crimes and many others appear in the backgrounds of employees of Sacramento County's Child Protective Services, a Bee investigation has found. A review of the agency's 969 workers employed as of October 1, 2008, found that at least 68 individuals — 7 percent of the work force — have criminal records in Sacramento County alone. The number is likely to be even higher because some names were too common to retrieve all criminal complaints linked to them, and records in other counties were not searched.

Although the county child protection agency has a policy to perform criminal background checks on prospective employees — and says it is alerted by the state if a current employee is arrested — the ranks at CPS include offenders convicted of such crimes as possession of heroin for sale, theft, embezzlement, spousal abuse, obstructing an officer, prostitution and identity theft. One county worker who was a receptionist at two CPS offices is a registered sex offender. One social worker has a pending court case over claims that she harassed her neighbors with laser beams and obscene tirades. A family service worker was charged in August with stealing gas from a county pump.CPS Director Laura Coulthard and her boss at the county, Lynn Frank, declined to be interviewed. But The Bee's examination prompted Coulthard to issue two memos to agency employees in the past month, warning that their names and criminal histories might be published.


Corpus Chisti, Texas, CPS supervisor given 90 days in jail for making false allegations


© 2009 by Mary Ann Cavazos,

June 2, 2009 — A former Corpus Christi Child Protective Services supervisor who falsely accused a man of molestation must spend 90 days in jail as a condition of her probation. After District Judge Tom Greenwell announced his decision Monday, a bailiff immediately handcuffed Grizelda Lopez-Hess. Her husband, Corpus Christi police detective Michael Hess, then moved to her side and kissed her goodbye.

Lopez-Hess, 38, pled guilty May 22 to a charge of making a false report of abuse. She said she made an anonymous call to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services on October 9, 2008, in which she claimed Ricardo Jimenez was molesting the daughter of the woman he was dating. She says in the phone call, played for the judge, that she learned of the abuse from her daughter, who is friends with the falsely-alleged victim.

The problem: She made the whole thing up.

• She doesn't even have a daughter.

• Jimenez is a forensic interviewer with the local Children's Advocacy Center.

• The allegation launched a Child Protective Services investigation that found it was untrue.

Jimenez said the lie has embarrassed him and hurt his reputation. He said he is unsure what long-term effect it will have, but said already defense attorneys have tried to bring up the issue in unrelated criminal cases in which he is called to testify as an expert witness.

As part of a plea deal, Mrs. Lopez-Hess was sentenced to two years in state jail, which was suspended for three years probation. Other conditions include that she stay away from Jimenez and his family, pay a fine, complete 100 community service hours and attend anger management classes. But prosecutor Angelica Hernandez also had asked for the jail time saying it was likely the only way Lopez-Hess would realize the magnitude of her actions. She characterized Lopez-Hess as a woman who carried out a cold and calculated act and manipulated the system to attack Jimenez. "It was a very strong message that I think the community needed to hear," she said.

Lopez-Hess' attorney, Eric Perkins argued that jail was unnecessary and excessive. Hess testified that his wife would be in danger if she went to jail. After her arrest last year, she was briefly in a holding cell in which two fellow prisoners recognized her as the person who took their children away.

Jail officials said she would be isolated from other prisoners for her own protection. Lopez-Hess made the false report months after she was fired from CPS.

Lopez-Hess said she made the call the same day she found out her husband was being transferred from the family violence unit to property crimes. Both she and Hess said they believed Misty Guajardo, who is in a relationship with Jimenez, was to blame for the transfer. Guajardo, executive director of the Children's Advocacy Center, said she had nothing to do with it. Hess and his wife say Guajardo harbored animosity for issues Hess brought up when he served on the nonprofit's board of directors.

But prosecutors cited a disciplinary action letter to Hess in which he agreed to a transfer. That disciplinary action was prompted by allegations that he and his wife tipped off a suspect in a criminal case. A CPS official said those allegations also were a factor in Lopez-Hess' firing. She and her husband said the allegations are untrue. But prosecutors pointed out the suspect, his wife and daughter all testified at his trial that Mrs. Lopez-Hess had tipped them off.


Merced, California, police use Taser on unarmed, legless man in a wheelchair while taking his 2-year-old daughter from him


© 2009 by Victor A. Patton, Merced Sun-Star

September 20, 2009 —The Merced Police Department's Internal Affairs Division is investigating a complaint that an officer used a Taser twice against an unarmed, wheelchair-bound man with no legs.

The incident occurred September 11, 2009.

The man who was Tasered, 40-year-old Gregory Williams, a double-leg amputee, spent six days in jail on suspicion of domestic violence and resisting arrest, although the Merced County District Attorney's Office hasn't filed charges in the case. [And DA later decided there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute him.]

Williams, who was released from jail Friday, said he was violently manhandled and Tasered by police, even though he claims he was never physically aggressive toward the officers or resisted arrest.

Even worse for him, Williams says he was publicly humiliated after his pants fell down during the incident. The officers allegedly left him outdoors in broad daylight, handcuffed on the pavement, nude below the waist. Williams said the arrest also left him with an injured shoulder, limiting his mobility in his wheelchair.

And although the two lead arresting officers are white, and Williams is black, it remains unknown whether race was a factor in the incident. Those two officers remain on duty.

Williams said the officers never used any racial epithets toward him. Although he does believe race and class played a role in his arrest, he also feels the police just wanted to be "downright nasty" to him. "They did what they did because they can get away with it," he said. "They've been doing it so long, it doesn't matter who they do it to. They just think they can get away with it."

A handful of residents who live in Williams' apartment complex claim they witnessed the incident and support Williams' charges. A short video clip, shot by a neighbor in the complex and obtained by the Sun-Star, clearly shows Williams sitting on the pavement with his pants down, his hands cuffed behind his back.

A Merced police report obtained by the Sun-Star tells a somewhat different story from that of Williams. The report, written by the responding officers, suggests that police had tried to reason with Williams before the arrest, to no avail. The officers wrote in the report that Williams was uncooperative and refused to turn over his 2-year-old daughter to Merced County Child Protective Services, among other allegations.

In the report, police also say a hostile crowd had gathered as the officers attempted to perform their duties [that involved helping CPS steal another child].

The Merced Police Department's spokesman officially declined to comment on the matter, saying he can't legally speak about it because of the internal investigation.

The Sun-Star interviewed Williams and several neighbors who said they witnessed his arrest.


Relatives question why Tennessee child protective services took mother's three children away after she was stabbed and her baby kidnapped


October 8, 2009 (AP) — A Nashville mother whose baby was kidnapped said she was devastated when child welfare officials took him into state custody shortly after he was recovered, describing the pain of that separation as worse than the knife wounds that the kidnapper inflicted on her.

Maria Gurrola, still recovering from stab wounds and a collapsed lung, started crying and shaking when she learned week-old Yahir Anthony Carrillo and his three siblings would be put into foster homes, said Norma Rodriguez, the cousin of Jose Carrillo, the baby's father.

"She said them taking the kids away was a worse stab in her heart than the stab from the lady who took the baby," Rodriguez said.

The children, ages 3, 9 and 11, were split up and put with strangers in two separate foster homes Saturday after investigators told the state Department of Children's Services the couple was under investigation because of [no doubt anonymous] allegations they had tried to sell the baby, Gurrola's court-appointed attorney Dennis Nordhoff said. [And of course, after these anonymous and unfounded allegations the mother was presumed guilty.]

On Tuesday, Metro Nashville Police announced the parents had been cleared of wrongdoing and the children were reunited with them. [Oh how gracious of them to prove the mother was innocent!]

DCS spokesman Rob Johnson said he could not comment on the case but said the department sometimes has to make tough decisions with only partial information [, i.e., parents are presumed guilty until they can prove they are innocent].

"Our responsibility is to look after the safety and well being of the children who come to our attention," he said.

Rodriguez said the children's separation from Gurrola and Carrillo was devastating for all of them. The couple's 3-year-old daughter, who witnessed the September 29, 2009, knife attack on her mother, had never been apart from Gurrola before she was placed with foster parents.

The child got sick on Wednesday and had to be taken to the hospital, Rodriguez said, and relatives blame her illness on the stress of being removed from her family.

Nordhoff questioned the need to put the already-suffering family through the trauma of separation. He said DCS is supposed to try to keep families together and there were plenty of relatives willing to take in the children, but DCS would not allow it because they were illegal immigrants, although some of them had been in the country for many years without ever getting in any trouble. Gurrola is originally from Durango, Mexico.

Staying with relatives would have been much less traumatic for the children, if they did have to be taken from their parents, he said.

Johnson, speaking generally, said, "DCS always looks for relatives who already know a child as an alternative to state custody, but DCS must be able to perform background checks and DCS must be able to verify people's relationships to a family in question."

The family is happy to be back together now, Rodriguez said, but that joy has been tempered by an ongoing baby trafficking investigation into family members. [Of course they don't want to assume they are really innocent.]

Rodriguez said her sister, Jessenia Sigala, has endured harsh questioning from law enforcement.


Pennsylvania woman loses her baby to CPS after poppy-seed bagel gives false positive on drug test


Business Insider

Mom whose baby was taken away for days over poppy seed drug test settles lawsuit

July 2, 2013 — A woman who had her newborn taken away because she failed a hospital drug test after she ate a poppy seed bagel has settled a lawsuit over the case.

Lawrence County's child welfare agency and Jameson Hospital have paid $143,500 to settle the suit filed on behalf of Elizabeth Mort by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which announced the settlement Tuesday.

Mort sued in October 2010, alleging that a poppy seed bagel she ate shortly before arriving at the hospital spurred a positive test for opiates in April 2010 that prompted the seizure of her 3-day-old daughter, Isabella Rodriguez.

Mort said she was home with her baby when a county child welfare caseworker arrived with an emergency protective custody order and took Isabella.

The lawsuit alleged Mort was never told in the hospital that she had failed a drug test, nor was she asked if she had eaten anything that could have affected the test results.

The infant was returned five days later, after local officials agreed there was no evidence the mother had used illegal drugs.

The suit argued that Jameson Hospital used a much lower threshold for drug screening than federal guidelines, resulting in more false positives from common foods and medicines. The federal standard is 2,000 nanograms per milliliter, but Jameson Hospital used a reading of 300 nanograms, according to the lawsuit.

ACLU officials said Tuesday the hospital and county have implemented policy changes so newborns aren't taken from parents based only on maternal drug tests, which can be inaccurate.

"We hope that this case will encourage hospitals that routinely test pregnant women for drug use to reconsider that practice due to the harm that can result from false positives," said Pennsylvania ACLU staff attorney Sara Rose.



| EJF Home | Find Help | Join the EJF | Comments? | Get EJF newsletter |


| Families And Marriage Book | Abstract | Family site map | Family index |


| Chapter 8 — Child "Protective" Services —Who's Minding The Minders? |

| Back — Children Who Die Or Are Murdered In Foster Care |


Started February 2, 2006

Last modified 4/11/15