Friday, December 7, 2012

Mental Health Witnesses Confirm that CPS LIED to the FLDS Mothers

http://thecommonroomblog.com/2008/05/mental-health-witnesses-confirm-that-cps-lied-to-the-flds-mothers.html

 

By Headmistress, zookeeper | Published: May 12, 2008

Mental health workers say CPS lied to mothers- among the charges:

Mental health workers sent to emergency shelters in San Angelo last month… sharply criticized the Child Protective Services operation, telling their governing board it unnecessarily traumatized the kids.

The CPS investigation …punished mothers who appeared to be good parents of healthy, well-behaved and emotionally normal kids, workers said….

Threatened arrests
All nine reports by employees of the Hill Country Community Mental Health-Mental Retardation Center expressed varying degrees of anger toward the state’s child welfare agency for removing the children from their community, separating them from their mothers or for the way CPS workers conducted themselves at the shelter.

A few described ongoing tension between the two groups of social workers, including threats by CPS to have interfering MHMR workers arrested.

“I have worked in Domestic Violence/Sexual Abuse programming for over 20 years and have never seen women and children treated this poorly, not to mention their civil rights being disregarded in this manner,” one wrote.

“The entire MH support staff was ‘fired’ the second week; we were sent home due to being ‘too compassionate,’ ” one report stated.
….

All the MHMR workers described themselves as impressed by the mothers they worked with. Many of them described child welfare workers as high-handed, rude or uncaring toward the mothers and overzealous in their concerns that they might escape or harm their keepers.

Two reported that the CPS workers were friendly and compassionate. [this would mean seven of the nine said otherwise]

Three reported that CPS workers lied to the mothers; one described it as a tactic to make separating them from their children go easier. Several said the mothers were denied access to their lawyers.

….One described it [the crowded, uncomfortable conditions at the first two shelters] as deliberate, a form of coercion to aid the investigation: “The more uncomfortable they were the more CPS thought they would talk.”
….
The written statements were given to the Hill Country MHMR board anonymously because the workers had signed agreements not to disclose what they had seen, said board member Jack Dawson.

“What they saw was so horrendous, they had to report it to the board,” said Dawson, a Comal County commissioner. “I have every confidence their stories are accurate. Our people are professionals, with years and years of service in their fields.”

Board President John Kite said the entire board was upset by the reports. He said he is trying to get Gov. Rick Perry to meet with the workers.

“We were literally astounded at what they told us,” Kite said. “They are trampling all over human decency and those people’s civil rights. … We should not just sit here and let it happen.”

Here’s a letter to the editor from one righteously angry FLDS mother. The responses from people who have blamed these women for being spineless stepford wives are anger and resentment that she’s obviously not.

And more about the mental health workers called in to help CPS at the shelters who are not impressed by CPS’ tactics:

saying it unnecessarily traumatized the families.

The CPS investigation of suspected child abuse and its decision to seek state custody of all 464 children punished mothers who appeared to be good parents of healthy, well-behaved and emotionally normal kids…

The nine reports by employees of the Hill Country Community Mental Health-Mental Retardation Center, copies of which were provided by a board member, expressed varying degrees of anger toward the state’s child welfare agency for removing the children from their community, separating them from their mothers or for the way CPS workers conducted themselves at the shelter.

“I have worked in Domestic Violence/Sexual Abuse programming for over 20 years and have never seen women and children treated this poorly, not to mention their civil rights being disregarded in this manner,” one wrote. “It makes us all wonder how safe anyone is who has children.”

The workers spent several days in San Angelo, some shortly after the April 3 search of the Yearning for Zion Ranch prompted by a sexual abuse complaint and during the chaotic opening of a shelter in the city’s coliseum, others in the days leading up to the children’s dispersal to foster care facilities across the state later that month.

….
To respond to the allegations, CPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins asked for a list of written questions and replied with a two-sentence e-mail.

“We have received no complaints from Hill Country MHMR,” Crimmins wrote Thursday. “However, we will be looking into what are obviously very serious allegations, and sharing these allegations with other agencies as appropriate.”

On Friday, he said the agency had no further response.
….

All the MHMR workers described themselves as impressed by the mothers they worked with. Many of them described child welfare workers as high-handed, rude or uncaring toward the mothers and overzealous in their concerns that they might escape or harm their keepers.

Two of the MHMR workers, however, reported seeing CPS workers treating mothers and children with friendliness and compassion — including one who also reported being threatened with arrest for challenging a decision to separate special needs children from their mothers after they were told earlier in the day that it would not happen.

That worker was among three who reported that CPS workers lied to the mothers; one described it as a tactic to make separating them from their children go easier. Several said the mothers were denied access to their lawyers.

One MHMR worker made a claim almost identical to one appearing on an FLDS Web site after the mothers were given a choice to return to the ranch or stay at a battered women’s shelter. Most mothers went to the shelter, “because they were told they would be able to see their children if they did not return to the ranch,” the worker reported. At the time the FLDS Web site claimed CPS had told the mothers they stood a better chance of seeing their children if they went to the shelter, a CPS spokesman called the claim “blatantly untrue.”
….
Several noted the investigatory role of CPS workers, notebooks in hand, extended to the daily life of the shelter and routine interaction between mothers and children. At the time, CPS spokesmen were describing the mothers as hobbling their investigation and said that was why they were to be removed.

Kevin Dinnin, the president of Baptist Children and Family Services who served as incident commander at the shelter under a contract between his agency and the state, said he couldn’t confirm many of the allegations made by the MHMR workers.

[CPS and law enforcement went into the ranch with a dozen CPS interrogators and 700 jackbooted, armed men and a couple armoured personnel carriers on the basis of anonymous phone calls from a SINGLE source, acknowledged by everybody BUT CPS and the Texas Rangers to be a hoax. You have NINE independent witnesses, not affiliated with FLDS. That would be enough 'confirmation' to get your children and mine taken away from us by CPS, why isn't that same standard of proof good enough to take the kids from CPS?

Dinnin said he remembers a young MHMR staffer making announcements at the shelter that contained misinformation to a group of FLDS women. He asked the staffer to leave, and a DPS trooper escorted her out.

“I didn't even know who she was. It was inappropriate. You need to be on the same page,” Dinnin said.

MIsinformation? Sounds like this is the MHMR person who was objecting to CPS changing the rules about mothers staying with disabled children. Why would they need too have a DPS trooper 'escort her out' for a simply mistake? If that's all it was, it would have been simple enough to say, "oops, failure to communicate. There's been a misunderstanding and here's the correct info." Obvious, he and CPS were angry that she disagreed with their decisions, or he wouldn't have called it 'inappropriate' and not being on the same page.

The written statements were given to the Hill Country MHMR board anonymously because the workers had signed agreements not to disclose what they had seen, said board member Jack Dawson.

Dawson, a Comal County commissioner, said the employees had the right to provide information to the board and said his release of copies of the statements to the San Antonio Express-News didn't violate their confidentiality agreements.

“What they saw was so horrendous, they had to report it to the board,” Dawson said. “We were taken aback. I have every confidence their stories are accurate. Our people are professionals, with years and years of service in their fields.”

Board President John Kite characterizes CPS there as an 'agency out of control' and asks how we can stop it. Brava for these nine people.

The statements range in tone from calm to very emotional, with anger alternating with respect for the FLDS women.

“These lovely women and children were gracious and kind always,” one wrote. “They tried to cooperate with every request, even when terrified that they were going to be separated from their children. The mothers are incredibly loving and patient with the children. The children were well-socialized and well-behaved and interacted willingly and happily with us.”

Another wrote, “The children were sweet and well-mannered upon our arrival. They obeyed their mothers and appeared to be healthy and well-nourished. They had none of the traditional withdrawal common in abused children.”

Why do you suppose their view of the women is so different from that CPS is conveying through the media?
------------------------
This is sickening- here's yet another story from those brave mental health workers:

Children living in crowded quarters that led to upper respiratory illnesses. Youngsters plagued with diarrhea from unhealthy foods they usually did not eat. Distressed mothers enduring widespread rudeness - such as flashlights shined in their faces as they tried to sleep.
Mental health professionals who helped care for FLDS women and children in the weeks after an April raid on the YFZ Ranch describe conditions and treatment they perceived as harsh and unnecessary.
"Never in all my life, and I am one of the older ladies, have I been so ashamed of being a Texan and seeing what and how our government agencies treat people," wrote one employee of Hill Country Community Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center in an unsigned statement.
....
Not all Texas CPS employees were criticized by the Hill Country employees. One young man was described as sitting for two hours comforting a toddler separated from his mother. The Texas Rangers were "respectful and polite," according to another statement.
But the statements focus on the Hill Country staffers' dismay at uncaring behavior they say they witnessed by CPS employees.
A boy estimated at age 3 walked along a row of cots asking for someone to rock him after he was separated from his mother, one employee wrote. Two CPS worker trailed the youngster taking notes but not helping him. His brother, age 8, eventually took the child into his arms and sat with him in a rocking chair.
"That little boy will always be in my mind," the employee wrote. "How can a beautiful, healthy child be taken from a healthy, loving home and forced into a situation like that, right here in America, right here in Texas?"
[they describe the floor as literally slick with tears on the day the mothers were forced to leave]
After the separation, a baby was allegedly left in a stroller with no food and water for 24 hours and ended up in a hospital, according to another statement.
…the FLDS mothers were not silent or hostile, as CPS had warned they would be. Instead, they were polite, focused on caring for the children, and willing to establish relationships, the mental health workers said.
Several writers claimed CPS workers repeatedly lied to the mothers regarding where they were going to be moved to and other issues.