child custody

93 petitions

Update posted 13 minutes ago

Petition to Honorable Judge Mark Campbell, Attorney General Scott E. Pruitt, Senator Josh Brecheen - District 6

My niece has been kidnapped by her foster family. Help us bring her home!

My niece has been stuck living with strangers to our family for over two years now, due to CPS and Judge Powers not following the law. According to it is stated: The Oklahoma Legislature recognizes that children who have been abused, who are dependent or neglected, or whose parents, for whatever reason, may be unable or unwilling to provide care for their children, are best served when they can be cared for by grandparents or other suitable relatives instead of placing those children in foster care. When awarding custody or determining the placement of a child, a preference shall be given to relatives and persons who have a kinship relationship with the child. The department shall make diligent efforts to place the child with such persons and shall report to the court the efforts made to secure that placement. In cases where the Indian Child Welfare Act applies, the placement preferences of the act shall be followed. The department shall consider placement with a relative without delay and shall identify relatives of the child and notify them of the need for temporary placement and the possibility of the need for a permanent out-of-home placement of the child. The relative search shall be reasonable and comprehensive in scope and may continue until a fit and willing relative is identified. The provisions of this section shall apply to all custody or placement proceedings that concern a child alleged or adjudicated to be deprived, including, but not limited to, guardianship and adoption proceedings.   The law has not been applied to my nieces case! My brother and the mother to his children fled to Oklahoma when she was pregnant because her other four children were taken away from her due to drug use, physical abuse and neglect. The aunt of her other four children has adopted all four children. My niece was born on August 29, 2014 and tested positive for methamphetamine. CPS was called and my niece was placed in foster care in Oklahoma. The next work day, OKDHS contacted me and asked me if I would take custody of my niece. I told them, yes. Brittany, a CPS caseworker said that it could take a few months to move my niece to Texas. My brother and the mother to his child developed a relationship with the foster family and told CPS that they were going to complete whatever they needed to complete, to keep their daughter. The foster mom allowed my brother and the mother of my niece to move into a mobile home on the foster family's property (about 50 feet from the home my niece was living in). I feel that the foster mother did this only to convince my brother and the mother of my niece to gain custody of my niece. When my brother and the mother did not complete their classes, an ICPC (The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children) was ordered, completed and approved for me by Texas CPS. Texas CPS recommended that my niece be moved to Texas. The woman that did my case study said that after the case study was received, my niece would be home within 24 hours. However, she was not returned. When I asked why, I was told that judge Rocky L. Powers (the judge over my nieces case) ordered a stop on the transfer. I asked why, and was told that the foster family was scared that my niece would be around her father if she was returned to family. I'm not sure where that makes any sense when the foster family was housing my brother and the mother on their property. At the next court hearing, the DA announced that the foster family was filing for adoption. I stood up and asked if I was hearing that correctly. I also asked the DA why I couldn't file for adoption. The DA rep stated that she did not know I wanted to go that route. No one ever told me that I could and I didn't know that I could file for adoption. I begged Virginia from CPS to please help me because I did not have money to take the foster family to court. To date, I have raised $13,000 and paid that $13,000 to a lawyer that I feel has not even tried. I turned in a letter from the CASA director in Texas (see letter below (I was unable to attach the original, but have it in my possession)), stating that she was stating on the record that this entire case has been faulty and that my niece should have been turned over to family immediately. It is the law! After I filed a complaint with the letter from the CASA director, Judge Powers recused himself from the case. Now, the new judge has recommended mediation with the foster family for joint custody of my niece. WHY? She should have been sent to Texas years ago and has been drug through the system with a family that is not her own; all while she has family that loves and wants her. I have in my custody, since November 2, 2015, my now 2 year old nieces baby sister of 11 months (we will be filing for adoption of her 90 days after her parents rights are terminated in Dec 2016). My niece has missed 11 months of growing up without her baby sister. What happened to keeping family together? I'm afraid that the court and the foster family keeping my niece from coming home, is going to do more harm that good if she is not sent home to us soon. My niece has 8 brothers and sisters here in Texas. She does not have any family in Oklahoma. Studies show that it is better for children to grow up with biological family members than to grow up with foster families (even if this one is trying to adopt her). There are many children that need homes. My niece does not need the foster family's home. She needs to be home with FAMILY. The foster family and Judge Powers have already robbed her for 2 years of her life with her family that she can never get back. Please sign my petition to encourage Judge Mark Campbell to fix where the law was broken and send my niece home to us where she belongs!     Letter from the CASA Program Director in Texas:   June 22, 2016 Dear Cynthia, I must confess to being totally confused about this situation regarding reunifying ******** and ****. As CASA Program Director I would like to go on the record as being very much in favor of ******** being reunited with her sibling ****. It is certainly inconceivable to me that since the state of Oklahoma requested and approved a ICPC home study back some time ago that these children have been kept separated. This is certainly not in the children's best interests. Upon receiving an approved home study, ******** should have been moved as soon as possible to family. What is even more confusing is that when the child ******** was removed from the parents and was placed in the care of the state, The Oklahoma Children's Services asked if you would take the child and you advised them at that time that you did want the child. Since there was no action on their part, this child has been literally kidnaped by her Oklahoma foster family. One can only assume that they are not concerned with "best interests” . Unfortunately, in the pursuit of what is best for ****, which would be to be with her sister, I keep running into brick walls. I am so very sorry that I have not been able to be of more help. I will, however keep trying to "move the mountain" of bureaucracy to achieve the best results for both little girls. In Texas, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services moves heaven and earth to keep siblings together and most importantly with blood relatives. One would assume that Oklahoma would have the same directives regarding family preservation. Apparently that is not the case. If I am able to make any progress on this "mess" I will contact you immediately. In the meantime thank you for all that you have been doing for ****. She is too young to appreciate it now but hopefully in there she will come to know how hard you have fought for her to be with her sister.   Jean E. Cate CASA Program Director CASA of Hood Somervell

Cynthia Gonzales
165 supporters
Update posted 18 hours ago

Petition to Tom Wolf, Robert Casey, PatToomey , Josh Shapiro

A Safer Tomorrow for Pennsylvania Children In light of the many stories in the news concerning child sexual abuse in Pennsylvania, including the sexual abuse and death of Grace Packer, and the predators Kenneth Fenske, Jeffrey Harvey, and David Parker who together abused a child victim, and so much more; I would like to bring your attention to an equally disturbing matter in Pennsylvania that sadly leaves our children exposed to predators. 1) Tier 3 child sex offenders in Pennsylvania are permitted some form of custody and/or unsupervised visitation of their children. We know that people who engage in pedophilia, at best, can learn (with continuous life time treatment) to control their impulse to keep them from offending again, but pedophilia can not be cured. Even a sexual opportunist has some attraction to a child if they have assaulted a child. What is equally alarming is that there are child sex offenders who are charged with felonies and plead to a lessor offense. In many cases they plead to a misdemeanor (s) which keeps them off the Meagan’s Law registry. Once their sentence is served and probation has expired, there are no restraints. While protecting an offender’s rights, it puts children at grave risk and opens the opportunity for the offender to offend again, with little consequences.  The tier 3 child sex offender in Pennsylvania, on averages, serves 6 years rarely seeing the maximum penalty of 20 years. Statistically, only 10% of child sex abuse is ever reported, and a small fraction of that number ever sees justice. We must have tougher laws for child sex offenders so they get the message that their consequences will be swift and extreme. We also must implement the availability of greater and more fine-tuned resources for victims.   2) 58, 000+ children, yearly, are placed at risk by family court judges and child protection services across the country. Research by the Federal Justice Department, the American Bar Association, the Leadership Council, and more confirms this. Currently, family court systems throughout Pennsylvania are relying on an outdated protocol that does not reflect current and empirical data. As a result, children are being handed over to an abusive parent 85% of the time when one parent attempts to protect their child/children and make reports of abuse. Less than 2% of mothers make false allegations. Less than 1% of children make stories up.  The common question and thought process of a family court judge or mediator is, “If he (or she) is so abusive, why didn’t you report this before you separated/divorced?” There is one very specific and valid answer. The dynamics of abuse include scapegoating, threats, fear, guilt, shame, belittlement, trauma bonding, etc., are not recognized by most family court judges. These are the tools of an abuser, and until a victim breaks free of the abuser there isn’t much clarity. Victims are abused further in the courtroom setting (coerced abuse by proxy). Until judges, child protection services, and local and state police are held to a higher standard, supported by mandated ongoing training and education in matters of domestic abuse, child abuse, and sexual abuse, this epidemic will continue to rise.  Family court judges across the commonwealth are ignoring the second clause in #13 in Section 5328 of Title 23 PA Domestic Relation's, (a party's effort to protect a child from abuse by another party is not evidence of unwillingness or inability to cooperate with that party.) Since the Federal Justice Department confirms that this is a problem across the board, it is time for Pennsylvania to take the blinders off and do something about it.  Another highly caustic problem in family courts in Pennsylvania is the misuse of authority among judges. That is a reference to “the best interested of the child,” that surpasses the intention and spirit of the law. Judges are compartmentalizing and discriminating based on the lifestyle, health, and economic status of either parent. This clause in the domestic relations codes, Title 23, is meant to keep children safe from parents with dangerous drug addictions, some extreme mental health matters, and parents who are child abusers and child rapists. It is not intended for parents who have hit some rough times, who, in the majority of cases, have support through family and friends. It is not intended to include parents who are at some crossroad, such as, temporarily out of work, displaced, or battling cancer or some other disease, has circumstantial depressions or anxiety, etc. All of these variables, and more, are part of normal living in which the parent determines the level of help they received with their children, and can choose resources to fill in as needed. These are the normal ups and downs of family living and no parent should be discriminated against based on these variables. In a family where parents are together, or they separate with a reasonable custody arrangement these variables are not challenged, so why does a family court judge think he/she can use them in custody matters? A parent has a fundamental and constitutional right to make those decisions and raise their children without interference.  When a judges bases his decision on economic factors, and court evaluations that have been proven to be substandard, while sending a parent into an economic crisis because they are forced to pay thousands of dollars for those evaluations, this is another form of coerced abuse. This abuse reaches beyond the two parents and into the families that support them. By no means should a judge hand custody to one parent based solely on the fact that they make more money than the other parent. Judges are taking liberties where they were never intended to take.  Supporting the research by those listed previously, the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) studies have proven that children who grow up with abuse or watch a parent being abused have higher rates of health and psychological disorders, are more likely to commit crimes, and have a shorter life expectancy. There is also extreme trauma for a child who is taken away from their primary bond that gives them a host of problems, but family court judges do this every day. Our children are the future of Pennsylvania and it’s time to stand up and protect them.  Family court reform is necessary if there is to be any hope for Pennsylvania children who end up in family court. One abused child is one too many.  

Nehemiah Project
113 supporters
Update posted 6 days ago

Petition to Michigan Supreme Court

Remove Judge Lisa Gorcyca from the bench Oakland County MI

Hello, I am starting a petition to submit to the Michigan Supreme Court to ask that Judge Lisa Gorcyca from Oakland County Michigan be removed from the bench. The Michigan Supreme court will be conducting a hearing soon to decide what type of punishment to give to Judge Gorcyca regarding her misconduct and behavior on the bench. Please allow me to walk you through a brief synopsis of this case where she abused her power. Judge Lisa Gorcyca was the Oakland Co Michigan judge who oversaw a divorce case Tsimhoni V Tsimhoni. Judge Gorcyca made international news on June 24, 2015 when she sentenced 3 siblings age 13, 10, 9 to juvenile detention for not wanting to attend parenting time with their father. The children spent 17 days in a juvenile detention facility will no visits from any family members. After news broke with this draconian punishment, Gorcyca released the children, only to force them directly into a summer camp. The kids scared, tired and exhausted just wanted to go home. In Dec 2015, a complaint was filed from the Michigan Judicial Committee. The Michigan Judicial committee found that Judge Gorcyca did indeed abuse her power on the bench, misrepresenting facts to the children and she failed to act in a dignified manner. At the end of May 2016, a retired Wayne County judge was appointed to hear the Michigan Judicial Committee complaint. In July 2016, the judge found that Judge Gorcyca had indeed abused her power as a judge and was subsequently found guilty of misconduct. In October 2016, Judge Gorcyca then attended the Michigan Judicial Committee hearing. After that hearing a recommendation was given that Judge Gorcyca's consequences be recommended as follows: 30 day suspension with no pay, public censure and court costs. Moving forward we are now waiting for the Michigan Supreme Court to hold the next discipline hearing. The Michigan Supreme Court can either accept what the Michigan Judicial Committee is proposing or they can impose their own penalty. I am respectfully asking in my petition that the Michigan Supreme Court have Judge Gorcyca removed from the bench. No person in any authority should abuse their power and treat children like this. There is no acceptable excuse as what has been thrown out there, "she had a bad day" that would justify jailing 3 children. A judge's job is to be impartial, respectful and to apply the law. Thank you in advance for your support on this and speaking up and for the children's civil rights. If you would like to read more about this case you can visit this website:    Here is a copy of the June 24, 2015 Transcript so you can see exactly what judge Gorcyca did and said to these kids  Photo Credit: AP      

Marie G
208 supporters
Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Mark Warner, Virginia Governor, U.S. Department of State

Help get children back

Addiction is a diease people with an addiction didnt plan on becoming addicted and just because they are addicts doesnt mean they are bad parents it doesnt mean that they abuse or neglect their children it just means they may need a little help to over come their diease would social service take a child from a parent with heart diease or cancer no then why should children of addicts that haven't been harm are neglected be removed from loving caring parents they shouldnt there needs to be more ways to help people with the diease addiction keep their kids because taking a child from a parent with an addiction only fuels the addiction and makes the diease more progressive my baby was taken at the hospital after birth 8/22/16 and i never brought her home i havent been allowed to be a mother and havent had the chance to bond with my 5 month old daughter i get 1 hour a week supervised visits at social service and thats all i ask for help getting off drugs while i was pregnate and because i admitted i had a problem and ask for help me and my child have both been punished for it and there is a chance ill never get my baby back i'm clean and sober and have been fighting for my child for 5 months because i was a loving parent and was worried about the affects of my drug use on my unborn child why should we be punished for getting help for a diease and why should other parents be punished for a diease they didnt ask for 

Patricia Barker
54 supporters