Topic

parents rights

16 petitions

Started 2 months ago

Petition to President of the United States

THE FAMILY INTEGRITY ACT OF FLORIDA

The FAMILY INTEGRITY ACT An Act to support Florida families through Child In Need of Care proceedings which emphasizes placement with extended family, involves parents in the needs of the removed child, strengthens judicial oversight, further protects the child through an assignment of rights and promotes integrity of all parties. Whereas This state holds as self-evident, the constitutionally protected right of privacy to parent one’s child and protect one’s family without government interference except where there is substantial risk that the health, welfare, or safety of a child is imminent. Whereas The importance of family, family heritage, and the right for children to grow up living with and knowing their biological family and extended family is the foundation of this state. Whereas The removal of a child from their family and extended family should occur only as a last resort to protect the child and for no other reason. Whereas Ignoring the fundamental and constitutional right to parent has long term, lasting, harmful effects on children, family and the community. Whereas Placement in foster care causes known emotional trauma to children that is irreversible and such trauma must be avoided by use of family placement when circumstances present that prevent a child from safely living at home. Now therefore: Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida Obligations and Authority of the Courts: The Court shall never lose the right to remove the child from a placement selected by the State agency notwithstanding any state law that gives the state agency the exclusive right to place child in any setting at their sole discretion. No court shall accept a stipulation from a parent that compromises their constitutional right to parent, without fully going through the detailed stipulation, ascertaining the truth of the facts by affirmation, and informing the parent of the impact of the stipulation, including the obligation of continuing financial support due to the State and potential termination of parental rights on the record. There shall be no secret or ex parte communication with the court by agency attorneys, court appointed special advocates, guardian ad litems, attorney ad litems, or otherwise prior to or during an investigation or prosecution, including any filing with the Court. Obligation of State Agency and those appointed by the State: The State must make appropriate notifications to parents, so as not to violate the Constitutional Rights of any parent subject to investigation or prosecution. Each parent involved in an agency investigation or court proceeding shall be provided a copy of every court document, agency record, evaluation, drug screen, report, medical record, and any other documents filed, used, or related to their case regardless of the source of the document within ten days of the creation of the document. Each parent shall be provided a copy of all interviews, whether taken of children, witnesses, or professionals and whether documented by note taking, audio, or video recording, regardless of the source conducting the interview (including CASA workers and GALs) within ten days of the interview. No state agency shall “indicate” or otherwise ascertain the status of a parent as an abuser of a child without a full evidentiary hearing specific to the matter of placing the parent on the public abuse registry and obtaining a ruling from the Court that the case warrants listing on such a registry. No parent shall be placed on ANY publicly accessible list for indicated child abuser prior to a full evidentiary hearing and all Appeal options have been exhausted. Court appointed advocates and guardian ad litems shall not interview children without the express permission of the parent and must make video or audio record of those interviews which shall be subject to discovery. The removal from the home must include an articulable, immediate threat of serious harm. The facts of which shall be verified and the source of all information shall be disclosed if the same is to be used against the parent without independent investigation and confirmation. In the event the State moves for removal of a child, the State will seek out of home placement with immediate, or extended biological family, which provides the highest level of emotional stability for a child facing removal from their parent(s) and primary home. Foster care can only be used as a last resort. In the event of removal from parents, that State shall not automatically enroll the child in Medicaid but must obtain insurance coverage information from the parent and where medical coverage provides for adequate medical care then the child shall remain solely on the private insurance plan and continue services with the primary care and other physicians that have treatment history with the child for the purpose of continuity of care and to provide the Court with a comprehensive medical history on child, before and after removal. Foster care placement in emergency situations may occur but shall end within 12 hours upon notice by parent of named family or friend placement under Parental Rights Section V-2. Should the State oppose such placement, the State must file for an Emergency Hearing and provide a Sworn Affidavit that outlines the reasons for such opposition and demonstrate that it poses an articulable and serious threat of harm to the child so that the Court can determine if foster care shall continue or if parents desire for family or friend placement will be upheld. The hearing must take place within 10 calendar days of the removal or the State must comply with the parent’s selection for placement. No attorney shall accept a court appointment for representation unless they are trained in defending parents and have secured liability insurance for negligence in their representation. Any attorney who accepts an appointment is verifying his competence in that area of law. Said counsel have no immunity. No immunity shall be provided to court appointed special advocates or guardian ad litems as they are expected to maintain integrity, competence, and knowledge and to serve in their capacity without bias or prejudice. They shall also be expected to secure liability insurance for their respective negligence. They shall also be subject to liability under civil rights litigation and intentional torts. Any state agency employee who is found by the Court to have knowingly, willfully, or recklessly misrepresented any fact to the court shall be immediately removed from working on the case and the State shall refer the complaint to the District Attorney’s Office for review and prosecution, as appropriate. Any parent may raise this issue with the Court by motion indicating where and how the false information was provided or used and supported by affidavit of the parent describing how said information was false. All agencies, guardian ad litems, court appointed special advocates, and attorneys shall preserve all communication, including electronic. There shall be no attorney client privilege for the communication of court appointed special advocates regarding their investigation and all records shall be provided to the parents within five days of written request. There shall be no attorney client privilege for the guardian ad litem regarding the investigation and prosecution in any court action. Their records and communications shall be provided to the parents within five days of written request. Requirements that are imposed upon a parent shall be in written form indicating all necessary information for the parent to achieve the required task within a date certain. No agency or appointee by the State shall require or demand anything of a parent that is not fully documented and approved by the Court. Services shall not be provided by the same contractor who shall have competing interests in the outcome of any investigation or litigation regarding the constitutional right to parent, i.e. no foster care agency who profits from the placement of children in foster care shall serve as an agency providing family preservation services as to do so it a direct conflict of interest. Children’s Rights: To have the Court preserve the child’s ability to remain with their parent when allegations made fail to show an articulable and serious threat of harm exists, understanding that removal from parents is known to cause substantial psychological harm to a child. To have the Court preserve the child’s ability to remain with biological family, extended family and family friends when remaining at home with their parent is not possible. To have the Court assure that foster care is only being used as a last resort and not as a primary placement. To be protected from coercion and threat used as a tactic to elicit information from the child. To be protected from anyone attempting to make the child feel unwanted or unloved by the parent. Children shall not be interviewed without the permission of their parent unless the agency has clear articulable evidence of a serious threat of harm to the child. In the event, the agency shall seek a court order, documenting the facts by affidavit to justify this intervention and the interview shall be conducted in the presence of an adult not associated with the Department. Every child interview shall be recorded by audio or video recording and maintained by the department. If video is not available then the department must allow the parents attorney, or in the case the parent is not represented, a witness of the parents choosing to be available during the audio recorded interview. Interviews must be provided to the parents and their legal counsel or to the parent if acting in their own defense within ten days. Interviews shall be conducted by a person licensed and trained to conduct forensic interviews of children. The interviewer is required to inform the child being interviewed that he/she is not required to talk to the state agency worker or law enforcement. Should the case require removal of the child and the parent of the child makes no recommendation for placement OR the parent is deceased, unable or unavailable to make a recommendation then a biological family member who can demonstrate they were an active participant in the child’s life will be given primary consideration for placement via Petition for Custody to the Court. Barring the State’s ability to prove to the Court that such placement with the biological family member filing the petition poses an articulable and serious threat of harm the State will be required to make biological family placement. Any child removed from a home shall have the maximum amount of time possible of continued contact with their parent during the term of removal. The Court shall ensure that the parent’s time is maximized. Failure to do so shall be considered a final order and is a basis for immediate review by a higher court. All appellate reviews in cases involving the removal of a child from a parent shall be expedited and the court shall clear their docket to accommodate the hearing schedule at the pleasure of the parents and their attorney. The agency and the Court is required to assess any parent for disabilities which would qualify them for protection under the American with Disabilities Act. Upon such assessment, the parent shall be provided reasonable accommodations for parenting which shall include the active participation by family members to assist in parent responsibilities. Parents’ Rights: Each parent is entitled to be informed that they have a Fourth Amendment right against unlawful search and seizure before any government agency worker or law enforcement can enter their home and that they have the absolute right to refuse entry and to refuse to be interviewed. Each waiver shall be in writing, signed by the parent, and a copy provided to the parent. No parent shall be threatened or coerced into allowing entry into their home or interview of themselves or their child for failing or refusing to waive those rights. Parents shall have the right to video and audio record all interviews, meetings, contact, and hearings, whether agency of court hearings, as a matter of record and they shall be advised of their right to do so prior to the commencement of the proceeding. The unavailability of a recording mechanism shall constitute grounds for continuance upon request of the parents or their counsel. Each parent at risk of losing the right to the care and custody of their child through intervention of a state agency has the absolute right to select a caretaker for the child which shall be approved by the Court absent a showing that such placement poses an articulable and serious threat of harm to the child. This placement shall not revoke the parents’ superior right to parent. Each parent shall be informed, in the event of foster care placement, if the foster parent intends to seek adoption of their child. No parent shall be taxed with fees and costs of court appointed attorneys and guardian ad litems in an amount that exceeds the state approved payment of fees for indigent parents. No parent shall be required to pay child support to the state when a child is placed in custody. Any parent who directs their funds to the hiring and retention of counsel instead of making payments of support to any third party, shall not be punished with contempt nor shall the failure to make payments be a basis for termination of parental rights whether to the state or a third party. No parent shall have their right to parent interfered with without a showing beyond a reasonable doubt based on expert testimony that the child has been subjected to substantial harm. No parent shall have their right to parent interfered with on basis of predictive negligence or predictive abuse. So long as a parent has parental rights, the parent is entitled to notice and to attend every medical appointment of the child. The parents are also entitled to the child’s records within ten days of the treatment or assessment. A parent is also entitled to all mental health and counseling notes and records of the child within ten days of the treatment or assessment. A parent maintains the right to oppose treatment and may seek an intervention by the Court for alternative treatment, including medication and therapies. The Court will allow the parent to seek alternative opinion for the care and treatment of the child for good cause on a preponderance of evidence standard. The parent will have access to the child and all records for this purpose. The state will pay for the alternative review unless the Court finds that the parent is abusing the process. All parents have the right to rebuttal expert testimony which shall be paid up to the state allowed level for criminal felonies. Parents shall not be restricted to seeking experts within a limited geographic area.  

Shanna Easter
10 supporters
Update posted 3 months ago

Petition to Tim Knopp, Greg Walden, Kate Brown, Donald Trump, Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley

PLEASE Help the fight to get Christopher and Hunter back to their parents!

Imagine having your newborn baby taken away from you because of a falsely reported phone call to Child Protective Services and what that would feel like. And now imagine that they will not give your child back to you, despite years of jumping through hoops to prove that you are a worthy parent, with no evidence to the contrary. As a mother of two children, I can’t imagine a more terrifying world to live in...and yet, I’ve seen it happen to someone else. I’m here to share that story with you. Before going into the story, it seems fair to briefly tell you about who I am. Besides being a mother of two wonderful grown children, I am a doctoral student with an M.S. NDR (negotiation and dispute resolution), a B.S. in social science/psychology and an associate degree in criminal justice. I have over 20 years of volunteering in non-profit organizations and currently, I work as a Professional Mediator and Life Coach (www.aktionnow.com) I only share this because it helps to know that my education level and field of study qualify me to make these assessments and hopefully brings credibility to the story. I have been volunteering my time with a family as their life coach/mentor. I met them in May 2016 when I was volunteering at the Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Protective Services (CPS) in Bend, Oregon. My position was to monitor parent visitations for families that had their children in the State of Oregon’s custody. I met Amy and Eric when I was the case worker required to observe them during home visits with their nearly 3-year-old son, Christopher, every Friday. Each visit was for three hours, which provided a lot of interaction for me to observe and document. I quickly discovered that this family had no problem at all taking care of their son. They showed loving attention, were attentive to his needs, and at this point had been fighting faithfully in court for almost three years to prove to CPS that they were capable and loving parents. For those of you doing the math, yes,  Christopher was removed from them when he was only days old. In my professional opinion, after multiple sessions observing Amy and Eric interact with their son for hours on end, I found no reason they should have had their child taken from them and placed in the State’s care. Any reasonably trained and educated CPS worker should have arrived at the same conclusion, as I documented in the session notes of every visit. The couple demonstrated competent parenting skills with Christopher, had no history of abuse or neglect, and expressed a deep desire to have Christopher returned to them to raise him along with the mother’s twin boys. I would also add that it was apparent from their body language and how they treated each other that the couple was in love, and while that is not a requirement to be a parent, it’s a big bonus for a child.  So why was a newborn baby taken away from his mother and father? As the caseworker assigned to the family, I learned their story… Seven days after losing her own mother, Amy Fabbrini (the mother in this story) gave birth to Christopher at home. She was unaware that she was pregnant. Amy suffers from kidney issues (which she says is a genetic thing passed down from her family), causing intense pain at times. She had associated the symptoms of pregnancy with the disorder. After helping with a surprise delivery of his new baby boy, Eric (the father), immediately called 911 and had mother and baby brought to the hospital. Both were in shock of this and were understandably probably affected by this traumatic event. Amy had been living with her parents and her two twin boys after a divorce with the father of the twins. After losing her mother to Alzheimer’s and the surprise addition of a new child, Amy told her father of this event; to hear him tell her that she may not bring the infant back to his home. She was forced to make the decision to move with her twin boys in with her newborn child’s father, Eric. What happens next is what I believe to be a traumatic panic, her grieving father, dealing with the recent death of his wife and now losing the companionship of Amy and the twin boys, called CPS and falsely reported neglect, after he had already known about a falsely reported call from Eric's roommate (after an argument that they had). It sounds confusing but this is the mess the couple was in days after the infant had arrived, without having a chance to settle in as a new family, get adjusted to the idea of a new baby, or get the house ready for such an event, they were dealing with negativity - rather than excitement of a precious little baby boy. Sadly, CPS took infant Christopher, and he has been in foster care ever since. At the time that they took the infant, they also took Amy's twin boys and gave them to her ex-husband who had not really been involved with the boys much. Amy lost all three of her boys within a week after her loss of her mother to Alzheimer's. She was not given grievance counseling or condolences to this day from CPS. Additionally, the parents have complied with all of CPS’s requests from the beginning. There was no abuse. There was no neglect. There was no alcohol or drug use. CPS has simply claimed that they are “retarded” (yes, that was actually the term used by a CPS worker) and that they do not have the intelligence to raise a child. When I questioned this supervisor assigned to the case, he replied with derogatory remarks about the father and mother. I asked why the couple had not been given their child back. His reply shocked me. He said, “Eric is retarded, fat and lazy - he doesn't even brush his teeth. There is no way that I am allowing them to have Christopher.” The way that this supervisor spoke about the parents was anything but professional. It was then that I realized that this couple had been up against a powerful agency that seemed to have little or no accountability. After I had spent almost three months observing this family and reporting weekly on my observations, we learned that none of the reports I had submitted to CPS were given to the court or the attorneys representing each parent. Eric continually asked his attorney to get copies of the reports that I had submitted. After no reports were produced by CPS, Eric’s attorney asked me if I would be willing to testify in court regarding my observations of the visits. I agreed. While on vacation in California, I testified telephonically in court on behalf of Eric and Amy to report my observations that were in the reports which could not be obtained from CPS by either attorney. I reported the interactions that I observed between Eric, Amy and their son, Christopher. I told the judge that I did not understand why CPS had not returned this now almost 3-year-old child back to his parents.  Just a few days after I testified in court, I was notified from CPS that they “no longer needed my volunteer help” because they “had recently hired someone for the position.” I was asked to come in and return my key to the building along with all equipment that CPS had given me to use while I was in an observational role. When I got back from my vacation, I met with the supervisor and turned everything in. During that meeting, I asked for clarification as to why I was being released [just days after my testimony] from a “volunteer position,” and why I was being treated so differently by him that afternoon. He only replied with “we have a new hire for your position,” and then said, “I will need to walk you to the door; you now have no clearance to walk freely.” As I walked to the door (which was approximately a football field away in distance), he walked behind me. The feeling from him was cold as if I did something criminal. His demeanor was completely opposite of how he used to conduct himself in my presence. Prior to the testimony, I gave in court, the supervisors would tell me how thankful they were to have me and my expertise. I decided to continue to work with the family as a life coach and mentor, volunteering my time to help them get their son back. Their case with Christopher is currently back in the county courts, after going to the appellate courts and the supreme courts of Oregon. CPS has moved toward adoption, permanently removing the child from them and terminating their rights as parents. Eric has a normal high school diploma and tested in the middle of his class. Amy also has a normal high school diploma. The two of them have newer vehicles, a three-bedroom, two-bath house and live in Redmond, Oregon. Recently, Amy gave birth to another healthy boy, named Hunter. Even though this new baby is viewed as a “new case,” CPS came into the hospital and took Hunter from his parents. They did not do any investigation to see if this child was at risk. They simply took him. When the worker arrived, he was not even prepared to take the newborn infant. He had to ask the hospital for diapers, wipes, blankets, an outfit, formula and did not once ask the nurses about the care of the infant with the parents. I had spent hours with the family in the hospital, and they kept hourly records of their child (e.g., when he nursed, when he wet the diaper when he had a bowel movement, etc.). They were very caring, attentive, happy, and in love with their new baby boy. The night before CPS came to take the child, they informed me that they were coming to take the infant. I offered my home to CPS for the child, and that I would provide 24/7 observation with the family in my home, and that I would work from home to give this mother a chance to bond while CPS did their “investigation.” They refused. The next morning, I emailed the case worker peer-reviewed journal articles explaining the neuroscience regarding the trauma that occurs to an infant when it is taken from his mother, and how the first several weeks are a very crucial time for nutrition (from breast milk), bonding and attachment development. He emailed me back with, “Can I call you?” However, he never called. He came that day at 2:00 pm and took the infant. In court the next Tuesday we pleaded to have the child returned to me as a caregiver so that Amy could nurse and bond with the infant. The judge agreed to have CPS perform a background on me and encouraged the infant to return to the mother with 24/7 monitoring until CPS was done with their investigation. To this day, they still have not performed a background check on me. I have sent probably 20 emails. We are now asking for an expedited court date and want to expose this case. It is criminal and inhumane what CPS is doing. If you have any ideas; (i.e. contacts for news stories, lawyers, or other organizations that you feel you can connect me to; I would be most appreciative. Please send all inquiries to sherrenehagenbach@gmail.com See updates on news coverage and up to date info and news investigations https://www.facebook.com/ReturnChrisandHunter/ Thank you so much for your support!!!

Sherrene Hagenbach
52,776 supporters
Update posted 3 months ago

Petition to TMC Corporate Offices, Greg Abbott

Free Parking for Immediate Family Members of ALL Hospital Patients

Immediate family members paying for parking at Hospitals that are billing the insurance company thousands of dollars, sometimes millions of dollars as in our son’s case, for care, must stop. Parents spend many weeks, sometimes well over a month, in a hospital getting the help they need to help their children survive. Parents are staying at the hospital 24/7 making the hospital staffs job so much easier. They lose their jobs, houses and many other things they will sacrifice to help fight for their baby’s lives. We have spent a combined total of several months, if not a year, in the hospital for our special needs son with Hypo-Plastic Left Heart Syndrome in the last 23 years. Some families only have one family member that can visit and help them in their time of need. The stress already is more than most people can imagine, and then to also worry about parking, is sad but a reality. Parents must pay for their food and drinks while they are there, when they run out of their own groceries. There is only so much food and drinks that you can bring at once. Then you must decide to pay the $ 12 per 4 hours rate to run to the store to restock or pay for their food. Which adds another $12 when you return for over 4 hours. Example TCH Parking Fees"$5 for the first hour and gradual increases up to $12 per 24-hour period." FALSE Actual cost is $ 12 after 4 hours and does not include any in and out privileges. TRUTH Patients need family moral support while going through these times to help to stay mentally strong. On our last visit, I had friends and immediate family members tell me they could not afford to visit more because of the outrageous parking cost. It does add up and hard to argue. Of course, there is a $ 5 parking spot down the street where you have a greater chance of being mugged or your car broken in to. Even the thieves rob you while you are in the hospital! Hospitals can cover the cost and I am sure they will add it to the insurance bill. Example of what is billed to your insurance company while parents still must pay for parking. This is only one thing, click on the Readers Digest link to get a few more that will make you sick to your stomach. That is a whole different battle for someone else to fight. Readers Digest "Charge to patient: $53 per non-sterile pair (sterile are higher), for a total of $5,141 during average patient stay" (Which is $ 26,500 for box of 1,000) Box of equivalent gloves at Health Care Supply Pros (random place when I searched online, no affiliation) cost for a box of non-sterile gloves, is $ 64.99. (Which is $ .13 a pair for a box of 1000) Which gives them a ballpark profit, on this example, of $ 26,435.01 on ONE BOX of gloves. We were told at a hospital, very recently, that they do not write down every pair of gloves and bill your insurance company. She said when the box runs out, they put the charge for the next box on whoever needs them next. WOW Reducing their profit on parking, to immediate family members, is so minimal that it will not affect their overall income and is a great contribution to the parents in their community and most likely a write-off on their taxes! They can cover the profit they are losing by purchasing one box of gloves from anybody else on line. Proposed Solution: The immediate family members of the patient, including parents and siblings, should have their parking validated by the hospital or the parking organization that is partnering with the hospital. A simple chip for family members would be easy to manage. They could start now by giving in and out privileges to families living in the hospital for more that a few days.

Rick Westfall
51,026 supporters