Thursday, April 20, 2006

Another Bait and Switch Scheme to Steal Infants from their Mothers

Mothers in domestic violence shelters face losing their children
By Valarie Honeycutt Spears


Domestic violence shelter directors say the state is increasingly taking children away from women who have done nothing more than move to a shelter to escape a violent home.

In the past year, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has removed the children of about 50 women served by the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Program, said Darlene Thomas, the program's director. The program covers Fayette and 16 surrounding counties.

Some Cabinet workers have been telling women that shelters aren't an appropriate atmosphere for children, said Kentucky Domestic Violence Association executive director Sherry Currens. Currens and other domestic violence victim advocates worry that the trend could dissuade victims from seeking help.

"You don't have to hurt the baby or neglect it; at this point, being an abused woman who shows up at a shelter is often enough grounds to take a child," Thomas said.

That's a shift from the past, when child-protection workers applauded mothers who fled abusive partners and took their children to shelters.

Shelters provide a safe, structured environment for families and also offer programs designed for the children, Thomas said.

A recent child advocacy report suggested that officials could be removing more children of domestic violence victims as part of a broader push to increase adoptions from state foster care in order to get federal financial bonuses for the state.

The Cabinet disputes that.

"It has nothing to do with federal enticements or raising adoption numbers. Our motivation is to protect the child," said Tom Emberton Jr., commissioner of the Department for Community Based Services. "There is no policy that children of domestic violence victims are removed. We look at each case."

Emberton said he is aware of the concerns by the victim advocates and that the Cabinet is looking into them.

Thomas said the domestic violence professionals on her staff agreed that the Cabinet removals were appropriate in only about five of the 50 cases, in which mothers had other problems, such as drug addiction, in addition to domestic violence.

Thomas said she knows of three cases in the 17-county area in which the state found new adoptive families for infants who were taken from domestic violence victims at the hospital immediately after birth.

Currens said officials at shelters statewide are concerned about the trend. She said Cabinet workers and courts are sending mixed messages to victims: They could lose custody if they don't leave an abuser; but they are viewed as unstable if they flee to a shelter.

Currens said some domestic violence workers are so concerned that they have provided information for a state inspector general's investigation into foster care adoptions.

David Richart, executive director of the Louisville-based National Institute on Children, Youth and Families Inc., said shelter employees have come to him with concerns that victims were losing their children -- especially infants and toddlers who looked like "Gerber babies."

"I'm very concerned about what appears to be a trend," Thomas said. "I don't know why it's happening. I can't pretend to have the big picture."

It's probably happening to 'feed' the growing adoption market for blonde, blue-eyed babies as more and more professional women decide to follow the gender neutralized feminists' prescription for living the good life. First get a professional degree and establish yourself in your field THEN try to find a husband and have children.

Sadly by the time you accomplish all that you are probably in the situation of a Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Ann Coulter, Maureen Dowd, Condi Rice, Harriet Miers, etc., which means you either have to do a single parent adoption or spend your remaining fertile years sniffing around college campus looking for some young college girl (desperate for money) to sell you her eggs OR hang around a shelter in a poor southern state looking to STEAL some other young mother's baby...

Either way it's a disgusting scenario.

Go have your own kids and quit trying to steal either the eggs or baby 'chicks' of other mothers.


Lisa said...

I'm confused. As a former foster child, current child advocate, I want to understand where you are coming from...

I don't think a mom whose only "mistake" is seeking shelter from an abusive situation should lose custody of her child.

Adoption can be a good thing if both parents are abusive and there aren't any extended relatives to step in.

1.) Ideally, mom or dad (or both) will protect and care for the child. By going to a shelter, that (to me) demonstrates caring about the child's safety.

2.) If neither parent is safe (and by unsafe, I mean abuse or severe neglect), then relatives might be the next best option.

3.) If relatives can't or won't step in, ideally that child would adopted -- not bounced between foster homes until the child gets messed up.

Children deserve safety and permanency.

What confuses is me is the scenario you mentioned. I would have to know more about it. Mom's who flee abusive partners are proving their love and devotion to the child (in my mind). Not something that the mom should lose custody for...

Please check out my blog sometime.

NYMOM said...

I just posted two harsh replies to you but erased them after reading your blog. I believe you are a former foster child yourself? Is that so???

Like you, I was raised in a form of state care, not my own family. So yes, I do agree that children, with abusive, negligent or even incompetent parents deserve permanent homes; HOWEVER that does NOT appear to be the case here...

It appears to be the case that children who resembled 'gerber babies' according to the article were quickly removed from their mothers and adopted out with the only reason being their mothers were vulnerable due to being in a shelter...

Anyway, welcome to blogdom...

Lisa said...

In that case, I think it was totally wrong for the mothers to lose custody.

Like I said, for a mom to flee an abusive partner and seek safety is an act of motherly love.

Her choice should be rewarded by support, not punished by taking her child.

How can I contact these people? (Meaning the people who took the children?) I would like to make some phone calls and even contact the local newspaper.

I live in Ohio now, but when I lived in foster placements they were in Kentucky. So, I already know the foster system in Kentucky is flawed.

In Ohio, it's a county-based system, so changes can start from the bottom and go up. Each county can make their own decisions.

In Kentucky, it's a state system (beaurocrasy), so decisions are made from the top and go down.

A mother who seeks refuge from an abusive husband has rights that need to be protected.

Lisa said...

Oh... and yes, I am a former foster child. My website is

If you ever want to share your insights or personal story, I'm just an email away.

NYMOM said...

Follow the link for the article and contact the reporter...then see if they have contact info...

Good luck...

Jess said...

Hi NYMOM. I am Jessica from d-net. Lost your email address some time ago.

My daughter was taken from me by CPS over a year ago. I had a messy home after moving and my family had called on me. CPS worker insisted I was a hoarder when I am not. Then the worker lied and said I "admitted" to things I never said. My daughter was taken and put into "therapy" where she was told how unstable I am and how I was delusional and made up the DV her father committed against me. This "therapy" lasted about a year. Then, they sent her to live with her abusive father who hadn't had visitation with her since she was a baby. She is almost 16 years old.

I am no longer allowed to see my child. I am considered too dangerous because of the lies told against me. I even had evidence the worker was lying but was denied a trial. They wrote that I stipulated to the charges while I was objecting to them. My character has been assassinated in my community and now I have to move somewhere to find peace.

There was an obvious double standard. My daughter asked me one question about something and I responded with the truth. This happened one time. I was considered emotionally abusing her for answering a question because I said something about her father. So, my talking about her father is abuse. However, he was allowed to badmouth me to her in every contact they allowed with her for over a year and it was not considered abuse.

The case was over before it began. I jumped through all their hoops. They even said I complied but said it wasn't good enough and that I hadn't "learned my lesson."

They kept telling lies about me the whole time. They never had to submit evidence of the lies. Whatever they said was automatically the truth. I was guilty without a chance to prove my innocence.

NYMOM said...

Sorry to hear about this Jess.

From the age of your daughter I must say she had to have some say in the matter as I don't think they could have forced her to live there if she didn't want to...

This could have been much worse if she was still little as she might not even had any memories of you if they took her away early.

I think she'll be in touch on her own eventually. Meanwhile you can just try to live as well as possible until then...

Good luck. Stay in touch.