Posts Tagged ‘DFCS’

More on Jackson County Ga DFCS and their Abuse of Alice Samantha Thomason and her Children

June 11, 2010 2 comments

Alice Samantha Thomason with her children who have been snatched by JAckson County GA DFCS their names are Autumn Destiny DeShawna Thomason, Carly Skyler and Sara Louvelle Texanna Wilfawn

According to the manual for Georgia Child Protective Services and Title IV-E Funding the caseworker is supposed to visit the parents of the children they have snatched once a month. This is supposed to be part of their “reasonable effort” to reunify the familiy. Well in Jackson County Felica Johnson the ninth caseworker of Alice Samantha Thomason has yet to visit her. But she has found time to visit the father of Autumn Destiny DeShawna, Carly Skyler and Sara Louvelle Texanna Wilfawn in prison down south in Macon Ga which is a three hour drive. This is not the first time that Samantha has not see her caseworker on a monthly basis. Her last one Katie Bice didn’t see her for three months after she took over the case- but yet she like Felica had time to go see the children, the therepist, and contact the children’s father.
What is wrong with this picture? We know that DFCS has a habit of falsifying records to their benefit. We know they state they have done things they haven’t to make their paperwork look good. Is this what is happening in Samantha’s case? Are the records being falsified to make them look good? Are they being falsified to make it look like Samantha is not in compliance? All she has left is housing. She has a job. According to Title IV-E Funding DFCS is supposed to help her with that either under HUD or Section 8.
In Georgia’s Training Manual for Adoption the caseworkers are taught that they are to continue the case plan in order to keep the court of appeals from throwing back the adoption. However, not to make a big deal out of it because they know the parents won’t follow the case plan anyway.
This is not the case with Samantha – she has followed the case plan. So are they delibertely lying on their paper work to cover their job- and to keep Samantha from getting her children back?
Also according to DFCS Samantha has to have a bedroom for each girl, however, in the foster home, there are sick foster kids and they are stacked up like cordwood. Again this is a double standard. It is time to stop this insanity- It is time to give Samantha her children back, close this case and stop the abuse, greed and corruption.
I will not stop until this is stopped.

A Huge Screw Up By Georgia DFCS Leaves a Child Murdered at the Hands of Foster Parents

January 8, 2010 1 comment

News & Views: News Feature
Wary of relatives, DFCS seeks foster parents
Published 08.19.00By Stephanie Ramage.The Division of Family and Children Services says fallout from the notorious Terrell Peterson case has increased the need for foster families, and Don Keenan, a child advocacy lawyer who pursued Peterson’s case, is crying foul. It used to be that the top priority for caseworkers with the Division of Family and Children Services was to keep families together — even if that meant leaving a child with a biological family who didn’t necessarily want the child around. The emphasis of the department, according to Liz Bryant, a placement resources manager for DFCS, has always been keeping families together. But DFCS caseworkers have changed their methods since the Peterson case drew negative national attention to Georgia’s foster care system.
“Case managers are less likely to leave children in families now without knowing specifically that they will be protected,” says Bryant. With fewer children placed with relatives, the same number of foster parents end up taking care of more and more kids — or they end up in shelters instead.

Trouble is, none of the people responsible for the long, slow, torture death of 6-year-old Terrell Peterson were his relatives. His “grandmother” was not his grandmother. His “aunt” was not his aunt. They were instead the grandmother and aunt of Terrell’s half-siblings, who had also been abandoned by his mother. Terrell’s father is unknown.

Terrell’s mother was a substance-abusing prostitute. She was estranged from her family in south Georgia. That’s where Terrell’s real grandmother was, along with a large clan of Terrell’s relatives, people whom Keenan describes as “gainfully-employed people who own their homes.” But they didn’t know about Terrell and when they did find out, it was because he had been killed.

“Common sense tells you that a child would be better cared for by blood relatives,” says Keenan. “There were at least nine blood relatives of Terrell’s in south Georgia who would have loved to have taken care of him. It’s sickening that they would use him as an excuse for not trying to find blood relatives.”

The importance of blood relatives is a topic that has dogged Keenan since 1988, when he brought suit against the state for the horrendous mishandling of the Kathy Jo Taylor case. Kathy Jo, 5, and her 3-year-old sister Jodie were left by their mother, who had problems similar to those that beset Terrell’s mother, in the care of their biological grandmother in a neighborhood where four of her uncles lived. The girls were well cared for, but their grandmother became worried about their legal status. She called DFCS because she thought it was her responsibility to tell the state that she was raising her daughter’s children. Shortly thereafter, the state removed the girls from their grandmother’s home. Six months and five foster homes later, Kathy Jo had been beaten into a coma by a foster parent. She remained on life support until she was 21 years old, when she died.

The Kathy Jo Taylor case resulted in a federal consent order which requires four things of Georgia’s DFCS : 1) Caseworkers have to exhaust every possibility of placing a child with a blood-relative. 2) Foster parents cannot use corporal punishment. 3) Caseworkers have to have monthly face-to-face meetings with foster children. 4) Upon charges of abuse being filed, DFCS workers have to appear in juvenile court with the child and justify the agency’s actions relative to the abuse. Those provisions were made law by the state legislature in 1989.

“I bet over at DFCS there’s not a friggin’ one of ‘em who even remember who Kathy Jo Taylor was,” says Keenan. “Or the laws she gave her life for.”

But Bryant does remember. She’s been with DFCS for 20 years. She points out that the people who abused Terrell Peterson may not have been his relatives, but they were also not foster parents — as was the case with Kathy Jo Taylor. DFCS is looking for about a thousand good parents who can care for nearly 700 new arrivals in the DFCS system since December — when the department began more readily removing children from their abusive biological families.

In December 1999, there were 12,198 children in the care of the state. As of June there were 12,874. Some of the 670 new kids have been absorbed into existing foster homes. Some foster parents have as many as six children. Other new arrivals are living in DFCS shelters. Bryant admits that neither situation is ideal, but until people open their hearts and homes to these children, the state has few options.

“Our first responsibility is the safety of the child,” says Bryant.

Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent is encouraged to call 1-888-310-8260 to learn more about the application process.


The State of Georgia Subsidy Profile of 2009 in other words More Money for Adoping our Children

January 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Georgia State Subsidy Profile

Updated November 2009

State Subsidy Contact Person

Mr. Adrian J. Owens
DHS/Social Services Administration Unit
2 Peachtree St. NW, Ste. 8-400
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-657-3558 / 888-460-2467
Fax: 404-463-3735

NACAC Subsidy Representatives (parent/volunteer)

Jymme Reed
6319 Hillview Lane
Douglasville, GA 30134
Phone: 770-947-1265

Kathryn Karp
My Turn Now, Inc.
PO Box 7727
Atlanta, GA 30357
Phone: 404-657-3479


Adoption subsidies are available for children with special needs. Federal subsidies were created by Congress (through Public Law 96-272—the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980) to encourage the adoption of special needs children and remove the financial disincentives to adoption for the families. Children may receive a federally funded subsidy under Title IV-E or a state-funded subsidy as per state guidelines. Below we have outlined information related to definitions of special needs, benefits available, and procedures in your state. Answers to select questions were made available by the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (AAICAMA) through the Child Welfare Information Gateway ( Profiles for each state’s subsidy program are available on our web site at If you have additional questions, please call the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) at 651-644-3036 or our subsidy help line at 800-470-6665, or e-mail us at If you have state-specific questions, please call your State Subsidy Contact Person or the NACAC Subsidy Representative (listed above) for more information.


Adoption Resources on the Web: 09
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Georgia’s state-specific medical assistance:,2467,31446711,00.html;jsessionid=


1. What specific factors or conditions does your State consider to determine that a child cannot be placed with adoptive parents without providing financial assistance? (“What is your State definition of special needs?”)

A child with special needs is defined as a child that has at least one of the following needs or circumstances that may be a barrier to placement or adoption without financial assistance:

Eight years of age or older
African American heritage and one year of age or older
Member of a sibling group of three or more children placed together at the same time
Member of a sibling group of two children to be placed together where one child is eight years of age or older or has another special need as defined herein
A documented physical, emotional, or mental problems or limitations, or a predisposition there from
Note: Children must be legally free for adoption to be eligible for adoption assistance. To be eligible for Title IV-E adoption assistance, the state must also determine that the child cannot or should not return home to the birth parent(s) and that reasonable efforts to place the child with out adoption assistance have been made (except when contrary to the best interest of the child).

2. What are the eligibility criteria for the State-funded adoption assistance program?

In order to be eligible for state-funded adoption assistance a child must not be eligible for Title IV-E, special needs child as defined above, legally free for adoption, and have been in the permanent custody of the Georgia Department of Human Resources.

3. The maximum basic monthly adoption assistance maintenance payment in Georgia is:

These rates are effective July 1, 2009 for new subsidy agreements only.

Basic rates: Age Rate

Age Rate
0-5 $441.04
6-12 $463.85
13-18 $486.67

4. Specialized rates are based on the extraordinary needs of the child, and/or the additional parenting skill needed to raise the child. If Georgia offers these rates, the criteria used to define them are as follows:

If a child receives a specialized family foster care rate, a foster care worker can submit an application to the Adoption Unit for a determination for a higher per diem based on the exceptional special needs of the foster child. The foster care rate is determined by the Provider Relations Unit.

Adoption assistance payments can be up to 100 percent of the applicable DHS/DFCS family foster care per diem that the child was receiving immediately prior to the adoptive placement. The rates are dependent on the current level of functioning of the child.

Note: DHR/DFCS specialized family foster care rates may be lower than a private therapeutic foster care agency’s rates. For negotiating specialized adoption assistance, the rate can only be negotiated up to the DHS/DFACS family foster care rates.

5. Parents can receive payment or reimbursement for certain nonrecurring adoption expenses directly related to the finalization of an adoption. Below are the allowed expenses and the limit per child.

Nonrecurring expenses include: reasonable and necessary legal fees/ court costs, travel/lodging/meals (as part of pre-placement visits) and physicals for adoptive parent(s) as part of the adoption home assessment directly related to the legal adoption of a child with special needs.

Children adopted internationally are not eligible unless they meet the federal definition of special needs. To meet the federal definition of special needs the state must determine that the child cannot or should not return home, the child must meet the state definition of special needs (see question 1), and the state must be able to document that there have been reasonable efforts to place the child without adoption assistance.

Reimbursement for nonrecurring expenses will be made only after the adoption is finalized. Documentation of expenses must be provided prior to payment. The reimbursement limit is $1,500 per child.

6. What Medicaid services are available in Georgia?

The state contact for eligibility questions is Teresa Johnson, 404-657-7263, and the contact for questions on services is Yvonne Dove, 404-463-2135.

7. Children who have federally funded (Title IV-E) subsidy are automatically eligible for Medicaid benefits. However, it is the state’s decision whether state-funded (non-Title IV-E) children are eligible for Medicaid benefits in Georgia. Below is information on the Medicaid benefits available for state-funded children.

A child receiving State-funded adoption maintenance assistance is eligible for State-funded Medicaid. In practice, staff indicate that children have a “future need for counseling” so all children may receive Medicaid.

8. What mental health services are provided by your State?

Public mental health services for children in Georgia are administered through the Department of Community Health (DCH), Division of Medical Assistance and include the following examples: psychological services, in-patient hospital services, mental health clinic services, targeted case management for the chronically mentally ill, therapeutic residential intervention, and pharmacy services.

DMA and Medicaid covered services:,2467,31446711,00.html

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker or medical assistance specialist for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

9. Does your State provide additional finances or services for medical or therapeutic needs not covered under your State medical plan to children receiving adoption assistance?

Special Services funds are available only to children who had been in the permanent custody of DHS. Georgia provides limited funding under the Special Services Adoption Assistance Program, these funds are approved on an annual basis.. These funds are contingent on availability of State funds and need. Family income and availability of community resources is considered in these requests. Special Services funds are provided by a separate agreement. The county social services case manager is the source of contact for application.

Georgia DFCS, DHR county contact:

Note: Not all services may be available in all cases. Contact your adoption assistance worker for information regarding process, eligibility, availability, and duration of services.

10. What types of post adoption services are available in your State and how do you find out more about them?

Post adoption contracted services in Georgia are administered by the Department of Human Services (DHS) thorough the DFCS, Social Services Administration Unit and community resources. DHS post adoption services include the following:

Georgia Center for Adoption Resources and Support (Tutoring referrals, lending library, training and referrals adoptive parent support groups).
A-Team (teen support group)
Crisis Intervention Team (therapeutic intervention, family case management)
Adoption Reunion Registry
Local county departments may have a local listing that adoptive families may call. In addition, a toll free number for the Georgia Center for Adoption Resources and Support is available and will provide families with information relating to resources, support groups, local and statewide adoption related activities. The number for the resource center is 1-866-A-Parent (1-866-272-7368).

Special Services Adoption Assistance—provides a time-limited or one-time special service when no other family or community resource is available:

Child Care: Based on need and family income
Respite: Provided to afford the family some down time that cares for a special needs child that may have medical/emotional/physical/mental diagnosis by a licensed medical or psychological provider. Can be approved for up to 20 hours per month/per family.
Other Special Services: Services such as orthodontics, prosthetics, psychological counseling (not paid for by Medicaid).
Contact your local DFCS County Office for more information. Georgia DFCS, DHR county contact:
Special Services funds are contingent upon the availability of State Funds. A family’s resources are taken into consideration when the application is made. Special Services are not provided each year for every child.

In addition, many private organizations offer a variety of respite options. See the ARCH National Respite Network Respite Locator Service, search by state to locate Georgia’s respite programs, link:

11. If the additional assistance (listed above in questions #8 -10) is to cover specific services (e.g., counseling/mental health services, respite care, etc.), must these services be explicitly identified in the adoption assistance agreement?

No. Special Services may be applied for anytime after the child is placed on adoptive status. Special Services are based on the availability of State Funds. These services are covered under a separate agreement and paid strictly through special services funds.

12. How are residential treatment costs covered (if at all) for adoptive families? What procedures must a family follow to receive these services?

Families requiring residential treatment should contact their county social service office or mental health center. Funding is dependent on meeting specific eligibility criteria and availability of funds. Families must be Georgia residents in order to be eligible for this service. Any child is eligible whether or not initially in Georgia DHS custody. If the child and family is receiving adoption assistance from Georgia the family will be asked to contribute a portion of the adoption assistance towards the cost of the placement as they are still legally and financially responsible for the child(ren).

13. A deferred adoption assistance agreement is one in which the initial monthly maintenance amount is $0. Does Georgia offer such agreements?

Yes, Georgia offers deferred agreements. If a child does not meet the definition of a child with special needs prior to adoption finalization, a deferred adoption assistance application is completed by the adopting parent(s) for a $0 dollar amount. If at a later time the child is diagnosed with a physical/mental/emotional, medical condition by a licensed provider, the family can request another special needs determination through the local DFCS office. All approvals/denials are completed by the Social Services Administration Unit. No adoption assistance payment will exceed the basic foster care rate the child received as a family foster care board rate prior to adoptive placement.

14. Does Georgia operate a subsidized guardianship program?


Programmatic Procedures

15. Who makes the final determination of a child’s subsidy eligibility in Georgia? What roles, if any, do workers and administrators at the county, district, or regional level play in eligibility determination and/or assistance negotiation?

Adoption Assistance is applied for at the local level (county office). All determinations/approvals/denials are made by the Social Services Administration Unit at the State Office. The caseworker submitting the documentation will be notified of the approval or denial by SSAU.

16. Will Georgia consider my family income to determine my child’s eligibility for subsidy?

Written documentation of a family’s financial circumstances must be submitted with the initial application. This information is not used to establish eligibility for subsidy, but it does give the agency an idea of the family’s ability to meet the special needs of the child.

Eligibility for Special services adoption assistance funds will consider the adoptive family income and the availability of community resources.

17. When do subsidy payments begin?

For children involved with Georgia DFCS, Adoption Assistance payments and benefits may begin at the time of adoptive placement.

For children not involved with DFCS (Private/Independent adoption), Adoption Assistance payments and benefits begin once the adoption has finalized.

18. Do children adopted from private agencies in Georgia receive the same subsidies as those children adopted from public agencies?

Only Federal (IV-E) subsidies are available to children in the custody of private agencies at this time. Children placed through private agencies are ineligible for state-funded subsidy. Special Services Funds are not available to children in the custody of private agencies.

19. When my child turns 18, which benefits if any, are available to our family?

Listed below are the criteria for adoption assistance eligibility over age 18. All adoption assistance payments will end when the youth turns 21 years old or earlier.

For youth over age 18 who are still in high school:

For an adopted child to be eligible for continued assistance the child must have been in the permanent custody of DFCS (Both biological parents parental rights were terminated and DFCS had sole custody of the child when the adoption occurred. The only exception to this is when the child was placed from the temporary custody of DFCS (DFCS initiated TPR) with the relative/fictive kin for the purpose of adoption. If a child does not meet either of these requirements, then the adoption assistance will end in the month of the child’s 18th birthday.
If the child meets the eligibility requirements above, then they must document that they are in school full time (GED or Job Corp does not qualify as full time school) by providing verification on school letterhead quarterly.
NOTE: The adoption assistance ends when:
The child graduates from high school (If still in school can receive adoption assistance through their graduation month)
The child drops out of high school (Can receive adoption assistance the month they drop out only),
The child turns 21 (If still in school can receive adoption assistance through their birth month)
For youth over age 18 who are in college or technical school:

For an adopted child to be eligible for continued assistance they must have been adopted prior to July 1998 (any age) with an adoption assistance agreement. For children adopted after July 1998, they must have been adopted after their 13th birthday with an adoption assistance agreement.
The child must also have been in the permanent custody of DFCS (Both biological parents parental rights were terminated and DFCS had sole custody of the child when the adoption occurred, or was placed from the temporary custody of DFCS (DFCS initiated TPR) with the relative/fictive kin for the purpose of adoption.
If the child meets the eligibility requirements above, then they must document that they are in school full time by providing verification on school letterhead quarterly.
NOTE: The adoption assistance ends upon:
Failure to provide quarterly verification of full time enrollment
Child turns 21 (If still in school can receive adoption assistance through their birth month)
Child drops out of school (Can receive adoption assistance through the month they drop out)
20. A child’s adoption assistance agreement may be periodically reviewed by the state. What is the typical process used in Georgia?

Georgia does not renew nor recertify a child for adoption assistance; however Medicaid is renewed annually by the REV Max Unit.

21. Can adoption assistance agreements be modified if requested by adoptive parents?

Georgia Policy does not allow for an increase in the adoption assistance benefit beyond the amount the child received in family foster care immediately prior to the adoptive placement. However, the family may have other requests such as post adoption services, referrals for community and/or agency resources, a change of address, etc. Any requests or notifications by the parents are made to the case manager. This is outlined in the adoption assistance agreement. If an adoptive family is unsuccessful in making contact with the case manager, they should contact the supervisor or county director.

Georgia DFCS, DHR county contact:

22. What are the exact steps a family must go through to access the fair hearing/appeal process in Georgia?

Adoptive families can request a fair hearing any time there is a disagreement with a DFCS decision affecting their child’s adoption assistance agreement. Parents are directed to contact their local county Department of Family and Children Services to request a fair hearing. Georgia DFCS, DHR county contact:

All requests must be made in writing and provided to the county DFCS case manager who will send a formal referral to the Legal Services Department of DHS for processing. DHS in turn forwards the request to the Office of State Administrative Hearings.

The Office of State Administrative Hearings will notify the family, in writing, of the date and location of the hearing. Hearings are usually held in the county of residence of the petitioner. Requests for an administrative hearing by telephone are possible. The request for a telephone hearing must be made in writing to the fair hearing officer identified in the hearing notice.
After the bureau of state hearings receives a request for a fair hearing, a notice giving the date, time, and place of the hearing is sent to adoptive parents. This notice will be sent at least ten days before the hearing. The notice also will tell parents what to do if they cannot come to the hearing as scheduled. Families may bring witnesses, friends, relatives, or a lawyer to help them present their case. The hearing officer will listen to both sides but will not make a decision at the hearing. Instead, parents will receive a written decision in the mail, issued by the hearing authority, a few weeks later. Parents should receive a hearing decision within ninety days of their hearing request. The hearing officer will record the hearing so that the facts are taken down correctly. After the hearing decision is issued, parents can get a free copy of the tape by contacting the hearings section. If parents disagree with the hearing decision, the written decision sent to them will explain how to ask for an administrative appeal of the decision.

See the Office of State Administrative Hearings regarding Procedural Rules and Legal Resources:

23. Families may request a subsidy after the finalization of an adoption under certain circumstances. Below is the process by which families access a subsidy after finalization.

In order to start the process, families should contact the county where they live or contact Adrian J. Owens at 404-657-3558.

Georgia DFCS, DHR county contact:

System Operation and Program Funding

24. How is the subsidy program operated and funded in Georgia?

The system is state supervised in terms of policy writing, consultation, and some training. Counties administer the adoption program. All adoption studies and life histories are registered with the state adoption exchange. Initial applications for adoption assistance and requests for non-recurring adoption expenses are approved at the State level and administered at the County level. All requests for special services adoption assistance are approved at the state level.

The federal contribution to Title IV-E-eligible children is 67.29% in Georgia. This is known as the Federal Financial Participation (FFP) rate. The remaining cost of the program is funded entirely with state funds.

25. Below are other programs that may differentiate Georgia’s adoption assistance program from others around the country.

Georgia does not pay college tuition for adopted children. However, State funded adoption assistance may be provided in certain circumstances for children ages 18-21 who are in college or technical school-see question 19 for criteria that must be met.

North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)
970 Raymond Avenue, Suite 106
St. Paul, MN 55114
phone: 651-644-3036
fax: 651-644-9848

Home Schooling and DFCS

January 8, 2010 Leave a comment

If DFCS Comes Knocking

Author: Cathy
Published: Sun, 07-Aug-2005
Version: 0.12
Article ID: 11
Read: 10284 times
Article Size: 31.94 KB

If DFCS Comes Knocking

HEIR of Georgia offers the following informational links and commentary to help home educators become better informed about Georgia laws as they concern home educators and state agencies. The information contained here has not been composed by lawyers and is not legal advice.

1. Question: What is the scope of DFCS’ authority and responsibility?

Answer: The Division of Family and Children Services is an agent of the state of Georgia’s Department of Human Resources. According to their website, “The Division of Family and children Services (DFCS) is the part of DHR that investigates child abuse; finds foster homes for abused and neglected children; helps low income, out-of-work parents get back on their feet; assists with childcare costs for low income parents who are working or in job training; and provides numerous support services and innovative programs to help troubled families.” Although DFCS is under the DHR umbrella, it is generally administered locally by each county under the direction of a County Director whose responsibilities include the interpretation and application of statutes and regulations. Because interpretations may vary from one county to another, it is important for individuals to be attuned to what is happening in their own counties.

2. Question: Does DFCS have the authority to monitor individual home study programs for compliance?

Answer: There are two situations that might apply. First, the local superintendent, after having given written notice to a parent or guardian providing a home study program that he/she is out of compliance with attendance requirements, may seek the cooperation of agencies such as DFCS to secure enforcement. If you are in compliance with the reporting requirements of our home study law, this should never occur. It is strongly advised that all home study program participants in Georgia faithfully and promptly file the required declaration of intent to utilize a home study program (available at Attendance Form and Declaration of Intent) and submit the required monthly attendance forms.

The second situation does not deal specifically with home study programs but with any home in which children reside. If it is reported that you are abusing or neglecting your child(ren), DFCS is obligated to follow up by investigating to determine if there is merit to the report. It is possible, of course, that family members or disgruntled neighbors or simply those who do not value home education may interpret the fact of your home educating as neglectful or abusive. Sometimes people are concerned about the “isolation” of home-educated children and believe that is justification for reporting a child as being neglected or deprived. The term “deprived child” as it relates to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court includes a child who is: “without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for his physical, mental, or emotional health or morals;” O.C.G.A. §15-11-2(8) (emphasis added). It is legal to fulfill the compulsory education requirement of our law via a home study program, and it is neither the duty nor the privilege of DFCS workers to assess or determine the quality of the home study program being provided. As long as your home study program meets the requirements spelled out in OCGA 20-2-690, you are in compliance with the law.

Unless there are other abuse, neglect, or deprivation issues in your family that need to be investigated, DFCS should be satisfied with your having met the requirements of the home study law, whether or not they or those who reported you personally value home education.

3. Question:

In the event that a DFCS worker comes to a home educator’s door as a result of a tip of alleged “isolation,” abuse, neglect, or deprivation, what is the right of the home educator to refuse to have his children seen, interviewed, etc.? Must the DFCS worker have a warrant?

Answer: Prudence as well as knowledge of the law is critical in such cases. Polite firmness should be the attitude, and confidence in knowing one’s rights and on which points to be firm are the underpinnings of being effective. Common sense is a good ally; it is good to know your rights and insist on them while acknowledging the honorable intent of those whose duty it is to substantiate reports of abuse. While your aim should be to help the agent find that the report is unsubstantiated, it is important also to uphold your rights as a free citizen. No agent of the government has a right to come into your home or interview your children without the proper warrant. A judge who has already been convinced that there is sufficient cause to investigate the situation must issue a warrant. A DFCS worker may not execute the warrant; only a law-enforcement official can do that. If a DFCS or social worker arrives with the police and a warrant, it may be time to call a lawyer.

First, a warrant can only be issued pursuant to a showing of probable cause. Second, the warrant must be properly completed. If an allegation is serious enough that a court found cause to issue a warrant, then it is time to enlist an attorney. An attorney will want to evaluate the sufficiency of probable cause and will want to ensure that the warrant meets all procedural requirements.

If a social worker or DFCS worker asks to see your children or wants to come into your home without a warrant, here are several things you may prudently do.

1. Be polite and firm. You might join the agent on the porch or in your front yard and say something like the following:

• “I understand you have an important job to do. Let’s talk about what brings you here.” (You have a right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation.) • “I certainly have nothing to hide, but I’m also sure you’ve heard of some cases where the rights of citizens weren’t as carefully considered as they should have been. I’m a ‘by the book sort of person,’ so you’ll understand why I need to see a warrant before admitting you to see/interview/search/etc.” If you didn’t bring a warrant, I will be happy to let you use my portable phone here outside to call the proper authorities, and I’ll wait with you here on the porch while you take care of those details.” • “You know, I am really interested in the concept of due process, so to protect both your office and my civil rights, I’m going to record the remainder of our conversation. Will you excuse me while I go get my digital voice recorder?”

2. Be thoroughly familiar with the homeschool law.

3. Be familiar with Georgia’s definition of Child Abuse and requirements for reporting.

GA Code 20-2-694: “It shall be the duty of each county and independent school system board of education and each local school superintendent within the state to administer this subpart and to secure its enforcement in cooperation with the other state and county agencies and in cooperation with the administrators of private schools and parents or guardians providing a home study program.”

GA Code 20-2-701: “Local school superintendents as applied to private schools and home study programs or visiting teachers and attendance officers as applied to public schools, after written notice to the parent or guardian of a child, shall report to the juvenile or other court having jurisdiction under Chapter 11 of Title 15 any child who is absent from a public or private school or a home study program in violation of this subpart. If the judge of the court places such child in a home or in a public or private institution pursuant to Chapter 11 of Title 15, school shall be provided for such child.”

Homeschooling in Georgia

Statutes Affecting Homeschoolers (The term used in Georgia statutes to refer to homeschooling is “home study program.”)

OCGA 20-2-690 Defines the requirements to establish and operate a home study program to comply with the compulsory attendance law.

Layman’s Interpretation of Requirements for Establishing and Operating a Home Study Program:

1. Parents must submit a declaration of intent to homeschool within 30 days of starting and by September 1 annually thereafter. 2. Declaration of intent must list children’s names and ages, and address of the home study program, and indicate the start and end of the school year; enrollment records and reports can’t be used for any purpose other than providing enrollment information except by express permission of the parents or as a result of a court order. 3. Parents must have high school diploma or GED and may teach only their own children; they may engage a tutor provided the tutor has a high school diploma or GED. 4. The home study program must include, but is not limited to, reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. 5. Over a 12-month period, the instruction must be equivalent to 180 days of 4.5 hours, unless the child is physically unable to comply. 6. Attendance records must be kept and submitted to the local superintendent each month. Attendance records and reports can’t be used for any purpose other than verifying attendance except with parent’s permission or as a result of a court order. 7. Homeschooled children must take a nationally normed standardized test every three years beginning “at the end of third grade” but the results are not required to be submitted to “education authorities.” 8. An annual progress report must be written and retained for three years. 9. The state Board of Education is required to design and make available such forms as are required, but they may not be inconsistent with the requirements of the law. O.C.G.A. 20-2-690.1G Defines the ages of compulsory attendance and the sanctions for failure to comply. Layman’s interpretation of O.C.G.A. 20-2-690.1G. Compulsory attendance applies to children between the ages of 6 and 16. Each day of absence is a separate offense, and parents are liable to a fine of $100 or 30 days imprisonment or both. O.C.G.A. 20-2-697 Addresses the authority of visiting teachers and truancy officers. Layman’s interpretation of O.C.G.A. 20-2-697 Private schools and home study programs are explicitly exempted from the provisions of this code section. O.C.G.A 20-2-698. Allows peace officers to “assume temporary custody” of certain children. Layman’s interpretation of O.C.G.A 20-2-698. Children out in public during school hours may be taken into custody, unless they have a written permission from their parents. O.C.G.A. 20-2-701 Identifies who is empowered to bring truancy charges. Layman’s interpretation of O.C.G.A. 20-2-701 Only the local superintendent is empowered to report a homeschooling parent for violations of the compulsory attendance law, and then only after written notification. O.C.G.A. 20-2-150 Identifies children eligible for enrollment in government schools Layman’s interpretation of O.C.G.A. 20-2-150 Once a child is enrolled in a government school program for 20 days or more, compulsory attendance is required, no matter how young. So, if a parent decides that the pre-K program is not working out, they can’t just withdraw the child because now they are treated as if the child was six years old and subject to compulsory attendance.

The Georgia Department of Education maintains a FAQ page for homeschoolers:
Case Law and Legal Opinions In 1986, the Georgia Attorney General issued an opinion stating that local superintendents could “request” that homeschoolers provide documents related to their home study program, but had no legal basis to “require” the production of those documents. The opinion is reproduced at
From the Division of Family and Children Services brochure “Protecting Children”: If you think a child is being hurt or neglected whom do you call? The Department of Family and Children Services is in every county. You simply call their local office and give them the name and location of the child. Your report is confidential. While you do not have to give your name to make a report, it can be more helpful for the child if you are willing to tell who you are and to testify in court if necessary. If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call the police. They will contact DFCS.

What is considered child abuse or neglect? • Physical abuse is injury to a child under age 18 by a parent or caretaker which results in bruises, welts, fractures, burns, cuts or internal injuries. • Neglect is the failure of the parent or caretaker to see that a child is adequately supervised, fed, clothed or housed. • Sexual abuse occurs when a parent or other adult uses a child under age 18 for sexual stimulation. What type of maltreatment is most reported? Neglect makes up the bulk of the reports and the majority of substantiated cases. Lack of adult supervision is the most common type of neglect. Physical abuse is the next most reported and substantiated type of maltreatment, followed by sexual abuse. What happens when you call DFCS to report suspected abuse or neglect? The worker first determines whether the call is about the maltreatment of a child under 18 by a parent or caretaker. Reports that fall within these guidelines are investigated by DFCS investigators, frequently along with the police. If a report is substantiated, does DFCS automatically remove the child from the home? No. A child may be taken from home by the police if he or she is in immediate danger. If there appears to be an ongoing risk to the child, DFCS may petition the juvenile court to remove the child. Under what conditions may DFCS remove children who are not in immediate danger? If the CPS staff determine that it is not safe for a child to remain at home (for example, when very young children are left home alone), then DFCS will file a petition with the juvenile court for a hearing to decide whether the agency will be granted temporary custody. What happens to children who are left with their families after DFCS has confirmed abuse or neglect? Families are rated as low-, moderate- or highrisk based on the nature and extent of their problems (substance abuse, no social support, violence). The most intensive services (more in-person visits by the case manager) are provided to the high-risk families as this has been shown to reduce repeat abuse and neglect. Case managers visit the family regularly and link them with other services to strengthen the family and address the causes of maltreatment. What kinds of services are offered to these families? • referral for alcohol and drug treatment • referrals for employment and child support • parenting education • counseling • in-home parent aides • child care The law requires DFCS to notify the police of every report. About 60 percent of the reports received require an investigation. The remainder are referred to other agencies, such as the local police, health department or school system for assistance. How soon after a report is made does the worker begin the investigation? In-person response time ranges from within 24 hours to five days, depending on the nature of the allegation, the age of the child and the severity of the allegation. What happens in an investigation? Generally, the CPS worker • checks other DFCS offices to see if there have been previous reports on this child or on the alleged perpetrator. • visits the child at home or school to observe and talk with him or her directly. • meets with the family to discuss the allegations. • talks with anyone who may have information about the child and the family situation, including relatives, neighbors, friends, school personnel, and physicians. The main concern throughout the investigation is the safety of the child. Once an investigation is completed, how does the worker make a decision? There are two possible outcomes of an investigation. The report is substantiated or unsubstantiated. • Substantiated — means that more than half of the facts gathered indicate that the child has been abused or neglected. • Unsubstantiated — means that there is not enough evidence to prove that the child has been mistreated. • Physical injury or death inflicted upon a child by a parent or caretaker thereof, by other than accidental means; provided, however, physical forms of discipline may be used as long as there is not physical injury to the child; • Neglect or exploitation of a child by a parent or caretaker thereof; • Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child. • No child, who in good faith is being treated solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall, for that reason alone, by considered to be an "abused" child. WHEN TO REPORT AND TO WHOM A report of child abuse should be made when a person has "reasonable cause to" believe that a child under the age of 18 has been abused by a parent or caretaker. "Reasonable cause" means a suspicion founded upon circumstances sufficiently strong to warrant a reasonable person to believe that something is true. A report of suspected child abuse is a request for an investigation. It is not an accusation and a reporter does not have to be absolutely certain of their suspicion. The department has the responsibility for evaluating the report and determining whether an investigation is warranted. The department is also responsible for conducting the investigation and taking appropriate action to protect the child. An oral report must be made as soon as possible by telephone or otherwise. The report is made to the Department of Family and Children Services, Child Protective Services Section. If Child Protective Services is not available the report should be made to the appropriate police authority or the district attorney. All reports of child abuse are immediately forwarded by the agency to the jurisdictional police authority. 1. CONTENT OF THE REPORT At a minimum, the report should contain the names and addresses of the child and the child’s parents or caretakers, if known, the child’s age, the nature and extent of the child’s injuries, including any evidence of previous injuries, and any other information that the reporting person believes might be helpful in establishing the cause of the injuries and the identity of the perpetrator. 2. FAILURE TO REPORT In Georgia, any person who is required by law to report and who knowingly willfully fails to report shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. 3. IMMUNITY The State grants immunity for any civil or criminal liability for the making of a report based on the requirement that the report is made in good faith. OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE STATE OF GEORGIA U86-19 n1 The views expressed herein are the completely unofficial views of the writer only, and should be considered as information only. 1986 Op. Atty Gen. Ga. 173 July 1, 1986 SYLLABUS: Re: (1) While responsibility for the enforcement of the statutory requirements pertaining to home study programs rests in large measure upon local school superintendents, a local school superintendent does not have the power to issue subpoenas, require the production of documents, or to otherwise require parents to affirmatively “produce evidence” of their continuing compliance with the law in the operation of home study programs. While the local school superintendent is free to “request” such materials and statements he has, so far as I am aware, no compulsory process which can be invoked to secure such information other than in connection with a pending legal proceeding. (2) Concerning the legality of a school system paying personnel for unused sick or personal leave, I am unaware of any extant constitution or statutory prohibition of making such payments as a part of an overall compensation plan, provided that specific peripheral statutory requirements, such as those pertaining to the maximum number of days of risk leave which can be accumulated, are not violated. MICHAEL J. BOWERS, Attorney General Prepared by: ALFRED L. EVANS, JR., Senior Assistant Attorney General OPINION: This is in response to your request for our legal assessment and views on six issues in two unrelated areas of our school laws. In specificity, the first five issues, relating to home study programs under O.C.G.A. § 20-2-690 (1984), are: 1. Enforcement of Section 20-2-690(c)(3). “Whether or not the Local Superintendent of a school district can require parents or guardians to produce evidence of a high school diploma or GED certificate when they propose to teach in a home study program and whether or not he may require the production of a college/university degree of any tutor used?” (Emphasis added.) 2. Enforcement of Section 20-2-690(c)(4). “Whether or not the Local Superintendent may require evidence that a home study program includes reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science?” (Emphasis added.) 3. Enforcement of Section 20-2-690(c)(5). “Whether or not the Local Superintendent may require evidence that a home study program is providing the equivalent of 180 days of education with each school day consisting of at least four and one-half school hours?” (Emphasis added.) 4. Enforcement of Section 20-2-690(c)(7). Who is to enforce this Section “with regard to testing”? 5. Enforcement of Section 20-2-690(c)(8). Who is to enforce this Section “with regard to annual progress and assessment”? In addition to the above, you request our view on whether “it would be a legal expenditure of school funds to pay an employee for accumulated/unused sick leave or annual leave, i.e., payment for unused days in lieu of the employee taking those days”? Our response to all of the above proceeds seriatim. I. Home Study Programs. Following our Supreme Court’s “void for vagueness” decision concerning the attempted application of Georgia’s prior “compulsory school attendance” law to parents operating a home study program (arguably a “private school” since what constituted a private school was left undefined by the prior Act), see Roemhild v. State, 251 Ga. 569 (1983), the General Assembly enacted a new “compulsory school attendance” law. See Ga. Laws 1984, p. 1266 (O.C.G.A. §§ 20-2-690, et seq.). The new law was designed to give statutory recognition to the paramount right of parents to determine and control the education of their own children, whether through public or private schools, or through home study programs taught by the parents themselves (or by private tutors), while at the same time asserting the State’s legitimate interest in seeing to it that parental election of non-public school options doesn’t (through parental abuse or otherwise), lead to children being deprived of any bona fide educational program whatsoever. Thus, while an “at-home study program” taught by a child’s parents (the focus of your concern) is a recognized and sanctioned alternative to traditional public or private school education, such a program, to comply with the new compulsory school attendance law, must meet certain specified statutory requirements. They are: “(1) The parent, parents, or guardian must submit within 30 days after the establishment of a home study program and by September 1 annually thereafter a declaration of intent to utilize a home study program to the superintendent of schools of the local school district in which the home study program is located; (2) The declaration shall include a list of the names and ages of the students who are enrolled in the home study program, the address where the home study program is located, and a statement of the 12 month period that is to be considered the school year for that home study program. Enrollment records and reports shall not be used for any purpose except providing necessary enrollment information, except with the permission of the parent or guardian of the child or pursuant to the subpoena of a court of competent jurisdiction; (3) Parents or guardians may teach only their own children in the home study program provided the teaching parent or guardian possesses at least a high school diploma or the equivalent GED certificate, but the parents or guardians may employ a tutor who holds at least a baccalaureate college degree to teach such children; (4) The home study program shall provide a basic academic educational program which includes, but is not limited to, reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science; (5) The home study program must provide instruction each 12 months to home study students equivalent to 180 school days of education with each school day consisting of at least four and one-half school hours unless the child is physically unable to comply with the above rules; (6) Attendance records for the home study program shall be kept and shall be submitted at the end of each month to the superintendent of schools of the local school district in which the home study program is located. Attendance records and reports shall not be used for any purpose except providing necessary attendance information, except with the permission of the par

Another Christmas without Her Children

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Another Christmas has come and gone and Samantha spent it once again without her children. Thanks to the generosity of DFCS (scarcasm here) she got an entire hour with them at a netural location. They wrote their Christmas list to Santa and on top of the list was “I want to go home with my Mommy”. Well, Virginia there is no Santa and there is only DFCS better known as Ebeaneazer Scrooge.

This is the second year Sam has been without her children and it has been very depressing for her and the girls. Her day was spent in tears and pain because she was without her children.

To add to the stupidity of this county, she was informed by her current case worker right before Christmas that she was leaving at the end of December. So Samantha will be given yet another case worker which will be the ninth one and probably another case plan which will be the ninth one as well. Her attorney has decided he is not going to do anymore for her. Yes, boys and girls he is in bed with DFCS. So here we go again. The rat on the wheel keeps turning and Sam and her children are lost in the maze of pass the buck and hide the kids.
It is time to write letters again and this time I will be sending all of the letters I wrote Judge Guidry who hasn’t responded to a one. I will incude names again and the fact that she will be given yet another case worker and the fact that the Public Defender has walked away.
2010 is going to be an interesting year. Yes, boys and girls the book will be written exposing the stupidity and corruption of DFCS, the stories of pain and suffering parents and their children experience during the illegal kidnapping and selling of our chlidren under the blanket of the government and DFCS. It is going to be a good year

SystemWide Abuses

November 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Systemwide Abuses
A 1986 survey conducted by the National Foster Care Education Project found that foster children were 10 times more likely to be abused than children among the general population. A follow-up study in 1990 by the same group produced similar results (Maier, 1997). The American Civil Liberties Union’s Children’s Rights Project has similarly estimated that a child in the care of the state is ten times more likely to be abused than one in the care of his parents (Farber, 1993). As of 1996, class action lawsuits had been filed in 31 states, with 36 consent decrees overseeing the operations of child welfare and foster care systems. The most common complaints focused on noncompliance with family preservation requirements, while procedural safeguards, case planning, and placement quality were also frequently cited for noncompliance (Amstutz, 1996).

The advocacy group Children’s Rights has been in the forefront of such legal efforts at system reform, having been involved in actions against child welfare systems in the states of Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana and New Mexico, and the cities of Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Milwaukee, and New York City (Children’s Rights, Inc., 1997a). But such problems are not limited to the states which have been successfully litigated against. As Children’s Rights attorney Marcia Robinson Lowry explained to a Congressional subcommittee: “We have turned down requests from a number of other states to institute additional lawsuits, solely because of a lack of resources” (Subcommittee on Public Assistance and Unemployment Compensation and the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, 1988).

In a legal action brought by Children’s Rights against the District of Columbia’s child welfare system, LaShawn A. v. Kelly (1993), the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that “because of the appalling manner in which the system is managed, children remain subject to continuing abuse and neglect at the hands of heartless parents and guardians, even after the DHS has received reports of their predicaments.” The court ruled that youngsters who have been taken into the custody of the District’s foster-care system languish in inappropriate placements, with scarce hope of returning to their families or being adopted, and that the agency entrusted with their care had “consistently evaded numerous responsibilities placed on it by local and federal statutes.”

Among the deficiencies cited was “failure to provide services to families to prevent the placement of children in foster care.” The court determined that the agency had “consistently failed to provide services or otherwise use ‘reasonable efforts’ to prevent placement. The result has been an increased risk of arbitrary or inappropriate placements as well as an increased cost to the District.” Based on the case records of children in foster care as of December, 1989, whose goal was to return home and who had entered into care through voluntary placement, the Court found the agency “had failed to provide services in 77% of their cases.” Frustrated by the lack of progress after years of litigation, child advocates succeeded in placing the District of Columbia child welfare system into full receivership in 1995, making it the first such system in the nation to come under the direct control of the Court. (Gaouette, 1996).

In a Pennsylvania case, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Baby Neal v Casey (1994) ruled: “It is a matter of common knowledge (and it is not disputed here) that in recent years the system run by DHS and overseen by DPW has repeatedly failed to fulfill its mandates, and unfortunately has often jeopardized the welfare of the children in its care.” The original complaint, filed by Children’s Rights on April 4, 1990, alleged that systemic deficiencies prevent the Pennsylvania department from performing needed services, and that it consistently violated the due process rights of both parents and children:

Specifically, plaintiffs claim that these amendments confer the right not to be deprived of a family relationship; the right not to be harmed while in state custody; the right to placement in the least restrictive, most appropriate placement; the right to medical and psychiatric treatment; the right to care consistent with competent professional judgment; and the right not to be deprived of liberty or property interests without due process of law.

One of the plaintiffs in the Pennsylvania suit was “Tara M.” on whose behalf the advocacy group charged the city of Philadelphia with neglect. Human Services Commissioner Joan Reeves guaranteed the young girl an adoptive home with specially trained parents. In August of 1996, Tara M. would make the headlines once again as her new foster parents were sentenced for “one of the most appalling cases of child abuse” Common Pleas Court Judge Carolyn E. Temin said she had ever heard. Nine-year-old Tara had to undergo three skin grafts and wear a protective stocking during her recovery from burns over more than half her body. Police said the foster parents punished the girl by stripping her, forcing her into the bathtub and dousing her with buckets of scalding water. This was the very best of care the city could provide for Tara, a girl who had already endured years of physical and sexual abuse in the several foster homes into which she had been placed over the years (Associated Press, 1996).

Typical of more recent actions is a Youth Law Center suit in California which accused Eloise Anderson, director of the Department of Social Services, of refusing to carry out state and federal laws which require audits of county child welfare programs. Among the deficiencies cited in the lawsuit: “children in California’s child welfare system have been subjected to inadequate supervision, substandard conditions and inadequate health care and education” (Gunnison, 1996). Indeed, the health care and educational needs of foster children are all-too-often neglected by the child welfare agencies entrusted with their care. In a recent examination of whether the nation’s foster children were being adequately serviced with respect to their health care needs, the General Accounting Office (1995c) found that:

[D]espite foster care agency regulations requiring comprehensive routine health care, an estimated 12% of young foster children receive no routine health care, 34% receive no immunizations, and 32% have some identified health needs that are not met . . .

[A]n estimated 78% of young foster children are at high risk for human immunodeficiency virus as a result of parental drug abuse, yet only about 9% of foster children are tested for HIV . . .

[T]hat the Department of Health and Human Services has not designated any technical assistance to assist states with health-related programs for foster children and does not audit states’ compliance with health-related safeguards for foster children.

As for the educational needs of children in state care, the situation is equally as distressing. Miami attorney Karen Gievers, former President of the Florida Bar Association, filed a lawsuit in 1996, alleging that while 73% of Florida children among the general population graduate from high school or get an equivalent diploma, less than half of the state’s foster children do (UPI News Service, 1996

Sexual Abuse in the System

November 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Sexual Abuse
A recent class action lawsuit filed on behalf of foster children in the state of Arizona, Sergio B. v Arizona, serves to indicate the extent of sexual abuse of children in state care. The suit alleges that over 500 of an estimated 4,000 foster children-about 12.5% of the state’s foster care population-have been sexually abused while in state care. The action charges that “the acts and omissions of Defendants were done in bad faith, with malice, intent or deliberate indifference to and/or reckless disregard for the health, safety and rights of the Plaintiffs.”

The sexual abuse of children in government custody appears to be a particularly widespread problem. In Maryland, a 1992 study found that substantiated allegations of sexual abuse in foster care are four times higher than those found among the general population (Benedict & Zuravin, 1992). A followup study of a sample group of foster children found that nearly 50% of the substantiated maltreatment reports involved sexual abuse. Foster fathers or other foster family members were found to be the perpetrators in over two-thirds of the substantiated cases, while other foster children in the home were determined to be the perpetrator in only 20% of the incidents (Benedict, et al., 1996).

In Kentucky, sex abuse in foster care was “all over the newspapers,” according to department head Larry Michalczyk. The former Commissioner explained that within a few years of time, his state saw a child die while in residential placement, a lawsuit filed against a DSS staff member on behalf of a foster child, and legislative inquiries into its child protection system (Committee on Ways and Means, 1991). Kentucky would prove to be a problematic state. Lowry points out that case reviews conducted in conjunction with a Children’s Rights action found that only 55% of the children in the state’s care had legally mandated case plans (Subcommittee on Public Assistance and Unemployment Compensation and the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, 1988).

Perhaps the most significant indicator of the true extent of sexual abuse in foster care was a survey of alumni of what was described as an “exemplary” and “model” program in the Pacific Northwest, observed Richard Wexler during recent Senate hearings. “In this lavishly-funded program caseloads were kept low and both workers and foster parents got special training. This was not ordinary foster care, this was Cadillac Foster Care” he explained. In this “exemplary” program, 24% of the girls responding to a survey said they were victims of actual or attempted sexual abuse in the one home in which they had stayed the longest. Significantly, they were not even asked about the other foster homes in which they had stayed (Subcommittee on Children and Families, U.S. Senate, 1995).

Children’s Rights has initiated a number of successful civil suits against foster care and child welfare systems. One such suit was brought against the Illinois foster care system by attorney Benjamin Wolf, who instituted the legal action after concluding that the state’s foster care system functioned as “a laboratory experiment to produce the sexual abuse of children” (Subcommittee on Children and Families, U.S. Senate, 1995). Yet, by many accounts, the sexual abuse of children in the state’s care has increased along with the increase in placements, successful lawsuits notwithstanding. Even Patrick Murphy, the outspoken Cook County Public Guardian, admits that sexual abuse of children in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has probably increased (Golden, 1997).

American Former Georgia State Senator Nancy Schafer Children’s Protective Services is a Criminal Political phenomenon

November 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Posted by Teardrops4katelynn on April 14, 2009 at 7:36pm
View Teardrops4katelynn’s blog
.American Former Georgia State Senator Nancy Schafer Children’s Protective Services is a

Criminal Political phenomenon

“What is happening in America regarding Children’s Protective Services
is a Criminal Political phenomenon, and it must be brought to an end”.

November 16, 2007
BY: Nancy Schaefer
Senator, 50th District

My introduction into child protective service cases was due to a grandmother in an adjoining state who called me with her tragic story. Her two granddaughters had been taken from her daughter who lived in my district. Her daughter was told wrongly that if she wanted to see her children again she should sign a paper and give up her children. Frightened and young, the daughter did. I have since discovered that parents are often threatened into cooperation of permanent separation of their children.

The children were taken to another county and placed in foster care. The foster parents were told wrongly that they could adopt the children. The grandmother then jumped through every hoop known to man in order to get her granddaughters. When the case finally came to court it was made evident by one of the foster parents children that the foster parents had, at any given time, 18 foster children and that the foster mother had an inappropriate relationship with the caseworker.

In the courtroom, the juvenile judge, acted as though she was shocked and said the two girls would be removed quickly. They were not removed. Finally, after much pressure being applied to the Department of Family and Children Services of Georgia (DFCS), the children were driven to South Georgia to meet their grandmother who gladly drove to meet them. After being with their grandmother two or three days, the judge, quite out of the blue, wrote up a new order to send the girls to their father, who previously had no interest in the case and who lived on the West Coast. The father was in adult entertainment�. His girlfriend worked as an escort� and his brother, who also worked in the business, had a sexual charge brought against him. Within a couple of days the father was knocking on the grandmothers door and took the girls kicking and screaming to California.

The father developed an unusual relationship with the former foster parents and soon moved back to the southeast, and the foster parents began driving to the father’s residence and picking up the little girls for visits. The oldest child had told her mother and grandmother on two different occasions that the foster father molested her.
To this day after five years, this loving, caring blood relative grandmother does not even have visitation privileges with the children. The little girls are in my opinion permanently traumatized and the young mother of the girls was so traumatized with shock when the girls were first removed from her that she has not recovered.
Throughout this case and through the process of dealing with multiple other mismanaged cases of the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), I have worked with other desperate parents and children across the state because they have no rights and no one with whom to turn. I have witnessed ruthless behavior from many caseworkers, social workers, investigators, lawyers, judges, therapists, and others such as those who pick up the children. I have been stunned by what I have seen and heard from victims all over the sta te of Georgia.

In this report, I am focusing on the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS). However, I believe Child Protective Services nationwide has become corrupt and that the entire system is broken almost beyond repair. I am convinced parents and families should be warned of the dangers. The Department of Child Protective Services, known as the Department of Family and Children Service (DFCS) in Georgia and other titles in other states, has become a protected empire� built on taking children and separating families. This is not to say that there are not those children who do need to be removed from wretched situations and need protection. This report is concerned with the children and parents caught up in legal kidnapping, ineffective policies, and DFCS who do does not remove a child or children when a child is enduring torment and abuse. (See Exhibit A and Exhibit B)

In one county in my District, I arranged a meeting for thirty-seven families to speak freely and without fear. These poor parents and grandparents spoke of their painful, heart wrenching encounters with DFCS. Their suffering was overwhelming. They wept and cried. Some did not know where their children were and had not seen them in years. I had witnessed the Gestapo� at work and I witnessed the deceitful conditions under which children were taken in the middle of the night, out of hospitals, off of school uses, and out of homes. In one county a private drug testing business was operating within the DFCS department that required many, many drug tests from parents and individuals for profit. In another county children were not removed when they were enduring the worst possible abuse. Due to being exposed, several employees in a particular DFCS office were fired.

However, they have now been rehired either in neighboring counties or in the same county again. According to the calls I am now receiving, the conditions in that county are returning to the same practices that they had before the light was shown on their deeds. Having worked with probably 300 cases statewide, I am convinced there is no responsibility and no accountability in the system.

I have come to the conclusion:

· that poor parents often times are targeted to lose their children because they do not have the where-with-all to hire lawyers and fight the system. Being poor does not mean you are not a good parent or that you do not love your child, or that your child should be removed and placed with strangers;
· that all parents are capable of making mistakes and that making a mistake does not mean your children are always to be removed from the home. Even if the home is not perfect, it is home; and that’s where a child is the safest and where he or she wants to be, with family;
· that parenting classes, anger management classes, counseling referrals, therapy classes and on and on are demanded of parents with no compassion by the system even while they are at work and while their children are separated from them. This can take months or even years and it emotionally devastates both children and parents. Parents are victimized by “the system� that makes a profit for holding children longer and “bonuses� for not returning children;
· that caseworkers and social workers are oftentimes guilty of fraud. They withhold evidence. They fabricate evidence and they seek to terminate parental rights. However, when charges are made against them, the charges are ignored;
· that the separation of families is growing as a business because local governments have grown accustomed to having taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-expanding budgets;
· that Child Protective Service and Juvenile Court can always hide behind a confidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions and keep the funds flowing.

There should be open records and court watches�! Look who is being paid! There are state employees, lawyers, court investigators, court personnel, and judges. There are psychologists, and psychiatrists, counselors, caseworkers, therapists, foster parents, adoptive parents, and on and on. All are looking to the children in state custody to provide job security. Parents do not realize that social workers are the glue that holds the system �together that funds the court, the child’s attorney, and the multiple other jobs including DFCS’s attorney.

· that The Adoption and the Safe Families Act, set in motion by President Bill Clinton, offered cash bonuses� to the states for every child they adopted out of foster care. In order to receive the adoption incentive bonuses� local child protective services need more children. They must have merchandise (children) that sell and you must have plenty of them so the buyer can choose. Some counties are known to give a $4,000 bonus for each child adopted and an additional $2,000 for a special needs� child. Employees work to keep the federal dollars flowing;
· that there is double dipping. The funding continues as long as the child is out of the home. When a child in foster care is placed with a new family then adoption bonus funds� are available. When a child is placed in a mental health facility and is on 16 drugs per day, like two children of a constituent of mine, more funds are involved;
· that there are no financial resources and no real drive to unite a family and help keep them together;
· that the incentive for social workers to return children to their parents quickly after taking them has disappeared and who in protective services will step up to the plate and say, This must end! No one, because they are all in the system together and a system with no leader and no clear policies will always fail the children. Look at the waste in government that is forced upon the tax payer;
· that the Policy Manuel� is considered the last word� for DFCS. However, it is too long, too confusing, poorly written and does not take the law into consideration;
· that if the lives of children were improved by removing them from their homes, there might be a greater need for protective services, but today all children are not always safer. Children, of whom I am aware, have been raped and impregnated in foster care and the head of a Foster Parents Association in my District was recently arrested because of child molestation;
· that some parents are even told if they want to see their children or grandchildren, they must divorce their spouse. Many, who are under privileged, feeling they have no option, will divorce and then just continue to live together. This is an anti-family policy, but parents will do anything to get their children home with them.
· fathers, (non-custodial parents) I must add, are oftentimes treated as criminals without access to their own children and have child support payments strangling the very life out of them;
· that the Foster Parents Bill of Rights does not bring out that a foster parent is there only to care for a child until the child can be returned home. Many Foster Parents today use the Foster Parent Bill of Rights to hire a lawyer and seek to adopt the child from the real parents, who are desperately trying to get their child home and out of the system;
· that tax dollars are being used to keep this gigantic system afloat, yet the victims,parents, grandparents, guardians and especially the children, are charged for the system’s services.
· that grandparents have called from all over the State of Georgia trying to get custody of their grandchildren. DFCS claims relatives are contacted, but there are cases that prove differently. Grandparents who lose their grandchildren to strangers have lost their own flesh and blood. The children lose their family heritage and grandparents, and parents too, lose all connections to their heirs.
· that The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect in 1998 reported that six times as many children died in foster care than in the general public and that once removed to official safety�, these children are far more likely to suffer abuse, including sexual molestation than in the general population.
· That according to the California Little Hoover Commission Report in 2003, 30% to 70% of the children in California group homes do not belong there and should not have been removed from their homes.


On my desk are scores of cases of exhausted families and troubled children. It has been beyond me to turn my back on these suffering, crying, and sometimes beaten down individuals. We are mistreating the most innocent. Child Protective Services have become adult centered to the detriment of children. No longer is judgment based on what the child needs or who the child wants to be with or what is really best for the whole family; it is some adult or bureaucrat who makes the decisions, based often on just hearsay, without ever consulting a family member, or just what is convenient, profitable, or less troublesome for a director of DFCS.

I have witnessed such injustice and harm brought to these families that I am not sure if I even believe reform of the system is possible! The system cannot be trusted. It does not serve the people. It obliterates families and children simply because it has the power to do so. Children deserve better. Families deserve better. It’s time to pull back the curtain and set our children and families free. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy.� Proverbs 31:8-9

Please continue to read:
Exhibit A
Exhibit B

1. Call for an independent audit of the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) to expose corruption and fraud.
2. Activate immediate change. Every day that passes means more families and children are subject to being held hostage.
3. End the financial incentives that separate families.
4. Grant to parents their rights in writing.
5. Mandate a search for family members to be given the opportunity to adopt their own relatives.
6. Mandate a jury trial where every piece of evidence is presented before removing a child from his or her parents.
7. Require a warrant or a positive emergency circumstance before removing children from their parents. (Judge Arthur G. Christean, Utah Bar Journal, January, 1997 reported that except in emergency circumstances, including the need for immediate medical care, require warrants upon affidavits of probable cause before entry upon private property is permitted for the forcible removal of children from their parents.
8. Uphold the laws when someone fabricates or presents false evidence. If a parent alleges fraud, hold a hearing with the right to discovery of all evidence.

Senator Nancy Schaefer
50th District of Georgia
December 5, 2006
Jeremy’s Story
( Some names withheld due to future hearings)
As told to Senator Nancy Schaefer by Sandra (XXXX), a foster parent of Jeremy for 2 years.
My husband and I received Jeremy when he was 2 weeks old and we have been the only parents he has really ever known. He lived with us for 27 months. (XXXX) is the grandfather of Jeremy, and he is known for molesting his own children, for molesting Jeremy and has been court ordered not to be around Jeremy. (XXXX) is the mother of Jeremy, who has been diagnosed to be mentally ill, and also is known to have molested Jeremy. (XXXX) and Jeremy’s uncle is a registered sex offender and (XXXX) is the biological father, who is a drug addict and alcoholic and who continues to be in and out of jail. Having just described Jeremy’s world, all of these adults are not to be any part of Jeremy’s life, yet for years DFCS has known that they are. DFCS had to test (XXXX) (the grandfather) and his son (XXXX) (the uncle) and (XXXX) to determine the real father. (XXXX) is the biological father although any of them might have been. In court, it appeared from the case study, that everyone involved knew that this little boy had been molested by family members, even by his own mother, (XXXX).

In court, (XXX), the mother of Jeremy, admitted to having had sex with (XXXX) (the grandfather) and (XXXX) (her own brother) that morning. Judge (XXXX) and DFCS gave Jeremy to his grandmother that same day. (XXXX), the grandmother, is over 300 lbs., is unable to drive, and is unable to take care of Jeremy due to physical problems. She also has been in a mental hospital several times due to her behavior. Even though it was ordered by the court that the grandfather (XXXX), the uncle (XXXX) (a convicted sex offender), (XXXX) his mother who molested him and (XXXX) his biological father, a convicted drug addict, were not to have anything to do with the child, they all continue to come and go as they please at (XXXX address), where Jeremy has been sentenced to live� for years. This residence has no bathroom and little heat. The front door and the windows are boarded. (See pictures) This home should have been condemned years ago. I have been in this home. No child should ever have to live like this or with such people.

Jeremy was taken from us at age 2 years after (XXXX) obtained attorney (XXXX), who was the same attorney who represented him in a large settlement from an auto accident. I am told, that attorney (XXXX), as grandfather’ s attorney, is known to have repeatedly gotten (XXXX) off of several criminal charges in White County. This is a matter of record and is known by many in White County. I have copies of some records. (XXXX grandfather) , through (XXXX attorney’s work), got (XXXX), the grandmother of Jeremy, legal custody of Jeremy. (XXXX grandfather) who cannot read or write also got his daughter (XXXX) and son (XXXX) diagnosed by government agencies as mentally ill. (XXXX grandfather) , through legal channels, has taken upon himself all control of the family and is able to take possession of any government funding coming to these people.

It was during this time that Jeremy was to have a six-month transitional period between (XXXX grandmother) and my family as we were to give him up. The court ordered agreement was to have been 4 days at our house and 3 days at (XXXX grandmother) . DFCS stopped the visits within 2 weeks. The reason given by DFCS was the child was too traumatized going back and forth. In truth, Jeremy begged us and screamed never to be taken back to (XXXX his grandmother) house, which we have on video. We, as a family, have seen Jeremy in stores time to time with (XXXX grandmother) and the very people he is not to be around. At each meeting Jeremy continues to run to us wherever he sees us and it is clear he is suffering. This child is in a desperate situation and this is why I am writing, and begging you Senator Schaefer, to do something in this child’s behalf. Jeremy can clearly describe in detail his sexual molestation by every member of this family and this sexual abuse continues to this day.

When Jeremy was 5 years of age I took him to Dr. (XXXX) of Habersham County who did indeed agree that Jeremy’s rectum was black and blue and the physical damage to the child was clearly a case of sexual molestation. Early in Jeremy’s life, when he was in such bad physical condition, we took him to Egleston Children Hospital where at two months of age therapy was to begin three times a week. DFCS decided that the (XXXX grandparent family) should participate in his therapy. However, the therapist complained over and over that the (XXXX grandparent family) would not even wash their hands and would cause Jeremy to cry during these sessions. (XXXX the grandmother) , after receiving custody no longer allowed the therapy because it was an inconvenience. The therapist reported that this would be a terrible thing to do to this child. Therapy was stopped and it was detrimental to the health of Jeremy. During (XXXX grandmother) custody, (XXXX uncle) has shot Jeremy with a BB gun and there is a report at (XXXX) County Sheriff’s office.

There are several amber alerts at Cornelia Wal-Mart, Commerce Wal-Mart, and a 911 report from (XXXX) County Sheriff’s Department when Jeremy was lost. (XXXX grandmother) , to teach Jeremy a lesson, took thorn bush limbs and beat the bottoms of his feet. Jeremy’s feet got infected and his feet had to be lanced by Dr. (XXXX). Then Judy called me to pick him up after about 4 days to take back him to the doctor because of intense pain. I took Jeremy to Dr. (XXXX) in Gainesville. Dr. (XXXX) said surgery was needed immediately and a cast was added. After returning home, (XXXX), his grandfather and (XXXX), his uncle, took him into the hog lot and allowed him to walk in the filth.
Jeremy’s feet became so infected for a 2nd time that he was again taken back to Dr. (XXXX) and the hospital. No one in the hospital could believe this child’s living conditions. Jeremy is threatened to keep quiet and not say anything to anyone. I have videos, reports, arrest records and almost anything you might need to help Jeremy.

Please call my husband, Wendell, or me at any time.
Sandra and (XXXX) husband (XXXX)


Failure of DFCS to remove six desperate children
A brief report regarding six children that Habersham County DFCS director failed to remove as disclosed to Senator Nancy Schaefer by Sheriff Deray Fincher of Habersham County.

Sheriff Deray Fincher, Chief of Police Don Ford and Chief Investigator Lt. Greg Bowen Chief called me to meet with them immediately, which I did on Tuesday, October 16, 2007 Sheriff Fincher, after contacting the Director of Habersham County DFCS several times to remove six children from being horribly abused, finally had to get a court order to remove the children himself with the help of two police officers. The children, four boys and two girls, were not just being abused; they were being tortured by a monster father.

The six children and a live in girl friend were terrified of this man, the abuser. The children never slept in a bed, but always on the floor. The place where they lived was unfit for human habitation.
The father on one occasion hit one of the boys across his head with a bat and cut the boy’s head open. The father then proceeded to hold the boy down and sew up the child’s head with a needle and red thread. However, even with beatings and burnings, this is only a fraction of what the father did to these children and to the live-in girlfriend.
Sheriff Fincher has pictures of the abuse and condition of one of the boys and at the writing of this report, he has the father in jail in Habersham County.

It should be noted that when the DFCS director found out that Sheriff Fincher was going to remove the children, she called the father and warned him to flee. This is not the only time this DFCS director failed to remove a child when she needed to do so. (See Exhibit A)
The egregious acts and abhorrent behavior of officials who are supposed to protect children can no longer be tolerated.

Senator Nancy Schaefer
50th District of Georgia
(originally posted 12/5/07 at FightCPS.Com)
cps child abuse child neglect social work children

Why Would a Four Year Old In Foster Care start having accidents in her underwear after she had been potty trained for two years????

November 18, 2009 Leave a comment

I asked my daughter Samantha that question after she told me her little one Carly was having accidents. Carly is four years old and has been potty trained for two years. My first thought is the most obvious one.That being is she being abused in the foster home? If not then the idea of being away from her mother is causing her severe mental and emotional stress. This again is just one of the many ways DFCS abuses the children of the parents they take away. Samantha has no idea what is wrong with her child. She has no idea if she is being abused. This is agonizing for her. It is torture for her.

I also found out that the foster parents Donna and Vince Webb of Commerce Ga make my daughters three children call them mom and dad. They are not the children’s parents- Samantha is. Again this is just another way for DFCS to separate the children from their mother.

Samantha’s go between at Tree house where she visits her children sent an email to Stephanie Smith the case worker for Jackson County GA DFCS to ask for Samantha to have more time with her children when she goes to visit them – Stephanie didn’t even have the professional manners to respond. Still another tatic to separate Samantha from her children.

It is these sly and underhanded tatics used to force Samantha to sign away her rights. This is not going to happen. They are going to have to charge her with criminal charges and hand over the evidence of which there is not any. Because they entered her home illegally without a warrent. So any evidence is tainted. Hence no case.
Last but not least Samantha’s PD Crandell Heard has washed his lazy hands of her. He has now become part of the problem – Next step calling him out. He refuses to answer any emails or phone calls.

Newest update: Stephanie Smith Samantha’s case worker went by her house today. What a surprise- Stephanie told Samantha she was leaving at the end of December. This will make the 8th case worker Samantha has been inolved with. Talking about abuse. Or wait, maybe they know what they are doing and know it is wrong. No, I don’t think so.

I also found out that when they came to Samantha’s house to pick up the children they had no warrant. hmmm illegal search and seizure. I am pushing for them to charge her with a crime- and when they do it all will be tossed out – Why hasn’t the PD Crandell Heard picked up on this information and used it – Can we say colussion

Jackson County Georgia Department of Family and Children Services Have Been Put On Notice

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Jackson County DFCS you have been put on notice. We are coming after you through TV, Government, letters and newspapers. We are tired of you buying and selling our children and grandchildren. A copy of this letter has been sent to the Atlanta Journal, Senator Lee Hawkins, Gov. Sonny Perdue, Jackson Herald, WSB TV, WXIA TV, Channel Five Fox News. It is time to expose the crimes of the State of Ga. in the buying and selling of children. The three children in the picture are next on the auction block of Jackson County DFCS – They are trying to put them up for sale.

1601 W Peachtree St
Atlanta, Ga.

Yvonne Mason
578 SE Ocean Spray Ter
Port St Lucie, Fl. 34983

Dear News Director,

My name is Yvonne Mason. I am a published author but most importantly I am a mother and a grand -mother.
The purpose of this letter is to let your news station know about a travesty that is getting ready to occur in Jackson County,Ga. A travesty that should be criminal.
That travesty is this. My youngest daughter Alice Samantha Thomason had her three small children taken from her by Jackson County DFCS. They refuse to charge her with criminal charges, but yet they continue to threaten her about signing over her rights as a parent.
From the first day these children were placed in the home of the foster mother Donna Webb who also lives in Jackson County she was told they would be available for adoption by the children’s advocate Dedra Shands and Rebecca Boles of COSA. They are not up for adoption.
I couldn’t figure out how or why they would make this kind of statement. Well, after much research I found out. There was an act signed into law in the 1990’s when Bill Clinton was in the White House. This law is named Adoption and Safe Families Act. This act states that instead of DFCS acting to help reunite families they are to work to have the parents sign them over. The reason is the DFCS receives between $4000.00 to 18000.00 per child when they go up for adoption (legal buying of children) Then the adoptive parents receive between 500.00- 700.00 per child until that child is 18 years old. This amount is even more when there are special needs involved. This is allowed under the TITLE IV Funding Act.

In my grandchildren’s case they created special needs. The oldest child was placed on meds for Alledged ADHD.

The state preys on the poor and uneducated to gain the buying and selling of children to line their coffers. The people at the County level involved in this are Stephanie Smith Case Work. She is the sixth case worker my daughter has had. She is now on her seventh case plan. Whenever she gets one plan almost completed they throw another one at her so she will never get done. This is to make it easier to beat her down. They are also forcing her to take mind altering drugs because they say she is bipolar. They are doing this so she will be in a zombie like state so she will sign over her children.

She was in a very abusive relationship and has just gotten out of it. She doesn’t need any more abuse from the state. That is a whole different story. The bottom line is the state has become the abuser instead of the father of her children. Instead of helping her get out – get a place to live and get her grounded they are abusing her by threats, intimidation and lack of legal council.

The other people from the state involved are Judge Joe Guidry, Family Court, Elizabeth Patrick Supervisor DFCS Jackson County, D.M. Brandon COSA.

Once someone has their children yanked by DFCS they are not allowed to see any alleged evidence, they are not allowed to bring witnesses in court to testify on their behalf, they are not allowed discovery ergo they have no way to fight the alleged charges against them. DFCS will never file criminal charges because if they do then they have to turn over the evidence and this is not something they want to do. The reason, they will be found out.

Samantha’s PD is one Candrell Heard who is with the Jackson County PD’s office. He can’t even get the records from DFCS – They say they are covered under the confidentiality clause. Even a murderer or rapist or pedophile is allowed discovery and allowed to face their accuser.

I have contacted the Governor’s office several times – to no avail they keep passing the buck to The STATE OF GEORGIA . They in turn pass the buck. The reason is simple they are covering up the fact that they are trying to make money off of my three grandchildren. A Total of up to 18,000.00

Samantha is currently living with her older sister. She has tried to get in touch with SECTION 8 Housing and can never get through. She has applied for several jobs, but as we all know the economy is so bad most people can’t even get a job paying attention.
When she was in front of the kangaroo Panel last Friday which consisted of Elizabeth Patrick, D.M. Brandon and a few others she was again threatened, harassed and intimidated. She was not allowed to have her attorney with her. She was not allowed to have witnesses present and she was not allowed to fight for her children. They told her she had until the end of the month before they demanded she sign them over.
I need your help in exposing the buying and selling of her children by the State of Georgia. I need your help in showing what they do to the poor and uneducated. This is not the first time it is happening all over the country. I have hundreds of stories. They prey on the poor and uneducated they beat them down and rip them apart. They abuse the parent and the child.

In Samantha’s case, they took the place of her abusive boyfriend only they are worse.
She can be reached at her sister’s house 706- 983-1171 – They live on Grove Level Rd in Maysville, Ga.

I will be leaving to go out of the County from Nov 22-Dec 6 I can be reached at my home phone is 772-879-3400 my cell is 770-289-9537.

This is not right. I will be sending a copy of this letter to the other stations , as well as others.
I am begging for your help. She nor her children deserve this abuse. They love her and she loves them. Her only crime was she is poor and she was abused.


Yvonne Mason


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