Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dead foster child’s Oklahoma family will hold separate service

The biological family of a 5-year-old boy who was hit by a car and killed while in state Department of Human Services custody will not be allowed to attend his funeral and burial, but the state is granting them a private memorial service.

John Brian Gifford, who was in the care of a foster family, died Tuesday when he was hit by a car that a 13-year-old girl had started to warm the engine. Investigators said the girl accidentally allowed the vehicle to roll back when she started it, and when she pulled it forward again, she ran over the boy.

The families are not allowed to know the day and time of the funeral and burial. Parents Samantha Jo Cleary of Oklahoma City and Melvern Gifford of Midwest City were divorced before they lost custody of John, but both sides of the family said they are thankful they can say their goodbyes at 2 p.m. Sunday at Sunny Lane Funeral Home.

Grandmother ‘just about came unwound’

Nita Havlik, John’s paternal grandmother, said she was reminded how much she needed closure when she went shopping for Christmas gifts Friday.

"I was picking up things for the grandchildren, and I had subconsciously tried to buy the baby a Christmas present before I realized I couldn’t do that and just about came unwound in the store,” she said. "I just had to leave after that.”

The grandmother said she is not allowed to see or buy gifts for John’s three brothers who are still in foster care, and she does not expect to get to see them at the service.

"I don’t even know if the other children even know their little brother is gone, and no one is going to tell us if they know,” she said.

Samantha Cleary said she and her mother, Dewanna Cleary, also are thankful DHS is allowing them to hold a service with their own minister and song choices, but Samantha Cleary said she would really like to see her other four children who are still in DHS custody.

"I still need to know that they are OK,” she said.

Havlik said she is glad DHS allowed the biological family to put together a memorial service rather than just letting them walk in and walk out for a viewing, but she had criticism of DHS — describing its power as unchecked.

"I still want to make the public aware that DHS has so much control that they can manipulate your life and never even look you in the eye,” she said. "I want people in Oklahoma to wake up and realize this could happen to you. All someone has to do is tell something ugly about you.”

Dead foster child’s Oklahoma family will hold separate service

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Thanks LK for sharing this story


LK said...

This is just one of those stories that ticks me off.

What harm will come to a dead kid if their real family attends the funeral? It makes no sense.

MEE said...

that is so sad. this is disgusting, I'm so sick of them. Obama needs to change this within the next two years. just awful.

Sarah Thompson said...

This is the absolute height of cruelty.

Anonymous said...

The cruelty lies in the fact that these little boys have had to endure the life they've had --- a life of abuse and neglect. They deserved to be protected and cared for by their biological family in a way that would not cause DHS or any state organization to HAVE to remove them from their home and split them up. A family does not loose custody of four children due to "rumors" or mistruths --- it takes years of documented abuse/neglect events for a parent to completely lose custody and children to be made available for adoption. A parent has YEARS and MANY, MANY chances to make a safe home and "clean up" --- they are offered a multitude of services and assistance resources to help them in the process. DHS and the OK court system does not want to take our children --- they want us to take care of them. Don't get me wrong...I know that the system is broken. It's gross and it needs to be changed but, children should be cared for at home and NEVER have a NEED to be placed in the system to start with. There are so many children in the system that there are not enough case workers to cover them nor enough Good, responsible families to care for them. So, what do they do? Leave them with abusive parents where you KNOW they are in harms way or send them to foster care? It's a question of what is the best of two evils. Again, the system needs SERIOUS help. However, in regards to the "family" not being able to attend the service, I understand. It is, I'm sure, for the protection of the other three boys who are still in state custody and the DHS, state workers and foster families who care for them. Watch some of the film of the biological father. He talks about the abuse/neglect --- he denies it but....well, you be the judge. The "family" was allowed to have the body for a service of their own. I am not a cold person. I am just a person who cares more about the CHILDREN than the ADULTS who abuse them.

Louise Uccio said...

The person right above this comment sounds like a case worker.

Those that read this blog KNOW the truth about why children end up in foster care...


See Adoption Bonuses: The Money Behind The Madness copy and paste link below..

Were not sheep anymore!

Anonymous said...

my cousin had a arguement with a girl who owed her $300 she wanted her washer and dryer back but my cosin said when you pay what you owe, so she called cps and made a false report and they came in at 10 o'clock at night took her twins out of their crib at gunpoint and in 30 days amberlynn was dead, my cousin was so grived that they returned her twin but only fdor 2 weeks she was taken out of her home at 3 in the morning reports that she was crying in public and deemed unstable ashley has been missing since february of 1998 and no knows where she is or even if she still alive. they killed her twin sister stole her from her mother and we do need obama, he will be our MOSES. LET THE CHILDREN GO HOME.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BE ADVISED!!! In oklahoma there is a state question 745. PLEASE look it up, it's, I think. But regardless, it's a man who has been hit by the system who is fighting back. FINALLY someone who has the courage not to be as scared as I was, as many are/were. He's going to hope to get enough people to sign a petition over 100,000 or so to get the state DHS to be revamped. He and the rest of us want them to have proof of burden MINUS that little catchall phrase: err on the side of caution, but for the sake of children. They want everyone held accountable. DHS, it's employees, the medical, the lawyers, everyone. And, if the kids are taken and there's no good reason for it, they want the people held accountable for it to be criminally charged. Can I get an AMEN? Pray it goes through. And, if it does, I hope it makes enough noise to make a vast ripple effect through-out the nation. Lets hear it for the man, Mr Clarence W. Cooper. I sat in the state office room 412 with many others who are FOR it, WITH my children who are effected for life and have their OWN say about how they feel about the system. Anyway, keep up to date about it, and keep it in your prayers!