Monday, July 30, 2007

The Atypical Dilema

Please pass the word! This absolutely applies to every state and not just Florida.

You can see how the St. Petersburg Times promoted the story by clicking on all the links here:
You'll also be able to see all the photos and graphics from the actual newspaper which was front page and also had two full pages inside.

Please focus on the facts in the below article and write a Letter to the Editor:

Medicaid = State and Federally funded insurance for the poor and disabled.
Right - your tax dollars.

Atypical Antipyschotics = The "new" antipsychotics that pharmaceuticals are pushing. High powered mind altering drugs, chemical straight jackets, that have been shown to cause huge weight gain, diabetes and even death.
Antipsychotics are the most powerful psychiatric drugs in existence and can actually cause permament brain damage.
Some of the other side effects are:
(1) prolonged and frequently permanent muscle spasms and tics often involving the face, neck, shoulders and upper limbs
(2) inability to sit still with extreme uncontrolled restlessness
(3) excessive movement of the lips, tongue and jaw, Other abnormal movements include jerky, abrupt movements of the limbs and body

And these drugs are being given to children.

Quotes from the article:

"Last year, more than 18,000 state kids on Medicaid were given prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs. Even children as young as 3 years old. Last year, 1,100 Medicaid children under 6 were prescribed antipsychotics, a practice so risky that state regulators say it should be used only in extreme cases."

"There is almost no research on the long-term effects of such powerful medications on the developing brains of children."

"The bottom line is that the use of psychiatric medications far exceeds the evidence of safety and effectiveness...
What people need to do is what's in the best interest of children instead of what's in the best interest of people's pocketbooks."

"It is not a scientific use of drugs," Whitaker said. "It is an experiment. There is no data showing that they are helpful in a 3-year-old kid. None. Zero. Zip. It mutes your ability to respond to the world, emotionally and physically,"

St. Petersburg Times

The 'atypical' dilemma

Skyrocketing numbers of kids are prescribed powerful antipsychotic drugs.
Is it safe? Nobody knows.


Times Staff WriterJuly 29, 2007

More and more, parents at wit's end are begging doctors to help them calm their aggressive children or control their kids with ADHD. More and more, doctors are prescribing powerful antipsychotic drugs.

In the past seven years, the number of Florida children prescribed such drugs has increased some 250 percent. Last year, more than 18,000 state kids on Medicaid were given prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs.

Even children as young as 3 years old. Last year, 1,100 Medicaid children under 6 were prescribed antipsychotics, a practice so risky that state regulators say it should be used only in extreme cases.

These numbers are just for children on fee-for-service Medicaid, generally the poor and disabled. Thousands more kids on private insurance are also on antipsychotics.

Almost entirely driving this spiraling trend is the rise of a class of antipsychotic drugs called atypicals.

These drugs emerged in the 1990s and replaced the older, "typical" antipsychotics like Haldol or Thorazine, which are often associated with Parkinson-like shakes.

The atypicals were developed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults. But once on the market, doctors are free to prescribe them to children, and for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

There is almost no research on the long-term effects of such powerful medications on the developing brains of children. The more that researchers learn, the less comfortable many are becoming with atypicals.

Initially billed as wonder drugs with few significant side effects, evidence is mounting that they can cause rapid weight gain, diabetes, even death.

They're also expensive. On average last year, it cost Medicaid nearly $1,800 for each child on atypical antipsychotics. In the last seven years, the cost to taxpayers for atypical antipsychotics prescribed to children in Florida jumped nearly 500 percent, from $4.7-million to $27.5-million.
Medicaid and insurance companies have fed the problem, encouraging the use of psychiatric drugs as they reimburse less and less for labor-intensive psychotherapy and occupational therapy.

Another factor: Doctors have been influenced by pharmaceutical companies, which have aggressively marketed atypicals.

Whatever the reasons for the soaring use of psychiatric drugs in children, things have gotten out of whack, according to Dr. Ronald Brown. Last year he headed an American Psychological Association committee that looked into the issue.

"The bottom line is that the use of psychiatric medications far exceeds the evidence of safety and effectiveness," Brown said.

"What people need to do is what's in the best interest of children instead of what's in the best interest of people's pocketbooks. But children don't vote."
* * *
The ever-increasing number of kids who come through the doors of pediatrician Esther Gonzalez's office lead chaotic lives.
There's more divorce and more drug use, more domestic violence and physical and sexual abuse. Working parents are overwhelmed.

"Some parents are so stressed out, they come in seeking a pill," Gonzalez said. It is easy to medicate kids; "it is very hard to change environment."

At her practice in Crystal River, she starts with a thorough screening. A child might need occupational, physical or speech therapy. Sometimes, it takes psychiatric drugs.
Despite her concerns about prescribing such medications, Gonzalez has no doubt they have saved many a child from juvenile detention.
Not prescribing drugs to a child who needs them, she said, "it's like seeing someone dying and not giving them CPR."

Among her patients is 7-year-old Matthew Peck of Brooksville. His 13-year-old brother and 16-year-old sister show scars on their arms and legs where he has bitten them. He flies into rages, kicks, scratches and pulls hair. He destroys furniture and punches holes in the wall.

His mom, Cathy Peck, said Matthew's doctors are "leaning toward" a diagnosis of oppositional defiance disorder. And he has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Matthew has taken a 5 mg dose of the atypical Abilify for over two months now. He says "the blue pill" makes him feel like a different person, someone nice.

Peck, a single mother on disability from the Army National Guard, says she worries the drugs may become addictive. And diabetes runs in the family, so that's a concern. Then again ... a few months ago Matthew got hold of a steak knife and destroyed a chair.

"Am I afraid of what the medications might do to him? Yes," Peck said. "But I am also afraid of what his life would be like without them."
Matthew and his brother are playing. Suddenly Matthew raises a hand to hit him.
"Gather!" Cathy Peck yells, the trigger word to help Matthew calm himself.
He lowers his hand, shambles over to his mother, curls up behind her. Crisis avoided.
Matthew's 13-year-old sister, Marradith, said the Abilify works. "He's a different person. He's more fun to be around. He doesn't attack me anymore."

The meds help, Mom says, but therapy is integral to Matthew's treatment. She was taking him to eight sessions a week of occupational, speech and language therapy.
Matthew recently had his last occupational therapy session - but not by choice. After six years, Sensations Pediatrics Therapy in Brooksville closed shop on June 15.
That last day of business, Sensations owner Jeff Leonbruno lamented how hard it is for therapists to stay afloat. Particularly with pediatric therapy sessions, he said, there is a high cancellation and no-show rate, often four or five a day. If they don't show, he can't charge.
"It's difficult to make a living at it," Leonbruno said.

Insurance companies and Medicaid don't pay enough for therapy, he said.
They do, however, pay to reimburse for psychiatric medications.

Over the years, he said, Medicaid priorities have shifted toward the elderly in nursing homes. That has put a pinch on services like occupational therapy for children with behavioral disorders.

"There's no AARP for kids," he said.
* * *
Before the FDA approves a new drug, pharmaceutical companies must demonstrate its safety and efficacy. The trials generally are done on adults.

But once the drugs are on the market, doctors are free to prescribe the drug "off label," outside the scope of the FDA's indicated use. They also can prescribe it to children.

Except for Risperdal, none of the antipsychotics is FDA-approved for children. The overwhelming majority are prescribed "off label."

"It is alarming how frequently that is being done," Brown said.
"It's of concern that it is being done at all."

A child's brain and central nervous system are still developing, so drugs work differently on kids than adults, Brown said. "There are no studies that have shown they (atypicals) are safe, or for that matter, that they are effective for children."

Drug companies have little incentive to invest in such studies, given that their products already are widely prescribed to children off label.

The antipsychotics are FDA-approved for adults with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which used to be known as manic depression. But a study by the University of South Florida found that just 8 percent of Florida children prescribed antipsychotics last year had a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia, and 8 percent had major depression.
The most common diagnosis, 38 percent, was ADHD.

Even with bipolar disorder, there is considerable debate in the mental health community about whether it is overdiagnosed, particularly in younger children.

Dr. Mark Olfson of Columbia University studied the use of antipsychotics in children and concluded that only a small percentage had psychotic disorders.
Most were used to treat mood disorders, depression, anxiety and ADHD - by families and doctors who have tried everything else and are ready to step outside the well-established treatments and take more risks.

"Most child psychiatrists would probably tell you it does work," Olfson said. "But there is a real need for research, clinical experiments, to determine whether in fact it does work.
Given the number of young people, it is a matter of urgency."

Mental health practitioners say they use more antipsychotics now in part because they are better able to identify some mental illnesses, including autism.

Never mind that the National Autism Association warns against the overuse of atypicals for children with autism. Last year, when Risperdal became the first and only atypical approved for use in children - specifically for irritability associated with autism - the association warned against potentially serious side effects, including lactation in boys, weight gain and development of an often irreversible movement disorder.

Rita Shreffler, the autism association's executive director, said antipsychotics should be used only for dangerously aggressive children, and even then only for a short "leveling off period."
Dr. Randall Stafford, an associate professor of medicine at Stanford Prevention Research Center, says off-label prescribing allows doctors the latitude to innovate.

But Stafford was the lead author of a study that concluded that most off-label medication occurs without enough scientific support.

Some prescriptions have become so common, he said, "You have to ask, 'Where is the data to support this use of the drug?' It's not that these off-label uses are dangerous. It's that we just don't know."
* * *
Kate Malloy knows what people will think:
Every kid throws tantrums; parents just need to discipline their children.
My footnotesin blue here-
Child (anything BUT) protective services
NEEDS TO ALLOW parents to parent-
Teachers NEED to learn to deal with children or work in a pet store!
This my friends will save the future generation!

But with 10-year-old Ryan, she said, the outbursts were beyond aggressive.
He seemed outside himself.
A psychologist diagnosed bipolar disorder and recommended they see a psychiatrist.
"You are under the impression that when you go to the doctor you'll be fixed," she said. "And that isn't how it works. They don't, by any means, have all the answers."

The ADHD medication Ryan was prescribed only inflamed things, and therapy fell flat. They tried atypicals, first Risperdal. Then Zyprexa. Then Seroquel.

"In the beginning, when the meds weren't working, I hated them," she said.
"I hated that they were the only option."

She took Ryan off all the medications and tried an alternative doctor, who recommended dietary supplements. That worked, but only for a while.

She went to Dr. Mark Cavitt, medical director of pediatric psychiatry at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.

He says mental health practitioners operate in gray areas. The unknowns of the long-term effects of psychotropic drugs have to be balanced against the risk of not treating.

Studies show that atypicals can be effective in modifying aggressive behavior, he said, and that kids who are treated for depression and schizophrenia are less likely to fall prey to pitfalls like drug abuse and teen pregnancy.
Then again: "We have to be concerned.
There is no such thing as a benign psychiatric medication."

Dr. Cavitt prescribed Risperdal for Ryan. He couldn't tell when he was full and gained 15 pounds. When Risperdal stopped working, they switched to Abilify.

Mom hates to think about the possible long-term effects but has more immediate concerns, like, "Will he jump out of a moving car?"

"There are certainly downsides to medications," she said. "But when medications don't work, we are pretty much screwed. There are not a lot of options."
* * *
At the Suncoast Center for Community Health in Clearwater, the focus is on therapy. Drugs are a last resort.

Renee Kilroy, the clinical director, said the sharp increase in psychotropic medications to children is unsettling.
"It's not my belief we need to put more kids on medications.
They are still growing and changing."

Therapy costs more in the short term, she said, but a lifetime of medications is costlier. Suncoast can afford to take the longer view thanks to subsidies it gets from the county's Juvenile Welfare Board.

More and more, she said, they get referrals from the school system for disruptive kids. Parents tell her that the school has told them their children need to be put on psychiatric medication before they can come back - even though state law specifically forbids that.
* * *
Children younger than 6 generally should not be given psychotropic drugs. According to guidelines from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, it should "only be considered under the most extraordinary of circumstances."

Last year, 1,111 Florida Medicaid children younger than 6 were prescribed antipsychotics.
There is no recommendation for the use of antidepressants in children younger than 6 - yet 629 children were prescribed antidepressants last year.

Using stimulant medications for ADHD should be "rare" for kids younger than 4, the guidelines state, "and only after a failed behavioral intervention such as parent training." Last year, 367 toddlers 3 and younger were prescribed ADHD medications.

Cavitt said 3-year-olds put on psychotropic medications typically are autistic, mentally retarded or brain injured. They are extremely self-injurious or physically aggressive to others, he said.

Robert Whitaker, a journalist and author of the book Mad in America, says there is no circumstance where it makes sense to prescribe an antipsychotic drug to a 3-year-old.

"It is not a scientific use of drugs," Whitaker said. "It is an experiment. There is no data showing that they are helpful in a 3-year-old kid. None. Zero. Zip."

Rather, he said, it is using medication as a controlling device. Whitaker blames a system of "assembly line medicine," where psychiatrists are afforded less and less time with patients.
Atypicals provide a shortcut to dealing with unruly children.
"It mutes your ability to respond to the world, emotionally and physically," he said. "They make them easier to manage, to others."

The pharmaceutical companies also help to shape the prescribing patterns, he said. The law forbids them from openly marketing to children off-label, but as any child psychiatrist will tell you, pharmaceutical reps for the atypicals are regular visitors.

Psychiatrists like Cavitt say the reps know the line: They are there only to provide company research and to solicit feedback on the use of their medications.

But Whitaker said it's clear why the reps for atypicals are in the offices of child psychiatrists: "They do it because they know it's effective in promoting off-label uses of their drugs.

"They are publicly traded companies trying to maximize their revenues. It increases off-label use, and doctors should quit pretending otherwise."

Minnesota is the only state that requires public reports of all drug company marketing payments to doctors. A recent New York Times analysis of those records found that doctors who took the most money from makers of atypicals tended to prescribe the drugs to children the most.
* * *
The support group for people whose relatives have committed suicide was unveiling a quilt with squares in memory of each person.

Kathy Pingleton was seated in a plastic chair in the back row when her son's name was called.
"Brandon Lee Pingleton."

Her husband, Ken, put his arm around her and they made their way to the front.

Kathy stole a glance at the section of quilt she made in honor of Brandon, a 15-year-old sophomore at Largo High School.

She worried that she made the square too busy. Lots of pictures and buttons to show Brandon's love of football, soccer and karate.

Kathy reached out a hand to light a candle in his memory. On one finger was a ring made of a guitar string that Brandon used. It reminds her of his artistic side.

Nearly four years ago she and Ken found Brandon hanging in his bedroom, just feet from where they were.

Diagnosed with ADHD, Brandon had landed in a county crisis center after he overdosed on Robitussin and told authorities he was depressed.

When he was released from the center, mom remembers taking him to a psychiatrist. After 5 minutes of evaluation - "How are you sleeping? How is school?" - the doctor doubled his dosage of the atypical antipsychotic Seroquel.

She remembers wondering why he was taking the drug when the Web site said it was for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

She hated what the drugs did to him, as did Brandon. He said it made him feel like a zombie.
Seroquel now carries a black box warning that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts in children and teenagers, and that patients should be watched closely.
Those warnings didn't come until 2004. Brandon hanged himself in 2003.
* * *
Alan Levine ran the state's Agency for Health Care Administration in 2005. He became so alarmed by the spike in antipsychotics prescribed to children that he contracted with USF to study the trend.
The study found that from mid 2002 to mid 2004, the cost of psychotropic drug prescriptions for kids increased 60 percent. Pacing that increase was an 82 percent jump in spending on atypical antipsychotics.

"It has very quietly grown as a problem," Levine said.
He wanted to reel it in, but not in a knee-jerk way that might hurt kids who need medications. "There needs to be a more sane and evidence-based approach when prescribing these drugs to children."

The use of antidepressants and ADHD medications dropped and the growth of antipsychotics slowed over a two-year period, starting in April 2004.

By then, said Robert Constantine at USF's Louis De La Parte Mental Health Institute, any psychiatrist would have been aware of the metabolic side effects of the new antipsychotics, and, for those taking antidepressants, the dangers of suicidal feelings.

As part of the $3-million state grant, USF was charged with sending out letters to physicians who were regularly prescribing outside the accepted guidelines.

For example, in the first quarter of this year, 315 children on Medicaid got antipsychotics at higher-than-recommended dosage levels.

Another common problem, Constantine said, was the practice of prescribing more than one antipsychotic at a time.
Some doctors swear it works
but there isn't much scientific evidence to back that up.
The first three months this year
274 children were prescribed two or more antipsychotics for an extended period.

Joanne Mills' 12-year-old son was on 16 medications.
At the same time.

"At the time we decided to put him on each one of them there was a good reason for it, or else we wouldn't have done it," said Mills, a mother of six in Homosassa.

In the last year, by integrating therapy, she said they have cut her son's 16 medications to three, including the atypical Seroquel.

He has been diagnosed with ADHD and occasionally explosive behavior. For three years, she had to hold him for three hours a night so he could sleep.

Frustrated to the nth degree, she says you walk into the doctor's office with a bubble of hope, and walk out 15 minutes later with a handful of prescriptions, for drugs you've tried before without any lasting benefit.

"The doctors throw their hands up in the air and say, 'I don't know what else to try.' "

About the numbers
Most of the statistics in this story are derived from Medicaid data provided by Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration.

The agency provided the same data to the University of South Florida, which was contracted by the state to study prescribing patterns.
As a public service, USF prepared an analysis of the state's data for the St. Petersburg Times.

The numbers include only children on fee-for-service Medicaid.
They do not include children in Medicaid HMOs or those with private insurance.

Some 720,000 children were in the fee-for-service Medicaid program last year, out of some 4.5-million children in Florida.
That means the statistics in this story vastly underestimate the entire picture of antipsychotic medications prescribed to children.

The Medicaid numbers were used because the program is taxpayer
-funded and the information is public.

The atypicals
A new class of drugs emerged in the 1990s, touted as a better and safer way to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Here are the atypicals now on the market.

Trade name Drug name Marketed by
Clozaril Clozapine Novartis
Zyprexa Olanzapine Eli Lilly and Co.
Risperdal Risperidone Janssen Pharmaceutica
Seroquel Quetiapine AstraZeneca
Geodon Ziprasidone Pfizer
Abilify Aripiprazole Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co.
Invega Paliperidone Janssen Pharmaceutica

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Kids say the darndest things

Ok today's blog is off topic ..yeah yeah I know I have 99 topics I cover but today it's off ALL of those topics... (after the blah blah understanding the build up to the punch line(s)

Last weekend my niece had her sweet sixteen, I had been tense about this event since I do not speak to 98% of my family and I was going to be sitting at the same table as them (Yeah lucky me!)

As it turned out I sat between my younger brother who is a really good kid that went bad and found his way back, and I would love to have kept in touch with had it not been for the fact that he lives with my mother who I have no contact with and my hunnie Allan.

Anywho.. said youngest brother has been the legal guardian for the last two years of a 9 year old boy "Anthony" who I have never met, until the party.

I wasn't sure how I would feel sitting next to him, since..

(1) I miss my children desperately and any children remind me of them, and I normally can't handle it.

(2) I didn't know this kid, his likes, his dislikes, or even the real story of why or how my brother managed to have guardianship. (I don't believe a word any of them (My family- mother, sister, and sometimes my younger brother) say- so it's hard to just blindly believe)

Moving right along, when Anthony walked into the room, I treated him like I treated any of my nieces or nephew's, I gave him a huge hug told him who I was and treated him like I knew him since birth. He is the sweetest kid, just so loveable!

During the party I wanted to go out for a cigarette, and Anthony and I had been bonding, so I asked my brother if it would be ok to take him outside with me, my brother said of course and off Anthony and I went.

We talked about his bike that had just gotten stolen from in front of his house, I wish I had the money to buy him a new one right there and then, we talked about his grades in school (All 4's- except for penmanship where he got a 3- Yayyy go Anthony!!) we talked about why he never met me, I told him I lived very far away, which I do.

Blah blah blah we learned a lot about each other by mid party, I felt a strong bond between Anthony and I (He was taken from his mother and has no contact- I've been taken from my children- also no contact. I think I felt close to him because we shared something no one else at that party understood. A pain deep within our soul that eats us alive while we play the clown on the outside so the world can't see our pain.

And a clown he is- making bunny ears behind my head all night, just doing silly stuff to make me laugh!

I bet my last dollar he didn't know what I would walk away remembering the most..this is what I want to share..

At one point in the evening, my brother his son (Anthony) Allan and I were sitting outside and Anthony was trying to guess Allan's and my age.

So he looks at me with this serious look and says, "Well, you look like you have cob webs in your hair so.."

THAT LITTLE BRAT! (Said with a huge smile- turn him around so I can kick him in his *&^$ )

Well, needless to say I cut him short of finishing the sentence and I gave him this look like (Ummm you better say something to get your foot out of your mouth and fast!) and I said "WHAT?!?!? You didn't just say that!"

So he laughs, and wiggles out of it by saying, no no your beautiful but but...

By then everyone was laughing so didn't matter what he said!

Well later in the night, he was once again making bunny ears behind my head then pretending he was all innocent n stuff when I caught him (scratching his chin and looking up into the sky- saying WUT??) and I bent over (he was now sitting beside me) and I grabbed my hair and tickled his face with it while I said "Oh yeah well, I have cob webs in my hair that means there's also spiders in there and I'm gonna make them crawl all over you!" That got him to stop briefly!

Anyway, he helped me stay sane thru the night although he will never know that..nor will he know that I will remember that cob web statement the rest of my life, and refer back to it often.

I'll file it with "That's not how you grrr stewpid" and "You'll be dead by then" keep reading if you want to know where those came from.

Although he will never know it, Anthony left a DEEP foot print in my heart!

The system is so crazy that now I'm afraid to keep in touch with him, which I want to do so badly! I can't afford another loss in my life, and his adoption hearing is next month.

We all know how much I trust the system especially ACS aka CPS I would fall apart all over again, if I allowed myself to get close and they found some BS reason to take him away from my brother and put him into the system! Say a prayer for Anthony, that he is able to keep his sprit as upbeat as it was the night we met!

Ok on to the other phrases I'll never forget.. I'll tell you the story about "You'll be dead by then" first, since it was the first time a little kid insulted me and gave me something to quote years later!

Obviously I have a soft spot in my heart for kids, always have.. So when one of my neighbors kids who was around 7 or 8 was over playing with my son, TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO! (Which made me YOUNG back then) I had bent down and proposed to him, I said - "Your so cute, wanna marry me when your 35?"

Well! (Hands on my hips!) That little brat replied with "NO, You'll be dead by then" Ok he got me, I was only 25 ish and I suddenly felt like I was 99- Uggggghh turn that kid around and let me kick him in his ^%$ !!

On to the little girl that no matter what I did made her happy..

I was working in a hotel in Mid town Manhattan in a restaurant, I had the early shift this day.. it couldn't have been later than 7AM.

In walks this family (Mom was dressed to the nines- over done and trying way to hard! Dad was dad, he rolled out of bed and appeared to be trying to make his nasty wife happy with breakfast. Their daughter took after mom, she was princess in training, and it was obvious to me that this little girl WAS NOT a morning person, little did she know NEITHER AM I!

As per my job description, I tried to make nice with the kid, over and over I attempted to make her smile, to no avail! She was one of the most difficult kids I had seen in a long time, well I finally had enuff of playing nice, and I looked at her and said "GRRRRRRR, See I can be cranky too"

Well! (Hands on MY hips, now as I tell this story!)

This brat, stood up looked me in the eye, both hands on her hips, her head and hips moved side to side with every word and she said and I quote "That's not how you Grrrrrr STEWPID!"

I was so shocked, I had to walk away and just laugh!

Mom was to busy admiring herself in the glass reflection to even notice, dad to Oblivious to care.. and here this 4 year old was on her way to becoming ...

Oh not my problem, finish the sentence with whatever you want it to say ...

The things kids say (Shaking my head) those three will never be forgotten!!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Have You Been Victimized By The System?

We want you!

If you are or have been a victim of the system, if your children are victims of the system, we want you to become part of the Class Action Lawsuit and other events planed this summer for our God given rights, to our children!

Or, if you are a young adult, or are a Tax Payer you can join in as well.

See FAQ here-

For a more detailed list of who can join, use this link-

My name is Louise, I am one of the State Directors for the United Civil Rights Councils of America.

We are looking for Non Custodial parents and their families, that have been victimized by the system! You are not alone, we are in numbers to high to ignore!

We are looking for families that have been victims of ACS (Child Protective Services) abuses as well!

If you or someone you know has been victimized and has had their civil rights trampled on, or eradicated, then this message is for you!

I need you to contact me (If you are in Westchester) or join your local yahoo group so we can make sure you are part of these important Civil Rights events happening this summer!

Simply go to this web site and join your local group, this is a class action lawsuit involving EVERY STATE! Copy and past the link below, and get involved, then tell a friend and have them tell a friend!

We want Government out of our families, we want the rights to raise our children free of unjustified Governmental interference! Too many wonderful parents are taken out of their children's lives and we've had it!

Join in on the class action lawsuits, find your State and join the local group for your county! Kick off 7/22/07

Tell your story on August 11th, 2007 to over 700 reporters, at the Straw Poll's!

Join us in D.C. on August 18th 2007, be heard!

Join us for the New Tea Party 9/17/07!

Don't sit there and take it- Take action today!

Contact me for more info or just go directly to this site and join your local group!

Stand up America, Our rights to our children have been ignored long enough!

One of the N.Y. State Directors:
Louise Uccio

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Family Attorney Blows the Whistle on State Child Protective Services Agencies

Practicing family attorney Gregory Hession confirms child protective service agencies engage in abusive, deliberate and dirty tricks motivated by federal funding.

Every year thousands of families are forcibly separated from their children based on unsubstantiated or outright false allegations of child abuse. Gregory Hession, a practicing constitutional and family law attorney in Mass., says that for these families, the nightmare has only begun.

Children in child protective services (CPS) have been abused, wounded, brain washed, drugged, adopted out and some have even died. Hession has represented hundreds of these families and has dedicated himself to exposing CPS abuses and reuniting loving, deserving families. He documents CPS abuses in the July 23, 2007, issue of The New American magazine.

Hession’s articles highlight true stories of families who have been targeted by CPS agencies. All the families discussed are Hession’s clients.

Hession writes that state CPS agencies continually yank children out of good, loving homes based on flimsy allegations of child abuse. He asserts that the child protection business generates so much money, and employs so many social workers, therapists, lawyers and other professionals, that it needs a steady flow of cases to keep all of these workers employed. In Mass., the cost of these state services totals into the billions of dollars, which the state can leverage to obtain prodigious quantities of federal reimbursement monies.

In 2005, more than 3.3 million reports involving 6 million children were made to state child-abuse hot lines. The vast majority of these eventually proved to be untrue. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services show 40 percent of allegations are initially screened out. Of the remaining 60 percent, nearly two-thirds of child-abuse investigations are unsubstantiated. Yet, more than 500,000 children are currently in foster care and another 300,000 or so are forcibly removed from their homes by the system every year.

Hession states that genuine child abuse obviously does exist and those involved in its practice need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. However, he writes that most people would likely disagree with CPS in how it defines abuse or neglect. Families are attacked for home-schooling or spanking their children, for not overseeing all play activities, or for when a child has an accident. Only a small percentage of the 3.3 million reported cases annually prove to be genuine abuse, and the system does a bad job of sorting it out.

The articles conclude that millions of children are imperiled by this imperious, abusive CPS system, which works quietly without much public scrutiny. Change will likely come only when the cruelties have been exposed, and the public reaffirms that raising children is the responsibility of families, not the state.

Is this Child Protection?

Outcomes of Child-abuse Investigations
Though states' "child protective services" intervene readily in family situations, using as a guideline for intervention whether a child "is at risk of maltreatment," even after 40 percent of allegations of child abuse are initially screened out, a further 66 percent of the remaining allegations of child abuse are found to be unsubstantiated. (This number includes the cases labeled on the chart as "Alternative Response Nonvictim," where no investigation of the reported child abuse was undertaken, yet it was determined that there was no abuse.)

Imagine your terror and panic: you are awakened by an armed SWAT team in the middle of the night, demanding to be let into your home to take your children away. The grim-faced agents show you no warrant, no court order, and no mercy. They give you no reason for their presence, other than having received an unspecified report about child abuse. They bark commands and menace you and your children with their weapons. The children are taken out of your home screaming, shoved into cars, and whisked away into the night.

This is not a Soviet-era movie script, but a reality in thousands of homes in the United States every year, courtesy of state child protective services agencies.

The least reported and understood social crisis of our time is the vast new police state run by these state social services agencies, which are generically referred to as “child protective services,” or CPS. The states have different names for them, such as Department of Social Services or Department of Children and Families, but they are all operating under a federal mandate. Whatever they are called, our next generation of children may never recover from their predatory intrusions into families.

Some may dismiss these concerns as hyperbole, but the numbers are appalling. In 2005 alone, over 3.3 million reports involving six million children were made to state child-abuse hot lines, the vast majority of which eventually proved to be untrue. Over 500,000 children currently are in foster care. Another 300,000 or so are forcibly removed from their homes by the system every year. Tens of billions of dollars are expended every year on the care of these children, and on the juvenile court systems which enable it, along with costs of therapy, drugs, lawyers, and related services.

This system is relatively new. In response to professional agitation to “do something” about the problem of child abuse, Congress set forth standards for state child protection agencies in 1974, in the Child Abuse Protection and Treatment Act, also called the Mondale Act for its senatorial sponsor. If a state conformed their system to the federal mandate, it could get generous reimbursement from the feds. The states immediately complied, and modern child protection was born.

The system does not work, and never has. Thirty years, hundreds of billions of dollars, and millions of ruined families later, the problem of abuse is little improved.

Not one state has ever come close to meeting the bare minimum standards set out in federal law for CPS agencies. Of seven federal criteria that apply, only a few states have even met one, and no state even complies with a few of them.

In almost all cases, children are traumatized by their experiences in state custody. A large number of the children taken into captivity never return — many are adopted out to other families, killed, injured, or caused permanent psychological harm. Parents are rarely helped, even when they need some improvement.

Can this happen in America? It can, and it does. What follows is a brief tour through the seamy underbelly of the CPS system. That these agencies engage in such despicable behavior is often not believed by anyone who has not been directly affected by it. CPS structures and systems resemble those used by totalitarian regimes.

The Snitch Network
The entry point of most children into the child protection system is through a government-mandated “snitch network” consisting of 50-odd professions that are required by law to report any suspected child abuse or neglect to a state “hot line.” Teachers, police, therapists, doctors, nurses, even clergy, must report to CPS, under threat of prosecution. In addition, CPS propaganda has convinced many neighbors and friends and personal enemies to make such reports.

Once a report is made, the CPS agency has to decide whether it is credible, and if so, what to do about it. Of about 3.3 million calls to state hot lines in 2005, about 40 percent were screened out before going any further. For the remaining calls, the agency had to decide whether it was an emergency, or could be administratively investigated in due course.

Why are so many reports of child abuse being generated? A large contributing factor is that the legal definitions of abuse and neglect are so elastic as to encompass virtually any parental behavior, from spanking their children to letting them eat too much “fast food.” Also, supply sometimes creates its own demand, since an army of professionals has arisen to service the industry, and must be kept well fed.

In response to child-abuse emergencies, real or imagined, the agency usually sends CPS agents and police to a home. The police pry the children’s little fingers off their mother, with everyone screaming hysterically during the “pull,” as they call it.

In other cases, children are snatched from school or from buses after school, without notice to parents frantically waiting at bus stops. Often they are taken late on a Friday afternoon, so parents cannot challenge the action in court over the weekend, and so that the children can be held incommunicado and given medications — drugged — during that time. The goal is to soften the kids up to make “disclosures” about parental abuse in order to allow CPS to get a court order for custody. Sometimes CPS agents go to court to get an order before taking the children, but when they do so, it is almost always done in secret in a closed courtroom, without the parents or attorneys present.

Unfortunately, CPS often gets it wrong both ways — genuine abuse is often missed or ignored, while most of what is reported as abuse or neglect does not rise to any reasonable level of seriousness. (See chart below.)

Into the Belly of the Beast
After the snitch network does its part to get the children into the CPS pipeline, the cases either go into an elaborate administrative process, or to a so-called “shelter” court hearing, held within a few days in order to determine whether the removal of the children from the home was proper. At that court hearing, usually conducted in secret without the press or public allowed, the court will appoint separate lawyers for the mother, the father, and the children. Many of these hearings are conducted so quickly that parents do not have time to prepare a defense, and the lawyers often cut corners by telling their clients to just agree to keep the children in custody until a trial, which could be a year or more away. Only later do the parents find out that they had agreed that their children needed state protection and had waived any possibility of getting them back quickly, or even at all.

The cases that do not go to court are shunted into a surreal, nightmarish administrative system, and the children are often allowed to stay at home or with relatives while the bureaucrats dither.

A social worker will eventually make up a document called a “case plan” or “service plan,” in which the alleged failings of the parents are summarized. The case plan includes a set of tasks and social services intended to “fix” the parent, much like one might repair an appliance. In order to get the children back home if they were taken, or to foreshorten an administrative case, the parents must do all the activities mandated on the plan, such as going to parenting classes, meeting with a social worker, going to substance-abuse treatment, or getting psychological evaluations.

Social workers, often severely maladjusted and working out their own tortured past vicariously through their clients, frequently treat the parents with whom they work as property, ordering them around at whim. They set up services to be done during work hours, causing people to lose jobs and placing the family in financial distress. They can order that a man suspected of spanking his children must leave the home, putting additional emotional and financial burdens on a family.

As with most government programs, there are unintended consequences that no one considered when putting the scheme together. Since social workers are so easily duped, divorcing spouses have made extensive use of CPS reports as a weapon in family court. Want to get custody fast? Just call CPS and accuse the other spouse of abuse. CPS will also do the bidding of schools that have trouble handling difficult children, and will threaten parents who do not want to drug their children with ADHD chemicals.

When children are placed in foster care, the agency usually treats them with mercenary callousness. Social workers and foster parents do things to children that if done by parents would likely have triggered removal of the child. Children are routinely kept out of school for weeks, are denied needed medical care, and are even abused physically and sexually. Children with asthma are often placed with heavy smokers, and children with speech impediments are often placed with immigrants who struggle with English. Almost all children are heavily drugged, with up to six powerful mind-bending medications, in order to ensure their docility.

Even in little ways, the system continually shows contempt for its captives. Social workers leave a home without putting the children in car seats, cancel visits with the parents if they have better things to do, or place the children in homes far from the parents in order to make it harder to have visits. The grinding banality of socialist-spawned child care is soulless, loveless, and arbitrary.

Abuse committed against a child while in foster care is supposed to be investigated by a special outside unit, similar to an internal-affairs division in a police department. However, mindful of potential lawsuits if abuse were discovered, the investigators usually don’t find any. Statistics reported to the government about abuse in foster care are low because the agency gets to do its own investigations. In my experience representing parents, most of whose children have been actually abused in foster care, the CPS usually sweeps the allegations under the rug and fails to stop the abuse.

Your Day in Court
Juvenile or family court is where the fate of millions of children is decided. Not many years ago, these courts were a sleepy sinecure for a few political hacks. Now, with the child-abuse industrial complex in overdrive feeding them, juvenile courts have come into vogue. Crowds of sad-faced parents shuffle around the court’s waiting areas, lining the halls. Lawyers, forgetting the indescribable pain that their clients are enduring, openly laugh and gossip with CPS attorneys and therapists.

At court hearings, the parents usually cannot speak, and the children’s wishes are almost never heard or considered. Hearings often last only a few minutes, or even seconds. The traditional rules of evidence and notions of due process are rarely observed in these special courts, which are neither criminal nor civil. Hearsay on top of hearsay, sometimes three or four layers deep, is often admitted into evidence, which would never be allowed in any traditional court.

The burden of proof for taking children away from parents on a temporary basis is merely to show by a “preponderance of evidence” that the child was abused, which is a weak and ill-defined standard. By contrast, the state has to prove guilt in a speeding ticket case beyond a reasonable doubt. A final termination of parental rights requires that the state prove unfitness by “clear and convincing evidence,” still well short of the quantum of proof required to prove jaywalking.

Most juvenile cases end with a judgment against the parents, allowing CPS to keep the children until they are 18, or to farm them out for adoption. The home team — that is, the CPS prosecutor and social workers — are in front of the judge every day. The process becomes a choreographed dance, like a Mozart-era minuet, with all the players moving in lockstep and the outcome often determined before the first witness is called.

By looking at the numbers, one would conclude that there is an epidemic of child abuse in America. However, the evidence shows that there is actually an epidemic of hysteria about child abuse, because most of the official complaints are either false or greatly exaggerated. It is a squalid business. Big “non-profit” companies have arisen to service the insatiable demand for warehousing children and providing therapy, education, and other services. Special needs children can sometimes fetch thousands of dollars per week for these sub-contractors from the state and the feds, which make millionaires out of the subcontractors owners and officers.

Tens of thousands of parents have their parental rights terminated every year, and their children taken for adoption to other persons or families. In 2005 alone, 67,000 children were removed for adoption. Another 110,000 were waiting for adoptive homes. Each of these children has been through a painful removal from parents, a lengthy court process, numerous foster homes, large amounts of drugs and therapy, and sometimes years of waiting.

The Adoption and Safe Families Act, passed by Congress in 1997, sets out adoption quotas for the states, with money bonuses for exceeding them, and even larger bonuses for processing a larger number of “special needs” children. Thus, adoption becomes the goal for many children who should not be taken from families in the first place. For CPS, it becomes just a commercial sales transaction: meet the quota, collect the cash.

Some parents do abuse children, and states have comprehensive criminal laws to deal with those cases. Most persons would likely disagree with CPS in how it defines abuse or neglect. Families are attacked for home-schooling or spanking their children, for not overseeing all play activities, or for when a child has an accident. Sometimes a child’s illness, poverty, or parents who are going through a time of conflict will trigger CPS involvement. There is also a palpable animus against families who are religious, or who do not like state interference. Only a very small percentage of the 3.3 million reported cases annually prove to be genuine abuse, and the system does a bad job of sorting them out.

There are reasons why the system does a bad job. Colleges churn out hordes of 23-year-old social-work graduates, childless and clueless, who are sent into homes to make life-changing decisions. Their formal education is grounded in doctrinaire Marxism and feminism, and they believe in their viscera that the state should communally raise children.

Another disincentive to changing the system is the fact that social workers are given legal immunity for almost any discretionary decision no matter what harm results to the children. Social workers exercise virtually unlimited power over families, with little accountability to anyone for overreaching or even for egregious offenses.

Federal reimbursement is the locomotive that drives the child-protection business. Regardless of what families actually need, CPS determines where to place its resources based on what returns the most reimbursement. The vast percentage of federal reimbursement (90 percent) comes from taking children into custody, while only a tiny fraction (10 percent) is available to help intact families. In other words, taking children pays, helping families costs.

The game of cadging federal CPS dollars has become so intense that states often hire multi-million dollar consultants to assist them in maximizing federal reimbursement for the children they take. For instance, Massachusetts hired the now-defunct Arthur Anderson Consulting, at an estimated fee of about $8.6 million, to structure the state program to take advantage of as many federal reimbursement categories as possible.

What Can Be Done?
Is the system really as corrupt, incompetent, destructive, and ineffective as this article portrays it? No, it’s actually far worse — if you ask a parent whose children have been victimized by it! The public perception is that CPS is doing a tough job, and standing against child abuse. However, any family caught in its web would testify to a completely different reality. When I take on a new case and forewarn a family about CPS dirty tricks, they usually think I am exaggerating. Surely it can’t be that bad. However, after the first court hearing, or if their children are removed, those families uniformly confirm that I didn’t tell them the half of it.

What should be done to address the problem of child abuse and the problem of abuse by the system of parents and children? It won’t be easy because CPS policies and actions are based on a deeply flawed world view. Moreover, the agencies are run by inept and agenda-driven managers and social workers, and are enabled by a dysfunctional legal system.

Real reform would cut at the very heart of the premise of child protection — that the state is a better parent, a legal doctrine called parens patriae in Latin. Some fixes are obvious — end federal standards for and funding of state child protection agencies, set objective standards for child abuse, require traditional due process in juvenile courts that are open to the public, and eliminate immunity for social-worker malfeasance.

Millions of children are imperiled by this imperious, abusive CPS system, which works quietly without much public scrutiny. Change will likely come only when its cruelties have been exposed, and the public reaffirms that raising children is the responsibility of families, not the state.

Want the incentives removed that ruined families?

I recieved this ACTION ALERT this morning from Minister Ron, If you have not already done so PLEASE WRITE YOU LETTER!

"An action alert has been posted recently asking congress to Reinstate the federal matching funds, so I have re-posted an action alert demanding that congress OPPOSE the bills. Please take action and write or call your reps to OPPOSE the reinstatement of the money that flows to remove your rights and damage your children."

You want this nightmare to end!? You must copy and paste this link and write your politicians to OPPOSE this.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Paxil Setlement on U-Tube

Paxil Settlement On…

You Tube; July 10th, 2007By Ed SilvermanIn an unusual move, the Public Citizen advocacy group has posted a video on YouTube to alert parents to a $48 million settlement of a lawsuit concerning Glaxo’s Paxil antidepressant and side effects.

The drugmaker was required to announce the settlement terms last October, but wasn’t to publicize that the terms were improved and simplified in April, the group notes.Even without receipts, parents can recover up to $100, but any money that isn’t claimed prior to the August 31, 2007, deadline will revert back to Glaxo.

Although it’s not clear, Public Citizen may be correct in noting this is the first time such a class-action settlement uses YouTube to publicize terms.The video, which is just a minute and a half, resembles a public service announcment read by a news anchor, who says: “Now, $48 million is sitting in a fund waiting to pay back parents whose children were on Paxil before their 18th birthday.”

You can visit

See here: You are entitled to this money if: • you live in the U.S. and • you purchased Paxil or Paxil CR for someone under the age of 18. If you qualify, you MUST fill out a claim form and mail it to the Paxil Pediatric Settlement Administrator in order to receive compensation. The claims must be received by August 31, 2007.