Sunday, June 27, 2010

Foster Children Mistreated, Suit Against City Claims

Lots and lots of stuff goin on in my life been really busy.. but I'll never abandon my blog.. Sorry I'm unable to blog daily now I'm sharing caretaking with my sister of our dying mother. It ain't been easy.. but here ya go this is worth the time it took to post...

Again forgive my lateness in sharing this post..

A federal lawsuit is seeking to bar New York City from allowing troubled foster-care children to be kept in psychiatric hospitals after doctors have recommended their release, a practice that routinely adds months to a hospitalization despite laws that require such children to be placed in the least restrictive environment possible.

The suit, filed on Wednesday in United States District Court in Brooklyn, claims that the practice means that children who no longer require hospitalization are being kept in locked quarters where they have limited access to schooling, family visits and even walks outside.

The suit also claims that the Administration for Children’s Services, which oversees the care of about 16,000 foster children in New York City, and its subcontractors have been “using certain psychiatric hospitals as if they are detention centers,” sending some children to hospitals for disciplinary reasons, like breaking curfew, running away or getting in fights, rather than for mental health reasons.

A spokeswoman for the city’s Corporation Counsel declined to comment on the suit, saying the city had not yet had a chance to review it.

The suit was filed by the Legal Aid Society on behalf of three unnamed foster-care children who are currently hospitalized despite doctors’ recommendations that they be released.

“Every day that it continues, plaintiffs’ extended, wrongful confinement in these institutions is causing them irreparable damage,” the lawsuit says.

One of the children, a 6-year-old boy identified as S. M. who was placed into foster care last year, was hospitalized in Westchester in January, after “misbehavior” in his foster home, according to the complaint. The boy, who was in kindergarten, has been ready for discharge since April 2.

Another child, a 13-year-old boy identified as M. M., remains hospitalized on Long Island, though he was recommended for discharge on Jan. 26.

Legal Aid, a nonprofit group that represents foster-care children in New York, is seeking a preliminary injunction ordering the release of the three children, as well as a court order prohibiting the city from continuing to place foster-care children in hospitals unless doing so is medically necessary, and requiring that less-restrictive placements are made available for any child ready for release within 24 hours. The lawsuit also seeks financial damages.

Legal Aid requested class-action status for the lawsuit and identified two dozen more cases in which it claimed that children were held inappropriately, Nancy Rosenbloom, one of the Legal Aid lawyers handling the case, said. There is a high incidence of mental illness among foster-care children, who have been separated from their families, many after suffering physical or sexual abuse, said Marcia Lowry, executive director of the advocacy group Children’s Rights.

The suit cited a study by the group that estimated that about 14 percent of the foster care children in New York had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital in the course of a single year. Under both state and federal law, the city is required to place the children in the “most homelike” environment.

But foster homes, group homes and residential treatment centers can be unable or unwilling to accept children with mental illness or severe behavioral problems. The city has a policy against transferring children discharged from psychiatric hospitals to its Children’s Center, which temporarily houses other children during transition periods, according to Legal Aid.

“Some of these kids do have serious mental-health needs that may require hospitalization,” Ms. Rosenbloom said. “But the point of this case is once they’re ready to get out, they should get out.”

Published: May 12, 2010

Oroginal Link- City Agency Accused of Mistreating Foster Children -

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fathers Day Yankee vs Mets Game

My brother in law got stuck with a buncha tickets to the Yankee vs Mets game.. he has 5 left anyone interested in taking them off his hands for a steal?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ex-Wife Ordered Jailed for Alienating Children From Father

A Long Island, N.Y., judge has sentenced a woman to six weekends in jail for repeatedly undermining her ex-husband's relationship with their two daughters.

Supreme Court Justice Robert A. Ross in Nassau County ruled that the mother, Lauren R., willfully violated a court order by deliberately alienating the elementary school-age children from her ex-husband, Ted R.

Ross held Ms. R. in civil contempt and ordered her to report to the Nassau County Correctional Facility every other weekend this summer.

Her term was to have begun on Friday, but was temporarily stayed pending appeal by a judge from the Appellate Division, 2nd Department, on Thursday.

"The evidence before me demonstrates a pattern of willful and calculated violations of the clear and express dictates of the parties' Stipulation of Settlement," Ross wrote in Lauren R. v. Ted R., 203699-02.

"The extensive record is replete with instances of attempts to undermine the relationship between the children and their father and replace him with her new husband, manipulation of defendant's parenting access, utter and unfettered vilification of the defendant to the children, false reporting of sexual misconduct without any semblance of 'good faith,' and her imposition upon the children to fear her tirades and punishment if they embrace the relationship they want to have with their father."

The extraordinary hearing to determine whether Ms. R. should be held in contempt for violating the couple's stipulation of settlement began in May 2009 and stretched over 23 days of hearings over the next nine months.

During the hearing, Mr. R. testified to dozens of occasions in which his ex-wife either interfered with his visitation rights or purposefully alienated the children from him.

The judge described about a dozen such incidents or patterns in his eight-page decision.

In the winter of 2007, for example, Ms. R. prevented Mr. R. from seeing his daughters for six weeks, Ross wrote.

"I observed the plaintiff smirk in the courtroom as defendant emotionally related how he was deprived of spending Hanukkah with his children, and was relegated to lighting a menorah and watching his daughters open their grandparents' presents in the back of his truck at the base of plaintiff's driveway," the judge wrote.

Mr. R. also testified that Ms. R. consistently scheduled theater outings and social activities with her children so that they would conflict with his visitation, thereby putting him in the position of either consenting to a missed visit or risking disappointing his daughters.

The "crescendo" of Ms. R.'s contempt involved false accusations of sexual abuse against Mr. R., the judge wrote.

"Allegations that defendant had injured the child were found to be baseless and, by making such allegations, plaintiff needlessly subjected the child to an investigation by Child Protective Services, placing her own interests above those of the child," Ross wrote. "This report was not made in 'good faith' -- rather, the investigating agency warned the mother not to re-utilize the allegations and her children in her custodial litigation with the defendant."

In addition to the contempt finding and the temporarily stayed jail sentence, Ross ordered a hearing to consider a change of custody and to hear Mr. R.'s application for more than $134,000 in attorney fees. Those hearings were postponed pending Ms. R.'s appeal.

Ms. R.'s attorney, Kieth I. Rieger of Barrocas & Rieger in Garden City, N.Y., praised Ross, but criticized the decision, likening it to last week's missed umpire call that cost a Detroit Tigers pitcher a perfect game.

"I think all of us make mistakes, and I think he's just made a good-faith, honest mistake in his assessment of this case," Rieger said. "That's why there's an Appellate Division. I think he just did not accurately assess my client."

Stanley Hirsch, also of Garden City, represented Mr. R.

"I'm very hopeful that this case will be some type of warning to those who don't have the children's best interests at heart when they conduct themselves with their spouses," Hirsch said. "It has great significance to my client, but I think it has a terrific overall impact on people who are going through a divorce and not getting along and involving the children in their disputes."

Original Link.. - Ex-Wife Ordered Jailed for Alienating Children From Father