Remember the kids who slept in cages?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Nancy, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Remember the eleven special needs kids who had to sleep in cages made by their adoptive/foster parents who claimed they were put there to protect themselves from being hurt or hurting the other children? Their trial is over, they were conviced, and yesterday were both sentenced to two years in jail. Many thought they should have receivbed a much longer sentence. When it was time for the Dad to speak he said they felt like they were being led by the Lord.

    The children are all reported to be doing very well in their new foster homes. Two of the children spoke at the sentencing and said how happy they were that they no longer had to live in a cage and didn't have to fight for food and could go to the bathroom whenever they wanted.

    The adoption system in Ohio was declared flawed and sweeping changes will hopefully be made.

  2. pigless

    pigless New Member

    Rather difficult to forget that news item, Nancy. I'm glad the "parents" were convicted, but 2 years doesn't seem like much of a sentence.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I saw that. I can see being overwhelmed by special needs kids, but then why keep accepting kids into your home? And why not call SSvcs and tell them it's not working out? Obviously, I'm asking--or preaching--to the choir. If this couple was truly trying to help, and perhaps in their minds they were, they needed to get a clue.
    Sleeping in a bathtub because of bedwetting? Come ON. Hey, we have stained mattresses, too... but that's what bleach is for.
    I'm curious to know what kinds of alarms were on the kids' beds... motion detectors or something? If the parents were that ingenious to come up with-those sorts of devices, why weren't they clever enough to do some decent parenting? Hey, people, buy a book!
    I had to chuckle about the kids wandering; both my kids have wandered at night. I've never had to put a baby gate at the top of the stairs because our collies kept herding the kids at the top of the steps. When the kids were in diapers, the collies would just lie down at the top and not let the kids past them. It was quite amusing to watch. As the kids got older, the dogs would shove them down, then lie down next to them. As they got older still, and the kids learned to shove the dogs out of the way, the dogs would come and get me.
    I really had it made!

    Now I use the dogs to get difficult child out of bed in the a.m. He gets so angry with-me, but when the dogs go in and jump on him, he thinks it's a game. Hey, whatever works!
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    They did ask for help. The social worker is the one that recommend the cages (she was also charged). We all know how much difficult children can overwhelm all our resources. They reached out for help, were given this advice by a paid professional. Yes, had they not been so overwhelmed they likely would have thought it through and not done it. But when you are begging for help and a professional says this will keep the kids safe, how many of us have tried something that went against our better judgment because we desperately wanted to keep everyone safe?

    I'm not surprised that the children are doing well in their new foster homes (1) they did not place all 11 together (2) you can bet the bank the new foster homes got all the services they needed (3) these children got extra attention from the caseworkers because they knew the news crews were watching
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member


    "They did ask for help. The social worker is the one that recommend the cages (she was also charged)."

    Well, the good news is that (supposedly)the kids are in good hands now. I wonder what the parents will do when they get out? Were they ordered to take classes or something?
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't know where you're getting the asking for help info from. They did not ask for help. One social worker knew of the cages, she has been dismissed. She did not suggest them and admitted to not even seeing them and had no idea about the other abuses.

    There is something seriously wrong with a system that allows people to adopt that many special needs kids, they went through several different agencies so no one agency would know the whole story. There was credible testimony that they said they needed one more child to have enough money to not have to work anymore. There is evidence that these parents, while they probably started out trying to help hard to place kids, ended up being very overwhelmed and not having the childrne's best interests at heart. The abuses that the children described were horrid.

    This case infuriated me, I guess you can tell. There was plenty of help out there if they wanted it, but they knew that some of the foster children would be taken away and they didn't want to lose the subsidy.

    Also these children ahve been completely isolated from any news media. The only info is what came out in court. Thankfully the jury saw the real story.

  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    "they went through several different agencies so no one agency would know the whole story."

    Ahhh... I can see where some repairs need to be made, checks and balances. Of course, the same goes for MDs, lawyers, and anyone else who loses their license. And you can reverse it... some patients dr-hop so they can get more scrips.
  8. OTE

    OTE Guest

    Just to clarify on behalf of JJJ...there were several of these cases. I actually thought you were talking about the one in NJ. But I assume, Nancy, that this is a case in Ohio. So perhaps JJJ is referring to a different case.
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I didn't catch the news on the one here as far as the sentencing goes. This one burns me up too.

    But Ohio is severely understaffed for special needs homes. I know because I was considering it at one point, and I have the training to do it. While if I'd wanted normal fostering I'd have to take whatever kids they needed me to take, with the special needs kids I could choose any age I wanted to work with. When I asked why this was, I was told it was because they were desperate for foster homes with qualified parents to care for them. (granted this was several yrs back)

    easy child's mother in law does special needs fostering, and they pretty much told her the same thing. And so far they've been true to their word.
    Which easy child's mother in law has only had a few classes offered by CPS.

    I agree with you. Ohio really does need to fix it's joke of CPS.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Terry, you said, "the same goes for MDs, lawyers, and anyone else who loses their license. And you can reverse it... some patients dr-hop so they can get more scrips."
    With doctors in Australia, we have an over-riding government health system (HIC) which checks all prescriptions for certain drugs, especially the ones most likely to be abused. I have to see just one doctor (who had to apply for a licence to prescribe this drug regularly). I can't see another doctor in the same practice - it has to be MY bloke. In an emergency I can get about two weeks' supply for any GP, but you quickly run out of GPs who will do this for you. Besides, they are supposed to call your main prescribing doctor, send him a letter or whatever.
    When the doctor prescribes these medications they have to telephone HIC. An authority number is issued, the doctor writes it on the prescription as well as on the patient's file.
    At the pharmacy, the chemist notes that number (as well as all the other info) on his computer. The records are kept both in his shop and also the copes which get sent back to HIC. Computer cross-check EVERYTHING.
    But even with this system, people can scam it. I saw an emptied rubbish bin on Tuesday, right outside a pharmacy's back door. There were two cardboard pill packs, one inside the other. I recognised the medications - nasty, strong opiates. The prescription label listed the same patient, the same doctor and the same pharmacy. I know the medications - very strong painkillers. And these packets, heavy doses of these painkillers, which had been issued 24 hours earlier, were empty. There should have been a month's supply there, at least. The doses prescribed were too strong - 3 x 12 hour tabs per day!??!? Plus the second pack, which shouldn't have been needed as well. These were terminal cancer doses (I know) but the packs shouldn't/wouldn't have been discarded by a legitimate patient.
    I'm a snitch - I took the packets to the pharmacist. He was horrified and immediately began to note the data into his computer. I suspect he will be ringing the doctor and if he doesn't get a reasonable explanation, that doctor will be reported.

    But even with these checks and balances, people get through the system. And this is just medications. We SHOULD be more careful of our children, but too often we're not.

    Once again in Australia, our welfare agency (it's HUGE) is one big organisation, all connected with HIC and the Tax Office, so they KNOW what money you're getting and will insist you account for it. So even with different agencies providing vulnerable children to ineffectual parents, the system should spot those abusing the system.
    However, it doesn't catch them all. And too many genuine cases get caught in the net and constantly have to justify their money and their family.

    To legislate improvements in a system that permitted this to happen - you would have to give up a lot of personal freedom and admit Big Brother into your life. Civil libertarians would have a field day.

    In Australia we don't HAVE a constitution like the US one. We don't have a lot of the rights you take for granted. Of course, we DO have the basic ones proclaimed by the UN (if we can get them to be taken on board - breaches happen all the time) but the sort of changes you would need to protect these kids would tread on too many influential toes, unfortunately.

    I'm not saying you guys are better off, or we are better off - it's just different. We both have advantages and disadvantages. Some people say Australia is becoming more like the US - not in this area. When it comes to government control, we will NEVER be like the US - our governments would never permit it because THEY would lose too much control.

    For all of us - we take the good with the bad.

  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Fascinating note, Marg. Wow!
    Glad you were a snitch. You get a star on your forehead.
    The doctor might appreciate it, too... s/he may not know what's being done with-his scrips and he can cut off that pt and help his own reputation.
    For my own part, I've had entire scrips end up in the dog dish or some such nonsense, and have to ask for a new one... that's where it comes in handy to know the doctor personally, and vice versa, so they know if you're telling the truth. Plus, it's easy enough to check the files and make sure the pt isn't "losing" scrips on a daily basis! LOL! Checks and balances, indeed.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    With our authority scripts, if one gets lost, stolen or eaten by the dog the doctor can ring up, cancel the first one and issue another. Anyone trying to fill the cancelled script gets investigated. And if the police find strong prescription drugs on you and you can't prove they're yours (by showing the box with the prescription label on it) you get investigated. Which is why I was fairly sure this lot of empty boxes was definitely sus. A legit patient would keep the box until the contents were finished off.

    It's not a perfect system, but it's pretty good. It comes at a cost to civil liberties, though - common in Australia, unlikely for you guys.

    But how do we protect kids from the sort of exploitation that was happening in this case? Is there some way that a computer data base system could be set up on a large enough scale?

  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It doesn't seem to me to be too difficult to set up a computer data base system that would track parents who are fostering children. I can't believe it is that difficult for all social service agencies to input their information into one program. Police do it so they can determine if there is a warrent out for you anywhere.

    Of course the first thing that needs to be done is to limit the number of children that can be adopted/fostered by one family. The biggest problem in this case came from the large number of special needs fosters, not the two adoptions this couple had. Once the couple exceeded the number of adoptions/fosters allowed, they could apply for a different type of license if this is truly their life mission and they are not in it for some ulterior motive. Then they should be monitored much more closely to ensure that all services they need are being met and they have enough staff and help so that they are not being overwhelmed.

    The background of these families need to be checked more thoroughly as do they day-to-day living arrangements. I realize it is difficult to find homes for special needs kids, but we can't find them just any home at their expense. Not all parents do this for the right reason and we have to stop assuming they do.

    It is interesting that if this story were told on the news about any other family, that they kept their kids in cages, didn't allow them to eat or go to the bathroom when the wanted, made some sleep in bathtubs, gave them no social interactions outside the home, talked openly about how they needed one or two more children to work the family business or farm or whatever reason they would give, everyone would be outraged. But they seem to get a lot more sympathy from some when they find out they are foster children. Some of out children are very difficult to handle, some bring us to our knees. Yet if any one of us treated our children the same way they would be removed from our homes in a heartbeat.

    We are a very intelligent people. We have to be able to develop a computer base that will enable us to perform the kinds of checks and balances needed to prevent this from happening. That may mean we need to go back to homes for children with disabilities instead of overwhelming one set of parents with too many children for anyone to handle, special needs or not.

  14. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Just jumping in here ... I don't know how it works in other states, but where I live there is a limit on how many foster children are allowed to be in any one home - there can only be just so many children under the parents' care, and that includes their own bio and adopted children. And here you have to prove that you have sufficient income of your own to provide for your own needs before you are approved as a foster parent. Some may fudge on it later, but you are not allowed to derive your own income from the subsidies given for foster children. Of course, this is if you foster directly through the State. Not sure about the outside agencies, but don't they have to be regulated through the state too? Not that our foster care system here is such a glowing example ... they've had their share of scandals and shakeups and stories in the news.

    I agree that there should be some type of tracking system for foster and adoptive children. But aren't most foster care systems set up state by state? It's been a while since I first heard this story, and I may be mistaken, but didn't they get some of these foster children from out-of-state agencies? If the agencies were not monitoring these children as closely as they should have, and the child is in another state, that child may completely slide under the radar of the state they now live in! They may not even know that the child exists! For a tracking system to work, it would have to be a nationwide system, not state by state.

    This may sound goofy at first, but in the rural area where I live, several of the people I work with have small herds of cattle to supplement their income. And I've listened to them discussing the huge mounds of paperwork that they now have to complete whenever they buy or sell cattle. Since the first hints of "Mad Cow Disease", cattle are now tracked so closely that if you wanted to, you could find out exactly which cow in which pasture provided your last Whopper or Big Mac!

    So if we can track cattle so closely and accurately, why can we not keep track of living, breathing, human CHILDREN!?!? If they are sending someone money every month to care for the child, it doesn't seem like it would be all that complicated! I still remember the stories on the news a while back of the little five year old girl who was "lost" in the Florida foster care system! They finally admitted that they had no earthly idea where this child was! Did they ever find her? Sheeeesh!
  15. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    "So if we can track cattle so closely and accurately, why can we not keep track of living, breathing, human CHILDREN!?!?"

    LOL! Absolutely!
  16. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Good point Donna, if we can track cattle we surely should be able to track children.

    And that case of the child in Florida being lost came from here also.

    It sounds liek your State has many of the loopholes closed, good for them.