The Crime of Being Poor: The State Takes Away Your Children

The Department of Children and Families is seeking to terminate the parental rights of a New London (Connecticut) couple whose son nearly died in a Groton foster home — an outcome, advocates say, that highlights the downward spiral of poor families who become trapped in the child welfare system. Once poor parents become involved with DCF, they don’t have the legal resources to fight; they’re required to fix housing and financial problems to get their children back and there’s no public scrutiny or recourse if they feel they’re treated unfairly within the confines of private, juvenile court, advocates said. “The confusion of poverty with neglect is the single biggest problem in American child welfare,” said Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform. Poor parents are more likely than middle-class parents to have their parental rights terminated because they’re more likely to have their children taken in the first place, he said. The department served 73,360 children in 2016 and had 2,310 children enter DCF care, or 3 percent of the total served. Of the substantiated investigations by DCF, 90 percent are for neglect and 10 percent are for abuse. Martin Guggenheim, a professor of law at New York University and co-director of the Family Defense Clinic, said the only children in foster care in the United States come from poor families. People turn a blind eye to the same behavior or inadequate parenting in middle-class neighborhoods, he said.

Surveillance Videos Show Foster Children Abuse in Connecticut

Connecticut’s Office of the Child Advocate released an investigative report in July saying children were being illegally restrained and secluded at the two juvenile detention facilities run by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). On Sept. 15, the Child Advocate decided to release confidential surveillance videos that show children attempting suicide after staff secluded them during an emotional crisis. In a web conference, Child Advocate Sarah Eagan read from staff incident reports while playing video footage from the Pueblo Unit, the DCF girls’ detention facility. One staff described how a girl was dragged from the hallway by five staff members and locked in a room with one small window, out of view. “Another staff [member] walked around outside the building to look inside the window,” Eagan said. “The resident was observed with her shirt tied tightly around the neck, her face bright red and her head swaying.” Eagan says the girl was then taken to a hospital. That incident of self-harm was one of eight incidents documented in the surveillance videos released on Tuesday. The Child Advocate’s report found that, over the course of a year, boys and girls at the facilities tried to injure or kill themselves at least 55 times.

The Medical Kidnapping of Cassandra in Connecticut – First Interview Since Forced Chemo

It’s legal for a 12-year-old to get birth control and have an abortion without the consent or knowledge of her parents in most states. But a 17-year-old isn’t allowed to reject poison (chemotherapy) and is held as a prisoner, strapped to her hospital bed, injected with poison (medically raped), isolated from her family and friends, confined to her room, with an armed guard at the door. Did I miss anything? Oh yes, this treatment is “legal” and “approved”!!! If the US military did that to Guantanamo captives, what would folks think of that?

Teen Forced to Undergo Chemotherapy Denied Visitation with Mom, Must Stay in Hospital

Cassandra C., the Connecticut teen forced to undergo chemotherapy for Hodgkin's lymphoma, says she "hoped beyond hope" that a judge would let her leave the hospital where she has been legally required to stay since December. But on Wednesday, a Connecticut Superior Court judge ruled that the 17-year-old must remain at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford under the temporary custody of the state's Department of Children and Families until she completes her court-ordered chemotherapy. The judge also denied visitation to her mother, Jackie Fortin. "I cried when I found out," Cassandra tells PEOPLE. "I'm just heartbroken right now. Why are they keeping me from my mom? It is really unnecessary. I want to be with my mom. I'm devastated." Cassandra has not seen or spoken to her mother since New Year's Day after DCF prohibited the teen from having any contact with her, she says.

No Charges Filed, But 3-year Old Cancer Child Taken from Mother over “Diaper Rash”

A little boy recovering from a brain tumor has been has been taken from his mother, in what some are calling a medical kidnapping in Connecticut. After surviving a year of intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments, 3 year old Weston Lamarre was declared to be in remission and cancer-free. But just two months later Child Protective Services stepped in and took him away from the mother who has stayed by his side every step of the way of their heartrending journey. Now Wendy Lamarre is fighting to get her son back.

Connecticut Supreme Court Sides with DCF, Girl to Remain in Custody for Forced Chemotherapy

A Windsor Locks teen faced a judge in Connecticut State Supreme court Thursday after she’s been forced to undergo chemotherapy against her will. She is identified as Cassandra C. in court papers, and she believes she should be allowed to make her own health care decisions even though she’s a minor. After roughly one hour of arguments, the court sided with Department of Children and Families and determined she must remain in state custody to continue forced chemotherapy.

Connecticut Teen Taken Away from Mother and Physically Forced to have Chemotherapy

Several local news media in Connecticut are reporting that a 17 year old girl who is refusing chemo therapy and seeking a second opinion has been taken into custody by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and been physically forced to have chemo therapy against her desire. Cassandra's mother, Jackie Forton, supported her daughter's decision, and as a result of disagreeing with the doctors, lost custody of her daughter.