As New York considers legalizing marijuana, attention is also turning to how the drug plays a role in the city’s child welfare system—one that has the power to remove children from their parents and that investigates, almost exclusively, low-income families of color. Parents and advocates have reported that recreational marijuana use can lead to investigations of child maltreatment by the city’s Administration for Children’s Services. Many times these investigations stem from testing pregnant women and their newborns at the city’s public hospitals, according to testimony at a City Council hearing on Wednesday. Queens Councilwoman Adrienne Adams called the practice “the systemic criminalization of women of color,” which comes with the threat of separating children and parents. “We are absolutely tearing families apart, needlessly,” Adams said.
BREAKING: Rockland County NY Becomes America’s First Vaccine Police State – Bans Unvaccinated Children from Public Places – Health Dept. Goes Door to Door
Rockland County Executive Ed Day held a press conference earlier today to announce that he had declared a "state of emergency" regarding the New York state county's 153 cases of measles over a 6-month period, and placed a ban on all children under the age of 18 from appearing in any public area, which includes schools, malls and places of worship. Mr. Day said that this was the "first such effort of this kind nationally." The emergency ban is clearly targeted towards parents of unvaccinated children, as Mr. Day stated: "Parents will be held accountable if they are found to be in violation of this state of emergency act. And the focus of this effort is on the parents of these children. We are urging them once again, now with the authority of law, to get your children vaccinated." Mr. Day tried to downplay fears of police checkpoints and random checks for vaccination status, but he also stated that any parent found to be not in compliance with the emergency order would be referred to the district attorney's office for possible prosecution. "If we have a situation where it comes to our attention that a parent is willingly, knowingly, not allowing a child to be vaccinated, under the emergency order, it will be referred into the district attorney." The Rockland County Health Department, who recommended the emergency ban, has reportedly been going door to door and calling homes within the community in an effort to deal with the measles "epidemic."
“Family First Act” Has a “Presents for Pimps” Loophole to Allow Sex Trafficking to Continue in Foster Care Group Homes
It’s always cause for celebration when a place that institutionalizes children is forced to close. The residential treatment portion of Hawthorne-Cedar Knolls, an institution in Westchester County, north of New York City, is scheduled to shut down. But don’t celebrate too much. A new federal law actually makes it easier to keep such institutions going, and set up new ones. The shutdown of the residential treatment portion of Hawthorne-Cedar Knolls won’t happen because the agency that runs it, the Jewish Board Family and Children’s Services, had a crisis of conscience. It will happen because the pressure from upset neighbors and state regulators became too much. What was upsetting them? Oh, just the usual: violence and sex trafficking. Unfortunately, the new “Family First Act” comes complete with a “presents for pimps” loophole, that will encourage more tragedies like the one at Hawthorne-Cedar Knolls.
N.Y. Mother Fights for Medically Kidnapped 13 Year Old Son Being Forced to Receive Chemo Therapy Even Though He is Cancer-free
ABC7 in New York is reporting on the story of a Long Island mother who lost custody of her 13 year old son when she disagreed with doctors over his treatment. Kristin Thorne reports: "A mother on Long Island is fighting to have her son removed from chemotherapy treatment after he was given a clean bill of health by doctors. Candace Gundersen's son, Nick Gundersen, 13, is receiving court-ordered chemotherapy at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola. He's now in the custody of Suffolk County Child Protective Services." Kristin Thorne also spoke with Nick from his hospital bed: "They basically took me away from my parents and that's unnecessary because they're trying to help me and they're not trying to kill me. I think that they should focus on other families that actually need help and whose children lives are actually in danger," he said.
She was caught up in what lawyers and others who represent families say is a troubling and longstanding phenomenon: the power of Children’s Services to take children from their parents on the grounds that the child’s safety is at risk, even with scant evidence. The agency’s requests for removals filed in family court rose 40 percent in the first quarter of 2017, to 730 from 519, compared with the same period last year, according to figures obtained by The New York Times. In interviews, dozens of lawyers working on these cases say the removals punish parents who have few resources. Their clients are predominantly poor black and Hispanic women, they say, and the criminalization of their parenting choices has led some to nickname the practice: Jane Crow. “It takes a lot as a public defender to be shocked, but these are the kinds of cases you hear attorneys screaming about in the hall,” said Scott Hechinger, a lawyer at Brooklyn Defender Services. “There’s this judgment that these mothers don’t have the ability to make decisions about their kids, and in that, society both infantilizes them and holds them to superhuman standards. In another community, your kid’s found outside looking for you because you’re in the bathtub, it’s ‘Oh, my God’” — a story to tell later, he said. “In a poor community, it’s called endangering the welfare of your child.”
For the first time, a New York appellate court has ruled that evidence once used to convict people in shaken-baby cases may no longer be scientifically valid. The ruling, which came in the case of René Bailey, a Greece woman convicted of causing the death of a child in 2001, has implications for a number of other people in state prisons for shaken-baby offenses. In this area alone, several dozen people have been convicted of murder or assault in such cases. The appeals court decision, released Thursday, changes the legal landscape in New York for alleged shaken baby cases, said Brian Shiffrin, a local appellate lawyer who was not involved in the case. “It makes it both easier for defense attorneys to argue the science and it puts the burden back on prosecutors to show there is evidence to support the theory of shaken baby syndrome,” said Shiffrin, who has handled appeals of shaken-baby convictions.
Laredo Regular relates the tragic ending of this World War II Veterans life: "My Grandpa, Julius Corley, officially passed away on Thanksgiving afternoon after being on life support in the prior weeks. He never got to come home." Julius' story began long before Health Impact News was contacted about his plight in the fall of 2015. Julius was a World War II Veteran being held at New York's Montefiore Hospital against his will and those of his legal and medical guardians. Julius had been medically kidnapped by Montefiore when he was transferred from their affiliate, The Laconia Nursing Home, after the family filed a complaint about the conditions there. Laredo laments, "My grandpa never got to come home. He died in pain in the Montefiore main branch. It was painful. We had hopes, but to know that he was in pain like that and passed away is awful. The entire situation played out so awfully."
Montefiore Wakefield Hospital in the Bronx, New York has allegedly refused to release Laredo Regular’s grandfather, Julius, from confinement within its walls. Has Julius Corley been a pawn in a Medicaid fraud claim? Why was Julius allowed to waste away to 135 lbs while in Montefiore Hospital when he could and would eat for his family, and when allowed to see his loved ones and those who cared about him, and could and would speak on his own behalf? Why, although the hospital claims that "sometimes dementia patients are in denial," was Mr. Corley able to speak well enough and was lucid enough for the hospital to honor his request to not have a feeding tube inserted—for over three and a half months? The family believes that someone in that hospital has a conscience, that someone there still believes that they are helping people have better lives. This is not a good life for Julius, nor anyone else who is suffering there. Speak up. Speak out!
Laredo Regular just wants to take his grandfather home, but a New York Hospital is keeping him hostage. Have we entered into a new age of "elder abuse" that includes medical kidnapping? Not happy with the medical treatment his grandfather was receiving, Laredo and his mom sought to transfer him to a different facility. They are the holder of a Health Proxy as well as POA (power of attorney) for their family member, and filled out the required forms for an AMA (or Against Medical Advice) hospital discharge. But the hospital would not discharge him, and later both Laredo and his mother were dragged out of the hospital room and banned from the hospital. The Laredo family has sought help through various legal entities—the police, attorneys, and the political system; all of whom, we are told, are in complete agreement with the family, but have not been able to get the hospital to budge from its decision to hold the grandfather against their will. How can a hospital have so much power to defy police, attorneys, and the political system?
The right of the natural parent to the care and custody of his or her child is considered a fundamental right in the United States. In spite of that, a New York Kings County Supreme Judge in Brooklyn has slammed the door on an American father’s right to parent is own children – solely it seems because he is blind. The judge, in this case, would insert “able” and in particular “sighted” in front of “natural parent.” “No vision, no children” sums up the Court’s decision, upturning decades of civil rights progress and common sense. Somehow the fact that tens of thousands of blind parents raise their children every day without “sighted supervision” was lost to the judge. Christopher G. Roberts has over 23 years of experience in professional theatre. He is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Steppingstone Theatre Company (SSTC), a not-for-profit arts organization. He has an MFA degree in acting from Brooklyn College and a BA degree in theater from the University at Buffalo.