Notice down below how it says that the issues of neglect have grown....not actual cases of abuse and neglect. I think that they should ask for some rock hard statistics.....
BATAVIA, Ohio - Sheriff A.J. Rodenberg's term isn't up yet, but he's still sweating the upcoming elections. He said he's worried about a levy on the May 2 ballot that doesn't even fund the sheriff's office -- it's for Clermont County Child Protective Services.
"We've been told by the commissioners (to) get ready for some real bleak times in county government if this levy should fail because of the spill-over effect this will have," Rodenberg said.
Tim McCartney, head of Child Protective Services, said voters are being asked for the same millage they got when the levy passed in 2000, just to keep pace with the county's growth.
"As the county has grown so have the issues of abuse and neglect," he said.
The levy would increase the tax on a $100,000 home from $20.07 each year to $24.50, and it would raise about $3.5 million. But because much of the department's budget is mandated, if the levy fails, the county would have to find the money from other departments' budgets.
"If the money comes out of the county's general fund, that's $3 million less for all county offices, including the sheriff's office," Rodenberg said.
That's why he and other county officeholders are watching the vote closely.
"Everyone's holding their breath, crossing their fingers and getting the word out to the county how important this is," he said.
Kennewick, WA - New information developed Thursday in the case of the Child Protective Services Supervisor accused of possessing cocaine. The trial for Geri Foraker is sluggishly moving through the court system and Thursday attorneys slowed it down even more.
West Richland officers originally arrested Foraker for driving under the influence, but prosecutors filed drug charges after officers found cocaine in her purse. Thursday lawyers agreed to postpone her pre-trial hearing until May 25th and push back her trial until June 5th. Prosecutors said they are delaying the trial to work out undisclosed negotiations.
CPS didn't delay taking my kids away - they took my kids and got the facts later. Funny how the law changes for certain people.
Disclosures in this report:
'They robbed me of my childhood'
By MIKE BARBER
and ANDREW SCHNEIDER
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTERS
WENATCHEE -- For months, it seemed almost anyone here could be accused of the most vile acts imaginable.
And those targeted were powerless to stop the madness.
Four years have passed since the wave of child sex abuse allegations swept across this city. Yet those embroiled in the controversial investigation cannot forget the moment their lives changed forever.
Parents recall the indignity of being accused of unspeakable acts, then watching as their freedom and families were ripped away.
Children remember the gun on the hip of the man who told them they had been abused by their parents, and wouldn't listen when they said it wasn't so.
More than a dozen families -- 60 children in all -- were shredded by police, social workers, prosecutors and judges pursuing criminal convictions.
Left in the debris were the remnants of family gatherings, educations, friends and irreplaceable memories.
"They robbed me of my childhood, and that's a terrible thing to do to any child," says Kim Allbee, 14.
She says she was interrogated for five hours, bullied and coerced by Detective Bob Perez as Tim Abbey, a supervisor in the Office of Child Protective Services, looked on.
Eventually, she did as they asked and accused her mother of sexually abusing her.
"It's changed the way I look at things. I was always told to trust the police. Now every time I see a police car driving near my house I worry about them taking my mother away again," says Kim, a pretty girl who seems afraid to laugh.
She and her mom, Donna Rodriguez, lived on Cashmere Street, a few blocks from the family whose daughter, Donna, was in Perez's foster care.
Kim remembers Donna's mentally retarded mother as being kind and considerate with kids.
Kim's life changed on Feb. 2, 1995, when the principal at Lewis & Clark Elementary School called her out of class and left her in a room with Perez and Abbey.
The detective "told me right off that Donna . . . and other girls said I had been molested. I laughed and said it was silly, that nobody touched me," she says. "He said it wasn't funny and I had 10 minutes to tell him the truth or he would arrest my mother.
"I told him I wished this was a dream. And he said, 'It's your worst nightmare.' "
Perez was right.
"I've been trying to forget it, not to remember, but it's always there," Kim says. "I remember my dad coming (from Michigan) to pick me up. I ran up to him and cried, 'I lied. I lied. I lied. I hurt mother and I lied!' "
Donna Rodriguez, 47, remembers returning home that day from her job helping the elderly to find four Wenatchee police cars in front of her small house.
"My first thought was, 'Who died? Who got hurt?' " she said.
Perez told her that 14 kids had accused her of having raped them, and her daughter had seen her do it.
He said, "Are you telling me that all these kids are lying and you're the only one telling the truth?" she recalls. "If you don't tell me the truth you're going to jail for life and you'll never see your daughter again.
"He screamed in my face. Yelling. Spitting. His eyes bulging. The longer I insisted I'd done nothing wrong, the angrier he got," she says.
Jailed on 86 counts of molestation, she spent six days behind bars before Jean Wake, a member of her Baptist church, paid the
Rodriguez was cleared of the charges, but the stigma of being called a child molester remains.
"I walked through town feeling tainted, like everyone was looking at me," Rodriguez says. "No matter what I went through, nothing is as bad as the pain CPS inflicted on my daughter. She was sweet and innocent when they grabbed her, then she had to grow up fast, to see how bad life can be."
Rodriguez was fortunate. Others were charged based on similar evidence. Those who could afford experienced attorneys generally went free; those left with court-appointed defenders generally did not.
Today, 17 people remain in prison, including seven mothers and four couples.
Among the parents are Mark and Carol Doggett, and Henry and Connie Cunningham, middle-class church-going people before everything went wrong.
Daughters Sarah Doggett, 19, and Jessica Cunningham, 18, are old enough to be on their own after spending time in state custody. Both gravitated to a small town in Northern California.
They remain friends and intend one day to become psychologists; they are bound by a shared sense of loss.
"It took one telephone call from CPS, and my childhood was stolen," Doggett says of the destruction of her family of seven.
"The whole thing was a waste of our childhoods," adds Jessica. "CPS and Perez seemed more like they were out for revenge."
Perez was interviewed for this article but canceled a follow-up session that was to cover additional questions. Abbey and DSHS officials declined to comment in detail, but in interviews and in a written statement they generally insist they acted in the best interests of the children.
The Doggetts remain in prison, though an appellate court ordered a new trial. The state is moving to place their four minor children for adoption, regardless of how things come out in court.
Connie Cunningham's conviction was overturned on appeal. After three years in prison, she was released in June 1997 and reunited with Jessica.
Connie Cunningham suffers from palsy to her left side, which doctors say was caused by her ordeal. She fights back tears as she recalls what happened to her family.
Once, she says, she was a middle-class housewife with four daughters, two still at home. Without so much as a traffic ticket on her record, she believed that American courts were fair.
Now, she says, "It can happen to anyone . . . I want people to know what happens when CPS and the justice system goes out of control.
"We were a very family-oriented, church-attending family. Very typical."
Her husband, Henry, worked for the state as a rehabilitation counselor -- even though he has a mental disorder, which is kept in check by medication.
The damage to her family is evident in how the children fared in school before and after CPS and Perez entered the scene, she said.
"I now have two daughters who were in foster care who have no high school education," while two older daughters finished school and now have families of their own, she says.
Jessica said police and CPS embellished and distorted her family's problems. She and her sister, who is now 19, both accused Henry of molestation, though Jessica now says medication, psychoanalysis and long interrogations have so muddled her memories she isn't sure what is true.
Sarah's childhood was spent on the move, bouncing between two foster homes, barred from attending her church or seeing siblings and friends.
Like any normal teenager, she looked forward to her high school days. Instead, CPS decided she would be taught in a foster home.
"They ruined my education," she says. "I was told I would be put on home schooling. I wasn't. I had been looking forward to high school, with all the excitement and expectations it has, but I never finished my freshman year.
"CPS did nothing for me. If that's protection, I don't want that kind of protection."