Texan in foster kids gift thefts arrested again

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LONGVIEW, Texas (AP) — An East Texas woman on probation after serving time for stealing nearly $20,000 in Christmas gifts meant for foster children has been accused of shoplifting. Gregg County jail records show 48-year-old Sarah Marie Adams of Longview was being held Wednesday on a theft charge. 

The Longview News-Journal (http://bit.ly/1bQzG1m ) reports Adams was arrested Monday and charged with shoplifting $170 worth of items. Online records don't list an attorney for Adams, who's held on $500 bond. Adams last fall was sentenced to eight years in prison for the 2011 Christmas gift thefts, 10 years for burglary of a habitation and two years for burglary of a building. An attorney for Adams later found a mistake in the plea deal's wording and sought a new trial. A judge amended her sentence to probation.

foster parent charged after child found with dead chicken around neck

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - A North Carolina social worker has been charged after her 11-year-old foster child was found chained to the porch of her home with a dead chicken hanging around his neck, a sheriff's official said on Saturday.

Wanda Sue Larson, 57, was arrested and charged with child abuse and false imprisonment on Friday after a deputy found the boy shivering and handcuffed by his ankle to the front porch, the Union County, North Carolina, sheriff's office said.
Larson, a supervisor at the county's social services department, was not home when the child was discovered but is accused of being complicit in the mistreatment, according to sheriff's officials.

Authorities also arrested Dorian Lee Harper, 57, who along with Larson was serving as a foster parent to the child. The couple also has four adopted children.

"It's just shocking," Captain Ronnie Whitaker said on Saturday. "It's just disturbing that anyone would treat a child in such a manner."

It is unclear what prompted the use of the dead chicken and handcuffs on the boy. Whitaker said he could not disclose details from police interviews conducted as part of the investigation.

Larson and Harper remained jailed on Saturday. They each face charges of intentional child abuse that inflicted serious injury, false imprisonment and cruelty to animals, with the latter allegation based on the condition of some of the family pets, the sheriff's office said.

Larson also is charged with willful failure to discharge her duty as a public official.

The five children, ages 14, 13, 11, 9 and 8, have been removed from the home and put in the care of a social services agency outside of Union County, the sheriff's office said.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Eric Beech)

Social worker arrested, child cuffed to porch

MONROE, N.C. — A North Carolina social worker is under arrest after a foster child was found cuffed by the ankle to her front porch with a dead chicken hanging from around his neck.
Wanda Sue Larson and Dorian Lee Harper were arrested Friday after a sheriff's deputy found the shivering 11-year-old boy. Larson is a supervisor with Union County Department of Social Services. The couple, both 57, adopted four children and were serving as foster parents to the fifth child.
Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey called the incident shocking. Harper and Larson are charged with intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, false imprisonment and cruelty to animals. They are in jail awaiting a court appearance set for Monday.

The children, ages 8 to 14, have been removed from the home.

Daycare worker charged with abuse toward foster children

A co-worker at a daycare center turned a Huntsville woman in to authorities on suspicion of child abuse of two of her foster children.
Meghan Hargress was arrested Friday and charged with one count of aggravated child abuse and two counts of torture/willful abuse of a child.

According to Dr. Harry Hobbs with the Huntsville Police Department, Hargress was the foster mother of two girls and a boy. One girl was found to be slightly scalded, possibly from hot water, and the boy had bruises and abrasions on his body.
Hargress is currently in the Metro Jail without bond. Officials said the children are back in the DHR system. No further information has been released

Report says foster children receive too many medications

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One kid called it "the brainwash pill." Some said it made them put on weight or provoked teasing from schoolmates when they were called to the nurse's office.
But for others, it was even worse. One foster child, interviewed by researchers studying how medication is given to children in the Allegheny County system, said the meds the doctors prescribed deadened all feelings, taking away what it means to be a kid.
"I couldn't eat, I couldn't move," the child said. "It was like I was in a full body straitjacket.'

 report prepared for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services shows children in foster care are more than twice as likely to be prescribed psychotropic drugs than the average child receiving county services. According to researchers, a study of 1,850 youths in foster care found 27 percent receive psychotropic medication, compared to just 11 percent of children who receive Medicaid services at home.
Indeed, a small minority of the foster population -- 3 percent, or 58 children -- are on three different medications at once.
"Medication by itself without really good psychotherapy is not a good course," said Walter Smith, DHS's deputy director for the Office of Children, Youth and Families. "For all of us that look at the rates, we need to make sure there are other things happening along with medication."
The study was prepared in part by Community Care Behavioral Health, a nonprofit that serves Medicaid recipients in Allegheny County. Researchers examined the medical records of youth who use Medicaid services, tallying prescriptions for those in foster care against those who live at home.
The report also convened focus groups, bringing together 16 caregivers and eight foster children to hear their stories.
A common complaint among both parents and children: Doctors didn't take the time to explain the plan behind prescriptions, handing over medication with little explanation given about side effects"They are too quick to put kids on meds," one child told county researchers. "Kids are going to act like kids -- especially when they are taken away from their family. ... Of course, a kid is going to act out or be depressed."
Psychotropic medication is generally prescribed to help patients address mental and emotional conditions, all the way from depression to severe mental illnesses. But opponents fear child service agencies are overmedicating their charges, finding pharmaceutical solutions for behavior problems that could be addressed in other ways.
In Allegheny County, the age of children taking medication varies widely. Most are teenagers, but some are far younger. Out of the 496 medicated foster children included in the study, 153 were younger than 12 years old. One child was less than a year old.
The findings are not unique to Allegheny County. In 2011, a national study published in the medical journal "Pediatrics" showed foster children were much more likely to be prescribed anti-psychotic drugs than their peers.
Shortly after, the Government Accountability Office released a report showing children in foster care were 4.5 times more likely to receive psychotropic drugs than children who remained with their families.These figures stuck with James Schuster, Community Care Behavioral Health's chief medical officer and one of the authors of the local report.
"I think, by and large, providers are trying to do a good job and provide good care," he said. "But you want to make sure these are reviewed carefully and that you continue to keep this issue high in the mind of prescribers."
Mr. Smith said his department has worked hard to reduce the number of children put into foster care, cutting placements from more than 3,000. Children that still are kept away from home may have behavioral or mental health issues that make medication more necessary, he said, explaining part of the percentage jump.
The report recommended the county form a local group to address the abundance of prescriptions being given to children in placement, as well prepare educational materials for parents about the effects of psychotropic medication and its alternatives.
Family Division Judge Kathryn M. Hens-Greco, also would like to see additional research done in Allegheny County and beyond, particularly into the types of medications used.
She was one of the judges who raised the issue in Pennsylvania, flashing back to the times she's seen children in the courtroom who were clearly medicated." 'This kid just doesn't look right to me. There's something wrong here,' " she remembers thinking. "This is a bigger problem than just me."

Correction, posted Oct. 25, 2013: Family Division Judge Kathryn M. Hens-Greco's title has been corrected.
Andrew McGill: amcgill@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1497.

Increase in foster child deaths prompts safety plan

American-Statesman Staff

The Department of Family and Protective Services today released a safety plan in response to the rising number of foster care deaths.
Between September 2011 and August 2013, the number of foster children who died from abuse or neglect jumped from two to eight. The death of Orion Hamilton, an 11-month old baby fatally injured last week at her aunt’s home in Cedar Park, is the first foster care death attributed to abuse this fiscal year.
Of the eight deaths in 2013, seven were attributed to neglectful supervision and one was abuse related, officials say.
The improvement plan, which has been in the works for months, focuses on children with medical needs, family placements and the responsibilities of both CPS and child placing agencies. New rules include:
  • Issuing quarterly trend reports starting in 2014 on child deaths from abuse and neglect.
  • Limiting the number of medically needy foster children that can be placed in one home.
  • Increasing the number of unannounced visits to all foster homes, including homes where foster children are staying with relatives through what is known as “kinship placements.
  • Update the agency’s kinship placement home studies to ensure that caseworkers are adequately discussing safety issues and recognize risks.
  • For state licensed foster homes, require that caseworkers interview all grown adult children of the foster parent before issuing a license.
  • Holding a statewide training refresher on safety for all CPS foster/adopt staff on Nov. 7.
  • Conduct a contract monitoring audit to assess the process of evaluating performance of foster parents.

The new rules come amid fallout over the death of two foster care children since this summer. In July, 2-year-old Alexandria Hill died after police say her foster mother slammed her head on the floor.

Foster parent charged with sexual offences

An Airdrie man is facing multiple charges in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a youth that was once in his care.
Rodney James Marcynuik, 39, has been charged with sexual assault, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and sexual exploitation by a person in trust or authority after a man came forward claiming he was sexually abused while in foster care in the home.
He was arrested on Sept. 30.
Members of Calgary Police first heard the complaint in August and it is alleged the offences occurred between June 2003 and November 2008 in both Airdrie and Calgary, while the child lived with the accused.
Police believe 18 foster children, all boys, have lived under the care of Marcynuik and his wife between 2001 and 2010.
Police have not yet spoken with all 18 boys, but the investigation is ongoing.

Del City Dad Accused Of Lewd Acts With Foster Child

By Adrianna Iwasinski

DEL CITY, Oklahoma -
A Del City man is behind bars, accused of performing lewd acts with a young child. What's worse is he was the child's designated foster parent.
The Department of Human Services can't tell us how long this man has been one of their foster parents, but a police report states DHS did get a complaint back in September about some very inappropriate behavior.
That police report states Glenn Ray Auldridge, 55, who lives in this home on Hampton Drive in Del City, committed a lewd indecent act with one of his foster children inside his bedroom, and also in the bathroom. But those who know him say the allegations are preposterous.
"He was a great man, he loved those girls," said a woman who told us he was her uncle through marriage. "There's nothing he would do, he would never harm them."
She says the family does not believe he is guilty of the charges and neither does his neighbor, Levena Scott.
"Just from what I know of him, I can't see him doing it," said Scott.
Scott has lived in the neighborhood more than 40 years, and says Auldridge and his wife have lived across the street from her for more than three years. She says Auldridge has been taking care of his foster children for about a year.
"He would sit down on the front porch, him and his wife, and the girls would come out and play in the front yard. And every time they went to the grocery store they would bring them some kind of toy."
According to court papers, when detectives at the Del City police department questioned Auldridge, he "became belligerent" and "stormed out of the interview".
Scott says he even came to her house and told her what happened.
"It was just killing him and tears were just rolling," said Scott. "He said I don't know where it's coming from. And he said ‘I love them little girls.' And he said ‘I'd never do anything to hurt them.'"

Right now Auldridge is being held in the Oklahoma county jail on half a million dollars bond.

Florida won't pursue murder charge against caretaker of foster child Rilya Wilson

— Prosecutors won't retry a Kendall, Fla., woman already in prison in connection with the murder of Miami foster child Rilya Wilson, who disappeared 13 years ago in a scandal that rocked the state's child welfare agency.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office announced the decision to drop the prosecution Wednesday, nine months after jurorsdeadlocked, 11-1, on the murder charge against Geralyn Graham.
But the 67-year-old woman won't be getting of prison. That same jury found Graham guilty of aggravated child abuse and kidnapping, convictions that carried a 55-year prison term.
Graham is "reported physically ill," according to a state attorney's memo. "The length of her sentence is essentially a life sentence."
Prosecutors believe Graham in December 2000 smothered Rilya with a pillow, disposed of her body in South Miami-Dade, and then spent years telling conflicting versions of what happened to the foster child. The girl's remains have never been found.
Graham and her lover were caretakers for the child, born to a drug-addicted Ohio woman. The case lead to massive reform at Florida's Department of Children and Families, which failed to discover the child was missing for more than a year.
Graham falsely claimed to investigators that a DCF case worker whisked the child away for some sort of mental health treatment, prosecutors say.
She was indicted in 2005 after Miami-Dade police said she confessed in detail to a cellmate that she murdered the child.
The inmate, Robin Lunceford, an eccentric, longtime convict who got a plea deal for her testimony, was one of the star witnesses in the trial. She is now out of prison and on probation.
Graham's ex-lover, Pamela Graham, no relation, also testified during trial that the woman kept Rilya locked in a laundry room, tied her to a bed and used a dog cage to keep the child from climbing on furniture.
Proving the murder count - based on Lunceford's word, plus the testimony of two other prison inmates - was always an uphill battle for prosecutors.
The other two inmates have since told prosecutors they would no longer cooperate against Graham because of harassment within the prison, according to the memo. And Lunceford was recently listed as a defense witness in an unrelated Miami-Dade murder case, giving further ammunition to Graham's defense attorneys who have long attacked her credibility.

"I think the state realized they could never bring those jailhouse snitches before another jury and hope to win," said Graham's defense attorney, Michael Matters. Graham is appealing her conviction.
Prosecutors say, however, they could re-file the murder charge if detectives are able to find Rilya's body.
In Wednesday's memo, prosecutors detailed several recent attempts to find the young girl's remains, including the recent discovery of female child's skull in a lake in Margate.
However, investigators could not extract a usable DNA sample from the skull to match to Rilya's.
"Over the coming years, there may be other glints of information claiming to lead to Rilya's body and they too would be followed up," prosecutors wrote in Wednesday's memo. "This remains a circumstantial case of a homicide without a body."

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/10/30/3286637/florida-wont-pursue-murder-charge.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/10/30/3286637/florida-wont-pursue-murder-charge.html#storylink=cpy

Man accused of assaulting foster child

A man is accused of assaulting his foster child.

Christopher Spann was arrested after his 11-year-old son showed up at an after school program at the Homewood Salvation Army with bruises on his face and body, police said.

“Apparently the incident began last night because he didn’t do his homework over the period of a couple hours," said Jason Lando of Pittsburgh police.

Spann is charged with aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment.

The boy has been put in protective custody. 

Peoria foster father admits to being pedophile

A 61-year-old Peoria man was arrested for molesting a foster child over the course of a decade.

The teen victim told a school counselor on Sept. 20, after telling the suspect that she planned to tell someone about the abuse.

After the girl told her foster father, he called family members and friends and admitted to them that he was a pedophile and "didn't know why," according to Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. One of the people receiving the call recorded it and gave it to detectives. After admitting what he had done, he checked himself into a local hospital for mental health issues.
Medical records show he admitted to the hospital staff that he was guilty of molesting a foster child.
He was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on three counts each of molestation of a child, sexual conduct with a minor and sexual abuse.
He is being held without bond.
CBS 5 News is withholding his name to protect the identity of the victim

Goodyear man accused of abusing foster child

PHOENIX - A Goodyear man is in custody for allegedly injuring his 1-year-old foster daughter for throwing her sippy cup and spilling its contents.
Maricopa County prosecutors say 36-year-old Pedro Manzo was arraigned Thursday on one count of child abuse.
He was ordered held on $18,000 bond.
Goodyear police say Manzo returned home on Monday evening with his two biological children and his two foster children.
He told authorities that he later found his foster daughter slumped on the floor and not breathing.
While Manzo was performing CPR, his wife came home and immediately called 911.
While at the hospital, doctors noticed the child had bruises on her head and shoulder.
Police say Manzo allegedly admitted that he grabbed his daughter under her jaw, shook her and caused her to pass out.

Foster mother pleads guilty in accidental death of 8-month-old

A foster mother in northwest Arizona has agreed to a plea deal in the accidental drowning death of a 8-month-old boy.Elizabeth Dawn Stone, 32, and her fiance had been caring for David Whatahomigie for about three months before his September 2011 death when the 3 year old was taking a bath when Stone left them unattended for three to five minutes to take a phone call. The baby was pulled from the water and rushed to Kingman Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office investigated the accidental drowning in the community of Valle Vista, about 15 miles north of Kingman. Reports indicate the infant, who suffered symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome. Stone’s deal requires probation and up to one year in the county jail when she is sentenced Dec. 6 for negligent homicide.

Foster mother pleads guilty to child abuse

PHOENIX -- A former foster parent in Phoenix has pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse.

Alma Holland, 56, and her husband were arrested in Oct. 2012.

Steven Holland, 53, is accused of sexual conduct with a minor, furnishing obscene material to a minor, child molestation, sexual abuse and unlawful videotaping.

Alma Holland was accused of failing to report the crimes.

In September 2011, a 4-year-old boy told his daycare that he was molested by his foster parent, Steven Holland. The information was reported to the Phoenix Police Department and Child Protective Services.

Detectives began an investigation into the allegation but said there was insufficient evidence at the time to make an arrest.

Shortly after the initial disclosure by the boy, detectives learned of another victim and began a thorough investigation into the number of children under the couple's care while they were foster parents.

Over the last 12 months, detectives identified seven victims of various crimes. Martos said some of the victims were special needs children.

Man found guilty in death of infant foster daughter

A Mendocino County jury Monday found a Fort Bragg man guilty in the beating death of his infant foster daughter, who’d suffered dozens of bruises as well as skull fractures and brain injuries.
After a short deliberation Monday morning the jury announced by 10:30 a.m. they’d convicted Wilson “Josh” Lee Tubbs III, 39, of causing great bodily injury leading to the death of 5-month-old Emerald Herriot, according to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office.

The man has no criminal history and now faces a possible prison sentence of 25-years to life.
If Judge John Behnke gives the full sentence, it will be the same as if Tubbs had been convicted of murder, said Assistant District Attorney Paul Sequeira.

The District Attorney’s Office charged Tubbs with felony child abuse causing death instead of a murder charge because of the potential for a similar prison sentence while avoiding some of the complications of a murder trial, including the need to show intent and implied malice, said Sequeira in a release issued after the verdict was announced.

The charge filed against Tubbs was established by legislation in the 1990s to help with difficult prosecutions of people believed to have killed a child through abuse, Sequiera said.

Tubbs told the jury he’d loved the baby girl and hadn’t hurt her in any way. He also said he’d earlier lied when he told detectives he’d shaken and slapped her because he thought that’s what the detectives wanted to hear.

Sequeira presented the case against Tubbs. He told the jury that Tubbs’ changing explanations didn’t add up, including his final version that she’d suffered her injuries from a short fall from a bench.
The baby had more than 50 bruises on her face and head, two skull fractures, massive bleeding in her brain and bruises to an arm and her chest, according to testimony.

Testimony from physicians for the prosecution said that such a minor fall couldn’t have caused the injuries.
Testimony also included that some of the injuries apparently occurred earlier in the child’s short life.
Tubbs and his wife, Marte Tubbs, had been caring for the baby — the child of a relative — for about a month prior to her death.

She was flown to Children’s Hospital in Oakland on Dec. 2, 2012 after Tubbs brought her to Mendocino Coast District Hospital in Fort Bragg.

judge to investigate 1988 drowning of foster child

JEFFERSON, Wisconsin — A Jefferson County judge is holding a hearing to determine if criminal charges could be filed in a 1988 death previously attributed to accidental drowning.

Circuit Court Judge Jennifer Weston decided to conduct the proceedings into Artis Echoles' death.

The boy's mother, Carmin White, says there were conflicting investigation reports. In one report, three children said they saw a man holding the 8-year-old's head under water to make him swim.
The boy, who was afraid of water, was vacationing with his foster family.

Foster care agency accused of fraud to pay $1M

A foster care placement agency will pay the state $1 million under terms of a settlement it reached with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, according to state officials.
The state alleged Community Care Resources Inc., of Middleton, overcharged taxpayers about $6 million between 2009 and 2011 and used some of the money for luxury cars, trips and excessive salaries for its owner, Dan Simon and his wife, Mary Simon, who also worked at CCR.

CCR had contracts with 37 Wisconsin counties to place foster children in licensed homes and provide services to them and the families. CCR had asked an administrative law judge to dismiss the case earlier this year, claiming the state made numerous errors in coming up with its $6 million figure. The agency's license was revoked in February, but it continued to operate while it appealed the revocation.

Foster care agency accused of fraud to pay $1M

A foster care placement agency will pay the state $1 million under terms of a settlement it reached with the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, according to state officials.
The state alleged Community Care Resources Inc., of Middleton, overcharged taxpayers about $6 million between 2009 and 2011 and used some of the money for luxury cars, trips and excessive salaries for its owner, Dan Simon and his wife, Mary Simon, who also worked at CCR.

CCR had contracts with 37 Wisconsin counties to place foster children in licensed homes and provide services to them and the families. CCR had asked an administrative law judge to dismiss the case earlier this year, claiming the state made numerous errors in coming up with its $6 million figure. The agency's license was revoked in February, but it continued to operate while it appealed the revocation.

Woman charged with having sex with 13-year-old boy

A 43-year-old Hokah woman accused of having intercourse with and performing oral sex multiple times on a 13-year-old boy was charged Tuesday with third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Pamela Ann Fahy also resigned Tuesday from the La Crescent-Hokah School District, where she worked as a paraprofessional for nearly six years, and had two children removed from her foster home.
Fahy worked with special-needs students in preschool and elementary school grades. There have been no reports of any wrongdoing with the children she worked with, Wilke said.
Fahy was arrested Sunday after a man returned to his Winona County residence and saw her run out of his son’s bedroom naked from the waist down, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Winona County District Court.
During a 20-minute discussion with Fahy and the boy, the two admitted they had been having sex when he discovered them, at which point the man notified law enforcement, according to court records.
The boy subsequently told Winona County Sheriff’s Department investigators he and Fahy had been having sex for months in multiple locations in Winona and Wabasha counties, and Fahy also admitted to the behavior to investigators, according to court records.
Fahy was released Tuesday on $20,000 conditional bond and her next court appearance was set for later this month. If convicted, she could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and $30,000 in fines.
The sheriff’s department referred a first-degree charge of criminal sexual conduct on Sunday; the Winona County Attorney’s Office revised it Tuesday to the third-degree charge

State penalty will cost foster agency

A private company that finds homes for foster children could lose tens of thousands of dollars in the coming months as it tries to resolve a pattern of problems state officials say put children in danger. The Department of Family and Protective Services stopped placing children with Texas Mentor late last month because of violations in its foster homes such as inappropriate punishments and poor supervision. The state also pointed to troubles in a home where a 2-year-old foster child died in July.

Federal judge rules in favor of Massachusetts in foster care lawsuit

BOSTON — A federal judge has ruled in favor of Massachusetts in a lawsuit filed by a child advocacy group that alleged thousands of children in the state’s foster care system were being abused and neglected.
A judge ruled Monday against Children’s Rights, a New York-based group that alleged in a 2010 lawsuit that the state Department of Children and Families had violated the constitutional rights of children by placing them in unstable and sometimes dangerous situations.
Olga Roche, the acting commissioner of the agency, said the ruling reflects the work the state has done in recent years to expand kinship placements, increase adoptions, enhance foster care supports and lower caseloads for staff.
“This ruling is not only a victory for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but also for the children and families we serve,” Roche said in a statement.
A lawyer for Children’s Rights said the group is disappointed but hopes the state will act to improve problems.
“We brought the suit because there were several well-documented and well-known failings within the system,” said Sara Bartosz, lead counsel for Children’s Rights. “We thought it important to not only shine a really bright light on those issues, but to ask for the protection of the court to make sure these were remedied.”
She cited excessive caseloads for social workers, the need for improvements in training programs for staff and a lack of appropriate placements leading to children being put in numerous foster homes.
U.S. District Judge William Young issued the order and said he would release his written opinion later.

Additional files released in case of accused child sex abuser

The Alaska Office of Children's Services released more foster-care files of Marilyn and Peter Tony. This summer Peter Tony, 69, was charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor involving children left in his care -- one through an unlicensed day care he operated, the other a foster child he and his wife cared for in 1998.
Tony's stepdaughter, Kimberley Hahn Bruesch, has spoken openly about the abuse she and her sisters faced under his care stretching back to the 1970s, though those instances fall outside Alaska statute of limitations laws.
The Office of Children's Services, the arm of the state Department of Health and Social Services that oversees foster care in Alaska, has come under scrutiny for its handling of the case.
The original foster care files, released in July under a Freedom of Information Act request from Alaska Dispatch, referenced at least five allegations of abuse against Tony during his time as a foster parent, though only one was found to be substantiated. The release of 76 additional pages – which consists mostly of requests for the Tonys to take in more foster children than their license allowed -- makes two mentions of possible abuse. One memo from 1995 and another from 1992 referenced an allegation of abuse “approximately 10-12 years ago.” Both of those cases were noted in the original file release.
Marilyn and Peter Tony were licensed foster care providers in Bethel from 1984 to 1998. The license was abruptly terminated following a “substantiated” allegation of abuse in 1998, though no charges were filed until this year.

Peter Tony’s stepdaughter speaks out about abuse
by Angela Denning-Barnes on July 8, 2013

Kimberley Bruesch now lives in Ketchikan.

Peter Tony, age 69, is in jail in Bethel awaiting court proceedings for multiple charges of child sexual abuse. Meanwhile, his case keeps growing. It’s evolving from two sides: the past and the present; a 48-year-old alleged victim and a four-year-old alleged victim. Kimberley Bruesch is Peter Tony’s step daughter who says he abused her when she was 8. She says her abuse lasted for about a year but the aftermath went on for decades.
She says it wasn’t debilitating, at least at the time. Tony would climb into her bed and fondle her.
“I kind of imagined maybe this is what Daddy’s do with their little girls,” Bruesch says. “It wasn’t violent, there weren’t threats involved or anything. And it made me uncomfortable and I tried to squirm away and pretend I was asleep and get between the mattress and the wall but it was not particular traumatic at the time.”
The stress manifested itself in other ways. She started having nervous behaviors. She clawed and picked at her skin until it bled.
For Bruesch, the statute of limitations has run out to press charges but she says she doesn’t want anyone else to suffer the same way.
“I started pursuing this case in earnest,” Bruesch says. “Trying to figure out how I could get someone in authority to care enough to look over the records and connect the dots.”

Through her own investigation, she’s discovering that there could be other victims. A former foster child accused Tony of abuse leading to the revocation of his foster care license in 1998. Later, Bruesch’s mother, Marilyn Tony, ran a daycare out of her home. Bruesch has reached out to those parents and connected to the 4-year-old’s family who is now pressing charges.
For Bruesch though, help didn’t come for years. She never told anyone about the abuse until she was 15. Her mom, Marilyn Tony, confronted her step dad but he denied it. Her mother suggested the three talk about it together which Breusch refused to do. The same year, she moved out of the house to live with her boyfriend. She was married by 17.
At that same time, Bruesch’s younger sister came forward, accusing Tony of abuse. Their mom took both teenagers to the Division of Family and Youth Services where they were interviewed by a social worker, Mary Atchak, (formerly Mary Abruska). Nothing happened, there was no follow up, and Bruesch just pushed it all aside again.
“It also left me feeling that the abuse I reported must not be very serious,” Bruesch says. “You know, I wasn’t actually raped.”
Reports have recently surfaced in other media that the social worker had been romantically involved with Peter Tony but they have not been confirmed.
Bruesch was also silenced for years by the unexpected response from her husband.
“He was very angry with me for reporting the abuse,” Bruesch says, “so much so that he punched a hole in the living room wall.”
That relationship lasted for 18 years during which time Bruesch was estranged from her family.

Kimberley and her two sisters, Robin and Teresa. Photo courtesy of Kimberley Bruesch

Meanwhile, the Tony sisters were dealing with the aftermath of their abuse. Both Robin and Teresa committed suicide as adults.
The extent of her sisters’ abuse only became clear to Bruesch this past year when she found Teresa’s suicide note. It told of the abuse and asked for justice. With the support from her brother Doug Tony, Bruesch has been going after that.
“I’m wanting to come public with my story because I’m really hoping that more victims will be able to come forward,” Bruesch says. “More victims of Peter Tony, in particular, in this case and just more victims of this crime in general.”
Bruesch says she feels totally healed. She’s come to terms with Tony’s abuse and her sisters’ suicides.
“I have forgiven him, I don’t hate him,” Bruesch says. “I think it would have been wonderful if he could have been exposed years earlier and gotten help for his problem.”
She doesn’t know how many victims there could be. Bethel police say they could go back to the 1970s. What Bruesch says she does know is that the time has come for the heavy burden of shame to be lifted off their shoulders and carried by their abuser.

Foster mom sentenced for putting bleach in 20-month-old’s diapers

Patricia Ann Moore, 68,the South San Francisco foster mom accused of burning her then-20-month-old ward with bleach-soaked diapers must complete a year of child abuse treatment and is banned from future care of foster children.
 Moore was also put on three years of supervised probation and given a 20-day jail sentence but the term was suspended which means she’ll only serve time if she commits a violation.
Moore pleaded no contest in August to misdemeanor child endangerment with the caveat she not serve any time. The question was whether she would be ordered to undergo any type of child abuse program.
Prosecutors were satisfied with the outcome.
South San Francisco police first arrested Moore in August 2010 after hospital staff tending to the toddler alerted authorities that the child had first- and second-degree burns on her buttocks. According to prosecutors, Moore later told authorities she used bleach-soaked diapers to clean the child who soiled herself quite often. After Moore’s adult daughter brought the girl to the South San Francisco Kaiser Medical Center for care, doctors allegedly noted the burns were in a waffle pattern like that of diaper fabric. Moore allegedly also could not explain why, if the girl had been bathed, she didn’t have burns on other parts of her body that would have been submerged, such as her legs.

Rilya Wilson

Rilya Wilson was a foster child of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) and the centerpoint of an investigation into neglect and mismanagement in the organization. She was approximately four years old when she disappeared in 2000. DCF did not discover her disappearance until two years later, when she was not found living at the home of caretaker Geralyn Graham. Graham is suspected by prosecutors to have murdered Wilson, but only circumstantial evidence has been presented. Graham was later jailed for identity fraud and Medicaid fraud for accepting payments on behalf of Wilson after she was missing. The two caretakers claimed that a DCF worker had taken the child for medical testing and never returned. Authorities denied that any state worker had ever taken Wilson for medical testing. The fiasco later prompted the resignation of the DCF chief and passage of a new law requiring tracking of efforts to find missing children and improved supervision of foster children.


Foster care child deaths rise in Ga., report says

Foster care child deaths rise in Ga., report says

Child deaths in the Georgia foster-care system increased by 20 percent in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in the previous year, according to a Division of Family and Children Services report released July 1.

Locally, three deaths were reported in the first quarter of the year in Region 3, which includes Polk, Harlason, Floyd, Cherokee, Bartow, Paulding and Douglas counties.

On Wednesday, state DFCS employee Ravae Graham said there was no information available regarding the specific county in which the deaths took place.

According to the report, the cause of death listed in those three cases included accidental hanging, non-accidental blunt force trauma and acute medical death.

The statewide death toll increased to 55 during January, February and March, up from 46 in the same months of 2012. Most died from either accidents or natural causes, as opposed to suicide, murder or unknown origins.

The number of deaths had been decreasing each quarter in 2012.

In the last quarter, which was from October through November, there were only 32.

“The overall increase is largely due to pre-existing health conditions and house fires, which claimed lives of seven children this year,” Susan Boatwright, the agency’s communications director.

According to Boatwright, the reports are based on children who were under direct agency
supervision or had been the subject of a public complaint of neglect or abuse in the previous five years.

“A lot of our foster-care parents care for fragile children. Because of the child’s health, we don’t expect the child to live, but it’s still reflected as a death in data,” said Carolyn Fjeran, deputy director at Georgia Association of Homes & Services for Children.

The quarterly report shows the majority of the children that died from accidental causes were under the age of four. According to DFCS 2012 calendar year report, approximately 13 children died every month.

The report proves the need for greater resources for younger children, according to Pat Willis, executive director of Voices for Georgia’s Children.

 “In some ways that age is not a big surprise because kids at that age tend to be too young to speak up,” she said. “We need to give more attention to families who have a hard time taking care of young children because of income and substance abuse. Especially the families that have had contact with children services. That gives us more opportunity to protect them.”

 The agency is trying to address the issue, Boatwright said. It is focused on decreasing natural and accidental deaths with their car seat safety, water safety and safe sleeping campaign for infants, who can be smothered from blankets and sleeping in the same bed with their parents. They are also increasing their interaction with medical experts through the internet with web cams.



DCF report card: Major problems linger

A foster child in state custody needed eyeglasses, but the agency didn’t make it happen.

An abused child needed counseling but faced delays in getting an appointment.

These children are not alone, reports the federal court monitor of the state's Department of Children and Families.

Of the 55 children in state custody whose cases were reviewed between January and March, the court monitor’s office found that DCF failed to provide 21of the children with the necessary education, medical and/or psychological care.

These shortfalls affected “the health, safety or well being of the children and families,” Raymond Mancuso, the court monitor, reported this week.

Gaps in serving the needs of the 4,700 children in DCF care on any given day has been a decades-long problem. The agency has been under federal court supervision for more than 20 years following the “Juan F” class-action lawsuit.

And Mancuso is not convinced that DCF is close to fixing these problems.

He writes that a host of issues -- including state budget cuts, too few foster homes and a drop in the number of social workers -- are causing the problems to linger. Over the last three fiscal years, the agency’s budget has been cut by 5 percent, to $825 million; and since July 2011, staff has been reduced by 7 percent.

“The state’s reduction in DCF front-line staffing… has negatively impacted the quality of service,” he writes.

DCF Commissioner Joette Katz's strategy to reform the agency includes keeping more children with their families and out of group homes and other institutions.

And while fewer children are living in large group settings, Mancuso writes that this effort can succeed only if the necessary medical, educational and psychological services are available in the community.

The children “must have timely access to a range of effective services to allow them to safely remain in family settings… The Department will be hard pressed to address these and other core needs adequately.”

Mancuso also reports that the lack of services mean that some children are lingering in inappropriate settings. Of the 40 cases reviewed by his office of children living in temporary, short-term housing, 12 children had lived there longer than six months.

Ira Lustbader, associate director of the national advocacy group Children's Rights, which represents the plaintiffs in the "Juan F" lawsuit, originally filed in 1989, called this latest report card “disappointing."

“The state must redouble its efforts to tackle major issues like getting children mental health treatment and taking steps to find them permanent, loving homes,” he said.

The agency succeeded in getting some of the state cuts restored for the fiscal year that began Monday. The budget that was passed includes $10.3 million in new money to pay for mental health and trauma services and support for foster parents.

Katz, the DCF commissioner, wrote in response to the report card that providing for the needs for children in her care “continues to challenge us and requires that we press forward on further improvements in how we engage families in our work… There are serious challenges that we must address.”