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May 12, 2006

Posted with permission

You will recall that I recently posted prayer requests for my good friend and fellow midwife Nancy. With her permission, I am posting more of what is involved in this situation.

Basically, her eldest son was accused of abusing his 10 y/o sister. As a result of this allegation, the local child protective services decided unilaterally that her entire family was endangered, and took custody of all her children, even to the point of wrenching her nursing 13 month old baby from her arms when they were at a hearing.

The CPS folks seem to have a rather elastic concept of truth and justice, from what I have been hearing. Of course, I am only hearing one side but I have known Nancy for years, have stayed at her house, been with her children, and seen her parenting style.
Here are some excerpts from her deposition:


1. We have been married for 25 years and have 12 children. Three of these are adult children who are married, one is legally adopted, and one we have been caring for as parents for 5 years under a notarized form from her biological father which has given us permission for adoption as well.

2. NONE of our biological children was born out of wedlock.

3. We have always, during the entire course of our marriage, had one stay-at-home parent, (with the exception of about a 3 month period of time over 18 years ago). We have taken our children to and from school in our personal vehicle, we have taken them on family trips, to religious education, to church services weekly and 2-3 times a week during the Lenten season.
12. While James and Nancy were at the center where the interviews were performed with ++++ and ####, the ++++ was with them. The other children were at home with an adult sitter. A panic call from the sitter indicated that () was at our home in Queen Creek to remove all of our children. They were forcibly removed and were not given time to eat, drink or obtain belongings.

13. **** was removed from Nancy’s arms while at the Center. She was not allowed to breast-feed *** when we were told to leave. Our other two children, ++++ and ###, were not fed while at the center, despite Nancy asking for them to be fed. They later reported they were not given food until after dark that night- and this is after () had been told they had not eaten since 6:00AM. (just before we had to leave home to get to Central Phoenix in time for an 8:00AM appointment).

17. Wednesday afternoon after the children were taken, Nancy made multiple calls and complaints. We needed to find out WHAT they were going to feed **** and if we could drop off breast-milk for him. It was finally at almost 5pm that the Case worker called to tell us to bring the milk right then because she has to leave at 5pm. We live about 40-45 minutes from the office. When Nancy said it wouldn’t be possible to get there that fast, the Case worker said she would wait a little while.

18. The case worker stated that there would be a meeting the next day to discuss if the children would be returned to us.

19. The next day, at this “meeting?, it had already been decided, before we arrived, that the children would not be placed back with us. There was no decision making process, no discussion of options, no effort at all to make arrangements to place the children back with us. They wrote a report which is erroneous. They stated that the children would not be placed with older siblings. We also were asked to bring in clothing for them because they did not have any. They kept insisting that we had to have known and yet would not tell us WHAT EXACTLY it was that we were supposed to know.

20. We were allowed a visitation with our children on Friday, May 5th. Our #### had been punched, our **** had not been allowed to eat, our &&&& had not been fed, and the ++++ was sick and dehydrated. Later, the (), told me that the baby “had not eaten much at all the day before?. We brought each of the children bags with several sets of clothing, misc. shoes, socks, underclothing, and bathing suits.

21. On the morning of May 11, 2006 James and Nancy went to the Juvenile Courthouse to see if papers had been filed for a court hearing. We had been told that in the papers would be “the reasons? our children were taken from us. Having read the papers now, we are even more horrified that the CPS Agency has continued to lie, providing inaccurate information, despite having the correct information at hand.
In her most recent letter to me she wrote:

If you can find a lawyer to help us fight them on a federal level (any state license I think works then!), I'd take it in a heartbeat

I've sent it (the letter that is in the extended entry) off to every pro-life Legislature in AZ so it is not like there is a big secret. except from John Q public that is.

To make it better, they won't let us have (her foster child) back. They terminated our rights on Tues without telling us. They inform us we have no rights because we do not have a court order giving us custody of her, we only have the notarized letter from her father.

They also said that they have no knowledge of the whereabouts for the father which is not true. They do, yet they are talking about publicizing anyhow. We interruppted the judge and TOLD her YES they DO have his information. They LIED (again, but no one seems to be bothered by that). "Oh, irregularities occur, it was just a mistake..." is what one of the lawyers said.

Terminating our rights and taking our daughter away because we have no court order. *Just because they WANT TO, and have decide they can!!!*

Our lawyers were going to push for us to have at least some of the kids back today, then the Assistant Attorney General told them that the MCSO (Maricopa County Sheriff's office) has forwarded charges for them to review to decide if they want to press criminal charges against us, 'so naturally, they don't want to place the children back with us again just yet'.

We have another hearing Tues PM. (the 18y/o) called and asked when HIS hearing is...We don't know. He did say he only had his wallet with him when he was arrested, whiile the police are saying he had a journal on him and they are using it for evidence.

Her letter to legislators follows. Folks, keep praying. I'll let you know what I learn as I can.

Dear Sirs and Madams,

The text of this letter is nearly identical to letters I have sent to Sheriff Joe Arpaio and to Attorney General Andrew Thomas.

I am contacting you because of a situation in my family which has led to multiple offenses by MCSO and CPS in our opinion, ie "Maricopa County" and the "State of Arizona". I am very scared and nervous as I write, for many reasons, but primarily because I fear the injustice of the system and have already been victim, as have my children, to the misuse of power in this situation. I fear for the safety of my children more than anything and one of my children especially, who is herself a victim, is bearing the brunt of this.

It seems that our State has deemed it possible, and in fact preferable, to decide that parents are guilty, and not presumed innocent, indirect opposition to our United States Constitution. Under the Guise of the "Multi Disciplinary Protocol for the Investigation of Child Abuse", if there has been an allegation of abuse, children are taken from their parents under the assumption that we "should have known". In our case, an ARMED, UNIFORMED, MALE Sheriff's Deputy, came to take ##### "away" for questioning in a marked car. He was unaccompanied and ##### was very much intimidated by a grown man with a gun! He had NO, *absolutely NO* paperwork to take our child from school- yet he was Allowed to do so??!!

I have seen numerous situations where there is actual, visible or admitted abuse, by the parents themselves, where nothing is done and children are left in the home, yet in our situation, when there is no proof and only allegations *against another party* , the extent of which we are not being informed of, we are being accused and treated as if guilty.
I am sorry this letter does not flow well, but please let me back up and explain:

My husband and I have been married for 25 yrs. We have 12 children, 1 who is adopted, one whom we have guardianship of. 3 Children are married.

We have *always* had one parent stay at home with the exception of about a 3 month period which was over 18yrs ago. We keep a tight reign on our children, or at least we have tried to. We do primarily family activities, including religious education and attending church services weekly, and 2-3 week times during the Lenten Season when possible.

I don't remember all the facts, but recently we were told #### c/o being molested by our 18 y/o son. He has been in jail since that time and is obviously not allowed to come back home.

We have repeatedly told everyone involved we had no knowledge and no idea of the possibility of any molestation happening, until after our son was in jail.

Despite that, at the direction of the MCSO, CPS was told (per Marilyn Schalliol at DES Family Advocacy) that our children should be removed. They say we are being charged with "failure to protect". They are using a clause from the ARS, Section 8 that states they can take the children away in "situations in which the parent knew or REASONABLY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN that a person was abusing or neglecting a child"

Even if sexual abuse is conclusively shown at the end of all this- it is widely known that children to not typically tell their parents, the CPS people, "Crista" even admitted this. We have made every effort to cooperate, and we have made countless statements to the FACT that we had no idea anything even remotely abnormal was happening in our household. How many other families are Intact? How many intact families have one parent stay at home? How much more could we have protected our children? We even drive them to and from school in our personal vehicles.

Since we had no knowledge of anything prior to my son's arrest, and since we have repeatedly told everyone we can think of this, we are at a loss to understand how our children could be taken from us. None of our children, aside from our 10 y/o , has made any accusations as far as we understand. We are not however being told the truth, let alone the whole truth about many things.

MCSO has directly lied during statements to my husband and probably myself. CPS has lied and has admitted to it. We have not been given a court date and time as of this letter, and from what I can tell from reading the "Guidelines" , even if they decide to put our case eventually in the "basket" they can review it every 30 days INDEFINITELY. The guidelines clearly state there is NO STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS. Even if our daughter was to come forward and admit fabrication, the charges against us stay. That is what has been written by our state government. Additionally, if the children are kept from the home via a dependency, and later returned to us, ANY OF OUR CHILDREN CAN BE TAKEN a second time and our parental rights TERMINATED, *without any reason, without any proof of anything at any time*. All the "state" needs, (in this case a childless, single young woman, aged 25) is someone who thinks something is "not normal". I can tell you that as a mom of a large family, there are LOTS of people who think that, in and of itself, is not normal.

I want to know WHAT the charges are against my husband and myself and how, for each individual child, these charges apply. I don't want a global "failure to protect" statement, I want concrete examples and proof.

We HAVE NOT EVER failed to protect our children and I resent that they have been taken from us and placed in harms way. My children have not been fed, have been mistreated, are being denied the company and pleasure of their family, siblings, friends and parents. They are being denied their religious rights to attend church services and to receive communion.

The social worker/case worker and the manager have not returned our calls the vast majority of the time.

I only want to protect my children, as does my husband. To be accused of failing to do so, and then having our children taken from us on those grounds cuts us to the very core. My little 13mo old son was totally breastfed when he was taken. I can't even get the CPS department to call us back to tell us if he still has breastmilk to drink. To know that my children have at times not even been fed while in CPS/MCSO custody is very disturbing.

I intend to pursue this as far as need be because I KNOW we have done nothing wrong and I fear for the safety and well-being of my children. I am under the assumption that you are a fair and honest and I hope you will endeaver to help us rectify this situation.

Thank you

Nancy Sandrock, RNC, CNM, MSN

Posted by alicia at May 12, 2006 11:20 PM

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What do you do when the government takes away your children based on one allegation of abuse by someone else and you see the rest of them are now in bad foster home situations? Alicia at Fructis Ventris tells about a friend of hers, Nancy, who has 1... [Read More]

Tracked on May 25, 2006 12:49 PM

Comments

Oh, Alicia, reading this just makes me feel sick to my stomach. The authority that has been given to these sorts of agencies is frightening--and I think most people are blissfully unaware of that fact until a story like this crosses their path.
I personally know of a situation where two children were unjustly taken away. The family had every resource available to them and every advantage you can think of and it was still a struggle to get their girls back. All for the sake of the children, eh?
I will pray for this family and most especially those poor children for a quick resolution.

Posted by: KatieButler at May 13, 2006 9:32 AM

Alicia:

This is sickening. My heart goes out to your friend Nancy and her family, as do our prayers.

This abuse of authority disgusts me. I know we live in different states, but the nature with which your CPS and ours reacts is startling. For example the family that lives below us has problems.

MAJOR PROBLEMS.

As in, the mother - who is unmarried, and from what I understand always was - leaves her three young children (ages 11 to 2) home alone. The youngest cries all the time. The mother yells constantly, including swearing, at them.

And, for a period of about a week and a half, they had no electricity. We found the disconnnect notice on the front door of the building.

So my husband called CPS. Nothing has changed, save that the power was restored (which we did alert CPS to when it happened).

If there's *anything* I can do, besides pray, to help...please let me know.

Posted by: temporarily anonymous reader at May 13, 2006 10:04 AM

You know what really makes me sick about this? The guilt that poor 10 year old girl must be feeling. Assuming the abuse did take place, not only is her older brother in jail (which, however just, is still probably hard for her to adjust to or feel good about), not only was her family disrupted by that revelation, but now she is taken away from her entire support structure - parents, church, etc. - the very people she needs most to help her work through the emotional aftermath of this sort of situation.

When I was a young adolescent, I witnessed another family being totally disrupted as a result of a daughter's allegations of abuse. It was enough to convince me (then 13) to keep my mouth shut about a situation in my own life, because I was already old enough to see that no good would come of speaking up.

What sort of message does this send to children about our ability and willingness to protect them? Totally disgusting.

Posted by: Anon at May 13, 2006 12:39 PM

This is absolutely horrifying. I'm literally speechless. I will keep this family in prayer.

Posted by: Bekah at May 13, 2006 11:43 PM

Thanks for your comments.

We all feel so horrible you can't even imagine. "counseling" sessions and evaluations are reported verbatim to the CPS, for them to interpret, so there is not even any privacy to voice true feelings, fear or emotions out loud because anything that is said is twisted another way. Ie if you voice feeling aggravation, helpless "oh, well it is obvious you are not coping so you'll have to wait longer until that is under control, because you have to fix yourself before you can care for your children". So the counseling is basically a joke, for parents and children.

I had no idea our system is so twisted, They are truly out to FIND or MAKE something be wrong. My 13 mo old baby, (breast-fed only, sleeps with his parents) was referred for a developmental evaluation because one day after being taken he was CRYING, not feeding well from the bottle, waking every 3 hours or so and only taking 2-3 oz at a time. He also didn't feel like laughing and playing and walking. They said he was "clingy" and didn't want to leave the sight of his brother. GEE. WHY do they *think* all this might be happening??!!

Of course the reference is that WE must have done something to cause this. Go figure. If I weren't so mad, I'd be totally despondant. As it is, we just have moments...many moments...

Please pray for our Blessed Mother to hold my children in her arms and comfort them while I can't. Please pray for St. Michael to defend them.

Thank you!!

Posted by: Nancy at May 14, 2006 4:02 AM

Please contact the Christian Broadcast Network and request to speak to someone in their American Center For Law and Justice, where they track and legally defend people dealing with personal freedoms. You can log on at http://www.CBN.com

Sincerely,
Lynda Sizemore

Posted by: Lynda at May 14, 2006 7:48 PM

Nancy, I'm praying for you and your family. Thank God that He does change things based on prayers! Thank God that He is more powerful than CPS! I pray that your family's situation will cause the horrible injustices of CPS to be ended. I pray that your children will be comforted and returned to you and your husband quickly. I pray that when you pour your heart out to the Lord that He will give you peace and comfort and guidance far beyond what a human can do.

I love you, Nancy.
Debby S

Posted by: Debby S at May 15, 2006 10:53 AM

Nancy - Take it from someon who knows. They are unbelievable.

1. Document everything you can. If recording conversations with only one party knowing, then record everything you can.

2. Take it to the public! It was one of the things that help us get Jack back so quickly.

3. Have rallys at the capitol building. Get people to call and write letters. Do so immediately. Put the pressure on them!

4. Take a moment and post your story at http://www.reformcpsnow.com. This is a new site, but it was born of our family's need to help others that have been what we have been through.

5. If you want help with a website to get the word out, let me know. I will help for free.

Kelly Ling

Our family's story is at http://www.savejacksonbortgz.com

Posted by: Kelly Ling at May 15, 2006 11:10 AM

Nancy, I have no legal advice to offer, but I've had devotion to St. Michael for 18 years now, and I begged him to come to your children's aid.

Posted by: Jane at May 15, 2006 1:48 PM

This is absolutely horrific and sickening. Lord have Mercy.

Posted by: Mimi at May 15, 2006 2:58 PM

With all that goes on with CPS, its understandable why children, who have dealt with CPS previously on non-issues, wouldn't be comfortable ever revealing actual abuse situations to their "safe people". (teachers, counselors, friends' parents) The children would never know if it would affect their family, the innocent ones, in trying to stop whats going on.
This being the way it is, it seems no surprise that many people never admit to any kind of abuse until they're adults, and feel disconnected from the situation.
People want to protect their families from the shame, the guilt, and the accusations. What else can a child really do?

Posted by: anonymous at May 18, 2006 5:27 PM

Nancy, I can't imagine what this must be like for you and your family. This really concerns me, because we have a daughter and 2 grandkids living in Queen Creek. Please know that my prayers are with you. Don't lose hope - what satan (the father of all lies) means for evil, God will turn to good. Remember that these people in CPS aren't the enemy - satan is the enemy. In addition to ACLJ mentioned by Lynda on 5/14, there's also Thomas More Law Center (www.thomasmore.org 734-827-2001). I pray that you will all be comforted and draw strength from the many prayers that cover you, and from the knowledge that our mother Mary knows your suffering.

Posted by: Ellen at May 20, 2006 4:27 AM

I am praying for your situation. I am horrified that you are experiencing such an injustice. I concur with Lynda's post about contacting the American Center For Law and Justice. Maybe even see if Focus on the Family can do anything to help in terms of providing advice and leads on how to get your kids back quickly. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I know that Jesus loves children and I am praying that your children feel His presence during this tragic and confussing time. I pray that Holy Spirit specifically ministers to your 13 mo baby and provides him the comfort and assurance that you are not able to provide him at this time. I am praying for your own personal rest at night when sleeping is difficult. I am praying for you during the day as you fight this battle. I pray that strong godly legal counsel, with deep generous pockets, comes beside you and pursues this relentlessly until your children are home in your safe care. I am so sorry that you are going through this nightmare. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. (Prov 3:5-6) God bless you.
Dawn

Posted by: Dawn at May 20, 2006 9:08 AM

I am praying for your situation. I am horrified that you are experiencing such an injustice. I concur with Lynda's post about contacting the American Center For Law and Justice. Maybe even see if Focus on the Family can do anything to help in terms of providing advice and leads on how to get your kids back quickly. I am so sorry that you are going through this. I know that Jesus loves children and I am praying that your children feel His presence during this tragic and confussing time. I pray that Holy Spirit specifically ministers to your 13 mo baby and provides him the comfort and assurance that you are not able to provide him at this time. I am praying for your own personal rest at night when sleeping is difficult. I am praying for you during the day as you fight this battle. I pray that strong godly legal counsel, with deep generous pockets, comes beside you and pursues this relentlessly until your children are home in your safe care. I am so sorry that you are going through this nightmare. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. (Prov 3:5-6) God bless you.
Dawn

Posted by: Dawn at May 20, 2006 9:09 AM

i am patti burns uncle and although i have not had experience with this type of oppression i have been involved with many types of brutality on the part of authorities and in organizing committees to protest this type of behavior by bureacrats. i think nancy and her family should contact the american civil liberties union and their elected local state and federal officials. and an attorney to plan a law suit the sherriff in that county is notorious for brutality

Posted by: jim pita at May 21, 2006 3:02 PM

I am Nancy's mom. Is there a defense fund being started and if so where?
I remember when we were on food stamps and the advice I was given was to get a divorce and I would get more help!
My husband went out of state to find work and they came to my home at midnight to see if I had a man at home!
They do stuff like this all the time!
Pat Burns

Posted by: Patricia Burns at May 23, 2006 1:08 PM

If there is a way to get rid of this site? Nancy is being threatened with comptemt and crinimal charges for sites with the story. I don't know what else we can do to help get her children back except cooperate with them.

Posted by: Rebecca at September 4, 2006 9:39 PM

Fools never know when they are well. Humphrey.

Posted by: Humphrey at October 27, 2006 3:25 PM

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