Altering the Reunification Process & Self Protection Laws
“We must correct in order to protect”
( Fall of 2018, Update on the petition submitted:
A decision on the petition that was submitted to a representative was concluded as the following:
“I do not have time for this”.
It is conceived that the following attempt to aid abused children is currently unattended. I am hoping in the future to revisit and possibly revise this petition and submit a revised petition in the future. )
Early fall of 2016 Avery’s Law was submitted to a member of the House of Representatives. This petition is being carefully looked at and rewritten to hopefully aid in a destructing problem among the youth.
Below is an exact copy of what was submitted. We are hoping that this will become not only a bill but a law that will be put in place to help all abused children.
“The petition and contents were written by Tammy Risen. Avery’s grandmother and care giver”.
“Avery’s Law: Child Protection Registry
” This portion of the law has become the most difficult to impress as a necessity within the eyes of the Government. We currently have a very similar construct for Sex Offenders. How abuse varies and only affects criminals that sexually offend others is mind boggling. I believe all abusers of any kind should be available for a registry. Assault: May it be sexual, mental and or physical to others with the addition of a victim that is incapable of protecting themselves should hold the ability to reserve the right to register their abuser in a national data base that is open to communities in the same mannerism as the up and running registry that we currently have at hand. How it is differing is irrational”.
A child’s protection registry would be similar in construct to a sex offender registry.
Persons that must register would be any person convicted of a felonious child abuse, neglect and or endangerment.
This data base would be of public knowledge and issued to any surrounding areas of where said person is residing.
This data base would be immediately available to any mandatory reporters.
(medical staffing, hospitals, country and state services, daycare’s and schools).
The database must include:
- Name and any alias
- Address: current and non
- Any person or agencies involved with said felon in the event an abused child was reunited to their care
A data base of felonious child abusers holds great value much like any child predator. This data base holds merit by way of but not limited to the following:
A) public notification mailers to families in the area of a convicted abuser to impede abuse by way of knowledge
B) complete case summary against the offender including responsible parties of the reunification processes
C)immediate response from authoritative persons in awareness of the individual if there is a concurrent victim(s) of abuse in preparation of preventative measures.
Had this data base been in action and used in conjunction with the national sexual predators registry, A case much like that of John Burbine of Boston may have been impeded. These registries used as a whole may have prevented the thirteen cases of child abuse in John Burbine’s case. His abuse towards children ranged from eight days old to three years. Infants and toddlers that did not possess the skill of communication.
Abuse has many forms. All forms of child abuse to the degree where an individual is incarcerated based on a conviction should be listed in a registry to prevent such things as sexual, physical and mental abuse.
Avery’s Law “Periodic medical assessments during reunification process”
” These tests & procedures are currently being utilized but they are not being used to their full capacity. Redesigning the way these protocols are performed could prove as a highly effective way of aiding abused children”.
Consisting of: forensic interviews, radiologic assessments & medical examinations
Reunification is a process of reuniting parent(s) with thier child after a child has been removed from said parents care. In the reunification process there are several steps taken.
- commitment and preparation
Once reunification has been achieved. Families may be monitored for an undetermined length of time.
Monitoring families after reunification may include: Visitations from social workers, appointed guardians and therapeutic obligations.
The PMA (Periodic Medical Assessment) would be a screening for any child that has been reunited to a person that has had a historical indicator of abusing said child.
The importance of these assessments could aid when there is a child that is too under developed mentally to:
- indicate that they are being abused
- unaware they are being abused
- fearful of their abuser
- unable to communicate
If PMA testing was mandatory after reunification it may aid in preventing further abuse if not a child’s death.
PMA testing should be periodic and random over the course of five years upon reunification and should be at least if not more than four rounds of testing within the first year of reunification.
An example of PMA in use: Glenara Bates. She was two years old at the time of her death. Had she been monitored using PMA, Her abuse would have been founded before her death. Her weight of 13 pounds at the time of her death would have been key in any mandatory assessment therefore the process of PMA may have saved her life.
These assessments would be out of the hands of social workers, appointed guardian and or parents. They would be mandated giving a public eye of any previously abused child’s situation regarding their medical and mental health.
Assessments should be completed by a medical staff at a local children’s hospital.
“Avery’s Law: Immediate Medical Response Act”
During a period when a child is removed from their homes and placed under custody of family services, There is a time when the assessments prove to start process of reunification. During this time period the child and person to regain custody undergoes visitation periods with said child. The child is usually placed in a foster care type setting. The foster parents may be that of kinship.
When the child’s custody is being held by the state due to allegations or convictions of abuse and said child sustains any substantial, suspicious or reoccurring injuries during these visitations periods, The person(s) fostering the child should be mandated to have the child assessed by medical personnel within twenty four hours of injury or allegations of abuse.
This permits counteractive measures by a medical staff. These evaluations may be that of periodic assessments.
The person(s) that the abuse is being alleged against would not be permitted in these medical assessments to ensure that proper measures are being taken to protect the child in the event of fearfulness of the child in the presence of their abuser.
If this child is in placement. The person(s) in charge of the child’s safety would have the right to an I.M.R.A. screening without permission from any custodial party. This safety measure would then be constituted by the appropriateness of the appointed party.
The importance of this screening:
A) It is a significant measure of protection of an abuse victim that may mitigate further and ongoing abuse.
B) It would aid children that are not of an age of communication or who are mentally unable to
C) It would give a child a voice against their abuser by way of evidence from the examinations.
D)It permits the person(s) appointed by the state who are in protection of said child the right to adopt
safety measures for the child that is being held within their care.
This screening with P.M.A. Testing may prevent further abuse as it also may provide forensic evidence of abuse against any party.
This screening is non-negotiable by way of a social worker or appointed guardian. The time involved in preparation of such screenings may taint the findings of an assessment during the initial and urgent screening. Much like any rape case. Evidence has to be collected immediately and a child’s safety against any type of abuse should not differ.
Avery’s Law “ The right to proper Advocacy “
“Implementing ideas that may aid in the reunification/placement process”
Any case within Jobs and Family services where a child has been removed due to alleged or founded abuse. In order to protect said child and the persons put in place to protect said child, in order to impede bias natures of authoritative figures, to impede case over load of personnel, conflict of interest & injustice to any party partaking in the safety of said child.
1-All cases should remain in a social workers care for one quarter of a calendar year. The case should then be passed to a fellow case worker. Social workers may not resume to any case after their quarter. Though they may present their individual findings in court proceedings.
2-Person(s) of placement should have a separate social worker and guardian ad lit em from the person(s) advocating to resume custody.
3-All parental visitation from social services must never be announced to the party advocating to resume custody after that custody’s been removed.
4-Any conflict of interest by social service workers, guardians and placements advocacy would then adhere to mediation to resolve a dispute.
“The purpose of disagreement if pertaining to the best interest of a child must be defined and presented individually to the magistrate overseeing the child’s case”.
6-Any person(s) put in a placement position would then have an equivalent voice in court proceedings as they are a main factor in the protection of said child. Their opinion and observations are most credible yet underrated in court proceedings as it stands.
“The ability to voice conclusions and findings would allow said person(s) the right to advocate for a child in their care as they are the only witness with a full time inside view of said child safety”.
7-Personnel associated with said cases upon visitations to persons seeking reunification and person of placement are required to fill out a visitation receipt. Placement as being part of that safety team should also be mandated to fill out a separate form of the same upon visitations.
“Avery’s Law: Motion to advocate for a child’s right to self protection”
Children’s wishes was established in 1974. It states that any child that has the ability of reasoning may be interviewed by a magistrate to determine those wishes.
Most states have an age range of children eligible to speak to a magistrate without the recommendation of service workers and government employees that are involved in a custodial case. In some instances the child is interviewed by social workers, therapists and or appointed guardians. Their response to the interview is a verbal acknowledgment in court.
This motion would protect children from a bias nature that may be resulted in a lengthy custody battle and would give a child their own voice.
A motion to advocated in an abuse/custody case would allow any person involved with the safety of said child to file on their behalf. This motion with local courts would adhere to the rights of the child and give a child a voice irregardless of age as long as the child had the ability to speech. All other skills would be deemed irrelevant and an interview would take place upon the motion which would invoke a child’s rights to safety against their abuser.
In any case where there is an abused child and they are in a reunification process with their abuser. That child should be interviewed with prejudice against any party and the record as party of the custodial case.
“Avery’s law: Zero Tolerance of Child Abuse”
Any person convicted of child abuse, neglect or endangerment or any party in connection with said abuse where there was evidence of substantial injury, mental abuse or in the event of a child’s death.
The rights to the abused child or any surviving child should then be banished. The ability to regain custody to a victim that suffered from life threatening injuries would then be voided.
In the event where an abused child had been placed back with their abuser through a reunification process then dies at the hands of their custodian. That custodian and or any adult party of the household should also be banned from the ability of further reunification upon a conviction of the party responsible for the child’s death. That would not limit other parties of the household to supervised visitation.
“There should be no statute of limitations of this policy”.
If the abused child is later reunited with their abuser or any remaining children are reunited with the household as it were and the child or children become the victim of repeated abuse due to the policy being disregarded by any authoritative figure. That authoritative party should be immediately under investigation for their participation in the reunification process. Criminal charges should be permissible if there is evidence that would substantiate misconduct.
There should never be a strike out law in the care of abused children. One time is one time too many. The construct of reunification should be enforced with the laws at hand. Those laws should never be molded around persons case to case. With the Zero Tolerance Policy, abusers would not get a chance unless it with given to them with the disregard of authoritative figures. This would tighten the reunification process as it would prioritize authoritative figures in charge of the cases.
Avery’s Law: OJFS Internal Investigation Complaint Department
“A specialized unit adjacent to OJFS where persons may lodge a complaint against any case manager or guardian.”
Those who may file are any person in the care of a child under foster care or kinship.
They may file a complaint if they feel that their case is being mishandled. Once a complaint is filed the case managers and guardians would then be immediately removed from said case until a complete investigation is made into their case.
These cases would then be passed to either a supervisor or to the next worker in rotation.
This department would be of assistance because there are so many cases in the system which is an overwhelming task. Not every detail of a case will be printed in a doctoral event. With this in mind. The case managers every move is not documented and their professionalism is not ensured.
The only way to ensure complete competency of each worker would to be to record all interactions with said worker via recordings.
Due to many allegations against public officials. Many are mandated to wear a body cam. This would eliminate and protect case managers as well as civilians. Though these do not have to be monitored daily they would be recorded for both parties in the event there would be an issue.
Until such a time that all interactions via in person visits, telecommunications and other avenues are recorded. A complaint department would fall under a civil rights act. Something that is not currently in place and has led to many cases of further child abuse and or death of children.
It allows the person put in the place of protection of a child to not only have a voice in their case but a chance to mediate there case with in IICD. If such discrepancies are founded the IICD will have options which may include criminal charges due to misappropriate behaviors.
This is a safety measure that can not be ignored and should be instated in all counties of Ohio making it the leader in a modern society where all care affiliates of children are not only treated with equality but each can assume that same magnitude of power within the service of children’s rights.
“The above petition to change current laws and to create new may or may not be the answer to every case. I do believe that it would be the answer to children that are under notable care of our current systems. We can not begin to create a safer environment unless we are willing to change. It is evident that what we have now is not enough. If it were, we would not have dead children lying in a morgue by avoidable and preventable acts. While we can not prevent terrible acts of violence as a whole, we certainly can stand together to try to make it more difficult and the punishments stronger to hinder these events. Together as a nation. Together as parents and as people. We must protect our future and that lies in our children”.