Sudden, lasting separation from parent can permanently alter brain


 

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I feel badly for the children who are taken from their families at the border because they are the innocents.

I find it difficult to feel badly for the parents because they are not the innocents.

The adults know ahead of time that what they are doing is illegal, and they are doing it anyway. They are putting the innocents at risk of being taken.

There are ways to come into this country LEGALLY.  If they enter the U.S. LEGALLY (albeit it may take longer or require more effort) but that would not place the children at risk of being taken.

That being said, I cant help but to point out that all the outrage is making me sick.  

These children and their fate is being used and exploited politically and the outrage I believe, is being media driven.

If you are truly outraged  over this issue,  then you should have been outraged a long time ago. 

Just like parents who commit a crime,  do drugs,  or abuse their children,  know they might have their children taken away if they get caught,  these immigrants know if they cross the border illegally and get caught,  they may lose their children. 

This atrocity has been happening in the United States to OUR CHILDREN, U.S. CITIZENS, with the foster care system EVERYDAY… FOR YEARS.  

Many times the parents who lose their children to foster care did NOTHING wrong.  

These families are separated from each other in their very own home in their very own country… keep that in mind…

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Are we saying foreign children matter more than our U.S. children?

I hope not.  

The protests and outrage is long overdue.

Read the original article here

June 22 (UPI) — At birth, the brain is the most underdeveloped organ in our body. It takes up until our mid-20s for our brains to fully mature. Any serious and prolonged adversity, such as a sudden, unexpected and lasting separation from a caretaker, changes the structure of the developing brain. It damages a child’s ability to process emotion and leaves scars that are profound and lifelong.

That’s bad news because, although President Donald Trump has ended his “zero-tolerance” immigration policy of separating parents and children at the border, there are some 2,300 childrenwhose reunification with parents remains uncertain.

In my psychiatric and therapeutic practice, I work with children and adults who as children experienced unexpected and lasting separation from their parents. Some fare better than others. Some struggle with major psychiatric disorders, whereas others have no psychiatric diagnosis. Yet, their feeling of safety and trust in others is compromised. The impact of separation trauma is everlasting.

Born to be nurtured

Altricial species, such as humans, are dependent upon parental care for survival and development after birth. The parent is necessary to regulate the offspring’s temperature and to provide food and protection against environment threats. This is accomplished through parent bonding with the offspring that nurtures a deep attachment. The newly born learn quickly that signs of parental presence, such as an image, voice, touch or smell, signal safety.

Studies in mammals show that infants naturally conform to parental emotions. The presence of a calm and caring parent produces the feeling of safety in a child. On the contrary, parental distress and fear activate the infant’s brain circuits that are responsible for processing stress, pain and threat. The ability of a caretaker to regulate the offspring’s emotions is an adaptive function encoded in our genes. Before people have our own independent experiences, we start learning what is safe and what is dangerous in the surrounding environment through observing and interacting with our parents. This increases our chances of survival and success in the world.

Numerous studies show that parental presence is more important than the surrounding environment for the emotional well-being of an infant or a very young child. As long as the parent is present and remains calm and caring, the child is able to endure many threats and adversities. Metaphorically speaking, the caretaker is the world for the young child.

Separation alters the brain’s structure

The parents’ presence is also necessary for a person’s harmonious growth and development. That includes the development of our psychological and social functions, such as our ability to respond to stress and self-regulate our emotions or our ability to trust others and function in a group.

Any serious and prolonged disruption of parental care, especially in infants and very young children, alters how the young brain develops. Very young children, younger than 5 years old, separated from their parents cannot rely on their presence and care anymore, which causes their stress levels to spike. As stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine and norepineprhine rise, they alter physiological functions of our bodies to better prepare us to cope with threat. However, prolonged increases in the levels of stress hormones disrupt physiological functions and induce inflammation and epigenetic changes — chemical alterations that disrupt the activity of our genes. Turning genes on or off at the wrong time alters the developmental trajectory of the brain, changing how neural networks are formed and how brain regions communicate.

Studies of children who were separated from their parents or neglected by their parents, and experimental research on animals, consistently show that the disruption of parental presence and care causes a precocious and rapid maturation of brain circuits responsible for processing stress and threat. This fast-track development alters the brain’s wiring and changes the way how emotions are processed.

Short, sharp separation quickly causes harm

Laboratory studies show that it doesn’t take long for separation to hurt these infants and children.

In laboratory rodents these changes in brain wiring are triggered when a pup is separated from its mother for a mere two to three hours a day for a several consecutive days. We know the stress to the pups is caused by the mother’s absence, not by other changes in the environment, because the researchers continued to feed the pups and maintain their body temperature during the experiment.

Premature maturation of stress and threat processing networks in the brains of children separated from parents stunts the child’s development and leads to loss of flexibility in responding to danger. For example, most of us are able to “unlearn” what we may have initially considered threatening or scary. If something or someone is not dangerous anymore, our defense responses adapt, extinguishing our fear. This ability to unlearn threat is compromised in maternally separated animals.

The subsequent reunification with a parent, or the replacement with a new caretaker, may not reverse the changes caused by this early separation stress.

Pictures of the brain reveal altered brain structures

Brain imaging studies demonstrate structural and functional changes in the brains of children separated from their parents. Specifically, the stress of separation increases the size of the amygdala, a key structure in threat processing and emotion, and alters amygdala connections with other brain areas. On the molecular level, separation alters the expression of receptors on the brain cell’s surface involved in stress response and emotion regulation. Without the right number of receptors, the communication between neurons is disrupted.

The trauma of either permanent or temporary separation poses general health risks and affects academic performance, success in career and personal life. In particular, the loss or separation from parents increases the likelihood of various psychiatric disorders, including post-traumatic stress, anxiety, mood, psychotic or substance use disorders.

The Conversation

The feeling of safety and the associated ability to bond with others, the ability to detect and respond to threat, as well as the ability to regulate one’s own emotions and stress are vital. Early reprogramming of neural circuits underlying these functions can directly or indirectly alter the child’s physical, emotional and cognitive development and causes lifelong changes.

Jacek Debiec is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and an assistant research professor in the Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan.

This article was originally published onThe Conversation. Read the original article.

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Understanding The Batterer In Custody and Visitation Disputes


If you are involved in a custody battle with your abuser, ESPECIALLY if Child Protective Services has involved themselves in your life, this article is a must-read.

by R. Lundy Bancroft

Obsessed Alienation – Severe Parental Alienation in Custody Cases


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“I love my children. If the court can’t protect them from their abusive father, I will. Even though he’s never abused the children, I know it’s a matter of time. The children are frightened of their father. If they don’t want to see him, I’m not going to force them. They are old enough to make up their own minds.”

The obsessed alienator is a parent, or sometimes a grandparent, with a cause:

to align the children to his or her side and together, with the children,  and a campaign to destroy their relationship with the targeted parent.

For the campaign to work, the obsessed alienator enmeshes the children’s personalities and beliefs into their own. This is a process that takes time but one that the children, especially the young, are completely helpless to see and combat. It usually begins well before the divorce is final.

The obsessed parent is angry, bitter or feels betrayed by the other parent. The initial reasons for the bitterness may actually be justified. They could have been verbally and physical abused, raped, betrayed by an affair, or financially cheated.

The problem occurs when the feelings won’t heal but instead become more intense because of being forced to continue the relationship with a person they despise because of their common parenthood. Just having to see or talk to the other parent is a reminder of the past and triggers the hate. They are trapped with nowhere to go and heal.

The characteristics of obsessed alienation are as follows

  • They are obsessed with destroying the children’s relationship with the targeted parent
  • They having succeeded in enmeshing the childrens’ personalities and beliefs about the other parent with their own.
  • The children will parrot the obsessed alienator rather than express their own feelings from personal experience with the other parent.

  • The targeted parent and often the children cannot tell you the reasons for their feelings.

  • Their beliefs sometimes becoming delusional and irrational. No one, especially the court, can convince obsessed alienators that they are wrong. Anyone who tries is the enemy.

  • They will often seek support from family members, quasi-political groups or friends that will share in their beliefs that they are victimized by the other parent and the system.
     
  • The battle becomes “us against them.” The obsessed alienator’s supporters are often seen at the court hearings even though they haven’t been subpoenaed.

  • They have an unquenchable anger because they believe that the targeted parent has victimized them and whatever they do to protect the children is justified.

  • They have a desire for the court to punish the other parent with court orders that would interfere or block the targeted parent from seeing the children. This confirms in the obsessed alienator’s mind that he or she was right all the time.

  • The court’s authority does not intimidate them.

  • The obsessed alienator believes in a higher cause, protecting the children at all cost.

  • The obsessed alienator will probably not want to read what is on these pages because the content just makes them angrier.

There are no effective treatments for either the obsessed alienator or the children.

The courts and mental health professionals are helpless.

The only hope for these children is early identification of the symptoms and prevention. After the alienation is entrenched and the children become “true believers” in the parent’s cause, the children are lost to the other parent for years to come.

We realize this is a sad statement, but we have yet to find an effective intervention, by anyone, including the courts that can rehabilitate the alienating parent and child.

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More on Parental Alienation

Divorce is one of life’s most painful passages. It is painful for the spouse who wants it, painful for the spouse who feels rejected, and painful for the children.

We can understand and empathize with the spouse who feels wronged and wants revenge, or the spouse who is overwhelmed with anxiety at the thought of losing the children, or the spouse who prefers to forget that the marriage ever was.

But using the children to get revenge, to cope with anxiety, to erase the past, is unacceptable.

Parents must hold themselves to a higher standard.

Parent/child relationships are particularly vulnerable when children are first informed of the impending separation, or when one parent actually leaves the home.

If your spouse manipulates the children to blame you for the divorce, or to believe you have abandoned them, affection can dissolve overnight as their distress and hurt feelings are channeled into hatred.

The risk becomes multiplied if, for any reason, you have no communication or contact with the children after you leave the home. This keeps you from reassuring the children of your love and helping them understand that they do not have to choose between their parents.

A child who feels caught between two homes may feel that the solution to the conflict is to declare a clear allegiance to one household. This motive can result in alienation from either parent.

A child who is anxious or angry about the remarriage may channel these feelings into unwarranted hatred of the remarried parent and stepparent. Or the child’s alienation may express the disappointment of reconciliation wishes that have been dashed by the remarriage.

Regardless of the child’s underlying motivation, if the favored parent welcomes the child’s allegiance and fails to actively promote the child’s affection for the other parent, the child may cling to a maladaptive solution.

The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent.

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PAS is more than brainwashing or programming, because the child has to actually participate in the denigrating of the alienated parent. This is done in primarily the following eight ways:

1. The child denigrates the alienated parent with foul language and severe oppositional behavior.

2. The child offers weak, absurd, or frivolous reasons for his or her anger.

3. The child is sure of him or herself and doesn’tdemonstrate ambivalence, i.e. love and hate for thealienated parent, only hate.

4. The child exhorts that he or she alone came up with ideas of denigration. The “independent-thinker”phenomenon is where the child asserts that no one told him to do this. 

5. The child supports and feels a need to protect the alienating parent.

6. The child does not demonstrate guilt over cruelty towards the alienated parent. 

7. The child uses borrowed scenarios, or vividlydescribes situations that he or she could not haveexperienced.

8. Animosity is spread to also include the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent.

In severe cases of parent alienation, the child is utterly brainwashed against the alienated parent.

The alienator can truthfully say that the child doesn’t want to spend any time with the other parent, even though he or she has told the child that he has to, it is a court order, etc.

The alienator typically responds, “There isn’t anything that I can do about it.  I’m not telling the child that he can’t.

Alienation advances when the alienating parent urdses the child as a personal therapist. The child is told about every miserable experience and negative feeling about the alienated parent with great specificity.

The child, who is already enmeshed with the parent because his or her identity is still undefined, easily absorbs the parent’s negativity. They become aligned with this parent and feel that they need to be the protector of the alienating parent.

Parental alienation can be mild and temporary or extreme and ongoing. Most researchers believe that any alienation of a child against (the child’s) other parent is harmful to the child and to the target parent.

Extreme, obsessive, and ongoing parental alienation can cause terrible psychological damage to children extending well into adulthood.

Parental Alienation focuses on the alienating parents behavior as opposed to the alienated parent’s and alienated childrens’ conditions. This definition is different from Parental Alienation Syndrome as originally coined by Dr. Richard Gardner in 1987:

“a disturbance in which children are preoccupied with deprecation and criticism of a parent-denigration that is unjustified and/or exaggerated.”

Parental Alienation Syndrome symptoms describe the child’s behaviours and attitude towards the targeted parent after the child has been effectively programmed and severely alienated from the targeted parent.

Parental alienation, on the other hand, describes the alienating parent’s or parents’ conduct which induces parental alienation syndrome in children. Parental alienation is a form of relational aggression by one parent against the other parent using their common children.

The process can become cyclic with each parent attempting to alienate the children from the other. There is potential for a negative feedback loop and escalation.

At other times an affected parent may withdraw leaving the children to the alienating parent. Children so alienated often suffer effects similar to those studied in the psychology of torture.

Alienating parents often use grandparents, aunts/uncles, and other elders to alienate their children against the target parent.

In some cases, mental health professionals become unwitting allies in these alienation attempts by backing unfounded allegations of neglect, abuse or mental disease. Courts also often side with the alienating parent against the target parent in legal judgements because parental alienation is so difficult to detect.

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Extreme forms of parental alienation include obsessive brainwashing, character assassination, and the false inducement of fear, shame, and rage in children against the target parent. Moderate forms of parental alienation include loss of self control, flare ups of anger, and nconscious alliances with the children against the target parent. In it’s mildest forms, parental alienation includes occasional mild denigration alternating with a focus on encouraging the children’s relationship with the other parent.

Parental alienation often forces children to choose sides and become allies against the other parent. Children caught in the middle of such conflicts suffer severe losses of love, respect and peace during their formative years.

They also often lose their alienated parent forever.

These consequences and a host of others cause terrible traumas to children as studied in Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Parents so alienated often suffer heartbreaking loss of their children through no fault of their own. In addition, they often face false accusations from their alienated children that they cannot counter with the facts.

Finally, they often find themselves powerless to show that this little-known form of cruel, covert, and cunning aggression is occurring or has occurred.

Often the problem can be cured only by realizing the underlying causes. The reasons are very numerous and varied. These are examples:

  • Money. The custodial parent may wish to have more than the non-custodial parent is willing or able to provide and the children are leverage pawns.
  • Retaliation. ‘You wanted a life without us. Now you have it.’
  • New family member.The mother forms a new romantic relationship and wants her new man to be the father. The non-custodial parent is a hindrance to that new relationship, an unwanted reminder.
  • New partner’s interference. Mother’s boy-friend or new husband wants to be the man in the child’s life and works to exclude the father.
  • Jealousy Mother’s empty life is in stark contrast to Father’s recovering one. Mother may not wish the father’s new partner to have the role of ‘rival mother’ – particularly if she is insecure about her own abilities.
  • Property rights. Mother regards child as her property and is unwilling to share
  • Social appearance.Mother could never admit that she is not the sole focus of her child’s life.
  • Depression, Poor health.General negative view on life interpreted by her as being a result of the marital breakup and therefore his fault.
  • Simple hatred by the mother of the father.
  • Hostility from the father toward the mother is viewed by her as a risk to the children as well, so she feels that she must ‘protect’ the child by preventing the father from visiting. Mother may have no basis whatsoever for feeling that the father will be hostile to the child.
  • Possessiveness of the child’s attention and affection. The Mother may have no other close family and be envious of the father’s friends and relatives.

  • Mother convinces herself that the father is a dangerous human with extreme character flaws to which the child should not be exposed. Mother assumes that activities enjoyed by the father are risky to the child, even though other children may engage in those same activities.
  • Mother has taken a gender approach and is hostile to all men. This can be particularly true if the mother has limited her own contacts to other single mothers. She may be unable to sustain a wholesome relationship with a man.
  • Punishment. Mother eliminates visits or shortens contact with the father if the children do not behave. “You have not finished your homework. You cannot go to dinner with your father.” or “You did not obey me about your bedtime. You are grounded here and while you are with your father this weekend.”
  • Perceived competition with the former spouse. This is particularly true when the non-custodial father spends more on the children than the mother is able to do. Also called “Disneyland Dads”, the father uses his time in high dollar activities while the mother has to make do on free and low cost amusements for them. This also works in reverse with the “competitive” mom – where the non-custodial parent plans an activity, such as a driving vacation and then the custodial mom has to ‘trump’ it by flying the children out of the country on vacation. Neither parent seems to notice that the TWO vacations are far more than the child would have received if in a pre-divorce home and that the child’s values are being distorted on a very subconscious, but permanent level.
  • Self-esteem. The mother’s interests and activities may be so focused on the children that she has no life if they are not around. She does not wish to, or cannot admit, that they have fun if she is not part.
  • Fear of abandonment.Mother worries that children may choose the father over her if given the opportunity.
  • Control. The children may be the only means the parent has of directing the life and emotions of the former spouse.
  • Reverse control. The mother may have never wanted a man except to sire the child and, once that role is complete, the mother wants him well away from her child. Watch for parents who say ‘MY child’ when talking to the other parent.
  • Punishment to the Father for forming a new marriage. ‘You were supposed to stay single and grieve for me forever.’
  • Mistaken belief that the father was actually not interested in the child.Many men are not granted much of a role in baby care, so as the child grows older and the father is ‘learning how to parent’ he may not spend as much time with the child –which may be viewed in retrospect as disinterest. Parenting does not come naturally to everyone and non-custodial parents have less of a chance to practice, with their mistakes being more visible.
  • Lifestyle conflicts.Mother and father have different choices in cultures, religions, and values and she wants to isolate the children into hers.
  • Emotional dependence.The mother may feel that the child has only so much capability for affection and wants it all for herself.
  • Resentment of reminders of failure.The mother may view the dissolved marriage as a failure and wish to avoid all memory of it.
  • Concealment. The mother may be having difficulties and does not want the children to provide information about her situation to the father.

Theses cases involving Parental Alienating are very frustrating to the targeted parent. Many times the offending parent feels totally justified in their actions. They cannot see the damage they are causing their children.

How can targeted parents in these situations be helped?

Encourage them to keep their heads up,  maintain perspective, and contact the right professionals. Open up the line of communication with their children, recognize early warning signs of trouble, and respond appropriately to rude and hateful behavior.

Avoid common errors made by rejected parents through recognition of the problem and quickly obtaining the proper experts, which is crucial in developing a strategy inn a custody case involving Parental Alienation.

If necessary, ask the courts to order an evaluation and most of all to order treatment to reverse the damages caused by such conduct.

 Sources:

Parental Alienation Syndrome  by Lynn M.Swank,

Dr. Richard A. Warshak. Divorce Poison, Protecting the Parent-Child Bond from a Vindictive Ex, Regan Books, New York, 

Gardner, R.A. (1998). The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition, Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

Three Types of Parental Alienation Copyright 1997 by Douglas Darnall, Ph.D.)

Forensic Family Services, Inc.

Trump has passed a new federal law aimed at keeping at-risk families together during treatment


This new federal law will change foster care as we know it
BY TERESA WILTZ
Stateline.org
May 03, 2018 01:00 AM

WASHINGTON

A new federal law, propelled by the belief that children in difficult homes nearly always fare best with their parents, effectively blows up the nation’s troubled foster care system.

Few outside child welfare circles paid any mind to the law, which was tucked inside a massive spending bill President Donald Trump signed in February. But it will force states to overhaul their foster care systems by changing the rules for how they can spend their annual $8 billion in federal funds for child abuse prevention.

The law, called the Family First Prevention Services Act, prioritizes keeping families together and puts more money toward at-home parenting classes, mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment – and puts limits on placing children in institutional settings such as group homes. It’s the most extensive overhaul of foster care in nearly four decades.

“It’s a really significant reform for families,” said Hope Cooper, founding partner of True North Group, a Washington, D.C.-based public policy consultancy that advised child welfare agencies on the new law. “The emphasis is really on helping kids stay safe with families, and helping vulnerable families get help earlier.”

Most child welfare advocates have hailed the changes, but some states that rely heavily on group homes fear that now they won’t have enough money to pay for them.

The federal government won’t release compliance guidelines until October, so states are still figuring out how the changes might affect their often-beleaguered systems. Most expect the impact will be dramatic, particularly states such as Colorado that have a lot of group foster homes.

For the first time, the Family First Act caps federal funding for group homes, also known as “congregate care.” Previously, there were no limits, Cooper said. The federal government won’t pay for a child to stay in a group home longer than two weeks, with some exceptions, such as teens who are pregnant or parenting.

But even in states that are moving in the direction envisioned by the federal law, officials are worried about certain aspects of it.

In New York, state officials are concerned that the limits on group homes will cost counties too much. Under the new caps, New York counties will have to chip in as much as 50 percent more for certain children, said Sheila Poole, acting commissioner for New York’s Office of Children and Family Services. That would be a significant hit for smaller counties with scant resources, she said.

In California, city, county and state officials and child welfare advocates worry the law will place a burden on extended family members who are raising grandchildren, nieces and nephews outside of foster care. That’s because “kinship caregivers” won’t be eligible for foster care payments under the new law.

This practice isn’t new, but it is likely to expand under Family First, said Sean Hughes, a California-based child welfare consultant and former Democratic congressional staffer who opposes parts of the law.

The new law, Hughes said, “closes the front door to a lot of safety nets that we’ve developed for kids in foster care.”

Child protective services investigates alleged abuse or neglect in as many as 37 percent of all children under 18 in the United States, according to a 2017 report in the American Journal of Public Health. African-American children are almost twice as likely as white children to have their well-being investigated by child protective services. (The report only looked at reports of child abuse and neglect, not placement in foster care.)

A March report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found the foster care population increased by more than 10 percent between 2012 and 2016, the last year for which data is available. The agency linked the increase in child welfare caseloads to the nation’s opioid epidemic, which is ravaging families.

In six states – Alaska, Georgia, Minnesota, Indiana, Montana and New Hampshire – the foster care population increased by more than half.

To help reverse the trend, the new law places a greater emphasis on prevention.

The federal government underfunded prevention services for years, said Karen Howard, vice president of early childhood policy for First Focus, a Washington, D.C.-based child advocacy group that worked on the legislation. Before the enactment of Family First, states got reimbursed for foster care through funding provided by Title IV-E of the Social Security Act – and that money could be used only for foster care, adoption or family reunification. The money could not routinely be used for prevention that might keep families from sending their children to foster care in the first place.

Now, for the first time, evidence-based prevention services will be funded as an entitlement, like Medicaid.

That means that prevention services will be guaranteed by the federal government for the families of children who are deemed “foster care candidates”: usually kids determined to be victims of abuse or neglect who haven’t been removed from their home.

Under the new law, states may use matching federal funding to provide at-risk families with up to 12 months of mental health services, substance abuse treatment and in-home parenting training to families. Eligible beneficiaries are the families of children identified as safe staying at home; teen parents in foster care; and other parents who need preventive help so their kids don’t end up in the system. States must also come up with a plan to keep the child safe while remaining with parents.

Some child welfare advocates, such as Hughes, worry that 12 months of preventive care isn’t enough for parents struggling with opioid addiction. People with opioid addictions often relapse multiple times on the road to recovery.

Many preventive services, such as home visiting, clinical services, transportation assistance and job training aren’t eligible for Family First funding, Poole said.

The law provides competitive grants for states to recruit foster families; establishes licensing requirements for foster families who are related to the child; and requires states to come up with a plan to prevent children dying from abuse and neglect.

In another first, the law also removes the requirement that states only use prevention services for extremely poor families. Because the income standards hadn’t been adjusted in 20 years, fewer and fewer families qualified for the services, advocates say. Now, states don’t have to prove that an at-risk family meets those circa 1996 income standards.

“That’s significant,” said Howard of First Focus. “Because abuse happens in rich homes, middle-class homes, poor homes. This is a game changer, because states can really go to town” to provide innovative prevention services to troubled families, Howard said.

Under the new law, the federal government will cap the amount of time a child can spend in group homes. It will do so by reimbursing states for only two weeks of a child’s stay in congregate care – with some exceptions, such as for children in residential treatment programs offering round-the-clock nursing care.

The new restrictions begin in 2019. States can ask for a two-year delay to implement the group home provisions of the law, but if they do, they can’t get any federal funding for preventive services.

The group home provision comes after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a 2015 report showing that 40 percent of teens in foster care group homes had no clinical reason, such as a mental health diagnosis, for being there rather than in a family setting. Child welfare experts saw this as more evidence that group homes were being overused. Children’s average stay in a group home is eight months, the report found.

Some states rely more on group homes than others, with the amount of children in congregate care ranging from 4 to 35 percent of foster care children, according to a 2015 report by the Casey Foundation. Colorado, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wyoming have the greatest percentage of children living in group homes, though the report also found that over the previous 10 years, the group home population had decreased by about a third.

Those who oppose the group home restrictions say they are too narrow in scope.

The law’s additional requirements for congregate care “reduce a state’s flexibility to determine the most appropriate placement for a child and would negatively impact the likelihood of receiving sufficient federal funding,” said Poole, the acting child welfare commissioner in New York. She said the state is weighing whether it will ask for a two-year delay.

It makes sense to not place foster youth in group homes unless absolutely necessary, said Hughes, the California consultant. But sometimes it is necessary. The vast majority of foster youth in group homes are there because staying in a foster home or with a relative didn’t work out, Hughes said. For kids who’ve been through trauma, particularly older kids, a traditional foster home isn’t equipped to give them the care they need, he said.

“The idea that kids are placed in group homes because the system is lazy and doesn’t have any regard for their well-being is unfounded,” Hughes said.

How pedophiles use “Patsy’s” to get away with child sexual abuse – Two True MUST READ Stories


(Trigger Warning: This post may contain information about the topic of sexual abuse that may be sensitive in nature to some readers )

I have thought about this article allot before writing it. This is very difficult.

I am not writing it to gain anything, but in hopes that someone reading it does. ..

gain knowledge…awareness…

the truth…

I don’t want anyone to go through this, but I know many will…

So maybe this will make a difference somewhere to someone…

somehow…

There’s a sad truth called sexual abuse that we really don’t want to talk about, but we must.

There are perpetrators of sexual abuse that we don’t ever want to know, but we do.

There are mistakes that are made and reality becomes something we don’t want to face, but we have no choice.

The truth is, children are sexually abused. There’s no sense ignoring it. It does not make it go away.

Sometimes the wrong person is blamed, and the abuser gets away with it….this does not necessarily happen because of an error in judgment, or a lack of concern, but something far more sinister…

It happens on purpose.

Yes, on purpose. By design; following a perpetrators methodical plan..with an end goal being to abuse more and to get away with it.

This article will show you how they do it, so you and i can possibly stop one of them.

Protect your child with open eyes.

The following two stories are true cases where this horrific type of situation occurred. I know this topic is a difficult one. It is disgusting, vile, immoral, and sad. It is still vitally important to talk about, even if we don’t want to. Why? Because cases like these that are not isolated. They happen all the time, and if the abuser has his way, it will happen again, on purpose.

Pedophiles and child molesters are everywhere. They look like anyone you meet. They prey on children, and, most of the time, the children know them.

The predator must rely on others to trust him, need him or fear him. without at least one of those elements, the predator cannot gain the compliance he needs to abuse. Sometimes the child even loves their abuser.

Sexual abuse destroys that innocent trust (and the ABILITY to trust) by exploiting the fears and needs of the victim. They intertwine themselves into their victims lives, devastate families, and change their victim into someone new.

They do all of this harm for their own sexual gratification, and their need to fulfill it, without getting caught.

They plot, plan, and seek out their victims. They must groom them -a process by which they slowly work with the victim until the predator feels confident they have gained the trust and silence of their victim before introducing the actual sexual abuse.

First they must find their victim, prepare their victim and then, finally, they abuse their victim. It’s a process.

Pedophiles are sick …and the sickness doesn’t go away..

They are notoriously incurable, and will usually re-offend, having more than one victims. Sex offenders who molest children have many traits in common, and when they are caught, you can bet they don’t get caught with their first victim, or on their first abuse. Usually they have had many victims prior to getting caught, or they have abused many times.

They do not rehabilitate very easily or very often, and did I mention, that most of the time, they will re-offend?

Abusers comes in all shapes, sizes, genders, race and with different preferences. Victims can and are both male and female alike. No one is immune. Do not be misconstrued about the appearance of a predator, they don’t always look like three monster they are.

The abuser is a predator and predators hunt. The predator is opportunistic. Like any predator on the hunt, if he sees the opportunities laid out before him, he will jump on it. Sometimes he must make his own opportunities. He must be-friend a child, or the parent of a child, in order to gain access to the child.

The predator loves to see an opportunity to have a ‘patsy’… another innocent person to take the blame for their abuse they are committing against a child. I have two such stories to tell you.

The end result of sexual abuse is tragic, and as you’ll read, the truth is sometimes not revealed until far too late.

Here is the story of a little girl ill call “Child A “-

Child A was 4 years old when the abuse began. Her abuser was her mother’s 2nd husband. Child A was born to parents who were teenagers. The couple had split up when she was 2 years of age, and found themselves caught in a bitter divorce and custody battle before they could even legally purchase alcohol. However the contention was not between the two of them, but the maternal grandmother had intervened and filed suit and she wanted custody.

The mother was only 16 when she got pregnant with child A, and out of selfless love for her daughter, she admitted she wasn’t ready to be a full time single mother. A bitter pill to swallow. The mother also knew that fighting in a custody battle would just add to the already volatile conflict.

The mother made the difficult decision to back up from the court battle. She settled for sporadic visitations on the 5th weekends of the months. She would have the ability to stay in contact with her daughter and be involved in school functions, advised of any pertinent health matters, etc etc. Since most months only had 4 weekends, this meant she only had possession of her daughter every few months for one weekend.. but she talked on the phone, had lunch at school with her, and stayed active in her child’s life.

The mother had a boyfriend who ultimately became her 2nd husband, the stepfather. They lived together when child A was 4 years old, so most of the time, he was there when her daughter would visit. The mother rarely, if ever, left her daughter alone with her boyfriend, not because she mistrustd him, but mainly because she cherished every minute she had with her.

At the time, the custody battle between her father and the maternal grandmother had reached a boiling point. It became brutal. The two adversaries were in and out of court on a regular basis. They fought over everything, seemingly petty issues. The temporary orders they were going by were ridiculously detailed. They fought over everything from child support, visitation, to cutting the child’s hair, piercing her ears, the clothes she wore between the two houses, even hair barrettes. You name it, they fought over it- and they were going back and forth to Court all the time to “clarify” the orders on any issue. Honestly, it was bad.

So when the maternal grandmother accused the father of sexual abuse, many people who knew the situation werent surprised. The child’s mother, always felt like the allegations were outlandish against her ex. She just believed it, at first, to be one more ridiculous ploy the grandmother came up with, designed to try to deprive the child’s father of custody.

A social worker was brought in to investigate, and the child made an outcry…

“My daddy hurt me with my white panties”….

Things got very real at that point. For everyone. Ploy or not, things went from ridiculously annoying to damn serious.

The little girl was subjected to sexual abuse exams and the mother and father was subjected to interrogations. The father was adamant in proclaiming his innocence, and he was terrified. He had remarried and begun a new family and these false allegations against him could possibly cost him his new family. He already lost jobs, spent untold amounts of money on attorneys, and endured strikes against his reputation. He suffered from the stress, and the unimaginable trauma of being falsely accused of the heinous crimes.

The allegations were severe but after investigations were complete, the allegations of sexual abuse was never substantiated against him.

The custody battle continued on for an unbelievable total of 14 years before it finally ended when the child was a teenager.

Ten years later… At age 14, child A had, four the first time, talked about her abuse. She told a friend from school about the sexual abuse committed against her a decade before by her stepfather, that began when she was four years old. Abuse that her father had been accused of… abuse that turned so many lives upside down..

How did this happen?

When the predator was abusing he saw an opportunity. He knew, due to the raging court battle between the father and the grandmother, that any sexual abuse allegations would easily come against the father and easily believed by others that the father had perpetrated the abuse. There was the perfect person or ‘patsy’ opportunity right before him. He knew the grandmother would jump to that conclusion and use it in court. He also knew, given the child’s young age, she was easily manipulated and not necessarily credible.

Child molesters are meticulous in their abusing routine. From the choosing of a victim to how they go about carrying out their abuse, they are methodical and deliberate, in all they do.

The abuser in this case called himself “daddy” to the little girl as he abused her. In doing so …he perfectly set up the situation so that when the outcry was initially made, it was made against her “daddy”… shifting all focus and blame to the child’s father.

By the time the child grew older, age 14, when she told her friend the true identity of her abuser, that friend went to the school counselor with the information. However the authorities and CPS did not see much reasoning in pursuing charges, insofar as much time had passed, and Child A was no longer at risk of being abused by that perpetrator, as he and her mother had long since split up. Both had moved on, with new spouses and other children, and were living new lives. Of course, for him, that meant new victims.

As I said earlier, by the time they are caught, it’s usually the first time they abuse a child. There’s usually several previous occasions or victims that they got away with. In this case, the perpetrator had moved on, remarried a woman with a little girl, and abused her for several years without incident. That is, until Child A told her friend who told the school. That launched a snowball effect which ultimately led to the investigation of this man and his relationship to his new stepdaughter. Eventually, that girl confided in a friend at her school in a note she wrote detailing the years of abuse. A note that was found by her mother, who took it to authorities.

He was finally caught.

That monster is serving several concurrent sentences of 40 years each, and a couple 20 year sentences, for his abuse against his stepdaughter that spanned almost 6 years. It is unlikely he will ever be released.

Child A’s father was finally vindicated.

The next story I’ll call Child B.

Child B was, once again, the subject of a bitter custody battle where allegations were made against the mother’s second husband. Although the investigations were unable to determine if the abuse occurred or by whom, the mother eventually signed over custody to her ex, to end the allegations against her new husband who she believed was innocent.

Years passed that the mother did not even get to see Child B. It was tragic.

Then one day news broke that the couple’s old next door neighbor is being looked at for sexual Abuse of another child. Thats when the mother realised it could have conceivably been their ex neighbor who abused Child B. That neighbor never liked Child B’s new husband, and was always interested in the status of the custody battle. He always seemed extra interested in Child B, spending time with her, but until the confusion of the custody battle passed and the new realizations came out several years later, the mother had not seen the signs.

Child B is a case still unresolved. The trauma the like girl endured was severe. It’s taken many Year’s for her to regain a sense of normalcy and to begin thriving again.

Almost ten years old now, Child B has reached a good point in her life where she is healthy again. The mother has gotten back some visitations with her daughter, and both mother and father have decided not to discuss the abuse with her. Hopefully when Child B is ready, she will talk about it. They will continue to monitor the situation with their old neighbor from afar, and they were hopeful that the truth will be found without reopening any traumatic investigations in Child B’s now thriving life. They simply feel it would prove too much for the girl.

Her stepfather, however, has finally been vindicated.

So as you can see, these predators will take the opportunities they see to abuse.

This can be prevented by staying vigilant, eyes wide open, to everyone whose in your life. Use discretion when sharing information about situations you may be going thru, like custody battles or marital problems. Keep those things to yourself. Pay attention to anyone showing unusually high interest in your child, making readings to be alone with your child, offering rides, or to babysit. Takes notice of anyone who seems interested only in the Child, and not in adult company. Who seems to want to become closely knit in the Child’s life. Don’t discount anyone it can be a neighbor, coach, family friend, or even a family member. Keep your eyes open and communicate with your child about whose around them. Teach them what’s appropriate and not inappropriate and let them know you are the for them. Make them feel safe to talk to you should anything happen.

Hopefully this will never be a reality for your family, but if it does come to your door, remember to always keep aware of your child’s surroundings. Don’t let the moments focus you in the wrong direction. If the wrong person gets accused, the real predator gets away with it, and continues to abuse.

Godspeed.

The Silent Epidemic of Psychiatric Drugs and the Link to School Shootings and Mass Killings (the media doesn’t want you to know about)


Violence-Report-Cover

Another School Shooting, Another Psychiatric Drug?

There is one factor that isn’t readily reported in the mainstream media when news of another school shooting takes place – and that is the use of psychotropic drugs by the perpetrator.

Sure, the news has demonstrated Nikolas Cruz to be a sad story of a troubled youth with a bullied past and family issues, etc etc. However, it seems to me that they present his sordid past by demonizing him, focusing on his earlier statements or threats, his shooting practice in the back yard, and the death of his mother. But Did you know that Mr Cruz had also been given psychotropic drugs?

Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. It’s not the first time or the only time psychotropic drugs might have been a factor in a school shooting.

Although the following facts and numbers were compiled prior to the Parkland shooting, they are still very telling and I think they are important to share. So, that being said, here’s the facts. (Source: Citizens Commission on Human Rights, cchr.org)

Another Mass Shooting, Another Psychiatric Drug?

Federal Investigation Long Overdue

There is overwhelming evidence that psychiatric drugs cause violence. 22 International drug regulatory warnings cite violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis and even homicidal ideation.

Individuals under the influence of such drugs and committing these acts of senseless violence are not limited to using guns, AND are not limited to just schools.

Recent examples of individuals under the influence of such drugs including Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis and Fort Hood shooter Ivan Lopez. (And of course San Bernadino and Las Vegas).

Fact: Despite 22 international drug regulatory warnings on psychiatric drugs citing effects of mania, hostility, violence and even homicidal ideation, and dozens of high profile shootings/killings tied to psychiatric drug use, there has yet to be a federal investigation on the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of senseless violence.

(I wonder why)

Fact: At least 35 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence have been committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in 169 wounded and 79 killed (in other school shootings, information about their drug use was never made public—neither confirming or refuting if they were under the influence of prescribed drugs).

Fact: Between 2004 and 2012, there have been 14,773 reports to the U.S. FDA’s MedWatch system on psychiatric drugs causing violent side effects including:

1,531 cases of homicidal ideation/homicide,

3,287 cases of mania &

8,219 cases of aggression.

The FDA estimates that less than 1% of all serious events are ever reported to it, so the actual number of side effects occurring are most certainly higher.

Fact: It took months for the release of information showing that police had found psychiatric drugs in the apartment of Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter, James Holmes—including the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam and the antidepressant sertraline, the generic version of the antidepressant Zoloft. Despite official, legal requests for the release of Sandy Hook school shooter Adam Lanza’s toxicology reports and medical history to ascertain whether psychiatric drugs played a role in the school massacre, the office of the Connecticut medical examiner has refused to release this crucial information to the public, prompting a parent’s rights organization to take the matter to court.

Of the 35 people who committed acts of violence that were documented to be under the influence of psychiatric drugs, twelve were seeing either a psychiatrist or psychologist.

See the list of school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence by those on psychiatric drugs here.

School-related acts of violence aren’t the only cases commonly found to be under the influence of psychiatric drugs.

There are 18 other recent acts of senseless violence committed by individuals taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in an additional 76 dead and 61 wounded.

The correlation between psychiatric drugs and acts of violence and homicide is well documented – both by international drug regulatory warnings and studies, as well as by hundreds of cases where high profile acts of violence/mass murder were committed by individuals under the influence of psychiatric drugs.

The New York State Senate recognized this as far back as 2000, introducing a bill which would “require police to report to the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), certain crimes and suicides committed by persons using psychotropic drugs,” citing “a large body of scientific research establishing a connection between violence and suicide and the use of psychotropic drugs.”

Unfortunately that bill stalled out in the finance committee. By reviewing the international drug regulatory warnings, studies, and adverse reaction reports submitted to the US FDA below, it is evident that the reintroduction of the New York bill is needed on a federal level in order to determine just how many crimes and acts of violence are being committed by individuals under the influence of drugs documented to induce violence, mania, psychosis, aggression, hostility and homicide.

As the world’s leading mental health watchdog, CCHR has, for decades, investigated hundreds of acts of senseless violence, working alongside investigative reporters, law enforcement, as well as legislative hearings, such as those held in Colorado following the 1999 Columbine massacre (ringleader Eric Harris was found to be under the influence of the antidepressant Luvox, Dylan Klebold’s autopsy reports were never unsealed).

And while there is never one simple explanation for what drives a human being to commit such unspeakable acts, all too often one common denominator has surfaced in hundreds of cases—prescribed psychiatric drugs which are documented to cause mania, psychosis, violence, suicide and in some cases, homicidal ideation.

It is an injustice that the general public are not being informed about the well documented links between psychiatric drugs and violence, and so once again we present even more of the facts:

There have been 22 international drug regulatory warnings issued on psychiatric drugs causing violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis, and other violent type reactions. These warnings have been issued in the United States, European Union, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

In determining what would prompt a person to commit such brutal and senseless crimes, the press must ask the right questions, including: What, if any, prescribed psychotropic drugs the perpetrator may have been on (or in withdrawal from).g

Read the international drug regulatory warnings issued on psychiatric drugs causing violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis, and other violent type reactions.

See the recent study from PLoS One here on psychiatric drugs being linked to violence.

Watch this short interview with Michael Moore, author, director and producer of Bowling for Columbine, where he calls for a federal investigation into the link between prescribed drugs and mass shootings such as the 1999 Columbine massacre.

At least 35 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence were committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs. It is important to note the following lists cases where the information about the shooters psychiatric drug use was made public.

It took months for the release of information showing that police had found psychiatric drugs in the apartment of Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter, James Holmes—including the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam and the antidepressant sertraline, the generic version of the antidepressant Zoloft.

Note that all these mass shootings didn’t just occur in the United States.

Of these 35, twelve were seeing either a psychiatrist or psychologist. It is not known whether or not the others were seeing a psychiatrist, as it has not been published.

  1. Tallahassee, Florida – November 20, 2014: 31-year-old Myron May, a Florida State University alum, opened fire in the school’s library, wounding three before he was shot and killed by police. ABC Action News found a half-filled prescription for the antianxiety drug Hydroxyzine in his apartment after the shooting. In addition, according to May’s friends, he had seen a psychologist and had been prescribed the antidepressant Wellbutrin and the ADHD drug Vyvanse. He also checked himself in to a mental health center called Mesilla Valley Hospital around September of 2014. Shortly after this, his friends discovered the antipsychotic Seroquel among his prescriptions.
  2. Seattle, Washington – June 5, 2014: 26-year-old Aaron Ybarra opened fire with a shotgun at Seattle Pacific University, killing one student and wounding two others. Ybarra planned to kill as many people as possible and then kill himself. In 2012, Ybarra reported that he had been prescribed the antidepressant Prozac and antipsychotic Risperdal. A report from his counselor in December of 2013 said that he was taking Prozac at the time and planned to continue to meet with his psychiatrist and therapist as needed.
  3. Milford, Connecticut – April 25, 2014: 16-year-old Chris Plaskon stabbed Maren Sanchez, also 16, to death in a stairwell at Jonathan Law High School after she turned down his prom invitation. According to classmates and a former close friend, Chris was taking drugs for ADHD.
  4. Sparks, Nevada – October 21, 2013: 12-year-old Jose Reyes opened fire at Sparks Middle School, killing a teacher and wounding two classmates before committing suicide. The investigation revealed that he had been seeing a psychiatrist and had a generic version of Prozac (fluoxetine) in his system at the time of death.
  5. St. Louis, Missouri – January 15, 2013: 34-year-old Sean Johnson walked onto the Stevens Institute of Business & Arts campus and shot the school’s financial aid director once in the chest, then shot himself in the torso. Johnson had been taking prescribed drugs for an undisclosed mental illness.
  6. Snohomish County, Washington – October 24, 2011: A 15-year-old girl went to Snohomish High School where police alleged that she stabbed a girl as many as 25 times just before the start of school, and then stabbed another girl who tried to help her injured friend. Prior to the attack the girl had been taking “medication” and seeing a psychiatrist. Court documents said the girl was being treated for depression.
  7. Planoise, France – December 13, 2010: A 17-year-old youth held twenty pre-school children and their teacher hostage for hours at Charles Fourier preschool. The teen was reported to be on “medication for depression”. He took a classroom hostage with two swords. Eventually, all the children and the teacher were released safely.
  8. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – September 21, 2011: 14-year-old Christian Helms had two pipe bombs in his backpack, when he shot and wounded Socastee High School’s “resource” (police) officer. However the officer was able to stop the student before he could do anything further. Helms had been taking drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression.
  9. Huntsville, Alabama – February 5, 2010: 15-year-old Hammad Memon shot and killed another Discover Middle School student Todd Brown. Memon had a history for being treated for ADHD and depression. He was taking the antidepressant Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.” He had been seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist.
  10. Kauhajoki, Finland – September 23, 2008: 22-year-old culinary student Matti Saari shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine. He was also seeing a psychologist.
  11. Fresno, California – April 24, 2008: 17-year-old Jesus “Jesse” Carrizales attacked the Fresno high school’s officer, hitting him in the head with a baseball bat. After knocking the officer down, the officer shot Carrizales in self-defense, killing him. Carrizales had been prescribed Lexapro and Geodon, and his autopsy showed that he had a high dose of the antidepressant Lexapro in his blood that could have caused him to be paranoid, according to the coroner.
  12. Dekalb, Illinois – February 14, 2008: 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amount of Xanax in his system. He had been seeing a psychiatrist.
  13. Jokela, Finland – November 7, 2007: 18-year-old Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School in southern Finland, then committed suicide.
  14. Texas – November 7, 2007: 17-year-old Felicia McMillan returned to her former Robert E. Lee High School campus and stabbed a male student and wounded the principle with a knife. McMillan had been on drugs for depression, and had just taken them the night before the incident.
  15. Cleveland, Ohio – October 10, 2007: 14-year-old Asa Coon stormed through his school with a gun in each hand, shooting and wounding four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon had been placed on the antidepressant Trazodone.
  16. Sudbury, Massachusetts – January 19, 2007: 16-year-old John Odgren stabbed another student with a large kitchen knife in a boy’s bathroom at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. In court his father testified that Odgren was prescribed the drug Ritalin.
  17. North Vernon, Indiana – December 4, 2006: 16-year-old Travis Roberson stabbed another Jennings County High School student in the neck, nearly severing an artery. Roberson was in withdrawal from Wellbutrin, which he had stopped taking days before the attack.
  18. Hillsborough, North Carolina – August 30, 2006: 19-year-old Alvaro Rafael Castillo shot and killed his father, then drove to Orange High School where he opened fire. Two students were injured in the shooting, which ended when school personnel tackled him. His mother said he was on drugs for depression.
  19. Chapel Hill, North Carolina – April 2006: 17-year-old William Barrett Foster took a shotgun to school and took a teacher and a fellow student hostage at East Chapel Hill High School. After being talked out of shooting the hostages, Foster fired two shots through a classroom window before fleeing the school on foot. Foster’s father testified that his son had stopped taking his antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs without telling him.
  20. Red Lake, Minnesota – March 21, 2005: 16-year-old Jeff Weise, on Prozac, shot and killed his grandparents, then went to his school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation where he shot dead 5 students, a security guard, and a teacher, and wounded 7 before killing himself.
  21. Greenbush, New York – February 2004: 16-year-old Jon Romano strolled into his high school in east Greenbush and opened fire with a shotgun. Special education teacher Michael Bennett was hit in the leg. Romano had been taking “medication for depression”. He had previously seen a psychiatrist.
  22. Red Lion, Pennsylvania – February 2, 2001: 56-year-old William Michael Stankewicz entered North Hopewell-Winterstown Elementary School with a machete, leaving three adults and 11 children injured. Stankewicz was taking four different drugs for depression and anxiety weeks before the attacks.
  23. Ikeda, Japan – June 8, 2001: 37-year-old Mamoru Takuma, wielding a 6-inch knife, slipped into an elementary school and stabbed eight first- and second-graders to death while wounding at least 15 other pupils and teachers. He then turned the knife on himself but suffered only superficial wounds. He later told interrogators that before the attack he had taken 10 times his normal dose of antidepressants.
  24. Wahluke, Washington – April 10, 2001: Sixteen-year-old Cory Baadsgaard took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates and a teacher hostage. He had been taking the antidepressant Effexor.
  25. El Cajon, California – March 22, 2001: 18-year-old Jason Hoffman, on the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor, opened fire on his classmates, wounding three students and two teachers at Granite Hills High School. He had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting.
  26. Williamsport, Pennsylvania – March 7, 2001: 14-year-old Elizabeth Bush was taking the antidepressant Prozac when she shot at fellow students, wounding one.
  27. Oxnard, California – January 2001: 17-year-old Richard Lopez went to Hueneme High School with a gun and shot twice at a car in the school’s parking lot before taking a female student hostage. Lopez was eventually killed by a SWAT officer. He had been prescribed Prozac, Paxil and “drugs that helped him go to sleep.”
  28. Conyers, Georgia – May 20, 1999: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with the stimulant Ritalin when he opened fire on and wounded six of his classmates.
  29. Columbine, Colorado – April 20, 1999: 18-year-old Eric Harris and his accomplice, Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves. Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox. Klebold’s medical records remain sealed. Both shooters had been in anger-management classes and had undergone counseling. Harris had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting.
  30. Notus, Idaho – April 16, 1999: 15-year-old Shawn Cooper fired two shotgun rounds in his school, narrowly missing students. He was taking a prescribed antidepressant and Ritalin.
  31. Springfield, Oregon – May 21, 1998: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his parents and then proceeded to school where he opened fire on students in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 25. Kinkel had been taking the antidepressant Prozac. Kinkel had been attending “anger control classes” and was under the care of a psychologist.
  32. Blackville, South Carolina – October 12, 1995: 15-year-old Toby R. Sincino slipped into the Blackville-Hilda High School’s rear entrance, where he shot two Blackville-Hilda High School teachers, killing one. Then Toby killed himself moments later. His aunt, Carolyn McCreary, said he had been undergoing counseling with the Department of Mental Health and was taking Zoloft for emotional problems.
  33. Chelsea, Michigan – December 17, 1993: 39-year-old chemistry teacher Stephen Leith, facing a disciplinary matter at Chelsea High School, shot Superintendent Joseph Piasecki to death, shot Principal Ron Mead in the leg, and slightly wounded journalism teacher Phil Jones. Leith was taking Prozac and had been seeing a psychiatrist.
  34. Houston, Texas – September 18, 1992: 44-year-old Calvin Charles Bell, reportedly upset about his second-grader’s progress report, appeared in the principal’s office of Piney Point Elementary School. Bell fired a gun in the school, and eventually wounded two officers before surrendering. Relatives told police on Friday that Bell was an unemployed Vietnam veteran and had been taking anti-depressants.
  35. Winnetka, Illinois – 20 May 1988: 30-year-old Laurie Wasserman Dann walked into a second grade classroom at Hubbard Woods School in Winnetka, Illinois carrying three pistols and began shooting children, killing an eight-year-old boy, and wounding five others before fleeing. She entered a nearby house where she shot and wounded a 20-year-old man before killing herself. Dann had been seeing a psychiatrist and subsequent blood tests revealed that at the time of the killings, she was taking the antidepressant Anafranil.

Psychiatric Drugs Can Also Cause Severe Withdrawal Symptoms—Violent and Suicidal Thoughts – Watch This 2 Minute Video

18 additional recent murders and murder-suicides, resulting in 76 dead and 61 wounded:

  1. Santa Barbara, California – May 23, 2014: 22-year-old Elliot Rodger stabbed his two roommates at the apartment he shared with them, along with a third person who was visiting. He then drove to a University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) sorority house where he shot three women, killing two of them. Driving again, he exchanged fire with deputies, hit a bicyclist, fired on other people in multiple locations and then killed himself. In all he killed 6 and wounded 13 others before taking his own life. He explained in his manifesto that he had psychiatric drugs and made them part of his plan in ending his own life. On page 133 of the manifesto, Rodgers explains that he’ll shoot himself in the head and “I will quickly swallow all of the Xanax and Vicodin pills I have left….” He explains that if the bullets don’t kill him, the mixture of pills will.
  2. Fort Hood, Texas – April 2, 2014: Specialist Ivan Lopez opened fire at Fort Hood military base, killing three people and wounding 16 others before taking his own life. He had been prescribed Ambien, antidepressants and other medications to treat anxiety and depression and had also been examined by a psychiatrist within the month prior and was being evaluated for PTSD.
  3. Washington, DC – September 17, 2013: Aaron Alexis, a Navy contractor, opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 and wounding eight others before he was killed by police. Alexis had received prescriptions from two Veterans Administration hospitals in August 2013 for the antidepressant Trazodone.
  4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – March 8, 2012: 30-year-old John Shick, former patient of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and former student at nearby Duquesne University, shot and killed one and injured six inside UPMC’s Western Psychiatrist Institute. Nine antidepressants were identified among the drugs police found in Shick’s apartment.
  5. Seal Beach, California – October 12, 2011:Scott DeKraai, a harbor tugboat worker, entered the hair salon where his ex-wife worked, killing her and seven others and injuring one. At DeKraai’s initial hearing, his attorney indicated to the judge that DeKraai was prescribed the antidepressant Trazodone and the “mood stabilizer” Topamax.
  6. Afghanistan – October 17, 2010: Indiana soldier David Lawrencewas taking the two antidepressants – Trazodone and Zoloft – when he killed a top Taliban commander by shooting him in the face in a prison cell. During questioning, David said he imagined all the people he knew being blown up and blacked out before the shooting.
  7. Newport, Maine – October 26, 2009:Perley Goodrich Jr. beat his mother and then shot his father dead shortly after being injected withTrazodone in a psychiatric hospital. Goodrich had complained that he didn’t want to take the medication because it made him feel “violent.”
  8. Lakeland, Florida – May 3, 2009: Toxicology test results showed that 34-year-old Troy Bellar was on Tegretol, a drug prescribed for “bi-polar disorder,” when he shot and killed his wife and two of his three children in their home before killing himself.
  9. Granberry Crossing, Alabama – April 26, 2009: 53-year-old Fred B. Davis shot and killed a police officer and wounded a sheriff’s deputy who had responded to a call that Davis had threatened a neighbor with a gun. Prescription drug bottles found at the scene showed that Davis was prescribed the antipsychotic drug Geodon.
  10. Middletown, Maryland – April 17, 2009: Christopher Wood shot and killed his wife, three small children and himself inside their home. Toxicology test results verified that Wood had been taking the antidepressants Cymbalta and Paxil and the anti-anxiety drugs BuSpar and Xanax.
  11. Concord, California – January 11, 2009:Jason Montes, 33, shot and killed his wife and then himself at home. Montes had earlier begun taking the antidepressant Prozac for depression related to his impending divorce and a recent bankruptcy.
  12. Little Rock, Arkansas – August 14, 2008: Less than 48 hours after Timothy Johnson shot and killed Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney, the Little Rock Police declared they were investigating shooter’s use of the antidepressant Effexor, which was found in Johnson’s house. A Little Rock city police report later stated that Johnson “was on an antidepressant and that the drug may have played a part in his ‘irrational and violent behavior.’”
  13. Omaha, Nebraska – December 5, 2007: 19-year-old Robert Hawkins killed eight people and wounded five before committing suicide in an Omaha mall. Autopsy results confirmed he was under the influence of the “anti-anxiety” drug Valium.
  14. Fallujah, Iraq – December 31, 2006: Marine Lance Cpl. Delano Holmes killed Iraqi soldier Mutather Jasem Muhammed Hassin by stabbing him 40 times with a combat knife, with some of the wounds piercing his spine. Holmes had been prescribed Trazodone (an antidepressant), Ambien and Valium (both anti-anxiety drugs).
  15. North Meridian, Florida – July 8, 2003:Doug Williams killed five and wounded nine of his fellow Lockheed Martin employees before killing himself. Williams was reportedly taking two antidepressants, Zoloft andCelexa, for depression after a failed marriage.
  16. Wakefield, Massachusetts – December 26, 2000: 42-year-old computer technician Michael McDermott had been taking threeantidepressants when he hunted down employees in the accounting and human resources offices where he worked, killing seven.
  17. Buffalo, New York – May 1, 1998: 37-year-old Juan Roman, an Erie County sheriff’s deputy, pursued his estranged wife into their children’s elementary school and shot her dead, and a school aide was hit in the elbow. Roman was taking antidepressants and seeing a psychiatrist.
  18. St. Petersburg, FL – May 25, 1992: 30-year-old David Doyle Rittenhouse shot and killed a man that went on a date with his wife. Rittenhouse said he was taking a drug somewhat similar to the controversial drug Prozac, and that the drug impeded his perception abilities and he thought the man had raped his wife, though he said “He knows it didn’t happen that way – but he said that is what was in his mind.”

As far back as 1991, CCHR, along with numerous experts brought evidence before the US FDA that antidepressants were causing suicide and violence.

The heavily Pharma-funded FDA panel ignored the evidence provided, and it would take 14 years, and a great deal of public pressure, for the FDA to finally issue it’s strongest warning, the black box, on antidepressants inducing suicidal ideation.

21 years later, the FDA has yet to issue a black box warning on antidepressants and other classes of psychiatric drugs documented by international regulatory agencies and studies to cause violence. Why not? This failure is not in the public’s interest, who deserve to be warned, rather, it’s in Big Phama’s interest, upon whose funding the FDA heavily relies on.

Keep the facts in mind, when you hear the media call for stricter gun laws or the repeal of the 2nd amendment. Maybe the real truth lies somewhere in the pocketbooks of certain agencies…

Please see Cchr’s updated report on this issue by clicking here.

Backlash Against Parental Alienation: Denial and Skepticism About Psychological Abuse


By Richard A Warshack, Psychologist and expert on P.A.S. @richardwarshack

This post is in honor of Parental Alienation Awareness Day—April 25.

A boy wrote a letter to his mother telling her that she belonged in a mental institution, that she was nothing to him, that she was nothing but a screw-up, that she was sick, selfish, that he wanted to have nothing to do with her or any of her relatives, and that he hoped she died a horrible, painful death. In other words, this boy disowned his mother with the most aggressive, vile, and hateful language.

The father’s attorney attempted to minimize the child’s alienation by claiming that the boy merely loved his dad a lot more than he loved his mom.

Attorneys spin the facts to zealously advocate for their clients’ positions. We expect it.

But what excuse do others have for denying the reality that a child can become irrationally alienated from a good and formerly loved parent? And for denying the reality that the child’s unjustified rejection of one parent can be traced to the other parent’s relentless manipulations to drive a wedge between child and parent?

How could anyone who works in the family law system deny the reality — affirmed nearly unanimously by legal and mental health professionals — that children can be influenced by one parent to turn against the other parent?

Encouraging a child to align with one parent against the other, and teaching a child to hate a parent for no good reason, is cruel. If a teacher did this to a student, bad-mouthed a child’s parents and systematically undermined the child’s love and respect for her parents, that teacher would be out of a job.

“Stealing the soul,” is how I described this process in DIVORCE POISON—enlisting children as agents in their own deprivation and violating children’s trust.

Leading authorities on divorce agree. Dr. Joan Kelly and Dr. Janet Johnston held no punches: “Whether such parents are aware of the negative impact on the child, these behaviors of the aligned parent (and his or her supporters) constitute emotional abuse of the child.”

Society has a checkered track record in recognizing and protecting children from abuse. Denial and minimization intermittently subdue awareness and acknowledgment. It has been this way with physical abuse, with sexual abuse, and with psychological abuse. So we should not be surprised that a subculture of parents and professionals denies that children can be manipulated to reject a parent for no good reason—or that they go so far as to claim that most children will turn against the parent who is abusing them in these ways.

How do deniers rationalize their apparent blindness?
Here are five strategies.

1. Deflect attention from the reality of divorce poison and its destructive impact with debates about whether parental alienation constitutes a bona fide syndrome. The claim is that because the official manual of psychiatric diagnoses (DSM-5) does not include the term “parental alienation,” the problem must be bogus. You also will not find “reckless driving syndrome” in the DSM-5. But you would be wise to avoid getting in a car with a driver who has this problem. Children need protection from reckless, toxic parenting, regardless of how we label the parent’s behavior. Moreover, the DSM-5 does refer to the concept of irrational parental alienation. The diagnostic manual mentions “unwarranted feelings of estrangement” as an example of the diagnosis: Parent–Child Relational Problem.

To the parent who loses her child, or the child who loses a parent, it matters little whether we label the loss a syndrome, a disorder, a condition, or a problem. What matters is whether a child is suffering and whether a parent’s behavior contributes to a child’s suffering.

2. Claim that it is only a speculation, hypothesis, or theory that children can become alienated from one parent when exposed to the other parent’s negative influence. As I explained in my article, “Bringing Sense to Parental Alienation,” there is nothing theoretical or speculative about the existence of irrationally alienated children. These children can be directly observed by anyone willing to look.

3. Attribute unsupportable, fake positions to parental alienation studies, and then refute the fake positions—a tactic known as “attacking a straw man.” For instance, a recently published study claimed that “the alienation hypothesis” (see denial strategy #2 above) maintains that parental denigration is only unilateral, not reciprocal, and that all children exposed to parental denigration become alienated from the target of denigration. When the study found that a group of volunteer college students reported that both parents denigrated each other, and the children did not reject either parent, the authors of the study concluded that “the alienation hypothesis” was not supported and that parental denigration does not cause children to reject the parent who is denigrated.

The problem with this line of reasoning is that no scholar has claimed that parental denigration necessarily leads to a child rejecting the denigrated parent. Of course many children whose parents badmouth each other maintain relationships with both parents. Rejecting a parent is an extreme consequence, not a common one. Furthermore, anyone who has worked with irrationally alienated children knows that these children are reluctant to admit that their favored parent maligned their other parent— in fact, these children are reluctant to admit anything negative about the parent whom they favor.

Researchers who genuinely want to learn about the forces that lead children to irrationally reject a parent will begin by studying alienated children. Studying children who are not alienated merely makes the obvious point that their parents occasionally bad-mouth each other without alienating the children from either parent. This is the sort of “scholarship” that gives social science a bad odor because the study advocates for and confirms a bias against the existence of parental alienation.

4. Ignore studies that fail to support one’s pet theories. For example, while promoting skepticism about the notion that children can be manipulated by a parent to hate the other parent, the authors of the study mentioned above failed to cite the largest study, published by the American Bar Association, that explicitly attributed children’s problems to being brainwashed by one parent against the other. They also failed to cite the volume of scientific evidence about various mechanisms by which children’s attitudes can be influenced and by which negative stereotypes about a parent can be promulgated.

Children’s feelings and behavior toward each parent are influenced by the way their parents treat each other. Does any reasonable person seriously believe otherwise—that children are immune from a parent’s influence? If so, tell that to all the child psychologists and authors who study and write about how to raise smarter, healthier, happier, and better behaved children.

Ironically, one of the authors of the straw-man study, in a previous article, railed against scholars who selectively cite research that confirms their biases, a tactic he called “cherry picking” or “stacking the deck.” Pot, meet kettle.

5. Promulgate, or accept without investigation or critical scrutiny, dramatic and exaggerated claims that the evaluator, therapist, child representative, and judge in a case mistook a child’s justified rejection of a parent for unjustified alienation, or that children removed from toxic alienating environments have been abused by the family court system. Such claims are repeated without considering all the evidence weighed by the court in reaching its decision.

We have a lot to learn about the roots of parental alienation and about why some children become ensnared in a campaign of hatred toward a parent while others resist. And why some children draw closer to the target of bad-mouthing and reject the parent who dispenses divorce poison, a phenomenon called “blowback” in the video, WELCOME BACK, PLUTO: UNDERSTANDING, PREVENTING, AND OVERCOMING PARENTAL ALIENATION.

But the existence of parents who effectively teach their children to hate the other parent, and of children who absorb this lesson, is beyond dispute.

Exactly two weeks before Parental Alienation Awareness Day in 2017, British High Court Justice Russell delivered her judgment in a Liverpool family court case. She wrote, “By manipulating her children, [the mother] has achieved what she has always wanted and stopped contact with their father. She has done so either because she cannot help herself or because she had quite deliberately set out to expunge their father from their lives. These children have suffered significant emotional harm as a result of their mother’s manipulative actions.”

Do the deniers and skeptics think Justice Russell was deluded?

As journalist Kathleen Parker observed, “Anybody old enough to drink coffee knows that embittered divorcees can and do manipulate their children. Not just women, but men, too.”

We may not want to face the fact that some parents prey on the children in their charge—physically, sexually, or emotionally. Often these parents carefully groom children to engage in harmful acts that victimize children. Whether children are victims of sexual abuse or psychological abuse, we must not turn a blind eye to them.

The fact that some children are able to resist does not obscure the reality that such abuse exists. Professionals who feed denial and skepticism play into the hands of those who want us to look away.

Because deniers and skeptics contribute to a backlash against protecting psychologically abused children from efforts to alienate them from a parent, 13 years after it was introduced we still need Parental Alienation Awareness Day to shine a light on the plight of children and parents caught in this maelstrom, and to remind us that much work remains to be done.

#PAADay #ParentalAlienation

This is why Trump’s recommendation to replace SNAP FOOD STAMPS with food boxes is a bad idea… and its not really about the food or the money.


And when it was my turn, there was nobody left to speak up for me…

I know this isn’t normally in line with my blog topic of Foster Care but it does relate to the interest of families all across our country.

So, please take a moment and help me get this message out.

I am going to tell you why i believe President Trumps’ idea to replace SNAP food stamps with boxes of food is a REALLY BAD IDEA.

But before i do, i have drafted a petition to President Trump on this issue that i am asking you to sign. I need 100,000 signatures in 30 days for it to reach the white house.

So even if you do not agree with me to sign the petition, please at least share my post, or the link to the petition, so it gets passed around. someone else might feel as strongly as I do on the topic and might want to include their signature. Thank you.

I’ve created this petition asking President Trump not to replace food stamps with boxes of food.

I must reach a goal of 100,000 signatures so that my petition makes it to the white house.

Even if you don’t agree with the current program of SNAP FOOD BENEFITS, that’s okay. This is about much more than that. If you value your FREEDOMS AS AMERICAN CITIZENS, please take a moment.

SNAP food stamps are NOT just for people who do not work. In fact, most employees of Walmart are on food stamps…(and incidentally spend them at Walmart…hrmmm).

For many families it is the difference between going HUNGRY OR having the ability to cook a real, heathy meal with meat and vegetables.

I’M NOT DEBATING WHETHER OR NOT SNAP IS necessary, or for who, or how much or for how long.

I do not even receive SNAP benefits, by the way .

I want to discuss the IMPLICATIONS of what The POTUS has proposed.

Trump wants to replace food stamps with boxes of government food.

THINK ABOUT THAT.

The government issued boxes of food Trump Is proposing for the future….

the bread lines of the past.

Once a month, poor families well be given their share of whatever food the GOVERNMENT THINKS they should get to eat.

Bread lines.

Is this how things should be done in a “free” country? or is this ONE STEP CLOSER to repeating history?

This is AMERICA, LAND OF THE FREE, which includes the freedom to choose what we eat, when we eat, and how much.

AMERICA is NOT A COMMUNIST COUNTRY … government issued food boxes is one more freedom removed targeting the poor.

THAT’S A BIG DEAL.

There are too many ways the government can save money and make reforms to programs including SNAP food benefits

Please sign and pass along my petition at this site.

I need 100,000 signatures.

Thank you.

THOSE WHO DO NOT REMEMBER HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT.

HITLER WAS ELECTED. REMEMBER?


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IMPACT Of FAMILY CHILD ABDUCTION


parental-child-abduction-is-child-abuse-092This topic is very near and dear to my heart. I would like to eventually post more about my personal feelings and how I have dealt with my own experiences in regards to this topic…  having endured the kidnapping of  my 8 year old son and our subsequent reunification after over 10 years once he had become an adult…

However that will be hard for me to post as the trauma and pain of it is too intense for words, even to this day.

So for now I encourage everyone to please read this article very carefully as it is very important to understand the significance of the impact of family abductions.

Thank you, It’s Almost Tuesday

Thank you to Georgia K. Hilgeman, MA. of the Vanished Children’s Alliance who wrote this

8-27-01

We see their faces smiling at us, pictures of missing children in our mail, on our television, and on posters in store windows and community bulletin boards. We have come to realize that many children are missing but we rarely learn what happens to them.O n those few occasions when we do, headline news stories tell about a murdered child and a suspect being sought. Other times we rejoice when a child is found alive and is reunited with his or her family. In such cases we see, or imagine, visions of tearful reunions with hugs and kisses.

While we might wish for happy endings with reunited families living happily ever after, the truth is that the lives of abducted children and their families are forever changed.

Families where abduction has occurred may have experienced pre-stressors.

Pre-stressors refer to the stress in these people’s lives before their children were abducted.

When a child is abducted, the incredibly severe stress is then added to past stresses.

Some typical pre-stressors might include: domestic violence, separation, divorce, child abuse, neglect, loss of a job or housing, and financial insecurities.

Couple the pre-stressors with the trauma of child abduction and you have parents and children in distress.

Let us look at one specific type of abduction, family abduction, which is generally perpetrated by one of the parents.

Family abduction lacks society’s recognition of its devastating and long-term impact. The publics reaction to family abduction declares that the child is “fine.” This is because he or she is with the other parent. They may believe the left behind parent must have deserved to have the child removed or that the matter is “just” a custody dispute between two battling parents.

The public view of abducted children is defined by “stranger” abductions like Adam Walsh, Polly Klaas or Amber Swartz.

Evidence clearly shows that the majority of abducted children are taken by family members.

Why do family members take children? Is it for love? Usually not, the typical motivation for family abduction is power, control, and revenge.

These characteristics are also prevalent in domestic violence cases.

In fact, family abduction is really a form of family violence.

Some abductors may believe they are rescuing the child, but rarely do they resort to legal approaches for resolution.

Some abductors are so narcissistic they do not have the ability to view their children as separate entities from themselves. These abductors believe since they hate the other parent, the child should as well.

Sometimes abductors I feel disenfranchised and have a culturally different perspective regarding child rearing and parenting. They may miss and want to return to their country of origin with the child.

Child victims are mostly between two and eleven years old; about 75% are six years old or younger.

Two-thirds of the cases involve one child. The most common times for the abduction, detention, or concealment are January and August–thus coinciding with children’s vacations and holidays*

Most child development experts agree that personality is formed prior to the age of six. Therefore, the abduction of a young child will have significant influence on whom he or she becomes. During the child’s upbringing, hopes, wishes, fears and attitudes of the significant people around the child will more or less be adopted.

The abductor influences a child’s attitude toward themselves, other people, and the world in general.

Abducted children whose identities are changed may be told that the left-behind parent is dead or did not want them. Moving from place to place to avoid discovery, they are compelled to live like fugitives. They receive little or no medical care or schooling.

These children are at risk, and society’s perception must be changed to recognize that the majority of family abduction victims live in dangerous and undesirable conditions.

The impact on child victims will differ. Each child is an individual with different reactions to the circumstance and with different coping styles. The impact will be affected by the pre-stressors in the child’s life, the relationship the child has to the abductor as well as the relationship the child had with the left behind family and community. The child’s age, character, how they were taken, length of time missing, what they were told, and their individual and cumulative experiences while abducted will also effect the child.

The left-behind family members, which include the parent(s), siblings, stepparents, step and half siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and others, will suffer as well.

Initially the left-behind family might experience shock and disbelief. They may have a rude awaking when the criminal justice response to a reported missing child is not all they might have expected when, from their point of view their child is “kidnapped.”

The family may have a support system or the family may consist of a left-behind parent with little support to cope with the emotions of fear, grief and loss. If the child is not returned quickly, the family is faced with a multitude of choices. Will they return to work? If not, how will they pay the bills? Should they hire a private investigator or psychic?

Are they reliable? Could they get ripped off? They are emotionally distraught. They see their child’s toys, clothing, room, playmates, or a child in the grocery store–all reminders of their missing child and fear of the unknown.

They wonder when, if ever, they will see their child again. Convincing the authorities that the child might be in danger when taken by a family member is sometimes impossible, and usually leads to more anger, much of it turned inward, which contributes to depression.

Some parents engage in their own investigations, which can be dangerous. Others try to get publicity. Some people turn to a religious belief while others feel abandoned and blame “God” for allowing their child’s disappearance. Many people react with physical symptoms, which include sleep and eating disorders, headaches, and stomach aches. Many try to avoid their pain through the abuse of legal and illegal substances.

Time does not heal the wounds when the family remains in a state of limbo and left with uncertainty of what has happened to their child. (emphasis added) 

Today we still hear about families who are searching for resolution to what happened to their loved ones who were considered missing in action in Vietnam some thirty years ago. Families need answers. Most searching families will, at some point learn the fate of their abducted children but the journey is grueling and often with no end in sight. Until thec hild’s whereabouts are known and reunification has occurred, families cannot experience one of life’s greatest gifts–joy. How can a parent ever be happy when he or she does not know the well being or the location of their child. Is the child dead or alive? Are they abused, hungry, cold or sick?

Time unfortunately provides additional triggers, reminders and pain: the child’s birthday, the anniversary of the child’s disappearance and the holidays. It can be an emotional roller coaster for the parent when “sightings” or “leads” are received and don’t materialize into an actual location and recovery.

The abducted child’s siblings become forgotten victims. They have not only lost their brother or sister but in many ways their parent(s) too. Searching parents often put their focus and energy into finding the missing children and have little focus and energy left for the other children. Sometimes the siblings parent their parents.

These children experience conflicting emotions. On one hand, they love and want their brothers and sisters back, and on the other hand, they are angry and resentful of the attention their brothers and sisters receive in absentia.

Families of abducted children experience serious emotional distress.

The siblings appear to be forgotten, the families’ history significantly influences how they handle this crisis and the personality of young children who are abducted will be greatly impacted.

Most families live for the moment when they will be reunited with their children. When reunification occurs certainly one nightmare will end but it is not the end of the story.

How to Better Aid These Families

In an ideal world, community based multi-disciplinary teams would exist. These teams would include law enforcement, prosecutor, mental health, medical, missing children nonprofit, victim service and school personnel. A plan which addresses the needs of these families would be developed and implemented once a child was located and recovered.

Professionals should not disclose the actual location of a child or any lead information to the parent.

A parent could go to the location and an altercation could ensue. Or a parent could disclose the information to someone who communicates with the abductor. The abductor could then disappear with the child once again.

Careful consideration should be given to where and when the recovery of the child will take place.

When possible, recovering the child in the presence of the abducting parent should be avoided. A child who is recovered at the same time and place his or her parent is arrested can make the child eel angry and responsible. Perhaps the child could be recovered at school, at the day care center, or while with a babysitter or friend. The parent should be questioned or arrested when the child is not nearby.

Throughout the recovery process, the utmost concern should be given to the safety of the child. Itis recommended that a child receive a medical exam as soon as possible. This could confirm or disprove allegations which are likely to be brought up by one of the parents later.

A trained facilitator should assist with the family and child’s reunion. The facilitator should speak with the parent, family and the child separately to find out what beliefs and expectations eachpossesses. He or she can help each party to understand what the other is experiencing and provide suggestions on how to best interact when together. Personal items, such as favorite toys, blankets, home videos and pictures could be shared with the child by the recovering parent.

Reunification should occur in a child friendly and safe location. The reunification of children with their families is a very private matter and an emotional experience. Controlling outsiders, such as the media, extended family and friends, is important. The child should not be overwhelmed during this critical bridge building time.

The child may not want to have anything to do with the recovering parent or family. He or she may have been led to believe the recovering parent is a monster or dead. Many abducted children have by been taught to hate this parent. For the recovering parent and family this could be very upsetting.

They have lived and hoped for this reunion day. Their lives have been placed on hold. They may have the fantasy where they will all embrace and live happily ever after.

The parent and family know and understand the pain they have endured, and think the child might understand and have empathy. However, the child may be very confused, angry and afraid.

After the reunification, it is best for the family to try and establish normalcy. Children will testboundaries. These boundaries should be established in a loving and caring manner which help children develop a sense of security.

Most of these children were taken by people who have difficulty with conventional boundaries and rules. Recovering parents will probably wish to shower their children with gifts and fun times, but boundaries and limits should be set early on. If they are not, these children could become difficult and may grow uncontrollable. Also, the other children in the household, already resentful of the attention and gifts the recovered child is receiving, could feel  there are double standards and they may start acting out.

It is common to see regression in recovered children. They might go back to thumb sucking, bedwetting and baby-talk. These kids may have some very special needs. Some have not attended school and will have difficulty being placed in the proper classroom or educational settings. Some were not allowed to play with other children and lack social and developmental skills.

There will be triggers and strong emotions felt by these children. They may feel disloyal to theabducting parent, or resentful that their recovering parent did not come and get them right away.

This type of victimization often leaves children with a strong inability to trust which they may incorporate in relationships throughout their lives. As they grow and want to “fit in” with their peers, many children feel shame. They do not want others to know they were abducted children. They do not want to be looked at or made to feel different.

The reunification of abducted children with their families is an important area of concern. Families need help and professionals need training on how to facilitate effective recoveries and reunifications.

While we have looked at the devastating effects this crime has on children and families, the resilience and strength of the human spirit should not be underestimated. With the proper help, understanding, and services that they desperately need, families and children can heal and become whole again.

*Finkelhor, D., Hotaling G.T., and Sedlak, A. 1990. Missing Abducted, Runaway, and Thrown away Children in American: First Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

**Families of Missing Children, Final Report was prepared by the Center for the Study of Trauma, University of California, San Francisco for: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, DC (1992).

 FAMILY ABDUCTION

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® intakes reports of missing children, including children who have been abducted, wrongfully retained or concealed by a parent or other family member.

If your child is abducted by a family member

  1. Immediately call your local law enforcement agency.
  2.  After you have reported your child missing to law enforcement, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

NCMEC’s Family Abduction Unit consists of case management teams which provide technical assistance and support for families, law enforcement agencies and attorneys. This support focuses on preventing family abductions and assisting in the location and recovery of missing children nationally and internationally.

FAU works each case on an individual basis, coordinating with government and nongovernmental agencies in the U.S. and other countries to provide technical assistance and information regarding both civil and criminal remedies.

Additionally FAU helps identify, develop and promote resources to resolve national and international family abductions through trainings and presentations for the legal and law enforcement communities.

 

The Last Wind


I wanted to run to you that day, In May.. … to follow you into the last wind. But I knew It wasn’t time for me to go… yet. It was YOUR name that was called into a new beginning…not mine.. So I wait…. Remembering.. another time, once before… when I would run to you. I was always full of smiles. My arms waved frantically to you in alliegence…I couldn’t wait. YOU WERE ALWAYS THERE I knew you would embrace me with your tenderness and you would always make me laugh with your silly wiles. Those were the innocent times… before my travels led me be too far away to come back home… I remember how you always waited with your arms outstretched, and your knees bent in an irresponsible crouch..you were always full of smiles. YOU WERE ALWAYS THERE You would catch me and my laughter and spin us around .. You made my ten year olds’ wishes come true in your magical arms … around and around.. yes, I remember … you always gave me love and so much happiness. Those were the innocent times … before I learned too many truths to believe… Before I lost so much hope, that I stopped making wishes… I would always run to you, Daddy, from the plane…. and find you there, waiting… YOU WERE ALWAYS THERE I would run to you now if I could, into the last wind… In memory of my father, Jack T. Akin Sr. who passed into another beginning on May 10, 2010.

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