Monthly Archives: June 2012

Call DHS Now to Demand A.H. and S.H. Come Home

UPDATE and ACTION ALERT

Call DHS Today to Protest Child-Snatching

and ask them: “Why can’t A.H. and S.H. come home?”

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Our protest at DHS June 15, 2012

Family, friends, other people with DHS cases and supporters held a powerful and lively protest outside of DHS on Friday June 15 to support Carolyn Hill’s fight to adopt her nieces A.H. and S.H.. Ms. Hill, who has raised the children since they were infants in a loving home, was denied the chance to adopt them because she did not have her GED, and other supposed “reasons” put forth by DHS, Lutheran Family and Children’s Service and Tabor Children’s Services. The children have not seen their family since they were snatched from their home on April 3 and must be suffering terrible trauma and heartache, as is their family.

After the protest we “occupied” the lobby of the DHS building and demanded to see DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose. We won a meeting with the Commissioner that will happen on Thursday June 21 at 2pm. From now until Thursday, we want to put on as much pressure as possible.

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Carolyn Hill speaks out

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Call DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose at 215-683-6000

Call Mayor Nutter at 215-686-2181

They will probably ask you to leave a message. Speak from your heart. Here are some ideas of what you can say:
  • “Let Ms. Carolyn Hill adopt her nieces.”  Ask them, “Why can’t A.H. and S.H. come home?”
  • This is a tragedy: these kids have a family who wants them and can care for them. Why should they be adopted by strangers?
  • Since when is a high school diploma or GED needed to be a good parent?
  • The whole community is behind her, and watching what you do

If they say: “We are aware of this, there is going to be a meeting on Thursday,” you can say: “I know there is a meeting, that’s why I’m calling. Please give the Commissioner (or Mayor) my message.”

Time is of the essence because there is also a court hearing on Monday June 25 where the adoption proceedings could continue — without Ms Hill. We must not let that happen! Please take a minute to call DHS and the Mayor to say that we the community will not tolerate children being taken from loving families. Rejecting this caring aunt for not having a high school diploma or GED is an outrage! Make your voice heard to stop this injustice and crime against children! And you are welcome to join us outside DHS again on Thurs June 21 at 1:30pm before we go into the meeting with the Commissioner.  We will be continuing to speak about true story of DHS to the public — please join us to leaflet, talk to people and make a righteous noise! 

Please see our website for the press release with more info, plus the moving testimonies and statements of support at the protest (www.everymothernetwork.net)

Info:  Every Mother is a Working Mother Network 215-848-1120  philly@allwomencount.net

Call DHS Now to Demand A.H. and S.H. Come Home

UPDATE and ACTION ALERT

Call DHS Today to Protest Child-Snatching

and ask them: “Why can’t A.H. and S.H. come home?”

Img_5907-crop-300

Our protest at DHS June 15, 2012

Family, friends, other people with DHS cases and supporters held a powerful and lively protest outside of DHS on Friday June 15 to support Carolyn Hill’s fight to adopt her nieces A.H. and S.H.. Ms. Hill, who has raised the children since they were infants in a loving home, was denied the chance to adopt them because she did not have her GED, and other supposed “reasons” put forth by DHS, Lutheran Family and Children’s Service and Tabor Children’s Services. The children have not seen their family since they were snatched from their home on April 3 and must be suffering terrible trauma and heartache, as is their family.

After the protest we “occupied” the lobby of the DHS building and demanded to see DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose. We won a meeting with the Commissioner that will happen on Thursday June 21 at 2pm. From now until Thursday, we want to put on as much pressure as possible.

Img_5837-crop-250

Carolyn Hill speaks out

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Call DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose at 215-683-6000

Call Mayor Nutter at 215-686-2181

They will probably ask you to leave a message. Speak from your heart. Here are some ideas of what you can say:
  • “Let Ms. Carolyn Hill adopt her nieces.”  Ask them, “Why can’t A.H. and S.H. come home?”
  • This is a tragedy: these kids have a family who wants them and can care for them. Why should they be adopted by strangers?
  • Since when is a high school diploma or GED needed to be a good parent?
  • The whole community is behind her, and watching what you do

If they say: “We are aware of this, there is going to be a meeting on Thursday,” you can say: “I know there is a meeting, that’s why I’m calling. Please give the Commissioner (or Mayor) my message.”

Time is of the essence because there is also a court hearing on Monday June 25 where the adoption proceedings could continue — without Ms Hill. We must not let that happen! Please take a minute to call DHS and the Mayor to say that we the community will not tolerate children being taken from loving families. Rejecting this caring aunt for not having a high school diploma or GED is an outrage! Make your voice heard to stop this injustice and crime against children! And you are welcome to join us outside DHS again on Thurs June 21 at 1:30pm before we go into the meeting with the Commissioner.  We will be continuing to speak about true story of DHS to the public — please join us to leaflet, talk to people and make a righteous noise! 

Please see our website for the press release with more info, plus the moving testimonies and statements of support at the protest (www.everymothernetwork.net)

Info:  Every Mother is a Working Mother Network 215-848-1120  philly@allwomencount.net

Statement of support for Ms. Carolyn Hill: National Coalition for Child Protection Reform

NATIONAL COALITION FOR CHILD PROTECTION REFORM

53 Skyhill Road (Suite 202) / Alexandria, Virginia, 22314 / (703) 212-2006
nccpr@nccpr.org / www.nccpr.org

STATEMENT OF RICHARD WEXLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL COALITION FOR CHILD PROTECTION REFORM

June 15, 2012

Apparently, the Philadelphia Department of Human Services thinks it’s smart to take two young children from Carolyn Hill, the aunt who has raised them successfully for a year, an aunt who is the only parent they’ve ever known, just because some alleged lack of intellectual capacity, as reflected in the fact that the aunt does not have a high school diploma.

Well, there is in fact a lack of intellectual capacity in this case.  In fact, there is downright stupidity.  It’s the stupidity of DHS and whoever did the psychiatric evaluation in this case.

What could be dumber than failing to understand that an aunt’s love for her sister’s children is far more important to those children’s safety, permanence and well-being than whether she can perform flawlessly on multiplication tables or get a high school degree?

We’re not comparing Ms. Hill to some foster-care fantasyland in which the children are raised by Mary Poppins.  We’re comparing a loving, caring aunt who came forward after raising five children of her own to take in two more and give them the permanence of adoption, with the track record of DHS in throwing kids in with strangers and bouncing them from foster home to foster home only to have them emerge years later, unable to love or trust anyone.

Yes, Ms. Hill also sometimes yells at the children.  Are we going to take the children from everyone with that failing?

This case also indicates our continued double standards in how we think of alleged mental vs. physical disability.  Suppose Ms. Hill were in a wheelchair.  Would that disqualify her, or would even DHS have the sense to provide homemaker help for whatever she couldn’t do herself?  

Similarly, if in fact Ms. Hill actually has any limits on her mental capacity, she’s already proven she can overcome them by raising five children on her own, and by successfully raising her nieces for a year.  So clearly, whatever limits she may have, if any,  can be dealt with by bringing some help into the home instead of taking the children out and consigning those children to the chaos of Philadelphia foster care.  That help also will cost taxpayers less than foster care with strangers.

Finally, I want to make clear that I would strongly oppose any attempt to remove the children of the evaluator or of the DHS and private agency officials involved in this case – despite the fact that their actions in this case so far have been amazingly stupid.

 

Solidarity Statement for Ms. Carolyn Hill: Oakland Occupy Patriarchy

We are outraged and horrified, though not surprised, at this racist, classist and totally inhumane and unwarranted kid-snatching by the Philadelphia Department of Human DIS-services.  It is a fact that by far the majority of children taken out of homes by state organizations are African-American, and that this is yet another example of how racism is structured into the state apparatus. We stand in support of your struggle and extend our sincere and heartfelt hopes  that these children will soon be returned to their families.

In Oakland on Mayday, Oakland Occupy Patriarchy held an action in front of Child Protective Services, motivated by actions by this agency against single parents involved in the Occupy Movement that were clearly politically motivated and intended to intimidate active parents who had found support and community in the movement. As soon as we began talking about protesting CPS, we began hearing dozens of stories indicating that beyond political repression, CPS acts as a crucial tool of the oppressive criminal justice system, working to police families, regulate family structures, funnel people into the prison industrial complex, and generally perpetuate the injustices of the state, like racism and sexism.

CPS is a perfect example of the state’s deployment of racism and patriarchy to maintain daily life in capitalism. Too often, police and government officials use the “safety” of women, children, and queer people to justify invasive, disruptive militarization and terror against poor and marginalized communities. From the Jim Crow era lynch mobs “protecting” the purity of white women to the hypocritical fake feminism of the US war on Afghanistan, we know that patriarchy is not just the subjugation of children, queers and women by men. It is the way that this subjugation is used against us again. The “protection” of the police and the state is no protection at all. It is a racist and patriarchal attack, protecting only the massive inequalities in our society.

Some members of Oakland Occupy Patriarchy

(for more info about our action and testimonials , go to the oakland occupy patriarchy website and scroll down to see about CPS actions http://oaklandoccupypatriarchy.wordpress.com/)

 

 

Statement of support for Ms. Carolyn Hill: Women of Color @ Global Women’s Strike

Thurs June 14, 2012

We are writing as mothers, grandmothers and other relative caregivers who live in Guyana, Haiti, India, Peru, across the US, and in the UK. We work to make visible the contributions, needs and concerns of women of color. We are fighting for recognition that our families are important. Every effort should be made to keep us together but instead they tear us apart. In each of our countries we have stories of children lost to parents, grandparents and our community because there is profit to be made from what is really a traffic in children. 

We are outraged by the removal of A.H. and S.H. from the home of their aunt Ms Carolyn Hill. Getting a diploma (or degree) does not make you a competent, loving parent or caregiver. The sexist, racist bias in education has been studied and written about long enough for everyone to know that. The actions of DHS and the judge show callous disregard for the wellbeing of A.H. and S.H.. What must the journey of two little children be like through the foster care system, who have been snatched from the arms of caring and loving relatives?   This is official state child abuse.

In Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake we saw missionaries and others from the Global North “adopting” Haitian children pretending that they didn’t have family to care for them or claiming the families were too impoverished to care for their children.  And, poverty is increasingly assumed to be neglect.  If this is not challenged and halted, most of the children who live in the Global South would be under threat of being kidnapped from their families and communities. And in the US money that used to go to single mothers in the form of welfare is now given to child welfare agencies which manage the theft of our children, disproportionately impacting communities of color.  

We see the rates of removal of Black children based on the racist assumptions that Black parents are less competent or more violent. But study after study shows that Black parents are less abusive to their children than white parents yet the removal rate of Black children in a city like Philadelphia is higher than the rate of white children. Philadelphia a long history of racism against our communities.  So no surprise that it has one of the highest removal rates in the country. And while children are being unjustly removed, those who are in need of protection don’t get it. 

The resources that could be used to keep families together have been siphoned off for wars, occupation and bank bailouts which is just a way of taking money from the 99% and handing it to the 1%. Enough is Enough! Stop state agencies profiting off mothers’ and children’s misery.  We call on mainstream civil rights organizations and those who are viewed as Black leaders to join our call to stop these attacks on our families and communities.  We the community say: Return A.H. and S.H. to their loving family now!  

 

Protest Child-Snatching at DHS

“Why can’t A.H. and S.H. come home?”

Friday June 15
12noon-1pm

Phila Dept of Human Services
1515 Arch St

The family of A.H. and S.H., with the support of friends and community organizations, will hold an emergency protest and press conference outside DHS on Friday June 15 to demand that the young sisters be returned home. DHS has once again torn apart the lives of children and a loving family. They took the sisters from their aunt Carolyn Hill, who cared for them for most of their lives, saying she is “unfit” because she does not have a high school diploma or GED, and they lie, claiming she has “a history of mental health problems.”

DHS brought the children to her. After a year in her home they were healthy and happy, with no hint of abuse or neglect. Despite this, on April 9, Family Court rubber-stamped the DHS verdict. Ms. Hill, the only mother the children had ever really known, could not even speak at the hearing, and was denied any right to see them again. “I love my nieces and want them back,” said Ms. Hill, who is 54, a mother of grown children and a grandmother. “I truly miss them, and all the family does, too.”

Behind the closed doors of DHS and Family Court, especially Black and low-income families are destroyed this way every day. So-called professionals “evaluate” mothers and other caregivers and may decide they are mentally ill or deficient, and they use these unproved charges to put their children in foster care. In one case, a Black mother with two college degrees and a responsible full-time job was called “retarded” by her DHS worker.

On May 22, Every Mother is a Working Network wrote to Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose to ask that DHS reverse their decision, let the children come home and be adopted by their aunt. Dozens of letters of support from family members, neighbors, clergy and friends were also sent, including from PA State Rep. Tony Payton, Jr. DHS said they would have a decision by May 31.

It is now June 15, and still no answer from DHS. The family doesn’t know where the children are, and the sisters have not seen their aunt or anyone they know for over two months. This is a lifetime for 1- and 2-year-olds; imagine being a young child taken from everyone and everything you know and placed with strangers in a totally unfamiliar environment. DHS has caused them untold harm by this legal kidnapping. One in three children in foster care report physical, sexual or other abuse by an adult, and have twice the rate of PTSD as Gulf War vets. Don’t the DHS “professionals” know that?

Why were these healthy & happy children taken from a stable and loving home? Because a report said that Ms. Hill does not have a high school diploma or GED and even “needs review” with multiplication, that she admitted to sometimes yelling at the children, and took medication to help her sleep after her mother died. We protest this insulting prejudice against Ms. Hill or any mother doing what President Obama calls “the hardest job in the world.” And even if mental skills and mental health were concerns, it does not mean that children should automatically be removed: parents and other caregivers with disabilities are legally entitled to accommodation and services. To reject them on this basis is discrimination and illegal.

All Philadelphia parents should be very afraid if kids can be snatched from their homes with such easy disregard for the pain it causes. The high school graduation rate in Philadelphia is only 60%. And who has never yelled at their kids? DHS removes children at a higher rate than most other cities, and not because of abuse or neglect. Most children in DHS are Black, and foster care is widely recognized as a stop on the cradle-to-prison pipeline. And a profitable one at that, at least for child welfare agencies. It costs $55,000 per year to keep a child in foster care in Philadelphia. Meanwhile kids truly in trouble don’t get the help they need, like 6-year-old Khalil Wimes who died recently while supposedly being seen by social workers every month.

DHS: Give us back A.H. and S.H. and all the other children! They belong to our families and communities, not to you!

What can you do to protest this injustice? Call Commissioner Ambrose at 215-683-6000 or AnneMarie.Ambrose@phila.gov.

Called by the family & friends of A.H. and S.H. with Every Mother is a Working Mother Network, DHS-Give Us Back Our Children, and WinVisible (Women with Visible and Invisible Disabilities) * Info 215-848-1120  philly@allwomencount.net

www.everymothernetwork.net