Fight Corrupted Family Courts and CPS

Fight back and get your kids back NOW!

Archive for July 2011

Getting your kids back is worth every ounce you put into your defense from CPS

leave a comment »

“Leonard, I found AFRA by accident @19 mos ago, 16 mos into our nightmare. AFRA was the beginning of the girls return. Last week I found this on fb. We hope we are able to help with our story, to guide parents to childs return. Parents have …everything at their fingertips but need to do the actually work. The thing that helped us was “take your phone book turn to lawyers start at A go thru the list till u find one that hates CPS as much as u do. It worked, had a lawyer in 10 days, Girls all home since may. There was to be a 6 mo plan – Lawyer said do not sign we’ll appeal. As the judge pointed out they never proved their reasons for taking them and they gave back both physical and  legal custody. Leonard your help. knowledge and commitment are priceles.”
http://familyrightsassociation.com/
http://familyrights.us/bin/FORMS/Violation_Warning-%20Denial_of_Rights_under_Color_of_Law_COL3.pdf
Advertisements

Written by dawneworswick

July 24, 2011 at 3:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

How to File a Complaint to the Sacramento CPS

leave a comment »

By Barbara Howard , eHow Contributor

updated  July 20, 2011

Read more:  How to File a Complaint to the Sacramento CPS | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_8763072_file-complaint-sacramento-cps.html#ixzz1SxuWk9fD

Sacramento Child Protective Services (CPS) is a  county agency that investigates reports of child abuse and neglect. The primary  mission of the CPS is to keep children safe. However, they also offer adoption  services and provide training and licensing for family day care homes and foster  families. You can file complaints about suspect child abuse or neglect with CPS.  There is also a mechanism in place to file complaints about the agency  itself.

Difficulty: Easy

Instructions

  1. Complaints Regarding Suspected Child Abuse or  Neglect

    • 1

      Call 911 if the child is in an urgent life-threatening situation and requires  immediate intervention by the police or sheriff’s department. Law enforcement  will investigate the matter and contact Sacramento Child Protective Services  (CPS).

    • 2

      Call the 24-Hour Child Abuse Hotline at 916-875-5437  begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              916-875-5437     end_of_the_skype_highlighting (875-KIDS),  to report any suspicion of child abuse when there is no immediate  life-threatening incident that requires law enforcement on the scene. The  hotline is managed by Sacramento CPS social workers.

    • 3

      Provide any information about the suspected child abuse to the CPS social  worker. The information you give is confidential. You are not required to give  your name when speaking on the hotline. The Sacramento CPS social worker with  review the report and determine the appropriate intervention and prevention  procedures for the case.

    Sacramento DHHS Ombudsman

    • 1

      Call the ombudsman’s office of the Sacramento Department of Health and Human  Services (DHHS), which reviews and investigates complaints about the agency  itself and concerns about other cases regarding child welfare. Anyone can call  the ombudsman; again, all discussions remain confidential.

    • 2

      File a complaint in writing if you are making a claim about activities  regarding the Sacramento CPS agency itself. A complaint form can be downloaded  from the website of the Sacramento County DHHS  (sacdhhs.com).

    • 3

      Contact the ombudsman’s office by telephone if you have any questions or   concerns. Mail the formal complaint directly to their  office.

 

Ads  by Google

Tips &  Warnings

  • If the child is in your custody, Sacramento CPS states that “the most  important thing is to stay calm and supportive for your child. Reassure your  child that s/he will be protected and that it is safe to talk to trusted adults.  Do not, however, try to get details about the incident(s). Questioning your  child is not recommended.”

  • Due to budget cuts, you may experience extended hold time when calling the  24-Hour Child Abuse Hotline.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty  Images;

 

Read Next: How to File a CPS  Complaint in North Carolina

Read more:  How to File a Complaint to the Sacramento CPS | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_8763072_file-complaint-sacramento-cps.html#ixzz1Sxud2rvz

 

Written by dawneworswick

July 23, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The unchecked problem of sexual misconduct by health care professionals

leave a comment »

License to Harm

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/news/local/licensetoharm/index.html

The unchecked problem of sexual misconduct by health care professionals who treat our children and are in foster care. CPS phychiatric evals are useless when done by a predator. More CPS sex abuse corruption.

Written by dawneworswick

July 23, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Failures by state, caregiver kept secret in child-rape case

leave a comment »

Friday, April 23, 2010 – Page updated at 03:19 PM

Print

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/yourcourtstheirsecrets/2003228780_youthcare27m.html

 

Your Courts, Their Secrets

Failures by state, caregiver kept secret in child-rape case

By Ken Armstrong, Jonathan Martin and Justin Mayo

Seattle Times staff reporters

  PREV    1 of 3    NEXT

 

Enlarge this photoALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES, 2004

Victoria Wagner of YouthCare left the organization in 2004 after 19 years as its chief executive. Following a rape in one of its group homes by employee James Gregory Jr., YouthCare hired a private firm to run background checks. Wagner now heads a national organization in Washington, D.C., that is an advocate for street kids.

 

Enlarge this photoALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Jeffrey Herman, Lynn’s lawyer, was infuriated by the argument of the state attorney-general’s office that the 13-year-old had consented to sexual relations. “It is such an outrageous position,” said Herman, a former social worker for street kids.

 

Enlarge this photoTHOMAS JAMES HURST / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Threshold’s former home: This home in Rainier Valley used to house YouthCare’s Threshold program. James Gregory Jr. raped Lynn here in 2001. YouthCare sold the home in 2005.

Like books on a shelf, every court file tells a story. In King County, file No. 03-2-27609-0 tells how a 13-year-old girl, a slip of a kid with a lost look in her eyes, wound up being raped while in the state’s care and protection.

For the state’s social-services agency, it’s a story of bureaucratic bungling and a lack of backbone. For YouthCare, a high-powered nonprofit that operates several licensed group homes in Seattle, it’s a story of unheeded warnings and the consequences of not paying $33 for a criminal-background check. For the state’s lawyers, it’s a tale of audacity, with attorneys under then-Attorney General Christine Gregoire claiming the teenage victim was partly at fault for being raped by a 29-year-old youth worker.

But important as the story is, this court file has been under seal for more than two years, banned from public viewing. A judge granted a motion by the girl’s attorney that said the file “demonstrates unfavorable facts” about both the state of Washington and YouthCare and should be hidden away “to protect all parties from embarrassment.”

Nearly all of the file was opened in July after a four-month court battle by The Seattle Times, which argued that such sweeping secrecy should never have been granted. When court files are sealed improperly — as this one was — the public suffers, deprived of information on the workings of its government and on the conduct of contractors entrusted with children’s care.

The newspaper pursued this case as part of a continuing investigation of sealed court files. At least 420 civil suits have been sealed in their entirety in King County Superior Court since 1990, the newspaper has found. Almost all were sealed in violation of laws that restrict secrecy and recognize the importance of open courts.

The Times has filed motions to open dozens of those cases, to tell their stories of alleged medical negligence, unsafe consumer products, and wrongdoing in schools, churches and corporate boardrooms.

“I just did not realize it was so loosey-goosey”

For years, Barbara Rosenwald, a licensing inspector for the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), voiced concerns about YouthCare. DSHS ensured that YouthCare met licensing standards and also paid the nonprofit to care for wards of the state.

YouthCare helped troubled adolescents, especially runaways. Its board of directors included powerful business executives, state senators and state Supreme Court Justice Bobbe Bridge. Victoria Wagner, the chief executive officer, was once a runaway herself. She had helped YouthCare grow from an annual budget of $500,000 to $5 million. Pearl Jam and the actor Tom Skerritt pitched in on fundraising.

YouthCare helped more than 1,500 kids a year in its group homes, shelter and street-outreach programs. The group-home residents — maybe three dozen at any given time — had often been victims of abuse. The homes were meant to be safe havens, a place for kids to get direction and supervision from adults they could trust.

But Rosenwald documented chaotic conditions and lax practices that threatened the kids’ safety: slipshod record keeping; inadequate staffing levels; assaults among residents not reported to police; and youth workers and supervisors unqualified for their demanding jobs.

The Times obtained Rosenwald’s records and thousands of other documents — e-mails, memos, letters, investigative records and deposition transcripts — through the court file and a public-disclosure request to the state.

1998 concerns

 

 

Rosenwald warns about unfinished background checks for YouthCare staff.

As early as 1996, Rosenwald expressed alarm that YouthCare allowed some workers who hadn’t passed criminal-background checks to be left alone with kids.

In May 2000, Rosenwald was particularly unnerved by a visit to YouthCare’s Threshold home, a long-term residential facility. The home’s new director was a “novice” in over her head, Rosenwald wrote. Loose supervision allowed one girl to be sexually exploited while away from the home. That incident had not been reported to DSHS.

“I was at YouthCare yesterday — found some really really questionable supervision practices, philosophy, etc.,” Rosenwald wrote to her boss. “As I explained to them — they would never pass a [headquarters] review. Like, it would be their programs — gone! zap! poof! I just did not realize it was so loosey-goosey.”

In June 2000, DSHS managers met with YouthCare’s top leaders, from Wagner on down, and stressed the need for YouthCare to hire qualified staff members.

“All-around nice guy” — with nine criminal convictions

Two weeks after that meeting, James Leonard Gregory Jr. applied to YouthCare for a job. “I would bring professionalism, dedication, creativity and lots of energy to your staff,” he wrote.

Job application

 

 

James Gregory’s application letter to YouthCare in June 2001.

Gregory’s résumé showed he had worked as a corrections officer in South Dakota. His job application said he had no criminal convictions in the past seven years. His employment references described him as honest and trustworthy. One called him an “all-around nice guy.”

But unbeknownst to YouthCare, Gregory had been fired from that corrections job for spitting on an inmate. He had been convicted of nine misdemeanors, including reckless endangerment, passing bad checks and making obscene or harassing phone calls. And his three references? Two girlfriends and a brother, Gregory later acknowledged.

YouthCare hired Gregory as a caregiver, at $18,000 a year. He began work in July 2000 at Threshold, the group home that had just caused Rosenwald such anxiety. The two-story brick home, on a dead-end street in Rainier Valley, was home to kids between 12 and 17, nearly all wards of the state.

As required, YouthCare submitted Gregory’s name for a criminal-background check. Rosenwald processed the request. Within weeks she learned from the Washington State Patrol of Gregory’s reckless-endangerment conviction — a disqualifying offense. (Renton police records say he fired shots while chasing people he suspected of stealing a friend’s car.)

Rosenwald asked YouthCare in September for a signed waiver from Gregory, so she could disclose details of his rap sheet. YouthCare sent waivers twice. But Rosenwald, buried in a backlog of hundreds of unfinished background checks, later said she saw neither.

So Gregory kept working.

For 5 ½ months, DSHS failed to let YouthCare know the seriousness of Gregory’s record. YouthCare, meanwhile, failed to push DSHS for details, even knowing something had popped up on his background check.

YouthCare could have learned of Gregory’s criminal history on its own. The year he was hired, a private company had offered to do background checks for YouthCare with a turnaround time of two or three days. Gregory’s would have cost $33. But YouthCare didn’t take up the offer.

While Gregory worked at Threshold, his nine convictions became 10.

Four months into his job, Gregory picked up belongings from an apartment he once shared with a girlfriend — one of his sterling job references. After loading his car, he returned to the apartment, locked the door, and said how glad he was they could be so civil about the breakup, a Kent police report says. Then he slapped her across the face, twice.

He knocked her down, kneed her, then turned up the radio to drown out her screams.

Gregory was convicted of assault in January 2001 and sentenced to 365 days in jail, all suspended.

Meanwhile, his criminal-background check was still on a desk at DSHS, lost in a paperwork shuffle.

“If you ever looked in her eyes, she’s lost”

Three weeks after Gregory’s assault conviction, DSHS placed a 13-year-old girl in Threshold, leaving her in Gregory’s care. Within days, he began grooming her, offering massages and kisses. He called her “Sexy Mama.”

Her middle name was Lynn. The Seattle Times does not normally identify rape victims, so we are using only that identifier.

She was a skinny kid, with a background typical of a state ward. Her mother, a housecleaner with 13 kids and a gambling problem, had given Lynn up to DSHS. Lynn, in a court filing, said her mother would force her to stay home from school to care for six younger siblings. The two fought violently, she said.

Lynn’s family life was so chaotic that she once ran into a brother but didn’t realize they were related until they began talking. She hadn’t seen him in about 10 years.

Her mom described Lynn this way: “If you ever looked in her eyes, she’s lost.”

Lynn filled out papers to move into Threshold on Feb. 8.

Incomplete background checks

 

 

In December 2000, Rosenwald notes that several YouthCare employees have yet to clear criminal-background checks.

Because Gregory’s background check hadn’t cleared, he wasn’t supposed to be alone with Lynn or other residents. But he was. On Feb. 16 he even escorted Lynn and two other girls to a musical performance at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, an evening they called “Girls Night Out.”

“Keep it on the down low”

Gregory’s shift on Feb. 17, 2001, was to begin at 3 p.m. But before work he got into a fight with and beat up another girlfriend — the YouthCare reference who had called him an “all-around nice guy.”

She called police and went to a hospital, where she received five stitches for a split lip. Around 4 p.m., she filled out a domestic-violence form, saying Gregory had abused her at least six other times, leaving her with black eyes and bruises.

At about the same time, Gregory was at Threshold, working alone.

Lynn wanted to buy a soda. Gregory agreed to get one from the office. She followed him upstairs, got the drink and started to leave. Hold up, Gregory said. He locked the door and turned up the radio. “Where’s my hug?” he asked.

This same afternoon, Rosenwald was scrambling to alert YouthCare administrators that they had uncleared staff members working alone at another group home, where a teenager had alleged being raped by a visitor. This cannot continue, Rosenwald told a YouthCare executive. He replied that “it would be taken care of immediately.”

Inside the Threshold office, Gregory kissed Lynn and pulled down her pants. “I just laid there, because I was scared of him,” Lynn said later. “I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if he was going to hit me.”

Afterward, Gregory told Lynn: “Keep it on the down low.”

At 8:40 p.m., Seattle police arrived at Threshold and arrested Gregory — for the assault earlier that day, not for the rape. Before taking him away, police let Gregory find someone to cover his shift. He was, after all, working alone.

Later, Lynn let Gregory’s replacement know what had happened upstairs. But he didn’t call police or DSHS. He decided to let someone else handle it the next morning, he later told a state investigator.

Lynn was a “flirty, showtime girl,” this worker later told DSHS, adding: “I think it was consensual even though she is only 13.”

According to a roommate, Lynn spent the night crying.

It wasn’t until 2:45 p.m. the next day that YouthCare took Lynn to the hospital. Police weren’t called until 7 p.m., more than 24 hours after the rape.

“How do we justify this?”

Lynn’s rape quickly reverberated through state government. The head of DSHS, Dennis Braddock, sent a written alert to then-Gov. Gary Locke’s chief of staff — Braddock’s third such alert about YouthCare in a week. The two others concerned a group home for young mothers, where one teen had reported being raped by a visitor.

DSHS considered banning admissions to all of YouthCare’s programs but instead issued “stop placement” orders on just the two group homes with alleged rapes. These stop placements were the first in YouthCare’s 27-year history.

A DSHS spokeswoman let administrators know Feb. 20 that she planned to issue a press release about the YouthCare incidents and the state’s response. This news appeared to alarm Nancy Zahn — DSHS’s head of group-home licensing statewide — who responded by e-mail:

“Please be aware that Youth Care has a very high powered board in Seattle; it is a long term agency with a ton of community support. Not to say that changes what we do but if we think [a particular boys ranch] had connections; we have seen nothing yet!”

DSHS e-mails

 

 

Kathleen Spears, DSHS spokeswoman, plans to send a press release about YouthCare. Before she can, Nancy Zahn, head of DSHS’s group-home licensing office, lifts its “stop placement.”

 

Rosenwald’s protest

 

 

Rosenwald protests her supervisors’ decision to quickly lift a “stop placement” on YouthCare.

The press release was never issued. What’s more, DSHS quickly lifted the stop-placement orders after Wagner, YouthCare’s CEO, called Zahn.

The admissions ban triggered by Lynn’s rape lasted only four days — even though DSHS initially said the order would be reassessed only after its investigation was completed months later.

Rosenwald, the DSHS inspector, protested in an e-mail to her boss:

“The decision to reverse this action based on a call from a very influential CEO totally undermines our ability to work with this agency and weakens any case for them to actuate any changes. There is no way that they can take [regional DSHS licensers] seriously after this. We have absolutely no clout. How do we justify this when we take more serious action with other agencies for lesser things?”

Zahn declined comment for this story. So did Rosenwald.

Letter to YouthCare staff

 

 

YouthCare CEO Victoria Wagner tries to boost her staff’s morale.

Ten days after Lynn’s rape, Wagner wrote YouthCare employees a letter, saying there was no single explanation for the series of group-home incidents. “The saying that ‘bad things happen to good people’ is true, they also happen to good organizations,” Wagner wrote. “And sometimes they come in clusters.”

DSHS investigators continued to turn up more problems at YouthCare’ group homes and shelters. One employee described a graveyard-shift worker who slept so soundly while on duty that kids couldn’t even wake her to get medication. Another employee said higher-ups told her to schedule staff members to work alone even if they hadn’t cleared background checks — and to “cross our fingers that nothing happens.”

DSHS ultimately found fault with individual YouthCare workers — lower-level ones, mostly — but decided that the nonprofit as a whole was not negligent, saying it had “no foreseeability” that Gregory would do what he did.

For YouthCare, a neglect finding could have been a virtual death sentence.

“A through-the-looking-glass quality”

Apology

 

 

DSHS sends a letter to Lynn and her family.

In August 2001, Rosie Oreskovich, DSHS’s chief of child welfare, wrote to Lynn and apologized for her being raped. “I know my apology cannot right this terrible wrong,” she wrote.

But when Lynn sued DSHS and YouthCare two years later, the state’s lawyers argued that the girl was partly at fault for what happened.

They contended that Lynn consented to sexual relations with Gregory, and they even objected to any description of what happened as “a sexual assault.”

Statement from Attorney General

 

 

The Attorney General’s Office explains its litigation in the YouthCare case.

Lisa Erwin, a senior counsel with the Attorney General’s Office, said in an interview that the state’s lawyers never disputed that a statutory rape occurred. But they argued that any money the state might pay Lynn should be reduced because there was “consent to the touching, even though it was a crime.”

“What happened to her was horrendous, whether she consented or not,” Erwin said. But Lynn would be owed more were this a forcible attack, Erwin said. The state, she said, had evidence indicating it wasn’t: a lack of tears or bruises consistent with an attack, and what Erwin referred to as a “relationship” between Lynn and Gregory.

The state’s “fault-of-plaintiff” defense infuriated Lynn’s lawyer, Jeffrey Herman, who pointed out that under Washington law, a 13-year-old cannot consent.

“This position has a through-the-looking-glass quality,” Herman wrote to the court, adding: “If [Lynn] were capable of consenting to sexual relations on the date of the crime, Mr. Gregory might have an excellent civil-rights claim against the State for unlawfully imprisoning him.”

Gregory had already pleaded guilty to second-degree rape of a child and been sentenced to 6 ½ years.

The state wanted details of Lynn’s sexual history. Herman objected, saying this invaded Lynn’s privacy. The judge, Robert Alsdorf, concluded the state’s request went too far and restricted Lynn’s answers to dates of prior encounters and whether they were consensual.

Alsdorf also fined the state $1,000, in part for contending in court documents that there was “no basis” for Lynn’s claim of sexual assault.

In 2004, the parties settled the lawsuit. Herman said he didn’t want to put Lynn through trial: “I thought it would hurt her. She had been through a lot of sorrow and trauma in her life.”

At the same time, Herman filed a motion to seal the entire court file. YouthCare had agreed to settle “only upon execution of a confidentiality provision,” Herman wrote. The file, he wrote, “demonstrates unfavorable facts about both defendants” and contains material “very troubling” to Lynn.

Alsdorf granted the motion, even though Lynn’s identity had been protected from the outset, with only her initials used in all but two court documents.

Now retired from the bench, Alsdorf said recently that he sealed the file to protect a minor’s privacy. As a practical matter, closing the whole file was easier than redacting individual documents. “In hindsight, yeah, it would have been better not to seal it,” he said.

Last month, the court’s presiding judge opened the file, granting a motion filed by The Times. The newspaper argued that potential embarrassment to the state and YouthCare was no reason to grant such extraordinary secrecy. YouthCare objected, citing Lynn’s interests and its concern that she had not been found and notified of the unsealing request.

The file, when opened, showed that the lawsuit was settled for $290,000, with the state paying $140,000, and YouthCare, $150,000.

After attorney fees and costs, Lynn received $157,000.

“I feel horrible about this case,” Wagner said in a recent interview. “I always have. The last thing I wanted was to have a child in my care abused. … This case has haunted me.”

“I can defently take care of myself”

Since the 2001 rape:

YouthCare hired the private company that had been offering to do criminal-background checks.

Some workers were fired in YouthCare’s lower levels, but Wagner and two deputies left for top jobs at other nonprofit agencies.

Six days after Lynn’s lawsuit was sealed, Wagner received a lifetime-achievement award for her work at YouthCare.

Criticism of Rosenwald
Her response

 

 

Barbara Rosenwald, the state inspector for YouthCare, is criticized over the bungled background check. She responds with a detailed explanation of her work.

Rosenwald, the licensing inspector, received a letter from DSHS taking her to task over Gregory’s bungled background check. The rebuke came 10 days before she retired from DSHS, after 31 years.

At YouthCare, problems with unscreened workers continued. In 2002, a supervisor was fired for kissing and hitting on a teenager living in a group home. He had been spending time alone with the girl — even though he had yet to clear his criminal-background check.

2003 concerns

 

 

Two years after Lynn’s rape, Rosenwald’s successor continues to find problems.

In 2003, the DSHS inspector who succeeded Rosenwald visited a YouthCare home and documented violations that caused “great concern.” One employee had received a badge saying he was cleared to work with children, but in fact he wasn’t, she wrote.

“This type of information is rather alarming,” the inspector wrote. “No one,” she added, “wants to experience” a repeat of what happened to Lynn.

Gregory remains in prison. He could get out as soon as October.

Lynn was emancipated — given the rights of an adult — at age 17. She wrote to the court in 2004: “I can defently take care of myself.”

The next year, she burned through nearly $15,000 of her lawsuit settlement to pay for a hit-and-run accident she caused.

Two months ago she was charged with stealing a car. She failed to show up for her arraignment and has a warrant out for her arrest.

A reporter went to Lynn’s last five addresses but couldn’t find her.

Ken Armstrong: 206-464-3730 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              206-464-3730     end_of_the_skype_highlighting or karmstrong@seattletimes.com; Jonathan Martin: 206-464-2605 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              206-464-2605     end_of_the_skype_highlighting or jmartin@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

Written by dawneworswick

July 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Harvard Psychiatrists Disciplined for Conflicts of Interest

leave a comment »

Harvard Psychiatrists Disciplined for Conflicts of Interest Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 July 2011
The primary promoters–inventors, one might say– of diagnosing children with “bipolar” disorder, who for over a decade, aggressively  promoted the biopolar diagnosis and use of antipsychotics in children, were disciplined by Harvard University and its affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

An investigation, prompted by Sen. Charles Grassely, was conducted by Harvard  University-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. It concluded (earlier this month) that  psychiatrist Joseph Biederman and two of his proteges, Thomas Spencer and Timothy Wilens -each of who  failed to disclose millions of dollars they had each received  from the makers of antipsychotics, the drugs they promoted for the treatment of bipolar in children–had indeed violated the University’s/ and hospital’s conflict of interest reporting   standards.

The three wrote a mea culpa letter stating “we want to offer our sincere apologies…” acknowledging “our mistakes…”

However, no mention was made anywhere about the profound consequences of these psychiatritsts’ commercially-driven clinical recommendations. No mention about the corruption of the scientific literature, about clinical practice that deviated from the Hippocratic Oath, “First, do no harm,” nor was any mention made about the harm suffered by children whose doctors were misled about the safety and efficacy of highly toxic drugs.

Child psychiatrists and pediatricians throughout the US were g”uided by these exceedingly influential Harvard psychiatrists.

As Sen. Chuck Grassley noted in 2008 in the Congressional Record, “they are some of the top  psychiatrists in the country, and their research is some of the most  important in the field. {But] They have also taken millions of dollars from  the drug companies.”

The companies that paid them millions include: Eli  Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers  Squibb.

The Senator brought public attention–and to Harvard University administrators’ attention–the financial conflicts of interest, “Out of concern about the relationship between this money and their  research.”

Indeed, documents uncovered during litigation confirmed that the research was scientifically corrupt and commercially-driven. The New York Times reported that Dr. Biederman promised Johnson a& Johnson that a study (yet to be conducted) in preschool children who would be given the company’s antipsychotic, Risperdal (risperidone) “will support the safety and effectiveness of Risperdal in this age group.”

“The psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Biederman, outlined plans to test Johnson & Johnson’s drugs in presentations to company executives. One slide referred to a proposed trial in preschool children of risperidone, an antipsychotic drug made by the drug company. The trial, the slide stated, “will support the safety and effectiveness of risperidone in this age group.”

Dr. Biederman was the lead author of a trial published last year concluding that treatment with risperidone improved symptoms of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder in bipolar children.”

Another of Biederman’s Harvard ignoble disciples was Jeff Bostic, who is also at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was named in a 2009 lawsuitjoined by the US Department of Justice alleging Forest Laboratories  promoted its antidepressants for pediatric use without FDA approval and  paid kickbacks to docs to encourage prescriptions. He received $750,000  in payments for giving talks on using these drugs in children.

Strangely, the National Institute for Mental Health, which had awarded thse psychiatrists millions of dollars at taxpayers expense. It appears that NIMH officials  did not see fit to even conduct an investigation into the corruption of science and violation of federal regulations. This demonstrates a lack of professional and moral integrity at the NIMH whose administrators think nothing about the misappropriation of public money for commercially-driven, junk research.

Vera Sharav

 

jos._biederman.jpg

Pharmalot

Harvard Docs Disciplined For Conflicts Of Interest

By Ed Silverman // July 2nd, 2011 // 9:03 am

Three years after they were fingered in a US Senate probe into the interplay  between academics who receive grant money from both pharma and the  National Institutes of Health, three prominent psychiatrists from  Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have been  sanctioned for violating conflict of interest rules and failing to  report the extent of their payments.

In a mea culpa addressed to their colleagues, Joseph Biederman,  Thomas Spencer and Timothy Wilens wrote that “we want to offer our  sincere apologies to HMS and MGH communities…We always believed we were  complying in good faith with the institutional polices and our mistakes  were honest ones. We now recognize that we should have devoted more time and attention to the detailed requirements of these policies and to  their underlying objectives.”

And what is their punishment? They must refrain from “all  industry-sponsored outside activities” for one year; for two years after the ban ends, they must obtain permission from the med school and the  hospital before engaging in any of these activities and they must report back afterward; they must undergo certain training and they face delays before being considered for promotion or advancement (you can read their letter here).

The hospital had this to say: “A committee at Massachusetts General  Hospital that has been looking into conflict-of-interest questions  involving three MGH child psychiatrists has completed its review.  Appropriate remedial actions have been taken by the hospital to address  specific issues (read the statement). And a Harvard Med School spokesman sent us this: “We confirm that the  review of their compliance with the Harvard Medical School Policy on  Conflicts of Interest and Commitment has concluded, and appropriate  actions have been taken.” He added that the conflicts policy was revised last year.

The sanctions result from a long-standing controversy over the  explosive use of antipsychotics in children. Biederman, in particular  (see photo), had been one of the most influential researchers in child  psychiatry. Although his studies were small and often financed by  drugmakers, his work helped fuel a 40-fold increase from 1994 to 2003 in the diagnosis of pediatric bipolar disorder.

For more than a decade, Biederman and his colleagues aggressively  promoted the diagnosis and use of antipsychotics to treat childhood  bipolar disorder, a problem that once was largely believed to be  confined to adults. But the docs maintained this was underdiagnosed in  kids and the meds could be used for treatment, even though they had not  been approved for most pediatric use at the time. Meanwhile, the  relationships with drugmakers were never properly disclosed (back story).

doctorsandmoney11And for years, payments they received from drugmakers were not thoroughly  reported to university officials. Yet, millions of dollars in NIH  grants, which were administered by the hospital, were awarded to the  docs at the same time they were receiving money from various drugmakers  that make and sell antipsychotics and antidepressants. Which ones? Eli  Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers  Squibb.

At one point, Biederman pushed J&J to fund a research center at  MassGen that would focus on the use of its Risperdal antipsychotic in  children, well before the med was approved for pediatric use. He was  then placed in charge of the institute and began a study of 40 children  between 4 and 6 years old who were given Risperdal and Lilly’s Zyprexa,  another antipsychotic. At the time, Harvard and MGH rules forbid  researchers from running trials with drugmakers if they receive more  than $10,000 from a company that makes the drug (back story).

But in June 2008, US Senator Chuck Grassley made a far-reaching  statement before Congress that pulled the curtain back on the money  involved. The statement is memorialized in the Congressional Record.  Referring to the three docs, he said “they are some of the top  psychiatrists in the country, and their research is some of the most  important in the field. They have also taken millions of dollars from  the drug companies.”

 

“Out of concern about the relationship between this money and their  research, I asked Harvard and Mass General Hospital last October to send me the conflict of interest forms that these doctors had submitted to  their institutions. Universities often require faculty to fill these  forms out so that we can know if the doctors have a conflict of  interest. The forms I received were from the year 2000 to the present.  Basically, these forms were a mess. My staff had a hard time figuring  out which companies the doctors were consulting for and how much money  they were making.”

How much were they making? At first, maybe a couple of hundred  thousand dollars combined. But at his behest, the med school and  hospital asked the docs to take a second look. “And this is when things  got interesting. Dr. Biederman suddenly admitted to over $1.6 million  dollars from the drug companies. And Dr. Spencer also admitted to over  $1 million. Meanwhile, Dr. Wilens also reported over $1.6 million in  payments from the drug companies.

“The question you might ask is: Why weren’t Harvard and Mass General  watching over these doctors? The answer is simple: They trusted these  physicians to honestly report this money.” And as Grassley then noted,  there was still more money that went unreported (to read the  Congressional record, click hereand then check the box for 2008 and type in the name ‘Biederman’ in the search box. Then click on ‘payments to physicians’ to read the complete statement and the chart showing payments to each doc).

pic thx to jerome kassirer

Written by dawneworswick

July 22, 2011 at 12:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Hearing delayed for Okla. judge charged with fraud

leave a comment »

Posted:
//
Jul 20, 2011 11:04 AM PDT

<em>Wednesday, July 20, 2011 2:04 PM EST</em>Updated:
//
Jul 20, 2011 11:04 AM PDT

<em>Wednesday, July 20, 2011 2:04 PM EST</em>

// OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – A preliminary hearing for an Oklahoma judge charged with fraud and perjury has been postponed while the judge appeals another judge’s order in the case.

The hearing was to begin on Friday for Oklahoma County District Judge Tammy Bass-LeSure and her husband, Karlos LeSure. But an online court entry posted Tuesday indicates Garfield County District Judge Paul Woodward, who is presiding over the case, postponed the hearing.

No new date was set.

Bass-LeSure and her husband are charged with making a fraudulent claim against the state and perjury for allegedly taking payments for foster children they adopted who do not live with them. Both deny wrongdoing.

In May, Woodward denied Bass-LeSure’s motion to remove District Attorney David Prater from the case. She has appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Written by dawneworswick

July 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Nothing’s Ever Permanent in Foster Care

leave a comment »

http://www.wnyc.org/shows/rookies/2011/jun/30/

 

 

  • Michael Jacobson

  • St. George (2011)

    The latest group of Radio Rookies have reported stories on everything from  surviving Facebook drama to   life in the foster care system to coming  out as gay in the age of Lady  Gaga.

    More

“Nothing’s ever permanent in foster care” is how Rookie Reporter Michael Jacobson describes his life in the system.  Just when he thinks things are settling down, he gets yet another case worker or must move to a new home.  In fact, Michael has lived in seven different homes in just four years.  Teenagers are the most difficult foster kids to place in homes, and Michael’s story gives listeners a chance to hear first-hand why that’s the case.

Here’s an excerpt of his radio story:

When I first went into foster care, I just felt lost.  My friends kept saying, “Yo, you’re changing.  You’re acting like you’re depressed.”  I used to bug out and say, “nah.”  If you’re in foster care the only people you can trust are other foster kids because they know how it is.  My friend Shane told me, “When you’re with your parents you feel loved.  When you’re with your foster parents you feel like you’re just there.”

Everytime I move into a new place I’m quiet and everything’s fine.  Then I start being myself and they realize I’m not what they wanted.  It gets me mad and then I really make sure I’m not what they wanted, so by the time I get kicked out, there’s no connection.

When you’re living the “foster care lifestyle,” you’re only thinking about that day.  You don’t think about the future because you can’t control what’s going to happen.  Your social workers are supposed to help, but they never really stay around for long.

To listen to Michael’s complete story, go to the link above.

If you would like to comment or send your thoughts about this story, please write to radiorookies@wnyc.org.

Written by dawneworswick

July 21, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized