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Students in foster care lose four to six months of academic progress every time they change schools. (Casey Family Programs Research)

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Why Eleven Children?

Sharen Gravelle was asked "Why eleven children?" and she responded first by telling this story.

A woman came to the beach every day after the tide went out. She would pick up the starfish stranded on the beach and throw them back into the ocean. One day, a man asked her, "Why are you throwing the starfish back?"

The Real "Children in Cages" Story

She replied, "Because they want to live too." "But you can't save them all," he exclaimed.

"No," she answered as she picked up a starfish and threw it into the ocean, "but I can save this one." She picked up another and threw it back, "and this one." She continued picking up starfish, throwing them back and saying, "and this one; and this one; and this one.

Sharen ended her story by saying, "Someday, when I stand before God on judgment day, I'm going to have eleven starfish in my crown."

~Gravelle Family Friend

Annette,

I have to tell you that I broke down and cried when I was trying to write this story and then I cried again when I read your story "Family Court: What Was I Thinking?"

I just talked to a woman for 2 hours who approached Sharen in Walmart on Monday. Ironically, Sharen had a dream about this woman the night before!

This woman, Judy, said she is currently involved with Huron County Court and CPS and wants to help Sharen. Sharen's attorney doesn't want her to be involved with starting a support group for parents who are having similar problems but I will! June said she will allow me to use her phone number and one of her email addresses to start the support group.

I have talked to Roz McAllister who is president of the Ohio American Family Rights Association and she will give presentations about what to do if a social worker comes to your house, etc. Also I can ask Bob Surgenor from the Family Defense Network of Ohio to speak to the group too.

I talk to him about the Gravelles and he also uses some of my stories on his website that reaches over 6000 people in Ohio. He's very involved with these types of cases. Do you know who he is?

Judy wrote a column for a newspaper for 5 years and would be willing to help with a newsletter. I would like to use your letter in some of my updates in the future or in the newsletter with your permission and of course your name. I think we need to get more of these horror stories out over the internet and to our lawmakers on a regular basis. Perhaps we can use the newsletter for that reason?

Roz is planning to run for state representative where she can have an impact on the laws. There is a lot of work to be done to change the system.

If you have any suggestions about starting a support group, please let me know or call me when you have a spare minute.

~Janet
(Not her real name.)

Posted August 14, 2006