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Three separate studies since 1996 have found that 30 percent of America's foster children could be safely in their own homes right now, if their birth parents had safe, affordable housing.

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"Memaw Dies"

Huron County won't allow death bed request because "Not in the best interest" of children

Mildred "Brent" Timperman passed away at her home on July 12, 2006. Known as Memaw to the Gravelle children, she lived next door to the Gravelles for six years and had an active part in their lives. Some of the children were very attached to her. She cooked meals on a daily basis and helped to care for them. It gave her the will to live after her husband died.

The children loved to spend the night over at Memaw's and the little ones would sometimes take their blanket and pillow to Memaw's for their naptime. During the summer of 2005, Memaw had storage shed erected on her property so that the little children could ride their tricycles in the wintertime. Her back patio was strewn with toys, as was her living room when the children were there. She loved those children!

After the children were taken by Huron County, she had a picture of a big yellow ribbon painted on the side of the shed with the message "Bring the Children Home, Lots of Love, Memaw. We Love You, Mom and Dad." When the Gravelles took pictures of the shed to show the children at a visitation, the social workers wouldn't allow the children to see them because, "It might make the children feel guilty."

As she lay dying, she kept asking to see the children. The Gravelle's attorney contacted Huron County Children's Services who felt it would not be in the best interest of the children to visit their grandmother.

David Broehl, Administrator of Huron County Children's Services, suggested that the Gravelles videotape Memaw on her deathbed and they would show it to some of the children! The Gravelles are appealing their case to have the children returned. How horrible and emotionally devastating this is going to be for these children when they find out that their grandmother wanted to see them before she died and they couldn't see her one last time.

This doesn't sound like it is in the best interest of the children to me. It sounds cold, heartless, mean, unkind, despicable, nasty, contemptible, vile, inhumane, merciless, brutal, pitiless, ruthless, barbarous, mean-spirited, dastardly, rotten, dishonorable, sinful, wicked, foul, loathsome, scandalous, immoral, evil-minded, malicious, nefarious and cruel.

Soon after the children were taken, Memaw made a very profound statement, "Huron County doesn't know it yet, but they've got a hold of a hornet's nest and they aren't going to be able to let go!"

Why is this happening? One of the basic reasons is a conflict of interest for social workers, both in county and adoption agencies. Social workers are human and subject to biases and prejudices based on their character, integrity and training. In county agencies, social workers are trained to take children out of homes and put them into foster homes in order to keep getting huge amounts federal funding for their agencies and thus, keep their jobs.

Because they have sovereign immunity from the Federal CAPTA Act passed in 1937, they can do anything they want including lie, threaten, file false information and false allegations to get a search warrant, commit perjury, and try to alienate children from loving parents and families by the same techniques used by terrorists (Stockholm Syndrome) and vindictive parents (Parental Alienation Syndrome). They also use drugs to control unhappy foster children, which only programs them for later drug abuse.

Social workers in private adoption agencies need to keep placing children for adoption in order to keep money coming into their agencies. Because of this need to adopt out children, the social workers that do home studies for their agencies, write glowing reports of families desiring to adopt. When naive parents tell the social worker of previous problems, they are told that if the information is five or ten years old, it can no longer be held against them.

The adoptive parents aren't allowed to read this report, but may be asked to sign at the bottom of the page acknowledging that the home study was done. It then looks like they have agreed to the information written by the social worker. Later on, if the adoptive parents are investigated, they may be charged with giving false information and/or perjury because of this signature.

Another issue with private agencies is that if they refuse to let a child be adopted because of a negative home study, the parents may go to another agency. If the second agency allows an adoption, then the first agency gets a bad reputation and parents will stop trying to adopt through them. It's bad for business when a social worker writes a negative home study because adoptive parents pay private agencies thousands of dollars to adopt children.

There is no cost to adopt from public agencies. However, if they do not keep placing children in foster care and adopting or re-adopting children, they will lose huge amounts of federal funding. Since all this information is public, all one has to do is request it from the county auditor. Much of this money goes to county employees. You can also request the salaries of county employees from the auditor.

If this money were used to help parent's correct "problems" and keep their children at home where they belong, there would be less need for all the county workers, which creates a conflict of interest for county workers. Instead of paying money to foster parents, why is this money not being used to help parents keep their children at home?

The federal CAPTA laws that were enacted in 1937 were meant to protect children from abuse but instead are being used by CPS to abuse families and children.

One of the children was moved "again" in May because he got mad about something so he "peed" all over the walls and expensive carpet and furniture. The foster mother called children's services and said, "Get him out of here NOW!" The Gravelles wouldn't have done that. They would have asked Elaine Thompson what they could try now to control the behavior. The sheriff should go to that foster home and he might smell urine there too, but now he'll understand why.

The expenses to appeal a case are enormous. So far, $10.000 has been paid just to the court reporters for the cost of the court transcripts. They now want an additional $2040.00.

PLEASE keep the Gravelle family in your prayers and help them in their fight to have their children returned home where they are loved no matter what they do. Donations can be made to the Gravelle Family Defense Fund at Key Bank, 11-13 West Main St., Wakeman, OH 44889 (or any Key Bank).

Posted August 14, 2006