Dr. Douglass Besharov, Child Abuse Expert, Maryland School of Public Affairs: Out of the nearly 3 million child abuse reports made each year, 7 out of 10 are without merit.
Michigan Cancer Victim Fights For Children
Tammy was just diagnosed with Lung Cancer this week and we do not know if she will
recover or how long she will be here if she is deemed terminal. I know her personally
and she is a really good mom. This is her story. We are asking everyone across the
country to read about her plight and then join us in shock and outrage at her families
treatment by the State of Michigan and the County of Clare Michigan.
I have provided all the information to enable you to contact me concerning her story.
They are not sure but she may be able to get the girls returned at the September hearing.
The point is she committed no wrong. This is a story made up out of
Below you will find the appropriate workers names to include in your complaints.
The way this works is you e-mail the contacts listed below, everyday. Please follow-up
with a Fax and/or Phone call. Let's get these little girls home with their mom where they
She has a friend who will take care of her and the girls when she gets out of the Hospital;
But CPS says they have to do a background check on her first because she would be taking
care of the girls. The ludicrous part of this is the friend works at a local Women's Shelter
in Clare Co. and every one of these workers know her.
Tammy Cushing Answers False Allegations
In the matter of the removal of the minor children of Tammy Cushing of 10297 Woods Rd.,
Gladwin, MI 48624 by the Clare County Department of FIA/Child Protective Services. This is
the report promised to Representative Jennifer Elkins and Representative Fulton Sheen.
Order to Place in Protective Custody
On Friday 4/23/04, Nicole Cushing DOB 5/30/95 and Crystal Cushing DOB 4/16/97, the 2 minor
children of Tammy Cushing were removed from Larson Elementary School, Harrison, MI at
approximately 2:30 pm in the afternoon by the Clare Co. Child Protective Service Agency.
Tammy Cushing the mother was notified later that afternoon by worker Pat Parker of that
agency and served with notice to appear at a hearing on this matter on Tuesday 4/27/04 at
1:00 p.m. in the Judicial Circuit-Family Court of Clare County MI.
Please note the MI statute in the removal of children from a home clearly states that
there must be a hearing held with 24-hours of the removal of the children,
excluding weekends or holidays or the children must be returned to the family.
The statutes sited for the removal of the children are listed as 712A.2(b) (1) and 712A.2
(b) (2). You may refer to the Petition for removal for explanation of these statutes.
I will take each point from pages 2 and 3 of the petition for removal and cover it one
point at a time:
- There was domestic violence perpetrated by Tammy's husband who was incarcerated in January.
There was no environmental neglect. Any problem with the house was caused at the time of the
violent behavior of her husband he literally trashed the house, which Tammy later cleaned up.
- This is true:
- She did accept services in January from Families First.
- There was a homemaker by the name of Vicky Haviland from Homemaker services who came to the house
- Wrap-around was not involved until April 21, 2004, 2-days before the children were taken. The intake was done on that day for Wrap-around.
- Woman's aide Services has been providing Tammy with counseling and therapy since she went to the shelter in November.
- This is a completely false allegation on the part of homemaker Vicki Haviland. She came
to Tammy's home on the day of April 22, 2004. Tammy told her she was not feeling well. There
were 2 baskets of clean clothes in the living room, which had not been folded. There was a
child's blanket lying on the floor between the chair and a table. There were a few dishes
in the sink. Vicki wanted to know why I had not had my 9-year-old daughter Nicki do the
dishes I informed her she has a broken tibia which is in a cast and doctors orders at that
time were that she was to not bear any weight on that leg.
Tammy is a smoker and was making homemade cigarettes with a cigarette machine. Tammy was
not smoking marijuana. She went to the refrigerator to get something to drink. She was out
of pop or anything else to drink. The only thing in the fridge to drink was a non-alcoholic
beer. She took a couple of drinks of that and then threw the rest out.
- Mrs. Cushing was not glassy eyed and never admitted to Ms. Haviland that she was over using
her pain medication. Mrs. Haviland did not state that her daughters could take care of themselves,
however, children of that age are pretty well able to attend to simple tasks for themselves unaided.
Ms. Haviland never questioned Mrs. Cushing about her being in any state what-so-ever. She was
not feeling well and had made that clear to the worker.
- Mrs. Cushing never said anything about needing any kind of rehabilitation for substance
abuse because she does not abuse any substances. As is evidenced by the drug screen included in this report.
- Mrs. Cushing never made this statement what-so-ever. This is completely false. She does
not traffic in drugs nor does she consort with people who do traffic in drugs. The worker,
Vicki Haviland did, on that day, attempt to purchase a bottle of Zoloft (an anti-depressant),
for $10.00, which had been prescribed for Tammy. The bottle had been sitting on the table
in the Cushing home, when Tammy refused to sell it to her, she took the entire bottle,
Tammy informed her that taking the bottle of Zoloft would be
considered theft. An argument ensued. Vicki then asked to take Tammy's kids to her house for
the weekend. Tammy told her no. That seemed to upset Vicki even more. The day after all of
these allegations made by Ms. Haviland, Tammy's children were removed from her home. It appears
that Vicki Haviland maked all of these allegations.
Tammy attempted to make a police report concerning the theft of her prescription, however,
the local police refused to take the report. (Vicki Haviland's husband is a turnkey at
the police department.) Tammy called the state police but they were busy and could not
come out, as they didn't have an officer in the area available to take the report. They told
her they would send someone out as soon as they had an officer available. They have yet to
send anyone to her home to take the report.
- This again is a completely false statement. It is blatantly against any policies and
procedures to remove children from a home because it is messy. That would constitute no
danger to the children. If there were garbage or animal feces on the floor that would be an
entirely different story but baskets of clean clothes and a few dirty dishes in the sink do
not constitute environmental neglect.
- Mrs. Cushing in fact told the worker she did not want the children to have any contact with
Mr. Cushing and in fact without Tammy's insistence they were going to allow an unsupervised visit
with the children and the father, Mr. Cushing.
- Mrs. Cushing told this to the people at the shelter in November. This is something that
took place several years ago. When Mrs. Cushing went back home in late December she wanted
the children to be able to spend Christmas in their own home. Perhaps not the wisest
decision but understandable at that time of year.
- On January 9th 2004, Mr. Cushing in a drunken rage again became abusive, at which time
Tammy called 911 and he was arrested. He has not been allowed in the home since his release
from jail on April 16th. Tammy Cushing is seeking a divorce from her husband and will be asking
for supervised visits only between Mr. Cushing and the children if any.
- This was a supervised (at the insistence of Tammy) visit at FIA. She also insisted that
Pat Parker see and be ordered into parenting classes as a condition to these visits and Pat
Parker informed her she would not do this because she was only concerned with Tammy's behavior
regarding her children at this time.
- The Woman's aid Therapist Tracy Bradley discussed this case with Pat Parker several hours
before Ms Parker received a valid signed release of information concerning the Cushing children.
It is well known the children were fearful of being made to go for visitation with their father.
It is not unusual for an older child to feel protective of a younger sibling. This is a rather
normal family dynamic and not something that would reflect negatively on parents. If there had
not been a visit allowed by FIA worker Pat Parker in the first place they child would not have
had to go through the traumatic feelings discussed in this paragraph.
- Mrs. Cushing had a drug problem when she was in her 20s but has been clean and sober for
years following her successful drug rehabilitation in her 20s.
- Mrs. Cushing has no idea what they are talking about in this paragraph and when she asked
Ms. Ousley about this, she told Tammy she had not even talked to Vicki Haviland about anything.
In May 2004, this reporter did talk with Leandra Ousley
- This is a complete fabrication on the part of Vicki Haviland. In fact, Vicki Haviland
called Ms. Cushing one-week before Mr. Cushing was released from jail. Ms. Haviland was of
the opinion that Mr. Cushing had already been released when she called. She asked Ms. Cushing,
"Did you get a little last night". Tammy asked her what she was talking about.
Ms. Haviland alluded to the fact that she thought Mr. Cushing had come over after getting
out and slept with Tammy. Tammy told Ms. Haviland that she (Ms. Haviland) knew there was a
PPO against her husband and a "no contact" order in place. Tammy would lose her
children if she had any contact with him.
She informed Vicki there was no way
she would do anything to jeopardize her children. Vicki offered to help Tammy fix up her
bedroom trying to say that when the children were at school no one would know if Tammy's
husband came over for a visit with her. She kept trying to get Tammy to try and have contact
with her husband.
- On April 22, 2004 Tammy contacted her husband's probation officer to make sure that Jason
Cushing would not be able to get the PPO dropped in the future, this was misconstrued by
either the officer or Pat Parker or both to think Tammy wanted the PPO dropped when in
fact it was just the opposite. She was in fear that he might be able to get it dropped
and would then come after her and the girls.
- This is a complete fallacy and it is believed Vicki Haviland brought about this whole
action after she took the Zoloft from Tammy's home against the wishes of Tammy Cushing.
There had been tension between Tammy and Vicki because of derogatory remarks, which were
made regarding Tammy's oldest daughter, Nicole by Vicki. Vicki seemed to like to talk about
Pat Parker, telling Tammy never to trust her. She was constantly talking about other
people in a derogatory manor.
On the 22nd of April there were several instances
when Tammy let Vicki know that she was irritating her with some of her remarks and actions.
The last straw came when Tammy asked her to leave the house because Vicki verbally attacked
a personal friend and talked about Nicole telling Tammy her younger daughter is very genuine
and Nicole is a fake.
The children are not afraid of their mother and since Mr.
Cushing is not in the home there should be no reason to fear anything from him.
Since Mrs. Cushing has submitted willingly to a drug test, which came back negative and there
has been a failure to prove any environmental neglect this case should be immediately dropped.
After the Drug screen came back negative Tammy asked Pat Parker to please have her children
returned. Ms Parker refused telling Tammy she was not going to get her kids back because she
is still building the case against Tammy. It would seem that children should not be removed
from a home until the investigation is completed and the case has been built. Even if the
home were not as neat as could be that would not constitute eminent danger of bodily harm or
death to the 7 and 9-year-old children. It would appear that the case has been built around
the word of one woman from homemaker services.
One very glaring fact that sticks out in this reporters mind is the fact that the children
were removed on Friday, April 23, 2004. MCR 3.965 (A)(1) mandates a hearing be held
within 24-hours of the children being picked up excepting weekends and holidays.
(A) Time for Preliminary Hearing.
(1) Child in Protective Custody. The preliminary hearing must commence no later
than 24-hours after the child has been taken into protective custody, excluding Sundays and holidays,
as defined by MCR 8.110(D)
(2) unless adjourned for good cause shown, or the child must be released.
(3) The court shall inquire whether a member of the child's immediate or extended family is
available to take custody of the child pending preliminary hearing, whether there has been a
central registry clearance, and whether a criminal history check has been initiated.
Paragraph (3) is also very specific concerning seeking kinship care. Neither of these requirements
were met. The hearing was not held until Tuesday, April 27, 2004. Since we are a nation of laws we
need the people who are charged with upholding those laws to adhere to these laws as the citizens
are expected to. It would seem that CPS and the Family Court system in all too many instances
believe the laws do not pertain to them. This flies in the face of the Constitution of the United
States and the laws of the State of Michigan.
This is a prime case of the victim of domestic violence being re-victimized by the system put in
place to protect her. The people at the shelter called Protective Services in the first place.
This is just wrong. If the women of this state learn that the woman's shelter they flee to for
sanctuary is going to call CPS and then remove the children. How long will it be before women
stop seeking help when a spouse or significant other abuses them? How long before the death
toll will begin to rise as a result of unreported domestic violence because of fear that they
will lose their children? These questions need an immediate answer.
In fact there is a recent Supreme Court ruling to the effect that children should not to be removed
from the non-offender in a domestic violence case as it only victimizes the victims in these cases.
It only causes further damage to the children.
State of Michigan FIA/CPS Director Marianne Udow
Telephone: (517) 373-2000
Fax: (517) 335-6101
Clare County Worker Kathie Chimner
Fax: (989) 539-4232
Representative Sheen's Aid
Telephone: (517) 373-0836
Telephone: (517) 335-3475
Senator Alan Cropsey
Toll free: (866) 305-2133 or (517) 373-3760
Fax: (517) 373-8661
Representative Jennifer Elkins,
(Clare County Michigan)
Telephone: (517) 373-3077
Fax: (517) 335-4471
Senator Bill Hardiman
Chairman FIA/CPS Senate Committee
Phone (517) 373-1801
Clare County Review
Toll free: (888) 796-4831
9 & 10 TV News
Updated: April 22, 2005