Archive for child abuse

An Alarming Rate Of Teachers Are Sexually Abusing Students

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Reports in the media of teachers who are sexually abusing students are increasingly alarming.  The majority of cases reported are in New York.

Child sexual molesters choose careers where they can be close to children. So it’s not surprising when we hear all of the stories about teachers sexually molesting students.

Below are just some of the reported cases of teachers who have been accused of or who admitted to sexually molesting their students in the U.S. from February 2012 – April, 2012.

There should not be one case, let alone all of these. We must do something to help our children NOW!

NY – February, 2012: For Fifth Time This Month A NYC Teacher Is Arrested For Alleged Child Sex Abuse

NY – February, 2012: Outraged parents demand answers over hiring of PS 87 school aide accused of sex abuse

NY -March, 2012: Queens teacher charged with assaulting 6-year-old

OH – March, 2012: Bengals cheerleader, ex-teacher charged with sexual abuse of a student

MO – March, 2012: A Missouri elementary school teacher charged with sexually abusing students is free on $250,000 bond after prosecutors brought new charges.

NY – March 2012: Yet Another NYC School Teacher Arrested On Sexual Abuse Charges

NY – March, 2012: Brooklyn Teacher Accused of Sexually Abusing Student

NC – March, 2012: Sex abuse charges pile up against former Clayton teacher

CA – March 2012: A Pacoima teacher’s arrest came to light four months after he was arrested on sexual abuse allegations

TX: March, 2012: Special education teacher in Texas is being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with two underage students.

CA – March, 2012: Four more school districts provide teacher misconduct record

NY – April, 2012: Sixteen teachers singled out for pervy conduct get to keep their jobs in New York City schools

NY – April, 2012: Six NY Teachers On Desk Duty For Years for perverted acts towards students, But Can’t Be Fired

NY – April, 2012: Bronx assistant principal arrested for sex abuse

CA – April, 2012 Christopher James Hooker, the Modesto, Calif., ex-teacher whose romance with a student drew attention from around the world, was arrested Friday after being charged with one count of oral copulation with a minor in an incident that police said happened 14 years ago

NE – April, 2012 Nebraska teacher arrested on sex-abuse allegations

TN – April, 2012 Mid South teacher charged with rape of student

OR – April, 2012 Molalla teacher arrested on sex-abuse charges in OC

What parents should do if a child tells them that he/she has been sexually abused

Children rarely report abuse during their victimization and nearly 80% will deny the abuse. Adults must be alert to signs of sexual abuse.

If a child does tell you they’ve been sexually abused, take the time to really listen to them when they want to talk. Believe what you are hearing no matter how impossible it sounds. Remember that 90% of abuse is done by someone the child knows, trusts and loves.  

Assure the child that they are doing the right thing by telling and you will get help. Never blame or punish the child or show anger.  It is difficult but you must control your emotions. Your reaction to the abuse might be viewed as directed toward the child.

Reassure them that you are not angry at them. Don’t take notes while the child is talking to you. Listen intently. Then quickly document the disclosure.

If you are an employee or volunteer and hear of the abuse, immediately report the incident to your supervisor, but keep in mind that you are a mandated reporter and you have an obligation to report the incident to the proper authorities. If you represent the organization at which the abuse occurred, you must report the child’s disclosure to law enforcement or child protective agency as specified by the laws in your particular state.

If you report the abuse to a higher authority, supervisor or report it to law enforcement make sure you follow up to see that the problem is being addressed.

If your child us being sexually abused by a teacher, principal or school employee, report it to the principal, the school board and law enforcement.

If the school takes the approach of complete denial, report it to the school board and law enforcement, create a paper trail and contact the District Attorney’s office where you live. You may even have to contact an attorney.

In the Naples, FL case where teacher Steven Noyes was accused of sexually molesting a 9 year-old student, the police dropped the ball on the case. Don’t let this happen to you.

And NYS Arbitrator Paul Zonderman said he is neutral, and that he stands behind his decisions to not fire city teachers for various offenses. “Sometimes you go with the union. Sometimes you go with management.

Schools are culpable. Hopefully they’ve done their due diligence with background checks. Yet more needs to be done.

 Sign our petition to have stronger and more frequent background checks on teachers so we can keep our children safe at school.

Lastly, if you are or were a victim of child sexual molestation and didn’t tell – PLEASE TELL! It is so important to report it.

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“GET BLUE” – NATIONAL EFFORT TO EDUCATE AMERICA DURING APRIL, NATIONAL CHILD ABUSE PREVENTION MONTH

April marks the 29th anniversary of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time dedicated to child abuse education, awareness and prevention activities. To observe National Child Abuse Prevention month, Love Our Children USA, (a national organization headquartered in New York whose mission is to break the cycle of violence against children) begins its ninth annual GET BLUE campaign – a national effort to educate and raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention.

The “Blue Ribbon” is the symbol for child abuse prevention. Love Our Children USA urges every person across the country to GET BLUE. By wearing a Blue Ribbon pin during April and throughout the year, we can educate families, children, neighbors and communities on how to prevent child abuse and neglect — encourage communities and individuals in recognizing and preventing child abuse, assist families in achieving healthy parenting practices through education and resources and empower individuals to report child victimization and intervene in situations where violence and neglect harm children.

To signify the importance of the month, Love Our Children USA announces the Ninth Annual National Love Our Children Day on Saturday, April 14th. Created by Love Our Children USA, National Love Our Children Day is celebrated annually to honor children, strengthen families and raise awareness for efforts to keep children safe. Each year the day is recognized with a proclamation from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

National Love Our Children Day is like Mother’s and Father’s Day for children and is celebrated across the U.S. This day was created to acknowledge the value of children and to educate parents on the importance of giving them love, protection and respect, the three essential elements children need to become strong and successful adults. By promoting healthy and happy children and strengthening families we can keep kids safe.

To create a greater awareness Love Our Children USA has created a virtual i-Walk which will take place online during the month of April. The awareness and funds raised will go towards parenting education programs to keep children safe and strengthen families. The i-Walk is sponsored by Karma 411, Rolemommy.com, Project You Magazine, Kenn Viselman Presents and the Oogieloves.

In just one year the number of child sexual abuse by teachers was alarming. There were five cases in New York City alone just in February and the scandal at the Miramonte School in Los Angeles shook the education community there. The Penn State and Syracuse scandals shook college campuses and all of the parents in the country who harmed or killed there children this year was tragic.

According to Love Our Children USA Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ross Ellis “Child abuse has reached epidemic proportions and the unnecessary tragedies we’ve seen this past year calls for educating the public immediately and often.” Reports of child abuse nationwide have increased by 30-percent in the last 10-years. If the country thinks child abuse isn’t a problem, they need to think again. More than 3 million children are victims of child abuse each year and almost 1.8 million children are reported missing each year, many of whom are abducted from their homes and front yards. Those are only the ones that are reported.

“It is of critical importance that we educate the American public and raise a greater awareness to break the cycle of violence against children – before it starts,” says Ellis.

Ross Ellis said “A child’s voice is small, ignored and unheard. We must raise the volume so that everyone hears their message. Imagine if everyone in the country wore a Blue Ribbon — we could make such an impact in raising awareness to break the cycle that breaks children’s hearts, spirits and lives. We must protect our children instead of protecting the people who are supposed to be protecting our most innocent. ”

National Child Abuse Prevention Month is not only a timely opportunity to remind ourselves of our collective responsibility to protect America’s children and strengthen America’s families, but it is time to accelerate education and awareness of this very public epidemic and make our children a priority NOW. The country, our communities, concerned citizens, and even youth must work together to break the cycle.

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Demanding Extensive Background Checks on Teachers To Keep Children Safe At School

The rash of teachers and school employees across the country who have been arrested for the alleged sexual abuse of children is more than alarming.

For the fifth time this month, a New York City teacher has been charged with a sex crime against a student.

Brett Picou, 30, an art teacher at P.S. 52, is accused of fondling an 11-year-old girl, which took place at school.  News sources report that at least six other students all girls, may be victims. One child told the school principal a week ago, triggering the investigation.

The New York City Department of Education said Picou has been suspended without pay since the student made the accusation on February 15.

Picou joins Chukwuma Duru, Tyleek Brooks, Gregory Atkins and Wilbert Cortez. Duru is a substitute teacher. Brooks and Atkins worked as teacher’s aides. Cortez is a computer teacher.

And it’s not just in New York City. At the beginning of February, the Los Angeles Times reported that teacher Mark Berndt of the Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles was arrested for the most despicable acts against children. Berndt is deservedly looking at multiple potential life sentences.

In 1994, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office decided not to press charges against veteran Los Angeles teacher Mark Berndt for fondling a girl because prosecutors determined there was “insufficient evidence.”

Now 18 years later, Berndt the teacher everyone loved has finally been arrested after a one-year investigation for the photographing children in class while he sexually relieved himself under his desk, spoon-fed his own semen to blindfolded elementary school children and photographed them with a giant live cockroach on their faces.  Berndt’s 23 counts of lewd acts against children took place between 2005 and 2010. The victims were both girls and boys between the ages of 7 and 10.

And last April teacher Steven Noyes of the Village School in Naples, Fl., a private school affiliated with the North Naples United Methodist Church, was accused of sexual abuse against one of his 9 year old female students at the school. The police investigated the case, but when the teacher in question didn’t cooperate, they dropped the ball.  The teacher was not willing to talk to police or take a polygraph test, returned to school. The head of the school Ginger Sauter was heard saying “This is all my fault, I shouldn’t have let him hug the children” and now the little girl, the innocent victim has been expelled from school.

What are our schools missing when hiring teachers? How extensive are their background checks?

While we would never want our innocent teachers to suffer, we may have to! It’s time to demand that our schools have more extensive background checks and do these annually to check for any discrepancies, arrests, or any negative information.

Child molesters choose to work where they can be close to children. As a country, we must insist that our children are kept safe from these predators at school.

Please sign our PETITION and urge legislators to hold extensive background checks before hiring teachers and school administrators and to run extensive mandatory annual background checks on all teachers and school administrators.

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Penn State Students Riot Over Firing of Football Coach Joe Paterno

         
  

The fact that this story is being written shows us what seems to be more important in the minds of Penn State students – and it’s not the fact that innocent children have been sexually abused and the abuse was covered up. It’s all about money-making college football.

Last night thousands of Penn State students rioted after hearing about the firing of 84 year-old Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. Students screamed and chanted “We want Joe.” They threw rocks and bottles and tipped over a news van.

A 20-year-old junior from Scranton, PA and an 18 year-old freshman from Baltimore told news sources that they thought the decision was a little harsh and said they are just allegations.

Do these students not understand that it is against the law NOT to report child abuse? Are students that immune to horrific and immoral behavior against children, that they would rather see a football coach keep his job?

Do they not understand that child sexual abuse is as bad as it gets? That an adult who took advantage of young boys and took away their very foundation?

What are the parents of the rioters thinking?

There was a witness to the sexual abuse of a 10-year-old boy by coach Jerry Sandusky who told Joe Paterno about the abuse. And many more victims have come forward. Paterno did nothing. He might as well have abused the boys himself.

Paterno, Penn State President Graham Spanier and Penn State have been under great scrutiny since former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged last weekend with 40 counts of sexual abuse of children. I repeat 40 counts of child sexual abuse.

Sandusky was arrested last Saturday on charges that he preyed on boys he met through The Second Mile, a charity he founded for at-risk youths. Two high-ranking Penn State administrators also face charges they lied about knowledge of the crimes to a grand jury.

It’s no mistake that child sexual abusers choose careers that deal with children. The Second Mile began as group foster home to help troubled boys.

The grand jury report Read the grand jury report is startling and portrays the actions of a typical child molester.

As a child advocate for over 20 years, it is appalling enough to read the grand jury report because our weakest ones have been egregiously abused, hurt and taken advantage of. Yet to see young adults take the side of Paterno and riot over his dismissal because football is more important – because Penn State will somehow not be able to go on without Paterno leaves one shaking their head in complete disbelief and anger – because where have we as a society gone wrong with teaching our young adults values and morals?

The behavior of the rioting Penn State students needs discussion, education and awareness. The silence of Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier needs criminal investigation. And the audacious acts of Jerry Sandusky need a trial that will convict him of being the child molester he is.

As far as college football, I don’t really know much about it or care to, but I am told there is quite a bit of money to made from this sport.

We’ve been dealing with corporate greed and now it’s come down to the greed of a football coach who made millions and who kept silent for a football team and a college and allowed young boys to be sexually abused.

What does that say about our society and how can we explain this to our child victims?

Ross Ellis
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Love Our Children USA

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School Cover Up: Injustice to a Little Girl in Naples, Fl

Recently, I wrote an article about Steven Noyes, a teacher in Naples, Florida who  has been accused of inappropriately touching his former 9 year-old female  student Jane Doe. (See blog post May 21st.)

Why former?

The school expelled little Jane Doe. The  teacher has refused to cooperate with  police and has returned to teaching at the private Christian Village School in Naples, Fl. which is affiliated with the North Naples United Methodist Church,

Not only does Noyes refuse to cooperate with police, but he has recently been seen hugging children in school and holding hands with students. Odd that should happen especially when the parents reported the abuse to Ginger Sauter, the school’s principal, and she told the parents “this is all my fault, I shouldn’t have let him hug the children.”

It’s bad enough that Noyes has been accused of inappropriately touching a child, but why is he holding hands with a student? Why is he hugging students?

The injustice to Jane Doe is unfair. She has not only been violated but she has been forced to go to a new school, make new friends and leave everything behind because of a teacher’s indiscretions and a school’s incompetence to handle the situation properly.

As reported earlier, the teacher is by all accounts “beloved” and has a clean record. The same scenario goes for the “priests” who sexually abuse children and all of the other people who choose careers working with children, only to groom them and then sexually abuse them. That’s the typical M.O. of a child molester.

And holding hands and hugging little children is beyond their realm of “wrong.”

We must seek justice for Jane Doe and her family – and for all of the other Jane and John Does who this happens to.

This case should serve as a wake-up call to all parents. Never say “It won’t happen to my kid” because it happened to Jane Doe who comes from a lovely Christian family with parents who entrusted the care and well-being to this school – to this teacher.

Jane Doe deserves justice! Her claim must be corroborated. Local news comments are aimed at discrediting her and her family.

Steven Noyes lived and taught in Harrington, Maine and moved Naples, Fl where he teaches at the Christian Village School.

Why is the teacher being protected by the school when it’s Jane Doe who should be protected?

Teacher child abuse happens in every state, but never has a student been told to leave school for telling the truth.
If you know of a case like this in Florida – Report it to law enforcement and call Child Protective Services in Florida (800) 962-2873

If you know of a case like this in Maine – Report it to law enforcement and call Child Protective Services in Maine (800) 452-1999

Or you can call the National Child Abuse Hotline at National Hotline 1-800-422-4453

Please help Jane Doe get the justice she deserves.

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Teacher Accused of Molesting Student: Cover Up

  

When we send our children to school, we expect that the school, its principal, teachers and its faculty are going to protect our children.

Children are taught to respect and honor parental authority figures such as teachers, guidance counselors, and principals and not to question their actions. We trust our schools to protect our most vulnerable … yet children are being sexually molested by the very people who are supposed to protect them. Most abusers remain undetected and free to continue their abuse of power and violation of professional ethics.

It never enters into our minds that a “beloved” teacher would touch our children inappropriately or have sex with them.

The sad reality is that it does happen and it recently took place in Naples, Fl.

On May, 19th, Robin Sax, a California-based attorney and former sex crimes prosecutor, who is a frequent network TV commentator on high-profile legal cases and a national expert in child sexual abuse, and Jeff Herman, a nationally-recognized advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse filed filing of a new lawsuit against The Village School, a Naples-area private school affiliated with the North Naples United Methodist Church, for the sexual abuse of a 9 year old student at the school.   

The nine year old little girl was touched inappropriately by her homeroom teacher, Steven Noyes. The police investigated the case, but when the teacher in question didn’t cooperate, they dropped the ball.  The teacher was not willing to talk to police nor take a poly.
 
The parents are really amazing and brave. They are standing up for their little girl in the way every parent should not just by believing her but by doing everything right from  the first minute until now.  Obviously, they are devastated but remain strong and committed to what is right.

WHO BELIEVES JANE DOE?
 
A little girl comes home with a terrible secret, she’s just been touched by her favorite teacher; touched in a way she knows is wrong. What any one familiar with sexual assault will know is that this is was likely the beginning of the touching while the grooming of Jane Doe happened for months. 

Jane Doe does exactly what we teach our children to do. If someone touches you inappropriately – TELL someone. 
 
And that’s just what Jane Doe did. But what happened next has left her family hurt, angry and ready to fight for justice for this very brave little girl.
 
The injustice begins in a tight-knit Naples, FL community at a school dedicated to Christian values where Doe has been a student since kindergarten.  She is an outgoing, kind girl, who still to this day doesn’t even get the sexual nature of a breast touch as sex, and breasts even being sexual are not even on her radar. 

Her parents are the kind of people you’d want in your community, in your school, and as the support system to a traumatized kid. You want them as your friends. They are church going, softball playing, parents who take pride in their value-driven life. In fact, they chose Doe’s school because of its mission of, “educating the child’s mind, body, and spirit through Christian values in an ever-changing world.”
 
Since the day they told Doe’s story to the school, they’ve felt anything but Christian values. 
 
THE INCIDENT:

Just after Christmas break Jane Doe is in her homeroom class working on her math homework and gets stumped on a long division problem and asks her teacher for help. She goes up to her teacher’s desk, and that’s when it happens. 

As Doe tells her mother and father, the teacher began helping her with her first question. He put his hand under her dress and on her knee. Then, he reached his hand up her back and under her shirt, coming around the front to rub her chest.  He keeps his hand there while he helps her with three other math problems.

Afterwards, Doe thanks him and returns to her seat.
 
THE AFTERMATH:
The parents didn’t panic, but they did want answers. They approached the head of the school and heard her say, “This is all my fault, I shouldn’t have let him hug the children.”

Then things quickly turned from bad to worse. The school expels little Jane Doe (THE MOST EGREGIOUS PART OF THIS CASE!!)  The teacher, has refused to cooperate with police, has returned to his job.

PRIOR TO ANY LAWSUIT, attorneys made many attempts to simply get answers.  There was no desire to sue — just a desire to make sure there was a proper police and school investigation. While the police partially did their job, the school failed this family, and Jane Doe.  Attorneys tried to get information, and were told the only way to do it was to bring a case. 

Thus, THE LAWSUIT:

This is the story of a father who believes, and is standing up for his little girl. It’s about a mother who wants to make sure no other child goes through the pain and suffering her daughter has.  The goal in filing a suit is to get answers, to hold the school accountable, to make sure that this case is not simply swept under the rug.  It is our goal to have a safe forum for people to come forward as we know that there are likely other victims out there. 

Child sexual abuse has reached epidemic proportions in schools throughout our nation and has become an alarmingly frequent occurrence. The cases that are surfacing almost daily serve as a wake-up call to everyone in America to protect our children!

The teacher is by all accounts “beloved” and has a clean record. The same scenario goes for the “priests” who sexually abuse children and all of the other people who choose careers working with children, only to groom them and then sexually abuse them. That’s the typical M.O. of a child abuser.

We must seek justice for Jane Doe and her family – and for all of the other Jane and John Does who this happens to. 

To believe it can’t happen to us and our children – that no one we know would ever abuse our kids, and certainly not someone entrusted with their care or well-being — is to live in denial. Sexual abusers tend to choose occupations that put them in close contact with children. They can be found in every profession. They are heterosexual and homosexual — they don’t discriminate.

Covering up abuse in schools sends a message to the abuser that it is acceptable behavior. We must report the abuser and get help for the children. School boards must send a message that they care and accept zero tolerance.

Jane Doe should have justice. This never should have happened to her. She should not have been touched inappropriately by her teacher, nor should she have been told to leave school for telling the truth. 

Jane Doe’s claim must be corroborated. Local news comments are aimed at discrediting her and her family.

Steven Noyes lived with his parents in Maine and taught there. Subsequently he moved to Naples, Fl where he lives alone in his parent’s apartment and teaches at the Village School.

If you see something – say something! If you know something – report it!

We must start to protect our children instead of protecting the people who hurt them. We must protect Jane Doe!

If you know of a case like this in Florida – Report it to law enforcement and call Child Protective Services in Florida (800) 962-2873

If you know of a case like this in Maine – Report it to law enforcement and call Child Protective Services in Maine (800) 452-1999

Or you can call the National Child Abuse Hotline at National Hotline  1-800-422-4453

Ross Ellis
Child Advocate, Media Commentator
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Love Our Children USA

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New York child welfare workers held accountable in child’s death

 
According to media sources, two former child welfare workers were indicted yesterday in the death of a 4 year-old Brooklyn girl who was starved, beaten and drugged.

This is the first such prosecution in city history thanks to Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes.

If ACS caseworker Damon Adams did his job and visited Marchella Brett-Pierce in her Bedford-Stuyvesant home, she might be alive today. Instead records indicate that he did not visit the home, but did falsify records after the girl died weighing just 18 pounds. Chereece Bell, 34, the caseworker’s direct supervisor, was charged with failing to monitor his work.

Yesterday Judge Patricia DiMango told news sources: “To say there was no failure here would just defy logic and common sense.”

Adams and Bell pleaded not guilty to charges of criminally negligent homicide, official misconduct and endangering the welfare of a child.

Bell’s bail was set at $25,000. Adams, who was charged with additional tampering and falsifying records, was ordered held on $35,000 bail.

Caseworkers first became involved with the Brett-Pierce family in November 2009 when Marchella’s youngest brother was born with illegal drugs in his system.

Prosecutors said caseworker Adams was supposed to make biweekly visits to the home. He only made two entries in the agency’s computer records between March and September which included a phone call with a source involved in the hospital incident and an attempt to visit the home in June. Six days afterwards Marchella died.  Adams then posted bogus entries saying he visited the home in March, April, June and August, prosecutors said.

“His failure to make the visits is what ultimately led to her death,” Kagan said.

The two ACS workers resigned a month after Marchella was found dead.

Prosecutor Jacqueline Kagan said “This child was wasting away. Had the ACS workers done their job, “this child would have been removed” from the home.”

Marchella’s grandmother Loretta Brett, 56, was also indicted Wednesday, pleading not guilty to second-degree manslaughter.

According to prosecutors, Brett slept in the same room as the child night after night as she lay tied in her bed with no food and the grandmother never reported the suspected abuse.

The innocent 4 year-old was beaten, starved, bound to her bed and forced to take multiple doses of Benadryl and other adult medication between July and September.

She died severely malnourished on September 2nd – similar to the horrific abuse and death of  Nixzmary Brown in 2006.

Marchella’s mother, Carlotta Brett-Pierce, 30, was charged in November with second-degree murder and is awaiting trial.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes vowed to investigate whether the city agency followed recommendations it implemented after Nixzmary’s death.

Hynes said: “We’re going to find at long last what they’re doing at ACS so there are no more children fatalities. “

Faye Moore, the head of the Social Service Employees Union, said ACS layoffs and program cuts have overburdened workers. Frankly we’ve been hearing that tired excuse for years. And it’s not just Marchella who died because of ACS failures. ACS has been linked to at least four other child abuse tragedies.

In a statement, ACS said the indictments “may have the opposite effect from what’s intended because it may discourage excellent, idealistic individuals from taking” jobs as social workers.

This is not true. First … ACS doesn’t hire just social workers as caseworkers. This reporter saw an ad in the NY Times a few years ago. ACS was looking for caseworkers and the ad read that all one needed was a college degree. They did not have to be a social worker. And while shopping in Bloomingdales this reporter overheard a salesperson saying she was going for an interview to ACS. When this reporter questioned the salesperson about the interview she had just graduated from college with a degree in fine arts and had no work experience other than being a salesperson.

Kudos to District Attorney Charles Hynes for arresting these caseworkers. Our children deserve to live in happy, healthy and safe homes. If their parents are abusive and neglectful than we need a system that will protect them at all costs!

April is National Child Abuse Prevention month. Let’s start protecting our kids instead of protecting the people who are supposed to be protecting them!

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