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Teen Sues L.A. After Decade in Foster Care
AP via ABC News ^ | 2006-07-17 | Staff

Posted on 07/17/2006 8:00:34 PM PDT by dread78645

LOS ANGELES Jul 17, 2006 (AP)— A teenage girl reunited with her father last year after a decade in foster care is suing Los Angeles County for taking so long to bring them together.

County supervisors had said in September that the reunion of Melinda Smith, now 17, and father Thomas Marion Smith was the result of a "groundbreaking effort," and congratulated county agencies for locating the father.

But the lawsuit alleges that the Department of Children and Family Services failed to use "due diligence" to locate Thomas Smith. It claims the agency never notified Smith, who had continued making child support payments, that his daughter was in foster care and never gave him a chance to claim her.

...

(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: childsupport; fathersrights; lawsuit; parentalrights; taxdollarsatwork; wardofthestate; youpayforthis

1 posted on 07/17/2006 8:00:38 PM PDT by dread78645
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To: dread78645

I hope she wins.


2 posted on 07/17/2006 8:01:29 PM PDT by Hildy
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To: dread78645

I hope the girl wins. It is too bad the real incompetents responsible won't end up paying the tab.


3 posted on 07/17/2006 8:03:10 PM PDT by Ma3lst0rm (Democrat=Defeat)
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To: Hildy

So where is the money that Dad has been paying the state the last 13 years?


4 posted on 07/17/2006 8:11:00 PM PDT by CindyDawg
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To: dread78645
A teenage girl reunited with her father last year after a decade in foster care is suing Los Angeles County for taking so long to bring them together.

Go ahead blame it on the father, for what ever reasons... Herd it before, till ya have lived it, it don't mean a thing... : ) <<< me

5 posted on 07/17/2006 8:11:18 PM PDT by stopsign ("What great fortune for government, That people don't think"....Der Fuhrer. Hummm.... : ) <<< me)
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To: Hildy

I hope she wins.

---

I don't. I hope the incompetent boob who fumbled the ball, and their immediate supervisor, gets fired and publicly reprimanded. I am in favor of accountability, not punishing taxpayers.


6 posted on 07/17/2006 8:13:30 PM PDT by Harrius Magnus (Seared in my mind: Is Is.)
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To: dread78645
It claims the agency never notified Smith, who had continued making child support payments...

Seems to me that the kid was used as a revenue generator for the state of Kalifornia.

7 posted on 07/17/2006 8:14:55 PM PDT by CrawDaddyCA (Tancredo/Paul 2008)
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To: CrawDaddyCA

It does seem that as she approached 18 and was a placement issue they got busy looking for Dad.


8 posted on 07/17/2006 8:19:27 PM PDT by CindyDawg
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To: CindyDawg

Clinton-Reno would've reunited her with her dad if he had moved to Castro's Cuba.


9 posted on 07/17/2006 8:25:08 PM PDT by weegee (Seasons greetings and happy holidays this June-July!)
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To: CindyDawg
I thought the exact same thing. The girl's about to turn 18, and the state can't bleed Dad for anymore money, better find a place to dump her fast!

Hey, how about her family? They'll take her.

10 posted on 07/17/2006 8:25:27 PM PDT by CrawDaddyCA (Tancredo/Paul 2008)
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To: CrawDaddyCA

I don't know -- the dad had NO connection with her for 13 years. Whose problem is that? The county's? It's HIS KID, for crimony sake. He's so far out of her life that he doesn't even know she's in foster care, and suddenly it's the County's fault? I think that's bogus.


11 posted on 07/17/2006 8:28:30 PM PDT by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: bboop

Let's see, mom disappears with kid without leaving a forwarding address.

Even if the dad had asked Child Support Services where she was, they wouldn't have told him short of a court order.

He's paying his support and assumes the child wants no contact or she would have contacted him. How is he supposed to know she has been in foster care since before she could read and has no idea who or where he is.

Why was HE not contacted within days of his child being placed into state custody. The state knew his name and whereabouts. In fact they were the only player with all the information and access to it.

Frankly, he should be suing them for a refund of support monies obtained fraudulently by retaining custody of his child without his knowledge or consent.

Some caseworker and supervisor should be fired for cause over this.


12 posted on 07/17/2006 8:42:20 PM PDT by Valpal1 (Big Media is like Barney Fife with a gun.)
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To: bboop
"But the lawsuit alleges that the Department of Children and Family Services failed to use "due diligence" to locate Thomas Smith. It claims the agency never notified Smith, who had continued making child support payments, that his daughter was in foster care and never gave him a chance to claim her."
 
You have to read between the lines, but it looks like Mom got custody, then the county took the kid away from her, but didn't notify Dad.
 
Then the County/State continued to collect support (which he paid, it doesn't appear to be a child support problem) from him and kept the kid in foster care.
 
I'd be really mad if that happened to me, too.  At the very least, Dad should get back ALL of the support payments.  Foster care is not child support.  It is brought on by the State.

13 posted on 07/17/2006 8:44:55 PM PDT by Lokibob (Spelling and typos are copyrighted. Please do not use.)
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To: bboop
From the article:

Smith's whereabouts were listed as unknown in court documents on the case, although records show that Melinda's caseworker knew Smith was paying child support and his address was on file with the agency that collected the payments.

The state knew exactly where the father was, but chose to keep the child in order to bleed money from him.

There's simply no other reasonable explination.

14 posted on 07/17/2006 8:52:21 PM PDT by CrawDaddyCA (Tancredo/Paul 2008)
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To: bboop
You know, just thinking about it, what was the State doing with the child support payments?  Just keeping it?  Sending it on to the Mother?  Using it in the general fund?
 
Not only does the county foster care people need to be punished, but somebody in the State child support payments section needs to go too.  and a full audit of ALL support payments be made.  You know that if it happened to one person, there has to be a lot of others in the same condition.

15 posted on 07/17/2006 8:56:03 PM PDT by Lokibob (Spelling and typos are copyrighted. Please do not use.)
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To: CrawDaddyCA

Yup, I bet they did know exactly where he was. And all that child support. I'd be hopping mad too. Too bad he wasn't around to protect her, all the same. It's quite fragmented before the county ever got involved.


16 posted on 07/17/2006 8:56:58 PM PDT by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: Ma3lst0rm
I hope the girl wins. It is too bad the real incompetents responsible won't end up paying the tab.

Why are you assuming the misandrists are incompetent? They probably knew exactly what they were doing.

17 posted on 07/17/2006 8:58:56 PM PDT by Pikachu_Dad
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To: dread78645

If she spent a decade in foster care, the child support received from the father probably didn't cover payments made to the foster parents.

There's some incompetence involved to be sure, maybe even some malice on the part of those responsible but I doubt that the state profited from it.


18 posted on 07/17/2006 9:07:34 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: Lokibob

The foster care system was getting paid twice. The father pays and I bet the payment went to the foster care system. I am sure the state and federal government sent money to the foster care system to pay for this child.

Its always about the money. If we get all the kids out of foster care, people would lose jobs.


19 posted on 07/17/2006 9:16:53 PM PDT by art_rocks
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To: art_rocks

The father paid the state, the state paid foster parents.

Did his support payments equal the states payments to the foster parents? The article doesn't state how much he paid.


20 posted on 07/17/2006 9:19:48 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: Lokibob

The state pays faster families for taking in children, so it's possible that at least some of the money went to the foster faily for the support of the girl.


21 posted on 07/17/2006 9:20:35 PM PDT by chae (R.I.P. Eddie Guerrero He lied, he cheated, he stole my heart)
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To: Graybeard58

Foster Care can be expensive. Without knowing what he paid each month, you can't tell if they actually made any money on it. I doubt it. I just don't think Family Services are competent enough to take advantage of it, even if he did pay alot. I spent 13 years in foster care, and have kept foster kids in my home as well. I have nothing good to say about Family Services. Incompetence should be their middle name.


22 posted on 07/17/2006 9:25:24 PM PDT by ga medic
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To: ga medic

My wife and I spent about 10 years keeping kids for the Illinois Child and Family Services, I doubt that they are any better than any other state.


23 posted on 07/17/2006 9:28:24 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: dread78645

Ok, there is some information missing from the article that would be interesting to know. For instance, why was this girl infoster care for so long? In Missouri if a child is in foster care for over a year and the parent(s) have not made any of the changes recommended by the court, then the process of getting their parental rights terminated begins.
Also, the article doesn't mention the father trying too hard to find the girl.


24 posted on 07/17/2006 9:29:16 PM PDT by chae (R.I.P. Eddie Guerrero He lied, he cheated, he stole my heart)
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To: Graybeard58
If she spent a decade in foster care, the child support received from the father probably didn't cover payments made to the foster parents.

Probably not, but the ~$180,000 California got under title IV-E from the Federal HHS sure would have.

25 posted on 07/17/2006 9:47:07 PM PDT by dread78645 (Evolution. A doomed theory since 1859.)
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To: Abram; albertp; AlexandriaDuke; Allosaurs_r_us; Americanwolf; Americanwolfsbrother; Annie03; ...
Libertarian ping.To be added or removed from my ping list freepmail me or post a message here
26 posted on 07/17/2006 9:48:08 PM PDT by freepatriot32 (Holding you head high & voting Libertarian is better then holding your nose and voting republican)
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To: Graybeard58
My understanding is - that the federal government reimburses the state 60 cents on the dollar for money the state spends on recouping child support. I understand this includes the state/county employee that processes the payment each month.

I am sure there are some federal reimbursements for foster children, but I haven't had to fight that battle so I don't know the details.

The child support system needs to be completely overhauled. Privatization would be a good start.
27 posted on 07/17/2006 9:51:45 PM PDT by justche (If you're afraid of the future, then get out of the way, stand aside. - Ronald Reagan)
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To: dread78645

Will you cite a source for those numbers?


28 posted on 07/17/2006 9:52:29 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: Graybeard58
Will you cite a source for those numbers?

Sure.

FEDERAL FOSTER CARE FINANCING: How and Why the Current Funding Structure Fails to Meet the Needs of the Child Welfare Field

29 posted on 07/17/2006 10:01:07 PM PDT by dread78645 (Evolution. A doomed theory since 1859.)
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To: dread78645

Did you read this too?

"Some have argued that because foster care is an entitlement for eligible children while service funds are limited, title IV-E encourages foster care placement. However, it seems unlikely that caseworkers make placement decisions on the basis of children's title IV-E eligibility, nor is it likely that judges use title IV-E status as a significant factor in their placement rulings. Indeed, caseworkers and judges are often unaware of children's eligibility status. A lack of available family services, however, could plausibly tip caseworkers' decisions toward placement or delay a child's discharge. Quantifying such effects is difficult, however".


30 posted on 07/17/2006 10:24:07 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (Remember and pray for Sgt. Matt Maupin - MIA/POW- Iraq since 04/09/04)
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To: Harrius Magnus

"I don't. I hope the incompetent boob who fumbled the ball, and their immediate supervisor, gets fired and publicly reprimanded."

As long as you're dreaming, I'd like next week's winning Powerball ticket.


31 posted on 07/17/2006 11:47:57 PM PDT by LibertarianInExile ('Is' and 'amnesty' both have clear, plain meanings. Are Billy Jeff, Pence, McQueeg & Bush related?)
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To: Graybeard58
Did you read this too?

Yes I did. And I also read:

The Current Funding Structure is Inflexible, Emphasizing Foster Care

"Title IV-E has long been criticized because it funds foster care on an unlimited basis without providing for services that would either prevent the child's removal from the home or speed permanency (see, for example, The Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, 2004 and McDonald, Salyers and Shaver 2004). Funding sources for preventive and reunification services, primarily the Child Welfare Services Program and the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program funded under title IV-B of the Social Security Act, are quite small in comparison with those dedicated to foster care and adoption."

"... Indeed, caseworkers and judges are often unaware of children's eligibility status. A lack of available family services, however, could plausibly tip caseworkers' decisions toward placement or delay a child's discharge."

So, the average CPS worker doesn't understand budgets & bureaucracy? Gotit.

"Quantifying such effects is difficult, however".

For sure.

32 posted on 07/18/2006 12:08:42 AM PDT by dread78645 (Evolution. A doomed theory since 1859.)
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To: Pikachu_Dad

Yeah they probably did know what they were doing but I've worked side by side with government bureaucracy and I know from that experience that most of the time it is chronic incompetence and indifference not malice that produces things like this.


33 posted on 07/18/2006 4:35:45 AM PDT by Ma3lst0rm (Democrat=Defeat)
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To: Graybeard58

The states make money from the federal government for each child they have in "state" care. Indiana does the same damn thing. My brother's son was taken from his mother because of her drug use. My brother had to fight the state for 3 months to get his kid! HIS KID!

Follow the money. It's all about the money.

Another "sneaky" trick these agencies like to pull is to take your kid from you on a Friday afternoon so that you can't do anything through the legal system for 3 days. That's 3 days the state gets money from the feds.

It really is a sick racket CPS has going on.

My advice to anyone and everyone is NEVER let those f*****s in your home without a WRITTEN warrant. EVER.


34 posted on 07/18/2006 7:27:18 AM PDT by mosquitobite (The penalty for refusing to participate in politics is you end up being governed by your inferiors)
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To: Harrius Magnus

The taxpayers elected degenerate leftist miscreants who created this filthy mess, maybe they should be on the hook.


35 posted on 07/18/2006 8:27:54 AM PDT by lesser_satan (EKTHELTHIOR!!!)
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To: Harrius Magnus
I am in favor of accountability, not punishing taxpayers.

The taxpayers are the employers and supervisors of the incompetent boobs...they are responsible.
.
36 posted on 07/18/2006 9:36:53 AM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: Harrius Magnus
I don't. I hope the incompetent boob who fumbled the ball, and their immediate supervisor, gets fired and publicly reprimanded. I am in favor of accountability, not punishing taxpayers.

Taxpayers frequently need to be punished. They vote for legislators who make laws and policies encouraging the hiring and retention of such incompetent boobs.

37 posted on 07/18/2006 9:41:06 AM PDT by Sloth (We cannot defeat foreign enemies of the Constitution if we yield to the domestic ones.)
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To: Valpal1

I agree with you 100%!


38 posted on 07/18/2006 9:44:27 AM PDT by MissEdie
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To: dread78645

GOOD! I hope she cleans their clock in court.


39 posted on 07/18/2006 9:45:39 AM PDT by no dems (www.4condi.com)
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To: Ma3lst0rm

Those "incompetents responsible" are usually lesbians and gays working in CPS who have never had kids and know nothing about raising kids.


40 posted on 07/18/2006 9:46:53 AM PDT by no dems (www.4condi.com)
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To: no dems

That may be a little harsh but for some reason there are a lot of fruits in government.


41 posted on 07/18/2006 7:14:09 PM PDT by Ma3lst0rm (Democrat=Defeat)
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To: Harrius Magnus

I think the tax payers do deserve punishment for the pain that results from their actions and inactions. This girl doesn't deserve millions but she does deserve to be repaid for the real damage of leaving her in the foster care system.


42 posted on 07/18/2006 7:17:40 PM PDT by Ma3lst0rm (Democrat=Defeat)
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