When They See Us Showcases Major Obstacles That Still Exist.

I wish I could tell you that cases like the Central Park 5 no longer exist. I wish I could tell you that all investigations are done with fairness, but I won’t insult your intelligence today. The movie When They See Us is a painful reminder that not everyone with a badge or a title can be trusted to work for the betterment of their community.

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I’m sure if you have been following my blog, you know my story. I turned in my badge over a year ago after I saw railroading techniques being used to trap minorities. It takes a strong person to go against their livelihood. In my situation, I transferred from another region because I wanted to move my family to a smaller town. I thought a smaller town would offer better people and a better foundation for my girls.

After I got here, I immediately started seeing issues. I came from a big city and investigations there weren’t easy. I was nearly raped, threatened by a weapon, and was even surrounded by racist at one point. Yet, I loved my job and I could see the good in helping out my community. I had a supervisor who clearly looked out for her community, she cared about trying to help children, and she cared about helping their families learn to rehabilitate in difficult situations.

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I came here with background in removing children from parents using cocaine and meth. I also had the removals that resulted in removals from people who no longer wanted to be parents. After I got here, my very first case was a case involving an African American mother from another state. She had relatives here and a mother hours away. Not only did she have a mother hours away, the children had a father who was trying to see how he could get in route to pick up his children.

While I was trying to work with the family on finding a solution my supervisor was trying to push a removal on the mother due to her getting arrested. Keep in mind, there was an aunt living in the household and people who could have been here within hours. The policemen looked at me and asked me if I was really going to let that happen, and I reaffirmed them that I would do everything in my power to stop it.

After going back and forward with my boss I was able to get her to work with the family until we were able to get the father or grandmother headed in our direction. The thing about removals is that they often do not get overturned. They last for at least a year and children are forced to stay in foster care. So, if there is a family member, we were taught to do everything within our power to unite that child with their family, but in this unit they didn’t do that. Even after this case was ready for closure, and the female had her children back in another state my supervisor was trying to get the state to take action against the mom. The state politely let us know that the mother was doing good and to bud out at this point.

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I have always been very careful about removals due to the stress that it places on the children. I removed only when I needed to and questioned anything that looked fishy even when it wasn’t my removal. A few cases later I came across a female who had just gotten out of the hospital. She tested positive for marijuana. Marijuana is not something that we remove for in the state of Texas. People get a quitting marijuana packet due to it not being crack or meth.

When I gave her an oral swab her medications that she had been given at surgery showed up. Keep in mind she had just been released from the hospital and her urine didn’t have any traces of those drugs nor the baby’s prior to or while giving birth. I still went on and confirmed with the nurses as to the type of medication that this lady was given. My supervisor wanted me to remove once again due to her results coming back positive even though she knew she had just had a c-section.

She swore up and down that a positive meant she had used something. I told her to google the medication and see what positives would show up and she did, but she still didn’t want to believe me or the medical professionals. I informed her that I wouldn’t be doing a removal because this mother wasn’t doing anything that warranted a removal. I even gave her another drug test which came back negative two days later.

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I have always had issues with investigators who removed and placed kids into foster care without trying to locate family members. She and others stated that it took too long. The process could take hours, but it was still worth it if you could keep the family together and maintain safety. She talked about how she would talk only to PDs who would lean towards removals because she didn’t want to do family placements. Again this is killing the families, but she didn’t care. Once she joked about being the Removal Queen. All I could hear was I’m messed up so many families due to not wanting to put in extra time on family placements.

We already knew that in most cases that minorities were targeted by false calls. Did you know that only 15 percent of CPS cases are real abuse? That means that 85 percent are lies and anyone can call in on people. While we have had some cases that were real, we have had so many more that were nothing more than vendettas.

Here’s the cold hard truth about cases in the black community and Spanish communities. When people look to remove often times these families will not be able to get their children back. If they have any sort of record dealing from old cases, criminal cases or people in the house with any central registry case they will be voided out as a potential caregiver. There are so many minorities with charges on them due to possession of marijuana, criminal trespass or failure to identify. Then if that doesn’t get them there’s a case on them for being victims of domestic violence.

They changed the regulation on domestic violence about 1 yr or 2 yrs ago. Prior to that if you were involved in a domestic violence relationship and were a victim they could put a reason to believe on you. So, the victim would get victimized twice. In some states they still do this, they still charge the victim with a reason to believe which knocks them out for any job dealing with children, or elderly. It also prevents them from taking family members if children are ever removed in the future.

I finally quit my job because of a case that should have been a removal, but my boss didn’t want to believe the children who were the victims in the case. I worked the case with at least three other law officials from two other states. The parent was a runner and drug abuser. She was grooming her children to be sexually abused while their father was looking for them. The father spent time in prison for manslaughter only because the state didn’t have a law on the books for self defense. I found out everything about the dad. He was a good hardworking citizen, paid his dues, took parenting classes, and even earned certificates. He had held down a job, his only true crime was being black and trying to stop a white man from killing him.

I found out that he had been looking for his children for years while the mother was letting them get beaten and molested. So, I let him take his children and my boss knew this, but you better believe she lied to the program manager about it. The program manager who was just as crazy as she was wanted us to get the kids back. Here’s the issue, because they didn’t want to remove those kids, they would have went back to the mom and the abuser. So, there was no way in hell I was going to do that. I called the dad told him to get a lawyer. Needless to say, anything else would have been just as crazy as the prior cases, so I quit soon after that case.

This father wasn’t going to be able to protect his children because of a conviction he got due to him trying to defend himself. He was already victimized by the system once and then we were going to let his children become victims of the system again. If you are poor, black or mentally ill the system will not work for you as it would for someone with a different stack of cards. Your only hope is to get a person who cares. When They See Us might be about the Central Park 5, but the issue is that, the stain of racism has soaked so deep into the fabric of what and who we are. It is in outcomes of child abuse cases, criminal cases and even family courts in some arenas. We have to understand that the fight isn’t over. There’s still work to be done.

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Knowing How To Spot Munchausen Syndrome

Many of you have probably seen the show on Hulu called The Act. As an ex child abuse investigator, I have been pretty vocal on knowing what and when to report child abuse. This morning we are going to talk about learning how to report abuse and when normal isn’t normal.

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One of my most emotional cases dealt with a young mother who nearly mastered the art of deception. The case was centered around a toddler who was subject to multiple surgeries and needless test. By the time I entered the picture the mother had started keeping a visual log of photos detailing her abuse. I still remember seeing the enormous stack of photos and having a chill of sudden fear run down my spine.

I’ll never know why she kept so many photos of her son detailing every sick moment. My gut tells me that she was going to use those photos as a reason to assign death at a later date. We are talking about hundreds of photos with nothing but sickness and a detailed walk down torture lane. She knew the right words, she knew the right people, but she got a little too overconfident in the end.

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In the end I got my butt chewed off by our lawyers and the judge because I did something most investigators would never do, I went against the hospital by forcing their hand in learning the truth. When I got the case this child was slowly dying, he wasn’t gaining weight, and he was on a pure liquid diet. I had to threaten hospital social workers in order to keep him safe, but by the end of three weeks, I had all medical proof I needed.

His vitals rebounded, he gained well into the 50th percentile and he was now starting to eat by mouth. The child I saw weeks ago couldn’t sit up and he couldn’t wave at me. Now he was now able to walk around the hospital room and give me his toy trucks. We were awarded custody of him, but we couldn’t get the DA to sign off on charges of child abuse due to them not knowing much about the Munchausen Syndrome.

Two things could have saved this kid a lot of pain and heartache. The first thing is having a medical professional call in a case prior to him being nearly 4 or 5. By the time I stepped in, he had already been to quite a few hospitals. All of the doctors said they suspected something was off. They were taking notes, but the mother moved from place to place.

Correspondence is key when you are dealing with someone who suffers from this syndrome. If these hospitals would have linked up a year ago, this child would have been removed a lot sooner. Another provider stated that she felt like they were being forced into performing surgeries by the parent. The parent knew just enough medical terminology to fake symptoms and syndromes.

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This child was surrounded by medical personnel but it took years for someone to call in the abuse. Remember you work for the child. If you are an investigator , be diligent. I know the department presses you to close cases due to numbers, but life surpasses any number system. If you feel like something feels wrong, investigate it. Do not close that case until YOU are sure that child is safe.

Lastly, never assume that certain people can’t be abusers. If you saw little Todd walking and eating three months ago and now every time you see him he has a sippy cup in hand, ask why. If you babysit this child and he eats for you, but the mother swears that he can’t eat, ask why. If you still feel like something is off, call CPS. You just might be saving a life.

Full Circle!

Six months ago after I quit my job as an investigator, I really struggled with how I could make a difference. I knew I wanted to still inspire and look out for those who needed my help the most. 

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After really doing some soul searching I decided to write a novella about repairing broken dreams. I realize that this might not be an option for many, but for those of you who find yourself in chaos, don’t give up. Please take the time to read my new novella! I hope you like it and thank you for being part of my life.

Looking at The Greatest Will by Shelundra Santiago at Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/912659 

You can buy my book at Smashwords above or on Amazon tomorrow.

We The Women, Can Right This Wrong

Dear Sisters,

I ‘m so grateful for you and your eyes. Yet, it appears some of you are taking them for granted lately. There are so many people that came before us with the spirit to make things better. I fear many of us have lost that, so I am at a loss. Some of us, let our husbands, jobs, and political affiliations define us. I know this to be true, because I used to let my once heavy burdened badge define me. I would like to remind you of one truth. We are more. It’s simple, and it only has three little words.

We, yes, I am talking about all of us. It includes you, me, and the lady walking across the road. It also includes the lady working at the local store, the one riding with her partner in the patrol car, and even the doctor working in the ER. We are more. However, if  some of the people who look to set us back get their way, we might not be riding in those patrol cars much longer. We might not be able to work in the ER much longer either. A lot of people would love for you to think Affirmative Action helps one group of minorities more than any other, and honestly, this rings true. Yet, I bet you do not know what group gets helped the most by Affirmative Action. Women gain more from Affirmative action than another other group due to the struggles that we faced in the past. Those struggles were very oppressive. Say that word again, Oppressive! We were oppressed inside our country and now some of us are running back to that oppression. The truth is, we are stronger than this, we win our battles with our minds. Our minds sent men into space.

Are, we are now and have always been relevant. There’s no home unless we make it, there’s no memories unless we help to provide it, and there’s no future unless we protect it.

More, we are more than our titles. We are torch carriers for the women who paved the way before us. The quest for our legacy danced into motion around 1848. After many years of climbing women took up and won the battle to vote, work, and say their peace. Most of us now embody that times 100, but some of us have forgotten. We are talking about women who were once deemed as possessions much like slaves. The Rule of Thumb is an oppressive phrase that was used to educate men how to keep us in line. Are we going to give them that weapon back? We are the mothers and the fathers in many relationships. We are the saviors and the educators that teach other generations how to become more. We are also so much MORE than political pawns. The only spankings I’m looking to get is the one I ask for,

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not the one that the government forces on me.

This election year is like no other election year in recent memory. We are fighting for the right to continue life as we know it. If ever there was a time to bottle up that spirit of a united front, it is now. When the President of the United States can stand and laugh at a potential victim of a sexual assault, it’s time to wake up. Why is his presumed innocent more important than her presumed innocence?

Fan Fiction-BTS Alison’s Work

Fishing Boat

I'm trying to save up for the Pelican Predator 10'3 fishing boat. It's 849.00! If you know anyone in Texas who wants to gift a boat because they don't need it anymore, that would be even better. At this rate it's going to take me a long time to save up!!!

$1.00

I’m sure by now, many of you have heard of the group BTS. They have inspired a movement as it seems in tweens and teens across the world. Yes, I said the world people! These boys are nearly a billion dollar group and I think it’s because they are selling love.

bts

My daughter explained ever so passionately that there is a difference between BTS and other groups. She stated that BTS teaches people how to love themselves no matter what. She revealed how upset she was after she broke up with her boyfriend last year, and how their music made her understand why the breakup was needed.

 

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I now present you with Alison’s part two of her BTS Fan Fiction. When I was 12 I was playing with dolls, she’s making mini movies!!

 

 

We Must Save America From America

Pay very close attention to the next few weeks. If the Republicans push Kavanaugh through without a true investigation, it will send a very straight and pointed message regarding women. Now is the time to vote more than ever because the future of our daughters depend on it. Are we looking at something like the beginning of a Muammar Gaddafi leader in the making when it comes to Trump? He might not have the military background that Gaddafi had, but I see problematic written across this canvas. There’s a reason why he wants to push Kavanaugh through so badly. We can’t look back a year from now and say we saw the wall tumbling down when we have the power right now to fortify it, by voting his protectors out.
I see him taking us down a path of destruction because he seems to be too compromised and is willing to get in bed with dirty people, a little too often. We hang around those we have something in common with. What does he have in common with the criminals that he’s had relationships with? If the Republicans can’t stand up, the Independents must stand up because we are the ones who make the difference in the elections. Stand up now.

 

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