DHS: Give Us Back Our Children!

Mothers are being unjustly denied custody & visitation of their children by Dept of Human Services (DHS) for the "crime" of being poor, being women of color, being activists, and not having good legal help. See below for their cases.


* Fact - Out of every 1000 impoverished children in their jurisdiction, Chicago removes 6 children from their homes, NY removes 11, LA removes 14. Phila removes 40! (Nat'l Coalition for Child Protection Reform)
* Fact - Black children are more likely to be taken from their homes, to stay in protective custody longer and never to return to their parents. (Cincinnati Post)
* Fact - A Children's Hospital of Phila study found that when toddlers have similar injuries, they were 3 times more likely to be reported to DHS if the family was African-American or Latino. (Children's Hospital press release, Oct. 1. 03)
* Fact - 30% of foster children could be home right now if their parents had decent housing (Nat'l Coalition for Child Protection Reform)


Support the following demands of a weekly picket outside of DHS in Philadelphia (Thursdays, 3-5pm, 1515 Arch St.)


WE THE UNDERSIGNED SUPPORT THE MOTHERS' DEMANDS FOR:

  • Immediate equal custody rights, for now

  • Access to good and accountable legal representation

  • Investigation of how these and other cases are handled

  • Opening up courtrooms for reporters and others to see the proceedings first hand.

  • DHS to prioritize protection and reunification of families

  • Providing mothers with financial, housing, childcare day or night, family centered drug treatment on demand, legal and other help

  • End the run-around and prolonging of cases while at the same time giving mothers the time they need to meet DHS goals

  • End discrimination on the basis of race, poverty, age, disability, immigration status, sexual preference and other blatant discrimination

  • Mothers must have the right to speak before the blue ribbon panel that reviews DHS policies and procedures

  • Mothers must not be forced to choose between homelessness or staying with an abusive partner - either way they lose custody & the child is hurt

  • When childcare arrangements fall through or when children are sick, mothers must not be forced to choose between staying home and getting fired, or leaving their children alone or with inadequate care

Issued by Families for Justice 215-806-7593 justice1peace@yahoo.com
Every Mother is a Working Mother Network 215-848-1120 Fax 215-848-1130 philly@crossroadswomen.net

Ms Tilli Ayala, Native American & Latina, had her 4- month-old son whom she was breastfeeding & her daughter taken away because of actions by an abusive father whose sister & husband now have the boy. She sees her son, now 3, only four hours a week while the father has unlimited access - her daughter she doesn't see at all. She has met every DHS goal re housing, jobs & parenting courses, yet her parental rights are permanently threatened because of an inexperienced social worker, the higher income of the white relatives who want to adopt the child, and lack of good legal help. She began the picket outside DHS in May 05.



Ms Denise Smith, African-American, lost custody of her 4 children as a result of a childcare provider who was found to be negligent, and as a result lost custody of subsequent children. The children have been split up, some taken to California and put in the care of a father who had not had contact in 3 years. Here in Phila, the father of her other children has unlimited access while she has limited visits. She has met every goal that DHS gave, has never been involved in drugs or abused her children and has also fought to get her children back.



Both cases are being heard by Judge Flora Barth-Wolf in Courtroom "M".



WE THE UNDERSIGNED SUPPORT THE MOTHERS' DEMANDS FOR:




  • Immediate equal custody rights, for now



  • Access to good and accountable legal representation



  • Investigation of how these and other cases are handled



  • Opening up courtrooms for reporters and others to see the proceedings first hand.



  • DHS to prioritize protection and reunification of families



  • Providing mothers with financial, housing, childcare day or night, family centered drug treatment on demand, legal and other help



  • End the run-around and prolonging of cases while at the same time giving mothers the time they need to meet DHS goals



  • End discrimination on the basis of race, poverty, age, disability, immigration status, sexual preference and other blatant discrimination



  • Mothers must have the right to speak before the blue ribbon panel that reviews DHS policies and procedures



  • Mothers must not be forced to choose between homelessness or staying with an abusive partner - either way they lose custody & the child is hurt



  • When childcare arrangements fall through or when children are sick, mothers must not be forced to choose between staying home and getting fired, or leaving their children alone or with inadequate care


Poverty is not a crime!!!! Poverty does not equal neglect!!! Every Mother is a Working Mother!!! Poverty is the state's neglect of children and the lack of value for women's caring work!!!



WHERE TO WRITE!!
Arthur C. Evans, Jr. Acting Commissioner
Department of Human Services
1515 Arch Street
Phila, PA 19102



Issued by Families for Justice 215-806-7593 justice1peace@yahoo.com
Every Mother is a Working Mother Network 215-848-1120 Fax 215-848-1130 philly@crossroadswomen.net

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