Prickly World for Alabama DHR Staff

This is one of those Alabama supreme court cases that makes you cry for nearly everyone involved. Gowens v. Tys. S., Case No. 1041341, 1041413 (Ala. May 3, 2006). It’s all about whether a DHR investigative social worker can be sued by the people he or she is charged with protecting. The short answer is yes.

Jefferson County DHR became involved with this family when the mother delivered a child at UAB Hospital, and both mother and baby tested positive for cocaine. when a social worker at the hospital reported the presence of cocaine to DHR, DHR began an investigation. Supervisor Rose assigned the investigation to investigative social worker Gowens.

Even though a preliminary report mentioned there were two other children living in the household, Gowens developed a “safety plan” with the mother at the hospital that made no mention of the other children. In violation of the DHR manual, Gowens failed to verify the number of children in the household with an outside source, taking only the mother’s word for it that the newborn child was the only one in the household. Had he done so, presumably, he would have learned that the mother had two other children at home and would have (also as required by the DHR Manual) actually talked with those children. Had he done so, he might have learned more about how dangerous the home environment was both to the newborn baby and the older children.

Gowens set up a “safety plan” with the mother, using her mother (the grandmother of the children) as a person who had information about the children. Gowens learned a month or so later that the mother had made statements to him about her substance abuse that turned out to be untrue. He tried to visit the mother at her home but was unable to find her.

Tragedy followed about three months after that, when fire broke out in the residence. In that fire, one of the older children received third degree burns on her body, and fingers of one her hands had to be amputated. When he reopened the investigation, Gowens learned about the other children, learned that grandmother had a history of child neglect charges through DHR, and learned that the children had been unable to escape the fire because the grandmother had locked them in the house alone when she left for work.

There was no evidence or allegation that Gowens ever acted in bad faith. Instead, the evidence is of his failure to follow the DHR Manual.

The supreme court had several questions before it, all presented on interlocutory review (asking for appellate guidance while a case is ongoing):

  1. Whether Gowens was immune from any suit in connection with his work for DHR under Ala. Code § 26-14-9, which purports to extend immunity to designated persons who investigate child abuse or neglect.
  2. Whether Gowens was immune from suit by these plaintiffs (the children) because he owed them no duty.
  3. Whether Gowens was immune from suit by these plaintiffs because his actions were not the proximate cause of their injuries.

The supreme court dealt with the first argument easily, perhaps too easily. Here’s what Ala. Code § 26-14-9 says:

Any person, firm, corporation or official, including members of a multidisciplinary child protection team, quality assurance team, child death review team, or other authorized case review team or panel, by whatever designation, participating in the making of a good faith report in an investigation or case review authorized under this chapter or other law or department practice or in the removal of a child pursuant to this chapter, or participating in a judicial proceeding resulting therefrom, shall, in so doing, be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.

The supreme court said that although the statute does indeed grant absolute immunity, the immunity does not arise unless the suit contains within it a charge that Gowens did one of the three acts. That’s not what the statute says. It says that any person participating in one of the three acts will be entitled to the immunity. I can accept that the legislature may not have intended the broad result Gowens advocated, but the plain language of the statute says that, and it should be up to the legislature to amend the statute, not up to the court to impose its own limitations.

Next the supreme court dealt with whether Gowens was immune from suit by these plaintiffs because he owed them no duty – also called “state-agent immunity.” The supreme court said that Gowens was clearly acting within the scope of his authority but that he forfeited the state-agent immunity when he failed to follow the procedures prescribed in the DHR Manual (he failed to verify the number of children in the household from an outside source). Had he followed the DHR Manual and learned that there were other children at the mother’s home, the supreme court speculated, he would have interviewed those children (also as prescribed in the DHR Manual) and might have learned the extent of the mother’s deception.

The DHR Manual simply does not confer upon the investigator of a CAN report the judgment or discretion to limit this crucial inquiry to asking questions of the alleged perpetrator. The mandates of the DHR Manual in this regard are precisely the sort of “detailed rules or regulations” that State agents cannot ignore, except at their peril. For these reasons, Gowens is not entitled to State-agent immunity.

Finally the supreme court turned to the issue whether Gowens was entitled to immunity because his action were not the proximate cause of the plaintiffs’ injuries. Observing that the question of proximate cause is one of fact, the supreme court said that there was no controlling question of law for the court to review. “We decline, therefore, to review this fact-specific issue.”

Lee’s thoughts: So what is a DHR investigator to do? Let’s consider those who are planning now to become investigators like him. They know they will be paid relatively poorly and will be swamped with work. They know they will be spending their working hours with parents like the mother of these children, on the margins of society and resenting DHR and all its employees for intruding in their private lives. And now they know that anything other than the most scrupulous adherence to every list of tasks in the DHR Manual places them at risk of ruinous personal liability.

No matter that they were trying to do a good job; no matter that they had the best interests of the children at heart. “Gotcha! You missed task #26, so now you’re on the hook.” Forget for a moment whether it’s fair. It sounds like a doomed policy, because I don’t know of anyone of basic competence who would choose to live with that risk.

I certainly don’t face it, and I make better money than most DHR investigators. Lawyers are extraordinarily forgiving of themselves for minor transgressions. Why do we choose to be more strict, more demanding, and more condemnatory of those we need more and reward less?

306 comments to Prickly World for Alabama DHR Staff

  • Beverly

    The first thing I would like to say is that DHR doesn’t “hire” investigators. The so-called investigators come from the same staff as the case workers. There is no special training involved and that is why there are so many mistakes. I have worked with child welfare workers since 1991, being an adoptive parent, foster parent, and now as a liaison for birth/adoptive/foster parents. This position is much to important to the welfare of children, to simply hire a regular case worker, and I say case worker becuause most employees aren’t licensed social workers either. I agree that DHR should hire real investigators to do this job, train them as if their job depends on the judgements they make, and pay them accordingly. I also agree that lawyers are extraordinarily forgiving of THEMSELVES, but that doesn’t mean the public that they defend is as forgiving of them. We expect lawyers to be on the same plateau as the child welfare investigators, but when a lawyer doesn’t do his/her job, all we can do is turn them in to the bar association. The bar in turn, protects it’s own.

  • Kristee

    Beverly,

    Thank you for taking time out to post that comment. I agree with you 100%.

    I have dealt with the brick wall here in Coffee County AL. that is referred to as the justice system. DHR was put in place to help the children and families, but does not. Coffee County DHR, the Enterprise PD, Coffee County Sheriff’s Dept. and the Coffee County Courthouse have done more to my daughter, myself and my other children (by taking her from us and allowing her to be abused), than I ever thought was possible. I knew these agencies had issues , but always thought someone would hold them accountable for their actions. I realize that is not the case, they all work together and when someone does something wrong they work together to cover it up.

    I do know some of the people work for the children, they are just so hard to find.

  • anonymous

    DHR has a bunch of lazy people working for them. They do the minimum to “help” and when a client needs other services they are supposed to create a service that the client needs, that is more appropriate. This is per the Consent decree. If their clients did not perform up to whatever standards they set, they call it uncooperation, and they snatch children. It is all done illegally in violation of LAW set by the SUPREME COURT of the US. Children cannot be taken away from parents tempoary or permanent without a clear showing of parental unfitness. This is something NO family court does.

    It is pointless to even go to family court with a court provided lawyer becauuse they simply say cooperate and fail to offer any “defense” to DHR’s charges.

    It’s a damn shame.

  • Joe

    Houston Co. Al D.H.R. are the lowest form of humanity I have ever had the misfortune of coming in contact with. My wife and I are fighting them now. Isn’t it amazing why they wonder how come they can’t get people to become foster parents? All they have to do is look in the mirror. As long as you kiss their a– they think you are great, just go against them one time and you are not fit to breath the same air decent people breath. I know it David vs. Golith, but we all know who won that battle.

  • keith

    The DHR,child and adult protective services,Law Enforcement,and the judicial system. who are they,who/or what do they really represent,and for what purpose.why are they not under more scrutiny from our lawmakers and why are they not held accountable for their misconduct.why are we as citizens expected to live by the law,but the government agencies,and judicial sytems do not have to operate by the law.We see it everyday sometimes the victim maybe a child,a parent,an elderly person,and the system steps in and lives are destroyed forever,and forever is a lifetime sentence.All these offices have codes of ethic but i know of none who operate accordingly. sure if there is a crime in affect it should be punished according to the extent that the law requires.but what if a crime is being reported frivously or by assumption,or even through a mispercieved act. that seperates a family,marks an individuals reputation for life,seperates an elderly person(s) from their possessions and assets that took a lifetime to acquire and be forced into a nursing home facility to die with nothing,a person to be charged with an offence that he or she is not guilty of but substantially affects their rights to vote,bear arms,or even get good paying job or hold office as an official.All these examples are crimes within themselves but who committed them, and why are they immune to prosecution just because they failed to thoroughly investigate the issue,or obtain their information from credible sources or they was a alledgedly acting in good faith, and lets not forget the most valuable excuse we just dont have the funds available or the manpower to adequetly operate. but money is not an issue when theyre destroying peoples lives.and its not an issue when your the one who has no money to defend yourself against the wantoness of a corrupt system. part of the ethics of the (DHR)states that no intervention at all is better than a harmful intervention. basically stated but i wonder how many of their employees have ever even read it at least those of them who can read. And what happened to the judicial system all men are innocent to proven guilty. guess that fell by the way side with justice and fairness and patience and that any man before the court of law should have a right to a fair trial but its hard to have a fair trial when its really a negotiation between lawyers so everyone gets somthing out of the deal . And then there is our law enforcement agencies that through their intemidating nature and unreasonable and excessive force upon indivduals and their rights, and to the invasion of ones privacy. and without any real probable cause will not hesitate to execute a warrentless arrest,search and seizure on your person or property .these unlawful acts only contribute to the discouragement of request for intervention by law enforcement officers that would other wise be called upon and further reduce the risk of domestic violence and child abuse. the conduct they use or fail to use in the capacitly of their description should not give them any immunity from liability to any injured party.if they do not have the compentency or professional training to do their job in a manner which promotes the confidence,faith and desire for justice and intervention by the public at large,they are not doing their job.

  • keith

    on just one other note, i reside in Chilton County,Alabama
    so if you are unfortunate enough to find your self on the adverse
    side of the system in this county and seek any kind of fair justice
    dont expect youll get it here, unless you are in the “CLICK” if you
    know what i mean.

  • dad who is sad

    DHR is not held accountable to anyone, that is the core of their problem. They can and do act unconstitutionally and are supported in this by local judges. I pray for them because they do so much damage and have insulated themselves from the pain they cause by mass brainwashing of their staffs. It is so hard to forgive them.

  • Concerned and Angry

    I live in Chilton County and have been helping the father of two small children that are now victims of Chilton Co. DHR. DHR has allowed an alcoholic mother who has been investigated twice for neglect, violated a court order and illegally taken the children from the father, keep the children. This mother was arrested for neglect put through rehabilitation at the State’s cost, continues to drink and use drugs but the DHR case worker will not so much as investigate the living conditions to protect the children. Because the father complained and demanded an investigation as to where his children are and told them that they are not doing their job, they are accusing him of unfounded, uninvestigated allegations of domestic violence and child abuse. It is a sad commentary that the one department we believed was setup to protect children from neglect, abuse and endangerment serves no one but themselves. Chilton Co. DHR takes no responsibility for endangering our children and adults,. The State itself turns a blind eye to the problems of DHR statewide. When a child is harmed or dies what does it say, “opps!” We should be able to sue them and the case workers for neglect and violations of the children and adults rights to live in a safe environment, but, tell me how many citizens can afford an attorney that is willing to take on this corrupt department.

  • Crusader

    I’ve recently learned the truth about Bob Riley: for all his blithering about being a Christian he is 100% supportive of all dhr does. He has been made aware of a current case in which dhr placed children in the home of a child molester, and they are covering it up. He has done nothing except to say that dhr is not his concern. This lifelong Republican will certainly never vote for Bob Riley again. Page Walley needs to be fired also. He in his capacity as dhr commissioner also knows about the molestation of a foster child in dhr custody and has not done the family even the basic courtesy of a reply to their pleas for help. Page Walley and the dhr are sick and evil.

  • Nieve My A**!!!!

    I have a friend who has been fighting DHR for nine months now. She had a child in Shelby County and the hospital called DHR and told them that she had tested positive for amphetamines but the child tested negative. They supposedly tested her twice but she told them that she had only been tested once and it was without her permission. Now the baby is in the custody of DHR and had been through 3 foster homes all but one has been neglectful of him. She has done everything that DHR has asked of her, even baby proofing her home and going to parenting classes. They were supposed to drug test her and failed to do so, so I took her to get a hair sample done to prove that she had not done drugs at the time. By the way the hair sample came back negative. After that DHR said that they took her child because she abused him, keep in mind she had not taken him home from the hospital as of yet. Then they told her that she was starving him, but he was sick on one visit and vomiting tremndously. DHR took him to daycare after her in home visitation and left him there. The third foster parent decided that going to class was more important and that the case worker on the case would be picking him up. If this had been the previous social worker the baby would have stayed with its mom all day and been taken care of by her. They switched social workers on her when they removed him from the custody of the first foster home because she was getting too close and defending the natural mother. They removed the baby from the first foster because, we believe, that they were treating him as one of their own and DHR did not agree with this. The second foster parent could only keep her child for a week. This is the third foster home and it is with a single female who has never had children and does not know how to care for them. My friend has done everything that she can to get her child back and has been told that if she was living with someone that she would have had her child back already, what has this got to do with anything especially since her child is in the foster home of a single person right now. They are now afraid that her child will fall and get a bruise and are requiring her to take parenting classes, I don’t agree with their reasons for her taking these classes but I do agree that she can use the extra help with her parenting skills. She only needs to be given a chance and that was what the first lady was doing for her. She was giving her the chance to be a real parent and DHR apparently did not agree with her methods. Children are going to fall down and yes they are going to get hurt but that is what children do best, they do not come with instruction booklets and certainly no warranties so you have to learn as you go. Now she is being told that her child has to be placed in a permanent home by the age of 1 and they want her to sign her rights away. They supposedly talked to the father and he denied ever knowing my friend and DHR has already said that they are going to test him for paternity but have not done so as of yet and according to the father they have not contacted him either. The court appointed attorney has only told my friend not to give her rights away, in which she had already planned not to do that. She can’t even talk to the judge when she goes to court and can rarely get in touch with her attorney. She is in a predicament where she is afraid to even take a tylenol for pain because of this. What can she do? I am here for her, I take her where she needs to go and give her a shoulder to cry on when she needs it but I can’t help her with this one and I can’t make it go away for her. She has no parents to help her and her sister want help her much, so she depends alot on me and another friend to help her. I don’t know how to make this any better for her, any suggestions?

    Nieve My A**!!!!

  • Debra

    I’m a adoptive mother of 3 siblings. Iam currently trying to get custody of 4th child sibling to my adoptive children. DHR has basically decided where they want to place the baby in another foster home without her sisters. They state that due to my oldest daughters behaviors the baby would be in jeopardy. Now listen to this before my daughter came to live with us she was in 4 different foster homes (because of her behavior). They placed her and her sister with us in July 2002 and her other sister was born Aug 2004 medically fragile they didn’t think twice about putting that baby in our home. But now my daughter is a risk to this baby. The true story is that a foster parent that works very closely with DHR wanted a baby girl and thats where they placed her. What happen to keeping siblings together. We are now doing everything we possibly can to try to get this baby moved to our home. Even the biological mother told DHR that she wanted her daughter placed with us before the baby ever left the hospital. Did they call us. No they make the rules fit what they want to do.

  • Beverly

    All of the comments made above are true, from my experiences. We cannot “fix” DHR’s behaviors. Believe me, I’ve tried. What we have to do is educate the judges. I have had the chance to do this in Jefferson Cty. and we must do this in all the counties. Talk to your judges, not about specific cases in their courts, but about cases in general and you will enlighten them. Most judges only know what the DHR attorney’s and social workers tell them. Keep pushing and don’t give up. We are responsible for ALL of these children, and we must make the people making the decisions in court know what is really going on. Keep fighting the good fight, and eventually we will prevail in keeping children safe and keeping families together, if that is what is in the best interest of the children.

  • supersocial worker

    I am a social worker with 16 years of experience, most of it in child welfare. I’ve worked in child protective services and have taken my share of children into custody due to abuse and neglect. I am a former consultant for Alabama DHR and reading the above stories, my heart is heavy with sorrow for the incompetence and bureaucratic smoke screen that many Alabamians are experiencing because there are so many people who are hired to do this job who have no idea, nor believe it important – to conduct their practice with serious gravity whenmaking these types of decisions (removal of children). This is THE major problem when you fill DHR with , poorly-trained, non-social work educated people who don’t know and are uncommitted to, ethnical social work practice. Many are only committed to their paycheck and not to the welfare and well-being of families. Families DHR comes into contact with are fragile and experiencing grave issues that require respect, sensitivity and compassion – all while firmly and competently addressing the risk factors that many children in these families are experiencing. This requires both education and a moral commitment to the ethnical principals that “real” social workers practice under. It was very rare that I had to take children into custody, when I was an active worker. My efforts went into throughly assessing each situation to see if there was any way to maintain the family intact AND keep the most vulnerable in the home (usually the children) safe. Sometimes due to the caregivers current state, I was unable to achieve this goal. But as a professionally trained and educated social worker, I am outraged and horrified that so many people are experiencing such archaic and egregiously imcompetent interventions from case workes in Alabama – so many years after asserting all of the counties under the RC consent decree. The problem extends from the top down and one of the solutions needs to be a cleaning of the house from the top management on downward. Practical, compassionate social work fails in DHR because too many doing the job are former corporate workers, biology majors, computer science majors, history majors, etc… and have no idea how to deal with chronic crisis, substance abuse, mental illness, generational abuse, domestic violence and the plethora of problems that many of our families experience daily. I am not a bleeding heart. I do believe that anyone who abuses a child or elderly person (or anyone more vulnerable) must be held accountable. But I also practice and know, that most people are not what they do (only). And compassion, encouragement, firm direction and non-judgementalism goes a long way when trying to keep children and the family they love, together. Sorry for getting on my soap box but I hate that so many people in the communites I’ve diligently worked in to help families see me in such a negative light due to the poor hiring policies of bureaucratic agencies such as DHR. There actually are good, competent, caring, dynamic and diligent professional social workers out there. Too many of us can’t work for DHR because we need to eat, live and take care of our families too – so we practice where we can get paid adequately. I spent 6 years in college and an additional 2 years becoming licensed, plus have to maintain on-going education to stay licensed (that’s as much time as medical school, by the way). I worked through school to pay for college, graduate school and licensing. I’m still paying for graduate school and now I teach other social workers how to engage in competent intervention with people. But none of that will matter much if I have to send these new, dedicated and well trained social workers into a system that tells them doing competent work “isn’t how we do it here.” This is a complex problem that requires some serious house cleaning. Don’t ever think that those of us who are excellent workers don’t see what is going on. We do speak out against it and I have personally reported non-competent workers to upper management. Unfortunately, most of these observations are ignored.

  • crusader

    Yes it is a matter of incompetence from the top down, but it’s also a matter of people who work for a morally bankrupt system like DHR who refuse to do what THEY know is morally right. There are several things that can be done. First, the laws allowing anonymous reports needs to be changed. Anyone making a report against a parent should be required by law to come into DHR and sit down face to face with an investigator. A court reporter should be present to record every word the complainant says and the person ought to be required to sign the report with the knowledge that a false report will hold them legally liable for prosecution. There’d be lots fewer stupid, false and frivolous complaints from disgruntled ex-spouses and nosy neighbors. There need to be laws passed which specifically state that if a child is not in danger he needs to remain in his home and social services offered to the parents if necessary and if the parents request them. There should be a quality control person in each DHR office who reviews each case for proper handling. Every parent who becomes involved with DHR should be given information on how to make complaints, including that of the group responsible for licensing social workers in Alabama. If social workers knew their licenses could be revoked and their own ability to make a living in jeopardy, they’d be less likely to make false reports and lie to judges. Alabama Medicaid should have a system in place for review of DHR services provided. Foster children should not be forced by DHR to take adult psychotropic drugs and growth hormone drugs for which Medicaid pays millions of dollars yearly. DHR’s feeding frenzy at the Medicaid trough should be limited. DHR should be required to change its foster parent requirements so that child molesters and sexual predators would be disqualified automatically from being paid by the State of Alabama to care for children. DHR needs to back off its official position that all parents molest and abuse their children and that all parents are drug addicted. It’s time for real reform of DHR but the people of Alabama are going to have to demand it.

  • Former Foster Parents

    My husband and I were foster parents for 2 years. During that time we had 3 infants, a toddler, and a teenager. DHR was not there for us as foster parents. They don’t do anything in a timely manner, and when you need answers about the child you can’t get them to call you back. They basically have no respect for the people that put their time, love, attention, and own personal finances at stake for children they know nothing about. We would have possibly stayed parents, but DHR would not work with us. When we told them that we couldn’t do this any longer they just said “well we need your license”. There wasn’t any thing said of what can we do? How can we make things better or? NOTHING!!!! They have all of these kids that have had parental rights signed away, but foster parents that want to adopt the children have to wait, and wait, and wait for years. Yes, this is the same parents that the child has been living with for years. What about the kids??? What about adoptive parents that want to give the child(ren) a permanent stable home? Sad to say, but when a child gets about 12 years of age most people do not even consider them for adoption. They are too old. So, why wait so long to figure out if these children can possibly have a happy life living with a permanent family???? It is not about the children at all. We felt terrible about giving up our license, but we just could not be a part of a system that is so corrupt.

  • A MOTHER WHO MISSES HER CHILDREN

    I LIVE IN LEE COUNTY ALABAMA AND DHR TOOK ALL 3 OF MY PRECIOUS CHILDREN ALMOST 1 YEAR AGO. IT ALL STARTED WHEN MY OLDEST SON (4) WAS PLAYING WIHT A TOY FELL ON IT AND HURT IS GENTIAL AREA.(STRADDLE INJURY) WELL MY AUNT WH HAS NEVER LIKED ME WAS IN TOWN AND I TOOK MY CHILDREN OVER TO MY PARENTS HOUSE SO MY CHILDREN COULD VISIT WITH EVERYONE. BIGGEST MISTAKE I EVER MADE. I TOLD MY MOTHER WHAT HAPPENED AND MY SON EVEN SHOWED HER AND TOLD HER THE WHOLE TRAGIC STORY. I HAD TO BE AT WORK AND MY HUSBAND (2 OF MY CHILDREN’S STEP-FATHER) HAD TO GO HELP HIS FATHER WITH SOME WORK. SO MY CHILDREN STAYED THERE. I WAS ONLY GONE FOR 5 HOURS AND IN THAT PERIOD OF TIME MY AUNT TOOK MY CHILDREN TO THE HOSPITAL FOR A RAPE TEST CLAMING MY HUSBAND SEXUAL ABUSED MY CHILDREN! NO ONE FROM THE HOSPITAL EVER CALLED ME OR MY HUSBAND OR MY 2 KIDS REAL FATHER. WE WERE ALL AVALIABLE TO BE REACHED. THEY DID RAPE TEST ON MY CHILDREN AND CLAIMED MY SON WAS ABUSED. HOW CAN A DR. CLAIMNOT EVEN KNOWING WHERE THE PARENTS ARE OR IF THE AUNT IS REALLY THE AUNT. IT TURNS OUT MY AUNT PERSONALLY KNEW THE DR. KINDA WEIRD HUH? WELL THE NEXT THING I KNEW MY KIDS WERE SNATCHED FROM ME, MY HUSBAND ARRESTED AND CHARGED. WE ARE STILL WAITING FOR TRIAL. WE HAVE SPENT ALMOST 100,000 DOLLARS JUST IN ATTORNEY,EXPERT WITNESSES, AND COURT FEES. MY CHILDREN ARE IN FOSTER CARE BUT GET TO GO TO THEREREAL DADS HOUSE EVERY WEEKEND. MY YOUNGEST ONE LIVES WITH MY HUSBANDS PARENTS. LUCKILY THERE ON OUR SIDE. I CAN SEE ALL THREE OF THEM BUT ONLY 2 OF THEM EVERY WEEK FOR ONE HOUR AT DHR. I HAVE TO BE SUPERVISED WHEN SEEING MY YOUNGEST SON BUT THATS NOT A BIG DEAL. MY HUSBAND AT LEASTS GETS TO SEE HIS OWN SON BUT HASN’T SEEN THE OTHER 2 SINCE THAT DAY THEY TOOK THEM. MY 2 CHILDREN ASK FOR HIM ALL THE TIME AND CRY TO COME HOME. HOW CAN ONE ACCIDENTAL INJURY CAUSED BY A TOY LED TO SOME MUCH PAIN. MY YOUNGEST SON WAS ONLY 3 MONTHS OLD AND I WAS BREASTFEEDING HIM AND HAD TO STOP. BEFORE GETTING OUT OF FOSTER CARE HE WAS ALMOST HOSPITALIZED FOR BREATHING PROMBLEMS DUE TO CIGERATE SMOKE. WE DIDN’T SMOKE. I WISH THER SOMETHING THAT COULD BE DONE ABOUT SOCIAL WORKERS NAD HOW THEY INVISTAGTE CASES. I’M TRYING TO FIND HELP WITH WHAT HAPPENED AT THE HOSPITAL AND IF HE COULD HAVE DONE THAT WITHOUT CONSENT OR COURT ORDER. PLEASE EMAIL ME AT JRHODES124@CHARTER.NET WITH ANY HELPFUL INFORMATION. IM PRAYING FOR EVERYBODY!
    @

  • SAD MOM - UNJUST REMOVAL

    DHR SNATCHES CHILDREN WITHOUT ANY INVESTIGATION AT ALL…HOW DO THEY GET BY WITH THIS? NOW, MY CHILD IS A HOME WHERE VIOLENCE OCCURS, CAN BE PROVEN AND THEY HAVE YET TO DO ANYTHING..I GUESS THEY’LL WAIT TIL MY CHILD IS HURT AND THEN DO SOMETHING..IS THIS HOW THEY OPERATE? I HAVE TOLD DHR FROM THE START ABOUT WHAT KIND OF HOME THEY PUT MY CHILD IN…I HAVE MORE PROOF AND THEY WILL WON’T REMOVE MY CHILD…IS THERE AN AGENCY IN ALABAMA OR A CHILDRENS RIGHTS GROUP WHO IS NOT AFRAID TO GO UP AGAINST DHR? THESE COURT APPOINTED ATTORNEYS WILL NOT QUESTION THEIR PRACTICES..I’VE SEEN THIS…DHR ONLY SERVES TO DESTROY FAMILIES WITHOUT JUST CAUSE…WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO GET THESE PEOPLE INVESTIGATED AND SHUT DOWN? THIS AGENCY NEEDS TO BE TAKEN OVER BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT..THEN, MAYBE SOME OF THEIR ILLEGAL AND UNJUST PRACTICES WILL STOP.

    IF ANYONE KNOWS OF SOMEONE WHO CAN HELP ME, PLEASE DO…I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND HOW THEY DO WHAT THEY DO, TAKE CHILDREN FROM A GOOD HOME WITH NO INVESTIGATION..THESE SOCIAL WORKERS ARE LAZY..THEY HAVE A “FREE RIDE ON THE STATE OF ALABAMA” AND THEY KNOW IT…PEOPLE WONDER WHY ALL THESE INNOCENT KIDS GET KILLED? IT’S BECAUSE DHR DOESN’T INVESTIGATE THE CASES THEY NEED TOO …THEY’D RATHER JUST DESTROY GOOD FAMILIES AND SIT AROUND AND DO NOTHING…

  • Joe

    My wife and I have an injunction against us by Houston Co Al. DHR. We had these foster kids in our home for 15 months. Since they were taken in May they have been in 5 foster homes and 3 schools. Animals have more rights in this state than foster kids and foster parents. Their lawyer won’t even let them see a judge so they can tell him they want to come home to their mommy and daddy, us. They are 12, there needs to be a law passed that says they should be able to decide where they want to live when they reach a certain age. I pray that someone with enough money and heart will do something to change the system. There current foster home is a girls home and their lawyer told ours she would rather see them stay there than come home to us. During our hearing I never heard so many lies, I kept expecting one of them to say they saw us behind the grassy knoll in Dallas. We have letters from them begging us to bring them home, but this heartless bunch could not care less!

  • STAND UP TO DHR NOW

    Someone mentioned in a prior post that it is a Supreme Court Law where children cannot be removed without just cause. Could someone please tell me where this is on a website so I can investigate this? Also, DHR is under intense scrutiny by the Fed Govt to either clean up their act or the Feds will take over. As of yet, they are in no way even close to meeting the guidelines as well as the deadline that has been imposed against them by the Federal Government who oversees DHR. There have been editorials in newspapers pertaining to the illegal practices of DHR and the way they operate their agency is being discussed on several radio talk shows. Whoever posted that court appointed attys tell you to just “go along with DHR”, do whatever they say and a court appointed atty will not go against them is 100% correct. Trying to get a DHR social worker to honor request from guardians/parents is a total waste of time. What do these workers get paid for? How dare DHR continue to employ these types of case workers when they risk the safety and welfare of innocent children. I have tried to find guidelines of what a DHR worker is legally required to do as part of their job qualifactions and I have yet to find anything. If anyone can post any comments regarding to what I have stated, please do so. Until such time that all the innocent parents who have experienced such illegal and cold hearted actions inflicted on them stand up and fight and report this agency to the Federal Government for the way they operate, DHR will continue to function the way they do now. One day these pathetic, lazy and uncaring case workers who have intentionally inflicted such heartbreaking mental anguish on so many innocent people will answer to God for what they have done.

  • judi kissic

    dhr
    department of hitlor’s revenge employees ever employed by the state ofm ala.
    the aer the most uncompotant
    I challenge the social workers in Talladega DHR to buy a business card, a yellow page add, and a business sign… wait and see if any tax payer will pay you for your services…
    we the people employee you. Don’t forget that.
    jkiss

  • anonomous

    I have prayed and prayed for God to put his hands on the DHR people in this county, and I know that one day he will. If you dare have an opinion or try to do anything like writing to the commissioner, which as I found out is a waste of time anyway, but if you do, you are definately going to be an outcast and not get anymore foster children. I have almost given up on judges also. I pray that someone in the government will please help!!!!!

    anonomous

  • crying shame

    DHR-WHAT A JOKE! THEY HAVE COMPLETELY EXHAUSTED OUR FAMILY AND MADE MENTAL CASES OUT OF MY NIECE’S AND NEPHEW’S. THEY WALKED RIGHT IN MY MOTHER’S HOUSE AND TOOK INNOCENT CHILDREN AND PLACED THEM IN THE LONG LOST SYSTEM WHERE CHILDREN ARE JUST FORGOTTEN ABOUT. THEY TOOK THEM BECAUSE THE “DADDY” OF THE CHILDREN DROVE BY MY MOTHERS HOME AND SHE ASKED THEM TO HAVE IT STOPPED. SO THEY DECIDED THEY WOULD TAKE THEM INTO “PROTECTIVE CUSTODY” YEAH, THEY TOOK THEM OUT OF A WONDERFUL HOME AND PUT THEM INTO 3 FOSTER HOMES IN 6 WEEKS. THE FIRST ONE WAS WITH A DOCTOR WHO DECIDED THEY HAD MENTAL ISSUES DUE TO THE FACT MY OLDEST NEICE WEN’T TO THE REFRIGERATOR AND ASKED WHAT HE SENT HER OVER THERE FOR. THE NEXT ONE WAS BY FAR THE WORST, THEY HAD TO GO TO DAY CARE FROM 6 UNTIL 6 THEN THEY WERE PUT OUTSIDE AND COULD NOT COME IN THE HOUSE UNTIL 7:00 IN 100 DEGREE WEATHER. IF THEY CAME IN THEY ATTACHED ANOTHER 5 MIN. MY YOUNGEST NEPHEW WAS BARELY 24 MONTHS OLD AND THEY MADE SLEEP IN A SOILED DIAPER AFTER HAVING DIARREA BECAUSE HE DID NOT KNOW HOW TO USE THE POTTY. MY OLDEST NEICE CRYED HERSELF TO SLEEP BEACUSE HE HAD TO WEAR HIS DIAPER LIKE THAT ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT. THE FOSTER PARENT TOLD MY NEICE HER FATHER WAS NOT HER DAD. THEY WOULD ORDER PIZZA FOR THEIR FAMILY AND MAKE HAM SANDWICHES FOR THE FOSTER CHILDREN. THESE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE “PROTECTIVE SERVICES” FINALLY THE LAST FOSTER PARENT WAS WONDERFUL. THEY STILL STAY IN CONTACT WITH THE CHILDREN. DHR IS SUPPOSED TO KEEP FAMILIES CONNECTED, NOT DESTROY THE. FURHERMORE, CASA IS NO HELP EITHER. THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO OFFER THEIR TIME WHEN THEY HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO. THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THE DECISIONS TO REMOVE THE CHILDREN WAS A TEAM OF 5, WHO WERE ALL UNDER THE AGE OF 25 WITH NO CHILDREN, AND APPARENTLY NO TRAINING. I WAS STUNNED! THE (UNTRAINED) SOCIAL WORKER WHO SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAVE THAT TITLE, IS ONE OF FIVE THAT WE HAVE HAD IN 7 MONTHS. EVERYTIME YOU CALL, YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT SOCIAL WORKER. WHO KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT THE CASE. EVERYTIME MY SISTER MAKES 1 STEP FORWARD THEY KNOCK HER BACK 2. THE LAUDERDALE COUNTY DHR HAS DESRROYED OUR FAMILY! IF ANYONE CAN OFFER ANY ADVICE, PLEASE DO SO.

  • pcfromdhr

    I would like to offer one suggestion: If you’re a parent with disabilities whether physical or mental and DHR has taken your children from you on that basis, call Americans with Disabilities Advocacy Program in Montgomery. DHR can’t deny you the right to parent your own children on the basis of disability. This is also true for a disabled child who has been taken from parents by DHR and placed in foster care where they do not receive proper care for their disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (federal law) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. ADAP will assign an attorney to your case and be present in the court room with you. This is FEDERAL oversight and DHR hates it but they cannot deny ADAP to be a party in your case. DHR has been under a federal lawsuit since 1988 for their inept handling of children in their care, and they have tried mightily to get out from under federal scrutiny but they can’t. Their stupidity buys them MORE FEDERAL OVERSIGHT every time!

  • Larry

    My family came under fire from dhr when my delinquint step daughter didnt get her way in our home,the social wkr was as green as a pea,she would change our words around,told the G.A.L. allsorts of things that were untrue,and eventually my other three daughters were taken from us,and every time we get a court date set,it gets cancelled by the g.a.l.Dhr hasnt followed any of their own rules or regulations from thier own handbook,wonder if the social wkrs even read it.

  • ANONYMOUS

    If DHR hasn’t follwed it’s own rules, you have grounds for a lawsuit. Consider it. it’s going to look really strange if enough people band together for a class action suit against DHR when they are supposed to be monitored by the Fed. gov’t. Obviously the feds are not watching and listening close enough and there seems to be no way of notifying them of abuses. Get a copy of their policy manual and READ It, and also their ISP policy manual. Good info inside of it that you can use against them. don’t forget Us constitutional Laws.

    I am fed up with DHR.

  • Joe

    I like the idea of a class action suit against d.h.r. Their own guardian ad litem told our lawyer she would rather see the children they took from us stay in the girls home they are in than come home to us. We have sent our story of what has happened to us as foster parents and the children they took from us to the state commissiner and to our state senator. We keep hopeing someone somewhere will stop what these people are doing. You are right if your ever cross them you can forget about getting any more children!

  • pissed off in Fla at Ala DHR

    My husband,myself,and our daughter can relate to the procedures of the ALA DHR. Our grand daughter was taken without investigation, from our youngest daughter. Our grand daughter was brainwashed by her other set of grandparents who live in Brewton, Ala. Our daughter was kind enough to let them take her 2 kids to there North Carolina cabin for a couple of weeks. Conveniently, the ex mother in law arrives back home a couple of days early, with our grand daughter, and they head straight to the Brewton, Ala DHR to tell this huge lie against our then daughters boyfriend, now husband, that he had sexually molested her. Well, as soon as this lie was told to them, the DHR snatched both of our daughters kids. They accused our daughter of being on drugs. She took a drug test, and passed and she was given her son back. They have had her daughter in a foster home where at the age of now 11, she can wear skin tight clothes, makeup, and basically calls the shots. My husband and I have had to hire a lawyer just to get to maybe see her on every Friday, supervised with a DHR worker present. Our daughter, lost her good paying job, as soon as this tall tale hit the newspapers, her then boyfriend lost his good paying job, was arrested and put in jail. His parents and us went in halves to hire him an attorney, to try to get him out of this awful mess caused by an 11 year old being brainwashed at the age of 8. And the Alabama Asst. Atty. General, meeting with our grand daughter for 3 months co-ercing her what to say for the trial. Our daughter went to the DHR building in Brewton the other day to see what could be done for her to get her daughter back…..only to have Gail Cooper, a supervisor laugh in her face, and tell her that as long as she was in charge there, she nor any of her family would never get custody of her. We have written everyone, hired lawyers, etc, etc, etc, but we refuse to give up. Somewhere there is help. Anyone with ideas please let us know. LLockett9464@aol.com

  • BROKEN HEARTED MOM

    TO THE PERSON WHO INQUIRED ABOUT GETTING A COPY OF THEIR GUIDELINES, GOOD LUCK..I HAVE TRIED AND TRIED AND EVEN LOOKED ON THE NET…AS FAR AS THEIR ISP MEETINGS — BEEN THERE DONE THAT AND THEY STILL DON’T DO WHAT THEY’RE SUPPOSE TO AND AGREED TO…IF ANYBODY WANTS TO FILE A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT, I’M SITTING ON READY…TO ANYONE WHO HAS A KID SEEING ONE OF THEIR COURT APPT SHRINKS, OMG THESE PEOPLE PLAY “GOD” AND HAVE MADE MY CHILD WORSE…SHE TELLS LIES, DOESN’T REPORT THE TRUTH..THANK GOD I WAS INFORMED BY A PROMINENT JUDGE WHO FOREWARNED ME ABOUT THE ROLE THESE SHRINKS CAN PLAY…THERE HAS GOT TO BE A FED AGENCY THAT OVERSEES THIS PATHETIC COMMUNISTIC SYSTEM DHR HAS…IF ANYBODY KNOWS EXACTLY WHO IT IS, PLEASE PLEASE POST IT….THESE PEOPLE DESTROY INNOCENT FAMILIES LIKE MINE FOR FAILURE TO INVESTIGATE…

    TO THE PARENTS WHO HAVE POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE WHAT YOU’RE GOING THRU, YOU HAVE MY DEEPEST SYMPATHY…TRUST ME — I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL..

  • rebecca

    Please, please call ME! I recently resigned from St. Clair County DHR. The opionions of those of us who are int he homes are completely ignored!!. A master’s level therapist and me fought, without result, to have an infant placed in foster care after her 16 y/o “gothic”, school drop-out, “mother” said that she was having “thoughts, bad thoughts, about hurting her baby”. This is the third generation of this family that has been involved with DHR. “Mother” and g’mother are both under psychiatric care. I am sickened at what I saw at St. Clair DHR from 6/06 through 2/07. I resigned, then quit immediately when my “supervisor” told me it wasn’t “my place” to answer a page to from the front desk.
    I have reams of stories that I can share! Stories that will drive you crazy. The aforementioned family was “managed” under SIX “SAFETY PLANS” FROM 9/22/06 to 10/9/06. (Oh, I have plenty more case stories!!!)
    Most important – a few weeks ago I heard Attorney General, Troy King, on a local radio show (perhaps Matt Murphy or Lee Davis Show). Mr. King said, “Even I don’t have access to DHR records.” That, to me, is a significant problem – this agency needs complete and continuous oversight! Thanks, rp

  • quite yer bitchen

    Everyone on here is complaining about what DHR did wrong or didn’t do right but what about the instances where they did make a difference. Yes social workers are underpaid and you dont have to be licensed to work for DHR and why would you want to be when you only get a few dollars more for spending the time to get licensed. If everyone on here would get away from their computer and spend time with their children maybe DHR would not have taken them away because no matter who you are you are only going to tell your side of the story. Furthermore if you all have enough time to go this deep into thought about the matter then maybe you need to get a job and pay some taxes so that the state can afford to pay social workers more and therefore hire better social workers. There is plenty of oversight into DHR. There are quality assurance boards that actively look over case workers work. But no DHR does not hand out their work to everyone and say “hey look at this and tell me how I did” because there are privacy laws that prevent that, and laws that prevent people being investigated from knowing who reported them because if they knew that then many reports would not be made and many children would be in danger. So before you all go pointing fingers and saying DHR needs to look in the mirror maybe you all should look in the mirror and realize that DHR can only make decisions based on the information they have just like a court system, they are not mind readers or psychics and cannot put the pieces of a child abuse claim together without the facts.

  • SSCW

    I am a Social Service Case Worker for DHR. I am not licensed in social worker and would only make about 5 thousand more a year if I were licensed. I have however been through 4 months of training on my job and how to do it. I am a child abuse investigator and take my job seriously. Yes I have made some decisions that may not have been the best but I did what I had to do to ensure child safety with the information that I was given. Case Workers do not know everything, no one does. Case Workers make mistakes, everyone does. We are well aware of our responsibility and sure there probably are some people just here for a paycheck but you have that in any job in any place. But atleast they are trying. You get burned out very easily becuase you deal with the same stuff over and over again and you deal with people and their excuses and people who are on food stamps and family assistance and still need help paying an electric bill but yet they have a cell phone and a $50 dollar ear peice in their ear and they smoke cigarrettes. This is what we deal with everday in and out. What everyone needs to realize is that EVERYONE makes mistakes and unless you have never made a mistake then you have no room to complain about someone else. Obviously if your children were taken away, there was something wrong, no it may not have been as serious but lets face it DHR does not just snatch away children for no reason. There is court oversight and judges make the final call when children are removed from their parents, not DHR. Case Workers follow the stated guidelines which are set by state law and adhered to by the judges who make the final call. Yes everyone has their own opinion and yes all you will hear from someone is how wonderful they are and that DHR should not have taken their children but in my experience with DHR i have never come across a family that said yes we suck as parents please take our children. Everyone lies and DHR has to do what they can to piece together all the lies and try to find sometruth and then act as much as we can in the child’s best interest. We work hard, we work long hours, and we generally work with 20 or more family’s at one time. So unless everyone agrees to a 100% tax increase to provide additional funding so that their is one case worker per family, which is impossible, then we have to deal with little imperfections. That’s life. The only person that got everything right all the time was Jesus and he aint on the payroll. So i agree with “quite yer bitchen” everyone is critical on one thing maybe done wrong but forgets the countless children that have been saved and are being better served.

  • KP

    Tuscaloosa County DHR committed a terrible injustice to my daughter. She was 15 years old and a 19 year old boy was contacting her. I tried to stop all contact and she rebelled. She ran to her grandmother who enabled her behavior, DHR became involved and subjected myself and my family to many court proceedings. She became pregnant and Tuscaloosa County refused to prosecute the boy even though the law says a 15 year old cannot legally consent. I paid over 5,000 in legal fees and was forced to give the child’s grandmother over 3,000 dollars for her support. DHR never once tried to contact the child’s father who was not paying court ordered support. I was railroaded by DHR. In the end I gave up because it was easier than fighting the battle. DHR should support the child and be forced to reimburse me for all expenses. DHR should deal with children who are abused, not those wanting to have their way.

  • Joy

    The parts in parenthesis are from an above answer.

    If the case workers are to follow stated guidelines, why can’t anyone see the guidelines or have a copy? My grandkids are currently in DHR custody. This happened because my son’s soon to be x-wife found out that she could cry domestic violence and get the kids back. She has a close friend who is an attorney and is guiding her in what to do free of charge.

    “Case Workers follow the stated guidelines which are set by state law and adhered to by the judges who make the final call. Obviously if your children were taken away, there was something wrong, no it may not have been as serious but lets face it DHR does not just snatch away children for no reason.”

    If they actually followed the guidlines. After my son’s case for domestic violence was dismissed, the kids should’ve been returned to him. However, DHR has maintained that the babies should be returned to their mommy. I’ve been told that this is directive from DHR..from the top. Is there any truth to this? Can’t see the rules or guidelines so who really knows? I do know that the rules keep changing bias towards the moms. If the dads can’t have their kids too, then why make them pay for them? Change the child support rules and let the moms pay for them.

    “in the child’s best interest.” This phrase has been repeatedly tossed at us for the last 9 months. If they had the best interest of kids at heart I ask…would they give the kids back to moms that do “Meth”? Would they give the baby back to the mom and her family that fractured his 8 month old skull on the day that the DNA test came back and they found out who was his real daddy? Would they give the kids back to someone who constantly smokes around them when they have asthma and RSV? Would they give the kids back to moms when the kids cry to stay with their daddy?

    “We work hard, we work long hours, and we generally work with 20 or more family’s at one time. So unless everyone agrees to a 100% tax increase to provide additional funding so that their is one case worker per family, which is impossible, then we have to deal with little imperfections.”

    As far as my tax money goes…they could disband DHR and not even have DHR. All DHR has ever done for my family is to screw up the kids lives. I have 2 stepkids who are on the system. DHR let them both drop out of school. DHR has taken 3 out 4 of her kids and gave them to her mom who let DHR let her drop out of school to take care of her when she had a car wreck because she was drunk. DHR workers may work hard, however, I’ve called DHR and not been called back. I’ve called and asked for things to be investigated and they haven’t been done.

    “That’s life. The only person that got everything right all the time was Jesus and he aint on the payroll. So i agree with “quite yer bitchen” everyone is critical on one thing maybe done wrong but forgets the countless children that have been saved and are being better served.”

    I agree that Jesus was the only perfect person. I don’t think he’d want to be on your payroll. If we quit bitchen then wrongs would never be righted. Since DHR has their own agenda how do we know how many kids have been better served or saved. They could’ve been taken from loving homes and placed in homes where they’re very unhappy.
    My grandkids cry when they have to go back to their moms. Not only do the kids feel sad, but we feel sad too because there’s nothing we can tell them except we love them and they have to go back.

    DHR guidelines should be available to anyone who would like a copy. DHR should be as much for the dads as they are for the moms. Equality..a dad can take care of his kids as well as a mom..maybe better. DHR should have to answer to a seperate board who can come in and investigate them. It’s called checks and balances…it’s what our country was founded on.

    The laws need to be changed. DHR needs to be cleaned up. The courts and their systems need to be cleaned up too. There’s no justice.

  • Joy

    I know it used to take 5 people to do a class action lawsuit. Who was the attorney for Gowens v. Tys. S., Case No. 1041341, 1041413 (Ala. May 3, 2006)? Would he/she be willing to do one? How many people would be willing to do a class action and pay maybe $100? How mad is DHR going to be at all of us if we do it? Will they take it out on our kids or grandkids? Any ideas how to get all of us together so we could do something? DHR needs to be cleaned up.

  • ANONYMOUS PARENT

    TO THE SOCIAL WORKER WHO WROTE THAT YOU HAD 4 MONTHS OF TRAINING…THANK YOU FOR CONFIRMING THIS FOR ME BECAUSE IT’S YOUR LACK OF EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE AS TO WHY INNOCENT PARENTS AND CHILDREN ARE EMOTIONALLY DESTROYED BECAUSE OF THE LIKES OF YOU AND OTHER DHR SOCIAL WORKERS WHO HAVE “FREE RIDES ON THE STATE OF THE ALABAMA”…..YOU ARE PROOF OF WHY SO MANY CASES ARE MISHANDLED FROM THE VERY BEGINNING…IF DHR EMPLOYED SOCIAL WORKERS AS WELL AS INVESTIGATORS WITH DEGREES IN PSYCHOLOGY OR SOCIAL WORK, THOUSANDS OF FAMILIES WOULDN’T BE EXPERIENCING THE HELL THEY/WE GO THROUGH. YOUR AGENCY IS UNDERFIRE AND IT IS GETTING WORSE EVERYDAY DUE TOT HE RADIO TALK SHOWS AS WELL AS PUBLICIZED REPEATEDLY IN NEWSPAPERS THROUGHOUT ALABAMA…

    TO ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO FILE A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT, WE SHOULD ALL GET TOGETHER BECAUSE TRUST ME, I AM ON “GO”…HOW THIS COMMUNISTIC DICTATORSHIP GETS BY WITH WHAT THEY DO IS A VIOLATION OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF AMERICANS AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM WAS FOUNDED ON “INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY – NOT VICE VERSA WHICH IS KNOWN FACT BY ANYONE WHO HAS HAD TO DEAL WITH DHR…EVERY DAY YOU READ AND HEAR MORE AND MORE ABOUT DHR’S UNJUST AND UNLAWFUL PRACTICES…THIS IS EVEN KNOWN BY ANY ATTORNEY YOU SPEAK WITH WHETHER IT IS A COURT APPOINTED OR A PRIVATE ATTORNEY…”IT IS A GAME” WITH DHR AND FAMILY COURT AND WE’RE DEALING WITH CHILDREN AND FAMILIES? HOW DO DHR WORKERS SLEEP AT NIGHT IS WHAT I’D LIKE TO KNOW..IF YOU CAN’T PERFORM A JOB RIGHT, THEN DON’T DO IT AT ALL AND FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO DO..

    “FYI”.. COURT APPOINTED ATTORNEYS AND GALS ARE “IN CAHOOTS” AND IF THEY DECIDE THAT YOUR CASE IS “TOO MUCH WORK” OR YOU DON’T GO ALONG WITH THEIR “LITTLE GAME PLAN” OR SHOULD YOU DARE REQUEST THAT THEY VOICE THE TRUTH AND “BUCK THIS TWISTED EVIL SYSTEM” IN COURT, GOOD LUCK BECAUSE THEY WILL INTENTIONALLY SABATAGE YOUR CASE…

    BEWARE BEWARE OF THE COURT APPOINTED PSYCHOLOGISTS…THEY CAN REPORT WHATEVER THEY WANT ABOUT YOU AND THESE INDIVIDUALS ARE FREE FROM IMMUNITY AND PROSECUTION AND YOU CANNOT SUE THEM….IF YOU EVEN THINK FOR A SECOND THAT JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE DEGREED AND WORK WITH FAMILIES THAT THEY WANT TO UNIFY FAMILIES, WORD OF WARNING DO NOT TRUST THEM AT ALL…SOME ARE GOOD, SOME ARE EVIL AND YOU BEST PRAY YOU GET THE TRUE, HONEST, CHRISTIAN AND COMPASSIONATE PSYCHOLOGIST AND NOT AN EVIL, TWISTED MINDED ONE LIKE I HAD THE MISFORTUNE OF COUNSELING WITH…

    A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT IS COMING SOON…DHR HAS GOTTEN AWAY WITH THEIR UNFAIR UNJUST PRACTICES FOR YEARS BUT FROM WHAT I HEAR ON THE RADIO AND READ, AND END IS COMING SOON.PRAISE GOD..ALSO, THERE WAS MEETING IN PELHAM, ALA LAST WEEK BY A CHILD ADVOCACY GROUP S.A.F.E TO ADDRESS WHAT EVERY INNOCENT PARENT HAS STATED ON THIS WEBSITE…DHR NEEDS TO LOOSEN THEIR LAWS SO INNOCENT PARENTS CAN DEFEND THEMSELVES…WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO ACCESS WHAT THEY HAVE CHARGED YOU WITH, HOW CAN ANYONE DEFEND THEIRSELVES AGAINS THEIR ALLEGATIONS? GOOD LUCK TRYING TO FIND OUT THIS INFORMATION.

    TO ALL PARENTS WHO ARE GOING THROUGH AN EMOTIONAL HELL DUE TO HOW THIS AGENCY OPERATES, MY PRAYERS AND THOUGHTS ARE WITH YOU.

  • broken hearted dad

    My family has been railroaded and just about beaten down by dhr and a gal ,the case has been closed by dhr but the gal is still wanting to send my girls to three different homes,(thank GOD the girls are with some of my family members), and I get to see them every day.But the gal keeps haltering our efforts to reunification,just so she can charge the state of Alabama ,4.00 x 3 for each phone call from our atty. not to mention the 600.00 per hour to represent the children whitch the gal wont even talk to. I’m up for a class action lawsuit,someone e-mail me there is strength in numbers,and faxing to our representitives will certainly get someones attention, they have to pay for the recieved faxes and the paper, woodmongrel_trimman@yahoo.net
    waiting to hear from you folks

  • Beverly

    I’ve just read all the comments posted and my heart is heavy. Any of you can get information on DHR policies from the Alabama Foster and Adoptive Parents website (AFAPA). What you must know is that AFAPA receives $150,000 from DHR per year, so they can’t really advocate for families effectively with DHR. My organization, SAFE (society of advocates for family empowerment), is trying to write up legislation that will open up the family courts in Alabama. We need transparency in the court system, so that the public can be the watchdog that the system needs. Now that the RC Decree is over there is no more oversight by anyone. Even ADAP cannot help the children because the judges won’t let them in the courtroom anymore. They say that they are not a party to the case now that RC is over. You would think that they judges, wanting what is in the best interest of the children, would encourage all of those that are working for the children to be included in the courtroom procedures. Now judges are closing out cases and signing courtorders before they even read them. They sign what is put before them by DHR. It makes the judges look good to “handle” so many cases in so little time. Please contact me at crowdcontrol16@yahoo.com if you want more information about SAFE. WE are a true advocacy organization that isn’t afraid to stand up for your rights when dealing with DHR. SAFE is having a meeting to discuss legislation on Sunday April 1, at 3 p.m. in Pelham. If you are interested in attending, let me know and I’ll give you directions.

  • They are my kids too!

    I have been searching for a class action lawsuit against the court system and DHR. They have become completely unfair when it comes to children and their relationship with their father. There’s constantly effort put into the “dead beat dads” so why aren’t there any efforts put forth for the dads that do love and want to maintain a close relationship with their children. My children were just allowed to moved away to another state and I get 4 days a month with them, a lot of that we spend driving. Something should be done!! I should have just as much rights to my kids as their mother, these children are ours! A mother in Alabama has all the rights to the children no matter what! Dads are left out with a few days a month and maybe extra time now and again when the mother says so. This is ridiculous!! I am willing to participate in any type of action that could help keep the fathers in their kids lives.

  • Bev.

    Please contact Alabama Family Rights Association (ALFRA). They are responsible for the legislation that was passed that keeps the custodial parent from moving out of state, without a judges approval. They may be able to help you in some way.

  • Joe

    I thought I was going to throw up when I read the comments trying to justify D.h.r. and what they do, but I guess you could justify what Hitler did if you are a low enough scumbag!!!

  • Loving Mother

    Here is one for the books and it doesn’t deal with DHR but with the power that social workers have. My daughter has recently been diagnosed with cancer. She is 11 and I have joint custody with her father (who has physical custody and I have visitation.) He has her through a series of lies and money, I have not done anything for her not to be with me, welcome to Alabama court systems, even better COFFEE COUNTY.

    I am having to fight tooth and nail to try and see my daughter, to try and help care for her and be there for her. The social worker on my daughters case has told the ad litem that it is in her best interest to remain as much normalicy as possible. This in translation according to the social worker is her not being not being with me anymore than what she was prior to her illness. Yet neighbors and step aunts are getting to care for her. She is not in a state of normalcy. She is sick, she is home, she is not in school, dance, church or any of the other things that made her life “normal.” The weight that this social workers opinion has had is unbelievable and I have no way to change that.

    Several people have voiced concern about my situation getting worse if I confront her or go over her head. I wanted to talk to the dr and was told that he would just refer it back to the social worker because he is busy (which I understand.) Anyone who has any advice or knows someone who can help please let me know. I know DHR social workers can really fall behind on the job, but they are not the only social workers who fail miserably at doing what is in the childs best interest.

  • TOTALLYBROKENMOM

    TO THE KIND LADY FROM “SAFE” WHO POSTED ABOUT THE MEETING, SEVERAL PARENTS WOULD HAVE ATTENDED BUT SINCE WE MIGHT HAVE BEEN RECOGNIZED BY DHR OFFICIALS, WE WERE UNABLE TO DO SO. COULD YOU PLEASE POST YOUR PHONE NUMBER? WE MUST REMAIN ANONYMOUS DUE TO THE FACT OUR CASES ARE YET TO BE RESOLVED.

    THERE WAS AN ARTICLE IN THE BHAM NEWS TODAY ABOUT DHR AND THEIR RESPONSE TIME…IF PEOPLE THINK THIS IS THE MAIN PROBLEM WITH DHR THEY ARE SOO WRONG…THEY DON’T INVESTIGATE AND GET THE TRUTH. THEY TAKE ACCEPT TESTIMONY FROM ANYONE…THEY DON’T TRY TO KEEP CHILDREN FROM BEING REMOVED, IT IS JUST SOMETHING THEY PUT ON THEIR REPORT…THEY ALLOWED CHILDREN WHO ARE CURRENTLY BEING ABUSED TO THEIR FAILURE TO INVESTIGATE BEFORE THEY PLACE A CHILD IN A HOME, STAY THERE WITH LEGAL PROOF THAT A CHILD IS BEING ABUSED. THEY COULD CARE LESS WHAT THEY DO OR THE UNDESCRIBABLE MENTAL ANGUISH THEY PUT INNOCENT CHILDREN AND PARENTS THROUGH…THIS INFORMATION HAS TO BE REVEALED TO THE NEWS MEDIA…THE COURT APPOINTED ATTYS AND SOME OF THE GALS “ARE IN CAHOOTS”…THESE ATTORNEYS TO UNECESSARY LEGAL WORK DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE STATE NEVER QUESTIONS WHAT THESE ATTORNEYS DUE…IF A GAL GETS IT IN FOR YOU, WATCH OUT…

    SOMEONE HAS TO PLEASE EXPOSE DHR WHO IS IN A POSITION TO DO SO…

    ONCE AGAIN, TO THE “SAFE” EMPLOYEE WHO POSTED ABOUT THE MEETING, PLEASE PLEASE POST YOUR PHONE NUMBER…MAYBE IF YOU HEAR OUR STORIES, YOU MIGHT KNOW SOMEONE WHO CAN STEP IN AND CEASE THIS AGENCY FROM LITERALLY DESTROYING FAMILIES AND EXPOSE THESE “STATE EMPLOYEES” FOR WHO THEY REALLY ARE…

    THANK YOU

  • STEPHANIE

    I WOULD LIKE INFORMATION ON FILING A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE DEPT OF HUMAN RESOURCES IN ALABAMA
    CONTACT ME AT KENNYJ50@HOTMAIL.COM

  • I want to see them too, I am their Father

    ALSO VERY INTERESTED IN A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE DHR OF ALABAMA. I SEE MY KIDS 4 DAYS A MONTH! YES, THAT SOUNDS LIKE THE BEST INTEREST FOR THE CHILDREN. SINCE IN THIS STATE A CUSTODY CHANGE WILL NOT BE MADE UNLESS YOU PROVE THE PARENT UNFIT. THEREFORE, IF YOU OPPOSE A MOVE YOUR NOT GOING TO GET IT. THE BEST INTEREST IS PLACED.. WELL NOT SURE WHERE THEY PLACE IT BECAUSE I KNOW IN MY CASE IT WASN’T IN THE CHILDRENS BEST INTEREST. THESE CHILDREN ARE IN ANOTHER STATE 4 HOURS AWAY FROM THE FAMILY THEY HAVE BEEN RAISED UP AROUND. LEAVING THE FATHER ONLY 4 NIGHTS A MONTH WITH ALL HIS CHILDREN AND NO EXTRA TIME DURING SUMMER OR ANYTIME. PLEASE SOMEONE WITH ANY INFORMATION ON STOPPING DHR FROM RUINNING MORE FAMILIES & KIDS LIVES! THEY DO THEIR PART SOMEWHERE I’M SURE WITH THE DEAD BEAT DADS. BUT THOSE WHO WANT THEIR KIDS EVERYDAY SURE ARE GETTING A BEATING. SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE!! BEFORE THEY COMPLETELY TAKE THE FATHERS OUT OF THE CHILDRENS LIVES.. ITS THAT BAD!!!!!!

  • TOTALLYBROKENMOM

    TO ALL WHO ARE INTERESTED IN FILING A CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT, SOMEHOW, WE NEED TO GET TOGETHER WITHOUT DHR KNOWING ABOUT THIS..MAYBE HAVING A PRIVATE CHATROOM…I’M SURE “SAFE” OR “VOICE FOR CHILDREN” CAN GIVE US THE MOST INFORMATION…THIS AGENCY HAS GOT TO BE TAKEN OVER BY THE GOVT..DID ANYBODY READ WHERE THE 3 MONTH OLD CHILD WAS KILLED IN THE BHAM NEWS? DANG, WHERE WAS DHR?????? THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF THEIR INCOMPETENCE…TO THE FATHER WHO SPOKE OUT, THEY TAKE MOM’S OUT WORSE THAN FATHER’S…YOU SHOULD COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS YOU SEE YOUR CHILD AT ALL…YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I MEAN.

    IF ANYBODY CAN FIGURE OUT A WAY WE ALL CAN MEET OR CONTACT EACH OTHER, POST IT PLEASE…DHR IS UNDER INTENSE SCRUTINY AND NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT…REPORT THEM NOW FOR WHAT THEY HAVE DONE TO EACH PERSON ON HERE WHO’S FAMILY AND LIVES WERE DESTROYED…THE MORE AMMO AGAINST THEM, THE BETTER CHANCE WE HAVE AT TAKING THEM DOWN.

  • anonymous

    Alabama DHR is fallible because people are fallible; however, there are some safeguards built into the system, such as administrative record reviews for indicated child abuse/neglect assessments and administrative hearings for those people who are employed working with children or even being educated to work with children. The person named responsible for an indicated child abuse must respond within 10 days to a letter stating that they have the opportunity for a record review or an administrative hearing. (In your request for a record review state why you disagree with the finding – provide extra information that the social worker did not consider.) Administrative record reviews take up to 60 days but are done by very experienced personnel, who are trained to ensure that the social worker has followed policy in the assessment process. The record reviewers are 1 county person and 1 state person in different regions around the state. Many social worker dispositions/decisions are overturned; I’d say almost 50%. About the policy – it is huge and changes daily with federal and state laws and various court cases; however, that is no excuse for social workers not knowing policy and not implementing it correctly. Anyone should be able to obtain policy. Ask the county DHR child welfare supervisor or county director. State what part of policy you want, for example, the visitation policy, if you have a child in foster care. (You may have to pay for the copying.) If you are not able to get policy from the county office, call the State DHR Legal Office and ask how to obtain the policy. Policy is no secret. Many times young, inexperienced social workers make mistakes; older supervisors make mistakes. For example, the policy has recently changed regarding child mental abuse. Now a mental health professional has to write how a child’s functioning is severly impaired consistent with the allegation and definition of mental abuse. What is wrong with the system is that DHR is an agency with a great deal of power over the lives of people, particularly children. Authority is necessary because children are helpless in the presence of an abusive caretaker. However, if you are a parent involved with DHR, you have rights. Most DHR workers want children to stay with their own nuturing family. Most DHR social workers want to find services to assist and ensure safety. That’s a requirement of the policy. Look at your county office; find out how many children are in foster care in that county. If there are far too many children in foster care or in the custody of the local office, ask your elected officials why. Ask State DHR why. You must ask for information about policy, procedures, the court process. Knowledge is power for you and your child. Do not be afraid that a DHR official will see you at a meeting. It is always best to cooperate with DHR (because of the huge power they have), but arm yourself with information. Also, you can complain – first to the supervisor, next to the county director, next to the DHR State office. Don’t just complain on line.

  • Rhonda

    This is to REBECCA, who resigned from St. Clair CO. DHR. Please contact me at jimzprincess@yahoo.com. I really need to talk to someone about St. Clair Co. DHR soon. They have mishandled my grandchild’s case gravely and I’m hoping you can give me some advice.

    PLEASE HELP!!

  • R

    I know that getting answers are difficult but you have to remember that it depends on what type of worker that you have. I know for fact that there are several social workers at St. Clair Co DHR that are exceptional and others…well…. I resigned …remember! each case has it’s specific issues so the questions that you need answered can only be answered in general terms…Hypothetically. Policy questions I can help with, but like a previous reader stated…it changes all the time.

  • Mother on a Mission

    Is DHR violating your parental rights with lies and no proof to back it up? Are they taking your children without a reason, because they can? Are they violating their own procedural rules and regulations because they can? Are you children becoming emotionally damaged from this separation and “abuse of power” beyond belief? Are you? I know I am and so isn’t my child, beyond repair!! I am waiting for my attorney to give me the contact numbers for anyone in a bad situation with DHR, to contact us with your story and location. It will be private, as I am also dealing with the horror of DHR’s incompetence in a “certain” Alabama County, along with other corrupted officials whos names I cannot mention at this time, but I will in due time. Please keep checking this sight, since it seems to be the best place to start to locate children and families in trouble. I will be listing a contact address. We have to ban together in large numbers in order to get our children back, and to get justice for our children and we as parents who are DHR’s and other authorities victims of abusive power. DHR has taken their control way over the limit so as to categorize them as “INHUMANE”! THEY ARE GOING TO BE STOPPED!!! I know I won’t stop fighting until their power is terminated, and they quit committing American Injustice! They have violated our Civil Rights, and they are breaking all their procedures and policies, because they can? I don’t think so!! This is America, and we do not live in a communist state last I checked! RC. Consent Decree? Can’t follow the guidelines of this policy if you are snatching more than 60 children away from their homes in one County alone, but are understaffed to take care of them all and to follow the rules of reunification. What a crock! Is there something more going on than we know? Something more than just a “Good report card”? We are about to find out!

    If you are ready to fight for your innocent children, jump onboard and pass the word around to anyone else that is in this hell forsaken situation. Will post contact information very soon, so keep checking. We will win, have the faith and be strong!! For our children!!

  • A web site or community needs to be created so that familys that are being unfairly treated can relay problems and perhaps others can help. they may have gone through it before. I do think that it needs to be county specific though. I have dealt with a couple of different counties and they do differ, even though they suposedly have the same policy, rules and regulations. I keep checking yahoo groups and there is one very disgrunteled individual however there are only two members in that group. I wish I knew a computer person who would set one up. If I knew how I would jump at the chance to organize DHR wrongs by county in order for families to get help, advice and support. I guess I will have to just keep calling Matt Murphy!

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