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Posts Tagged ‘Update’

       In Texas, an appeals court overruled the state’s decision to remove the children of the sect, Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The appeals court has found that the CPS department had not proven evidence of immediate danger of physical health or safety of children who had not reached puberty.  The court also said that their beliefs, in and of themselves, did not place children in danger of abuse.

          This is a victory for the 41 mothers who brought the suit against the state for removing their children.  Initially, the state had said that 31 of the mothers were under the age of 18.  It has since been determined that 15 of that 31 are OVER the age of 18.  What that means, for the other mothers, isn’t clear.

        Does this mean that the children will be returned back to their families?  No one seems to know for sure.  The ruling is being reviewed.  It is possible that the 450 children who were removed; could be removed from temporary foster care and returned to their families. 

          No one really seems to mention the fathers.  It is almost as if by accusing some of the fathers of sexually abusing young women…they all are guilty by association.  This is wrong.  Damage has been done to “whole” families…some of them may even be “INNOCENT”. 

          Part of the problem here is that in America, we are supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty.  That didn’t really happen here.  Truthfully, children need to be protected.  However, in “protecting” them…the system damaged others.  This whole case is disturbing.  Allegations that can be proven true, of abuse, are horrendous…and should be prosecuted.  Those who were under suspicion and are proven to be innocent have been done a great injustice.

          The mothers had been represented by the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid.  TRLA is a non-profit organization.  They help people, in southwestern Texas, with low income to receive legal services.  http://www.trla.org/   TRLA has been instrumental in helping these mothers to find a pathway to once again regain custody.  Update 5-23-08  Today it was announced that the state of Texas child welfare officials will appeal this landmark decision.  In a notification to the court the state says that a motion will be filed later today!   Keep watching to see what happens….as the outcome will surely define the limits or lack of limits on the department of child welfare that the courts will enforce.  This affects us all!!! 

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       Here is a story i could sink my teeth into since i am the parent of several special needs children.  A young boy, by the name of Adam Race, has been banned from the church that he has attended since 1996.  He has been banned because he is autistic, and is very large.   He has several behavioral challenges that the church is suggesting endangers other attendees.

        Adam’s priest by the name of Daniel Walz has filed a restraining order against the 13 year old’s parents; which the mother has violated.  Understand that Adam is only 13; however, he is six feet tall and weighs somewhere around 225 pounds.  The sheer size of the young man is definately something to consider. 

       The priest alledges that Adam has struck another child during services and that in his zeal to leave the building, has at times almost knocked over elderly parishioners.  Adam has also run out of the building and, started a couple of vehicles to hear the “calming roar of the engines”.  This is another danger concern.   Adam sometimes has a problem holding his urine; and, if he needs to be restrained during difficult behaviors, he fights it.  The mother and father, do at times, have to restrain him.  This can all be quite disruptive; and that, plus the concerns for safety, has led the priest to file the restraining order.  The priest felt they had no other choice.

        It seems that before that filing, the priest and a church trustee attempted to discuss their concerns with Adam’s parents.  They offered the family other options and accomodations to deal with the behavioral issues.  The family refused.  It hasn’t been revealed what those other accomodations were.  The family has defied the restraining order and continued to attend church with their son.  By the way, this is a family of seven.

       I have special needs children as i said before.  I have also been a foster parent to many special needs children who were behaviorally challenged.  I know the stress of that.  I know the need of sitting in church to receive peace and a strengthening of my faith.  I also, am well aware that most of the time…it is much more stressful trying to achieve that goal of peace and strength in a very public setting with others who have no idea of the daily struggles living and providing for special needs young people requires.

        You see, you need special training to deal with some of the behaviors and special requirements.  So you can’t just happily send a special needs child off to a sunday school classroom with people who are unprepared or untrained in those skills. 

        My husband and I have been teachers in several church settings.  We know what it is like to be the teachers or instructors in charge .  We have had to teach and sometimes handle special needs children or teens in that environment as well. 

          One time, we did have a young man who was also very large for his age and autistic.  It was a child that did not attend regularily, this program was a vaction bible school event.  The platform was a raised one.  All of the children were encouraged to stand in front of the platform during praise and worship.  Then, when that was done, they were encouraged to sit down in the rows of pews.  The young man in question, at one point, ran to the front while the puppets were performing.  My brother- in- law, who was a weight lifter, was operating a large puppet that included having his arm encased in a fur lined sleeve.

       The young man ran up on stage and grabbed my brother-in-laws arm and pulled it down over the front of the puppet stage and almost broke my brother-in-laws arm.  It took several people to disengage him.  It was something we were un-prepared for.  The parents had dropped him off during the services and left.  This was unusual…because the other days of that week, they had stayed with him and helped to keep him under control when he would get overly excited.  Communication is key in these situations.  Educate the workers or volunteers to the special skill sets that they will need to work with special needs youths successfully!

        Most of the time, having special needs children in church is workable.  You discuss with the family members or care givers what works for each child as an individual.   Maybe you can even get the parents to help volunteer in the children’s program to help out. You do your best so that the caregiver can get a couple of hours of peace and “down time” from the strains of 24/7 caregiving, if possible.   Raising awareness about those who live with special needs children and providing support is the goal of this website:  http://www.growingupspecial.com/  (more…)

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