Monday, September 13, 2010

Michigan logic: Sure, the foster child is dead, but the licensing report was glowing!

    You know the expression "the operation was a success, but the patient died"? There's an equivalent way to think of the behavior of the Michigan Department of Human Services and the group that so arrogantly calls itself Children's Rights (CR): The licensing report was glowing, but the foster child died.

In July, I wrote about Emily Meno, the latest foster child to be licensed to death in Michigan. Taken needlessly from her own home, she was placed in the home of a duly-licensed stranger, Joy Heaven.

    Heaven didn't just pass muster with the private agency that recommended she be licensed. She passed with flying colors. According to the Grand Rapids Press, the agency worker wrote in her evaluation that Heaven's "patient, loving and compassionate personality will be a tremendous asset in her caring for children."

    According to police that patience apparently wore thin when, they allege, she violently shoved Emily, causing fatal injuries.

    This is not the first time DHS may have erred in falling head over heels for a licensed foster parent. The state was at least as thrilled about the duly-licensed foster/adoptive parents of Ricky Holland. The adoptive mother tortured him, and ultimately murdered him. Throughout the process, the Michigan Department of Human Services ignored one blatant warning sign after another. Even during the time after Ricky Holland had disappeared but his body had not yet been found, during the time police already strongly suspected the Hollands of murdering Ricky, DHS gave the Hollands final approval to adopt another foster child in their care.

    The extra element of tragedy, of course, is that, in Michigan, hundreds of children have been
expelled from the loving homes of grandparents and other relatives solely because they can't meet ten pages of hypertechnical licensing requirements, many of which are unrelated to health and safety. And why is that happening? Because CR demanded it, and won it in a class-action lawsuit settlement. So even more children now face the same risks as Ricky Holland, Emily Meno and others.

    As I said in July, a jury ultimately will decide the guilt or innocence of the licensed stranger who cared for Emily Meno. But this much we already know: Emily Meno is one more child "protected to death" and "licensed to death" by the Michigan Department of Human Services. And a consent decree it never should have signed sure isn't helping.