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“Parents, it is 10:00 p.m. Do you know where your children are?”

By

Vickie L. Burris  

P.O. Box 256

 Belle Plaine, KS 67013

vburris@oldwiz.net

 

The Center presents the following material with this comment.  The material speaks for itself, it is eloquent and from the heart.  Times being what they are, it is important that everyone who can, reads these words from a mother's heart.  All of us should say "There but for the grace of God go I."

On Friday, October 26, 2001 Ms. Burris traveled to Topeka, Kansas to the State Capital Building and testified before a committee which comprised of two members from the State Legislative Research Department, four members of the State House of Representatives and four members of the State Senate. Copy of her Testimony.

There is also a Timeline of Events.

You may contact Ms. Burris at the email address above, if you have further questions about this matter.

“Parents, it is 10:00 p.m. Do you know where your children are?” 

This was an announcement made on a local television station back in the 70’s or 80’s that most of the people I knew laughed about and made reference to in jest - back then. It is now the year 2001 and I haven’t laughed in the last 18 months. Why not? I don’t know where my daughter is. She is now 16 years of age and I have not been allowed contact with her for the major part of the past 18 months. I am a single mother with three children, two with disabilities.

I began having difficulties with my oldest daughter in December 1999. My daughter had always been a student in good standing; she was a cheerleader for 4 years. Her behavior and personality had suffered a sudden, drastic change. I contacted my insurance company to see where I could obtain services to help my daughter. We were sent to a local hospital where my daughter was admitted. One week later I was contacted by the insurance company and told that my daughter was going to be transported by ambulance to another local hospital due to her being in danger and unsafe. Apparently she had been given unauthorized drugs. My daughter remained at the second hospital for approximately 30 days. The attending psychiatrist would not release her to me. It was stated that my daughter was in need of long term residential care. My insurance would not pay for such treatment so I was forced to transport her to a State Hospital. On the 30th day I was contacted by a State Social Worker and informed that my daughter had been restrained, beaten and drugged by the staff the previous evening. After receiving emergency medical treatment I brought my daughter home. Within 48 hours of her arrival home my daughter was contacted by an undesirable peer thus setting her off and requiring another hospitalization. Upon this 4th admission in 3 months I again began actively pursuing information on how to obtain monies to pay for long term care for my daughter.

I initially contacted SRS to obtain financial assistance to enable me to provide my daughter with Long Term Care that was deemed necessary by her attending psychiatrist. On April 5, 2000 I called a meeting at the hospital with the doctor, nurses, hospital management, Mental Health and the SRS. At the conclusion of this meeting I was assured by SRS and Mental Health that they would work together to provide the needed services for my daughter. These services were to be in the form of SED Waivers and Wrap Around Processes that were to be made available WITHOUT my child being taken into SRS custody. I made sure that there was no mistake about this. The SRS case worker went so far as to add that her supervisor and the County Attorney had committed to providing my daughter any and all help needed without a Child in Need of Care petition. Their reasons for this are as follows:

It would be a conflict for a state agency such as the SRS to file a Child in Need of Care Petition and take custody of my child while criminal charges are pending against another state agency such as the State Hospital where my daughter was physically, mentally and emotionally abused by the staff.

My situation was deemed to be financial. All parties agreed this was not a case of neglect or abuse but simply a case of a single mother with insurance that would not provide for the needed long-term care.

On April 24, 2000 I was notified by a nurse that my daughter had been taken into the State of Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Custody as a Child in Need of Care. Apparently my insurance company ceased paying for her hospital care due to the fact that her doctor, failed to provide proper information to the insurance company. In essence my daughter was taken from me like a thief in the night. The State of Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services claimed that they had a right to take her due to financial reasons. Several individuals have informed me that this is illegal. According to Kansas Law the SRS can not take a child away from their parents for financial reasons. Why was this done? How was this done?

Shortly after this initial contact SRS by seizing my daughter has violated numerous State and Federal laws. Over an 18 month period SRS has placed my daughter in a psychiatric institution, an adolescent care facility, numerous foster homes and shelters. While SRS claims that reintegration with the family is the goal it could be nothing further from the truth. I feel my daughter has been kidnapped and made victim of the rawest forms of abuse in the hands of the SRS and its private agencies. In addition the family has been victimized and abused as well. My daughter should have NEVER been taken into SRS custody. Although I have diligently tried to regain custody of my daughter over the past 18 months my requests have fallen upon deaf ears.

My daughter is Navajo, she is registered on the Navajo Roll and does have a Certificate of Indian Blood. The Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. 1901, et. seq. was never even considered or any part of it acknowledged in this case. The SRS and its private agencies informed me that they were tired of hearing about it. At one point I again asked the question “How can you do this to my child when she is a registered Indian?” The social worker responded with a shrug and asked, “Do you really think the Indians want her?”

While in the care of the State of Kansas my daughter has attempted suicide, she has been given numerous different psychotropic drugs at one time thus creating a state of what appears to be chemical restraint. She has been further abused physically, mentally and emotionally by the State of Kansas and the workers at the facilities she has been placed. My family and I have been denied contact with my daughter many times. There have been several instances of criminal charges being filed against several individuals who have abused my daughter while in the custody of the State of Kansas.

The world needs to know about the conspiracy and bureaucracy, the wanton and reckless behavior that runs rampant throughout Kansas thus violating Kansas children and their families.

In my particular case they have in addition violated the Navajo people which are a sovereign nation. This is just another example of how people can be abused in America!

Two days ago I testified before a Legislative Committee in the State Capital Building. I was asked to identify problems and provide solutions. My testimony identified many problems with the system. I informed the committee that it was very difficult for me to even possibly provide a solution for a system complete with agencies that feel quite confident in continually abusing families and defying the laws? I do feel that there should be an external quality control process that would be applied to each and every individual case that would ensure that children like mine don’t fall into the hands of the SRS and their private agencies making them victims to the Gestapo tactics being utilized. Every child must have access to community-based, culturally-appropriate services, which help them grow up safe, healthy and spiritually strong - free from abuse, neglect, sexual exploitation and the damaging effects of substance abuse.

Advocacy for children with disabilities begins with the parent.

“Parents, it is 10:00 p.m. Do you know where your children are?”

 

 

 

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