Thursday, February 17, 2011

Guardian ad Litem Warned Court Prior to Adoption that Led to Child's Death

Concerns preceded adopted twin's death
Kim Segal and John Zarrella, CNN
"(CNN) -- There were blood relatives in Houston that wanted to adopt. There was a guardian ad litem volunteer who had concerns about the adoptive parents. Child investigators were called on more than one occasion to the home.

Yet early Monday morning along a Florida interstate, a road ranger pulled up behind a parked truck only to find a man and his 10-year-old son unconscious and the boy's twin sister dead.

This story appears to magnify everything that could go wrong with a child protective system.

In 2004, the siblings were placed with a foster family, according to Sonia Ferrer, circuit director of the guardian ad litem program. That family was Jorge and Carmen Barahona, she says.

As often is the case when children are in the Florida foster system, a volunteer from the guardian ad litem program was assigned to look out for their best interests.

"The guardian was with the children for four years," Ferrer said. "He had concerns about the placement."

Those concerns were brought to the court's attention and investigated before the children were officially adopted by the Barahonas in 2009, Ferrer said. "We did everything we could at the time. A full evidentiary hearing."

The judge on the case sided with the experts who found no problem with the children living with the Barahonas."

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

11th Circuit Requests AG Treat Mother with Compassion in Regards to Deportation

"Immigrant Parent Needs Compassion, Court Rules"
February 8, 2011

"The 11th Circuit asked the U.S. Attorney General - the only person who can reverse deportation rulings - to cancel removal proceedings for a mother convicted of child neglect. Against her better judgment, the woman had followed her pastor's advice to take back the husband who had molested one of her children.

"Simply put, this case calls for more mercy that the law permits this court to provide," the unpublished ruling, released Friday, states.

The Atlanta-based federal appeals court said that it was "regrettably constrained" to find the deportation legal, but asked the Attorney General in an unpublished opinion to consider the "extreme hardship" a family has already had to endure."

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Friday, February 4, 2011

New Passport Forms

"New passport forms will be available on March 1, 2011"

"[C]ontinue to use the current forms if you are submitting your passport application before March 1, 2011.

Travel.State.Gov and all passport facilities will make the new forms available on March 1, 2011."

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

NY District Court Orders City to Pay for Disabled Child's Attendance at Private School

"City Must Foot the Bill for Disabled Child's Tuition"

"MANHATTAN (CN) - The New York City Department of Education must pay the $84,900-a-year private school tuition of a disabled student whom it was unable to provide a "free, appropriate public education."

Attorneys for the child's family called the decision "groundbreaking" on Thursday.

"This is the first federal court decision to squarely decide this issue: whether or not parents and child can seek direct funding for a nonapproved private school when the district fails to offer an appropriate education, if the family does not have financial means to front the tuition," said Michele Kule-Korgood, one of the lead attorneys representing the plaintiffs, in a conference call with her associate Tamara Roff...

In the 47-page opinion filed on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe wrote that the city's school system failed to meet the demands of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which mandated that all students be provided with a "free, appropriate public education." ...
The family of the disabled child, D.A., who sued the city anonymously, said their son needed private schooling in the 2007-08 school year, when he was 14 and suffering from autism, Asperger's syndrome, bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

D.A. had been educated in the city's public schools until grade six, when he entered the Rebecca School, a private institution not approved by the city that charges $84,900 in annual tuition."

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Happy New Year!

"Chinese New Year: China, Thailand, Singapore Celebrate Year Of The Rabbit"
02- 3-11

"From Beijing to Bangkok, Asian cities rang in Chinese New Year on Thursday with traditional performances, spectacular parades and dazzling firework displays...

[A]lthough Feb. 3 marks the start of the "Year of the Rabbit," the holiday is the Chinese calendar's most important, and celebrations will continue for another 15 days."

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U.S. State Department Travel Warning for Egypt

"On February 1, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members from Egypt...The U.S. Department of State continues to recommend that U.S. citizens avoid travel to Egypt at this time.  U.S. citizens should consider leaving Egypt as soon as they can safely do so, due to ongoing political and social unrest...

U.S. citizens currently in Egypt should monitor international and local media to stay abreast of announcements from the embassy.  Due to the fluid nature of the situation and the volume of phone calls to the embassy, U.S. citizens should not wait for a reply from the embassy or the Department of State before traveling to the nearest airport.  Cairo airport is open and operating, but flights may be delayed or cancelled, and transport to the airport is disrupted, due to the protests.  Travelers should remain in contact with their airlines or tour operators concerning flight schedules, and arrange to arrive at the airport well before curfew hours."

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