Thursday, May 31, 2012

One Nation Under Surveillance

By Chuck Baldwin
May 31, 2012

Archived column:

America prides itself in being called “the land of the free.” But, what, exactly, does it mean to be free? Does it mean owning a car and having a job? People in communist countries own a car and have a job. Does it mean going to a mall to shop. People in communist countries go to a mall to shop. Does it mean going to an amusement park to recreate? People in communist countries go to amusement parks. Does it mean going to the polls and voting? People in communist countries go to the polls and vote. In reality, many, if not most, of the things that most Americans would identify as marks of freedom are commonly practiced in the most oppressed communist countries of the world. So, what does it mean to be free?

Obviously, the freedom of speech is a crucial element of freedom, so much so that it is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. And the truth is, freedom of speech is not at all what it used to be in this country. If you doubt that, just ask the hundreds and thousands of journalists, news anchors, sportscasters, business executives, religious leaders, non-profit organization heads, teachers, scientists, government employees, etc., who have lost their positions for saying something politically incorrect. If you could, ask the late Howard Cosell or the late Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder. Ask Judge Andrew Napolitano, Glenn Beck, or Lou Dobbs. There are literally millions of people across America who daily “bite their tongues” and refuse to speak for fear of demotion, dismissal, retaliation, persecution, or worse! You call that freedom of speech?

Another critical element of freedom enshrined in the First Amendment is the right to worship freely. But, this, too, is not what it used to be. Can anyone remember when pastors and church leaders were free to say what they wanted in regard to issues that tread into government? If you do, you are probably over 50 years old or attend a non-501c3 church. On the whole, pastors and church leaders today are literally “scared silly” to broach any topic that might have political overtones, which means a sizeable percentage of the Bible is either ignored or spiritualized away by the vast majority of America’s pulpits. You call this freedom of worship?


Of course, the right of the people to keep and bear arms is one of the most crucial ingredients of a free society. It is this right that, for the most part, separates the United States from the oppressed nations of the world. And, of course, the Powers That Be have been chipping away at this fundamental tenet of liberty for nearly half a century, to the point that there are literally tens of millions of Americans who are forbidden by law from owning or possessing a firearm due to a conviction or plea bargain for some “crime” in which no one—nada--was injured. And in many states, even those who have never run afoul of the law are forbidden from owning--and especially--possessing a firearm. Can anyone say Massachusetts or California?

Government attacks against the Second Amendment notwithstanding, I am absolutely convinced that the ownership and possession of more than 100 million firearms in the hands and homes (and hearts) of the American citizenry is the main thing that has kept the overt forces of tyranny somewhat at bay to this point in our country. I suggest that even you folks who do not really care anything about guns and shooting, but who claim to love liberty, go purchase a firearm and learn the fundamental elements of firearm safety and usage--if for no other reason than because you are an American who believes in freedom and who understands that only free men own guns!

The right to be secure in your homes, papers, effects, etc., is also an essential element of liberty. But this right has been largely expunged in the United States--especially since 9/11/01. The NDAA (and other federal laws and executive orders) suspends the right to a trial by jury and the right to not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, among other essential liberties.

But perhaps the most essential element of liberty is the right to be left alone, the right to privacy, the understanding that a man’s home is his castle, the right of free people to live their lives without Big Brother looking over their shoulder. Without the right to be left alone, liberty does not exist! And ladies and gentlemen, it is this freedom that is under attack the most in this country.

This is an issue that cuts across all political, social, racial, and religious lines. It doesn’t matter to a hill of beans whether one is liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, white or black, or Protestant or Catholic. The right of free men to be left alone without government sticking its nose into our personal and private business is the quintessential ingredient of a free society. And in this regard, do you really believe America is still the “land of the free”?

You’re kidding, right?

America is no longer “one nation under God.” Today, America is “one nation under surveillance.” Cameras monitoring our every movement, satellites taking pictures of our homes, listening devices being used to record our conversations, hi-tech computers capturing virtually every piece of correspondence, banking institutions forwarding our private financial records to Big Brother, and now armed drones flying over the neighborhoods of the American citizenry all reveal that America is anything but the “land of the free.”

The following My Way News report is merely another example of this repulsive reality:

“The U.S. intelligence community will now be able to store information about Americans with no ties to terrorism for up to five years under new Obama administration guidelines.

“Until now, the National Counterterrorism Center had to immediately destroy information about Americans that was already stored in other government databases when there were no clear ties to terrorism.

“Giving the NCTC expanded record-retention authority had been called for by members of Congress who said the intelligence community did not connect strands of intelligence held by multiple agencies leading up to the failed bombing attempt on a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas 2009.

“‘Following the failed terrorist attack in December 2009, representatives of the counterterrorism community concluded it is vital for NCTC to be provided with a variety of datasets from various agencies that contain terrorism information,’ Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a statement late Thursday. ‘The ability to search against these datasets for up to five years on a continuing basis as these updated guidelines permit will enable NCTC to accomplish its mission more practically and effectively.’

“The new rules replace guidelines issued in 2008 and have privacy advocates concerned about the potential for data-mining information on innocent Americans.

“‘It is a vast expansion of the government's surveillance authority,’ Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said of the five-year retention period.

“The government put in strong safeguards at the NCTC for the data that would be collected on U.S. citizens for intelligence purposes, Rotenberg said. These new guidelines undercut the Federal Privacy Act, he said.

“‘The fact that this data can be retained for five years on U.S. citizens for whom there's no evidence of criminal conduct is very disturbing,’ Rotenberg said.”

See the report at:

Go to any oppressed country, and what will you find? A surveillance society! This is the most glaring characteristic of an Orwellian state. And ladies and gentlemen, Communist China or Red Russia has nothing over the United States when it comes to the development and implementation of a surveillance society. And the truth is the US would have already plummeted into overt oppression if it were not for the fact that there are so many guns in the possession of the American citizenry. But, I say again, without the right to be left alone, liberty does not exist.

Folks, we must start paying attention to this surveillance society that it quickly taking shape in this country. No! Not just start paying attention to it, start RESISTING it! A surveillance society cannot emerge without the cooperation of State governors, attorney generals, legislators, senators, county sheriffs, city mayors, police chiefs, etc. And where are America’s pastors to sound the alarm bells from the church houses regarding this attack against our liberty? Where are the college professors? Where are the journalists and reporters? Where are the retired military personnel who were willing to sacrifice their lives on foreign shores? What good is it to fight for freedom overseas, if we are not willing to fight for freedom at home?

So, the next time you hear someone shout out that America is the “land of the free,” ask them if they have given any thought to the fact that virtually everything they do, everything they say, everywhere they go, and every financial transaction they make is being monitored, scrutinized, and surveilled by the federal government and the private institutions they control. Ask them what they are doing to resist this sinister surveillance society that is quickly enveloping this country. Ask them what their pastor is doing to resist this burgeoning surveillance society. Ask them what kind of country do they think their children and grandchildren are going to grow up in one day. Then ask them if they truly understand what it means to be free. And maybe more importantly, ask them if they understand what it takes to keep America free, because people who are not left alone are not free!

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� Chuck Baldwin


Chuck Baldwin is a syndicated columnist, radio broadcaster, author, and pastor dedicated to preserving the historic principles upon which America was founded. He was the 2008 Presidential candidate for the Constitution Party. He and his wife, Connie, have 3 children and 8 grandchildren. See Chuck's complete bio at:

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ALERT: CRC End-Around Now in the Senate! logo
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May 30, 2012
ALERT: CRC End-Around Now in the Senate!
We have sounded the alarm about the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, which would take away parental rights if it were ratified. With your support we have secured 37 cosponsors on SR99 to make sure that ratification never takes place.

But the current administration has introduced an end-around called the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). President Obama sent this treaty to the Senate for ratification on May 18, 2012. Like the CRC, the CRPD would seriously curtail the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children, though under CRPD it is mostly the parents of special needs children who would be affected.

CRPD calls for numerous protections for people with disabilities. Many of these protections are included in U.S. law as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, CRPD also includes numerous provisions drafted by the United Nations which would concern many U.S. citizens. Like the CRC and CEDAW, if ratified, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities would become the supreme law of the land under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause in Article VI, would trump state laws, and would be used as binding precedent by state and federal judges. Since it is a treaty, the U.S. Constitution requires that it must be ratified by two-thirds of the U.S. senators present at the time of the vote, or 67 senators if all 100 U.S. senators were present.

Ten Specific Problems with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

1. Any remaining state sovereignty on the issue of disability law will be entirely eliminated by the ratification of this treaty. The rule of international law is that the nation-state that ratifies the treaty has the obligation to ensure compliance. This gives Congress total authority to legislate on all matters regarding disability law—a power that is substantially limited today. Article 4(5) makes this explicit.

2. Article 4(1)(a) demands that all American law on this subject be conformed to the standards of the UN.

3. Article 4(1)(e) remands that “every person, organization, or private enterprise” must eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability. On its face, this means that every home owner would have to make their own home fully accessible to those with disabilities. If the UN wants to make exceptions, perhaps they could. But, on its face this is the meaning of the treaty.

4. Article 4(1)(e) also means that the legal standard for the number of handicapped spaces required for parking at your church will be established by the UN—not your local government or your church.

5. Article 4(2) requires the United States to use its maximum resources for compliance with these standards. The UN has interpreted similar provisions in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to criticize nations who spend too much on military issues and not enough on social programs. There is every reason to believe that the UN would interpret these provisions in a similar fashion. The UN believes that it has the power to determine the legitimacy and lawfulness of the budget of the United States to assess compliance with such treaties.

6. Article 6(2) is a backdoor method of requiring the United States to comply with the general provisions of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. This treaty enshrines abortion rights, homosexual rights, and demands the complete disarmament of all people.

7. Article 7(2) advances the identical standard for the control of children with disabilities as is contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This means that the government—acting under UN directives—gets to determine for all children with disabilities what the government thinks is best.

Additionally, under current American law, federal law requires public schools to offer special assistance to children with disabilities. However, no parent is required to accept such assistance. Under this section the government—and not the parent—would have the ultimate authority to determine if a child with special needs will be homeschooled, attend a private school, or be required to accept the program offered by the public school.

8. The United States, as a wealthy nation, would be obligated to fund disability programs in nations that could not afford their own programs under the dictates of Article 4(2). This is what “the framework of international cooperation” means.

9. Article 15’s call for a ban on “inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment” is the exact same language used in the UN CRC which has been authoritatively interpreted to ban any spanking by parents. It should be noted that Article 15 is not limited to persons with disabilities. It says “no one shall be subjected to ….” This means that spanking will be banned entirely in the United States.

10. Article 25 on Education does not repeat the parental rights rules of earlier human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. This is an important omission. Coupling this omission with the direct declaration of “the best interest of the child” standard in Article 7(2), this convention is nothing less than the complete eradication of parental rights regarding the education of children with disabilities.

In light of this threat to parental rights, we implore you to contact your U.S. senators and urge them to oppose this dangerous treaty. You can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for them by name, or you can find their direct DC number by clicking on your state at

Michael Farris


P.S. - Between the imminent introduction of the Parental Rights Amendment in Congress and this immediate threat being raised in the Senate, our resources are being stretched. Please take a moment now to make a generous donation to support our continuing efforts as we protect your parental rights. We cannot win this struggle without you!

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Commissioner Samuels Addresses CWLA Membership Regarding Waivers

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Liberty Quotes

"Diplomats are just as essential in starting a war as soldiers are in finishing it." -- Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist

"I hate it when they say, “He gave his life for his country.” Nobody gives their life for anything. We steal the lives of these kids. We take it away from them. They don’t die for the honor and glory of their country. We kill them." -- Admiral Gene LaRocque (1918- ) Retired rear admiral of the United States Navy, founded the Center for Defense Information

"When one person can initiate war, by its definition, a republic no longer exists." -- Dr. Ron Paul (1935-) American physician, US Congressman (R-TX), US Presidential candidate Source: War Power Authority Should Be Returned To Congress, March. 9, 1999

Foster parents; challenging 'Central Registry,' under due process. 5 of 5

Marilyn Harrison, Foster Families Examiner
In part 4, we said “it means if this foster parent happens to be a nurse, teacher, fire personnel, police officer …
Read more ►

Monday, May 28, 2012

Liberty Quotes

"... any broad unlimited power to hold laws unconstitutional because they offend what this Court conceives to be the ‘conscience of our people’ ... was not given by the Framers, but rather has been bestowed on the Court by the Court." -- Justice Hugo L. Black (1886-1971) US Supreme Court Justice

"Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them." -- Justice Joseph Story (1779-1845) US Supreme Court Justice 1833

"Zealotry of either kind -- the puritan's need to regiment others or the victim's passion for blaming everyone except himself -- tends to produce a depressing civic stupidity. Each trait has about it the immobility of addiction. Victims become addicted to being victims: they derive identity, innocence and a kind of devious power from sheer, defaulting helplessness. On the other side, the candlesnuffers of behavioral and political correctness enact their paradox, accomplishing intolerance in the name of tolerance, regimentation in the name of betterment." -- Lance Morrow (1939- ) Essayist, professor

German Medical Society Apologizes for Nazi-Era Atrocities by Doctors

Subject: German Medical Society Apologizes for Nazi-Era Atrocities by Doctors
Date:     Mon, 28 May 2012 14:18:16 -0400
From:     Veracare <>

Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP)

Advancing Honest and Ethical Medical Research


On May 23, 2012, sixty-eight years after the verdict concluding the Nuremberg Doctors Trial --a verdict that includes the Nuremberg Code--the German Medical Association (Bundesarztekammer) has issued a Declaration and apology, at Nuremberg, acknowledging the culpability of Germany's medical community under the Nazi regime.

After almost seven decades of silence, the German Medical Association has taken responsibility for the atrocities committed by German doctors who, were "guilty of scores of human rights" during the Nazi regime:

“These crimes were not the actions of individual doctors but involved leading members of the medical community...and should be taken as a warning for the future...

Outstanding representatives of renowned academic medical and research institutions were involved” in organizing and carrying out the mass extermination of millions, and participating in barbaric medical experiments. Doctors were not forced to participate in the atrocities, the statement admitted, but were often enthusiastic supporters and even Nazi leaders..."

Indeed, the criminal actions by German physicians predated the expulsion of Jews to concentration camps and the pseudo-scientific experiments on concentration camp inmates. German doctors were the key players in carrying out eugenics policies, including forced sterilization and euthanasia of disabled children, the mentally ill and others deemed "unworthy of life."

The Declaration, unanimously adopted by the delegates of the Physician's Congress, states that contrary to popular belief doctors were not forced by political authorities to kill and experiment on prisoners but rather engaged in the Holocaust as leaders and enthusiastic Nazi supporters.

The apology is to the victims both living and dead: Doctors “remember the living and deceased victims and their descendants, and ask them for forgiveness." 

In an editorial on MSNBC, bioethicist, Art Caplan, notes the importance of this long overdue apology: "In the history of apologies for crimes and abuses carried out in the name of medicine this is the most important ever made.  It does nothing to soften the horror of the Holocaust but it both ascribes responsibility where it belongs and ends any further efforts to deny or obfuscate what actually happened." 

Read much more...

Vera Sharav

Sunday, May 27, 2012


American Minute with Bill Federer
May 28 - Memorial Day
Southern women scattered spring flowers on the graves of both the Northern and Southern soldiers who died during the Civil War.

This was the origin of Memorial Day, which in 1868 was set on MAY 30.

In 1968, it was moved to the last Monday in May.

From the Spanish-American War, to World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, War against Islamic Terror, up through the present, all who gave their lives to preserve America's freedom are honored on Memorial Day.

Beginning in 1921, the tradition has been for Presidents to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The number 21 being the highest salute, the sentry takes 21 steps, faces the tomb for 21 seconds, turns and pauses 21 seconds, then retraces his steps.

Inscribed on the Tomb is the phrase:


In his 1923 Memorial Address, President Calvin Coolidge stated:

"There can be no peace with the forces of evil. Peace comes only through the establishment of the supremacy of the forces of good.

That way lies through sacrifice...'Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'"
News from
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Friday, May 25, 2012

NCALP Weekly News Summary

May 25, 2012 The National Center for Adoption Law & Policy
The National Center for Adoption Law & Policy and Capital University Law School are offering low-cost CLE and CEU learning opportunities through two dynamic law school courses, the Interdisciplinary Child Welfare Institute and the Summer Adoption Law Institute. Both courses are taught in active learning environments with an emphasis on student interaction.

here for more details.
CLE CEU Information
OHIO: New adoption partnership helps find homes for kids in foster care
By: Rita Price 

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services announced that it is forming a partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to help find homes for older foster youth. Department director Michael Colbert stated that the agency will hire special recruiters whose only job will be to find adoptive homes for these children. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption will train the recruiters based upon the Wendys Wonderful Kids child-focused recruitment model.
Columbus Dispatch, May 17th, 2012
For Full Article Click Here

NATION: International adoptions plummet globally
By: Staff Writer

In a new study published in Pediatrics, Melissa Jonson-Reid, PhD examined how chronic maltreatment impacted the future health and behavior of children and adults. The study which followed children into adulthood, looked to determine how well the number of child maltreatment reports predicted poor outcomes in adolescence. According to Johnson-Reid, the study found: "For most outcomes, having a single maltreatment report put children at a 20 percent to 50 percent higher risk than non-maltreated comparison children.
Science Daily, May 15th, 2012
For Full Article Click Here

NATION: Report: More support needed for kinship caregivers
By: Associated Press

According to a new report entitled "Stepping Up For Kids", released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation this week, 2.7 million American children are being raised by grandparents, relatives or close family friends, a figure that has increased 18% between 2000 and 2010. The report also details that these families are not adequately assisted by the state. Casey Foundation's president, Patrick McCarthy stated "We urge state policymakers to make crucial benefits and resources available to kinship families so that their children can thrive.
Fox News, May 23, 2012
For Full Article Click Here

OKLAHOMA: Washington Briefs: Supreme Court rejects adoption case involving Cherokee Nation
By: Chris Casteel 

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a Utah case involving the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the Cherokee Nation. With its decision to not hear the case, the supreme court upheld the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that a biological mother could not regain custody of a child that she placed in an adoptive home by later claiming that the child was an Indian and the trial court erred by failing to comply with ICWA. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the child was not an Indian child because under the federal law, a child is considered an Indian child only if his or her parent is a member of the tribe, and in this case, biological mother was not a member of the tribe.
NewsOK, May 22nd, 2012

For Full Article Click Here

RUSSIA: Russia to ratify agreement on adopting children with US
By: Staff Writer 

The Russian State Duma requested to ratify the child adoption agreement between Russia and the United States which was signed in July 2011. The agreement sets out the requirements for adoptions between the two countries and also states that a child will be placed in another country only when it is impossible to find the child an adoptive placement in their home country.
RAPSI, May 17th, 2012

For Full Article Click Here

The preceding are summaries of adoption/child welfare law news articles prepared by The National Center for Adoption Law & Policy. These summaries are provided for your information only and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center. We strive to print news that reflects the diversity of our readership and a variety of viewpoints and approaches to child welfare issues. While we may not agree with a position taken, we believe in the critical importance to our constituents of impartial reporting.

NCALP Weekly Case Summary

May 25, 2012
If you are unable to access the links on this page click here.
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Continuing Education Credits
in Adoption and Child Welfare Topics
The National Center for Adoption Law & Policy and Capital University Law School are offering low-cost CLE and CEU learning opportunities through two dynamic law school courses, the Interdisciplinary Child Welfare Institute and the Summer Adoption Law Institute. Both courses are taught in active learning environments with an emphasis on student interaction.

here for more details.
CLE CEU Information
PENNSYLVANIA: In re Adoption S.P. 

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reversed the superior court and reinstated the trial courts order terminating the appellant-fathers parental rights, holding that the trial court did not err when it considered appellant-fathers incarceration when making the termination decision as incarceration is one factor to consider and can be determinative of whether a parent is incapable of providing essential parental care, control or subsistence to their child. The supreme court noted that a trial court may terminate a parents rights under 23 Pa.C.S. § 2511(a)(2) if it finds evidence that, the repeated and continued incapacity, abuse, neglect or refusal of the parent has caused the child to be without essential parental care, control, or subsistence necessary for his physical or mental well-being and the conditions and causes of the incapacity, abuse, neglect or refusal cannot or will be remedied by the parent. Here, the trial court terminated appellant-fathers rights after finding that there was ample evidence to support termination under § 2511(a)(2) because the father and child did not have a relationship since he had been incarcerated during the childs entire life, father would not be able to provide for the child in the near future even if he was released due to his parole requirements, and the child had a strong bond with her half-sister which would be broken if she resumed a relationship with father. Appellant-father appealed the decision, claiming that the trial court impermissibly terminated his parental rights based upon his incarceration alone. The supreme court disagreed, finding that incarceration is one factor to be considered by the trial court and neither compels nor precludes termination, but it can be a determinative factor if it has and will continue to cause the child to be without proper care. The supreme court agreed with the trial court findings that there was ample evidence to support termination based upon appellant-fathers incarceration and lack of relationship with his child, and, therefore, the court reinstated the trial courts termination order.
Cite: No. 40 WAP 2011; 2012 Pa. LEXIS 1168 (Pa. May 17, 2012)

Link to Full Opinion

OHIO: In re J.T.F.

The Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second Appellate District, Greene County affirmed the probate courts order which denied appellant-legal custodians motion to intervene in a proceeding on appellees petition to adopt the minor child, holding that appellant did not have a legally protected interest in the childs adoption and had no claim or defense to present in the proceeding and, therefore, was not entitled to intervene in the proceeding. First, the court noted that in order to have a right to intervene under Civ. R. 24(a), a movant must claim an interest in the matter of the suit, and that the interest must be direct, substantial and legally protectable. Here, appellant was appointed as the childs legal custodian by the county juvenile court during a dependence proceeding. During the course of the dependency proceedings, the childs mother filed a petition in the probate court to place the child with appellees for the purposes of adoption. Appellant-legal custodian filed a motion to intervene in the adoption proceedings, but the probate court denied the motion. On appeal, appellant argued that she was entitled to intervene because as legal custodian she was entitled to consent to the adoption under 3107.06(D), which states consent must be given by any person or agency having permanent custody of the minor. The appellate court disagreed, finding that a legal custodian does not have permanent custody of a minor because permanent custody as defined by R.C. 2151.011(B)(32) gives all parental rights, duties, or obligations, to a public children's services agency or a private agency, not an individual person. Therefore, because appellant did not have a right to consent to the adoption, the court held that she did not have a legally protected interest or right to intervene in the adoption proceeding. In addition, the court found that appellant was not entitled to permissive intervention under Civ. R. 24(B) because she had no claim or defense to present at the adoption hearing as she was, again, not entitled to consent to the adoption. Therefore, the court of appeals held that the motion was properly denied by the probate court.
Cite: No. 12-CA-03, 2012 Ohio 2105; 2012 Ohio App. LEXIS 1845 (Oh. Ct. App. May 11, 2012)
TEXAS: Larson v. Giesenschlag 
The Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin, reversed the decision of the District Court of Comal County terminating appellant-fathers parental rights, holding that the trial court abused its discretion in denying appellants request to participate in the proceedings. Under Dodd v. Dodd, 17 S.W.3d 714, the court determined that all litigants have a constitutional right to be heard in a meaningful manner; an inmates right is not about his personal presence, but rather about his opportunity to present evidence to contradict that of the opposing party. Here, appellant was incarcerated at the time of the termination hearing and, although appellee-maternal grandfather did not dispute appellants right to be heard, he argued that appellant waived that right by failing to request an appearance. Relying on In re Daugherty, 42 S.W.3d 331, the court found that a litigant could request an opportunity to be heard through his or her actions, even if the request is not explicitly stated. Because appellant requested a continuance until he was able to participate, and further attempted to file objections and affidavits, the court determined that he had effectively requested an opportunity to be heard. Finding that the trial court had a duty to allow appellant to participate in some manner, whether personally or otherwise, the court reversed the judgment of the lower court and remanded the case for further proceedings. Cite: No. 03-10-00627-CV, 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 3783 (Tex. Ct. App. May 11, 2012)

Link to Full Opinion

FLORIDA: Dept. of Children & Family Servs. v. K.D. 

The Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District, reversed the Circuit Court for Hillsborough Countys decision to grant permanent guardianship to the grandparents, rather than terminate the parental rights of the mother and father, holding that the trial court misapplied the least restrictive means test. Under Padgett v. Dept of Health & Rehabilitation Servs., 577 So.2d 565, the court found that termination of parents rights to one child based upon the abuse of a sibling was appropriate only when it could be determined that reunification would pose a substantial risk to the second child and that termination would be the least restrictive means of protecting the child from serious harm. Here, appellants-Department of Children Services and GAL sought to terminate both parents rights with respect to a set of twins, although the evidence showed that only one child had been abused. The appellate court determined that the trial court had properly considered the totality of the circumstances to find a nexus between the abuse of one child and the substantial risk of harm to the sibling. Under In re T.M., 641 So.2d 410, the court further found that the least restrictive means test did not require a good faith effort to rehabilitate the parent in instances of egregious abuse, and further found that the lower court erred in finding that the appellants failed to show that termination was the least restrictive means. The court additionally held that, even if the lower court had properly applied the test, it was precluded from granting permanent guardianship to the grandparents as a matter of law. The court determined that, by sua sponte placing the children, the trial court not only failed to order a statutorily authorized deposition, but also effectively modified the case plan for adoption without proper notice. Because the lower court erred in denying the petition for termination of parental rights and in granting permanent guardianship to the grandparents, the case was reversed and remanded.
Cite: No. 2D10-3474; 2012 Fla. App. LEXIS 7202 (Fla. App. Ct. May 9, 2012)
Link to Full Opinion


The Court of Appeals of California, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, affirmed the juvenile courts order that siblings, A. and Ad., be placed separately, holding that the juvenile court was correct in rescinding its earlier order that the siblings not be placed in separate foster homes. Californias Welfare and Institutions Code § 16002 requires that siblings removed from their home and be placed together unless it has been determined that placement together is contrary to the safety or well-being of any siblings. Furthermore, §16002 requires the responsible agency to make a diligent effort to place siblings in the same foster care placement. In this case, the siblings had been in an emergency group home shelter for more than eight months, the appellee-agency had not been able to find any foster placement willing to accept them together, and at a meeting with all the professionals involved in the childrens case, it was collectively determined that it would be in each childs best interest to try to secure separate foster placements for them. Therefore, because appellee-agency had made significant efforts to place the children together and the professionals collectively agreed that separate placement would be in the childrens best interest, the juvenile court did not err when it rescinded its previous order requiring the children to be placed together. In addition, the appellate court held that the juvenile court did not err when it granted appellee-agencys request to administer psychotropic medication to Ad. without providing appellant-mother with a hearing on the matter. The appellate court noted that the juvenile court was correct in denying appellant-mothers request because it was untimely, but also noted that in the appellate courts view the rule regarding timeframes for requesting hearing on psychotropic medications needs to be amended as the timeframes are confusing.
Cite: No. G045896; 2012 Cal. App. LEXIS 569 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. May 15, 2012)
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The preceding are summaries of adoption /child welfare law cases prepared by The National Center for Adoption Law & Policy. These summaries are provided for your convenience and information only and are not intended to be complete statements of the law embodied in the cases, interpretations of the law, or expressions of opinion as to the status of the law.  Some of the cases summarized may not be deemed "final" or "published" under the law of the jurisdiction in which the case was decided; such cases may therefore have limited precedential value.  For specific guidance on an adoption law issue, or for an interpretation of or an opinion about the law, we suggest that you consult a legal professional who is familiar with the laws of your jurisdiction.