Mar 012017
 
http://caicw.org

3-yr-old Laurynn and her twin, Michaela, were thrown down an embankment. The woman caring for her – their grandfather’s wife – then told her children to go down and beat them senseless. They did. When they were done, both girls were alive, but Laurynn was “not right.” Her eyes were funny.

Following the beating that day in June 2013, the family took the twins home, gave them a bath, and put them to bed. Sometime later that night, lying on the bed next to her twin, Laurynn died.

3-yr-old Michaela was the first to see her sister dead. She remembers waking up and finding her (in her words) “blue, and gray.” She also still remembers the beatings. It had happened more than once.

But she has forgotten the actual people she was living with. They are mercifully gone from her memory.

She hasn’t had to see them for three years. She was thankfully allowed to return to an off-reservation foster home she and her sister had lived in the first two years of their lives – where they both had felt safe and loved. We will call this the “Loved Home.”

They had only lived in their grandfather’s house a few weeks. In May 2013, they were taken from the “Loved Home” they had lived in since they were babies, and – despite Spirit Lake services being under the oversight of the BIA and US Attorney Tim Purdon – were placed with their grandfather and his wife – who had her own children removed from her in prior years due to neglect and child abuse.

Let this sink in. Under the oversight of federal gov’t agencies, the twins were removed from a safe and loving home they had lived in for over two years and were placed with a woman known to be physically abusive.

Let us also remember why the BIA and US Attorney Tim Purdon were asked to be there, doing oversight at Spirit Lake. It is because so many children were being abused, raped, and murdered, that tribal elders (NOT the tribal council) were very upset and ASKED the federal gov’t to come help.

The child abuse came to a head after a little boy and his sister were both raped and had their throats slit. Nothing had been done about their murders for over a year.

That is why tribal elders asked the BIA to take over tribal social services and law enforcement. That is why US Attorney Tim Purdon and the FBI were supposed to do oversight. All this was already in place when it was decided to take the twins from the Loved Home and put them into a dangerous home.

Spirit Lake Town Meeting, February , 2013
Had Tim Purdon and others done their jobs, perhaps Lauryn would still be alive today. Had he and others listened to tribal members at a February 2013 town-hall meeting, where tribal members made it very clear to Tim Purdon, the tribal council, the BIA and Congressional representatives that things are very, very bad at Spirit Lake and they want SOMEONE to take real action – perhaps Lauryn would still be alive today.

Instead, Tim Purdon basically accused the membership of exaggerating, accused former ACF Director Tom Sullivan of lying about the child abuse, and went on doing nothing to stop the child abuse. The Tribal Council also ignored the pleas of the membership.

Initially, after Laurynn died, the Spirit Lake government decided to keep Michaela on the reservation. Despite the trauma of the beatings and murder, tribal social services ignored the request of the Loved Home to resume care of Michaela, and moved her to another house she was unfamiliar with. The Loved Home was told they would never get her back.

Fortunately, the tribal govt soon changed its mind and quietly allowed her to return to the Loved Home.

But that isn’t the end of the story. Three years later – (meaning at this time) – tribal social service has returned and is intent on moving Michaela to live with her birth mother, whom she barely knows. While mom might have genuine feelings for her daughter, she tested positive for drugs on the day she showed up for a recent visit – one of the first visits in a long time.

I normally never get involved in a situation unless directly asked by a parent, primary caregiver, or close extended family.

I was not given any of the intimate details concerning Michaela by the Loved Home. I have never been to the Loved Home. I have never met anyone who lives at the Loved Home. I was never asked to get involved by anyone at the Loved Home.

There are many people – in more than one community – who know what is going on, including tribal employees who worked at Spirit Lake at the time of Laurynn’s murder. Lots of people want Michaela to be left alone, untouched by the Spirit Lake tribal government.

I know these details to be accurate but will not say how I know. I am doing this – and will continue fighting for Michaela using her real name – because this is the most horrendous thing I have ever heard a tribal government do to a child.

Michaela is terrified of going back to Spirit Lake. Michaela wants to stay at the Loving Home. What caring person in their right mind would find that surprising? She woke up next to her murdered sister, after enduring weeks of abuse together.

The Loving Home has been the only home she has ever felt safe in – and she has lived there most of her 6-years. Only extremely cold, emotionally disconnected hearts empowered by dysfunctional social service policy could ever even dream of moving her from there.

Self-interest and narcissism at its worst.

PLEASE –
– SHARE this post with your friends
– CALL your Senators and Congressmen and ask them to write a letter to the Spirit Lake Tribal Chair respectfully asking her to ensure everything is done in Michaela’s best interest.

– Please especially contact the new Chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs – Senator John Hoeven –

Hoeven, John – (R – ND)
338 Russell Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2551
Contact: www.hoeven.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-the-senator

– FURTHER – ask your Senators and Congressmen to introduce legislation to clarify the Indian Child Welfare Act – so that NO child ever again goes through what Michaela has gone through and is still going through. Please INSIST this stops. Please insist to your Congressmen that Michaela Whiteshield be left alone, as she wishes to be, permanently – and INSIST the law be changed to make the protection of children a priority over politics.

Find the contact information for your Congressmen at

http://Senate.gov
http://House.gov

BTW – Tim Purdon resigned as US Attorney a couple years ago in order to work for tribal leaders in the Dakotas.

– Maybe ask your Congressmen to have Purdon’s activities investigated as well.

Sep 122016
 

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHTEST
The Indian Child Welfare Act Fact Sheet
FROM CHRISTIAN ALLIANCE FOR INDIAN CHILD WELFARE

In direct response to a “fact” sheet published by the National Indian Child Welfare Association in September, 2015.

The Truth about ICWA

Recently, some extremely well-funded ICWA groups have been promoting a campaign of misinformation rooted in the most egregious negative stereotypes about non-tribal social services and families. With the support of a coalition of national Native nonprofit organizations – including the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) – certain tribal entities have been turning truth on its head.

ICWA has lowered the bar of child welfare practice to the point of neglect for Native children. ICWA is proudly promoted as righting the wrongs of the past – but playing “pay-back time” with the lives of today’s children is a horrendous excuse for a law and, if truly one of ICWA’s purposes, amounts to a gross exploitation of children. ICWA is also said to address the current injustices that AI/AN children and families still face, but again, subjecting children to prolonged abuse and neglect under the justification that racial injustice exists is a horrendous excuse for a law and – if truly one of ICWA’s purposes – amounts to gross neglect of children. The rampant abuse children are subjected to in Indian Country has been well documented for many years by NICWA and other organizations:

• “Neglect endangers AI/AN children 4 times more often than physical abuse and results in numerous child fatalities” (NICWA, 1999).
• “I would venture to say over 80 percent of our children are traumatized at an early age; and so, therefore, their ability to learn and comprehend is affected very severely” (Green Bay, WI) (NIEA 2006, 23).
• “Many of the perceptions provided by tribal professionals in this survey are supported by recent data gathered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Office of Justice Services from 96 Indian country law enforcement agencies that suggests meth is the greatest threat in their communities. These law enforcement agencies also identified increases in domestic violence, assaults, burglaries, and child abuse and neglect cases with the increased use of meth” (Roe Bubar 2007, 10).
• “… They also expressed an awareness of increases in child abuse allegations and out-of-home placements involving a meth-related investigation” (Roe Bubar, 2007, p. 10).
• “…The almost 40 children returned to on-reservation placements in abusive homes, many headed by known sex offenders, at the direction of the Tribal Chair. These children remain in the full time care and custody of sexual predators available to be raped on a daily basis. Since I filed my first report noting this situation, nothing has been done by any of you to remove these children to safe placements” (Sullivan, 2013).
• “The 45 children who were placed, at the direction of Tribal Social Services (TSS), BIA social workers, BIA supervised TSS social workers and the BIA funded Tribal Court, in homes where parents were addicted to drugs and/or where they had been credibly accused of abuse or neglect. Since I filed my first report noting these placements, nothing has been done to remove these children to safe placements. I trust the Tribal Court, with the recent resignation of a judge who failed a drug test, will begin to be responsive to the children whose placements they oversee” (Sullivan, 2013).
• “The 25 cases of children most of whom were removed from physically and sexually abusive homes based on confirmed reports of abuse as well as some who still remain in those homes. Neither the BIA nor the FBI have taken any action to investigate or charge the adults in these homes for their criminally abusive acts. Many, of the adults in these homes are related to, or are close associates of, the Tribal Chair or other Council members” (Sullivan, 2013).
• “…at least two children a day were victims of crime. That is astronomical. That is off of the charts compared to the co-occurrence of child maltreatment and domestic violence in the mainstream” (Hallie Bongar White 2014, 26).
• “Violence, including intentional injuries, homicide and suicide, account for 75% of deaths for AI/AN youth age 12 to 20” (SAMHSA). (Center for Native American Youth 2014).
• “…in 2010, 40 percent of children seen at Child Advocacy Centers for child sexual abuse were Alaska Native, even though we only represent 15 percent of the entire population in the state of Alaska. That is just strictly unacceptable” (Hallie Bongar White 2014, 27-28)
• “…it is estimated that 35 percent of children exposed to domestic violence will develop trauma-related difficulties (Moretti et al., 2006). …Similarly, it is estimated that between 42 percent and 90 percent of child victims of sexual abuse will develop trauma-related difficulties (De Bellis, Spratt and Hooper, 2011). …statistics related to both these issues are thought to be underestimates (Leventhal, 1998; Wilt and Olson, 1996). It is therefore likely that the actual prevalence of PTSD stemming from both childhood sexual abuse and exposure to domestic violence is greater than stated above. More difficult to estimate is the number of children repeatedly exposed to or even directly threatened by various forms of neighborhood violence” (Richard G. Dudley 2015, 9).
• “According to this data, 11 AI/AN children died in 2012 due to child abuse and neglect (DHHS, 2013). This data reflects only those child fatalities that have been reported to state authorities. However, because incidents of child maltreatment that occur under a tribe’s exclusive jurisdiction and where tribal services are provided are not necessarily reported to the state and included in national data systems, this number is likely a slight underestimate (Earl, 2001, p. 8)” (NICWA 2015).

ICWA does not provide the high standards and accountability required to protect children – as evidenced by numerous documented reports from tribal government entities and their supporters, as well as much anecdotal evidence from witnesses, including affected children and families. As to statements by NICWA concerning the benefits of ICWA, NICWA claims that:

• ICWA “asks social workers and courts to examine whether the use of intensive in-home services would be just as, or more, effective in protecting a child’s safety and best interest, rather than simply resorting to a de facto removal of the child as the first option.” – – In-home services that were truly intensive could be effective. Yet, even if the question has been asked and a truly intensive in-home program has been implemented, statistics do not appear to reflect evidence that this intervention has been effective.
• ICWA “encourages the use of culturally specific services that are more likely to successfully strengthen AI/AN families and help AI/AN children stay safely at home.” – – Culturally specific services can be effective if the service offers the culture of the individual child and family. But again, despite current efforts to provide culturally specific services, statistics appear to show drug, alcohol, and violence issues getting worse within reservation boundaries.
• ICWA “also helps States secure tribal assistance and ensures that experts are present in the courtroom when important decisions about the child are made.” – – ‘Tribal experts’ are often hired and paid by tribal governments and their supporting organizations. Many of these experts are there to protect tribal sovereignty and the best interest of tribal government. They frequently do not actually know the child or the child’s family – especially if the child and family have never lived in Indian Country. Many tribal experts are not testifying to the actual upbringing, culture and worldview of the child and the child’s family, but to a cultural picture preferred by tribal government. Many are not necessarily testifying to what the child’s culture is, but to what the tribal government thinks the child’s culture should be.

ICWA violates and denies children’s and parents’ constitutional rights. ICWA provides procedural and substantive safeguards that protect the assumed sovereignty of tribal governments. In the process of protecting tribal sovereignty, the constitutional rights of children and families have been violated. NICWA claims ICWA recognizes “a parent’s constitutional right to care for their child and the child’s corresponding right to family integrity,” but many dissident tribal members and non-tribal extended family say their rights have been violated and their children harmed by the ICWA.

Almost all children fare better when placed with family, in community, and connected to the culture they feel most at home with. This is true for children of every heritage, as long as their family is healthy, loving and safe. Children do not fare better in homes where they are neglected or abused.
If it is unsafe for a child to stay in their families’ home, we agree with NICWA that the second best place for children is within their community and connected with the culture they are most familiar with. This is why it is so terrible when tribal leaders rip children out of their communities and culture and force them into situations that feel totally foreign to them. Children who have never been in Indian Country should not be forced into Indian Country.
However, it is also true that due to varied circumstances, not all children who have been raised in Indian Country can go home to their family or community.

• “Furthermore, these professionals believe that meth involvement increases the difficulty of family reunification” (Roe Bubar, 2007, p. 10).

Further, varied communications to CAICW and other anecdotal evidence reveal that not all children who live in Indian Country want to be there. Some children want to go live with relatives off the reservation. Some simply want out. Some have tried to run away off the reservation, only to be taken back by tribal police.

ICWA promotes connection to Indian culture, elders, and community. That is good. But some children do not want to live there. Not all children who fall under the jurisdiction of ICWA have been raised within Indian culture or community. Tribal culture and the reservation system is foreign to many, if not most, of the children who fall under the jurisdiction of ICWA. Further, some reservation communities are simply not safe, period. Congress does not have a right to force a particular culture or religion on an individual – and most certainly has no right to force culture or community on a child simply due to race or even political affiliation. When a law or program promotes a dogma with no regard for the factual needs of the individual child, that law or program is NOT promoting the best interest of that child – it is promoting the best interest of a political agenda or entity.
While ICWA does include language allowing state court judges to deviate from the requirements of ICWA when there is “good cause,” the ability to do so is severely limited by the 2016 BIA rules, which state:

• “Without a causal relationship…evidence that shows only the existence of community or family poverty, isolation, single parenthood, custodian age, crowded or inadequate housing, substance abuse, or nonconforming social behavior does not by itself constitute clear and convincing evidence or evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that continued custody is likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child” (BIA, 2016, p. 23.121(d)).
• Further, “In determining whether good cause exists, the court must not consider” whether the child has already bonded with the family he/she is currently living with or whether the child has ever had any connection to the tribe” (BIA, 2016, p. 23.118(c)).
• Finally, “… In determining whether ICWA applies to a proceeding, the State court may not consider factors such as the participation of the parents or the Indian child in Tribal cultural, social, religious, or political activities, the relationship between the Indian child and his or her parents, whether the parent ever had custody of the child, or the Indian child’s blood quantum” (BIA, 2016, p. 23.103(c)).

In other words, tribal governments and the court system “can force children with even a slight Indian heritage into environments where poverty, crime, abuse, and suicides are rampant” (Flatten 2015). These truths are evidence that ICWA does NOT “balance the need for flexibility and individualized case-based decisions,” as NICWA claims.

ICWA itself is not based on race. ICWA applies to children who are eligible for political membership in a federally recognized tribe – and, as NICWA has noted, “does not apply to individuals who merely self-identify as American Indian or Alaska Native.”

• “According to the 2010 Census, there are approximately 5.2 million self-identified American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) living in the US, of whom 2 million qualify for federal services” (Center for Native American Youth 2014). The enrolled, federally recognized AI/AN population is not 5.2 million, but only an estimated 2 million – those being the ones eligible for federal services.

Tribal governments are the sole determiners of the membership criteria. However, the membership criteria of most – if not all – tribal governments is based on heritage. If a tribal government has determined that blood lineage with a distant ancestor is all that is necessary for membership, the ICWA applies, regardless if the child, the child’s parents, or the child’s extended family want the tribal government to be involved in their lives. This child is therefore placed under ICWA’s jurisdiction due to their heritage – in other words, due to their “race.”
Further, while the ICWA itself states that it is not to be used in custody battles between parents, in practice, enrolled family members are frequently chosen over non-enrolled family members in custody battles; ie: a tribal parent is chosen over the non-tribal parent, or a tribal grandparent or aunt over a non-tribal relative. This has occurred even in cases where the tribal parent or relative has a criminal record and the non-tribal relative does not. In addition, many non-tribal parents and relatives have been threatened with ICWA by their tribal counterparts. In other words, tribal courts have not always followed the ‘word’ of the ICWA law, but instead, have followed what many believe to be the ‘heart’ of the ICWA law. Abundant anecdotal evidence of rulings in favor of tribal relatives at the expense of non-tribal relatives furthers the race-based impression of ICWA.

Tribal governments claim in congressional testimony and to the general public that they care deeply about the safety and well-being of their children and families. Yet, statistics, reports and documentation from tribal governments and their supporters, as well as anecdotal evidence from witnesses, show repeated placements of children into physically and emotionally dangerous environments, as well as repeated disregard for the factual needs of individual children.
To build a better future for children of every heritage, the experience, insight, and wisdom of those who factually know and love the individual children must be respected and included, and State child protection laws must be applied equally for children of every heritage.

• “…incidents of child maltreatment that occur under a tribe’s exclusive jurisdiction and where tribal services are provided are not necessarily reported to the state and included in national data systems” (NICWA 2015).
• “American Indian and Alaska Native populations have seen a 164% increase in the number of drug-related deaths from 3.9% in 1979-1981 to 10.3% 1998. The North Dakota Drug Threat Assessment of 2002 concluded that meth use and distribution was a problem in all reservations within the state” (U.S. National Drug Intelligence Center”(NDIC, 2002). (Roe Bubar 2007)
• “Wallace and Bachman (1991) found that almost half of Native American youth under the age of 17 drank alcohol or smoked marijuana, with a higher substance abuse rate for boys than for girls” (Roe Bubar 2007).
• “The addition of meth-exposed children to an already strained network of social services in tribal communities almost guarantees additional complications in educational, social, and medical services on the reservation” (Doney, 2006; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights [USCCR], 2003) (Roe Bubar 2007, 15-17).
• “According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 16 percent of students at Bureau of Indian Affairs schools in 2001 reported having attempted suicide in the preceding 12 months” (Center for Native American Youth 2011).
• “Recent research shows that while the US child mortality rate for children ages 1 to 14 has decreased by 9% since 2000, it has increased by 15% among AI/AN children (National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association)” and “Alcoholism mortality rates are 514% higher than the general population” (Center for Native American Youth 2014).
• “…a study of Native American sixth graders from one reservation found that 75% had clinically significant levels of PTSD” and “Researchers have reported a 14% prevalence rate of Major Depressive Disorder among AI/AN adolescents” (NICWA, SAMHSA 2014).
• “Indian children experience post-traumatic stress disorder at the same rate as veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and triple the rate of the general population” (Flatten 2015).
• “Native teens experience the highest rates of suicide of any population in the U.S.—at least 3.5 times higher than the national average.11 (NICWA, SAMHSA 2014).
• “Suicide is the second leading cause of death—2.5 times the national rate—for Native youth in the 15 to 24 year old age group” (Executive Office of the President 2014, 5).
• “These figures must be considered alongside the data describing child fatalities and incidence of child maltreatment in AI/AN families. This data is in line with data showing that AI/AN families are more likely to have child welfare involvement due to neglect and suggests a unique risk factor specific to AI/AN child fatalities. Given the multitude of potential responders, differences in how entities may determine child fatalities, and limited framework in Indian Country for investigating child fatalities, questions arise as to whether some of these accidents may be related to child neglect as opposed to tragic accidents” (NICWA 2015, 5).

ICWA is unworkable. It never has been workable; it never will be – because it forces itself on children and families who don’t want it, and we are United States citizens who love our children and will fight back to protect them. This is not a matter of the simple “noncompliance” tribal governments refer to. It is a matter of pure rebellion. We will never “comply” in handing over our defenseless children to a situation we know will hurt them. This is not “noncompliance,” it is civil resistance, and includes not only dissident persons of heritage and their extended families, but also certain attorneys, courts and social workers. This is not “noncompliance,” in the case of social workers and others hiding the heritage of a child; it is civil disobedience, and it will never stop because we love and care about children. It is a matter of families and people of good sense fighting back against a terrible law that is hurting our children. It is a matter of people pushing back out of true love and concern for children we know – children who have been victimized by this over-reaching, incomprehensible mandate. It is people attempting to protect the children they love from a bureaucracy and a political entity that do not know or love our children, but are using them as pawns in a political game. It is time for this particularly unjust social experiment to stop. ICWA is totally unworkable and will never work the way tribal governments want it to. They will end up going back to the federal government and again and again, trying to make the ICWA worse for us – but this will never stop us from fighting for our children.

Congress has unique authority over this issue. Tribes are legally ‘domestic dependents’ within the larger United States. Matters regarding tribes and tribal members are within the purview of the federal government. It is under Congressional authority that ICWA has been legislated.

The BIA rules and regulations are also Congressionally authorized. ICWA rules published in the federal register in June, 2016, by the BIA were based on the authority granted by Congress which states: “the Secretary shall promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.” Therefore, it is Congress’ responsibility to right this egregious wrong and protect our children.

“AI/AN children currently appear less likely to be adopted compared to White children. This positive finding, reported by CWLA (1999), may be due to the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA)” (Indian Country Child Trauma Center 2005).

Birthed by the biological parents of enrollable children, the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare was founded in February 2004. CAICW is a national non-profit Christian ministry and family advocate, which has ministered with music and teaching at churches in the U.S. and Canada as well as a children’s home and street ministry in Mexico. CAICW is both a judicial and educational advocacy for families at risk of – or hurt by – the Indian Child Welfare Act, as well as a prayer resource for families and a shoulder to cry on.

CAICW is not an adoption agency or a legal aide office, and 100% of staffing is volunteer.

References

BIA. (2016, 6 14). Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Proceedings. THE FEDERAL REGISTER, 25 CFR 23; RIN 1076-AF25(Document Citation: 81 FR 38777), 38777-38876 (100 pages). Retrieved 6 15, 2016, from FEDERAL REGISTER: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/06/14/2016-13686/indian-child-welfare-act-proceedings

Center for Native American Youth. (2011). Fast Facts on Native American Youth and Indian Country. Washington DC: Aspen Institute.

Center for Native American Youth. (2014). Fast Facts on Native American Youth and Indian Country. Washington DC: Aspen Institute.

Executive Office of the President. (2014). Native Youth Report. Washington DC: The White House.

Flatten, M. (2015). Death on a Reservation. Phoenix: Goldwater Institute. Retrieved 6 22, 2016, from http://goldwaterinstitute.org/en/work/topics/constitutional-rights/equal-protection/death-on-a-reservation/

Hallie Bongar White, J. L. (2014, April 21). INTERSECTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CHILD VICTIMIZATION IN INDIAN COUNTRY. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from Justice.gov: https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/defendingchildhood/legacy/2014/04/21/intersection-dv-cpsa.pdf

Indian Country Child Trauma Center. (2005). Demographics. Oklahoma City: Indian Country Child Trauma Center. Retrieved July 27, 2016, from icctc.org: http://www.icctc.org/demographics-1.asp

NICWA. (2015). Testimony of Sarah L. Kastelic. Washington DC: Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities.

NICWA, SAMHSA. (2014, April). Native Children: Trauma and Its Effects. Trauma-Informed Care Fact Sheet. Portland: National Indian Child Welfare Association.

Richard G. Dudley, J. M. (2015, July). Childhood Trauma and Its Effects: Implications for Police. New Perspectives in Policing, pp. 1-22.

Roe Bubar, M. W. (2007). Perceptions of Methamphetamine Use in Three Western Tribal Communities: Implications for Child Abuse in Indian Country. West Hollywood: Tribal Law and Policy Institute.

Sullivan, T. (2013). 12th Mandated Report. Denver: ACF.

May 092016
 
Tom Sullivan - Regional Administrator ACF

The BIA and ACF in Washington DC have finally accomplished their goal of firing Tom Sullivan for his persistent reporting of physical and sexual abuse of children on many reservations – most specifically Spirit Lake.

Our DC Bureaucrats are entirely unaccountable. When people get fired for actually doing their jobs, is it any wonder that so many federal employees are reluctant to stick their necks out against the status quo?

(Read some of the past documentation:)

  • Defender of Abused Children about to be fired by DC Superiors for refusing to shut up about rampant sexual abuse –
  • SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN – Endemic on Many of our U.S. Indian Reservations –
  • ACF Regional Director Blowing the Whistle on Child Abuse –
  • ACF Director Tom Sullivan Suspended –
  • May 6, 2015 Termination letter:

    Download (PDF, 758KB)

    Mar 302016
     

    Bismarck, ND – On March 21, a 6-year-old girl of 1/64 Choctaw ancestry was taken crying from her home by social services, placed in a car, and driven to another state.

    Many realize current federal Indian policies are hurting people. What many don’t know is the extent. Dozens of children across the nation currently face the same situation Lexi faced – if not worse.

    To date, Lexi’s removal caused the biggest public ICWA reaction ever as the presence of dozens from within her community initially delayed her from being taken, then personally witnessed her removal in tears. Hundreds of thousands saw the video clips and reacted for a child 98% non-native, removed from her home solely due to the Indian Child Welfare Act. The resulting petition garnered signatures from 100 countries around the world.

    According to the last two U.S censuses, 75% of persons eligible for tribal membership do not live in “Indian Country.” Over the last few decades, many families of heritage have left the reservations due to the level of corruption and crime. As families left, tribal leaders – panicked by declining membership – pushed Congress for increased control over children of heritage.

    This includes children who are multi-heritage, who’ve never been near Indian Country, and whose only connection is a dissident great-grandparent who purposefully left the system decades ago.

    Worse, some tribal governments refuse to allow kids to live in foster homes off reservation – even if there are no safe homes currently available on the reservation.

    As reported by Tom Sullivan, Regional Director for ‘Administration of Children and Families,’ this has resulted in
    Tom Sullivan - Regional Administrator ACF children being placed where ever available – including homes of known child abusers and sex offenders. Mr. Sullivan reported this multiple times to his DC superiors, who told him to cease reporting it, and after he refused, recently began the process of firing him.

    Despite documented deaths of children and mass exodus from Indian Country, federal government consistently looks the other way while tribal leaders claim to speak for everyone and demand additional funds and increased control over children.

    NICWA, NARF, the Casey Foundation and Tribal leaders do NOT speak for everyone, nor do they know what is best for every individual child of heritage – no matter whether that child is 100% or 1%. Rhetoric otherwise is the epitome of racism.

    Unfortunately, federal government has literally made the decision to protect tribal sovereignty at all cost – even the cost of our children. In fact, the BIA is preparing additional rules to strengthen ICWA. Roland and his newborn, 1990

    America is already angry with government over corrupt bureaucracies, lack of protection for citizens, and inaction by Congress.

    CAICW is asking Americans to contact their Congressmen to oppose the new BIA rules, rescind the Indian Child Welfare Act, and protect a brave public servant – whistleblower Tom Sullivan.

    ###

    Elizabeth Morris is Chair of the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare and author of “Dying in Indian Country.” is both a ministry and advocacy group. CAICW has also been advocating since February 2004 for families at risk of harm from the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Our advocacy has been both judicial and educational, as well as a prayer resource for families and a shoulder to cry on.

    Mar 162016
     
    Sunset on the Rez

    Whistle-blower Thomas Sullivan, the one HHS/ACF official who has stood up against the rampant sexual abuse on many reservations, is about to be fired by his DC Superiors.

    They have come up with several accusations against him, but if you have followed his work and the threats they have made against him over the last three years – you know that all he has ever done is defy their orders to shut up about the overwhelming abuse of children, and release his reports to the public when his DC superiors ignored them.

    Tom Sullivan - Regional Administrator ACF

    Tom Sullivan is a hero – working to protect our children fromleaders who simply use and abuse them for purposes of power and money.

    The following is the latest letter – a 6 page list of accusations from his superiors…

    On the last page, you see a handwritten note from his superior that says;

    Employee refused to sign document before having an opportunity to review it.
    Mishaela Duran 3-10-16

    (Why shouldn’t a man be allowed to review a document before he signs it?)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-1

    Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-2

    Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-3

    Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-4

    Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-5

    Proposed Removal 752CD - Thomas Sullivan - 03102016-6

    Mar 312015
     
    Lauryn Whiteshield, July 19, 2010 - June 13, 2013

    Tom Sullivan, recently suspended for purportedly not filing correct ‘Leave of Absence’ forms following major surgery, responds to his superiors and calls them out on the REAL reason for their vindictive indictment of him – the fact that he won’t keep quiet about the abuse of children at Spirit Lake… (bold added)

    PLEASE SHARE THIS – with friends, family – and very importantly, with your Congressmen. Ask them to help Tom. We NEED to stand up for and protect government workers who are trying to do their jobs with honesty and courage.

    https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/c889cab0-486a-480f-97c4-ee07bb4f4014

    —————————————-

    Ms. Mcmullen:

    This is in response to Mr. Murray’s March 23, 2015 letter threatening me with a 14 calendar day unpaid suspension.

    As usual his letter is short on facts and long on bureaucratic nitpicklng. The following facts are incontrovertible evidence of his bias against me:

    1. Mr. Murray says nothing about my hip replacement surgery, major surgery with substantial potential for significant, adverse effects • a pulmonary embolism being one of the primary ones;

    2. Mr. Murray says nothing about the last year When every step I took with my bone-on-bone hip was excruciatingly painful, necessitating the limited ingestion of powerful pain medication during the last few months pre-surgery. As a friend told my wife in October, 2014, after observing me walking, “From the look on his face I can tell every step he took was pure agony.” Even though my painful walking was apparent lo anyone with eyes to see, Mr. Murray never mentioned the possibility of Reasonable Accommodation lo me as required;

    3. Mr. Murray says nothing about the fact that my hip was initially damaged in a workplace accident:

    4. Mr. Murray libels me as he has done in the past still refusing to answer my earlier request (seven months ago) to provide factual data justifying his libelous statements or apologize In writing for writing factually inaccurate statements about me;

    5. Mr. Murray says nothing about the fact that I am a whistle blower and that his actions against ma are nothing more than raw reprisal for my whistle blowing;

    6. Mr. Murray says nothing about his non-compliance with regulations requiring him to notify me about my options under “Reasonable Accommodation” as soon as he observed my painful walking or when he learned about my surgery on February 24, 201S;

    7. Mr. Murray says nothing about his premature denial of my Reasonable Accommodation request even before receiving a recommendation from the Federal Occupational Health Office;

    8. Mr. Murray says nothing about my surgeon clearing me for work from home more than two weeks all<), before he denied my request rot a Reasonable Accommodation, while he demands that I not work and take leave when there is absolutely no medical reason preventing me from working; 9. Mr. Murray says nothing about his reprisals against me over the last two years for my whistle blowing; 10. Mr. Murray fails to mention that even though I believe his March 17, 2015 email to me is a prohibited personnel practice, as defined by the Office of Special Counsel, reflecting his retaliatory reprisal against me, I have complied with all of his requirements, stopping all telework activities as he demanded and taking leave on every work day; 11. Mr. Murray fails to mention that even if I use up all of my accumulated leave that I can apply for inclusion in the Donated Leave Program or request Advanced Sick Leave - a program made available to me in my first year of federal employment, when I had only Career-Conditional status as an employee of the Department of Health education and Welfare. I believe a supervisor is obliged by regulation to counsel his staff about such options Page 2 of 2 whenever they clearly have a medical problem even if they have said nothing to him about it;. Given the 11 factual failures of Mr. Murray, it is strange that I am being threatened with a 14 calendar day unpaid suspension and that Mr. Murray continues, thus far, to escape any censure for his failures. But you, Ms Mcmullen, have been several orders of magnitude worse than Mr. Murray in your retaliatory actions against me.

    You have sought to force my agreement with you that the placement of young American Indian children in the homes of sexual predators. available to be raped or sodomized daily, is not a problem.

    You have sought to force me to agree that all was OK when children’s stories about being abused that were brought to my attention by my Sources and which I referred to you for follow-up were not being investigated by either tribal social services, tribal or BIA law enforcement or the FBI.

    You have sought to force me to endorse the former US Attorney from North Dakota’s position that a 12 year old little girl who had just turned 13, home alone, had consensual sex with a 38 year old man. Where in this country is sex between a 12 or 13 year old little girl and a 38 year old man not statutory rape?

    Your actions have prevented me from speaking with either the media or members of Congress in clear and direct violation of the Whistle Blower Protection Act es amended.

    My whistle blowing has properly characterized what you have done and continue to do. Even so you have appointed yourself as judge and jury in this matter. You fancy yoursalf as an independent arbiter. You are neither.

    You are a party to this matter, a party who is deeply interested in silencing me by whatever means, including reliance on the prohibited personnel practices as defined by the Office of Special Counsel.

    With every email and letter you write you expose yourself and your retaliatory reprisals against me for more and more to see and understand.

    Your cavalier disregard for the welfare of the American Indian children at Spirit Lake and all across Indian Country has established a broad and deep record comparable to those that existed at Penn State and in the Catholic Church before their transgressions against children began to be revealed.

    I therefore, request that the threatened 14 calendar day unpaid suspension not be applied to me since there is nothing on the record to justify it.

    Thomas F. Sullivan
    Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver

    Mar 262015
     
    Tom Sullivan - Regional Administrator ACF

    We believe ACF Regional Director Tom Sullivan is being punished – not for minor paperwork infractions related to his recovery from surgery as claimed in the letter below, but because he has strongly spoken out against his DC superiors in attempt to protect the children of Spirit Lake and other reservations.

    It is ironic that these same superiors paid absolutely no attention to the paperwork he had submitted concerning the number of children currently living with known sexual offenders. But heaven forbid he not turn in a form related to his medical leave of absence.

    Even more ironic is that forms related to National Security within the State Department have apparently been passed off as non-essential by many in the current executive branch of government.

    But heaven forbid a lower-level manager, known for telling the truth, fail to (gasp)…dot an ‘i’.

    His absence due to hip surgery appears to be a convenient opportunity for his superiors to finally “punish” him.

    Please contact your congressional delegation and ask them to protect this brave and honorable man.

    Letter from DC ACF Acting Director James Murray to Tom Sullivan:

    (https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/9b0b4460-d9e3-40b5-8ca0-8a9d3aff6d54)

    DATE: March 23, 2015

    FROM: James Murray
    Acting Director Office of Regional Operations

    .TO: Thomas Sullivan Regional Director

    SUBJECT: Notice of Proposed Suspension (Fourteen Days)

    You are hereby notified that it is proposed to suspend you from duty with out pay for a period of fourteen calendar days, from your position as Regional Administrator, Denver Region VIII, GS-15, in the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF). This action is initiated pursuant to Title 5 USC Part
    752, which.affords you the right to make an oral reply and/or to submit written material
    to the deciding official named below, before a decision is rendered. You will remain in a .
    duty status until a decision has been rendered by the deciding official named herein. The reason for this action is as follows:

    Charge #1: Failure to Follow Proper Procedures for eave Notification and Requests. The Agency records show that you were on approved Annual arid Sick Leave from
    February 9 to February 20, 2015. You were scheduled to return to duty on Monday
    February 23, 2015. On February 24, 2015, Marrianne McMullen, Deputy Assistant Secretary for External Affairs addressed an e-mail message to various officials including you. The message was intended to set up visits to two regions including the Denver region. In the e-mail, Mrs, McMullen asked about your availability for th.e week of March 16 to 20, 2015.

    You responded to Mrs. McMullen by e-mail at 2:43 pm on February 24, and copied me. Your message reported that you “had hip surgery one week ago today.” You indicated that it was unlikely that you would be cleared to travel ta Denver for the meeting during the week of March 16 to 20, 2015.

    Mrs. McMullen replied promptly to inquire how long you would be on leave and who is acting in your absence. You replied to state that the length of leave is contingent on the surgeon’s approval and you would return when he cleared you,

    You did not request leave as required. You did not notify me that you were going to be absent. Neither did you submit any leave request in ITAS. You failed to follow basic and standard procedures for notifying your supervisor of the absence and requesting
    leave as required. I determined that your total disregard for such basic and necessary

    Page 2-

    procedures cannot be condoned. HHS leave regulations found in the HHS Instruction • 630-1 requires that employees normally must notify Management of absences, and submit appropriate leave requests in advance. In cases where advance notice is unforeseeable,employees are required to notify the supervisor of absences and make a request for leave no later than one hour after the scheduled reporting time on any given day.’ As a Regional Administrator in a senior position of authority, you must have known or should have known of these basic and standard requirements. The fact that you elected to ignore or disregard the !eave procedures is very disturbing, in light of your position as a senior and experienced management official. Several days elapsed after the e-mail exchange on February 24, 2015. You did not subsequently notify me of an approximate date of your return or make a proper request for leave, indicting the leave type and the expected duration. Neither did you submit any medical documentation to substantiate the absence.

    On March 5, 2015, I sent you a “Directive to Comply.” I reminded you of the HHS regulations which require employees to notify their supervisors of absences and employees’ responsibility to request leave. I cautioned you that failure to comply with the applicable leave procedures may result in appropriate corrective action and/or a charge of absent without leave (AWOL). I specifically directed you to submit a leave request for the period of your absence commencing on February 23 through the date that you anticipate returning to duty. In addition I instructed you to furnish acceptable medical documentation to substantiate the request for Sick Leave or Annual Leave in lieu thereof. Finally, I directed you to comply with the instructions no later than March 12, 2015, to avert a charge of AWOL and for appropriate corrective action.

    You replied to me on the same day, March 5, 2015. You relayed a copy of an e meil message you addressed to the Region VIII timekeeper, CarolDelgado at 4:26 pm on March 5, 2015. Your message to the timekeeper indicated that you requested Annual Leave for partial day absences on February 23 thru March 1, 2015. You claimed that you were working six to seven hours per day during that period. You further stated that you worked eight hours per day on March 4 to March 6. In this regard, your actions are a flagrant violation of several applicable regulations and standard procedures. You did not request to perform Telework and for notify me of your intention to do so. You do not have a current telework agreement and you are not approved to participate in the Telework Program. It is very disconcerting that you demonstrated such a total disregard for compliance with the Agency’s Telework policies. The manner in which you took it upon yourself to allegedly perform work at a remote site, without even notifying me and/or any of your superiors constitutes a grave offense. Your conduct demonstrates a total disregard for the Agency policy and applicable regulations, which you are charged to uphold and enforce. In addition, your actions evince stark disrespect and lack of consideration for your supervisors. In addition, your assertions that you were working every work day between February 23 and March 5, 2015 were submitted and advanced after the fact. You had an obligation to notify your supervisor that you intended to work at a remote site and to obtain approval in advance. You elected not to do so. Your
    notice to the timekeeper and to me was in fact retroactive, coming as it did on March 5, 2015, apparently in response to my directive issued to you earlier that day.

    Page 3-

    In light of all the facts noted above, and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, I cannot approve or verify that you worked at a remote site on the dates you cited and I cannot properly certify or verify the work hours as such in the Agency time records. In consideration of the foregoing, I am proposing to suspend you from duty without pay for a period of fourteen calendar days. This action will promote the efficiency of the federal service.

    Penalty Analysis and Considerations:

    The offenses you committed namely, incurring a period of absence without notification to your supervisor and without making a request for leave is a clear failure to comply with a HHS Leave Regulations. In addition, based on your own assertion, you it
    upon yourself to perform work at a remote site, without notification and /or approval from your supervisor and without the benefit of a current telework agreement In doing so, you showed a blatant disregard for the same regulations which you are charged to uphold. As a senior member of management in your role as Regional Administrator, it is expected that you enforce and uphold the Agency’s policies. It is further expected that you will serve as a model for compliance with the same. The manner in which you disregarded these regulations was in violation of the HHS Standards of Conduct and showed your disrespect and lack of consideration for your managers.

    I considered the severity of your actions and the effect upon your ability to carry out your duties and responsibilities. Your actions have eroded my confidence in you and your ability to uphold and enforce the leave regulations, which is a requirement of your position as Regional Administrator. In addition, I considered your prior disciplinary record. You sustained a three day suspension in August, 2014 for the charge of Improper Conduct. The instant. proposed action is therefore proper and progressive. I determined that the degree of discipline is !he minimal action necessary to the deficiencies and to serve as a deterrent factor. The proposal is in keeping with the recommendations in the ” HHS Disciplinary Guide”.

    You and/or your representative may review the material relied upon to support the reasons for this Notice, by contacting Garfield Tavernier, National Labor Relations Officer at (202) 260-6697, between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday thru Friday. If you do not understand the reason for this Notice, contact Mr. Tavernier further explanation.

    I would like to remind you that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP} provides professional and confidential services to assist employees with a variety of personal issues or problems. If you believe that EAP could be of assistance, you are urged to contact them on 1-800-222-0364.

    You and/or your representative may answer this notice within fourteen (14) calendar days of your receipt thereof, either in person or in writing, or both, before Mrs. Marrianne McMullen, at the Aerospace Building, 901 D Street SW, Washington DC, between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. You and/or your representative may also furnish affidavits or written material to Mrs. McMullen within fourteen (14) calendar days of your receipt of this Notice. You will be afforded a reasonable amount of official time for the above purpose,if you are otherwise in a duty status. After the expiration of the time limits for reply, all of the facts, including any reply you or your representative may submit, will be given full consideration before a final decision is rendered. You will receive a written decision from Mrs. McMullen.

    Acknowledgement of Receipt

    Your signature below is only an acknowledgement of receipt. lt does not indicate your agreement with the content By signing below you will not forfeit any rights you are entitled. Failure to sign will not stay the action.

    Thomas Sullivan
    (Signature and Date)

    Jul 052014
     

    July 1, 2014

    Ms. Mcmullen:

    It is unfortunate that neither the leadership of my agency nor my department had the courtesy to inform me that I had been invited by the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs to testify about conditions on the Spirit Lake Reservation at the Subcommittee’s Hearing on June 24, 2014.

    Associate Commissioner Chang’s testimony was, at best, confusing where it was not false. In the second sentence of her prepared testimony she speaks about the Administration’s concerns about child safety and well-being at Spirit Lake. Finally, after more than two years, 13 Mandated Reports and numerous emails to ACF leadership about the lack of safety for Spirit Lake kids, someone, other than me, is saying safety of children is of concern. Of course that contradicts an exchange I had with Mr. McKearn, Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs and Budget for ACF, back in July, 2012 when I was told that the safety of kids at Spirit Lake was not a priority. I guess the leadership of ACF never has to explain their position nor apologize when that position is proven wrong.

    Ms. Chang’s claim that BIA has addressed, “…most notably the safety checks prior to placement” is simply false. If the BIA had addressed the safety checks prior to placement, Laurynn Whiteshield would be alive today, soon to celebrate her fourth birthday with her twin sister, Michaela. Instead she has been in the ground for more than a year, dead at the hands of her step-grandmother, who, it was well-known by most families on Spirit Lake, beat and abused her own children so badly they were removed from her home.

    Ms. Chang goes on with the assertion about the strengths at Spirit Lake, saying, “Perhaps the most important strength is the commitment of the new leadership under Chairman McDonald and the work of the BIA.” Early on in this process the BIA and Tribal leadership were presented a list of 137 children who were in uncertain placements or unaccounted for at that time. At the Subcommittee Hearing Ms. Merrick-Brady, the Acting Director of Spirit Lake’s Tribal Social Services, explained that 66 children had been found and accounted for. That means that after 13 Mandated Reports, numerous detailed, factual emails about continuing abuse of children at Spirit Lake, 21 months after the BIA Strike Team arrived with much fanfare and ten months after Chairman McDonald was elected Chair there are still more kids unaccounted for than accounted for. How many of these unaccounted for children have been trafficked into the man camps of the Bakken oil fields, just a few hours down the road from Spirit Lake? If the safety of the children of Spirit Lake is our top priority, this performance should be called what it is, “weak and inadequate”.

    Most witnesses at congressional hearings are told that if they don’t know the answer to a question, there is no problem in saying so and offering to provide the information requested in a few days. When asked a question about how often I had been at Spirit Lake, Ms. Chang seemed eager to offer her lying answer, saying that I had never been there, giving the impression we had discussed that question just the night before. Ms. Chang has never sought me out to ask me any question of any kind. Why would a woman of her stature lie so blatantly about me? Was she seeking to tarnish my reputation? As I cautioned the Spirit Lake Chair in an email last week, quoting the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan who frequently said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not his own facts.”

    I have been to Spirit Lake three or four times in the last four years. Prior to that time each year I routinely met a couple of times a year in Bismarck with all of the child welfare directors from the four North Dakota reservations. I attended their meetings, spoke when asked and sought to assist them to develop more productive relationships with state human services staff to assist them in reducing their caseloads per worker to the levels prevalent in the majority community.

    Thomas F. Sullivan Regional Administrator, ACF, Denver