Lifting the Veil
Examining the Child Welfare, Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Systems

What’s New

February 15, 2017

Effective today, Lifting the Veil is providing secure connections to both the main web site as well as the blog. After some consideration, I have opted not to force https connections. Unless you are using a privacy enhancement program such as HTTPS Everywhere by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, you may have to manually enter the https into your address bar. Thus, https;//blog.liftingtheveil.org/ and https://www.liftingtheveil.org/ would be the preferred methods of connecting.

This is something that I have wanted to do for some time, however until recently this came at a cost that kept it out of the reach of a web site that does not accept advertisements, does not accept grants which may come with strings attached, and does not use any content delivery services that may attempt to invade your privacy in an effort to “monetize” the site. Nor does Lifting the Veil use any tracking cookies, pixel beacons, or other such invasive technologies. To the best of my knowledge, neither does the hosting service that has been in use for many years. Also, for enhanced privacy, site searches are provided by a local search engine rather than an outside search provider.

Please note that some services (such as the news feed and embedded PDF files) are provided or hosted by outside sources that may employ such technologies.

February 26, 2015
A new article entitled Shaken Baby Syndrome: Where are we Today? has been added. Included is a review of the current literature regarding the contentious diagnosis in light of Dr. Norman Guthkelch – originator of the theory – having signed an open letter with numerous other professionals contesting the scientific validity of the diagnosis.

February 24, 2015
The most recent blog entry, “UK – Legal Ruling Reaffirms Parental Rights,” explores recent rulings in the United Kingdom with respect to parental rights. A ruling issued this month reaffirms the rights of parents, and clearly asserts that the burden of proof is on authorities to make their case. Recent trends in child removal and foster care in the UK are also examined.

February 14, 2015
Lifting the Veil has collected in excess of 1,000 grand jury reports, studies, surveys, and audits of the foster care system that have been residing on Scribd, with another 500 or so related articles online at a service known as Delicious. It seemed that every time I endeavored to bring them “all under one roof,” one or another technical change prevented that from happening. Recent upgrades may finally make that a reality. This will be a time consuming endeavor, but a rewarding one. With technical upgrades behind me, I hope to get back to writing fresh content, rather than only “managing” it. The site has been mobile responsive since before that became a buzzword. Bringing all of this material across platforms to include tablets and cell phones is finally withing reach for all content. All the while, Munchausen’s has been recast as medical child abuse, shaken baby syndrome has been recast as abusive head trauma, facilitated communication cases seem to be on the rise again, and an increasing number of “medical kidnappings,” as they have come to be known, continue to come to light. The unnecessary destruction of families continues unabatted. Thus begins the third decade of Lifting the Veil online.

February 4, 2015
One year ago, on January the 1st of 2014, Lifting the Veil announced that a new and improved system had been installed to help manage the web site. One year later, the software was found to have been injected with a “backdoor” that was apparently injected through an SQL vulnerability. After several efforts to upgrade the system, it was discarded in favor of something that would appear to be more secure. An advanced caching system is place to keep things running smoothly in the face of continuing spambot and denial of service attacks. Such distractions unfortunately come with the web, these days. With that behind me, and with Spring approaching, Lifting the Veil enters its 19th year on the web. I look forward to putting the mundane tasks of upgrading behind me, and approach the new year with cautious optimism such that I will find the time required to continue my research in this critical field, and to share my findings here. Many thanks to those who have provided me with moral support during this difficult period of transition.

August 14, 2014
How One Hospital Lost Two of its Best Neurologists. In 2007, the American Medical Association conducted an investigation of medical peer reviews, finding that 15% of the surveyed physicians were aware of peer review misuse or abuse. In July 2013, the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association jointly filed a legal brief in the California Supreme Court noting that there is a “continuing great need to have whistleblower protections for medical staff physicians who face adverse peer review decisions.” Critics charge that the review process is a “sham” that is often used to eliminate whistleblowers, while those physicians who may pose a genuine threat often seem to go unnoticed.

May 24, 2014
It appears that Blog.com – which hosted the Lifting the Veil Blog – is on its way out. After a painless installation of WordPress, many of the blog postings have already been reposted here. The remainder will be moved over the course of the weekend. Henceforth, the Lifting the Veil Blog will be located on site at blog.liftingtheveil.org. A general cleanup is underway. Additional articles are in progress.

January 16, 2014
Three articles have been added to Special Reports since the beginning of the year. These are Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, added on January 16, 2014, Zero Tolerance Programs added January 11, and Australian Inquiries Continue Review Of Long-Term Abuses In Institutional Foster Care added on January 2.

The News Roundup has a new feature in the form of brief writeups of newsworthy events with links to related articles. Four have so far been added since the beginning of this year, one of which is an external link.

See Latest Updates (removed January 2015 while a replacement is sought) which is a new feature that automatically lists new blog posts, uploads to Scribd, articles at Delicious, and Pinterest pins. Once new articles to the Lifting the Veil web site are added to that update, this page may be depreciated.

January 1, 2014

As of today, Lifting the Veil has a new web site online. Many improvements are soon to be added. With these changes, Lifting the Veil celebrates its 18th year online.

July 25, 2013
Some structural changes to the Lifting the Veil system will be made during the months of August and September. This will involve implementing a context management system, although I am still not entirely satisfied with any of the ones that I have tried.

November 10, 2012
Lifting the Veil is currently in the process of upgrading its web site. A few weeks ago, the Scribd documents database fell just one upload short of attaining the 1,000 document mark. Recent uploads include grand jury reports, and a number of whistle-blower reports involving wrongdoing in child protection and foster care agencies. The links to journal articles at Delicious continue to expand, and the blog has developed a number of subscribers.

Two content management systems are being looked at, and some other technical upgrades are in progress. It is anticipated that updates to the web site that are currently being handled manually may become fully automated. Upgrades to the site should become more apparent as the holiday season draws near.

September 28, 2012
An extensive rewriting of the second article in the Child Abuse Reporting Series is done. This article devotes considerable attention to the wide variety of reports called in to child protective services as a result of neighbors at war, custody battles, landlords-tenant disputes, as well as accusations against teachers, foster parents, and other child care workers. The touchy subject of false allegations of abuse is explored. There is also some recent information with respect to the unnecessary removal of children from their homes, regardless of their ethnicity. See Child Abuse Reporting: Variety of Reports.

The latest Blog entry, Indian Child Welfare Act: Still Under Siege, was posted on Septemeber 27, and it examines current trends in the “rescue” of Native American children from their homes. The extent of the racial and ethnic disproportionality among child welfare populations remains among the more stunning indictments of the system.

September 9, 2012
A rather extensive update has been made to the first of the three-part series on Child Abuse Reporting. The article Screening of Reports has been updated with information that is current as of this year, and some fresh charts and graphs have been added for clarity. The two remaining articles in the series are scheduled to be updated shortly. This update allowed me the opportunity to post a timely blog entry, Model Child Abuse Hotline: A Model No Longer. Look for continued updates to be made to the web site, as well as to the Blog, the Articles Database, and the Scribd Documents Database.

September 3, 2012
I have added a rather extensive bibliography on the subject of psychotropic medications in foster care. Included are links to many peer-reviewed articles, studies, and other related material. (These links will soon be added to Lifting the Veil’s Articles Database.) I have also added a new Blog entry, entitled: Reforming Foster Care Psychotropic Meds: A Cautionary Note.

August 19, 2012
Lifting the Veil’s Scribd Documents Database now holds over 750 individual studies, surveys, audits, and other reports related to child welfare, foster care, and juvenile justice. The Articles Database contains over 500 links to peer reviewed journal articles on these topics. Please be sure to check these resources, as well as the Blog, for frequent updates.

August 17, 2012
I have added a new Blog posting entitled On Privatization, Bureaucratization, Foster Care, and the Poverty Profiteers. I argue (and with ample citations) that while I would not go so far as to suggest that the current child welfare system was deliberately designed to increase poverty, homelessness, and imprisonment; I would suggest that had it been so designed, that it could not have done better than the current child welfare system.

August 14, 2012
A new entry has been added to the Blog, entitled Department of Justice: Lauderdale Youth Court, Meridian Police and Division of Youth Services Violating 4th Amendment Rights, For many years, child advocates have described the existence of a school-to-prison pipeline. The Civil Rights Department of the U.S. Justice Department may finally have taken notice of its existence.

August 13, 2012
A rather large number of documents have been added to the Liftingtheveil Scribd Documents database. Uploaded were a number of California Grand Jury Reports, and a large number of documents from Mayor Guiliano’s Mayoral douments collection. These historical documents are currently being sifted through in order to provide a complete history of the reform efforts regarding New York City’s foster care system during the mid to late 1990s.

August 10, 2012
A number of documents have been added to the Liftingtheveil Documents Database, including audits and related material involving New York City’s Department of Children’s Services.

August 9, 2012
The Petro Group Home Audits, by the former Ohio State Auditor, have found a new home in the Liftingtheveil Documents Database. Petro conducted a comprehensive series of foster care audits about 1998-2000. Luxury car leases, tickets to sporting events, country club memberships, a cruise, limousine service, personal loans, and political contributions. All at taxpayer expense–and all from money intended to be used for children in foster care. Among the Auditor’s findings against one private foster care agency: “$1,209,680 in questioned costs for unallowed investments, a sports car, plastic surgery and health club dues.” Among the Auditor’s findings against another: “$492,974 for checks written to cash, a personal vehicle lease and other items.” SAFY of Ohio, Inc., was charged by the Auditor with misallocating “$5,106,893 for high management fees paid to a parent company and other items.” As of October 2002, a total of $9,150,048 was identified by the Auditor as having been expended by private foster care agencies in a manner often inconsistent with federal law and policy.

January 1, 2012
Two new Blog entries start off the new year. Reprise: The Ominous Parallels, which was published in a number of national and regionally distributed sources in January 2000. It provides a critical historical perspective, and it is as timely today as the day it was written. I have also added Foster Care, Child Welfare Reform in Review.

February 12, 2011
A new entry entitled Philadelphia: Foster Care Sex Abuse ‘Nightmare’ Subject of Lawsuit has been posted. I explore a current, and most tragic, foster care abuse case against the historical backdrop of the ACLU’s Baby Neal v. Casey lawsuit of the mid-1990s.

February 1, 2011
I have posted a new entry entitled New studies confirm lack of evidence for “zero tolerance” programs. Zero tolerance programs in the public schools have often been criticized for being overly harsh and punitive in nature. Critics contend that these policies are often administered in an arbitrary manner. An emerging body of literature indicates that this policy is wholly without empirically-validated support, and that scientific reviews have found no evidence whatsoever that zero tolerance prevents school violence. Critics also contend that minorities are disproportionately impacted by zero tolerance policies, much to their long-term detriment. Recent studies would bear these contentions out. Find here an introduction to the most current research in the field.

January 30, 2011
New Blog entry, entitled: New Ruling Issued in Quarter-Century-Old Foster Care Reform Case. In light of a ruling issued by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals a few days ago, I have posted a comprehensive review of one of the seminal foster care reform actions, L.J. V Massinga. Notwithstanding the wealth of legal talent on board, the case is still under litigation after 27 years, and there is no end in sight.

January 28, 2011
An audit of the Utah child welfare and foster care systems was released on January 18, 2011, by the Utah Auditor General. While it is hardly what I might consider as a “scathing” audit, it is refreshing in its candor. I provide my analysis and commentary in today’s Blog entry entitled Utah Auditor General Releases Foster Care, Child Welfare Audit.

January 23, 2011
A new Blog entry examines the impact of Camreta v. Greene, a landmark case that restricted the ability of Child Protective Services to interrogate children in schools absent a warrant, exigency, or parental consent. The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case, which will determine whether Child Protective Services, accompanied by police, can take children out of their classes at school and interview them without parental consent or court order. This case will have a major impact on families rights. The prestigious law firm Lanser, Kubitschek and Schaffer has been retained to represent S.G. and her mother Sarah Greene in the U.S. Supreme Court. Carolyn Kubitschek will argue the case in the Spring, 2011.

January 22, 2011
Over the last few days, I have added over 50 documents to liftingtheveil’s Scribd Documents database. Many include federal and state disallowances from foster care agencies, the Head Start program, and substance abuse programs; while others describe millions of dollars seemingly vanishing into thin air – only be be “found” again by social services.

January 22, 2011
A new article entitled Virginia Family Files Lawsuit Over Foster Care Ordeal has been uploaded to the Lifting the Veil Blog. It tells the tragic story of a family that experienced torment at the hands of the Giles County Department of Social Services. Thanks to a dedicated attorney, the family was reunited after eight months of needless and painful separation. Vindication finally arrives for the family in the form of a federal lawsuit.

December 4, 2010
Liftingtheveil’s Scribd Documents database updated. I have added a few False Claims Act filings, and I have a number of internal DSS memorandums that I plan to release soon as well. Check the Lifting the Veil Scribd Database, from time to time, because I will not be posting each and every addition here.

December 2, 2010
Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that may hold serious ramifications for advocates. It boils down to a question of whether a state agency that is in receipt of federal funds in clear breach of its federal mandate may be held accountable for that breach in a court of federal jurisdiction. Several organizations, including the AARP, the National Senior Citizens Law Center, the Arc of the United States, the National Health Law Program, and United Cerebral Palsy, have backed the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy in its efforts to maintain its role as an effective watchdog. See: Virginia is Blocking Abuse and Neglect Investigations in State Care.

November 26, 2010
New Blog entry entitled: U.S. Slow to Adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 13, 2007, by a majority of 144 states in favor, and 4 votes against. Perhaps it should not be surprising that the four nations voting against the Declaration were the four with the most atrocious records in terms of their relations with their own Indigenous Peoples: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. Australia and New Zealand eventually reversed course, and Canada quite recently signed on – something that the United States has yet to do.

October 3, 2010
I have completely updated my article on Reunification Plans. This is among the most popular of my original articles, if the number of web sites that have “lifted” it, in some cases without any attribution whatsoever, is to be taken as an indication. In this updated article, which is considerably longer than the original, I explore the role of child support and revenue maximization in foster care as barriers to the reunification of families. Citations are provided that are current as of this year. This is part of my overall effort to freshen up Lifting the Veil overall.

July 4, 2010
A new database of peer reviewed articles is online, courtesy the power of Delicious. Topics include foster care, emancipation, outcomes, psychotropic drug administration, Native and Aboriginal child welfare practice, etc. All links lead to complete articles drawn from credible sources such as Family Court Review, Stanford Law & Policy Review, Pediatrics, Children and Youth Services Review, Cardozo Law Review, various State Bar Associations, among many others.

Copyright © 1996 – 2015 Rick Thoma

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