So Here We Go- Our Uphill Battle Begins With DCF
‘DCF report’ as it is used in the following refers to The *Confidential* “Developmental Evaluation” presented to the court as evidence used against Liz during TPR proceedings.
Elizabeth XXX is the mother of 3 children and has a long history with DCF- her case was initially opened in 2002 and it would appear that is was largely due her estranged relationship with her ex-boyfriend; Kevin XXXXX. Kiara then, 7 years old (has not seen her brother or sister since they were removed and asks for them often. No consideration was taken in the severing of the sibling relationship) is diagnosed with Autism and mild-retardation. DCF has attempted for 9 unsuccessful years to blame Liz for this; as we believe they are trying to do with Trevor and Kylie as well.
Liz enlisted the help of Birth to Three services of her own accord after she began to notice that both Kylie and Trevor were presenting with similar characteristics as their older autistic sister Kiara had. This behavior would not indicate an abusive or neglectful parent. It can be argued that, if Ms. Uzell and Mr. Scherb wanted to physically abuse and neglect their children they very easily could have hidden the children from the ‘public’ eye and done so. It therefore does not stand to reason that an abusive or neglectful parent would seek out services to enrich their child’s life to its’ fullest capabilities.
DCF reports indicate that both Trevor and Kylie exhibit autistic behaviors and tendencies; which include tantrum and self injurious behaviors (e.g., screaming, spitting, crying, banging head, and biting self) and according to their report was removed from their biological mother’s home in 2009 due to physical abuse and neglect.) Liz was Not found guilty of physical abuse. DCF substantiated neglect on the basis that she knew her children were being abused and that she allowed it to knowingly happen. DCF also indicated to Frank and Lori Resto (the current foster parents and Liz’s Uncle and his wife;and the relationship has become estranged because of this) that they believed the abuse was happening over a prolonged period of time; this statement however seems to be an oxymoron; and only indicates the incompetency of the department as the family was under their constant supervision. How could they miss such a thing as prolonged abuse? Something, that they are trained specifically to recognize if they weren’t incompetent?
Liz has had an open DCF case since 2002 most of which involvement does not include Trevor and Kylie and to my knowledge is a closed DCF case. During which time, her mental health issues were acknowledged as stated in a DCF report presented to the court during what appears to be a coerced voluntary TPR, but never addressed or treated to any significant level to insure a ‘safe’ home for all the children involved who by their own definition would be considered at risk of neglect and/or abuse because of Liz’s mental health as well as other known circumstances within the home that ultimately led to the removal of Trevor and Kylie; but in no means proves Liz or Steven Scherb as unfit parents undeserving of raising their children. It would however indicate that DCF is unfit to represent itself as an agency that protects children. As is required according to the JUAN F consent decree of 1991. Pg. 51 Part C- Placement Prevention & Family Preservation.
(DCF REPORT)In November 2009 the Department of Children and Families (DCF) received a referral alleging physical abuse and neglect against Elizabeth XXX and her boyfriend Steven XXX. The report was made by a Birth to Three therapist BUT was not Ms. Green, the families regular therapist.
(POLICE REPORT) “Wisniewski found Steven Jr. strapped in a car seat and placed in front of the television. When asked about that , Steven Sr. said that he works 3rd shift and he strapped him into the car seat in the event that Scherb dozed off. Other than being strapped into the car seat Steven Jr. seemed fine.”
(STATEMENT)Mr XXX and Ms. XXX confirmed that Steven Jr. was placed in his car seat in the event Steven Sr. fell asleep from exhaustion which he admitted to according to Ms. Uzell and her mother; and this was reported to DCF social worker Janet Pirelli as a major concern for the children’s safety and Liz inquired about day care help, but she was told there were no funds available. Even in the absence of Liz requesting day care aid, let’s assume that she didn’t; DCF social workers are trained to recognize these needs and conditions that would put a child ‘at risk’ of abuse or neglect and to address them according to their policies as well as to the law the consent decree orders.
Steven works 3rd shift and at this point has been watching the children for 3 months with an average of 3-4 hours of sleep a night. It was reported, as earlier stated that Steven Jr. was causing physical harm (ie. bruises, bites and scratches- and the police report indicates this is true as it states “The size of the bite marks on Kylie’s arms would be consistent with one of her siblings biting her”.) to Trevor and Kylie which was reported to Janet Pirelli (DCF social worker) who suggested they keep the children away from one another to prevent further injuries; (Janet Pirelli came to defend Liz and Steven Sr. when the school reported unexplained bruising on Trevor’s leg to DCF and this is included in the report as a ‘subsequent event that took place September 2009.’ Trevor was taken to the hospital to be examined; the DCF social worker at the hospital insisted that Mr. XXX was responsible for the injuries in question.After Janet attested to witnessing the children’s aggressive behavior towards each other, the allegations were unsubstantiated.) DCF has this in their report as being reported by a birth to three therapsit- but school records should indicate otherwise. instead of DCF remedying this situation by providing day care for the family- as per the same consent decree mentioned above. DCF knew, or it is reasonable to believe they knew or should have known (this is their job) this was a problem as the family was under their supervision and they regularly visited the family BUT they instead- left the children ‘at risk’ by not offering services they were ordered by the court through the consent decree to provide.
(DCF REPORT)- The Birth to Three therapist responsible for the referral leading to the Trevor and Kylie’s removal Reported that on Nov. 20, 2009; “Kylie was found in a room by herself strapped to her occupational therapy chair with bruises on her nose and around her left eye”.
(STATEMENT)Kylie was fond of her occupational therapy chair and liked to sit and play in the chair by herself, as she did the afternoon in question. Liz indicated that Kylie had fallen onto her occupational therapy chair the days before causing the bruise. This however was not in the DCF report, and a statement was never taken from Liz by the police. No charges were filed or substantiated by DCF or the police against Liz relating to Kylie’s injuries.
(POLICE REPORT)Officer Rembisz states “based on my training and experience, to leave a bruise like this on Kylie’s face, Scherb Sr would have had to exert a great deal of force”
(STATEMENT)Mr. XXX admits to slapping Kylie’s face when she reached for a knife while he was preparing lunch; which would indicate inappropriate disciplining and not ‘a great deal of force’. As stated in the police report was required to cause the injury in question. Picture evidence would further indicate the bruise in question does not concur with a slap- but would however appear to concur with Ms. XXX’s explanation that Kylie fell and hit her face on her occupational therapy chair, while playing a few days earlier. The police report further indicates “the bruise was caused within the past few days” which also concurs with Liz’s explanation as well. Mr. XXX has completed a parent classes and random drug testing as well as all other requests made by DCF for him to complete and currently has custody of his 4 year old son Steven Jr.
QUESTION: Why is Steven Jr. allowed in the custody and care of his father the alleged abuser- if this was in fact, the concerning factor that lead to the removal of Trevor and Kylie? And Liz, to whom no charges were filed against- is without her children Kylie and Trevor?
QUESTION: Why does Liz currently have joint custody and full access to her 9 year old Autistic daughter Kiara? Doesn’t DCF owe her a responsibility being the agency they are to insure her safety? OR did they overlook this? Which would only further indicate incompetence and fabrication of facts presented to the court.
(DCF REPORT) states in their report and is referring to Liz; “She has a daughter who currently resides with her biological father after removal from Ms. XXX’s home in 2008 following multiple allegations of medical and physical neglect.
(STATEMENT) Liz and Kevin (Kiara’s biological father) changed Kiara’s primary residence ONLY which Liz believed would be in Kiara’s best interests because of the domestic violence case with her husband she was going through. During this same period of time Kiara had reached into a drawer and taken a hammer out while her mother was folding laundry in the bedroom and she hit her head causing an injury. This is when Liz felt that the current circumstances were too much for her and after talking to Janet (her DCF social worker) about it decided it would be in Kiara’s best interests to go and stay with her father Kevin. At no time to our knowledge has DCF ever “Removed” Kiara from her mother. It was a decision Liz made voluntarily in the best interest of her child- which would Not indicate an abusive parent.
(POLICE REPORT): officer Rembizs states he stood near Mr. XXX while Gopie interviewed him. Mr XXX indicated that Kylie sustained her injuries from her siblings, but was told that no child could have inflicted such an injury.
(STATEMENT)Only after what would appears; and the police report indicates, to be a coerced confession attempt does Mr. XXX confess to inappropriately disciplining Kylie by slapping her face; as previously explained.
(STATEMENT)The mark on Kylie’s nose was caused by Steven Jr; which was also previously explain, biting her nose and appeared to be almost healed according to picture evidence . A digital shot of Kylie taken 11/7/2009 will show that the mark on her nose was already 13 days old and would have been visible to Birth to Three Therapist Ms. Green who visited the family 2-3 times a week and whose lack of action ie. a DCF referral, would indicate there was no suspicion of abuse. Furthermore, the police report would indicate this is true as it was confirmed that Kylie had bite marks conclusive with that of one of her siblings.
(POLICE REPORT) “The size of the bite marks on Kylie’s arms would be consistent with one of her siblings biting her”.
(STATEMENT)It was brought to the attention of birth to three Ms. Green, that Steven Jr. was acting out physically toward Trevor and Kylie because he was having great difficulty adjusting to his new living arrangements and had bitten Kylie’s nose because of it. It was suggested that Steven Jr. have birth to three services to help him deal with his jealousy and aggressive behaviors- but his biological mother would not agree to it.
(POLICE REPORT)Officer Rembisz states “ during this investigation I noticed that of the three children in the household that only Kylie and Trevor Uzell had sustained facial injuries, (bruises) Steven XXXX Jr. had no visible facial injuries,
(STATEMENT)This further indicates that Ms. XXXl’s and Mr. XXX’s claims that Steven Jr. was bullying Kylie and Trevor and causing injuries would also appear to be true.
(DCF REPORT)Kylie regularly engages in tantrum like behaviors including crying, throwing objects, and head banging. It also states that Kylie exhibits behaviors and characteristics associated with and autism spectrum disorder, where these characteristics would be expected.
(STATEMENT)This head banging behavior could be the reason Kylie presents with bruises on her face. The DCF report suspects an autism spectrum disorder and characteristics such as head banging and self injurious behaviors go hand in hand with this disorder: as I (Stephanie Hinkel) care for my 9 year old Autistic granddaughter Kiara on a daily basis and understand the challenges one faces with Autistic children, extensively. Autism in and of itself does Not indicate abuse or neglect by Ms. XXX or Mr. XXX and does not support DCF allegations that Ms. Uzell or Mr. Scherb caused any of the bruises in question.
(DCF REPORT) also states: Her brother Trevor (3) was found strapped to his bed with duct tape over his mouth.
(STATEMENT)The birth to three therapist that came to visit; and we are told made the report to DCF, did not visit with the family frequently and was unfamiliar with the family and children; unlike, The regular therapist Ms. Green who worked with the children 2-3 times a week. Birth to three records should indicate that the therapist that made the DCF referral saw the children approximately 5 times during the 5 months Kylie and Trevor lived in the home in Wallingford, CT.
(STATEMENT)The appointment with Birth to Three was at 10 am. The report was made to Wallingford Police Department at approximately 1120hrs according to the official report. It would appear then according to the time line that the therapist proceeded with her regular hour session with Kylie; while Trevor was strapped to his bed with duct tape over his mouth in the next room, she leaves and then called DCF who in turn called the police to assist them with investigating- which according to Birth To Three’s policies (from their website) on Abuse/Neglect in accordance to C.G.S 17a-101. Under a section titled “Unsafe Conditions that Put a Child at Risk, “Early intervention personnel who find a child unsupervised or in an unsafe situation will, in consultation with their provider program, contact the hotline. The reporter will remain with the child until assistance from DCF or the local police arrive”.
Charges were never filed for this alleged crime. However, it is presented as evidence to be used against Liz, as fact- in TPR proceedings. And, an Examination at the hospital of Trevor indicates that the report presented as factual evidence does not concur with the claims that Trevor was strapped to his bed with duct tape over his mouth. This is further supported by the police statement that states; “there was no evidence to support that the tape was applied to any of Kylie’s appendages directly. No one even asks about tape on Trevor and yet DCF includes this in their report to the court as fact to be considered against Liz and TPR.
(POLICE REPORT)Wisniewski says; the therapist questioned Mr XXX about how Kylie obtained her bruising;
(STATEMENT)However, never is it mentioned that she asks Mr.XXX why Trevor is Strapped to a bed with duct tape over his mouth; which would further indicate this was fabricated.
(POLICE REPORT) the therapist reported to DCF that Mr. XXX became ‘defensive’ when questioned about how Kylie obtained the bruising; so she immediately left the home and contacted DCF
(STATEMENT) again, there is no mention of Trevor, and she doesn’t call the police.
Mr. Scherb indicated he was just tired and seems to think that the Birth to Three therapist; due to her unfamiliarity with him, can only assume he was defensive, because she doesn’t know him personally.
QUESTION: If you walked into a home and a child was strapped to his bed with duct tape over his mouth; would you proceed to service the child in the next room for an hour and then call DCF, who in turn contacts the police? OR would you excuse yourself as cautiously as possible; and call the police and wait for them in the safety of your car, to arrive? And if you can’t make this kind of “sensible” decision; as a person who is trained to do just that, how then can any statement this therapist makes be taken as a reliable or authoritative statement?
(POLICE REPORT) social workers Glaister Gopie and Amy Wisniewski gave officer Rembizs a summary of what was going on. Wesneiwski said that the Birth to Three therapist came to the home for her regularly scheduled session with Kylie. Wisniewski said that the therapist found Kylie with some unexplained bruising on her face. The therapist also said that she found duct tape or packing tape on one of the children DCF assumed the therapist was talking about Kylie. The therapist did not provide any details about where or to whom the duct tape was applied.
(STATEMENT)It appears that DCF doesn’t know who is allegedly ‘taped’ which further indicates an incompetence to fulfill the position by which they were appointed and that an elaboration of facts was presented to the court, as fact, against Liz. The police report indicates that the Birth to Three therapist contacted DCF; but does not report what DCF’s final report to the court claims; Specifically, that Trevor was strapped to a bed with duct tape over his mouth.
(POLICE REPORT) states “Kylie’s therapist reported to DCF that she saw packing tape on her, but no information was provided as to where the tape was applied, there was no evidence to support that the tape was applied to any of Kylie’s appendages directly. And, “When asked about the duct tape or packing tape, XXX Sr. said that they used the tape to hold up the children’s diapers”.
(STATEMENT) Again, no mention of Trevor; but Kylie. There is clearly a confusion of facts.
(POLICE REPORT)Officer Rembisz states; “based on my training and experience, to leave a bruise like this on Kylie’s face, XXX Sr would have had to exert a great deal of force”
(STATEMENT)Mr XXX admitted to inappropriately disciplining the child by slapping her face when she reached for a knife while he prepared lunch; which could be argued does not amount to ‘a great deal of force’ and picture evidence would further indicate the bruise in question does not concur with a slap- but would appear to concur with Ms. XXXl’s explanation that Kylie fell and hit her face on her occupational therapy chair days before. The police report further indicates “the bruise was caused within the past few days” which also concurs with Liz’s explanation.
(STATEMENT) In reference to the foster parent Ms. Soto’s statements- other than the physical appearance of Trevor and Kylie upon placement; We claim her statements are just opinions not fact and should be considered as such. To our knowledge Ms. Soto does not hold a degree; and it is not stated otherwise that she does in the DCF report- that would qualify her as an authority to assume or state such findings as fact in this field. Furthermore, there are reports available by qualified individuals that would prove her opinions questionable.
At http://www.selfhelpmagazine.com/article/child_sexual_behavior Phil Rich, Ed.D.(Doctor of Education), LICSW states “Even in the earliest of days, babies and toddlers touch and rub their own genitals, and even as infants boys experience erections. By early school age (5-7), children are interested in body parts and functions. Some sexual play may begin, and concepts of love and affection begin to develop, evolving into behaviors and questions that continue developing into later childhood (8-9 years old)”.
And, it is because of this we ask that her opinions be stricken as factual evidence or at least be considered for what it is worth; an opinion and not professional or credible evidence against Liz in TPR proceedings.
QUESTION: who watches a child put a toy in and out of a play microwave (which is what a child sees you do) and misconstrues this into suspected sexual abuse?
(STATEMENT)DCF was going to close the initial 2002 case; but because of a mental health diagnoses, By My People Services, Christine Smith of Hartford, CT which was requested by Janet because she indicated to Liz she noticed that her mental health was never addressed; of post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, panic, depression and personality disorder. Liz and DCF social worker Janet Pirelli decided it would be best for Liz if the case remain open so that she could utilize mental health services, that Janet recognized Liz could not afford herself.
(WITNESS)Dr. Richard Segool: 115 Elm St Enfield, CT was the children’s pediatrician prior to their moving and has indicated to DCF that he did not believe Liz was abusing or neglecting her children and that the frivolity of DCF’s involvement was disruptive to the family.
(STATEMENT)We are seeking to consult with The National Center for Youth Law or other attorney to file contempt charges against DCF per the JUAN F consent decree Pg.51 Part C, Placement Prevention and Family Preservation Services.
As DCF’s report indicates they recognized that this family had circumstances ie. Liz’s mental health issues and the families lack of financial resources to afford daycare, which could have prevented the conditions that caused the offense that Steven was charged with. that put the children ‘at risk’ of abuse and neglect and that they failed to address these issues, which according to the consent decree were obligated to do. And because of such would appear to be as guilty of the incidences by which they claim Liz’s ‘unfitness’