This blog is dedicated to "The Children Left Behind." We will not rest until the safety of our children and those that are entrusted with their mental health care are held accountable for abusing the children's God given rights, those rights upheld by our constitution, and those that have been complicit in obfuscating the truth!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Janitors of the Ridge Creek School and Georgia’s DHS mirror the Janitors of Penn State’s Scandal –

 - They clean up the mess, contain it, but manage to leave some legacy.
Let’s look at mandated reporters as “keepers” of a promise to ensure the safety of children.  The keepers at schools, facilities, and the state agencies are the Presidents, Head Masters, Commissioners, Directors, and Supervisors whose work force and mission is supposedly to protect our children under their watch. 

Bob Schieffer appropriately wrote about the Penn State scandal : [excerpt]
“As the Catholic Church learned, when protecting the institution is put ahead of protecting those it is intended to serve, it is eventually the institution that is put at risk.
That is unfortunate, but let us remember those the institution forgot, the victims - children who may have been scarred for life.
They deserve to know those who wronged them and those who knew about it are being brought to justice.”
The lack of knowledge base of child abuse and neglect reporting protocol when it comes to errant, arrogant individuals in a keeper capacity is systemic.  There is no excuse that a Law Enforcement Officer does not know that there is a 24-hour call-in service for Child Protective Services and that protocol must be followed.  Worse, is knowing, and shrugging their duty off.  The corruption that underlies what truly goes on is endemic.

As being reported, Georgia like Pennsylvania, does not have a good track record with enforcement of mandatory reporting laws and prosecuting those who break those laws; these individuals are seldom written up and even rarer is their prosecution accompanied by a minute fine.  One of the key problems rests within the state agency in regard to the manor with which their supervisory staff handle surveys/reports/complaints of child abuse, negligence, rights violations, and fraud that perpetuate the others.   History shows both the agency receiving the reports or complaints, or the facilities themselves, often appear to utilize containment and/or cleansing of reports.  The buck stops at the agency supervisors who subjectively review the reports and apparently have been afforded carte blanche in editing the reports for final submission; unless, their Director or Commissioner has issued a "hands-off."  
See Welts, not welfare: Boss's protective maneuvers send a message that undermines DFCS mission — children's safety.”  Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Maureen Downey January 29, 2008.
There appears to be no oversight of these supervisors.  Rampant nepotism and fear of job loss exist in not just the facilities themselves, but with the agencies’ underlings as well.  Those whose mission and creed is to protect children, find they must "toe the line" or you are out.
The Keepers (state agencies) are set up to be protected and impenetrable, seeking additional cover under antiquated state immunity laws, enabling the Penn States and Ridge Creeks of the world to operate under the radar of any scrutiny; everyone flourishes under the façade.  Now, Penn State as a public, state funded institution might try to interject sovereign immunity to bar themselves from lawsuits surely and rightfully to come, but there is argument that it is not a state agency, only funded, therefore sovereign immunity cannot be applied. Ridge Creek accepted state funds, out of state funds, and medicaid funds for services that were not, or could not be rendered to Special Needs Children; obviously, it does not grant Ridge Creek sovereign immunity.  The Keepers did not stop them either.
In reading the 23-page Grand Jury Indictment of Jerry Sandusky, former coach at Penn State, much stands out that parallels what went wrong at the Ridge Creek facility, although the allegations differ, the lack of mandated reporting in both cases had horrific consequences, which could have stopped more children and their families from being hurt in both cases.
At Penn State, mandated reporters did not report sexual misconduct and the rapes of many children; they kept quiet for fear of their job loss, nepotism, promises, or for protecting the institution.
At the now closed Ridge Creek School facility, formerly Hidden Lake Academy, attempted suicides went unreported, just business as usual.  This facility had plenty of company in the Therapeutic Teen Help Industry, which is a breeding ground for disaster in itself.  
With regard to the Ridge Creek facility and its former Hidden Lake Academy, there were several mandated reporters at the facility that did not report anything for fear of losing their jobs, for empty promises, for nepotistic reasons, or a sick logic that it was all for the greater good of themselves.  Several ‘players’ that knew better were the Janitors, who ethically should have been the Keepers;  former Directors, Headmasters, and Counselors, actually promoted the horrific environment and contained the egregious behaviors of the facility. Two players come to mind, Chris Grimwood, a major promoter of the inherent fraud perpetrated to families, along with Jeff Holloway, both of whom are now at Brandon Hall … From Hidden Lake Academy it was Headmaster Charles Cates, now retired, who was in charge of containment. What is frightening, is the lies these people could spew, without blinking an eye.  There were more Janitors at the Ridge Creek and Hidden Lake facility, too numerous to mention over the last 11 years and they just moved on in their 100 billion dollar industry to another facility, unscathed, while the families picked up the pieces they all left behind, including their children.  Educational Consultants rave about how wonderful these people are; blinded by their livelihood much?
Mandated reporters?  Again, Judges in Georgia seldom fine them, if the cowards are even brought to court – after all, it is only a child’s life, who apparently has no rights.  College Park, PA?    Mr. Sandusky received only a bond of 100,000 dollars for 40 counts, including rapes of children, 8 to date, sexually abused. It is now being reported that Judge Dutchcot, who is presiding over the case is listed as a volunteer at The Second Mile.  Shouldn't the Judge have disclosed this to the attorneys?  Recuse herself?  How many children was Mr. Sandusky rewarded with, through foster care, and adoption;  now another charity, the Fresh Air Fund, states that the Sandusky's were a host familiy for inner city children? What does that say?  What is a child’s life worth?  Our system is screwed up.
On a grander scale, Penn State in College Park, Pa was just another Hidden Lake Academy/Ridge Creek School in Dahlonega, Georgia along with a myriad of others – self- preservation, containment, money, and live the lie.  The problem here - if you “live the lie” long enough, it becomes livable and the norm.
The entire town of Dahlonega in Lumpkin County was sewn up. After all, there were connections in downtown Atlanta, according to the former Sheriff – big whoop.  Like Penn State in College Park, at one time Hidden Lake Academy and Ridge Creek thrived, bringing in money for the town businesses in Dahlonega. Until the town businesses servicing the facility realized the owner did not like to pay his bills, including taxes; even in the early years there were tax liens and material man’s liens.  There were warnings given to parents, “if you file a lawsuit, do not do it in Lumpkin County – he owns it.”  Or, the GAO’s warning that “this goes all the way up to judges, stay out of the State, go Federal.”  Ridiculous.  Impossible?  And just how is that accomplished if the reporting agencies are the ONLY entities in the state that can ask for intervention by the Federal government (DOJ, AG), the Inspector General, the State Attorney General (who protects the agencies), or the GBI?  What is even more ludicrous is having to ask the State of Georgia if they will allow a lawsuit against themselves?  Get real.
An earthquake, with lingering aftershocks, has jolted College Park.  It is in the news across the globe; good and bad, the affected families and their children have media support that will not allow the State of Pennsylvania or Penn State to continue a cover-up.  Those exposed to the previous Ridge Creek School and its affiliates, along with the state agencies should only be so lucky with Georgia.
Even if complaints/reports are processed by a DFCS or ORCC investigator/surveyor, their survey report goes to their supervisor, where it is reviewed, re-written, or ignored. Off-the-record, with fear of reprisal, we have received notice that investigator reports were reviewed by the supervisors and never utilized.  Why send out your agents to investigate, if you won’t back them up? Several final reports from complaints do not even reference the original complaint.   So, the DFCS, CPS, ORCC, DHS responding agent/surveyors are mandated reporters, but the “meat” of their report can be silenced at the supervisory level; supervisors are mandated reporters, too.  So, how does that work? The best of it all, “they are lying to you.”  (“They,” refers to the DHS, ORCC, DFCS, DJJ supervisors and directors.)  Georgia agents/surveyors are just pawns, used to the advantage of the hierarchy, discarded if they make waves; less is more, unless there is an agreed upon target.  Janitorial work can be tedious.
No one in either case, surely endemic across the country and world, can speak the truth unless it is acceptable to the “machine,” the institution that pays their salaries.  It has always been structured that way, corporate or otherwise.
Another mandated reporter, Penn State’s Mr. Mike McQueary as a Graduate Assistant witnessed a 10-year-old boy being sodomized by Jerry Sandusky in the showers.  He went home and called his father?  What human being would not intervene, plummet the SOB, if not near kill him, comfort the child as best one can, and call the police?   Perhaps a pre-requisite for human beings interacting with children should be that they watch several films of animals in nature protecting their cubs.  Jerry Sandusky was fortunate he lived in a community where they do not deliver their own brand of justice, because he would have been an immediate candidate for a penile implant; forget castration - that would have been a gift.
If Mr. McQueary had reported the incident to the police, would it have even gotten past the police?  At the time, doubtful, a call here or there, connections, favors.   A town owned, is a town owned; the machine is above reproach whether in College Park, PA., Dahlonega, Georgia, or anywhere else.
Parents of children that attended Hidden Lake Academy and the Ridge Creek facility state they not only contacted the Office of Regulatory Services ( ORS), now the Office of Residential Child Care( ORCC) in the Department of Human Services (DHS) but, the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office, ADTF, the FBI, and filed  complaints asking for investigations.  They never heard back aside from a perfunctory email or letter if they were fortunate.  No accountability – lives ruined.  Like Penn State, tragedies could have been stopped years back.
The bottom line is that mandated reporters have an ethical, humane, and fiduciary responsibility to report child abuse, child negligence, and violations of children’s rights.  They are the keepers of the glen.  We should all know that.  Thwarting any hope of reform is the allowed rampant nepotism in the agencies and intstitutions that incidents are reported to, the back-room favors, and the muscle placed on anyone attempting to right the wrongs that the hierarchy wants to disappear. 
The Pennsylvania Governor has announced he wants the laws changed, but that will not cut it, unless there is absolute, outside oversight of the agencies, institutions, and their brethren as we have learned from Georgia.  Georgia’s agency hierarchy circumvented the truth,  took care of their co-conspirators in a politically motivated machine, while weeding out dedicated people that seek truth, transparency, and the safety of the children.  Families that seek justice and accountability are doomed from the start. 

It has taken how many years to bring Jerry Sandusky to court?  How long was Hidden Lake Academy, the Ridge Creek School et affiliates allowed to perpetrate so many frauds and cover-up incidents regarding minor children where mandated reporting of those incidents were required?   How long was Ridge Creek and its affiliates allowed to go unlicensed, with the state knowing full well it was not purely an academic school? To date, no one has been held accountable as a mandated reporter in either of Georgia’s state agencies or the Ridge Creek affiliated facilities.  Why not?  Apologies?  Don’t hold your breath. 

Over the span of 11 or so years, with complaints and lawsuits, the ORS/ORCC rewarded the Ridge Creek /Hidden Lake Academy facilities with numerous licenses for various entities on the same compound.  The ORCC still does not acknowledge the existence, if only on paper ,of another facility on the same compound with state contracts that did not exist.   The state afforded stimulus funds to the facility as a Residential Treatment Facility (RTF), when it was not licensed as such;  more ingenious is the fact that the State allowed children who needed an RTF to be admitted.  Fact, the facilities like Ridge Creek across the country cannot continue to operate without the help of the state of domicile, which turns more than a blind eye and deaf ears to the cries of the families. Two programs, Aspen Education and WWASPS exhibit spot-on examples of influence, child abuse, child neglect, and child deaths. 
At least the Penn State Board of Trustees “fired” the lot, even if their backs were against the wall.  Unfortunately, for them, containment was no longer an option, so they cut the cord.  A "RIF"(Reduction in Force) just wouldn't fly.
In Georgia, just as the Catholic Church accommodated their pedophile priests, DHS rewarded their brethren who continuously obfuscated the truth to famiies with moving them to other departments in the DHS; or, they conveniently announce a (RIF) due to budget cuts.  Four months later, they replace the RIF’s with another covert operative, whom did not appear to have a clue either.  

It appears Ridge Creek School’s former Directors, along with Penn State’s hierarchy have much more in common with Georgia’s Department of Human Services (DHS). Apparently, the only resume requirements for a Director or Supervisor within the DHS and its other agencies is that lying must be second nature, and having “no clue” is a plus.
In Ridge Creek and Hidden Lake Academy’s case, the owner portrayed himself to be the victim.  Let there be no mistake, the only victims were the children, their parents, and a handful of naïve employees; victims of a near-perfect, perpetuated fraud … And, of course, those donors to the infamous slush fund, er, “Chapel Fund.”
In Penn State’s case/scandal, the victims were the children.  Mr. Paterno was not the victim here folks.  To quote a friend, “if one thinks there is just one mouse in the house, think again." He was part of the problem. They all were part of what they determined was an invincible machine, an institution that was operating as if they were above the law.  Heck, they probably were the law.  They did not even care enough to identify the young boy allegedly raped by Mr. Sandusky in Penn State’s showers. 
These mandated reporters appear to have chosen self-absorbed glory over their own humanity.
The grand jury met for over 18 months. Mr. Paterno (whom testified early this year), Penn State et al knew this was coming, yet Penn State reels in shock, along with Mr. Paterno and his compatriots?  They had over 18 months to prepare, to come forward.  Penn state declined comment in March of 2011.
Did their arrogance so blind them to think this would disappear? 
March 2011
Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News reports that grand jury is investigating Sandusky on allegations of indecent assault against a teenage boy. The Patriot-News reports that five people with knowledge of the case said the grand jury has been meeting for 18 months and has called witnesses, including Paterno and Curley. Penn State declines comment.”
Shed no tears for Mr. Paterno.  He was blessed.  It was not his son in that shower.

  And that’s my take.
“For the Children Left Behind”

*For those readers that are not familiar with the former Ridge Creek School 
  facility and the former Hidden Lake Academy, there is much information in
  previous articles and posts, not only on this blog, but others as well the FOX I-
  team news report out of Atlanta.

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