Monday, October 14, 2013

Has DHHS Really Changed Since the Death of Logan Marr? Part 1

To watch PBS's story on Logan's case visit:
http://vimeo.com/63064156

In the past two years of following Ayla's case, I was surprised I never did a story on Logan Marr's case. The two stories are very different but both very tragic and heartbreaking but there are some similarities to the case at least in regards to DHHS. 

On January 31, 2001 5 year old Logan Marr was found slumped on the floor of her foster parent's unfinished basement still attached to the high chair she was placed in. According to her foster mother Sally Schofield, she had placed Logan in the high chair in the basement so she could scream and vent her frustration. It was her belief Logan had fallen over and bumped her head. It soon became apparent to police that Sally Schofield, former DHHS Caseworker, had forcibly restrained Logan who had instead died of asphyxiation not a traumatic head injury.



So how did Logan get into Sally Schofield's care and end up dead and how does this case have anything to do with Ayla? Logan's case exposed DHHS and their Child Protective Services program as well as what part they played in Logan's death. Supposedly 10 years after Logan's death Maine CPS and DHHS program has become a standard for other states and underwent a major overhaul to prevent cases like Logan's from ever happening again but here we are with Ayla's case. Trista is leaving her options open to sue DHHS for their part in Ayla's disappearance. Is DHHS again at fault for another child who is at the very least missing and widely thought to be dead? What responsibility does DHHS hold in Ayla's case if any? 




Logan Marr was born October 14, 1995 to Christy Marr. Christy was young and had no prospects. Her only relationship was with her mother, Kathy Baker, and that was turbulent and dysfunctional. Her mother frequently contacted DHHS and reported Christy for being too immature to properly raise Logan. Finally DHHS decided to check in with Christy to make sure Logan was being cared for properly. At the time the DHHS case was initially opened it was coincidentally opened out of the Lewiston, Maine office. The same office that responded to the fight between Jessica and Trista Reynolds and got involved in Ayla's case. The video above shows live footage of Lewiston so you can get an idea of how Lewiston looks. 

DHHS did an assessment and found that Logan was not abused. They also felt that Christy was doing a good job parenting Logan with only a few small areas to work on. They decided to focus instead on her unhealthy relationship with her boyfriend and how he was an admitted drug user. They worked out a service agreement with Christy.



Christy worked to keep Logan away from unsavory people and alienated herself from those in her life that could pose a threat to Logan. During this time, her mother Kathy, started dating a man who had been convicted of having inappropriate relations with a teenager. Christy was warned she would need to cut ties with her mother or risk losing Logan. A while later and with a lapse in judgment, Christy had someone babysit Logan at her mother's house. Her mother was no longer with that man and he was no longer living there but he ended up showing up at the house while Logan was there and a neighbor called DHHS to report it. DHHS immediately stepped in an removed Logan.



At two and a half years old Logan was removed from her mother's custody and DHHS retained custody of Logan. Based on DHHS policy at the time DHHS worked towards family reunification and their first priority was to fix issues in the home so the families could stay together. They only sought to remove children if there was an immediate threat of harm. Before DHHS could remove a child their claims had to be vetted in court but DHHS had the key voice and parents weren't even notified of any court procedures to be able to defend themselves.

If Ayla had been ordered to have been removed from Trista's custody, they would have taken her immediately and not waited until after she entered rehab so I don't believe there was any order from DHHS to remove Ayla from Trista's custody. Had Trista not attended rehab then I suspect they would have moved to take Ayla. Trista reportedly agreed to have Justin take Ayla and even mandated that Justin leave Portland and go live with his mother so Ayla had a more stable environment to live in. Should DHHS be held liable for what happened to Ayla when Trista made the call that she go to Waterville? It has been said that Jessica had previously lost her children to DHHS, if DHHS didn't give an ultimatum and threaten to remove Ayla how could they justify allowing Trista's kids to live in the same home with Jessica if she was deemed unfit? How could Jessica care for Ayla and Baby Ray while Trista was in rehab if she was deemed unfit to care for her own kids? More importantly though, why were Jessica's children removed and was the DHHS worker unfairly targeting the Reynolds and setting unfair demands and ultimatums?

Christy became pregnant again and DHHS issued another ultimatum to Christy-

Christy complied with DHHS mandates and did what was asked of her. She attained housing and only had contact with her mother through video. In March of 1999, Logan was returned to her. In June the case was officially closed. Christy had a hard time after regaining custody and had no one to lean on for support. She sought out her father whom she had accused of sexual abuse but later recanted years prior in Florida. For nine weeks she went to live with his new family and Logan and Bailey, her new daughter, thrived. After awhile Christy had a hard time living by her father's rules and returned to Maine. She met and married Paul. Someone reported that Paul hit Christy in front of Logan. It was never confirmed but new DHHS caseworker, Allison Peters, acted immediately and went to the home the next day with police officers and removed the two children. It appears at that time DHHS focus had switched from family reunification and gave parents less time to fulfill DHHS requirements to get their children back. As part of a government program, DHHS was offered financial incentive to remove children from their biological parents and place them into adoptive homes in order to keep them safe regardless of whether or not it infringed on the rights of the parents. Christy was given 6 months. She immediately divorced Paul and did everything DHHS required of her. 

During this time, the foster parent that had Logan complained of her anger and outbursts. She had her evaluated at Spurwink for signs of previous physical or sexual abuse. They found no evidence of either. An incident happened between Logan and her current foster mother and she was immediately removed from the home. No one will discuss what happened. DHHS contacted Sally Schofield, who was a DHHS caseworker in Bangor, and asked if she would be open to taking the two girls even though it is against DHHS rules for a DHHS employee to take a child that is in DHHS custody. Shortly after Sally took the girls, DHHS started tapering off Christy's visits and started refusing to transport her to see them. When Christy was able to see the girls, Logan told her that she didn't like Sally and that Sally had hurt her and her sister. She had squeezed their faces and wrapped them in blankets when they were bad. Christy was not allowed to ask questions of Logan or acknowledge what she was saying. DHHS witnessed these exchanges and did not act. Their own rules state that all foster homes must be checked in on at least quarterly and any reports or indications of abuse or neglect be thoroughly and immediately investigated. DHHS did none of this. Did DHHS policy state that children being sent to live with the other biological parent must have their homes checked out quarterly or did this not apply because it was not a foster home? Regardless, there was an indication of possible abuse and DHHS never followed up on that report even though a doctor even noted that the explanation for Ayla's broken arm did not make sense with her injury.





In an email Allison Peters stated that Christy was still up to her old tricks and making it easier and easier for DHHS to terminate her parental rights so Sally could adopt the girls even though Sally had expressed concerns about her ability to parent Logan and the difficulties she was having. A month later Logan would be dead.

After a missed visit because of a blizzard, Sally claimed Logan was not herself and needed to vent. She put her in a highchair in an unfinished part of the basement and allowed her to scream at will. She claims she was not restrained, free to leave at any time, and was continuously checked on. She said Logan quieted so she went to check on her and found her in a heap on the floor. Police later found that she had been duct taped. Sally was sentenced to 20 years in prison for manslaughter.


DHHS was not found liable for anything and Allison Peters received a one month paid suspension. It was then that DHHS was under public scrutiny and many who had problems with them stepped forward. DHHS has the power to make and break their own rules and are not accountable to anyone. Their meetings and files are secretive as well as their processes. After Logan's murder the system went through an overhaul but now ten years later, how much has it really changed? It is unlikely Trista will ever succeed in a case against them but if they are in anyway culpable for Ayla's disappearance they should be held accountable or at the very least the public should demand that permanent changes be made so this doesn't happen to another child. 



Part two will look at specific changes made to CPS policy and examine what has really changed and what remains the same.

38 comments:

  1. This case is heartbreaking. It exposed the corrupt underbelly of Maine DHHS. Some things may have changed butin all likelihood many of the same people are still working there as were when Logan died.

    DHHS in Maine appears to be heavy-handed. Look at the recent case of DHHS threatening to remove a baby because her mom fed her a goat milk formula and opposes vaccination on religious grounds. When it was determined by doctors in a hospital that the baby was healthy, DHHS got its own doctor to overrule the treating doctors. http://bangordailynews.com/2013/09/05/news/bangor/group-protests-dhhs-overreach-of-authority-involving-brooklin-teen-who-feeds-her-baby-homemade-goat-milk-formula-avoids-vaccines

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  2. I remember when this happened. Poor Logan.

    This whole story is horrifying but what stood out to me the most was this:

    "As part of a government program, DHHS was offered financial incentive to remove children from their biological parents and place them into adoptive homes in order to keep them safe regardless of whether or not it infringed on the rights of the parents."

    Long before I had kids I learned from my peers (who did have children) to fear DHHS. If you have children - they (DHHS) rule your world, no questions asked.

    I have seen the corruption in DHHS & it is beyond disgusting!

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    1. I was appalled at that when I learned it but I can't say I was surprised to learn that there was a financial incentive. They have parents less time to work towards getting their kids back and parents had to jump through hoops and work triple time to do what was required of them and some mandates were impossible to complete in such short time frames.

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    2. Gave not have...

      DHHS is their own judge and jury pretty much and they have the ear of all of the actual judges because of who they are. If you are going up against DHHS you won't have a shot unless you get an attorney. What they tell people is that they have to work with them and if they don't they will take their kids. Parents don't know they can tell DHHS to take a hike and not cooperate with them. The less you tell them and they can see, the harder they have to work to build an actual case against you and if it is unfounded, nothing will come of it.

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  3. I've read about this case before and it is heartbreaking. DHHS makes their own rules and oversees themselves, in secrecy. It's an institution ripe for corruption and abuse.
    Like in any governmental bureaucracy, most of the incompetent aren't fired - they're promoted to get them out of the particular department they're causing problems in. The good, caring people get frustrated, they burn out quickly and leave. What you're left with are those for whom this is not an avocation, it's just a job. Unfortunately, it's the children who suffer in the process.

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    1. Understaffed and lack of sufficient funding as well and none of it is an excuse.

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    2. In Logan's case, she suffered exponentially. To watch the video footage of her and hear her statements she made and others said she made, it was obvious DHHS had screwed her up. Think of how many others suffered the same way. In the two years since Logan's death more than 10,000 more cases were opened. I wonder how many are opened now

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  4. CG, thank you for sharing the link. First of all, kudos to this young mother and her family for providing this baby the best alternative to human milk, which is a goats milk formula. Secondly, the pediatrician cited in the article, Dr. William Sears, was my firstborn child's pediatrician when I lived in San Diego, CA. I believe that he still has his practice in San Clemente, CA. I always give his book "The Baby Book" as a new baby gift when someone close has a new blessing. Thirdly, it is truly outrageous how DHHS has violated the right of this family. I believe that their is a vaccine waiver available in Maine which provides either medical or religious exemption. Perhaps even a philosophical exemption exists? Anyway, if I was unable to breastfeed any of my children, I would never use a commercial formula either. I would use donor milk if it was available (recently it has become available here) and a goats milk formula if it wasn't available.

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    1. 'there', not 'their'.....

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  5. The link above is a great watch. It is an hour long but so eye opening and has great interviews with Sally Schofield and Christy Marr.

    This is also another great read about Logan
    http://aylareynolds.com/anon/logan's%20truth.pdf

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    1. I have a friend who went through the ringer with DHS (Michigan Department of Human Services) regarding the father of her children. She was collecting food stamps, and when it came time for the annual certification, the caseworker starting asking her about her children's father who wasn't living with her and never had. Although the father had an established address in another state, they sent her a letter accusing her of food stamp fraud, claiming that he lived with her. Their "fraud investigator" sent her a letter requesting that she come into the office for a meeting to discuss the allegations. She contacted legal aid, and they advised her NOT to attend because they would likely try to bully her into signing a paper admitting to fraud. So, she didn't attend the meeting, and an investigator actually came to her front door. He even threatened to take her children over food stamps! Well, she didn't let him in, did absolutely nothing, didn't complete the annual certification, never filed for food stamps again, and she never heard from them again. It seems to me that they made up unfounded accusations just to bully someone from receiving help that they are entitled to, which is sad. That said, I am really not surprised at the probability that Maine DHHS has messed up once again in Ayla's case. I hope that Trista pursues a case against them. Regardless of the outcome, at the very least it will once again put it in the public eye that a child was wronged by the system. Hopefully, DHHS will have to change things for the better.

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  6. If you haven't checked the link above for Logan's Truth, please check it or this one. It is a long read but very informative and by Maine's ONLY real INVESTIGATIVE reporter TerriLynn Simpson

    http://www.asmainegoes.com/loganstruth_intro.htm

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  7. What a heartbreaking story. I'm interested in seeing your part 2. I'm interested in seeing what changes were made in DHHS.

    I feel bad to generalize the entire DHHS system. I'm sure there are people who do care there. It's just sad to see so many children being failed, even with DHHS involved. I understand they might be understaffed, underpaid, etc., but something needs to be done. Children are suffering. Why are the works of DHHS so secretive? Why are they so powerful in the eyes of the courts?

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    1. I am researching it now, should be up in a few days. It is hard to find actual DHHS documents as everything is so secretive.

      Being understaffed, underpaid, undereducated shouldn't be an acceptable excuse. Changes still need to be made. Poor children and families are being ruined by them :(

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    2. Good post Tori. It seems to be that way in a lot of states AZ included. Children dieing in homes that have been reported numerous times. You would think Government would worry about that and give it a priority over a health care law that most of them have never even read because it is over 1000 pages long. They care more about other countries business and let helpless children in the United States die at the hands of uncaring parents, and boyfriends.No money for this problem but billions to police the rest of the world. Go figure.

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    3. Thank you Dana. It is heart wrenching what slips through the cracks and then the families who are ripped apart unjustly. It is infuriating

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  8. Very chilling story Tori, especially since DHHS took Trista to court on trumped up allegations concerning little Raymond.

    The judge threw them out of court and as a result of their legal proceedings, it opened up the their records to us.

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    1. Oh jeez. I wasn't aware of DHHS bringing Trista to court regarding little Raymond. :(

      Thank God, there's appears to have been a judge that didn't have the wool pulled over his or her eyes.

      You know, if this happened after Ayla went missing, and allegations had been circling about regarding DHHS playing a role, I immediately wonder if it was retaliation and/or them desperately trying to grasp at straws to try to prove Trista unfit somehow, only in hopes to cover themselves in regards to Ayla. If they could have proven her unfit to care for Raymond, then they could have said, SEE she's unfit, we had to take away her other baby!

      But, that obviously did not happen.

      I have to wonder if the other kids involved in this situation have been even checked on by DHHS.

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    2. I hope that Linnell family has Gabby checked often by DHHS. Who knows what she has been put through.

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    3. Gabbys Dad goes to court pretty much every 2 months and records everything he sees or suspects about her care in a notebook. He is fighting his ass off trying to gain as much rights from her as possible.

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    4. Ashley, Good for him. Gabby's Dad should have the right to see and care for his child just as much as Elisha. Perhaps someday these children having children will grow up and put their child's interests first. One day Gabby will be old enough to read everything and know what happened. What will she think then?

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  9. Just to clarify, It was in September of this year that DHHS took Trista to court. The State had to provide discovery, as such, all prior information regarding Trista and Raymond (and subsequently Ayla) was introduced.

    Why? Little Raymond had a suffered a scape on the right side of his face from falling off his three wheeled trike and DHHS would not accept the truth. I suspect that it had to do with the false Facebook claims that Alex was abusive to Raymond, but anyone who has ever seen how he is with the kids, would know how preposterous that is.

    Alex is a really nice guy who is very mature for his age and works whatever hours he can get at minimum wage to help provide for his kids. Little Raymond calls him dad and Alex calls Raymond his son, both in deeds and in verbiage.

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    1. There are people who should be investigated by DHHS, and DHHS either never bothers, or they just blindly believe lies. Why do they decide who to harass, who to let slide by, who to believe, etc.? I don't get it. I'm glad the judge was able to see the truth. The sad fact is, that doesn't always happen. Some abusers are allowed to continue on with abuse, then some innocent people are basically harassed. I guess we can say well that's good that DHHS is following up on their cases or complaints or whatever, but are they really? Are they picking and choosing which cases to follow up on, and why?

      I don't know the answers and I don't know the solution, but I agree with this post, and hopefully changes will be made. ASAP.

      Also, this was in no way geared towards the DiPietro's or Courtney. This comment is for all the families and kids, not just in ME, but across the country.

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    2. One story I will share regarding Maine DHS is a while ago, my friend's spouse was holding thier daughter as they walked to the car.

      The daughter was a toddler. It was the middle of winter. There was ice everywhere. My friend's spouse fell. My friend's spouse broke their leg and the toddler broke their leg as well. (Two broken legs - one fall.) The wife & a friend of the couple witnessed the fall.

      An ambulance was called & the toddler & parent went to the ER.

      DHS was notified. DHS took both the couple's kids. DHS accused the parent of abusing the child. DHS would not listen to the spouse who saw everything or the friend who saw everything.

      DHS made the couple split up. Because the one parent could not be around the kids. A year later & jumping through every possible hoop - the family was finally reunited. DHS apparently had changed their mind about what had happened to the toddler. That the leg that was broken was broken from a fall. Nothing more. Nothing less.

      Thankfully, I have not been on the receiving end of DHS's bull but I have seen too many that were.

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    3. Was Trista able to know who made these complaints against her? Someone she knew perhaps?? or a stranger?

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  10. Thats a good question A - I am thinking they cannot disclose anyone's name but they must disclose what was said about the abuse how else could it be argued? - so in reading the charges against them they may be able to deduct who said it.
    (did that make any sense at all) it is early

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  11. I remember this all to well Christy marrwas living with me at the time I was there when she got the news, also I was there at the funeral home before the funeral service and saw logan as she was.

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    1. How awful and heartbreaking. Thoughts and prayers to Christy.

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    2. Jessie...how horrible. Prayers for both Christy and you too.

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  12. DHS having more say over your children then you is wrong. We women are the ones who carried them for 9 months and go through the pains to have them. I do think it's good that we have child protective services to protect children. But if there are no signs of abuse in any way. I think they should mind their business. Just because someone is a foster parent doesn't make them safe to parent. DHS should do long investigations into their backgrounds before placing children with them. In some cases children should be moved from homes depending on how badly they are being treated or who is around them. But don't remove them if no such threats is detected or present. I was a victim of DHS's unlawfulness. My child was removed from me at 4 hrs old. But, thankfully he was placed with wonderful people. Who in fact adopted him when he was 2. Once a year these wonderful people send me a new picture of "our" son and update me on how he is doing. He is now 11 and is doing wonderfully. I thank the good lord above every day for these wonderful people. My heart goes out to those poor children who fall victim to DHS and end up like poor little Logan Mar. But she is in a better place.......

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  13. But why did they take custody of your baby when he was 4 hours old?

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    1. Usually, custody will not be taken upon birth unless there were children removed previously under extreme circumstances of abuse and failure to work at changing those circumstances during pregnancy of said newborn. Just my experience...

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  14. I'm leaning toward jealousy....Where is Ayla has not had more than 25 comments on any of their posts, J4A hasn't had a new post since Monday and no more than 31 comments, U4A hasn't had more than 50 comments on the last 2 posts, Grace doesn't allow comments on her blog, JSTL hasn't had a new post since forever and Tori Lies Again hasn't has a new post since September 11th....and besides who wouldn't be jealous of Nina with her awesome fashion sense in her hooker boots and puffed out chest....

    Oaklandrez

    I am not petty enough to be jealous of someone having a blog. I don't have the time to constantly man a blog by myself and write all the posts. I have a family and a life and other priorities. I am glad Nina opened a blog where she feels comfortable and that others with similar opinions also feel comfortable there. This is about a little girl who needs justice and a voice, it isn't a game or a competition as to who has the most followers to me. I found your comment very offensive. As far as the trolls I hope you weren't insinuating that it was other bloggers jealous of the competition that were making comments on Nina's blog because no one, not even Grace is that childish. The trolls are apart of the deal with blogs, the more popular, the more trolls. Now that everyone stopped commenting here the trolls and the attacks went away and it is respectful discussion here, it may be between only a few people but it is certainly better than it was before with all of the petty back and forth between all the blogs. And for the record, I would have posted this on the blog it came from but it is closed to new comments

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    1. Tori that was not addressed at or to anyone in particular and was not about trolls. That comment was about the attacks on Nina and the Asking for Ayla Reynolds Blog. I'm sorry you took offense but it wasn't about you or what you have done for Ayla awareness. There are some very opinionated and close-minded people that see what they want to see and follow rumor and innuendo and have a tendency when people ask legitimate questions to attack and make it personal. Take it however you wish.

      Oaklandrez

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    2. The Where Is Ayla blog doesn't appear to care if they have comments or not. People should probably stop trying to second guess what everyone else thinks and does. It helps nothing in the long run.

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  15. Any Attachment Disorder that Logan may have had at the time of her death was caused by the DHHS; first by unattaching her from her mother, and then by moving her around constantly. This surely was compounded by the fact that Logan told her mom that she'd been abused, and her mom wasn't allowed to respond; that poor little girl likely thought her mother didn't care either.
    My little sister and I were removed from our mother after a family member complained (likely my father who was going through a custody battle with mom).
    They took us away because they said she was locking us in a closet. First off, the closets had sliding doors, and we had removed them entirely so we could put a table in there, toss sheets over it and we would pretend we were camping, or it was a fort - whatever, but still they took us. We were placed in a foster home where we were sexually abused by a mentally challenged son of theirs for three years. My sister never recovered from the experience and died at 40 yrs of age after years of prostitution, drugs, and alcohol. When I found her journals after her death, I noticed that all of the men in her life were referred to as "Daddy".
    The system is messed up because the book-smart, inexperienced, smug, lucky to have been born lucky but have absolutely no idea what it's like to live in a home where people have issues. think they know better because they've been "Educated".

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  16. Wow- this banter BS is fascinating to me! What a great way to spend time rather than to educate yourselves about the world. I love how NONE of you have an actual education, training or specialized skills in social work, nor have any of you ever worked in the field, yet are so brilliant that you're able to "uncover lies about DHHS." Sounds to me like you're time would be better spent in therapy addressing you mental health needs than trying to play a professional role that clearly none of you are qualified for. BTW, buy a dictionary!

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  17. ...and for those of you who do not have a dictionary- yes, it should say "your." You're welcome!

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