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  1. #1
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    Oct 2003
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    180

    TN - Foster parents charged with abuse

    Foster parents charged with abuse
    Tennessee authorities remove 18 children from home

    TRENTON, Tennessee (AP) -- A little more than a year after Tom and Debbie Schmitz were profiled in heartwarming news stories as religious, caring foster parents, 18 children have been removed from their home amid charges of abuse and neglect.

    Police say some of the children -- including those with physical disabilities and special behavioral needs -- were beaten, left for long hours in a dark cellar and locked in a metal cage.

    The Schmitzes stood silently at their first court appearance Tuesday. An attorney for Debbie Schmitz said she is innocent and will fight for the return of the children.

    "She's not guilty of abuse as the law would define that," attorney Michael Robbins said as the Schmitzes and a handful of supporters arrived at court with yellow ribbons pinned to their clothes.



    For the rest of the article.......http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/South/06/....ap/index.html

  2. #2
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    Sep 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayceebee
    The Schmitzes stood silently at their first court appearance Tuesday. An attorney for Debbie Schmitz said she is innocent and will fight for the return of the children.
    What she is fighting for is the checks she gets for each one of those kids each month. Figure if she gets even just $300 per month, per child $5400/month.

    When I was growing up we had a family that lived down the street from us that had a foster kid racket going. I say that because the kids were always seemed hungry and dirty, but the "parents" always had new cars, clean clothes and looked like they never missed a meal. It is also strange that three different houses they lived in all burned down. I think they were scammin' insurance companies, too.

    God, I have grown up to be one suspicious person!
    "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." - Mark Twain



    GO STEELERS!

  3. #3
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    Aug 2003
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    886
    Okay, I'm not condoning abuse in any way, but some of this seems a little farfetched to me. This is a quote from the article:
    Sheriff's Detective Don Curry said the children were required to clean the house and take care of two horses and other animals on the farm.

    Oh no, they were required to do chores! How horrible.

    Of course it also said that they were beaten if they didn't do it fast enough and some were forced to sleep naked on the floor as punishment. This is wrong and clearly abuse. But the doing of chores is not folks. Kids should do chores. it teaches them responsibilty. In a house with 20 people, everyone should do something to help.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2004
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    Theres doing chores and theres being a servant..........What were the ages of the children? If they expected lets say a 4 year old with developmental problems to clean a bathroom thats clearly not appropriate.Chores must be within the childs age and abilities.Caring for a horse is hard work-have you ever mucked out a stall?Lifted bales of hay? Thats the work of a grown man.
    I get the feeling these people expected chores done that were not in these childrens range and then when they were not finished to their satisfaction they were abused.
    Also most states have guidelines as to what foster children are allowed to do in the home and excessive housework is not allowed.



    Speaking from expirence good foster homes are nearly non-exsistant but the system is at this point beyond repair and Im afraid it just wont get any better.
    The saints are the sinners who keep trying...

  5. #5
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    Aug 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by messiecake
    Theres doing chores and theres being a servant..........What were the ages of the children? If they expected lets say a 4 year old with developmental problems to clean a bathroom thats clearly not appropriate.Chores must be within the childs age and abilities.Caring for a horse is hard work-have you ever mucked out a stall?Lifted bales of hay? Thats the work of a grown man.
    I get the feeling these people expected chores done that were not in these childrens range and then when they were not finished to their satisfaction they were abused.
    Also most states have guidelines as to what foster children are allowed to do in the home and excessive housework is not allowed.
    Point taken Messiecake. My 4 year old has chores that include straightening her room, putting silverware away in the drawer (no knives though), feeding dog and cat. She love to clean bathrooms, but has no clue how to do it.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2003
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    Children made to dig own graves

    HOW and WHY do people want to care for children????????? Money I guess.

    I really hope they go away for a long time.

    http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/South/07/....ap/index.html

  7. #7
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    The nurse said she saw two children, ages 8 and 10, forced to sleep in a locked metal cage without a mattress or blankets. The youngsters were "curled in a fetal position in the cage," the affidavit said.


    I think the foster agency & adoption agency employees that placed these children with these people should go away for a long time too.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2004
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    The good news is that these children aren't dead, which was what I thought when I saw the title of the thread.

    The bad news will be if these kind of practices toward children by this married couple are allowed to continue.

  9. #9
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    Sick to my stomach when I read this story. How are people like this allowed to have children in their homes (biological, foster, adoption, whatever). This is absolutely horrible that someone would treat a child this way. Children look up to the adult to care for them and love them. This is a disgrace. These two idiots should be locked up and the key thrown away.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    51
    People are so so sick. Stories like these break my heart.

    How is it possible that they could have so many children in there care. It is impossible for anyone including Mother Teresa to care for so many children. The sad thing is these kids are scarred for life. And the cycle of abuse has just begun.


  11. #11
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    Aug 2003
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    I take back any defense I may have made of these people on another thread! I was way way wrong!

  12. #12
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    Oct 2014
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    5,797
    2006:

    On Jan. 30 the Schmitzes went on trial in Brownsville, Tenn., on 31 counts of child abuse and child trafficking. The case of the Schmitzes—most of whose kids suffered from physical or emotional problems—has also focused attention on a little-known gray-market network of families who take in children (often through word of mouth and the Internet) cast off by their own adoptive parents. The collectors of unwanted children say they do it to help kids, though some skeptics suggest that money, in the form of state subsidies, furnishes another motive. "People call and say, 'I need your help; we can't have these kids in our home,'" says Frances Matthews, a friend of the Schmitzes' who has 10 adopted disabled kids at their home in nearby Kenton. "Sometimes you need a break."...

    What's more, many of the families practice "attachment therapy," a method that includes some controversial forms of discipline (see box). In Internet chat rooms, the Schmitzes sold themselves as AT experts—which they insist is a legitimate form of child rearing—to parents looking to unload their kids.

    But in his opening statement, prosecutor Garry Brown said they took the idea of discipline to criminal extreme, painting a harrowing portrait of life in the Schmitz household. He accused Debra, 46, of forcing one child to eat his own vomit; holding another child's head underwater as punishment; sitting on a girl and urinating on her; and hurling a wheelchair-bound girl into a swimming pool (the girl was pulled to safety)...

    At least one expert, Ronald Federici, author of Help for the Hopeless Child, who evaluated the family last year at the invitation of the defense, voices sympathy for Debra and Tom. "They were adoption addicts," says Federici. "They were well-intentioned people. They wanted to make the world better for kids who were abused. They got in way over their head because of their rescue fantasies. This was like a psychiatric facility without a medical director." As for the investigation, which relied heavily on the word of the children themselves, Federici questions how much credence that testimony should be given. "Only four kids were competent under psychological standards," he says. "The rest were retarded, autistic, brain damaged. They were so impaired. Yet all the statements went into gospel."
    http://www.people.com/people/archive...156776,00.html

  13. #13
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    Oct 2014
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    2006:

    "Dump and run it happens all the time," says Ronald Federici, a neuropsychologist in Alexandria, Va., and author of Help for the Hopeless Children who has adopted seven children. He says one adoptive family abandoned a child in his office. He says there are hundreds of e-mail chat rooms in which people who adopted children are trying to find new homes for them outside the public system.

    "They don't want to sell the kids. They just want to get rid of them," he says, explaining the children may have health problems the adoptive parents never expected. "It's not the merchandise they bought." He says many of these parents are looking for the cheapest and fastest placement...

    Debra Schmitz says 80% to 90% of her Internet network revolved around attachment therapy. Other self-described practitioners include Michael and Sharen Gravelle, an Ohio couple who, a judge ruled in a custody hearing last month, had abused their 11 adoptive kids by making some of them sleep in cagelike bunk beds.

    "A lot of people do it (take in children) for the money," says Federici, referring to government subsidies that can exceed $1,100 monthly for a child with disabilities. "Others collect kids."...

    State officials say the Schmitzes lacked legal custody of at least seven of the 18 kids in their care, who ranged in age from 1 to 17, says Didi Christie, an attorney with the Tennessee Department of Children Services. "...

    Also testifying will be Brenda Filkel and Sherry Dvorak, licensed practical nurses who worked at the Schmitz home, Dvorak says. In an affidavit attached to a search warrant, they say Debra Schmitz was often drunk "by suppertime." They also say they saw six children ranging in age from 8 to 14 being thrown into "the cage" by older kids at the Schmitzes' instructions and that, as punishment, kids were deprived of leg braces, eyeglasses and a walker...

    Five of the children will be subpoenaed to testify for the defense, says Tom Schmitz's attorney, Frank Deslauriers. He says he'll also seek testimony from the two nurses and neuropsychologist Federici, who says he was initially hired by the prosecution to examine the kids.

    Federici says seven kids say nothing bad happened at the Schmitzes' and they want to return. He says the others talked about being spanked and about Debra Schmitz's drinking...

    Debra Schmitz says many of her kids had reactive attachment disorder, an inability to trust, empathize or bond. Federici says only two or three do. He says most suffer from severe brain damage or psychiatric disorders that make them inappropriate court witnesses.
    Much more here:
    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/...children_x.htm

  14. #14
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    These schools of attachment therapy have spawned a number of self-declared “attachment experts” who hang out a shingle offering to fix troubled adoptees. Dr. Jean Mercer, a psychology professor and author of the blog ChildMyths, is a staunch critic of attachment therapy, which she sees as demonizing children in order to justify extreme tactics, potentially rationalizing cruelty. “The very basic idea of attachment therapy is that you want the child to be obedient, and the child must recognize your authority,” she says. “They equate attachment with obedience. When you have that point of view, you go on to all the nasty kinds of things that human beings do to each other.”..

    The Schmitzes were accused of locking the children in cagelike beds, depriving them of physical aids like braces, or inflicting bizarre punishments like forcing the children to “dig their own graves.” The couple, who received a six-month prison sentence and probation, respectively, had employed attachment therapy methods as well, with Debra Schmitz saying that nearly all of her online connections revolved around it...

    ttachment problems are real, and some children who have been badly traumatized may act out in ways that resemble the horror stories radical attachment therapists warn of. But amateur diagnoses of adopted children who aren’t adjusting quickly or well enough have a troubling history of justifying a wide range of abuse. That may explain the emphasis placed this week by the lawyer representing the former Gravelle children. Arguing that all of the children had later been successfully placed in other foster homes, attorney Jack Landskroner told the Associated Press, “These kids were good kids,” who had been wrongfully maligned by their abusive parents. “It’s amazing the positive results you see on children who are placed in a loving, caring home.”
    http://www.slate.com/articles/double...use_cases.html

  15. #15
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    Sheriff Joe Shepard said three nurses and a half-dozen children have given reports of abuse. Investigators have found four places where they believe children were forced to dig mock graves, he said...

    One nurse who said children were strictly disciplined refused to return to work at the Schmitzes' home.

    "Two nights were as much as she could handle," Shepard said. "One girl had to sit on the floor with her nose up against the wall. We found that's pretty much a standard thing out there. But she sat there from the time she got home from school until past 10:30 at night."
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5402942/ns...ed-dig-graves/

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