Why Did Social Workers Kathy Marciante and Sue Ash Abuse Moore Children in Barnstable?

Why Was Seven-Year-Old Seized and Terrified In School Classroom?

What ‘Terrible Thing’ Happened in 1974?
All Mothers In Mass Hospitals Are Evaluated

As we have explored our society in Massachusetts for the last three years, we’ve finally begun to understand that all of our stories about children who are abused by the state have a common thread. There are always angry women, who are lawyers, judges or social workers, lurking somewhere in the background. And there’s always money and power involved.

Why did social workers Kathy Marciante and Sue Ash seize the Moore children while they were at school in Barnstable and not allow them to return to their home? What right did they have to do such a terrible thing?

That story begins on page 18. But in order to understand what happened to the Moore family we must first realize that it all results from meddling by the federal government, beginning in 1974.

DSS agents were flanked by State Police last summer when they rushed from the Mary Lane Hospital near Springfield after seizing a newborn baby from its mother’s arms.

DSS Troubles Started When Mondale Federalized It in 1974

DSS Reform Group Meets in Boston to Discuss Changes

By Ed Oliver
January 2002

A national organization that helps people become more effective in battling out-of-control social service agencies held its annual conference in Boston last month.

Local family advocates, such as Nev Moore of “Justice For Families” and Attorneys Chester Darling and Kevin Seaver, shared the stage with nationally known author and lecturer Dean Tong and Prof. Gladden Schrock of Bennington College, among others.

There’s not much difference in how these state agencies operate because federal law put them all under the same regulations in 1974 (see sidebar), according to the organizer of the conference, Barbara Lynn Lapp, President of the “Family Rights Organization’s National Task Force” (FRONT).

She knows this is true because she has fielded calls from beleaguered parents across the country for ten years.

She told MassNews that her target audience is parents who have been falsely accused of child abuse and who are struggling with the DSS system. “Also, we would like to educate some attorneys and have some of them educate us too,” she said.

MassNews asked what could be done to prevent DSS from destroying families. “There has to be due process of law for there to be justice anywhere,” she said. “These DSS cases are not properly tried. A lot of them go forward on flimsy evidence.

“The other thing I see is these social service agencies don’t recognize that the very act of taking a child away from his parents is ‘abuse.’ If you know and study the mind of a child, the worst thing a child can go through in their life is to be taken from their parents.

“Considering that it is such an emotionally traumatic and abusive thing for a child to go through, it should be done with great caution. There shouldn’t be much child removal. Most times families will work to improve themselves with the proper help.”

Prof. Gladden Schrock Calls it ‘Hysteria’

Prof. Gladden Schrock teaches a course at Bennington College titled, “Contemporary Hysteria: the Drama of Righteous Gullibility.” 

He said the tidal wave of false domestic-abuse allegations stems from an hysteria that has seduced the major moral watchdogs of our culture. He said the hysteria has overwhelmed the normal checks and balances of due process, critical thinking, scientific methodology or cautionary public discourse.

He believes the 1974 Mondale Act, (CAPTA, Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act) triggered the hysteria. He said it allowed a zealous bypass of due process, gave monetary incentive to accusations, mandated disclosure of suspicious evidence and offered total immunity and anonymity to any person who for any reason wished to make an allegation of abuse.

Dean Tong Was Expert Witness in 32 States

Dean Tong is a forensic investigator who has served as a consultant and expert witness for scores of falsely accused parents in 32 U.S. states. His estranged wife falsely accused him of sexually abusing his pre-school age daughter. It took him ten years and $150,000 to prove his innocence. He has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows and authored three books.

Tong said choosing an attorney is your most important decision. His latest book, “Elusive Innocence,” contains an appendix on how to pick the right attorney.

Tong said he utilizes a two-prong formula that works. The first prong is to require his clients to submit to various tests to prove their innocence. The second prong is to impeach the credibility of the false accusers.

CAPTA is a can of worms that has to be repealed, said Tong.

Atty. Seaver Says Never Give Up

Boston Attorney Kevin Seaver, who specializes in DSS cases, gave a spirited presentation that was well received. He exhorted the audience to “never, ever give up.” “DSS is the biggest bully in the schoolyard, but if you punch his lights out, he won’t come back at you,” he said.

Seaver said he loves to put social workers on the stand and ask them about their educational background, whether they are licensed, and if they have their own children or a substance abuse problem. He can often get a case dismissed by exposing their lack of qualifications. He also recommends packing the courtroom with supporters.

Seaver said DSS likes to prey on poor people, yet child-abuse accusations cut across all lines. He said, for example, he had a case referred to him recently involving accusations against a doctor from Massachusetts General Hospital who is a cutting edge researcher recognized around the world.

DSS will come out to your home and say soothingly that, “We are here to help you,” and offer voluntary services, said Seaver. “Six months later, you have a voluntary service that turns into a summons that reads your parental rights can be terminated. It doesn’t square. It doesn’t make sense. Think about that.”

You get your kids back by being vigilant and pro-active, not by whining, said Seaver. He said you have to form a plan and then gather all your evidence, because preparation is nine tenths of the battle. Pore over all reports and then reread them, he said. A DSS investigator may have ignored reams of exculpatory information. Know who the DSS people are that are involved. Keep a detailed notebook of calls you made to them, etc. regarding your case.

Seaver said be sure you hire an attorney experienced with DSS and stay in communication with him. He said many criminal lawyers he knows want to run and hide when you mention DSS because they can’t deal with the bizarre world of anonymous accusations.

Nev Moore Says It’s Bureaucrats Enlarging Their Pie

Nev Moore, executive director of the Cape Cod based Justice for Families, recounted how her own clash with DSS led her and her husband, Tom, to found a support group to meet with families in similar situations. The informal group grew into a non-profit organization that provides support and advocacy for parents who have been falsely or frivolously accused of child mistreatment by DSS.

“We began in 1997 after our own child was taken because I would not go along with DSS requirements,” said Moore. “I would not get rid of my husband. I would not get a restraining order. I would not go to a battered women’s indoctrination center.

“When I said I wasn’t battered, thank you very much, and if I need your help, I’ll call, that was the wrong answer,” said Moore.

After seeing other parents’ DSS files and hearing their stories, Moore said she identified a pattern of conduct by DSS that was very specific. She learned that funding for domestic violence programs was channeled through DSS.

“I later, of course, came to find out it was all about contract fulfillment. They have contracts with all the service vendors. They don’t want you to go to Al-Anon or this or that because they don’t have contracts with them. So it was all about contract fulfillment and I wasn’t helping with that.”

Moore identified a parallel goal of DSS that is even more sinister. She said the feminists at DSS are trying to destroy traditional families. By removing men from the home, she pointed out, DSS creates vulnerability in women and dependence on the government. DSS weakens the systems that keep society cohesive, such as faith and family, she said.

Moore showed that DSS uses all the techniques of brainwashing such as divide, isolate and control. “I saw that clearly and let them know that.” She said after DSS kidnapped their daughter, she was forced to attend a battered women’s program named “Independence House.”

“They give you this mug that says, ‘Independence, the freedom to make your own choices,’” said Moore. She said she would stand up at every meeting and declare, “I am being forced to be here against my will via threats, coercion and intimidation, by holding my child hostage. You need to take the word ‘independence’ out of your title and off this mug, because my choice is to not be here.

“I pointed out that the charts and wheels and graphs they gave me listing the behaviors that they said my husband did, were exactly what they were doing, threats of taking the children, of telling me how to think and feel.”

Moore started announcing to the other women at the beginning of each meeting that Independence House was funded by DSS and every word they say in the confidential support group is immediately reported back to DSS.

Moore said she is suing Independence House for violation of confidentiality among other things.

Legislators Need Help

Moore’s first goal for Justice for Families, she said, was to create a public platform for families and parents so they can channel their anger and frustration into constructive action.

Her second goal was to get the DSS issue not just to the table, but right on the table through legislation, because that means hearings will be held where politicians will have to listen to the families.

In the legislative arena, Moore said she tries to educate the legislators. “You must first sell yourself before you can sell your issue,” she said. “You want the doors to open, not to slam in your face. You want them to think you are their new best friend. Presentation is everything.”

Moore said it is an uphill battle because legislators do not want to hear about this issue. She said when she approaches a legislator, she gives him a graceful out so he can pretend he didn’t know about the problem and can be the hero in helping to solve it.

Moore said it is important to break the DSS problem into smaller components that are more easily digestible since it is such a huge, tangled issue.

“Just saying ‘DSS is a big mess’ and ‘My social worker lies and is mean’ is not going to work. You have to break it into small components. Just take one little thing like, ‘Gee, they don’t wear ID, yet they’ll go into the schools and talk to your children.’ Once you put a piece of legislation in, it gives you an opening. You’ve highlighted one specific problem, but it gives the opening for oral and written testimony and for meetings with the legislators.”

Moore said each time they meet with legislators, they give them reports that illustrate the problems with DSS, and give them model legislation from other states.

“You have to build your credibility. That takes time and there are no shortcuts. So be very accurate and precise and personable. Then they will start coming to you. Once they’re interested, the press becomes interested,” said Moore.

Moore said she often designs her bills so that they have a measure of shock value in order to engage the legislators, such as her bill to outlaw strip-searching of children by DSS. She also designs them very specifically so that DSS cannot argue against them without making themselves look very foolish and culpable. For example, she has a bill, which would force DSS to give a pamphlet to foster kids outlining their rights while in foster care. “What are they going to do, come to the hearing and say, ‘No. I don’t want them to have that?’”

Moore also tries to get her bills before different committees and therefore a different set of legislators.

Moore concluded her remarks by saying that parents should join a group with name recognition such as Justice for Families or Victims of Child Abuse Laws rather than go it alone, because it takes the sight of a lot of angry people to put fear into legislators. She said there is still work to be done in gaining a national identity and name recognition.

Chester Darling Has a Heavy Heart

“I come to this meeting with a heavy heart,” said Attorney Chester Darling, who heads up a charitable law firm called “Citizens for the Preservation of Constitutional Rights.”

“I despair of the whole system. I think it is totally corrupt,” said Darling of DSS. “The ‘Fair Hearings’ aren’t fair. The personnel in the DSS are corrupt beyond belief. Not necessarily financially corrupt but corrupt in the traditional sense of the word. They have absolute power that they abuse without any hesitation. They conduct house invasions. They accuse people without hesitation of terrible crimes, and irrevocably alter their lives. You can’t remove that stain in your community if you’re accused.”

Darling recounted the story of Reverend Cobble who social workers accused of being a child abuser because he spanked his child. Cobble’s case went all the way to the Supreme Judicial Court, where Darling argued on his behalf. The SJC ruled in Cobble’s favor. 

“One case doesn’t change their minds,” said Darling. “They are still punishing people for spanking children in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Social workers do not like children to be spanked and if you spank your child, you’re going to get nailed.”

Darling said DSS twisted the Cobble case into the standard by saying if you do more than inflict a tiny pink mark that goes away in a few minutes, you are a child abuser. “That’s how they corrupt these cases. The code of Mass. regulations requires repeated bruises, swelling of tissue, broken bones – what you would expect, but they can’t read.”

Darling pointed out that “constantly in the decisions, we see that the social workers are deferred to because of their ‘clinical experience,’ and their ‘clinical judgement,’ which is a big pile of stuff as far as I’m concerned.”

Darling said the majority of the workers he’s bumped into at DSS are anti-family and even against the church. He said DSS is depriving families of their Fourteenth Amendment right to raise their family as they see fit.

Attorney Barbara Johnson, another warrior for the falsely accused in Massachusetts, stood up in the audience to point out that federal judges make law from the bench when they improperly invoke the Eleventh Amendment as an excuse to throw out federal lawsuits against DSS workers.

Johnson said the Eleventh Amendment forbids someone from one state to sue another state in federal court. But judges, she said, changed that to mean a citizen from Massachusetts can’t go into federal court and sue Massachusetts either. “That is one of the reasons that when you go to sue various state workers in federal court they will dismiss the case,” she said.

The theme of the conference was “Confronting False Allegations of Child Abuse.”

It was organized in cooperation with the New York chapter of “Victims Of Child Abuse Laws.”

What ‘Terrible Thing’ Happened in 1974?

Mondale Brought ‘Great Society’ to Children

January 2002

In 1974, Walter Mondale promoted a law which federalized the social services agency in every state.

This forced the states to require, among other things, that doctors, teachers and other persons report all suspected maltreatment of children to DSS. These professionals no longer had any discretion. Only social workers could decide whether a child was in trouble. This law was called the “Child Abuse, Prevention and Treatment Act.” It is popularly known as CAPTA.

As a result, nationwide reports of child abuse went from 60,000 in 1974 to 1.1 million in 1980 and to 3.14 million in 1994.

More than two out of three of these are screened out as not valid by the social workers. Of those that are not screened out, only 32% are child maltreatment. The majority of the others are because of “deprivation of necessities.” In other words, the parents are poor.

How have the social workers coped with this torrent of cases which went from 60,000 per year to 3.14 million just twenty years later?

They haven’t.

Never Responded Accurately

One professional who is enthusiastically supportive of the federal system and the power it brings to her is Theresa Reid, Executive Director of the “American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.”

She says “Child protective services have never responded adequately to this rapid increase in the number of reports of child maltreatment. [These] workers are underpaid, undertrained, underappreciated, and overworked. There have never been enough of them even to investigate the flood of reports coming in ...”

After she relates this tale of horrors that erupted when the federal government took over the system in 1974, she then says that even more federal involvement  is needed.

“Surely a crisis of this proportion with its far-reaching consequences for the society requires a comprehensive, coordinated, federal response. CAPTA was an historic first step in providing the leadership.”

But there weren’t two million false reports every year until after the federal government mandated that doctors and teachers were not capable of determining if child abuse was present. The professionals who know the children have to report everything to DSS and let them decide.

The federal system also encourages anonymous tips from neighbors or anyone else who may have a grudge against someone.

As a result, Ms. Reid says there aren’t enough people to investigate the two million false reports coming in every year. So why do we keep requiring these reports? Many wonder, what is the point? Is it just to build power in Ms. Ried and social workers?

After the bill passed, Mondale himself expressed concerns that it could be misused. He mused that it could lead states to create a “business” in dealing with children.

Started by One Man

This federal involvement was all fueled, says Ms. Reid, by Dr. Henry Kempe, who started our “modern” child abuse awareness in the 1960s.  

MassNews wrote about Dr. Kempe in our August 2000 issue where we reported his thesis that parents cannot be trusted to raise their children properly.

In 1968, Dr. Kempe co-authored a book, The Battered Child, which is credited with launching the modern child abuse movement. .

In 1975, Dr. Kempe gave what is known as the “Armstrong Lecture” before the annual meeting of pediatricians known as the Ambulatory Pediatric Association. He said children’s rights require “limited intrusion into family privacy by society” to protect children from abuse and to ensure they receive proper health care.

He expressed boundless confidence in the state’s ability to care for children better than their parents. Since then, critics say that the number of families who have been damaged or destroyed by out-of-control “child protective services” continues to grow.

He encouraged social workers to observe all new mothers and ask three questions to determine their potential for abusing children. “How does she look? What does she say? What does she do?”

His “Child Abuse Early Warning Formula” later developed into the 15-point “Kempe Family Stress Checklist” used by social workers to screen potential child abusers. “It has been found that health visitors are fully capable of determining which children are at risk,” he said.

Dr. Kempe had a tolerant view of how totalitarian states deal with families. “Where the state is supreme,” he said, “this particular problem is easily managed. In a dictatorship each child belongs to the state and you may not damage state property. The really first-rate attention paid to the health of all children in less-free societies makes you wonder whether one of our cherished democratic freedoms is the right to maim our own children.”

In 1992, The National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse launched a nationwide home visitation initiative called “Healthy Families America,” modeled on a Hawaii program. Today there are over 300 Healthy Families local sites in 40 states under various names. The National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse later changed its name to “Prevent Child Abuse America.”

Mass Begins to Evaluate Families

In Massachusetts, that program started three years ago. MassNews reported in its August 2000

issue about “Healthy Families Massachusetts,” which is part of a nationwide network called “Healthy Families America.” The program is financed by the state and its purpose is to visit homes across the state.

It’s organized to look like a private organization although it is funded by the state with the help of federal matching funds and private monies. This money is given to a “private” organization, the Boston-based Children’s Trust Fund, an umbrella organization which administers the program. It works in partnership with the Department of Education.

Although it employs many caring people and appears to be a wonderful resource for new mothers, the program allows the state to get its watchful eyes into the home of every young mother.

The stated goal is to prevent child “abuse” and “neglect” through the early intervention of social workers in the homes of newborns.


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