Did Social Workers Kathy Marciante and Sue Ash Abuse Moore Children
Why Was Seven-Year-Old Seized and Terrified
In School Classroom?
What ‘Terrible Thing’ Happened
Mothers In Mass Hospitals Are Evaluated
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.
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?
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.
Troubles Started When Mondale Federalized It in 1974
DSS Reform Group
Meets in Boston to Discuss Changes
national organization that helps people become more
effective in battling out-of-control social service
agencies held its annual conference in Boston last
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,
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).
knows this is true because she has fielded calls from
beleaguered parents across the country for ten years.
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.
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.
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.
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
Gladden Schrock teaches a course at Bennington College titled,
“Contemporary Hysteria: the Drama of Righteous
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.
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
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.
said choosing an attorney is your most important decision. His
latest book, “Elusive Innocence,” contains an appendix on
how to pick the right attorney.
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.
is a can of worms that has to be repealed, said Tong.
Atty. Seaver Says Never Give Up
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
Nev Moore Says It’s Bureaucrats
Enlarging Their Pie
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.
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
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
said she is suing Independence House for violation of
confidentiality among other things.
Legislators Need Help
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.
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 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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
also tries to get her bills before different committees and
therefore a different set of legislators.
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
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.”
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.”
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
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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
theme of the conference was “Confronting False Allegations
of Child Abuse.”
was organized in cooperation with the New York chapter of
“Victims Of Child Abuse Laws.”
What ‘Terrible Thing’ Happened in 1974?
Brought ‘Great Society’ to Children
1974, Walter Mondale promoted a law which federalized the
social services agency in every state.
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
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.
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.
have the social workers coped with this torrent of cases which
went from 60,000 per year to 3.14 million just twenty years
Never Responded Accurately
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.”
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 ...”
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
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
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.
federal system also encourages anonymous tips from neighbors
or anyone else who may have a grudge against someone.
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
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
federal involvement was all fueled, says Ms. Reid, by Dr.
Henry Kempe, who started our “modern” child abuse
awareness in the 1960s.
wrote about Dr. Kempe in our August 2000 issue where we
reported his thesis that parents cannot be trusted to raise
their children properly.
1968, Dr. Kempe co-authored a book, The Battered Child, which
is credited with launching the modern child abuse movement. .
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.
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.
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
“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.
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.”
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
Massachusetts, that program started three years ago. MassNews
reported in its August 2000
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.
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.
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.
stated goal is to prevent child “abuse” and “neglect” through the
early intervention of social workers in the homes of newborns.