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by Sharon Rondeau

The Henderson family prior to the birth of the two youngest children, in happier times

(Oct. 19, 2012) — For several weeks, The Post & Email has been following the case of the Henderson family, which was torn apart after the parents were falsely imprisoned on criminal charges which ultimately were dismissed.

The couple’s seven children are dispersed among several foster homes, where at least one of the children has been sexually abused with no action taken on the part of the Los Angeles Department of Child and Family Services.  Another young child was seriously injured, and because he was placed in a Spanish-speaking home, the foster mother was unable to communicate to Mrs. Henderson exactly what had happened to her son.

Although now outdated, a report here details the events which led to the Henderson children having been placed in foster homes, where they have been for more than 18 months.  The claim against the Pasadena Police Department, which used the battering ram to enter their home in May 2010, was denied by the department, and it is our understanding that the lawsuit did not go forward.

While current details are sketchy as of this writing for a specific reason, we received an update from Mrs. Henderson on Wednesday stating that she and her husband, Jeffrey, were again expelled from the courtroom by Judge Marguerite Downing after asking for clarification on which case was to be heard for permission to sit together during the hearing.  Downing reportedly refused and had them escorted out.  The hearing continued without them, in violation of state statute.

Mrs. Henderson reported that at the end of the session, she and her husband were told by a court attorney that the children are scheduled to be “adopted out” on November 19 against their wishes.  When they asked the attorney if there was anything that could be done, they received no response.

The children range in age from ten years of age down to three months.   Ironically, Judge Downing “has lectured on juvenile justice issues and court civility” in other parts of the world, although she has ousted the Henderson parents from her courtroom on several occasions.  The Hendersons have been told by Downing that they “have no rights in her courtroom.”

The youngest child was five weeks old when he was taken by Los Angeles police and a DCFS social worker allegedly because he “was born premature,” while at the same time the court document states that “the parents’ [sic] have refused to provide the Department with information regarding the child’s health at the time of his birth and have refused to give access to the Department so they may inquire as to the baby’s current medical needs.”

If the parents had “refused” to give the “Department” information on their new son, how did the “Department” know he was born prematurely?

A previous paragraph to that quoted above is partially obscured but states that “…parents caused the child to consume beer and wine on a weekly basis.  Such a detrimental and endangering situation established for the child by the parents endangers the child’s physical health and safety and places the child and the child’s siblings…at risk of physical harm, damage and danger.”

Mrs. Henderson told The Post & Email that they allowed their oldest child, who was seven at the time, to have a small amount of wine on the Sabbath, but they do not drink or serve beer.

Mrs. Henderson reported that her daughter had a large gash on her leg inflicted by another foster child in the foster home, has been bullied at school and had items stolen from her.  Mrs. Henderson was home-schooling the two eldest children when the family was split up by DCFS.  The parents believe in home-birthing did not wish their children to be vaccinated, although the children have reported going to the doctor’s office and being pricked with things.  The Hendersons were an “attachment family” prior to being torn apart by DCFS.

Although Orthodox Jews, the children are being taught to celebrate Halloween and Christmas, and some have had their religious garments confiscated by the foster parents as a disciplinary measure.

While Mrs. Henderson told us in an interview that each foster parent is paid an up-front fee of $40,000 for each child they accept into their home, the public affairs director, Armand Montiel, denied that “categorically.”  We asked for a schedule of fees and awards to parents which he supplied, but then recalled, stating that they were not the current figures, and we did not receive a follow-up to that recalled message.

Judge Downing’s office can be reached by phone here. The courtroom where she presides is here.

The Henderson parents’ visitation has been reduced from three times weekly to once weekly without an explanation.

A horrendous story about adopted children having been severely abused in Southern California is here.  As of this writing, we have not ascertained if Riverside County falls under the Los Angeles DCFS.

On October 19, 2012, the following email was sent to Los Angeles County DCFS Public Affairs Director Armand Montiel:

From: Sharon Rondeau
Sent: Fri 10/19/12 12:18 AM
To: Armand Montiel (montia@dcfs.lacounty.gov)

Hello, Mr. Montiel, I have recently been informed that the parents about whom I wrote to you before – realizing that you cannot deny or confirm that their children are in foster care – have been told that they “have no rights in the courtroom” by Judge Marguerite Downing and that they were again expelled from the courtroom for asking two questions.  The hearing proceeded without them, and at the end, a court attorney reportedly told them that their children are scheduled to be “adopted out” by November 19.

From everything I have been told, the parents have attended every hearing, sometimes without even being notified of it; taken all of the required classes; reported the abuse of their children while in foster care to no avail, and have been denied their constitutional rights in the courtroom.  As the parents struggle to regain custody of their children, the judge is apparently attempting to extinguish all chances of that occurring.  Is her order the final one, and does DCFS review such an order?  How rapidly does an adoption occur once a judge orders it, legally or illegally?

Would this scenario be the norm for parents who visit regularly, taking a bus two hours one way to bring their infant breast milk every day?  Why would the judge order adoption when the parents want the children back and have demonstrated that they are willing and capable of caring for them?

Is the judge abusing her power in this situation?  Many judges become corrupt from the power they are given over others; my newspaper has received reports of it happening all over the country.

Also, was this adoptive home served by the LA DCFS or another agency?  http://fox2now.com/2012/10/17/police-couple-ran-strip-club-in-home-abused-adopted-kids/ 

There is also a report of a Family Court judge in your area who became a whistleblower against the corruption she said she found in the system, calling it “a circus”:  http://www.myfoxla.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=7804013

Thank you very much.

Sharon Rondeau, Editor
The Post & Email

More information on the child protective “industry” is here.

Update, 8:23 p.m. EDT, October 19, 2012:  The following response was received from Mr. Neil Zanville, who had consulted Mr. Armand Montiel, Public Affairs Director of the Los Angeles County DCFS regarding our questions.  Mr. Montiel’s email address had yielded an out-of-office reply on Thursday evening with instructions to contact Mr. Zanville.

Because we cannot publicly confirm or deny whether a family is known to us, I cannot answer any questions about a specific family we are serving. I can say that the circumstances you are describing are unusual and do not appear to be accurate. In the situation you describe, I would recommend that the parents discuss with their attorney whether their rights are being violated. Generally, it is imperative that parents’ rights are upheld throughout the life of the case in order to avoid court decisions being overturned on appeal. Regarding notices, our social workers are careful that hearing notices comply with applicable legal time lines. Improper notices usually result in a hearing being continued to allow the delivery of timely and proper notices.

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