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by Sharon Rondeau

Erica Henderson and six of her seven children before they were placed in foster homes in May 2011

(Dec. 27, 2012) — The Post & Email has received a brief report from Erica Henderson, who was able to visit her children today for the first time in more than three weeks in the company of her husband, Jeffrey.  The Hendersons’ oldest child was described as “thrilled” at seeing both of her parents today.  “I think things are getting better,” the child said.

The parents had had separate visits until Judge Marguerite Downing clarified on December 20 that they could visit the children together.  Judge Downing had intended to begin the “adopting out” of the six elder children on November 19 but did not pursue it because the parents had not been properly notified of the hearing.

The Hendersons have reported several hearings which had taken place without their knowledge and have been ejected from the courtroom at Downing’s order.

The Post & Email has contacted Supervising Judge Michael Nash on two occasions regarding the apparent irregularities in the Henderson case, including the lack of reunification efforts despite DCFS Public Affairs Director Armand Montiel’s affirmation that reunification is the top priority of the agency after children have been placed in foster care.

Within the last month, the Henderson case has been transferred to a different DCFS office, which halted Mrs. Henderson’s visitation for several weeks until today.

The children range in age from ten to five months.  The infant was torn from Mrs. Henderson’s arms on August 31 after she refused to sign a “Voluntary Care Plan” which she said would have been an admission that she had mistreated her child.

The Hendersons have not been allowed to review the court file, but The Post & Email was offered the opportunity to request to review it, for which we are awaiting a response from Judge Nash.  Earlier this month, the Hendersons filed a 42 USC 1983 federal lawsuit against various social workers, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and Judge Downing.

Mrs. Henderson ended her communication with, “We cannot wait to have our first Sunday visit together here at the house!”

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  1. It took a while to read Jeffery’s filing and from the final pages I fail to understand why the California Commission on Judicial Performance failed to investigate Judge Downing’s actions.