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FOSTER CARE CONTINUES FOR THE NEWEST ADDITION TO THE FAMILY
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 8, 2013) — After a long break during which the Hendersons had asked for no press coverage, The Post & Email can report that Erica Henderson gave birth to a baby girl approximately two months ago. However, the infant was taken into DCFS custody shortly thereafter because there is an open case with their seven older children, who have been in foster care for approximately two and one-half years following the false arrest and jailing of the parents.
After all criminal charges were dropped against the Jeffrey and Erica Henderson, DCFS kept the children in its custody in various foster homes, one of which is Spanish-speaking. The Hendersons’ language is English, not Spanish. The youngest of the seven has spent all but five weeks of his life in foster care.
Neither parent has been charged with child abuse or neglect, but rather, objections have been made to their custom of serving wine to the older children on Friday evenings, which is Shabbat, or the Jewish Sabbath.
Recent news reports have reflected that some children in the foster care system have relatives willing and able to care for them. A parent whose child was placed in foster care four years ago told The Post & Email that “financial incentives” remove many children from good parents unnecessarily.
During the 1990s, the Los Angeles DCFS made an effort to reunite more children with their birth families which appears to have been tied to funding available at the time. DCFS seeks both foster and adoptive parents through its website, with applicants reportedly able to choose “the type of child” they wish to have in their home.
“Overwhelming caseloads” have been a complaint of Los Angeles DCFS social workers for decades, and the system appears rife with corruption and the unnecessary deaths of children under their observation or in direct custody.
In an interview with the father, Jeffrey Henderson, he explained that a hearing on Monday determined that the infant would remain in DCFS custody because two women who had offered to supervise Erica with the infant had “changed their minds.”
The women were asked if they were willing to “adopt the baby” since reunification of mother and child cannot be considered, to which Jeffrey stated the women responded in the negative as a result of intimidation. The women also could have become a legal guardian for the baby.
“The whole process was for being able to monitor mother, but DCFS put those other two things in there to make these women say exactly what DCFS wanted them to say, which was ‘No, we’re not able to take on just the baby herself; we were assuming that mother was coming with baby,’ which any woman in the world would have to think about…”
Henderson reported that both Erica and he have excellent attorneys and that they argued their respective cases well on their behalf.
Without a child in her custody, Erica will be turned out of the shelter where she has been staying within two weeks.
A hearing on the status of the elder seven children is scheduled to take place on November 1, 2013.