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IS THIS “REUNIFICATION?”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 31, 2013) — The Post & Email has learned that the profiles of the Henderson children, whose parents desperately want to reunite with them after nearly three years apart, are posted on a website as available for adoption.
The family has had eight children placed in foster care, the youngest two of whom were confiscated shortly after their births because of the open case with the elder six.
The other siblings are also listed, some with photos, although the information is outdated.
The children’s mother, Erica Henderson, recently had a baby girl who was the eighth child taken away by the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Both parents have told The Post & Email that there were never any allegations of neglect or abuse, but rather, questions about their tradition to give the older children a bit of wine with their Shabbat supper on Friday evenings. The family is Orthodox Jewish.
California Kids Connection prohibits the copying of any text or photos from its website under penalty of federal copyright infringement law.
The father, Jeffrey Henderson, has announced that he is leaving California to attend law school within the next several weeks and has purchased a one-way bus ticket to Alabama.
Both parents have attended parenting classes, counseling and all scheduled visits, to which the children often were not brought. The family was close to being reunited last spring after spending two long weekends together, but fresh allegations made by internet trolls to DCFS and the Edelman Children’s Court separated them again, often for weeks without a visit from either parent.
On the website, there is no mention of two of the Henderson boys who have been in the care of two women for the past nearly-three years. The Post & Email has been told that the women have applied to adopt the elder boy in their care and could be close to achieving their goal. From what we have been told, the case of the younger boy is not yet old enough for his adoption to take place.
DCFS has stated as its primary goal the reunification of children with their biological parents. There is, however, encouragement to the community to become foster and adoptive parents. Los Angeles DCFS states that it is a “leader in supporting and serving LGBT families.”
A source close to the family reported:
Erica has had a baby girl. Erica was told by DCFS in a TDM meeting that was attended by Erica and at least 3 other women in her support system, that if she wanted to keep her baby girl she needed to go into a shelter immediately to prove she was willing to do anything to protect her children. Erica left the TDM meeting, having only the bag she had packed for the day and a car seat. Her supporter and friend dropped her off in front a police station where she and the baby were then picked up by a taxi and taken to a shelter. She had to leave everything behind in the house that she was living in. The house, clothing, dishes, the children’s beds, books and toys, all of which the supporters of the family had helped her to establish and maintain. She did not have the opportunity to go back and even pack a single bag, she went immediately to the shelter just as DCFS demanded. A week later DCFS came to the shelter and took the baby from Erica’s arms. Erica has been in compliance with every program that she has been enrolled in. She had to get special permission to leave the shelter for a few hours to find a breast pump so that she would not get mastitis and was able to maintain a supply of breastmilk for her baby girl.
Editor’s Note: A free download of a book by Robert Coleman details his nightmare with Michigan Child Protective Services after he and his wife were unjustly accused of child abuse. Coleman’s case is strikingly similar to that of the Hendersons, who were accused of abusing one of their children by a neighbor or landlord in May 2010.