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by Sharon Rondeau

The Hendersons and friends during one of the children’s March 2013 overnight visits. DCFS has termed Jeffrey “dangerous” on allegations made by unidentified persons who appear to have had the intention to keep the family separated permanently

(Nov. 22, 2014) — On Tuesday, The Post & Email spoke with Jeffrey Henderson, the father of eight children who were taken from his wife and him by the Los Angeles Department of Children and Families (DCFS) more than three years ago.

Six of the children now have final adoption proceedings pending despite their parents’ extensive actions to regain custody.

In May 2011, Jeffrey and Erica Henderson were jailed after Jeffrey refused to accept a plea deal on “resisting arrest” from a year earlier, when Pasadena police had used a battering ram to enter their residence to allegedly see that the children were not abused.  Citing their Fourth Amendment rights, the Hendersons had asked to see a warrant, which the police failed to produce, instead returning with the battering ram to force entry into their home.  The Hendersons reported that the children were ordered to strip naked to prove that they were not physically abused.

Jeffrey believes that a person in the neighborhood had contacted DCFS out of spite to falsely report that he had slapped his daughter, initiating the police visit to their home.  During the May 2010 incident with the battering ram, Jeffrey was reportedly thrown to the floor and his collarbone broken as his pregnant wife watched.

A request to the Pasadena Police Department for reimbursement for Jeffrey’s subsequent hospitalization and medical bills was denied.

After a month in jail a year later, the criminal charges against Erica and Jeffrey were dropped by the judge.  Upon their release, they attempted to regain custody of their children, who were taken into DCFS’s custody and dispersed to several foster homes.  One home spoke only Spanish, while the Hendersons’ preferred language is English.

The Hendersons have reported dozens of irregularities, the absence of required paperwork, lack of proper notification of hearings, and groundless complaints filed by some of the foster parents against Erica following visits at her home by two of the children who a two-woman couple wished to adopt.  Friends and acquaintances wrote letters supporting the return of the Henderson children to no avail, and the parents reported that they attended all mandated counseling, parenting classes, visitations, and hearings.

While the children have remained in foster care, Mrs. Henderson reported a gash on her daughter’s leg, sexual abuse, a rash on one of her young sons, manifestations of emotional distress and constant questioning from her children as to when they can return home.

Two more children born to the Hendersons after the original six were placed in foster care were automatically taken by DCFS purportedly because there was an open child protective case. Jeffrey related that a juvenile court judge opined during a hearing that “I don’t like the way these Hendersons keep having children,” while an attorney for DCFS reportedly stated, “The Hendersons keep having more children and overpopulating the planet.”

The second-to-last youngest Henderson more than a year ago

Both Henderson parents believe that the agency is attempting to separate families for the purpose of gaining control over a growing number of children while supplying them to homosexual couples and other foster parents for financial reward.

The Los Angeles DCFS has been plagued with problems and child deaths despite repeated reports from teachers and neighbors that children were being abused.

The agency places the photos and limited information about children reportedly needing adoption on a website called “California Kids Connection.”

In March of last year, it appeared that the family might be reunified after two successful and happy long weekends together over the Jewish holidays, but fresh reports of alleged danger to the children, reportedly made by a group of internet trolls and proven false, stymied those efforts.

At least one observer who has followed the Henderson case from the beginning called DCFS’s actions “child trafficking.”

The case of “Baby Sammy” in Sacramento made national and international headlines in the spring of last year when child protective services sent police to seize a five-month-old boy from his parents without a warrant because the mother had taken the baby from one hospital to another for a second opinion.

Approximately a year ago, it was intimidated to Erica that if she filed for divorce, she would have a better chance of regaining custody of her children, although that did not prove to be the case.

Late last year, Jeffrey left his wife to attend law school in another part of the country, where he is now completing his second semester with a “B” average.  “I could have an ‘A,” Henderson told us on Tuesday, “but with fighting the case at the same time, it hasn’t been easy.”  Jeffrey is now representing himself in the case and has been filing his own briefs with the knowledge he has acquired in law school, including that he and Erica never received a “Notice of Hearing” prior to any hearing on the children’s status as required by law.

A hearing on the children’s pending adoptions was to be held last Monday which was continued to a later date by the court, something Jeffrey had predicted would occur.

“Not only do they have to give you the notice of hearing in order for the hearing to be lawful, but they have to give you the social worker’s report a certain number of days before the hearing.  If they don’t give that report to you before the hearing, you can, by law, say, ‘I don’t consent to having the hearing.’  Of course, that’s what they’ve done in every hearing that I’ve ever been involved with, whether it was for my kids or going to support other parents to fight this monster,” he told The Post & Email on Tuesday.

“In law school, I learned what due process is.  The way they break it down, due process is a chance to be heard, which is that you have a right to a lawyer or you have a right to represent yourself in your own case, which they denied me from the beginning right up until they wanted to steal my kids.  Then they let me handle my own case,” he said.

To explain the term “due process,” Henderson told us:

The law says – and this is the federal law, which all states have to follow – the minimum requirement for due process as far as notice, which is the first prong – is notice of the summons and notice of the complaint.  You have to have both. What they’ve been giving us is just notice of summoning us to court.  When the parents get into court, they hand them the complaint a couple of hours or minutes before the hearing, and they don’t even give them a copy of it.  It’s standard procedure for the attorney to say, “That’s my copy; I need that back” almost every time.

How can I fight a ghost?  How can I fight allegations that I don’t even know?  Even if I do know them, in order for me to set up a defense for it, I have to have a little bit of time to determine what the elements are of the allegations.  For all these years, I couldn’t figure it out, and this is just the first stage.

“If they’ve been doing it to you, they’ve probably been doing it to all of the parents who are trying to get their children back,” The Post & Email said.  “This is standard operating procedure.  They are doing this to every parent and stealing kids left and right,” Jeffrey responded.

Henderson tied the arrival of tens of thousands of unaccompanied illegal alien children over the summer to the entry of children into the foster care system.  He told us:

The courts are packed more than ever, and it’s a really sad thing:  they trick these immigrants into coming here with free food stamps, the promise of jobs and opportunity, and then when they get them here, they steal their kids.  What the immigrants do is they bring their child-rearing techniques with them; they bring their strange customs; they’re bringing their problems with them.  Maybe they have alcohol problems.  Then automatically, the federal government gives the states a certain amount of money – it’s in the high figures, $3B in Los Angeles – for the immigrant children.

Even if not all unaccompanied alien children become wards of the state, “It’s on the agenda,” Henderson said.  “It’s full-spectrum dominance.”

Prior to Obama’s Thursday evening address to the nation in which he outlined how he will change current immigration policy without Congress, the U.S. State Department announced a new program whereby legal residents of the U.S. whose children and spouses are in certain Central American countries can apply to have their family members join them in the U.S. as refugees or parolees.  On the same day, putative Vice President Joe Biden lunched with the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the same countries outlined in the State Department’s November 14 Fact Sheet. Statements issued by Biden and the State Department on the issue are nearly identical.

Many believe that Obama is attempting to change the demographics of the United States to effect major cultural and political changes.  Many immigrants, legal or illegal, do not have even a rudimentary knowledge of the English language and require translators and special education services.

In our last interview with Erica Henderson, she described emotional problems which some of the children have been experiencing which DCFS has opined will impair the ability of their prospective adoptive parents to complete the adoption process.  Mrs. Henderson also related that an online group had vowed that she would never regain custody of her children and taken steps to that end.

Jeffrey told us that the hearing scheduled for last Monday has already been delayed for approximately three months.  “I’ve been able to keep delaying it, and the way I’m doing that is by using the civil procedure against them,” he told us.  “An important thing I have learned in law school is how to write a motion.  One of the most basic mistakes people make is that they’re not using the cases in point.

“Lawyers find the case that is most similar to their case which forces the judge to make the right decision, but most people don’t have access to the very extensive books or internet services that are put out by Westlaw.  As a student, I don’t have to pay the $6,000 or $10,000 fees for the services or to get the books; I can just pull them off the shelf in the law library or log in using my student password.  I get exactly the case that’s on point and many other cases that are similar to it on an issue such as children’s court or a father trying to get his kids back.  It’s just so much easier to put something to a motion that is on point than to try and squeeze something into a motion that is not quite on point but makes a really good point.

“For example, one of the cases I used to use a lot was Pierce v. Society of Sisters because it has such good wording in there for a parent, but it was overturned, and it’s not smart to use cases that are jeopardized.  When there’s more than one question in each case – whether this or that happens on this issue, and maybe there are four or five of that in one case, and maybe one of those issues gets overturned or maybe the whole case and all the issues – if you don’t have access to these books or electronic version, you won’t know.”

Henderson said he believes he has encountered parents who are “weeping” because of the absconding of their children by the state.  “It’s painful,” he said.  “All they have to do is allege.  It could be a lie.  In a social worker’s report for my case, on average, I’d say that 85% of their statements are half-truths or lies or seemingly purposely leaving information out.  When a parent doesn’t know how to answer, then a civil case – family law is civil, which I don’t think it should be – if you don’t respond with an answer, then the allegation is considered the truth.  For example, when DCFS says, ‘You abused your child,’ if you don’t respond in a form of evidence that’s admissible – not just by writing a letter to the judge – under the Rules of Civil Procedure, then it’s considered the truth, and that’s it.”

“The average person doesn’t know this,” The Post & Email observed.

“In my case, I had a four-year degree from the best business school in Southern California; I went to USC and transferred to University of LaVerne, which has the nation’s best Public Administration program.  Other than being a lawyer, I was as close as you could be to someone who knew about social services and the path to getting a job in social work or at some kind of non-profit, and I didn’t even know this stuff.  I couldn’t even understand it just by reading all of their materials that they put online.  I had to come to law school to go through their Family Law book.”

Henderson continued with some striking revelations:

From page one, they assume that you are a person under the 14th Amendment, or you would argue “jurisdiction.”  That’s really important, because once you are under 14th Amendment jurisdiction, basically all the hearing is after that is an administrative review.  You really don’t have any rights; almost everything is privileged until they get to the hearing where they take the kids away.

Think of Obamacare for children.  They tortured this law way before Obamacare; they had us in this Obamacare-like system long before that.  The only hearing that matters is the jurisdiction hearing, and what that jurisdiction hearing is asking is, “Did you give us consent to regulate the rearing of your children?”

Henderson’s answer to that scenario was:

Since you arrested me falsely, against which I defended myself to get out of jail, because they took my kids, then automatically they needed to be taken care of by the state, but now by default I’m under their statutory rules whereas before, I wouldn’t have been.

Our interview with Jeffrey Henderson will continue in a second article.

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  1. Great article! Have been following this for some time. Tragic that this family still has not been reunited. Sounds like things could be turning around. I hope Jeffrey learns how to sue the judges and DCFS workers.