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by Sharon Rondeau

Kanika and Roosevelt Williams in photo with children, September 2019

(Dec. 16, 2019) — On Saturday, the mother of three children who were legally adopted by her parents through the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) over the course of several years informed us that in September, she and her husband were able to briefly visit with the children after they exited a church service.

As The Post & Email has reported, in 2011, Kanika Williams’s mother, Katie Grant, in 2011 expressed concern to a DCFS social worker that Kanika and her husband Roosevelt were unable to properly care for their only child at the time, a son.  The child was temporarily staying with the Grants.  Following the interview, the worker determined that there existed no compelling reason for the agency to open a case.

The Williamses are convinced that in the absence of evidence of abuse or neglect against them, “adoption was always the plan” which DCFS intended to carry out.  Kanika’s father, Willie Grant, is an attorney and attended law school with Judge Marguerite Downing, the judge who presided over all three children’s cases and ordered the adoptions.

The Post & Email has covered two other cases involving Los Angeles DCFS in which parents have claimed systemic abuse by the Department and judges presiding over their respective cases.  We have additionally heard from several other parents who say that the Department wrongfully took their children from them and placed them in dangerous conditions.

A May 2019 audit of the Department found that DCFS “has left some children in unsafe and abusive situations for months.”

Downing was the judge in the case of the Henderson children, all eight of whom were placed in foster care and, to The Post & Email’s knowledge, eventually adopted by strangers or placed with relatives they little knew.

In March 2013, Erica Henderson was enjoying overnight visits with the children the Department removed from her care, after which “reunification services” were terminated without explanation other than that the mandated time frame for such services had expired.  As with the Williamses, neither Erica nor Jeffrey Henderson was formally accused of child abuse or neglect.

At least one law office in the Los Angeles area specializes in assisting wrongly-accused parents to regain custody and hosts a radio program about the issue.

After exhausting their options in the California and federal courts, in March 2018 the Williamses appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the adoption cases of their children, an appeal the court declined to hear the following month.

Because they legally resided in Alabama, the Williamses claimed that the State of California had no jurisdiction over their children’s custody.  Roosevelt, who was previously married and has two grown daughters, was never abusive toward them or her, his ex-wife Joyce told The Post & Email in an October 2016 telephone conversation.

Oddly, Kanika told us, it was her mother who took the photo of Roosevelt and her embracing the children this past September depicting all smiling broadly outside the church.

Through the years-long process during which the children resided with her parents and their respective adoptions ordered, Kanika said, she and Roosevelt were denied telephone contact with them, but they experienced two brief in-person visits, also outside the church, in July.

In a text on Sunday expounding on the brief September reunification, Kanika told The Post & Email, “The struggle continues and the fight continues. We will never give up on our kids and our dream of being reunited. In the meantime today is better than yesterday, and the day I wrote you, that was a rough day and some days tougher than others but I’m proud to say we’re pushing through with God on our side.”



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