The authorities – Riverside County District Attorney’s Office -filed a number of charges against the couple who ran the Morris Small Family Home. Among those charges were 14-count involving neglect result in the death of 17-year-old Diane Ramirez as well as very indecent behavior against some of the children.
Also relatives to the children placed in the home claim that the children when they reached adulthood was tricked into legally binding relationships. The worst part of this story is that parts of the social services seem to have been tipped off before the tragic death but did not react in time.
If the accusations are true it is safe to say that it could not have been fun to be there as a teenager.
- Murder, sexual abuse charges filed against controversial California foster parents (East Bay Times)
- SoCal couple who ran foster home for disabled children, adults charged with murder, sexual abuse (ABC 7 Eyewitness News)
- Couple Indicted After Investigation Uncovers Physical, Sexual Abuse Against Residents Of Murrieta Home Care Facility (2CAL9 CBS Los Angeles)
- Woman accused of killing disabled girl in La Cresta care home due in court (Valley News)
Back in the 1975 South Vietnam was about to fall due to attacks from communists in North Vietnam. The peaceful democracy would not exist longer and in this chaos a Danish journalist Henning Becker sought to save about 200 children from his private founded orphanage, he created back in 1967 when he saw many children suffering as part of the awful aggression from North.
So he arranged for temporary visas and a plane. In Denmark the Danish authorities never had experienced such an arrangement before, so very fast they arranged for the children to be placed in empty buildings which two decades before had housed the infamous Kellerske Anstalter (detention centers for men and girls with too much appetite for sex and relationship, who were sterilized before released to the society. The girls facility is listed as number 153 on this blog, the boys facility number 247).
While the children were happy to be in safety from the war, the Danish authorities struggled with their future. Could they send the children back so they would be tortured and raised as communists? (Before the second world war, the Danish authorities saw no problems sending jews back to Germany). Could they provide the children with Danish passports and raise them as Danes?
Problem is that no families in Denmark live together with 200 members and almost everyone of the children saw Henning Becker as their father. The uncertainty of their destiny began to take the toll on the children. Some tried to escape the island and one boy downed. It could not go on.
So the Danish government issued Danish citizenships to all the children. Now they just had to see how the children could be integrated into the Danish society. The minister Eva Gredal took action. With help of the police the children were forcefully removed from the control of Henning Becker and placed in foster families and group homes all over Denmark.
Despite this hardship the religious values the children possessed enabled them to build their future in Denmark. Most of them live in Denmark today. Not fully integrated because while they were separated, they were still allowed to write each other and once they became adults they moved together in small communities in Denmark. So they learned to co-exist. However some of them left Denmark for other European countries because they believed, that they were robbed from their parents twice. First as result of the war in Vietnam and then by the Danish authorities, when they were removed from Henning Becker who had become their new parent.
The lesson learned by the Danish government was not ever to take children to Denmark alone. Today in the year 2021, small children born by parents with Danish passports remain in refugee camps in Syria because their parents fought for ISIS. “We do not want future terrorists to come to Denmark” the Danish politicians say. Some of the children are only 3 years old. How can the Danish politicians predict their future now?
So overall it is bittersweet story to read about the Becker children. On the surface a success-story, but both its legacy and the hardship they faced in the hands of the Danish authorities, is hard to read about.
It could not have been fun to be among the 200 children, who came to Denmark in 1975.
Nothing much is known about this organization in Denmark beside the fact that the Danish department was result of the work of a certain Tytte Botfeldt who is now deceased and their close work with the couple Lise and Ole Brems. The family who was living in the village of Klarup and was consisting of a doctor and a nurse took a lot of foster kids in. Some of the foster children died but the doctor issued death certificates despite the fact, that he was close to them. At that time it was legal and the law has due to this case been changed so no doctor with close ties to the deceased can issue death certificates.
In the end the authorities started an investigation against the foster parents and the doctor was convicted to two years in prison and he was allowed to keep his medical license to work as a doctor once the time was served. The wife was convicted to 4 years in prison and lost her license permanently. Why the difference? Why was he allowed to work when he provided medication and falsified the death certificates, remains a mystery.
Today this case involving the Terre des hommes organization in Denmark has largely been forgotten but it is certain that it could not have been fun to be a foster child in the Brems family.
- Det respektable lægeægtepar (Book in Danish language)
- Helvedet i Klarup (Blog by Hans Hüttel in Danish language)
- De tyske mulatbørns danske historie (Kristlig Dagblad – in Danish language)
Further information about the Danish department of Terre Des Hommes. In 1999 an investigation was launch into falsified medication documentation about children adopted from Romania. Danish parents believed that the children was healthy but serious illnesses were hidden from them by the organization. As result the Danish department no longer arrange adoptions.
- Aktører i Danmark (Adoptionpolitisk Forum)
Ontario, which is a part of Canada is set to have a child welfare system. It is certainly not a system you want to be part of if you are a teenager.
Placing a child in a random place hundreds of miles away from the family and friends and not providing education to the foster parents is almost planning that the children should not survive to grow up and become adults. Suicides count for some of the deaths.
The system could be better put together but as always it is properly about the money and how you can save most.
“Vildmarken kalder” also known as Vildmarksprojektet (In some sources also mentioned as Rejseprojektet) was an illegal residential treatment option used by Danish authorities from around 2005 and some years after. The youth were sent to Norway and placed at remote locations in Sweden and Norway. Regardless that it was against the law to place minors abroad according to Danish legislation several departments of social services made use of this so-called treatment program. The manager had no relevant education. In fact he was trained auto mechanic.
The youth were met with physical violence. No case worker report him for his illegal use of force as they were required to according to Danish law. Neither employees from the treatment program nor case workers have been disciplined for their work and use of this illegal treatment program.
It could not have been a fun place to be as a teenager.
- Først blev de anbragt i Helvede – så splittede kommunen søstrene op og svigtede dem igen (TV2 Nyhederne – in Danish language)
- Forbandede barndom (Google books – in Danish language – ISBN-10: 8771596453)
- Nye anklager mod projektleder: Tæsket og truet i ni timer på iskold bjergside (TV2 Nyhederne)
- Anmeldte grov vold fire måneder for sent: – Jeg har det ad helvede til med det (TV2 Øst – in Danish language)
A 15-year-old girl died from pneumonia after having been sick for 3 weeks placed in foster care at aged 10 after her mother briefly was hospitalized.
When the mother regained her health the social services wouldn’t let her home. As a stigmatized single mother there are not much her mother could have done legally against the Swedish social services which in a country with strong socialist roots are a kingdom of their own.
So the girl settled at the Horse farm where she was placed.
Even being a kingdom of their own the social services had a few rules they were supposed to follow. They should:
- Visit the girl from time to time securing that she a good life
- Make sure that a girl like this would alone in the placement because her papers stated that it should be so
- Make sure that one the foster parents was at home. The foster family was paid so one of parents didn’t need another job.
But the foster parens were busy with their horse breading. There were 5 children placed at this foster family.
So when the girl got sick the girl was not taken to the hospital. Doctors appointment at home also never took place.
She died untreated after 3 weeks of illness. She was buried in an unmarked grave by the social services so the scandal could be forgotten.
It could not have been fun to be placed in foster care in Sweden under these conditions.
Sources (some in local language):
- 15-year-old Donia dead from mono in Swedish foster care (blog)
- Donia dog – “glömdes bort” av fosterföräldrarna (Aftonbladet)
- Mindre värde än en hund (Astrid’s miljö og samhällsblogg)
Lutheran Social Services of the South is a foster care agency which used to handle a number of cases for the State Department of Family and Protective Services in Texas. They were told to stop handling new cases due to their neglect of their duties.
Poorly managed and neglected background checks of foster families led to deaths of children in foster care. About 8 children die in foster care every year in Texas.
It cannot be fun to be there as a child or a teenager.
State punishes Austin-based foster care agency in death of Orion Hamilton (Statesman)