From: Greegor on

DHS takes children from foster mom who spoke up
By REGINA MEDINA Philadelphia Daily News Tue, May. 4, 2010

The Department of Human Services, through its provider agency
Concilio, yesterday removed four foster children from the home of a
woman who alleged that DHS had coerced one of the children into having
a late-term abortion.

About 3:30 p.m., two Concilio employees came to the house, armed with
notice of the children's removal.

"As of 5/3/10 your home has been closed as a foster facility due to
the incompliance of Concilio's Foster Parent Agency Agreement," read
the letter signed by foster-care coordinator Jheovannie Williams, one
of the employees who came to the house.

This reporter was on the scene when DHS began removing the foster
children. The Mayfair teen who had the abortion; her 1-year-old
daughter; another minor, 17; and her son, 1, were packed inside a
black van and driven away.

Williams warned the foster mother, whose identity the Daily News is
withholding, that trouble was in her future, she said.

"He told me, 'Find yourself lots of money because you're not going to
come out from this one very well,' " the foster mother said.

Williams also said that "they were going to sue me," she said. "He
said I had to find a lawyer."

The foster mother previously told the Daily News that she had
overheard DHS worker Cynthia Brown tell her 16-year-old foster charge,
whose name is being withheld because she is a minor, that she would
separate the toddler and the unborn child if she went to term.

DHS later obtained a judge's order to allow the teen to get an
abortion. Brown drove the teen, who was 24 weeks pregnant, to have an
abortion in New Jersey for the first day of the two-day procedure.
Abortions in Pennsylvania are illegal once a pregnancy reaches 24

DHS paid for the procedure and then requested that two Concilio
employees, social worker Marisol Rivera, who has since been fired, and
Williams accompany the teen on the second day, Rivera and the foster
mother said. Williams drove the Concilio van to the Cherry Hill
Women's Center, Rivera and the foster mother said.

Williams refused to comment yesterday when asked about the removal,
deferring all calls to Concilio's executive director, Joanna Otero-

Calls were not answered at Concilio yesterday afternoon.

Donald F. Schwarz, the city's deputy mayor for health and opportunity,
explained in a statement why the four minors had been removed from the

"It's now become clear that the foster mother has violated
Pennsylvania state law regarding confidentiality [by discussing the
teen's case with the newspaper], therefore potentially compromising
the safety and well-being of the children in her care," Schwarz's
statement read.

DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose issued a statement late yesterday:

"It is unfortunate that the Daily News decided to print an
inflammatory story riddled with inaccuracies. The DHS caseworker
involved in this case did nothing wrong, in fact she followed
departmental policy and procedure. DHS workers remain neutral in
medical situations of this nature and would not coerce or force a
child to do something that she does not want to do."

Robin Banister, the teen's child advocate, also issued a statement
late yesterday:

"My client was not coerced by DHS or anyone else. . . . She is upset
with the false representations reported about her case and she is
upset that professionals have violated her right to privacy."

But the foster mother is sticking to her words.

"Me? I'm going to say the truth," she said. "I told [Williams] I'm
going to tell the truth."

She and the teen's birth mother, who identified herself as Deborah M.,
maintained that the girl was excited about having her second child.
She discussed a name and told her daughter that she was going to have
a little brother, but her tone changed after she talked with Brown,
the foster mother said.

The 17-year-old foster child, who had no connection to the case that
was reported yesterday, was weeping when she learned she was to be
removed from the home, the foster mother said.

The teen at the center of the case came home from school upset at her
foster mother because the teen knew that she had talked with the Daily

"She already knew she was being removed."

For more stories on this Philly CPS late term abortion scandal: abortion