Saturday, June 30, 2007

Zsa Zsa Gabor's 'Family Quarrel' The Evidence is There !

Following an emotional day in court on Friday, ZSA ZSA GABOR's husband, PRINCE FREDERIC VON ANHALT, spoke exclusively to ET about the case at the couple's home.

"The judge made a ruling and said, "We are not going to throw the case out," says Prince Frederic regarding the suit against Zsa Zsa's daughter, FRANCESCA HILTON. "We are going to continue and the next hearing will be on the 27th of July."

Prince Frederic and Zsa Zsa are alleging elder abuse and fraud at the hands of Francesca. The two sides have been locked in a long-standing feud over funds Francesca allegedly embezzled from her mother. Zsa Zsa filed suit in 2005, but her health has declined since that time.

"This is a case that has to be settled because the evidence is there. Two million dollars is gone," explains Prince Frederic. "We have two cancelled checks signed by Francesca Hilton and we know where the $2 million went. One million went into her own house. She had a mortgage for $150,000. They tried to throw her out of the house. So she bought her own house back with $150,000. The rest went to a lawyer in New York for investments. This has to be settled. They have to promise to pay the money back and that is it. The money has to come back."

During Friday's hearing, Zsa Zsa was absent due to a serious injury, which occurred when she slipped and fell while trying to get out of bed without assistance. The wheel-chair bound actress is also suffering from a leg infection. A doctor was at her house Thursday night.

"She has got a strong antibiotic for the infection," says Prince Frederic. "We hope the infection is going to go away. If it doesn't, she has to go to the hospital."

Meanwhile, in a press conference after Friday's hearing, Francesca said the hardest part of this case is "having to go against my own blood." Of her stepfather, she added, "He has had me followed, threatened me on the phone -- he's not even a real prince! He's a prince like the singer is a prince."

"I don't give a damn," Prince Frederic tells ET regarding Francesca's comments. "I feel sorry for her. She is a bitter woman. I am not going to fight back. There are so many things I could have said. I don't say anything. It is really sad."

It is well-known that Zsa Zsa was once married to CONRAD HILTON, the great-grandfather of PARIS HILTON, and Prince Frederic shares his thoughts about the young heiress who was released from jail earlier this week.

"I like Paris Hilton," says Prince Frederic. "I think she is a wonderful girl. She is an entertainer and that is what we need. We have so much grief with the war going on, so we need entertainers to get us away from all the trouble we have. There she fits in very well."

Related Articles

CELEBRITY JUSTICE COURT NEWS Another Hilton in Court Today. This Time It’s Paris’ Auntie

Goverment Secretary Needed To Protect the Elderly

A SOUTH Cumbrian MP is calling on a government minister to protect older people from abuse. Tim Farron the Liberal Democrat MP questioned the adequacy of care home inspection regulations.

He raised the issue during Heath questions in Parliament this week saying that according to Help the Aged 500,OOO people are victims of elder abuse.

And Mr Farron claims there have also been lots of complaints about abuse of the elderly...

Mr Farron asked Heafth Minister Ivan Lewis about the Department of Healths opinion on the regulations designed to prevent abuse of the elderly.

Speaking to the Evening Mail Mr Farron said: Help the Aged says there are 500,OOO who are victims of elder abuse in the country . Then I asked the authority to investigate they either can't or they don't have the powers

In Parliament Mr Farron asked the minister if in light of the Help the Aged report the department considers the guidelines to be stringent enough to prevent such abuse.

Mr Farron says a number of his constituents have contacted him about concerns that the regulatory body the Commission for Social Care Inspection does not have the power to reprimand a care home appropriately if ft is found to be in breach of any of the regulations.

In response to Mr Farron~s question about CSCI the minister said: The report is shocking and there is unfortunately an issue of abuse in care homes.

We clearly need solutions to tackle these issues

Mr Farron said: The regulatory body for conduct in care homes would appear to be completely toothless.

If a school was found to be seriously failing Ofsted would not stand idly by and let it continue they would come down on the school extremely hard and rightly so.

We need a system for care homes which is at least as effective as the system for schools which can be clearly understood by everybody. The procedures need to be laid out in such a way that complainant can see precisely where their case has reached and what the next step will be.


Completely toothless , how much this article reminds of the conversation that I had with Clay Kellam -Adult Protective Services Investigator (Polk County)and her supervisor, a few days before Clara was left alone in a Hotel Room, Drugged , alone and helpless.

I was told that the DCF lacks police powers and were powerless to do anything to protect Clara from the inevitable fall that followed and left Clara G. Fernandez speechless, partially paralyzed ,terrified and completely incapacitated , this before Judge Von Hof came to Clara's rescue and issued the order that made it possible for Clara to be reunited with her husband Dr. A.J. Fernandez who died shortly thereafter from the stress of the situation.

Just Older - Not Invisible - Special Post is Needed

Yeats once wrote: “That is no country for old men.” In 2007 this phrase is still suited to our unsupportive and ageist culture. It is time for an overhaul of these outdated beliefs, writes Paul Murray.

A favourite is from Sydney Smith who died in 1845: “He spent all his life in letting down buckets into empty wells; and he is frittering away his age in trying to draw them up again.”

In other words we shouldn’t try to recapture that first fine careless rapture. But to be sanguine about older age we need respect and political support.

It is apt then, just after Say No To Ageism week, to take stock of where we stand, to remember Leas Cross, the illegal withholding of pension money for nursing home beds, and the discrimination referred to by Niall Crowley of the Equality Authority.

Apparently age is the third highest ground for allegations of discrimination under the Equal Status Act. Under the Employment Equality Acts, age discrimination in the workplace is the biggest area being dealt with by the Equality Authority.

More than half those responding to a survey believed we treated older people worse than the young.

Special post is needed

But a special post is needed to let it be known that this State takes seriously the issue of the rights of the elderly, that there is someone backed statutorily to ensure that older citizens are treated with respect and have their rights protected.

Our final years are a time when we need all the support we can get. None of us wants to die in an overcrowded noisy ward, being inappropriately treated and with little consideration to the needs of our family.

Article edited for E.A. from the Irish times

New York Must Reform its Laws on Power of Attorney

As many as 5 million older adults in the United States have been victims of elder abuse and neglect. In New York alone, out of the 3.1 million older adults over 60, as many as 130,000 may be victims of mistreatment.

Elder abuse takes many forms: physical battering, neglect by caregivers to provide for basic needs such as food or medicine, emotional or psychological mistreatment. One of the most insidious forms of abuse perpetrated against older adults is financial exploitation.

As in other forms of abuse, financial exploitation cuts across all economic and ethnic boundaries; it affects not only the affluent but also those of limited means. It is also the fastest growing form of elder abuse.

The National Elder Abuse Incidence Study in 1998 found that almost one third of elder abuse cases involve exploitation. Frail elders who are isolated and dependent on others for care or who may be experiencing confusion are especially vulnerable.

In some cases unscrupulous home contractors or telemarketers take advantage of an elder’s vulnerability to convince the victim to transfer funds.

In other cases, a financial adviser or family member entrusted with power of attorney takes advantage of an older adult’s cognitive confusion to line their own pockets rather than use assets for the needs of the elder.

A major step toward prevention of financial exploitation of seniors would be the revision of laws in New York regulating power of attorney. POA is a useful legal tool that allows an individual to designate another party as fiduciary to manage funds and to transact business on his or her behalf.

The laws in New York, however, lag behind many other states in specifying the limits of authority of the fiduciary and in ensuring accountability and imposing penalties when trust is broken.

The New York State Law Revision Commission has been working on proposed revisions to the law for more than five years. Bills have been introduced in the Senate and the Assembly to finally make long overdue changes in the POA law in New York to help to protect elders from unscrupulous fiduciaries.

The New York State Elder Abuse Coalition was established in 2004 to implement recommendations that emerged from an Elder Abuse Summit held in Albany that year. One hundred specialists in elder protection voted to make revision of laws, especially the General Obligations law regulating power of attorney, the number one recommendation for improving the community’s response to elder abuse in New York state.

On June 15, New York observed the second annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

There could be no better way for citizens to help protect older New Yorkers than to urge members of the Legislature to pass this critical piece of legislation this year.

Ann Marie Cook is co-chair of the New York State Elder Abuse Coalition.

Posters a Hit!

by Lisa Neremberg

Word got around about the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day posters designed by a class at City College of San Francisco. I've had 1,000 guests visit my blog this month to check them out, and the City College folks had requests for the artwork from all over the world. The posters have been shown by agencies in the US, Australia, and Canada, and they even made an appearance at the World Health Organization's event in Geneva, Switzerland. Georgia's Department of Human Services had them emailed to all the supervisors across the state, and they will be displayed at a conference for California Long Term Care Ombudsmen in the spring.

"It was rewarding to work on such a meaningful project. The students and I learned much about a topic that we were hardly aware of. We are very happy that our work was met with such enthusiasm."

Regina Rowland, Professor of Graphic Communications, City College of San Francisco

"It's great to see that our hard work has had such a good reception and taken on a life of it's own after we finished working on it."

Clinton Froehlich, Student Project Director

For more on how World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was observed around world, see the website of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.

Narcissist as Slanderer

Courtesy of Barbara at Santuary for the Abused

On their way through life, narcissists leave a trail of trashed good names in their wake. This is a serious problem in the workplace, for narcissists often destroy the careers of their betters.

The narcissist is a slanderer partly to get attention. (Notice that the finger-pointer in the picture above has his other hand raised to get attention.) But he is a slanderer mainly because he must be one to create his phony image. He makes himself look good by making others look bad.

Yet narcissists are different: they are hypocrites = for looks only. They think a thing ain't wrong if they get away with it. In other words, they confuse appearances with reality. Consequently, they have no conscience — just an unconscience. That is, they repress their conscience. Hence, what they do in the dark is shockingly different than what they do in the light of day. These are the people who put make-up on their image a little too thick in spots.

Also, normal people have normal, human and loving relationships. So they don't smear themselves off on just anybody. They wouldn't dream of harming those near and dear

They become living, breathing Projection Machines. Projection becomes such a knee-jerk reflex that a narcissist accuses his victim of doing to him the very thing (or essentially the same thing) as he is in the very act of doing to the victim. This creates bizarre scenes that make you wonder whether the narcissist is hallucinating or tripping out on psychedelic drugs. You feel like Alice in Wonderland. You have to pinch yourself and wonder whether "it's me or him that is crazy."

If you've ever thought that, congratulations. It means you're not. The narcissist never thinks that: he just accuses whoever he abuses of being the crazy one. (I said "crazy," not "insane." There's a difference.)

Another big difference between narcissists and normal people when they're projecting on you is that narcissists expect you to share their delusion. Yes! You cannot help but perceive this as gaslighting. Narcissists try to make you be what they say you are because, like a psychopath, they view you as an object, not as a human person with perceptions and a mind of your own.* They view you as an extension of themselves (like a tool) to control. It is the moral equivalent of the control a rapist thinks he has over the body of another, whom he views as but an object, an extension of himself, an executioner of HIS will. Psychologists call this bizarre behavior projective identification, a defense mechanism. The narcissist wants you to identify with the image he projects on you. You are a mirror to reflect his fantasy, so he pressures you to behave as though it is real.

Behave is the key word. Narcissists do not connect with reality: appearances are all that matter in their world.

For the narcissist only cares how you behave; he does not care what you think. He doesn't think at all about what you think. In fact, you can crash his brain by asking, "What do you think I think about you?" The question does not even compute.

Bottom Line: Anyone who outshines a narcissist diminishes the glow of his glory. So, that person had better be somebody with power that he fears or had better lay low and get away.

Australia’s Outback shame

In national emergencies, soldiers are sent to do all sorts of strange jobs, like shoring up levees against floods or cleaning up towns flattened by hurricanes. But what the Australian Army has been ordered to do must be a world first. Kitted out in camouflage gear, troops are fanning out across the vast Northern Territory to stop gross sexual abuse of Aboriginal children.

"We are dealing with children of the tenderest age who have been exposed to the most terrible abuse from the time of their birth, virtually," said Prime Minister John Howard, as he stomped over the local government's objections. "What matters more: the constitutional niceties or the care and protection of young children?"

Although the Northern Territory occupies a fifth of the Australian continent, it has only one per cent of its people. But it contains more than half of the country's 1,139 remote indigenous communities and nearly 30 per cent of its population is Aboriginal. It ought to be a showcase of how Australia cares for the disadvantaged and vulnerable. It's not.

It is devastating for us to bury our young people; they should be burying us. But the tide has turned: we the Elders are singing and crying for our young ones.

This was our Hurricane Katrina, said Howard – the humiliating exposure of government incompetence and neglect on a vast scale. Social breakdown in isolated Aboriginal communities was so serious that it warranted immediate action. "Freedoms and rights, especially for women and children, are little more than cruel fictions without the rule of law," Mr Howard said. So troops, police, doctors, social workers and bureaucrats are flooding into about 60 townships in an effort to rebuild Aboriginal society from the ground up.

By any yardstick, the measures are Draconian. They include banning the sale, possession and consumption of alcohol in certain areas; restricting access to welfare payments to ensure that parents feed their children instead of their addiction to grog and gambling; and banning the possession of X-rated pornography. Non-Aborigines will no longer need permits to enter certain settlements and the Federal Government will acquire five-year leases over some townships. Disturbingly, for many Aboriginal parents, there will be compulsory examinations for their children to check for sexual abuse and to assess their health.

What sparked the federal government into action was a report commissioned by the local government into Aboriginal child sexual abuse, Little Children are Sacred. It was replete with sickening stories: a three-year old girl imitating sex acts, 12 to 15-year-old Aboriginal girls trading sex with mine workers for alcohol and cash; increasing rates of incest; 15-year-olds raping five-year olds; mothers prostituting their children...

Sad as they were, none of the stories was new. Even though the report offered few hard statistics on the scope of the abuse, it was universally believed. Year after year government reports have been tabled about dysfunctional Aboriginal communities. Successive governments have given them the vote, welfare, land rights and a huge bureaucracy to manage their affairs. What was beyond their power to give was happy home lives and successful marriages.

Aborigines have always been at risk. After more than 200 years of white contact, often tainted by violence, abuse, discrimination and neglect, links to traditional cultures and homelands have frayed or broken. Some have integrated successfully into mainstream Australian society. Many have not. Fringe-dwellers of de-tribalised Aborigines live in the outskirts of many country towns in ramshackle settlements. In more remote areas, so alien from white Australia that residents speak little English, tiny townships subsist on government welfare payments.

In many (though not all) of these, living conditions cannot be described as third world, or even fourth world. Journalists and government reports paint pictures of utterly demoralised communities, horrifying parallel universes of boredom, pornography, ill-health, drunkenness, petrol-sniffing, violence, and sexual abuse. Here are some details:

• One out of eight children is abused or neglected.
• The per capita rate of sexually transmitted infections amongst NT Aboriginal people is between seven and 30 times greater than for non-Aboriginals.
• Drunkenness is endemic. To give an idea of the problem, consider the town of Borroloola – population about 800. The locals were consuming about eight pallets of beer -- 960 cartons -- a day.
• Pornography is everywhere. Many children in Aboriginal communities are hyper-sexualised as a result of watching blue movies on DVDs and pay TV.
• The use of cannabis, kava is widespread. Petrol-sniffing has destroyed the lives of many young men in remote communities.

There are fears that traditional Aboriginal culture will disappear with this generation. A woman elder from the Yolngu people in Arnhem Land said eloquently: "We can see that the young people are coming out of school and going straight into drinking – this is a very bad habit... It is devastating for us to bury our young people; they should be burying us. But the tide has turned: we the Elders are singing and crying for our young ones."

Got the picture? Reading Little Children Are Sacred would make you weep with despair. But not just at the horrifying abuse of women and children and the near-extinction of an ancient culture. There should be despair, too, at the clueless bureaucrats.

The problem with Aboriginal society is not that it is too different from mainstream Western society, but that it is too much the same. Reeling under the onslaught of modern technology, media and bureaucracy, Aboriginal culture is fragile – immune-compromised and vulnerable to degrading moral infections. Our more robust culture, with its long Christian traditions, law and institutions can hardly cope. What chance does Aboriginal culture have? Essentially, how different is the world of Borroloola and the binge-drinking, sex-sodden world of many university students? Just read Tom Wolfe's novel I Am Charlotte Simmons.

In fact, as the report's authors found, the problem was that many Aboriginal girls and boys are just copying what they see on their TV screens. Pentecostal minister Djiniyini Gondarra, of the Galiwin'ku people in Arnhem Land, made a shrewd observation last year: Aboriginal youths believe they are "acting within 'white fella' law when being abusive, a thinking that began with the systemic undermining of our own law with the colonisation of Australia and the atrocities that followed. It is now reinforced by TV, movies, pornography and drugs brought into our community from wider Australia."

What makes outback Aboriginal society so sick? The Howard government has highlighted the destructive influence of welfare payments – or "sit-down money" as it is often called. It is attempting to create a work ethic and a sense of personal responsibility. This will help to curb the drunkenness, idleness and hopelessness which underlie much of the sex abuse.

But a crackpot welfare system is far from the whole story. The report's authors heard from many sources that "as traditional Aboriginal and missionary-imposed norms regarding sex broke down, they were being replaced with rampant promiscuity among teenagers." These tragically vulnerable people, in other words, are living in a moral vacuum.

How do the authors of the report propose to fill it? They offer 97 lukewarm recommendations which will require an army of social workers to implement. But what is their game-plan for changing the hearts of Aboriginal youths, to help them treat others with the respect due to them as fellow human beings?

Safe sex. Yup, that's right. Safe sex. "It is the Inquiry’s view that action must be taken to establish a new set of moral 'norms' within Aboriginal communities that do not fetter the freedom of choice but encourage the young to make appropriate and healthy choices in relation to sex and make certain behaviours socially unacceptable." How about fostering healthy marriages? How about strengthening the family unit? Divorce and separation is far more common amongst Aboriginal people -- sometimes 300 per cent more common in remote areas. Study after study has shown that children are happiest and healthiest in intact families. But none of the report's recommendations touch on the disastrous state of Aboriginal marriage.

Traditional Aboriginal laws on marriage were harsh and patriarchal, but they did not sanction promiscuity or sexual abuse. When Western moral relativism infected traditional culture, it killed the traditions and left little in its place. In one community the Elders' efforts to promote traditional marriage were being undermined by the local health centre which was distributing condoms and telling them they could have sex with anyone they want at any time as long as they wore a condom. "For young people today having sex is like fishing, and they throw that fish back when they finished," a Yolgnu Elder said.

This doesn't inspire much confidence in the ability of bureaucrats from Canberra, the national capital, to teach Aboriginal youths why they shouldn't sleep around and watch X-rated DVDs. Canberra, coincidentally, is also the capital of Australia's mail-order pornography industry.

Because Aborigines are socially and psychologically fragile, they suffer more when moral standards decay. But in a sense the disintegration of their communities should be a warning bell for us about the insanity of regarding substance abuse, pornography and promiscuity as mere lifestyle choices which are acceptable as long as no one gets hurt. The tragic experience in the Northern Territory shows that a morally corrupt lifestyle will eventually lead to a dysfunctional society where kids are at risk. The best the bureaucrats can do then is to surround broken families with a rickety scaffolding of social services and hope the kids will survive.

And if they don't, send in the Army.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Elder Abuse: Nursing Home Neglect Is a Widespread Problem

Editor: Clayton W. Kent Firm: Brayton Purcell LLP

A nursing home is guilty of neglect when it fails to fulfill its duties to its residents. These obligations can range from providing special diets to taking a frail, elderly person to the toilet at appropriate times. Refusing to answer a resident's page or failing to call his or her doctor may also be neglect.

A bedridden nursing home resident should be repositioned at least every two hours to relieve body pressure. Without this care, the resident may develop inflamed, reddened skin or bedsores (also called pressure sores or decubitus ulcers). If a bedsore is not treated, skin tissue breaks down and a large wound is formed.

Bedsores are often signs that the nursing home is neglecting residents' nutritional and hygiene needs. Skin breakdown can occur when a resident becomes incontinent and urine and feces are not cleaned up promptly. Improper nutrition may also affect the skin, inhibiting healing.

Poor nutrition and dehydration may cause other health problems. You should be concerned if an elderly relative has lost a great deal of weight while in the nursing home.

Many nursing home violations and complaints are due to understaffing. Otherwise qualified nurses and health professionals may be unable to adequately care for residents, not because of lack of compassion or aptitude, but because they are overloaded and overwhelmed. Nevertheless, the nursing home management owes a legal and moral duty to residents and their families to hire enough employees and to provide proper care. The health of your loved one should not be compromised.


Dear Mr. Kent;

Thank You for contributing to our on going discussion here on E.A. on Elder Abuse and we could not agree with you more, Elder Abuse and neglect is a widespread problem.

We folks at ElderAbuseHelp.Com are very much aware of the problem and are concentrating our efforts on finding solutions - We would like to ask that more attorneys like you who are concerned with elder abuse volunteer their expertise to help elders in need ! We are aware of many Doctors who volunteer their time to help unfortunate people overcome difficult problems though organizations such as Doctors Without Borders.

A recent report by the Florida DCF says that the vast majority of elder abuse happens at home by a trusted caregiver or family member, none the less all kinds of elder abuse are abominable and should be sanctioned.

There are many people that are concerned with Elder Abuse at nursing homes, yet have never volunteered their time to make it better, Nursing Homes like many businesses have a hard times getting help,and a few volunteers would go a long way.

The pay scale in nursing homes is lower than in most industries, such as the construction industry for instance, so the majority of health care workers in nursing homes are there because they identify with helping these people whose families are in too many cases to busy to assume this responsibility themselves.

While we agree that the nursing home management owes a legal and moral duty to residents and their families, we are also cognizant of the long hours that they work with out pay and also strongly believe that Society should also accept their share in the responsibility of caring for our elders, and not expect miracles from an industry that is understaffed, underpaid, and under appreciated.

Help an elder today and volunteer your time at the nearest nursing home, most homes will greatly appreciate your help and you will do your share in cutting down on those bedsores, and encourage elders to spend more time out of bed and in motion because there is someone who cares there to visit with them !

Comments by Ray Fernandez

Clara Herself Was a Volunteer at Nursing Home

Clara G. Fernandez herself was a volunteer right up to the time that she was abducted and rendered incapacitated by elder abuse

7 Tips for Selecting Long-Term Care Insurance


Long Term Care Insurance can provide protection from some of the expenses of nursing home care, which can typically exceed $75,000 a year. However, selecting the best policy can be complicated. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) has put together a list of seven tips to picking the right policy.

Newswise — As the massive Baby Boomer generation braces for retirement, many are turning to long-term care insurance to prepare for potential age-related care.

Long-term care insurance helps cover the costs of assisted-living facilities, nursing homes and at-home care. To receive coverage for a specific period of time, policyholders pay a premium based on age, health and the type of plan. According to trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans, a typical long-term care policy bought in 2002 with inflation protection added would cost a 50-year-old $1,134, while a 65-year-old would pay $2,346 and a 79-year-old would fork out $7,572.

In addition to covering the cost of their own health care, many of the nation’s approximately 78 million Baby Boomers are also pitching in to help pay for the medical needs of an elder parent.

"More than a quarter of those responding to the NAELA Elder Issues National Survey made long-term care arrangements for themselves or a family member," said G. Mark Shalloway, CELA, president elect of NAELA. Of that group, the majority chose nursing homes – which typically cost more than $75,000 a year – over assisted living or home-based care. The NAELA national survey of elder issues polled 1,001 Americans aged 35 and older about aging issues such as concerns about growing older, long term care, elder debt, healthcare insurance costs, Medicare Part D, living wills, retirement, and elder abuse.

About 8 million Americans now own long-term care insurance protection, a number that has risen in recent years. Elder law attorneys nationwide, however, have seen a subsequent escalation in the number of grievances and lawsuits filed against the insurers. The majority of those complaints allegedly stem from unnecessary delays and unfair regulations related to the claims process.

To avoid the complications and possible surprises, NAELA offers several tips on choosing long-term care insurance:

1. SELECT THE RIGHT KIND OF COVERAGE. Home Health Care Coverage, for example, means you receive insurance benefits covering in-home care services provided by a licensed or registered practice nurse or therapist. Respite Care guarantees a facility will offer some help – about one to two weeks each year – to those caring for a homebound person. Adult Day Care can also help, ensuring assistance is provided during the day for recreational, therapeutic and personal care.

2. REQUIRE ADMITTANCE TO ALL LEVELS OF CARE. You should be able to use any skilled, intermediate or custodial care facility without having to start at the highest level of care. Skilled care, for example, is the highest level an individual can receive outside of hospital confinement and requires constant medical attention from licensed medical professionals under a physician’s supervision. Intermediate care, which is handled by a licensed practical nurse, involves occasional nursing and rehabilitative care.

3. AVOID POLICIES WITH A PRIOR-HOSPITALIZATION REQUIREMENT. "Make sure your policy does not require hospitalization before benefits are paid," said Shalloway. Typically, certain conditions must first be met – usually by measuring a person’s ability to do one or more "activities of daily living" such as bathing, eating or dressing – before benefits are activated for nursing home care or assisted living. Preferred policies will require the insured to be unable to do two of the "activities of daily living" rather than rely on a "medically necessary" standard.

4. SELECT HIGHLY-RATED POLICIES. Financial strength is important, helping determine the insurer’s long-term survival and whether they can pay future claims. "Look for a company that has an "A+" rating from A.M. Best Co. and a triple "A" rating from at least one other service,’ says Shalloway. Policies from the same insurer vary from state to state, so verify the information is appropriate for your particular region.

5. SECURE FRONT END UNDERWRITING TO HELP IMPROVE YOUR INSURANCE PLAN. Front end underwriting requires an attending physician’s statement at the time of application and can help protect against claim denial due to underwriter mistakes. Expect the procedure to take up to a month and a half.

6. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "GUARANTEED RENEWABLE" AND "NON-CANCELABLE." Non-cancelable means the policy stays in force as long as the premium is paid and the insurance company is unable to raise the premium. Guaranteed renewable means the insurance company can’t drop the policy unless you skip payment, but premiums can be raised for all policyholders within a particular group.

7. OBTAIN INFLATION ADJUSTMENT. Since medical costs increase with inflation, you should consider obtaining an inflation adjustment factor. The three most common types of inflation protection are indexed, simple percentage and compounded percentage. Indexed is initially the cheapest, but might not protect you down the road. Simple Inflation Protection sets a fixed annual percentage increase. Compounded Protection is best, but typically the most expensive.

These are just some options to consider when evaluating long-term care insurance plans. Long-term care insurance is more complicated than life insurance or health insurance, so it’s best to consult with a financial planner, Elder law attorney or insurance professional prior to any decision-making.


Established in 1987, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations and others. Members of NAELA are elder law attorneys who are experienced and trained in the legal, medical, financial, social and family issues of people with special needs and people as they age NAELA currently has more than 5,000 members across the U.S., Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. For more information or to find an elder law attorney, visit


The term 'Elder Abuse' was not in my vocabulary until about 3 years ago. It was in a search for help for a friend who had been abused that I came across the term on the Internet.

Since then I have learnt a lot about the subject.

Elder abuse that leaves physical evidence e.g. sexual assaults, domestic violence and neglect in nursing homes etc.. is more easily recognized.

Those perpetrators who inflict emotional and psychological damage are more difficult to identify. There are no laws in place to handle such issues in Australia. My own experience has been that of :

"Don't waste your time. Get on with your life. We can't help. It's a family issue etc.."

What I found in approaching government agencies regarding the emotional and psychological abuse (plus a prevention of the victim from getting a decent place to live and to have proper access to his assets) was the unbelievable responses:

Is he incapacitated? He still have his faculties? Sorry, we can't help you.

He has assets? Go to his solicitors.

Son has the power of attorney? Apply to have that revoked. (just that the victim cannot do that as he wasn't the one who initiated the poa.)

I cannot help but recall the public views on child abuse all those years ago; where people tended to look the other way because it does not affect them and it was something that occurred within families.

I appeal to those who have access to the Internet to help publicize this important issue.

Together we can make law-makers, politicians and the public take notice.




Comments by blogmaster...

Andrew like myself had not heard of Elder Abuse until 3 years ago, and like Andrew I have become somewhat of an advocate for elders, so even thou a ocean separates us, we are united by a common desire, that is to see our elders live out their years with the dignity they deserve free of abuse and the vultures that prey on them.

Andrew's new blog is an attempt to get Australians fired up about the issue and to join him in publicizing about the silent crime; in order to make our law-makers and politicians aware. Even a helpline where people (victims or friends, relatives) can ring up for help.

Andrew the saying 'what comes around goes around' it's a universal law that some refer to as 'Karma' all those that refuse to help our elders because of it's a 'family matter' and they don't want to get their hands dirty, because they are above it all ! will someday face a similar challenge.

I admire you because you are doing the right thing, and somewhat familiar with the Frank Punito Story, I realize you are doing this because of indignation of the way our elders are treated and not because you have anything to gain, or as the Americans would say "You don't have a dog in this fight" other than your rightful indignation.

I ask all our E.A. readers to support Andrew and encourage him by visiting his brand new blog, and I encourage our readers wherever they might be to continue to volunteer and freely give your time to help and speak for the voiceless you will be paid in a currency whose value far exceeds that of money.

Two Fresno Women Arrested for Elder Abuse

A home invasion case involving an elderly Fresno County woman turned out to be an inside job according to investigators. The victim's caregiver and another woman are in jail on Wednesday as a result.

The house located in rural Fresno County looks quiet and peaceful. However, one month ago, it was a different story.

Late in the evening on May 23rd, Fresno Sheriff's Deputies responded to a 911 home invasion call. When deputies arrived, they found a 77 year old woman and her care taker tied up. The two told deputies they had been robbed.

At the time, investigators believed two men had forced their way into the home and stole handguns, jewelry and cash. But, the Sheriff's Department says it didn't take investigators long to realize the caretaker's story didn't add up.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says, "As it turns out, there were no males that broke into the house, the caregiver and her co-part were responsible. Investigators zeroed in on 23 year old caretaker Danielle Fraijo, and her friend, 24 year old Christina Clark, by tracking down receipts from a stolen credit card and through phone calls made right before the crime. They now face a long list of charges."

The victim's daughter, Pam Lehman, asked to not show her face, but says her mother can't believe it was Fraijo who put her through this ordeal.

Lehman says, "She trusted, has real trust issues right now. She treated her like a daughter, like she she just trusted her, it's been a hard thing...All this has been happening, so were gonna fence in stuff and we've had security guards every night."

Mims says, "It's the people that I, and these folks standing behind me, are sworn to protect that are really the most vulnerable. They have got to be able to trust people taking care of them."

Lehman says after the courts decide the fate of Fraijo and her accomplice, Fraijo will have to answer to a higher power.

Stem Cells Enhance Hearing Recovery

Researchers have shown that bone marrow stem cells injected into a damaged inner ear can speed hearing recovery after partial hearing loss.

Hearing loss has many causes, including genetics, aging, and infection, and may be complete or partial. Such loss may involve damage to inner ear cells called cochlear fibrocytes, which are fundamental to inner ear function. Some natural regeneration of these cells can occur after acute damage, leading to partial recovery of temporary hearing loss. But could such restoration be enhanced by using bone marrow stem cells, which can differentiate into various tissue-specific cell types"

Dr. Tatsuo Matsunaga of National Tokyo Medical Center pursued this hypothesis by utilizing a well-characterized rat model of drug-induced hearing loss. This model specifically destroys cochlear fibrocytes and leads to acute hearing loss. Although partial recovery occurs over many weeks, high-frequency hearing remains extremely diminished. Using this system, the investigators examined whether direct administration of stem cells into the inner ear could restore the cochlear fibrocyte population and aid hearing recovery.

Stem cells injected into the inner ear survived in half of the injured rats, where they migrated away from the site of injection toward the injured region within the inner ear. These stem cells divided in the new environment and expressed several proteins necessary for hearing, suggesting tissue-specific differentiation. Further, transplanted cells that migrated to the damaged area of the inner ear displayed shape similar to that of cochlear fibrocytes.

Pope Benedict XVI Backs Adult Stem Cell Research

Pope Benedict XVI has endorsed adult stem cell research, distinguishing it from the manipulation of stem cells from human embryos, which the Roman Catholic Church condemns.

Speaking at the end of his weekly general audience, the Roman Catholic leader saluted delegates at a global conference on the use of adult stem cells to treat cardiac problems, organised by La Spaienza University in Rome.

"On this matter the position of the Church, supported by reason and by science, is clear," he said.

"Scientific research must be encouraged and promoted, so long as it does not harm other human beings, whose dignity is inviolable from the very first stages of existence."

The Roman Catholic Church believes that an embryo is wholly a human being. For that reason, it condemns abortion and genetic manipulation such as research on embryonic stem cells.

Unlike embryonic stem cells, or primitive cells from early-stage embryos capable of developing into almost every tissue of the body, adult stem cells divide to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues.

They can be isolated from tissue samples taken from adults, and - unlike embryonic stem cells - they are already being used to tackle a number of diseases, including several forms of cancer.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

When did this Become Acceptable Behavior in the United States of America?

By Albert Henry as published here=>>

Some time back my Mother took ill and, living alone as she does, found herself in what is not an entirely unique position. The effects of cataracts and severe hearing loss were compounded by whatever bug she'd caught and she went to bed to recuperate. Meals became an inconvenience and dehydration aggravated the situation

Family members dutifully converged on the sick bed. It was decided that a caregiver would stay on for a month to take care of the immediate situation while longer range plans could be put in place. It is important to note that my Mother had previously prepared for just such an eventuality by executing her living will and assigning a medical power of attorney, with instructions for specific circumstances, to my sister.

My Mother was not suffering from any life threatening illness but she was disoriented and confused and that was covered by her written instructions that called for her to remain in her home for as long as her finances and insurance could manage the burden. To make a long story short, the caregiver found it convenient to be placed on mother's checking account and she was declared to be sound minded enough to revoke the medical power of attorney and make preparations for a new will to be drawn.

For her birthday five days later she was taken to a medical student who declared her to be suffering from age related dementia and her banking privileges were suspended effective immediately. Her car was transferred into the caregiver's name with the appropriate Texas address. Professional moving services were contacted. A quick valuation of her property and assets was made and a post-dated check on my Mother's account retained a lawyer who filed an "emergency" petition to protect the estate from her. Interestingly the petition was filed on the day it was heard "without notice" which translates from the legalese into something just short of top secret.

The lawyer cashed her check but neglected to serve the judgment against my Mother for two weeks. By that time the police had been summoned twice to remand my Mother into the custody of her caregiver for transport to the Lone Star State. Much to their credit, the officers neglected to perform as requested, which granted enough time for the order to be overturned.

The Bank refused to honor the restoration of her civil rights until she could prove her sanity and she was left without the financial wherewithal to satisfy a $15co-pay to the physician who was actually treating her! Meanwhile the legal battle against her, funded as it was by access to her finances, continues unabated with revised editions of the same defunct petition.

When did this become acceptable behavior in the United States of America? How can it be that a widow with the foresight to prepare a will to govern in these exact circumstances can have her wishes overruled without ever being heard or considered while the funds and permission necessary to clear her name are placed in someone else's hands? That's not to say that the system will not eventually work and God's will be done. If not, those of us relying on living wills had best beware.

Albert Henry lives in San Simon.


Dear Henry ;

I'm sorry that your having to find out the hard way.

Lots of people had the foresight to prepare for these exact circumstances, including my mother, whose estate was taken over and her own money used to pay for attorneys fees in order to separate her from her husband Dr. A.J. Fernandez who died shortly thereafter from the stress of the situation.

Manny people like you and me are waking up everyday to a very rude reality.

Americans are about to witness the largest transfer of wealth in the nation's history.

See related Posts 'When there is a Will'

Or read what the expert say "A Last Will and Testament is Not Adequate"by Dr. Irwin Weiss MD

Your Bill Of Rights

You have the right to be you

You have the right to put yourself and your family first

You have the right to be safe in your home from intrusions and people from impersonating or pretending to be police officers

You have the right to expect the police to document and investigate a crime scene when you believe a crime has been committed and you ask that a report be filled out, before the scene is contaminated.

You have the right to be accurately quoted in a police report.

You have the right to be treated with respect and to be human - not perfect

You have the right to expect the agency in charge of protecting our elders (DCF) to act to protect our loved ones when properly notified that their lives is in imminent danger(Before serious injury comes to our loved ones.)

You have the right to be angry and protest if the neglect of others causes you or your loved ones suffering, injury and or death.

You have the right to your own privacy and you have the right to protest when false complaints are filed against you. And you have the right to be informed as to the results of any investigation.

You have the right to protest and to be heard when a loved one's identity is stolen and used to for the advancement of a personal cause, when you know that person has Alzheimer's ,Dementia, is in the hospital or in a nursing home and incapable of protecting themself..

You Have the right to live your life free of harrasment and repeated investigations due to false reports filed by the same person(s), it is the foundation of our legal system that you don't get endless chances year after year to continually investigate someone just because some is filing false reports for the purpose of :

(a) Harassing, embarrassing, or harming another person;

(b) Personal financial gain for the reporting person;(c) Acquiring custody of a vulnerable adult; or (d) Personal benefit for the reporting person in any other private dispute involving a vulnerable adult.

You have a right to take care of your own, free of un-reasonable government interference

You have the right to your own opinions, to express them, and be taken seriously

You have the right to expect laws to be enforced equally across the board

You have the right to ask questions about anything that affects your life

You have the right to make decisions that affect you, your family and loved ones entrusted in your care

You have the right to grow and change, this includes changing your mind

You have the right to say no

You have the right to not be liked by everyone

You have the right to control your own life and to change it if you are not happy with it as it is

This has been edited for E.A from Sanctuary For the Abused Post dated June 17 2007

Especial thanks to Barbara

3 Fired in Day-Care Case

Key West ,Florida Wesley House Family Services has fired three employees involved in a case in which a 3-month-old boy was left in a closed and locked-up day-care facility on June 13, CEO Doug Blomberg confirmed Tuesday.

Monroe County sheriff's detectives interviewed Wesley House Child Development Center Director Sharon Morgan, and employees Chelsey Rhew and Kaleena Rodrigues. The three worked at the Stock Island center on College Road the day Mandy Luedecke's son was left unattended in the building.

They closed the center and left for an after-work staff meeting at Wesley House's Truman Avenue headquarters before Luedecke arrived to pick up her son.

When a deputy interrupted the meeting to ask about the missing child, Morgan jumped up and said, "Oh my God, Isaiah," and immediately returned to the center, reports say. Morgan and Rodrigues later told investigators they did not check the infant room before closing, but that it was not their job to do so.

The state Department of Children and Families (DCF) continues to investigate the case. Authorities previously have said the probe was focusing on licensing issue and possible criminal charges.

The state agency said the day-care center had no prior licensing issues, but the investigation continues.

"They're pretty much in good standing," DCF spokeswoman Flora Beal said.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Maureen McCormick appears in video with Brad Paisley

June 26, 2007 — Today is the iTunes world premiere of Brad Paisley's new video for "Online," the second single from his new CD, 5th Gear.

"I think it's great because finally there's a place where you can buy a music video!" Brad tells Dial-Global. "Everybody's always wondered about that. In the beginning of my career — like 1999, 2000 — we would do these videos, and [fans] would say, 'Where can I get that?' And you couldn't get it anywhere."

Brad says he can't wait for fans to see the video, which includes a couple of special guests he's worked with before. "The images are pretty cool in the lyric and the only way to really top it was literally to get some of these really interesting actors."

Blending Paisley's trademark humor and musicianship, the video reunites Brad with friends and guest stars William Shatner and Jason Alexander (who also directed), both of whom appeared in the video for his 2003 hit "Celebrity." Mixing concert footage with special guests (including Maureen McCormick, best known as Marcia Brady; Estelle Harris, Jason's TV mom on "Seinfeld"; and tourmates Kellie Pickler and Taylor Swift), the video storyline shows how easy it is to hide your shortcomings and be "so much cooler online."

"This is really cool — it's almost like a sitcom, you know?" Brad says. "We had a ball making this."

Related Posts See She's Everything Music Video >>


A lot of us were left wondering what happened at the hearing at the end of May where accusations of elder abuse and character assassinations by Maureen's brother Kevin were being made, and Maureen was not allowed to see her father. There are a lot of us that would like to know how this is handled.. In spite of the news blackout if anyone in the L.A area has news regarding this hearing would you please pass it on.

Pistol Packin' Grandma Stops Robbery Attempt at her Liquor Store

LAWTON-- Criminals listen up. You might want to think twice before messing with one pistol-packin' grandma. A couple of would-be-robbers found out the hard way when they tried to hold up a west Lawton liquor store. What they didn't know was that the owner, 75-year-old Rosemarie O'Keeffe, was waiting for them-- armed with a gun and ready to pull the trigger. It seems they changed their minds pretty quickly when they realized they were staring down the barrel of her pistol.

O'Keeffe says she just did what she had to do to protect herself and her business. She was behind the register at her liquor store this week, when she saw something that didn't look right. Two men wearing hoodies, with gauze bandages over their faces walking up to her store. "It really made me think an ancient mummy, the way he was covered up, so you know he wasn't doing anything good."

O'Keeffe says it happened very quick. She could see out of the window from her register, saw the two guys walk by, and by the time they got to the door, she had a surprise for them.

"I said, 'Oh my God he's going to rob me. What do I do?' I get up. I grab my gun and I point it at the door. He came in and I said, 'Get out or I'll shoot'."

She wasn't joking. That was all the two masked men needed to see. O'Keeffe says they immediately high-tailed it out the door and ran away through the alley.

"I had them all in my view. I could have shot them. I could have killed them both."

O'Keeffe says her sons taught her how to use a gun, and when she told them what had happened, they couldn't have been prouder. So, is her daughter-in-law Pam Dobbs. "She takes no bull," Dobbs said. "We really need that in today's society. Our society has gotten meaner, so I wasn't a bit surprised because she's very tough."

Believe it or not, this is the second time O'Keeffe has stopped a robber. She says a couple of years ago, she chased another man off with a whiskey bottle. She says she was going to beat him with it.

So far police have not arrested the two men in the most recent robbery attempt. O'Keeffe believes they were likely in their late teens.

Re post from Ori on May 4,2007

Adult Stem Cell Research Helps Children With Type 1 Diabetes

Chicago, IL ( -- Another study has been published showing that adult stem cell research has just as much potential, if not more, than embryonic stem cells to help patients with various diseases. In this cases, researchers at University of Florida founds that stem cells from umbilical cord blood helped children newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

The study found that stem cell transfusions using the adult stem cells helped the children reduce their disease severity, possibly re-setting the immune system and slowing the destruction of their insulin-producing cells.

Michael J. Haller, MD, a professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine and lead author of the study, presented the findings at the American Diabetes Association's 67th Annual Scientific Sessions.

"After only six months, it is too early to tell how long the children will benefit from this therapy, but early signs indicate that it may have helped enhance blood glucose control and management," Dr. Haller said in a statement.

"But more important than the potential benefit in these children, this first use of cord blood in diabetes will help us focus on what it is in the cord blood that yielded the benefit," he said. "We then hope to isolate and grow that cell type to develop therapies for a larger pool of people, not just those who have stored cord blood."

The researchers recruited seven young (age 2 to 7 years at the time of infusion) children with type 1 diabetes who had their own stored cord blood and infused them with it.

This group was matched with 13 randomly selected youngsters of similar age and diabetes duration who had been intensively treated with insulin and served as a control group.

Nearly 21 million Americans have diabetes, a group of serious diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body's ability to produce and/or use insulin.

Diabetes can lead to severely debilitating or fatal complications, such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, and amputations. It is the fifth leading cause of death by disease in the U.S.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Nursing Home Abuse on the Rise

Editor: Jeffrey H. Rasansky, Attorney at Law Firm: Rasansky Law Firm

Dallas, Texas-Nursing Home Abuse is increasing. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates at least one in 20 nursing home patients has been the victim of abuse, though they believe the actual frequency is higher due to lack of reporting the abuse. There are well over one million Americans living in nursing homes, and that's expected to at least double in the next ten years. Advocates for the elderly and disabled fear that incidences of abuse will continue to climb as well.

The sad truth is that a nursing home is not always the relaxing place of healing that it should be. According to the National Center's study, almost 60% of nurses' aides working in long-term care facilities admitted to witness or participate in acts of nursing home abuse. The report sites systemic problems within the nursing home industry, like inadequate pay for workers and chronic understaffing, as contributing to the epidemic of abuse.

Anyone with a loved one in a nursing home needs to be aware of the signs of abuse. Neglect is the most common form, and is easily recognizable if family members know what to look for. Patients in soiled beds and clothes, or those suffering from bedsores and frozen joints could be victims of neglect. Indications that a patient is over or under medicated can also signal neglect.

Neglect is most often caused by understaffing at nursing homes. However, this does not mean that neglect is less harmfull than other forms of abuse. In fact it can be deadly, as it was for an Alzheimer's patient living at the Atrium I Nursing Home in Pennsylvania. The 88-year-old woman was allowed to wander away from the facility and died from exposure. The nursing home administrator was later charged and convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the patient's death.

About 2500 cases of physical abuse by nursing home staff are being reported each year. Because this type of abuse can easily be disguised, the actual number of abuse and neglect instances can never be known. Elderly people can often be victims of falls, so sometimes, bruises, sprains or factures do not alarm a patient's loved one. However, if these injuries cannot be fully explained, or if they are occurring frequently, further investigation is probably needed.

Believe it or not, even sexual abuse occurs in nursing homes. According to a 1996 Medicaid Fraud Report, 10% of all physical abuse cases in nursing homes are of a sexual nature. Sexual predators will usually take advantage of disabled patients who are physically unable to tell anyone about their assaults. Often, this type of abuse is only discovered when a patient shows evidence of sexual contact, perhaps in the form of a sexually transmitted disease. In Illinois the repeated rape of a mentally disabled woman wasn't discovered until she became pregnant. A nurses' aid was charged and plead guilty to sexual assault in that case last month.

Because elderly victims are so helpless, nursing home abuse is one of the most underreported crimes in America. Family members of nursing home patients must become aware of the signs of abuse, and they must be willing to advocate for their loved one. Often, family members are the only people who can prevent a tragic outcome for a long-term care patient.

Re: Swan Home Health Care- Correction-

Thanks to the reader that send in the tip on Swan Home Health Care.

We had been here to un able to locate this agency, we still find it hard to believe that a Home Care Agency would hire a person with no transportation to tuck in and sleep in with a elder patient , especialy one that is in isolation, and kept on the move but then again stranger things have been known to happen in the horrific case of Elder Abuse of Clara Fernandez and her husband Dr. Fernandez.

It is not up to us to investigate, we can only suffer the consequences of the acts of a few irresponsible individuals regardless of their methods or ideology, we have only seen the results which have been devastating for the elders of Dr.Fernandez and Clara and attempts to shift the blame will fail and ultimately the blame will go where it belongs as water tends to seek it's own level.

The ultimate truth is that we are all responsible for our actions, and if our actions cause injury, suffering, death to elderly persons then we must be held accountable.

There must be NO SACRED COWS when it comes to Elderly Abuse and if I err then let me err on the side of our elders.

We are not professional investigators , nor we pretend to be, and in our reporting there are bound to be errors,which we try to correct as soon as we become aware of them, but in the deafning silence and the refusal of authorities to provide answers as to why was the separation of AJ Fernandez and Clara condoned , in the full knowledge that separating two elders that have been together a long time can only bring disastrous consequences, we have to ask ourselves:

Is the financial gain to be obtained by the social worker , related or not a factor good enough reason to separate two elders without legal precedence ?

Tax Credits: Irresponsible Way to Spend Hawaii Taxpayer Dollars

By Lowell L. Kalapa,

..and since credits tend to specify an activity, there is no assurance that the activity will be of a quality that the state would otherwise required.

For example, one of the proposals floated for the past few sessions would have handed out $1,000 to caregivers of elderly family members.

With all that we hear and read about how family members have to give up their jobs and family time to care for elderly relatives, it is easy to empathize with the idea of compensating these caregivers. But is a tax credit the proper response?

The flip side of this concern is that in almost all cases of elder abuse, the perpetrator is a relative. So handing out a tax credit to someone who is providing care to an elderly relative does not assure that the elder is receiving quality care - just because the caregiver is a relative.

If there is no oversight or way of determining the quality of care, taxpayers may be subsidizing a caregiver who is abusive.

Abridged >>

Failures Persist in Child Welfare


The system was transformed a decade ago, but not necessarily fixed.
It was supposed to be a new era.

Florida began handing over its child welfare duties to private agencies a decade ago, vowing children would be safer.

The new system would end child abuse disasters that plagued the government-run system for years, including the disappearance of 5-year-old Rilya Wilson of Miami and the death of 6-year-old Kayla McKean in Central Florida.

But when a missing 2-year-old Florida foster child was found June 14 at a Wisconsin house of horrors -- where a woman was buried in the back yard and a scalded 11-year-old boy hid in a closet -- glaring fault lines were exposed in the state's privatized child welfare system.

As numerous mistakes are revealed, the case of Courtney Alisa Clark is proving to be yet another systemic failure, a troubling example of the very problem that reform was supposed to fix.

Courtney is safe now. But what about the 585 other children missing from Florida's foster care system, and the 47, 000 under the state's supervision? Probing questions are being raised anew about the state's ability to protect its most vulnerable charges.

"I think there are serious flaws, whether it's public or private," said state Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Brandon, who chairs the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs. "There is a bias toward reunification of families at all costs... I believe that to be a problem.

"I think this case shows that."

In the complex business of child welfare, mistakes are bound to happen, said Andrea Moore, director of the Coral Springs advocacy group Florida's Children First. But, she said, "our system is so far from perfect that it's embarrassing."

String of missteps

Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Bob Butterworth vowed last week to find out what went wrong in the case of Courtney Clark.

Private care still works best, he said, but vital lessons must be learned.

"You can't run this type of agency out of Tallahassee," said Butterworth, a former state attorney general facing his toughest case since his appointment six months ago. "I think it should be at the local level, but the state still has an obligation for oversight."

He called errors in the Courtney Clark case "inexcusable."

Among them:

The state's first contact with Courtney's mother, Candice Farris, came in February 2006 after she was arrested in Clearwater for identity theft. Courtney was placed in foster care. A month later, after the mother was released from jail, she gave birth to a second girl, Alize. In April, the state returned Courtney to her mother, despite numerous arrest warrants issued for the mother in Colorado and Kentucky.

The girl's caseworker, in followup visits, noted bruises and cuts on the girl and confirmed the mother took the girl out of state without approval. Still, the girl and her sister remained with their mother.

In July 2006, Farris was arrested in Seminole County and Courtney again was placed in foster care, though her infant sister was not. The agencies responsible for Courtney's safety -- the Seminole County Sheriff's Office and DCF contractors, the Sarasota Family YMCA and Directions for Mental Health in Clearwater -- placed Courtney with an unlicensed foster mother, a friend of the girl's mother who lived in Sorrento, northwest of Orlando.
Directions and the YMCA failed to request supervision by the agency closest to where Courtney was staying, Kids Central. Instead, the case was being handled 130 miles away in Pinellas County.

In September, authorities said the mother showed up at the Sorrento home and took Courtney without approval. The mother says the foster parents dropped the child off at her home in Sanford, saying they could not afford her any longer. It took the girl's foster mother 10 days, and her caseworker four months, to report Courtney missing to local police. DCF rules clearly state that missing foster children, especially those under age 13, must be reported within 24 hours to "local law enforcement."

The caseworker asked out-of-state police to pick up the mother during a scheduled court appearance in Grand Junction, Colo. But the mother never showed at the hearing, in keeping with her record. The YMCA said Colorado police failed to issue a report, leaving the girl's caseworker unable to enter her information into the state's missing children tracking system.
When a caseworker finally entered the girl's disappearance into the tracking system in December -- which was known by DCF, the YMCA and Directions -- it was not until late January that the Lake County Sheriff's Office was alerted to the disappearance. Courtney was found five months later because of that report.

Asked how many agencies erred in Courtney's case, Storms replied:

"There's so many, let me count the ways. ... There are too many."

'People' failed girl

Last week, Butterworth held a news conference to acknowledge the heroes of the case, two dogged investigators with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Lake County Sheriff's Office who, by locating Courtney, helped uncover the other crimes.

"People failed," Butterworth said, "but the system worked."

Several investigators in Wisconsin and Florida have asked repeatedly what went wrong with the state's child welfare system.

"I don't know what happened down there," said Lt. Mark Hahn of Portage, Wis.

Butterworth said he will release DCF's internal review of the case Monday. A more thorough investigation by the DCF inspector general also has begun.

On Friday, the St. Petersburg Times filed a court petition, joined by DCF, to open all records in the case. The records are sealed by law, but Butterworth said they should be opened so people can understand what went wrong.

Wisconsin authorities have filed murder charges against the girl's 23-year-old mother, Farris, originally of Henderson, Ky., two other adults and the dead woman's 15-year-old daughter. They also were charged with child abuse of the dead woman's scalded 11-year-old boy.

Courtney and her two sisters, also found in the house, are now in the custody of the Wisconsin child welfare system.

Moore, with the advocacy group, said she is tired of agencies in Florida's layered child welfare system pointing the finger at one another.

"They don't need to fight over turf, over whose case it is," she said. "These are children ... and our government needs to treat them with respect and not pass responsibility back and forth."

Matter of coordination

The Legislature mandated the privatization to begin in 1997.

Gov. Jeb Bush took on the effort as a point of personal pride and the statewide transition to private foster care in all 67 counties was completed in 2005.

DCF now acts as a supervisor of child welfare and a pass-through agency for funding to 20 private community agencies overseeing about 500 subcontracts for case management, direct care, foster care placement, mental health and adoption.

A state audit last year showed the cost of the current child welfare system rose 83 percent per child over six years. Statewide annual funding per child grew from $9,800 in 1998 to $18,000 in 2005.

Perhaps more surprising, the audit found that children are suffering abuse at a higher rate -- a problem that can occur when families are reunited too quickly.

In 2005, 11 percent of children experienced a second round of abuse, compared with 8 percent in 1998.

But the state keeps better track of missing foster children now, despite the problems in Courtney's case. On any given day, 1.2 percent of the state's foster kids are missing, with 90 percent of them being runaways. Half are found within three days.

The Web-based tracking system the state created after the case of Rilya Wilson, who was discovered missing in 2002, deserves much of the credit.

Also, the state now offers more foster homes, and the caseloads of workers have been significantly reduced, although communication among the various agencies now involved has been a challenge.

Lee Johnson, a former DCF official who now is executive vice president of the Sarasota Family YMCA, does not see Courtney's case as an indictment against privatized foster care.

Even under the government-only system, he said, coordination was required. Various districts existed and required cross-county teamwork.

"You still had the same issues," he said.

But Directions for Mental Health president Tom Riggs said he believes the numerous jurisdictions involved with Courtney Clark complicated the hunt to find her, as did her mother's criminal activity and her movements from state to state.

"One of the things we're trying to get from this is some strengthened procedures," he said. "I'm just very glad the child turned up alive."

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. Melanie Ave can be reached at or (727) 893-8813.

State Officials Warn Public About Elderly Abuse

Topeka,Kansas — State officials recently urged Kansans to be on the lookout for elderly persons who may be abused.

Every day, somewhere in Kansas, a senior is physically abused or financially exploited,” said Secretary of Aging Kathy Greenlee. “Public awareness and community involvement is the key to preventing and prosecuting these crimes.”

In Kansas last year, Adult Protective Services received more than 11,000 reports of alleged elder abuse, and investigated more than 7,400 cases, according to Don Jordan, secretary of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

Officials said crimes against the elderly come in the form of physical abuse, sexual assault, neglect and, increasingly, financial exploitation.

“That is some of the worst for people who have saved their entire lives for their later years, and then have that money squandered by someone else,” Jordan said.

And in most cases, the abuse comes from a family member or caregiver.

“We need to stop physically abusing them, but we also need to keep our hands off their money,” Greenlee said.

“That’s the message to adult children. That just because you have the ability to assist someone who is a senior, you do not have the right to take their money,” she said.

She said it’s extremely difficult for seniors to call authorities once they realize their children have been exploiting them.

Jordan said the public should watch for signs of elder abuse, such as changes in a senior’s mood or depression, or if they seem overly anxious.

If someone suspects an elderly person is being abused, Jordan and Greenlee said, they should call the Kansas Protection Report Center at (800) 922-5330, or their local police department.

Indigenous Mothers Running Scared: Elder

Australia ...An elder of the Mutitjulu community in central Australia says many Aboriginal mothers are taking their children into the sandhills because of fears the government will take them away.

Federal police and members of the defence force are expected to be deployed to the community as early as next week as part of the Federal Government's response to Indigenous child sex abuse.

The elder, Vince Forrester, says the changes are unnecessary and are causing widespread fear in central Australia.

"When you're bringing armed forces into the communities obviously people's minds are going to start playing tricks on them," he said.

"You don't bring an army into the community, this is just intimidation of the Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory."

New Seniors? Legal Service to Help Prevent Elder Abuse

( - A new advisory service will help tackle the abuse of older people in Western Australia.

A new advisory service will help tackle the abuse of older people in Western Australia. Seniors Minister Sue Ellery today announced the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre and Advocare Inc would provide the State Government?s new advisory service for seniors who had been abused or were at risk of abuse.

Seniors Minister Sue Ellery today announced the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre and Advocare Inc would provide the State Government?s new advisory service for seniors who had been abused or were at risk of abuse.

The partnership would receive $160,000 annually until June 2009 to offer legal advice and information, support, advocacy and referrals for older people who were in abusive situations or who needed help to protect their rights and welfare.

Ms Ellery said this was an exciting new step in the quest to prevent elder abuse in WA.

?More often than not, elder abuse is perpetrated by someone in a position of trust, such as a family member, so very few older people are willing to report the abuse,? she said.

?The majority of cases involve financial exploitation. Older people have the right to make their own decisions, and family members and friends do not have the right to bully them into making decisions against their will.?

Common examples of financially abusive behaviour included:

pressuring an older person to relinquish an anticipated inheritance;
selling an older person?s home with the promise of providing future accommodation or care, and then not providing it; managing, without permission, the finances of a competent older person;
misusing powers of attorney; and pressuring an older person for a gift or loan of money.
Yokine MLA Bob Kucera said sometimes older people needed assistance to say no, and the new service would help them to understand and assert their rights.

I congratulate the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre and Advocare on being awarded the contract and am confident they will provide an excellent service that will complement the existing work of Advocare Inc and the Public Advocate,? Mr Kucera said.

The service will employ a full-time solicitor and part-time social worker who will work together to provide advice and support, including referrals to other services.

It will open later this year, operating daily from the Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre in Mirrabooka and Advocare Inc in Perth from 9am to 5pm on weekdays.

Minister's office - 9213 7150

Elder Abuse 'Widespread'

Ireland..An estimated 14,000 to 23,000 older people in Ireland are victims of elder abuse.

Age Action Ireland has warned elder abuse continues to be widespread in Ireland.

It remains one of the silent forms of abuse which causes untold suffering to thousands of vulnerable older people.

A National Centre for the Protection Of Older Persons is due to start in January of next year.

It will have 32 elder abuse officers who will investigate and monitor treatment of elderly people, both physically and mentally. Twenty-five are already in place. Anyone with concerns should ring 1850 24 1850.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Nancy from Ontario writes:

I am in a situation where both my parents are 80+, live in Charlottetown and each of them had at least one stroke and are unable to care for themselves. I live in Ontario and feel helpless. The doctor advised they should be in a place where they can be taken care of . I asked my younger sister to find a place and let them live their remaining years in peace. She decided to allow them to stay in their home and she will look in on them daily.

They live in a two storey home are the doctors advised for them not to use stairs and they are constantly up and down the stairs. I now found out she has full access to their finances and so that explains to me why she suddenly stepped in and is taking care of them

Prior to that the only time my parents seen her was when she needed money. She now tells me she had Power of Attorney all taken care of and there is nothing I can do, because I told her I would have dad's bank records checked if the time came that I needed to.

My parents will be lucky to make it another year and I would like to see them taken care of in their final years not financially abused by one of their children.


Dear Nancy;

Consider your self lucky if your parents are only financially abused. In the case of my mother not only was she financially abused but she was left alone in a Hotel Room drugged and forced to fend for herself, she fell and as a result of the fall had a stroke and required emergency neurosurgery, she had been in a wheelchair ever since.

This is all too well documented here on E. A. , but the perpetrators desperate attempts to shift the blame has already cost this family untold suffering, and a fortune in court cost and legal fees with no signs of it letting up anytime soon.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but nothing you have ever experienced will prepare you for what you are about to go through , prepare yourself carefully of what is to come, and don't expect to get any sympathy from the authorities, friends or relative who will distance themselves from you at the first hint of a "Family Quarrel" or a "Sibling Rivalry."

'The Big Prize'

Please click to enlarge:

This Quit Claim Deed was given to Clara to sign in between hospital stays, after her abduction in August 2004 . It had been the homestead of Dr. Fernandez and Clara since it was built in 1976 . The house had been referred to by Willam Hart as "The Big Prize."

Clara does not remember signing the Deed only remembers: When asked about her older son, she reported “My son took my money, my property.” She became upset at telling a story about her older son’s attorney coming by every two or three days to have her sign something. As reported by Dr. J. Aguinaga M.D. October 21,2005

Florida Statues F.S. 709.1 Re. Incapacity and POA

Please click on Document to enlarge image.

Fraud is Closely Related With Undue Influence

IRWIN N. PERR, MD, JD This article appears on pages 15-22 of the Bulletin of the AAPL, Vol IX, No. 1. The AAPL is the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law. Dr. Perr served as its president during the mid-1980's.

An example of fraud is the situation where one influences a testator that another relative has stirred up trouble ... Fraud involves trick, deception, artifice; the testator is deceived and influenced by false statements. False representations must be inter-mingled with importunities and attempts to influence to establish a claim offraud. Fraud may be shown by a single act, while undue influence usuallyembraces a course of conduct.

Most important from the psychiatric standpoint is the principle that undue influence which will invalidate a will depends to a considerabledegree upon the intellectual capacity and other factors related to mental statuswhich may interfere with the person's judgemental and dispositionalcapacities. Obviously, it requires much less influence to control the will of a person whose functional abilities have been severely impaired by mental illness or physical conditions which affect mental functioning. A lesserdegree of intoxication or other impairment is required to establish undue influence than is necessary to maintain a claim of testamentary capacity.

Types of Abuse

When the general public (or the police) thinks about domestic violence, they usually think in terms of physical assault that results in visible injuries to the victim. This is only one type of abuse.

There are several categories of abusive behavior, each of which has its own devastating consequences. Lethality involved with physical abuse may place the victim at higher risk, but the long term destruction of personhood that accompanies the other forms of abuse is significant and cannot be minimized.

Controlling behavior is a way for the batterer to maintain his dominance over the victim. The belief that he is justified in the controlling behavior, and the resultant abuse is the core issue in abuse of women. It is often subtle, almost always insidious, and pervasive.

Forcible physical restraint against her will, Holding the victim hostage.

According to the AMEND Workbook for Ending Violent Behavior, emotional abuse is any behavior that exploits anther's vulnerability, insecurity, or character. Such behaviors include continuous degradation, intimidation, manipulation, brainwashing, or control of another to the detriment of the individual(AMEND 3).

Isolation is a form of abuse often closely connected to controlling behaviors. It is not an isolated behavior, but the outcome of many kinds of abusive behaviors.

As it progresses, the isolation expands, limiting or excluding her contact with anyone but the batterer. Eventually, she is left totally alone

Financial abuse is a way to control the victim through manipulation of economic resources.

The truth is, the abuser must be held accountable for his behavior.

Abridged and adopted as to what has been my experience of Elder abuse, read the entire un-abridged version , as originally posted in Sanctuary for the Abused here >>

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Parable of the Talents

"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'

"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Live Domain Name Auction Sale

Post thanks to NetMonetization.Com

T.R.A.F.F.I.C. were having their live domain name auction today in New York here is part of the unofficial list of the prices obtained (or offers refused/passed) - many thanks to Elliot over at TopNotchDomains for listing all the results as they happened.

There were 218 names in total, I have only included the ones over $100,000 here, for the full list see above at TopNotch. The biggest single sale as far as I can see was at $3,000,000 followed by at $1,800,000.

Lots of names were not sold as the seller thought the price was too low - e.g. at $600,000 and at $4,500,000.

It is worth noting that all the big sales (over $100,000) were dotcoms.

Sold for over $100K

38. - $1,800,000
45. - @ $3,000,000
55. - $400,000
78. - $135,000
97. - $100,000
100. - $250,000
106. - $150,000
128. - $115,000
144. - $300,000
147. - $160,000
155. - $135,000
157. - $400,000
179. - $140,000
180. - $550,000
198. - $220,000

Seller Declined Offer over $100K

24. - Pass @ $1,000,000
25. - Pass @ $3,000,000
35. - Pass @ $115,000
36. - Pass @ $350,000
37. - Pass @ $2,500,000
23. - Pass @ $135,000
42. - Pass @ $250,000
43. - Pass @ $600,000
52. - Pass @ $185,000
53. - Pass @ $1,500,000
54. - Pass @ $4,500,000
66. - Pass @ $1,000,000
70. - Pass @ $225,000
71. - Pass @ $1,750,000
72. - Pass @ $600,000
81. - Pass @ $3,000,000
82. - Pass @ $3,500,000
85. - Pass @ $100,000
86. - Pass @ $125,000
99. - Pass @ $120,000
101. - Pass @ $700,000
102. - Pass @ $1,500,000
109. - Pass @ $4,500,000
110. - Pass @ $250,000
111. - Pass @ $250,000
113. - Pass @ $225,000
114. - Pass @ $150,000
119. - Pass @ $4,500,000
129. - Pass @ $2,000,000
130. - Pass @ $1,500,000
137. - Pass @ $600,000
145. - Pass @ $1,500,000
146. - Pass @ $110,000
156. - Pass @ $4,500,000
159. - Pass @ $1,000,000
171. - Pass @ $100,000
172. - Pass @ $750,000
173. - Pass @ $400,000
188. - Pass @ $600,000
189. - Pass @ $300,000
205. - Pass @ $125,000

I will be studying the list carefully to determine what sort of names to try and buy in future, it seems like som epeople have a lot of money to spend! Happy hunting !