Arizona Foster Children Need Help

 

Hi guys. I’m going to wait a minute for it to cycle through and send out the invites. While I’m talking to you, I’m going to actually invite some people to join. Hi, Ken. How’s it going? Let’s see. Let’s invite some folks. Please share this. This is going to be a really important livestream about the horrible things that happened to this poor boy Jesse Machado. He’s known in the media as Jesse Wilson, but his birth name was Jesse Machado. So that’s what we’re going to call him. So please share this because we need to be able to get the word out for this family so that they can get some justice. It’s terrible what’s happened. So let me see. I’ll invite a couple more people and then we’ll get going.

The family, they still have been separated from the other two grandchildren. DCS just put them back into foster care and shuffled them around again. All right, that’s a few people. So here’s the situation that happened and I’m here … I just got done with a meeting at the legislature and I wanted to give you an update as to what’s going on. I’m sitting here in front of the Reverend Martin Luther King Memorial Statue that’s here because I think it’s fitting for what’s going on. Sarah, I’ll bring you on a little bit after. I just want to give an update, a quick update as to what’s going on. So Jesse Machado or Wilson, as he’s known in the media, he and his siblings were separated from their family by DCS because his parents were essentially poor. They had lost their jobs, they didn’t have proper housing. They were actually at a UMOM facility and DCS got involved or had already been involved, I believe.

The grandmother stepped in and said that she could take care of her grandchildren. But DCS said that told the grandmother that she didn’t have sufficient credit, how that’s supposed to have anything to do with being able to take care of your grandchildren, I don’t know. But, and they said that they had financial concerns even though she was a real estate agent and had been very successful, because of the crash that had happened, they decided to do a forced adoption out on these children and separated them from their grandparents and their parents and all their extended family.

Shortly after the adoption occurred, the police were called on the adoptive mother several times. We now know from 12 News that DCS knew the entire time that Jesse and his siblings were being starved. He was being criminally neglected and that the adoptive mother would force him, lock him in his room and not even give him bathroom privileges and have him have to defecate on himself. Neighbors were reporting that the children were malnourished. DCS came many times and saw that there wasn’t food for them, that there was lots of alcohol in the house, but no food for the kids. The neighbors reported that Jesse and his siblings would go door to door asking neighbors for food because they were being starved, and eventually Jesse disappeared.

The adoptive mother put out this urgent call that she was so concerned that her adoptive son was missing. A few months later, his remains were found in a field along, I think it was the I-10 Freeway. There was a vigil for him. The media didn’t report that the vigil was held by his actual birth family. The media reported that strangers, that was actually the headline, strangers hold a vigil for Jesse Wilson. I had the privilege of going and speaking for the family and honoring Jesse. At that time we did a call to action asking for DCS to reconsider the grandmother to place the children. Even the parents have stable housing now and so, but the grandmother’s very successful and so, and DCS denied that, shuffled the kids, his twin sibling and his younger sibling to foster care. So still not being looked after after their family.

12 News went … Arizona law is that you can’t access to paperwork to the DCS files unless the child has died. Sorry, it’s windy out here and cold. So 12 News did a … Requested those files now that Jesse has died. So and now that he’s died, legally now people can request the records and they get the records redacted but they get the records. It showed that the entire time that Jesse and his siblings were basically being tortured, and again, he was only 10 years old when he died, DCS did nothing. They would go. They would investigate and do nothing. They never remove the kids. They let let these kids stay in squalor, in horrible, horrible circumstances, being abused, just being completely neglected, malnourished, and did absolutely nothing.

No charges were ever pressed on the adoptive mom for criminal charges. No neglect charges were charged. When the investigation happened, the state said that they weren’t going to pursue any charges against the adoptive mom, that they didn’t know … This happened a couple of years ago. His remains were found last summer, or yeah, this past summer, Jessica. So it’s taken a while for the documentation to get to the news for them to release what happened. The family has … They called on this date and asked DCS to give them the ability to adopt their grandchildren and the state refused.

So now we know that the entire time, these poor kids were being neglected, DCS did nothing, nothing at all. This has been my gripe with them is that there are so many situations, and I’ve seen now, I’d probably seen over, I know I’ve seen well over 100 cases at this point in time, of families that maybe they had a little bit neglect in the fact that they were poor. They didn’t have sufficient housing, but they were resourceful. They were able to get food. They were able to take care of the children. It just might not have been up to the standard of a middle-class family.

In some cases though, even with middle-class families, DCS has still taken the children and they’re so quick to take these children that they label as highly adaptable, but children that they place, they then do a forced adoption on that get abused, they ignore. We saw the same thing with [Deviney] in Tucson where she was actually being sex trafficked and DCS knew about it and there was other kids that were being sex trafficked that had made complaints to DCS and they let them stay there, being raped and abused and [Deviney] was only was under the age of four and then she was put through a forced adoption after the FBI rescued her and they adopted her out to someone that then tried to murder her.

I think that it’s time that we need to stop giving this organization the benefit of the doubt and start demanding reform. Now, something that you might not know is that with the Family First Act where it’s supposed to fund preventative services, DCS did a waiver. They did a two-year waiver on it. Meaning that even though they know that congregate care is bad for kids generally, even though they know that the outcomes for kids are much better if you can rehabilitate the families, and even though they know that they have a track record of adopting out these children to abusive monsters really in some cases, and yeah, there’s a lot of kids that end up in great adoptive homes and we have a lot of great foster parents. I’m not saying that all foster parents are bad. We have a lot of really dedicated foster parents that I’ve met that really go out of their way to help these kids.

But the fact remains that we have too many children that the system is ignoring. We have too many children that time after time after time, they’re going in there seeing that these kids are in an abusive situation and they do nothing. Either a child’s being abused or they’re not. So you either … They can be neglected where they just need some help and they need some education and some needs met. But to be honest, when that child goes into foster care, the state’s going to be paying for everything anyway. When the child goes into congregate care, the state’s going to be paying even more money. So for Arizona DCS to keep ignoring kinship placements, family placements, that could be good placements, putting children in situations that they’re then getting abused at the hands of the state, making money off of it, essentially with the Title IV-E funding from Social Security and then not being accountable.

Where’s the justice for these kids? Where’s the justice for these families? What about all the families that had their rights terminated because of the best interest of the children versus parental fitness where the parents met all the parental fitness tests, but the children still were separated from their parents because the state said that it was in the best interest of the child because they could give them maybe a wealthier foster family that they could adopt them out to? These tragic stories are happening all over the country. When we see the situations that are happening, it might be a bad comparison, but I look at violence as violence and I look at child welfare as child welfare across the board, regardless of whether you’re a citizen or not. We see the tragic things that are happening with the border with how children have been treated and having to cross the border illegally and the dangers that exist there.

Then us not having suitable medical needs, medical care for these kids and the outrage that happens nationwide. It’s just. We are the United States of America. We’re not supposed to be the nation that leaves children behind. We’re supposed to be the nation that makes things better for kids and makes things better for families. But the secret that no one knows about is what happens to American kids. What happens to American kids is because there’s so much secrecy because it’s a violation of the law for parents to actually speak out and share the DCS information and they actually will get gagged. When parents will speak out when their kids are being abused in the state, judges will gag order them. They’re not allowed to speak and tell the public what’s happening to their kids. It’s not until that child dies that anyone’s allowed to say anything about it.

This is tragic. This is absolutely un-American. This is completely … I would go to the length of saying it’s barbaric and uncivilized. It’s something that should be a nonpartisan issue. We should have Republicans and Democrats alike screaming at the rooftops about the treatment of what’s happening to our children. To say that it’s just tragic is just not enough. There’s laws that we can change. There’s laws we can change in Arizona. There’s laws we can change at the federal level to fix this. At this point, shame on DCS for letting Jesse be mistreated and letting him die. We still technically don’t know what the cause of death is, but we do know how he was treated while he was alive and it’s not acceptable and it needs to change.

So I’m going to continue working with the legislature and the lawmakers and the policymakers and try to make headway at the federal level to make things better for these kids. But in the meantime, that’s not good enough for these families. That’s not good enough for Jesse’s siblings, who knows where they are at. It’s not good enough for the people of Arizona where we have no protections for parents. The DCS has ultimate power with no oversight from the legislature essentially. All the oversight just happens from the governor’s office and even the governor’s gagged when he finds out about these cases. He’s not allowed to do much intervening either. They get money straight from the federal government. There is no oversight in the budget over the money that they get and every time the legislature tries to hold them for our account, you start seeing retaliatory actions happen in response to that.

Every time parents try to get their kid’s help, they’re retaliated against. Every time … I mean we saw with Red for Ed that they used DCS as a weapon. Meanwhile, we have kids where we have no idea of the status of them. We just have to trust the government that they’re doing right by them and every once in a while have a casualty of the war of silence that we have a Jesse Machado and a [Deviney]. You get killed or attempted murder and no real justice for them. Jesse’s siblings have been through so much. Don’t you think it’s time that they deserve to be able to be with their parents and their grandparents that are able to provide them loving and safe homes? Shouldn’t they at least have a visitation? Shouldn’t they at least be able to get a hug, say I’m sorry that you lost your brother?

I think these are fair questions to ask and I don’t think this is asking a lot. So now when we look at who we are as America and the responsibility we have as Arizona, I think it’s time to call on the people just to be outraged and not just pass by the three-minute video that 12 News put on, but start contacting your legislators and contact the governor’s office. Even if it takes blow up the phones at DCS, but demand justice for these kids, for goodness sakes. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to say can Jesse’s siblings spend some time with their family? I don’t think that’s a big deal to ask. But unfortunately for DCS, it is, and I don’t think it’s a big deal to say, “Hey, can we give some leeway so parents don’t go to jail if they try to get any help for their children when they’re in state custody and getting abused?”

I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve had families that have shown me evidence that their children were being abused in care and DCS did nothing about it. The Shores family, they caught on video. The Shores family where their children sued the state for terminating their rights. The children sued the state for terminating the rights of their parents because they wanted to stay with their parents. They had reported previously that they were being sexually abused in foster care and the state said they were putting them right back with the same foster parents they had before that were, or group home, I’m not sure which, that we’re abusing them. Enough is enough. We’ve had too much of this and we’re going to have another legislative season go by where people are going to say, “Yeah, it’s so tough because we want to make sure that we’re not taking, we’re not leaving kids in abusive situations.”

News flash, we are leaving kids in abusive situations. That is exactly what’s happening. That’s what’s happening. The state is leaving kids in abusive situations. So it is time to take a look at this organization, get some proper oversight over them, give, empower the legislature to fricking do something, empower the governor to do something and not have this be this blind federal government that just keeps handing over millions of dollars to the states having zero oversight in these kids keeping … Still being casualties of really bad policy.

So please watch the video that I posted earlier today. I’ll post a link again and please reach … Three things. If you see a family in need, help them. Just help them, provide them the help they need. Be good Samaritans and help these families so that they don’t have a risk of going to DCS unnecessarily. Number two, call out to the legislature and to the governor’s office and to your congresspeople and your senators and tell them that enough is enough and that they need to take this just as seriously as they take the humanitarian conditions with kids at the border. American children deserve to have at least equal treatment to that and they deserve to not just be brushed under the rug when bad things happen to them. The third thing is, is please speak up for these parents because they’re not able to speak up for themselves. Let your neighbors know. Let your friends know, let your families know that these kids need help. For the foster organizations that really are helping children, please support them.

That’s basically it. We need change. It’s been way too long. This Jesse’s siblings deserve to have some time with their family. They deserve to be back with their family. Not having additional details on the case, it’s mind-boggling why that adoptive parent never got charges pressed against her for abusing these kids. Mind-boggling. I think that that’s absolutely, utterly insane and that our attorney general should be prosecuting this. So that’s it for now. I will leave you with a reminder of justice from Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace, love, liberty. For the sake of our kids, please, please do something. We don’t need to have any more children dying or abused under state watch knowing that it’s happening. Bye, everybody.

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