Families Protest at Kansas State Capitol: “Our Children are not for Sale!”
by Terri LaPoint
Health Impact News
The crowd of parents, advocates, and recently freed children say they have had enough.
About 150 people braved freezing temperatures to march on the Kansas state capitol for the 3rd annual Fools No More rally on April 2, 2018. Event organizer Jennifer Winn, family advocate and former gubernatorial candidate, said:
This is about our children. All the aspects of this event are about issues that impact our children from DCF, parental rights, juvenile justice, medical cannabis; all these issues impact the lives of our children…. We are fighting for their future.
Some of the most fervent marchers were children who were recently held captive in the Child Protective System, known as DCF in Kansas, and who are now reunited with their families.
One such child, the 14 year old son of “Hunger Strike Dad” Raymond Schwab, was asked what he thought of what DCF did to him.
There was no hint of hesitation on his part. He replied passionately:
Shut the system down!
See their story here:
Navy Dad Goes on Hunger Strike in Kansas Until State-Kidnapped Children are Returned or He Starves to Death
According to WIBW 13:
Families joined candidates for governor, attorneys, and representatives at the Statehouse Monday afternoon in hopes of reforming the Department for Children and Families.
CBS affiliate KSNT reports:
People who say they’re tired of the controversies at the Department for Children and Families voiced their opinions at a rally at the Statehouse today.
Activists, government officials and political candidates spoke at the Fools No More rally.
They tried to shed light on what they called “inadequacies at DCF.”
KSNT spoke with Raymond Schwab, a Navy veteran and father whose story we have followed at Health Impact News. He and his wife Amelia have been vocal advocates fighting to get their children back after they were taken by Kansas DCF. Their children were returned shortly after Christmas. Raymond told KSNT:
I’d also like to see that there be no more removal of children without a jury. Because right now it’s a judge, a prosecutor, and attorney ad litem can terminate someone’s rights and adopt their kids out.
“Our Children Are Not for Sale”
The rally began inside the Topeka state capitol building in the rotunda. Jennifer Winn exposed the magnitude of the problem that we face in the United States:
If your children haven’t been affected yet, they probably will be. And if they are not, I assure you, your grandchildren will fall victim.
That will not happen on my watch!
She told WIBW 13:
We have multiple agencies around our state as well as across the country that have been profiting off of our children, namely DCF.
One of the things they do to these families is they take away their 1st Amendment rights. They tell them, “If you talk about this, you will not see your children.” And that cannot continue.
We want legislatures to hear us. That passing laws such as the secret social file that make accusations against parents that they will never know about, that’s unconstitutional, that’s not acceptable any longer.
Our children are not for sale.
And we are here today to stand against all these organizations that claim to represent our children’s best interests that absolutely are failing our children and are using our children to profit under Title IV.
Child Kidnapping and Trafficking: A Lucrative U.S. Business Funded by Taxpayers Called “Foster Care”
The “Swamp” of Child Protective Services and Family Court
Tennessee attorney and family rights advocate Connie Reguli addressed the crowd about the “national and worldwide problem” that we face. The founder of the Family Forward Project said that we, the people, need to be asking legislative and gubernatorial candidates the “difficult questions” as they campaign for election.
Regarding oversight of Child Protective Services, she said that we don’t need:
another government agency that’s going to nod their head and say, “We’re doing the best we can.” We need oversight that is responsive to the people and parents of your community.
Until that happens, we are lost in the swamp.
Child Protective Services impacts all of us, Connie said.
These are crimes against humanity.
If we don’t speak up now, our children and our children’s children are going to be subject to this system.
On any given day of the year, there are 500,000 children in the foster care system. Every one of those children has a mother, father, a grandmother, other siblings, cousins. There are millions of people affected.
Medical Freedom Needed
Lisa Sublet, President and founder of Bleeding Kansas Advocates, is a proponent of safe access to medical cannabis. She began her speech with a quote that is often attributed to Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence:
Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of Men and deny equal privileges to others; the Constitution of the Republic should make a Special
privilege for medical freedoms as well as religious freedom.
She told KSNT:
Kansans are fed up. And all we have to do is look at now 30 other states, and we are one of two states that don’t recognize medical cannabis has any medical purpose at all.
Call for Judicial Accountability
After hearing speakers inside the state house, the crowd took to the street. An estimated 150 parents, advocates, and children marched from the state house to the Kansas Judicial Center, then ended their march outside the governor’s offices.
As they marched, they chanted:
One, two, three – Set our children free!
Four, five, six – The system needs fixed!
Seven, eight, nine – The children are mine!
What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now.
Their first stop was the building where the decisions that ultimately affect the families are made.
The Kansas Judicial Center houses the Court of Appeals, the Kansas Supreme Court, and the Hall of Justice, the latter of which is generally open to the public. Connie Reguli noted that, when the marchers arrived:
They locked the doors to the courthouse.
Jennifer Winn gave an impassioned speech in front of the building:
They don’t want to face the people who they’re afflicting, because we’re just the ones who pick up the tab.
This is no longer acceptable. There is no excuse in the world to me why you [addressing the judges] can’t stand up and fight for these kids. None.
We’re holding you accountable, judges.
Unacceptable to Use Children for Profit
Kash Jackson, Libertarian party candidate for Illinois governor, spoke of the importance of citizens coming together for events like the Fools No More rally and march, in order to:
let our legislators know that we’re not going to tolerate that they use our children for profit, that they take our pain and suffering and twist that into bumping up their bottom line. We want change. We want change right now.
Child Trafficking Is Happening Here in the U.S.
Merissa Hamilton is a family rights advocate from Arizona who first became involved in the movement when she learned of an Alabama infant who was medically kidnapped from his mother in the hospital by Child Protective Services. (See story.)
The injustice that she learned about was such that she could not sit back quietly:
They keep trafficking children, and that’s happening not just in my state, not just in Kansas. It’s all over the country and all over the Westernized world.
We complain about the things that are happening in third world countries when right here, right here is where the crisis is.
We need to stop kidnapping our children.
We need to abolish Title 4-D and E funding.
We need to abolish CPS as it exists today and create a system that keeps children safe, that investigates children when they’re truly being abused, and leaves families alone when they’re not.
We need a system that rehabilitates whole families together and we need a system that protects our veterans and stops stealing their children, casting them aside and forcing them to become homeless.
We’ve had enough!
Photos from Fools No More Rally
Tyler Schwab, the oldest son of Raymond and Amelia Schwab, captured some powerful images of the event with his camera:
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