Kristopher Sharp – who spent years in Texas foster care – opens up about his experience and praises a recent federal court ruling in M.D. v. Perry calling for specific reforms to the state’s child welfare system. The case was brought by national advocacy organization Children’s Rights and Texas co-counsel Haynes and Boone, LLP and Yetter Coleman LLP.
In her Dec. 17 ruling against Texas’ foster care system, U.S. District Judge Janis Jack was scathing. For more than two decades, she wrote, the state has created a situation where “children have been shuttled throughout a system where rape, abuse, psychotropic medication, and instability are the norm.”
I was one of those children.
I was born in Dumas, deep in the heart of West Texas. I entered the foster care system shortly before my 10th birthday. My mother was an addict — meth being her drug of choice —…
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Gerarda White-Penny (left) and daughter London Penny.
Bonnie Lou White and Gerarda White-Penny had a perfect life. Mother and daughter lived together, each doing their part to get by. Things changed rapidly after Bonnie Lou White wrote her will and trust, and a cousin found out she wasn’t a beneficiary.
The cousin petitioned the probate court in 2017, and the probate quickly bypassed any claim the cousin thought she had. But that wasn’t the end of it. Probate court officials immediately took over anyway, took out a $900,000 reverse mortgage and installed new doors, windows and floors, all at White’s expense.
After the upgrades, the court was gracious enough to allowed White to live in her home a few months before the conservator moved White to a nursing home.
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Hogue lives in Naples, but she said she takes trips around the five counties of the circuit to search for victims of abusive guardianships.
“This is the perfect place for such crimes as Florida is a retirement capital,” Hogue said. “This has become an industry that is fueled by ruthless greed.”
Guardianship reform has been a hot topic across the nation in the last few years, and Florida recently made changes to give the state greater oversight of the system.
As a result, a first-of-its…
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