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  • Advocacy HELP NEEDED

    My grandaughter needs your help!


    Rachael was born on June 23, 2004. She was born addicted to Crack and Heroin. It took Rachael months to undergo full detoxification at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital. Miraculously, Rachael has no impairment, physical or mental from this ordeal. She is a True Miracle.

    Rachael spent the next 4 years in and out of foster care, kinship care, and was passed from family to family throughout her mother’s social circle.

    On April 23, 2008 Rachael was the sole survivor of a tragic accident that left her paralyzed. Her mother Rhonda, her baby sister Riley (8 months old) and her sister Stephanie (21 years old) died.
    Rachael is now in a home where, once again, she is at risk. She is being physically and emotionally abused. She is not allowed to have her wheel chair in the house. She has not had any physical therapy for almost a year. Her physical abilities have declined. The details of the emotional abuse are heart rendering.

    Following the accident, Rachael was released from Kennedy Kreiger after months of painful and frightening surgery, treatment and recovery. The Surgeons, Doctors and Physical Therapists’ observations of her amazing progress were that she was a great candidate to regain the ability to walk some day, but she had to be kept healthy and in shape. Last year, because she was getting regular physical therapy, Rachael was walking short distances with a walker and now she is so twisted up from lack of therapeutic exercise, she could not do physical therapy even if someone would follow the Doctor’s orders and take her.

    I have witnessed acts of physical abuse which I reported immediately. The most recent incident occurred on Friday evening, February 4, 2011 when I went to pick her up for our regularly scheduled weekend visit. I watched in horror as Rachael’s guardian dropped her onto the icy driveway of the home, and nudge her with a boot in her lower back. Her guardian then told this paralyzed child to “crawl” to my car! On the way home that day I knew this had to end. I have called Social Services many times in the past two years and so has her other grandmother. Others, within and outside the family have reported things, but as of this date, no one has been able to help me get Rachael out of there. It is a situation with very complicated dynamics.

    I have documentation and signed statements from various witnesses to prove these facts. I have tried many avenues to find relief for this child to no avail.

    I have consulted seventeen different attorneys across three Counties, and Baltimore City. Every single one of them let me know up front that my chance of effecting change was slim. If I wanted to try however, they would be glad to give it a shot. Sixteen of the attorneys wanted a $25,000 retainer; the other attorney wanted $5000. Unanimously, across the board I was given an estimate of total cost to handle this case in excess of $100,000!

    I do not expect anyone to work for free, but without this astronomical sum of money no one would work with me. I have attempted to take a Pro Se approach, but have been deterred by more than one Pro Se Clinic attorney. Each told me that with the appalling lack of Grandparents’ rights in this state there was little hope. I was also told it was likely that no judge would even hear me without representation from legal counsel.

    This goes against everything I believe about justice in this country. When I think of the famous image of “Justice” I now see a blindfolded woman, protected from having to feel empathy, weighing out the gold on her scales of justice to determine who is worthy!

    All I am trying to do is protect my granddaughter.

    Rachael’s plight needs to be heard. Something must change. As difficult and heart wrenching this situation is, I believe perhaps some good can come from it. I hope not only to succeed in securing Rachael’s future, but also to pursue a change in Grandparents’ Rights, something that is long overdue.

    I am at a loss as to what to do next, yet I know unequivocally I must do something. Not only because Rachael is my granddaughter, but because she is a child who deserves the opportunity to achieve her full potential. She deserves the prospect of reaching “maximum possible recovery” from her injuries. She deserves to live in peace, free of fear.

    Rachael is in the first grade and excels well above her grade level in reading, science and math. She has cheated death twice. She has utmost potential to do extraordinary things. Rachael is my greatest inspiration because she is a true miracle. The world needs children like Rachael to lead us into a better future. How can you not be compelled to help her?!

    How can this innocent child be forced to endure anymore suffering?

    I fear that Rachael is running out of time to get the help she needs.

    If you can help with ideas, direction, advocacy or legal help for Rachael, or you wish to review the documents related to this case, please contact me via any of the methods below:

    Thank you for your time and attention

    Staci B. Knoerlein, paternal grandmother of Rachael XXXXX

    PS I welcome requests for electronic copies (PDF) of all the documents related to this case. Please contact me at one of the email addresses above and I will be glad to provide whatever you wish to inspect.
    Last edited by Obieone; 04-15-2011, 10:38 AM. Reason: Minor privacy issue.

  • #2
    I'm usually pretty quiet around here but this post really tugged at my heart...guess in part because as a grandma myself I can't imagine having a grandchild go through all this child has indured...what the fuck...the only word that I use when angered...I CANNOT BELIEVE you have not taken full custody of this child and protected and loved her with all you heart and soul...yeah, sci sucks and Rachael has a difficult road ahead of her but she is not the only child in the world with an injury, which you failed to mention exactly what level...I am not meaning to sound mean...there are sadly many mom's here to assist you with how to care for son is an adult and a a bit different in our case, but honestly...what exactly what do you want...I reread your post and is there a problem with you gaining custody of her? Figure you to be in your late 50's or 60' it an age thing that you feel you can't care for her, your health? to watch Rachael dropped and kicked to the curb and crawl to the car if beyond my imagination...WHY DID YOU NOT CALL THE POLICE...again, I am so sad about this child...and pray you get her the care she needs...


    • #3
      If you haven't already, you may want to contact CASA of Baltimore for help.
      "Our lives begin to end the day
      we become silent about things that matter."
      - Martin Luther King Jr


      • #4
        My heart goes out to both of you. I am uncertain if I totally understand the situation or what avenues you need to proceed with. I am not a parent, but I would think that your documentation would be helpful to gain custody. I wish you the best of luck and all of my prayers to both of you. I certainly wish I could do something, but really have no ideas. My only suggestion is to kidnap her and take away all the misery that she faces, but that is illegal...but I know God would forgive you for doing so.


        • #5
          I have tried, the police, Social Serivces...I have been trying to get custody but in my state, Grandparents have NO LEGAL RIGHTS

          I can care for her, I want to care for her but I have not been able to get her safe! Caring for her is NOT A BURDEN. I love her more than anything in the world and would do anything for her.

          This is what has driven me to post and also to undertake a massive letter writing campaign. I have investigated any/all resources here but because I am "only a grandparent" I have no weight, no legal rights...NOTHING!

          It is INSANE, and by the way... Every day has been a WTF day since I mounted this campaign to get her out of there. What do you do when NO JUDGE WILL SEE YOU OR HEAR YOUR CASE becasue you are a grandparent with NO LEGAL RIGHTS...OMG!???WTF!!!!!!


          • #6
            sorry, I replied directly to the thread. I am a newbie at this blogging stuff or whatever you call it. Yes, in my mid 50's.

            It is the law that is keeping me from making any progress, I am trying to interesdt my lawmakers a well to change the deplorable lack of grandparents rights in my state. I would do anything for Rachael. What was posted her is only the tip of the iceberg. The rest would make you sick.

            This situation is killing me. I have spoken to so many lawyers, etc. It is uncomprehenisble to me that a child could suffer so with no one able to help!

            Short of out and out kidnapping (NO AN OPTION I WOULD ENTERTAIN) I don't know what else I can do for her, but refuse to stop trying.


            • #7
              . If a grandparent wishes to seek custody of her grandchild, the parents must first be found to be unfit or exceptional circumstances must apply to the situation.


              It seems to me that if your granddaughter's parents are deceased and she is in foster care that it would be relatively simple to get custody if you can prove abuse:


              If it was me that is where I would start.


              • #8
                Go to the press bigtime. They would eat this up and make some changes. COntact the tv stations and printed newspapers. YOu can even send what you wrote here. If this person is doing what is being done, you can bet he/she is doing it to others.

                Not sure why you can't be the guardian if this "person" is doing it. DO you have legal issues also that resricts you from being the guardian. Not trying to be nosy but like madmother, I am terribly concerned for the both of you.

                For me, the primary concern should be for the child, no way would I ever let someone treat anything living in the way she was treated. I'm sure you feel the same but feel powerless to do anything. Well, we are always given an opprotunity to make a difference, it sounds like your opprotunity has come once again.

                It is not normal, get the press. I trust there are many journalists who would be as outraged as we are.


                • #9
                  I agree with the previous post. Call the TV stations and newspaper. I see that you are in Maryland. There is a local case all over the news of a mother and father abusing their three little girls by keeping them locked in a room. The mother has two other children. The father of the two other children was on the news last night saying that he knew there was abuse because his sons had told him about when they were forced to visit their mother. This father said he had contacted Social Services many times to report what he was being told.

                  This case brings attention to the lack of response by Social Services and is becoming a hot story for the local press. Contact the press and let them know this is not the only case.


                  • #10
                    Child Protective Services in your state? Department of Social Services? Get her hospitalized even if it is for some bogus reason so that you can get the hospital social work department to assist you.


                    • #11
                      Staci, reading my first post I think maybe I got a bit too emotional...I didn't mean for it to come across sounding so "mean"....the extra facts bring to light just how much you have gone through...the media sounds like a very good idea...I would rewrite your plea for help and put everything in the way of how this child has been treated...and call your congressman...I understand your not wanting to kidnap Rach, but imagine the press you could get...and if they jailed you at least you would have the opportunity to have a judge there a grandparent org that might be of assistance? keep in touch please...


                      • #12
                        In Maryland there is a process called CIN-children in need. There are volunteer attorneys as well as advocates. Given that Rachael received here care at KKI--that would be the place to start. I see that you have a Johns Hopkins email address.
                        You indicate that she has been in the KinCare program previously--have you applied for the KinCare program?

                        Just some suggestions.
                        Every day I wake up is a good one


                        • #13
                          Staci, contact Jeanie, who wrote this /forum/showthread.php?t=152552...if anyone can help you she of luck and keep in touch!


                          • #14
                            I agree with the opinions advocating going to the press. It would be very useful to have film footage of them telling her to crawl to your vehicle. And then the other film footage you may be able to tape.


                            • #15
                              My goodness I could not believe what this little girl has gone thru. I too am a grandmother and I think I would not take her back, have the press ready here in Ohio that would make all the papers, the tv, and all the journalists would be all over that story. Usually many local TV networks have a call for help for you to respond. Your story is heart wrenching don't give up.

                              Sorry I wish I knew someone famous, too bad you could have put this video on your phone you could have proof the police need. I would do anything that it takes to get her back to you.
                              JeAnNE L1Burst Fracture inc. 11/5/10

                              Live Well--Laugh often