Masha Allen betrayed again

Today James Marsh' blog presents a new post containing just a single link. That link points to an article called One Child's Unending Abuse - From Disney World Girl to Drifter, which opens with the following statement:

A lawyer who represented a young girl who was adopted from Russia by a Pennsylvania man and sexually abused and exploited for five years claims the girl's new adoptive mother has physically abused and neglected her, including withholding important medical and psychiatric treatment that would help the young victim move forward in her life.

What follows is a shocking exposure of the negligence of the Pennsylvania child protection system. The article on Wikileaks is based upon James Marsh' legal notice of claim, in which he states:

Late in the evening of May 27,2003, after Masha was evaluated by the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, the Respondents knowingly and intentionally placed Masha into the home of 26 year old Lynn Ginn, who was at the time a Families United Network [FUN] foster parent;

At the time of Masha's placement, Ms. Ginn was under investigation for allegedly abusing an infant foster child who was previously in her care. FUN had removed the child from her home and instructed staff not to place any more children with Ms. Ginn. The Respondents improperly deemed Ms. Ginn's home available to accept Masha since it was "closed;"

furthermore his claim says:

From the moment Masha was placed into Ms. Ginn's home, she has been subjected to physical and psychological abuse and neglect on an ongoing and continuing basis. Despite her extensive history of sexual abuse and exploitation, she has received little or no mental health treatment and her basic medical needs have been neglected. Masha has moved nine times since 2003 and attended five schools during that period.

The Respondents failed to adequately investigate and/or supervise Ms. Ginn and her home during the period oftime in question and instead aggressively facilitated Masha's adoption by Ms. Ginn despite lacking Ms. Ginn's FBI clearance, a complete and competent adoption home study, a psychiatric evaluation of Masha and a thorough investigation of three abuse allegations against Ms. Ginn. As a result of these acts and omissions, Ms. Ginn's adoption ofMasha was finalized on May 26, 2004.

 The respondents mentioned it the above quote are:

  • Allegheny County Department of Human Services [DHS],
  • Allegheny County Office of  Children, Youth and Family [CYF],
  • Families United Network, inc. [FUN],
  • Marc Cherna, individually and as DHS director,
  • Diane Goble, individually and as CYF caseworker,
  • Deborah Sadler-Kimes, individually and as CYF casework supervisor,
  • Wendy Kraus, individually and as CYF adoption caseworker,
  • Timothy Jashinsky, individually and as CYF supervisor,
  • Alexis Samulski, individually and as assistant county solicitor for CYF,
  • Nicole Denise Manison, individually and as CYF attorney,
  • Serena Holt, individually and as FUN supervisor

Obviously and righfully James Marsh is seeking to expose the malfunctioning of the child placement system, which not only failed Masha Allen miserably when she was adopted by Matthew Mancuso, but now supposedly failed her again.

The negligence of the system alone is unfathomable. On top of that, the system seems to lack any professionalism too. Knowing the failures of the past and knowing the exposure the case would get, it seems logical the authorities would be extra careful with Masha Allen's second placement. Unfortunately, it seems they were more focused on getting the case closed than finding appropriate help and placement for a girl who already had been to hell and back.

The article and James Marsh' claim shed a new light on his blog post "I don't understand why someone is not in jail", which in retrospect already hints on what's to come: the exposure of Masha's not so very very wonderful life. In that post he says:

According to Masha's case worker "the folks downtown pushed the adoption, pushed it as a good home and wanted it to happen. They agreed and made it happen fast."

Making it happen fast included maintaining the myth of Masha's Russian abandonment and orphan-ness. In the Child Profile Report for Masha written by Michele A. Cunko, Jeanne Smith of Reaching Out Thru International Adoption and Keith Wallace of Families Thru International Adoption all helped reinforce the presumed futility of Masha's reunification with her real family:

"Masha is presumed to have been in the care of her birth mother for the first four years of her life. Masha's birth mother was reported to have stabbed Masha in the neck when Masha was around four or five years old and Masha bears a scar from this injury. Foster mother advised that she was told Masha was hospitalized after having been stabbed in the neck by her birth mother and that Masha was placed in an orphanage when she was released from the hospital. Masha lived in an orphanage in Russia for about eighteen months while agencies sought an adoptive home for her."

According to Masha's Russian forever-sister-by-birth Oksana, all of this is a lie.

Although Masha told Cunko "that she has an older brother and an older sister and that she once knew their names but they were Russian names and she has forgotten them . . . there [was] no information in the CYFS files regarding Masha's siblings." Most astoundingly, "there are no other reports of any psychological or psychiatric issues or concerns."

With Masha's Russian family forgotten and disposed of, psychological and psychiatric issues and concerns minimized, and a "very, very wonderful life ahead of her," Judge Cheryl Allen, a conservative Republican right to life rising star, made the good adoption happen fast.

It's unbelievably sad this is happening and it's not an isolated incident either. Abuse in adoptive families is much more prevalent than is acknowledged by the so-called professionals. The cases that eventually make the news are only a tip of the iceberg. On various forums on the internet hundreds of adoptees are telling about the abuse taking place in their adoptive families, stories that are just as gruesome, but that never reach the authorities, never reached the media.

One can only conclude that home studies do little to prevent abuse and post-adoption practices fail miserably in keeping an eye on the well-being of the children being placed out. It's not a new conclusion and I am afraid there will be many more occasions this conclusion has to be drawn again, but we won't rest until the child placement system acknowledges their failures and start making radical changes to prevent abuse from taking place in adoptive families.


Popular Opinion

I just read a comment to the article "Another shocking child death in NYC, more calls for reform", and I find myself increasingly aware how the average person doesn't link corrupt CPS practices with adoption profits, and how one hand washes the other, all at the expense of child-safety .

At least they admit that the system is broken.
I do agree that they need to have the computer systems for different states linked together. However, linking up a bunch of broken systems doesn't fix the situation.  Obviously, this woman learned from her previous experience with CPS that they are fixated on how clean the home is, and don't have time or brain power to figure out what is really going on in the home. It seems like the real abusers learn how to play the system.

I don't know if there is anyone working within the CPS system who wouldn't agree there are huge failures against innocent families, simply because money has more meaning than child-safety.  All one has to do is go to You-Tube and search "CPS Corruption" to see how many are trying to expose just how broken and twisted family services have become.  [I get so many videos sent to me from the US, Canada and the UK, I can't even post them all!]  The question has never been "are there problems within the system?"... the problem is the question, "What are you going to do about the corruption?" has never been demanded a formal answer.  There are simply TOO MANY STATES and countries involved in the abuse and mis-management of children.

As long as there is no universal standard of care that ALL child placement agencies are forced to follow, the foster-care and adoption systems around the world will always be broken, corrupt and creating more problems then people like to think they are fixing.

Yes, thanks to International Adoption, there is no safe place for a parent to keep a child... and the tax payers will one day see how much "Charity" and government leaders keep taking from the people.



I was once a caseworker aid at CPS for awhile, believe it or not.  I wanted to become a social worker and save kids!

I would come home every night shuddering, hug my kids, then go back to work a little more numb each day.
While there, I conducted a survey (gosh I wish I still had it) of the caseworkers there.
It turned out over 1/3 of them had degrees that did not specialize in social work, 
From what I could tell, though, they were every bit as capable as the trained caseworkers, but that would take more detailed investigation if they got additional training or not.
The caseworkers were not corrupt - some were just biased (it seemed like the older more experienced ones especially) - and there were enough holes in the documentation system for them to influence outcomes.  and there are mountainsof documents.  (such a contrast to our adoption files!)
In a way, I think this was actually a good thing - because there needs to be room for human judgement on top of clinical observation.
But obviously, there needed to be greater, more defined basic standards met before caseworker opinion could be overlaid on top of that.
Job satisfaction was fairly high, but everyone was totally burnt out and depressed.  There simply weren't enough of them to handle the mountain of cases. 
Funding mechanisms do not prioritize child welfare enough.

Too many of the problems I discovered in my brief but intense stay at CPS showed me that many of the problems plagueing the system are due to:
first and foremost lack of funding.  screening and follow up are totally linked to this.
secondly inadequate minimum standards. 
thirdly each state prioritizing differently (or not at all) preservation of families (I will write about this in a future blog)
fourthly the gross lack of support for struggling families
lastly the scarcity of caring foster homes. 

The saddest thing is they have a triage officer there, who has to prioritize every report of abuse at the intake phone call - because there simply aren't enough caseworkers to follow up on anything.  This is why adoptees are last in line.  But it is a complex and interwoven problem that our current system can't address because it is not holistic in its approach - can not be holistic in its approach - because the state would rather subsidize football fields and traffic meters and convention centers and...even then, a complete overhaul would be necessary because the system has grown piecemeal, in a hysterical way to fight the biggest fire with a short hose and no water pressure.  We really need to look to some more holistic democratic socialist models if things are going to be improved.

Well, actually the saddest thing is the records room...

Fun with funds

In the nursing profession, I know many of us saw the paper-work and documentation as "CYA Beauracracy".  Quality care had to be sacrificed because budgets and administrators had "bottom lines" that had nothing to do with a human's healing-process.

It took three years for me to experience full-blown Burn-Out.... and I worked in an affluent private hospital, where most patients had good insurance and attentive family members fighting for better quality health-care.  I have heard HORROR stories about the care "given" in county (public) hospitals.

My experience has taught me:  PRAY to GOD you never become a Jane or John Doe needing health-care.

It's the poltitics of hand-shaking andf ass-kissing that keeps families from getting the services they need, from birth, and based on lobby-interests, it can't be said "the money and funds aren't there".  They are; they're just be used everywhere else BUT in Family Care.

It's this very reason I believe adoption and foster-care is a health-care issue, (run by politicians and big-business), and over the years, the fall-out has been sent to the social service network.  After all, passing the buck means spreading the problem so no real focus can be seen or addressed.  What politician wants full blame for the mess that child services eventually became? 

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