Arkansas DHS & foster care system abusing and neglecting children of Albert & Miriam Krantz
By Daniel Weaver
August 31, 2009 / examiner.com
While the State of Arkansas has presented no evidence that Albert and Miriam Krantz have ever abused or neglected their children or any children, the evidence is starting to mount that the six Krantz children have not fared so well while in Arkansas State custody since November of 2008.
The most recent example of neglect and abuse of the children by the State of Arkanasas and Miller County Department of Human Services occurred recently when two of the younger children, ages 2 and 3, had to sleep on the floor of a DHS office. DHS did not even have blankets for the children and had to call their parents to bring some.
It is alleged that the two children were removed from foster care last Thursday, although no reason has been given for the removal. One can only wonder about what might have happened in foster care that would have caused their removal.
But this is just the last episode of mistreatment of Albert and Miriam Krantz and their children by the State of Arkansas and Miller County DHS. The following is a partial list of some of the ways the Krantz children have been abused and neglected by the state and county.
1. The children have been separated from each other, instead of being kept together.
2. The children have been farmed out to strangers, even though their grandmother, Dana Minnabarriet, has the desire, means and room to take care of all of them. Minnabarriet had a meeting with Steve Mason, head of Miller County DHS, the day after the state seized her grand-children. It was her understanding that she would be given custody of the children, but it never happened. Furthermore, the children have been placed in homes that don't share their parents religious views. This is similar to what the government did to native American children up until the late 1970s.
3. On at least one occasion the children were denied a court ordered visit. A certified letter from Albert and Miriam Krantz to case worker, Kay Smallwood, indicates that Smallwood refused to let the parents visit one of their children on at least one occasion without an adequate reason for the refusal. They were not allowed to call their child, resulting in no contact between the parent and child for a period of two weeks.
4. Mr. and Mrs. Krantz are allowed to visit their children once a week. This is not a very liberal visitation policy considering that they have not been charged with any crimes. Many states allow parents, in similar circumstances, to visit their children several times a week.
5. Mr. and Mrs. Krantz dropped off Winter coats for their children on November 19, 2009. It took seven or eight days for DHS to distribute the coats to the children, according to their parents. Furthermore, the two youngest did not receive their favorite blanket, bunny and pacifier for seven or eight days, even though these infants were of the age where these items were necessities not luxuries.
6. Mr. and Mrs. Krantz state that their children are suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder because of actions on the part of the state.
7. The very act of taking the children was an act of child abuse, particularly when there was no evidence that the children had been abused or neglected. One can only imagine what it was like for young children to be traveling on the road and to be surrounded by police cars, dozens of cops and social workers, with a helicopter overhead, then to be taken from the van and placed into foster care.
But then we don't need to imagine it. The video below shows clearly the trauma of the children as well as that of Miriam Krantz. The police and social workers appear to be without emotion as the children cry and the mother cries. At about 2:12 minutes into the video, you can hear the toneless, robotic social worker drone on and on with her questions as the children begin to wail louder and louder. Albert Krantz has a difficult time focusing on answering the questions and on his children's discomfort at the same time.
Debra Ondrisek, mother of two children seized in an earlier raid, describes the effect of the raid on the children. "On September 20, 2008, my sixteen year old daughter was kidnapped by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Arkansas State Police, and FBI, in a militaristic raid which included over one hundred agents, police cars, helicopters, snipers, men armed with machine guns, bullet proof vests, and riot gear, TO KIDNAP SIX GIRLS, while searching for evidence against Pastor Alamo. The machine guns with lasers were pointed directly at my two daughters; my older daughter is twenty years old. We live in Texarkana, AR, and my daughter had been visiting her older sister in Fouke that afternoon when the raid occurred. One child who was taken had just returned from visiting seniors at a nursing home." "The raid itself was so traumatizing to all the children of our church. Children who always felt safe and secure in their Christian homes started having nightmares. When they would hear a siren or see a person in uniform, they would get hysterical. Some children wouldn’t let their mothers out of their sight for fear of being kidnapped. One twelve year old boy started losing his mind due to the terror he had of being kidnapped from his parents. One little happy-go-lucky seven year old girl was physically sick for two days, depressed and in despair that she’d soon be taken from her family. Two of the six girls who were taken were so tormented and depressed that they stated if they were not Christians, they would commit suicide. Now, for the twenty recently kidnapped children, their worst nightmares have come true."
Once Judge Griffin gag order is lifted and the children are reunited with their parents, I have no doubt that many more instances of mistreatment of the Krantz children as well as the other children seized by DHS last year will be forthcoming.
When they do, they will be reported here.
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I see a scary trend taking place within the United States... a trend that is not that new to those of us watching and following what others are willing to do (in the name of God/religion).
At what point is "religious rights" a danger to other adults AND a child's future? How far should "religious freedom" really go? When it comes to religion, government and the right to practice personal beliefs, where IS that line that defines a universally acceptable moral code of living and "the axis of evil"?
a can of worms
That's a really tough question you raise, especially in the American context, where freedom of religion is one of the pillars on which society is built. Coming from the Netherlands, where formally freedom of religion is not much different from what is written in the Amercian constitution, I do see a difference.
Many of the people that founded the US did so, because they sought religious freedom, some of them because they were persecuted in the countries they came from, others because their religious tendencies didn't fit with European ideas of civility. In an "empty" landscape as America was a few hundred years ago, there was less of a problem society and the religious fringe would clash.
So while most European countries do have freedom of religion in much the same way the US has, there is a difference in perception of how far that freedom can go. On top of that the US has a much more varied landscape of religious groups than Europe has. Part of that has to do with migration of the most fanatic elements to the US and part of it has to do with the breeding ground America's freedom of religion has offered to develop new religions, sects and cults.
The most serious problems I see when it comes to religious freedom and the protection of children from those practices, almost always relates to religions where leaders of the church are seen as special messengers from God. In those congregations the leaders can transform their own desires into the "Word of God".
In the cases you mention: Pastor Alamo, the FLDS, Waco and Jonestown, without exception there is a charismatic leader who pulls things out of his ass and presents it as "God's Will", at least that's how I see it. For the followers of these leaders, their word is seen as divinely inspired, even when it looks a charade to the rest of the world.
In my opinion growing up within the confines of a FLDS settlement is not in the best interest of children, especially not given the push to marry extremely young and when the husbands available are all older men. The issue is how to define thing like that in law. When defining the practices of the FLDS as criminal, does that apply to the Amish too? Another problem is that once laws are been defined, a new religion will be invented to circumvent those laws. Afterall Christianity is not only a tradition that roots in a 2000 year old history, but it also gets reengineered over and over again to suit the needs and desires of those involved.