Western Wis. Adoptive Parents Charged with Incest and Abuse

Date: 2011-01-05
Source: wsaw.com

The Associated Press

John and Roseanne Kincheloe are both scheduled to be in Buffalo County court Wednesday in separate cases. John Kincheloe is charged with incest. Roseanne Kincheloe is charged with child abuse.

WEAU 13 News in Eau Claire obtained court records detailing the abuse that allegedly happened in the Eleva couple's home. According to police reports, Buffalo County investigators interviewed two young girls about the sexual and physical abuse back in November.

Five years ago, Roseanne Kincheloe talked to WEAU 13 News about why she and her husband believed so strongly in adoption.

"God has never let us down even when he's given me choices I didn't ask for," Roseanne Kincheloe told us at an adoption fair in November of 2006.

This past November, she was charged with child abuse. John Kincheloe charged the same day with incest.

Police reports show a 10-year-old girl told investigators “she has private time with her father in the bathroom." She said John Kincheloe, her adopted father, forced her to perform oral sex. She said he "told her not to tell anyone" and told investigators "it is still happening."

The same day, a nine-year-old girl said "living at home is kinda bad, kinda good when momma isn't so bad to us, when she is calm." The girl said "her mother (Roseanne Kincheloe) hit her with a broom" and "strangled her in the bathroom and asked her if she wanted to live or die."

"We thought having two children was perfect for us and we learned differently," Roseanne Kincheloe said in 2006.

At the adoption fair, Roseanne Kincheloe said their adoptive journey started in 2000 when she and her husband decided to be foster parents. She said she felt called to do more and give back.

Roseanne Kincheloe also worked as a volunteer crisis responder in 2008. Back then, she worked with abuse victims at crime scenes in Eau Claire County.

John Kincheloe also faces additional charges after investigators say they found stolen needles in his car and he admitted to stealing other medicine from the kids.

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Let's review....

According to adoptuskids.org (a great informational website, btw...), the requirements to foster or adopt are as follows: 

In general, foster and/or adoptive parents must be in good physical and mental health. They must also be able to raise the child in a safe, caring environment.

The following are some of the characteristics necessary to be a good foster or adoptive parent:

  • Stability
  • Maturity
  • Commitment
  • Patience
  • Dependability
  • Flexibility
  • Sense of humor
  • Enjoys children and is an advocate for them
  • Team player willing to work with your social worker, the birth parents, as needed, and community services

Minimum Qualifications Include:

You can be a foster/adoptive parent if you…

  • Are at least 21 years old
  • Are single or married or divorced
  • Already have children in your home or no children in the home
  • Are of any race
  • Have sufficient income to cover your financial needs
  • Own or Rent your home or apartment
  • Have enough room for the child
  • Complete proper training requirements
  • Pass criminal background checks

In addition, the website clearly maps out the seven steps a person must follow before a child is 'chosen' and placed in a foster/adoptive home.  These don't read like very easy steps to me.  First, there's an orientation meeting that describes the types of kids and needs these adults will be responsible for, the various requirements that are needed from foster/adoptive parents, and the steps an adult has to take to be granted foster-care approval.  Next comes a 4-10 session training period that educates and prepares the adults for foster parenting.  With that, the candidate starts the application process, which includes providing references, background information, and finger printing.  That's a lot of work.  But we're not done. Step Four (out of seven, remember?) is when the candidate reviews the application with an assigned social worker.  I'm hoping this social worker has experience and skills that go beyond the simple task of asking questions from a sheet of paper, and writing in the verbal response given.  This is the third time questions from candidates can be asked... it's the third time a social worker can inquire more about the person considering foster-care/adoption.  Next step is the 'mutual assessment' and home study.  I will use the text used on adoptuskids.org:

This is when the agency licensing or family worker meets with you in your home to talk about your:

  • Personal history
  • Family relationships
  • Reasons for wanting to foster or adopt
  • Support systems you have available to you.

The worker will determine whether your home is safe and has sufficient space for a foster or adopted child. The point of this step is to help you and the agency make the best possible decisions about whether placement of a child in your home will out, and the characteristics of the children whom you are most able to parent.

After Step Five, comes the waiting period.... the candidate waits to hear if he/she/they have been approved to care for a child who has already been through hell, and has very special needs... needs that go beyond a few meals, a few clean outfits, and a place to crash and sleep.  I like the fair warning candidates are given: 

During this step of your journey, try to be patient. You may be having a hard time understanding why it takes so long to complete the paperwork, or concerned about what has been put in the record about you and your household.

Of course even the most healthy, normal, good decent person would be nervous and anxious during this wait-and-see period.  Waiting for approval for something is always a nerve-wracking experience because you never know what information may need further explanation.  USkids offers some great suggestions to help the nervous-nellies waiting to receive good 'you have been approved' news:

Now is a good time to:

  • Contact your local foster and adoptive parent group to attend a meeting
  • Ask to review a copy of your homestudy so you can look it over and correct any inaccuracies
  • Be prepared for a bit of a wait as this process can take time
  • Do further reading or networking with other foster and adoptive parents
  • Use you agency to answer questions and help solve problems

This is the step that concerns me... especially if it's a sociopath/pedophile applying for a fostering position.  First of all, before a manipulator even starts the process, he/she will make sure bad tracks are covered and excellent key people and great key information is made available.  The manipulator will also ask what gets asked, and what doesn't get investigated, and when all of this gets done, so proper preparations can be made.  So, if there is a waiting period to get through, what do you suppose the manipulator is doing to ensure final approval?  Oh wait, we're supposed to believe all these bad-people get weeded-out during the extensive home-study/screening process.

The last and final step in this journey to have a child in your home is the actual placement of said 'chosen' child.

These are the very steps, John and Roseanne Kincheloe followed.  At an adoption-fair, Roseanne shared her thoughts of foster-care/adoption:

"God has never let us down even when he's given me choices I didn't ask for," Roseanne Kincheloe told us at an adoption fair in November of 2006.

At this same adoption fair, she explained to reporters "their adoptive journey started in 2000 when she and her husband decided to be foster parents. She said she felt called to do more and give back."

Two little girls were chosen for this couple.  While it's not clear if those two girls are biological sisters, in foster/adoption-speak, sibling groups are considered 'special needs'... meaning, more care, more attention, more responsibility is needed to care for an already special-needs foster child.  ["More" also translates into more money a couple will receive each month a la state foster/adoption subsidy. According to Wisconsin's DCF page, Aparents can apply for The Adoption Assistance Program, a program that helps off-set the costs of care given to children with mental or physical handicaps, disruptive behavior, medical problems or 'other factors'.  The maximum monthly amount given to the Aparents is $2000.]    It's unfortunate Roseanne realized, after-the-fact, two children was too much.

I can see how Roseanne would be seen as a good foster/adoptive mother-material.  It was reported Roseanne worked as a volunteer crisis responder in 2008, working with abuse victims at crime scenes in Eau Claire County.

The reality is, Roseanne is accused of hitting a nine year old girl with a broom and strangling her in the bathroom, asking if the little nine year old wanted to live or die.

Meanwhile, daddy-dearest, Mr. 'clean back--ground check', Sir 'fine home-study, you HAVE been approved' is accused of incest.  More correctly, his ten year old adopted daughter  states her adoptive father forced her to perform oral sex in the bathroom.  This was their 'quiet time'.  She was told not to tell anyone... giving new meaning to, 'keep your mouth shut, and your lips sealed'.

Imagine if the walls in that bathroom could talk.

This is the care and attention children put in foster care get.  These are the people social services reviewed, questioned and assessed.  These are American foster/adoptive parents.... and yet, they seem not at all like the foster/adoptive parents praised and thanked at Angels of Adoption award-shows.  When people think about the abused/neglected child who gets saved through adoption, is this the family-picture/home-life experience people imagine?  This provision is 'better' than the abusive incest-active homes CPS investigators remove children from?  THIS is America's version of child protection?  Good lord!  When a child is put-in-care, the child(ren) ought to receive BETTER care, not the same or worse!

I'll have go read more articles on this couple... I'd like to know if they were receiving a subsidy check from the state while all of this was going on in their visited home.  But first, I think I'm going to be sick.

Panic

The list of requirements and steps presented should probably work in many situations if applied correctly. Unfortunately proper procedures are often not followed. This is certainly the case when a so-called foster care panic hits a state or county.

A foster care panic is usually triggered by a high profile abuse case. Just like natural disasters and shooting sprees, child abuse (especially when brutal) captivates a large audience. For news media there is a huge incentive to feed into the audience's desire to learn more about such cases.

When a high profile abuse case hits the news, journalist start digging up other cases of child abuse in their region, presenting them as a series, suggesting there is a systemic problem that could be prevented.

While every abuse case is tragic, it cannot always be prevented, certainly not in biological families, because there is no screening and because there is no monitoring. In fact there is statistical likelihood that a serious abuse case will hit a state or county every now and then. It's a fact of life that is hard to accept, but it's not necessarily reason to take drastic actions.

If there is a likelihood a serious abuse case will hit a state or country, there is also a likelihood that a state or county is hit by more than one serious abuse case in a given time frame. That likelihood is much lower, but given the size of the country, it will probably happen every now and then.

Humans are great at seeing patterns, but unfortunately we also see patterns where none exist. If two or three serious abuse cases happen within a year in a given region, we tend to see that as a pattern, while in reality it is most likely that those case are completely independent of one another.

Based upon a false notion of a series of abuse cases, CPS is ordered to remove more children. A foster care panic can easily lead to a 30 to 40 percent increase in the number of children removed. Of course the foster care organizations are not equipped to handle such increased influx of children, so they start cutting corners. As the pool of existing foster families is exhausted, foster care organizations have to recruit new foster families, but given the pressure they are under to place the extra children resulting from the foster care panic, quality standards are being dropped.

Abuse in foster care families and adoptive families, just like abuse in biological families can not always be prevented, but we can do our best to keep those numbers as low as possible. That is why quality standards exist. Unfortunately those standards are not followed when the system is in panic. This is not only true for foster care panics, but the same cutting of corners could be observed in the aftermath of the Haitian earth quake last year; a similar sense of panic and urgency is being maintained with regards to adoption from Ethiopia.

As long as quality standards for the placement of children are dropped because of irrational motives, we cannot promise children a better future. Unfortunately news media and politics benefit from creating frenzy and panic. There is money to be made by creating a false sense of urgency, either for political or monetary gain.

The push to place... and all that goes with it

A foster care panic can easily lead to a 30 to 40 percent increase in the number of children removed. Of course the foster care organizations are not equipped to handle such increased influx of children, so they start cutting corners. As the pool of existing foster families is exhausted, foster care organizations have to recruit new foster families, but given the pressure they are under to place the extra children resulting from the foster care panic, quality standards are being dropped.

Around me (NJ) I read more about the push to adopt, not foster.  I suppose the theory is, adoption solves the problem of poor foster-care practice, which includes frequent uprootings and moves, and temporary placements, which prove to be damaging to a child.  Adoption is seen as the perfect solution to unwanted upheaval, instability, and unrest...the implication being, adoption equals 'stability', 'security', and 'permanence'.  After all, foster-care was never intended to be a permanent living situation anyway -- it was created so children would not have to be sent to live in institutions known for their cold, cruel and insensitive care, (creating countless new cases of criminal neglect and abuse and an impressive number of future prison inmates).  Foster care was supposed to solve the problems found in European orphanages.  Foster care was supposed to be more family-oriented, and MUCH better, for all involved.  [All one has to do is read about UK's modern-switch from Children's Homes to Foster Care, suggesting children put in-care will get better more loving care in a private home, than in a cold drafty poorly furnished Dickens-esque institution... as if those are still an operating option, anyway.  Too bad post-placement abuse by both foster and bio parents, and social worker negligence, is as horrific as it is.]

So indeed, Foster-Care IS in a panic-worthy condition, for many reasons.  Americans are seeing first-hand the many ways state social services fail the people they are funded to serve.  Americans are beginning to see the way some foster parents conduct themselves, proving they are not much better than those charity workers of the past... the ones who willfully deprived food, clothes and education from little ones... the ones who brutally sexually abused children in barely supervised environments... the ones who got paid for services-rendered, even if that service was horrific.  Furthermore, Americans are seeing history repeat itself --  just like something had to be done about the number of street-children overcrowding the streets of London, something had to be done about the foster kids left/abandoned by parents who never visit or return.  [A topic I will gladly get back to, another time... because it's a doozy!]

In addition, just as charity-workers of yesteryear running orphanages/children's homes did not want to keep the child put-in-care FOREVER... many 'volunteer' foster parents are not looking for a 'forever situation'.  Many foster parents agree to provide only temporary care for a temporary living-situation, (so a parent can get his/her act and life together).  In other words, many foster carers are not expecting their job/responsibility to a particular child/family to be permanent. 

Foster care was not working as it was expected to, so a new-breed of social service had to be born.  Social services needed a foster-parent who would agree to follow-up with a permanent solution -- an adoption-plan.

Ideal, AND cost-effective, isn't it?  I mean, the foster-parent has to be educated and pre-screened anyway... why not take full advantage of a service that will work, if done properly?

The problem is, few do foster-care properly.  In this regard, I don't blame the foster parents -- I find fault with the social services responsible for foster cases.

So... is the problem too much panic is felt when a new abuse-case hits the news?  Or is the problem more systemic... like, not enough care, attention to detail, and oversight is given to the work at-hand?

Here's the part that really bothers me:  in order to adopt through foster-care, one must be a foster-parent, first.  If these people and homes are going to be 'permanent', why are so many short-cuts being made?  Why are reports being written about visits that were never made?  Why are people like the above couple (featured in the article) approved not only to foster, but approved to adopt children, with zero follow-up until the police/CPS gets called again?

false allegations

I am familiar with this particular case and it is almost certain that false allegations were made, particularly by the nine year old girl who claimed Mommy attempted to strangle her, etc. This child has a long history of false allegations starting in kindergarten when she told her teacher that Mommy had "killed the baby" and now we have to live in the camper. All of her siblings were present during the current incident (six of them) and all tell a far different story than the nine year old. The child was angry at her adopted mother because she was caught urinating on a whole package of "pull ups" which she had removed from the package. Mom made her clean up the mess. She then proceeded to throw every toy in the room on the floor and followed by throwing all the clothes out of closet and dressers on top of the pile. The child had one bruise which was fading and had occurred when a tire swing broke a few days earlier. Their were no marks on her neck or elsewhere on her body. Investigators said they ddn't bother to take pictures but reported no marks. The child has a diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder and Bipolar disorder and is subject to frequent rages as are many of these children who have gone through the foster system.

In the case of the 10 year old, incest may have occurred but if so very recently. This child is also a very unreliable witness and tells frequent lies. Where she is placed now she is totally uncooperative with such things as doing her school work and when remonstrated with states "I'm going to tell on you!" When asked what she is going to tell she states, "You don't need to know>"

Unreliable witness = false information?

I agree 100%, an unreliable witness may give reason to question the authenticity of 'facts' related to a complaint.  In fact, this is an issue many first-parents raise when a child is removed from the home because claims of abuse have been made.

However, there is such a thing as a wrongly assumed to be reliable witness, putting children in that person's care at-risk.

Two perfect examples: the abusive clergy-member who was found doing one thing one hour a week for a Sunday Service, but doing something entirely different many hours, many days during the week, and/or the people paid to protect the safety and well-being of children put in-care, but chose to cause more damage than good

While I have no doubt there are children out-there making all sorts of claims against a parent, or respected member of the community,  just to gain attention and sympathy, there are also those children in-care not saying a damn word, because they know no one will believe the word of a child, when it's compared to the reputation of a person admired and loved by his/her peers.

If nothing else, I hope people who are quick to criticize the child in these sort of difficult situations, will also be open to the idea that it's not wise to assume the shocking news about a respected friend, neighbor or co-worker is false information, and therefore claims of abuse or neglect are untrue.  Far too often it's assumed the adopted child is up to no good, or incapable of telling the truth, but at some point, people need to ask:  what's going on in that house, and is the parent really as good, patient, and 'loving' as everyone thinks or assumes?  The answer just might be way too scary, as this case in the UK proves.

In this case a team of

In this case a team of psychologists interviewing the girls as well as going by a past history have determined that they are not reliable witnesses and indeed their stories have evolved over time to the point where they are indeed not believable. Should one child's word be believed over the word of 5 other children who witnessed the incident?

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