D. Heimpel

Daniel Heimpel's life as a journalist

A Tale of Two Approaches

with one comment

A Tale of Two Approaches
Fostering new Media Connections from San Jose to Siskiyou County

This week, I tried to two approaches to placing stories about foster care in the press. The first was conventional. I contacted editorial page editors until Barbara Marshman of the San Jose Mercury News — with whom I’ve never worked — took an Op-Ed I had written on the Fostering Connections and Increased Adoptions act of 2008 ( the largest reform to foster care in more than a decade) oversight hearing that took place last month in D.C.

Here is that Op-Ed entitled: “Extending Foster Care Would Pay Big Dividends”


The second approach was more avant-garde. I was in Siskiyou County, CA — the second least populous county in the state – where I go every year to visit with my father. I wanted to see what the local HHS head thought of implementing Fostering Connections and how well plugged in rural counties are to what was happening on the federal level. In conversations with Siskiyou County HHS Director Michael Noda, it became clear that he had very detailed plans of how he would used freed up funds to help the 123 foster children in the county.

In the course of my study of the area I came across news clips about the August death of a toddler. I quickly found out that the two-year-old had been entrusted to the care of a private, non-profit foster care agency. I knew I had a story so I went to downtown Yreka, the county seat, and walked into the offices of the Siskiyou Daily News. I told the editor-and-chief, Mike Slizewski, that I wanted to write a story about the proliferation of Foster Family Agencies in rural CA counties.

Here that is that story entitled:”The Bottom line and a Baby’s Death”


When I agreed to write the story I made sure that Slizewski would allow me to also write a later Op-Ed about how Fostering Connections would help Siskiyou County. He agreed. So stay tuned for that. It is great to be out there Fostering new Media Connections.

All the best,

Daniel Heimpel


Please feel free to comment on the links provided. Editors tend to closely read and track the number of comments a story generates. By commenting, those editors feel validated in their tough decision to make foster care a news item over a war in the Middle East, health care reform or a buckling economy.


Written by dheimpel

October 2, 2009 at 6:45 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. I read your story on the boy who died in foster care, I have lost 2 children to the system for money – never was I proven unfit, the children were never abused or neglected by me. I was given 6 months to complete an impossible reunification plan that takes your life and turns it manditorily upside down- when you get close to completing – oh we have more for you to do.

    I thought hmm services oh nice maybe I can renew my cpr training certification – oh they don’t teach parents how to save the life of a child? Ask any social worker if they know cpr! I promise you more then 85% do not. Yet they are child savers.
    My children were kept mandatory 6 months for the agency to qualify for funds. It doesn’t matter where you put the kid – if the social worker feels like ailenating you from your family – they will and tell them not to let you be around or they will loose the kids. Or if you don’t have local family or friend to take your kid they claim parents have no priority in placement options and prevent you from trying to place out of state.

    I had a standby guardian agreement already set up with someone I trust to raise my kids loved, around other family connections, and with similar beliefs and traditions. The court approved the application to begin ICPC which is transferring a case across state lines with the agency there. My designated guardian paid over 10,000 to prepare for the home study and my child to be placed in her home, she took kinship class- then foster parent licensing, she passed the home-study and promptly filled out all paperwork faxing it back. Without reading it the case worker now says ” I’m not going to recommend placement I feel she is fine where she is and the foster parents are bonded and want to adopt her”

    I objected to this 3rd placement and many family members are concerned that our feelings for how this child should be raised were ignored completely. We are not asking for anything strange we just feel it is unfair to us and the child to be in a homosexual household. I am not a lesbian and I want my child to have a male father figure like normal children – but gay rights are front and center right now. I’m not saying they can not be good parents to their own children – or even take in a child a mother relinquishes for adoption- but to use foster care to take babies from targeted low income parents who have not abused their children is just wrong. The agency is baby brokering and hiding behind confidentiality laws to hide their corrupt evil ways.

    Ever been in the court room for a dependency hearing? Its a nightmare- you first talk to a paralegal who takes shorthand notes and looks as if she has to run to the next chair obvious you can’t say or ask much. Then as you walk in you see your attorney reading the notes and she introduces herself- if you have attorneys from the state you are represented by the office not the same attorney all the time (who usually has less then 3 yrs experience btw) then there are the lawyers – the judge – county counsel for the case worker – the case worker who may or may not have talked to you yet or just briefly, the da who is a seasoned high paid vet of 30+ years is always arbitrary when they have never seen you before or met your kids – they never see the kids they claim to represent their interests. So lets count that is 4 people against one parent and an intern attorney who doesn’t fight for the rights of the parent instead pushes to just do as the social worker recommends.

    My parental rights were terminated without proof of parental unfitness without evidence of any neglect or abuse, specifically to allow a lesbian couple to adopt my child when I had arrangements made with someone I trust. I graduated all classes and programs – consistently visited never having one reported visit that was bad. All show me to be a very loving parent. It didn’t matter- the only thing that did was keeping my child. They have her illegally.

    My rights were violated and the lawyers and judges are all in on it and don’t care about the child. My daughter was abused in one home for a year and they knew about it and covered it up. I have pictures and evidence I was not allowed to present it and save my child. Oh but I did get a letter that told me to keep my address updated so when my child turns 18 she can find me – why am I ok to know then and not now? Because they’ve gotten their use out of her and made enough money ruining her life.

    That is foster care its about the money and self interests not about saving kids – too many are dying just like that little boy.


    November 12, 2009 at 11:48 pm

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