When Rain Hurts by Mary Evelyn Greene

April 13, 2010

Foot Loose and CPS Free (April 2010)

April 13, 2010.  CPS Part II occurred today.  The polite gentlemen from Child Protective Services made his mandatory revisit this afternoon and assured us that his report would state categorically that the school psychologist’s complaint was unfounded.  Not a big surprise but a relief to hear all the same.  Things really got interesting after that, though, because two extraordinary pieces of information trickled our way.  First, the CPS investigator tells us as an aside that someone from the school, a lawyer he thinks, called CPS’ legal department.  Apparently the school attorney is trying to convince CPS’ attorneys to require us to meet with the school and CPS as part of the school’s “we think you’re abusing your son because you won’t let him wet his pants” dead in the water campaign.  We politely RSVPed our regrets to this little soire.  The school obviously is trying to muddy the waters by resurrecting the dead CPS issue due to what they must fear is our prima facie retaliation case against it and the school psychologist.  Pat and I find this interesting, even amusing, on several different levels, one of which is that the school attorney must think we have a real case.  The second piece of information has to do with the school psychologist herself.  After the CPS investigator left, I sat down to check my email before whisking Sophie off to her horseback-riding lesson.  She’s in her first horse show this weekend and is terribly excited and nervous.  I was expecting an email from her riding instructor but instead found a message from the Office of Professional Discipline regarding the complaint we lodged last week against the school psychologist for using CPS as a retaliatory tool.  Pat and I thought it prudent to make the state board responsible for licensing and disciplining psychologists aware of our unfortunate situation.  So guess what the email said?  Apparently the esteemed school psychologist, who’s been challenging our experts’ qualifications, recommendations, statistical analyses, and diagnostic impressions for the last 2 ½ years, isn’t even licensed in the State of New York!  She can’t even practice yet she has the unmitigated gall to dismiss the judgment of our neuropsychologist, Ron Federici, the undisputed world’s authority on kids like Peter?  Undoubtedly there’s some exemption or educational certification that allows her to fulfill the role of a psychologist in a school setting, New York is notorious for its lack of licensing requirements, but I do find it funny.  After all, I wouldn’t even hire a plumber who isn’t licensed.  By the way, Peter has achieved daytime dryness for the last ten days, which blows his previous 2010 record clear out of the water.  He’s very proud of himself and happy about the reward system we instituted for when he “takes good care of his body.”  I guess having him clear the yard of dog poop had its intended effect.



  1. hmm methinks perhaps this information about the lack of license might have just a little to do with the school’s attorney’s nervousness? like perhaps the school is negligent in placing a person without a license in such a position of authority? are you going to give the school a heads up on this, as they must not have known when they held this person out to be qualified?

    Comment by mel — April 13, 2010 @ 11:14 pm | Reply

    • Hey Mel –

      I read online this morning that school psychologists in NYS don’t have to be professionally licensed – though they often are – that they only have to be certified through the teaching certification process. So I guess her vast experience with working with kids troubled by divorce, etc., gives her the credentials, experience and confidence to dismiss every single thing our board certified neuropsychologist (Ron Federici), who is the world’s leading expert on post-institutionalized children, as well as our renowned international adoption pediatrician (Jane Aronson), have said, concluded and recommended. Dr. Federici has testified before Congress and the Hague, has written the diagnostic criteria for treating these kids, but apparently our school psychologist thinks she knows our son best and has decided that by following Dr. Federici’s program and advice we are committing child abuse. Same goes for Dr. Aronson – she is the country’s leading physician in this field and she concurs with Dr. Federici 100%. Geez!

      Comment by whenrainhurts — April 14, 2010 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  2. Three cheers for info on the internet and response from the licensing agency! 🙂

    Comment by Mama Bev — April 14, 2010 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

  3. Yes…our TX CPS person was not licensed either. There is a mechanism for reporting a CPS representative’s inappropriate (huge understatement here) conduct. It’s not through the CPS ‘chain of command’ – ours was deadended when that route was attempted. You may want to visit the Health and Human Services federal website. It shows a reporting mechanism.

    I was advised by someone qualified to assess CPS that, particularly in the state that I reside in – any and all candidates are hired for CPS jobs, qualified or not. Scary ‘huh?

    I am so sorry to hear of the continued drama of CPS. I wish I could say we experienced a different scenario as far as the people involved. Even though these individuals are adults, it appears that unprofessional behavior can continue to occur…

    The child psychologist is not a parent, if I remember correctly, for your situation? That is a notable, I would imagine. The study of psychiatry of children, as you know, is no where near the reality of parenting a child such as yours, or mine. Also, there are a limited number of truly qualified psychiatrists in the U.S. for Russian adoptees. I doubt seriously that your school psychologist fits into that expertise. Another notable fact…

    Since I’ve already been through the CPS run, and yours has some similarities to what we experienced, I am sending my best wishes to your family. I would not wish the CPS run on my worst enemy – if I had one…lol I do hope you have an attorney – the best that can be afforded, so that no other individual, such as your school psychologist will feel the need to cause such harm again.

    You are great parents. Unlike many accused falsely by CPS, you have a history, like I did of qualified experts you have been working with for the health of your children. These qualified experts are your best defense against incompetents such as your school psychologist.

    Take great care.

    Comment by Lori — April 16, 2010 @ 3:49 pm | Reply

  4. Interesting about the license. Hmmm — I think a well placed letter to the school removing an unlicensed psychologist from any interaction with your children should nicely add to the attorney’s elevated blood pressure. How dare she contradict several proven and well respected real professionals. Beyond the licensee is a level of stupidity, if she had an ounce of concern she would just even google they people you have seen and start educating herself.
    I am very happy for you that this incident is passing quickly. Peter and Sophie are both very lucky to have you and Pat as their parents.

    Comment by Janet — April 17, 2010 @ 10:12 am | Reply

  5. Being a child psychologist myself I’m astounded and saddened to hear of this psychologists conduct. Within any realm of counseling or psychology you do have to have the training involved to competently handle a therapeutic case. If a psychologist doesn’t have the training then ethics dictates you acknowledge your realm of competency and seek supervision and training. I would think that even if a license isn’t required in NY that the education certification should carry some sort of ethical expectations with it. Cleary her understanding of FAS, RAD and intervention regarding attachment issues is limited. Is the school board involved at all? What was her purpose for being retalitory towards your family. If this was her motivation it brings malpractice to the forefront.

    On another note the shame involved on both sides of the fence is going to set the stage for anger and an ongoing battle. The ongoing battles tend to steal people’s balance, energy and joy. So somehow is the midst of all this the focus on whats really important (your son, his education, the ways educators support him, bridging communication) need to be reclaimed. It may not be possible to do that in this school system. You seem very knowledgeable and skilled at finding resources for your son. Wishing you peace and hope in the midst of this stressful time.

    Comment by Nancy — April 18, 2010 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

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