Chesterfield County Virginia Social Services, Courts, and Southside Regional Medical Center create fatherless families.
Update Page for May 18th 2002, The long awaited update. For the short of it, I have gained sole custody of my daughter in a permanent order, as opposed to temporary that lasted nine months. Please follow the link to find out more and see what other conflicts have arisen in the process, like the ones brought on by Marguerite Christian Elementary School, a Chesterfield County public school, and Principal M. Basil Furr Jr..
Previous updates page
Interesting article by Alan Cooper, Richmond Times Dispatch, that closely relates : "Chesterfield clerk wants judge removed" (This link is inactive due to the article only being accessible to paid subscriber, but resides in the archive section)
As you can see some things have changed. Some added, others removed. The format is expected to be consistent to current if things stay in the best interest of my daughter..
I am the father of a eight year old girl that still doesn't even bear my last name because of Chesterfield County Virginia Social Services, Southside Regional Medical Center, and of course Chesterfield County Courts. My wife, Shannon D. Payne, left me when she found out she was pregnant (she thought the child was from another man and so admitted in Chesterfield County J & D R court). When filing for benefits with Chesterfield County Social Services, Shannon used her maiden name, Shannon D. Ward, claiming to be unmarried, and made the status of the father as unknown for our unborn child. The reason given by the mother was that the Social Services case worker stated it would make things easier if she filed the paper work that way, removing the father and husband from the picture. (this has now been testified to by the mother again, now in depositions)
Cut from the Chesterfield County Social Services "Agency Description" web page
"Our focus is to prevent dependency and encourage self sufficiency; preserve and restore family functioning and stability as well as promote and protect the well being of children,..."
Whether the reason given was truthful or not it was an illegal act accepted, condoned, and assisted by Chesterfield County Social Services and J & D R Court. I do not think support of these actions promotes family values.
(VA Code: 63.1-124 False statements, representations, impressions and fraudulent devices. Any individual receiving or applying for benefits under the federal Food Stamp program or the Aid to Dependant Children program may be denied such benefits in accordance with federal law if such person is found by a court or pursuant to an administrative hearing to have intentionally (i) made a false or misleading statement or misrepresented, concealed or withheld facts, or (ii) committed any act intended to mislead, misrepresent or conceal or withhold facts or propound a falsity, for the purpose of establishing or maintaining eligibility for such benefits.)
Social Services has a department solely for fraud investigations. It is their responsibility to see to it that the system is not taken advantage of, especially when doubt or proof of fraud exists. Yet it seems that it is more economical to allow such crimes to continue than to go after the violators. Even when presented to the courts with overwhelming evidence, as seen here, it is overlooked concerning mothers.
(VA Code: 20-121.4 Restoration of former name. Upon decreeing a divorce from the bond of matrimony the court shall, on motion of a party who changed his or her name by reason of the marriage, restore such party's former name or maiden name either as part of the final decree or, upon request of such party, by separate order meeting the requirements of 8.01-217)
No divorce decree has been issued, or has a request by separate order to change name been filed with any court, much less Chesterfield County, yet it was testified that it had.
(VA Code: 18.2-504.1 Unlawful change of name; punishment. If any person residing in the Commonwealth changes his name or assumes another name unlawfully, he shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.).
My wife and I were married in Chesterfield County Virginia August 12th 1990, and to this day we are still legally married (it is public record even for Chesterfield County employees). After learning of this situation I met with the head of Chesterfield County Social Services, Ms. Smith, and with family members present, one who happens to be a licensed private investigator (for credibility of course), to inform Social Services of the errors in their records. At that time, I was told it would be looked into and corrected, but as of date, the records have never been updated. I have never been contacted by Chesterfield County Social Services in efforts to correct any of the matters discussed here.
My daughter was born January 9th 1992 at Southside Regional Medical Center. I was notified through the "grapevine," by friends, of the birth and went to the hospital to see my child. (Note: I have flaming red hair, so does my daughter, my wife nor her boyfriends do). Once arriving at the hospital I was greeted by nurses to whom I explained the situation and that I wished to see my child. I was refused as the woman they had as the mother, Shannon D. Ward, again provided the same information that Chesterfield County Social Services accepted and passed along which was "not married, father of child unknown". I was asked to leave the hospital and did so. I returned the next day with proof of my marriage, my marriage certificate from Chesterfield County Virginia, and was greeted by the on-site case worker and the hospital lawyer. I was held in the office at Southside Regional Medical Center until my wife was discharged from the hospital, so to keep me from my child. Finally I was told she was no longer there and I had no business with the hospital. Later found in the files from Southside Regional is a document typed up by the hospital and signed by Shannon D. Ward requesting no information be given to me, which is like signing a permission slip to let your child speed through a neighborhood, full of children and hit a few along the way. Every time I have attempted to acquire records from Southside Regional Medical Center or any of its affiliates such as Southside Pediatric Center and Health Care Plus, I have been stonewalled and denied every time. I was recently forced again to get a court order spending more unnecessary money for documents I am legally entitled to that could have gone to my daughter.
Cut from the Southside Regional Medical Center's mission and values page
"Service: To aid and benefit patients, physicians, the community and each other."
"Caring: To be empathetic; compassionate, polite, considerate and respectful"
I suppose the service to the community is only to those that they see fit and first to those paying with state funds. As far as caring, I came away with less than a warm feeling being intentionally kept from my daughter and records concerning her.
(VA Code: 20-107.2 sub-section 6 "Not withstanding any other provision of law, neither parent shall be denied access to academic, medical, hospital or other health records of that parents minor child unless ordered by the court for good cause shown.")
The State code of Virginia has provisions concerning children's names and parentage rights. Paraphrased, the father of a child is the husband's until proven otherwise, and so shall bare his name. As of March 31st, 2000 my daughter still does not have her birth right name nor even a corrected birth certificate thanks to Chesterfield County Social Services, Chesterfield County Courts, and Southside Regional Medical Center even though the law states otherwise. Unable to afford council at the time I had difficulty fighting for visitation much less custody. Benefits were paid to Shannon D. Ward from Chesterfield Social Services as a single mother with a child with father unknown. She was given housing funds, food stamps, and other benefits including vehicle programs, etc. She was even given funds for a car, then more for repairs on the same car, then had the car repossessed. One of many. Now to make matters worse I did not stop my pursuit with Chesterfield County. I continued to provide information and proof that I was Shannon's husband and the father of this child, being my Chesterfield County marriage certificate didn't suffice.
Three months after my daughter's birth Child Support Enforcement contacted me. I met with them in person as well. My exact words to them were "I will give you everything I own including the shirt off my back to just see my daughter". When I informed them that I took responsibility for the child and that the mother was my wife the conversation was paused and the case worker left the room abruptly. He returned after ten minutes or so telling me that Shannon was indeed my wife, in a surprised manner, and that he would be in contact if he needed me again. Child Support Enforcement too, had been given the information of single mother, father unknown thanks to Chesterfield County Social Services. I never heard from Child Support Enforcement again, ever. I suppose that if I had refused my child, things would have gone faster. Child Support Enforcement and Chesterfield County Social Services both have the ability to ask for a parentage test immediately, yet none was requested by either. It took nine more months for me to get into a Chesterfield County court through a loop hole brought to my attention by an intake officer to start the process to see my daughter. The Honorable Judge Thomas ordered immediate visitation, two days a week, even before the results of the parentage test, because he knew the law, and stated "if he isn't the father he will get good practice, if he is the father then he is getting the minimum he is entitled". I never got the justice and benefit of being in front of The Honorable Judge Thomas again.
The court appearance was prolific in the since that Shannon admitted, in front of the judge, that she felt the child was fathered by another during our marriage, admitting adultery, which agreed doesn't seem to whole much weight, and therefore was ordered to allow and pay for a parentage test. The results were 99.99% positive that I am the father. Again the red hair pretty much gave things away but the mother never would bring my daughter to court. Even seven years after these results were presented in a Chesterfield County court, Chesterfield County Social Services hasn't updated their records. Also with the proof of fatherhood I gained the status of visitation. Soon to follow were overnight visits. Not long, and I mean days, my daughter spoke her first sentence to me, "daddy my teffes hurt!". Now that might not mean much except I took her to a dentist that day, notifying Social Services. The cavities in her four front teeth were so bad the teeth had to be removed, when trying to fix the first of four it shattered. When Chesterfield County Social Services was presented with this I was told "it happens", yet in my daughter's/wife's file at Social Services there is a paper that shows Shannon was taught how to take care of a child, and teeth was a separate subject covered and checked off. It is a requirement for certain benefits that she received. My daughter has had to wear dentures since to date in hopes to allow her adult teeth to come in properly and allow her to eat and look like non-neglected children. Matter of fact due to problems brought up in Chesterfield J&D R court concerning my daughters health, Shannon Ward was ordered by the court to take parenting classes again, yet no custody change was seen required.
Medical records obtained after I finally got this case to court were admitted into the file. My daughter at ten months old fell off of a pool table and hit her head on a metal chair at a public pool hall at 1:30am rendering her unconscious, stated by the ambulance and hospital reports. Chesterfield County Social Services said "it was in the past and that they can't discriminate against peoples choices for entertainment". The excessive medical records in the file did not get any response either. The person I had sitting for me even filed a complaint with Child Protective Services at Chesterfield Social Services concerning the way my daughter came from her mother's. My daughter was often very dirty (not one day playing dirty), and usually with horrible diaper rash resulting from lack of changing, which always cleared up before she was returned to the mother, by proper changing, care, and bathing. When the case worker responded again like so many others to her "it happens" the sitter asked the case worker "what has to happen to this child before you take action, death?" to where the case worker refused to respond. Other injuries in the same time frame that went unnoticed were a broken arm (which can happen with active children; she fell down the flight of cement stairs at the federal housing complex trying to drag her tricycle with her from the third floor, that landed on her), but more seriously falling off a bed into a wooden table head first, requiring stitches over my daughters eye.
The teeth issue continues to this day, as for once my visitation ordered by the court was reinforced I got to see my daughter again after seven months of it being denied by the mother, I had to see to her dental care again, immediately. The mother was not even reprimanded for the seven month of visitation denied, breeching the court's order again. My Daughter had a cavity that almost abscessed with more attention needed. Again it is the mother's responsibility to provide preventative care as she is titled the custodial parent and supposedly oversees my daughter at least five sixth of the time as opposed to my current one sixth, yet she was unable to get my daughter to the dentist again even now.
When I first attempted to acquire records from Chesterfield County Social Services I was out right refused. Again the State Code provides rights to a parent to have any records not prohibited by a court order, yet they felt above the law, again (see above 20-107.2 sub-section 6). I lucked out and caught somebody off guard with a smile and got copies of everything including the parenting class information, the case workers, and other pertinent information on my daughter. I didn't even have her Social Security number. Meanwhile my wife continued to receive benefits from Chesterfield County Social Services now even with a proven live in boyfriend, which is against the rules of the benefits (not to mention a bit immoral) as it takes food and other moneys away for the intended beneficiary, the child, my child.
Shannon Ward has had multiple vehicles titled in both her and her boyfriend's names and other odds and ends during the time she has been receiving benefits. According to the rules to receive benefits you are supposed to report any change of income in a household receiving benefits. That includes income to buy multiple cars, furniture, and car phones and pagers as she has done. This also includes the income from the off and on working live in boyfriends, among other residents. None of this was reported or even checked into by Social Services even after it was brought to their attention with more than words. Shannon also received benefits while living at a run down Dinwiddie residence that according to Dinwiddie County deed records doesn't even exist, 14904 Namozine Road, Church Road Virginia. While living there my child complained of orange water and no water, lack of windows at times, no heat, no air conditioning, and not to mention the insect infestation. Again Social Services let it go. This was only after Shannon was removed from federal housing for unknown reasons, after two fires in her apartment.
My daughter now has gone to school for three years. Due to the current circumstances I have been unable to take part in deciding where she went to school, or even get information on her progress because she doesn't bare my name nor am I even on the birth certificate. And the mother using the system again kept my daughter from me for almost all of the first school year by "filing a false complaint in bad faith with malicious intent" (legal terms) with Social Services against me, (yes that is another law broken) which the claim was refuted and I was cleared immediately. However I did not get to see my daughter after I was cleared, less than one month after the complaint. I had to wait to return to court six plus months later.
After many court appearances I have spent thousands of dollars that could have gone to my child's upbringing and well-being , where Chesterfield County Social Services refused to provide records on my daughter or correct them. I have had to fight for State given rights that were denied me and my daughter by Chesterfield County Social Service from even before she was born, often causing me to neglect my own health to stay in the legal running, due to finances. I have gained joint custody (which has shown no benefits or change than title, as all has stayed the same) of my daughter that still has a birth certificate with father unknown and mother's maiden name, that I haven't been provided a legal copy of, as it was to have been corrected by the mother's previous attorney, who by the way was disbarred.
I am still in court today fighting to provide my daughter with a better place and better influences then currently provided in her mother's care. Unlike Chesterfield County Social Services, and J&DR court , I do not condone live in boyfriends with children, multiple partners, misuse of welfare and state funds, fraud, outright lies to gain benefits for children, lying to the court, and not use the children's benefits for the children, and having children by one man while married to another, and now two. (that's three children by three different fathers, while still married the first) That would be an additional story. Shannon gave birth to a second child mid-1997 fathered by her live in boyfriend. And yes Chesterfield County Social Services knows the father of this one, Steven A. Berry (according to the mother currently), as well as he has lived with Shannon and my daughter for years at all of the addresses Social Services has sent checks, and Virginia Social Services paid the bill for the new child as well, mother again filing as single mother father unknown, at least on some of the paperwork. The child was born at South Side Regional Medical Center in mid-1997. The records with how they were filled out are again "FRAUD", yet again nothing has been done. Therefore do to such lack of follow through on the part of facilities like Southside Regional Medical Center and organizations like Chesterfield County Social Services and the courts, these criminal actions will never stop no matter what welfare reform is enacted. It is also a crime to know of a crime and not take proper action, which means one might imply that Chesterfield County Social Services, and Southside Regional Medical Center are accessories after the fact or conspiring.
In my plight for justice I contacted many people. In that list are Governor Allen by two letters, Lt. Governor Beyer by one letter, WWBT 12 on your side, and the other local network stations that did not choose to return a response. All the replies from the above may be viewed by clicking on the sender.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story, an unfortunate truth. I am interested in feedback from those that may have had similar situations especially with the same organizations. Provided below is a link to myself and others mentioned and organizations. Hopefully together we can stop this from happening to someone else, be it a father or mother, by making public those organizations that turn a deaf ear to the law and the parents that help make them, or vote for those that do.
Please contact the people at the links below and let them know what you think. A comment page will be in place soon.
You may also contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
and cabinet addresses on above link
Governor Warner's Web Page
U.S. Senator George Allen
204 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Fax: (202) 224-5432
TDD/TTY: (202) 224-6755
Email Senator Allen
Office of the Virginia Attorney General Home Page / Email
Commissioner of Virginia Department of Social Services
Social Services Chesterfield County home page
Virginia Department of Social Services
(please specify if I may post your comments in the correspondence )
Southside Regional Medical Center
I will continue to add to this page as the situation changes, stay tuned.
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All information above is upon information and belief, or an expressed opinion of the author.
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