Foster Care

Important Questions

Why was Ryan -an SSA determined medically disabled person since
2003-  treated with such disrespect and disregard when it came to his
health and welfare while in the custody of the Buncombe County
Department of Social Services.   

Why was the family told once Ryan was in DSS custody that the
department could not home school him as it was against the law. Why
did they take a straight A and National Honor Society student  into
custody to completely ignore his educational needs and
accommodations. Is that neglect?   

Why did the family have to pay over $100.00/mth for Ryan's Keystone
National High School education while the department retained custody
and failed to provide for Ryan's education-  yet the Department  also
became representative payee of Ryan's  SSI and took the entire
monthly benefit?

Why did the Buncombe County Department of Social Services accuse
Ms. Baldwin of school neglect? After all, Ryan home schooled and
excelled through a nationally approved educational  program at the
cost of $1600.00  year for the past 3 years previous to Ryan being
taken into custody?  They also were members of the Home School
Legal Defense Association ( HSLDA).

What services, if any, were provided to this family by the Department
of Social Services  before the taking of their son into DSS custody?  

Why did Buncombe County DSS social worker Andrea Biffle  
with credentials of an LCSW -block delivery of Ryan's new
wheelchair and lift  from Med Emporium in Charlotte NC since
early 2009. It was fully paid for by BCBSNC.  This was also
Ryan's  3rd power mobility device since 2004.  Fully medically
prescribed, fully approved.

Why did social worker Andrea Biffle represent herself as an
employee of the State of NC to Med Emporium when blocking
the wheelchair from being delivered ? Why did Ms. Biffle also
cut off all communications of medical personnel with the family
even involving   medical doctors (4 Charlotte NC specialists)  
that the family had in place for years before social services

Why was Ryan placed in foster care homes and the foster
parents and (Ryan) told that he was "not really sick".

Why did Andrea Biffle and other social workers within the
department tell outside agencies including placement
organizations in front of Ryan -that Ms. Baldwin was guilty of
Medicaid fraud?   

Why did social workers take Ryan to a mental health
assessment at their own choosing with their own contracted
agency (Families Together ) who determined that  Ryan had no
mental health issues (2/2009) and that he qualified for zero
mental health services (insert assessment here ) - yet later
along with  Families Together's numerous services and
workers -later   provided $12,000.00  in  psychiatric services
with goals I believe were  abusive and negligent . An example....
. "We will bring Ryan from illness to wellness".  Isn't that
everyone's goal? To be well? Who pays for the experiment they
conducted at Ryan and our families expense -since theirs
failed? They had no right to question Ryan's medical disability.  
They held him captive and took his wheelchairs. Forced him to
exercise.  Forced him to climb 28 steps in order to eat each day
at every meal. Is that abuse or neglect. Today Ryan's heart
condition is worse because of the abuse inflicted by the
Buncombe County Department of Social Services .  

Why did the entire court refuse to hear that the department was
blocking Ryan's new $23,000.00 wheelchair from delivery?
(insert court document here)

How are employees (social workers and other  personnel) of
Buncombe County DSS- who clearly appear to have violated  serious
policy and procedures when it came to the Ryan Baldwin case-
currently still employed by the department as of  June 11, 2010.

Why was Ryan wrongfully taken into custody and why was not a single
policy or procedure followed by the department of social services.  

If we hold parents to certain standards, why are county personnel
allowed to by- pass those same standards and yet retain custody ?
How did Ryan get placed into homes that were unaware of his " true"
well documented medical conditions determined by medical experts
throughout the US?   

How did Ryan go for almost one year while his schooling was totally

Why did the department not assist Ryan in daily living skills or in his
educational program?

Below are a sample of Critical Questions we should all be

How does a social work department , DSS attorney and Guardian Ad
Litem determine what is best for a medically disabled child over the
advice of medical experts?

Why was certain critical medical evidence withheld  while other less
significant evidence ruled on in court. Why was all evidence not
presented? And how were critical issues ruled in court without

How does DSS take an SSI  medically disabled child into custody,
claiming he is not disabled but yet his SSI disability funds are used to
support him while in custody?   For almost 1 full year? A child I believe
was wrongfully in custody?

Why did the Guardian Ad Litem (Judy Deutsch ) under the guardian
Ad Litem attorney (Michael Tousey's ) direction and supervision   
continuously question  the family regarding the child's disability and
which physicians stated that my son was disabled when the entire
process is determined by the State of NC and their disability experts?
According to Allen Myricks of the Asheville Social Security
administration DSS never obtained one medical record from the
Asheville social security office. Mr. Myricks also stated that his SSA
office has never questioned Ryan's medical disability.

My question to Asheville SSA is-- if I did not mismanage my son's one
disability check before Buncombe DSS took over as representative
payee, how did the SSA office hand Ryan's check over to a social
service organization that was not using my medically disabled son's
wheelchairs, was not providing him a foster care home that was
wheelchair accessible, was not assisting him with daily living skills,  
and was not even schooling him?  The bigger question is how did
many organizations fail Ryan stating he was not disabled but used his
funds daily for the lack of care they provided?

How is it that critical information be known by individuals but
that same information not be presented within the case?
Would withholding information in this way not go against both a social  
worker's and attorney' s  responsibility to the child/client.? Could
taking similar actions not also be considered withholding evidence
that may clear a parent's name?  Exculpatory evidence.

Did the department of social services keep a medically disabled child
in custody while they determined his medical disabilities without a
medical license?  

Do individuals in court cases, those such as DSS atttorneys, social
workers,  Guardian Ad Litems  or  court personnel,  understand
disability law?  Understand who determines a child's disability?

When a year of a child's socialization, schooling and normalcy is
postponed  who should be held accountable for these things that
cannot be regained? Never regained.  

Should more focus not be placed on determining whether there is
even probable cause to initiate an investigation in the first place?

Should more time not be spent confirming actual danger  before
taking action that ultimately causes detriment to the child that itself
could have been prevented.  

Should more consideration and investigation not take place in order to
determine whether an anonymous tip even has merit in the first place?
Should an investigation initiated by a physician not be started by first
inspecting the proof (medical record) of the suspecting physician?
Not only did Dr. LaGarde not testify - his record was also never
subpoenaed nor inspected . It is not even listed on the entire med
reviewers list of lifetime medical records . It is as if the medical record
vanished along with the malicious reporter.

Can a social service organization quote (on tape) that a certain
physician made the allegation and then state in the end that an
allegation was anonymous -when the law states that an anonymous tip
does not hold probable cause. Does that mean there was no probable
cause to take custody of my son?  How was he legally even taken.   

The guardian Ad Litem attorney stated in court that
Ryan was taken because he had no primary care
physician.  Is that even legal?

If it is legal why did the department take 7 wks after obtaining custody
to place my son in the care of any primary care physician. With the
complexities of his medical care what qualified an intern at MAHEC
(4 year resident)  to care for my son? Why with zero knowledge or
experience with his diagnosis did she  question my son's diagnosis. I
believe that the primary care physician had an obligation to care for
my son and she was not qualified to care for him. I also believe it was
out of her scope to question his disabilities determined by medical
experts years previous.   

If NC allows physicians to chose their patients how can  parents lose
custody of a child when it is the physicians that make the choice?Why
did the department take 7 weeks to find him a primary care physician
after obtaining custody and did they conduct a medical experiment by  
practicing medicine in the foster care homes without a physician on
board? Who was the physician on board.

If personal details identifying the tipster making the accusation are
given at the initial intake call including Dr. LaGarde's medical record,
how are such tipsters then later labeled as completely anonymous
when the Department realizes they made a horrible mistake?

Actual documentation clearly states
a physician made the complaint
then later states
physician's made the complaint only to be followed
by an anonymous caller once husband and I were found innocent of
MSBP charges.  Those people who maliciously turned us in should
have to pay for the damages they inflicted and the report was not
annonymous. It was made by Douglas Lagarde's office using his
medical record.

When called by the defense in to court- Dr. LaGarde was out of the
country and yet not only was he supposedly the initial person making
the allegations but he also was the only local physician we had. His
one hundred page medical record was never included in evidence
presented to the court and the medical record from his practice  is
never noted in the entire investigation. However the initial allegation
stated the visit to his office was made on Nov 5, 2007 and that it was
this visit to his office that prompted him to call DSS.    

During the visit to Dr. LaGarde's office, my son (later to be prescribed
3 rounds of antibiotics by  other physicians at Sisters of Mercy  Urgent
Care  to treat a serious infection which I believe Dr. LaGarde ignored
and refused to treat ) required an antibiotic to fight a serious infection.
Dr. LaGarde ( at the Nov 5 2007) visit stated "I am not your primary
caregiver Ryan and he therefore refused to treat Ryan. He left Ryan
out there in this medical community to fend for himself without medical
help  because no  physician would claim themselves as Ryan's
primary care doctor.  When I threatened to go public on a website in
writing against Dr. LaGarde- he or someone using his record claiming
to be him -made the malicious report into DSS.  The entire visit is
taped including his refusal to treat my son's infection with an antibiotic.
His claim into DSS the original allegation - that I failed to administer
an antibiotic that he prescribed is 100% malicious (false) as no where
on the tape does he acknowledge that he is treating an infection.
Quite the opposite is true - his refusal is on the tape.  The date of that
visit cannot be obtained and quoted in DSS record without access to
Ryan's medical record from Dr. LaGarde's office at the Mission
Children's Clinic.  

Is it  not a crime to accuse a family without a trial? Or to take a child
from a family without probable cause?

Did the mother fail to get Ryan medical care or did the doctors fail to
provide it? Even with their refusal the parents on extremely limited
funds- secured necessary medical care.

Why does DSS require Ryan to have a primary physician when we
pay extra insurance premiums to  BCBS  to access specialists without
a primary care physician.

Why did the department send medical claims to BCBS but psychiatric
only to Medicaid -could it be because like BCBS letter later states on
claims that services rendered in mental health don't meet primary
medical diagnosis.

No where does NC law state a child must have a primary caregiver
within the local community or the child will be removed from parental
custody. Did DSS make up rules as they went along and if so why is
there no oversight and no one to report this to that will correct it or take

According to DSS both our family and Ryan's grandparents lost
custody of Ryan because we "bought into Ryan's illness." That is
quoted throughout Buncombe County DSS documents. Another
document written by Charlene Hemphill states that Judge Gary Cash
is going to determine his illnesses . That should be criminal on the part
of the department. Ryan is medically disabled. If he has an illness that
is unacceptable to others and they are functioning in a discriminatory
manner, than I suggest they should go get some counseling to deal
with their ignorance and discriminatory and abusive behavior. I also
suggest that  DSS train their workers to not commit crimes when
children are taken under the "best interests of the child " only to be
treated with "color of law"  violations and at the detriment of the child.    

Was our son taken because our society has no tolerance for his
illness-ME/CFS?  I believe so.     

Is it proper for a medical reviewer  to obtain and review a person's
medical records without proper consent? In that unauthorized review-
is it proper to disregard the initial caller making the allegations and the
caller's medical record after the mother tells the department the initial
call is taped? Is it right to take a child only because the mother has
caught the department at their own game? With physicians that seem
to not play by the rules. Or a court without enforcement or justice?

Why do physicians lie and parents lose their children over it?

Should an  anonymous tip even provide probable cause?  

Should an  actual investigation completely contradict the original
(allegation) ?

How many times in a court case can the actual allegations be
changed? Is that not illegal? Do all people lose their kids like this?   

How many times was the mother given the opportunity to take a
dependency charge? Why?

Who tested Ryan for MSBP? Who tested the mother? Was Ryan held
captive while the test occurred ? Was that the test- total isolation? No
TV, no communication or contact with anyone for 5 months except a
monitored phone call to his medically disabled 70 year old
grandfather?  NO school, no computer.  Nothing.

Ryan is medically disabled and he was treated worse than an animal.  

We must prosecute those that committed this crime.

His wheelchairs taken. The manual wheelchair was given back but
Ryan  does not propel his own wheelchair. So he could only use the
wheelchair  when the social workers and workers from Families
Together  decided to use it.  Ryan had to beg for his wheelchair to be
used. That is abuse.

Ryan was forced to exercise- and then told (in writing-listed as
treatment goals ) that  he must ignore chest pains and any physical
complaints  and refrain from those complaints -yet he has a serious
heart condition and other serious medical conditions. As a family we
want these people who did this to our son prosecuted and we hope to
get justice for Ryan and our family.  

The Baldwin Family is demanding an
investigation into this travesty of justice
which occurred in Buncombe County
NC.   What these people did was
List of  Buncombe
County DSS Social
workers and DSS
personnel involved in
this miscarriage of
justice (including  
withholding of
evidence) and color of
law violations

-listed in
Chronological order of
in person contact
#1 Robin Lambert Dec 2007

#2 Mandy Stone- DSS
Director and  Buncombe
County Assistant County
Manager -Dec 2007  (met
at Baldwin
Home ) aware
report was malicious  and
family held audiotapes to prove
it .
Jo Galloway-DSS
social worker- 1st in
person contact April
2008 - testified in court
she was not trained in
how to deal with a
malicious report
Charlene Hemphill-along
with Jo Galloway  
removed Ryan from our
Hellen Murrell-DSS social
work supervisor (needed
her signature to take
Charlotte Wade
Nallan -DSS
attorney who lied
more times than
she told the truth
in court
transcripts.  My
attorney Mike
Ciochina stated he
could not defend
me with the record
stacked with lies
made by Ms.
Nallan against me.
Ms. Nallan also
swore that  the
provided services
before taking
Ryan -that is a lie.
There also was no
probable cause.  
David Crowder
-social work
-stated my son
was not
according to
Lindsay Spratt
-oversaw the
entire operation
-currently a
therapist in
private practice in
South Asheville.
Andrea Biffle -
LCSW - social
worker that
inflicted the most
damage on Ryan
both mentally and
physically . She is
regulated by the
NCSW board.
Judy Deutcsh a retired
physicain and Ryan's
Guardian Ad Litem-failed
to protect Ryan
throughout his foster care
placements. She was
supervised by GAL
attorney Michael Tousey.
Who also failed to protect
Ryan .
A document written
by social worker  
Charlene Hemphill in
an email dated Feb
2008 states that
Judge Gary Cash is
going to determine
Ryan's  illnesses and
that is why Ryan is
once again being
taken but this time
from my parents (his
grandparents) . That
should be criminal on
the part of the
Dr. Molly
Berkoff-Chapel Hill
medical reviewer  
-conducted a year
long investigation
of my son's
medical records
with no written or
verbal consent.  Dr.
Berkoff in her
stated to the court
that Ryan was
never declared  
medically disabled
-that is a lie he has
been medically
disabled by SSI
since 2004. The
entire medical
record states that.   
All evidence the
possesses is
audiotaped and
spans the years
Ryan had with
his grandfather
while being
illegally held
against his will   
( in DSS
custody) is  
also taped.  It is
a shame to
subject children
and their
families to such
Did you know that
Ryan was hidden
deeps in the woods of
NC in a foster home in
Warrensville NC.

When Ashe County
social services were
also called to
investigate this foster
home in their county -
they also did NOTHING
to protect Ryan from
the abuse/neglect.
Did you know Ryan lived in
foster care homes that had
electrical problems as well
as in one where the toilet
had to be manually flushed ?

(pictures will be posted
here )

In one foster home in
Bakersville NC the "foster
father was being actively
pursued for a criminal
charge of  endangerment
by vehicle-by the NC court
system while Ryan was in
their care.  
Who is this getting a speeding ticket?
Ryan does not know even who was
driving him after Terri Owens placed
Ryan's care in this worker's hands.
Here  are actual pictures of Families
Together social worker  getting a
speeding ticket with my son in the car
on a dangerous area of construction
work on the road to Warrensville.   
Was anything
really in the "best
interests of the
It was a failure
to protect by
those who
should have
protected him.
Judge Cash stated
that this case was
not for his
mom asks " whose
responsibility was
"This case should have
never made it into the
courtroom" as quoted by
Ryan's mother.