To: [email protected]'
Cc: medina, Teresa
Subject: Please Read/DFS
Good Afternoon Virginia.  I have been waiting to e-mail you regarding the state of the Department of Family Services.  The reason I have waited because I, like so many have been fearful of the repercussions that could possibly be tied to my testimony.  I hope, that in the interest of the children of Las Vegas you will read this with an open mind and heart.  I am a former employee of the department, an employee of Child Haven for the past 6 years.
My name is Teresa Medina.  I have met you when you have visited the Child Haven campus.  I have a Bachelor's degree and Master's degree in Psychology and I have worked with children for the past 16 years.  What has happened at Child Haven is nothing short of a tragedy.  Under the current leadership of Tom Morton, Paula Hammock, and Lisa Ruiz Lee there has been a disintegration of integrity, morality, and general concern for the well-being of the children in protective custody.  I spent several months supervising the Reception Center at Child Haven and I was asked to falsify documents relating to the time children arrived to the center and when they were pushed out into foster care.  Because there was such pressure to release children to foster care before the 24 hour deadline, our Interim Manager Jolie Courtney told my staff to document their departure at the 24 hour mark rather than the 30 hour mark that was more accurate.  I ask you, should one of these children be harmed during these additional 6 hours who would be responsible?  I advised my staff that if they were asked to do this they would write in our log "per Jolie Courtney".
The news piece regarding the cover up of the Child Haven turf.  I am one of the nine supervisors that was directed to lie to anyone inquiring about this "leaded" turf.  This is an absolute disgrace.  When I began my job with Clark County I was so proud and happy, I vowed never to leave this position where I felt so strongly (so naively) that I was supporting a mission to take care of Clark County's abused, abandoned and neglected kids.  I was proud to work for Clark County and proud of the work being done at Child Haven.  As an employee watching Tom Morton defend Jolie Courtney's deception I felt disheartened, embarrassed, sick and angry.  Ms. Courtney didn't realize that my child was playing on that turf along with hundreds of other children in our care.  I adopted my youngest child from the Agassi cottage for Medically Fragile Infants.  I know that you are an adoptive parent and I know that you care about these children and I am begging you to take a hard look at what is going on in this department.  I have nothing to lose or gain at this point, I genuinely care about these children and believe that they deserve to have advocates.
Mr. Morton has created nothing more than an illusion that things are better for Clark County's kids.  It is all really a huge magic trick.  The Reception Center is a prime example of just that.  About 200-300 children a month were coming through the Reception Center, the media reports that there are 20 kids on the campus.  Yes, there are 20 residents but Child Haven is providing services for those 200+ children every month.  Licenses are increased and allowed waivers every day so that foster homes can accept more children, putting the children in dangerous situations.  Children are being split apart and put into different foster homes.  A few years ago there was litigation revolving around sibling groups being placed together.  The Howard cottage was created to fulfill this need.  I have to wonder what the donors of this project would feel like now knowing that their building stands empty and the children that were meant to stay together in it are being split apart.
There have been an increase in child deaths this year under Mr. Morton's purview.  Child Haven has sadly become a numbers game, as long as the numbers stay low and Mr. Morton avoids negative media attention he thinks he is winning.  Our children are losing.  This current administration has stripped itself of any respect in the community, any respect from it's employees and donors.  They have slandered and dismissed some of the most genuine and knowledgeable professionals in the business.  The former Manager of Child Haven is one of the finest professionals in this business that I have ever known.  Lou Palma stands in direct opposition to what this administration stands for.  He truly loved the children and he looked out for their best interests.  Since his departure these kids have become pawns.  We were told as supervisors that we are running things like a business, if we didn't like the way they are running things we can leave.
Ms. Valentine, I did choose to leave.  I was afraid of what I'd be asked to do next, what I'd be asked to lie about next.  This letter is difficult to compose, it breaks my heart really.  I hope that you ask the appropriate questions of those in charge and I hope that you prevent this Department and it's leadership from causing you further embarrassment.  I believe you are a good person and that you are misguided in the leaders you are trusting.  Thank you for your attention to this letter, Respectfully,
                 Teresa Medina, MA
                  Director of Education
                  Boys and Girls Country
                  18806 Roberts Road
                   Hockley, TX 77447