Foster Care Meets the Third Reich
Over one year ago, the Alliance for Human Research Protection in New York City alerted the federal Food and Drug Administration that they had “reason to believe that federal regulations for the protection of children as research subjects have been seriously violated in federally funded HIV research.”
Kudos also to Liam Scheff who in December 2003 broke the story of the drug trials in an online article entitled “The House That AIDS Built”.
AHRP’s letter to the FDA states that “a series of Phase I and Phase II drug experiments were conducted on infants and children who were under the guardianship of the New York City Agency for Children’s Services (ACS), and living at Incarnation Children’s Center, a foster care facility under contract with ACS. The test subjects were children diagnosed with HIV infection – in some cases infants who were merely “presumed” to be HIV-infected. Phase I and Phase II experiments involve the greatest level of risk and discomfort for children insofar as they test the safety and toxicity of the drugs as well as maximum dose tolerance.”
In response to these allegations, the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) recently contracted with the Vera Institute of Justice to conduct an independent review of ACS policy and practice regarding the enrollment of HIV-positive children in foster care in clinical drug trials during the late 1980s and 1990s.
The former-leading-critic-turned-revolving-door-head of ACS, John B. Mattingly, defensively responded in a press release “that the policies in place at the time reflected good practice.” That is, if there ever WERE any policies in place that anyone could then or now locate!
The BBC previously reported on this story in November 2004. Now that the New York Times and Associated Press have finally discovered this unbelievable scandal, trial lawyers, like my firm Marsh and Gaughran LLP, can not and should not be far behind. Along with a General Accounting Office investigation and Capital Hill hearings.
And finally, it remains incredible to me that in the 21st Century in the United States of America—where murders, rapists and pedophiles have a Constitutional entitlement to a court-appointed and taxpayer funded lawyer—children are involuntarily placed into foster care with no right to an attorney. In the vast majority of the states, foster children are lucky to get a well meaning but usually ineffectual community volunteer as an advocate in court.
The hundreds of thousands of voiceless and neglected foster children will remain so until Congress, the states and the bar get serious about providing well funded trained lawyers who zealously assert the child’s position. Anything less is a sham.
As for Mattingly, we’re enrolling him and the heads and former heads of child welfare in Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Colorado and Texas, in an involuntary clinical trial of civil lawsuits. This time foster children will win! Sieg heil.