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.

3 Replies to "Foster Care Meets the Third Reich"

  • Michael Rich
    May 6, 2005 (8:03 am)

    It is incomprehensible to me that state agencies in the US in the late twentieth century could still be experimenting on foster children!

    I’m at least glad that the state where I live and practice law was not on the list. I am a New Yorker originally, however, and am appalled that this could happen. Don’t NYC kids in foster care, at least the ones placed there involuntarily by ACS (as opposed to voluntarily by their parents) get a court-appointed Law Guardian? Where were they when their clients were being put into these clinical trials? Probably not informed, I imagine. I bet even the objecting foster parents didn’t know they could maybe turn to the children’s law guardians for assistance.

    Thanks, Atty. Marsh, for bringing this matter to the attention of the Children’s and Family Law Bar. Good luck with your involuntary trial of civil law suits to be inflicted on the agency heads that authorized these atrocities.


    Michael L. Rich, Esq.

    The Law Office of Michael L. Rich
    Concentrating in Children’s and Family Law
    74 Newport Street, Arlington, MA 02476-7828

  • andrew don
    May 6, 2005 (8:17 am)

    The proper context for understanding this is not due process rights of accused criminals but abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Research on foster children is on that continuum.

  • Joanna Wright
    August 18, 2005 (7:49 pm)

    I find it mind-boggeling that it has taken this long for ENOUGH people to note what was/is happening all over the US; children in foster care, especially residential/group/orphan type care are abused in more ways than most can possibly imagine.

    I presented this story to media in CA back in March 2004! I do not believe the San Bernardino, CA media was able to grasp the seriousness of the abuse/murder of these children!
    NOTE: This was a Federally Funded Research Program testing unauthorized AIDS Drugs on HIV positive foster babies. According to a prior report, most of these children died. It was exposed after a nurse adopted two of the babies and refused to allow them to continue in the research project. She was reported to Child Protective Services for refusing medical treatment for her adopted children and she exposed this quite little project, using innocent, HIV positive, foster babies. This is how the state takes care of “our” children. These babies were treated as lab rats and that is illegal in this country; supposedly. Now NY is going to have public hearing on the “matter”; in other words, “lets talk, not act”. The Archdiocese was a supposed haven for HIV infected babies, who, for reasons still not fully understood, will often become NON HIV babies by age two. These babies did not get a chance to outgrow this wretched illness.

    Hope4KidZ Reporter




    March 1, 2004

    Stunned City Council members yesterday called for an investigation into the use of HIV-infected foster children in potentially dangerous experiments involving high doses of AIDS drugs.
    The reaction comes after The Post reported that some 50 children, some as young as 3 months old, were involved in 13 studies at Manhattan’s Incarnation Children’s Center, a foster care agency run by the Archdiocese of New York.

    Three lawmakers, all members of the council’s General Welfare Committee, which oversees the city’s Administration for Children Services, said they plan to demand an answer on the fate of the children used in the experiments.

    “It’s crucial that we get full disclosure,” said Councilman Bill DiBlasio, the committee chairmen, who plans to reach out to ACS Commissioner William Bell today.

    “We need to find out what happened to these kids,” he said, adding that he may hold public hearings on the matter.

    Advocates are concerned some children in the experiments, one which included giving kids a combination of six high powered AIDS medications, were injured during the studies conducted in the late 1990s by doctors from Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.

    Some, like Vera Sharav from the Alliance for Human Research and Protection, are wondering why the experiments were abruptly halted in 2002 and why Columbia-Presbyterian pulled its clinical operation out of ICC.

    No one from ACS, Columbia-Presbyterian and the Archdiocese of New York could say if any children were hurt or killed in the experiments. ICC, which was established in 1989 to house and care for HIV-infected children left at city hospitals, has refused to talk.

    Some side effects to the drugs used include severe liver damage, tumors, anemia and life-threatening rashes.

    Councilman Bill Perkins said he’s concerned because of the rumblings he’s heard in the “black community” about children being taken away from their parents by ACS and used in research studies.

    ACS Spokeswoman MacLean Guthrie was unavailable for comment.

    “I think the council needs to take aggressive steps to put this in check,” he said. “Clearly, no one knows what’s going on . . . We need to call for a public hearing on this.”

    Councilman José Serrano Jr. wondered about the consent process and how the “defenseless” children could have fought off researchers.

    “It’s an outrage to think that they would use children in foster care who have already come from abusive situations,” he said. “It’s disturbing.”

    We are still conducting medication trials on children in foster care. This year, we have experienced three children leaving foster care with hypothryroidism, at the ripe old ages of less than 9; due to psychotropic usage of medication and poor management of this population of children’s medical care.