Thursday, August 2, 2007

Woman Turns Adoption Into A Scam

Day after day, I read about dedicated foster parents who try their hardest to stretch every dollar they get, in order to do the best they can for the children in their care. They buy clothes, toys and equipment for children out of their own pocket money, and then wait nervously each month, hoping the foster care check and clothing allowance will show up on time so that they can continue to smoothly run their households. I hear of parents who want to adopt children with special needs, but try to figure out if they'll be eligible for adoption subsidies, so that they can provide the child with the special care he needs after he is no longer a foster child qualifying for Medicare. For the most part, foster parents would agree that a person would have to be crazy to do foster care solely for the money. It would be nearly impossible to make a profit off of foster children!
Still, when others talk about foster care, they often remark, "There are too many foster parents who are just in it for the money."
Unfortunately, there are a few foster and adoptive parents out there who manage to give the rest a bad reputation... and this lady is probably the worst among them!
Judith Leekin truly found a way to make a living as a foster parent and adoptive parent.
Between 1988 and 1996, Leekin adopted eleven children. This feat might seem heroic in itself, right?
But then, police found an 18-year-old girl aimlessly wandering the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The young girl told the police that she had been adopted by Leekin when she was five years old, and that Leekin had abandoned her that morning. The girl then disclosed that her "mother" kept other kids tied up or handcuffed inside her home.
When police went to Leekin's home to investigate, sure enough, they found eight children and young adults with disabilities inside the house. All had obviously been neglected. They ranged in age from 15 to 27. Apparently Leekin was still able to collect money for the children who were now adults, because of their disabilities. She had turned the 18-year-old loose, as well as another 18-year-old and a 19-year-old, because they had no disabilities and no longer qualified for any type of payments.
The kids told the police that Leekin had not allowed them to go to school, and had never taken them to the doctor or dentist. They had scars on their wrists from being handcuffed and tied up, and some had burn scars. They had rarely been fed. Leekin had subjected them to years of neglect, abuse, and emotional torture. Meanwhile, she had pocketed at least $1.26 million in adoption subsidies.
Whats more... Leekin had not even used her actual name to adopt the children. She had managed to adopt through four different New York agencies, and use four different aliases. She even used different addresses to recieve the subsidy checks. Basically, she had made it so that those eleven kids existed only on paper.
Now, Leekin could get up to 160 years in prison, if convicted on all of the charges of child abuse and fraud that she is up against. But even if she goes to prison for 50 million years, it won't make up for the fact that eleven kids were cheated out of the chance to have a decent home and a decent childhood.

1 comment:

amaras_mom said...

There's a special place for people like this...