To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Kelley Richey and I currently reside in Colorado but am originally from Kentucky. I was homeschooled up until high school graduation in a rural and religious area of what some know as the Bible Belt. I grew up one of six children. Our home life was physically and emotionally abusive at the hands of our mentally unstable mother. CPS was called on my Mom several times over my childhood, but she was able to hide behind the powerful protection of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, which made it impossible for CPS to investigate our home, well beings, and safety.
Our “homeschool” was a sham. There was no schoolwork done consistently. We were left to our own devices, and school/learning was used as a form of punishment by having it withheld from us, and no testing ever took place. I was entirely self-taught in high school while holding down a full-time job. I took my very first exam at the age of 17 when taking the ACT. My older sister made sure I was as prepared as possible. Without her help, I never would have passed with the score needed to enter a local university.
Ever since CPS failed my siblings and me all those years ago, I have been passionate about being a catalyst for getting better laws passed for children all over the United States. My sister and I started a podcast last year called, The Family Ties Podcast. We cover the true crime cases that involve children that have been removed from the public school system, isolated from the rest of the community, who are victims of abuse, neglect, torture, and murder.
The more I dig, the more disturbed I am at the lack of laws that protect children in this country. 4 to 7 children die every day in circumstances even where CPS has been called in to investigate, but nothing ever comes of the investigation. There are too many instances where CPS is called in and they seem to think everything is okay and the investigation doesn’t go any further. More laws protect adults and parents almost no matter what the cost may be, often at the expense of the child’s life.
My concern is that with laws and acts that get passed like the
Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), more is being done to allow children to remain in abusive and dangerous home situations with parents who have unfettered access to these children. Children who are easily manipulated, coerced, beaten into silence and submission like my siblings and I were.
When looking through what the Family First Prevention Services Act covers, I was first encouraged when I read that”the state has an opportunity to continue modernizing the child welfare system and enhance prevention services to strengthen families and prevent abuse and neglect”. Then I was quickly horrified to read that this act supports “keeping children and youth, where possible, safely with their families, and helps ensure they are placed in the least restrictive, most family-like setting appropriate to their special needs when foster care is needed”.
On the surface, that goal may seem noble or admirable, but for the most part, if a case of abuse or neglect is even reported, the odds of the child getting a fair shake at safety and support that he or she needs is terribly low. The efficacy of CPS and state child welfare programs has been wildly ineffective in stopping abuse, neglect, and even death.
I would like to gain a deeper understanding of what local and state governments are doing to rectify this and provide safer environments for children who are at great risk. If you would be willing, my sister and I would like to have the opportunity to speak with you or any other government officials or CPS organizers/leaders in order to gain more insight into what each state is doing to make life better for at-risk children and find out what the biggest hurdles are that prevent the passing of common-sense laws to better protect our nation’s children. We would like to find out what the biggest factors are that are currently impeding the local and state government in investigating cases that involve abuse, neglect, torture, etc.
If you would be willing to talk with us or recommend someone who could answer some of our questions, we would be extremely grateful. If you also have resources where we can get involved and share our experiences and use our platform to educate the public on what they can do in their own states to get better laws passed, that would also be much appreciated.
Thank you for your time and attention, and thank you for considering speaking with us.