Posted on January 6, 2010 by freemenow
Cross posted from http://www.4survivors.blogspot.com/
Written By: Maria Phelps
Kimberly Calhoun, resident of Rock Island, Illinois, reaches out to hundreds for help for her and her young daughter with no success, and at times, no response. I have been in contact with Kimberly for weeks now, and I personally taught her how to ask for help through my victims’ template (a letter template I have created for victims trying to summarize their problems and ask for help from various organizations can be found on www.survivorsinaction.com or by contacting me directly). Together, we gathered domestic violence resources, contact information of state representatives, local shelter advocates, along with many other local organizations and advocates that assist with domestic violence and child custody cases. Kimberly followed my instructions and formulated a concise letter that summarized her problems, demanded help and assistance, and listed resources that have failed her. She sent out this letter to hundreds of people that claim to assist domestic violence victims and children in her county and state, but after patiently waiting for a response, many have ignored her cry for help and have turned her away.
Even her Assemblyman, Mike Boland, passed her along to the Chief of Staff, Mike Huntoon, who was less than polite and helpful to her in her time of need. According to Kimberly Calhoun, (Chief of Staff) Mike Huntoon was “initially rude”, particularly after she gave him a list of all the local and state agencies that have failed her and her daughter when they asked for help. Calhoun stated that he said things like “what else am I supposed to do?, I can’t wave a magic wand and make these agencies work “.
Needless to say, Kim was turned away by her own state representative in Illinois and was unable to find any assistance. As of now, Kimberly has physical custody of her daughter, but her daughter is being mistreated by the father during visitation. This child has disabilities and suffers from diabetes, and while in her father’s care, is given wrong dosages of insulin and her health is being put into jeopardy. As a domestic violence victim, Kim needs three things: a pro bono lawyer, a DV advocate, and Child Protective Services to step in and advocate for her and her child, one would think it would be relatively easy to find some help in her state, but this mother is out of resources and no one can help meet her needs. With the father demanding full custody of this child, keeping Kim in Family Court, and Child Protective Services in Illinois doing the bare minimum to assist this mother and child, Kim is in dire need of intervention and assistance.
Below is Mike Boland’s contact information, please feel free to express your opinions and support for Kim’s situation.
243-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-3992 / (217) 782-5201 FAX
4416 River Drive
Moline, IL 61265 (Rock Island County)
(309) 736-3360 /(309) 736-3478 FAX
As an Assemblyman, a representative chosen by the people to support the needs of the people, Assemblyman Mike Boland should be assisting this woman and child, seeing that agencies claiming to assist victims do their jobs. Without a magic wand, this man could easily make a few phone calls for this family and put them in contact with someone that could help, as this child is in danger and is at risk. Being a DV survivor myself, I am all too familiar with the “DV runaround” this victim is getting from the masses, and I’ve been turned away in NYS myself, but this woman can’t even get a DV advocate assigned to her case. Unfortunately, there are COUNTLESS agencies offering help to victims of abuse, handing out pamphlets, offering phone numbers to call, but when one actually takes the time to make contact, there is ALWAYS disappointment on the other end–rarely help. I do hope this post reaches many, and I do hope many advocate for Kim in support, and I do hope Illinois steps up their domestic violence services for victims, because as far as I can see, they are almost non-existent.
This afternoon, Kim and I phoned the National Domestic Violence Hotline, The Christian Family Care Center, The National Child Abuse Hotline, the State ofIllinois Domestic Violence Hotline, and Family Resources of Illinois (could barely get a conscious person on this crisis line)…..no help, no assistance, no DV advocate available, no pro bono attorney, no nothing. This situation is unacceptable, and, unfortunately, the “norm” across the country.
The National Child Abuse Hotline referred Kim to the Ombudsman office (217-524-2029), the State Liaison’s office, and then the Inspector General’s office, which we called immediately asking for intervention and assistance. These are the places to contact when Child Protective Services fails, and we are now waiting for a reply.
According to the State of Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline, Kim does not live in an area that caters to victims, whereas, if Kim lived in Chicago there would be more resources for her to choose from. That’s the tricky part about being a victim, picking the perfect place for the crime to happen.