Kategoriarkiv: USA (United States of America)

USA: Advokater

Her har dere forskjellige advokatfirmaer i USA som jeg har fått  anbefalt.

ARKANSAS

Sach Oliver

Robin C. Smith

  • Robin C. Smith Law Firm, PA
    119 South West Street
    P.O. Box 1580
    Mount Ida, AR 71957- 1580
    Phone: (870) 867-5297
    Email: rclsmith@aol.com
CALIFORNIA

Michael J. Kinslow, Esq.

  • The Zalkin Law Firm, P.C.
    12555 High Bluff Drive, Suite 260
    San Diego, CA 92130
    Tel: 858-259-3011
    Email:  Mjpk@zalkin.com
FLORIDA

Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. 

IDAHO

Parrish, Craig W.

  • Parrish Law Office
    239 N 8th Ave.
    Pocatello, ID 83201
    Phone: (208) 234-1234
    craigwparrish@lawyer.com
OREGON

Erin K. Olson

  • Law Office of Erin Olson, P.C.
    2014 N.E. Broadway Street
    Portland, OR   97232-1511
    Phone: (503) 546-3150
    Fax: (503) 548-4435
    Email: EOlson@ErinOlsonLaw.com
    http://www.erinolsonlaw.com/

Child abuse, financial fraud, and sexual abuse and exploitation.

O’Donnell Clark & Crew LLP

Child sexual abuse

UTAH

Maria Santana

  • Santana Law Firm
    44 West Broadway, Suite 304
    Salt Lake City, UT 84101
    Telephone: (801) 363-5803
    Email: santanalawfirm@earthlink.net
Advertisements

2010: US Department of State uttalelse om saken i Scranton, Pennsylvania

U.S. Department of State

The health, safety and welfare of the 30,000 high school students who participate each year in high school exchange programs, regulated by the Department of State, are among the Department’s highest priorities. These exchanges are important opportunities for young people from other countries to learn about and experience the United States, and we do our utmost to make them positive and rewarding experiences.

We are deeply troubled by any reports of incidents or allegations. They are investigated completely and transparently by the appropriate officials.

There are regulations in place to govern these programs. They can be found at http://exchanges.state.gov/jexchanges, under resources 22 CFR 62.25. The Department expects all private sector sponsors to adhere to these regulations, especially ensuring that participants are safely situated and host families are properly vetted.

When we learn about a specific situation, we immediately contact the sponsoring organization involved and ask them to investigate. We gather full information, and act swiftly and appropriately.

The sponsor must provide a report to the Department on the situation along with copies of documentation available to them on the participant’s program, including copies of the student application, the host family application form, local coordinator notes, and copies of the criminal background check. The Department then determines whether all regulatory requirements have been followed, including whether an incident was reported to local law enforcement.

  • The Department has completed its review of two recent cases – one in Scranton, PA and one in Fort Lewis, WA – and has determined that regulatory violations took place and is taking appropriate action to hold the private sector sponsoring organization accountable.

MEDIADEKNING SAKEN


POLITICAL PRESSURE


USA: DofS Regulations: Selection of Host Families

USA: DofS Regulations: Program sponsor eligibility

USA: DofS Regulations: Exchange Student Obligations and Rights

2009 May 26: Senator Casey til Secretary Clinton

Casey Urges Secretary Clinton to Investigate U.S. Youth Exchange Programs

Sends letter after reports of mistreatment of students in Pennsylvania

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC- U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asia Affairs, today sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to investigate the Department of State’s oversight of U.S. youth exchange programs following reports of abuse and mistreatment of nine foreign exchange students in Pennsylvania.

“The situation these students found themselves in is simply unacceptable,” said Senator Casey.  “Education and Cultural Exchange Programs serve a valuable function.  They provide a powerful mechanism by which negative perceptions of America can be refuted and stronger ties between nations can be forged.  Therefore, I encourage the State Department to swiftly review its oversight procedures.  We must be able to guarantee the safety and welfare of visiting students.”

Nine foreign exchange students between the ages of 15 and 18 have been placed in the care of Lackawanna County’s Department of Human Services.  According to officials, some children were in need of medical attention due to malnutrition and dehydration while others were living in unsanitary conditions and in homes that were recently condemned.  Only after their teachers voiced concerns did their predicaments come to light.  Currently, foreign exchange students are eligible to attend approximately 430 high schools, colleges and universities throughout Pennsylvania.

Full text of the letter is below.

Dear Secretary Clinton,

I am writing you today out of concern for foreign exchange students who were placed in unsanitary homes in Pennsylvania and what it means for the welfare of our nation’s youth exchange programs.  It has recently come to my attention that nine foreign exchange students between the ages of 15 and 18 are now in the care of the Department of Human Services in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania because they were placed with unsuitable host families.  According to Lackawanna County officials, some children were in need of medical attention due to malnutrition and dehydration while others were living in unsanitary conditions and in a home recently condemned.

The stories from these children are disturbing.  One story was of a 15 year-old girl from Nigeria who was living in a house surrounded by dog feces.   According to news reports, this exchange student was living with the Area Coordinator of the sponsoring organization, the same person responsible for ensuring that other host families were living up to their obligations. The investigative reporter visited the house and confirmed the exchange student’s allegations and found dirt and feces throughout the house.  The situation this student found herself in is simply unacceptable.

It is my understanding that both the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), under the Department of Homeland Security, share responsibility for overseeing and implementing youth exchange programs.  Through an independent third party – the Council on Standards for International Education Travel – the State Department provides accreditation and audits for private and non-profit international educational travel and youth exchange programs (also referred to as sponsors) on an annual basis.  The USCIS Student and Exchange Visitor Program is responsible for tracking and monitoring foreign exchange students, schools and programs as long as they reside in America.  When allegations of abuse arise, according to the secondary school student guidelines issued by the State Department, it is the sponsor’s responsibility to report and notify the incidents directly to the Department of State.

I am concerned that the current oversight system is reactive not proactive and permits the ongoing abuse of foreign students without any effective intervention until the situation is dire.  The situation these students found themselves in only came to attention once teachers voiced their concerns.  Therefore, I request answers to the following questions:

•           The Council on Standards for International Education Travel (CSIET) is the independent nonprofit organization that reviews sponsors on an annual basis and provides a public list of those who have received accreditation.  How does the Department of State determine whether the audits performed by CSIET meet agency regulations?  How often, if at all, does the Department of State perform checks on the various sponsors approved by CSIET?

•           Sponsors are required to “exercise due diligence” to ensure that the host families are screened properly and are found satisfactory. The Department of State has previously stated that “a mere superficial compliance with this regulatory requirement will not be tolerated.”  If it is determined that an approved sponsor has failed to demonstrate due diligence in their host family selection process, what are the consequences for that sponsor?

•           How much contact, if any, does the State Department have with sponsors?  With CSIET? •           Are sponsors required to make home visits with students and their host families?  If so, how many times must a sponsor visit the home during a student’s stay?  •           If a sponsor loses its accreditation, is the sponsor allowed to reapply for accreditation the following year, if at all?  If so, what steps must a sponsor take to have its accreditation restored?

•           How many Department of State employees work on youth exchange programs? I am supportive of the cultural and educational exchange programs the Department of State promotes and funds.  Such exchange opportunities assist in dispelling negative images of the United States and helps convey our nation’s best attributes.  It is for these reasons that I am deeply concerned about allegations of abuse and mistreatment of foreign exchange students.  Stories like those emanating from Lackawanna County tarnish our reputation and undermine the mission of youth exchange programs.  I look forward to hearing your responses and working with you on guaranteeing the safety and welfare of foreign exchange students in the United States.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

Press Contact Larry Smar: (202) 228-6367


2009 May 26: Letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from Senator Bob Casey
2009 May 31: The Times Tribune: Local neglect allegations open door to a world  where students are shuffled from home to home
2009 Jun 03: Casey Presses State Department on Mistreatment of Foreign Exchange Students
2009 Jun 26: Casey to OMB: Give State Department More Oversight in Protecting Foreign Exchange Students
2009 Jul 16: CNN: Exchange students live American nightmare
2009 Jul 16: VG Nett: Norske Anne opplevde utvekslingsmareritt i USA
2009 Jul 16: The Times Tribune: State Department punishes exchange student company as criminal probe widens
2009 Jul 19: The Times Tribune: Exchange student neglect happened a decade ago, host parent says
2009 Jul 21: Aftenposten: Jeg var to minutter fra å reise hjem
2009 Jul 23: The Times Tribune: Exchange students say complaints were ignored by program officials
2009 Jul 24: The Times Tribune: Foreign-exchange coordinator arrested/Scranton, Pennsylvania
2009 Oct 01: The Times Tribune: Casey calls for improved foreign exchange student rules
2009 Oct 16: US Department of State: Management Review of Youth Programs Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs: Report Number ISP-I-10-16, October 2009
2009 Oct 22: Casey: IG Report on Failures in Exchange Student Program a Key Step
2009 Oct 23: The Times Tribune: Changes recommended for foreign-exchange programs after Scranton scandal
2010: CSFES Press Release: U.S. Department of State is proposing to amend regulations for hosting exchange students

US Department of state uttalelse om Scranton saken

2009: USA: Oppfølgeren til Mitt amerikanske mareritt (Espen Hansen)

These stories keep popping up. Both in the Minneapolis Star Tribune we’ve read about it and we are reading about it today from the Associated Press. And the list is just incredible.  The number of children who are being placed as foreign exchange students in homes that have not been really vetted or the people are taking money from the children. Getting a bad impression of what is going on in the uh United States. I don’t like that. I don’t like that — I like people who visit, especially these young people, come away thinking yeah, this is the greatest country in the world. I’m a… I’m a patriot along those lines. Jim Gelbmann is the Deputy Secretary of State. A bill is awaiting approval here in Minnesota that would investigate and terminate registrations of organizations that don’t meet uh standards set by the State. Mr. Gelbmann, welcome to the program.
GELBMANN: Thank you very much, Don, it’s a great pleasure to be on your program and I am very interested in talking about the subject. It’s one near and dear to my heart as well.

SHELBY: Good. How did it become near and dear to your heart, Jim?

GELBMANN: I actually one night I received a phone call from a parent in the Norwood Young America area. Ah, somehow she got my cell phone number. And, well, didn’t have any resources at my hand, but she was very fran –frantic, she was not only a parent, she was a teacher at Norwood Young America, and she told me a story about a specific uh, boy, who was from – or young adult I should say, who was from Norway, and um, was having a horrible experience in a foreign exchange program, a specific foreign exchange program. The boy was initially placed in one home that… after I did some research and checking, the Norwood, — The Carver County Sheriff Department, one of the deputies there said that the home that this boy was placed in, in the family was in dire final trouble and the home was in disrepair and he did not feel it was a home that was suitable for placement of a foreign exchange student. Ah, the boy was taken out of that home and then taken to one of the coordinators houses uh for the specific program, and which is actually against US law; for a coordinator to actually host a foreign exchange student that she is a coordinator for. Uh, the more I investigated, the more concerned I became abut this specific organization. And I found out that this was not an isolated incident that this appeared to be a systemic problem with a number of school districts. Um, I received complaints from a number of Wright – Wright County school districts, Montecello, uh, Waverly, um… Buffalo I know has terminated their involvement with this specific program and I started to look to see what we could do about it. Um, and at that time when I look at Minnesota law, the law and I’ll read it to you said, «The Secretary of State may upon receipt of a complaint regarding an international student exchange organization, report the matter to the organization involved, the United States Information Agency or the Council on Standards for International Education Travel as the Secretary of State as considers appropriate.

SHELBY: — only — only requiring the Secretary of State to report, — but take no action —

GELBMANN: … and it’s not required to report, it just says may report.

SHELBY: May report, we have to be careful about this shall report and may report are two different things entirely. So it looks like somebody along the line in the state legislature had come up with an idea or whether it was the Secretary of State that promulgated a resolution that got into the state legislature that someone had some concerns, but it appears that without your help and without the help of the legislature now, that there is no affirmative action that could be taken by the Secretary of State. Uh, what do you hope to accomplish? What would the Secretary of State do if they run into situations like you have discovered not only this one case, but the many others that have come to your attention since then? And let me just for the record, is it CETUSA is this organization? —

GELBMANN: That is correct.

SHELBY: Ok, alright. And I just want to make sure that people understand what CETUSA is, if you hear from them for instance. It’s the Council for Educational Travel USA, the Council for Educational Travel USA, and currently these people have our eyebrows raised about what there are going on and whether there are home visits and whether these individuals who are taking on foreign exchange students are actually fit to do so. What would your legislation produce?

GELBMANN: Well, Don, actually, I have some very good news. We did bring the legislation, that was Mark Ritchie, who brought the legislation after my initial investigations finding that this issue was more systemic than it was an isolated incident. We brought it to the legislature and it was very late in the legislative session, it was passed all committee deadlines and the like, but I talked to Representative Phyllis Kahn and told her about the problem. I showed her a letter that I received from a foreign exchange student, a different foreign exchange student who actually was experiencing sexual abuse by her uh family that she was initially placed with who at least in her opinion it was sex abuse. And Phyllis Kahn was willing to place it in what what was called a State Government Omnibus Bill. Language that would, first of all have had to first of all, o change the name of the report the United States Information Agency no longer exists –

SHELBY: Right, the USIA is gone.

GELBMANN: That is correct. It is the — the responsibilities have been transferred to the Office of Exchange Coordination and Designation in the United States Department of State, so we had to change that reference. But then the most important change we received is we received the language that says that the Secretary may also investigate complaints received under this section to determine if the complaint is limited to one high school or if there are systematic problems with placements made by a particular organization. The Secretary of State may terminate and organization’s registration —

SHELBY: There you go –

GELBMANN: — if the Secretary determines the organization has failed to remain in compliance with local, state and federal statutes, rules and regulations.

SHELBY: How soon will you take advantage of this once it is completely signed, sealed and delivered — to take action?

GELBMANN: Well, it became effective July 1.

SHELBY: Signed by the Governor?

GELBMANN: Signed by the Governor.

SHELBY: Alright, good, so, now how many agents do you have to hire to try to get all of this done?

GELBMANN: Well, as you know, we are in a budget crises.

SHELBY: I do know that —

GELBMANN: Unfortunately, we weren’t given any additional funds to take this out and carry this legislation out. But I assured the legislature in front of the committee, I said, even if I have to work over time I don’t want people leaving Minnesota going back to their home country with a negative impression of our state —

SHELBY: You and I agree –

GELBMANN: — Or, worse yet, horrible experience you know within our state I want them to go back and talk about the wonderful experience they had. I wrote back to this one foreign exchange student that wrote this letter to me and I… you know, I said to her I said this should have been the best year of your life, the best year of your educational life I was would hope would have been in Minnesota would have been your high school senior year, and I really regret it and I was very apologetic that it was not the best year of her life. It was uh, traumatic year for her. And I didn’t want that to happen again. And, so, um, again, I’m working right now with CETUSA. Um, one part of the problem, if we totally revoke their license, there’s a lot of foreign exchange students that have made plans through CETUSA to come to Minnesota um, I just want to make sure…I use this legislation more as a club than actually revoking registrations.

SHELBY: Understood. You’re a good man, Jim Gelbmann. Jim Gelbmann is Deputy Secretary of State and he has worked tirelessly to try to get the state to change its regulations, policies and laws regarding the foreign exchange student program in the state of Minnesota. And there has been a company CETUSA, C-E-T-U-S-A and you may see that from time to time you might even get some queries from the Council for Educational Travel USA. Back in the day when I was in high school, there was nothing more fabulous than foreign exchange students coming in an bring their knowledge of their own country and telling us about that and then learning about America and helping us teach. And then I’ve run into some of them in later years and they would say it was the greatest experience I’ve ever had in my life. Here in Minnesota, we are the host to lots of them because we’re a very open state and we want to be a part of that process but it doesn’t always turn out well because the companies that are looking for these families apparently, apparently, are not doing a very good job of screening them, we’ve got lists, and lists and lists if you’ve been listening to the program, we’re talking about sex abuse, we talking pornography, we talking about convicts, we’re talking about taking of money from these individuals, that is not the kind of impression that I as an American want to leave on a young person, or any person whatsoever who comes to our country to visit and then goes back home and says they never want to go back to that place again; they’re terrible, terrible people Jim Gelbmann and I agree on that sort of soft element of that legislation. The hard element of course is making sure that these companies don’t have a right to operate if they’re not doing it right in this state of Minnesota. The good news is that Jim has told us, it has been signed by the Governor which is now a matter of law in the state of Minnesota. As you looked around, you said you began investigating one case, but then you soon realized there were a lot more cases out there. Can you talk about a few of those?

GELBAMANN: Sure, Don. Probably the most common problem that happened with the CETUSA organization in multiple high schools throughout the state is that they would bring more students over to Minnesota than they had families to place them in. And, again, that is against the federal regulations, as well. Federal law requires the organization to have us signed contract with a host family one month before the student arrives in the States. And what would regularly happen is CETUSA would have three or four host families signed up for a specific school and five or six students would be bought over, and then CETUSA would frantically search for host families for the students. In one case that was documented actually WCCO TV a number of years ago, I think back in 2006 um, one CETUSA organization uh, uh, coordinator had six students student living in her basement, had six foreign exchange students living in her basement because she couldn’t find host families for them —

SHELBY: And that is violation of law –

GELBMANN: And that is a violation of law right then and there.

SHELBY: Okay now, let me ask you, do the host families, are they paid by CETUSA?

GELBMANN: No, they are not. They are volunteer families that want to you know, bring in a student give a student a good opportunity to see what America is like and also for the host families the to learn about the culture that the, of the country that the student comes from.

SHELBY: I am sometimes given to overstate hyperbally, but this seems to be that that all the money is ending up in CETUSA’s hands, their dumping these kids without uh, doing the due diligence of finding good families that are willing to take them. And I’m willing to call this human trafficking. Some people have called it, as we just talked to Danielle Grijalva, Grijalva, the director and founder of the Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students, who said it’s, one senator called it a Puppy Mill. And, uh, is there any action can be taken other than regulatory uh, against these companies when they are found to have failed in their process, is this misfeasants, malfeasants or is it nonfeasants?

GELBMANN: Uh, again, I’m not an attorney so I wouldn’t know which category it falls into, but what I do know is that Minnesota now has the authority that if they violate state, federal or local law, and there’s very explicit federal laws governing how foreign exchange programs work, if they violate those laws, we have the authority to revoke their registration. And in Minnesota, if uh, a foreign exchange program is not registered with

the Secretary of State’s office, the Department of Education will not pay the per student aide uh, formula to that school district. So, basically, it will end their involvement with Minnesota school districts in Minnesota because Minnesota school districts again will need that additional aide when they accept these students from around the world.

SHELBY: I think I know my audience well enough to say that I speak for them in this particular case, to say, go ’em Jim Gelbmann. Don’t let ’em get away with this and protect our reputation and protect the children. And uh, thank you for fighting for this legislation, and I appreciate you being on the program with us today, Jim.

GELBMANN: Well, thank you, Don. And I assure you that uh this issue is very close and near and dear to my heart —

SHELBY: — I know it is.

GELBMANN: — and I’m going to take uh the responsibility that the legislature has given us very seriously.

SHELBY: I appreciate it, Jim, thank you very much for being with us.    GELBMANN: Thank you, Don.

SHELBY: Okay, bye bye, Jim Gelbmann, Deputy to the Secretary of State.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: http://podcast.830wcco.com/wcco/1853421.mp3