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Make your donation at the Nadya Suleman website

This woman is going to need some major financial assistance to help care for all 14 of her very young kids. Welfare, food stamps, Medicaid, supplemental security income (SSI), women infants and children(WIC), Section 8 subsidized housing voucher, and whatever else the government can provide for her just won’t be enough to sufficiently raise these kids. Help this mother out and make a donation now so she can get her tubes tied asap!

TMZ obtained a photo of Nadya Suleman’s pregnant stomach shortly before she gave birth to octuplets in California.  This picture of a ready to explode Nadya Suleman was taken eight days before giving birth to the last eight of her fourteen kids.



February 12, 2009 Posted by | Information Please, Medical Oddities, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Welfare States and Poverty Problems Exist Everywhere

Shannon Matthews

Shannon Matthews

Karen Matthews...the Mum

Karen Matthews...the Mum

Michael Donovan...the Uncle

Michael Donovan...the Uncle

Sharon Matthews and Craig Meehan

Sharon Matthews and Craig Meehan...the Boyfriend

Find Shannon Matthews

Find Shannon Matthews

 From December 5, 2008 By

How one case exposed the grim reality of life for thousands in the poorest communities in England

On Dewsbury Moor, the badge of emotional and economic deprivation is being passed seamlessly from parents to children

What hope is there for Shannon Matthews and the broken children of Dewsbury Moor? To jaded observers of life on this most bleak and wind-swept of northern council estates, the path to adult dysfunction seems soul-deadeningly inevitable.

It begins with the mewling baby in the pram, unloved irritant for the teenage mother posing with cigarette at the roadside, desperate for attention from the hoodied boys.

Then comes the toddler, naked from the waist down and dribbling as it crawls over the remains of a carpet, unseen by a parent staring vacantly at a giant widescreen television.

Next comes the primary school pupil. Perhaps Shannon Matthews, bonny-faced but pumped so full of pills for 20 months that you can almost hear her young frame rattling on the way to school.

But for that fateful act, no spotlight would have fallen on the streets of ugly 1930s red-brick semis clinging to a hillside on the western edge of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

Shannon, unnoticed, unloved, would have become a young teenager, an age when some of her peers will begin to follow in the footsteps of Michael Donovan, the girl’s kidnapper, towards a series of petty juvenile convictions.

For others, childhood dreams will fade to grey reality. Sooner or later, fleeting relationship will be followed by pregnancy, single parenthood and a plunge into a benefits culture designed to reward fecklessness.

It is a path well trodden. On such estates, the badge of economic and emotional deprivation passes seamlessly from one generation to the next.

Of course, there are the survivors who do not bow to the seemingly inevitable – those fortunate or strong enough to find work, to build a secure family unit. They are the ones who try to forge a sense of community spirit, the ones living in the homes whose fenced gardens are not dumping grounds for household waste. But they are the exceptions.

Between 1981 and 2006 the proportion of social housing tenants of working age in full-time jobs fell from 67 per cent to 34 per cent.

A Centre for Social Justice report, published this week, might have been talking about Dewsbury Moor when it presented a stark assessment of the decline of working-class social estates during the past 50 years.

It spoke of a “cycle of destructive behaviour”, of a housing system that has “ghettoised poverty, creating broken estates where worklessness, dependency, family breakdown and addiction are endemic”.

Another report, from the charity Barnardo’s, showed – perhaps unsurprisingly – that the children most prey to criminal and antisocial behaviour, inadequate education, poor health and substance misuse were those from the poorest communities.

Martin Narey, the Barnardo’s chief executive, was speculating about the future of Baby P, had the boy lived, when he spoke of childhood deprivation creating a teenage “parasite . . . helping to infest our streets”. He could have been talking about the likely fate of Karen Matthews’s children.

The 33-year-old had seven children by five men. She had been living for three years with Craig Meehan, 22, who thought – wrongly, a DNA test would later establish – that he was the father of the youngest.

In September, Meehan was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison after being convicted on 11 counts of possessing child pornography. The offences came to light when his computer was seized by police during the search for Shannon.

The other significant adult in Shannon’s story was Donovan, Meehan’s uncle, a man described by his own barrister during the kidnap trial as “a pathetic inadequate . . . a loner, dysfunctional, strange, an oddball”.

The youngest of nine children, he was bullied at his special school and told the jury at Leeds Crown Court that he had “all sorts of difficulties trying to understand things in life”.

He was obsessed with cars but needed more than 100 lessons to pass his driving test before finding work as a delivery driver.

His boss sent him out one day to put £20 of diesel in his pickup, then watched later in bemusement as Donovan repeatedly drove back and forth past the firm’s premises. When he eventually returned he explained that he had been able to fit only £18.48 into the tank, so he kept driving around until he could return to the petrol station and squeeze in the remaining £1.52.

The defence tried to cast the 40-year-old as an unworldly innocent who took Shannon because her mother had threatened to kill him. This was the man selected by Matthews to care for her daughter. On February 19, as she walked home after a school swimming trip, Donovan bundled her into his car.

For the next 24 days, as West Yorkshire Police launched their biggest investigation since the 1970s hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper, he held her drugged and tethered in his flat, one mile from Dewsbury Moor.

We may never know what happened to Shannon during that period. The child was so heavily doped that she has never been able to give a coherent account of her ordeal.

By contrast, all of Britain knew what her mother was doing. She was crying for the television cameras, pleading for the safe return of her little angel.

Behind closed doors the distraught public face was replaced by the giggles of a woman who, according to her friends, behaved as though she did not have a care in the world.

So was she mad, bad or irredeemably stupid? What is clear is that she “lied, lied and lied again” to police, offering at least five explanations for her role in Shannon’s disappearance.

Though Matthews received £400 a week in benefits, she was deeply in debt to the doorstep loan sharks who prey on impoverished communities such as Dewsbury Moor.

It may have been a reward plot from the outset, but it also seems possible that she initially arranged for Donovan to take Shannon for a few days because she intended to leave Meehan and planned to go to the flat a short while later with her other children.

That scenario sees her losing her nerve at the last moment, being too scared to tell Meehan, then sitting back and letting events take their course, realising at an early stage that a newspaper’s £50,000 reward for Shannon’s safe return would solve a lot of financial problems.

Whatever the motivation, it is clear that the welfare of Shannon played no role in her calculations. This was, after all, a woman whose daughter had been systematically doped with sedatives, antidepressants and painkillers for at least 20 months, presumably with the aim of rendering her passive and thus less of a nuisance.

As the police built a picture of the extended Matthews and Meehan families, plus those of Matthews’s former boyfriends and the various fathers of her children, they found themselves with a logistical nightmare. There were soon several hundred names, including one murderer, many with criminal convictions and a number of convicted sex offenders.

Curiously, no one close to the family thought to mention the existence of the man who was holding Shannon.

Pity the children brought into such a world. Two sheets of paper, not shown to the jury, offer a glimpse inside a little girl’s troubled mind.

On one, screwed up in a bin at Donovan’s flat, was a child’s drawing of an explicit sexual scene between two adults. Mummy and Mick, was Shannon’s accompanying caption.

The other was a note found in her bedroom at her mother’s house. On it was a verbal exchange between the girl and her sibling.

“Do you think we’ll get any tea tonight?” asks one child.

“We may get a packet of crisps if we keep quiet,” comes the reply. “Don’t say anything, though, ’cos we’ll be beaten.”

After her rescue, Shannon was asked by child psychologists whether she wanted to go home. The reply came immediately. No.

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Dealing with... | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should teachers be told if a child has HIV?


Everyone has their own prejudices, and all too often other people suffer because of them. This week marked World Aids Day, and, realising that I was ill-informed on this subject, I thought it would be a good time to post on one mother’s experience of having a child with HIV. There is a lot of ignorance around this issue, and education (understanding that children aren’t at risk from cuts or grazes for example) can make a real difference.

*Laura’s daughter has HIV. She is currently at a school where staff, pupils and other parents have no idea of her condition. This is largely because of the way she had previously been treated. Laura explains more:

“Let me tell you about Anna. She has never been on any anti-retroviral medication, and she is not on any other treatment for HIV. She has never been seriously ill, yet.  For all intents and purposes she is a very healthy child who swims, runs around, get sweaty, goes to the beach, does ballet and gym, rides her bicycle, rollerskates, loves going to ‘big’ school, adores her friends and is an extremely popular little girl. She has been taught not to touch blood, cuts, sores or body fluids.  She has been taught about germs in very basic terms. We are careful, ensuring that we do not negligently expose her to conditions that could cause her to become ill. For example: when she goes swimming we make sure she gets dried quickly and we don’t let her sit in a draught wearing a wet costume. Aside from the commonsense approach to her care, she receives no treatment different to that which other children get.

When I was looking for primary schools for Anna, I found one I liked. I wanted to meet the head and ask if the school had an action plan to alert parents if there was a child who had chicken pox or other infectious disease. The head asked why I wanted to know, and I told her that it was because my daughter had a problem with her immune system. When she then asked me exactly what the problem was I felt pressurised into saying that she had HIV. She immediately sat back and physically pulled away from me.  Her body language shouted at me and gave her thoughts away, with utter disbelief on her face. She said: ‘We haven’t had one of those before’ and I was horrified.

I explained there was no risk to the other students nor teachers, the only real risk was to Anna if she picked up an infection from one of the other children. The head said she didn’t know anything about HIV and that she would need to discuss it with her staff before getting back to me. But she didn’t get back to me, so I contacted her again. This time she said that one of the teachers had raised a concern about teaching a child living with HIV. I asked which teacher – one in Reception? But the head would not name him or her. Instead she said she would go back to the staff again. She then told me that that this teacher was actually speaking on behalf of all of the teachers – they all had concerns. The head said that she had spoken to the school’s legal department as well as a doctor attached to the school about the issue. She said she personally didn’t have a problem but that if my daughter came to the school the dinner ladies would have to be told in case she had an accident. I said that nobody was at risk, but she wasn’t happy. Instead she suggested that I apply to other schools, but that I should not tell them about Anna’s HIV status. We teach our children not to lie, and then I am encouraged to live the lie…? I was then advised by our healthcase worker not to tell anyone else about her status because of the bigoted attitude people have to the disease. I never wanted to live a lie.

I am angry and disappointed about this whole experience. Anna’s HIV status was not of her doing. Who has the right to judge my little girl by that which runs through her blood? I expected teachers to be educated and professional – they were not. Anna is now at another school and they know nothing about her status. The teachers think Anna is fantastic, and she is very popular with her peers. We have not told many people, since we feel it will be Anna’s right to inform people when and if she feels ready to. But I do wish I could be honest with her teachers and particularly her headteacher. I cannot bear to even look at her headteacher, because I feel so guilty about keeping the truth from her.

Why don’t we speak out about HIV/AIDS? We speak out about so many other issues, some of less relevance. Education and Empathy would be positive steps in making people realise that this disease can be managed. It would make the public aware that people who are HIV+, can still contribute positively to the economy. They can still lead healthy, happy and ‘normal’ lives: go to school, have relationships, study, qualify, get married and become parents of children who are not HIV+, and make a positive contribution to society.”

*Names have been changed.

Read School Gate on:

Ending HIV discrimination in schools.

December 4, 2008 Posted by | Dealing with... | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment