Someone I've talked to a number of times now about the circumstances of the Carol Ann Cole murder and everything leading up to it put together some important information today. We talked and she was able to link up something I'd dug out and written about at NLQ about the Brownwood Reception Center with the possibility that there is a credible solid link between the former administrator/director of Brownwood and the Lester Roloff Homes. I'm looking into it right now and it's going to push back what I was going to talk about in the next segment of my series on Carol Ann at NLQ - Is Justice Delayed Justice At All For Carol Ann Cole.
I've also now uncovered a number of troubled teen homes in the Austin area that might have been places where Carol Ann may have been. Working through the information and the lists right now.
One thing is for sure, in the 1970s Texas became a dumping ground for kids with problems without much oversight. It's a textbook example of why residential treatment centers must be inspected and licensed by the state and federal governments regardless of the affiliation of ownership. Churches and religious organizations should never be given a pass on meeting or exceeding minimum standards for healthy treatment of children.
Another toxic horrible thing I lay at the feet of fundamentalist type religions is the fear that they instill and use against parents of struggling teens to get them to either not cooperate with CPS or to guilt them into placing their children in these places in the first place. Most social workers connected to state or local run social services have a huge unrealistic caseload already without having to beat the bushes looking for more kids to seize. But the more fundamentalist and paranoid a Christian cult gets, the more they drill into the members minds that CPS will do anything to seize their children. That's just not true. Resources are already stretched so thin in those places that they struggle with foster care placements. Burnout is high in the field too, stripping out experienced social workers and leaving fewer people to work the cases.
In a perfect world these children's residential treatment facilities wouldn't even exist, but we don't live in that perfect world, at least not yet. The facility I worked at many of the children were nowhere near ready to be placed in a normal life. They would have likely have been a danger to the other children in public school and needed desperately to be in a place where they could receive daily therapy for unimaginable abuse sustained started in early childhood. I would never feel comfortable knowing that a six year old that had starred in a large number of child porn films and had to be reminded hourly not to masturbate was going to public school along side other children from normal situations without that poor kid having already received enormous amounts of therapy first. Some children really do need to be inpatient for a year or two of treatment.
Workers at residential treatment centers that prey upon the children already having been abused that are supposed to be in treatment should be punished severely. Whenever I hear the tales of what happened to the girls of the Roloff homes and other IFB facilities it just makes my blood boil. Child rape, childhood sexual abuse and abuse suffered in these places should have no statute of limitations attached and should be prosecuted vigorously!
One of the big things I learned in my years at the treatment facility is that when the kids get moved around, because they've become more violent or need a different level of care, it boils down to money. Money. Many places, religious or not, have access to funding at a state or federal level, for the basic care of the child and an assortment of other reasons. Contracts are sold and children transferred from place to place to keep the money flowing instead of releasing some of the children to their parents to continue treatment on an outpatient basis. There's just not as much money that can be billed for outpatient treatment.
Another important player in treatment is socio-economic class, insurance and parental wealth. Rich kids, society kids get shipped out to specialized private schools who treat the family with deference and kid gloves. Kids from families with money or just really good private insurance end up being placed at treatment facilities almost as nice as those lovely private schools. In my teenage years in our neighborhood kids that fell into the tag of 'troubled' ended up being sent off to Catholic convent schools or abbey schools.
Those that come from families that don't have money, insurance, influence or much going for them, the throw-away kids, are the ones that end up in the hell holes like the Roloff Homes, with parents desperate to help their children, who would do anything for their kids, being pressured to sign over their children to the more abusive religious homes.
Abuse can happen even at the best private schools, but it's always those at the bottom that seem to suffer the worst of it. Which makes me think that the death of Carol Ann Cole also has deep roots in the class divides of money and society as well as religion. Throw away kids.
On another note I've stopped receiving emails from someone going by the name of 'Bonnie' who claims to be writing a book about the case and the other emails suggesting I butt out have stopped too. Good, because it's going to take more than a few negative emails to make me stop researching what happened 35 years ago.
I have no intention of lobbing rocks at the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Dept. or the investigators, but I am curious as to why I've been able to dig up some of what I have been able to access in state archives. I wonder why some leads don't seem to be taken seriously. From here it looks like Carol Ann might have been moved from home to home to home possibly all the way to Louisiana without ever leaving the oversight of Texas DHS/CPS.
Sadly Texas does not have the same amount of records in their online archives as Louisiana does.