NYS Mandatory Post-Adoption Oversight for Hard-to-Place Children "Jaliek's Law" sign now

вOur lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.в ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ~

To: New York State Legislature

We the undersigned call for the New York State Assembly and Senate Members to immediately acknowledge, sponsor, support and pass the proposed Bill outlined within before another Child becomes a Victim.

JALIEKвS LAW

Jaliek Rainwalker is a 12 year-old bi-racial boy who grew up in the foster care system and was adopted by Jocelyn McDonald and Stephen Kerr in May 2004. Jaliek disappeared on November 1, 2007 after being returned to his adoptive father by a foster family who had provided respite for Jaliek for six days. Mr. Kerr and his wife had tried to undo Jaliekвs adoption and return him to the foster care system, but had been told that was not an option.

Jaliek lived with his adoptive parents in a house with no electricity, indoor plumbing or running water that had two door-less outhouses. All five of their children and the parents slept in one bedroom. Jaliek was physically and emotionally abused by his adoptive parents for years from shortly after his placement right up until the day he disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Family members and law enforcement believe that Stephen Kerr, who has been declared a вperson of interestв, harmed his son on November 1, 2007. He and his wife have refused to cooperate with law enforcement, have not searched for their son and have moved out of state and gotten an unlisted telephone number. Although his parents described him as вsuicidal and homicidalв, he was not on any medication and had not had therapy for over a year. However, his adoptive parents were on medication and in therapy during that time.

The adoptive family continues to receive a tax-free adoption subsidy of approximately $1500 a month for Jaliek from Albany County. In the January 8, 2008 Glens Falls Post Star, their attorney had this to say about the subsidy: вMcMorris also addressed concerns raised by former foster parents of Rainwalkerвs about Kerr and his wife continuing to receive a $1,500-a-month payment from Albany Countyвs Department of Social Services for caring for Rainwalker. He said the family continues to receive the money because they have expenses for Rainwalkerвs care. "They have a son, and they need to provide for him," McMorris said.в

It is our firm belief that a law that requires OCFS to provide post-adoption oversight for hard-to-place children could have prevented what happened to Jaliek Rainwalker and other hard-to-place adopted children.

Unfortunately the way NYS system is set up once a child is adopted all oversight by any state agency ceases even if the adopted parents are receiving a tax-free subsidy each month from the state. Reports were made several times to Child Protective Services who also dropped the ball in Jaliekвs case but the problem is that CPS would call ahead of time to let the parents know what day, time and the reason they were coming. There needs to be changes made to the NYS adoption system and agencies held accountable for the placement of these children in their care including holding specific employees of these agencies personally accountable especially in Jaliekвs case, Parsons Child and Family Services and Albany County Department of Social Services were warned not to place Jaliek with Stephen and Jocelyn but placed him with them anyway.


To be included in this bill and reasons why:

1) Mandatory Post-Adoption oversight by government agencies of families who have adopted hard to place children including unscheduled visits.

1A) Adopted families of hard to place children receive a tax-free monthly subsidy for the childвs care (maintenance of the child). There are three classifications of hard to place children that determine the amount of subsidy the family will receive. In Jaliekвs case the adopted family is receiving $1,500 a month for his care although other families may receive less all families receiving any amount of a tax-free subsidy from the state should have mandatory post-adoption oversight.

2) Mandatory that families of hard to place children have to be involved in any and all post-adoption services available.

2A) NYS offers several post-adoption services none of which are mandatory and only available if the adopted family wishes to utilize them. And some of which in Jaliekвs case the adopted family did try and utilize and were turned away.

2B) Jaliekвs adopted father Stephen Burrell Kerr did however call Parsons Child and Family Center wanting to disrupt the adoption and was told that was not an option. In this crisis situation as they have called it the only service they offered to Stephen B. Kerr and Jocelyn A. McDonald was respite care and referred them to Elaine and Tom Persons for respite care for Jaliek who are foster care and adoptive parents themselves who had provided respite care for Jaliek in the past when he was with other foster families (Elaine Person is also on the board at Parsons). Parsons, however, did not offer their Crisis Response Service that is вaimed at stabilizing occurrences of child/family crisis when it arises. Services provide the ability to do an assessment, provide consultation and immediate intervention wherever necessary (i.e., home, school, clinic programs).в Nor did they offer their Intensive In-Home Services, which is вongoing activities aimed at providing intensive interventions in the home when a crisis response service are not enough. These interventions may include psycho education, crisis de-escalation, parent-child relationship building, and improvement of parenting skills.в

3) Mandatory removal of a hard to place child if a family wants to disrupt the adoption and place such child back in foster care. A child advocate must be dispatched to the home immediately day or night to remove the child if an adopted family calls with a crisis and does not want the child in their home until a full investigation can be done and a determination made to make sure no harm comes to that child. (See section 5)

3A) As I stated in section 2B the adoptive father called to disrupt the adoption and put Jaliek back in foster care and was told that was not a option even after the adoptive mother Jocelyn McDonald had made it clear that Jaliek was no longer welcome in their home or able to return to his home school classes. Stephen had to care for Jaliek, take Jaliek with him to work all week where he sat in the break room and made to hold a sign that read вDo Not Talk To Meв (as reported by a coworker of Stephen) and take him on an overnight trip to Massachusetts.В Stephen was in charge of feeding Jaliek and staying with Jaliek most nights at his parentвs vacant house on Hill Street in Greenwich.ВStephen called agencies to find out about placement for Jaliek and was angered by their answers.ВHe was given a wrong answer by the person he called at Parson's and was told he and Jocelyn could not disrupt Jaliek's adoption.

3B) For Parsons Child and Family Center to only offer respite was only a quick fix. Respite is not long-term care and does not address the fact that a family stated they do not want the child and wants to place him back in foster care and that the family will not allow the child back in their home.

4) Mandatory that adoptive families of hard to place children receiving a monthly tax-free subsidy be required by law that they have to take the child to regular medical and dental appointments for check ups and be required to keep the child in ongoing one on one therapy and parent child therapy and that the child is taking their, if prescribed medication. The adoptive parents must submit regular reports of appointments signed by the attending physicianвs and therapists including medication reports to an agency that will review these files to make sure the adopted parents are doing what is required of them. (See section 5)

4A) Kerr and McDonald claimed their son was homicidal and suicidal, yet he had not had any therapy or meds for almost a year despite the fact that they were getting a tax-free subsidy of over $1500 a month and continue to receive the tax free subsidy even though Jaliek has been missing for nearly a year now.

4B) When Jaliek was in therapy his adoptive mother Jocelyn McDonald would not let him go to therapy if she was not allowed to be in the room with them.

4C) In my research of the foster care and adoption agencies this is something that foster families are required to do by law.

The doctors, dentists and therapists I have spoke to all confirmed whenever they see a child that is in foster care they have to sign a form that the foster parents have to bring to prove the child is getting regular check ups.

5) Create an independent child advocate office that is not affiliated with any of the foster care and adoption agencies that the adoptive family of hard to place children must submit their reports to. In turn the child advocate will submit reports to the agencies responsible for the placement of that such child and to Child Protective Services if there is believed to be any neglect, abuse or misconduct by the adoptive parents. This office can also be dispatched as discussed in Section 3.

5A) With the misconduct and mishandling of Jaliekвs situation by Parsons Child and Family Center, Suzanne DвAversa, Child Protective Services, Albany County Social Services, Washington County Social Services and Elaine Person (see following letter of complaint and Elaine Personвs interview вour last six days with Jaliekв) it is imperative we have an organization such as this with no personal ties to any Foster Care or Adoption Agency.

6) Mandatory that an adoptive family of a hard to place child enroll that child in public or private school and not be allowed to place such child in home schooling.

6A) On Monday, October 22, 2007 Jaliek made an improper sexual comment to a 4 yr old child in the small (9 student) home school.ВThere was not an adult present in the room with the children but an adult was downstairs in the main schoolroom.ВJaliek did not raise his voice, put his hands on the younger child or get up from where he was sitting.ВThe younger child was pulling on Jaliek's shoelaces and would not stop when asked. A 4-year-old child should not have been in the home school without adult supervision.

6B) The illegal home school Jaliek attended (REACH) in Greenwich, NY was not a licensed or certified NYS home school, the teacher they hired вChristaв is not a NYS Certified teacher, she is a graduate of the Waldorf School System where the teachers do not have to be certified to teach.

7) Child Protective Services reorganization of handling reports of neglect and abuse.

7A) Reports were made several times to Child Protective Services in Jaliekвs case but CPS would call ahead of time to let the parents know what day, time and the reason they were coming.

7B) In a TV interview, Jocelyn was responding to a question about their being вHot-linedв several years ago when they lived in another residence.В This means that a report was made to the NYS Child Abuse Hotline.ВAccording to Stephen, the report was made by the social worker supervising their adoptive placement.В Jocelyn stated that Child Protective Services came to their home and found no locks on any of the bedroom doors.ВBoth Jaliek and Jocelyn told the Schoens (Jaliekвs former foster parents) that Jaliek was locked in his room at night.ВThe Schoens saw the locks on the doors when they visited Jaliek.ВJaliekвs grandmother also confirmed that the locks were there and used. Jaliekвs lockable room also had no heat, so the small, portable heater was removed from the room if Jaliek was angry at the time he was locked in.

7C) While Washington County CPS was conducting an investigation Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald were allowed to move from NYS to Vermont with the four remaining children which means Washington County CPS has no jurisdiction

7D) In February 2008 Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald said they want to get on with their lives.ВThey have moved to West Rupert, Vermont and have an unlisted phone number.ВHow is Jaliek supposed to find them?В He has their cell phone numbers but there is almost no cell phone service in West Rupert, Vermont.

8) Mandatory that an adoptive family of a hard to place child when moving to a new residence make the agency aware of the move and be subject to an unscheduled inspection of the new residence.

8A) When Jaliek was adopted in 2004 the Kerr/McDonald family living conditions were appropriate for a child. After Jaliekвs adoption was finalized they moved into a house that Kerr got a building permit to build as a garage. Kerr and McDonald did not have a Certificate of Occupancy for this вhouseв which has no electricity, no indoor plumbing and undrinkable well water. Jaliek was also only allowed to bathe once every two weeks. The two outhouses several yards from the house were falling apart and had no doors and at times when he was punished Jaliek was not allowed to use the outhouse and had to relieve himself in the woods. All five of their children (2 of their own 1 biological son of Jocelyn and 1 adopted daughter and Jaliek who was adopted) slept in one bedroom that they shared with Kerr and McDonald.

9) Mandate respite care workers to report any and all signs of abuse or neglect of a child they are providing respite for.

9A) See Elaine Personвs interview titled вOur Last Six Days With Jaliekв

9B) As a certified foster parent, certified respite home and a board member of Parsons Child and Family Center, Elaine Person is mandated to report the conditions spoke about in her interview вOur last six days with Jaliekв and never did.

10) Mandatory that if an adoptive family of a hard to place child receiving a monthly tax-free subsidy reports that such child missing under unknown circumstances and or one or both the adoptive parents are a вPerson of Interestв the tax-free subsidy stops immediately until the child is found and a complete investigation is finalized.

10A) Unfortunately many people who adopt hard to place children or take in foster children only do it for the money. A family in Altamont, NY is doing it right now with one of their foster children who is getting ready to age out of the system and has been living with his biological family in Schenectady, NY for some time now but have decided to still report him as still living with them so they can continue to receive the money for him each month.

It was also made clear at a community forum held September 11, 2008 in Troy that some that work in Adoption Agencies that adopt hard to place children only do it for the money also when Camille Hehn, LCSW with Family Focus Adoption Services stated that she was against any mandatory post-adoption oversight of hard to place children receiving a tax free subsidy each month for the care of the adopted child. Ms. Hehn stated that she adopted two hard to place children and that в the subsidy she receives for the two children was to pay her bills so she did not have to work and be a stay at home mom for the two adopted childrenв




Complaint Letter:

NYS Office of Children and Family Services
Commissioner Gladys Carrion
52 Washington Street
Rensselaer, NY 12144

RE: Gross Misconduct at Parsons Child and Family Center

BEFORE ANOTHER CHILD BECOMES A VICTIM!

Dear Gladys Carrion:

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I write you today with a heavy heart and with the determination to help children in the foster care and adoption services and petition you to conduct a full fledge investigation of Parsonвs Child and Family Center, Suzanne DвAversa in charge of post-adoption services at Parsons, Elaine Person a certified foster parent, board member at Parsons Child and Family Center and the respite family for Jaliek for six days prior to him disappearing.

Jaliek (Boyd) Rainwalker a 12 year old beautiful child who went missing from Greenwich, NY the night of November 1, 2007 after his adoptive father picked him up after spending 6 days in a respite care home in Altamont, NY. On October 23, 2007 Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald Jaliekвs adoptive parents sought help from Parsons Child and Family Centerвs Post Adoption Services representative Suzanne DвAversa who placed Jaliek with them to un-do (disrupt) the adoption of Jaliek because Jaliek had been unmanageable for a long time and had allegedly threatened to harm a 4 year old child in his home school group (which was not a certified home school) and was told by Suzanne DвAversa that that was not an option. Jaliekвs maternal adoptive grandparents Barbara Reeley and Dennis Smith offered to take Jaliek but were told no by Kerr and McDonald because he needed to be punished and that he would only have a good time at their house. The adoptive parents were told by Parsons Child and Family Center to seek out a respite home for Jaliek to go to for a while because Stephen Kerr had a trip planned to Romania for two weeks where his mother and father Mary Agnes and Graham Kerr were living because Graham worked for the US State Department in Romania and Jocelyn McDonald Jaliekвs adoptive mother refused to have Jaliek back in their house because she was afraid of the 12 year old. They were given the name of Elaine and Tom Person who had provided respite care for Jaliek in the past when he was with other foster families. Elaine and Tom Person are affiliated with Parsons Child and Family Center, certified foster parents and adoptive parents. Elaine Person is also on the Board at Parsons Child and Family Center.

An agreement was made between Kerr and the Persons that they would keep Jaliek until Thursday November 1, 2007 because they had plans to go to NYC to watch their oldest daughter run in the NY Marathon and that Kerr would drop Jaliek back to them on Tuesday November 6, 2007 for an undetermined amount of time. Unfortunately on Thursday November 1, 2007 after the Persons had dropped Jaliek off at a planned meeting place to his adoptive father Stephen Kerr that would be the last time they would see Jaliek and the last actual person to see Jaliek other than his adopted father was the waitress at the Red Robin Restaurant in Latham NY where Stephen and Jaliek had stopped on the way back to Greenwich, NY Jaliek has not been seen since by anyone, his adoptive father reported him missing the morning of Friday November 2, 2007 as a runaway. I know for a fact that it is mandatory for foster care and adoption agencies to report any suspected abuse to the authorities and CPS and I believe that includes respite workers and certified foster families. I have enclosed the interview with the Persons entitled в Our Last Six Days With Jaliekв. The living conditions alone were enough grounds for reporting this family to CPS.

There is so much that raises red flags as not only to foul play but also professional misconduct on the part of Parsons Child and Family Center, Suzanne DвAversa and Elaine Person a HUGE red flag should have gone up by Parsons Child and Family Center when Stephen and Jocelyn called to un-do (disrupt) the adoption and was told NO that that was not an option. After Jaliek was reported missing and the adopted maternal grandmother Barbara Reeley made it clear after witnessing her son-in-laws actions to everything surrounding Jaliek that she believed her son-in-law had something to do with Jaliekвs disappearance Suzanne DвAversa from Parsons Child and Family Center began e-mailing Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald telling them how to portray Jaliek to the media, Suzanne DвAversa told the adoptive parents to tell the media Jaliek was homicidal, suicidal, and a danger to himself and others when there is nothing to substantiate this claim because Jaliek had not been in therapy for almost a year. Once Barbara Reeley (Jocelynвs mother) was adamant that Stephen had something to do with Jaliekвs disappearance Suzanne DвAversa e-mailed Stephen and Jocelyn and told them how to portray Barbara to the media, to tell the media that Barbara was coming mentally unraveled, she had emotional and mental problems, she was dangerous and to bring up the fact that Barbara was married five times and could not stay married long because of her mental problems and the fact that Barbara gave her son up for adoption.

At a community forum my ministry held on Thursday September 11, 2007 at Troy City Hall in an effort to put forth Jaliekвs Law calling on the government to set strict post-adoption laws for families that adopt hard to place children and receive a monthly tax-free subsidy for their care, I was made aware that Elaine Person had tipped off Suzanne DвAversaвs supervisor at Parsons Child and Family Center about her misconduct involving the e-mails she had sent to the adoptive parents and nothing has been done regarding her misconduct. I am sure by now Elaine has tipped them off that I know about all of this too because I had a nice little chat with her that evening afterwards and politely told her, her justifications mean nothing to me and I will go public with this information as soon as the Lord leads me too.

Unfortunately the way NYS system is set up once a child is adopted all oversight by any state agency ceases even if the adopted parents are receiving a tax-free subsidy each month from the state. Reports were made several times to Child Protective Services who also dropped the ball in Jaliekвs case but the problem is that CPS would call ahead of time to let the parents know what day, time and the reason they were coming. There needs to be changes made to the NYS adoption system and agencies held accountable for the placement of these children in their care including holding specific employees of these agencies personally accountable especially in Jaliekвs case, Parsons Child and Family Services and Albany County Department of Social Services were warned not to place Jaliek with Stephen and Jocelyn but went ignored and placed him with them anyway.

There were two other families before Jaliek was placed with Stephen and Jocelyn that wanted to adopt him but when requesting that Parsons do some pre-adoption testing because Jaliek was born addicted to cocaine and had fetal alcohol syndrome and already diagnosed as having RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) Parsons Child and Family Center refused and just wanted someone to adopt him so they could get him off their books.

There is another case that I followed before Jaliek that came from Parsons Child and Family Center where a child was awaiting adoption but had aged out of their system and had to leave their residential home, with nowhere to go and out in the street someone took the young man in, that was when they pushed an adoption through so the boy would show being adopted only to find a couple months after they took him in and he became seriously ill the young man was admitted to the hospital due to advanced stages of cancer. Cancer does not advance that quickly overnight if the Parsons Child and Family Center had been regularly getting care for these children in their residential homes then this young man would be alive today. Unfortunately he passed away in September of 2007. The young mans name was Tasheem K. Fortner (AKA Minister).

Yours in Service,

Rev. Timothy A. Sherman


Our Last Six Days With Jaliek
(Elaine Persons Own Words)

Over the past several weeks, my husband Tom and I have been asked many questions about our involvement as a respite family for Jaliek Rainwalker, the 12 year-old boy who disappeared from Greenwich on November 1st after staying at our home for six days. The TV stations show the public a snippet of an interview that often lasted over an hour. Below, I have compiled the questions and our responses that we feel are important so that you can come to know this beautiful child as we do.

Why did Jaliek come to stay with you in Altamont?

About five years ago, we had done respite for the family that had Jaliek for four years before their placement disrupted. We provided that service for them because they were going out of town on a business trip. On other occasions, he came to us to give his parents a break. We loved Jaliek and had hoped that placement would succeed. Unfortunately, Jaliekвs behaviors were more than they could handle. We tried to stay in touch with Jaliek when he was placed with Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald, but they didnвt want his former family or us to have a relationship with Jaliek. On Friday, October 26th, I received a phone call from Stephen Kerr, who described himself as Jaliekвs adopted father. Stephen told me that Jaliek had been unmanageable for a long time, that he had threatened to harm a four year-old in his home-school group and that they were looking to un-do the adoption. We discussed several options that they did or could consider to get Jaliek and themselves the help they needed. Stephen had planned to go to Romania for two weeks and his wife refused to have Jaliek in their home because she was afraid of him. He needed a place for Jaliek to be while he was away and thatвs why he called us. My husband and I had planned a trip to New York City to watch our oldest daughter run in the New York Marathon and offered to watch Jaliek until Thursday night, November 1st. We would also be available the following Tuesday, November 6th, to have him here again. We were very excited to be able to see Jaliek again and anxious to see how he had turned out.

What was Jaliek like when he was with you? How did he spend his days?

Jaliek was so happy to be with us. As soon as he arrived, he started telling us every detail that he remembered about his visits with us five years before. He remembered the dogs, the cats, the rooms of the house, where we went and what we did. It didnвt take long before he discovered the bookshelf in my office. It had several childrenвs books on it. This began a six-day marathon of book reading for Jaliek. He would finish one and start another right away. One day he asked if he could read the one Harry Potter book I owned. He told me that he had read the first three, but his mom would not let him read the others because they were too scary. I offered him the books on tape to listen to, but he said he preferred to read the book even though he had already read this particular one. He read it in a day! That Saturday afternoon, my husband and Jaliek went to a high school football game. Jaliek immediately made friends with some younger kids who were tossing around a football. One of them accidentally threw the ball over a tall fence. Jaliek said, вIвll get it!в and without effort, scaled a 10 foot wooden fence to retrieve the ball for his new friends. That first night, two of our kids were out with their girlfriends, two were watching TV, my husband was working and Jaliek read. Jaliek could have watched TV with the kids, but preferred to read. The next day, Sunday the 28th was my husbandвs birthday. The two boys that were rooming with Jaliek spent the day and evening with a minister and his family, going to church, a teen party and a haunted house. That afternoon, my babysitterвs six year-old came over to the house. He was going with Jaliek and me to the three Ultimate Terror haunted houses at the Altamont Fair. The minute he arrived at our house, he and Jaliek played cards until it was time to eat and leave for the fairgrounds. Jaliek was very excited because he had never been to a haunted house before. His new friend had been to several, explained what it was like and offered to bravely go first. As we experienced the three different haunts, Jaliek went ahead of everyone through one, then in the middle of the group in the second and last through the third. He and his friend had a great time and talked about what parts they liked best all the way home. Jaliekвs favorite part was the 3D maze. My sister was General Manager of UT and was happy to see Jaliek again and how grown-up he had become. Jaliek told my sister the following Tuesday, when he accompanied my husband to help pack up the haunt, that he wanted to work for her next year. They hugged when he left. The next four days were spent with Jaliek doing his homework, skate-boarding, walking our dog, traveling around with my husband as he did several errands, reading constantly and just hanging out talking with us. The only evening he spent with any of our kids was on Halloween when he spent a couple hours playing video games with our second-year college student son. We could not have asked for a better behaved, polite and grateful child.

What did Jaliek tell you about his home-life in Greenwich?

We talked a lot about his living conditions. He lived in a small, two-room house he described as being the size of our kitchen and dining room. There was no electricity or indoor plumbing. Every morning, the kids would have to go out to a well and bring in water for the day. Lately, the well wasnвt working and they had to get water from a neighbor. I asked him if he minded living like that. He told me the worst part was using the outhouse in the winter after his little brother peed on the seat. He said that all five kids and his parents slept in one room upstairs that was accessed by climbing a ladder. His sister had one corner that was curtained-off. They only ate meat once a week and bathed once every two weeks. Sometimes, at night, they would run a generator. He said the house was heated with a wood-burning stove and that it got really cold at night. They didnвt move into the house until after Jaliek was adopted. Social Services would never place a child in foster care or for adoption with a family who lived in that kind of environment. We talked about his behavior at home when he got angry. He would yell a lot and throw things. Jaliek said that, if any of the kids swore, as punishment, they would have to put soap in their mouths, ten seconds the first time; twenty seconds the second time, etc. He described how his little brother had a habit of вmooningв his mother. Jaliek said his mother gave his brother a choice between вthe soapв or getting spanked with a spatula. His brother chose the spanking because вHe wanted to see what it was like.в Referring to his father he said, вHe never knew what he was doing when he got angry.в I thought that was an interesting comment because thatвs the way Jaliek was too. I was very surprised that with all he had been through, Jaliek didnвt really complain about his home-life. His adopted parents have said that he had violent outbursts. Do you believe that? We raised an attachment disorder child and I can tell you that itвs not easy. For three years, we were in a support group with other parents of attachment disorder kids, just to be able to parent her. These children know what buttons to push to get you angry. Thatвs what they do to feel in control. The outbursts and episodes can last a long time if you donвt know how to bring them out of it. Our adopted daughter could sit on her bed and rock back and forth for two hours while shouting вI hate you!в or вI wanna leave!в over and over and over. The anger was unpredictable and often triggered by little things like having to do her homework or chores when she didnвt want to.

Do you think they took him in just for the money?

I donвt think they did in the beginning. Considering Stephen has a fairly menial job now, making plastic body parts, I think they really needed that money. Their oldest son attends a private school that costs $17,000 a year. One of the few complaints Jaliek had was that this brother was spoiled by his parents. They werenвt spending the money on Jaliek. He had to wear the few clothes he had for three days at a time. He arrived here with no jacket. He was not on any meds and had not had any therapy in over a year, despite being described as вmentally ill, homicidal and suicidalв. If Jaliekвs behavior was so bad, so dangerous and so uncontrollable, why did they keep him so long?

Did he befriend any gang members while he was with you for the six days?

My husband, our foster children and I were highly insulted and shocked when Channel 9 reported about Stephen Kerr, "He believes his son could be in the city with three teens he befriended after leaving a respite home the day he disappeared." Then Stephen Kerr stated, "I don't think it is a coincidence. I think these sixteen year-olds have some information about where he is." The children he referred to are good kids, good students and only travel to Albany for family outings or to do community service for various charities. The only people Jaliek "befriended" during his six days with us was my husband, the six year-old son of my babysitter and me. The idea of Jaliek, a twelve year-old, 105 pound, meek and mild bookworm who has lived a secluded life for the past five years, joining a gang is truly ridiculous. Jaliek joining a gang in Albany would be like Snow White joining Al-Qaeda. We feel these were the desperate rantings of a diabolical, arrogant and egotistical man who has something to hide.
What can you tell us about the good-bye note Jaliek left?

When they arrived Saturday morning, October 27th, Stephen showed us Jaliekвs clipboard which had his homework and schoolwork on it. Stephen stated that, in addition to the printed worksheets on the clipboard, Jaliek had a writing assignment to вwrite letters of apology to the people he had hurtв. My husband helped him with his homework, saw the lengthy book reports he wrote and confirmed that the apology notes were written. He didnвt ask to see them because we felt they were private. The note, given to police as a вgood-byeв note read: вEverybody, Iвm sorry for everything. I wonвt be a bother to you anymore. Goodbye, Jaliekв. It was in his best handwriting. We believe this was the letter of apology written to his home school group that he was no longer part of because of an inappropriate comment to a young child.

What do you think about the $25,000 reward offered by his parents?

We believe that the reward is nothing more than a media stunt designed to draw attention away from the fact that Stephen and Jocelyn have not cooperated as much as they could with the authorities. I believe that the reward is only for Jaliekвs вreturnв and not for the truth or if Jaliek is not found alive. No self-respecting gang member would harbor a twelve year-old bookworm when they could have $25,000. This reward reduces by $5000 each month, starting January 1st, until it disappears completely. Their reward offer has not generated ANY leads.

What do you think really happened to Jaliek?

I believe that Stephen was angry about Jaliek having a good time while he was with us. I believe he was angry about the вgiftsв we gave Jaliek. We had given him a beat-up skateboard that was older than Jaliek. It had been in our garage forever. We also gave him an inexpensive book bag that my college son had gotten for free and some rattlesnake eggs, which is a joke we use when weвre clowning. Stephen felt that he sent Jaliek to us for punishment and instead, Jaliek had a wonderful time. Jaliek was looking forward to coming back the following week. Stephen probably wasnвt too happy about having to cancel his planned two-week trip to Romania. I know from my conversation with Stephen the day after Jaliek disappeared that Jaliek was very excited when he told his father about the great time he had here; about going to a haunted house for the first time, about learning to blow a bubble with gum, about learning to make an omelet, about making instant pudding, stirred forever with a meat fork, about going all over, day after day with my husband, just running errands. He would not have committed suicide or run away. He was looking forward to coming back here. After Jaliekвs inappropriate comment to the child in his home-school group, Jocelyn was so angry that she would not speak or look at Jaliek. Stephen had been told by his wife that he could not bring Jaliek home to their house. I donвt think he meant to, but I believe that Stephen Kerr could have become enraged, lost control and harmed his son on that ride home.

Is there anything else you want to say?

On the morning of December 7th, I received two calls from Jocelyn, Jaliekвs adopted mother. The first came into my home phone on call waiting and it was gone before I could answer it. Within five minutes, another call from Jocelynвs cell phone came into my cell phone. I answered with, вHelloв. The caller said, вMay I ask who this is?в I replied, вMay I ask who THIS is?в She said, вThis is Jocelyn. Iвm just trying to figure out who these calls are on my bill.в Then she hung up. The calls she was checking were from Stephenвs cell phone. It would appear that even she has some doubts. Itвs been over two months since the night I returned Jaliek to his adopted father. My husband and I have to live with all the вif onlyвsв that haunt us. Jaliek was a beautiful, sweet, intelligent, generous and loving child with some behavior problems. His adopted parents were just unable to parent him. We would have preferred to remain the anonymous вrespite family from Altamontв, but feel compelled to be there for Jaliek, to speak for him whenever possible. He didnвt deserve whatever happened to him. He deserves the truth and to rest in peace. Weвve spoken to a lot of people in the past few weeks about Jaliekвs disappearance. We do know that thousands of people out there are praying for this child and for the truth. I want them to know that those prayers are appreciated and with Godвs help will bring justice for Jaliek.

Elaine & Tom Person Altamont, NY



In-Depth Timeline:

Law enforcement has utilized local and state police, forest rangers, volunteers, helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, air boats, FBI, sonar, NY State Police and volunteer divers, search and rescue and cadaver dogs and have followed up on some 300 plus leads. The extensive and ongoing search and investigation have turned up no indication of Jaliekвs whereabouts.

The possibility that Jaliek ran away has not been completely ruled out however, a twelve year old child that has an extensive history of both medical and psychological issues does not just run away from home never to be seen or heard from again. Stephen has refused to take a polygraph. Neither parent is cooperating with police or spending any effort to locate their missing child. The parents retained legal counsel within days of Jaliekвs disappearance.

Jaliek ~ Profile ~ 5'6" tall, 105 lbs., size 12 shoe, bi-racial, green eyes, speech impediment (says his r's as w's).ВJaliek was in six foster homes before becoming a foster child in his seventh home with Jocelyn McDonald and Stephen Kerr in July 2002.В They adopted Jaliek in 2004.ВJaliek had been in regular therapy until he was adopted.ВJaliek was diagnosed with RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) and is a beautiful, talented, kind child with a generous nature.

On Monday, October 22, 2007 Jaliek made an improper sexual comment to a younger 4 yr old child in the small (9 student) home school.ВThere was not an adult present in the room with the children but an adult was downstairs in the main schoolroom.ВJaliek did not raise his voice, put his hands on the younger child or get up from where he was sitting.ВThe younger child was pulling on Jaliek's shoelaces and would not stop when asked.

An hour after the incident one of Jaliek's brothers told Jocelyn and she called Stephen home from work and told Stephen he would have to take care of Jaliek and that she wouldn't have Jaliek in their home anymore.ВFrom that point until Jaliek disappeared Jocelyn shunned Jaliek.

Stephen had to care for Jaliek, take Jaliek with him to work all week and sit in the break room and hold a sign that read вDo Not Talk To Meв (as reported by a coworker of Stephens), take him on an overnight trip to Massachusetts.В Stephen was in charge of feeding Jaliek and staying with Jaliek most nights at his parents vacant house on Hill Street in Greenwich.В Stephen called agencies to find out about placement for Jaliek and was angered by their answers.ВHe was given a wrong answer by the person he called at Parson's and was told he and Jocelyn could not disrupt Jaliek's adoption.

Jocelyn and Stephen turned Jaliek's spoken sexual comment into a rape threat and told others Jaliek was grooming the child as a pedophile so that he could sexually abuse the child.ВOther parents in the home school had mild to no reactions to Jaliek's comment to the child.ВThe teacher at the home school said pre-teen boys, her own included, talk that way.ВThe mother of the younger child said the child did not understand Jaliek's comment and was not upset by it.В

Jaliek's maternal grandparents offered to care for Jaliek but Jocelyn said no that Jaliek would enjoy himself if he stayed with them. Jocelyn said she did not want Jaliek "rewarded" for his behavior.

There were and had been problems in the home with Jaliek and Stephen's behavior for over two years prior to Jaliek's disappearance.ВStephen dunked Jaliek in White Creek in Salem and Jocelyn had Stephen move out of their Raven Way home in May and June of 2007 because of his anger towards three of the children, especially towards Jaliek.
В
They were given the name of Elaine and Tom Person who had provided respite care for Jaliek in the past when he was with other foster families. Stephen dropped Jaliek off to the Persons for respite on Oct. 23, 2007 and an agreement was made between Kerr and the Persons that they would keep Jaliek until Thursday November 1, 2007 because they had plans to go to NYC to watch their oldest daughter run in the NY Marathon and that Kerr would drop Jaliek back to them on Tuesday November 6, 2007 for an undetermined amount of time.
On November 1, 2007 Stephen picked Jaliek up from the respite family and took Jaliek to Red Robin and bought Jaliek his favorite meal.ВJaliek had already eaten dinner.В

On November 2, 2007 Stephen called Jocelyn and said Jaliek had run away.В Stephen took a shower and returned videos and then reported to the police at 8:57am that Jaliek had run away.ВNeither Stephen nor Jocelyn searched outside of the Hill Street or Raven Way home or went to neighbors at either house to ask if anyone had seen Jaliek.ВAt 1:35 pm that day Jocelyn took the children to a scheduled doctor's appointment and at 1:30 pm that day Stephen went to a birthday party for his boss and told no one Jaliek was missing.

That evening they took the children to the maternal grandparents house to spend the weekend.ВWhile there they picked out a photograph of Jaliek to make posters the next day.ВThat weekend Jocelyn and Stephen rented a video and that week they went out to dinner with friends and laughed and talked about shopping (overheard by a waitress), went out to breakfast, shopped and went to a movie in Saratoga.В

On Monday, November 5 the 23 acres at Raven Way was searched by forest rangers and law enforcement.ВThe search was for a child hiding in the tall grass and trees.В Jocelyn and Stephen gave access to law enforcement and opened up some of their records and accounts.ВChannels 10 & 13 came to Raven Way and interviewed Stephen.В At one point Stephen walked away from the cameras, turned his back and urinated in the grass.

On Tuesday, November 6 Stephen was taken for a polygraph but after the initial part of the process he said he had not had enough sleep and refused to take the polygraph test.В Jocelyn took a polygraph test that afternoon, the result have not been made public. That night Stephen and Jocelyn hired an attorney and their cooperation with law enforcement stopped.ВStephen and Jocelyn then openly lied and said Stephen was held and tortured by the police for 12 hours.В

A light the night vigil was planned by the respite family and Jaliekвs former foster families for Jaliek and Stephen was reported to the police for taking down missing posters of Jaliek and posters for the vigil.ВHe made comments to merchants that the posters accused him of killing Jaliek.ВStephen also said Jaliek was evil and a terrible child who would grow up to be a pedophile or would be caught selling drugs on the streets.

On November 10th there was an article on the front page of the Post Star newspaper about the search for Jaliek.ВStephen read the article, slapped his hand down on top of the newspaper and said "look at all these resources for one child, there are hundreds of missing children in Afghanistan and India and here they are using all these resources for one child".В

On November 11th Jocelyn told her mother that she would be more concerned and search if it were any of her other children that was missing and that she cares more for her other children.ВThis comment was in reaction to Jocelyn's mother saying the search for Jaliek should be expanded.

On November 16 at the second vigil for Jaliek Stephen got up and lectured on Martin Luther King, told everyone Jaliek had gotten a "bad check" and that the people and state of New York had thrown Jaliek away.ВDuring this time Jocelyn and Stephen were (and may still be) getting a tax free check of $1,500 per month from the state of NY for Jaliek's care.

At this same vigil on November 16, after the vigil for Jaliek John Allen from Channel 13 (WNYT) asked Stephen for a statement about his missing son. Stephen replied and this was aired, вI donвt have time to make a comment, my children have an egg selling business and I have to go back in the Church and sell eggs.в

There are also 3 other grandparents who have done nothing to search for their grandson or help in the investigation. John McDonald who resides in South Carolina and a graduate from West Port and is a retired full Colonel. Graham Kerr who is a graduate from Oxford in England and worked for the World Bank and the US State Department in Romania, and Mary Agnes Kerr who is a graduate from Keuka College and was in the Peace Corps in Africa. The Kerrвs retired in June of 2008 and moved back from Romania to there Greenwich home that Jaliek went missing to and after a month or so being back did not want to be bothered with the situation of their grandson Jaliek they moved to a gated community in Alexandria, Virginias.

On December 1, 2007 John McDonald (Jocelynвs father in South Carolina) did offer a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the return of Jaliek Rainwalker. The reward that Stephen and Jocelyn had decided to against the advice of law enforcement and Team Adam would drop by $5,000 the first of each month after December 31, 2007.

In January 2008 police named Stephen Kerr a person of interest in Jaliekвs disappearance based on several discrepancies in his story.

Also in January an anonymous letter dubbed вJaliek Is Aliveв about the case was sent to local newspapers and TV stations with no return address and was postmarked вWestchester, NY. The letter had personal information that allegedly only Jaliek would have knowledge of. An read вJaliek still alive, Needed a foot soldier for this war on drugs, Picked him up Rt. 40 Post 30, Heвs ok, No fake, He says ask his Mama and Papa who are the macaroni (sic) family, My cat name diamond?, Why does Franti yell fire?, Donвt try to look we are not there.в

In February 2008 Barbara Reeley and Dennis Smith Jaliekвs maternal adopted grandparents contacted Texas EquuSearch who volunteered their time and sent experts to help with sonar, layered voice analysis and drone photos. The local media, hundreds of volunteers and a close-knit group they consider family have come together to search for this beautiful, bright and loving child.

Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald are not searching for Jaliek, not pleading for his return, not talking or cooperating with law enforcement and they are not in touch with the media in order to keep awareness of Jaliek's disappearance in the public eye.

In February 2008 Stephen Kerr and Jocelyn McDonald have said they want to get on with their lives.ВThey have moved to West Rupert, Vermont and have an unlisted phone number.ВHow is Jaliek supposed to find them?В He has their cell phone numbers but there is almost no cell phone service in West Rupert, Vermont.


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Iva ThompsonBy:
Technology and the InternetIn:
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NYS Legislature

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