No protection from the abuse
My name is Kelley Richey and I currently reside in Aurora, Colorado but am originally from Kentucky. I was homeschooled up until high school graduation in a rural and religious area of what some know as the Bible Belt. I grew up one of six children. Our home life was physically and emotionally abusive at the hands of our mentally unstable mother. In addition to the abuse by our mother, I also experienced sexual abuse by individuals who molested my sister and me. CPS was called on my Mom several times over my childhood, but she was able to hide behind the powerful protection of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, which made it impossible for CPS to investigate our home, well beings, and safety.
Our “homeschool” was a sham. There was no schoolwork done consistently. We were left to our own devices, and school/learning was used as a form of punishment by having it withheld from us, and no testing ever took place. I was entirely self-taught in high school while holding down a full-time job. I took my very first exam at the age of 17 when taking the ACT. My older sister made sure I was as prepared as possible. Without her help, I never would have passed with the score needed to enter a local university.
Ever since CPS failed my siblings and me all those years ago, I have been passionate about being a catalyst for getting better laws passed for children all over the United States. My sister and I started a podcast last year called, The Family Ties Podcast. We cover the true crime cases that involve children that have been removed from the public school system, isolated from the rest of the community, who are victims of abuse, neglect, torture, and murder.
The more I dig, the more disturbed I am at the lack of laws that protect children in this country. 4 to 7 children die every day in circumstances even where CPS has been called in to investigate, but nothing ever comes of the investigation. There are too many instances where CPS is called in and they seem to think everything is okay and the investigation doesn’t go any further. More laws protect adults and parents almost no matter what the cost may be, often at the expense of the child’s life.
My concern is that the laws and acts that get passed are ones that protect the parent’s rights, which allow children to remain in abusive and dangerous home situations with parents who have unfettered access to these children. Children who are easily manipulated, coerced, beaten into silence and submission like my siblings and I were.
Even when a case of abuse or neglect gets reported, the odds of the child getting a fair shake at safety and support that he or she needs is terribly low. The efficacy of CPS and state child welfare programs has been wildly ineffective in stopping abuse, neglect, and even death. I would like to gain a deeper understanding of what local and state governments are doing to rectify this and provide safer environments for children who are at great risk.
What advice would you offer to encourage others?
Seek out mental health help. Therapy and medication have helped me start to find myself and work towards moving on. Become an advocate on behalf of children and support groups like this that are working to make the world better for kids. Growing up I had no voice and no rights, as an adult, I am using my voice to demand rights for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Kelley Richey, Survivor
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