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dell cameron @dellcam
, 26 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
when i was four, i was taken away from my father during an intense custody battle and placed in a group home for several years by an idiot judge. we went to parks and zoos, too, and then i’d cry myself to sleep most nights. the trauma left me bent for years. this is child abuse.
Gonna share a few other things, because fuck it. The most important thing to understand about the state's captive kids is the schedule they’re forced to adopt. When they wake, when they eat, when they “play” (yard time), and when they work
The kids will be expected to perform some kind of work, typically extreme self-maintenance. Spotless rooms, bathrooms, etc. Early morning inspections. Questions for journalists are, what happens to kids who don’t comply?
Failing to pass a morning inspection in a Texas Christian-run group home meant water and bread for breakfast, as opposed to oatmeal and raisins. Not too bad. But often I’d have my room destroyed, drawers emptied, etc ., when it didn’t pass and then be told to start from scratch.
Punishments are severe. Making loud noises at night would result in warnings and two warnings would result in removal from your bed. You’re pulled into a hallway, you sleep on the ground. Concrete. Try to fit your body into a pillowcase.
Though kids ripped from their parents freak out. Act out. Break stuff. Scream. I spent many nights, ages 4-9, sleeping outside, too. Or punished by scrubbing floors with a toothbrush while other kids played b/c I displayed emotional distress.
Kids who really act out, they are restrained physically. This involves being faceplanted on the ground, having a knee in your back, and your arms behind your back, hands lifted high, usually in a painful position while someone yells, “Stop scream, stop crying,” or whatever.
I certainly experienced abuse as a ward of the state, but i grew tough, too. and there were happy moments. this is a photo of me and my roommate at a group home in Fort Worth. Probably taken in, idk, 1992.
The trauma came from being separated from parents, who I knew were out there, and when I saw them, would tell me they were doing everything to get me home. But it took years. Hope is what I lost as a child. It was destroyed by the state.
When on occasion my dad was allowed to visit, watching him leave utterly destroyed me. I mean, I'd fly into insanity. I would pick up things and smash windows once his truck drove around the corner. Then I'd be punished, very harshly.
When I was 10 or 11 I got out. I was in custody for damn, most of my childhood. It was impossible to acclimate. I didn't fit anywhere. I had no comprehension of freedom, as my dad's step kids understood it. I didn't understand I could walk outside without permission... for months
Drove my family crazy. I was waking up at 6am and cleaning my room, then just sitting, and waiting pass room inspection, for about six months. My brain was broke. Probably would've fit in nicely if they'd shipped me off early to some kind military school.
People who work at these facilities are mostly likely adults who care about kids. But they aren't their parents. They go home at the end of then night, or week, just like prison guards. Kids understand that. They fucking understand these adults aren't family. I knew it. Every day
On top of this, there was abuse. Physical at least. I remember some... being dragged by my hair down a hallway. But I buried most of it. It definitely happened. And who's watching? No one. Kids, btw, don't talk.
Detaining children when parents love them & want them is a crime against humanity. Doing so methodically is being OK with children being hurt, abused, or damaged, possibly for life, b/c why? .... president wants a wall? You'd hurt kids for that? Fuck you. I'll fight you right now
This is another pic of me at a carnival with my pretend family after I was separated from parents (bottom right). Might look like i’m having fun. Oh shit, they took the circus! I wanted to run away every single moment. I was never not considering it.
Reporters investigating these places need to understand, first and foremost, what happens to these kids when they act out. What happens when they won't go to bed?; when they won't do their chores?; when they lash out and throw a tennis ball through a window? What's the procedure?
Can the children be physically restrained by anyone? Are the people who grab kids,pin them to the ground, dig their knees into their backs, yank their arms while they scream... is that their job? Is that what they're supposed to do? Are there any rules at all?
These children will not be docile, especially living 5 to a room. That's a joke. There's going to be violence. Adults are going to get frustrated. Who the fuck is watching these people?
Here’s another picture of me, hugging someone who is not my mother, on a compound with as many as 128 kids. But hey... we had a TV. How bad could it be? Fuck you.

How old was I, do you think, before my first suicidal thought? Younger than you.
I went to a doctor today. I've been stressed out for a while. I'm a journalist after all. I have to read the news every day. But this is something new. It's messing me up. And I couldn't deal with it alone. These pictures of kids living in fucking warehouses. It's killing me.
Only tweeting this now I guess because it's 5am & I've been drinking. Of course, I'm no stranger to alcohol. It was a friend early on. Rarely is now, thankfully. I am always awake at this hour though. Always. Anxiety is forever with me, every day, for 30 years. Guess why?
In the early 90s, my dad helped found a group called Texas Fathers for Equal Rights. Back then, moms always got custody no matter what. He represented himself, no degree, just studied in SMU's law library for years. I was abducted & they tried to keep me. Parents are heroes.
Children need love. Most importantly, they need it from their parents. It's our responsibility as a society to ensure they get it. Everything else is secondary.
Last thing I want to add is that I was able to rebound from all of this—even though I sucked at school & ended up living a criminal life, often on drugs—b/c I'm white, I'm a man, and when you're those two things, society will forgive you. I would've been totally fucked otherwise.
Dad
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