Florida Business Forum Podcast

Florida Man Battling Dysfunctional Court System for Autistic Son's Rights

September 07, 2023 Sam Yates, Yates & Associates, Public Relations & Marketing Season 1 Episode 36
Florida Man Battling Dysfunctional Court System for Autistic Son's Rights
Florida Business Forum Podcast
More Info
Florida Business Forum Podcast
Florida Man Battling Dysfunctional Court System for Autistic Son's Rights
Sep 07, 2023 Season 1 Episode 36
Sam Yates, Yates & Associates, Public Relations & Marketing

Send us a Text Message.

A multi-year battle for the rights of children with autism who have grown into adults but their mental age remains a child is headed to Washington, D.C. Paul Foster, the father of Cayman Foster, is making the trip to our nation's capitol to bring attention to his 27 year old son...a child by mental standards who is on the autism scale but who a court system in Martin County, Florida says is an adult.

The Florida Business Forum host Sam Yates has been tracking the nearly eight year long court case that started with a divorce, lead to a custody dispute, and has left a child in an adult's body caught in what Paul Foster says is a travesty of justice for those who have mental challenges. www.ridefortherights.com


Support the Show.

The Florida Business Forum Podcast is produced by Yates & Associates, Public Relations & Marketing, and hosted by Emmy Award winning reporter and television anchor Sam Yates. If you or your business or not-for-profit organization would like to share your news with our Florida, national, and international audience please contact Sam Yates, Sam@YatesPRO.com.

The Florida Business Forum Podcast is the only business forum of its kind dedicated to Florida news, business, and not-for-profit organizations. When Florida business minds need to know, they turn to The Florida Business Forum Podcast first!

Program Sponsorships are available starting at $500/monthly with a minimum six-month sponsorship.

The Florida Business Forum Podcast is affiliated with the Pod National News Network USA providing business news podcasts to every State in the U.S.A. The Florida Business Forum Podcast is herd throughout Florida, the United States, and 32 countries and territories.

Direct Media Inquiries to Sam Yates, Sam@Yatespro.com.

Florida Business Forum Podcast +
Become a supporter of the show!
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

A multi-year battle for the rights of children with autism who have grown into adults but their mental age remains a child is headed to Washington, D.C. Paul Foster, the father of Cayman Foster, is making the trip to our nation's capitol to bring attention to his 27 year old son...a child by mental standards who is on the autism scale but who a court system in Martin County, Florida says is an adult.

The Florida Business Forum host Sam Yates has been tracking the nearly eight year long court case that started with a divorce, lead to a custody dispute, and has left a child in an adult's body caught in what Paul Foster says is a travesty of justice for those who have mental challenges. www.ridefortherights.com


Support the Show.

The Florida Business Forum Podcast is produced by Yates & Associates, Public Relations & Marketing, and hosted by Emmy Award winning reporter and television anchor Sam Yates. If you or your business or not-for-profit organization would like to share your news with our Florida, national, and international audience please contact Sam Yates, Sam@YatesPRO.com.

The Florida Business Forum Podcast is the only business forum of its kind dedicated to Florida news, business, and not-for-profit organizations. When Florida business minds need to know, they turn to The Florida Business Forum Podcast first!

Program Sponsorships are available starting at $500/monthly with a minimum six-month sponsorship.

The Florida Business Forum Podcast is affiliated with the Pod National News Network USA providing business news podcasts to every State in the U.S.A. The Florida Business Forum Podcast is herd throughout Florida, the United States, and 32 countries and territories.

Direct Media Inquiries to Sam Yates, Sam@Yatespro.com.

Sam Yates:

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another informative episode of the Florida Business Forum Podcast. Let's open the Florida Business Forum floodgates and let the information begin to flow. Here's your Florida Business Forum information guru and Anchorman Sam Yates. I'm very happy to welcome a guest today that I have had a long period of contact with Paul Foster is my guest. And Paul has a very interesting story. And the story centers around a child who is being held hostage by the Martin County court system. If that is shocking to you, then you know why I have been following Paul's situation for several years now because it has not gotten any better. And we're going to rely upon Paul to tell us more about that. But, Paul, welcome to the program.

Paul Foster:

Thank you, Sam.

Sam Yates:

Paul, I know that in the in the introduction there I referenced to a child being held hostage by the Martin County court system more specific, that child is your son. What's happening?

Paul Foster:

Well, let me just say that the child is 27 years old, but he has the mental capacity of a child. And the Martin County court system is not recognizing his rights that he was born with. Even though he was born mentally handicapped, my son was diagnosed with autism, he's midstream. He's pretty pretty well productive. He can dress himself, wash himself, do normal chores, but he will have to be supervised the rest of his life. The Martin County court system has allowed the Guardian hit his mother, my ex wife to exercise, a Florida statute that states award can maintain contact with family and friends unless the Guardian believes that such contact may cause harm to the ward. She's hiding behind this. And the Martin County court system is allowing her to keep him from what the statute actually states. Now, there was a judge on record that said that she my ex wife hates me with the passion. So it's not that it's going to cause harm to the child or the ward, it's that she just doesn't want him to see me to hurt me.

Sam Yates:

And unfortunately, we have seen divorce cases in the past, any of us who are adults know of people who have gone through divorce, and it is a horrible thing to go through. But when children are involved in and again, I'm going to come back and use that term, child and children because of what you just said that your son came on, is 27 years old, but with the the mental capacities of a child. And therein lies the problem with the court system that that he's been caught in this limbo, following a divorce proceeding, a custody battle, and you were given visitation, but it's been held up and I guess the big question is, how long has it been since you have seen your child?

Paul Foster:

Well, my son was granted visitation to me by the court, he was granted one hour a week. And that lasted one hour. And that was July of 21.

Sam Yates:

Okay now July of 21. So here we are in 2023. In so one hour, since that decree was granted to your son to have visitation and the court system has not enforced it. Why?

Paul Foster:

Well, since that one meeting, The Guardian and the attorney for The Guardian have filed a appeal from the court saying that the judge does not have the authority to grant that. It went to the fourth DCA, it took the fourth DCA a year and a half to to finally get an answer to the appeal, and the answer was, she had no merit in the appeal, and the lesser court here in Martin County has the authority to do that, and much, much more.

Sam Yates:

Now, I have to say that, in all fairness, because there are other parties involved in this, I have reached out on behalf of the the production to everyone involved, from the judicial system all the way down to the individual attorneys, to those who are in positions of oversight for this particular case. And ladies and gentlemen, I have to tell you that I'm going to tell you here in one sentence, listen carefully. How many people have responded? Those crickets, those crickets? That's the sound of response that I have had from all the other parties involved in this trying to get them to explain. What's this deal here? Why is this gentleman being refused visitation with his son, and why is the son being refused visitation with his father for all of this time, and knowing Paul Foster, you're not someone that has taken this lightly. I know that I became aware of you several years ago, when you were riding a bicycle from Stuart, Florida, to the steps of the state Supreme Court in Tallahassee, Florida to bring attention to your cause. That got a lot of attention.

Paul Foster:

Yes, it did. But it didn't get the right attention. And that's why the event is an annual. Now, our fourth annual will be the 18th of September, this month, we'll be going to Washington DC, I will not be riding the entire distance, we're going to ride just the first leg, which will take us up to vero and then we'll drive to Washington DC. And then I will ride around Washington DC, in my chicken suit, which hopefully as the attention getter and look for every news crew possible, and try to bring national attention to what Martin County is doing or is not doing. They, in my opinion, they are treating this with I don't know the words that will do not treating this. The fourth DCA, I don't understand why it took them a year and a half to answer an appeal for a mentally handicapped person. Now, time should be of the essence on a delicate matter like this. Not only is his social life being disrupted, but his mental well being. My son has the mental capacity with three year old. How do you tell a three year old that he cannot see his father anymore? Now there's been numerous hearings on this and a court monitor was appointed. My son was interviewed by several people. And he has said that he wants to see me. Now, his mother says that he doesn't know what he's talking about?

Sam Yates:

Well, it seems like there was sort of a double standard there in some ways, not just in some ways there is a double standard there. The court is saying here is a person that is of age, therefore this person should have the right to say what they want. But when he says what he wants, and that's to see his father, the court is denying it. So it's a double sword as

Paul Foster:

well. My son was found incompetent, that's why he hasn't a guardian. But the issue is that the Guardian is not doing what's best for the ward. She's doing what's best for her. And if she feels that hurting me is best for her, instead of doing what's best for her son, a mentally handicapped person. Then the courts I don't know what what the courts are therefore. Well,

Sam Yates:

let's let's take a look at what you're doing in Washington DC and in ladies and gentlemen, I have to say that the reason that this is getting a lot of attention Is because Paul and I have paid visits to children's services and other organizations that are a little incredulous about, wow. You mean there is a child in an adult's body that is being denied rights. And there needs to be some legislation. And we've been told that. So that's why you're going to DC not just to bring it to the immediate attention. But hopefully, some federal legislators will say, Whoa, wait a minute. If this is happening to one child in Martin County, Florida, it's probably happening to hundreds, if not 1000s, of other children in adult bodies in Florida. And who knows how many untold other children trapped in adult bodies who are crying out for parents nationwide? And something needs to get done? Is that a purpose that your attempt to use?

Paul Foster:

Yes, yes, that is my ultimate goal is to have legislation passed a Florida Statute, something that would amend the guardianship statute, or add to it, that would have a mentally handicapped person governed by their mental age, not their birth age, which again, if you tell a 27 year old, he can't see his father anymore. He a normal 27 year old has the ability to reason. If you tell a mentally handicapped person, adult with the mental, the mental capacity of a three year old, he can't see his father anymore, he can only comprehend what a three year old can comprehend. Now, since my son is disabled, his ability to reason is compromised. And his well being should be priority, his mental well being should be priority. Now, his guardian has been recognized as a very good guardian. My ex wife, she takes very good care of him. He's got a nice place to live, he, he sees a doctor regularly. Not that I'm informed of it. Wide social array. But she's keeping him from an important part of his life. His father, I was his father up until he was 18. We had a great relationship. And then all of a sudden, she stopped when he turned 18.

Sam Yates:

And I ended and I understand that, you know, is the vantage point that you have, and the court system has looked at it and just hasn't done anything or has looked at it and said, you know, Mr. Foster is right, a child, no matter what their physical age should have the contact with father and mother and have a relationship that nurtures what every child wants, and that is parents.

Paul Foster:

Yes, every, every organization, every psychologist, psychiatrist, everyone who works with the mentally handicapped will tell you that a mentally handicapped child slash person should have both parents in their lives. Now, most husbands fathers, when they find out they have mentally handicapped child, well, they don't want anything to do with that marriage or that child. I'm not running away from it. I'm running towards it. I miss my son. I love my son. But I know that he misses me and I know he loves me. A funny thing was was I was driving my vehicle over this large bridge here and Stuart, and a woman stopped me and said, You know, I'd like what you're doing. Thank you very much. And I gave her some information. I got out of my vehicle. And I have a picture of my son on my, my shirt. And she looked at him and she said, Kaman. He's my client. He talks about you. And that just took me aback. Because every time my ex wife is in court, and every filing that she has done, says that he does not mention me one bit. And she says in her filings, and in her annual guardian of report, she has noted that contact with his father would be detrimental to him. And the courts are allowing her to do this without questioning. Something like that should bring up a red flag. detrimental. What's going on is that the courts should address it instead of brushing it under the carpet to another year. Another judge, I'm on the eighth judge right now, wait a

Sam Yates:

minute, you're, you're on your eighth judge. How does that happen? I know judges are reassigned. But is it such a topic that the judges don't want to touch it because the divorce is involved? And they're sort of playing chicken there?

Paul Foster:

No, the the first three judges, the first one was in guardianship court. It was in the middle of the divorce. And she pretty much kidnapped my son to keep him away from me, hit him away, kept him out of school, kept him from his social activities, just so I wouldn't find him. And she obtained guardianship six months before the divorce. At the guardianship hearing, I applied for CO guardian. Well, the judge said, you're in the middle of divorce. We're giving it we're granting it to the mother. Let the family court address timeshare and other issues, while six months later at to divorce. The divorce judge said, Well, he's of age, he has a guardian just has to go back to guardianship court pass the buck. So it went back to guardianship court. So that was three judges right there. And from 2016. To present. There had been five other judges rotated in from Martin County.

Sam Yates:

Amazing, amazing. Now I know that you are not just persistent. You're like a bulldog on this, because I see you. And I want to come back to the chicken costume in a minute. But I see you out and about in different venues, different locations advocating for your son. And I know that as part of that advocacy process. You have reached out to local elected officials at the state and federal level. Who have you reached out and what response have you gotten?

Paul Foster:

Well, the first time I contacted somebody was Toby Oberdorfer, our representative here and Stuart. He granted me a a appointment. I've sat down in his office spoke with him for 2030 minutes. And he told me that he would look into this, and he would get back with me in two weeks. How long ago? Has that been? Oh, that was June of 2020.

Sam Yates:

Now wait a minute. He told you two weeks. And that was 2020. And we're in 2023. Mr. Oberdorfer. If you need a calendar, we will be glad to supply you with a calendar. Two weeks is certainly not two years plus who else?

Paul Foster:

Brian mast was at my church. And it was well right before election. So after service, I spoke with him for 1520 minutes. And he just I didn't get a response. No one wants to actually address this on a lesser level than what they are. But they're willing to campaign.

Sam Yates:

All right, Brian mast Congressman Brian mast. I'm calling you out. We've got Oberndorf giving two week timetable taking more than two years. Congressman Brian mast campaigning we'll listen to you. But how long has it been since that happened and no action?

Paul Foster:

That was a year ago.

Sam Yates:

Okay, Congressman masked? This is on your table now. And I know that we have reached out and I say we because hearing those two items. I did reach out to Gail Harold's office. And once again, crickets. So a lot of our local legislative representatives at the state and at the federal level are aware of this, but they are doing nothing. Which is why you're going to Washington DC would you like to see a federal law called Caymans law to make sure that children trapped in adult bodies don't get lost in the cracks like your son has here in Martin County.

Paul Foster:

You know, Sam, I don't care what it's called. As long as it's a thing active. And the problem with the laws that are on the books now is that the courts are not enforcing them. For whatever reason, I have no idea. But I have statute 744 Right in front of me. And it states a person that has been determined to be incapacitated retains the right. And one of them is to receive visitors and communicate with others. A violation that has been going on, and has been noted in court documents over and over again. And also, let's get back to who I've seen on my attention event. And I rode the entire way to Tallahassee on the bicycle off all three years, I've gotten into the governor's office all three years. Well, with the exception of the first year, the last two years, the governor just refused to see me.

Sam Yates:

Now you're a constituent you rode all the way to Tallahassee got into the governor's office and nothing? Nothing. Oh, he's running for president this year. So do you think he would listen this year?

Paul Foster:

Well, I'm pretty sure his opponent will,

Sam Yates:

point made point made. Now, you and ladies and gentlemen, you have to realize that when Mr. Foster says he dresses up, he dresses up for a tension, ballerina, whatever it might be, to get attention about his cause, and the laws that he or that he knows need to be changed. And here he is attempting to move those forward. So he goes to an extreme from time to time to get attention to say, let's all get together and solve this problem. Chicken costume, what prompted you to begin wearing a chicken costume?

Paul Foster:

Well, frankly, Sam, chicken is represents what Martin County is, they are afraid to address this issue. That's why I feel they keep pushing it off and pushing it off another year. Another judge, no one has the chicken eggs to stand up and address this and say what is the problem? This has been going on? Like I said, Sam nine plus years. You would think that because this is you has a mentally handicapped person. And there are such words as detrimental to, to him. Phrases like that put into a garden. So you would think that someone would say, Well, what's going on here? We should either put a restraining order on this person because it's detrimental to him or let this mentally handicapped person see his father,

Sam Yates:

meaning that if if you're doing something wrong, put a restraining order on you. But yes, but obviously no one has stepped forward to do that. Therefore we can come to the conclusion that is not the case.

Paul Foster:

That is definitely not the case. Like I said before, my son and I had a great relationship until my ex wife decided that that was the only way. My opinion that that was the only way she could get even with me. And the divorce being a Florida no fault state. There was no reason for divorce, which I really never found out what it was. I did spend a lot of time with my children. And it was only the time that I could give them other time it was given to providing for them.

Sam Yates:

Let's recap if we can. You're wearing the chicken costume because those parties that could make a difference our chicken to stand up and do what is right for a child in an adult's body and that goes to our local judges. The attorneys and the advocates involved at it that we've invited to comment here and they've just not responded just as they've not responded to you. That goes to our local representative Toby Oberndorf. That goes to Gail Harold, that goes to Congressman Brian mast that goes to the governor of the state of Florida, Ron DeSantis. All are represented through that chicken costume as being chicken to say what's going on here. So you are going to take the chicken to Washington DC, when and how can people get it involved.

Paul Foster:

We'll be at the Martin County Courthouse well across the street from it, Monday, September 18. From 730 to nine, we'll be leaving at nine o'clock. We'll be riding the bicycle from Martin County Courthouse north on US one. And when we get to vero, that will be the first leg of the ride. Then, from Vero, we'll be driving to Washington DC. We will be in Washington, DC Wednesday, the seventh of the I'm sorry, the 20th. We'll get there early, be riding around, I'll have both Wednesday and Thursday in Washington DC to find anyone who finds it odd that someone's riding around on a bicycle in a chicken costume. And hopefully, I'll get the attention that will bring attention to Martin County court system.

Sam Yates:

If someone wants to help you, how can they go about doing that?

Paul Foster:

Well, they can go to ride for the rights, one word.com. And my contact information is on there. There's also a donation account from Wells Fargo, anyone can go into Wells Fargo, any location and donate to the ride for the rights account. I'm on Instagram, it's autism underscore chicken, on Instagram. And you can see a lot of shots of where I've been where I'm going. And hopefully this issue will be resolved this year. But if not, I fully intend to continue this as long as it takes Sam. I am in a group called Autism support group. I'm sorry, parents support group for autism on Facebook. And it's it's heartbreaking. Some of the single parents that have to deal with issues. And I'm very fortunate my son midstream. We hate to say this, but we had a pretty much easy with him. But some of the issues that are going on. And that's another issue some some people have adult handicapped children that are still waiting to get Medicare Medicaid that had been on the waiting list for eight teen years in Florida. That is unacceptable. But that's another issue.

Sam Yates:

Paul, I want to say that my heart goes out to you. And my heart goes out especially to all the parents who may have autistic or otherwise challenged children who one day will be inside an adult body. And without people like you standing up for their rights. We have seen what can happen and is happening here in Martin County. So I want to wish you all the luck in the world standing up for the rights of your son Cayman, and standing up for the rights of every child that is or will be trapped in an adult's body. Hopefully someone will step forward and bring it to a conclusion. If not, you have an open door to come back and be here and continue to tell your story. And ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank Paul foster for being here and hope that your heart goes out as mine does for a rapid conclusion for something that should never ever have taken this long and shame on everybody. That is delayed it. Shame on you. And one more time we have reached out to all the parties involved in this and invited them to comment on it. They have not responded here. And I also want to commend you for being as delicate as you could in describing the scenario with all the people involved. We're not casting aspersions, we're talking facts. And I think you have addressed it very, very well. So I appreciate it very much, Paul, thank you for being

Paul Foster:

here. Sam, thank you very much. And on a personal level. Sam, thank you very much for your support. The the help and support you've given me is overwhelming. And I appreciate that. Sam, thank you

Sam Yates:

by the help. Ladies and gentlemen, the Florida Business Forum for all of you. Have a great day and pray for a good conclusion to this. Have a great day everybody. The Florida Business Forum is dedicated to showcasing Florida businesses and CEOs of all sorts to promote their business or not for profit in the only business forum of its type in Florida. Thanks for tuning in. And remember, the Florida Business Forum is now accepting guest applications. Have a great day everyone and stay tuned for more business