By Eric Darbe
December 1--After her two children were removed from her home by the Department of Social Services following an incident of domestic violence involving her husband, Tom, in 1997, Nevajac Moore started "Justice for Families," a support group for parents who believe that they have been mistreated by the DSS.
She has been successful. The February 9, 1999 edition of The Boston Globe ran an article about her and her husband stating that the Moores "did more than get angry at the DSS. They got organized." Moore was quoted describing herself as a "child-protection pit bull." The Globe went on to tell of the accomplishments of Moore’s ongoing grassroots campaign to this point, and the aid that she provides families who feel "overwhelmed or ill-informed."
But Moore told Massachusetts News that she was not completely pleased with the article. For instance, it mentioned at several points that she and her husband smoke, describing Moore as having "her head wreathed in smoke," and her husband as "pacing and puffing." Moore, who notes that she had quit smoking before the DSS got involved with her life, says, "I feel that [the Globe] did try to portray a negative image of us.... Why didn’t [the article] mention how creative we are, the condition and atmosphere of our home, and the two-acre garden that we restored?"
According to Moore, this does a disservice to the Globe’s readers. It makes cases like hers seem unimportant for wealthier, more "typical" families. But it is not, she says, and imparts this anecdote to explain:
"One couple in our group took a chessboard to their supervised visit at the DSS office with their daughters ages 10 and 12. They were reprimanded and it was written into their ‘service plan’ that, in the future, they were to bring more ‘age appropriate games.’" Moore says that should give pause to those parents who think that they are doing a good job raising their kids and challenging their intellects at an early age, with games like chess. She continues, "The general public, placated by fast food, shiny cars, and mass-produced designer clothes, don’t think it can happen to them," as if this type of thing only happens to smokers and alcoholics who fail drug tests.
Moore stresses that her fight is not as much about her own personal story. "Our story is just an illustration of a huge problem," Moore says. She believes the real story has to do with "massive corruption, misappropriation of funds, and covering up of abuse" by the DSS.
Moore, who attended the Congressional School in Washington, DC, and the Rosenberg school in Switzerland, says that her background instilled in her "very high values about honesty, integrity, freedom and the foundations of this country." She continues that she always assumed "whoever were running the government were doing their jobs properly, that they were still upholding and following those standards laid down so long ago." She thinks that most Americans assume they do not have to take matters into their own hands, because the people in positions of power are operating within those boundaries. But, she says, in the case of the DSS the time has come for parents to take matters into their own hands.
On the surface, Moore may seem an unlikely crusader against government abuse. She has deep roots in the government of this nation. Her family dates back to Virginia in 1648. She is a direct descendant of Joshua Frye, George Washington’s commanding officer. Upon his mortal wounding at the battle of Will’s Creek, Frye handed his command to Washington and the rest is indeed history.
Her father, Jack Frye, was an aviation pioneer, and co-founded TWA with Howard Hughes. Frye, who was a close friend and advisor to President Harry S. Truman, was asked by the administration to consider a run for the White House, according to Moore. He declined a run for office and was appointed the head of General Aniline and Film, a German company taken over by the allies following World War II.
When she is not helping parents in their battles with the DSS, Moore enjoys working in her garden. She also bakes and cans her own vegetables. She and her husband are both very "home-oriented" people. She says that she always thought that this was a very healthy lifestyle; one that teaches her children many things like how to be self-sufficient, disciplined, as well as about conservation and responsibility.
She recently received an award from the Barnstable Civic Association for her outstanding contribution towards "making Barnstable Village such a wonderful place to live." As she reads the inscription on the award, Moore laughs at the irony that she would get an award for making her community a wonderful place to live when the DSS says that her home was too traumatic an environment for a child.
Justice for Families can be reached at (508) 362-6921. Their address is P.O. Box 141, Barnstable, MA 02630.
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