“I am very grateful that the ‘Constitution State’ has reinstated our organization’s plate,” commented Dr. Elizabeth Rex, President of The Children First Foundation (CFF), who was greatly relieved to hear that the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles had officially and fully reinstated her organization’s pro-adoption “Choose Life” specialty plate.
Back on May 24, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Democratic State Representative Roberta Willis jointly signed a letter urging the DMV to “reconsider” and “rescind” the issuance of CFF’s specialty plate. On May 25, without any notification whatsoever from the DMV, a reporter called Dr. Rex with the news the DMV had initiated an investigation, suspended the issuance of CFF’s specialty plate and removed the “Choose Life” logo from the DMV web site.
CFF’s attorneys threatened to sue the DMV in federal court under the 14th Amendment that guarantees due process and equal protection under the law. In addition, Chapter 54 of Connecticut General Statutes clearly states:
“No revocation, suspension, annulment or withdrawal of any license is lawful unless, prior to the institution of agency proceedings, the agency gave notice by mail to the licensee of facts or conduct which warrant the intended action, and the licensee was given an opportunity to show compliance with all lawful requirements for the retention of the license.”
The DMV conducted a thorough investigation and signed a formal and legally-binding agreement with The Children First Foundation, confirming that the regional organization is now -- and always has been -- in full compliance with all DMV regulations and officially reinstating CFF’s “Choose Life” plate for purchase by its Connecticut members.
“No elected official is ever above the law,” commented Raymond W. Belair, Esq., who represented CFF along with attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund. “The resolution of this matter on terms acceptable to The Children First Foundation by the Department of Motor Vehicles represents an acknowledgment of that fact.”
“This unfortunate event has a happy ending,” said Dr. Rex, “Actually, that’s what Adoptions and Safe Havens are all about… more happy endings, more ‘smiling faces’ of children, like those on our ‘Choose Life’ plate.”
Founded in 2001, The Children First Foundation has raised and awarded over $37,000 in grants to Pregnancy Centers throughout the Tri-State Area to help promote and support adoption as a positive choice for unwanted pregnancies or newborns, including nearly $17,000 in grants to the AMT Children of Hope Safe Haven Program and the National Safe Haven Alliance.
DMV Commissioner Ralph J. Carpenter agreed to reconsider the small foundation's eligibility for the plates - a status it applied for, and was granted, in 2003 - based on a letter Wednesday from Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and a Democratic state legislator charging that the group has "negligible, if any, `operations' in Connecticut, much less a base of operations in this state."
The charge surprised the nonprofit group's founder and president, Elizabeth Rex of Yonkers, N.Y. She had heard nothing from Blumenthal about such questions - but she quickly produced a series of letters from Connecticut officials who have recognized her group's efforts in recent years. The letters came from Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Govs. John G. Rowland and M. Jodi Rell, the state's child advocate - and Blumenthal himself.
"Please extend my deepest appreciation and admiration to your members for the outstanding work that they do in advocating that every abandoned child should have a home with adoptive parents who love that child unconditionally," Blumenthal wrote Rex March 4, 2003. ...
..."This is the third time we've cooperated with the DMV," Rex said. "We dealt with their legal department and gave them all our papers, and they approved our plates."
Rex, who holds a doctorate in education, is the mother of three, two of whom are adopted. She co-founded the foundation in 2001 with her husband, Charles, who is a concert violinist in the first violin section of the New York Philharmonic.
She said the group supports pregnancy centers that do not offer abortion as an alternative, and also supports "safe havens" efforts under laws, including Connecticut's, that provide mothers the chance to drop off unwanted babies at specified areas such as hospitals and fire stations without fear of prosecution.
Here is further information from Elizabeth Rex:
The Children First Foundation has repeatedly and fully complied with all CT state and DMV regulations, statutes and requirements. Here are important facts about CFF and our plate:
- CFF's Vice-President and four of our Advisory Board Members are CT residents.
- CFF's base of operation in CT has always been on file with the DMV.
- Ms. Corinn Dahm (a CFF Advisory Board Member) is CFF's CT State Representative and CFF's office/base of operation in CT is located in her home in Gales Ferry, CT.
- CFF has sponsored many educational and fundraising events in CT that have raised important funding and awareness to promote adoption and safe haven efforts in CT.
- As President of CFF, I am CFF's official liaison with the CT DMV and CFF's official Headquarters is located in my home in Yonkers, NY (no overhead costs save money!)
- CFF's official mailing address on file with the IRS is P.O. Box 326 in Eastchester, NY.
- CFF has fully complied with the Secretary of the State and the Office of the AG.
- The DMV has all of CFF's most recent information and approved our plate in 2003 along with many other diverse non-profit plates for a Labor Union plate, a Knights of Columbus plate, a Masonic Fraternity plate, and even a Penn State Alumni Association plate.
- DMV recently updated all of CFF's information (April-May, 2006) and, once again, verified that CFF was in full compliance with all of the DMV's regulatory statutes for an organizational plate. This information can be requested from the DMV and is available from CFF.
CFF has approximately 600 supporters/members in CT and @ 200 members have requested CFF's "Choose Life" License Plate to help promote and support adoption in CT.
The CT Choose Life Plate has apparently been officially suspended by the DMV without any notification, explanation or due process. CFF's contact information on the DMV web site has been removed. This action should be reversed. http://www.ct.gov/dmv/cwp/view.asp?a=811&q=276538
Here is contact information for Elizabeth:
Elizabeth B. Rex, Ed.D. President The Children First Foundation P.O. Box 326 Eastchester, NY 10709 1-877-Fund-Adoption /1-877-386-3236 www.Fund-Adoption.org E-mail: ElizabethRexCFF@aol.com