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Old 08-16-2008, 01:37 AM   #1
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Horrible experience with both foster parent & social services

This is a LOOOOONG story and it is very hard for me to talk about but I need to get it out in hopes of finding some help. Thanks in advance for "listening" and for anyone who has any advice.

My brother fathered a child, without his knowledge whatsoever. He got a letter from child support asking for money one day (while he was incarcerated). He wrote back to them explaining that they must be mistaken, he has no children that he knows of, and b/c he'd been locked up for over 2 yrs by that time, he most likely isn't the father of any child.
Well they sent him a paternity test kit - after writing and a few phone calls - then they took even longer to get him the results and notify him of the status of his newly found daughter. It was positive!
So my brother finds out that he has a daughter, then when he contacts the mother (whom he hadn't spoken to for over 3 yrs), he finds out that his daughter is in foster care and has been for a few months now.
The day my mom finds out about my niece she contacts the bio-mom (who happens to be in the reuinification process and has lots of visitation time, including that day) and my mom meets her grand-daughter. The very next day she goes to social services to ask what she needs to do to get her granddaughter out of the system and into her home. The social worker tells her what she needs (finger prints, blah blah), so my mom gets everyone in the house fingerprinted within a week and waits for the social worker to tell her the results and what the next step is... and she waits, and waits, and waits some more. All the while calling as well. After a couple weeks of not hearing back, she goes to social services in person. Waits for the social worker and asks her what's going on. Social worker promises to get back to her the very next day. She doesn't... so my mom decides to talk with the supervisor, whom also said she's hear back within a day or 2. More lies.
In the meantime the bio-mom is bringing my niece over to the house quite often, so my niece is developing a relationship with my mom (and with me since we'd go to visit almost every weekend she was there). She absolutely adores my mom, and the rest of us of course.
So since the child support people took so long with the paternity stuff, and the social workers gave my mom the run around, AND they lied on the reports saying that my mother was "unresponsive," they decide that my niece should stay with the foster parent b/c she's stable there.
My mom decides to get a lawyer b/c they're so horrible to her.
My brother gets out, he attends court the next day and come to find out, he was never assigned a lawyer and was not aware of the paperwork he had to fill out. Although receiving legal council is a right, and his rights were violated, no one seemed to care, they just appointed him another lawyer which delayed everything even more.
ok... long story a little shorter
bio-mom is very irresponsible and not holding a job, attending therapy/classes, nor does she have stable living conditions...
my brother on the other hand has been doing great. random drug tests = negative, stable job, has car, has a decent place of his own to live with a room for my niece, taking college classes AND parenting classes.
but yet, social service reports state that father has made no progress?! courts are biased and don't let neither him, his lawyer or my mom's lawyer say anything during court. Anything that social services says the judge goes with instead of listening to both sides then making a decision.
I can understand their hesitation in handing her over to my brother since he's got a record, but he hasn't been given ONE chance, at all. The foster parent is HORRIBLE. she obviously hates my brother and has falsely accused him of sexually molesting my niece TWICE. even though she demand he have supervised visitation, which he does have. both instances have been unfounded, but to put my niece through that just so she can halt visitation?
every time she's with my family and has to go back SHE CRIES it breaks our hearts that she doesn't want to be with that woman. and social services now just says that since she's been there so long that it'd be "traumatic" to take her out. we've never asked them to remove her right away, we realize she is a child and want the best for her, a gradual move with increased visitation would be fine. but they give us nothing.
bio-mom lost her rights b/c she wasn't making any progress and her time was up, so instead of allowing my brother a chance, they gave legal guardianship to the foster parent. and now she controls visits... a whopping 2 hours ONCE PER MONTH. how is that even considered visitation with family? she claims to honor the fact that children are best with their families (even social services claims that that is their aim), but yet she is fighting tooth and nail for my brother and my mom not to get close to my niece.
we tried an ombudsman, I've tried politicians... but all they say is, "oh you have a lawyer, tell them the problem" THE PROBLEM IS THE SYSTEM, NOT THE LAWYERS, they fight hard during court, but when the judge shuts them up and/or tries to find them in contempt for fighting for their clients then how can you win?!
We even got a CASA rep. and b/c she actually came and saw (which no one else did) how she reacted with us vs. foster parent, she said that my niece would be best placed with US, her family. but the judge even shut her up and wouldn't accept her report as valid (since social services lawyer wants to give her to foster mom)
they've violated my brother's rights, they lagged ON PURPOSE to delay our involvement during proceedings, they hold court without notifying us (and act surprised when we show up), they CHANGE court dates also without notifying us, the foster mom lies and puts my niece through hell, she tells her "not to play with daddy"
now when we have visits she's so sad and withdrawn and we know it's b/c the stupid foster parent tells her things AND b/c she feels like we've abandonded her, we used to see her all the time and she loved it and loved to be with us, but now with only 2 hours/week, how can she get close only to feel along again?!

we love her so much and want her to be with us and we know it's the best thing for her. I just don't know what to do anymore, the whole system is against us and isn't thinking of my niece. only of winning cases and their pride.
If anyone has any help to offer or any advice I'd love to hear from you
thanks again for listening to me ramble on, I just hope she isn't lost to us...
the latest is that social services says they want to increase visits but that it's really up to the foster parent, we've had 2 visits in 4 weeks, so that's progress, but b/c she's been in the system so long and the foster mom wants her to herself, we may lose her to the adoption process
then it's pretty much a given that we'll never have visitation again

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Old 08-16-2008, 07:37 AM   #2
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Re: Horrible experience with both foster parent & social services

no advice, just hugs to you mama
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Old 08-16-2008, 07:38 AM   #3
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Re: Horrible experience with both foster parent & social services

I am so sorry you are going through this. You are fighting a hard battle. The system is designed to work towards adoption. The state gets money for every child that is adopted. A big problem with the foster care system is that the foster care givers want to adopt the babies, so your situation is not uncommon.

http://www.origins-usa.org/

This is a group that promotes natural families staying together. They have a list of attorneys that are familiar with adoption, that may be able to help. If they can't help, I am sure they will steer you to an organization that can.

Good luck.
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Old 08-16-2008, 08:24 AM   #4
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Re: Horrible experience with both foster parent & social services

Wow that is horrible. I am so sorry you are going through this. It sounds to me like you need to get a new judge, but I am not sure how you would do that. That judge should not be allowed to be a judge IMO.

That being said, I have to play a little devil's advocate here. I know that the best thing is that children stay with their natural parents, but as a foster mom who recently lost her babies, I'd like to speak for the foster mom. While she may not be a good foster mom, and she should be allowing you visits I can sympathize with her. I am sure that when mom wasn't working her plan, the family got attached to your niece and was getting ready to adopt her. When your brother came around, I am sure her world dropped. That is a worst nightmare situation for a foster parent. The system screwed up by not contacting your brother sooner. I am sure it is nothing personal against your brother, it is just that they thought things were going in their favor and then your brother came out of nowhere, and that hurts.

Now, whether your brother should get her to me is no question, she belongs with him. I am just trying to get you to give a little sympathy to the foster mom, because she is being screwed by the system as well. The system sucks, it never works and the caseworkers don't care about anyone but themselves. I am sorry you are in this situation and I hope that it gets resolved soon.
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Old 08-16-2008, 09:54 AM   #5
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Re: Horrible experience with both foster parent & social services

I'm so sorry and this is unfortunately why we never tried foster-adopt because of stories like this. The system is terrible for foster parents and adoptive parents and bio-parents.

It is not fair to put these children through this.
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Old 08-16-2008, 10:03 AM   #6
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Re: Horrible experience with both foster parent & social services

How tragic. I'm so sorry.
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Old 08-16-2008, 02:11 PM   #7
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Re: Horrible experience with both foster parent & social services

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunshinek View Post
I'm so sorry and this is unfortunately why we never tried foster-adopt because of stories like this. The system is terrible for foster parents and adoptive parents and bio-parents.

It is not fair to put these children through this.
Agreed. This is the kind of stuff that makes me so reticent to foster-adopt. ::sigh::
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Old 08-17-2008, 02:19 PM   #8
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Re: Horrible experience with both foster parent & social services

How awful for your family and your neice. I pray everything works out smoothly and she is able to come home to be with you all!
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Old 08-17-2008, 07:44 PM   #9
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Re: Horrible experience with both foster parent & social services

I do say you have 1 good thing going for you. Atleast he did not find out after his rights were severed. My husband's ex took off with his kid and foster care severed his rights since she refused to tell the state where he was. So, atleast that has not happened. Good luck.
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Old 08-18-2008, 09:09 PM   #10
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Re: Horrible experience with both foster parent & social services

so so sad!! I wish I had words that could help you!! I had no idea it was like that!!
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