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Audio Files of Teens Happy Homes board meeting in 2010 with management consultant Jorge Gutierrez

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Audio Files of Teens Happy Homes board meeting in 2010 with management consultant Jorge Gutierrez

These audio files make fascinating listening.  Anyone interested in the machinations of what goes on at these board meetings, are in for a treat.

The source of the audio, Askari Moyenda, turned over the recording to the LA Times, which put the links up on their site.  Special admiration for Times reporter Garett Therolf, who has done excellent reporting on the sordid happenings at Teens Happy Homes.

It is curious though, that the recordings from a 2010 board meeting have surfaced now, three years after the fact, for reasons unknown.   (cui bono?)

A lot of things have happened, during the past three years at Teens, much of it quite questionable, according to recent reports.

We are grateful for this opportunity to hear these discussions from three years ago, by some of the individuals, entrusted with the care of our abused and neglected children.

Just one question though:  Are there any other recordings?  Inquiring minds …

Written by joshuaallenonline

May 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Teens Happy Homes: Contract discussed behind closed doors: Which Agency is Next to Crumble?

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Teens Happy Homes: Contract discussed behind closed doors: Which Agency is Next to Crumble?

The Business of Child Abuse:

By Joshua Allen

We have been writing about Teens Happy Homes, and other agencies of concern for over 3 years.  For 3 years we warned the county, and anyone else who would listen, that the system of audits in place are inadequate, and so weak, as to encourage malfeasance. Children’s welfare suffers when there is malfeasance.  How can it be otherwise?

Foster Care Agencies have a Board of Directors.  This Board is supposed to be supervising, the agencies care of abused and neglected children, and they also monitor an agencies finances. However, since board members are almost always friends and family, they do neither.  And therefore, the children suffer, as they always have.

So it comes as no surprise, about today news. LA TIMES STORY

The County Board of Supervisors, is going through the motions, and finally considering closing Teens Happy Homes.  This after years of warnings, destroyed financial records (which happened the same week as one of the audits), and the deaths of abused and neglected children.

“The routine audit of Teens in 2003 faced problems from the beginning. Shortly before auditors arrived, a sewage backup destroyed many financial records. The remaining documents painted a picture of financial chaos.”

One would think the above quote, which came from the Previous Times Story, would have caused a large red flag warranting significant attention.  But that didn’t happen.  And now, apparently, because of county incompetence, children are dead.  There is no other way to put it.

One of the new proposals, by Zev Yaroslavsky, would be to hire 6 or 7 additional monitors to track agency finances.  This is a good start.

Why has such an obvious partial solution taken so long?  It is a question best asked, while pondering the thousand mile stare of sexually abused children.

Older foster kids know when money is being siphoned from its intended purpose.  Go ask some of the kids – ask them what gifts they received for Christmas from their agency.  One agency had no gifts for 2 out the past 3 years.  This, while 3 staff members received almost 10% of the gross.  Does that sound right?

Whistle blowers, who risk everything, including violence, feel betrayed, when they come forth and nothing happens.  When officials throw up the hands and say, “…there is nothing I can do.”

There must be a cap on top salaries, perhaps in the $125,000 range?  Especially when an agency has a gross below 6 or 7 million dollars.  If foster care workers want to make more, perhaps the private sector is a more suitable solution, rather than toiling in the trenches.

The Agency Board of Directors must be unconnected to the CEO’s, who is answerable to them.   Shouldn’t board members be people who do it only to contribute their time and energy towards helping abuse victims?  Instead, we have boards made up of friends and family members, or employees of the agency, who police their own, and often, get little, under the table deals.

When auditors come, especially financial auditors, a practical idea would be to interview lower staff members, and do so in private.  Auditors must see such individuals away from the prying eyes of the administration, who may be timing the interview, as they sit outside the door.

Shouldn’t whistle blowers have some form of protection, beyond getting a lawyer they can’t afford, and waiting years for any sort of resolution?

Administrators, directors, treasurers, and other 6 figure staff members must be able to prove they actually work full time, or something close to a 40-hour week.  That is, proof, beyond silly time cards, which mean nothing in the scheme of things.

How many days and hours per week, can some of these guys be away from the office?  Who holds them accountable? Their cousin Vinny?  Dad?

Foster agency salaries, for the most part, are paid for by our taxes.  These are not private foundations.  This is part of the problem, because heads of these places, consider the non-profit agencies to be their personal businesses.  And these agencies are not theirs to do with as they chose.  Not when they take tax money to survive.  They belong to us, and are accountable.

Finally, and most obvious:  Why are foster parents, who hurt foster children, allowed to pop up somewhere else and do it all over again?  This last part hurts, because we are big fans of foster parents, and consider it one of life’s toughest and most thankless jobs.

But the good ones don’t do it for “thanks.”  And that is why, it is so egregious, when money is siphoned away.  Because it is money that could be helping these children, rather than lining pockets.

Thank heavens for good foster parents, and good social workers, and supervisors.  Because it is this group of people, beyond everyone else, except for foster children,  who know how bad things can really be.

Written by joshuaallenonline

May 2, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Teens Happy Homes: The Not So Mighty are Falling

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IMG_0277Teens Happy Homes: The Not so Mighty are Falling:

By Joshua Allen

Big trouble for Teens Happy Homes.  That’s the gist of the article by Times reporter Garett Therolf.  You can find the article here Here:

We once again learn what we already knew.  Teens, is not the sort of place best suited to helping abused and neglected children.

Sadly, the same cast of characters shows up time, and time again, at these places.  Their names are no stranger to these pixels…

Truly, we have been writing, and shouting in the wind, about these and other miscreants for over 3 years.  Nobody seemed to care.

And even those high up on the food chain – very high up – would just tell us, “There was nothing they could do.”

One source of ours used the words “…small potatoes,” when asked why the county officials did nothing to stop, or even discourage such unethical and apparently illegal practices.

We wrote about Beautina Robinson before. Her agency, Teens Happy Homes, is the same agency, where the head of DCFS Browning, is quoted as saying needs to be under a “heightened level of scrutiny.”  After another Times story regarding the murder of the Chinese graduate students near USC.

Dr. Milani and Askari Moyenda, oh dear…. The latter recorded a board meeting, and played the recording for the Times reporter.  Such intrigue!  And why are we hearing these tapes now, three years later?

On tape. Beautina Robinson is heard:

“I’ve taken care of the board that needed it personally, myself, and I would prefer the board, keep it that way.”

Holy Jeepers, is this happening at any other agencies? Yikes!

And then this other stuff.  It’s funny how lawsuits tend to air dirty laundry.  Well a little funny I suppose, unless you are a foster child, in which case it’s not very funny at all, since everyone is busy fighting over, “…a dispute over control of the agency.”  Which, as a distraction, couldn’t have been good for the abused and neglected children.

According to the Times:

“Under the agreement, Moyenda and Milani were called investors.” They were promised the ability to appoint three members of the seven-person board of directors.”  

Yeah, um, okay…   We detest this sort of thing.

The consultant mentioned here: Gutierrez?  Does anyone remember the agency he ran?  Who is his “good friend,” at the auditors office?  What was he told?  And, when was he told it?  Maybe he can send a ‘cease and desist,’ to the LA Times…see how well that works.

There are others. Names joked about with contempt or disgust. They continue to bounce back into the Business of Child Abuse, either here in LA, or with a fresh start and path to riches in another county.  As the old saying goes:  Old corrupt foster agency people don’t fade away, they just end up in San Bernadino.

A question though, why is San Bernadino so desperate for our droppings?

Mr Browning, the head of DCFS is quoted by the times as saying:

 “…that he was startled to learn of the depth of problems at Teens, and that he was enlisting the help of retired homicide detectives to examine allegations of child abuse and financial malfeasance at foster care contractors.”

We believe this, and would be happy to point the way to the more egregious examples, should anyone be interested.  Oh wait…we have… “I’m shocked, shocked, that there is gambling in this casino.”

Our major premise here has always been this.  Child welfare will always suffer when financial irregularities and unethical practices are overlooked as a matter of policy, because, such investigations are difficult, and too hard to prove.

And therefore, this is what you get.  Unfortunately, children had to die, before there was even a chance that officials would take a hard look at the books.

Supervisor Molina’s frustration seems palpable.  Holy gee…we can finally, at last, …end the contract with Teens Happy Homes.”  Sort of, Maybe, Kind of…We’ll see….

After only 10 years of troubles too.  And to think, it only took Wall Street half that long to bring down our economy!

There will now be a mad scramble, an unseemly exhibition actually; where some agencies will solicit, and probably offer some type of compensation, to either social workers or foster parents, in order to garner the revenue stream from the abused and neglected children, who will now be leaving Teens Happy Homes.

We have seen it before, many times.

Written by joshuaallenonline

April 29, 2013 at 8:48 am

Posted in Child Abuse

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Who Failed Jacqueline Charlotte Castillo?

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Jacqueline Castillo committed suicide over a year ago on March 20, 2012.  Jacqueline had lived on and off in foster care for years, and was currently residing in a transitional living facility run by a local Catholic entity.  

Transitional Living, helps teens adjust to leaving the foster care system, instead of just throwing them in the street.  The latter happens all too often, especially if the foster teen is a bit troublesome and difficult to place because of negative behaviors.  In that case, they system often just gives up on them and these teens are quickly emancipated at 18.  

However, this was not the case with Jacqueline, who was a young mother, raising her infant child.  She was connected to various private non-profit, and public agencies, designed to assist her with young motherhood, and a productive life in the private sector.  

To this end, Jacqueline had a job in retail.  She continued to receive social services from various entities, all of which provided social workers, and presumably, some type of mental health therapy.  

We use the term “Presumably,” because, when contacted, the religious based entity which controlled her living arrangements, refused to answer any questions, despite privacy no longer being an issue, because she is deceased.  

Our main question has always been this:

Before her death, did a social worker or therapist, threaten Jacqueline, that her baby was going to be placed into foster care, or the “system,” if she didn’t behave in a way they (the therapist, the social workers, the transitional house, the religious entity), found acceptable?  

Did Jacqueline believe she was going to lose her baby, after a conversation with someone associated with one of the above, like a social worker or therapist?

Who Failed Jacqueline Charlotte Castillo?Image

Written by joshuaallenonline

April 11, 2013 at 6:20 pm

There Are Children who Play to be Invisible

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Powerful Video

Disturbing of course.  The scary parent.  We get the message.

However, in Los Angeles County, there are a few different messages:

In Los Angeles County; Child Abuse does cut across all class and economic stratus. But, the children placed in Foster Care, do not.

In Los Angeles County; Victims of Child Abuse, do come from all races and religions.  But, those children whom are placed in Foster Care, do not.

The vast, vast – majority of children living in foster care, in Los Angeles County, are Hispanic, and African American.

One can argue about the reasons for this, but what is not up for discussion, are the demographics of foster care.  The statistics one this are quite clear, and easily available.

In Los Angeles County, the Business of Child Abuse, begins, and ends, with the Politics of Poverty, and Color.   And while this debate isn’t forgotten, it is ignored.

As if Big Government Foster Care was colorblind.

Joshua Allen Online

Written by joshuaallenonline

September 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm

If I Wanted Foster Care To Fail:

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Big Government Foster Care: If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail.

The Politics of Child Abuse
By Joshua Allen

I saw a viral video awhile back.  The video has several million hits by now.  You can see the video here
We were inspired a bit, and borrowed the format to our focus on Child Abuse and Foster Care issues.  So with credit and due appropriately proffered, here is our take.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

I would create an “Academy,” where new County Social Worker (CSW) applicants train, before working with abused and neglected children.  In this academy, not one applicant would ever flunk out.  Never. Every applicant would pass, and become a CSW, despite idiocy, incompetence and mental illness.

Strange, angry, ignorant, or slow social workers would be mixed in with the competent, stellar, and dedicated. Thus the entire department would be tainted, and appear foolish, because of a few (too many) individuals.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

I would make it almost impossible to fire any county social worker. Incompetent, or mentally challenged workers, would be transferred to departments and locations where they did minimal harm – for a while.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

I would provide as few educational benefits as possible for abused and neglected children. Then foster teens could return home, or age out of the system, with minimal tools and skills.  Numerous foster teens would be homeless or incarcerated.
Donations would be solicited from the community , with minimal financial oversight.  Monies set aside for educational purposes would be misspent by unscrupulous executives.  Executives who, with minimal work and even less education, want to be rich overnight.

At rubber chicken affairs, I would trumpet educational achievements of a few hand-picked foster teens that did well, despite horrific adversity.

However,  at the same time, I would ignore  thousands of foster teens who fail to graduate, can barely read, and are almost 4 times more likely to need Special Education.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

There would be no accountability for foster agency executives to account for their working day. Auditors would examine time cards as if they were recorded by Mother Teresa.  Underlings, or coworkers, would never be questioned to determine if executives actually did anything .

Executives from agencies would be Board Members of their own agency.  Board of Directors would include friends and family, who would  evaluate their own job performances.  Executives would set their own salary, authorize their own bonuses, and dole out contract caseloads to friends and family.  Conflicts of interest would be ignored by county politicians, who with a shrug would say, “There was nothing they could do.”

Gross mismanagement would never be grounds for an executive being removed, or board members being held to account. Never. Taxpayer money would be considered grains of sand.

Not one board member would ever suffer consequences when they knowingly allow a director to mismanage, steal from, or damage foster children.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

Social workers would spend the majority of their time on paperwork, documenting the 10% of their time they actually spent helping abused and neglected children.
In reports, social workers would learn to document fake percentages and goals, to demonstrate statistical success.  Measurements, and goals documenting progress, would be obsessed over.  A typical observation would read like this:

“Baby Johnny’ will scream and throw objects once per day rather than 3 times daily, Showing a 75% improvement by the end of this quarter.”
Hundreds of regulations, rules, policies and procedures would be created, which only a retired-in-place bureaucrat could understand.  And policy makers would believe every new rule and bit of paperwork, actually improved the well being of abused and neglected children.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

County lawyers would be responsible for a caseload of 200 abused and neglected foster children.   Therefore, many attorneys would do a mediocre job protecting abused and neglected children.

At Children’s Court,  hearings would last 5 minutes.  Birth Parents would meet their lawyers for the first time a few minutes before their hearing. Lawyers for foster children would be paid the lowest hourly rate for any attorney in the county, creating a weak incentive for highly skilled attorneys to engage in child welfare.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

Caseloads of Contract Social Workers would not be cross checked across county lines.  Contract social workers will have many cases beyond what is allowed.   Abused and neglected children would then receive minimal contact, or assistance from their social worker.  Those entrusted to monitor such things would turn a blind eye.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

I would move abused and neglected children to 4 or more homes during their time in foster care. The norm would be minimal stability, bonding, or nurturing at this horrible time in their lives.

Foster children would be given minimal information regarding their cases or dispositions.  Anxiety and depression, caused by bad policies and apathy, would be typical.

Concepts such as “Fast Tracking,” would be ignored by judges and social workers alike, who give birth parents 3rd, 4th, 5th, even 6th chances over several years. Frequent delays, all in the name of  “keeping the family together,” would do exactly the opposite.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

I would believe politicians when they say we are well on the way to fixing things, even though they said the same thing year after year, while hiring 5 new heads of Children’s Services during the past decade,  while repeating the same old promises we call lies.

I would accept as gospel, policy decisions originating from university and communications think tanks, from ‘scholars’ and ‘experts,’ who live as far away from MLK Blvd, Korea Town and Santa Ana as class and money provide.

A professor or Esteemed Professional who adopted a foster child cared for by nannies, would be a consecrated expert.  Yet the foster parent from Santa Ana, who raised 3 children to productive adulthood, would be locked out of any discussion, because of difficulty with English fluency, problems negotiating a prominent universities map, and difficulty arranging child care for 12 hours.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:   

In a huge county like Los Angeles I would assign 1 or 2 newspaper reporters, to occasionally cover events regarding foster care, child abuse, and family court.
Foundation publicists, and sideways talking politicos, would control the conversation.  Investigative journalism would be minimized as non-news worthy, ‘solution based journalism’ (Foundation Speak), would rule the Huffingtons.

If I wanted Foster Care to Fail:
Not one birth parent would ever be held legally accountable, for making false accusations against the foster parents who care for their child.  The damage such false accusations cause to children, would be considered a normal part of the business of child abuse.  Lying, and false accusations by a birth parent, would be met by a slight admonishment and lecture, without consequences, or other measures of deterrence.

If I Wanted Foster Care to Fail:

I would teach Foster Children, Foster Parents, and Social Workers to ignore hypocrisy, and accept lies, stupidity, and deceit as a normal part of Children Services, something impossible to change.  I would teach that the only way an idealistic worker could survive and continue, is by accepting defeat.

Pathetic money wasting programs such as “Wrap Around,” and poorly run programs like “Family Preservation,” would never be challenged, or improved.  An alliance of vested financial interests, along with government monitors, who fear answering for their failures, would continue year after year.

Such programs and agencies would provide owners,  a top 1% income, and lifestyle, which the typical foster child, will never know, and only dream of ;  “ …from just across the bay.”

So Basically, it’s this.

If I Want Foster Care to Fail:

I Would Do Nothing at All.     I Would Do Nothing at All.     I Would Do Nothing at All.

Joshua Allen Online
The Business of Child Abuse

Written by joshuaallenonline

September 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Big Government Foster Care: A Toddler’s Case at Children’s Court

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Big Goverment Foster Care: A Toddler’s Case at Children’s Court

Exposing a world where few reporters, judges or lawyers dare talk about.

The Business of Child Abuse.

By Joshua Allen

(First Published at the American Thinker)

It is the late afternoon, and foster parent Jeanette Ledesma sits in the waiting room at the Ed Edelman’s Children’s Court in Los Angeles.  This morning, concerned about being late, Jeanette had left her Lancaster home at 6:00 AM for the two-hour trip.  She was relieved to be on time, and to have found a scarce parking place nearby.

Jeanette is the foster parent of a little girl named Patricia.  Jeanette is in court today because she wants to tell the judge how infrequently Patricia’s birth mother visits.  The birth mother has seen Patricia five times in the past year.  Patricia has lived with Jeanette since birth, and Jeanette wants to adopt her before she turns three years old in a few months.

The waiting area is large and noisy.  It is packed with children at play, shouting bailiffs, chatting grandparents, whispering lawyers, and the sounds of electronic toys.

Foster children, transported here by bus, are confined to a small play area.  They play with beat-up toys as they wait for their hearings.  The children are cared for by ladies who wear a special T-shirt, designating them as room monitors who watch over foster children.

The children are here today in case they are required to testify or make a statement.  Frequently, however, the foster children will simply play in the area, take a break for lunch with the monitors, and be transported back to the foster home late in the day.  Many of the kids will return to the foster home with little knowledge of the proceedings or of what is to happen to them.

Court-appointed lawyers, the lowest-taxpayer-remunerated attorneys in the county, sit across from clients.  Some of them are dressed casually.  Many sit at tiny tables meant for children, as there are not enough proper tables or chairs to go around.

The lawyers glance, perhaps for the first time, at files regarding the accused birth parents’ cases.  The attorneys will confer for ten or fifteen minutes with their birth parent clients.  They will then represent the birth parents in the brief five- or ten-minute hearing, which will decide the immediate future of the family.

Birth parents and extended families seem to occupy every chair along the sides of the waiting area.  The families patiently wait for their names to be called remind the author of the DMV, or even of a county emergency room on a Saturday night.

The crowds at children’s court are thickest in the morning; they thin out considerably by late afternoon.  The wait can be six or even eight hours, but most cases are disposed of after three or four.  A case name can be called at any time up until 3:00 or 4:00 PM.

There is a cafeteria downstairs, but many families are afraid to use it.  The birth families don’t want to miss the cattle call (and that’s what it is, really) and wait months for the next hearing.  So the families wait, often with quiet desperation, apparent by tapping feet and paying sharp attention when the bailiff calls out a new name.

A missed or postponed hearing may mean that children stay in foster care much longer.  Not always a bad thing when one considers the alternative.  Yet if you ask the abused and neglected children what they want, the majority will tell you they want to return home, no matter what parents have done.  And some parents have done horrible things to their children.

There was a movement from some journalists and politicians to open up hearings to press and other interested media.  But children’s court hearings are still generally closed, ostensibly for the protection of the abuse victims who are entitled to confidentiality.

Even when the hearing is open, however, some frightened attorneys have requested a postponement, knowing full well that there are few reporters or other media available to do a proper vetting when the hearing is rescheduled.

Without daylight, there is no public check or audit on county incompetence, mediocrity, or malfeasance.  And without transparency, bad things may happen.  A child may be returned to Frankenstein or kept apart from a Mother Teresa.  And nobody beyond the immediate players will ever know.

Sometimes cover-ups under the guise of confidentiality occur.

One of the most egregious instances of neglect and ineptitude by a county official only became known when CSW (County Social Worker) Rocia La Voie tried to contest a two-week suspension she earned by allowing a child to be tortured for years.

Ms. La Voie failed to investigate obvious signs of abuse which her own department believed she should have noted.  La Voie barely visited the horrible home, and she overlooked obvious indications that something was unconscionably wrong.

Like teachers here in California, it is harder to fire a county social worker than it is to send a man to the moon.  It was only La Voie’s protest of a minor two-week suspension that allowed us a tiny window into internal DCFS machinations.

Finally, after over six hours, the bailiff shouts the last name of Patricia, Jeanette’s foster child.  Jeanette wants the birth parents’ rights cut.  She wants to finally be allowed to adopt the child who has lived in her home since birth over two years ago.

Anything may happen at the hearing.  Patricia’s birth parent may be reunified with her daughter.  Or contrarily, the abusive birth parent may have her rights cut, leaving Jeanette free to adopt Patricia.

For accused birth parents, the process goes something like this:

You will have seven to ten minutes to make your case…maybe.  Actually, much of the time, you won’t be allowed to speak.  Rather, your modestly paid lawyer will speak for you.

The attorney probably reviewed your file earlier that day, and the two of you may have spoken for a few minutes about your case in the noisy waiting area, surrounded by children and families.

At the hearing, the judge will glance at your file, often for the first time, while listening to attorneys.  The files include reports written by county social workers (with input by therapists, teachers, and foster parents), who describe your child’s progress in foster care.  The reports also include your own progress and efforts toward becoming a fit parent.

Often the birth parent will need to complete some type of parenting education, or turn in a series of clean drug tests.  The birth parent may also need to show proof of counseling, which includes family therapy, anger management, domestic violence, or participation in a chemical dependency program.  She may have completed many of these programs while incarcerated.

Or perhaps, like many, this birth parent did not have to bother with any such programs.  She kept tweaking, barely visited her child, and somehow had the wherewithal to remember the time and address of her child’s court appointment.  In which case, maybe she gets her child back anyway, in spite of everything.

To be fair, though, some parents will have done everything the court and the county social worker has asked.  In such cases, the birth parent may or may not be allowed to reunify with their child.  It can seem like a crap shoot.

Like good people everywhere, some birth parents will move mountains and walk through fire to reunify with their children.  Birth parents will have formed bonds with the foster parent and worked as a team with the county and others to become good parents.

In some cases, the birth parent may have removed themselves from any person or environmental influences which caused their children to be taken.  All of the above happens (especially in training videos), but not nearly enough.  Unfortunately, some birth parents will make the choice to live with a perpetrator instead of with their own children.  And this is not uncommon.

As Patricia’s foster parent, Jeanette has no standing in court.  Jeanette has waited several hours to tell the judge about the birth mother’s missed appointments and infrequent visits.

Patricia’s appointed lawyer has spoken little to Jeanette and hasn’t returned phone calls.  Patricia’s CSW communicated much better, but Jeanette remains frustrated by the lack of information.

The hearing begins, and Jeanette watches the birth mother enter the court room.  Jeanette speaks with the sympathetic bailiff, who tells her to quietly raise her hand during proceedings.  The judge may allow her to speak.

Jeanette and the writer enter the room and sit quietly.  The judge glances at the reports and asks to hear from the attorneys.

The birth mother’s attorney speaks first.  He asks that the status quo of foster care be continued.  The lawyer notes that the birth mother will do her best to stay sober and attend parenting classes.  He asks the court to delay until the birth mother can reunify with her daughter.

Then Patricia’s attorney speaks.  He notes it has been close to two and a half years, and that the toddler has been with the same foster parent since birth.  It is time to sever parental rights.

Jeanette tentatively raises her hand to speak.  At one point the judge glances in her direction.  He sees the raised hand but does not acknowledge it.  However, within five minutes from the start of the hearing, the judge tells both attorneys that the birth mother’s parental rights will be cut.

This is the result Jeanette had hoped for.  It means that she may begin the formal adoption, hopefully within the next year.

On the way out of the court room, Jeanette tries to speak with Patricia’s attorney, who listens only for less than a minute.  Then the attorney politely gestures for Jeanette to leave the court room.  The attorney has another hearing with a different child in a couple of minutes.

Outside, Patricia’s birth mother approaches Jeanette, who has left Patricia with her adult daughter.  The several-hour wait would have been too difficult for a toddler.

The birth mother is sad, and there are tears in her eyes.  She wanted to see Patricia, perhaps for the last time.

The birth mother approaches Jeanette and whispers quietly for a few seconds.  After years of missed visits, lies, and dirty drug tests, Jeanette has little patience.  She quickly walks away.

The writer asks Jeanette what the birth mother had said to her.  Jeanette shakes her head, obviously frustrated and angry.

The birth mother had asked Jeanette if Patricia could keep the birth mother’s last name after Patricia is adopted.

“Not in a million years,” says Jeanette.

Read more:

Written by joshuaallenonline

July 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Posted in Child Abuse, foster care

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