Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Time to assign a "blog name"

It seems we have a real "character" in Ricky's CPS caseworker.
From now one she will be known as Emilia.

Emilia didn't take too kindly to me referring to her as "The System". She handled it well. She empathized. But seriously - I do not give a damn if she likes being a part of The System or not. She decided to work for CPS. And CPS is the governmental entity that is SUPPOSED to be helping Ricky but appears to be trying to do their damnedest to mess with all the good stuff in his life!

We spoke on the phone for about half an hour. Emilia did a good job of agreeing with me enough that I didn't totally blow my cool. But seriously...I was fuming mad the whole time.

It seems that Emilia is totally bound by anything her supervisor tells her she has to do in this case. I get that. I really do. But let's keep in mind that this supervisor does not know Ricky. He does not know Ricky's story. He only chooses to pay attention to the details he wants to and I think that's where the problem lies. But this is how the supervisor sees things:
  1. The judge said Ricky can't live with Rebecca.
  2. Therefore visits must be wrong too because the judge didn't specifically say they could have visits.
  3. Therefore all contact must be bad.
  4. Therefore we need to take Ricky's cell phone away from him.
What the....??!!!!!!

Emilia assured me that she fought for Ricky to keep his cell phone. But she also indicated that this particular fight isn't over.

As far as I'm concerned Ricky will not surrender his cell phone under ANY circumstances!!! CPS did not buy his phone. CPS does not pay for his cell phone. CPS is required to give Ricky the most "normal, family-based" setting possible. He is not a criminal. I'm OK with how he handles himself around his electronics. It is perfectly ridiculous to think that Ricky should have to function without ANY contact at all with his friends and family. Ricky gets to keep his cell phone.

Ricky is going to practice saying the phrase, "I'm sorry. I don't understand that. I'm going to have to speak with my lawyer."

And when Ricky is around anyone from CPS, Ricky will keep his phone tucked securely away.

Correct me if I'm wrong. Do any of my readers have experience with anything like this? Can CPS meddle this way in Ricky's life? The child has not broken a single rule. He is complying with everything. The worst thing I'm doing is advocating and double checking to make sure we are in compliance. For example, I asked about the visits. Is Ricky required to go? My agency says no. However, CPS says that if the visits are court ordered Ricky HAS to attend them whether he wants to or not. Otherwise, the bio family could sue CPS claiming they are keeping them from their child. (We ALL know this will NEVER happen in Ricky's case. Ricky's bio mom has seriously checked out. But it did happen for real down here so that's why I'm being told I HAVE to drag Ricky to each and every visit even if his mom lets him know she's not going to be there.) (Note: Ricky doesn't have any contact with his mom outside of the sanctioned visits. However, he is allowed contact with his older brother Peter and Peter transports mom so he keeps Ricky in the know of whether or not mom is coming to visits.) But we are complying. Now that we've been told by CPS that visits are absolutely required, he will be there.

But Ricky doesn't have to lose his cell phone. I'll fight that one. A call to the lawyer will be made tomorrow. (I'm also going to check in with Ms. Colorado. I'll tell her I now have the names of Ricky's AAL and GAL. I'll simply ask for her advice. It'll cost me I'm sure. But I'm not going to fight CPS blindly either.)


Karen said...

Based on this: http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Adoption_and_Foster_Care/About_Foster_Care/rights.asp
I would say that they can't take his phone, and I would say it's more the judges call as to whether he can visit/talk to Rebecca. Rebecca was "removed" from the case because she didn't support reunification, not because she was a risk to Ricky. At least that's my understanding?

Cherub Mamma said...

@Karen - Thank you! I JUST signed this form a month ago when Ricky came. I've been so busy thinking about all the wrongs, I forgot about the list of rights that CPS actually gives us! Thank you!!

Yet another reason why they can't take Ricky's phone!!

I'm pretty sure this is the "right" though that is complicating Ricky's case:

"I have the right to live with my siblings who are also in foster care. If I am not living with my siblings, I have the right to know why. If there are no safety reasons why I cannot live with my siblings, it is my caseworker's job to try to work hard to find a home where I can live with my siblings."

Because Rebecca is 28 and single, she is not the best candidate to take on a 12 year old boy along with Ricky. Like she told me tonight, her job can tell her that she has to stay late and she has to comply. Ricky has a driver's license and can handle himself for a few extra hours at home. Michael would need a higher level of care than Rebecca can fully commit to. And she shouldn't have to. Ricky and Michael are separate children with separate desires. Ricky just wants to go home to Rebecca where he's been for over the past two years. Michael still desires to go home to his bio mom, Lola.

Someone in power even told Rebecca that if she could take Michael "this" wouldn't all be happening.

Well..."this" sucks!

Fostermama said...

Ah, yes. The infamous, "You wouldn't take all the kids we asked you to, so now we take the ones you WERE taking care of and that want to stay with you" game. And to add insult to injury, we will paint you to be a bad guy. Someone who would seek less than the best for this child. Despite what past history tells us. Despite what the child says they want. Despite what the family says that they want. You didn't comply with us, therefore you must be against us and we will make you suffer. The child's best interests be damned.

Karen said...

They aren't trying to find a home for both boys though, are they? There's a phone number on that link for youth to call if they feel one of their rights is being violated. Maybe Ricky should call and talk to someone, or maybe you can on his behalf? Might be cheaper than Ms.Colorado.

tashapork said...

If I was a lawyer, I would represent him pro bono. I hope a fire can get lit under the one he has though. Sounds like everyone else's rights mean more to the system than his. There is a safety reason that they can't be together if Rebecca can't take on his care, although she absolutely doesn't sound like someone who would deny them contact.

OneSmallWish said...

Does CPS ever do anything in the *true* best interest of their children? I thnk not, there is always someone pulling strings and someone who has their own agenda.My worry is that they will take Ricky away from you and place him somewhere else and then he wont have you to advocate for him. This is all a crock of huge BS and I am wishing rashes here...Maddening, just maddening.

Cherub Mamma said...

We were asked to take Michael the day Ricky was placed with us (during the intake...not on the phone). But because of Daisy and her extensive needs, it's not something we can agree to right now. Poor Michael would have to traipse along to every single one of Daisy's appointments that get scheduled after school hours. That just isn't feasible. But I know that none of the powers that be would allow either of the teens to supervise Michael (despite the fact that Michael is old enough to probably supervise himself).

I feel horrible for Michael. But I was called for Ricky and right now, that's where my focus will stay.

Oldqueen44 said...

The spiritual battle going on for Ricky's life, is fierce, to be sure.

Foster Mom - R said...

Can you get the states attorney involved? Call an emergency hearing regarding visits with Rebecca and phone usuage for the judge to put in place the order? Seems like it would be in Rick's best interest to learn how to be resourceful given his age.

Cameron Von St James said...

Hi there! My name is Cameron and I came across your blog today and had a question. I really appreciate your time and was hoping you could email me! Thanks :-)

Cherub Mamma said...

@Oldqueen44 - you hit that nail dead square on the head! Ricky has shared several things that point very strongly to spiritual warfare for sure! In fact, I'm pretty sure OUR job in all of this is to show Ricky Christ. Rebecca is amazing. She took him to church. But I don't think she talked a lot about issues of faith with Ricky.

@Cameron - I don't have your email. You can reach me at cherubmamma dot gmail dot com.

grkanga said...

You wrote: Rebecca is 28 and single.
I expect that is a HUGE part of someone's thinking she might not be a best influence. They won't say it out loud, but it does perhaps explain why SOME officials are looking on her with a jaundiced evil eye. The truth is not part of this.
You cannot change this. Just be VERY VERY CAREFUL and AWARE.

Cherub Mamma said...

Agreed grkanga! But the people that have the irrational thoughts don't know anybody. It's all case numbers and paperwork to them. I finally got Ricky into therapy. He starts next week. The therapist has the MOST pull in the courtroom after the judge. I'm going to be praying over that therapist a LOT.

He just has to hang on for a year. Only one year of his life. And honestly, he's been through was worse than living with me. LOL.

Cherub Mamma said...

Agreed grkanga! But the people that have the irrational thoughts don't know anybody. It's all case numbers and paperwork to them. I finally got Ricky into therapy. He starts next week. The therapist has the MOST pull in the courtroom after the judge. I'm going to be praying over that therapist a LOT.

He just has to hang on for a year. Only one year of his life. And honestly, he's been through was worse than living with me. LOL.

Annie said...

I found that the supervisors, who never met the kid, who quickly read reports (as far as I can tell) and then make life-changing, rash decisions based on generalities...cause some of the worst situations.

There are unmarried 28 year old women who are immature, sexualized twits, and those who are completely dedicated to their professions (in this case, kids).

And then, those "generalities" - the "right" to remain with siblings.... Someone, somewhere decided that siblings are a big deal. For some people they are; for other people they aren't. My sibling and I, even growing up in the same house, were definitely not attached. We were just too different. I am not sure why social services have to make what is true in some situations a hard and fast rule....especially when in another situation, following the rule is the worst thing to do.