Ricky had court this morning. The case was supposed to be called at 10:00am. Amazingly enough, the party started at 10:15am.
The first thing that happened was that CPS asked to reset the actual trial date. Again, just like yesterday, I don't *really* know that this trial thing is. ALL the hearings sound exactly the same. And I've had cherubs in Care for over two years so it's not like they really follow the legal permanency deadlines. Nevertheless, today's hearing was a "pre-trial" and the next one is a "trial". Termination of parental rights is NOT something on the table right now. But I guess at the trial they can call witnesses and have additional testimony. (for whatever that's worth)
The judge did not reset the trial date but he did bring up the dismissal date of the case. If everything runs (legally) as it should, this case is supposed to be dismissed by October 22, 2014. Again - keep in mind - I've had cherubs in my care for longer than two years. I know of other foster families in our area that have had kids for 2, 4 or even 6 years. But apparently the judge thought it was important for all the players in the game today to know when this case is supposed to be done.
The judge asked if everyone had the most recent court report. Bio Mom's lawyer didn't have it. The GAL (Guardian ad Litem) for Ricky and his little brother (Michael) didn't have it. And the lawyer appointed to Michael's bio dad didn't have it. CPS made excuses. Everyone looked at everyone else funny. Nobody seemed to really care though, so the hearing progressed.
After a bunch of nothing being said, CPS finally reported that Bio Mom has been non-compliant with her plan. I guess the judge ordered a hair follicle test done. But nothing was really said about Bio Mom other than the fact she's not doing what she's supposed to be doing.
Then the new GAL started speaking. Prior to the hearing starting, the GAL did go around and talk privately with Bio Mom, Ricky's older brother and Ricky himself. After talking to Ricky he came back to me and said, "Hmmm...she said she doesn't understand why I was ever taken from Rebecca's house." I didn't get my hopes up. I honestly thought there was no chance of Ricky getting to go back to Rebecca's at all.
But the GAL started in and immediately wanted to know what CPS "had" on Rebecca. She said that if Ricky can't go back to live there, he should at least be allowed extended visits. She pressed hard on the fact that no one involved in Ricky's life has anything bad to say about Rebecca. Even Bio Mom is 100% in favor of Ricky living with Rebecca.
Ricky's AAL (Attorney ad Litem) stood up and addressed the court. He too said that there is no evidence against Rebecca. There are no signs of an "inappropriate relationship". He said that it is a testament of Ricky's character that he's cooperated with being in foster care and hasn't run away to Rebecca's house and that he's been very compliant. He tugged on the heart strings when he said that Ricky has given up on anyone in CPS actually doing the right thing by letting him go back home to Rebecca's.
The judge then turned to CPS and asked if they have any evidence of an inappropriate relationship between Ricky and Rebecca.
After a long pause, Emilia (Ricky's caseworker) said, "No."
The GAL pushed again to at least allow long weekend visits. The judge rattled off a schedule for these visits.
Then CPS got all uncomfortable and started mumbling excuses about the new caseworker for Ricky just starting out and how it's really hard to monitor visits that happen over the weekend.
The judge literally rolled his eyes and said, "Then I appoint Rebecca TPC." She is going to receive what is called Temporary Physical Custody.
The judge pointed out to everyone that Ricky is going to move in with Rebecca in seven months anyway. Nothing is going to change between now and then. Rebecca can care for Ricky and CPS can do spot checks if they must. Ricky's goal is still Independent Living. But now he gets to go back home to finish out that goal.
The trial was reset officially to September. The State basically put a band-aid on a gushing wound. The State wants Ricky's younger brother, Michael, to be placed with their older, 21-year old brother, Peter.
Peter is a great guy. But Peter still lives with Bio Mom. He helps support her. And when another brother, just one year older than Ricky, gets out of jail, Peter wants to support him as well. The State will never let Michael move in with Peter if a known felon is living in the house.
But they slapped that band-aid on and said they hope Peter has appropriate housing by September so he can take custody of Michael.
And we walked out of the courtroom.
Of course CPS doesn't give a damn about moving Ricky quickly. They are going to process the paperwork on Friday afternoon and let him move back then.
I know it's not going to be goodbye forever with Ricky. He'll come visit. I've got his phone number and I know where he's moving to. Ricky said he's going to come back every weekend.
Rainbow came and did a home visit today. Sadly, she said that due to Ricky's previous legal history he might not be approved as a frequent visitor. Can you imagine that?! He can LIVE in my house as a foster child. But because he got in trouble three years ago he can't come visit when he's no longer placed through my agency?!
Rainbow will be sliding that conversation under the rug. I will say nothing more about Ricky coming to visit. And she won't officially ask if we see him. Because of COURSE he's going to be allowed to come over and see us if he wants to. Thankfully he was out of the room when Rainbow was telling me this or else I'd have thrown a full on temper tantrum.
My forever cherubs are going to have to adjust again. This will probably be the hardest on Herman. Ricky and Herman have been pretty good friends. And Herman likes a lot of the "stuff" that Ricky has that he doesn't. Herman is going to miss the video games and the work out equipment. But he'll get over it.
TT and Bart have concocted a plan where we rearrange all the bedrooms upstairs. They want to give Herman their big (gigantic) bedroom. Then they want to split up for the first time ever with one of them taking Ricky's room and one of them taking Herman's current bedroom.
I'm going to wait a week or so and just let all the change settle. It's been a perfectly crazy roller coaster ride the past month and I need to get my bearings before anything else changes. I can guarantee that we will not be taking any new placements any time soon (if ever). I told Rainbow today that the don't need to call. I won't even do respite right now.
I'm incredibly happy for Ricky. I've been wanting to see something done in the child's best interests lately. I actually feel better about a longer transition for Daisy before she goes home. So I'm not as upset by yesterday's proceedings as I was initially. But I'm thrilled for Rebecca and Ricky!! And like a commenter said on my FB page, "While
it can easily be said that the judge took six months too long to come
to his senses, Ricky has gotten a chance to see another example of how a
functional family operates and to build his support network." And for that, I really am grateful!!