Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Here's what happened in court

I arrived with Daisy about 30 minutes early. Thankfully the weather was much milder today and it wasn't perfectly miserable to sit outside waiting for our hearing. I wasn't there long when Kori came out of the air conditioned waiting room to see us. I took Daisy out of the stroller and handed her over to Kori. Daisy played the back and forth game a bit going from my lap to Kori's and back to me again.

Then I saw Ms. Colorado. For those of you that have recently joined this adventure, Ms. Colorado is the lawyer we hired when we intervened in the case with Dude and Dolly. Shaking my head, I let her know that those babies are still in foster care.
Side note: Texas recently changed things and there is now a website you can register with. If you know the name of the parent involved in a CPS case and the full name of at least one of the children, you can look up when the court hearings are. This isn't exactly necessary for me with Daisy's case because I am required to attend all the hearings with Daisy. However, it did give me an opportunity to look up Dude and Dolly's case. I saw that they just had court a couple weeks ago. And when I looked up the case this week, I saw that they are still in Care because the next hearing for them is in January. 
Ms. Colorado shook her head back at me and responded with, "Hmmmm....I wonder what's up with that grandma in Dallas that was supposedly so wonderful for those cherubs that they are still being monitored?!" We chatted a bit about foster care in general. I told her how we are done after Daisy either stays forever or leaves. I even mentioned a few things in Daisy's case that make me frustrated (like the level of Mom's denial).

It wasn't too long before the new caseworker, Martin, came to us to say that our case was being called. They had shuffled a few of the hearings on the docket and since we were ready to go, they pushed us ahead of a couple other more complicated cases.

Not too much happened. CPS admitted that a home assessment had not been done at Kori's new house. It came across as just a matter of fact - not a concern of any kind. The judge reminded everyone that this case has to be done by November 11, 2014 and he asked if all the parties were ready for trial.

Kori's lawyer didn't show up today. And the lawyer that was filling in didn't even make it in for most of this hearing. As they were wrapping up, Kori raised her hand and told the judge that she has three days off in a row now. Could her visits be extended to three nights instead of just two? The fill-in lawyer bumbled something about the same request and then the judge asked Daisy's lawyer how she felt about that.

I'm glad I had left a message earlier this week with Daisy's lawyer about the non-existent home assessment. Daisy's lawyer had a field day with that fact. She totally spun it all to make Kori look very bad. Said that Kori didn't give CPS enough notice to do a home assessment and that in no way shape or form should another day be added to the visit schedule. Kori can't be trusted.

CPS didn't say much and just sort of agreed with Daisy's lawyer.

The judge said he would make no changes to the visit schedule and even indicated that a positive home assessment would be necessary for reunification to take place.

The hearing is scheduled for October 2 - next Thursday - eight days away.

Ms. Colorado was in the room for the hearing. Then I heard Daisy's lawyer turn to Ms. Colorado and say, "At the hearing, monitored placement, unless something changes."

Come to find out, Daisy's lawyer isn't even going to be here for the trial next week. She was asking Ms. Colorado to fill in for her and what she is to ask for is a monitored placement.

Sigh.

The lawyer that is going to be representing the most important person in the hearing next week was simply told, "monitored placement, unless something changes". So, should anything change, the lawyer representing the most important person in this case (in my opinion anyway) will know NOTHING of the actual case. Ms. Colorado knows NOTHING and will have to advocate based on that.

Sigh.

I walked out of the courtroom and waited for Kori. She stayed behind with Daisy to talk to the lawyer that represented her today.

While waiting I went over to talk to the CPS supervisor, Ricardo. I asked him, "If Daisy goes hoe next week, will she come back to my house after court? Or will you release her straight from the courtroom?"

I think my question caught him off guard. He thought for a moment and then said, "I'm pretty sure she'll go home with you first."

Then things got weird. It was so obvious that Ricardo wanted to tell me more but felt like he couldn't. In a conversation of half-sentences and innuendos, Ricardo indicated that they (CPS) are trying to find something on Kori still. I don't know if he thought something legitimate would turn up during the home assessment or if there's something else. But it was obvious that he's not comfortable with reunification. He even asked me if I thought Daisy will be OK or not. I point blank told him, "no!" His next comment just about made me throw up a little. He asked, "Do you think daycare will help Daisy?"

Um. No. Daycare does not heal a traumatic brain injury. Intensive therapy does. A safe, loving home environment does. A family committed to understanding disabilities does.

But all I said to him was, "no."

Kori was visibly upset when she handed Daisy back to me. I left and went home.

About an hour later Kori called me to talk. She wanted to discuss these tiny little eczema rashes that were on Daisy's cheeks today. For some reason these really concerned Kori. Not concerned like she was upset with me or anything. She just made a rather big deal over them because her other two kids had milk sensitivities and broke out in a similar fashion. I assured Kori that I'll keep an eye on things and not to worry. Kori went on and on about how if I take Daisy to the doctor she wants to be there too. I assured her I wouldn't go to the doctor without her.

The conversation drug on. Kori started talking about court today. She was horribly upset about how they painted her and the move. She said they lied. She had told them she moved. CPS is the one that dropped the ball.

Kori has a bit of truth to that. However....

Kori was sending text messages to Mr. CW before he left to tell him she was moving. Mr. CW had ceased communicating with Kori via text because of a text conversation they got in one time where Kori was rude and belligerent. She completely disrespected him and got way out of line. Mr. CW was advised that he legally didn't have to communicate by text and was to only communicate via phone and email with Kori. I have to assume that's why Mr. CW did nothing about Kori's pending move before he left his position as caseworker.

On September 2, Kori sent an email to Ricardo to tell him she moved to a new city. She wasn't forthcoming with the address and just asked what she was to do next.

That's where CPS screwed up. They should have followed through right then.

But technically, Kori had already moved and she hadn't officially let CPS know where her new residence was.

Anyway...Kori went on and on about how evil CPS was lying about her in court today. Then she drug me right back into her crazy with this, "CPS illegally stole my child from me. It's not like she was ever neglected. Or lived in a dirty house. Or ran around with dirty diapers or anything. She has always been cared for and loved."

Once again it seems that Kori wants to forget that minor detail where her daughter lay in the hospital on November 4, 2013 fighting for her life. She doesn't want to acknowledge the shunt in her brain or the craniotomy that was necessary four months later because there was still blood on the brain. She doesn't see that her daughter is well over eight months behind developmentally and what that really means to a 16 month old child. She wants to forget the minor detail of a traumatic brain injury that will forever impact Miss Daisy's life.

Somehow tiny eczema rashes are more important.

So we will go to court next week on October 2nd. This is not a TPR trial and I don't know how to explain what it really is because I've never done anything like this before. I've had kids in Care well past that magic 12-month mark and none of them have ever had "trials". I can only go by what I've read online about Texas and the order and kind of hearings we have here:
  • Emergency hearings: If your child is removed from your care without a court order, the court will schedule a hearing for the next working day. This hearing allows the judge to learn why your child was removed from his or her home and to decide if there is a good reason to keep your child in care until the adversary hearing (see below). If the judge decides your child may be in danger while in your care, your child may remain in foster care for the time being.
  • Non-emergency hearings/Show Cause hearings:  CPS often asks a judge for a court order before removing a child from a home when there's significant risk of abuse or neglect but the current circumstances are not an emergency.
  • Adversary hearings: The court holds an adversary hearing within 14 days of your child being removed from your care. At this hearing, the judge decides whether to return your child to you or if your child would still be at risk of continued abuse or neglect in your care. If the judge does not return your child to your care, he or she may decide to place your child with a relative or close family friend if they are appropriate, available, and willing to help. Otherwise, your child will stay in foster care. The adversary hearing is your chance to present your view of what happened and how your child can be protected now.
  • Status hearings: The court holds a status hearing within 60 days of your child's placement in foster care. The purpose of this hearing is to make sure you have a family service plan (see “What should I expect from my caseworker?”) and understand that following that plan is a way for your child to return home. This hearing also ensures each parent has been notified of the legal suit.
  • Permanency Court Reviews: About five months after the first adversary hearing, the court will review your progress on meeting the requirements of court orders and the family service plan. Before the hearing, CPS must submit a permanency report. This report includes CPS' view of your progress and a final recommendation on a plan for a permanent place for your child to live. The court may issue any additional orders it deems necessary. After that, permanency court reviews are held every four months until the case is resolved and your child's legal status is permanent.
  • Court Resolution:  Within 12 months of giving CPS temporary legal responsibility (temporary managing conservatorship) for a child, the court will either return your child to you or give permanent custody to a relative, a close family friend, or to CPS. On rare occasions, the court may extend the 12 month deadline for up to six more months. The court may terminate your parental rights if it has legal grounds to do so and decides that is what is best for the child.
  • Placement Review Hearings: If a court gives CPS permanent custody of a child (permanent managing conservatorship), the court reviews the child's living arrangements and plans every six months.
The trial next week is going to be "Court Resolution". And unless CPS turns up something concrete against Kori, Daisy will be returned home to her mother.

Bio Dad's criminal case has been postponed again. He continues to walk about a free man. He was there today and shook my hand. Thanked me for caring for Daisy.

I am convinced that Kori and Bio Dad still have a relationship. It was subtle, but I swear she flirted with him when we came into the waiting room together. He was respectful of the restraining order though and never tried to come close to Daisy this time.

I'm going to have all of Daisy's laundry done. I'm going to have all her personal toys gathered. I will have a large box ready to fill with her belongings. I'm going to be ready for Daisy to leave.

And I'm going to pray. I'm going to pray that if Kori is really unable to protect Daisy for the rest of her life that proof is made evident within the next seven days.


4 comments:

Jennifer said...

What is the website to get dates for Texas CPS cases?

Cherub Mamma said...

https://cpshearings.txcourts.gov/Login.aspx

kate said...

Praying with and for you.

Annie said...

I'll be praying, too.

The whole crazy thing.... Kori fits right in to the whole FC pattern...I'm surprised they don't all just adore her.

Worry about eczema on her cheek; don't worry about abusive men (or diseases that can be prevented by vaccination). Worry about two nights vs three, but not so much about where those visits will take place, or who might be there. And, if they inspect the place, I guarantee they'll worry about the height of the window ledges or some such, but not the photo proudly displayed of the man who changed this baby's entire life with his violence. It is crazy-making and you are a saint to do it.