Thursday, April 21, 2016

Court is in two weeks

This case goes before a judge in exactly two weeks. I've been told it's a "pre-trial". That means this is supposed to be the end of the case and decisions are supposed to be being made. (See "What court actions can affect me and my child" on this link for a description of the different hearings in Texas.) The trial (final permanency hearing - or court resolution) is scheduled for May 16. This case has already been extended once as Russell has now been in Care for longer than one full year.

Sadly, nothing is being done in this case.


The concurrent goals, as I've seen them most recently, are:
1. non-relative adoption
2. relative conservatorship

I've been told that the primary goal is being changed to "relative conservatorship". I just haven't seen it in writing yet.

At no place in anything is reunification with Bio Mom on the table. And, due to the complexity of this case, no one wants that to be the goal (except Bio Mom and her lawyer, of course).

I believe that CPS is going to ask for another extension.

Bio Mom is still very much with Star's bio dad. That man is the person believed to be the one that broke all of Russell's bones. Mom very much denies being with this man though. She professes over and over that she is single. This is quite contrary to her online presence and the fact that I've personally seen Mom with Star's dad twice in 2016. (He was deported back in September 2015 and hasn't stayed in contact with CPS since that time. He was vocal that he was going to cross back to this side of the wall but since he's been here, everyone is pretending they don't know where he is.)

Russell's grandparents are still being seriously considered for placement of both children. This is more complex now though because Russell's bio dad was released from juvenile detention just this week. Conflicting information has been presented about where he's going to be living. But now that he's out, CPS is going to have to "deal" with him as a parent in the case.

I honestly don't know why they haven't "done" anything yet other than meet with him one time. The found him back in October and nobody did anything about it other than meet with him one time to advise him of the case. To the best of my knowledge, he hasn't even been asked if he wants to work a case plan or be involved in his son's life. (For the first nine months of this case no one was involved on Russell's paternal side at all. The grandparents evaded contact with CPS and lied to everyone about the age and location of their son.)

CPS has been working with Russell's grandparents and the idea that they would take both children (even tho they aren't technically related to Star at all) since January. I personally think the sibling bond should trump everything and these two kids should stay together no matter what. (Think about it - the bond we have with our siblings lasts longer than any other relative bond out there other than possibly cousins. The sibling bond is important!!) CPS is almost 100% sure that Bio Mom won't agree to placing Star with Russell's grandparents though. And because rights aren't being terminated, Mom does have a say in the placement of her children.

So basically everything is a mess. The kids can't go back home to Mom for a huge number of reasons. They can't go to the grandparents right now because of the presence of Bio Dad in the home and several other concerns that haven't been addressed yet. There is also concern of keeping the siblings together and the fact that Mom probably won't allow Star to go to the grandparents. But rather than do anything, CPS is doing nothing.

The DA for the State continues to tell Bopper that it is a very weak case. The DA says there are no grounds to terminate rights on anyone.

I simply do not understand that line of thinking at all!!
  1. Bio Mom is the one that medically neglected Russell to the point of near death. At 18 months of age he weighed less than 10 pounds. She didn't follow up with any of his specialists and didn't consistently get him the medical care that he needed. This is documented by CPS and Mom has the finding "reason to believe" for severe medical neglect on her record. So even though no one can prove who broke Russell's bones, they do know who starved him. It's documented and I've met people at the hospital that would be willing to testify to Russell's condition and how Mom treated him when he was being cared for at the hospital January 2015.
  2. Star's bio dad has abandoned her. He has never met her. He stopped communicating with CPS when he was deported in September 2015. At some point in time CPS could move forward with severing his rights based on abandonment.
  3. Russell's bio dad just turned 19 years old today. He has another son by another woman. He is in a gang. I'm not sure he has ever met Russell. I am quite confident he's not in a position to raise a son with special needs along with a little girl he's not related to at all. (Again, I think the siblings should stay together no matter what.) Someone just needs to sit down with this man and ask him if he would like to relinquish his rights. Worst case, offer him a service plan and see if he's able to follow through. Does he want to take a parenting class? Does he want to learn about Down syndrome and what it takes to raise a child with Ds? It's not unreasonable to ask these things of him if he wants to be involved.
I don't think TPR should be entered into lightly. I think all parents should be given a chance at redemption. But this case involves EXTREME abuse and no one seems to be addressing that at CPS. I did my research. According to the State standards, the grounds for TPR have been met. I simply do not understand why the DA insists on saying this is such a weak case.

I've been a mess every since Bopper left this morning. Even though I didn't expect to learn anything new, hearing her say they're just asking for an extension on the case because they don't like any other option available bothers me tremendously. I feel like I've been sucker punched. I'm feeling anxiety in a very physical way today. There is a heaviness on me and I'm having a hell of a time focusing on anything.

There's something about the year mark in a foster care case that changes me. I guess I feel like progress should be being made somewhere by a year. I totally understand that cases take a long time. I expect them to. I believe that every effort should be made to reunify with bio family before other options are considered. But when progress isn't being made...CPS should be DOING something.

I think they need to get concrete reasons why the DA says this is a weak case. Then they need to fix those problems. They can prove that Mom starved Russell. They can prove that she didn't get him any medical attention for 14 of his 15 fractures. This should mean something. Interview doctors and other staff at the hospital. Locate the ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) therapists that worked in the home with Mom periodically for the first 18 months of Russell's life. Do something.

They need to be doing something to prove that Mom is continually lying about her relationship with Star's dad. She's lying about where she's living. She's lying about so many things that can be proved with little to no effort. Don't tell me that they just have to take Mom at her word. Do something.

Start the official paperwork to "locate" Star's dad. If he's going to abandon his daughter, do something about it.

If the children are going to ultimately end up with the grandparents anyway, do something to help this transition. They've been missing visits lately. Their behavior at visits is questionable. Do something about this. Either work to get the kids there safely, or start working on an alternate placement.

And yes, the only other alternate placement that CPS can identify is our home. So start the TPR process or start talking to people about giving us PMC if they absolutely positively cannot terminate rights.

But this sticking your head in the sand and just asking for an extension is pissing me off. Do something already!