Thursday, February 2, 2017

the first visit

In Texas, after children have been removed and placed in foster care, CPS usually holds something called a Family Group Conference shortly after the first adversary hearing. This meeting was held for the boys this week on Tuesday night. The visit schedule was discussed and transportation arrangements were made so that Mom would be able to get to her visits.

The first visit was supposed to be this morning from 10:00am to 12:00pm. It has to be in the CPS office because the staff is trying to help Mom choose to leave her very abusive situation. They file police reports when she shows up all bruised.

I'm rooting for Mom. I don't know the whole story, but I'm choosing to go into this case fully on her side.

I'll freely admit it - I was NOT on Daisy's mom's side or Russell's mom's, either. Those two babies had been violently physically abused. I was empathetic to their mothers as I firmly believe they are probably victims, too. But Daisy and Russell had been hurt so badly that I didn't have a lot of love for either mom from the get-go.

I wrote a letter to Whiz and Rex's Mom to tuck in the diaper bag. I also packed a second bag with toys to help occupy the time. Our CPS offices typically have horrible (HORRIBLE) visit rooms. Last, I got permission to provide lunch for both boys.

Sadly, at 8:01am this morning, I got a text message from the CPS worker telling me that Mom had called to cancel her visit.

I'm very sad for Mom. I wish there was a way I could (safely) contact her and tell her about her kids. (I've been told by several people that Dad is very volatile. I'm not going to be passing out my phone number to anyone in the family of origin just yet.)

This afternoon I got a call from the visit monitoring agency. (CPS in our area hires 3rd party companies to monitor the visits.) They wanted to know where I live so they can set up visits with Dad. He's employed so they have to be in the evening, on the weekends, or on his varying days off. I was confused when the monitoring agency told me what town they were going to put the visits in. It didn't make sense to me because there are no CPS offices in that town. She then said that the visits were going to most likely be in a Burger King or McDonald's.

A shock of exclamation came out of my mouth.
  1.  I don't think visits should ever be held in fast food restaurants. It implies that the family can afford fast food. It's not private by any stretch of the imagination. And no kid wants to hang out in a McDonald's for two to four hours. (Dad is going to take one 4-hour visit a week because he can't schedule two 2-hour visits.)
  2. Even though I don't think any kid should have visits in a fast food restaurant -- I especially don't think it's appropriate for an infant and a toddler! Dad wouldn't even be able to put Rex down on the floor to play. And for FOUR HOURS?! That is just setting Dad up to fail. And as much as I'm not a fan of him based on what I've been told...that's still wrong on so many levels to set him up to fail from the beginning.
The monitoring agency said that they've been instructed to set visits up with Dad in a different city from where he (and Mom) live and from where I live. The lady said she'd check with her supervisor to see if there was an office that could accommodate the visits instead of having them at a restaurant. I thanked her profusely.

I haven't heard anything back. Probably won't until tomorrow. And now it looks like my weekends are toast for awhile. I won't be able to leave or do anything. (I have to transport and then stay available in case Dad no-shows or wants to cut his visits short.)

Things are about to get messy, I'm sure. Visits are never easy. They will be starting soon.


Anonymous said...

One of the best places we navigated supervised visits was the children's area of the public library. Maybe there is one available in a neutral town that would be suitable.

Anonymous said...

I second the above comment, or maybe a park you could scope out ahead of time.

Cherub Mamma said...

Unfortunately, I have zero say in WHERE the visits take place. All of that is decided by CPS and the 3rd party monitoring company. My role is to transport the children to and from the visits.

I could recommend places. But I've never had success with that. They think I'm crazy for having a problem with fast food restaurants.

Anonymous said...

What a frustrating situation Good for you for looking out for the birth families. Sometimes they have such a hard time advocating for themselves. Some people I know have had good luck with setting up a google phone number so that you don't have to give someone your real number but they can still contact you. I think that if you don't want to talk to them anymore you can delete the number.