need help.

Denise - posted on 08/11/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )

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i have a step daughter who has a drunk for a mother. her step father is in jail for domestic violance. this child is a speacial needs child an my heart is breaking for her.mom moved a man in her house when her boyfriend went to jail an this so called man touched this little girl an her baby sister. her father an i called the police an child services came an talked to her an she told them what he did they removed her from her mother an said no contact with her an we had her here an she was safe. 3 days later children services decide she will be safe to go back home an gives her back to mom. this is the 5th time for different reasons they have been involved with mom so how can they put that little girl back after 3 days an say that mom can protect her.? all mom wants is child support an i am angry, hurt, sad , worried , ect......what kind of justice system do we have here? please help with any advice.

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Lori - posted on 03/26/2010

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To beans with that!! If you have a child in a dangerous situation and you have hard core evidence in which it sounds like you do hire an attorney to do an emergency injunction and be done with it!!! Not that I disagree with contacting CPS and the appropriate authorities but if you hire an attorney to do the emergency injunction you WILL see results faster!!!! Especially if you live in a large city!!! But if you don't contacting the autorities even in smaller communities does not mean that action is going to be taken immediately!!!! Safety of the child comes first ALWAYS!!!!

Kim - posted on 09/04/2009

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Denise,

I too have been saddened to hear of your struggles, and those of your precious little girl. It is so hard to deal with the 'red tape' of government agencies and their white-washing of situations. Here in Australia things are no different. We have reported my SD's biomum for neglect and our state child abuse hotline said that if we couldn't prove sexual abuse they couldn't do anything for us. Personally, I don't WANT to prove sexual abuse - the idea of my beautiful SD, a 7 yr old with obvious psych issues due to current problems between the houses, being a victim of sexual abuse makes me sick. As she lives in the next state (50km from us) we have contacted that states hotline and they have been (slightly) more helpful. Her teachers are working alongside us as they are aware of her biomum's behaviours (she is currently seeing a man who my SD really hates because he "hurts" my SD - SD's words). Her teachers have set up regular visits with the school counsellor for her and we (her biodad and I) are reading up as much as we can on ways to help her. I am also working with her on bible studies and have just received a book for kids of divorced parents which has activities and discussion topics for her and I to work on together. This way we are slowly breaking down the issues and easing her psychological pain.

The court stuff is a downright pain in the...well...you know! In order to go through court we have to raise up to $15000AU and so we are gradually doing so. Its a small price to pay for SD's safety and benefit. We have been through mediation (well, biodad and biomum have, because I'm not allowed to be there as biomum is scared of me!!!) and know full well that it doesn't work because biomum will come up with a pile of lies, agree to compromise, then do her own thing anyway. She has done this all before, and we have taken her to court before (an absolute offensive procedure where she showed absolutely no respect for the judge, or biodad) and so we were successful. Our hope is that we will be successful again and gain primary custody of SD so she can be in a healthy environment. I pray for this constantly.

My advice to you is: hang in there, remember you are fighting for the rights of an innocent little body who needs you to advocate for them. Hold your faith close and by all means stay in contact with us all for support. A problem shared is a problem halved.

Yours in Christ,

Kim

Michelle - posted on 08/13/2009

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Denise,

I was a CPS caseworker for a couple of years, and everything that Sonya said is EXACTLY what you should do. It's awful to see a child go back to a dangerous and unstable environment. I fought for so many children...but things didn't always turn out as they should. Definitely keep a journal, seek legal advice, find out what you need to do to obtain custody (on your own, without calling CPS). A psychologist is a great idea--see if there is a children's advocacy center or trauma counseling center in your area, someone who specializes in sexual abuse in children. Good luck, and I will be praying for you. Please keep us updated!

Sonya - posted on 08/12/2009

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Denise,

My heart goes out to you. I will be praying for your family.



I don't know much about CPS and all that entails. As a teacher, I had to report a couple of incidences of alleged child abuse. I have no idea what happened after that except to know that the child remained in my class and with her mother.



Many of my aunts and uncle have been foster parents for decades. Through their struggles and heartbreaks, I have learned that CPS wants kids to be with their biological parent and their primary home above all costs. I understand that your husband is their biodad, but his home is not the children's "primary home."



Here are some proactive steps I would suggest you take:



Document EVERYTHING. Keep a journal and everything that ever happens with the girls, write it down. Also record interactions between the two homes in this journal. We were told by a lawyer that something seemingly insignificant as my SS's BM asking him to call his BD by BD's first name was important and could be used later in a custody dispute.



See if your husband (or you) have a referral program through your work that will allow you to speak with a lawyer and/or counselor for a reduced or free rate. If not, then research family lawyers and ask for a one-time informational session. (We did this and learned a LOT about the laws in our state and what was/wasn't legal to do.) The kids need psychological help dealing with this and so do you. Counselors are not as evil as some people make them sound. :) If your SD is special needs, look into a child psychologist who specializes in play therapy.



As tempting as it is to talk about this with everyone, DON'T. IF this goes to trial, you want your friends and family to be able to talk on the stand without bias.



NEVER speak ill of the girls' biomom in front of them. Don't allow others to do so, either. While their mom is less-than-perfect, she is their mom and as such, her position should be revered and respected.



Start stockpiling cash for a good lawyer. If you want to help these girls into a safe home, you're going to have to fight for them in family court, not through CPS. Know that in most states, a judge will not rule that a child needs to be moved from one home to the other without a really big reason. These CPS incidents should be fairly good cause.



There are several step-parenting books out there. One in which I learned a ton of info about legal actions and what to do/what not to do is called The Stepfamily Survival Guide by Natalie Nichols Gillespie ( http://www.amazon.com/Stepfamily-Surviva...).



Hope that helps!

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