Disability and CPS

July 27, 2008 in CPS

Even though we have laws that require employers to make allowances for a workers disability, CPS workers are free to disregard the law and often harrass, belittle and demean those who’s only crime is needing a helping hand…

A young mother waits and worries if her children are safe with strangers

I actually concur with the notion that CPS is held to an impossible standard because they are understaffed and the staff they have are biased and often have no idea what it’s like to parent. Yet, they are appointed to judge those who are parents.

They use this “veil of secrecy” you mentioned, to their advantage and not to the advantage of the children or the parents. I am not referring parents who have harmed their children. I am referring to people like me, who are simply poor and unable to provide all that is needed for their children. This period in my life did not last but the case has dragged on and on.

CPS Policy Harmful to Families

They said it’s only taken this long because that is their policy — to take your kids for at least a year, even if it does not apply to your situation.

In the beginning, CPS claimed the purpose of their organization was to help me and make me “the best mommy I can be.” During that time I was pregnant with twins and unable to work because I have Fibromyalgia. This was the main issue in the beginning.

I know that I needed help but CPS simply isn’t a good fit as far as assessing the issue. I only needed daycare or in-home nanny care and they simply don’t provide those services. The father of my children, his family and my family were all not helping me. DES was paying for childcare but there was simply nothing open where we lived. Of course, unable to work, I had no money to hire a nanny. After I had the twins, we moved and I was able to find a job and daycare. The case manager gave me bus cards and offered to pick my kids up from daycare as a nice gesture.

Caseworker’s Unprofessional Behavior

Then, as soon as the next report and review hearing came around, my case manager’s supervisor accused me of being lazy and making up excuses. She condescendingly asked me if I even realized that picking up my children was my responsibility.

On this day and during a phone conversation I had with her later, she raised her voice to me. Over the last two-years, I have endured regular verbal abuse, put-downs and false accusations from various CPS workers.

I know for a fact that most people with Fibromyalgia need full-time assistants, either from a family member or hired help and babysitters if they have children. At the least, the other parent has to do most the work. Every single time I explain this to my case manager or someone in CPS they disregard it. They accuse me of making up excuses.

They say I have to “just get over it” and work a full-time job like everyone else. They also say things like, “Other single moms can do it.”

Caseworker Lacks Understanding and Compassion

I have a 3-year-old child and one-year-old twins. None of my case managers have had kids. They cannot relate and won’t accept that I need help. They won’t accept that many people with disabilities are able to effectively parent even if they require further assistance.

I have asked my current case manager what other moms in my position have done. She refuses to answer the question. I assume they feel that all parents with disabilities should just as easily lose custody! No one has ever given me a clear response.

Living with Fibromyalgia

They also have no idea what Fibromyalgia is. It took them one and a half years to finally say that they need written notes from a doctor stating that I am able or unable to do something. Previously, if I was unable to something, I was accused of drug abuse.

They have told me, they can simply accuse parents of anything, on a whim, and that parent is considered guilty until they jump through hoops to prove otherwise.

I actually moved in with my former mother-in-law as a way to provide housing for my children. She told CPS at the review hearing that she would watch my three babies so that I could finally work and rest. This turned out to be a lie. She didn’t watch them during the week. I had to beg her to give me time on the weekend so that I could at least buy food.

I was not able to find work or attend Dr. visits, which were both required by CPS. I called my case manager to complain. Much to my shock, my mother-in-law had recently made a claim that I was using my Saturdays to go out “partying” and “drinking.”

CPS told me if I moved out, then she would be forced to follow through with her promise and that I could take the time to work and find a place for my kids. They said it would be okay. This was a lie. They knew ahead of time that, no matter how fast I found a home and employment that I would not get my kids back for a year. They knew that I would lose all custody and rights to go visit them. I didn’t even get visitation for a month and a half.

Reports Filled with Lies

None of this was put in their report. All they claim is that I lost custody due to inability to provide for the children’s needs and due to mental health issues. The irony is that my mother-in-law is an alcoholic. She also needs help with the three babies and CPS says nothing about it. My children have had contact with her sister who is a recovering addict and her ex-boyfriend who has had domestic disputes with her. I have seen these people there. They have told me the truth. She has lied to CPS, my caseworker believed her.

What bothers me the most is CPS workers judgment of whether or not someone is able to “effectively parent”. The definition of “effective parenting” is not written down nor is it clearly defined. Their perception of a parents progress is completely based on the opinion of whomever is there to watch or whomever reads a report by someone who was there.

I have witnessed that at least two of my case managers have lied and I have witnesses to prove it. Somehow, there is nobody regulating what these people do or holding them accountable! I have a court appointed lawyer who I only see for court hearings, every 6-months. There is nobody on the side of the innocent to witness these trespasses.

Of course the requirements of what I must do are simple. However, their satisfaction with how well I complete each task is never static. I have seen many doctors and overworked myself to appease them and I receive no recognition for my effort. In fact, in her progress report, my case manager wrote, “parent was slow to show proof of complying with requirement to see doctors.” She only ever asked me, verbally, what was going on, she never once asked me to provide any sort of “proof” before writing her report.

Each person within CPS has their own opinion of how well I do or even if I did what they wanted at all. I am doing everything I can to follow what they want and they still hint at adoption.

The point is, reform is desperately needed. Yes, it means some things are no longer confidential but sacrifices must be made in order to get things done. I am willing to lose some privacy if it means that an investigation will be done and that these so called social workers will finally have to answer to someone.

If there are any other innocent parents, with or without, disabilities that have been mistreated by CPS, I strongly believe they would also allow such veils to be lifted so that justice can be served.

Tara P.

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