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Mississippi Therapist Requires Assistance

May 20, 2011 in Adoption, Child Protective Services, corruption, DFCS, Mississippi

I have been working with the C. family, a lovely young couple who are risk of losing their only son. These parents are in imminent danger of the loss of their parental rights.  As always, I suppose, the story is complicated but also very unusual and compelling.  They have had to fire their lawyer this week due to multiple failures to adequately represent their interests.  I have promised to do what I could to help them locate another lawyer.

The child’s father is deploying to the Middle East on Thursday of next week (May 26th, 2011).  The parents thought that there would be no legal action taken in the case until his return in February of 2012, but we have learned that the DFCS caseworkers are pressing for a quick hearing.  They are terrified to be without adequate counsel at this time.

I have just read Nancy Schaefer’s letter on your website.  We need information about whether the dollars available to the states through the Adoption and the Safe Families Act are currently available to this DFCS.  The youth court and DFCS county in which the parents reside has the worst reputation in Mississippi. 

We are working with an investigative reporter with a national reputation who is interested in doing the story.  We need documentary evidence or even good stories about loss of parental rights for cash from mississippi.  There is a new youth court judge who is a huge adoption advocate. We need the names of helpful contacts.  Would sure appreciate your help.  I have attached a letter to the judge which summarizes the case and explains my involvement briefly.

(Note: This letter has been edited to protect the families identity.)

This letter was received from an Occupational Therapist, who writes in part.

Dear Judge, 

I have written to you this morning regarding the case of the C. family whose case you were going to hear today.  I am an early intervention therapist helping children age 0-3 with developmental problems.  Last summer, while in the course of my duties, I stumbled into a situation that has struck me as so blatantly unjust that I could not dismiss it as being out of the scope of my professional practice and as such not my concern. 

I met toddler C. (now 27 months old) and his parents in mid August while responding to a request for an oral motor and sensory processing skills assessment.  This request was made by toddler C.’s Service Coordinator for the First Steps Early Intervention Program, a service of the MS State Department of Health. I met briefly with them in their home to observe the child’s play and feeding skills which were significantly delayed.  During the course of my initial interview I learned that he had been in foster care and was being supervised by a case manager with the Department of Human Services.

The following week Mrs. C., called to cancel our appointment saying that his doctor had admitted him directly from his clinic appointment to the hospital.   Mom then called to tell me that the child would miss his second appointment because a hearing had been called to determine if he was unsafe in their custody and needed to be removed from their home for his safety.  She was clearly distraught, had recently moved into the area, and had no local family support besides that of her husband.  I felt a moral obligation knowing the circumstances to respond to her request for my presence at the hearing.

What occurred at the hearing in the Harrison County Youth Courtroom both shocked me and offended my sense of justice.  The conduct of the guardian ad litem struck me as deeply inappropriate and insensitive in relationship to the removal of a child from his parents.

Many accusations were leveled at the parents with no attempt to support them with any evidence. I heard that the same attitude and hearsay was displayed by the DHS supervisor at the follow up hearing a few days later.  

At this hearing neither the parents nor their lawyer were permitted to say anything in their defense.   Their lawyer unsuccessfully attempted to introduce a report completed by a pediatric gastroenterologist who had diagnosed the child with digestive problems. This report challenged the opinion of the physician that had admitted him into the hospital and had pressed for protective custody in the belief that his weight loss was due to his parents’ failure to feed him adequately.  

It is my understanding that this physician denied the parents a referral to a gastroenterologist and in fact the parents were accused in the courtroom of “doctor shopping” for seeking any other medical advice regarding their son’s condition. According to the boy’s mother, threats were made by DHS caseworkers and supervisors that if they sought alternative medical advice this would decrease their chances that they would be given custody of their son.

The reasons for the refusal of the pediatrician to pursue gastroenterological evaluation are unknown.  To our knowledge she has not yet provided a detailed rationale for this either verbally or through medical documentation. 

Other troubling aspects of this case which I know only through the parents, include advising the parents to plead no contest prior to the first hearing, conflicting messages and inadequate information from case managers and their supervisors, the repeated removal of case managers who indicated their support for the reunification of the family, and the lack of information and advocacy with the goal of family preservation. 

I did witness a statement made by a case manager supervisor following the August hearing in which, while refusing to answer the parent’s questions, she stated, “I am glad that you have a good lawyer” and “this is bull-it”.  Multiple efforts to engage high level staff at DHS through phone calls and e mails have either not been returned or not followed up. 

The parents have completed a detailed chronology of the events that have led to each of their losses of custody.  This includes an exhaustive body of data in support of their contention that the child’s removal from their custody is based on unwarranted assumptions, hearsay, misinterpretation, and a failure to investigate the reasons for his weight loss.  There is a lot of detail in their chronology about weight loss incidents that has been correlated with the physicians’ documentation.  

This young but resourceful family has experienced such isolation throughout this period, now over a year long.  Great psychological harm has been done to them.  The parents have received thorough and ongoing psychological evaluation and they are found to be normal for people under great stress.  There are indications that the boy has experienced psychological harm, but this has not been investigated by a credentialed mental health professional. 

This crisis has served to reunite and strengthen the parent’s relationship with one another. They have benefitted from the parent education experiences in which they have participated. They live for the weekly visitations with their child, which have on several occasions, been denied.  Their perception is that no one in the Department of Human Services supports their goal of  reunification.

It is my opinion that the relationship between the department and the family has been characterized by ignorance, withholding of information, and use of manipulation through threats of the permanent loss of custody.  These parents are two loving and competent parents that are at this time beside themselves over this last postponement, only one of many.  I ask that you do what you can to end the victimization of this child and his parents at the hands of the Department of Human Services.

Mississippi Occupational Therapist

DFCS, ‘Your Daddy is in Jail.’

July 21, 2010 in DFCS, Georgia

I am not really sure where to begin, but here in Murray county (northwest Georgia) you don’t really need evidence to take a child away and convict a person, you just need some kids (who have made false allegations before) to make allegations, and ignorant people to listen to them.

My Daddy's in Jail?

They came up with a plan; even wrote a note telling one of the others what to say, at a child advocacy center with paper thin walls, so that each child can hear what the child before them said. (Yes, this was recorded at lovely Green House CAC) by a vindictive family that knows its way around the system (they have always been in it).

My husband and I have been caring for 6 children for several years now. He and his ex-wife had 4, one passed away shortly after birth, and it drove the mother to a life of alcohol and drugs. The mothers family only mad attempts to be involved in the family when they benefited from it, like at tax time and stuff like that.

Well, we also had one child of our own and two nieces, which were placed with us under the Kinship care program. We moved here from Columbus, GA to keep them from seeing how their mother was killing herself, and to keep them from the gang life. We left the youngest of his older three with the mother because the mother would do anything for her, that is where she wanted to be and we did not want to force her.

A few months after moving, we received a phone call from the mother; a very vulgar phone call about how this 9-year-old girl was a lying whore, she had told DFCS that a friend’s stepfather had raped her and her friend; well it turned out to be a plot to live in a foster home together.

We immediately drove down to pick her up; the mother had been spending weekends in jail and the child was home alone, free to run around in an undesirable neighborhood with no supervision. None of the children liked living here, they said that there were too many “Hicks” here and everyone was unintelligent. These children were very smart; loved to read my college textbooks and always asked if I would copy any homework pages so they could attempt to complete the assignment.

I never stopped my children from excelling (yes I say my children, I raised them for 6 years).

When we would not allow them to stay with their mom they decided to call The Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) with the same allegations that the youngest of the three had used before, and it worked. I have lost my little girl, and now my nieces are going through the adoption process, to be forever removed from our family and heritage.

This is what our tax money does for us! My baby keeps asking if her daddy is in jail, or dead, and all I permitted to say is, “Baby, your daddy loves you.” I am monitored at all times, because they think I am going to tell my 4 year old something. They have her convinced that Daddy is in Jail! My husband is safe and at home with me, fighting for his little girl.

With one last note, custody of his three eldest was awarded to their mother’s mother, but she doesn’t have them, their mother does.

D.B. from Georgia

Oconee County, GA

September 18, 2006 in CPS, DFCS, foster care, Georgia

Hi my name is Brandy and I want to warn all parents away from Oconee County, Georgia.

I’ve lived in many counties and struggled all my life but I had my babies with me and we were happy. Oconee County DFCS has destroyed my life almost completely and if they have their way they will finish me off.

They have my 3 beautiful daughters in their custody now because of social drug use. My little girls have been so traumatized since they came into our lives. When they took them from me they went to the school and picked them up…without me being able to tell them I love them, or why these were strangers taking them away or anything.

How was that in the best interest of my babies??

My children have never been left with strangers in their entire lives, not even with a sitter. I can only imagine how scary that must have been for them. I only get to see them 1-hour a week so there is not much time to talk about things.

I wish I could just lie in the bed and hold them and tell them everything is going to be ok. I can’t afford a lawyer and things don’t look so good. But I got off course there.

Out of all the counties I’ve lived in I’ve never seen any as bad as this one. Everyone I know with children in this county is going through something with these heartless cps workers. I tell everyone because I wish someone had told me.

Had I known, I would have moved into a box before I moving to this county.


August 29, 2006 in DFCS, foster care, Georgia

I was put into foster care one-week before my 17th birthday because my mom was accused of false charges. Neither one of my parents were notified.

I told DFCS that I wanted to move in with my dad before I was put into foster care because my mom and dad are divorced. How can I get my dad to get custody of me? And can I legaly move out of the house at 17 as long as I have somewhere to live in Georgia?

Please help,

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