DCFS A Living Nightmare

DCFS has been in my life for about 40 years.  I was slapped in the face at Cannon Falls Minnesota by Mrs. Finnerty in the 1970s.  She was my first grade teacher at Pine Hill Elementary School in Cannon Falls Minnesota. I was immediately taken away from my parents.  It seems to me that  the school in a way, kidnapped me and my brother.   Even though it was considered legal.  They would not  let me or my brother return to our home in Cannon Falls Minnesota.  They told us we could not go home.  The school told us we were to stay put.  Later we were drove in the January bitter cold to a “foster families” house. I was terrified. I realized it was the home of a girl in my class.   I pleaded with my new foster mother “when will I see my mom and dad?”  I felt like I had been kidnapped.  I wasn’t allowed to leave their house.  I would sit for hours crying privately, with terror in my heart.   I never knew any other family than my parents.   This foster care family scared me.  They seemed so cold and uncaring. It was sub zero outside.  I was taken there in the dark.  I had no idea of where I was.  I remember waking up for school.  It was a January Minnesota bitter sub zero day.  I had wanted to dart and run out of their house.  But there would be not escape, because  it was some place that I did not recognize.  The January sub zero  tempuratures outside would not allow it.   I felt like a prisoner in a cold hell.  My foster family was my classmates  mother.  Somehow the school had arranged for me and my brother to be taken to this little girl’s family, so they could get a foster parent check.  This foster parent that I had  would curl her daughter’s hair and primp her daughter. in the cold bathroom. But she would have me used clothes and not even comb my hair.  I would watch her for minutes curling and primping her plainly daughter.  I pleaded with her to fix my hair.  She just ignored me and would not even comb my hair.    She made sure her daughter was beautiful.  I was a very pretty little seven year old girl.  I felt this foster mother did not like me because I was a lot prettier than her daughter.  The social services finally called the foster family and awarded them custody of me and my brother Sean.  They said my mother was incapable of taking care of me.  I was 7 years old.  My brother was 5.  Our child like minds could not comprehend the devastation,  a simple action could take. How could a simple slap of a teacher’s hand cause such a catastrophe.  That simple slap has caused a lot of my life to become sorrow and grief.  I cannot describe to you the hardship I have endured as a child both from my parents and DCFS.  My mother had a mental Illness.  From my 7 year old mind I felt Cannon Falls School Sytem and my neighborhood conspired against my family to take me away from my imperfect family.  Now I’ve come to realize that my 7 year old thoughts were correct. Mrs. Finnerty is deceased now.  But,  my question to you is.  Why should a school teacher get away with slapping a child in the face for not erasing the chalk board?  Then to cover up her actions call Minnesota Child Protective Services. I can still feel the slap of her hand that spun my head around.  That slap has echoes,  that project into my life, even today.  I cannot rid my life of DCFS.  Even Now, Dcfs seems to still torment me people call DCFS on me.  For example my angry ex husband in a custody dispute.  A disgrunted elderly neighbor, mad  because I would not let her make money babysitting my 6 year old.  This neighbor knows I pay well for childcare because I work, at one of the higher paying companies in the area.  I still feel like a child with flash back of memories of me standing in front of the picture window at my foster parent’s house waiting for my step father and my mother to bring me a winter coat. I can still see myself standing in the front of my new missonaries foster home.  I finally left the classmates home and went to a big farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.  Me and Sean were now miles from Cannon Falls there would be no escape.  As we drove up escorted by DCFS we saw a  two story farm house in Cannon Falls Minnesota.  I was on a farm isolated from the rest of the world.  I can still remember the pain of loss.  It felt like someone in my family had died.  I could not fathom a way to escape or to return to my parents.  I cried silently so no one could see. When I look at our childhood photos in Cannon Falls.  These were  after we were taken away by Child Protective Services.   I  see me and Sean standing solemn, with pale white faces,  pretending to smile.   I have flashbacks of standing in the front porch of my missonary foster parents.  I stood at the front of the huge farmhouse,  waiting to receive a winter coat for my November birthday.  It was a cold november day.  It was supposed to be my birthday present but my parents never came.  I would stand every weekend hoping, praying and waiting for my parents to come.  I would wait by the picture window at the front door.  The new foster parents got me a winter coat eventually.  These foster parents were much kinder. But what I hadn’t understood in my months of isolation, waiting for them to return and “Rescue” me and my brother.  Is that they were angry at me for crying after Mrs. Finnerty slapping me in the face.  My step father after nine additional months got a lawyer and won custody of me and Sean back.  In that Minnesota courtroom my parents sat opposite from me and Sean in the courtroom.  We were  sitting in a Minnesota courtroom with a room full of people awaiting the verdict.  Finally when the judge announced the verdict.  “The Children shall be returned to the parents”.  Me and Sean thought we would be returned.   But the court clerk hurried us back to our foster family, and almost instantly we drove back to the farm on Egan Ave.  But eventually, weeks after waiting and praying we were returned to Richard and Hellen’s house. I was shocked to see two grandmother’s awaited me and my brothers arrival.   They took turns helping my stepdad and mother out.  Finally Sally Konkel, Richard’s mother returned to Duluth Minnesota.   Then my Tennesse grandmother Mildred returned to her family.  We then moved to another town to escape the watchful eye of  Child Protective Services.   My stepfather blamed me for answering the school administrations questions incorrectly.   I know now that a child of seven  does not have the capacity to understand the Department of Children and Family Services questioning methods.  But regardless, I failed the’re questioning session.  And the result was a lifetime of sorrow.  My step father always blamed me for me and my brother being taken away.  I don’t know if he ever forgave me.  I’m not sure if I ever told him what really happened.  I couldn’t talk to him about what happened.  I always would get sad and depressed.  We finally got free of Minnestota Department of Children and Family Services by moving to Illinois.   Richard my step dad blamed me for me and Sean getting taken away.   Even though he stopped talking about the incident, there was always that feeling of guilt for being part of the process that destroyed my family.   Richard and Hellen were occasionaly abusive toward me.  I was always the black sheep of the family, I guess because I was not Richard’s child.  Richard could be the most abusive.  In 1980 he punched me in the face and broke my nose, with my mother telling him to do so.  I was 16 and was watching tv with my brother and sister but since I was the oldest and Richard’s step kid he blamed me for everything.  So he pulled his arm back and punched me in the face and broke my nose at 16.  I am 40 and still haven’t gotten my nose fixed because I cannot afford to do so.  But since I had so much violence and family problems in my life I went on into abusive relationships.  I got rid of the men who beat me.  But now I sit alone and happy that I do not have anyone controlling my life, even Child Proctive Services.   I was in the Minnesota Foster Care system for two years.  My brother Eddie was in the New York State Foster care system all eighteen years of his life.  He now uses herion and drinks.  My mother Hellen, Richard my stepfather and Sean my brother are all dead.  My parents died of heart failure.  My 17 year old brother Sean died in a car accident.  I blame Child Protective Services for all my heart ache and grief.  It stessed my parents out, causing heart failure.  My 17 year old brother died in Woodstock Illinois years after being a foster child in Cannon Falls Minnesota.  But the pain and suffering contributed to his reckless behavior,  that caused him to die accidently.  Any time anyone mentions Department of Children and Family Services I shudder with fear.  I suspect that I may suffer from post tramatic stress disorder.  But if you are still listening can I simply ask you.  How an agency such as child protective services have the power to hold a families future or demise in their hands.  What gives them the god given right?

One Response to “DCFS A Living Nightmare”

  1. gume says:

    Try to remember you’ll not always win. A few days, the most resourceful individual will taste defeat. However , there is, in this case, always the next day – after you have done the best to get success today.

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