I am not sure how anyone else felt about the meeting and we may be alone in our frustration, but I thought I would share my feelings and the feelings of my daughters, who were suppose to be the population that was the subject of this meeting…
We were so excited to share our story, sitting there for several hours listening to a few stories from parents that made my daughters and I cry because of the similarities to what we went through. But the majority of our time spent was listening to nonprofits promote their services and county officials promote the department, that to be totally frank, are all a part of that same broken system.
We watched as parent after parent (including myself) were cut off by time constraints, yet many of the “Non-parents” testifying were given 15 minutes to elaborate through questions from the panel. For example the commissioner who spoke, anyone who has ever reported their end-of-the-year budget numbers can attest to the fact that those numbers can and are manipulated to read what they want them to. Why was that even a part of the discussion?
Why were they given more time to explain away the county/department’s failures? Why were nonprofits able to speak to promote their goals?
Although I think that this meeting was a step in the right direction, It was, for me, no different than the many times I have stood in court and in DHS meetings, and rushed through, never having the opportunity to say what needs to be said.
For me it felt like a waste of time. For my daughters, it felt like, yet again there were people claiming to care about what they have been through just to turn it into a discussion about everything except them, the children effected by DHS.
They wanted me to tell our story and then ask the panel for permission for them to speak for the children. After I spoke and sat down next to them they told me that it would be a waste of time for them to share because the panel was not listening anyway. That is how they felt, the children who were suppose to be at the heart of the discussion.
It is unfortunate that they didn’t get to hear our story because it would have given them just one of the many examples of the long-term damage inflicted by this broken system. It would have given them a chance to hear how children were saved from possibly becoming one of those children who lost their life because of the department’s failures. My children were saved, not by the department, or the court, but by the children’s bravery to continue asking for help until someone finally listened to them.
It’s unfortunate that they didn’t take the time to listen.
Thank you Rosemary, for including us and trying to give us a chance to tell our story.
3436 Hampton Drive
Fort Collins, Colorado 80525