This, I’m told, is the goal of Family Services; this is also the stated mission of the contracted agency to which my family is now subject.
My son left home on April 2. I was told on April 3 that he was placed in temporary state custody and I was given a contact name and number. I waited several hours, then called the individual; I got voicemail, and left a message. That was a Friday, around 4:00 p.m.
I heard nothing from anyone until nearly noon on Monday. I had no idea where he was staying, how he was, nothing. His caseworker finally called me, and a meeting downtown was arranged. Neither the caseworker nor my son showed up.
On that Tuesday, April 7, there was a hearing; afterwards, we all had another meeting. The caseworker said she’d bring my son by the house for a “visit”. They were here ten minutes. My son gathered some clothing, and his cell phone, and the caseworker handed me some paperwork. My son, you see, had to get to work on time. I guess that his work schedule trumps seeing me. The caseworker said she’d be in touch regarding another visit.
I was told there would be no visitation on Easter, or for church on Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. Caseworkers don’t do weekends, and I have to presume that this one in particular is the ONLY one who can “supervise” visitation. I have to be supervised, you see, because I’ve been accused of “blaming” him – for his own, out-of-control behavior. What is the world coming to, when a kid is held accountable for his own choices? Mercy.
By Friday, there was still no communication from the caseworker; I called her office that morning, only to discover that the entire place had shut down for Good Friday. So I heard nothing for three more days.
On Monday, April 13, I reached her supervisor – after one call at 8:00 a.m., whereby I learned their office doesn’t open until 9:00; after NINE more calls, reaching various voicemails, including the caseworker who had taken that day off as well, I spoke to the supervisor.
The caseworker STILL did not call me until Wednesday, the 15th, only to discover that she could not schedule a visit because she still didn’t have my son’s work schedule. Work trumps Mom, remember?
She called back the next day. She wanted to arrange a visit for NEXT Thursday. When that time arrives, it will be three weeks since my son left, and two-and-a-half weeks since I’ve seen him.
Can you see how important “family” is to these people?
Of course, I was also told that my son didn’t want more frequent visits – so he gets to call the shots? Isn’t that something we’re cautioned against in a divorce action, letting a kid make the decisions?
But wait, there’s more – you knew it, right?
My son was expelled from school the end of January; we were told he could attend an alternative school, but not the regular one, so we gave him a choice: alternative, or GED and a job. He got the job. Within a week or so he had permission from the state to take the GED. He had excuse upon excuse to not get the rest of the paperwork and sign up for the test, and he’s too big for me to drag him.
When he left detention, the judge ordered him to either attend school to or get his GED. The day after his release, I took him to pick up the last needed form; within just over a week, he was back in custody. He’s been in custody for two weeks now – no one has done a single thing about his education.
He’d asked me, after he got home, to make a doctor’s appointment for him for a couple of things; that hasn’t been done. He’s due for a dental visit; again, the state has not taken him. He was court ordered to undergo family therapy, and it was agreed that he would also seek individual therapy. This has not been done. In two weeks.
Apparently all my son has done is go to work and, pardon me, screw off. Naw, I don’t know that for sure, ‘cause it’s considered too dangerous for me to know his work schedule – not that I couldn’t get it from his boss, heck, I could even go up to his job and see him. I’m just trying to play by the state’s rules.
So at the next hearing, surely the judge will ask what progress there has been. I wonder what the state will say? I know what I’ll say. And I know pretty much what our attorney will say as well.
Lest I forget to add, my son is still on probation. He blew off his PO, wasn’t where he was supposed to be when she came to see him. The shelter says they’re checking up on him, but apparently they’re dropping the ball a bit – ‘cause he’s so pleasant and helpful, they trust him. They shouldn’t. Really. Been there, done that.
Here’s the problem: the state believes whatever my son told them; they have zero experience with his lies and manipulation. They think he’s in danger in our home. Unfortunately, they’re basing this on the fact that he didn’t come under the court’s radar until long after he began exhibiting problems. Why? Because the things he did, individually, weren’t considered “serious” and, frankly, there was no room at the inn – those spots are reserved for actual crimes.
Never mind that he frightened us, or was violent, or physical, or verbally and emotionally abusive; forget about the property damage, and all the lies over the years and yes, theft and other run-ins with the law. And the status offenses, refusal to eat or drink for days, more lies and slander of his family.
The state lumps him in with “innocent children”. He is not one of them.
He started texting me the day after the hearing. He wanted me to bring him something. I said no. This is his pattern. We took away his computer, temporarily, and he sabotaged mine, nearly starting a fire; he finally admitted it, and said it was because we’d taken his. He went ballistic that night he was taken from home, after we’d said “no, you can’t spend the night with a friend.” He called me from detention and wanted me to pick him up, in the middle of the night, and I said “no”. The next day, the state decided he needed protection.
These are not coincidences. When he’s told no, he loses control.
He has texted me, on and off, the last couple weeks. Usually just one word: hey, hi, morning, sup, etc. Last night I called him, because a text exchange indicated he might be amenable. He was highly agitated for the entire conversation. He sounded hoarse, frantic,
He accused me of needing “meds”, of having illegal meds, of being psycho. This is no secret, it’s on his Facebook page. He didn’t answer when I asked if he wanted to come home. He did say that, over and over, it was MY fault that he had spent three weeks in detention; nothing, of course, about all the behaviors that he engaged in that finally resulted in that detention, and nothing at all about his probation violations since.
He said it would be no big deal if his dad had to go to jail, because he himself had spent those weeks in detention. And he said he wanted an apology from me, for sending him to detention.
It’s all about him. And he takes no responsibility. None. Not once did he mention being afraid of us. It was all about his power to affect the family and how things were going his way. Of course they are. He’s not here, he has fewer rules, and no one is taking care of him or checking up on him. I guess they can only do that during “business hours”.
Not sure that this is true:), but thanks for a post.
Oh, but it is. Every bit of it.
Sounds like a heck of a situation. I would be going crazy if I were you.
Not sure how you took the “blaming” comment (I would be furious about it as well) but generally when I see that in a situation where abuse is alleged, “blaming” means that they are accusing you of blaming him for causing the abuse, rather than blaming him for his out of control actions. That’s what warrants supervised visits – they believe you know that abuse occurred but you are justifying it because of child’s actions and therefore you would not protect the child in the future (i.e. blaming the child for abuse he suffered).
Be careful – I’m not sure if you have other kids but the same thought process could be carried over to them as well. If they proceed with it, theoretically they could get any other children in your care removed as well. Sorry – I might be over dramatizing this but it’s a big red flag to me in how they are treating things.
Does your son have a GAL or a CASA assigned? If so, press them for things in his best interests, like following the court order and not wracking up more probation violations as well as getting his GED.
Hope your situation gets better quickly.
Thanks, Emma, appreciate your thoughts!
Thing is, I did blame him – for his behavior, not for “causing” the alleged abuse. And I do have another child at home, but according to the state, there are “no safety factors”. And yes, my son does have a GAL.
Guess I’ll have a lot of questions at our visit on Thursday – if it even actually happens!
Emma’s comments were really helpful, I think – she makes some really important points from the State’s point of view.
I would also press for a proper psychological review of your son. Over the years, I have come to think that he has a personality disorder. I would also tell the child care workers that you will be more than happy to undergo a parental evaluation (psychological testing) and pay for it yourself if they don’t have a budget for it. It could be very important to present to a judge.
The Family Reunification thing is a grant issue. We had the same thing happen here – they got public grants for family reunification, so then they apply that to every situation. Didn’t matter that there was physical evidence of abuse – they wanted to reunify the abuser and the victim.