I wanted to share with you briefly about a horrible tragedy that my family is experiencing with the Department of Family Services in Las Vegas Nevada. Sadlyâ€¦my family is not alone in this abuseâ€¦
I have been an foster/adoptive resource for over three years now.
In June 2008 two sibling boysâ€¦ Two and five years old at the time were placed with me! Neither was potty trained, both were under weight and had developmental delays. Both had deep seated scars and fears related to abandonment and neglect.
Early into it I feared maybe I was in over my head. Maybe the damage done was too great and I was not equipped. I shared this with the biological mothers therapist outside the courtroom one day. She admonished me to hang in there and to just be consistent. Children are resilient and just want to be loved she said. She confided to me that she had been fighting for this placement for over a year and was so relieved that I had them.
I was struck with the fact that I did not have the instant bond of mother child as I had with my birth son. I repented and prayed to God every night to give me a mothers heart for these boys because I knew they deserved that. He gave it to me and I was determined to remain committed to the children as I was horrified at the revolving door of placements that children have to endure.
So I clung to her admonishment and prayer and yes she was rightâ€¦â€¦ I saw tremendous progress and nothing short of miracles over time with the boys. They went from being unable to function to normal busy active boys!! I became extremely busy with the demands of so called â€œspecial needsâ€ boys and with all the requirements of the DCF, doctor appointments, counseling, tutoring, reliable babysitting, and a working single mom! Whew! But live was full and good.
It took one year to terminate parental rights. At the 11th hour of moms parental rights being terminated I offered an open adoption agreement and she agreed. Her rights were technically relinquished.
I thought of a live in nanny and one was recommended from one of the agencies that work with children in foster care. We agreed to a trial training period with the understanding if it worked out she would be a live in nanny help. After a very short period of training with pay I felt uncomfortable with her presence around the children and I told her it was not going to work out. She stayed in my home for three weeks until she could arrange for another place to stay. I did not leave her alone with the children. Being vindictive she turned me in to CPS with many false outlandish allegations against me on or about March 17th.
March 17th my presence was requested at the childrenâ€™s status hearing check and my adoption packet being done I had been ready for quite some time. I was waiting on the DFS to move. The Hearing Master Femiano stated that the adoption had to take place by June of this year or multiple ASFA fines would incur against the DFS. After that hearing we began picking out our new last names and planning for an adoption party. The therapist was also preparing the children for adoption.
Friday March 18th CPS investigator Deo called me at work and wanted to know where the children were. I cooperated. He took the little one from his preschool and took him to his office. I called the caseworker and told her I am getting mixed messages here. She reassured me I had nothing to worry about. Every allegation has to be investigated. The little one told me later that he was scared to leave his preschool with this strange man but he was nice because he gave him candy and then had him pee in a cup!
March 24th, one week after the last status hearing CPS removed the children from my home with out any explanation to me! I was so traumatized I did not work or go home for three weeks. After the initial blow I slowly regained strength to fight back. They had not even done an investigation and refused me any contact with the children!
I pushed for an investigation and on May 11 a month and a half later although most of the allegations were found not substantiated they substantiated child abuse â€œsubstance misuseâ€ and I was registered as an offender threatening my nursing license. I had one week to apply for an appeal or would forever forfeit that right to appeal and would remain a registered child abuser. I got my appeal in and then waited for the hearing date to be set.
Originally it was set for July 20th but I believe at my obnoxious pushing I had my hearing pushed to an earlier date on June 15th.
On June 14th one day before my hearing I was given a copy of their supposed evidence and charges against me! June 15th I sat in at my Hearing and I defended myself and provided my evidence.
(Our three year anniversary was June 16th.)
June 21st the child abuse charges were overturned by Hearing Master Heather Kemp and the DFS was ordered to remove me from the offender data base immediately!
June 23rd I showed up childrenâ€™s next Hearing Status check and Hearing Master Femiano allowed me in the court room. I sat opposite the DFS/DA and I was allowed to speak. I told her that it had been a very rough three months and that the children and I were denied and contact with each other for the first time in three years.
She agreed indeed because the children had been separated from each other and filtered through five different placements in a three month period!! I was horrified! After three years of stability and progress who does this to children!?!
The caseworker, did not show and had a stand in with her written notes stating that she was happy to report that the children were doing extremely well! (really?) And that I was to be contacted for therapeutic visits and a safety plan was to be placed and the children were to be returned to me. The Hearing Master inquired as to why visitation and safety planâ€¦.? The stand in stated because of the allegations made against me. The Hearing Master statedâ€¦.I donâ€™t want to hear thatâ€¦..those were overturnedâ€¦.why not just place them
The D.A. then spoke and said that the DFS communicated to her that there was uncertainty if they could re-instate my Foster License. I clarified to the Hearing Master that my Foster License was not suspended or revoked but the renewal was put on hold pending the outcome of the investigation and appeal! I also stated that I disagreed with the DFS decision to remove the children traumatically and that I would like to get back to our lives and proceed with our original plans of adoption. Hearing Master Femiano told me that she could not force the DFS to return the children to me but that she could put pressure on them to place them in an adoptive resource as they have not been in one since they were removed from me. There was no more mention of â€œASFEâ€ fines! She set the next status check hearing for six months later in December.
On June 19th a friend and I went to the Commissioners meeting and sat there from 9am to 3:30pm until comments from the public were allowed. I thought my heart was gonna beat out of my chest but I briefly told them of my experience with the DFS and the children being filtered through five different foster homes. The Commissioners Stated that they would look into it.
July 21st we were granted a â€œtherapeutic good bye visitâ€! Our first contact in over four months! I refused to say goodbye and stated that for the record to the DFS, the therapist, and my attorney. I also stated that I disagree with the D.F.S. decision to remove the children traumatically and now to not place them back in our home and that I am refusing to say goodbye to the children.
July 21st I was also informed that they now they were re-investigation my foster license. I called Patricia Peal to inquire why are they re-investigating my license? I was told that I was misinformed by Richard Nelson the original investigator because he is just a â€œvery nice personâ€! Ms. Peal stated that this is a continuation of the original investigation put on hold pending the outcome of CPS investigation and my appeal. She stated they would have a decision for me in two weeks. (I believed that they were just looking for another way to disqualify me in order to justify their removal of the children).
I was re traumatized after seeing the children and hearing the horror of their experience. They were separated from every thing that they had come to know and expect as home and family. The older one was labeled a sexual predator stemming from the false allegation against him and I. He was separated from his younger brother. Kicked out of multiple homes and sent to St. Judes Ranch with other labeled offenders. His medication and bowel training that we worked so hard on for three years went all together ignored and he began to soil his paints again! He was ridiculed and humiliated for soiling his pants and ran away to find me! He was caught and sent back to Child Haven. He told me that his life has been ruined! (He is only 8 years old!) He also told me that his heart feels like a toilet that is plugged up. While he was in my presence he said it has gone down but when he leaves me it will be plugged again. He stated that he began cursing again because he is so angry at what has happened! Me too babyâ€¦I told him. He asked me â€œHow are we going to stay connected as a family mom?â€ I pointed to my heart and then told him I was banging on the gates of heaven!! He described the removal of his brother and he from me and our separation from each other right before our adoption as a bomb that blew us all up!!! â€¦..It does feel like an act of terrorism!
Tuesday July 26th Janice Ridondo Community Liason for Commissioners had set up a meeting for me to meet with the Director of the DFS Tom Morton on Friday July 29th. It was then overturned by the Assistant County Manager Jeff Wells stating that since I am in the midst of a â€œbest interest determinationâ€ it would be inappropriate for the county to step in at this time. Jeff Wells then communicated to me that he told the DFS that they could not investigate my foster license until they had done a best interest determination.
Tuesday August 2nd went to Commissioners Meeting and I spoke again to request a â€œSpecial Meetingâ€ concerning the DFS. I was told yes by the Commissioners I was told to get with Jeff Wells again to set that up.
August 4th an â€œEmergency Hearingâ€ for the boys set. Amy Jaffe and Patricia Peal stood in for the DFS. Also Tamiko Carter Henderson case worker and Richard Nelson Foster License Investigators, Darcy Spears Chief Investigative Reporter for channel 13, Anita Stephens former president of CCFAAPA. Sylvia liberty and Shelly Alfaro, long time friends on mine. The biological grandmother was also there in the audience.
This time The DFS stated in court that they are planning on placing the children back with biological grandmother before school starts this year. (They removed the children from the the biological grandmother three years ago and placed with me for adoption). They also stated that they are investigation my foster license again. And that the Investigation was not complete at that time but Patricia Peals stated that she would have to say they are probably moving towards revocation. (To justify their criminal actions!) Amy Jaffe stated that they would grant me visitation if the children were to ask for me. (They have been asking for their mommie since their removal!)
This hearing in no way resembled a â€œBest Interest Determinationâ€ but was placed on calendar as and specifically called a â€œstatus checkâ€. Biological grandmother told the hearing master that I disobeyed court ordered visitation with bio mother. (I have an open adoption agreement giving me discretion with visitation so that I could act in childrenâ€™s best interest). Also there was still no more mention of â€œASFEâ€ fines promised if the children were not adopted by June of this year!
Friday August 5th Darcy Spears Chief Investigative Reporter for Channel 13 interviewed me in our home.
Tuesday August 9th I email-ed and called DFS administration and my attorney that I had no intentions of ever having a Foster License again! That I would have it and did have it only to adopt my precious boys.
Friday August 12 I email-ed and called the County Managers Office about the DFS refusing to speak with me. I was told Jeff Wells was on vacation and Rose who answered the phone called the DFS for me she was told that DFS would not speak with me if I had council so immediately I released my attorney and ccâ€™d that release email to DFS administration.
Monday August 15th I Called DFS for visitation again and was told that they could not speak with me because I had an attorney and I clarified that I released him and had forwarded that release notification to their office! I also spoke briefly with Donna Coleman Child Welfare Advocate about getting CAP Attorney for the children. Email-ed Tabitha Fiddyment Child Welfare Attorney and I spoke and faxed all documents pertaining to my boys and their case to Bill Grimm Lead Council for National Youth Lawâ€¦.he is looking into it.
August 16th I spoke again at the Commissioners Meeting. I was told by Don Burnette Clark County Manager that the new interim director Lisa Ruiz-Lee would speak with me now as he had directly spoke to her office about it.
August 17th Lisa Ruiz-Lee did email me back and stated that she would be in contact with me shortly to schedule a meeting for the week of the 21st. I requested more visitation with the children since their was no transition and the children are still very traumatized. She stated that she would discuss that issue with me at our meeting! (In other wordsâ€¦..NOâ€¦..and still no transition for the children or me.)
August 26th Friday. I received a phone call from Senator Hellers office. A Ms. Brittany Sandler told me that she had read my letter in its entirety and she wanted to assure me that Senator Heller was appalled. She told me that Senator Heller was writing a letter on our behalf along with my letter attached to the Attorney Generals Office, Governor Sandovalâ€™s office, and the office of The Department of Health and Human Services requesting an investigation in this matter and a response back from those departments to him as to their action taken.
The children and I have been used and then discarded like trash by a corrupt system paramount to human trafficking and slavery. Millions of dollars are at stake and the children pay the price! I can no longer remain silent to this evil system that betrays the children entrusted in their care!