We arrive at 8:30 am as requested by court petition. We meet bio mom, bio aunt and bio dad at the courthouse. This hearing is being held because the social worker removed our foster daughter without good reason and with NO court order. As common way to do business in CYS agencies social workers have children nabbed then manipulate the law to fit their intended ending. Child was removed February 28th court hearing for the removal March 25th. In the interim she places the child in a group home where she was not to be placed. She came to us under strict supervision and was not permitted to be placed with other children. Guess that didn't matter with her mission to once again seclude the child and deny her bonding, adoption and again not care about her safety or well being. Keep in mind this is the same social worker that left this girl and her 3 siblings in a home where they were horrifically abused and tortured. Also remember that CYS and Dept of Welfare reported the abuse as unfounded. A PA state trooper and a District Attorney filed the charges against the foster mother, father, son and cousin that abused the children. Why not CYS or DPW?? That would open too many cans of worms both agencies prefer to keep closed. Remember also this same social worker brought her choice of attorney to the criminal trial for the abusers and together they threatened the girl that if she testified against her abusers she could go to jail. Who does this?? and gets away with it??
Upon arrival we spot our foster daughter in the hall and I go right to her for a big hug and tears along with my husband, her mom and her aunt. We have about 10 minutes of bonding before the KidsPeace social worker yanks her from us and removes her from the building. Like we were going to harm her or just to make a point that they are "in control." We remained in the hallway of the Pottsville courthouse all day hearing story after story from other parents and relatives regarding the horrific treatment of their families and children by these same characters. Bio mom's lawyer meets with her and bio dad's father meets with him. The guardian ad litem informs us only after being confronted by the aunt, that he has moved himself to the position of attorney for the foster child and another guardian has been appointed. He claims this was to protect the child and he would be in a better position to do what was best for her and or what she wanted. We know she wanted to come home with us. His motives we believe were not in her best interest but rather, like in most CYS cases, in the best interest of doing what he is told by CYS. This was a guardian that had never met his client until we forced him to in November of 2012.
The fathers lawyer met with me and she appeared to be in agreement with us taking custody of the child and proceeding with adoption. With both bio parents present any further paperwork needing to be completed could have been done then and there. The bio mom's attorney never approached me. She made him aware of her wishes for the child to come with us.
What a circus sitting in the hallway listening and watching just how these agencies operate and how mean, disrespectful and unprofessional everybody involved in these cases are. Of course, out of spite I'm sure they held our care until 4:30pm, the end of the day. Now the real carnival starts. First and for most I am denied access to the courtroom. Even though I have 100% standing in this case I suppose letting me in and having to let me submit my proving documents and testify wouldn't work in their favor. So we remain in the hallway. Lawyers come in and out with questions and to report what is going on in the courtroom. First thing we learn is that during the social workers testimony she claims the child was not permitted communication with her bio family which we allowed. We allowed that contact because KidsPeace told us it was OK and the CYS social worker never told us it was not OK. Both KidsPeace social workers knew of the contact (it is in the weekly recordings) and the KidsPeace supervisor new as well. This contact consisted of emails and phone calls with mom, phone calls with dad, and phone calls and 2 visits with her aunt. All emails were saved and appropriate, visits were with us in our home with her aunt and family. CYS managed to keep all of them apart and when they would try and get visits CYS threatened to take their children if they kept calling the CYS office. There was NO court order or any instruction by anyone involved in this case that there could be no family contact. Fostering rules promote you supporting a good relationship with the bio family without prejudice and mail and phone calls may not be monitored. We learned that these agencies change or ignore all rules to fit their motives and cover up their wrongdoings. Also with the family contact I began learning all the illegal things Sch County CYS and this same social worker did to the bio mother and father and to all 3 children involved. It is disgraceful that this kind of abuse of power and downright illegal activity can go on under the watch of our government.
The social worker also lied on the stand by claiming I made the girl apologize to her father. Totally ridiculous because I never thought the father did anything wrong. But social workers are given immunity (can't be prosecuted for lying on the stand) which is a HUGE part of the problem. They can lie as much as they want and not be held accountable like you and me for perjury.
When the KidsPeace social worker took the stand she told the truth about not knowing that there could be no family contact and allowing the girl to enjoy communicating with her family. This proved the CYS worker lied. The dad's attorney questioned me while standing in the hall with dad about the so called apology and we both said "it never happened." She also asked if the father was interested in visitation. This made no sense considering CYS was trying to prove their case using the no family contact issue and yet here is dad's atty. asking about visitation. Now I am really confused.
We were told that bio mom and bio dad's attorneys were on our side to take the girl home. A letter was presented from the therapist that our home was the best place for the child. We had all excellent KidsPeace and CYS reviews and a recent placement hearing presented on January 21st to the judge and written by CYS said that the child was safe and happy here and doing very well. She was on the honor roll, healthy and healing in therapy. It also states adoption to hopefully be completed by July 2013.
Then the social worker used the fact that our KidsPeace contract was expiring at the end of the month. This was fact but the judge never bothered to ask if we had another fostering contract. We also told the lawyer for the girl that we wanted to take kinship of the child and we do not need to be foster parents to do so. The family was present to OK that decision.
Then it was time for our foster daughter to take the stand. What I am told by 2 of the attorneys involved is that they manipulated the girl over and over on the stand. The guardian questioned her twisting the facts to make it appear that it was a secret about contact with her family. Of course we don't want children in the system keeping secrets, right??? That is what they do force and threaten children over and over again to not tell and not have contact with people that love them. Not to protect the child only to protect themselves. Although this didn't seem very substantial because the real reason for the child's removal was retaliation. Our helping her move forward in prosecuting her abusers from the former foster home.
By now it is going on 6pm we are exhausted but feeling positive because every angle CYS used to keep the child from us we felt was combated with proof, testimony or a reason to over rule CYS. Finally the lawyer (the girl's former guardian) approaches me and asked what I want. I said I want kinship of the girl and we plan on adopting her as soon as possible. I told him we did not care about the money of being foster parents we cared about the child. He acted confused and like he couldn't believe we would consider taking the child without any compensation. He returned to the courtroom.
Within 10 minutes everyone was exiting the courtroom. Not one person approached us and told us what the ruling was. Another 10 minutes and mass confusion and the bio mother tells us the judge ruled to keep the child in foster care. Claiming our expiring foster contract as her reasoning. In shock and tearful I we turned to leave when the CYS social worker calls us back and starts berating my husband and I. She is yelling and standing around her is the director of CYS and other co workers. She proceeds to tell us that we are to have no contact with the girl or her family. I explained that we have Constitutional Rights and their are laws in PA that she is overstepping. She laughs and tells us "I don't give a f*#K about your Constitutional Rights. You lost today and this case is closed as far as you and your family are concerned. I replied that I was not giving up on the child, ever.
We turned away from the CYS posse and left. We were both in shock most of the way home. Although through all the corruption in the 7.5 months of dealing with CYS it only makes perfect sense that the hearing was just for show there was only one outcome.
What I know today: There were 4 lawyers all on our side, a therapist recommending us, the 15 year old child testifying that she wanted to come home with us, both mother, father and aunt wanting us to take custody of the child. One lying social worker and one cooperating judge to keep the child hostage of the "system." There is no justice!!
So now the child has been made to sign an agreement that she will not contact us. She has been moved 1.5 hours away. CYS continued to allow visits and phone calls with her aunt and she called her dad on Father's Day. It wasn't about family contact it was RETALIATION!! She remains in a foster home with a single foster mother and I pray everyday that she is safe and happy. I continue to try and find the right attorneys to help proceed with her adoption and to sue CYS and KidsPeace for abusing all of our rights and the laws of the Commonwealth of PA.
I do continue to be a foster parent through a much more professional and uncorrupted agency. KidsPeace has way to many issues and I refuse to ever work with them again after witnessing first hand the way they treat children, their bankruptcy issues and hiring child molesters as counselors. The fact that they stole the girl's memory box is just another ill directed harmful way they harm children and get away with it.