HORROR STORIES – happening now.
BREMERTON: Twin boys born premature are placed in foster care. The healthier of the identical twins is returned home, but his brother is considered medically fragile and remains in out-of-home care. After two months, the foster mother visits the twin at a medical appointment, and reports concern to CPS that the boy is regressing and not receiving proper care. She is told they will look into it. Two weeks later she visits again, and the infant looks much worse. She again contacts CPS, and they again say they will look into it. One week later, the baby is dead.
SEATTLE: 12 year old boy with special needs is legally free, and has been living with his foster mom for four years. The foster mother is licensed through a private agency. She moves her license to a new agency because she feels the services are better. The previous licensing agency attempts to remove the child from her home to place with a different foster family so they can keep the contract with DSHS.
SEQUIM: A four year old boy with autism has been in foster care for three years, living with his grandmother. By all reports he made remarkable progress in her home. The parents have had no contact for two years, only deciding now to attempt to regain custody when they were notified that their parental rights were about to be terminated. Both have a history of violence, theft, and drug and alcohol abuse. Both have outstanding warrants. The mother allegedly shows up for visits with alcohol on her breath and fails half of her drug tests. Judge Gary Sund orders the boy returned over the objections of the department, the guardian ad litem, and the foster parents. The grandmother is denied any visitation.
FIFE: Six month old baby boy is taken into shelter care with a broken leg. Further testing shows he has had 3 broken ribs in the past, in various stages of healing. The child is placed with the grandmother, where he stayed for three years. While the child was in out-of-home care, the mother had spotty visitation attendance, disappeared for three months, and was charged with a DUI. The mother was never in compliance and never had unsupervised visitation. DSHS, GAL, and CPT (Child Protection Team) all recommended termination of parental rights (TPR). The grandmother filed for third party custody in family court. Because dependency (foster care) court takes precedence over all other issues, Judge Vicki L. Hogan first took jurisdiction of the dependency, then denied 3rd party custody and ordered the now three year old child returned to the mother immediately without any transition.
MOUNT VERNON: Baby boy born to mother serving prison sentence for dealing in meth. Baby and 2 year old sister are placed with their aunts. After a year, the state files termination of parental rights (TPR) petition. The TPR trial is postponed, and eventually canceled. The mother is released from prison. Now 5 years later, the mother wants the children back. Family members sign affidavits that drug use continues in the home. Mother fails drug testing. Both DSHS and the children’s guardian recommend TPR. The children, now 5 and 7, tell Judge Michael E. Rickert there is violence in their mother’s home and they do not want to go. Judge Rickert sends them anyway, removing them from the only home and family they have ever known. Six months later – they are back in foster care. And damaged. What a surprise. Rickert recuses himself. The case must be transferred to Whatcom County, where a judge returns the children to the aunts.
MOUNT VERNON: Baby boy born addicted to drugs, removed from parents and placed with uncle. Baby fails to thrive, dropping to 5th percentile. Removed from uncle and placed with foster family at 11 months. Child recovers, shows dramatic developmental improvement and jumps to 75th percentile. When the child is two years of age, Commissioner G. Brian Paxton ignores the recommendations of DSHS and orders the child to travel 12 hours for a two day visit with his mother in a rehab facility. The child had never met her before and was given no transition. The child suffered nightmares, anxiety, insomnia, and behavioral regression. After a year of failed attempts, the therapists, DSHS, and the guardian recommended TPR. Judge John M. Meyer recuses himself. Judge Dave R. Needy orders the now 3 year old child returned to mother. After more failed attempts, the mother agrees to open adoption. But the child is now 3 ˝ years old and has suffered the effects of long term foster care.
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS TO PROTECT FOSTER CHILDREN
I could list many more examples of how this system continues to place children in danger today. This craziness must stop. Children continue to be hurt. All these people contacted me because they saw me on the news and didn't know where else to turn. I am turning to you. Please support the Foster Care Justice Alliance and help protect our children.