Monday, December 13, 2010, 5:59 PM – a story from a fellow adoptive mom…
The local caseworker told us early on (when they were threatening to charge us with neglect for not picking up our RAD daughter from the teen shelter after her two weeks were up) that DCFS “does not want your other kids. We don’t want Rob [either]”.
Yet we were repeatedly and relentlessly threatened with the loss of our other children and they actually filed a petition asking the judge to make them wards of the state (although not to take custody of them), then tortured us for over a year and a half by making sure the judge never ruled on that petition. I have heard horror stories about familys who were destroyed when DCFS pulled their other children as punishment for refusing to take back their very troubled RAD child/ren or in response to wild tales of abuse cooked up by the “problem child”. In those cses, the other children were severely traumatized and never the same by the abuses they suffered in foster care (often from the child/ren who the parents had been trying to protect them from in the first place) and by “the system” in general.
It totally destroys a child’s sense of safety to be pulled form a family where there is *not* a problem, especially when they have just gotten free of a troubled sibling and are now dumped back into a home with him or her – most often one where the [foster] parents are clueless and thus unable to stop the abuses.
I found myself searching for a source for cyanide and wondering how many peach pits it would take to cook up a fatal batch myself so I could take brownies with poisoned frosting to my first “visit” if they pulled my other kids – so all of us could die together and be safely in the hands of God instead of in hands of DCFS (state child protective services) — that’s when I began looking for a safe house for my children to go to during every court hearing and pulled the last one of them out of the public schools.
DCFS in IL is notorious for being cowardly and pulling children out of the schools instead of visiting their homes. I’ve heard terrible tales of how parents panicked when their kids didn’t show up after school and didn’t find out they were in DCFS custody until the next day. Most of those cases I’ve heard of were those where the kids were pulled in retaliation, not for actual abuses. And we have fostered 3 dozen DCFS wards, so I’ve heard those parents’ stories too. I have a friend whose 9 year old son broke his arm at a Little League game. The next day, a (particularly nasty) neighbor called CPS, telling them that his father had hit him with a baseball bat in the backyard. They pulled the child from his classroom in the middle of the school day without even talking with his teacher, his Little League coach or either of his parents. It took them almost a week to get him returned to their home. The poor child began wetting the bed and has severe separation anxiety and all of her children had trouble sleeping for months afterward.
At the very least, you should talk with your other children’s schools – principles, teachers, guidance counselors, maybe also bus drivers – and let them know what’s going on and what the dangers to your other kids are. Ideally, most of those people already know because you’ve had to explain to them why your children have been a little odd in school during your troubled child’s latest bad spell. I’d include any after school caregivers, coaches, scout leaders, etc. It helped us greatly that our school principal knew what we’d been going through so he was able to sit in on the CPS investigator’s interview of my 6 year old (they just couldn’t do it in our home?) and served as a buffer for her if the questions got scary and kept a leash on the CPS guy so he didn’t intimidate her.
This was early-on in my RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) daughter’s ever-escalating accusation history, so they had not yet threatened to take the other children away. You cannot assume that DCFS/CPS will behave in a reasonable fashion. It seems there is no limit to what kind of stunts they will pull just to prove their power over everyone and immunity to the consequences of their actions.
If this author reads this comment, please email me at email@example.com. I will be meeting with legislators and congressmen in IL very soon. I am currently forming an agenda for legislative change. One of the topics I will address is DCFS accountability. I am hearing a lot of stories like this from parents.