Saturday, May 16, 2009

A LETTER FROM THE AUTHOR

Due to the overload of cases each Child Protection Services, worker, is swamped with and the Workers lack of Knowledge, Arizona’s children are slipping through the cracks, and families are being broken up, never to be as one again. And guess who is the ones to pay the ultimate price, it is our children. Each CPS worker of the state of Arizona has a case load of 14-15 cases, to handle, all at one time. With each report that CPS receives they are supposed to go through a complicated screening process, to review each call, to determine which needs to be investigated. If there happens to be previous involvement, that expedites the process, and whether or not the reports are substantiated, CPS will be at your home with in 24 hours from the day and time the report was made, and remove your child from your home. And then and only then will they actually start to investigate, whether or not there was even a need to remove the child from your home. During the first formal visit with CPS after they have removed your child, they hold the meeting at the Juvenile Court Building on Ajo Rd, where you and your husband or wife, are in a room by yourselves, with 6-7 other people who you have never met before. All who work for or with CPS. There are no lawyers there to defend you at this time, because they fail to give you one until a couple of days before the Dependency Hearing. Your first contact with your lawyer is usually 2-3 minutes before court has been scheduled to start.

Once you get into Court you are then officially ordered to comply with a case plan, if you ever want to have your child Home again. Still at this time all the allegations are unsubstantiated. It is then that a case plan with the things you are supposed to accomplish, is handed to you, and they want you to sign it. You, do, and then whether they tell you or not, you have unknowingly just agreed to all the allegations in the report. That is you admitted that you did those things.

Ok so now you have got a ton of things to get done, there are the psychology exams, the parenting classes, the test day calls every single day, with the exception of Sunday. There are the random drug screenings, the hair follicle test, the substance abuse counseling and group therapy, the Blake foundation appointments, and the scheduled visit with your child once a week, if you are lucky. And just as you start to settle in your set requiem, and you manage to deal with the measly one visit a week, totally 1 and 1/2 hours, wham they nail you again, by canceling a visit, about every other week or so. They leave you feeling hopeless, devastated empty , and lost.

The reason I know this stuff, is because I am currently going through this process, for the second time in 5 years. Five years ago, I went through this, and five years ago, I lost my children, forever. 4 of them are with a distant relatives on the fathers side who has never had anything to do with the family and still doesn’t. My other two, a boy, now, 13, is out of state with his father, and a girl, who is 12 who is in state with her father. Neither of them do, I have contact with.

But because of one of my husband’s childhood friends, who lost it, mentally, and got pissed off because I would not allow him to hang out at our house and bring any kind of drugs around period, decided to get me back, by calling Maranas Police Department, and stating that my then 13 month old baby girl was in immediate danger of child abuse and neglect. MPD showed up at my house and asked to do a welfare check on my baby, who had not even been here, all day. She spent the entire day with her aunt. MPD made us call the aunt and bring the child home immediately. We complied and about 15 minutes the aunt and my child returned. The officer saw for himself that the baby was fine, he saw that she had everything she needed. He then told us by law, he has to notify CPS of all calls regarding children. He did, and with in 24 hours, CPS was here to remove my child.
























And now as of this past August 2008, I lost custody of my daughter Alexandria. I just so happens that I am pregnant again, and I was told my CPS, that if I did not relinquish my rights to Alexandria, I would have to immediately relinquish my rights to my unborn child. So I did so, feeling as though, I sacrificed one for another.

It occurred to me, about 2 months ago, that I do not have it in me, to raise another child. My soul is still aching and empty, and I would not be able to give this child, the life it deserves. So I contacted an Adoption Agency, and have begun to process of placing my unborn child up for adoption.

It is now November 2008, and emotionally I am a freaking wreck, this pregnancy is hell on my body, my mind and my soul. And I feel as though my life is falling even more apart, right before my very eyes.

So to anyone who finds themselves unfortunate enough to get tangled in the deceitful web of Child Protection Services, my heart goes out to you, and my prayers are with you. And here is some advice that I hope you follow, because, the knowledge came from learning the hard way. What ever you do, if CPS tells you to sign a case plan, telling you that upon it’s completion there will be reunification, tell them to shove it up their ass, and tell them to take you to trial, and prove the allegations against you. Also, document every time you have contact with CPS, with the date time and what topics were discussed. And, you need to learn all you can about the Juvenile Law Procedure and Laws in your state.
Knowledge is power… It would also be a good idea for you to find a local support group of other parents in the same situation. You are going to need all the support you can get.

Well for now this will conclude what I have to say. I wish all of you the Best Of Luck, and my prayers and thoughts are always with you.


Sincerely,

Jessica Lynn Hepner