I am 29, live in Alabama, and am engaged to a 32 year old man who was given temporary full custody of his 2 year old 10 months ago. At this point (and since he was given custody), the mother gets supervised visits every wednesday night, and every other weekend. Our situation involves a lot of history and is complicated, but I am going to do my best to provide you the shortest version possible.
Ok, at the time my future step daughter was concieved, my fiance (the father), and the mother lived together as roommates, and were both heavy meth users, and meth was cooked in their residence at times. The mother found out she was pregnant, planned on having an abortion, therefore continued to live as an IV meth user. She burned down their house, and both were arrested when evidence of a meth lab was found. They were both charged with manufacturing, and she was charged also with child endangerment since her 6-year-old son (4 at that time) from a previous relationship lived there. Custody of said son was taken from her by the dad, as a result of this.
Both went to prison for 9 months, and were offered a deal that required them to complete separate rehab programs, and a short probation. Father's program was 9 months of inpatient treatment, then 3 more of outpatient. Hers was 6 months total. They both successfully completed rehab. He has lived sober since, she went right back to using and has since.
During his oupatient portion, Father found out on facebook that mother had given birth, the baby looked exactly like him, and she was claiming another man as the father. Thankfully, their daughter was born perfect, despite mother's heavy drug use during pregnancy. Father requested paternity test, she complied, he was proven as father. Soon after that, mother was busted in her home with 3 or 4 other people cooking meth, and the children of the other people were closed in a back room. She was charged AGAIN with manufacturing and child endangerment.
Fast forward to the time period she began her long wait till her trial. She would allow Father to see the child here and there, and regularly exhibited very poor judgement and care for said child, exposing her to violence, moderate neglect, instability, and many other things that became increasingly alarming to father. He and I got together during this time, and moved in together. He decided to go after custody after getting the child from mother in horrendous condition (both the filthy child, and the cracked-out mother).
Our first hearing last april was devastating to mom's credibility, since she showed up obviously high, and had no defense whatsoever reguarding the endless testimony and evidence my fiance presented against her. They were both required to go straight to a lab to take a drug test, which he did and passed. She waited 2 days to go, and failed. We recieved an order a week later awarding him custody. The child has lived with us ever since, and I am her main, full-time caregiver.
Our child services rep that was assigned our case promptly began meetings and visits with us. She was a wonderful mediator and neutral party at this time.
The mother failed one or two more drug tests toward the beginning, moved in with her mom, and has not gotten a job (one requirement by the judge). She has not worked in years. My fiance and I were both asked by the rep to provide 2 pay stubs from our jobs (I'm a paramedic, he installs truck accessories), which we did right away.
When we showed up for our next hearing 3 months later, and walked into the courtroom to see the rep sitting on the far opposite side with the mother and HER mother,laughing away . When it was rep's turn to take the stand to verbalize her report, she testified that mother "has gained employment and is in full compliance". The ruling ordered following that hearing stated that everything stay the same way it is, with the exception of mother's SON's father (whom niether father or I have ever met) be allowed to "supervise" the mother during her visitation with the child. We were not happy about this since the two of them constantly fight, get drunk together, and enter/exit each other's lives often. We expressed these concerns to the rep prior to this hearing. When father expressed these concerns in court, he was silenced by the judge who then stated that mother is close enough to getting her visits UNsupervised that we should expect this change to be made at the next hearing. All this based on a false testimony by the rep that day. What was done was done, so we had to accept it, even though the testimony by the rep stating she was employed and compliant was based on nothing more than mother's claims of her upcoming training for a new job. Needless to say, the" job" mysteriously fell through for unknown reasons, before it even began. The rep had vouched for her as a compliant party without requirement of paystubs or further proof. The rep had clearly become too emotionally involved in our case, and let her pity for the mother compromise the diplomatic manner in which she is supposed to do her job. The next hearing was set for 3 months later (coming up in 1 week).
Since then, the mother's trial for her newest set of charges has been continued 2 MORE TIMES. We were told by the rep that she's pretty certain that the judge is waiting to see what comes of her criminal case before he makes father's custody permanent. It was supposed to happen mid-january, but is now going to be held in June. We have also been informed that according to the D.A., she has no chance of avoiding prison time for her charges.
Meanwhile, my fiance and I have been busting our butts to complete a parenting class program through family services, which the judge listed in the last order as a requirement of all parents involved. It's a 10-session program, and each session costs $30. Not to mention it's pointless, consisting of 1 hr of talking about ourselves while the instructor sits silently, nodding. She also has barely anything open in her schedule for us to book said sessions, and is near impossible to get hold of. So, he and I both work full time, and must find childcare for the daughter during the classes, in addition to paying for them, in order to fullfill the judge's requirement. We have hunted the instructor down, and both missed work to be there. The weekly scheduled group session was not an option for us at first, because we were told that the mother had claimed that session, and we could not attend with her. THEN, we were told at our 4th or 5th session that the mother had been to one group, but had not attended or contacted the instructor since, so we could begin attending that slot. At that point, we were about a month and a half away from the next hearing. She has no job, is not in school, has no children to watch after, and has her mother's money to pay for it, but she wasn't coming. Basically, we took it seriously, and she didn't. During my next conversation with child services rep, she asked about the classes, and I informed her of our difficulties with the scheduling and finding child care and hours lost at our jobs. But, I did inform her that it will be better from now on since we can go to the group in place of the mother. she was unaware that mother had disreguarded the program, and was panicked for the mother, stating that if she doesn't complete them, she will be in contempt of court. She immediatly contacted the mother to warn her, and mother miraculously began showing up again. This was 5 weeks till our hearing, meaning that even if she went every week till the end, she would only complete 6 of the ten sessions. We were furious that she had not planned to attend the classes, despite her lack of any outside obliation whatsoever, when we have had to move heaven and earth to get ours done. We were furious that the rep continues to force her to comply with her requirements, when she would not care whatsoever otherwise.
A meeting with the rep on Jan 4th was the first we were told that mother had been working for a roofing company doing secretarial work since early December. When I later inquired about the new job during conversation with mother (she and I get along just fine, ironically), she told me that she was paid by the owner under the table her first week, has since not been paid since, and must call her boss daily to ask if she is needed that day or not. Basically, it's not a real job. I told my fiance, and we thought "She's done it again." So, in a conversation with the rep soon after, I told her what mother had told me, and was told that until she provides 2 paystubs, it can not be put in the report that she is working. Even though it happened last time....Again, the rep contacted mother, and we don't know what she's been able to swing, or what she's come up with to satisfy the 2paystub requirement, but all I know is that she has since been going to "work" on a regular basis. The rep also encouraged us to not worry about finishing our parenting sessions, because she is putting in her report that due to the program director's limited schedule, each party "made diligent effort to comply", but might have fallen short, understandably. It was obvious at that moment that she had hopes of us taking this advice, and slacking at the last minute, so that she could honestly testify to that, formulating an excuse for the mother. I told her that no matter what it takes, father and I will have documentation of our completeion of the program by our court date. We refuse to make it easy for her to lie for the mother.
The last straw was this past sunday night, when father and I attended our final parenting class session. We were told that the mother has been provided the opportunity to attend 2-hour sessions for two weeks in order to get all her sessions finished before court. Now, she'd attended 1 class before we were told she'd not been back. After prompt warning by our rep, she returned the following week, and continued to for 2 more weeks, then will double up two times before the hearing. That makes 8 total, not 10.
So, my whole point is that she has done nothing that has been required/asked of her by her own free will, except for staying relatively sober lately. She has not done anything productive with her life since losing custody, or put forth effort to become a self-sufficiant adult in any way. In reality, she did not get a job, or attend the parenting program, but with the fear put in her by our rep to scramble around at the last minute, gathering enough mercy and pardon from the instructor and her "boss" to provide enough to cover her butt, she might just pull it off anyway. I KNOW she will show up at court having been cleared by the program instructor, and somehow provided a thrown together, un-official paystub or even a letter from her boss to the rep stating she has been his employee, and she'll skate by once again.
We need to know how to go about voicing this at the hearing. The judge always gives each parent the chance to speak (since neither has had representation), so please help us figure out how to handle this in court, and any options we have outside of court, such as requesting a new rep be assigned our case, etc.
CPS Rep Not Doing Her Job
2 replies to this topic
Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:30 AM
What would you like done about this matter?
Posted 30 January 2013 - 05:47 PM
What I want is for the judge to be informed that the mother didn't take his orders seriously, chose not to comply, and only put forth a last-minute effort after she was given an un-deserved warning by the rep. What is done with this information is up to the judge, and would be accepted and respected by father and I, whether it is what we would like or not. We want to prevent any further unfair treatment by the child services rep working our daughter's case.
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