From me, the sister of the two boys taken:
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After months of harassment and threats, Lancaster County's Children & Youth agency secured a court order based on false accusations, fabrications and outright lies, and took my brothers (ages thirteen and ten) from my mother on the evening of September 18th, 2008.
The two accusations listed as a reason for the emergency court order/physical custody of my brothers are:
Accusation: On September 11th, 2008, the boys were seen playing alone outside of my mother's house.
The truth: My mother's next door neighbor was babysitting my brothers, and when CYS pulled up at my mother's home for an unannounced visit, she was sitting in her front porch within eyesight of my brothers with her daughter, while her son played alongside my brothers.
Accusation: On September 17th, 2008, my ten year old brother was illegally absent from school.
The truth: My ten year old brother was absent from school because he was suspended due to an incident the week before. A written, signed letter from the school principal herself ordered my brother to stay out of school until a psychological evaluation was administered (ironically, this pysch. eval was done on September 18th, the day the boys were removed from my mother's care).
Children & Youth never asked, never looked for paperwork, never sought out the benefit of the doubt. They assumed the worst, and promptly took action. When presented with rebuttals and evidence to the above accusations at a custody court hearing on the morning of September 19th, 2008, they replied with a half-hearted apology, but made no offer to drop the petition right then and there.
Here is a letter directly from my mother, who is the mother of the boys taken:
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I now find myself in this unbelievable nightmare and am hoping that you can help me have both of my sons returned to me and CYS removed from my family.
In my case, I have two boys (ages 10 and 13) who both have PDD-NOS, ( a higher functioning form of autism), ADD, ADHD, ODD, Mood disorder, Post stress disorder along with occasional sleeping issues. They have monthly med checks with their psychiatrist that I have been taking them to for the past 6 years. My older son has had 3 inpatient hospitalizations followed by 2 week partial hospitalizations before returning back to school. They have had WRAP and Family based therapy services. They have had STAP camp in the summer. My youngest son has TSS services in school as well as at home. The point I'm making with all of this, is that I've been seeking and providing all necessary services for sons since they were both only three years six months. Long before CYS knew of their existence.
Because my sons at times have sleeping issues (my daughter can attest to this from the times she has had them overnight) where they will stay up all day and literally throughout the night until the following morning upon which they will crash; they missed a lot of school the prior year along with the legitimate illnesses and doctor visits. Because of that, their psychiatrist worked on changing their meds, which he did and it has worked out better. But, they still have occasional sleepless nights.
The elementary school principal in the meantime called CYS for truancy January 2007. She (the principal) also was playing games in not accepting the doctor's notes until a CASP meeting was held with the school, CYS, the boy's counseling agencies, myself, their sister and a representative from the state in attendance. It was at this meeting that the Head of Special Education, Mrs. S. M., for the Solanco school district, along with the Solanco Social Worker, Mrs. A. H. informed Mrs. H., the principal of Providence Elementary that there was no reason for her to reject these notes. That they were perfectly acceptable.
Thus, the boy's attendance greatly improved last year and Mrs. H. told me verbally that she was dropping the charges. Also, that is easily verified through Justice Myelin's office in Quarryville that I was never prosecuted. However, in one of the allegations from CYS that was cited as one of the reasons for emergency withdrawal from the home and to use for Dependency, that I did not abide by the school's request of providing doctor notes (I have copies of) and, that I was prosecuted, which I was not.
Because I am diabetic and have issues stemming from that, such as peripheral neuropathic pain, high triglycerides, etc., I am on permanent disability. Part of the medication I take is to control my neuropathic pain to a more tolerable level. Because I do take narcotics under physicians care, the CYS workers are trying to claim that they have serious concerns over my parenting ability. They have also tried to get me to agree to stop taking some of my medications because they don't think I should be taking them. Also, supposedly the supervisor has not seen someone on as much medications as I am on and the types that I am on. I basically told them that now that things are under control and that I've been taking this combination of medications for the past 5 years, I was not going to play lab rat just to satisfy them. And that the last I checked, they were social workers, not medical doctors. And, although they are entitled to their opinions, that is exactly what it is, their opinions and nothing more.
And, because I've had migraines since my teenage years, one of my meds (Depakote) also helps to control that as well. Depakote, along with most drugs has more than one use. Because it can also be used for bi-polar disorder, they keep insisting and including in their allegations and safety plans that I have bi-polar and again state safety concerns over my parenting abilities. I have supplied both letters from my family physician as well as my psychologist, both of whom have stated I am not bi-polar. Never have been diagnosed that in my life.
Near the end of the summer, my older son was having trouble with expressing himself in appropriate ways concerning anger and frustration. Thus, after discussing it with the Family based team, K. S. the ICM (Intensive Case Manager) with CSG, Inc. and an evaluation with Dr. M., psychiatrist at CADD (Center for Autism and Developmental Delays) which is affiliated with Philhaven, it was suggested that Y. go to Devereaux Beneto Center (they specialize in PDD, Asperger and Autistic kids ) for help. I agreed and then we proceeded to work on that. CYS had nothing to do with it. All they did was change his admission date from the 24th of September to the 22nd of September. Plus, CYS caused him to miss out on special activities the weekend before as well as a going away party at school from his classmates and teachers.
My youngest son A., had threatened to take his grandfather's shotgun (although none of us have any access to these weapons) to school and shoot the teacher, two classmates and his brother on Friday, September 12, 2008. Because A. said this in a flat affect (A. normally talks this way unless he is really upset. This should have been their first clue that A. wasn't really upset.) to Mr. E. U., the school guidance counselor and also to Mr. M. R., the school psychologist, they were immediately up in arms and along with the school principal, Mrs. H., held a Crisis meeting and decided to suspend him from school until I could take him to his psychiatrist, psychologist or family doctor to be assessed and determine whether or not he was safe to go back to school. After which, another meeting would be held again at school for his return.
Because A. had been complaining about the teacher for the past couple of weeks, I had told him that morning to wait until I could I speak with the ICM case manager about it to see what we could do until his WRAP services with Philhaven started. He would have 15 hours weekly of TSS in school and 5 hours weekly of TSS at home. Anyway, the ICM was out of the office until the following Wednesday, September 17th. I did take him to see the psychiatrist, Dr. Oluleye on the 18th of September, who recommended that A. be put into Day Hospital (Philhaven) to be further evaluated. I personally felt it was just to get out of school, which he hates going to. That is a known fact about A.. So, I believe he said it just to get out of going to school. Dr. O., also said he should be evaluated just to be sure he was only bluffing. At that point, he would then have to made to understand he cannot go around making statements of that type. He would have to learn to express himself in a more socially appropriate fashion.
It was later that evening on the 18th of September, after our visit with the psychiatrist Dr. O., picking up meds at CVS, extra food for dinner at my daughter's (their Sissy's) house, that the CYS worker showed up with 2 troopers at the front door and one trooper who let himself in the back door to take my children under supposed emergency concerns for their safety and well-being. I was so stunned and shocked, that I initially could not understand why they were there and why. My daughter though realized right away. I was served a notice of temporary physical custody hearing the next morning, Friday, the 19th of September. They came around 7pm so that I couldn't contact the lawyer nor speak with him until minutes before the hearing at 8:30am the next morning. My older son Y. reacted by rolling up into a ball on the floor and rocking. My younger son A. reacted by repeating over and over Mommy, what's going on? Why do I have to go with them? It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do was to say goodbye to my boys, not knowing where they were going or when I would see them again and when I would have them home again. That evening was the longest and hardest evening ever for me to get through.
They also cited supervision concerns to my attorney the next day as a concern. My two sons had stupidly entered into a fight with one another (I believe it was the 15th) because several children offered to pay the winner $10.00. My oldest son had two scratches on his face along with a small bruise under his left eye. My younger son had nothing. The fight was quickly broken up and the boys were grounded as a punishment. As it is they rarely go out. I was then told they need more supervision than other children since they have special needs. I also countered that they need a little freedom to learn how to properly conduct themselves. Otherwise, if I never let them out of my eyesight, and always do and say everything for them, they will never learn how to live and think for themselves.
Also, on the 11th of September, my daughter and I were out running errands and were running late. So, I called my next door neighbor to see if she could pick up the boys at the bus stop and watch them for me until I got home. She agreed to do this for me. This is easy enough to prove on both of our phone records. Anyway, she did pick up the boys and they had stayed in her house playing until around 5pm or so when they wanted to go out and swing on my swing set in my yard. Her living room and kitchen windows face my yard, so that she could easily watch from either room in her house. Plus, her windows were open so that she could also hear them as well. However, L., my neighbor decided to come out and sit on her porch and read while listening to the children. Her son was also playing with my boys.
Sometime during the time the boys were outside playing, CYS showed up for an unannounced visit. They saw the boys playing and that my car was gone. They immediately assumed that I had left the boys unattended outside until I got home from wherever. They never even asked the boys where I was, whether I had called and whether or not anyone else was watching them. They just simply left. Assuming the worst. This was one of the reasons cited to my attorney last Friday morning the 19th of September for the emergency shelter need and care. They have concerns for their safety, my parenting abilities (my diabetes, so called bi-polar, depression I was grieving the loss of my mother at the time, my medications, etc.) and other vague issues which are never defined.
Bottom line is they are going to try and take my kids from me during the Hearing for Dependency on October 22, 2008. Their reasons are truancy, safety concerns and issue, and parenting abilities.
The emotional damage that they are causing my sons just should not be allowed to occur. The emotional fallout from this can be years of therapy, plus never really feeling safe again within the family unit because of this incident and them. Let alone my emotional duress. At the admission of my older son Y. to Devereaux, they found him to be healthy, basically happy, but with some emotional and social issues to deal with. CYS was forced to admit to them that there wasn't any substantiated or founded physical, sexual or emotional abuse. They tried to claim as one of their allegations that I had admitted to them in a phone call that I used spoons and paint sticks and other implements for physical punishment. This is not true. I admitted to no such thing. The only thing I said was that I rarely swat them once or twice on the behind when they really have misbehaved. They ended up sheepishly withdrawing from the conversation.
I reiterate: PLEASE PLEASE HELP US!!!!!
Their allegations of truancy, lack of supervision and safety concerns and issues (which are never defined) are not true. Please through the media help me get my boys back! I also think some of this is also a form of discrimination: between me being a divorced single mother and their father being Egyptian. So the boys have an Arab background that not all Lancastrians approve of.