To Whom This May Concern:
This letter is to file several complaints against Schuylkill County Children & Youth. We are foster parents thru the kinship program, of our nieces baby. Most of our problems started with the change of our social worker whom had quit. Many issues have come out of this, where the system in Schuylkill County has failed us, my niece, and her baby. We are dedicated to
saving both of them, but our first focus is the safety and well being of the baby. Below I will list the complaints and give an explanation of each .Just a little background, the baby has been in our household for 2 years & 3 months, in the system officially since Feb. 2011 when we were approved. (1 yr. 7 mos)
1.) We were lead to believe from day one we could not get custody and had to put the baby in kinship care, foster care, or 24 hour supervision of her mother (our niece) of whom refused to be supervised. She abandoned the baby and went to live with the abusive father. After a year of following the guidelines set forth by Children & Youth believing faithfully the county agency was in good faith representing us as kinship providers, we sought counsel. While in the waiting room of the attorneys office we could hear him on the phone with Anne from C & Y, discussing our case. Needless to say, we left and were back to square one. I believe this violated our confidentiality. (which is why I am using the terms baby & niece) After numerous requests before hearings, we have found out to no avail we could have indeed been granted custody from day one. Mislead by Children & Youth.
2.) February of 2012, my niece began telling me the new social worker Justine was planning on returning the baby to her and the father. Apparently were told to do a couple anger management classes and some couples counseling and she would go back. After very little effort the entire year before this. Meanwhile, the same social worker led us to believe along
with FSU there was no bonding with the parents. They felt they only showed up to get to go out to eat. (they used the grandmothers car and money). FSU told us they brought no food, diapers, gifts, or anything for the baby the entire time. We asked relentlessly for this to be documented.
3) After 18 months of no cooperation by the parents C & Y told us they were moving to change the goal to adoption. A meeting with Kidspeace was scheduled. I was told about it first by my niece. She told us that lies were being told and Children & Youth wanted everybody in the same room to see what was the real story. Meanwhile I called C & Y and spoke to Anne she said yes we need to see who is lying, That things just are not piecing together. If I didnt like it they would remove the baby to a foster home that would like it. Threat #1 (illegal according to foster parents rights bill of law). The Kidspeace meeting ended up a total fiasco, seemed they got everybody riled up and left the scene. Saying you make a plan for return of this child. Needless to say we did a plan with both sides of the family agreeing to the couple doing what was already set in
place by C & Y, and no overnight visits until it was done. I also stated on record blatantly to Kidspeace I was not in agreement with overnight visits. Theresa from C & Y stated at the end of the meeting after coming back in, they were still moving to the goal of adoption and she also did not feel comfortable giving overnight visitation even supervised. Due to the fathers families past and present record. This meeting also brought out another detailed event by the fathers grandmother that my niece had stabbed him. Later stating they knew nothing of it and we were just stalling and they were moving forward from there on.
4. Three weeks later we got told there was an overnight visit approved. In an old RV, Children & Youth had no idea if it was insured, inspected, or who was staying in it. Left them go out of county with the fathers mentally incompetent mother as a supervisor. This is the same woman who hides what her children do, gives money to her son for marijuana, drops to the floor crying with the pop of a balloon due to Iraq war PTSD, and was going to family reunion where there was going to be fireworks.
This same weekend they had the baby swimming in the Susquehanna river, her shoes were covered in sludge when returned home. (reported) A 2 year old does not belong in the Susquehanna.
5. This is the worst travesty to me. My niece is a true domestic violence victim, grew up in it and is now living it. Justine told her to stop communicating on Facebook & texting what events were going on with her and we couldnt make reports then, She
revictomizeded a victim of domestic violence. They have told us 11 smashed cell phones (some recent), 2 smashed computers, clothing of the babys and hers destroyed by the father. Cutting them, all the bra straps, crotchs out of the underwear and shorts, and dumped iced tea all over the babys newborn cloths was no longer considered in the case. Once they did the 360 degree turn back to reunification they did not want to hear anything at all.(reported multiple times)
6. Smoking around the baby so much that her clothess smelled of an ashtray, driving without a license and proper car seat (booster seat) was remedied by a letter to them? Since the baby has started visitation overnight she doesnt sleep
at night, throws stuff at us (glasses, TV turners), and punches herself in the head. She was for 2 years on the schedule of 8:30 sleeping all thru the night, now for 3 weeks she has not slept one night all the way through. (reported)
According to many other foster parents and former foster parents this is how they operate. Once the 360 degree turn to get a child off the 18 month list. Short of being incarcerated the child goes back. We believe faithfully the judges in Schuylkill county are not aware when sending a child back, there are circumstances which they do not report. Anything to get a child off the roster. I have even had reports a Judge whom did not know, gave two children back to an actively using cocaine mother.
7. Awarded overnight visits without discussing any of it with us. Failed to do proper visitation of the baby in June and September. Authorized after only 2 weekends no supervision, without our knowledge. Failed to do a status check on a child when it was reported she was 30 miles from Tower city with her mother an unlicensed driver. (never had a license or lessons) Lisa was called and it was her car and said so. This is the former supervisor of the child. Clearly she knew it was against the law, she was fined prior month. The couple is still not paying child support even though the mother now has a part-time job.
8. Allows the baby to be in an house that is odorous of pet urine, and is flea infested. The baby came home with fleas in her hair. The house smells so bad it can be smelled out in the street. Told by C & Y just because a house smells of pets isnt a reason for her to not live there.
I have been threatened five times by agents of C & Y to remove the child from my home. Twice by Anne, once by Theresa, once by Justine when questioned about overnight visits, and once by Lisa Stevens herself. Anne also went as far as to say when I reminded her it is against the law. She would press alienation charges against me. I stated to her how would she prove that a 2 year old was alienated by us when she doesnt even know who her parents are yet. This was all over our objection to overnight visits. Anne also on another occasion at a meeting with Lisa Stevens, Theresa, Anne, myself, and my sister Joanne inappropriately asked me if I felt I was a higher class than the fathers family. This was in front of Lisa Stevens the
director and was a totally inappropriate question.
A second Kidspeace meeting was planned once again we voiced our concerns to no avail. Suddenly it is reported there is a tight bond with both of the parents with the baby. Yet one month prior there was no bond they were just people. We got the paperwork in the mail stating both sides of the family agree on working toward reunification. Falsifying records!!! They even had the Kidspeace counselor threaten us with removal of the child. All because we objected to overnight visits and reunification.
NO WE DO NOT!
It has always been our families goal to keep the baby safe and her mother. We feels C & Ys recent actions of making us feel like the criminals and denying or failing take into account all the happenings of the last 2 years is inappropriate. Both parents are mentally unstable. The father has not and will not look for a job. They have both gone thru counseling since the 8th grade. No one has ever done a full psychiatric evaluation (as per our request). Aggravated circumstance is a light word for this case, why is Children and Youth not using the events reported to keep this child safe. They are most concerned with the couple not
the baby. They are not taking into account the family bond that we all have with the baby.
Since encountering these circumstances we have talked to multiple foster families. Most of which were in the same family program. This is the common antics of todays children and youth organization. It is a sinful shame for the foster children of Schuylkill county. C & Y has fialed the baby and her parents, encouraging them instead of learning at Career link how to fill out applications or do interviews,,,,a goal of applying for more cash assistance and food stamps????? Yes, in writing, in the plan. No morals at all.
How can we as decent people enchanted with this little beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed girl possible agree to sending her back to these circumstances? We have encouraged many other foster parents to write in, there is definite fear of retaliation. We are calling for a full anonymous investigation of this agency or we are going to the news media.