Our granddaughter was taken from her parents and put into DHHS custody on Tues. Aug. 28th. They said the child was in jeopardy. Her parents had DHHS involved from the time the child was born due to the fact that the father had a criminal history (although he had been out of jail and on probation for approx. 1 1/2 years with no incidents) and the mother had a history of PTSD and cutting(although she had no recent incidents either). Both parents were doing what was required of them by DHHS and their "safety plan" DHHS did let the mother have unsupervised visits and live with the baby after a couple months.
The baby and mother were living with a friend in a housing division run by the Section 8 program. They have very strict rules about how long tennants can have company so in order for the baby to stay there this individual was given the status of temp. foster mother(hereafter referred to as TFM). My husband and I work a seasonal summer job that takes us away from home for about 3 mos. so our house wasn't an option until the middle of August. Before we came back from our summer jobs, we met with DHHS and all agreed that both parents and the child could come live with us. This meant that there would be 4 generations living under one roof,(my husbands mother also lives with us).
My husband, his mother, and myself would be there to supervise the parents. I did tell DHHS that we were there " not to be parents but to be grandparents and that we would not leave them at the residence alone but we would not always be in the same room or right on top of them." I told DHHS that they needed to learn how to be parents and use some of the skills that these DHHS service providers the parents had been seeing. They all agreed." The TFM was also at this meeting and was visibly upset with the fact that the child would be coming to live with us. We all told her she was welcome at our house anytime and both parents said they would have no problem letting her have one on one time with the baby at her house.
On Thurs. Aug. 23rd the baby and mother went to stay at the ex TFM house while we dusted the rugs and furniture with flea powder and bathed our dogs. We did not want the baby here while we did this or for a day or two after for obvious reasons. They stayed there until Aug. 25th at which time they were picked up and the mom was dropped off at work and the baby came back to the house. When they got back to the house Dad changed the baby into a lighter outfit and noticed a mark on her shoulder. It wasn't a big mark (a red line approx. 1/2 inch long.)
He asked the babies mother about it when she got home and she didn't know what had caused it either. On Friday morning the babies mom and exTFM discussed the baby going to her house on Sunday and worked out the time. The TFM picked the baby up around 11:30 and took her to her home. Crystal got a text from her around 1:00 asking about the mark. Crystal texted back that she wasn't sure where it came from but that she saw it on Sat. afternoon. The exTFM didn't question her further. The exTFM brought her back home around 7:30p.m.
The next morning the mom went to work where she received a text from asking when she worked. She told her she was at work. The exTFM came to her job and asked her manager if she could speak with the mom. They went out to her car where the exTFM told her "she thinks she ruined her life with DHHS". She then said that she took pictures of the mark on the baby's shoulder and showed it to Hannah at DHHS. She told the mom that as fare as she knew the caseworker(Hannah) would want her to take the baby to her Dr and PCHC. She set the appt. up for their first availability which was at 6:45 p.m. that evening. Mom then was quite upset and got the ok from her boss to go home.
Crystal called Hannah and left a voicemail letting her know the time of the Drs,. appt so that she could be there too. She called back around 12 or 12:30 and asked her if she could go into walk-in care about 2:30 instead. She did. The Dr. there did not have any concerns about the mark. About 6:30 that evening Hannah called to say they wanted to see the baby at EMMC 8th Floor. We took the baby there and upon arrival we were told she was being admitted. At no time did DHHS inform us. They examined her and said she had her full range of motion and was doing what babies her age should be doing. The hospital then ordered a cat scan and a series of exrays they called a full body exray series. We were never given the results of any of the testing done on the baby. She was taken the next morning.
We had voiced the concerns that the marks could have come from this exTFM and that we had a picture of the baby on Thurs. with the arm in question showing and there was no mark. There was also one taken on Fri with no mark visible. When we took her to the hospital the only mark on her arm was the one described earlier so we asked to see the picture that started this. When they finally showed it to us it was on a computer screen and the picture was blown up. The arm looked like it belonged to a 6-7 year old not a 4 mos. old baby and there was no measuring device in the pic to show the actual size. There also seemed to be a small yellowish bruise in the picture that none of us saw.
The pic was sent to a Dr. Ricci in Portland and he made the determination that it was inflicted. We were all asked several times where we thought the mark came from. We didn't know but was sure that we did not intentionally harm her. We questioned whether it was from being held wrong, sleeping on her pacifier, I even wondered if my fingernails could have done it. We were told by the staff member there (I believe his name was Mark and he was a LCSW) that it wasn't any of those. We had a picture of the exTFM holding the baby in an inappropriate way (that seems to be just my opinion as a mother of 4 and grandmother of more) because DHHS didn't seem to be concerned with it.
When we were informed that the baby was being taken into DHHS custody the dad told the DHHS worker on the phone that he then wanted to file a report against the exTFM because we all believed it could have happened while she was with her and her daughters. I even took the phone and was told by Hannah that she wouldn't take the report. I then called the 1-800 number provided by the hospital to report abuse and was told by them that if this person wasn't a family member it had to be handled by the police. I then called the police who dispatched and officer to the hospital. He told me he wouldn't file the complaint because there was already and open case and I would have to call that detective. I then called Det. Rick Canarr.
I left a voicemaile the first time, didn't leave a message the second time. I called a third time and left another message. He called me back around 10-10:30 the following morning. I told him I wanted to file a complaine on this person for the inflicted injury. He told me he wouldn't be coming out to anyone's house, including ours,(they had already been out to our the night before to question the father) to question anyone until he got more information from the Drs. and DHHS. To this day I have not been asked why I believe this person might have done this. The police have not let me file any kind of complaint and of course DHHS seems to believe it was caused by the dad so they probably aren't having him question the exTFM either.
I understand that, on paper, these two do not seem like they would be good parents, but they are. The brief time they did stay with us they were attentive, loving and when unsure would ask us as parents what would we do. It seems to me that DHHS has a witch hunt party out for these two parents(especially our son) but they have. I know that they can not be the only parents in Maine to have had a criminal history or a history of depression or PTSD.