Category: child welfare reform, foster care abuse

awareness, child, child adoption, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, custody, domestic violence, families, kids, law, lawsuits, legal, legislation
Texas harms foster children with inattention, shoddy system, lawsuit says
By ROBERT T. GARRETT
Source: Dallas Morning News Austin Bureau
rtgarrett@dallasnews.com

Published 29 March 2011 10:38 AM

AUSTIN — Texas violates the rights of abused and neglected children by running a shoddy foster care system, the New York-based group Children’s Rights says in a class-action federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Too many youths are isolated and linger for years in care, the suit says. The state countered that it is working on fixes and that most foster children are safe.

In the suit, filed in federal court in Corpus Christi, the group zeroes in on about 12,000 youths who’ve been removed from their birth homes by Child Protective Services and kept in the state’s care for more than a year, saying the children suffer after “permanency” deadlines of 12 to 18 months have passed.

Too often, CPS is unable to reunite the child with family or find a lasting home, such as with a relative or adoptive parents, and drops the ball because children from then on aren’t required to have their own lawyer and another adult advocating for them, the suit says.

“Once children cross the line into permanent foster care, the state essentially gives up on their prospects for ever leaving state custody with permanent families of their own,” said Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of Children’s Rights.

Anne Heiligenstein, commissioner of CPS’ parent agency, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the lawsuit threatens to do more harm than good.

“We’re on the right path and will continue to do everything we can to protect Texas children, but I worry that a lawsuit like this will take critical time and resources away from the very children it presumes to help,” she said in a written statement.

Children’s Rights asks the court to order the state to lower caseloads for CPS workers, recruit more foster homes and do a better job of supervising private foster-care providers.

Lowry said some of those extra costs could be offset by eliminating the state’s wasteful spending on institutional care.

“It costs less to run a better system where children get permanence and get out of foster care,” she said.

The department has warned state leaders for months that the suit might be filed. A memo sent to legislative leaders in September emphasized large amounts of attorneys’ fees that have been awarded to Children’s Rights in similar lawsuits in other states.

The memo also touted CPS overhaul legislation passed in 2005 and a foster-care overhaul passed two years later for bumping up staffing and making sizable reductions in CPS workers’ caseloads.

The suit highlights the plight of nine unnamed children that the group wants the court to accept as a representation of the class of about 12,000 youngsters in Texas’ mostly privatized system of long-term foster care who it alleges have been mistreated.

One of them is “A.M.,” a 13-year-old from Canton who with two half sisters was removed from her home after witnessing fights between her mother and her mother’s boyfriends. The department “has separated her from her sisters, shuffled her from one placement to another, placed her in inappropriate foster homes and left her for years in an institution,” the suit says.

It says Texas frequently fails to keep children in the “least restrictive setting” and is too quick to move them into institutions and give them psychotropic medications.

David Richart, executive director of the National Institute on Children, Youth and Families, which tracks lawsuits in child welfare and juvenile justice systems, says Lowry picks her targets carefully and almost never loses a case.

“The writing’s on the wall here,” Richart said, and Texas leaders should “spend time improving their CPS system instead of being in a reflexively defensive mode.”

awareness, child, child adoption, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, custody, domestic violence, families, kids, law, lawsuits, legal, legislation
Texas harms foster children with inattention, shoddy system, lawsuit says
By ROBERT T. GARRETT
Source: Dallas Morning News Austin Bureau
rtgarrett@dallasnews.com

Published 29 March 2011 10:38 AM

AUSTIN — Texas violates the rights of abused and neglected children by running a shoddy foster care system, the New York-based group Children’s Rights says in a class-action federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Too many youths are isolated and linger for years in care, the suit says. The state countered that it is working on fixes and that most foster children are safe.

In the suit, filed in federal court in Corpus Christi, the group zeroes in on about 12,000 youths who’ve been removed from their birth homes by Child Protective Services and kept in the state’s care for more than a year, saying the children suffer after “permanency” deadlines of 12 to 18 months have passed.

Too often, CPS is unable to reunite the child with family or find a lasting home, such as with a relative or adoptive parents, and drops the ball because children from then on aren’t required to have their own lawyer and another adult advocating for them, the suit says.

“Once children cross the line into permanent foster care, the state essentially gives up on their prospects for ever leaving state custody with permanent families of their own,” said Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of Children’s Rights.

Anne Heiligenstein, commissioner of CPS’ parent agency, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the lawsuit threatens to do more harm than good.

“We’re on the right path and will continue to do everything we can to protect Texas children, but I worry that a lawsuit like this will take critical time and resources away from the very children it presumes to help,” she said in a written statement.

Children’s Rights asks the court to order the state to lower caseloads for CPS workers, recruit more foster homes and do a better job of supervising private foster-care providers.

Lowry said some of those extra costs could be offset by eliminating the state’s wasteful spending on institutional care.

“It costs less to run a better system where children get permanence and get out of foster care,” she said.

The department has warned state leaders for months that the suit might be filed. A memo sent to legislative leaders in September emphasized large amounts of attorneys’ fees that have been awarded to Children’s Rights in similar lawsuits in other states.

The memo also touted CPS overhaul legislation passed in 2005 and a foster-care overhaul passed two years later for bumping up staffing and making sizable reductions in CPS workers’ caseloads.

The suit highlights the plight of nine unnamed children that the group wants the court to accept as a representation of the class of about 12,000 youngsters in Texas’ mostly privatized system of long-term foster care who it alleges have been mistreated.

One of them is “A.M.,” a 13-year-old from Canton who with two half sisters was removed from her home after witnessing fights between her mother and her mother’s boyfriends. The department “has separated her from her sisters, shuffled her from one placement to another, placed her in inappropriate foster homes and left her for years in an institution,” the suit says.

It says Texas frequently fails to keep children in the “least restrictive setting” and is too quick to move them into institutions and give them psychotropic medications.

David Richart, executive director of the National Institute on Children, Youth and Families, which tracks lawsuits in child welfare and juvenile justice systems, says Lowry picks her targets carefully and almost never loses a case.

“The writing’s on the wall here,” Richart said, and Texas leaders should “spend time improving their CPS system instead of being in a reflexively defensive mode.”

accountability, awareness, child abuser, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, Collin County, Texas, custody, families, family, healing, kids, parental alienation syndrome, psychiatry
Parental Alienation Do’s and Don’ts

hurt

What you do and don’t do when as a loving parent you are confronted with a severe case of Parental Alienation Syndrome in your child?

PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME – DO’S

DO…start to immediately educate yourself, your lawyer, your Judge, your psychologist and your child, if possible, about PAS.

This is one of the most widespread forms of emotional child abuse there is arising out of our Family Court system today and there are at least 1,000 internet web sites for you to obtain information from about PAS.

DO…fully prepare yourself for your Court presentation about PAS.

To do this you should print and make several copies of all the information on PAS you find on these web sites and put them in at least four (4) separate booklets and entitle them.. “URGENT IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THE COURT ON PAS…What you need to know about the abuse of my child to save him/her and me from a lifetime of pain and suffering”.

Before you go into Court you should give one of these booklets to your lawyer and your psychologist while keeping one for yourself and the Court.

DO…tell the Court if they don’t act immediately to stop your child’s abuse, you will take your PAS case and all the proof and evidence you provided the Court on your child’s PAS condition to the local newspapers and T.V. stations

…AND…

you will post your case and Judge’s name on all the PAS internet web sites for the whole world to see how derelict the Court was in not carrying out its responsibility to protect your child from your former spouse’s severe emotional abuse and the permanent destruction of you and your child’s relationship together.

DO…keep your faith in God and yourself at all times while always taking the high road to fight and solve this  problem.

DO…continue to reach out to your PAS affected child no matter how many times they tell you how much they hate you and never want to see you again.

While they may say these things to you, the fact is they really don’t hate you and actually yearn desperately to see you again, but those feelings are not allowed any expression by the abusing parent.

If you have a flair for the dramatic to make your point you can also add a reprint of my web site home page with my daughter’s picture and number of days I have not seen her because of PAS and the Court’s refusal to intervene to stop her abuse.

At the top of the page you should also write in big letters ….“I DO NOT INTEND TO ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN TO ME AND MY CHILD”

DO…take off the gloves and demand immediate action by the Court to STOP the abuse of your child.

Remind the Court in the strongest terms possible that your child’s life, mental health and their continued on going relationship with you is at stake…AND…that if they don’t intervene immediately the chances of ever saving your child and your relationship together will be ZERO.

DO…trust your own instincts as a parent to do what is in the best interests of your child when confronted with this PAS problem…AND…if the Court won’t protect your child’s interests, then you will protect his/her interests yourself.

This you will do by public exposure of your case to the media until the Court does protect your child’s interests as the law requires them to do. It may take a long time but you must never ever give up the fight.

photo-029

PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME – DON’TS

DON’T…trust or count on ANYONE to know anything about PAS or to try and help you save your child and your relationship together.

Almost all lawyers, Judges, psychologists and Court mediators who are involved in your case KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT PAS…AND…even if they did would probably not have the time or be able to fully understand your case and how important it is for Court intervention to stop your child’s PAS abuse.

In most PAS cases none of these people really care about helping you and your child either.

DON’T…delude yourself into thinking that your local Family Court, your Judge, your lawyer, your psychologist or  anyone else but you really wants to look out for and protect the best interests of your child.

DON’T…trust or count on ANYONE to properly educate themselves on PAS. This is particularly true about your  former spouse, Family Court Judges and Court appointed psychologists.

You must do all this research and education about PAS  yourself to pass on to all the people involved in your case.

DON’T…allow the Court or anyone else to intimidate you.

You will be challenged at every turn and told you don’t know what you are talking about when you mention PAS.

Many will also tell you that PAS is nothing more than a figment of your imagination and that it has never been proven and doesn’t even exist in the Psychiatric Association’s Bible of mental and psychiatric disorders known as DSM-IV. Some of these people will further tell you that this was only a “pipe dream” invented by Dr. Richard Gardner to sell his books.

DON’T believe a word these people tell you and never give in to their intimidating tactics to discredit you, PAS or Dr. Gardner.

DON’T…allow the Court or anyone else to delay or prolong your Court hearing on this matter.

The longer this PAS abuse goes on with your child, the more difficult it will be for you to do anything to stop it…AND…If it goes on for too long without Court intervention (ie. 6 months or more) then your chances of ever re-establishing a normal healthy relationship with your child will start to approach ZERO.

DON’T…engage in any kind of retaliatory brainwashing PAS abuse of your child yourself.

The temptation is always there to “fight fire with fire” when you are being attacked and maligned by your former spouse, BUT DON’T EVER DO IT.

REMEMBER what I said before. Always take the High Moral ground for your child and if you want to get angry and verbally attack someone, get angry and attack the people who are doing this to your child.

Never get angry at your child for how he/she is behaving or in any other way do anything to further hurt your child.

You must be able to walk a fine line always trusting in yourself and your God to see and fight this thing through for the ultimate best interests of your child and yourself.

DON’T…ever GIVE UP no matter how many well meaning and/or not so well meaning people tell you to do so.

You will constantly hear people tell you that you should merely give up the fight to save your child from PAS and wait until they grow up and find out for themselves how badly they were abused by your former spouse and the Court.

This would be the same as letting your child drown until they learned how to swim themselves. You have a solemn duty to protect your children and thus you cannot ever shirk from that duty.

child, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, divorce, domestic violence, families, family, fear, General, kids, law, lawsuits, legal, murder
Help! I fell in love with the boogeyman!

(c) Forever May, 2009

The boogeyman.

Everybody knows the boogeyman isn’t real. Right?

Well, to some, the boogeyman is very real and he is the one you love.  How does someone fall in love with the boogeyman?  What makes the boogeyman become what or who he is? A monster – an abuser…

Abuse at its worst is when the one person you look to as your life partner hurts you.  That’s the person you should trust, confide in, turn to, and be there for…. til death do us part does not mean a death because of the very relationship the wedding vows refer to.  The pain is ten-fold, the emotions run especially high, the betrayal, and bitterness is raw, and in the end – the wounds & scars run deep. Very deep.

I have been an advocate against domestic abuse for years. I know the cycle of abuse. I know the pain. I know the scars. I lost my son to domestic abuse.  So, I would know better than to involve myself into another abusive relationship. I would never mean to get in a relationship with a man who would hit me or take my freedom and will away from me. I know the signs, the symptoms, the who gamet.

If you have noticed my blog has been slow posting over the last year or so, this is the reason.  I somehow managed to get myself into a relationship, again, with an abuser. Its taken me a year and 1/2 and several dozen attempts to get away.  I did, finally, get out.

*I* fell into the cycle again knowing better…. I know SO WELL what to look for, what to avoid, and what to do – I’ve been through this before. I couldn’t believe where I found myself again.  I asked “why did this happen” each time I would be swallowing my tears, hiding in my dark room, or  sneaking past his sleeping quieted body to the fridge to grab a piece of bread and scurry away to eat it without waking him or his rage…How did *I* get trapped by another monster?

He was the boogeyman, you see, wearing a disguise.  He offered me a helping hand when I needed it badly, and he was so beautifully charming.  He had a good paying job, a nice house, car, he worked hard, he was kind, sensitive, good looking, a good listener, we had fun times together.  We had so much in common on our views, opinions, passions, and goals. It was perfect…too perfect.  He even got me a puppy.

Sure, I thought “this is too good to be true” and was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I was expecting another shoe to drop.

I didn’t expect it to be a boot …( a steel-toed boot).

I had plenty of space, as his job took him out of town for weeks at a time too. While he was away, I would have plenty of time to myself, to do my thing.  It was my time to recharge my inner batteries so-to-speak.

The weekends when he was home we’d have a great time together.  Then I told him I wanted to get a job.  Instantly, he changed into the boogeyman.  He quit going to work, became extremely possessive, and if I had a job interview, he would subversively sabotage any chance I had of getting it.  A job meant indepedence.  A job meant I would leave.  He lost his job then his car, and eventually his house.  He moved us into an old house that had once been scheduled for demolition and every other week I was running away from home, but with my dog by my side, it was difficult to find anywhere to go for any period of time.  I went to the shelter. I wanted to work, but the inconsistency of my life couldn’t allow me to keep a job.  I went back after I would run out of options, just to leave again within the next few weeks.

For the first year and 1/2, no matter how abusive it got, he hadn’t “hit” me.  The abuse was mental, verbal, emotional, psychological, financial.  Intimidation tactics, threats, but he always promised he’d never hit me.  I lost all my friends, one by one, who got tired of the “drama” or who were afraid of him coming over there.

Then he hit me for the first time.  It was an “accident” he said, a “freak accident.” Right.

I was so afraid and in shock I stood frozen in the corner he’d backed me into and then played possom all night until I had the chance to run. I went into a shelter, but was kicked out of the shelter for eating yogurt after 9pm. I was starving – food had been a special commodity with him. 

Back I went with the utmost of apprehension… the second time he hit me, a week later, he didn’t just hit me, it was an all out brawl, and my dog bit him… the puppy he’d gotten me… protecting me.  He threatened her.  I left that day and never went back.  I had the good fortune of some of his friends who were nearby, picked my dog and I up from the corner gas station, and had a feeling the abuse had been going on, but weren’t sure.  He kept me too isolated to know. 

Now they knew, and his secret was out.  Finally, I was out too.

He still tries, and thinks I’m his, and will be home. I received roses yesterday.  I won’t budge.  My things are still at his house, in my bedroom there that has notes he painted for me all over the walls and ceiling.  His obsession with me hasn’t diminished, & he can’t control me anymore.  So far he’s had the desire to save face in front of his friends enough to leave me be.  So far.

What happened to him that made him this way?  If you ask him he’ll say it was all my fault, an accident, or a result of my “craziness”.  He’ll never admit he’s a monster.  He doesn’t seem that way at first of course.  He has a good side, a good heart, a generous nature, but the flip side is a controlling abusive man.

Whats going on in his mind?  Why is he abusive?  Thats why this topic is particularly involving my focus right now.  Why did I fall into it again, even knowing so well what to avoid and look for.

It goes to show one can never have too much knowledge. Thank goodness I’m away and safe.  I thought he was going to kill me one day. He might have. I am sad for the way things turned out, but knew it was the only choice, for me to leave. 

I want to reunite with my son one day, and I want to have a close relationship with my daughter and granddaughter, and my son too, which I could never have with an abuser around me.  He didn’t see himself as an abuser, so he didn’t see things the way I did.  He has the mind of an abuser, fits exactly the profile in the article to follow.  So exact in fact, its spooky, like it was written about him.

There’s some very useful information about domestic violence and abusers in the following articles, how abusers’ minds work how their loved ones can deal with them, and where to find help.

Thank you for your patience and loyalty over the past year while I was dealing with this.  As for me, I’m okay, a little traumatized again, with my PTSD acting up. Hypervigilence at its best… or worst, I guess.  

I’m making new friends, finding support of wonderful people around me, and enjoying the peace. I’m starting to feel happy again, and hope again.

For anyone out there involved in an abusive relationship, take it from me, its not your fault, stay strong, and there is a light out there somewhere – keep trying to find it.  I know its hard and frustrating and often times hopeless.

You can make it, and you don’t deserve to stay.  Its hard getting out. I know.  Have faith in yourself and keep trying to find a way out.

I think I’ll stay single for a while though.

Thanks again for your support!

 _________________________________

For More Information read:  Exploring the Mind of An Abuser

child, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, divorce, domestic violence, families, family, fear, General, kids, law, lawsuits, legal, murder
Help! I fell in love with the boogeyman!

(c) Forever May, 2009

The boogeyman.

Everybody knows the boogeyman isn’t real. Right?

Well, to some, the boogeyman is very real and he is the one you love.  How does someone fall in love with the boogeyman?  What makes the boogeyman become what or who he is? A monster – an abuser…

Abuse at its worst is when the one person you look to as your life partner hurts you.  That’s the person you should trust, confide in, turn to, and be there for…. til death do us part does not mean a death because of the very relationship the wedding vows refer to.  The pain is ten-fold, the emotions run especially high, the betrayal, and bitterness is raw, and in the end – the wounds & scars run deep. Very deep.

I have been an advocate against domestic abuse for years. I know the cycle of abuse. I know the pain. I know the scars. I lost my son to domestic abuse.  So, I would know better than to involve myself into another abusive relationship. I would never mean to get in a relationship with a man who would hit me or take my freedom and will away from me. I know the signs, the symptoms, the who gamet.

If you have noticed my blog has been slow posting over the last year or so, this is the reason.  I somehow managed to get myself into a relationship, again, with an abuser. Its taken me a year and 1/2 and several dozen attempts to get away.  I did, finally, get out.

*I* fell into the cycle again knowing better…. I know SO WELL what to look for, what to avoid, and what to do – I’ve been through this before. I couldn’t believe where I found myself again.  I asked “why did this happen” each time I would be swallowing my tears, hiding in my dark room, or  sneaking past his sleeping quieted body to the fridge to grab a piece of bread and scurry away to eat it without waking him or his rage…How did *I* get trapped by another monster?

He was the boogeyman, you see, wearing a disguise.  He offered me a helping hand when I needed it badly, and he was so beautifully charming.  He had a good paying job, a nice house, car, he worked hard, he was kind, sensitive, good looking, a good listener, we had fun times together.  We had so much in common on our views, opinions, passions, and goals. It was perfect…too perfect.  He even got me a puppy.

Sure, I thought “this is too good to be true” and was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I was expecting another shoe to drop.

I didn’t expect it to be a boot …( a steel-toed boot).

I had plenty of space, as his job took him out of town for weeks at a time too. While he was away, I would have plenty of time to myself, to do my thing.  It was my time to recharge my inner batteries so-to-speak.

The weekends when he was home we’d have a great time together.  Then I told him I wanted to get a job.  Instantly, he changed into the boogeyman.  He quit going to work, became extremely possessive, and if I had a job interview, he would subversively sabotage any chance I had of getting it.  A job meant indepedence.  A job meant I would leave.  He lost his job then his car, and eventually his house.  He moved us into an old house that had once been scheduled for demolition and every other week I was running away from home, but with my dog by my side, it was difficult to find anywhere to go for any period of time.  I went to the shelter. I wanted to work, but the inconsistency of my life couldn’t allow me to keep a job.  I went back after I would run out of options, just to leave again within the next few weeks.

For the first year and 1/2, no matter how abusive it got, he hadn’t “hit” me.  The abuse was mental, verbal, emotional, psychological, financial.  Intimidation tactics, threats, but he always promised he’d never hit me.  I lost all my friends, one by one, who got tired of the “drama” or who were afraid of him coming over there.

Then he hit me for the first time.  It was an “accident” he said, a “freak accident.” Right.

I was so afraid and in shock I stood frozen in the corner he’d backed me into and then played possom all night until I had the chance to run. I went into a shelter, but was kicked out of the shelter for eating yogurt after 9pm. I was starving – food had been a special commodity with him. 

Back I went with the utmost of apprehension… the second time he hit me, a week later, he didn’t just hit me, it was an all out brawl, and my dog bit him… the puppy he’d gotten me… protecting me.  He threatened her.  I left that day and never went back.  I had the good fortune of some of his friends who were nearby, picked my dog and I up from the corner gas station, and had a feeling the abuse had been going on, but weren’t sure.  He kept me too isolated to know. 

Now they knew, and his secret was out.  Finally, I was out too.

He still tries, and thinks I’m his, and will be home. I received roses yesterday.  I won’t budge.  My things are still at his house, in my bedroom there that has notes he painted for me all over the walls and ceiling.  His obsession with me hasn’t diminished, & he can’t control me anymore.  So far he’s had the desire to save face in front of his friends enough to leave me be.  So far.

What happened to him that made him this way?  If you ask him he’ll say it was all my fault, an accident, or a result of my “craziness”.  He’ll never admit he’s a monster.  He doesn’t seem that way at first of course.  He has a good side, a good heart, a generous nature, but the flip side is a controlling abusive man.

Whats going on in his mind?  Why is he abusive?  Thats why this topic is particularly involving my focus right now.  Why did I fall into it again, even knowing so well what to avoid and look for.

It goes to show one can never have too much knowledge. Thank goodness I’m away and safe.  I thought he was going to kill me one day. He might have. I am sad for the way things turned out, but knew it was the only choice, for me to leave. 

I want to reunite with my son one day, and I want to have a close relationship with my daughter and granddaughter, and my son too, which I could never have with an abuser around me.  He didn’t see himself as an abuser, so he didn’t see things the way I did.  He has the mind of an abuser, fits exactly the profile in the article to follow.  So exact in fact, its spooky, like it was written about him.

There’s some very useful information about domestic violence and abusers in the following articles, how abusers’ minds work how their loved ones can deal with them, and where to find help.

Thank you for your patience and loyalty over the past year while I was dealing with this.  As for me, I’m okay, a little traumatized again, with my PTSD acting up. Hypervigilence at its best… or worst, I guess.  

I’m making new friends, finding support of wonderful people around me, and enjoying the peace. I’m starting to feel happy again, and hope again.

For anyone out there involved in an abusive relationship, take it from me, its not your fault, stay strong, and there is a light out there somewhere – keep trying to find it.  I know its hard and frustrating and often times hopeless.

You can make it, and you don’t deserve to stay.  Its hard getting out. I know.  Have faith in yourself and keep trying to find a way out.

I think I’ll stay single for a while though.

Thanks again for your support!

 _________________________________

For More Information read:  Exploring the Mind of An Abuser

child, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, divorce, domestic violence, families, family, fear, General, kids, law, lawsuits, legal, murder
Help! I fell in love with the boogeyman!

(c) Forever May, 2009

The boogeyman.

Everybody knows the boogeyman isn’t real. Right?

Well, to some, the boogeyman is very real and he is the one you love.  How does someone fall in love with the boogeyman?  What makes the boogeyman become what or who he is? A monster – an abuser…

Abuse at its worst is when the one person you look to as your life partner hurts you.  That’s the person you should trust, confide in, turn to, and be there for…. til death do us part does not mean a death because of the very relationship the wedding vows refer to.  The pain is ten-fold, the emotions run especially high, the betrayal, and bitterness is raw, and in the end – the wounds & scars run deep. Very deep.

I have been an advocate against domestic abuse for years. I know the cycle of abuse. I know the pain. I know the scars. I lost my son to domestic abuse.  So, I would know better than to involve myself into another abusive relationship. I would never mean to get in a relationship with a man who would hit me or take my freedom and will away from me. I know the signs, the symptoms, the who gamet.

If you have noticed my blog has been slow posting over the last year or so, this is the reason.  I somehow managed to get myself into a relationship, again, with an abuser. Its taken me a year and 1/2 and several dozen attempts to get away.  I did, finally, get out.

*I* fell into the cycle again knowing better…. I know SO WELL what to look for, what to avoid, and what to do – I’ve been through this before. I couldn’t believe where I found myself again.  I asked “why did this happen” each time I would be swallowing my tears, hiding in my dark room, or  sneaking past his sleeping quieted body to the fridge to grab a piece of bread and scurry away to eat it without waking him or his rage…How did *I* get trapped by another monster?

He was the boogeyman, you see, wearing a disguise.  He offered me a helping hand when I needed it badly, and he was so beautifully charming.  He had a good paying job, a nice house, car, he worked hard, he was kind, sensitive, good looking, a good listener, we had fun times together.  We had so much in common on our views, opinions, passions, and goals. It was perfect…too perfect.  He even got me a puppy.

Sure, I thought “this is too good to be true” and was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I was expecting another shoe to drop.

I didn’t expect it to be a boot …( a steel-toed boot).

I had plenty of space, as his job took him out of town for weeks at a time too. While he was away, I would have plenty of time to myself, to do my thing.  It was my time to recharge my inner batteries so-to-speak.

The weekends when he was home we’d have a great time together.  Then I told him I wanted to get a job.  Instantly, he changed into the boogeyman.  He quit going to work, became extremely possessive, and if I had a job interview, he would subversively sabotage any chance I had of getting it.  A job meant indepedence.  A job meant I would leave.  He lost his job then his car, and eventually his house.  He moved us into an old house that had once been scheduled for demolition and every other week I was running away from home, but with my dog by my side, it was difficult to find anywhere to go for any period of time.  I went to the shelter. I wanted to work, but the inconsistency of my life couldn’t allow me to keep a job.  I went back after I would run out of options, just to leave again within the next few weeks.

For the first year and 1/2, no matter how abusive it got, he hadn’t “hit” me.  The abuse was mental, verbal, emotional, psychological, financial.  Intimidation tactics, threats, but he always promised he’d never hit me.  I lost all my friends, one by one, who got tired of the “drama” or who were afraid of him coming over there.

Then he hit me for the first time.  It was an “accident” he said, a “freak accident.” Right.

I was so afraid and in shock I stood frozen in the corner he’d backed me into and then played possom all night until I had the chance to run. I went into a shelter, but was kicked out of the shelter for eating yogurt after 9pm. I was starving – food had been a special commodity with him. 

Back I went with the utmost of apprehension… the second time he hit me, a week later, he didn’t just hit me, it was an all out brawl, and my dog bit him… the puppy he’d gotten me… protecting me.  He threatened her.  I left that day and never went back.  I had the good fortune of some of his friends who were nearby, picked my dog and I up from the corner gas station, and had a feeling the abuse had been going on, but weren’t sure.  He kept me too isolated to know. 

Now they knew, and his secret was out.  Finally, I was out too.

He still tries, and thinks I’m his, and will be home. I received roses yesterday.  I won’t budge.  My things are still at his house, in my bedroom there that has notes he painted for me all over the walls and ceiling.  His obsession with me hasn’t diminished, & he can’t control me anymore.  So far he’s had the desire to save face in front of his friends enough to leave me be.  So far.

What happened to him that made him this way?  If you ask him he’ll say it was all my fault, an accident, or a result of my “craziness”.  He’ll never admit he’s a monster.  He doesn’t seem that way at first of course.  He has a good side, a good heart, a generous nature, but the flip side is a controlling abusive man.

Whats going on in his mind?  Why is he abusive?  Thats why this topic is particularly involving my focus right now.  Why did I fall into it again, even knowing so well what to avoid and look for.

It goes to show one can never have too much knowledge. Thank goodness I’m away and safe.  I thought he was going to kill me one day. He might have. I am sad for the way things turned out, but knew it was the only choice, for me to leave. 

I want to reunite with my son one day, and I want to have a close relationship with my daughter and granddaughter, and my son too, which I could never have with an abuser around me.  He didn’t see himself as an abuser, so he didn’t see things the way I did.  He has the mind of an abuser, fits exactly the profile in the article to follow.  So exact in fact, its spooky, like it was written about him.

There’s some very useful information about domestic violence and abusers in the following articles, how abusers’ minds work how their loved ones can deal with them, and where to find help.

Thank you for your patience and loyalty over the past year while I was dealing with this.  As for me, I’m okay, a little traumatized again, with my PTSD acting up. Hypervigilence at its best… or worst, I guess.  

I’m making new friends, finding support of wonderful people around me, and enjoying the peace. I’m starting to feel happy again, and hope again.

For anyone out there involved in an abusive relationship, take it from me, its not your fault, stay strong, and there is a light out there somewhere – keep trying to find it.  I know its hard and frustrating and often times hopeless.

You can make it, and you don’t deserve to stay.  Its hard getting out. I know.  Have faith in yourself and keep trying to find a way out.

I think I’ll stay single for a while though.

Thanks again for your support!

 _________________________________

For More Information read:  Exploring the Mind of An Abuser

accountability, amber alert, child, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, crime, custody, domestic violence
Violent Relationships in Family Court
Duncan Connolly
Duncan Connolly

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Clear and Present Danger by SusanMurphy Milano

Like most of us I am deeply disturbed by the escalating number of parents murdering their own families. This past weekend was no exception as police discovered 9-year-old Duncan Connolly

(left) and 7-year-old Jack Connolly (right) were found murdered in rural Putnam County, IL. Their father was found dead not far from where his car was left.

Jack Connolly
Jack Connolly

According to police sources, the boys’ father had a rope around his neck when he was found. The discovery brought to a close a national three-week search for the man and the boys, precipitated by Michael Connolly’s abduction of his sons following a weekend visitation.

The last time Amy saw her two boys alive, something was not right. Connolly was acting strange when they met at the police station.

Amy refused to hand over her boys on March 7th, an officer threatened her if she didn’t give them to their father, she would be arrested according to her lawyer.

Amy Leichtenberg filed orders of protection against Michael Connolly more than once after his repeated physical and emotional abuse in the later years of their marriage. Amy filed for divorce that year and moved out of their home. In a 2006, a petition for a protective order against her husband was filed, saying that his “controlling and obsessive behavior” included threats to kill himself and others along with a series of bizarre demands he made of her. Within a 15-month period, Connolly violated the orders of protection 57 times.

In 2007, Amy was awarded full custody of the boys with Connolly given supervised visitation. According to court reports from the family visitation center, Connolly’s behavior was dangerous enough to temporarily cease all visits with the boys.

In my experience, when a family visitation center terminates interaction between parent and child, it sends a red flag of danger. Connolly, the ever witty and clever abuser, was able to resume visits when his psychiatrist sent a “sympathy letter” to the judge “if my client is able to spend more time with his sons, Mr. Connolly’s depression and outbursts would lessen.” The judge responded by setting a series of “behavioral guidelines.” This included obtaining employment, housing and continued therapy. “

(He) tells me if I ever take the boys away he will hunt me and my parents down and cut us open,” Amy Leichtenberg, then known as Amy Connolly, stated in the 2006 petition seeking an order of protection. Amy said during their marriage Connolly had tried to isolate her from her family. A common characteristic among abusers.

Despite the 57 violations of the protection orders, dangerous behavior and deadly threats, McLean County Judge James Souk “rewarded” Connolly unsupervised visitation with his sons. Connolly filed numerous motions with the court, basically wearing the judge down. Despite pleas from Amy and her lawyer, which were ignored.

This mother’s plea for supervised visitation was dismissed without regard to serious safety concerns.

There is an automatic presumption that it is in the best interest of a child “regardless of court orders”, prior violence or threats, to maintain visitation with both parents.

Victims of domestic violence face a double edged sword. Either expose their children to imminent danger, or defy the court system refusing to allow visitation.

Like so many others before her, Amy tried to deal with a violent relationship in a family court environment. In family court the two parties are presumed to be on a level playing field–law abiding individuals who have a disagreement over a private family matter.

A core assumption of family law is that family disputes are not criminal disputes. As such, there are few safeguards built into the family court system to protect against the criminal dynamics that dominate family disputes in cases of family violence. In addition, the accusations the victim makes in family court, no matter how serious, carry no more authority than one person’s say so.

One of the most serious consequences is that when a family violence victim opens a case in family court against her abuser, the abuser is given equal opportunity to fight back against the victim’s accusations, often because the abusers past is not an issue.

Unless, of course, he is brought in from county or state prison sporting an orange jump suit and leg shackles.

There are lawyers and men’s groups who argue using domestic violence with a broad brush is not a reason to deny fathers visitation with their children. Accusing mothers of lying or making up stories to keep fathers’ from their children. Under the current laws, a parent without custody is entitled “reasonable visitation.”

There is a high burden of proof as evidenced in this case when a court refuses to take into account dangerous abusers pose to their children. Until we place the issue of labeling these cases as a “private matter” or an isolated incident, expect the death toll among children to rise.

Expect the courts to continue to ignore clear and present danger signs when a victim of violence seeks a divorce.

arrest, awareness, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, crime, domestic violence, false allegations, families
CPS Used My Decision to Home School I Was Charged with Truancy

One of the reasons my child was taken into foster care4 was an allegation against me of neglecting my son’s education, and not sending him to school.  This is how they managed to pull it off.

Early on in the new semester after winter break, I received a call from the school that my ex husband was calling the district trying to find out what school my son was going to.  This was a problem because my ex was under a domestic violence protective order requiring no contact with the child.  However, it did not tell the school not to disclose the name of the child’s school he was attending; and did not specify anything else on release of records.  If he came to the school and requested a copy of the file, they would have to give it to him, and/or telling my ex the name of the school might risk my child’s safety.

I decided to home school after having heard my ex threaten to “kidnap” my son, and fearing the worst I wanted to take no chances.  I kept my son home.

I used the Abeka Books Curriculum which is a very good program that had been used at my son’s private school in Florida, based on Christian teachings.  The curriculum is highly recommended, and is more than  competent to meet standards of home schooling in Texas.

Looking back

My first mistake was not withdrawing my son from school before removing him from attendance. That created the opportunity to be counted absent, and not for medical reasons.  Although the school had been made aware, especially since they first contacted me, that there was a problem, the custody issues involved in my situation came forth when my ex had begun to dispute the legal papers I had given the school. So the school decided to hold off on allowing me to withdraw my son until the “legal team” could review my legal papers at the district level.

We went back and forth for a period of time, my son missing  several weeks of school, technically, during all of this.  Although I was teaching my son at home the school district never sent a truancy officer to visit, and they never asked for documentation.  I did inform them in writing, and kept the copies of the correspondence in my files though.

After a couple of weeks, one week being spring break, there was much confusion as to my custody status and whether I was allowed to withdraw my son, since the separate custody battle had begun with a temporary restraining order placed on me, customary when suit is filed, so that the parent doesn’t remove the child from school.  The timing had just perfectly overlapped and caused enough confusion such that the school disallowed the withdrawal until they figured it all out.

Unfortunately in my case, I had unseen forces at work, being two other parties, the child’s father and grandmother, working together, to fool the outsiders, into removing my child from my care under the guise of I was not a good mother.  This opportunity came about when I removed him from school (out of fear he would be kidnapped) that they could say I didn’t care about his education and didn’t get him to school.  Of course if you compare it to her allegation that he lived with her at the same time (for the six months prior) you start to see the holes in the story, but with so many cases in the family courts who has time to truly look at the big picture when the immediate case can be stamped and moved along.

Another mishap that I didn’t realise had occured was when the school then sent a notice by certified mail to me  that they would be filing charges against me if I did not blah blah blah since I never got the letter, I don’t exactly know what it said.  The address they had on file had been my child’s grandmother’s address & not mine.   BIG MISTAKE.

I had recently moved to Texas on what was possibly meant to be a temporary basis, and was not sure where my son and I would stay for any length of time, so initially, in order to get my son back in school expeditiously, we used her address when I moved out of my brother’s house where we had been staying.

I forgot to change it or clarify anything regarding the address in the midst of the chaos at the time that caused me to fear sending my son to school in the first place; I should have done that immediately when I moved.

Again, in hindsight, that turned into another problem that played a huge role in my nightmare.  The other huge mistake of mine was relying on the deal I had worked out with the child’s grandmother, that he was picked up in the afternoons by her from school.  Normally, a grandmother picking up a child to keep until Mom or Dad get home seems perfectly acceptable; except when the grandmother has malicious intent. Although my son was brought to me once I returned home from work in the early evenings, it opened up for another opportunity for nefarious behavior on the grandmother’s part in order to secure her standing against me in court.

Since my son carpooled to school with his cousin, usually driven by my sister-in-law, I was rarely seen at the school on either morning dropoff or afternoon pickup.  This ultimately hurt my standing in court when it had been alleged that my son lived with the grandmother for six months prior to the filing of the case (a requirement by law before bringing suit against me in court for custody) in order to prove he lived with her, she could then used the schools’ familiarity with her being there with my son as proof, or evidence via witnesses and the teachers and school staff were easily fooled because they saw her with my son in the afternoons and not me.  This created ample collateral witnesses, and since CPS loves to use the public school as a place to interview and take children, it was very convenient for them as well in building a case.  I was working at a flower shop in the afternoons but my son was living with me even though the school thought he didn’t (unbeknownst to me).  I didn’t realise at the time that there was any such misunderstanding.  That’s the way they wanted it to be.

I was charged with four counts of Failure to Abide By Compulsory Attendance Laws which pretty much means pay a fine and get your child’s butt to school.

That’s when the worst doesn’t happen. In my case, it did.

So having sent my notice to the wrong address it allowed for the opportunity for the child’s grandmother to then sign for it but not tell me about it. Thus, i didn’t find out until too late, and I was charged after I missed the deadline to do whatever the letter  said – I believe it was to return my son to school in full attendance or face charges.  I missed the deadline, unknowingly, as my arch enemy and my exhusband both chuckled quietly at the sinister mail follies in their diabolical plan that was coming together beautifully.

According to school files, they had a signed certified letter  that I received notice from the school notifying me of the deadline to act in compliance or else.  It appeared that I ignored the notice after receiving it and signing for it, and thus, did not care about my child’s education.  Perfect for CPS to grab hold and run.

Prior to being adjudicated in court on the charges CPS used the fact that I had been CHARGED with truancy related accusations (not convicted when they did this, mind you…)  in order to justify removing my child from my home.

I wrote many letters to the school during this entire process.  Although my charges were ultimately dropped, the fact remained my son was taken away from me and the mere allegations allowed them one of several doors to walk through when coming up with ways to justify the removal of my son.

Remember – neglectful supervision is very elastic of a term, and almost anything can fit it.  If CPS wants a child, they can use neglectful supervision to take that child, then, if the facts don’t match the theory, change the fact.

Several years later, looking at the records online, I found the name of the charges they filed against me actually are listed as something else – Parent Contributing to Nonattendance.  Sounds a little more derogatory in my opinion.  How they can just change what the person is charged with years later on record is beyond my comprehension, but disposition states Dismissed due to bad identification.  Anyone know what that means? Email me and let me know.

So I hope this serves to at least warn you to be careful with your decision to home school and make sure you document all contact and dealings, follow the law and all procedures, and document it all.  That was if you do find yourself in a nightmare situation, you may be able to overturn it, or hopefully avoid it all together.

Good luck!

arrest, awareness, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, crime, domestic violence, false allegations, families
CPS Used My Decision to Home School I Was Charged with Truancy

One of the reasons my child was taken into foster care4 was an allegation against me of neglecting my son’s education, and not sending him to school.  This is how they managed to pull it off.

Early on in the new semester after winter break, I received a call from the school that my ex husband was calling the district trying to find out what school my son was going to.  This was a problem because my ex was under a domestic violence protective order requiring no contact with the child.  However, it did not tell the school not to disclose the name of the child’s school he was attending; and did not specify anything else on release of records.  If he came to the school and requested a copy of the file, they would have to give it to him, and/or telling my ex the name of the school might risk my child’s safety.

I decided to home school after having heard my ex threaten to “kidnap” my son, and fearing the worst I wanted to take no chances.  I kept my son home.

I used the Abeka Books Curriculum which is a very good program that had been used at my son’s private school in Florida, based on Christian teachings.  The curriculum is highly recommended, and is more than  competent to meet standards of home schooling in Texas.

Looking back

My first mistake was not withdrawing my son from school before removing him from attendance. That created the opportunity to be counted absent, and not for medical reasons.  Although the school had been made aware, especially since they first contacted me, that there was a problem, the custody issues involved in my situation came forth when my ex had begun to dispute the legal papers I had given the school. So the school decided to hold off on allowing me to withdraw my son until the “legal team” could review my legal papers at the district level.

We went back and forth for a period of time, my son missing  several weeks of school, technically, during all of this.  Although I was teaching my son at home the school district never sent a truancy officer to visit, and they never asked for documentation.  I did inform them in writing, and kept the copies of the correspondence in my files though.

After a couple of weeks, one week being spring break, there was much confusion as to my custody status and whether I was allowed to withdraw my son, since the separate custody battle had begun with a temporary restraining order placed on me, customary when suit is filed, so that the parent doesn’t remove the child from school.  The timing had just perfectly overlapped and caused enough confusion such that the school disallowed the withdrawal until they figured it all out.

Unfortunately in my case, I had unseen forces at work, being two other parties, the child’s father and grandmother, working together, to fool the outsiders, into removing my child from my care under the guise of I was not a good mother.  This opportunity came about when I removed him from school (out of fear he would be kidnapped) that they could say I didn’t care about his education and didn’t get him to school.  Of course if you compare it to her allegation that he lived with her at the same time (for the six months prior) you start to see the holes in the story, but with so many cases in the family courts who has time to truly look at the big picture when the immediate case can be stamped and moved along.

Another mishap that I didn’t realise had occured was when the school then sent a notice by certified mail to me  that they would be filing charges against me if I did not blah blah blah since I never got the letter, I don’t exactly know what it said.  The address they had on file had been my child’s grandmother’s address & not mine.   BIG MISTAKE.

I had recently moved to Texas on what was possibly meant to be a temporary basis, and was not sure where my son and I would stay for any length of time, so initially, in order to get my son back in school expeditiously, we used her address when I moved out of my brother’s house where we had been staying.

I forgot to change it or clarify anything regarding the address in the midst of the chaos at the time that caused me to fear sending my son to school in the first place; I should have done that immediately when I moved.

Again, in hindsight, that turned into another problem that played a huge role in my nightmare.  The other huge mistake of mine was relying on the deal I had worked out with the child’s grandmother, that he was picked up in the afternoons by her from school.  Normally, a grandmother picking up a child to keep until Mom or Dad get home seems perfectly acceptable; except when the grandmother has malicious intent. Although my son was brought to me once I returned home from work in the early evenings, it opened up for another opportunity for nefarious behavior on the grandmother’s part in order to secure her standing against me in court.

Since my son carpooled to school with his cousin, usually driven by my sister-in-law, I was rarely seen at the school on either morning dropoff or afternoon pickup.  This ultimately hurt my standing in court when it had been alleged that my son lived with the grandmother for six months prior to the filing of the case (a requirement by law before bringing suit against me in court for custody) in order to prove he lived with her, she could then used the schools’ familiarity with her being there with my son as proof, or evidence via witnesses and the teachers and school staff were easily fooled because they saw her with my son in the afternoons and not me.  This created ample collateral witnesses, and since CPS loves to use the public school as a place to interview and take children, it was very convenient for them as well in building a case.  I was working at a flower shop in the afternoons but my son was living with me even though the school thought he didn’t (unbeknownst to me).  I didn’t realise at the time that there was any such misunderstanding.  That’s the way they wanted it to be.

I was charged with four counts of Failure to Abide By Compulsory Attendance Laws which pretty much means pay a fine and get your child’s butt to school.

That’s when the worst doesn’t happen. In my case, it did.

So having sent my notice to the wrong address it allowed for the opportunity for the child’s grandmother to then sign for it but not tell me about it. Thus, i didn’t find out until too late, and I was charged after I missed the deadline to do whatever the letter  said – I believe it was to return my son to school in full attendance or face charges.  I missed the deadline, unknowingly, as my arch enemy and my exhusband both chuckled quietly at the sinister mail follies in their diabolical plan that was coming together beautifully.

According to school files, they had a signed certified letter  that I received notice from the school notifying me of the deadline to act in compliance or else.  It appeared that I ignored the notice after receiving it and signing for it, and thus, did not care about my child’s education.  Perfect for CPS to grab hold and run.

Prior to being adjudicated in court on the charges CPS used the fact that I had been CHARGED with truancy related accusations (not convicted when they did this, mind you…)  in order to justify removing my child from my home.

I wrote many letters to the school during this entire process.  Although my charges were ultimately dropped, the fact remained my son was taken away from me and the mere allegations allowed them one of several doors to walk through when coming up with ways to justify the removal of my son.

Remember – neglectful supervision is very elastic of a term, and almost anything can fit it.  If CPS wants a child, they can use neglectful supervision to take that child, then, if the facts don’t match the theory, change the fact.

Several years later, looking at the records online, I found the name of the charges they filed against me actually are listed as something else – Parent Contributing to Nonattendance.  Sounds a little more derogatory in my opinion.  How they can just change what the person is charged with years later on record is beyond my comprehension, but disposition states Dismissed due to bad identification.  Anyone know what that means? Email me and let me know.

So I hope this serves to at least warn you to be careful with your decision to home school and make sure you document all contact and dealings, follow the law and all procedures, and document it all.  That was if you do find yourself in a nightmare situation, you may be able to overturn it, or hopefully avoid it all together.

Good luck!

arrest, awareness, child custody, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, crime, domestic violence, false allegations, families
CPS Used My Decision to Home School I Was Charged with Truancy

One of the reasons my child was taken into foster care4 was an allegation against me of neglecting my son’s education, and not sending him to school.  This is how they managed to pull it off.

Early on in the new semester after winter break, I received a call from the school that my ex husband was calling the district trying to find out what school my son was going to.  This was a problem because my ex was under a domestic violence protective order requiring no contact with the child.  However, it did not tell the school not to disclose the name of the child’s school he was attending; and did not specify anything else on release of records.  If he came to the school and requested a copy of the file, they would have to give it to him, and/or telling my ex the name of the school might risk my child’s safety.

I decided to home school after having heard my ex threaten to “kidnap” my son, and fearing the worst I wanted to take no chances.  I kept my son home.

I used the Abeka Books Curriculum which is a very good program that had been used at my son’s private school in Florida, based on Christian teachings.  The curriculum is highly recommended, and is more than  competent to meet standards of home schooling in Texas.

Looking back

My first mistake was not withdrawing my son from school before removing him from attendance. That created the opportunity to be counted absent, and not for medical reasons.  Although the school had been made aware, especially since they first contacted me, that there was a problem, the custody issues involved in my situation came forth when my ex had begun to dispute the legal papers I had given the school. So the school decided to hold off on allowing me to withdraw my son until the “legal team” could review my legal papers at the district level.

We went back and forth for a period of time, my son missing  several weeks of school, technically, during all of this.  Although I was teaching my son at home the school district never sent a truancy officer to visit, and they never asked for documentation.  I did inform them in writing, and kept the copies of the correspondence in my files though.

After a couple of weeks, one week being spring break, there was much confusion as to my custody status and whether I was allowed to withdraw my son, since the separate custody battle had begun with a temporary restraining order placed on me, customary when suit is filed, so that the parent doesn’t remove the child from school.  The timing had just perfectly overlapped and caused enough confusion such that the school disallowed the withdrawal until they figured it all out.

Unfortunately in my case, I had unseen forces at work, being two other parties, the child’s father and grandmother, working together, to fool the outsiders, into removing my child from my care under the guise of I was not a good mother.  This opportunity came about when I removed him from school (out of fear he would be kidnapped) that they could say I didn’t care about his education and didn’t get him to school.  Of course if you compare it to her allegation that he lived with her at the same time (for the six months prior) you start to see the holes in the story, but with so many cases in the family courts who has time to truly look at the big picture when the immediate case can be stamped and moved along.

Another mishap that I didn’t realise had occured was when the school then sent a notice by certified mail to me  that they would be filing charges against me if I did not blah blah blah since I never got the letter, I don’t exactly know what it said.  The address they had on file had been my child’s grandmother’s address & not mine.   BIG MISTAKE.

I had recently moved to Texas on what was possibly meant to be a temporary basis, and was not sure where my son and I would stay for any length of time, so initially, in order to get my son back in school expeditiously, we used her address when I moved out of my brother’s house where we had been staying.

I forgot to change it or clarify anything regarding the address in the midst of the chaos at the time that caused me to fear sending my son to school in the first place; I should have done that immediately when I moved.

Again, in hindsight, that turned into another problem that played a huge role in my nightmare.  The other huge mistake of mine was relying on the deal I had worked out with the child’s grandmother, that he was picked up in the afternoons by her from school.  Normally, a grandmother picking up a child to keep until Mom or Dad get home seems perfectly acceptable; except when the grandmother has malicious intent. Although my son was brought to me once I returned home from work in the early evenings, it opened up for another opportunity for nefarious behavior on the grandmother’s part in order to secure her standing against me in court.

Since my son carpooled to school with his cousin, usually driven by my sister-in-law, I was rarely seen at the school on either morning dropoff or afternoon pickup.  This ultimately hurt my standing in court when it had been alleged that my son lived with the grandmother for six months prior to the filing of the case (a requirement by law before bringing suit against me in court for custody) in order to prove he lived with her, she could then used the schools’ familiarity with her being there with my son as proof, or evidence via witnesses and the teachers and school staff were easily fooled because they saw her with my son in the afternoons and not me.  This created ample collateral witnesses, and since CPS loves to use the public school as a place to interview and take children, it was very convenient for them as well in building a case.  I was working at a flower shop in the afternoons but my son was living with me even though the school thought he didn’t (unbeknownst to me).  I didn’t realise at the time that there was any such misunderstanding.  That’s the way they wanted it to be.

I was charged with four counts of Failure to Abide By Compulsory Attendance Laws which pretty much means pay a fine and get your child’s butt to school.

That’s when the worst doesn’t happen. In my case, it did.

So having sent my notice to the wrong address it allowed for the opportunity for the child’s grandmother to then sign for it but not tell me about it. Thus, i didn’t find out until too late, and I was charged after I missed the deadline to do whatever the letter  said – I believe it was to return my son to school in full attendance or face charges.  I missed the deadline, unknowingly, as my arch enemy and my exhusband both chuckled quietly at the sinister mail follies in their diabolical plan that was coming together beautifully.

According to school files, they had a signed certified letter  that I received notice from the school notifying me of the deadline to act in compliance or else.  It appeared that I ignored the notice after receiving it and signing for it, and thus, did not care about my child’s education.  Perfect for CPS to grab hold and run.

Prior to being adjudicated in court on the charges CPS used the fact that I had been CHARGED with truancy related accusations (not convicted when they did this, mind you…)  in order to justify removing my child from my home.

I wrote many letters to the school during this entire process.  Although my charges were ultimately dropped, the fact remained my son was taken away from me and the mere allegations allowed them one of several doors to walk through when coming up with ways to justify the removal of my son.

Remember – neglectful supervision is very elastic of a term, and almost anything can fit it.  If CPS wants a child, they can use neglectful supervision to take that child, then, if the facts don’t match the theory, change the fact.

Several years later, looking at the records online, I found the name of the charges they filed against me actually are listed as something else – Parent Contributing to Nonattendance.  Sounds a little more derogatory in my opinion.  How they can just change what the person is charged with years later on record is beyond my comprehension, but disposition states Dismissed due to bad identification.  Anyone know what that means? Email me and let me know.

So I hope this serves to at least warn you to be careful with your decision to home school and make sure you document all contact and dealings, follow the law and all procedures, and document it all.  That was if you do find yourself in a nightmare situation, you may be able to overturn it, or hopefully avoid it all together.

Good luck!