When Help is NO Help.
This got a little wordier than I would have liked but please. Read it through to the end. It will give you cause to think.
I read an article today.........
that prompted me to write this.
The article I read was about homeless and runaway children. It was an opinion piece and did not in any way claim attachment to any group or organization. The author thoughts went something like he/she does not understand why there are so many runaways and Juveniles living on the streets when there are so many organizations out there to help them if there is trouble at home.
I am a grandmother nine times over. My grandchildren are one of the great joys in my life. I have always been very attached and involved. (yes I am that loving, doting, spoiling, babysitting at the drop of a hat grandmother) When one of them is hurt or sad I hurt with them. I cry with them, and I cry for them. To say that I have a wonderful relationship with these nine very special gifts from God would be a very mild understatement. They trust my husband and me and know that they are very free to talk to us about anything that they want to. If the five yr. old wants to spend an hour talking about the cartoon he just watched that is what we do. If the twelve yr. old wants to talk about his crush on a girl at school that is what we do. Building that trust has been on of the most important thing in my life. As it turns out it has proved to be a mixed blessing.
Recently the parents of one set of grandchildren divorced after ten years and three kids. Divorce is tough for any kid and these kids are not exceptions. The real trouble didn’t start however until mom found a new boyfriend. My granddaughter then eight was very attached to her father and had trouble adjusting to the new man in mom’s life. Stubborn and bullheaded as she is she did manage to get into some trouble both at school and at home. It wasn’t the things that she did but more the things that she wouldn’t do (so I was told) that got her into trouble. For about three months before Christmas last year every time I called or tried to visit these children they were in trouble or grounded at new boyfriends command. Finally in frustration my husband confronted mom. After that mom reluctantly allowed the children to come for an overnight about a week before Christmas. When they arrived they were happy and appeared well we laughed and played with them and as is typical it turned into a little rough housing. At some point my granddaughter’s leg was squeezed and she screamed in agony. Confused I tried to inspect her leg but she pulled away from me and broke down in tears. I looked to her older brother for answers and he hung his head and shyly told me that mom’s boyfriend had beaten her. Horrified, I convinced her to let me see her leg and when she did the abuse was very obvious. You could see bruised handprints that had started to fade and new bruises where a belt or strap had been used. She had multiple bruises on both legs in various stages of healing.
When questioned we were told by both older children that mom’s boyfriend had beat them both. Grandson showed us his bruises that had started to fade but where there none the less. They also told us that this man had told them that what goes on in his house was no one else’s concern and if they told he would beat them even worse the next time.
Without hesitation my husband and I called local law enforcement.
The Police came to my home and spoke to both children. He then requested that I take the children to the police station where they were photographed and all of their bruises where documented. The officer kept reassuring both me and the children that we had done the right thing and that they were going to take care of it. I am very sure that he honesty believed what he was saying and had every faith that the system he worked for would help these children.
Doing his Duty he contacted both children and youth and mom. He informed mom that they were placing the children in our care until children and youth could review the case.
Children and Youth
The following day in intake counselor came to our home. She spoke to the children and inspected their injuries. She then amazingly made the decision that granddaughter would remain in our care until dad could be contacted but that because grandsons injuries where less severe and not as new both he and younger brother would be returned to mom. Horrified but with no options we complied. That was the last time I saw either of these grandsons.Granddaughter went to live with her dad. That was the last time she saw either of her brothers. Mom has since cut off all contact with the family and although Children and Youth tell us the boys are fine I have my concerns.
She stayed with dad for about six months before the time came that because dad had been unable to find work he was incarcerated for child support and granddaughter came to stay with us.
During the time that she was with us we got a subpoena to attend preliminary hearing for mom and boyfriend. As instructed we went to the District court office and there was granddaughters case worker. During the course of our chat she informed me that she was there to testify on mom's behalf. (I thought her job was the welfare of the kids?)
After that there were several more instances involving this case worker that caused me to question her point of view. I filed several complaints with her supervisor and other organization officials all of which fell on deaf ears. I requested a new case worker to be assigned and was again completely ignored.
After about two months we received another subpoena, this time for a placement hearing. I questioned the case worker as to what this was? Did we need a lawyer? etc. She assured me that it was a formality and that it was only so that we had legal rights to act as granddaughter's guardians. Confident and happy about this we went to court. When we got there Mom and her lawyer, children and youth and their lawyers, Dad brought from jail without a lawyer and my husband and I un-represented were in the court room. After a moment two other men were introduced to us they were granddaughter's lawyer and her Guardian-ad-Litem. (How amazing is this neither of these men had ever spoke to my granddaughter before.)
When the proceedings started it did not take long for me to once again figure out that our case worker had some serious credibility issues. She was recomending that granddaughter be placed in fostercare because: 1) she was not being treated by a therapist (an out right lie since their group was paying a therapist to come into my home 3 or 4 days a week.) 2) because of the hostility between us and Mom. (?????????) and finally 3) because mom did not feel that we were capable of caring for her! (Mom who has by now been charged with several counts of abuse and child endangerment, Yea she has what say so?)
And............ yep you guessed it! they placed granddaughter in foster care. They took her right from the court room and would not even allow her to say good-bye to us! They did not ask for her things or in any way do anything to help her make this transition. Since then she has been placed in a residential treatment facility over 100 miles from our home town because she quit cooperating. (Imagine that)
With the loss of her testimony the D.A. was forced to accept a plea agreement with mom and boyfriend. They got 2 years probation each. They are walking around free and granddaughter has been locked up.
Now the question was why are there so many runaways in this country?
My questions are:
Why aren't there more?
When the abused are locked up and the abusers go free why would anyone claim to be abused?
When an abusive parent is permitted to punish family by not allowing them contact with the children why would any grandparent take a stand?
When children become the victims of children and youth who do you call?
When you are not blessed with a lot of money how do you fight back.
I have created an Update Hub so that anyone that is interested can find out how this is all working out. http://hubpages.com/hub/Child-Welfare thank-you everyone who has cared enough to offer advice.
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