Maddie and Mark's Story told by Virginia Doyle, Social Worker
You might say that it all began with a phone call placed by a concerned contract nurse regarding a month old female fraternal twin victim she was charged with tracking. But that really isn't the catalyst for the resulting chain of events. Long before that call came into the 911 operator at the police station changing five lives forever, there were years of parental drug abuse, parental neglect, prostitution, and on-going location changes to avoid police detection and arrest because of drug making and sales. These are part of the factors that eventually led to the events that follow, but not the whole story. But then, I'm better at putting the pieces of the story together after the fact. My name is Virginia Doyle, I am a Child Protective Services Investigator, and this story is about Maddie and Mark, fraternal twins, and their three siblings: Sarah, Tommy and Frank.
As you read this story, you need to understand that the statistics in the US as of 2010 on the mortality rate of children age 1-4 years are 4,316 or 26.5; per 100,000 population. The mortality rate of children age 5-14 years are 5,279 or 12.9 deaths per 100,000 population. This is not a common situation but one all social workers hate to have happen and strive to prevent. And remember this is a real situation with names changed to protect the innocent.
The Report Begins
Law enforcement and Child Protective Services involvement with Mother Caroline, began this time on the morning of the 2nd of March, when Martha the 911 Operator in Glendale received the emergency call from the nurse, Alice. The time was recorded as 10 o'clock.
"Hello, this is Nurse Alice calling. I am a Registered Nurse calling about two month old children who are in danger due to chemical exposure. One is experiencing severe breathing issues and I am currently providing a breathing treatment to assist her."
The 911 Operator, Martha, asked, "Why are you calling 911?"
Nurse Alice responded, "The mother Caroline signed an agreement with the hospital that she would accept in-home nursing oversight for Maddie because she is on a vent. I am not only a Registered Nurse, but part of the Mulberry Hospital Family Intervention Specialist group. I have been attempting to do my weekly service to the child, Maddie. Her mother, Caroline, agreed to my weekly oversight service. Maddie and Matt had been discharged to Caroline and Keith only after both had taken and passed vent training. Maddie and Mark had been in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. The family moves often and do not return calls so I lost contact with them for two weeks. I finally tracked down the current location and am with Maddie Romero now. Maddie is supposed to be on a vent. Her vent report shows that this is not the case and she is having severe breathing issues now.
The 911 Operator, Martha, asked, "Where is the mother?"
Nurse Alice responded, "The mother's boyfriend, Keith, is taking care of Maddie and tried to prevent me from entering the residence. He states that the mother is out working. He moved aside when we heard Maddie wheezing. I gave Maddie a breathing treatment just now and she is doing better. The boyfriend, Keith, is making something toxic in the kitchen and both children in the home are being exposed to the toxic odor."
The 911 Operator, Martha, asked, "What do you mean, something toxic?"
Nurse Alice responded, "I have had narcotic training and I saw the bottles he was putting in the mixture he was making. The smell is horrible and I even had issues being inside that home."
The 911 Operator, Martha, informed, ""I understand, help is on the way. Please keep me on the line until they arrive. Where are you now? '
Nurse Alice responded, "I am still with the child outside the home using a breathing treatment. Maddie is very weak. The little boy is still inside the home on the sofa. Poor thing he is being exposed as well."
911 Operator, Martha, spoke to Alice, she sent 3 additional pages from her line. A page to paramedics due to suspected injury of the infant, plus two pages to law enforcement agencies; Police Department, Crimes Against Children, and Child Welfare, Child Protective Service aka: CPS"
Both agencies stand ready to investigate allegations of child abuse 24/7 and have on-call detectives and investigators ready to respond to emergency child abuse. CPS is the primary investigation team when the child is in the home. Crimes Against Children, police investigate complaints in the community. These agencies provide a team effort when it comes to child abuse within the home. The Law Enforcement Detective and Child Protective Services Investigator work together to determine if a criminal act inside the home occurred and how to proceed.
911 Operator, Martha kept listening and documenting what she was hearing on the line. Again Martha asked Alice, "Please tell me the moment help arrives."
Nurse Alice responded, "Certainly
Paramedics Arrive First
Within 5 minutes of receiving the emergency page, the paramedics arrived at the home. The first responders arrived at approximately 10:06 a.m. in the morning.
Nurse Alice informed the 911 Operator, "The paramedics have arrived at the home. One is here with me outside and the other is at the door of the home."
911 Operator, Martha said, "Okay. Please ask the lead paramedic to speak to me when possible."
Nurse Alice responded, "Certainly."
Sam, the first paramedic had rushed to the infant. "Hand over the baby please."
Alice stated, "Of course." and immediately handed Sam the baby.
Sam examined Maddie's condition and arrived at the same conclusion as Nurse Alice. The child was in severe distress. He and the second paramedic who had brought a stretcher, secured the baby to make ready for transport to the hospital.
Phil knocked at the open door and Keith responded.
Keith, What is going on here?"
Phil responded, "The nurse called in an emergency call because of the baby being in severe distress. We need to get her to the Mulberry Hospital. Where is the responsible party?
Keith, "I will call her on the phone for you to speak with. Hold on." He contacted Caroline and handed the home phone to Phil. "I have Caroline on the phone."
Phil spoke briefly with Caroline, "Your RN Alice contacted us when she found your baby in Respiratory Distress in the home. We need your permission to take the baby to the Mulberry Hospital. Also need a contact number for the file.
Caroline responded, "Of course, you have my permission."
Phil continued, "Will you meet us there?"
Caroline responded, "I'll try."
Phil stated, "The authorities are on the way to your home regarding the cause of her distress. They should arrive shortly and will want to speak to you."
Caroline responded, "I understand. May I speak to Keith again please?"
Phil stated, "Sure." He handed the phone to Keith and went outside to the supervisor.
Keith hung up the phone then ran out the back door leaving Mark on the sofa alone.
Lead medic, Vincent, saw Keith running out the back door as he brought up the rear. Vincent had contacted his office and was now wanting information to make a report. He conferred with Phil and Sam. Then he spoke with Nurse Alice.
"Here, talk to 911." Nurse Alice stated as he handed the phone to the Vincent, the lead paramedic."
"Vincent Smith here." Vincent stated. "One moment I need to get the information you need from the team members assisting."
Operator Martha states, "I understand."
Vincent turned, "Sam, what's the status of the baby?"
Sam responded, "We're going to take her to the Mulberry Hospital as she is still in respiratory distress and they have all the information on her."
Vincent provided 911 with the location of the hospital, "We're taking the baby to the hospital. I saw the boyfriend run out the back door of the home a few minutes ago.. The police are coming up the drive now. They can handle the situation from here." Vincent then hung up the phone.
Operator Martha updated the location and noted on her report that the police had arrived at the home prior to the paramedics leaving. The emergency vehicle had come and gone approximately 10:20 a.m. or, within 14 minutes.
Vincent briefly updated the detective about what was happening with the baby then, he turned to Nurse Alice. "Thanks for your consideration in this case. Not everyone would do what you did."
Nurse Alice responded, "No problem, it's my job!"
The paramedic team loaded Maddie inside the ambulance and left the home for the hospital.
Law Enforcement Arrives
Crimes Against Children assigned a seasoned Detective, Bob Winston to the case. Detective Winston was on duty sitting at his desk in the Crimes Against Children Office at 10:05 a.m. when he received the page. Winston headed to the alleged scene of the crime and upon arriving at the home of Caroline and Keith noting that the ambulance was present.
Detective Bob had arrived at the home within 10 minutes of receiving the page, or approximately 10:20 p.m. He was just in time to get the initial report from head Medic, Vincent Smith. He briefly spoke with Nurse Alice about the events prior to his arrival on the scene and scanned file on Mother Caroline that Nurse Alice presented to him.
Detective Bob asked, "What is the story here?"
Nurse Alice stated, "The mother, Caroline, had given birth to Mark and Maddie a month ago in Mulberry Hospital. Mother Caroline already had three other children, Sarah age 6, Tommy age 4 and Frank age 2. Caroline readily admitted to the staff that she was a bit overwhelmed with the twins because of their medical issues. Maddie had diminished lung capacity and was put on a vent at birth. Caroline and her live in boyfriend had been trained how to use the vent and had agreed with nurses supervision before Maddie was discharged from the hospital. Maddie needs breathing treatments every four hours.
Caroline and Keith moved frequently and in less than one month they had lost the Social Worker Katie who was assigned by the Family Interventionist group and Katie closed the case. I was more persistent, and continued to search for Maddie’s family. I was concerned for the children's health. Today when I found the family and discovered that Maddie had been taken off the breathing treatments without medical consent and was having breathing difficulty, I called 911 right away.
Detective Bob asked, "Well thanks for your tenaciousness! What about the caregiver of the children?" He turned to greet Investigator, Virginia Doyle, who just arrived
Child Protective Services Arrives on Scene
Investigator, Virginia Doyle had been in the office when the page came into the office. Investigators from Child Protective Service [CPS] actually have one hour to arrive on a priority one call like this one. She had arrived at the Pierce Home on or about 10:35 a.m. in time to hear eye witness report by Nurse Alice.
Nurse Alice told Bob and Virginia, "The mother, Caroline, had confided in me on more than one occasion that she told Keith that he was the twins’ father so he wouldn't hurt them. You know the name for father on the birth certificate remains blank. Caroline also told me to beware of Keith. She said he had a short temper and occasionally hit her. She showed me bruises from time to time to make sure she didn't have infection. I don't know why she left him in charge of both twins today. I do not know where her other three children are."
Detective Bob stated, "Well we will have to get Keith's record. I understand he ran out the back door."
Virginia concurred, "Yes. Where is the mother and other children?
Nurse Alice asked, "I want to know also. Is there someone with Mark the twin who was asleep on the sofa? If he wasn't asleep on the sofa or I would have him outside with me also."
Detective Bob stated, "Yes, one of my officers took him to the hospital a few minutes ago. He needs to be checked out as well. Bob then turned to Virginia, "Mark was also substance exposed today and was taken to the same hospital, Mulberry. Mulberry hospital has on-going involvement with the family and has been providing specialized services to the family, like nurse Alice here. We have not been successful in finding the two year old. The other children are reportedly at school."
Nurse Alice responded, "I'm so glad! Today, I had to push my way inside the home when I heard the little dear struggling to breath and there is no wonder. Have you gone inside that place? It smells horrible."
Detective Bob responded, "Well you took a great risk doing that. Yes there was illegal cooking going on in the home that did not get finished. Thanks for your help Alice! We'll handle things from now on. Bob waited until the hazmat team had adequately secured the scene. He and his men searched the area, knocked on doors but were unable to locate Keith so he went to Mulberry hospital to get more information on the children."
Virginia concurred, "Yes, thanks for your service to the children. We'll contact you if we require any other information." Virginia documented statements and called in her first report then headed to the Mulberry hospital to check on the children.
Hospital Social Worker gets involved
Immediately upon Maddie's arrival on or about 11 o'clock, Maddie was admitted and taken to the Intensive Care Unit. When Mark arrived shortly after at 11:15 a.m. he also was taken to the Intensive Care Unit for monitoring due to severe substance exposure.
Sandra, the hospital Social Worker spoke with Vincent, head paramedic and the officer who brought Mark to Mulberry to glean information necessary to complete the admission forms for both children.
Virginia Doyle, arrived at the hospital on or about 11:20 a.m. introduced herself and immediately went into the Newborn Intensive Care Unit to check on the infants. Virginia documented the status listed on the charts of both children.
Social Worker, Sandra, who was familiar with Virginia, came into intensive care, "Virginia, the paramedic and officer provided initial information to admit the children. We have a long history on this family. Today, Maddie was placed in the Intensive Care Unit [ICU] because of breathing issues. She is on a vent. Mark is also in ICU because he had been given insufficient food to sustain his little body. Mark was diagnosed as having 'Failure to Thrive.' The Police Officer is getting the documentation he needs for his report on the first floor."
Virginia responded, "Thanks Sandra! Do you have any guess on how long they will stay in the hospital this time?
Social Worker, Sandra responded, "Not yet, I will fax over a report when the doctors finish. The little boy will probably be released tomorrow. We have not been successful contacting the mother. She has other children.
"I'll arranged for "Maddie to be placed in specialized Foster Home when she is able to be discharged from the hospital. Hopefully the same home can also take Mark." stated Virginia. Virginia then contacted child placement, "Please remember they are twins. The little girl is on a vent and the little boy is listed as Failure to Thrive. Both are substance exposed and both are currently in the ICU. It would be great if you have a seasoned Foster Parent preferably an RN or LPN to have both child.
Placement operator stated, "I have a couple placement. Buster and Betty Smith have been with us for years. Betty is a RN and has had substance exposed infants the past. Frank is a retired school teacher. They do not have any current placements. Will that do?"
Virginia: "Yes, give me her number and I'll give her a quick call. Once I have secured their service, I'll call you back to confirm the placement."
Placement operator stated, "Okay, good luck!"
Virginia placed the call, "Hello, this is Child Welfare assigned Case Manager, Virginia Doyle speaking. We need a foster family for substance exposed twins.
Betty responded, "Hello Virginia, we'd be happy to have the twins in our home. When will they need to leave the hospital?"
Virginia responded, " The little girl is on a vent. Do you have vent training?
Betty responded, "Yes, both of us have certification and we can provide you a copy if you need it. And, yes, I've had experience with substance exposed infants before. We do not have another placement now and Buster is retired so we won't have any issues with care giving. It will be no trouble for us to help CPS out."
Virginia, "Great News! Here let me get the Social Worker, Sandra, to tell you a bit about the children so you can complete your intake forms."
Betty responded, "I'm coming down to the hospital now, its not too far from us so we can get together then. I want to be near the little dears so they won't be alone in the hospital."
Virginia stated, "Okay, thank you very much!"
Virginia then went over to Social Worker Sandra. "Sandra, the foster mom, Betty is heading to the hospital as we speak. She seems real nice. Can you provided her the necessary information to complete her intake paperwork?
Social Worker Sandra, "Delighted!"
Virginia contacted Child Placement again. "Virginia here, Buster and Betty Smith have accepted the assignment. The social worker here at the hospital is providing the information for their intake paperwork. Betty is heading down to the hospital. She sounds lovely and seems to be a good choice. Thanks for the referral!
Placement operator stated, "Good to hear. Hope everything goes well."
Investigators compare notes
Virginia proceeded down to records and met Bob there. "Hello Bob."
Detective Bob acknowledged, "Hello Virginia. We've got quite a case. The nurse had called the police emergency line. Caroline's boyfriend, Keith, took off running leaving the children with the nurse. We went inside and discovered that Keith had just begun to cooked up a batch of Meth, We found Meth on the stove as well as packaged Meth under a loose floorboard in the kitchen that was partially exposed. The ambulance took Maddie and we took Mark to the hospital for evaluation.
Virginia went to find Detective Bob Winston to provide him with the necessary information for his report. "Bob, I'm calling the office to make a quick report and then heading back to the home to collect the two year old and to the school and scoop up the other two. We've arranged for seasoned foster parents with an RN mother to pickup the twins when they are able to be discharged."
Detective Bob, "Good! We were not able to locate the two year old or get any information on him. All the neighbors seemed to know nothing about the family." My work is done here and I'm heading in to make my report.
"Thanks Bob!" Virginia stated. She also called into the office to speak with her superior, Brian Walters. " Buster and Betty Smith will be caring for the twins for us. Did you get anything on Caroline and her family?
Brian responded, "Yes Virginia, I'll gotten all the faxes and reports you requested. They are on your desk. I ran a history on Caroline and her family. Caroline's mother has no criminal history and appears to be the closest relative for placement. He provided the phone number for her tonight.
Meeting the Family
When Virginia arrived at the home the door was shut so she knocked and announced "CPS please respond"
Caroline answered the door. The three other children were with her.
Virginia stated, "May I come in?"
Caroline responded, "Yes."
Virginia asked, "Where have you been today?"
Caroline stated, "I was a work. I was on my way home when I saw all the police at my apartment. I hid in my neighbors home until the police left. Once the police were gone, I came over here to pack a few items. I have talked with my mother. She is okay if the children stay at her home for the night.
Virginia handed Caroline a temporary custody paper for all the children. "Caroline the twins are in intensive care at the hospital. I'll take the older children to your mothers now."
Caroline told the children, "You be good at grandmothers home." She handed the suitcases to Virginia. "You go with this woman and I'll come and get you tomorrow. She kissed the children and waved goodbye."
Virginia and the three children, Sarah, Tommy and Frank, arrived at the grandmothers home. Virginia had discussed the twins needing a placement after they were released from the hospital, and grandmother declined.
Grandma Lucy stated "I'll take only temporary custody of these three older children. I have too many grandchildren living with me at this time and I can't afford to have any more. I have no way to take care of children who are sick."
Virginia told the Grandma Lucy, "It is important that the older children be taken to the medical doctor for evaluation due to their exposure to METH."
Grandmother Lucy said, "I understand and I'll make sure they go to the doctor."
"Okay then, I will leave the children with you for now. If you need anything else here is our number for you to call. Virginia left the home and went into the office to complete the first report. Doyle pulled into the underground parking and headed to the elevator. The offices were on the fourth floor. Her boss nodded to her when she arrived in the office. Brian Walters was a protective sort, always worried about his staff and never left the office for home until everyone checked in safe.
Filing the Court Report for Temporary Custody
"Hello chief, we've got a complex case here.." Doyle stated
Brian Walters stated, "I know, I've been getting calls and have the faxed reports your had requested that have already been sent in for your attention. I put everything on your desk."
Doyle stated, " We located a Specialized Medical Foster care home for Maddie and Mark once they were released from the hospital. Mark will be released first and Maddie will follow in about a month. Buster and Betty plan to renew their first aide and CPR training certification and will attended specialized training on Maddie's’ vent breathing apparatus. Detective Bob Winston has been assigned the case.
"Good job Virginia." Walters stated, "I know about Bob being assigned. He just faxed a report over for you. Keith was picked up by the police, pled guilty for possession of narcotics, sales of Meth, and was placed in the County jail. Keith has a criminal history stretching back several years. I placed that report on your desk as well."
"Thanks Boss." Doyle completed the necessary Court Report for Temporary Custody of the twins. Filed all the office work, faxed in the paperwork to the court and attorney generals office called it a night.
A Fathers Fight for Custody
An Unusual Contact
Next day at work, Case Manager, Virginia Doyle, received an unusual call. "Virginia Doyle speaking."
Charles, "Hello Virginia, my name is Charles Dobson. I am the biological father of Caroline's twins, Maddie and Mark. She contacted me this morning to tell me that Child Protective Service had picked up the children and they were in your care. I have been paying child support for my children ever since they were born. I want to have them moved to my care or at least have visitation,"
Virginia responded, "Mr. Dobson, I appreciate your call. I have no information on or about your relationship with these children. Once your identity had been verified, we can see about visitation. I need to have your information.
Charles responded, "I understand. How can I help?"
"We need your personal information," Virginia stated. Then proceeded to ask Charles a battery of questions needed to secure personal identification information and criminal history. "Thank you, we will be in touch."
Virginia contacted Caroline on the phone. "Caroline, received a call from Charles stating he has been paying child support for the twins because he is their father."
Caroline replied, "Yes that's true. I am really not sure who the father is. Mark looks just like Charles. I was living with Charles at the time I became pregnant. They might be his. Keith was in jail when I got pregnant. I did visit him everyday and we had sex, but they do not look like Keith. I told Keith they were his."
Virginia asked, Will you agree to a paternity test?
Caroline, "Maybe, but, No, I don't think so. I don't want Keith to get mad at me. He doesn't know I was taking money from Charles. He thought I was prostituting."
When are you coming in today?" Virginia asked.
"I can come in about 3pm, I'm at the doctors now with the children.." Caroline said.
"Okay." Virginia stated and hung up the phone. Next, Virginia ran Charles Dobson's through the criminal history log. Charles had committed minor “White Collar” crimes in the past but never hurt anyone. Charles had legal custody of two other children, Esther and Elsie. Charles and his girls were living with his sister, Carrie, and her husband Carl. They were Certified Care Givers who had two elderly people in her home. Charles had a job as a mechanic and was paid well
Virginia spoke with Brian Walters, her supervisor about this call.
Brian stated, "Charles might be a placement potential if he is indeed the father. We can't force Caroline to do a paternity test and we may not get permission to run the test because it costs $500.00 per draw. With 3 draws, Charles, Caroline and one or both of the children it would be $1500.00 that is not in the budget. Let's research the placement potential first to see if it would be a safe place. Then we will discuss paternity."
"Okay'" Virginia stated and went to the family home to do an initial surprise home visit. This was a precursor to a potential home study for the children to be placed with Charles and family. Virginia spoke with all the members of Charles’ family and secured the identification information on all the adults in the home. Next Virginia went to the School, chatted with their teacher, and school nurse. Charles received high praise from everyone. Charles wanted to have the twins placed with him. Virginia then went back to the office and ran criminal histories on all adults in the home. There were no criminal histories involving child abuse. Charles' home seemed to be a good placement.
To be thorough, Virginia reviewed Keith's record and extended family. Virginia went to the jail to speak with Keith about the children. Visitation records indicated that Caroline had been at the jail each day to visit Keith.
Virginia stated, "Hello Keith, my name is Virginia Doyle and I work for Child Protective Services. I am here to discuss the five children that you were living with."
Keith, "I understand. Caroline told me that you might stop by."
Virginia responded, "Are any of the five children your biological children?"
Keith, "Yes the twins and the two year old, Frank. We don't know who the father is of Tommy. Sarah's father is paying child support. Caroline is a 'hooker' you know."
Virginia stated, "No, I was not aware."
Keith, "Yes, she helps out with the groceries hooking. She makes a lot of money but it gets tough to figure out who the father is of the children. Tommy looks just like I did when I was small. When I get out of here, we will be together again. We love each other."
Virginia, "Well, nice to know, thanks for the information.
Do you think Caroline should have added Charles name to the twins birth certificate?
Interview with Mother, Caroline
Caroline came in to the office for her interview. Brian Walters had George a new supervisor meet with us as training and as a witness. Virginia began the interview asking a battery of common questions. During the interview Caroline presented as a pleasant competent individual noted George in his notes.
Virginia asked, "Do you routinely use narcotics?
Caroline stated, "Yes, I am addicted to “Crack.” I sell Meth to pay for the crack I use. I want my twins returned.
Virginia stated, "Are you aware that Frank's medical tests came back with concern that he had on-going inner ear infections?"
Caroline, "Yes, I purchased medicine and am giving it to him like the doctor ordered."
Virginia asked, "Who is the father of Frank?"
Caroline, "I do not know. I told Keith that it was him. Frank does look like him."
Virginia asked, "Who is the father of Sarah?"
Caroline responded, "That's easy. When I asked for child support from Evan he made me do a test through child support and he is the father. His name was placed on the birth certificate."
Virginia replied. "Okay, then who is the father of Tommy?
Caroline responded, "I do not know."
Virginia stated, "Who is the father of the twins?"
Caroline, "Like I told you, I think Charles is."
Virginia, "Will you agree to a paternity test?"
Virginia, "Will you add Charles name of the birth certificate as the father?"
Virginia, "Will you agree to go into rehab and to have a parent aide help you improve your parenting skills.
Virginia, "We will keep the twins in custody for six months to make sure that are medically stable. Once you complete six months of rehab and keep consistent in your parenting skills classes, we will see if we can return them to you."
Caroline responded, "Great, I will do what is needed."
Virginia informed Caroline, "Charles had requested to have the twins placed with him. He has completed a home study and qualifies as a suitable foster father.
Caroline stated, "I agree with this placement. I know that without his help I would loose the twins. After all, Charles is their biological father.
Virginia again asked, "Will you sign the necessary paperwork to place his name on the birth certificate."
Drug Use and Child Abuse
Chats with Supervisor Walters et al
After the interview and the paperwork was signed placing the twins in temporary custody Virginia had lots more to do.
Next, Virginia contacted Child Welfare Management requesting funds be authorized for a paternity test so that Charles name could be placed on the birth certificate and the children moved into his care.
"We need to get that paternity test done." Virginia implored. "The mother is a habitual crack addict and the alleged father is financially stable and willing to take custody of the children."
Clerk Sybil stated, "The testing takes $500.00 per person and we do not have the budget to do this test." Sybil stated.
Virginia contacted the attorney assigned to the children, Mark and Maddie, Pat Smith. Pat stated, "A paternity test would be a good idea. But we have no funds to do that test."
Virginia approached her immediate supervisor, Brian, to update. "Matt and Maddie still could be placed in Charles’ care if Caroline agreed, and once Charles and his sister, Carrie, were trained on the medical devices."
Brian stated, "We have been told that there is no funding for the paternity test. We'll have the children for 90 days. We have Caroline's signature for temporary custody. Let's proceed with what we can do and hope for the best."
Virginia asked, "Isn't there some way we can pursue a legal severance case to take the twins away from Caroline?".
Brian responded, "Caroline is minimally parenting the other children and it would not make sense to just take two children from a mother if she was that bad. Besides as you state, Caroline agrees to attend parenting classes, do drug screens weekly, and make weekly visits with the twins while they are living with Charles."
Virginia saw that what her supervisor stated was true, however she knows both of the twins suffer from, "Failure to Thrive" which makes them a High Risk to normal parenting. Virginia is resolved to see what she can do to help these infants.
Over the course of the custody, Virginia and the assigned staff monitored Caroline and the children. Caroline did not comply with anything she agreed to and she didn't even visit the twins who were in custody.
Virginia approached Brian again 60 days later. "Caroline has moved twice, the children she has are not attending school, she has not completed her required drug tests or parenting course. Can I do a home study to help the court determine her fitness now?"
Brian stated, "Okay, do a home study on Caroline to determine her fitness to have the children in her care and send it into court."
Second Interview with Caroline
Thus, Virginia did not know where mother Caroline lived as she consistently moved from place to place. So in an effort to do some sort of home study as requested, she completed a home study on Caroline when she was in the office. During the home study questions, Caroline answered a battery of personal and family questions designed to discover what type of candidate she was for having the twins in her home.
Virginia asked: "Where do you live now?"
Caroline stated. "I have no permanent residence. I moved from place to place and live with various men who take care of me. Mostly, I live with Keith unless he is incarcerated."
Virginia noted on her sheet, "Caroline continues to return to Keith whenever he is released from jail. Virginia asked, "Who is the father of your children?"
Caroline stated, "The father of Frank and Tommy is unknown. Sarah’s father, Pablo, is listed on her birth certificate. I had to put his name on her birth certificate after a court ordered a paternity test that determined Pablo was her father. None of the other children have a father listed. Besides I told you I think Charles is their biological father."
Virginia noted the report she had in the file; "Pablo pays child support and helps funding specialized care for Sarah who was a “special needs” child due to severity of infant substance exposure." the report read. Virginia ponders, he might be a good placement possibility for Sarah if he is willing...".
Virginia asked, "Have you ever married?"
Caroline answered, "No, I have never married."
Virginia asked, "How do you support yourself?"
Caroline replies, "I get welfare and child support."
Virginia notes her record states she has multiple arrests as a “street walker” and "narcotics sells." Virginia asks, "When you are incarcerated who takes care of your children?"
Caroline replies, "Keith cares for them."
Virginia asks, "I have a report here that states that Keith, your boyfriend, cooks “Meth” in the home and sells it to produce income. This is not good for the children."
Caroline responds, "Keith does make a living doing odd jobs, he has been arrested. Keith has hit me in the past. But he is always sorry and makes it up."
Virginia noted that during the interview, Caroline was sporting a black and blue eye.
Virginia asked, "How did you get that?" pointing to her eye.
Caroline stated, "Oh this is nothing, I accidentally hit a door."
Virginia stated, "My report states that all of your children were born substance exposed. You have no income except welfare and child support. Don't you think five children is enough?"
Caroline laughed, "I do not have enough money to buy birth control pills."
Virginia provided literature to Caroline about the Free Clinics that would give her birth control pills for free.”
Caroline laughed again then replied, " I have children because I get welfare checks when I am pregnant. A mother needs to make ends meet."
Virginia completed the home study on Caroline and sent in the form to the court.
Charles visits the twins
Caroline routinely missed the scheduled weekly visitation with the twins. Mark and Maddie were brought to the office weekly to visit with their mother who was usually a “no-show and an aggravation to the foster parents who were driving them into see their mother for no reason.
Virginia asked Brian, "Why can't we allow Charles to come to a supervised weekly visits with the children. We can have a parent aide witness his actions with the children. Caroline stated that he probably is the father."
At his first visit, there was no doubt in any workers mind, that Charles was the father of the children, because Matt looked just like Charles. The children enjoyed the visit with Charles as much as he did. Charles continued to visit the children weekly. Virginia got the reports showing that the children had "bonded" with Charles.
Several weeks passed, and only Charles was visiting the children. Then surprisingly several weeks later , Caroline showed up with her other children to visit "her" twins. Virginia noted that her older children warmly greeted Charles as if her were an old friend.
Caroline stated, "What is Charles doing here?"
Virginia stated, "You told us that Charles was the father so we let him visit.
After the visit, Virginia and Brian took Caroline into a conference room to discuss her current situation.
Virginia started, "You were not and have not been in contact with the parent intervention team. You had dropped out of sight and the parent intervention team closed their case, as they were not able to locate your whereabouts. Where are you living now?."
Caroline stated, "My children are in school and living with a distant family member."
"Where?" Virginia asked
"I don't remember the address." Caroline stated.
Virginia stated, "Caroline, you need to take things seriously and provide information to us. You have not been showing up to visits and moved to an undisclosed location. The Child Welfare Department was concerned about the children and need to know where you are living, what was doing to make a living, and where the other children were going to school." Virginia had documents from the school they had gone to stating that the children were pulled out without papers being signed and there was no evidence that they had enrolled at another school.
Caroline wrote down and address and the name of a school. "I promise I will come and visit." she promised.
After she left, Virginia ran checks and nothing Caroline said was true. Caroline had provided false information regarding her and the children. Virginia asked, "Can I at least place the children in the home of Charles."
Charles in Charge
Brian stated, "Do a follow up home study of Charles and submit it. W will see if it comes back favorable."
Virginia presented the news of her fact finding to the court and her supervisor including a home study on Charles for foster placement. The court agreed and the children were moved to Charles' home.
Virginia delivered the twins to Charles. Charles and his family were overjoyed with the good news and there was a large family group awaiting the arrival of the Matt and Maddie. The previous foster parents had spent lots of there own money on the children. They loved them like their own. The children had multiple matching outfits and Matt and Maddie looked adorable and well cared for.
Reports kept coming in from parent aides that Charles and family did great as a parent. Mark and Maddie continued to grow in a loving environment. Charles took them to family gatherings, the store, and church. He reported that everyone cooed and awed at the beautiful twins. Virginia was pleased to get reports that with Charles in charge, the twins never missed a medical appointment and they were thriving, gaining weight and beginning to speak. But sadly 90 custody pass quickly.
Virginia encouraged Charles to pursue custody. The children were living with him and he was taking good care of them. The parent aide and the nurse that visited had nothing but good things to say about how they were doing in his home. Virginia provided Charles with information on where to go to file for custody. She assured him that the judge would have to order a paternity test after hearing the facts of the case.
Charles replied, "I do not want to make Caroline angry. I want to continue to be a part of the children's life." Inside Virginia was sure he also realized that 90 days were coming to an end. Charles stated, "I'm not sure that the judge in Child and Family Court would make a judgment in my favor."
Parents who Kill their Children
A Sad Ending
On the 91st day the contract had expired and Caroline who never visited or followed through with her agreement with Child Welfare, showed up at Charles doorstep with the police to claim her children. Charles called Virginia to inform. He was crying as he told her, "My children are gone."
Virginia told Charles, "I'm sorry." after she implored her boss Brian, "Can't we do something? She never followed through with the case plan?"
Brian stated, "No, the 90 days are up and we have nothing else we can do."
Virginia told Charles, "I'm sorry there is nothing else we can do. You have no standing because you are not on the Birth Certificate as the father. But you can watch and call into the hot line if anything bad happens we can open the case again." The case file was filed away.
Within months Keith was released from jail. Caroline and the older children moved back into an apartment with him.
Charles contacted the Child Welfare Crisis Hot Line. He was devastated because his twins were exposed to cooking Meth again! Charles tried to reason with the police who arrived in response to his call. But, his name was not on the birth certificate as their father, and Charles could do nothing.
Within a few months, Virginia was personally contacted by Charles. "Matt was murdered." Charles informed. "He was beaten to death."
Virginia cried, "I'm so sorry!
Now the file was reopened and a hearing held. The children were all placed into custody. Sarah was released to her biological father. A paternity test was done on Charles. As Virginia suspected, Charles was the biological father of both children.
Charles’ daughter, Maddie, was released to his custody. Charles buried his son, Mark. Charles volunteered to foster Frank and Tommy because they were comfortable with him and knew him.
Caroline and Keith were equally charged with the Matt’s murder and are awaiting the death sentence be carried out in prison for what they had done.
Virginia was devastated. One paternity test would have saved that child's life. To her a child's life was worth more than $1500.00. Too bad things like this happen!