Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Being the Squeaky Wheel

The Regional Child Protection Administrator called me back yesterday afternoon and said she wasn't the right person to talk to, so she gave me the number of the head manager of the DCFS office where our investigator and her supervisor work. So I called that head manager and she said she would track down the supervisor and have her call me. (All of this is happening in the massive undergrad library, so every time my phone rings I have to run down 3 flights of stairs to get somewhere I get a signal and can talk out loud.) I really didn't want to talk to the supervisor (she's the one who was so awful that morning they took Landon and has been pushing for an indicated finding ever since), but knew I should give it a try. The supervisor called about 20 minutes later and it was horrible. Absolutely horrible.

She wouldn't tell me anything about the case. She gave short 2-3 word answers for everything and had the most condescending, nasty tone I've ever had directed at me. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi, I was just calling to find out what was happening in our case.
Supervisor: You should call your investigator.
Me: I have, but she hasn't returned my calls.
Supervisor: Well (in a "you idiot" tone), it's still under investigation.
Me: Okay, well the 60 days are up tomorrow, so I was hoping for an update.
Supervisor: We can get an extension if there's no decision tomorrow.
Me: Oh, okay, well can you tell me what is happening on the case? The last time I spoke to [our investigator] she mentioned there was someone coming from Springfield to determine who the medical expert would be. Do you know what the outcome of that was?
Supervisor: That hasn't happened yet. And the person isn't from Springfield.
Me: Oh, I thought they were. So when will they come?
Supervisor: Maybe tomorrow.
Me: And they're determining who the expert is?
Supervisor: That and other things.
Me: Like what?
Supervisor: (sounding exasperated) They're looking at the medical evidence.
Me: Okay, so we can expert to hear something tomorrow?
Supervisor: Maybe. Call your investigator.
Me: Okay... thanks.
Supervisor: [click]

I'm pretty sure that was Not helpful. And now I'm scared she's going to get mad at our investigator for being unreachable- and while she really hasn't been, and that's very frustrating, she's definitely been on our side in this and I don't want to jeopardize that. And who is this higher-up and where are they from?? Why can no one tell me anything about my own freaking case?! I was really depressed last night. We just don't seem any closer to any kind of resolution. I hate that we may have to take a risk in no longer agreeing to a Safety Plan- it should be over and we should freely be allowed to move on. Our lawyer said there are some state's attorneys and judges who may take our case because Dr. K's opinion automatically gives them probable cause, but he still didn't think it was likely. This can- and looks like it probably will- drag on into 2008. Pretty much everything I have to say about that contains copious curse words, so I'll just leave it to your imagination.

Maybe I'll learn something that doesn't make me sick to my stomach when I talk to our investigator this afternoon.


  1. formerlawstudentcurrentmother12/4/07, 10:00 AM

    Oh dear. I was really hopeful reading the headline of this post. I'm so sorry this painful treading water continues on. I hope you're managing the anxiety as well as you seem to be (maybe writing it out helps? but I hope you're "seeing someone" - I know I'd need it). Good luck with the call this afternoon. It is truly baffling the way DCFS is treating your family and I can't help thinking what would happen if someone less skilled and fortunate were in your shoes. Hoping for a closed book on this soon. (and congrats on the MPRE)

  2. They cannot tell you anything because they have NO EVIDENCE to back up their accusations. They are stalling to keep from looking like the f*cking idiots that they are!!! If they were the least bit worried about Landon's safety, he would NOT be in your care right now at all... doesn't matter if there is a safety person there or not. He would NOT be with you if there was reason to worry. Someone jumped the gun to get attention and now is trying to stall being made even more of an ass than he/she has already to proved to be.

  3. This is so crazy. Have you looked into filing a complaint with the Office of Consumer Affairs for DFPS at http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/About/Inquiries_and_Complaints/default.asp ? Obviously these people are beyond rude and unhelpful. Apparently you need to up the squeak factor. I'm still praying for you.

  4. eff the effing eff mothereffer.

    sitting here steaming on your behalf.

  5. Actually, the Regional Administrator IS supposed to intervene if a safety plan is lapsing or a case is approaching 60 days, but if that doesn't work, there is still the DCFS advocacy office which according to Google is 800-232-3798.

    If you call, you might want to make a list specifically of what you would like them to find out for you, such as some idea of time frames, since you have a safety plan running and your safety persons need to make plans, and improved communication with the investigative team, worker, supervisor, manager. You could explain that you have already called up the chain, to no avail.

    DCFS has always had very poor community relations. But just because the staff is rude or dismissive doesn't mean that
    your case didn't move up on the
    to-do list. So I wouldn't consider the call a failure.

  6. I absolutely cannot believe those ess-holes! I would love to know HOW they are getting away with this crap. I know that the DCFS is far from perfect but what the hell happens to kids who are actually being abused if they are spending (supposedly) so much time on a NON-case??? God, I'm so mad for you. Hoping that this comes to an end as soon as possible.

  7. Actually, come to think of it, and then I have to get back to my own studying, Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer,
    US Northern District Court, is a
    U. of C. law alumna and has issued
    numerous rulings on DCFS safety planning in DuPuy vs. Samuels. Since part of your situation seems to involve an abuse of DCFS safety planning procedures, maybe if you or someone from U. of C. law school contacted her, she would consider contacting DCFS Legal to express concern.

  8. Excellent idea Anonymous. I would be in an uncontrollable uproar right now. I am enraged for you!!!

    I agree with you Jenbuster... what's happening to those children out there that are really being abused? What a waste of time for all involved and what a waste of money and resources.

    This situation needs to be brought to BIG TIME attention. And I do mean BIG TIME!

  9. I love anonymous...the comments add a Grisham-like flair to these otherwise nasty events.

  10. Geez. You know, the part of me that knows how hard this lady's job is wants to give her the benefit of the doubt but the other part of me is starting to agree with Proto. It really sounds like they're screwing with the upper-middle-class family just for kicks. I hate, hate, hate people who can't just be friendly on the phone. It's one thing I got used to living in the northeast (especially with DC government workers - ARGH!!), but have found to be so much better now that I no longer live up there.

    Anyway, the idea of this going into 2008 is just shocking, especially since there is NO PROOF OF ABUSE!!!!!! WTF?! I think you should press as hard as possible for a resolution this week or next because otherwise they are going to get lazy and complacent (what else is new?) and the holidays will come and next thing you know it's almost February. :(

  11. P.S. Love Anonymous' two comments!

  12. Another Anonymous12/5/07, 1:54 PM

    When this is over, I think you should write a very long and detailed letter to someone Very Important. That supervisor needs to be taken down a very big notch.