Thursday, December 6, 2007

Unbelievably Unprepared

My International Law final is in 12 hours. I still haven't done 80% of the reading assignments and I haven't even transferred the last two weeks of my sorry notes into my even more sorry outline. It's not looking good. And worse, I don't really care. Compared to everything that's gone on this quarter, this exam is really not a big deal. It's one grade of many and I already have a job. I did manage to attend almost every class so I should be able to write enough in my essays to pass. Next quarter I'll try to raise the bar a little higher.

Landon and I traveled to the DCFS office in Maywood this morning to meet with our investigator. Apparently they had to see Landon one last time in person (after not checking on him in 5 weeks) and I had to sign the new Safety Plan. She asked how JP took the news and sounded really sympathetic. She said that given the statutory language of neglect we had a really good chance of having the indication overturned on appeal. When I left she said she now had to call Dr. K and tell her the determination and "that's not going to be a fun phone call." I will never understand why that woman hated us so much, but it's nice to know she'll be mad out the outcome.

After leaving DCFS I dropped Landon off at Maya's for the first time in over 2 months. She couldn't believe how big Landon had grown and was so excited to see "her baby" again. The way she was treated in this investigation is absolutely infuriating. It was clear from the very beginning that she couldn't have caused Landon's breaks because they were too old- he had only been in her care for 7 days when this all started. However, the police still made her take a polygraph (which she of course passed) and then DCFS shut her down. Our investigator went out to see her and called her supervisor to say everything looked good. The evil witch responded with, "well, tell her to close for a week while we investigate." So Maya, scared of losing her livelihood and wanting to be cooperative, told her parents to find alternative care for a week and shut down. She sat at home for five days and wasn't contacted by DCFS once. She called our investigator, the supervisor, and the main office every day, and after those five days she just reopened. (JP and I used money from the fund to make her whole for that week - we felt terrible and we thought helping out a single mother victimized by DCFS because of us was a good use for some of the donations.) That was 8 weeks ago and still no one has called her. When I spoke with our investigator last week she said, "and can you believe they still have your babysitter closed down?!" They actually thought she wasn't working that whole time? She would be on the street! She pays rent and supports a child- how could they think that is acceptable? Especially since they determined JP and I were the "perpetrators" quite a while ago. I figured they had just forgotten about Maya, but nope, they remembered her, "knew" she was closed, and didn't care. Argh! (Wow, it's amazing how indignant you can get on behalf of someone else- I didn't think I had any indignation left.)

Anyway... obviously I'm not particularly focused on International Law right now. I'm going to at least try to finish reading through my notes and then I'm going to enjoy my first night alone with my husband in quite a long time. Tomorrow's exam can bring what it may.

12 comments:

  1. Have you talked with anyone from the Trib or Sun Times? I think your story would make an excellant expose on how DCFS has run amok. Especially the part about them shutting down your sitter.

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  2. Enjoy your evening and best wishes tomorrow!

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  3. Oh good lord... no one needs to hear about you and your husband... get a room!!!! (TEASING!)

    The tone of this post sounds so much healthier than some of the last ones posted. (In this case, the anger is a good thing.) I hope things continue to be resolved, and that you can start enjoying life again.

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  4. I can't believe this is how it's gone down. It makes no sense - even if the cracks were caused by tossing, why does that warrant a parenting class, when obviously that's completely acceptable for a healthy child? Anyway, thinking of you and your family. Good luck on the exam.

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  5. Exams and classes can always be redone- enjoy being with your husband!

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  6. Oh and I really think you should talk to the press to. If not for yourself- then for Maya!
    Turn the heat underneath DCFS and their incompetence!

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  7. I'd been wondering how things shook out with Maya - thank you for updating us!

    Good luck on the exam!

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  8. I'm so mad on Maya's behalf now! I do hope you start making a fuss now that you know the worst they can do is what they've done - and that apparently will be easy to overturn on appeal! (I do realize it's much easier to say this when it isn't my kid or my nightmare, but I still hope you'll make a fuss.)

    I wish my int'l law outline from 5 years ago at a different school with a different prof would help, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.

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  9. The standards of evidence at an appeal hearing (preponderance) is higher than that the investigator uses (credible),adding to the likelihood that the case will be overturned on appeal. Also, it sounds as if the investigator is
    ambivalent, which can be brought out in the appeal hearing.

    However, it is important to note that the verbal recommended finding given to you by the caseworker is not final until it is permanently transferred into the computer by the State Central Registry and official letters are issued. Until then, the findings can be changed.
    and Dr. K. can advocate for changing the finding. Mandated reporters also have certain appeal rights (of findings) in Illinois, not sure of the details.

    This is why you should read the eventual notification letter very carefully as to who was indicated for what.

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  10. You have *GOT* to be kidding me about Maya. That's insane!!! Better be sure to give her a heads up that they think she's still shut down. God forbid they go after her next!

    Good luck on your final!

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  11. It's amazing to me to think that DCFS could upset so many lives and not even bother to make a phone call. And if YOU or MAYA showed a third of the incompetence or ignorance (full sense of ignoring) that you would be brutally punished. But not them. Miss a deadline? No problem. For them.

    I can't hardly stand reading your experience because it infuriates me to no end -- especially knowing children out there that are being hit by 2x4s or locked in closets....

    I really hope that when things get settled you can lash back at the freakin' doctor and investigators. Make them remember you.

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