Thursday, November 8, 2007

Even More Delays

We finally reached our investigator today. There's no way the investigation will be wrapped up this week and I seriously doubt it will be next week. I swear I'm going to take my finals still wondering if my child will be taken from me again. It turns out there's someone in the Southern Illinois DCFS office who has to approve new experts and that person has been unreachable all week (hmm, now our investigator knows how frustrating that is). Our investigator never mentioned this little hurdle last Friday and I can't understand why the approval process wasn't put in motion weeks ago. It just sounded like her supervisor had to agree that Dr. B was our expert and it was done- and why does he have to be approved by someone so high up? He's a board certified pediatric orthopedist with lots of credentials to his name. If Dr. K can be approved, he certainly should be. Our investigator didn't think she'd hear from the higher-up tomorrow or Tuesday because Monday is a holiday (apparently they usually take off days before and after a holiday), so we're looking at Wednesday as the absolute earliest. My aunt (who is the person who finally reached our investigator) asked what we should do about her flight leaving on Saturday- and reminded our investigator that she had reassured us Saturday would be more than enough time. The investigator apologized but said that we still need to stay under the safety plan- it sounded like she vastly preferred my aunt to stay here (and she needs to get home to her own family) but it would be acceptable if my parents came back. She said it was in Landon's best interest that caretakers not come and go. Umm, it's in my son's best interest to NOT BE TAKEN TO A SHELTER when his grandma was sitting right there. They don't get to play the "Landon's best interest" card.

She still sounded like the investigation was going to wrap up in our favor and she's just waiting for things to be approved and reports to be filed. However, she did throw in the conversation that Dr. B could not be approved and then Dr. K would be the expert. That would guarantee that we're indicated and this nightmare would be very far from over. I HATE how up in the air things remain. There are so many decisions to be made by people who don't know us. I feel like this has gone on for months- knowing it's going to be at least another week is incredibly depressing. Speaking of that, it's not in Landon's best interest to have a depressed mother and DCFS is certainly making sure he does.

So we don't know if Dr. B is an expert, we don't know if they'll follow his recommendation that Landon's breaks were not caused by abuse, we don't know when he'll be approved, we don't know when they'll make a decision as to indicate or unfound us, and we don't know what an indication would mean. We have to fly my dad back up to Chicago (and last minute plane tickets are so inexpensive) and spend yet another week with our family hanging in the balance. Every time we go a few days without contact from DCFS and I start feeling just a little normal again, I get smacked down and reminded that my life could change again in a second.


  1. I am so sorry that this is still dragging out. You are in our thoughts, hopes and prayers.

  2. What a bunch of incompetent morons. I get furious every time I read one of your updates.

  3. Bureaucracy is evil. I'm sorry you're going through this, and I hope you can find as much joy and normalcy in your life as possible while it's going on.

  4. (((HUGS))) I am spitting mad reading your update. Obviously they don't care that it's not just you but your family members whose lives they are completely disrupting. How horrible! Every time you think it's almost over, you realize it could be far from over. :(

  5. formerlawstudentcurrentmother11/9/07, 7:33 AM

    Outrageous, particularly their lipservice as to your baby's "best interest".

  6. "Best interest of the child" is the card DCFS always plays, and they always think they know what is in the child's best interest. I know you must be beyond frustrated. I am very sorry they are doing this to you. The insane part is that there are caseworkers who are even lazier than yours who would simply say that Dr. K.'s word is law and then you would be screwed. I have a feeling that might have happened were you not in law school and obviously they should not screw with you (further). I wish I was not this cynical, but I worked with DCFS, and I just want to go throttle someone for you.

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  8. I am so sorry this is just keeps dragging on. It is sickening how DCFS is wasting so much energy on this unfounded case when there are children who actually are in abusive homes that they are probably doing nothing about. I'll keep praying that this will be resolved before Thanksgiving. Life will eventually return to normal someday. Hang in there.

  9. I am so, so sorry that this is all still happening. Especially with finals around the corner, you definitely DO NOT need anymore stress in your life!

    I hope you don't mind, but I tagged you to do a meme over at my site. Check it out, if you feel like taking your mind off other things.

  10. When this is all over, and your case has been declared 'unfounded', I would call every newspaper, senator, representative, public official, political action group and non-government-based child welfare group to tell them about your experience. The general public really ought to know how incompetent, insensative, baised and basically ineffective some people (not all) at the DCFS are. It is unacceptable that your aunt can be told to go ahead and book a flight home, only to later be told that because a particular person cannot be reached or has yet another day off, that she needs to stay, at her and your expense. Absolutely unacceptable.

    I'm torn between thinking you should just become the world's biggest pain in the arse and call the DCFS every day, including this bigwig they cannot seem to reach, and just doing what you are doing, which is trying not to piss them off for fear of something worse happening.

  11. I've been following your blog and wanted to let you know that I'm so very sorry that you are going through this.
    I hope this nightmare ends positively for you very soon so that your family can return to normal.
    Please know that your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  12. Yeah, best interests of the child, whatever. The best interests of the child would be a speedy investigation that doesn't bankrupt his parents in the meantime. "Oh, okay, we've found you innocent. Now we have to take your child away because you live in a cardboard box and can't afford to feed him." Ridiculous.

    Did they say anything about Thanksgiving? Obviously if they aren't going to wrap this up next week, they sure won't be busting their butts the week of Thanksgiving to get this resolved. Will you still get to leave the state? The incompetency is staggering.

  13. This is my advice to anyone involved with the child welfare system: get a lawyer. Now. And never allow the agency to impose a "safety plan" for any longer than is necessary to get your attorney involved. Safety plans can and should have time limits and you can say that you want a short plan while your attorney gets up to speed so you can re-negotiate if necessary.

    The medical evaluation of injuries to children as to whether or not
    they resulted from abuse is fraught with error and historically, physicians have made many errors in both directions--diagnosing abuse where it doesn't exist and failing to find it where it does. There is
    no such thing as a "child abuse expert." It is not a medical specialty. What DCFS does have is
    a number of self-identified "specialists" on contract. They err
    in the direction of seeing child abuse but many of them have also made mistakes in both directions.
    I would never allow a DCFS "expert" to have the only say if my child were involved. Insist on a second, even third opinion if you disagree with their "expert's" finding. Fight back.

    If you can't afford a lawyer, at least call the DCFS ombudsperson
    and formally request that the safety plan be renegotiated so as to make it more convenient for you and your family. It most certainly doesn't matter if you are inconveniencing somebody at the local field office. It's what the taxpayers pay them to do. It's like ly that you can request an emergency appeal of the service plan if the caseworker refuses to renegotiate. DCFS was recently sued on its safety planning procedures and the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, I believe.
    Recent case law is on your side.

    So, to recap: get a lawyer, renegotiate the safety plan to make it convenient for you, contact the DCFS ombud's office, and never allow DCFS to make a finding solely
    based on their paid "experts" ' opinion.

  14. Ugh! This is so frustrating! I just want to start calling people on your behalf (but that would likely be unproductive and, at worst, counterproductive, so I won't). You're in my thoughts and prayers.

  15. I, also, tagged you. Sorry! Forgot that Moo (she tagged me) already tagged you.

    I keep checking your blog hoping this is all over with. You're still in my prayers.

  16. helena is absolutely right!!! I just cannot understand the laziness and incompetence of this damned investigator when they all KNOW that you could not have hurt Landon...and from what I can tell, this safety plan isn't in his best interest either, because out of necessity, it makes that little guy's life more complicated than it already is. Its ridiculous.
    I hope that this is all wrapped up for the holidays...I want so badly just to come and try to fix everything for you!
    Keep your chin up!

  17. I'm reading along as well, and thinking of you. I would be tempted to make myself a VERY squeaky wheel, but the concern of pissing them off would probably hold me back.

    Helena's comment made me get out of my chair and do a pretty ugly imitation of a Chuck Norris Hi-YA!

    Hang in there!

  18. My heart goes out to you. Promise me you'll sue them for the costs of your therapy later....words escape me regarding the incompetence..

  19. I don't know how you've managed to refrain from slapping this woman. Seriously, this investigator deserves a solid palm across the mouth for daring to mention your son's "best interest."

  20. Government. Sheesh. Your saga reminds me of the stories of some of the veterans trying to get medical care after they come home from the war and the people of New Orleans trying to wade through FEMA crap.

    I wish you the best and hope for a quick and favorable resolution for you.