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JaneyS4

Member
What is the name of your state? GA

Ok, bear with me folks.

I am a SAHM of two. I came to this forum to ask advise and legal questions for my brother who is involved in a child custody case with DFCS in Florida. I come from a very close and tight knit family that considers all children in the family "ours". Some folks might call that 'butting in' but it works for us and no one objects. We are very supportive of each other and when you need help in my family, it comes in all forms; advise, moral, time, finances, and an occasional well-needed kick in the butt. You know the saying about it taking a village to raise a child? Well, our family is our village. This system can be a pain at times, but at least you know that when it comes to needing someone, for yourself or your kids, there will always be several people you can count on. I much prefer my sister chewing my ear off about me being too hard on my son occasionally than knowing if I have a problem that no one is there to help me.

My brother is a heavy-equiptment operator and a construction engineer. That's basically a fancy way of saying he operates a back-hoe and bulldozer and runs a crew of construction workers. His job is hourly wage and due to the nessesity of a lawyer in the near future, he works basically daylight to dark, sometimes seven days a week, to save the money he will need, not just for the lawyer but also to buy the things he will need for the child that is about to come into his life. Not to mention he has two other children that still need to be provided for and two step children who's father doesn't seem to be able to keep a job long enough to help out with support.

We found out in early febuary of this year that he had a little girl, age 2 that he did not know existed up until that phone call. She is the product from a brief encounter with a less than desirable person. It happened shortly after his divorce and he was reeling emotionally. Not an excuse, he takes responsibility for his actions, just an explanation. He soon saw that this was not a situation he wanted to be in and withdrew, never knowing he had created a baby, a fact that mom did not inform him of, infact she disappeared only days after the relationship ended. This child is in the custody of DFCS in florida. The situation for this child before the removal was revolting to say the least, as was it for her three siblings. I couldn't possibly tell you everything these kids went through, it would take too long. I'll touch on the fact that when they were removed, they were living in an abandoned car and eating out of garbage cans while she took the money she was recieving (sent to a friends address) from welfare to go out and do drugs. The oldest children, 9 and 7 have never even set foot in a classroom. The youngest two were born addicted to crack and both have heads that you could balance a glass on because they are so flat from being strapped into a carrier and never moved. They have reported being left alone overnight to sleep on park benches, hiding in bushes from the police when they came through, and being forced to shop lift (mom stuck things in their clothes) so mom could sell it for drugs. This is just the tip of the iceburg. There is so much more in documents that I have from their case files.

Needless to say, my whole family is moving heaven and earth to get this child home and safe. Due to my brother's job situation, it is up to some of the others in my family to do most of the detailed tasks. He makes all final desicions, and is made aware of everything going on. His caseworker and the lawyer we just aqquired are aware of the situation and both seem to have no problem with it, and are very understanding and willing to work with us for him. He has made sure that he has been present for all physical appointments, like visitation and DNA testing, and will continue to do so, but it helps him tremendously to have us to do the more menial tasks.

As I am home most of the time, it is easiest for me to handle the larger part of the phone calls, research, preparations etc. Also I am the only person in my family that is computer saavy, as I do at home web design.

I have grown up with the belief instilled in me that the most horrible thing you could ever do is not take care of your children. This case is very emotional for me and the rest of my family so on occasion you may hear me express a very negative opinion of the mother of this child. Who could blame me?

Anyway, this is just to let everyone know EXACTLY whats been going on in my family and how it works for us. I've had a couple of completely off base insults thrown my way recently, and this way, with this thread here, the next time it happens I can refer them to this and at least they can make a CORRECT insult.

(feeling a bit of a b*tch today:p )
 


JaneyS4

Member
Oh yeah...

Let me just add, that DFCS at this point is working with us to give my brother custody of his child. They have completed the home study of his house recently and given him the thumbs up. I believe our case worker is a good person, and trying to help us but DFCS is an agency that doesn't instill trust in your heart after all the research I have done, especially the one in Florida. (I wont' go into that either, it sends me off into a rant) The case seems very clear and easy but according to what I've read, things don't always work that way with DFCS.

The very personal disparaging I recieved from certain folks recently has offended me greatly because it attempts to strike out at the very core of my family beliefs and how it works. I just want to make it clear to everyone else that what I do on this board and everywhere else involving this case, I do for love of my brother and my brothers child.
 

ellencee

Senior Member
The laws of every state, as regards the giving of custody in DFACS cases, gives 'first choice' to a natural parent or natural family member; judges have the lattitute to give custody to a different person if in the judge's opinion a 3rd party could better care for the child.
In your brother's situation, I wouldn't sit around worrying. Apparently there are no family members in Florida who are a part of this child's life.
It is possible a 3rd party will come forward and ask to take all of the children, but I do not see that as being a problem for your brother's situation, although I do not know how he responded to finding out he had a child, and do not wish to take the time to go through your messages (family wedding this weekend prevents my having time).
I think in his situation, he is probably NOT going to encounter the nightmares on which you have been reading. The judge will probably be glad that this child has a decent family ready to love her and give her a home.
A word of caution, this child will need more than love and a good home. She will be developmentally below other children her age in some capacities and will be above developmental level in others. She will have emotional and socialization needs different from anything you have likely encountered. I hope that DFACS provides a source for facilitating family interactions, for the child, the father, and the rest of the family.
I'm glad she has a family willing to take her in and I wish you the best of luck.
I would bring the rest of those children to my home if I could. I hope there is a family in Florida who will take those children and give them the home they need.
Best wishes.
 

Grace_Adler

Senior Member
I don't know why people think it's "butting in" in. Hell I'd do the same thing for my family!! I'd do it for my friends and I'd do it for the person down the street if they asked me to. That's just the type of person I am. If my help is asked for I'm there. If it's family they don't have to ask .. I'm going to do it anyway or at least offer to help. As for anyone telling me something's not my business or my place it is my business or place as long as it concerns me, my family or someone I care about.
I think it's great that you have close family and are helping him.

I wish you both the best. (BTW I understood why you were doing it and I never thought you were butting in)
 

JaneyS4

Member
Thank you ellencee for your kind words. I know that we will probably come out ok with all this, but it can be so hard not to worry. You try to cover all your bases, and then look back and wonder if you missed one....

We do know she has some developmental problems. Her foster mother (who happens to be aunt to two of her siblings) has done wonders with the child. She wasn't walking just before her second birth day and her speech was severely limited. She walks, talks up a storm and and can even say her abc's now. Foster mom is a life saver for those kids to say the least. BUt we know we're in for a long haul with quite a few things with her. We're all trying to prepare ourselves for it and figure out how to help her and my brother. The case worker has gotten my brother on a visitation plan to help get her used to us all. Next visit will be with us here instead of him going to her. We're all very excited.

The other children all have homes to go to. Two will stay with the foster mom, as she is their paternal aunt, one is going to a paternal grandmother, and ours is comming home with us. If they hadn't had a place to go, I'd probably have offered to take them myself. I think the foster mom would love to keep them all, but finacially it will be hard on her to take the two that are biologically related. Also, the children being with actually blood relatives makes it harder for "mom" if you want to call her that, to get them back.

Anyway, I just let my feathers get ruffled about a comment made to me today. I guess I made too much out of it. People don't always understand how hard it can be to be at the courts mercy.:)
 

JaneyS4

Member
Grace_Adler said:
I don't know why people think it's "butting in" in. Hell I'd do the same thing for my family!! I'd do it for my friends and I'd do it for the person down the street if they asked me to. That's just the type of person I am. If my help is asked for I'm there. If it's family they don't have to ask .. I'm going to do it anyway or at least offer to help. As for anyone telling me something's not my business or my place it is my business or place as long as it concerns me, my family or someone I care about.
I think it's great that you have close family and are helping him.

I wish you both the best. (BTW I understood why you were doing it and I never thought you were butting in)
Thanks Grace. Its the right thing to do, but sometimes people just twist that to mean something else and make it seem less. I let someone get under my skin when I shouldn't have.

I appreciate the well wishes! And the understanding!
 

kat1963

Senior Member
Grace..I'd do it for you too! hehehe *S*

Janey, be grateful (and I'm sure you are!) that you have a social worker who has a CLUE and who actually gives a damn about the children and not just meeting her monthly adoption quota. She's rare. Once it's all said and done..finally over, I'd write a nice letter about her to the State Director.

Please don't feel you have to justify your actions....

KAT
 

JaneyS4

Member
Kat,

Yes, thank goodness, she is still young enough to have ideals and the system hasn't beaten them out of her yet. Before she got put on the case, the one before didn't even try to locate my brother, even though the case file says the mother named him as the father, the first two times they took the children from her. The just let them sit in foster care for months, and then gave them back to "mom. This one though, has been an enormous help to us, and I am forever grateful to her. She helped in ways she really didn't have to.

Thats a great idea about a letter praising her. I think I will do that! Thanks.

And your right, I shouldn't worry about what other people think or say. I usually don't, it was just a slip today! You ladies giving me encouragement have helped tremendously!
 
R

Rina

Guest
Child's Siblings

I hope that your brother will continue to allow his daughter to have some kind of relationship with her two other siblings and her aunt..even if it is just picture/card exchanges, and not actual visits..But visits would be good too!

Good luck to all of you!
 

kidoday

Senior Member
I like Rina's reply. Can't brother or your family network help out the other children? They are just children and need to be loved. It sounds like they do not get much of that.

I would take them in a heart beat, kids need to know they are loved.

Good Luck!
 

JaneyS4

Member
kidoday and Rina:

Somewhere on here is a post from me about us keeping these children in touch, and the fact that we're all concerned about where the baby the mother is pregnant with now will be placed. We plan to be sure they all have an opportunity to know each other.

As for my family keeping the other children, as I told Ellencee, if the others didn't have a place to go, I'd try to bring them home with me, but the grandmother to the one child WANTS her grandchild, and the aunt to the other two children (These children all have different fathers, this is not my nieces aunt or grandmother, just her siblings) isn't about to give up them. I am sure she would want them all but she simply can't afford it. Truely, all these children are going to family that cares. IF they weren't I'd be tryingto do something about it.

It is very sad what has happened to these kids, and a shame that they can't be kept all together but their seperate families love them and want them home with them, and none of us can afford to take them all, unfortunately. There will be visitation between them in an effort to let them all know one another.
 
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JaneyS4

Member
Just a break down of the kids families:

So who ever reads this can understand the family ties.

There are actually five of these sibs.

CHild A-12 yr old- Mom X and dad T- Dad T already has full custody of A. Moms rights were removed because she signed a voluntary agreement to terminate them so she wouldn't have to pay child support. A was adopted by step mom. This one child thank goodness, is not in danger.

Child B-9 yrs old- Mom X and dad S- in foster care with aunt who is sister to S.

Child C-7 yrs old-Mom X and dad R- in foster care with aunt who is ALSO sister to R (yes you read it right. Two brothers. Kids are cousins as well as sibs.)

Child D-4 yrs old- Mom X and dad Q- in foster care with sibs aunt, DFCS planning to turn her over to paternal grandmother.

Child E- 2 yrs old- Mom X and dad P- in foster care with sibs aunt, DFCS planning to turn her over to P, who happens to be my brother.

Also there is yet unborn baby F- Mom X and assumedly dad O- Moms on the run from DFCS (we assume thats who she's running from) who plans to take baby soon as it is born. O is unsuitable (also drug addicted and has a prior sex offense) and the feeling I get from the caseworker (She can't or won't come right out and tell me) is that so far, no suitable family member has been found.

So as I said before, this woman is the perfect excuse for forced sterilization. Not because she has so many kids, but because she has so many and refuses to take care of them. She ought not be allowed to have any more.
 

tammy8

Senior Member
Janey I am hurting so badly for you, your family, and mostly these innocent kids! I have yet to understand myself why there aren't sterilization laws and I totally believe if a judge were to look at this case, they might agree! What a sleeze!


Good luck to your family and may you be a true family soon!
 

JaneyS4

Member
Thanks tammy, for the well wishes. Its all going to be ok, it has to be. All the families and the case worker are working together to get these kids safe (and hopefully they will be able to locate her before baby F is born and keep him/her safe too).

The bad thing about all this is that this woman will probably have more children, and place them in this same situation. Not all the families will be able to take care of these kids as the ones now have been lucky enough to be able to do. There really should be a way to stop her.
 

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