Father fights for the right to raise his child

December 10, 2014

baby-money1_0Editor’s Note: Because of privacy concerns, the parent’s names have been changed in the story.

By KAREN VELIE

San Luis Obispo County Child Welfare Services is recommending the father of a 23-month-old daughter lose his parental rights, even though there have never been any allegations of abuse or neglect against the father.

Jay is what CWS refers to as a non-offending parent. Nevertheless, once a child is placed in the foster care system, CWS workers often require non-offending parents to follow the same requirements child abusers are given.

In 2011, Jay, 26, and Sue, 25, met at the Starbucks in Atascadero. They dated for about six months when Jay ended the relationship.

Shortly before she gave birth to their daughter, Sue told Jay she was pregnant.

On the day she was born, Jay went to the hospital to meet his daughter. Even so, during the early months Sue would not always allow Jay visitation.

When the baby was six months old, Sue was arrested and the child was placed into foster care with one of Sue’s cousins.

Because Jay’s name was not on the birth certificate, his lawyer suggested he take a paternity test. The test verified Jay, who was living in a large home with six other young men, was the child’s father.

However, because the child was already in state custody, the CWS worker assigned to the case said the baby would need to remain in foster care while social services handled reunification, Jay said.

As part of the reunification process, CWS required Jay to take parenting classes because he had never been a parent before. In addition, his case worker wanted Jay to find a new home. Jay agreed to follow the worker’s suggestions.

“I agreed because I thought it would only take about three months to get my daughter,” Jay said.

Even though Jay has no history of drug or alcohol abuse, CWS worker Denise Waters placed him in a parenting class geared to parents with drug issues.

During this time, Jay said he was only permitted to see his daughter one hour a week during visits supervised by the foster parent.

Jay said he began to get frustrated with Waters after she informed him he had taken the wrong parenting class. Waters then sent Jay to a parenting class focused on disciplining older children.

While Jay was taking classes, the foster parent informed CWS of her desire to adopt the baby. During this time, the foster mother was responsible for evaluating Jay for CWS. In her reports, she said that Jay appeared not to have developed a significant bond with his daughter.

The foster parent’s statements would then be used as a reason not to increase court ordered visitation.

Jay said Waters then suggested he agree to terminate his parental rights and allow the foster mother to adopt his child.

Waters also determined the second set of parenting classes was not appropriate. Jay then enrolled in a parenting class on his own through an adult school.

Jay said Waters continued refusing to increase visitation claiming she needed him to undergo a psychological exam. Jay responded by asking for a new case worker.

The county assigned a new social worker who quickly increased Jay’s visitation to three times a week for two hours each, the minimum ordered by the court.

In addition, the new social worker recommended Jay take parenting classes through CAPSLO, the fourth set of parenting classes Jay completed.

Jay also agreed to undergo a psychological evaluation which determined he did not suffer from mental illness.

Nevertheless, CWS is continuing to say it is in the best interest of the child, now almost 2-years-old, to be adopted by the foster family.

On Thursday, Jay will be back in court for a hearing to determine if his time for reunification can be extended.

Nevertheless, time is running out as federal laws require that if reunification is not completed in 18-months, younger children needs to be put up for adoption.

While more and more children are permanently removed from non-offending parents or non-traditional families, nationwide child advocates are questioning if the practice is financially motivated.

Every time CWS places a child in foster care, they receive federal funds. And if the child is adopted through CWS, bonuses that range from $1,000 to $6,000 are paid to the county for certain classes of children. The county then continues to receive monthly checks until the child reaches 18-years-of-age for both adopted and foster children.

During the past fiscal year, San Luis Obispo County received almost $20 million dollars in federal funding for children removed from their parents.

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Bluebird

A number of people have commented that the story is one sided.

This is to social services advantage coupled with the belief that the father must have some serious problems. The system is such a

closed loop that if the parent can’t afford a competent family law

attorney (there aren’t many because its not lucrative) s(he) doesn’t stand a chance. The court appointed attorneys get their pay check from the county and most of them can’t support themselves in the

private sector. They in fact work with social services while

mouthing promises to their client.

They made the Velie family jump through hoops including taking

repeated parental training classes. The original reason was an

issue that was resolved in a couple of days.

I was a social worker and I told the social workers I supervised that while we didn’t make a lot of money we had power over

peoples lives and we had to used this power judiciously. Keeping

children under the supervision of social services also provides a

steady stream of income. It wasn’t always like this.


willieslo

The one thing I cannot understand is, using myself as an example

I have a spoiled 14 year old brat, it requires a lot of patience and temperament to deal with her.

God forbids anything happening to my wife, but if she goes, and another unlike woman came into my life for whatever the motive,

I would set one ultimatim, I love my daughter, even if I intermittently have to shun her, I will never forsake her and protect her.

Now, in the case of this young man I am fairly concluded he actually love the baby no matter who borns her, it is his baby and he know it.

About the mother, how can she not give a sh*t, my guess is drugs, instant gratification, and let the system or government deal with it.

Not knowing her back ground, I am resolved she has a total “loser” or drug addiction, lucky he didn’t get HIV.

But regardless, this man loves his baby, and everything that can be done to support him should be done!

Real love has potentials and sacrifice.

The F*cken DSS should see that and not divert what is real and natural!

Help this guy out.


California, not the US Continent is the most communistic state in the union

When there is too much government, regulations, laws, there is no law, only power, and only the rich can contest it!


heaven

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Yet, claiming “the best interest” it’s $.


I know the names have been changed due to “confidentiality” is the name of Jay’s case

worker “Denise Waters” fictitious as well?


When is the next court date? Look what happened to the Velie family…

Sounds like it is time to make some noise & picket again. We can’t just go back

to sleep! Your family could be next. Think about it.

+


willieslo

Last week I heard on car radio 920AM (Rush Limbaugh) comment that the birth rate in the US has been substantially dropping. I forgot the percentage for this year (Maybe 30%)


sick-of-SLOgov

Once the system gets involved, its out of the family’s hands. Nationwide, you hear stories of parents going to the Child Welfare to ask for help because they don’t know where else to turn and then lose their kids to the system. Last thing any parent should do is trust DSS or the court appointed attorney (they’re all part of the same pool of lawyers, you need someone that genuinely looks out for your interests, not the systems).


And I do think this article is a bit one-sided, DSS can’t present their side of the story (they can’t even confirm if the children are in care) and like Dr Phil says, “no matter how flat you make a pancake it still has 2 sides.” (Like, I’m surprised that the Foster Mother had any say in evaluating the father. Generally, foster parents have little to no say in what is happening with the court process.)


Regardless, I totally agree that DSS (in SLO and around the country) has too much power! The way they say that Reunification is their primary goal in all cases allows them to put parents through hoops and let kids languish in the system for years. Good families are torn apart, while other horrible parents are often reunited with children. Definitely an imperfect system!


isoslo

This a great example of government run amok. No one can stand up to a government agency without legal assistance. And even then the government is hard to beat. Those of you who think big government is the answer should take note, someday that could be you trying to defend yourself from the bureaucracy and help will not be available unless you are rich.


old-jbird

Based on an interview with a frustrated parent trying to regain custody of his child this article draws a truly remarkably conclusion: that the County’s Child Welfare Services primary motivation is financial gain … not the protection of children.


The conclusion of the article strongly implies that SLO county’s motivation is to get money from the Federal government “for removing children from their parents”.


Doesn’t that fit a classic definition of child trafficking?


Rich in MB

You want big government…then you have to accept some broken eggs on you way to the Utopian omlett.


CentralcoastRN

I am wondering why am objective third party was not involved during the supervised visits to watch dad interact with his child. There are exams that can be done objectively, able to be submitted to the Courts, to verify or dispute claims regarding parenting.


willieslo

He needs an attorney, they are giving him big and long run a rounds.