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I could use some thoughts..

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  • Christine
    I am a family rights advocate. I have a Yuma County client who has a unique situation. Complicated, but I believe can be followed... I will try to be clear.
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 11, 2006
      I am a family rights advocate. I have a Yuma County client who has a
      unique situation. Complicated, but I believe can be followed... I
      will try to be clear.
      Mom was young, making bad decisions. She was married to Dad, but
      relationship was volatile, and he had a drug problem. Mom gave birth
      to children while staying with Grandmother of babies, HER mother, and
      when she would go to try to mend the marriage, the children stayed
      with their Grandmother. Grandmother had them from birth.
      In 2000, Grandmother and Mom had a falling out. Mom was going to take
      the children. Grandmother was afraid for their safety with their drug
      addicted father, and asked for DHS help to prevent this. DHS stepped
      in and removed the children from the legal custody of the mother,
      approved the Grandmother as a kinship foster placement, and placed
      the children with her. After unsuccessful attempts at a treatment
      plan, Mom's parental rights were terminated Dec 2001. Dad
      relinquished his rights Feb 2002. Grandmother commenced adoption of
      children.
      In April 2002, Grandfather was accused of molesting an older
      child in the home. He was ordered to stay away from the children
      until resolution. The DHS director in this small town attempted to
      bribe the Grandmother to testify against the Grandfather by offering
      to "let you keep the little kids if you help us get him put away".
      Grandmother knew of her own observance that Grandfather did not do
      the things of which he was accused, and refused to lie on the witness
      stand. This enfuriated the department which then demanded psych
      evals, etc of the Grandmother. The director met with the evaluator
      just before the evaluation was done, and exchanged a lucrative job
      offer for the evaluation that would crucify the Grandmother. When
      Grandmother received news of the final report from the evaluator, she
      panicked. She believed, from the language of the hearings that she
      had always had custody of the children. She decided that before the
      department could take the children out of her custody, she would take
      the children to Mexico to avoid their traumatization. DHS found her
      and had her returned to Colorado, took the children to foster homes,
      and indicted the Grandmother for kidnapping, later dropped to
      violation of a custody order... a felony.
      From Oct. 2003 to date, she has not been allowed to see or
      communicate with the children. In Feb, 2006, Grandmother was finally
      convicted of violating a custody order. She awaits sentencing, which
      her attorney assures her will likely be probation. The child
      protection court has allowed her to continue to participate in the
      hearings in the D&N court as an intervenor. After her conviction, she
      was dismissed as an intervenor, the court clearly deciding that
      adoption by non-relatives would be in order. BUT...
      While all of this has been going on, the biological Mother has
      completed her sentencing for the drug charges etc, passed through a
      treatment plan with flying colors, completed therapy, and is working,
      seeking higher education, making decent money, and stable. Her
      children have been moved around to FIVE foster homes in 2-1/2 yrs.
      The oldest has always been separated from his sisters, now is
      reported to present such behavior problems, he requires possible
      institutionalization. He was NEVER a problem before the foster care.
      The girls, who were extremely young, and are now 6 and 8, are
      sometimes separated, others not, and both noted to be poorly
      adjusted, one having serious "melt downs" often. The Mother wants to
      know, since her rights were terminated on the claim that she could
      not complete her treatment in time to satisfy the statutory
      requirement to rehabilitate within six months, and since Colorado
      requires expedited permanency for young kids under 6, she would not
      be capable of caring for them within the time limit, her rights were
      terminated. The children's permanency out weighed the mother's rights
      in reunification.
      NOW, it's been FIVE YEARS, since her TPR. The children
      are STILL in limbo, rapidly approaching becoming legal orphans. They
      still aren't together, are not in stable homes, are not settled and
      bonded. She wants to know, is there some mechanism under which she
      can petition the court for custody of her own kids? She didn't
      appeal the TPR because she faced jail and knew it would be futile at
      the time. But NOW, the state has failed those kids so horribly, she
      is now in a position to do MUCH more for them, and to keep them
      together. She wonders, can she challenge the validity of the TPR
      because of the ineffective assistance that was GLARING, and the clear
      failure of the state of Colo to be a BETTER parent to her children?
      or can she petition the court for custody of the children and
      overcome the TPR and jail history? Her convictions were for drugs
      and for check writing and she is completely clean, has been since
      2002. She was never accused of any sort of abuse or even of neglect,
      except to the degree that her lifestyle would be unsafe for her kids.
      She knew that, which is WHY they were with her mother in the first
      place. She is asking if there is some way to challenge the job of
      permanency the STATE has provided, and declare her right to care for
      her own kids, since they are still suffering.
      IDEAS? Thanks, this one is WAY over my head.
      christine, Colorado FRAI.
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