Another DYFS Nightmare
Hello All,

Im not usually one to post granular information about my case(s) but the outcome of our current case is outrageous and needs to be publicized.

HereҒs our story:

Our FS came to our home straight from the hospital after his birth because his mom was incarcerated due to violation of parole (for shoplifting). His mother has 5 other children, none of which she raised, none of whom are in contact with her today, and at least one who was TPRd because mom has been a slave to her drug addiction for approximately 15 years. She was using heroin (and heaven only knows what else) during her first two trimesters with our FS until she was incarcerated. Upon our FS birth, all of her family declined to be involved because they want nothing to do with her Җ or her subsequent children for obvious reasons. Our FS֒ father is nowhere to be found.

Originally, our FS mom was supposed to serve 15 months for her crime without parole (since it was a repeat offense). However, she got what I call the ғdeal of the century and was let out of jail on the condition she participates in a residential rehab program. At the last hearing, DYFS ԓdidnt really press the issueҔ (in a caseworkers words) and our FSҒ Law Guardian was perhaps balancing her checkbook or jotting down a grocery list at the time, and a judge ruled that our FS could be placed with his mother in her treatment program if she stayed clean for 30 days. Not a typo folks 30 days after the woman was released from prison!

Of course I didn֒t take that blow sitting down. I wrote an essay, attached evidence, and requested that the mother be given a psychological evaluation before placement and overnighted it to the judges chambers Җ and then called to verify she read it! She didnt but I talked the judgeҒs legal clerk into talking to the judge for me and the clerk called back to tell me the judge said an attorney must request the amendment to the ruling. (Honestly, I knew I have no rights but figured I'd get the judge's attention; but more importantly, everyone elses!). I sent copies of the letter to the judge to our caseworker, caseworkerҒs supervisor, Law Guardian, and called the supervisor to ask her to get in touch with DYFS lawyer. You see, even DYFS was AGAINST reunification at this time! When I spoke to our FSҒ Law Guardian approximately 2 days before our FS was supposed to go to his mom, LG told me I made a mistakeӔ by writing and calling the judge and that I had an ulterior motive, to which I responded, But arenӒt YOU concerned about him going to his mom!? LG proceeded to tell me that she isnԒt concerned while mom is in supervised treatment. However, once she found out our FS was supposed to go within two days, she changed her tune, claiming she was out of the loop.Ӕ Then, once she found out our FS had only seen his mother one time for 1 hour since his birth, she decided to call his caseworkers supervisor.

Well, apparently DYFS felt motivated and they actually did delay reunification to give the mother a psychological evaluation, which did not go favorably for her apparently. So our FS gets to stay, right?.....WRONG. The judge stuck to her guns because, again, mom will be supervised and is essentially in jail at her drug rehabilitation facility Җ she cannot leave, cannot have non-relative visitors, or even make phone calls. Doesnt that sound like a lovely environment for children? We requested to meet with her but DYFS said her lawyer wouldnҒt allow it. Yes, heaven forbid she be given the opportunity to learn more about her son from the people who have been raising him since birth!

So now a mother, who has chosen drugs over her children for 15 years; who has never held a job, and hence, has no job skills; and who has never raised a child, will be taking in our precious angel tomorrow morning. And after she graduatesӔ from her drug treatment in 4 months or so, our beautiful FS will be used as a guinea pig - when his mother moves to Section 8 housing and goes on welfare in this judge֒s little experiment to establish whether or not mom can resist drugs and raise a child in a non-restrictive environment!

I need not say how furious I am. So furious, that I just penned three bills that I fully intend on pushing until I get a congressman/woman to sponsor each of them! First, parents should have to substantiate that they are able to take care of themselves in a non-restrictive environment before being entrusted with the care of their children. Second, DYFS needs to implement transitioning procedures so that children have the opportunity to get to know their parents before they move in with them. Its one thing to rip a child out of an abusive home for the sake of the greater good, but to rip a child out of a stable home to be placed in a halfway house, when there was ample time to work in multiple visits and overnight stays, is nothing short of CHILD ABUSE! Finally, any woman who gives birth to a baby who has drugs in its system should be prosecuted for harming a child!

This perhaps isnҒt the worst story weve read Җ and that is the truly outrageous part!

Your feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Jen - I'm so sorry. I will send you a PM but wanted you to know, publicly, that you and the baby are in my thoughts and prayers.
Oh my God. Oh my God. This is so awful. I am praying for you right now with tears in my eyes. I am going to wish that a miracle will occur. I will PM you.
Jennifer, I am so sorry to hear that you are losing your foster son. My thoughts and prayers are with you, and your little guy!
This is just horrific..
I am soooo sorry you and esp your FS is going through all this...
Please don't let them break you (I know better said than done) keep fighting...
My prayers are with you that they open their eyes and really do what is best for this child.
lets get these Bills moving and start writing Congress NOW! We need to be the ones who protect these kids since it doesn't seem the powers that be can do it without us. Let me know who you need me to write and it will be done!
Hello again All,

Our FS was indeed removed yesterday and it was one of the most painful things I've ever gone through (and still going through). Everyone I speak to at DYFS says they disagree with the reunification and I wonder how, with so many people against it, it still went through. This judge has placed the mother's constitutional right to raise her child before the our FS' well-being. Sure, he may be fine for the next 4 months she's in treatment but what about the big picture!? Furthermore, according to [URL=""]NJSA 30:4C-11.3[/URL], reasonable efforts (services provided to Biological parents by DYFS) aren't even required when "the rights of the parent to another child have been involuntarily terminated," (The Attorney Manual for Child Welfare Cases, pg. 3). In other words, DYFS had NO OBLIGATION to even work with this mother due to her previous TPRd children! According to our FS' caseworker, DYFS is under new pressure from "child's rights agencies" (her words) to reunify all children - even if "the mother has had 21 children" (the supervisor's words). She admitted to DYFS' oversight as far as visitation. Our poor baby must be wondering where his mommy is...and I can only imagine he's having a hard time breathing as he's prone to Asthma and his mother chain smokes a pack of cigarettes per day!! My stomach is in knots thinking about it.

As far as the bills go, below are drafts of 2 of the 3 bills I'm working on. The 3rd bill is tricky as it involves making giving birth to a drug-exposed child a crime for harming a child. A ton of research still has to be done to see if these bills are compatible with what is already in place, to revise terminology and define vocabulary, and get a congressperson on board! Nonetheless, your input and ideas are more than welcome!

Here they are:

A Bill To Be Entitled
An Act to Require Parents to be Reintroduced into Society Before Regaining Custody of Their Children in Foster Care.
Section 1: Require parents to substantiate their ability to refrain from drug use and/or criminal activity in an unrestricted environment before being eligible for reunification with their children in foster care.
A)Prevent parents residing in residential drug treatment programs and halfway houses from gaining custody of children prior to completing rehabilitation programs.
B)Require parents to live outside of a restrictive environment for 3 months prior to reunification.
C)Conduct drug tests and psychological evaluations on all parents being integrated back into society after jail time or drug treatment, who seek to regain custody of their children in foster care.

Section 2: This will be instituted in New Jersey

Section 3: The bill will be active 90 days after it is passed.

Section 4: It is the responsibility of The Division of Youth and Family services to ensure parents meet standards before planning to reunify children in foster care.

A Bill To Be Entitled
An Act to Require a Standardized Transitioning Procedure for Reunification of Children in Foster Care with Biological Parents
Section 1: Require a minimum 30 day transitional period, with no less than two visits per week and two overnight stays, prior to reunifying children in foster care with their biological parents
A)Require a transitioning period for reunification of children in foster care with biological parents.
B)Reduce emotional strain on children by implementing a gradual transition verses a sudden one.
C)Monitor transition to ensure reunification is appropriate.

Section 2: This will be instituted in New Jersey

Section 3: The bill will be active 90 days after it is passed.

Section 4: It is the responsibility of The Division of Youth and Family services to ensure the transitional period is implemented.
I'm so sorry for you!!! In some states, drug positive pregnant women are arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Poor kid!!
Hi Hotspice,

Yes; Precisely! NJ needs to adopt the same procedure!

Any woman who gives birth to a drug-exposed/addicted baby is obviously a serious addict. Since permenancy plans must be made within 12 months of a child being in foster care, there is not enough time for such an addict to make a full recovery. Recovering from that type of addiction takes years. It not only involves abstaining from the drug(s) of choice, it involves retraining the brain to respond to crises in a non-destructive manner, aquiring employment, securing housing, and even learning how to establish and maintain solid familial relationships. Moreover, a full physiological recovery is not always possible. I guarantee that if one were to do an MRI scan on our FS' mother's brain, it would reflect that her brain activity is compromised. Since all of our FS' family have turned their backs on his mother, what resources does she have to turn to when she needs help?

Sorry, I'm on my soap box again.

Thanks, everyone, for your compassion and support.
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