We walked into the court room, slipping into our seats behind Joyful and Watchful’s dad and lawyer. To our right, the GAL and county lawyer stood in the middle of the room. Furtherest away was their mom and her lawyer. Little did I know that drama was about to unfold.
The children’s lawyer (aka guardian ad litem or GAL) alleged that the county is not appropriately supervising visits, which has allowed horrible things such as emotional abuse, violations of court protective orders, and witness tampering to occur. Naturally, this pissed off the county lawyer who felt embarrassed and thrown under the bus in front of the judge. Apparently, she’s been telling the GAL this is a personnel issue that should be dealt with through human resources. The GAL countered that the county has had time to remedy the situation and has not, so it must be brought before the judge in order to best protect the children. So the county foster care agency was in hot water with the judge.
But they weren’t the only ones in the judge’s crosshairs. One of the parents was accused of taking advantage of the county’s missteps, and abusing/violating protective orders/tampering with witnesses when social workers were either not present or when a substitute social worker was supervising visits. Their lawyers alleged that this was a cultural misunderstanding, but I don’t think anyone’s buying that argument.
And the third party that the judge was angry with? The psychiatrist who evaluated the parents nearly four months, but hasn’t typed up and handed in reports to the county or the court.
We also learned that not a single one of the relatives that the county has approached have stepped forward as possible new homes for Watchful or Joyful. How could people walk away from their own family like that – these are little kids just 10, 8 and 4 years old!
The judge laid out a boat load of actions that must be taken within 10 days or various people will be held in contempt. He also has suspended all visits until further notice.
The upshot is that the foster parents of the kids involved (us + another family) are being called in as witnesses next week.
So, how does one keep a good working relationship with social workers if you’re being asked to testify about their negligence? How do you “bridge the gap” and maintain relationships with the parents if you’re testifying against them, too?
The GAL is coming to our house to chat in a few hours. This is all very bizarre.