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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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There is evidence that abuse (but not specific to child sexual abuse) is more prevalent in foster care than the general population.

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Picking Up The Shattered Pieces

A mother shares her grueling fight with CPS workers for the sake of her son, who may never get back the childhood that was stolen from him. Where is the justice? Who will defend the innocent?

After reading the story "Mother's quest for Lost Infant," I realized that I was not the only one that had to deal with the corruption in the Hawaii CPS system that had caused my family such undue suffering, both for myself and most of all -- my child. I am grateful to have found this website through my research, as a project for the college I am currently attending. I wanted desperately to find such a place to expose Hawaii's Department of Human Services, their child protection workers and their decisions that negatively affect children.

Picking Up The Shattered Pieces in Hawaii

Here is my story of corruption and the rough road back to a happy childhood. We are still struggling to bring my son back to a happier time; back to the child he was before they Kidjacked him from my arms while in a head start program during his naptime. He had awakened to find a stranger attempting to pry him from his loving mothers arms, to be placed in a stranger's home for almost a year.

The Wrong Road Taken

It was about March of 2005, I had been having a rough time in my relationship with my boyfriend that I had been seeing since my son was about 9-months-old. I had formerly been a heavy user of crystal myth throughout my teenage years, which began after I was raped. I used to hide my shameful feelings and deal with the pain. During that rough period of my life, I was at my last straw, I was being physically and verbally abused -- constantly berated because of my past drug use, and because I had dropped out of high school.

Then finally in March, I snapped and went back to using and ended up in the hospital because I started seeing things. Meanwhile, my son was in the care of my hot-tempered boyfriend who had just thrown me into a cold shower at his grandma's house after one of our fights, all while telling me to shut up and go to sleep. The drugs had made it hard for me to sleep so he kept hitting me.

After the visit to the hospital, I went to my mom's house with my son and boyfriend only to have CPS show up, telling me that I had to come in and have a urine test or they would take custody of my son. So I went in for the test -- the test came back negative! Bob Lanier, the caseworker got angry and told me that I would have to take another one. I took a second test and it too came out negative, this is when things got ugly.

Lanier said that my boyfriend had to be there at all times and was not to leave me alone with my son. Monday came and he had to work so he left me home with my son. I received a call from Bob Lanier saying that he is going to have to remove my son from my custody. Without any further investigation, without looking at my house to see if it was a suitable environment to care for a child, he arrived at my son's school the next day and requested that school release my son in his custody.

Snatch the Kid, First

The school refused and called me immediately. When I arrived at the school, my son was laying down sleeping; he was only four years old. I picked him up quickly and told them they can't just take him from me without doing a proper investigation. Caseworker Lanier became angry and said he was going to have the police come and take him from me than. I woke my son and told him as calmly as I possibly could that he would have to go with this man. He asked me why and I just started crying...

After they took him, they didn't want to give me any information; under what authority were they taking him, where he was going, or when I would be able to get him back or even see him again. I fought as hard as I could, the few times I was allowed to see my son, he cried and begged me to let him come home. On our last visit -- before they stopped my visitation rights -- they had to rip him from my arms again because he didn't want to let go. He kept screaming, "No, I want to go with you mommy! I don't want to go with them!" It was so heart wrenching.

The Road to Recovery

I started working at Thrifty Rent a Car as a rental agent, where I was bringing in $1400.00 a month; I purchased an SUV, and still had my two-bedroom apartment. Things were starting to look up, I even got into parenting class, and attempted to get into Hina Mauka a drug treatment program, but the treatment center refused me treatment because Bob had told them that I couldn't attend until they had a hearing to enforce their decision and requested proper treatment through the court.

I was distressed because I knew that the longer it took for me to get into drug treatment, the more harm it would have on my son in the future. I finally got a hearing and told the judge that they were interfering with me receiving treatment earlier and revealed all the positive things I had attempted in order to get myself help, so that I could regain custody A.S.A.P. but CPS made me look so bad. Nothing I said mattered, it was like they called the shots and not even the judge had jurisdiction over their decisions.

After finishing their recommended physiology testing, drug testing, parenting class, and drug treatment I still had not seen any changes in my visitation schedule, or received any reunification services.

Then Christmas came and I couldn't take it, at work I ended up crying and wanting to leave. I was fired from my job for being accused of falling asleep on the job. I didn't care. I was fired because my boyfriend was allowed to pick up my son that day and even though I wasn't supposed to see him, my boyfriend picked me up from work and we spent Christmas together for a few hours. When the CPS worker found out, he was angry. He stopped all phone calls, visits, and even supervised visits from my boyfriend and I.

Taking My Life Back

That is when I decided I needed evidence to prove how they were treating me. So, I bought a tape recorder and recorded numerous incidents where I would call the CPS office and ask questions about what was going on with my case. They would laugh and tell me I didn't need to know anything, it was my fault this is happening and all sorts of disturbing things.

This was proof that they weren't trying to reunite me with my son, but were actually enjoying torturing my son and I. I finally told the CPS worker that I had just got him on tape. I had a recording of everything he had said to me, exactly how he was "helping me" to regain custody and his refusal to do his job to reunite me with my son. Each time they had told me that I needed to do something, I would do it and then they would say that it wasn't enough that I had to do another thing. So, I finally said I refuse to do anything further, they can keep my son and that I was going to turn in these recordings of all our conversations to his supervisor.

The supervisor returned my call and I told him how long it took me to finally reach him because his staff wouldn't even tell me his name from the beginning. I told him I had proof of what his workers were doing to help reunite me with my son and boy was he unhappy. He apologized to me and made sure that my worker was taken off my case. They provided a mediator to assist me and made sure that I had a home visit with my son.

From the time I had recorded the treatment of my CPS worker and told him I was refusing to subject myself to any more of their demands, I was able to regain custody in as little as a few weeks. Now how messed up is that? Only after refusing to cooperate with their demands, after being told time and time again that if I get this done I would see changes in my visits and be allowed to spend more time with my son -- and nothing changed they finally return him to me. I was just furious and didn't care what they were going to threaten me with. That is when things changed, rapidly.

The Harm Inflicted

It has been almost two-years now and still today my son is not the same. I cry sometimes because he is so different in the way he acts; in his temper, his obedience, it affects his schooling, and his relationships in school. I have even been called into the school because he was fighting and he is only 6-years-old.

There was one incident where he punched another boy in the bathroom, square in his face. He has been to the principal office over three-times for hitting other kids. I even have to go to conferences regarding behavioral problems and he refuses listen or makes trouble in class and in the lunch line. He has a hard time understanding when being talked to or told no, to stop, or to correct his actions.

He has aggressive behavior and when I ask him why he does certain things he tells me he knows it's wrong, but doesn't know why he does these things. I despise the results of CPS caseworker actions; they have caused my son irreparable harm that has continued to interrupt his social growth and learning ability both in and out of school.