The system that is supposed to help children and families has is failed. While I certainly do not agree that foster parents should name themselves "Mommy" and "Daddy," neither do I believe the state should yank around foster parents like they do grandparents and other family members. Children and families suffer!
http://tinyurl.com/cvkktv via @addthis
Investigators: Wave of support for foster parents following TV coverage
12:11 AM PDT on Tuesday, May 5, 2009
By SUSANNAH FRAME / KING 5 News
Video: Wave of Support for foster parents following TV coverage
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A KING 5 investigation into how the state is failing a foster child is drawing public outrage.
Hundreds of viewers, online readers and even radio talk show hosts are demanding answers: Why is DSHS determined to take a child from her foster parents - the only place she's ever lived - after 4 years and thousands of dollars worth of failed attempts to reunite her with her birth-parents?
Today on KTTH Radio, 770 AM, talk show host David Boze spent an hour covering the KING 5 investigation into Poca.
Listeners weighed in, asking whom they could call to put pressure on the state.
May 1, 2009: Investigators: Family says it’s target of DSHS retaliation
April 28, 2009: Investigators: State agency breaks laws, robs foster child of stable home
"This is a horrible, horrible injustice for this child," said one caller.
The listeners are furious the state is about to take Poca away from the only stable family she's ever known.
"Come on, this is the biggest no-brainer in the history of the earth," said Boze.
KING 5 aired the first investigations about Poca last week.
She was born a very sick premie who weighed just over just 2 pounds, with neurological challenges. Her parents had a history of drug and parenting problems.
The state chose Dick and Amy Langley of Snohomish County to take care of her, specifically because they've been successful foster parents to several drug-affected and medically fragile babies, like Poca, over the years.
While the Langleys raised Poca, year after year the state spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on programs to help the parents get her back.
Some of the services included drug and alcohol classes, drug rehabilitation, parenting classes, mental health counseling, anger management assessments, grief counseling and an in home health and education nurse.
In an effort to get children like Poca a stable home as soon as possible, by law, parents are supposed to have just over a year to get it together.
But a week ago, Judge Anita Farris of Snohomish County Superior Court made it clear that it's been nearly four years, and the state's efforts with the parents still are not working.
"I do know the parents are doing a lot that they're hiding and lying about specifically," said Judge Farris.
The parents have just had a third child taken away by Child Protective Services after he was beaten by a woman with a drug history, who was secretly living with Poca's biological parents.
"In addition, apparently this month, (the woman living with them) was either drunk or high while talking to the cps investigator, indicating she has drug and alcohol problems, living in the house, being allowed to care for their child alone," said Judge Farris.
Despite all that, the state is planning to take Poca away from the Langleys any day.
Amy Langely says it's traumatic for everyone in their family, including their four other children, Poca's foster sisters.
"Every moment we think is this her last breakfast? Is it our last meal, is it our last time tucking her in?" said Amy.
The Langleys believe the real reason Poca's leaving is because she and her husband are viewed as trouble-makers by the state. They've aggressively complained about how Poca's case has been handled.
"Now why would you move her? The only thing we know of is that they're mad at us," said Amy. "We just don't understand."
DSHS and the Attorney General's Office tell KING 5 there's nothing they can do. In March Judge Farris signed an order saying Poca cannot stay with the Langleys. It's unclear to the KING 5 Investigators why this order would be in effect, since the Langleys have a clean record of being long-time trusted foster parents for the state of Washington.
The plan now is to move Poca to another foster home, family friends of the biological parents, until the parents prove they can take care of her.
When KING 5 contacted the court, they said the state hasn't asked Judge Farris to change her mind.
"Any party can make any motion they wish before the court regarding placement of a child," wrote law clerk Bridgett Hogue. "All parties in (Poca's) case agreed to (her) removal and no party has made any motion to change that. The judicial code of ethical conduct prohibits a judge from discussing a pending case."