Thursday, August 13, 2009
My Post To The KING 5 Blog
This has been a great day for the Stuth family, but there are many more families in WA State who have had children wrongly taken from them. Like in the Stuth case...lies are told about the grandparents by those who evaluate them for placement. And, the grandparents have no standing in court to defend themselves in front of the court against those false accusations. Ninety-nine percent of the time the child is lost to a predetermined foster adopt person. (In this case Alexis had shown up at her preschool with a black eye, the foster mother had a restraining order out against a boyfriend with a gun, etc.) What was not reported in this story (because of time limitations I'm sure) was how Alexis Stuth came to be returned....Let me tell you the drama....On a Tuesday, KING5 was in the courtroom as the state argued for termination of parental rights of the teen mother, and adoption with the foster woman. This woman was unfit from the get-go but the state would not back down....That evening at 6 PM the state went to the foster woman's house and removed Alexis and a one-year old boy that was also going to be adopted by her. The children were removed "for cause" and taken to emergency foster care. The next day in court the state continued to argue for termination and placement with the foster woman who had shown up at a hospital in such a self-induced condition that she could not walk a straight line. Hospital employees were required to report her! KING5 was again in the courtroom. Then, in a break in the proceedings, the new Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Alexis approached the Stuths and mentioned what had happened the night before. The Stuths were shocked. No one had told them! No one had told the mother's attorney! And, the state also failed to tell the judge! With the "cat out of the bag" the judge was informed by the mother's attorney and hit the ceiling with anger! Thank you Judge Ronald Kessler! He then awarded third party custody to the Stuths....DSHS and the AG did everything they could to take that child! Even in the courtroom with the TV camera rolling...they were going to take that child even if it meant withholding important information about the fitness of the foster woman! It was luck..a slip of the lip...the state NEVER did the right thing by the Stuths or Alexis. As a State Senator I am appalled at the system. Grandparents need standing in court in custody cases. People who lie before a court should be held accountable! People who withhold important information should be held accountable. There are many things in the system that reward a placement outside of relative care. Today we saw an almost unheard of ending. There are many out there who are wrongly having children taken...and there are other situations where kids sit in danger and are not protected. It is time for CPS to get it right!