This is a true story and in this case, I represent the maternal grandmother in Los Angeles Dependency Court:
My client’s daughter was killed by her husband who is the father of their three kids. Rather than allow the maternal grandmother and her husband to provide care and support for the kids while their father stayed in jail pending trial, the Department of Children & Family Services, (hereinafter DCFS) opened a case against the father and the Judge refused to allow the mother’s family to take the kids out of LA County to live with the maternal grandmother with whom they have a very close bond. This is not a case where there are close paternal grandparents and they are both fighting to have the kids.
The paternal side of the family, cleaned the house where the murder occurred and boxed up the mother’s belongings without letting the maternal grandmother or maternal relatives get her personal belongings, such as her jewelry, clothes and pictures. The paternal relatives said they were going to sell the items for the kid’s support. They are also potential witnesses at the criminal trial.
Then, the kids were placed with a paternal uncle and his girlfriend who did not have a close bond with the children and who were not married and had their own children. The kids only lasted 6 – 8 months at this placement until they were again moved to other paternal relatives in Los Angeles. They had to start visiting these relatives on weekends to create a bond.
Meanwhile the maternal grandmother and her husband tried for over a year to get the children to be moved by DCFS to Northern CA to their custody, knowing that they would be a permanent home for the kids and would be adopted by the maternal grandmother and her husband.
My question is why did DCFS have to get involved in the first place? Of course, when there is serious criminal activity and children are involved, the police are mandated to contact CPS. However, when there are responsible family members, DCFS does not have to get involved and can oversee the relatives taking the children and putting them in safe homes. DCFS does not have to open cases on every family. That is the definition of big brother.
And, because of strict Federal Funding issues, once DCFS is involved, relatives have to be approved and go through training much like foster families. It takes DCFS 6 to 8 months to approve relative placements in Los Angeles and Orange County. Because of the lengthy time it takes to approve relative homes for the minors, foster families are bonding with the minors and trying to keep the minors in their custody if they are not able to return to their parents’ custody. I have been fighting these issues in numerous cases and it is heartbreaking for the family’s who cannot raise their grandchildren or nieces and nephews.
In the case I am describing, there were no safety risks posed by grandmother or any of the maternal relatives and no reason that the kids had to stay in Los Angeles. My client who lost her daughter to murder, now faces losing her grandchildren. DCFS is trying to get the kids adopted by the paternal relatives in Los Angeles rather than let the children move to Northern CA. Don’t let this become the new rule – the government takes over the case and they decide who gets children often siding with foster parents or relatives who did not have a bond with the kids when the case began.
Please like this story if you are as morally outraged as I am.