Long distance aunt with no rights?

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jshaferly
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Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:29 pm

Long distance aunt with no rights?

Postby jshaferly » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:49 pm

Hello all,
Wow, where to begin... My grandma and mother have been "taking care" of my niece almost since she was born. My sister (my niece's mother) got married year before last and moved out, leaving my niece in the care of my almost 70 year old grandma. Both my mother and grandma have failing health. My grandma does not have the energy, health, or patience to raise a three year old baby. CPS was anonymously called a few months ago. It was reported that someone witnessed my grandma beating my niece with a rubber spatula. CPS supplied a therapist, someone who came a few times a week to help organize their apartment, and daycare, among other things. When things started to look up all of a sudden my niece was taken from daycare by CPS.
Long story short... I live in Virginia, they live in Washington. I am limited to making phone calls, and never seem to get the truth from anyone (especially the case workers). My sister seems uninterested in her daughter's future but refuses to sign over parental rights to anyone. My grandma was never granted guardianship or anything else. Is there anything that I can do? A hearing is scheduled for the end of February. I would like to get custody, temporary or permanent. Should I go to the hearing? Am I allowed? Are there any papers I can file for custody? Do I need a lawyer? Since I am not there to witness anything would a statement from me help?
My niece did not ask for any of this. I want nothing more than to give her the happy, healthy, loving home that she deserves.
By the way, my nieces father has been in prison since she was born on statutory rape charges. Should I worry about having to fight with him in court?

arrenah
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Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Long distance aunt with no rights?

Postby arrenah » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:18 am

If you can afford an attorney definitely get one. I am in the middle of a CPS nightmare pertaining to my grandchildren. CPS will walk all over your rights (because we don't know our rights) and will lie to you constantly. An attorney can advise you of your rights in Washington and can intercede, forcing CPS to take you seriously. It may be different where your case is but in California, where I reside, you would have no voice in court so you need professional help to ensure you are heard. I wish you the best of luck with this. Your niece is lucky to have an autie who loves her. Don't make the mistake of trusting anyone with CPS. At the end of the day they all need their paychecks and will back whater decision "the department" makes, even if it is a complete 180 from what the family has been promised for months. It is a horribly corrupt agency desperately in need of complete and total reform.

jshaferly
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:29 pm

Re: Long distance aunt with no rights?

Postby jshaferly » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:32 am

arrenah wrote:If you can afford an attorney definitely get one. I am in the middle of a CPS nightmare pertaining to my grandchildren. CPS will walk all over your rights (because we don't know our rights) and will lie to you constantly. An attorney can advise you of your rights in Washington and can intercede, forcing CPS to take you seriously. It may be different where your case is but in California, where I reside, you would have no voice in court so you need professional help to ensure you are heard. I wish you the best of luck with this. Your niece is lucky to have an autie who loves her. Don't make the mistake of trusting anyone with CPS. At the end of the day they all need their paychecks and will back whater decision "the department" makes, even if it is a complete 180 from what the family has been promised for months. It is a horribly corrupt agency desperately in need of complete and total reform.



You aren't kidding about them walking all over your rights. My Grandma and sister were told the shelter care meeting (the one they are required to hold within the first 72 hours of taking the child) was going to be at 1p.m. on Monday, then at 9 a.m. monday morning the social worker called and said are you guys coming to the meeting? They blatantly lied about what time the meeting was so they would miss it. Then they said they would reschedule and never did.
I think my biggest problem is my sister. She is the one they delivered the court papers to and she lies to me as much as the social workers do. Because I am so far away I am limited to making phone calls and looking up Washington laws on the computer. I spend hours every day doing this and emailing her the information I feel will be helpful with her case. In return she ignores my phone calls, ignores my advice, and misses visitation and set meetings by CPS. Her excuse is that she is going to college to make a future for her and her daughter and she doesn't have time to fight this. REALLY??? What kind of future is my niece going to have living in foster care for the next few years and eventually being adopted out to a family of strangers?
Are you familiar with out of state relatives? The next meeting is the end of February. Do you think if I flew to Washington to attend that meeting the judge would consider letting me foster her? I asked the social worker this and she said it could take a year to get my niece sent to me, even for just a short time. She said judges don't like to send children across state lines because they would lose jurisdiction. Is this a lie? I hate questioning if everything told to me is a lie or the truth. This is nonsense.

arrenah
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:42 pm

Re: Long distance aunt with no rights?

Postby arrenah » Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:03 am

I wish I could be more helpful, but many of your questions are way beyond anything I have had personal experience with. It certainly makes sense to me that they don't like to send children across state lines because then the workers (or "God" as I believe they refer to themselves) probably would loose control of the situation. I know in California if the child is three or older they are considered slightly less adoptable (which has hurt my situation) and therefore will be left in foster care longer before they are adopted out. If the same is true in Washington that may give you more time before any permanent decision is made to adopt this poor child out to strangers. I don't believe your sister could sign over custody/guardianship at this point anyway because your niece is now a ward of the state. I also have been told that a person cannot have their parental rights taken away while they are in prison, although I can't imagine someone doing time for statutory rape would be given custody of a little girl. With this system, who knows? The standard for a parent to regain custody is far, far lower than that of a third party/family member. It used to be that family memers had a lower standard that strangers (which would make sense) but because there is federal money involved local agencies are forced to use the same standard for everyone other than birth parents. Isn't it nice that the futures of these beloved children is being dictated by $$$? But it is true. Amway, perhaps the best advise I can give you is to find an attorney in Washington that does free telephone consultations. I too have spent hours pouring over child welfare laws in California which has helped greatly, but an attorney can help interpret your knowledge as it applies to your case. I wish average Americans were aware of the corruption in this governmental agency. The problem is, no one has any idea it is until you are in the middle of a battle with CPS just how bad they are. My tax dollars are being used to destroy thousands of families every year and it absolutely sickens me.

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LindaJM
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Re: Long distance aunt with no rights?

Postby LindaJM » Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:57 pm

Hello, and welcome to the site.

Children are sent to out-of-state relatives however it isn't a fast or easy process. It would involve you getting an attorney and having a home study done in VA.

Your sister is so wrong to miss visitations. That will be used against her in court to prove a pattern of neglect. To try to get her child home she will have to complete all court ordered services and never miss visitations. I'm not saying it is too late now, but that if she wants to rescue her child she'll need to move on it immediately and make major changes in her priorities.

CPS workers are probably looking at this child as "adoptable". Whether you get to be that adoptive parent is going to depend on how well you interact with the caseworkers. If they wanted to send the child to you it wouldn't take a year.

Is there any way you can go to WA, get an apartment, and be there for Kinship Care? If not, you might get to the end of this process and find out the judge will decide to let the child be adopted by the foster parents. Once your sister's rights are terminated, they won't consider you the legal aunt anymore and will adopt out to whoever they want. Usually foster parents have priority at that point because the child is used to living with them.

Kinship Care is mainly for replacing foster parents during the year to year and a half before parental rights are terminated. Being there in WA is your best chance of saving this child.

Here are some WA resources:

http://www.washingtonfamiliesunited.net
http://pamroachreport.blogspot.com

Yes, it is true judges don't like to let the children out of their jurisdiction, but some do agree to it. I think it would be very helpful if your sister agreed too, especially if she's not going to cooperate with the reunification plan.
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Please keep in mind that none of us are lawyers and we can't give legal advice. We are simply telling you what we would do in a similar situation. It is to your advantage to get a lawyer.

"Evil flourishes when good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke ... so try to do something to change the system ...

clara2002
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Re: Long distance aunt with no rights?

Postby clara2002 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:16 pm

so they dont do interstates? they keep the children with in the states? as for parents too? i know someone who wants thier children transfered to where they live, and they said that the caseworkers came up with every exsuse as possible not to. and they wanted to keep the children in that state where they are at. and its like they have no choice but to go back to that state to see them, and but they are stuck at where they are. but they call thier children just about everyday. now what should i tell them?

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LindaJM
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Re: Long distance aunt with no rights?

Postby LindaJM » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:28 pm

They could file for a state administrative hearing to see if the Administrative Law Judge would order an interstate transfer. I think a lot of the reason social workers don't want to do them is only because of extra and intensive paperwork requirements.
Sample Document Library

Please keep in mind that none of us are lawyers and we can't give legal advice. We are simply telling you what we would do in a similar situation. It is to your advantage to get a lawyer.

"Evil flourishes when good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke ... so try to do something to change the system ...

clara2002
Posts: 106
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:49 am

Re: Long distance aunt with no rights?

Postby clara2002 » Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:53 pm

thank you. that was helpful.


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