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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Equal Rights For All?

Black, white, male, female, gay, straight, we're all suppose to have equal rights, right? Well, we know it doesn't always work that way regardless of what the Constitution and law books say.

But everybody is suppose to have rights, even criminals have rights. Many groups have advocates to make sure their rights are granted. There seems to be one group in particular in our society who in my opinion deserves to be protected more than any other, yet because they don't have a voice of their own their rights are rarely granted and protected. These are the smallest most innocent members of our society. Our most precious natural resource, our children.

Sure there are agencies that are suppose to be looking out for our children, but on any given day you can open the paper or watch the news and it quickly becomes apparent these systems and agencies are failing miserably. But who suffers? The children.

Sadly many children in our world today are daily being abused, neglected and even abandoned by those who are entrusted to their care. When these agencies step in supposedly to protect these young victims, what then happens quickly becomes a nightmare for all involved.

There seems to be a lot of headlines all over the U.S. about children wrongly being removed from loving homes. Arizona in particular seems to be hardest hit with these sorts of headlines. Well, I have a little bit different of a story...

My dear, sweet grandchild clearly has needed protection from the get-go. Did she get it? Eventually, but while she finally is safe from her unmedicated mentally ill mother she sits one of dozens of babies in an emergency shelter. This precious baby has loving grandparents who are fully capable of caring for her, who already raise her brother, yet she is a state away, alone in a shelter. This innocent victim of unfortunate circumstances also has a dear friend of the family who is more than willing and also fully capable of caring for her, yet in the shelter she stays.

Why? Because of "policies and procedures that must be followed." Because of "laws and regulations." See, we are a state away, and my dear friend is a county away, so apparently the process for my friend to be approved to care for my grandchild could take up to a week, and for me to get approved will take up to a month! Where will this child go until then and who will care for her? A shelter, strangers?

Don't get me wrong, I am thankful there are wonderful foster parents out there who take in other peoples kids in such circumstances. It is often a thankless job with little reward. I am thankful for licensed caring shelters and those who work there. These both are much needed sadly in today's world where people just throw away our most precious resource like a piece of garbage or a kitten who is no longer fun to play with. But my grandchild has many, many people who love her and want to care for her but aren't allowed to do so because of red tape!!

This child has already had multiple care givers and homes in her short 5-6 weeks of life. She most likely in the near future will be moved 3-4 more times, not even counting the fact that her mother is being given yet another chance to regain custody!

CPS had my grandchild just days after birth, but because of dishonest mental health advocates who only showed the good things my daughter has done lately(and she has done some improvements, I wont take that from her) but neglected to share the hospitalizations and breakdowns requiring police intervention, and arrests during her pregnancy, and promised to provide oversight prompting CPS to close there case, my grandchild was returned.

Where was that promised oversight? My daughter remained unmedicated even though I know she was actively seeking help in obtaining proper meds for her illness. This lack of promised oversight put my grandchild at great risk, to the point she was literally abandoned!

I honestly don't blame CPS in this case. They are trying to do their job, but advocates like these make it hard on agencies like CPS that are trying to protect children. My grandchild's rights weren't considered, only my daughters.

CPS clearly did the right thing yesterday in determining that my grandchild shouldn't be returned to my daughter at this time. I am pleased with the actions being taken. My only concern or gripe is the red tape to get my granddaughter here with us where she belongs until/if my daughter can pull it together enough to raise her herself.

I feel like CPS is pushing for a foster care placement within their county. I understand that makes it easier for my daughter and CPS to work on a care/action plan and have my grandchild more easily accessible for visitation. But this shouldn't be about what's more convenient for my daughter or CPS. This should be about the child! The child's best interests are what should be on the top of the priority list!

Why would it be at all better for her to be in a foster home, no matter how loving and well suited it may be, when there is willing, even anxiously awaiting family? Why should she be with strangers, when she could be here with not only her grandparents, but her brother? For convenience? I don't think so, over my dead body!

What happens when my daughter no matter how hard she may try and no matter how noble her intentions may be, just can't follow through on the care plan and regain custody? At that point, sadly for all involved the child becomes available for adoption. Wouldn't it be better for her to already be here with her family? How many times do they think they can move this child before there are attachment issues? Sure she is a tiny infant and not really aware of what's going on, but these first months and years are crucial for bonding and attachment. But let's not worry about that, let's think about what is convenient for the mother who requested just 3 days ago to "get rid of her."

Sounds like the systems working to me, what do you think?

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