Mother accuses DCFS of failing her daughter
A mother has accused the child protection agency of failing to help her 15-year-old daughter, who ended up involved in drugs and became the subject of a string of cases in Family Court.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, added that the Department of Child and Family Services had attempted to blame her for its “incompetence”.
She said: “It’s a lot of underhandedness and loose ends on the part of Department of Child and Family Services, and I’m paying for it.”
The woman said that after she was released on parole for a serious criminal offence, she started to have discipline problems with the teenager.
She explained: “She needed an old-fashioned ‘cut tail’, but in my predicament I couldn’t do it, which is why I reached out and asked for help.
“I went to the Brangman Home and [the Department of] Child and Family Services begging for help, but they pretty much said ‘we can’t do anything until something happens’.”
The mother said that the problems escalated until the child left her mother’s house in August last year and moved in with her paternal grandparents.
The woman added: “I don’t agree with this residence — it has no rules. She’s able to call the shots, and she’s just literally doing what she wants.”
The woman added: “I was getting reports of my daughter smoking marijuana, drinking and being out at all hours.”
She said: “I contacted her grandparents and they said that her dad was providing the weed, so I contacted DCFS and showed them the messages and videos and everything.”
But the woman said the grandparents were allowed to keep the child even though the DCFS had not carried out an assessment on the home environment.
She explained: “I was told by DCFS that my children’s grandparents were due to come in to get assessed, but they failed to show up for four appointments.”
The woman added: “Let’s take it a step farther and say it was cocaine — if I say ‘my daughter is on cocaine and her father is providing it and here’s video proof’, if you care about the welfare of my child, how do you keep her in that environment?”
The woman claimed the DCFS had omitted her complaints about her daughter’s drug use from documents submitted to court to try to protect itself from any blame.
She said: “I found out during custody cases that the DCFS never even put my complaints in the report.”
But she added that details of her own conviction had been submitted to the court.
The woman said: “Three days after we went to court, there was chaos in the home and she was sent back to my house, but that was never in future reports, either.
“It’s just all these false, inaccurate and misleading facts in their reports, ultimately just to get what they want.”
The woman said that the grandparents had now abandoned the custody battle, but that she had still to attend Family Court hearings about supervision orders for her daughter.
She said: “I just started a new job and she’s not my only daughter — I’m the sole provider for my children. I already have to leave for parole board meetings.
The woman added that she could not afford a lawyer and legal aid was not offered in Family Court.
She added: “I’m trying to get my life back on track and I’m tired of being assessed.
“It’s unfair to my family and to me. They’ve done a huge injustice to my daughter. They failed her.”
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Legal Affairs said its “policy is not to disclose information to the media on any individual’s case”.
The woman’s claims are the latest attack on the DCFS.
The Royal Gazette had already revealed this month that two department staff were still under investigation after allegations of abuse and neglect against a boy in the department’s care.
Two other staff members were “disciplined in accordance with the government code of conduct, discipline and misconduct procedures” and were understood to have returned to work under supervision.
Alfred Maybury, the DCFS director, was put on administrative leave on full pay in August last year over his handling of complaints against his staff and claims that he had failed to follow the Government’s financial instructions.
Mr Maybury also returned to work at the end of last month after the complaints against him were found to be “not substantiated” in the wake of an internal investigation.
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