My plight with Boulder County DHHS began on September 15th 2008. I arrived at the apartment of my grandsons father to pick up my daughter and my grandsons. My daughters electricity had been shut off in her apartment and her house had been robbed, the back door had been kicked in and the lock was broken. When I arrived at the apartment at 8:00 A.M. the kids were there by themselves, they were one and three years old at the time. They were eating cereal out of a bag and the baby was wearing a soaking wet diaper. Angry doesn't begin to describe what I was feeling at that point. Their father, who had abused my daughter in the past had previously left a message for my daughter that if she wasn't at the apartment when it was time for him to go to work that he would go to work and no one would be there to watch the kids.
What I did next I will regret for the rest of my life. After changing the babies diaper and getting the kids dressed I called the police. The officer that came out told me he would have to call DHHS. A caseworker came out and determined that there was grounds to take the kids and place them in foster care. The kids were returned to my daughter nine days later on September 24th 2008 after DHHS determined that my daughter had nothing to do with the kids being left alone and she had her electricity turned on and her back door was fixed. At that time DHHS approved me to babysit the kids while my daughter worked. DHHS also told my daughter that she could not allow their father to see the kids. If he wanted to see the kids he would have to arrange visitation with DHHS.
On October 15th 2008 the kids were removed again because my daughter let some people in her house and who had drugs there. The father, who was there when he wasn't supposed to be assaulted a guy who was also there and this guy filed a police report. The police made a report to DHHS. At this time I informed DHHS that I wanted to be a kinship provider. I was set up for a home study and denied based on past history with the department. There specific reasons were due to an incident in 1990 when my ex husband came over, entered my home without my permission and assaulted me and my oldest child. This was in November of 1990. At that time the department actually cleared me of any wrong doing. Also in 1993 the department received a report that I was being abusive to my kids in a grocery store parking lot. At that time someone who didn't like me was there in the store. This person was notorious for filing false reports on people she didn't like.My children were never removed as a result of these reports. Lastly they cited a physical altercation with my daughter in the year 2000. By this time my daughter had been placed in a group home due to out of control behavior. This incident didn't result in visits with my daughter being terminated.
I was also used as a placement for my grandkids in February of 2008 when my daughter swallowed a bottle of my prescription medication and had to be hospitalized. Three days later A caseworker came to my house and said he had no concerns and that the kids could stay with me until my daughter could get her own place and set up services for Boulder County Mental Health. A month later she and the father of the kids got their own apartment and she had an appointment set up with mental health. The kids had been under my sole care for a month with no concerns expressed by DHHS.
Despite the fact that I was a good kinship placement and day care provider for the children in the past I was still denied as placement for my grand kids. The law in Colorado requires caseworkers to put forth a diligent effort in placing foster kids with a fit and willing relative. I feel DHHS already deemed me fit and willing when they allowed the kids to remain in my care and also approved me as a babysitter for the kids, hence they broke the law when they denied me as a placement when my grand kids went into foster car.
Meanwhile my mom and I were doing everything we could to help my daughter get the kids back but she kept testing positive for drugs and continued having contact with the father. We were given hope when she quit using drugs and started testing negative for drugs but then she relapsed. In September of 2009 the goal was changed to adoption. On October 9th of 2009 I retained an attorney(I know I should have done it sooner and also been a little more selective in my choice of legal counsel) She gave me this song,dance and story about bringing in a child psychologist for parenting assessments and yaddayadda. She also led me to believe that she was an aggressive attorney. She filed a motion to intervene two weeks later and also a motion for custody. Termination was set for December 9th 2009. My motion to intervene was denied. On Dec 8th my attorney called me and asked if I wanted her to file a petition to adopt and I told her I did. On December 9th 2009 my daughter voluntarily terminated her parental rights. The father was also supposed to terminate on that day but left the court house without completing the paperwork. If his rights haven't been terminated by now I am assuming they will be because he only showed up for two court hearings and didn't follow the treatment plan.
On January 4th 2010 my attorney left me a message stating that my motion for custody had been denied. On January 6th I left a message that I wanted to appeal the denial of custody. On January 7th my lawyer called and said an appeal had been set and for me to come to her office on January 12th 2010. When I went to her office she told me that she didn't handle appeals! and wouldn't give the name of a lawyer who does. It was then that she informed me that December 10th was the date that my motion had been denied and the deadline to file an appeal was 45 days. She could have told me about the deadline when she left her message on Jan 4th. She claims that this order was sent to her office "over the holidays" and couldn't call me before the fourth because she was sick and couldn't talk. I also asked her about the petition to adopt and she said she didn't remember having a conversation with me about a petition to adopt although I remember quite clearly that we did on December 8th! She then went on to tell me that since parental rights were terminated an appeals court would render a motion for custody moot. I thought that's what the petition to adopt was for! The petition she claims we never had a conversation about! So here I am unsure if I have grounds to appeal or if I am past the deadline to appeal. My motion for custody was denied just one day after my daughter terminated her rights. I suspect political corruption among the workers ,judges and maybe even my lawyer. Even if it is too late for me I do not want others to make the same mistakes I made and I will do whatever I can to prevent this from happening to others.