We’re both a little weary this morning after the last few eventful days. On Wednesday, September 1, Social Services reversed the decision of the workers involved in the case and determined that it was premature clinically and legally, to move the show cause forward. There would be no TPR hearing in the near future. Yesterday, Thursday, September 2 was the regularly scheduled permanency plan review hearing, the one where just a few months ago it was suggested that everything was supposed to be ready for the children to return home. We now know that the case is in a totally different place than it was back in June.
The hearing yesterday, started off with a child consult. This is where T and his siblings are brought into the courtroom asked questions and allowed to interact so that the Master has an opportunity to observe them and ensure that they are being well cared for. Though T is not the youngest, he is definitely the shortest, but absolutely the most vocal, and without a doubt, the class clown. The Master referred to him as the spokesman because he was the first to offer up answers even if at times it was pretty hard to follow his answers which included, whoops, spins and a little dancing in his seat. Then they were dismissed and T went off to daycare.
During the remainder of the morning into afternoon, backroom discussions occurred. It didn’t appear as if anyone was advocating a change in the permanency plan which continues to be reunification. This was puzzling and troubling. I’m not sure why T’s attorney, the GAL would not have objected to continuing the plan as is, but in some ways that became moot. The hearing actually never took place because the parties could not agree on the language in the court order. We suspect that although Social Services reversed their decision, that they may have required the court order to include information that was too damning for the parents to agree to. I hope that is the case, unfortunately though, our access to information is almost non-existent. We’re completely dependent on people who have no interest in giving us any more information than they absolutely have to.
Here’s what we do know. Over the course of the summer, events took place that made the current plan for reunification impossible. We were tipped off to the specific events back in August. It was as if in one fell swoop the circumstances of the case we’re more dire than ever for the family, so much so, that those involved in the case realized that reunification may no longer be in the children’s best interest. Even though that decision was reversed on Thursday, they are on record as wanting to change directions in this case.
In essence everything has changed and nothing has changed. We’re now scheduled for a contested hearing in November. The final word from Social Services is that we are entering a “critical period.” We understand the intent behind those words, we heard them once before, back in May 2009. At this point though the threat is a little more real. Should nothing change in the next few months, Social Services may move again towards a show cause and TPR. But my question is in all the three years that this case has gone on–when has it not been critical. The lives and well-being of three small children are at stake. What makes these few months any different from the last 36. Therein lies the problem.