Alabama---Help or advice on getting my son back from DHR's grasp!

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Old Aug 20th, 2012, 04:43 PM   #1
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Default Alabama---Help or advice on getting my son back from DHR's grasp!

First, I would like to ask that no one post any negative feedback on what I'm about I'm about to post, I have made many mistakes like any other human on earth and I pay the consequences for them daily. I'm in the process of getting my life back together and am at my wit's end trying to figure out how to fight to get my son who is also the light of my life (especially since I have no other living family members left) and am appreciative of any advice that anyone can give I will also try to make this short as possible.......
I am a recovering addict and live in AL. Last February I got mad at my now 3yr old sons father and falsely accused him of grabbing me and making threats, I vindictively did this to keep my son in my custody(not knowing that I already had sole custody b/c we weren't married) we both have had an open case in family court since then and have remained together since May of last year. Our son remained in our care while we continued going thru 4 different judges last yr in 3 mth increments. The PFA was dismissed in August but our son was put in Guardianship care(paternal grandparents) on Sept 1. Me and the father passed all drug screens and was put on a testing system, ordered to take a psych eval and I was also ordered to take a hair follicle test. We complied and have done all this. I wasn't offered legal guidance until Dec and after the fact that my son had been taken out of my care and this lawyer does NOTHING to help me, I was better off representing myself. My DHR worker has not had any ISP's and says false things about me to the grandparents I know I'm not perfect and I don't resent DHR but this worker has done and said many unethical things (in front of my 3 yr old and his 5 yr old cousin) since being in our lives. The 2 times we've went to court this yr have not been any good, the 1st time DHR lacked on their part and waited til funding ran out so we footed the $800 bill for our psych evals before the judge would see us. This past time I had a lapse and failed the 1st drug test in over a yr of clean tests and the judge was very irate and stripped my visitation until I complete a residential treatment. She also ordered both the dad and I to move from our home that's across the street from the grandparents who have temp custody of my son. I'm about to go into treatment for my problems but I'm without understanding of how the court can order to move from your own home immediately or threaten to take your child and place them in foster care if they see you even in your own yard? I also want to add that DHR has sent us both a letter saying that there was not enough credible evidence to find either one of us guilty of abuse/neglect even though I violated the PFA. I'm grateful for any advice or tips.
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Old Aug 20th, 2012, 05:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: Alabama---Help or advice on getting my son back from DHR's grasp!

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Originally Posted by Jillian1205 View Post
First, I would like to ask that no one post any negative feedback on what I'm about I'm about to post, I have made many mistakes like any other human on earth and I pay the consequences for them daily. I'm in the process of getting my life back together and am at my wit's end trying to figure out how to fight to get my son who is also the light of my life (especially since I have no other living family members left) and am appreciative of any advice that anyone can give I will also try to make this short as possible.......
I am a recovering addict and live in AL. Last February I got mad at my now 3yr old sons father and falsely accused him of grabbing me and making threats, I vindictively did this to keep my son in my custody(not knowing that I already had sole custody b/c we weren't married) we both have had an open case in family court since then and have remained together since May of last year. Our son remained in our care while we continued going thru 4 different judges last yr in 3 mth increments. The PFA was dismissed in August but our son was put in Guardianship care(paternal grandparents) on Sept 1. Me and the father passed all drug screens and was put on a testing system, ordered to take a psych eval and I was also ordered to take a hair follicle test. We complied and have done all this. I wasn't offered legal guidance until Dec and after the fact that my son had been taken out of my care and this lawyer does NOTHING to help me, I was better off representing myself. My DHR worker has not had any ISP's and says false things about me to the grandparents I know I'm not perfect and I don't resent DHR but this worker has done and said many unethical things (in front of my 3 yr old and his 5 yr old cousin) since being in our lives. The 2 times we've went to court this yr have not been any good, the 1st time DHR lacked on their part and waited til funding ran out so we footed the $800 bill for our psych evals before the judge would see us. This past time I had a lapse and failed the 1st drug test in over a yr of clean tests and the judge was very irate and stripped my visitation until I complete a residential treatment. She also ordered both the dad and I to move from our home that's across the street from the grandparents who have temp custody of my son. I'm about to go into treatment for my problems but I'm without understanding of how the court can order to move from your own home immediately or threaten to take your child and place them in foster care if they see you even in your own yard? I also want to add that DHR has sent us both a letter saying that there was not enough credible evidence to find either one of us guilty of abuse/neglect even though I violated the PFA. I'm grateful for any advice or tips.
The judge obviously found there to be enough reason to terminate your visitation until you have built back up a history of clean tests and have completed residential treatment for your addiction. For the court, it only takes one to recognize that the problem has resurfaced, and they are more concerned with your CHILD's best interest than what you want. And just because DHR didn't pursue charges of abuse or neglect doesn't mean there isn't enough reason to keep the child away from you until you can recover your sobriety again.

The reason that the judge is also ordering you to move is probably because you are interfering with the grandparents in their custodial care of your child. Being across the street is too close for comfort, and the judge must feel that you need to gain some distance to take care of your own issues before concerning yourself with caring for your child.

My advise is to listen to what the judge has told you and follow their instructions and orders. Get yourself into residential treatment like you have been ordered to do, and worry about taking care of YOU. Your child will be just fine in the grandparents care while you learn how to take care of your own needs.
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Old Aug 20th, 2012, 06:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Alabama---Help or advice on getting my son back from DHR's grasp!

I can only echo what Sandy said. Lapsing and failing your drug test brought the consequences you are suffering now. Apparently the judge believes the child remaining in the home is in the child's best interests and your living across the street is dsiruptive enough to the stability with the grandparents to cause a problem.

You need to fall on your sword, admit you have a problem and commit yourself into treatment until you are cured. It is not going to be easy, but if your child is your top priority you can do it.

Good luck to you.
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Old Aug 20th, 2012, 07:35 PM   #4
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I know that it was a stupid mistake for messing up in April, but I would like to add that after spending over a year of jumping through hoops for DHR doing what they asked me to do, being told by my caseworker on 2 different occassions right before hearings that she was gonna request full custody to be granted back b/c i had complied with the court that no progress was made other than having supervised visitation which was the same since he had been placed in guardianship care. After doing everything that I possibly could to please the court and DHR, I basically felt hopeless and made the poorest decision to cope with it all. I would also like to add that it was the GRANDPARENTS idea for us to move across from them just to be closer to our son, The judge is not happy with my history but she's also mad that I'm still living with my sons father who still has all his visitation rights but made him move as well b/c we're still together. Since I have no immediate family the courts seem to think that I have no where else to live besides with him & that we're in a volatile relationship which isn't true. From what I've read on my own research though, DHR is supposed to have a ISP which is like a treatment plan every 6 months and I've never had one and she constantly ignores my calls. Is there any way to request a different worker at least?
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Old Aug 20th, 2012, 08:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: Alabama---Help or advice on getting my son back from DHR's grasp!

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Originally Posted by Jillian1205 View Post
I know that it was a stupid mistake for messing up in April, but I would like to add that after spending over a year of jumping through hoops for DHR doing what they asked me to do, being told by my caseworker on 2 different occassions right before hearings that she was gonna request full custody to be granted back b/c i had complied with the court that no progress was made other than having supervised visitation which was the same since he had been placed in guardianship care. After doing everything that I possibly could to please the court and DHR, I basically felt hopeless and made the poorest decision to cope with it all. I would also like to add that it was the GRANDPARENTS idea for us to move across from them just to be closer to our son, The judge is not happy with my history but she's also mad that I'm still living with my sons father who still has all his visitation rights but made him move as well b/c we're still together. Since I have no immediate family the courts seem to think that I have no where else to live besides with him & that we're in a volatile relationship which isn't true. From what I've read on my own research though, DHR is supposed to have a ISP which is like a treatment plan every 6 months and I've never had one and she constantly ignores my calls. Is there any way to request a different worker at least?
As frustrating as it has been, you chose the wrong way to try to cope with the difficulties. Extreme stress can cause a long-time recovering addict to relapse, and it was just that choice that is causing you the added problems now.

The other issue may well be that you have no separate support system except for the father, with whom you do have a very volatile relationship, and the grandparents, who currently have custody of your son. The judge is questioning your choice of family and social support - which it appears they have reason to take issue with, given your history with them.

Part of your recovery is about re-learning many aspects of your life such that you will not repeat the poor choices of your past and keep repeating them in your present and future. You haven't done that. You remain with a man who, by your own admission, is only there because you feel you have no one else. That kind of dependency upon another person is unhealthy. You need to find OTHER options and rebuild a different social network for yourself that is more positive.

On your road to recovery, you need to learn how to make better choices for yourself, which will allow you to be capable of making better choices for your child down the road.

You can certainly request another worker, but I would expect delays after that happens. The new caseworker will have to familiarize themselves with your case and spend time learning about the dynamics of the situation that your current caseworker is already familiar with.
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