> No More Secrets And Lies: Social Services' Secrets

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Social Services' Secrets

When I arrived at the Social Services office, I told the receptionist who I was and that I wished to speak with my daughter's social worker, and that's about as far as I got.

She told me to wait in the lobby while she went to get someone who could help me, and soon a supervisor came out and handed me a form. She told me to fill it out and she would then give it to someone who could decide whether I could talk with Mary's social worker or not. I told her this was unnecessary since I had custody of my daughter plus a parenting plan specifying that all information about her be shared with me. But she just stared at me like I was speaking a foreign language and referred me back to the form. I told her that everyone in her office already knew my family since we had worked together a few years earlier, and I could see no reason why we had to go through this process just so I could speak to someone about my daughter. But this didn't make any difference either. Finally I asked her if someone would at least listen to my concerns about my daughter because something was wrong with her and I was concerned about her. She told me no one would talk to me at this time and I should go home and wait until I got a call. I never did get a call.

I was shocked to find out that Social Services would actually turn away a parent who had serious concerns about his child. But they did. They wouldn't listen to anything I had to say about Mary nor tell me anything they knew about her. They wouldn't tell where she was, what she was doing, who her social worker was, or what they had talked about. They wouldn't tell me anything about my child, violating my parenting plan, and making a mockery of a court order. They wouldn't even tell me why they wouldn't tell me anything about her, and for a long time I thought I actually had done something to her and just couldn't remember what that was. But I had no way of knowing one way or another. I had no way of knowing anything about my child, even though I was entitled to know everything about her.

And it wasn't only Social Services. Whenever I asked the girls' mother about Mary, I got the same answer:

"Why does Mary say she hates me?"

"I don't know."

"How can you not know, she's your daughter?"

"Mary doesn't want you to know anything about her and I'm respecting her wishes."

"Can you at least ask her if she'll talk to me? Maybe she misunderstood something I said to her."

"If Mary doesn't want to talk to you, I'm not going to force her. She's old enough to make up her own mind."

"But I'm concerned about her and I have a right to know what's going on with her. This is why we have a parenting plan. At least tell me what I did to her."
"I'm not going to tell you what you did. You should know that."

I didn't know what I had done to Mary and no one would tell me. As far as I knew, I had done nothing to her except bring her home and care for her when no one else would. I was the only one who wanted her, and I was the one who went up against Social Services, facing down their threats, to bring her home. I gave up my job for her when my boss threatened to fire me if I didn't give her to the County. I had done only wonderful things for her. Something was very wrong here.

This was all terribly horrifying, and yet eerily familiar. And even though no one would tell me anything about my daughter, their silence spoke volumes and their message was loud and clear: "You're out of the loop now and there's nothing you can do about it."


TSElliott said...

Question - if you had a court order for custody? Why did you not report to anyone that you were being refused visitation?

John Brosnan said...

I reported it to everyone and everywhere I could think of. Even hired a lawyer. Even told police. No one could do anything.

Pennie Reese said...

That is completely senseless that she wouldn't tell you what you had supposedly done. Oh, and the mother's reaction is very telling. A mother who cares about what's best for her child would try to talk some sense into her and insist that she find a way to love both parents.

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