A few weeks ago, I decided that because I had worked more hours than I am paid for, that I would flex some of my time and take 2 days off to go see a friend out of state. Great. So the afternoon before I get on a plane, I go do one of my monthly visits of one of my kids living with a relative. I expected the visit to take not more than 30 minutes, as I have been in contact with the family and not a lot had changed. Of course, I was wrong.
Essentially, I get there and the child is not. Grandma tells me he is at daycare, but when I go there to see him after my visit with grandma, he is not there. I make some phone calls, and even find out that grandma asked another relative to tell me that the kid was with her, even though he was not. Uh oh.
Now this is the grandma that I recently had a “difficult conversation” with. I know she doesn’t like the Dept. being involved and doesn’t see the original problems that got us involved. I also knew that she wasn’t always being upfront with me about things. So I called my supervisor who suggested that I have an in-person conversation with grandma about her lying to me. A million thoughts go through my head while I am driving back to the house. How will she react? Will she get violent? Why would she lie to me? Where is the kid? Am I going to miss my plane? Will I have to move this kid today?
I get there and mom and kid are at home with grandma. After I ask only 2 or 3 times, grandma admits that she let mom take kid with her, which is a violation of the court order that stated mom is only to have supervised contact. Now that truth is out there, then come the excuses/reasons/dismissals of my concern:
- The Dept. shouldn’t be involved at all
- The kid is fine – she didn’t hurt him
- She loves him
- You don’t know what you are talking about because you don’t have kids
- Why don’t we have a social worker from the closer office
- The child needs to be with his mom
I probably should not have been, but was a little surprised by the personal attacks that came at me. But I stayed remarkably calm. I again emphasize that while they may not agree with the court order, they must follow it, and more importantly, grandma agreed to follow it. I talked with my supervisor some more who also talks with our attorney, and they decide to have grandma sign a safety plan that states she will prevent mom from having any contact with child until we have a court hearing or meeting. Neither want to agree to that, and I really didn’t know what to do with that. Basically, they were telling me that they didn’t want to agree at all and I wanted to snap back at them and say, so you want me to just take him now? They are playing hardball with me but I don’t think they realize the consequences. As I am trying to figure out how to deal with that curveball, my supervisor asks if I want her to talk with grandma. Now my supervisor usually comes across as a very nice, sweet lady. But she can intimidate the crap out of some people and knows what language to use to convince people that she means business. Fortunately, it worked once again and grandma agreed.
So now we have a meeting where we are going to hash everything out and I am going to seek to have the child placed with another relative. And I did make my plane, although, I did not pack very well and I was not very relaxed. And I did have to do a little bit of work, writing a report and speaking to other parties, while out of town. Unfortunately, it is going to make me wonder about going out of town again because I am swamped, not just with this case, but also with my other cases that seemed to just be waiting for me to try to relax.