Monday, August 23, 2010

Sell a child and get her back

The Monterey California newspaper reports:
For a 10-month-old girl known as "Stormie," those parents are Samantha Tomasini, 20, and Patrick Fousek, 38.

The Salinas couple are accused of trying to sell their daughter to strangers for $25 on June 22. They were found with the baby later that night in their squalid apartment, allegedly high on methamphetamine.

News that county officials had initiated "reunification services" for the parents recently sparked a local television report that Fousek and Tomasini might get back their baby. ...

The highly controlled process is required under state law, which mandates the preferred placement for a child, if possible, is with its parent or a relative. The process is overseen by a judge who sets benchmarks and a case plan for the parents, Robinson said.

A team of professionals that includes social workers and psychologists works with the parents to meet their goals. The process is managed through a nationally acclaimed program at Door to Hope called MCSTART, Monterey County Screening Team for Assessment, Referral and Treatment.

Parents are allowed visitation, but have limited time to show they are making progress. If they fail, reunification will be denied and the child will placed in a legal guardianship or adoption.

In the case of an infant, Robinson said, parents have six months, possibly 12, to show they are worthy.
So the law says that they can get their kid back if they get off the drugs, and satisfy the social workers that they are making progress over the next 6 months.

By contrast, armed cops seized my kids at our home in 2007. No one ever worked with me to meet my goals or measure my progress. No one has ever even been able to identify anything that I have done wrong. No one ever recommended counseling, as no one has ever even said that it is possible to do better than I have done.

And yet I have lost legal and physical custody of my kids.

The couple is this story seems to have plenty of problems:
Fousek was arrested again Aug. 6 after neighbors reported a domestic dispute at the East Romie Lane apartment he shares with Tomasini. Police have intervened in similar disturbances at the apartment many times.

According to Salinas police, Fousek did not respond to officers' repeated knocking and when they tried to use a manager's key to enter, he continued to relock the door. Police eventually broke down the door and found Fousek alone. They said Tomasini fled during the delay.

Fousek was arrested on suspicion of resisting or delaying a peace officer. He was arraigned Aug. 13 and pleaded not guilty.

Outside the courthouse after the hearing, a deputy had to intervene in another loud argument between the pair. Fousek, who told the deputy he "broke up" with Tomasini, was angrily demanding the keys to his car. The distraught Tomasini was refusing, saying she was "miserable." The pair eventually left together.
And yet they will get a better chance to get their kid back than I ever got.

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