Lil Sis's case review was a few days ago &, let's just say I wasn't fully prepared mentally or emotionally for what I was walking into.
First of all, I was told her Grandma wasn't going to be notified about this hearing, as she was denied visits & told, by the court, that regaining custody was not an option. Also, I had been led to believe that the family was not aware that the girls were living together--this was somewhat of a relief because of past security concerns. Additionally, I had been told that there was never indication of sexual abuse against Lis Sis, therefore there was no reason to actively pursue services to help her address this. Turns out it was all completely & utter bullshit.
Gma showed up to the hearing. In fact, I had quite a long talk with her, both before & after appearing before the judge. Naturally, she had to tell me how none of this is her fault. Interestingly, her therapist was with her & seems to believe everything she says. I got the distinct impression that she believes that the domestic violence situation that Gma was living in is the only problem & that Lil Sis should be returned to her (either she hasn't been informed about the pattern, going back decades, showing that she is not able to properly care for children or keep them safe OR she's far more optimistic about people's ability to change than I). In fact, she blindsided me with a request for visits. The CW, naturally, threw me under the bus, saying "it's alright with me if it's alright with her..."
I told all of them that would need to be discussed with her therapist. If her therapist has any reservations, whatsoever, my answer would be "no" but, I would speak with her about it & ask her to include her decision in the court recommendations at the next review. All agreed.
However, when we went before the judge, Gma's therapist (not sure why she was even allowed to attend the hearing, since it's closed court & Gma is no longer a party to the case, but that's a separate matter) asks the judge for an immediate ruling allowing visitation. When asked, I told the judge that I was not will to make that decision, nor was a I qualified to do so, but that I was willing to speak to her therapist about it. Thankfully, he agreed with me, and ordered that the decision be deferred to therapist's recommendations.
This does bring up the question as to whether Gma's visits were ever actually discontinued or not. The former CW told me they were. Gma says they were not. I have no idea. I do know that I am not willing to have visits in my home, which was the original requests. There is a reason that the original security measures were put in place, way back when Beautiful was placed with us. This is a family with a long history of violence. Granted, the uncle that the state was most concerned about at that time is no longer a threat, as he was paralyzed in a police shootout several months back. However, I still think that it would be foolish to bring them into my home.
Gma's therapist is actively advocating for visits or, at least, phone contact. While I understand that this is what Gma wants...&, it may even be beneficial for her therapy...however, that does not, necessarily, make it in the best interest of the child. Lil Sis's therapist & I have spoken on many occasions about how damaging visits could be for her, at this point in time. She has no desire to see Gma. She doesn't want to talk to her. She barely wants to speak about her. Presently, there is no way that visits will be anything but negative & traumatic for her. However, Gma's therapist wants contact reestablished to help keep the relationship ties so that Gma can work toward getting her back (I thought that ship had sailed...???).
Also, it turns out that the family has known that the girls have been together since right after the move. Apparently, it seems that their mother asked that they be placed together, upon being informed of Lil Sis being taken into care. Interesting, since the state never contacted me, as they are required to by law. In any event, Gma says that the girls' mother is glad that they are together now.
Perhaps the part that bothers me the most about this whole thing is the way the SA has been handled. The former CW told me that, even though she had been living with a registered sex offender, there was never indication about SA against Lil Sis. However, I start reading the court report to find an entire section of the parenting plan surrounds the classes & training that her mother will need to take in order to understand how the SA Lil Sis has suffered will effect her, how to help her deal with it, etc.
Now, the fact that she was abused doesn't surprise me. I had already seen the red flags, so I already knew that much. However, this means that they knew what she had been through yet hadn't even gotten her basic therapy in the 6 months that she was in care, prior to moving in here. Also, this is something that her therapist should have been informed of. It just makes me feel like the state doesn't care an ounce about the kids that are in the system.
See, foster parents, THIS is why I attend the court hearings. Had I not been there, I wouldn't know what actually happened...& I suspect there would have been an ordered entered requiring me to allow visitation.