What do you make of this?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by klmno, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I spoke with an attny re difficult child and PO issues in Sept on the basis of a single consultation. I called back in Oct. to get an appointment again and discuss retaining her. The secretary said she would even have an appointment available until mid- DEc so I scheduled that. Now, she and her sole partner are in there 50-60s and have a very small office working on juvy and small cases, like traffic. The only other person who worked there was the secretary so it seemed odd that she would be that slammed with work. Anyway, I retained her in mid-Dec, she made some phone calls and went to a meeting with PO/super with me. She said she had a call into reentry director and was interested in what he had to say and finding out which GH difficult child would go to and she'd call me back as soon as she knew-- she voluntarily said this without me even asking. I had mentioned earlier that I'd need her on board for a while and she said yes, she could see that. So after we left that day, I went by her office the next day to drop off a copy of the brochure I'd found from reentry program. No one was there so I stuck it thru the mail slot in the door, came home, and called to leave VM about it. I didnt get a return call, so the next week (last week), I called and had to leave anothere VM- no one was answering the phone at all. I also tried to call Tues and a coworker called from her cell phone this morning. Each and every time, we have gotten the answering machine.

    What could this mean and what should I do? I really hate to try to bring another attny on board because this one heard first-hand how PO and super were avoiding answering wuestions and talking to me like I had no parental rights at all- like telling me "they would let me go to difficult child's IEP mtg". and not giving any answer when asked what PO's requirements were for difficult child getting out of gh, except for super saying "when we feel like it" which is illegal, at least in this state. If it's not out-right illegal, it's certainly against Department of Juvenile Justice policy or regulation.
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Have you checked the obits? Never know, could be there or in the hospital. I'd hope she'd let you know if she planned to close the office for the holidays. Any chance you can get by their office during hours?
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, I can stop by but don't want to barge in since it's such a small office. I guess I assumed that if one of the two partners died, the other might make a few phone calls to let clients know, after a few days of mourning of course. And as far as closing the office for the holidays- geez- she was gone or tied up from early Oct til mid Dec and went to a mtg with me on Dec 28. Wouldn't they be back to work by now after New Years? I don't know- I liked her and thought we got along and I'm shocked and I really need her to be the attny thru this. Maybe I'll stop by and if anyone is there, just say I was worried. I haven't left tons of messages- only two, a week apart. This is critaical timing for difficult child though- he's scheduled to be released in 4 weeks and I don't want the flippin GH requirements written prior to me filing a complaint or getting this before a judge, or both.
  4. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'd drop in.
  5. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Are you sure she is really a licensed attny? She sounds fishy and this sounds not legit.....
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I would absolutely stop in. She is working for you so that is not barging. You paid a retainer? Yikes.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Start lining up somebody else. The new one can contact the old one if possible but... given the timelines involved? I'd be working both options at the same time.
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    If I handed over money, I'd certainly be dropping in to find out what is going on. She's working for you, not the other way around. Maybe they fired the secretary and have gotten behind in everything??
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Drop in and put it on the line. "I paid your retainer to have a legal advocate who would do specific things and would protect my rights. What have you done/are you doing? Why have I been unable to get even a returned phone call from you? What are you doing for my case?"

    She might be in court. Even if she handles "minor" things, sometimes they get more complicated than anticipated with very little notice. You can always have her subpoena'd to tell the judge what she heard PO saying about "when I want to" and all the other koi.

    If you cannot get a response that is substantial from ehr tomorrow, call the bar association for your area and ask if she is still an atty in good standing and how to handle an atty who will not return calls after taking a case. Calls to the bar assoc are a big deal to attys here. Esp because lawyer here gossip more than about any other group I can think of.

    This is to the VA State Bar, an agency of the Supreme Court of VA. It is the group attorneys MUST be part of to be attorneys. Virginia State Bar - Home They have an attorney lookup feature that might be helpful?

    This is to the voluntary Bar Assoc for VA The Virginia Bar Association. Here is the Bar Assoc's answer to what is the difference between the 2 groups??:
    The Virginia Bar Association is a voluntary professional association for attorneys. The Virginia State Bar is a mandatory licensing agency. Attorneys must be licensed by the Virginia State Bar in order to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Not all Virginia attorneys choose to be members of The Virginia Bar Association. In addition, The Virginia Bar Association does not require attorneys to be licensed in Virginia for membership.

    Here is the link for the page iwth the info above: The Virginia Bar Association
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    If a primetime drop by doesn't work the only other thing I can think to suggest is a return receipt request
    letter that is short and to the point. Something like "I have attempted to contact you a few times in the past two weeks with-o success. My concerns are heightened due to the time constraints. I understand my son will be released by s/d/y to the GH. As we discussed it needs to be legally stipulated in writing the terms of his stay and the conditions for reunification efforts. Please contact me via (method) so I can be fully aware of your efforts on our behalf". Not too long, cover the basic issues and set a deadline for contact.

    On a more positive note I didn't realize you had been given a four week time frame. I'm sure that is reassuring instead of the "open" dates given before. It is also great that difficult child seems to be behaving well so there is no further delays. Fingers crossed. DDD
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    OK- I'll see if I can run by today.

    DDD- the relase day 4 weeks from now was set by Department of Juvenile Justice, not the PO. That's how I got it- PO was supposed to relay that to me but didn't; the counselor in Department of Juvenile Justice told me. PO sets the requirements for things from that point on and the ONLY thing he has decided is difficult child's placement in a GH. There is a MH treatment plan meeting next week that they 'gave me permission to attend' and I will definitely b e going to that.

    The retainer I paid was a pretty low amount and she might have already gone thru it but she told me that she;'d accept that amount up front, bill it in increments of 1/4 hr, and bill me monthly for any time spent beyond that.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Before the MH meeting next week I would get my "ducks in a row". I know how difficult it is to be in an adveserial (is that spelled right?) position with "authority figures". Seems to me that difficult child will be paying great attention to your responses..and even facial expressions. As he is nearing discharge and relocation I think it's important for him to think "positive" thoughts about his future. These jerks are in the drivers seat but he is preparing for a huge transition...very soon. If he holds them in distain or feels it is a "them against us" situation I think it diminishes his chance for success and growth. in my humble opinion, I think you need to anticipate what may or may not be said/offered and unless it is something WAY over the top go along with it. It really is temporary and if it can not harm him I'd try to picture it as a baby step toward the final goals.

    As it gets nearer are you more excited, frightened or anxious? It really is a huge step and we will all be on your side and praying that difficult child can adjust well. Hugs DDD
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    He's not viewing it that way. I know you've tried to convey that thought several times and I'm not ignoring it- it's just that the way you are viewing it isn't exactly what is going on, and difficult child knows that.
  14. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    s it possible to find her home phone number and call that? Or her facebook? If nothing else, do the return receipt letter and also google her. Or pay the fee to one of the search companies to get her full info. This is nuts that you can't get any response from her. Nuts.
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Well, right now I've been making phone calls to higher ups to find out myself what is the procedure for filing a formal complaint against PO/super and possibly the entire juvy csu in this jurisdiction. They have an ombudsman to file complaints with and investigate if there is an issue in a Department of Juvenile Justice facility but it doesn't cover csu personnel and I haven't had any big grievence with either Department of Juvenile Justice facility difficult child has been in. That's one of the big problems- they have NO ONE holding the csu personnel accountable for sticking with Department of Juvenile Justice regs but they are Department of Juvenile Justice employees. My guess is that they have no procedure for filing a grievence against anyone in csu- that's nuts considering the Department of Juvenile Justice facility is more restrictive than csu, supposedly. The attny was really only calling people I could call myself. BUT she was a witness to some of this. Anyway, I'll stop by her office today. I'd forgotten MOnday is a holiday for gov and I wouldn't have been able to get down there until after 4:00 today.

    I found Department of Juvenile Justice's regs online and was going to check csu/po requirements and gh requirements because they fall under Department of Juvenile Justice regs and guess what- they have been repealed and no new reg written to cover it- but so were 75% of the other ones. I take that means they know they had some regs that needed changed but that leaves NOTHING in effect now for them.

    The ombudsman for the facilities gave me the name and phone # of the director at central state Department of Juvenile Justice who supposedly oversees all csu personnel, but I haven't called him yet because I kind of think he's the one to blame for them being in this shape- not the one to call with a complaint. I'm thinking my letter will go to local juvy court/judges, state Department of Juvenile Justice director (over all Department of Juvenile Justice), and the general assembly, and possibly a newspaper and cnn. Oh- I'm also considering the office of child protection and advocacy and/or....what's the agency that's supposed to protect people's civil rights?

    I'll be typing up my list of grievences this weekend and hopefully, I'll have time to finish my letter to the general assembly since it just went into session.

    They were teasing me at work saying they'd have to come get me out of jail after seeing me on the news with a headline "lunatic woman getsd arrested for barging court over treatment by juvy csu"...LOL!...I said well, if that's what it takes to get this koi known to the public and those with the power to do something about it...

    I'm convinced that if csu personnel did what the Department of Juvenile Justice policy book says they should while a kid is on probation, many of them in this state would never end up being committed. They are starting to care now because it has cost the state a fortune.
  16. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Your absolutely right. I have expressed that concern more than once. Based on my personal experiences and, unfortunately shared personal experiences with a minimum of twenty difficult child's who have been in jail or prison (yeah, difficult child#1's friends) the teens see the system as "them vs. us" during their incarceration. I have not known a single one who thought "gee I messed up and need to really respect the law and the CO's and the PO's. Truly, not 1. I honestly tried my best to not be advesarial. And yes you are right as a juvie I did not deal with prison or blatant liars etc. There is a difference in our experiences. on the other hand I felt I had no choice but to become assertive after the brain surgery and the blankin' DA who recommended to the Court that difficult child go to prison for having a handful of pills in his unoccupied car when he was 18.

    As you may recall (can't remember if you were in the family then or not, sorry) I prevailed in Court. Word spread in our community. The easy child families found it a topic of conversation. The difficult child's still talk about it amongst themselves. "Boy, difficult child's 'Mama' really told them!" Not exactly the reaction I hoped for, lol.
    So....because your son is so young, because he has been away during very formative years, because he is not exactly the kid you last lived with etc. I'm concerned that instead of learning or focusing on "My Mom loves me enough to work hard for me" he could very easily be absorbing "My Mom knows that these people are jerks and can't be trusted". I won't mention it again, I promise. My very very sincere hope is that he can overcome the abnormal environment he has lived in for the past year plus and blend back into your family unit. DDD
  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I know you have a lot of experience and are well-intentioned. I just don't think that's how my difficult child is viewing this current situation with me and this csu. First, he's been in this sytem- whether csu/probation/parole, or detention center, or Department of Juvenile Justice facility for 6 years now and I'm sure he's had to listen to at least 100 different people throughout that time. I've never called fussing at anyone at a detention center or Department of Juvenile Justice facility (well- except for something like trying to find out if/when they are going to take family photos for Christmas). He knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that I expect him to do what they tell him- unless it was sexual abuse or a crooked staff, which has never happened. That being said, he also knows that the probation officer and gal he used to have and I did not get along- he blew it off. Now, however, because he knows himself this po/super are lying about this gh stay- he is starting to view that differently. He knows they lied because when reentry lady talked to him and then again when the gh director interviewed him, they told him something different than what PO/super were saying to difficult child and me at VC- that he could be out in 3-6 mos. I have told difficult child I'm not trying to get him straight home but would choose that over him aging out in a gh, given the choice. Still, I am fighting for a reunification plan and not a typical diversion sanction disguised as a step-down program since he has done his time.

    He had told me that a few parents had raised cain with Department of Juvenile Justice over their kids getting dental work in the Department of Juvenile Justice facility that ended up copmpletely breaking a tooth unneccessarily and a few other things and the parents got the kids permission to have it repaired, have special hygeine products due to specific infections, or whatever. I honestly didn't get the impression he interpretted this as a parent over-riding or not respecting authority. I think he understood this was a parent making sure the kid's rights weren't being violated. He talked like he knew it meant the parent cared. This wasn't even discussed in terms of him or us because he had no issue like that- except he had a chipped tooth once and I told him to request a dentist to get it filed down and whatever it needed- it was a front tooth and he didn't understand that a dentist could do something about it. He went, the dentist did something and difficult child's tooth split a little and I told him to get right back to the dentist and tell him fix it or I would be calling- so difficult child did. I never called.

    In this csu situation, they are breaking poilicy if not out-right breaking the law- actually, I honeslty believe they are breaking the law. difficult child knows I'm the one who has turned him in in the past, the PO and I never had issues in front of difficult child last year- we had a unified front- the specifics are so different from your experiences that I don't think difficult child is interpretting it the way you are thinking he does. I'm sure he does feel like it's him against the system in some ways- he feels like it's him against me in some ways- I'm trying to maintain a healthy boundary of holding him accountable and trying to do what I believe is in his best interest and gives him the best chance, without letting the few who've had the control trip attitudes run all over either of us and violate our rights (they aren't above the law either and don;t have more power than a judge or dss) and without throwing difficult child under the bus- I still love him and want to make sure he is taken care of.

    Bowing to the ones in this state who are on a control trip does NOT get them to see that you respect authority so they back off- really it doesn't. If difficult child's MH therapist at Department of Juvenile Justice recommends difficult child continue with a therapist, I will be insisting that he get a licensed therapist and they have to accommodate it. It's in their regs- if the kid is in Department of Juvenile Justice custody (and PO has made it clear that in gh, PO has custody of difficult child) then they are responsible for medical, dental, and MH treatment. And you can bet, if the Department of Juvenile Justice therapist recommended difficult child continue with a therapist and he was coming home, they would order me to take him.
  18. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Good explanation (not, lol, that you have to provide one to me of all people) and I 100% am hoping that difficult child feels exactly as you believe he does. I can't even describe how much I want his life to go on the upswing this year. And...I have the same hopes for you, too. Sometimes I "think" that I get overly concerned about our family members..especially when they are abit isolated. Chalk it up to old age, lol. NO I don't want to be anybody else's Mother. been there done that for too many years. Maybe just a much older sister. Hugs. DDD
  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    thank you DDD. I do stress over these things- like how my actions and words are being interprettted by difficult child and trying to make sure he understands my objectives and why I'm doing things. However, just like when I was fighting half-bro re custody and difficult child ultimately saw that as a means to run all over me, which was not my objective, I still had to fight it because I knew there was great risk to his well being if my half-bro got custody. Given all considerations from hx with difficult child and from hx with that probations officer, etc, I feel strongly that I need to make sure this PO/super understand that I expect my and difficult child's rights to be maintained- they have boundaries, too, but he can't come home right away with a PO who is more interested in making parental decisions than doing their job of putting defined requirements in writing.

    I think they tipped me over the edge the day they told me they'd let difficult child out of group home whenever they felt like iot yet had nothing in writing stating requirements then turned aorund and told me they'd give me permission to go to his IEP mtgs- which I don;t need their permission to do. And the same day, telling me difficult child remained in Department of Juvenile Justice custody so they had full control over him then telliong me I had to pay and accommodate him going to any medication/MH appts. I think not- I'll continue paying CS but as long as they are overseeing and making the decision re his medication tx (completely disregarding my input or difficult child's hx) and making those choices and have custody of him, it's their responsibility to see to it those needs are met, not mine. They honestly don't think they have any boundaries at all or that I have any rights at all.

    Simply put, as 1 example only- it's their job to write his parole parole requirements, which are to be measurable goals or a time limit of good behavior or both and give difficult child and me written copies 30 days prior to release: NOT DONE
    It's not their job to write his IEP: They plan on going to IEP mtgs and telling sd what they want that will 'fit' with their plan- whatever that plan is; never mind that difficult child's IEP works as can be seen by lack of criminal activity (except truancy) at school and having decent grades and educational goals; reentry program requires the kid goes straight to work whether kid CHOOSES to stay in school or not

    That is less parental rights than I have when difficult child is incarcerated.

    If they want to push me out of the picture and disregard my parental rights, they are going to have to go before a judge and justify it, just like dss has to. And you bet ya- I will push it that far.

    difficult child wants to come straight home with no services or parole requirements ordered and no family therapy, which was actuall PO's first plan. HA HA The PO just went from one extreme to the other. difficult child knows that's not my position and I certainly didn't say "OK, Honey, I'll try to over-ride them and get that for you because we don't have to do what they say".
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012