The team meeting is held monthly with the state's caseworker, my agency worker, myself, the kids' therapist, and ideally the CASA. It's at my house, so it serves as CW's monthly visit with the kids--she sees their rooms and talks to them briefly. Sometimes the CASA makes it, sometimes she doesn't.
But it is always where I get the real scoop from CW on how things are going. This month's was the day after court. Usually, she'd have to recap for me what happened, but since I was there, we skipped that part. Instead, I got to hear all the things that CW can't or won't say in court. Like.....
Mom is still dating Baby Brother's father, which is bad because both L and O are terrified of him. Mom had intended for him to be at the first community visit with her until I heard her tell L on the phone that his child would be there and raised red flags all over the place. CW will not send the kids back to her while there is any chance that he will be at her place on any kind of regular basis.
There is no physical record of BB's Dad paying her child support at all, much less in the amount that was claimed in court. It all comes to her as cash under the table. Most likely, it's money he's making selling drugs.
Oh, and he's supposedly going to prison before the next court date. CW intends to stall home visits until after that happens to ensure that he won't be there.
CW is also confident that she will not be able to continue to pay her rent once she loses his money. She has not actually paid her security deposit and has not shown any evidence that her utilities are paid up to date. She's only paid one month's rent on this place.
The child support she's getting from L and O's biodad is back pay that he owes her from years past. It's being withheld from his paycheck. CW is certain that as soon as the case is closed, that money will be gone too. She says she's seen this scenario a million times. He'll quit his job and start getting paid under the table, once it's clear that he won't be getting the kids back. And as long as there's no record of him having a paycheck, there's no way for the state to force him to keep making his payments.
BioMom works part-time, minimum wage. Without both those sources of child support money coming in -- one from a bio dad who just won't do it and the other from a bio dad who isn't legally required to and will be in jail -- she's never going to be able to keep the housing she currently has, much less buy food, gas, clothing, school supplies......
So, even when we do start visits at Mom's home--assuming CW can't stall those until after she's lost that place, too--I won't begin sending their stuff with them.
L and O's biodad's wife is pregnant, so that 2 bedroom house is now even less appropriate as a home for his first two kids. (CW suspects that none of us are supposed to know that yet--it was learned by the supervisor of their visit with the kids, which included a lot of other family as well.)
Still in limbo land, I guess. I want their Mom to succeed; I really do. But I also want these kids to be in a place they can call "home" and expect to stay there. And if I'm this tired of the roller coaster, I hate to imagine how it must feel to L, who had the family placement dangled in front of her and has now had it yanked away.