Special note: There are pictures inserted into this post, if you click on them you can see some of the documentation of my complaint, including the forged document. I recommend seeing the picture titled actual Signature and then viewing the forgery, it is the only way you can see the difference between the two. Also if you wish to view just the juicy parts of Allison Bakers Criminal Background Search see pages 3 and 4, she was charged with 8 counts of forging perscriptions to obtain a controlled substance. These counts were Knocked down to misdemeanor drug possession, but why was she even working for DSS?
Allow me to apologize for the lengths of my posts in advance, the only way to get the full stories out is to put all the information on here. There is never a short version when it comes to CPS involvement. Also, I am really interested in your comments, or if you have a story to tell, please feel free to leave a comment on this page. I will read and respond to them all. If you would like to email me, to share your story, comment on mine, or just to talk…my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
This is my story…Of course it isn’t the whole story, but it is without a doubt what I am most pissed off about at the moment.
CPS’s Failure To Protect My Stepdaughter
I am writing because I feel that the Wilkes County Department of Social Services has failed in its duty to protect my step-daughter. I have listed the reasons for this complaint as follows:
- Forged and Falsified Documents
- Failed to follow statutory investigation requirements/time limits.
- Accepted a retaliatory report on us that had been screened out by another county.
- Failed to disclose vital information during a physiological evaluation.
- Failed to investigate reports of bruises and neglect.
- Bias and discriminatory comments directed at me and my husband.
- Retaliated against us for complaining about their violations.
My husband, and I made the initial report to the Wilkes County Department of Social Services on August 15, 2006 and for the first two months they did nothing, even though our report concerned unexplained bruises and dental neglect. The worker assigned to the case,Allison Baker did not go to the residence of my step-daughters mother until the last week of October. Two months after our initial report. I supplied CPS with pictures of my Stepdaughter’s teeth taken by the dentist and a statement written by him, stating that it was neglect.
After our initial report was made I spoke with our social workers supervisor Mary Henderson, who asked why my husband hadn’t taken his daughter to the dentist if we first noticed the cavities on December 17, 2005, I explained to her that my husband has standard visitation, he has his daughter every other weekend, dentist offices are not normally open on weekends and that he had informed her mother several times of the condition of the child’s teeth.
The first time that we had her on a week day we took her to the dentist. (June 27, 2006) I also explained to Mary Henderson that my husband was told that if he tried to take his daughter before then, on a date that was not scheduled for visitation, that he would be arrested. The mother did not take the child to the dentist although we carry dental insurance, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, effective date 7/05, The mother carries dental insurance Delta Dental, effective date 11/05 and the child was on North Carolina Medicaid until July 31, 2006, this to me is willful neglect on the mother’s part.
On August 21, 2006, I called the Allison Baker, and informed her that on my stepdaughter’s weekend visitation with us I had noticed small round bruises on her back in the vicinity of the waist line of her jeans. The social worker told me that the next time the child had bruises to get pictures, yet she still did not go to the residence and conduct an investigation.
On August 27, 2006, I met with the Allison Baker, at the Wilkes County Department of Social Services at 10:00am. I took with me the pictures of my stepdaughter’s teeth and a videotape of her in our care and footage of our home dated August 4, 2006 to present.
On October 14, 2006 I noticed that my stepdaughter had a bruise on her right side, on her stomach, dime sized and turning brown, so I looked her over and discovered more bruises on her. One on the back of her right leg right below her butt, it was dark quarter sized and another on the inside of her left upper thigh, this one looked like fingers, not finger prints, but full finger, three to be exact. These were not welts or red marks but actual bruises. I took pictures, as I had been advised by the Allison Baker to do; I also videotaped the bruises in case the pictures did not come out. Plus, it could not be disputed that it was truly my stepdaughter that way.
While I was videotaping the bruises on the upper part of her body, she leaned over rubbed the front of her shin and said, ‘These are normal bruises.‘ I took that to mean that the ones I was videotaping were not ‘normal’.
I then called the Wilkes County Department of Social Services emergency number, but was greeted by the message, ‘This phone is not answered and these messages are not listened to.’ I was, at this point, at a complete loss of what to do next, so I called the Surry County Sheriff’s Department who informed me that it was not their jurisdiction because the bruises occurred in Wilkes County at the child’s mother’s home.
On Sunday, October 15, 2006 I found the Allison Baker’s home phone number in the phone book and called her at home. I informed her of the bruises, that I had taken pictures and videotaped the bruises and asked her what to do. She advised me to call the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Department and make a report with the worker on call. Allison Baker did not come to our home, even though she was the assigned worker, she did not do anything. This social worker, aware of the bruises, did not go to the child’s school to check on her, until five days after I informed her of these bruises nor would she return my calls on October 16, 2006 when I tried to get the videotape to her.
I called the worker on call at the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Department; I specifically described the appearance and location of the bruises. I explained to the worker on call that we hadn’t noticed the bruises October 13, 2005, because we went to the haunted trail and did not get home until late. The worker on call said that she had to call her supervisor to see if this was urgent enough to send some one out to our house at that time, but called later and said that they declined to investigate it. The call was screened out because of an error that the intake worker made.
On October 23, 2006 I called the main office in Raleigh and complained about the way that Allison Baker and the Wilkes County Department of Social Services were handling this case. I was directed to someone else.
On October 24, 2006, Oscar Howard “Hal” Wilson, III a Social Worker Supervisor at the Wilkes County Department of Social Services called our home, believing that he was calling Phyllis Fulton in Raleigh. During his lengthy message to Ms. Fulton, which he left on our home answering machine, he released my name as the reporter, the child’s name, and basically admitted that it was improbable the child received all of these bruises from a haunted ‘hay ride, but…’ He also said that they were going to advice me to make another report. A report that I was later criticized for making.
On October 24, 2006 I received a letter from the Wilkes County Department of Social Services dated October 15, 2005, that thanked me for my report of suspected child abuse…’The report was not accepted for investigation because the child is nine years old and is not stating that anything adverse has happened to her.’ This letter is signed by Deborah Koen, SWIII and Oscar Howard “Hal” Wilson, III is listed as Social Worker Supervisor at the bottom. ( He had clearly shown his compentenc level with the phone call above.)Now I fail to see how this report could have been screened out because the child did not state that anything adverse had happened to her and no one even spoke to her on October 15, 2006.
It was also stated during my phone contact with Wilkes County Department of Social Services that the child fell at the haunted trail and that was how she received the bruises. I informed them that her daddy carried her through the whole trail because she was scared, that she never fell and that if she had it still would not explain how she got bruises on such a diverse area of her body. I was treated like a liar.
I called a different supervisor Bill Sebastian on October 24, 2006 and complained about the fact that the report was screened out on October 15, 2006. He suggested that I file a new report with the Wilkes County Department of Social Services that would be assigned to a different team. I did file a new report on this date. I listed specific dates that my stepdaughter had shown up with bruises, the exact placement and size of the bruises. I also stated that her dental care had been neglected to the point that when we took her to the dentist on July 3, 2006 she had to have teeth I and J extracted. The new report was accepted and assigned to a new social worker, Ruth Parker as of this date, March 8, 2007, I still haven’t heard from her.
On October 25, 2006 I talked to the Allison Baker, who asked us to come in to her office on October 27, 2006 because she was now investigating us, although at the time of our phone conversation she did not tell us that there had been a report made against us. Allison Baker, also asked why I hadn’t told her that my husband had only been seeing his daughter regularly for a year, I told her that I did tell her that he hadn’t seen her for four years because her mother wouldn’t let him. I informed her that we had recorded phone calls between ourselves and the mother where my husband beg to see his daughter and told her I would bring her those tapes the 27the because the mother had not been truthful with her about the situation.
My husband and I met with the Allison Baker on October 27, 2006 at 4:00pm; it was at this time that we gave her the videotape from October 14, 2006. She viewed the tape at that time, did not really comment on the bruises and did not state that it was improper or show any concern over my videotaping the bruises on my stepdaughter.
Allison Baker had in her possession a report that had been made against us that contained things like…We had poison Ivy in our yard, trees growing in our gutters, dirty dishes in the sink, that we make the child sleep on the floor, eight children living in our home, the child had woke up with a rat on her chest, my daughter had left a bruise on child’s arm… I asked the her when this report was made and all she would say was that it was old, really old. Then why didn’t they investigate it when it was made? Another statutory law violation or an excuse to investigate us because we complained two days earlier?
I didn’t understand why she was even investigating it, the stuff contained in it was stupid and the social worker had already seen videotape of the inside of our home, dated August 4, 2006 and on up. Furthermore, why didn’t she come to our home and investigate it? Isn’t that the statutory requirement?
Allison Baker voiced concern and informed me specifically that no recording devices were allowed in the interview room. She also stated that she was covering her ass in case the District Attorney’s office became involved in our case, when we question why the DA would become involved she never answered the question.
At this meeting Allison Baker also stated that she had finally had a home visit at the mother’s home and the place was immaculate. I stated, ‘Yea but what about the trailer that she was living in two months ago when we made our report.’ The mother had moved by the time a home visit was done. The social worker also did not want to hear the tapes that proved that the mother was lying to her. Allison Baker restated at this meeting for us to get pictures of the bruises and did not say anything negative about the videotape I had made of the bruises.
On October 30, 2006 I spoke with James D. (Donnie) Bumgarner, Director of the Wilkes County Department of Social Services and voiced my concerns about the way this case was being handled. I was scheduled to met with the Mr. Bumgarner, October 31, 2006, but when I arrived I found out that I would be by myself in a room with not just the Mr. Bumgarner, but With supervisors Mary Henderson, Bill Sebastian, and Sonya Freeman. I felt that this was an intimidation tactic on their part, but I am not easily intimidated so I again voiced my concerns about the handling of this case.
I was told that since the child was not disclosing their hands were tied to which I replied, ‘So when shes older and all messed up from being abused are you going to tell her that if she would have disclosed you could have helped her, lay all the responsibility of the abuse on her shoulders, her fault you couldn’t help.’ I also told them that abused children do not always disclose and when they can’t speak for themselves because they’re scared and intimidated by the abuser, someone else needs to step in and be a voice for them. That’s what I am trying to do.
At the meeting on October 31, 2006 one of the supervisors, Sonya Freeman asked if my husband and I would be willing to come in for mediation with the mother. I said that we would, but voiced a concern about mediating abuse. North Carolina court doesn’t even allow mediation where there is suspected domestic or child abuse, so I failed to comprehend how Child Protective Services could.
On November 6, 2006 my husband and I showed up for the scheduled mediation, we were the only ones who showed up. Sonya Freeman was supposed to be there, but had an emergency with her son. The mother had apparently never been contacted about the date and time of the mediation. Allison Baker made excuses about why we were not called and notified that the mediation would not occur. We had to drive for forty five minutes to make this appointment, it was also my son’s fourteenth birthday, but we made it a priority to make this appointment.
According to Sonya Freeman when I spoke with her November 7, 2006 the Allison Baker was supposed to have called us and informed us that the mediation would need to be rescheduled, but she never did. The mediation was rescheduled for November 8, 2006, but my husband had to work that day and we could not attend. Furthermore, by this time we were so frustrated with, what our opinion appeared to be gross incompetence that we had developed a trust issue with the Wilkes County Department of Social Services and their ability to investigate this case.
On November 10, 2006 my stepdaughter came home for weekend visitation with a huge bruise on the inside/front of her right thigh that appeared to be a hand print, I did videotape this bruise. During this video she is making excuses for the bruise, ‘I usually get them from running into windows’, ‘I threw a bouncy ball and it came back and hit me in the leg’, ‘I must have got it from being kicked in Karate’. I again informed Allison Baker of the bruise and that I had videotaped it, although I waited until Monday to do so, because honestly what was the point of calling before then, they wouldn’t have responded anyway.
November 14, 2006 we went to court on our petition for change of custody filed in June 2006. This hearing was postponed until the Wilkes County Department of Social Services finished the investigation that we initiated. The Judge also issued an order that DSS submit their findings to him.
On November 20, 2006 I delivered a copy of the videotape to Sonya Freeman, when I spoke with Ms. Freeman on November 22, 2006 she stated that she could see prints on the child and that she was concerned by what she saw. She did not state any concerns about my videotaping the bruises.
On November 27, 2006 I spoke with Sonya Freeman who was now stating that the video was not very clear and jumped around, speeding up and down. I told her at points in the video I had recorded for her that I paused it and slowed it down so that she could see the bruises. I also believe that it was on this occasion that concern was voiced over my videotaping bruises on my stepdaughter. I made an appointment to meet with Sonya Freeman on December 5, 2006 at 4:30pm. Also somewhere around this date is when Wilkes County Department of Social Services stated that they couldn’t tell who was ‘telling the truth’ and decided to send all parties for a physiological evaluation.
On November 30, 2006 I spoke with Allison Baker, who on this date, for the first time, voiced a concern over the videotaping. I told her that she was the one who told me to get her pictures and proof of the bruises and that was what I had done. She stated get pictures.
On December 1, 2006 I faxed a letter to Allison Baker, I also faxed a written complaint to Donnie Bumgarner asking that the Allison Baker be removed from our case and requesting that our case be moved to a different county. I have never received a response from him regarding this request and complaint. In this complaint I stated my concerns about the handling of this case, that we believed there to be some kind of bias, coercion, or other unethical behavior occurring in this case, because we could not understand how given the demographics and evidence that we had submitted in this case WCDSS couldn’t see what was going on.
I think I need to mention that we are not the only ones who filed a report of abuse and neglect against the mother. The mother’s other daughter’s, dad and step mom filed a report August 10, 2006 alleging, among other things neglect and physical abuse. They have pictures of bruises on his daughter, but Wilkes Department of Social Services has never contacted them about their report, or viewed the pictures. They are participating in the physiological evaluation as is this daughter. They have major complaints against the Wilkes County Department of Social Services too.
I met with Sonya Freeman and Mary Henderson on December 5, 2006; at this time they voiced concern over my videotaping the bruises. They also made what I felt was inappropriate comments, such as saying that the father and mother didn’t even act human during the pick up and drop offs, how close could the child and her little brother be since they never see each other…(we schedule their visits together if we can.) I was even criticized for saying that children need hugs and that normal families hug and show affection.
During my meeting with Sonya Freeman and Mary Henderson they stated that the child was clearly uncomfortable during the videotaping. First if you see the video, she is uncomfortable, as am I. She doesn’t want her underwear to show and she is afraid that someone will come in, but she is also joking around and talking. In the second video she is trying to prevent me from recording the bruises and making excuses but she is joking around and playing as well. Plus she wore the same clothes the rest of the night (T-shirt and panties). I don’t think it is so much the fact that I am recording her, but the fact that I am recording the bruises that makes her uncomfortable.
I asked Mary Henderson and Sonya Freeman at this meeting if they thought the child would have been any more comfortable if someone from Social Services had took pictures of the bruises and they stated that she would not have been. I also tried to explain to them that the mother is so verbally abusive to my husband that he can not communicate with her that is why they don’t talk. If he says the slightest thing to her during the pick up and drop offs she causes a scene in front of their daughter and she does not need to see that. I also tried to explain to them that my stepdaughter will not even acknowledge us when her mother is present because she is so scared of her. Mary Henderson’s reply was, ‘Why should she have to?’ I could not get her to understand that the child is perfectly fine, comfortable, and happy with us when her mother isn’t around, but when her mom is around she becomes wooden.
After my meeting with Mary Henderson and Sonya Freeman on December 5th, I felt completely helpless and defeated. I was also angry because of the bias nature of their comments about my husband. It was at this point that we realized that we were not going to be listened to.
On December 9, 2006 the Allison Baker came to our house as part of her investigation, almost four months after the report was filed. We were found to have a safe home, which means that the report against us should have been found unsubstantiated, but as of this date February 27, 2007 it has not. She wrote a under Section 2 Safety Response, “1 (circled) Stepmom and dad, agree to not physically discipline the child and to use other forms of punishment. Neither on of us had ever used physical discipline on my stepdaughter…ever. According to DSS policy, Allison Baker was not allowed to use allegations on this assessment, but she did.
On December 11, 2006 I spoke with the Allison Baker about the date of the physiological evaluation, it was scheduled to begin January 5, 2007. On December 12, 2006 Allison Baker called and stated that she needed my husband to come in and sign papers giving his permission for his daughter to do the physiological evaluation. The social worker also informed me during this phone call that I should sit on the Child Abuse Prevention Team in Wilkes County.
My husband went and signed a consent/authorization for medical/mental health evaluation child medical evaluation program form on December 18, 2006. This form lists that the referral is made by authority of (check one) Checked is DSS Director—when acting as temporary guardian of child found abandoned or without natural guardian or when having been vested with parental rights by the adoption or termination of parental rights laws (G.S. 35A-1220). The Criteria marked does not fit this case. The parents in this case have joint legal custody of their daughter. The box that was checked was misleading in that it made my husband feel that the evaluation had been ordered and he had no choice but to allow the evaluation. This consent was therefore, illegally obtained.
On January 9, 2007 a new Wilkes County Social Worker,Renae Steele called and spoke with my husband. She informed him that Allison Baker was no longer employed at the Wilkes County Department of Social Services and that she had been assigned the case.
On January 17, 2007 Renae Steele came to our home and verified it as a safe home. I showed her the videotape of the bruises, and she asked at that time that I no longer videotape the bruises , instead we are to call her and she will come right out. I told her I had only videotaped the bruises on two occasions and had only done so because Allison Baker instructed me to get her pictures.
On January 24, 2007 my husband and I met with the Psychologist, Dr. James Powell, who informed him that a report had been filed against him. I called Renae Steele and left several messages; I also called, Keith Elmore, on this date and complained about the way Wilkes County had handled this case, he told me that he would go to WCDSS and look at the file and the pictures of Lydia’s teeth, but when I spoke with him again on January 26, 2007 he informed me that he did not veiw the file or the pictures and assured me that WCDSS would make an unbiased decision. Mr. Elmore advised me to call someone else, who advised me to call someone else in Raleigh, who had someone else call me.
January 30, 2007 I spoke with Renae Steele about the report against us that they had given to the Psychologist; because I do not believe it is a viable report. It does not meet the statutory definition of abuse or neglect. Renae Steele said that the initial report had been made to and screened out by Surry County Department of Social Service on August 16, 2006. (We live in Surry County) She further stated that Wilkes County Department of Social Services received the report on August 17, 2006, she stated that she didn’t understand why it was screened in by Wilkes County, but she would find out and call me back.
Renae Steele called back about an hour later and stated that she had asked Mary Henderson why the report had been screened in and that she told her the only reason it was screen in was because of the rat on the child’s chest statement. Now remember before Allison Baker started investigating the retaliatory report, she had already seen video of our home, Dated August 4, 2006 and on to the present time. She knew this was a false report.
I met with the Psychologist, Dr. Powell, February 6, 2007 who told me one of the things that Wilkes County asked to him to evaluate was whether or not my videotaping the bruises on my stepdaughter had any adverse effect on her. They did not inform him that I had been told by them to get pictures of the bruises.
February 7, 2007 I spoke with Donnie Bumgarner about their failure to disclose to the Psychologist that I had been instructed by them to get pictures of the bruises; he told me that he would have Mary Henderson call me. I called Mary Henderson and asked her why they did not inform the Psychologist that I was told by Allison Baker to get her pictures of the bruises, she admitted that I was told to get pictures, but not videotape. She also stated that she would call Psychologist and inform him, but she never did. I recorded this conversation and gave a copy to the Psychologist.
I called Raleigh and complained about the Wilkes County Department of Social Services, again. It was admitted to me that in the beginning of this case they had failed in their duties, but they did not need to inform the Psychologist that they told me to get pictures and that I should trust them. I can not trust them because they have failed to protect my stepdaughter as they are required to do by law.
February 13, 2007, my husband’s last appointment with The psychologist, Dr. Powell and my MMPI 2 test, which I completed in less than 1 hour.
February 23, 2007, my stepdaughter missed a scheduled appointment with the psychologist.
March 20, 2007 I e-mailed Donnie Bumgarner, in it I asked him the following questions:
What was occurring with our report of abuse against the mother?
When the psychological evaluation would be complete?
Why the report against us was screened in, after being screened out by Surry County?
Why the retaliatory report against us had not been unsubstantiated yet? Especially since two different workers had been to our home and completed a Safety Assessment, and found our home and us to be safe and appropriate, obviously these workers could tell that the report against us was a lie.
Why Renae Steele, had not sent us a copy of the Safety Assessment as she said should would when she did it.
In this e-mail I also point out that per our last conversation he had stated that he would have Renee Steel call me, which she never did, I also pointed out that it had been over 6 month since we made our report and it should not take that long to make a decision, just as it should not have taken Allison Baker over 2 months to go to the mother’s home. I also stated the following:
‘I am still very concerned about the way your office has handled this investigation. The comments that have been made to us by Mary Henderson and Sonya Freeman, have been very bias in nature and should not be ignored or blown off with a comment such as ‘I am sure those comments made this more difficult for you.’
Enough is enough, either substantiate the abuse and neglect against the mother that we have proven to your department or don’t. But make a decision, and allow us to set a court date so that we can at least try to protect these little girls through the legal system. Our court hearing has been postponed until you make your report. It should have been completed months ago. I know for a fact that we have enough evidence of abuse to prove it in court.
We have cooperated with you fully and done everything that you request we do, even though we should never have been investigated by your department at all. We reported abuse as we are required to by law and in turn you have allowed us to persecuted for speaking up. In my opinion your departments handling of this case has enabled the abuse of these little girls to continue and given the mother a heads up on how better to hide the evidence of it.’
March 29, 2007, I spoke with the psychologist’s office, my stepdaugher still has not made an appointment. I called to speak with the Donnie Bumgarner, but was put through to Mary Henderson instead. ( This call is recorded.) I asked her why they had done nothing about the mother not taking my stepdaugher to the psychological evaluation, I also asked if they had considered that she might not be taking the girls on purpose and Mary Henderson stated that they had considered that possiblity. I asked what they were going to do about it. I also told her I felt that the Wilkes County Department of Social Services was guilty of negligence and failure to protect in their handling of this case.
Wilkes County DSS filed a Juvenile summons and notice of hearing (abuse/neglect/dependency) March 29, 2007 at 4:19 pm, directly after I made this phone call.
March 30, 2007, I spoke with the psychologist and he stated that he had reported all missed appointments to DSS, but he can’t make them come. He will give them a month.
April 2, 2007, We went to the Wilkes County Courthouse and picked up the petition filed by DSS on March 29, 2007 in it, it states that they are filing because:
‘The juvenile is a neglected juvenile, in that the juvenile is not provided necessary medical care. Specifically, on or about 8-16-06 to present:
stated facts filled in by DSS state:
In order to complete this investigation, a forensic interview with the families involved was reccomended. (Their spelling error) Parents are not following DSS reccomendations in regards to a mental health assessment for children and adults. Dad and step mom (us) have gone to the psychologist and finished their interviews. The mother and her husband continue to miss their appointments, and also not take the juvenile and her sister to theirs. The psychologist has called SWS supervisor Mary Henderson as well as SW Renae Steele to get the parents to come and finish the sessions. SW Renae Steele has tried on numerous occasions to set up a time to visit the mother and her family, with little cooperation.’
The name of the petitioner on this motion is Mary Henderson as authorized Represenative of the director. The correct box is checked. ( I guess she learned after that one case was vacated)
After this petition was filed the mother took the girls to The psychologist for their appointments and DSS dismissed the petition. How is it that they could file a petition for medical neglect for this, but not for the condition of the girl’s teeth and the mother’s failure to take them to the dentist?
April 16, 2007 DSS court hearing on the petition, the petition was dismissed per DSS request. Neither us nor our attorney, nor the father and stepmom of my stepdaugher’s sister were notified of the dismissal. Renee Steel would only talk to the mother and basically ignored the rest of us. So much for ‘family friendly policy.’
May 1, 2007 Appointment with the psychologist. My husband and I, The father and stepmom of the other daugher showed up, but DSS, specifically, Renae Steele and the mother did not. Since DSS, specifically, Renae Steele didn’t show up the appointment had to be rescheduled, and this after they had just filed a petition for the mother missing appointments with the same psychologist…. a complete waste of our time and gas money. My husband also lost his job due to missing work to make this appointment.
May 4, 2007 Appointment with the psychologist. My husband, me, The father and stepmom agains showed up, the mother was again a no show and DSS, specifically, Renae Steele was 1 and a half hours late. During this meeting we were told that the mother has a severe personality disorder that no amount of medication or therapy can help. We were also told that the psychologist could find no evidence of abuse or neglect. I was told by the psychologist that the videotaping had an adverse effect on my stepdaughter’s wellbeing. And my husband was told that it was wrong for him to call his daughter and leave a message stating, ‘hey baby, its daddy, I love you and miss you, see you soon.’ Because it upsets the mother’s significant other. Renae Steele lay, slouched down in her chair the whole time, to the point that the Dr. Powell finally asked her if she was going to go to sleep. Dr. Powell rushed us out the door because he needed to pick up a prescription, but before he could leave me and the other stepmom asked him point blank, if the girls needed counseling, to which he replied, NO.
I think I should point out here that the pick up and drop off’s occuring at the police department were court Ordered, by Judge David V. Byrd as were my husband’s phone calls to his daughter. He was ordered phone visitation at least 2 times per week. So they are also stating that the court was guilty of neglect for ordering it. That would be my opinion.
Dr. Powell, also condemned me for calling the mother and informing her of two dental appointments and that we would not be helping her pay for the next one because we had paid to have the teeth extracted. He quoted annimosity on my part. These phone calls are recorded and I can assure I did nothing wrong, all I did was try to get the mother to take the child to the dentist and tell her that it was her turn to pay, since we had paid the last time.
First I might have been snotty, but I was the one who witnesses the pain my stepdaughter went through having teeth I and J extracted, I was the one who heard her scream and held her when she cried. I think after experiencing that I had a right to be a little upset about the neglect her mother had put her through for not taking her to the dentist.
Second, no one has ever stated that my stepdaughter heard these messages, therefore it had no effect on her at all. But if I had not set up appointments for her dental care, if I had not have pushed the issue then I would have been just as guilty of neglect as the mother. Someone had to make sure this child got to the dentist.
If I had not had pushed the issue, who knows when her mother would have taken her to the dentist. My stepdaughter’s sister didn’t finally get to the dentist until her last appointment with the psychologist, almost a year after DSS received the report from her dad and stepmom about her.
June 19, 2007 We received letters in the mail today from DSS stating that we had been substantiated against for emotional abuse. It states:
‘This letter is to notify you that our agency has completed the child protective services investigation on the above-named children, and after careful consideration or recommendations from the psychologist, we found evidence of emotional abuse. Therefore, the case is being substantiated against you. This case will be tranferred to a treatment Social Worker. Please contact this agency if you have questions.’
It is signed by
Renae Steele CPS SWIII and Mary Henderson Social Worker Supervisor
On June 22, 2007 I sent the director an e-mail and asked to appeal the substantiation against us. It stated:
‘Dear Mr. Bumgarner:
We want to appeal the decision your office has made against us. This finding does not follow DSS policy and neither has your office in the course of this investigation. I would appreciate it if you could send me the information I need to appeal this. I believe there is a time limit on appealing these decision, so your quick response would be deeply appreciated.’
On June 29, 2007, We received a letter from the Donnie Bumgarner stating:
‘On behalf of the Wilkes County Department of Social Services, I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that I have reviewed the Child Protective Services Investigation involving the above named child. The decision to substantiate emotional abuse against you was mailed by mistake and I apologize for this error. The Department of Social Services did find evidence to substantiate neglect against you due to the child living in an environment injurious to her welfare.’
July 2, 2007 I again wrote to Mr.Bumgarner,requesting to appeal his decision. I also informed him that his department’s decision does not fit the criteria of North Carolina’s Welfare Policy or the criteria of the North Carolina General Statutes. I further stated:
‘I have thoroughly investigated Welfare policy and law since the beginning of this case. During my research I found that your substantiated finding of neglect against us does not meet the criteria of neglect under North Carolina policy. I am again asking you to review your findings and to remove these findings against us. I feel that your findings are based on retaliatory motives because we have complained about your department and your failure to follow welfare law, state law and policy. I believe you are trying to find us guilty of wrong doing to discredit our complaint against you. Your inability to ‘pick’ an abuse that we have committed, proves this point to me.’
On September 20, 2007 I received a letter from Donnie Bumgarner, that stated:
‘Re: Review of Neglect Substatiation
I would like to take this opportunity to inform you that the Wilkes County Department of Social Services has reviewed, as requested, the decision to substantiate neglect against you due the child living in an environment injurious to her welfare. Following the review, it has been determined that the decision to substantiate neglect should not be changed. I trust this information will be helpful to you.’
I have written to The director several more times, asking the the substantiation be removed from us. My request December 13, 2007 was after finding the forged safety assessment. It stated:
‘Dear Mr. Bumgarner:
I am once again writing to ask you to reconsider your finding of neglect against us. I think in light of the current situation it is only proper for you to do so. I am of course referring to Allison Baker’s forging of my husband’s name, falsifying a safety assessment and arrest for Felony Obstruction of Justice.
I think it is also important for you to consider the following.
First, The psychologist’s findings in his report are different from what he stated to us. He did not include the fact that the mother has a severe personality disorder that no amount of therapy or medication can help. Dr. Powell also stated in his report that the girls needed therapy, but We specifically asked Dr. Powell if the girls needed any therapy and he told us no. Also Allison Baker was the first person to meet with the doctor and I have serious concerns about what she may have told him.
Second, I think that Linda Brooks and your department are now fully aware of who the instigator is in this situation. If the mother will not co-operate with DSS, who can take away her children, why do you believe that she will work with us?
Finally, the findings that you have listed do not meet the statutory requirements of neglect, you can not find people guilty of neglect because they do not get along with the other parent. If that was the case you would have to file against anyone going through a custody dispute or divorced. We have tried repeatedly to get along with the mother, we do not talk to her because when we even say hello she is verbally abusive to us in front of the girls.
I think with out a doubt considering the arrest of Allison Baker, that you and your department need to admit that this investigation was tainted, bias and improper, you cannot, therefore in good conscience keep the neglect substantiation against us. It is wrong, you know it, I know and other people are beginning to see it too.’
Then after receiving yet another letter from Mr. Bumgarner, stating that they would not remove the substantiation against us, I wrote January 29, 2008:
‘Dear Mr. Bumgarner:
I received your letter RE: Review of Substantiated Child Neglect Investigation, today January 29, 2008 and I must say that I am very disappointed in your decision not to change your findings in light of Allison Baker’s arrest and the forged document by your department.
Yes your department, Allison Baker was your employee and you are responsible for her actions. You will not even admit that your department’s investigation is tainted by her actions, you will not admit or take responsibility for what has occurred in this case and that is wrong. You expect everyone else to be accountable for their actions, admit what they have done wrong and fix it, but when it comes to you, your employees and your department you will not admit your wrong doings, accept responsibility or even apologize when you have wronged someone.
Your department has wronged us! Your substantiation against us is unfounded, need I remind you that the first sentence in the psychologist’s evaluation is ‘ I could find no evidence of abuse or neglect.’ Furthermore you are relying on Allison Baker’s investigation and I believe it has already been proven that she was not doing her job and breaking the law.
I am once again asking you to remove the substantiation against us, , you cannot substantiated against people merely to cover your own wrong doings. Your neglect finding against us DOES NOT meet statutory requirements, it is unfounded, it is I believe an abuse of power, used only to discredit our complaints against your department.
I believe you need to step out of our case and assign it to a different county, you and your department are bias against us, Allison Baker has been arrested and charged for her illegal activities and I believe that others in your department were directly involved in her wrong doings and knew about them, yet you do nothing.
If justice, fairness and doing what is right is your intention you will remove the substantiation against us and admit the wrong doings in your investigation.’
We still have not had a response to this last e-mail as of this date, May 5, 2008.
We have complied with everything that DSS has ever asked us to do. Even though we do not agree with their decision, we have allowed Linda Brooks (from WCDSS) and Nikki Hull, from Surry county into our home, we have done a case plan, the works. We did all of this even though we have done nothing wrong. During the ‘family treatment’ the mother has still failed to comply and/or work with DSS. They have had to fight with her every step of the way! They cannot even get along with her, yet they substantiate neglect against us because, ‘we can’t get along.’ I dare say then they need to substatiate against themselves and any person going through a divorce or child custody dispute.
I e-mailed the director again on April 23, 2008. It stated as follows:
‘Dear Mr. Bumgarner:
I am once again writing to you to ask you to remove the unfounded substantiation that you and your department have made against us. The substantiation of neglect for an environment injurious does not met statutory guidelines…nor does it fall under any decisions in case law. I have researched this thoroughly and cannot find any law or case law that states that the parents inability to get along constitutes neglect.
Furthermore, we did not do anything to have a substantiation of neglect found against us. The only thing that we did was try to protect these little girls. As I have stated before, we do not cause a scene in front of my stepdaughter, we do not yell, scream, cuss, or any such thing in front of her or any other child. You are punishing us for the mother’s actions and that is wrong.
I would also like to point out, that even though we have disagreed with your decision and believe it to be wrong, even though one of your caseworkers committed a crime against us, even though we know that we have done absolutely nothing wrong. We have continued to work with DSS, never once have we refused to do anything your agency requested of us. Even though we feel that your department has judged us unfairly, conducted itself in a bias and unethical manner, and that your department has constantly broken welfare policy and statutory law, we have still tried to work with you.
The mother on the other hand has not complied with anything you have ever asked her to do, until she was threatened with court action. I have stated it before, if she will not work with you, when you can take her children, then how do you expect us to work with her. She has been difficult for your own employees to work with, even though she knows that you could step in and take her children at anytime.
We have tried everything in our power to work with the mother, she is not capable of working with anyone. Yet you still refuse to see that we are not the problem here. We are basically victims of a controlling, demanding, verbally abusive person, who has a severe personality disorder. Every action that we have taken has been a form of protection.
We reported child abuse and neglect to try and protect these little girls, we videotaped the pick up and drop offs to protect ourselves from prosecution, due to thr mother’s lies, she would lie and say that my husband or me was threatening her, cussing at her and it wasn’t true, but without the tapes we would not have been able to prove it. He could have gone to jail because of her malicious lies.
I videotaped the bruises on my stepdaugher to have proof of them, so that we could protect her. I did this under the advisement of your social worker and you persecuted me for it. What else was I supposed to do, when I called and reported the bruises and no one would come to the house, no one would help us protect her. No one cared, no one seemed to notice that the videotape did indeed show a child with bruises, exactly as I described.
I have attached some of the welfare policy here in order to show you that nothing we have done falls into the category of environment injurious, as a matter of fact, we have done nothing that falls into any category of abuse or neglect! The substantiation against us is wrong and it should be removed. Agencies are expected to adhere to laws and policies when administering and designating CPS roles and responsibilities. This has not occurred in this case.’
On April 28, 2008 I was informed by Linda Brooks, that they are closing the case. She said they did not care if the family treatment was completed or not, for her to close the case. All should would state was that it had come from high up. I asked her what our risk assessment was and she stated that it was low and I then stated that they never should have substantiated against us, according to their own policy. She also stated that the mother’s was not high, but it was not low either. Linda Brooks also stated that she is to have the case closed by Friday, but she wasn’t sure if she could do it because she had to write the case summary for the Judge.
I requested a copy of the risk assessment, the strengths and weeknesses and a copy of her summary to the Judge. I have mixed feelings about the closing of our case. I am happy that they are closing it, because against us and the other father and stepmom, it never should have been opened. We never should have been substatitated against. I am also upset that they are closing the case against the mother, she has never complied with them at all and it is my belief that they should have filed a petition against her a long time ago. Also so long as DSS was involved the girl’s were at least watched somewhat by them. I stated this to Linda Brooks, not in so many words, but I told her my concerns.
I have had no response from Donnie Bumgarner, regarding my last two e-mails.
May 16, 2008, I received a letter from the Wilkes County Department of Social Services informing us that the case had been closed it states:
‘Dear father and stepmom,
I am writing to inform you (both) that on May 14, 2008, Team 1, Children Protective Services Unit, closed the case on your child(ren) due to: Your willingness to pursue counseling for your daughter, thus lowering her risk factors, your expression of concern and determination for Lydia to receive assistance in her school work, and monitoring her care from her mother.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at phone number .
Team 1 In Home Treatment/Social Worker
Team 1 CPS Supervisor’
Now why, if the mother is such a responsible parent, do we need to monitor my stepdaughter’s care from her?
Furthermore, in the Family Risk Assessment of Abuse and Neglect that I requested and received a copy of the same day. It states that we only ‘minimally participated in pursuing objectives in service agreement. This is an outright lie. WE always complied with anything and everything that they asked us to do. For the Risk Reassessment dated 11-07-07 it states as a reason for Discretionary override: age and previous report static but not pursuing all goals outlined in cft of 9-11-07…there was no cft on 9-11-07, or 11-07-07 the cft wasn’t completed until 1-08-08 two months later.
On this assessment we had a total score of 3, mainly just because of this lie. This is just them trying to justify leaving this case open against welfare policy. They use the same reason on 3-27-08, but in this one they do not mark R8 and R9 with (b) Minimal participaion in pursuing objectives in service agreement…….1…So I guess basically the only reason it was left open then is my husband’s age. Under 29…we had a 1 on this reassessment.
Everything that they have said and done from day one has been a policy violation, they have lied, deceived, forged documents, broke the law…everything. Yet no one will do anything about it.
I mean after all they made us into child abusers to ensure that no one would take our complaints too seriously! WE ARE NOT CHILD ABUSERS…we are trying to protect these little girls. We would not go through the lengths that we have to get this story out and have them investigated if we were. We have been treated like our voice doesn’t matter, I mean they are DSS, they never do anything wrong and we must be just disgruntled ‘clients.’ Well we are not disgruntled ‘clients’ we are victims of their violations and lies and according to the DA handling Social Worker 1′s case, victims of a crime committed by their department.
On May 21, 2008, I received a letter from Nikki Hull, the Surry County Social Worker assigned to us by Wilkes County. This letter contridicts and proves that the Wilkes County Department of Social Services lied during their assessment of our case. It states as follows:
‘Dear Mr. and Mrs. :
The starting point for asessing a family’s readiness for termination of protective services is based on the family meeting specific objectives designed to alleviate the problems causing abuse or neglect in the family environment. Surry County has been a point of contact in you case based on a decision made by Wilkes County DSS.
On 1-08-08 the Wilkes County DSS developed a Family Services Case Plan with your family. Your family has been compliant with all recommendations made by Wilkes County DSS and have attended all scheduled meetings for child safety planning.
On 5-14-08 Wilkes County made a decision to close the In-Home services for your family. The Surry County Department of Social Services agrees with the decision that the your family has satisfactorily met the goals set forth in their Family Services Case Plan and achieved a safe environment for their children. Since no other problem has emerged that would interfere with this family’s ability to provide adequate care and supervision to the children, it is the Surry County Department of Social Services final opinion that your family is ready for the next phase of protective services, ‘Termination’.
On 5-14-08 Case # 44, 541 was terminated for Child Protective Services. There will be no further contact with your family regarding the issues taht led to the Department of Social Services involvement in the above-mentioned matter. Please feel free to contact me if any needs arise in the future.
Social Worker III
Social Worker Supervisor’
We have voiced our complaints numerous times and we do not feel we are being listened to. I have contacted, North Carolina DSS, Specifically Phyllis Fulton, Paul Waddle, Edith Thomas-Pullen, Chris Downings office in Atlanta GA, Carlis V. Williams head of AFC in Atlanta, Ruth Parker in Atlanta GA, Mike Levitts office in Washington DC. and numerous other people who will not do anything to rectify the situation. They will admit that what has been done is wrong, but tell us to call someone else. The lack of reponsibility in this case is mind boggling and quite frankly, in my opinion, idiots are running the services that are suppose to protect our children and failing miserbly at it.
We also feel that there is a whole lot of ass covering occurring in this case, at all levels. This in not just a simple case of a Social Worker breaking the law, but a complete and total miscarriage of justice. We have been maliciously prosecuted by WCDSS, without even the benefit of a trial, we have been found guilty of, in our opinion, one of the worse things you can be found guilty of. WCDSS needs to be investigated for their handling of this case and for many other that I have heard of since I began researching them. WE want the substatiation against us removed, we did nothing wrong and should not be punished for the actions of others.
The only time anyone shows the slightest concern for DSS policy violations is when a child that they have received reports on dies…it should not take that long. The moment policy violations are brought to their attention they should be investigated, at even the hint of such a thing, they should be investigated. It is too late to save a child when they are already dead. A child should not have to die for an investigation to occur. When DSS acts as they have in our case, children die. When they make mistakes as they have in our case, it is the children who pay for it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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