xjmrufinix (xjmrufinix) wrote in _survivors_,

Kid in trouble, I need advice

I haven't been too active here lately due to my life being hectic, so I apologize for that, but I was hoping someone here might have some useful advice for an abusive situation my family is involved in.

So I'm going to try to make this as brief as possible because I really need advice more than I need to vent.
I'm hoping that someone whose been through similar situations might be in this community and be able to help us figure out what we should do.

Last year my step-daughter's biological father abruptly appeared asking for custody after having almost no contact up until that point (she was 3 at the time). There was a history of domestic violence with my wife, but it occurred when he was legally a juvenile. He also raped her once shortly after my step-daughter was born by C-section but unfortunately she was too frightened of him to report it. Long story short, they granted him a brief period of supervised visits which quickly transitioned into unsupervised visits.

My step-daughter immediately began having behavior changes which concerned us; bed-wetting (she had NEVER done that before), nightmares, complaints about monsters, and fearful complaining before visits. We brought her to a counselor and shortly thereafter she complained to us that he had poked her in her private areas.

A 45-day CPS investigation followed and I think it was sort of botched since a social worker involved had to take three days off in the middle of the investigation, but they never got a disclosure from her and they had to drop it. We went back to court and managed to at least get the visits to be supervised when they started again. The supervised visits were a big problem, he was really hostile and would keep trying to get our step-daughter out of our earshot so he could yell at her for calling me Dad, which would cause her to cry and generally freaked her out and confused her since I'd raised her and he was basically an angry stranger.

Meanwhile, my step-daughter disclosed sexual abuse to a counselor at our town's youth services office. She reported this disclosure immediately and got no response. After making *18* calls they finally acknowledged the report and reopened the case, and then the next day it was closed again by a supervisor who was unwilling to override the judgment of the previous worker. An attorney was appointed as a guardian and she was initially supportive of us, but eventually grew frustrated with the case and recommended that they give him bi-weekly overnight visits and close the case. What is really upsetting about this is that she sat in on a counseling session in which my step-daughter disclosed the abuse.

Eventually the overnight visits started happening, and predictably the old behaviors started showing up again. She disclosed *again* to her counselor who made another report to DCF, who was this time obligated to open a new case since it was a new incident. We got a new worker who started off on a bad note by dismissing the counselor's report as containing "leading" questions, and then interviewed our daughter at school where she obviously was not comfortable talking, and tried to drop the case. At this point she was coming back from the visits reporting all of kinds of crazy stuff - being hit, being left alone, sleeping with him in his bed (prohibited by the visitation order), inappropriate touching - and so we made the reports directly to her supervisor and this got us a proper interview conducted at the police station. She discloses the abuse to the social worker, she issues a safety plan stipulating absolutely no contact. We feel relieved, think it's finally over, but then two days later we have a forensic interview with a new counselor while the state police watch with a camera. They make her wait two hours and by the time she gets in there she's miserable and doesn't want to talk and just complains about him being "mean". She immediately drops the case *again* and voids the safety plan. The only stipulation she orders is that our daughter and her "father" go to counseling together, which we have to set up since he doesn't have custody.

He starts calling my wife berating her for making him miss a visit by reporting him and demands a make-up visit. She comes back from that visit two hours late and with a big "c" shaped bruise on her cheek. He offers no explanation, and she is reluctant to say anything but eventually tells me that he hit her. We document it with a photograph, bring her to the doctor for a physical and have them report it to CPS. The worker calls us back and complains that he's "getting sick of CPS involvement" and tries to reassure us by saying that he has his mother supervise the overnight visits so there's no problem. The forensic counselor has us come back so she can talk to our daughter one-on-one, and she discloses sexual abuse. The counselor also expresses serious concern that CPS hasn't acted on the allegation despite 2 disclosures and makes a call. Then we try to set up family counseling for him, but the agency refuses, feeling that it's inappropriate give the allegations. The next week we go back to the forensic counselor. She discloses again, but CPS still hasn't responded to the first disclosure.

He misses a visit because both the kids are sick, and then a few days later he shows up unexpectedly at our house and starts banging on the door and trying to force it open. Fortunately it was locked. He stays for 40 minutes before the police come and make him leave. For about a week and half we hear nothing from him, then today he calls demanding a visit tomorrow and also claiming that next week he has an appointment scheduled with her. We called the agency to verify and they'd had no contact with him.

This is where we stand right now. We can use the weather as an excuse to delay the visit tomorrow, but we're in a bad spot. Obviously, we are totally uncomfortable allowing visits, and normally in this situation CPS would have intervened on our behalf, but we have no idea what's going on with them. By not sending her we are risking contempt of a court order - granted we have a lot of stuff to bring up in our defense - but we're still taking a risk. We don't know what to do. I want to take a stand and force him and CPS to answer for all of this in court, but my wife is scared of him and scared of court. On the other hand, he's so angry now that sending her to a visit is almost certainly going to subject her to abuse.

I tried to make this short but it's hard to cut it all down, so I really appreciate any one whose read this far. If you have any relevant advice on how to manage this, we'd really appreciate it.

EDIT: I've tried to use the more universal term "CPS" (child protective services), but I may have slipped and written "DCF" once or twice, which is my area's local name for the same agency.
Tags: abuse: child, abuse: csa, abuse: incest, child protective services, rape: intimate partner
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