When They See Us Showcases Major Obstacles That Still Exist.

I wish I could tell you that cases like the Central Park 5 no longer exist. I wish I could tell you that all investigations are done with fairness, but I won’t insult your intelligence today. The movie When They See Us is a painful reminder that not everyone with a badge or a title can be trusted to work for the betterment of their community.

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I’m sure if you have been following my blog, you know my story. I turned in my badge over a year ago after I saw railroading techniques being used to trap minorities. It takes a strong person to go against their livelihood. In my situation, I transferred from another region because I wanted to move my family to a smaller town. I thought a smaller town would offer better people and a better foundation for my girls.

After I got here, I immediately started seeing issues. I came from a big city and investigations there weren’t easy. I was nearly raped, threatened by a weapon, and was even surrounded by racist at one point. Yet, I loved my job and I could see the good in helping out my community. I had a supervisor who clearly looked out for her community, she cared about trying to help children, and she cared about helping their families learn to rehabilitate in difficult situations.

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I came here with background in removing children from parents using cocaine and meth. I also had the removals that resulted in removals from people who no longer wanted to be parents. After I got here, my very first case was a case involving an African American mother from another state. She had relatives here and a mother hours away. Not only did she have a mother hours away, the children had a father who was trying to see how he could get in route to pick up his children.

While I was trying to work with the family on finding a solution my supervisor was trying to push a removal on the mother due to her getting arrested. Keep in mind, there was an aunt living in the household and people who could have been here within hours. The policemen looked at me and asked me if I was really going to let that happen, and I reaffirmed them that I would do everything in my power to stop it.

After going back and forward with my boss I was able to get her to work with the family until we were able to get the father or grandmother headed in our direction. The thing about removals is that they often do not get overturned. They last for at least a year and children are forced to stay in foster care. So, if there is a family member, we were taught to do everything within our power to unite that child with their family, but in this unit they didn’t do that. Even after this case was ready for closure, and the female had her children back in another state my supervisor was trying to get the state to take action against the mom. The state politely let us know that the mother was doing good and to bud out at this point.

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I have always been very careful about removals due to the stress that it places on the children. I removed only when I needed to and questioned anything that looked fishy even when it wasn’t my removal. A few cases later I came across a female who had just gotten out of the hospital. She tested positive for marijuana. Marijuana is not something that we remove for in the state of Texas. People get a quitting marijuana packet due to it not being crack or meth.

When I gave her an oral swab her medications that she had been given at surgery showed up. Keep in mind she had just been released from the hospital and her urine didn’t have any traces of those drugs nor the baby’s prior to or while giving birth. I still went on and confirmed with the nurses as to the type of medication that this lady was given. My supervisor wanted me to remove once again due to her results coming back positive even though she knew she had just had a c-section.

She swore up and down that a positive meant she had used something. I told her to google the medication and see what positives would show up and she did, but she still didn’t want to believe me or the medical professionals. I informed her that I wouldn’t be doing a removal because this mother wasn’t doing anything that warranted a removal. I even gave her another drug test which came back negative two days later.

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I have always had issues with investigators who removed and placed kids into foster care without trying to locate family members. She and others stated that it took too long. The process could take hours, but it was still worth it if you could keep the family together and maintain safety. She talked about how she would talk only to PDs who would lean towards removals because she didn’t want to do family placements. Again this is killing the families, but she didn’t care. Once she joked about being the Removal Queen. All I could hear was I’m messed up so many families due to not wanting to put in extra time on family placements.

We already knew that in most cases that minorities were targeted by false calls. Did you know that only 15 percent of CPS cases are real abuse? That means that 85 percent are lies and anyone can call in on people. While we have had some cases that were real, we have had so many more that were nothing more than vendettas.

Here’s the cold hard truth about cases in the black community and Spanish communities. When people look to remove often times these families will not be able to get their children back. If they have any sort of record dealing from old cases, criminal cases or people in the house with any central registry case they will be voided out as a potential caregiver. There are so many minorities with charges on them due to possession of marijuana, criminal trespass or failure to identify. Then if that doesn’t get them there’s a case on them for being victims of domestic violence.

They changed the regulation on domestic violence about 1 yr or 2 yrs ago. Prior to that if you were involved in a domestic violence relationship and were a victim they could put a reason to believe on you. So, the victim would get victimized twice. In some states they still do this, they still charge the victim with a reason to believe which knocks them out for any job dealing with children, or elderly. It also prevents them from taking family members if children are ever removed in the future.

I finally quit my job because of a case that should have been a removal, but my boss didn’t want to believe the children who were the victims in the case. I worked the case with at least three other law officials from two other states. The parent was a runner and drug abuser. She was grooming her children to be sexually abused while their father was looking for them. The father spent time in prison for manslaughter only because the state didn’t have a law on the books for self defense. I found out everything about the dad. He was a good hardworking citizen, paid his dues, took parenting classes, and even earned certificates. He had held down a job, his only true crime was being black and trying to stop a white man from killing him.

I found out that he had been looking for his children for years while the mother was letting them get beaten and molested. So, I let him take his children and my boss knew this, but you better believe she lied to the program manager about it. The program manager who was just as crazy as she was wanted us to get the kids back. Here’s the issue, because they didn’t want to remove those kids, they would have went back to the mom and the abuser. So, there was no way in hell I was going to do that. I called the dad told him to get a lawyer. Needless to say, anything else would have been just as crazy as the prior cases, so I quit soon after that case.

This father wasn’t going to be able to protect his children because of a conviction he got due to him trying to defend himself. He was already victimized by the system once and then we were going to let his children become victims of the system again. If you are poor, black or mentally ill the system will not work for you as it would for someone with a different stack of cards. Your only hope is to get a person who cares. When They See Us might be about the Central Park 5, but the issue is that, the stain of racism has soaked so deep into the fabric of what and who we are. It is in outcomes of child abuse cases, criminal cases and even family courts in some arenas. We have to understand that the fight isn’t over. There’s still work to be done.

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Using Disability As Cash Cow

Fair warning*** Some of you might not like the article of the day. However, it’s Friday, so you will get over it. When I first starting working in the social work field I was introduced to the disability cash cow.

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Before you get irate, I’m not talking about people needing help because they honestly need help. My mother worked most of her life, she got sick in her 50’s which resulted in her having to get disability. A few years after she got her disability, she died. I’m talking about people placing their children on disability as a means of income. There are some issues that will automatically give birth to the need of disability, however today we are talking about the ones that do not.

My first encounter with this situation started around 2012. I was at work and a lady entered my office with her three children. All of her children were under 7 and two of the three were diagnosed with disorders. In most cases, I haven’t heard of people giving children under five schizophrenia diagnosis. Yet, I am not a doctor, so maybe it happens. However, when I questioned the mom about letting her children attend school red flags started to show up.

She went on to talk about how she didn’t want them in a school and how the school wouldn’t be able to take care of them like she did. She was in a shelter and from what I could tell she had other people looking after her children most of the day. She then told me that she was getting around 1500 a month in disability and she was in the process of getting the youngest child placed on disability for their ADHD.

My daughter as many of you know suffers from ADHD/ADD and ODD. She was briefly diagnosed with having an intellectual disability until she was retested a couple of years ago. Around the time she received the intellectual disability diagnoses someone tried to talk me into putting my child on disability. I was told she would be able to get money because of that and her ADHD. I smiled and politely informed the person that I wasn’t placing my child on anything because I was going to help her learn how to control it.

Here’s the point, there are times when someone might need to get disability, but I would think long and hard about it before I sign any papers. Maybe talk to someone in legal. My daughter works and she plans on going to college to get a career. While her struggles have been real, our encouragement has been never ending. I always think back to the 19 yr I met years ago. She was bright, funny, and such a pleasure to be around. I would often make her read aloud in group when we went over coping skills. At first she was scared, but later she started to really shine.

I asked her why didn’t she think about going to college one afternoon. She then informed me that she had a low IQ which prevented her from being able to go to college. Apparently, her mother told her she was too slow and put her on disability with the help of professionals. Her mother was using her disability as a cash cow until she moved out of the house and then issues started because she wanted to work. We must always think about what’s good for our children and not what’s easiest for us.

Understanding Children

So, as many of you know I have been debating the idea of continuing my blog. After thinking about things for a while, I have come to the conclusion that my job isn’t done. There are still so many issues out there and parents need answers.

At any moment parents are championing their children. Some of us are able to do a little more because of who we are. I have come to the conclusion that my blog doesn’t just help me, it also helps those out in the world. At any given time, I have readers from Spain, Africa, India, Europe and of course the USA reading my articles. I have even had people start to follow my blog after I decided to call it quits. My journey can’t be over, because the challenges of being a mother are far from over.

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So, in the latest saga of momville. This is the newest issue. Just this morning, I had to write this email. Just because the year is almost over, doesn’t mean we can’t help to make the next one a little better for our children.

Thank you for reaching out to me. I am in the process of sending emails in regards to Ariana and how relationships with her teachers need to be a little more therapeutic in the future. I think it is important for you guys to understand who you are teaching, so, allow me to introduce you to my daughter. Ariana Santiago, your student was a happy go lucky child. She has dealt with ADHD, and ADD all of her life. She was diagnosed with having an IQ of 65 in the third grade. This diagnosis was very defining in our history because it introduced a new type of struggle. We had to reintroduce things to her that people had sworn she couldn’t do. In the end, it resulted in her being tested again some years later. Her IQ then went from 65 to over 70 which puts her still in a sort of a danger zone, but we are still working with her to overcome obstacles. Some of the things we were told that her IQ wouldn’t allow her to do was to use microwaves, cook using detailed recipes or even use money. Your class is important to her because it will help her to attain even more goals. My daughter is a work in progress. She was able to go from having an intellectual disability to not having one in three years.  


Now, while all of this is happening inside of her body, on April 4th in 2004, she was attacked by 11 girls. This set us back and even added another issue we were never prepared to deal with. She would then try to commit suicide twice that week as a result of how violent the attack was. She has since had issues dealing with children and social interactions. The schools back in Garland worked with her extensively as well as us. Now, I do not want to point fingers, but your class is important to Ariana. Yet, some of the interactions have to stop in order for your class to not become a constant trigger. One of your first encounters with her dealt with you getting the entire class mad at her which made them upset and react in aggressive ways which resulted in her running out of the class into the bathroom and breaking down on the floor. When she came home she talked about how it made her think about those 11 girls and feelings that we were fighting so hard to help her deal with. So, this latest issue with her bringing a pizza into your class which resulted in her getting suspended because she stated that she would not give it up, has placed us on edge. 


Firstly, Ariana now gets how telling you that she purchased it with her money wasn’t the wisest of words, yet she still doesn’t understand why others are allowed to have food in the classroom. As her mother, I have no issues with telling my daughter when she is wrong. As her biggest advocate, I must inform you that if you are allowing others to eat in your room , you are setting up a very confusing situation. I have asked for someone to come to the room from time to time to check in on the treatment of my daughter in regards to you. I am not sure why there are issues or even if there are issues , but since this is the level of your concern ” Hello, this is Mrs. Fyffe.  I am Arianna’s Culinary teacher.  How can I help?”. I thought it was only warranted to let you know. Being her biggest supporter and a blogger on special events, I hope you take the time to read articles on how to interact with children like her. https://shellzonit.com/2019/03/04/our-children-and-our-reaction-to-bullying/ I will also post this email and send it to all of the teachers who work with my daughter and I hope this will be the start to a better bully free zone for her at your school. Bullying is never okay, no matter who the bullying is coming from.

In case you need more clarification, I have posted my daughter’s medical report from the incident; in case you fear I am just blowing smoke. If nothing else comes from this communication, I hope you understand how important it is for you to help Ariana build relationships in that class and not use your power to bring her down.

Keep fighting for those kiddos. The year was 2014, sorry about the typo for all who sees the posting. The recipient of the email has the right date on the medical record. Sorry, and never stop fighting for your children. Be very careful and mindful if your child has a disability that their rights are always respected. We want to make sure that ALL children have the same respect in and out of the classroom.

Momville: Stories For Moms Who THOUGHT They Knew It All, Just Like I Did!!!!


“I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm
For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –

I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –

With Blue – uncertain – stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see -”
I heard a Fly buzz – when I died –

The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air –
Between the Heaves of Storm –

The Eyes around – had wrung them dry –
And Breaths were gathering firm

For that last Onset – when the King
Be witnessed – in the Room –


I willed my Keepsakes – Signed away
What portion of me be
Assignable – and then it was
There interposed a Fly –



With Blue – uncertain – stumbling Buzz –
Between the light – and me –
And then the Windows failed – and then
I could not see to see –

Emily Dickinson

I decided to start Momville after looking at all the stories I had posted in relation to my children. It’s not a self help series, it’s more of a series that shows, we aren’t perfect. Momville includes questions that come with parenting and issues with learning how to let go. I’m a mother of three girls and one of them is about to be married in six months. My youngest is 13 and many of my postings in Momville will be about raising that 13 year old and the 17 year old with their unique way of seeing life.

My youngest is a YouTube personality, she is also in tennis, theater, and choir. This is the first time we’ve had a child on a sport’s teem. My oldest daughter is pretty much a computer geek, and the middle one, wants to be a chef or an actress. She is in theater, culinary arts and her normal high school schedule. I spend a lot of time talking about mental health issues because I have that in my family. I don’t like to hide it because I know I’m not alone. Plus, I think it helps to know that others are going through some of the same situations that you might be going through. My nightly conversations all tend to be geared towards pushing down walls and letting people in.

The thing about Momville is that it’s here to remind people that we are human. I went from thinking I knew everything about being a GOOD mom to understanding that I wasn’t the best mom in the world. As a matter of fact, I was letting my job get in the way of being a mom. It took me seeing a family grieve over the death of their daughter to make me see mine in a totally unrelenting view. I knew from that moment on, there was no job greater than being the mother to my girls and being there in their times of need. So, enjoy the stories found in Momville and think of how you can make your own. Above all else, just know, we are all in this together.

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Please Remember The Greatest Will

After I left my job as an investigator, I promised to do something that would help to bring encouragement to families dealing with child abuse. I’ve always supported the idea of keeping children within the family if possible and this book really shows how one family risked it all to do that. I would love for you to read it if you find the time, but more importantly, I would love for you to understand the issue at hand.

There are so many children in the foster care system and many of those children turn out to be victims of street life. Many of the children run and we are now finding that they are also often pursued by sex traffickers. Children in the system are at a much higher risk of being recruited into that lifestyle due to them not having a way out of the system. It is extremely hard to place teens and if that teen has any mental health issues, it’s even harder.

If anything, I want to bring awareness to the fear of being separated through the eyes of a child and how certain areas remove without trying to keep the family together. My ex boss stated that she would purposely stay away from PD’s that wanted to try to keep the children in PCSP homes which is a placement option with family members or people close to that family. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when the family isn’t an option. However, if they can prove to be good, protective, and stable for these children, they should be viewed as an option. My ex boss would staff with removal happy PD’s and I found that alarming. She actually bragged about being the removal queen and staying away from PCSP’s which meant she was moving towards the state most of the time instead on trying to check family members out.

I had many arguments with people about doing the right thing instead of the easy thing. We really need to change the system and make sure all efforts are being made to keep children within their family units if the family proves to be safe. Write to your local leaders and talk to them about reporting, updated laws, and the need for new laws while dealing with social services. Nobody should be victimized twice.