Friday, October 5, 2007

Iris update, still not funny

The social worker from DSS came yesterday afternoon. Iris was home because she had been grounded. Predictably, Iris' mom was not. The social worker, Latrice, talked to Iris at her house for a while (Iris later told us she was asked how often she was left alone and other questions related to her care, and thankfully, Iris appeared to have no interest in covering anything up), and then, because, once again, there's no phone in the house, Iris brought the social worker over to our house so she could call the mom.

Latrice left a message--perhaps mom's cell phone was off because she was busy chanting at the Namaste Center--and told Iris to stay with us in the meantime. Stupid Daddy managed to touch base with her for a few minutes on the front porch while I distracted Iris inside. Latrice was shocked to hear about the additional 35 sentences for having had a second pencil. She also appeared to be stunned by what she had already seen and heard over there.

Latrice had some other emergency to tend to and indicated that she would be back to meet with mom as soon as she had heard from her. So Iris hung out here with Ezra (the other two were still in school), and they played "car trip" interspersed with "school." (I'm not sure how all that works, but they seem to get it.)

Sonya came back before Latrice, which sucked, because she showed up at our door with steam coming out of her ears, all, "Iris needs to come home NOW!" And yet when she spoke to Iris, she was all faux affection, like, "How was your day, sweetie?" in this exaggerated, syrupy voice, like somehow that was going to make up for years of abuse and Iris was going to tell Latrice never mind.

I called Latrice and confirmed that she was on her way. I also told her I was worried the whole thing would backfire and mom would get that much more punitive. She said, "Don't worry. I am going to be there a lot. I am going to be so involved in this case you're going to be sick of seeing me. And you can call me whenever you want."

Latrice showed up shortly thereafter, but not before Iris had had a chance to run back over to us and say, "My mom says I'm not allowed to play over here ever again, because you're becoming too much of a problem." Exactly what I was afraid of.

Stupid Daddy and I then brought Ezra to pick up Levi and Lilah, and we all went on a family jaunt. When we got home at 7:00, Latrice was still there.

At about 8:00, Latrice called to let me know she had just left. She said there's a safety plan in place, and Iris will not be unsupervised anymore. Mom agreed that if she's not going to be around she will arrange with another adult to supervise. She also said she'd be back again today.

"So she's amenable to having Iris come over here again?" I asked.

"Well, not yet," she said. "I'm still working on that. I'm trying to help her see you guys as a resource. I told her, 'Your child loves going over there. Why would you deny her that?'"

(Answer: Because I'm batshit nuts, and I don't actually care about my daughter's well-being.)


My concern is that addressing the supervision issue without addressing any of the abusive behaviors will actually hurt Iris instead of helping her. Despite what Latrice said, I think Mom is too controlling and defensive to be asking us to help out, so if she agreed to make sure that Iris is not alone, it means she'll probably choose to spend more time with her herself--screaming at her, having her scrub the toilet, do the laundry (washer, dryer, folding, and hanging her mom's as well as her own), pick up other people's cigarette butts from around the property, write her sentences, and spend hours alone in her room bored to tears.

But Stupid Daddy says Latrice can only address so much at a time. And a friend who knows about these things said often a social worker will respond to a call and decide the agency's involvement is not really necessary, so the fact that Latrice told me she'd be over a lot suggests she has a sense that things are seriously wrong.

So that's all I got for you for right now.


BrianJ said...

Oh man...really heartbraking saga. Good look.

nejyerf said...

this just breaks my heart.

and what impresses me most of all is that you are actually taking some action.

so many times, people merely observe and critique situations and never really do anything about it.

but you are willing and DID stick your neck out for that little girl, without being a busybody but showing genuine concern.

you are the very definition of a "good" person.

thank you