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deer in a cage

deer in a cage courtesy of freedigitalimages.net

This morning I got a call from a potential new client who had made an appointment but called to cancel because he wanted to “wait and see how it goes” with the social worker. This is the stuff that my nightmares are made of. A perfectly unsuspecting fawn is about to walk into the lion’s den and he doesn’t even know he is dinner.

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white vinyl fencewhite vinyl fence by digidreamgrafix at freedigitalphotos.net

I love boundaries. I love how they keep us safe, emotionally and physically. I love how we get to determine what our limits are as humans (and parents) and how our relationships become stronger and healthier once we get used to establishing and maintaining our personal boundaries.

The problem is that, for many of us who first start thinking about and setting our own boundaries, we can get a lot of push back from other people in our lives. If you were raised in a home with poor boundaries, you are likely to have a harder time recognizing your own boundaries and those of others. Children who grow up in a home with childhood emotional neglect or whose parent has a personality disorder struggle even more in this area. Boundaries are taught to children through modeling our own healthy boundaries and by helping children establish their own boundaries. Finally, the critical piece is allowing our child to assert their own boundaries and in our honoring them, even when we have other interests.

hurdle

hurdle courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

When I represent parents in CPS cases, the first thing I do is look at the family’s strengths and vulnerabilities. With my client as my partner, I strive to understand what has led the family into the dependency system. Together, we come up with a course of action to get the family and the child reunified and out of the system as soon as possible.

Over the past 10 years handling these cases, I have seen some patterns where parents struggle. These parents may be different but they run into the same road blocks. These cases are emotional and ripe with interpersonal conflicts. Here are some of the issues I see that can be barriers to reunification but can also be overcome:

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IRVINE

Alec Scott Abraham sped through a red light, mowing down a family in a Chevy Cruz, killing a 2 year-old girl and her grandmother, while seriously injuring the girl’s mother and 7 year-old brother last month. Abraham fled the scene of the accident. Detectives believe he stole a bystander’s mobile device and phoned a friend for help.

Abraham had been cited multiple times over the last year for speeding, and owned a highly modified Ford Mustang which was involved in the accident. Irvine Police Detective Jonathan Cherney says the department was able to track Abraham down by “pining” his phone. He was arrested in a park in Costa Mesa. Continue reading →

After being alerted to a fire inside an apartment on the 1900 block of Sherrington Place, police discovered roughly 25 marijuana plants. The plants were part of a cultivation project, however, one that police determined to be legal.

The Newport Beach Fire Department determined that a faulty electrical cord that may have been part of the growing operation was the source of the blaze. The Newport Beach Police were notified by firefighters after they had extinguished the fire and discovered the plants.

It’s rather surprising that NBPD did not pursue charges related to the cultivation. Newport Beach, known for its politically conservative city council, charged over 550 drug abuse violations in 2014 – second only to DUI charges.

frustrated woman

Frustrated woman courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I just finished watching the video about the diner owner in Maine who responded to a two-year old’s cries in her restaurant by pounding her fists on the counter and screaming at the toddler. The parents were upset and the diner owner insists she was righteous in screaming at a child because the parents should have taken the baby outside. What?

No, it is not okay to scream at babies– your own baby or other people’s babies. In fact, its actually not okay to scream at anyone. But especially not babies who are much tinier than adults, who are incredibly easy to frighten, who cannot regulate their emotions, who have no ability developmentally to understand that their crying is upsetting to another person, who are expressing their needs in the only way they can and in the way nature intended, and who are completely defenseless. No, it is never okay.

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24 year-old Richard Sandoval has been charged with 8 felonies related to his violent attempts at persuading his 18 year-old girlfriend to become his prostitute at a hotel in Garden Grove. Along with burning her leg with a blow torch, Sandoval threatened to kill the woman if she refused to engage sexual acts in exchange for money, according to the OC Weekly.

At some point during the event, Garden Grove Police were contacted and dispatched to the hotel room where Sandoval had taken up post. Inside the room Garden Grove Officers found scales, plastic bags, a large amount of cocaine, and the blow torch he had used to burn his victims leg.

Sandoval faces harsher punishment today than if he was charged with this crime only a few years ago. In 2012, Californians voted on Prop 35 and passed it with an overwhelming 81%, according to the Huffington Post. The proposition increases sentences for human traffickers to 12 year maximums, along with $1.5 million fines. Furthermore, those who traffic children could be sentenced to life in prison.

rage photo

“Cartoon woman rage” from freedigitalimages.net

Sometimes judges lose it. But did you hear about the family court judge who seems to have totally lost it in Michigan a couple weeks ago and sent three kids to jail who committed no crime?

When three kids under the age of 15 refused to see their father or, as the judge ordered “have a healthy relationship with” him, she sent the kids to juvenile hall. The judge also compared the kids to Charles Mansion cult followers and told the 15 year old she did not believe he was intelligent. She told him he would be incarcerated until he was an adult.

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He set fire to her hair, and threatened her with a firearm. Those are the injuries that Alejandro Flores levied upon his girlfriend on June 29th. The victim, who remained unnamed in police reports, reported that the two began arguing over a relative child and the child’s use of a pacifier.

Flores allegedly pushed the woman into a wall, hit her on top of her head, grabbed her by the neck, and she fell to the ground. Flores then allegedly dragged her into the kitchen and held her over a lit stove burner, causing her hair to catch fire. Following extinguishing her hair, Flores threatened the woman with a non-service weapon and physical violence if she reported the domestic violence to the police or if she left the home.

Flores also is accused of turning up the volume on the TV as the woman screamed for help, in an effort to prevent neighbors from hearing her.

After asking to see an iPad inside of a display at the Target store in Irvine Spectrum, three suspected thieves fled out of an emergency exit to a waiting car.

The getaway driver, Victory Rogers, was identified after investigators used surveillance footage of her vehicle from the store’s security camera. The four suspects were outside a Best Buy store in Moreno Valley at the time of the arrest.

According to police, the four were connected to 12 other thefts – a spree that may have begun in Washington state and touched Oregon, San Diego, and as far north as Stockton, California.