How The County Stole My Children

LyraJubb&Kids

By this picture you would think that we are an average family getting our picture taken outside on a bright summer day. On another day you might be right, but on this particular day you don’t know the half of it. We have had a great day and are about to part ways. Everyone is strained and worried about what tomorrow will bring. At this point my children and I have been separated from each other for over a year. Each month we have a short visit and then they are transported to different parts of Mendocino County by employees of Children's Protective Services.

I was a victim of domestic violence for over 14 years and recently was awarded disability status under Federal Social Security Laws for a medical recommendation. Before I was awarded my benefits under federal law, I could not make enough money to support myself and my three children. Me and my oldest son had just recently, in 2011, suffered domestic violence. I called the police for help and CPS came and told me to leave my house and my trailer with nothing but a few suitcases and my children. They urged me to go to the local homeless shelter, which is full of drug addicts and mentally deranged men. I refused and stayed with a friend for a few nights. I continued looking for a place to put my trailer. When the abuser pleaded for me and the children to stay at a hotel across from his room and work, having no relations or job prospects, and in great desperation, I accepted the room and his apology.

I believed that this would ease my children’s and my circumstances when I drove to Juvenile Court with him and our 6 month old baby, believing that everything would be OK. When we arrived, one lawyer came in to talk with us. I thought that we could still be together and work out the complications. I was naive and desperate, and was told that, since I arrived with the abuser and failed to appear for court to get a permanent restraining order, that I was ‘failing to protect’ my children.

On October 26, 2011, my children were removed from my custody and I have been fighting for their return ever since. Although there were many occasions when I had stable and adequate housing, I was told that I was too late or that my disability was such that I was incapable of taking care of my children.

During the last four years I have attempted to remove all concerns regarding concern over the safety of my children. Despite my efforts, attendance, and cooperation with the county officials over the past four years, CPS has awarded my children to their fathers, who were the abusers. When this was not deemed safe, after many warning signs topped off by abusive explosions, my children have been removed and placed in foster care. ‘Why were they not placed with me?’you ask yourself.

I am disabled and have been trying to exist on $295.00 a month for three years. You try doing that and maintain impeccable attendance to every Court Ordered class and visit for any length of time.

When I received my Social Security I thought that my problems were solved. That was not the case. Although I owned my own trailer and then moved into a two bedroom house, paid for all the furniture, and continued to attend all classes and visits with vigor, CPS of Fort Bragg, now managed by the same worker who originally awarded my kids to their abusive fathers, felt that my use of medical marijuana and my humanitarian nature were too risky for my children to return to me.

After three years of AODP and attendance at AA meetings, I was still labeled an addict even though I had remained clean and sober for over a year. Prior to my children being taken from me, I had survived three major car crashes and over fourteen years of domestic violence. My doctors had tried a number of medications to relieve the symptoms of migraines, degenerative disc disease, anxiety and PTSD. After many trials and hospital stays, it was determined that medical marijuana was the only medicine that helped mitigate my disability symptoms.

When the children were removed from my care, I was told that I would have to stop using marijuana if I had any chance to have my children returned. I stopped using medical marijuana for two and a half years, (excepting some extreme situations, brought on mainly by CPS’s complete disregard for my children’s safety), as I faithfully continued to attend all of the classes, believing that my efforts would not be overlooked. This was not the case, as I continued to see that my parental rights were being trampled on, apparently due to the positive test result for marijuana in my urine.

Despite my current stability, both mentally and physically, through the use of medical marijuana, CPS has continued to allege that my condition and medical treatment will not allow me to be present for my children. I have never shown any lack of love or understanding for my children, have maintained an alert perspective during all our visits together, and have gone so far as to take classes at the local college to help me grow both mentally and physically, while investigating and understanding my own part as well as the mental health of my children and how I can better support their needs.

On July 10, 2015, I appeared in court to request return of my children to a two bedroom home where they would be safe and cared for solely by me, all paid for by HUD-Section 8 Voucher. This hearing allowed me to bring in supportive witnesses, one of which was not well, to testify to my care and devotion to my children. My lawyer was ill-prepared, and the social worker who left her job two days earlier, lied on the stand. At the end of the hearing the judge ruled to close my case and consider permanent placement of my children elsewhere. I stood up in indignation, asking the judge, “How can you make this decision? What about how the children feel about this? She did not tell you how my children cry when we part. She lied on the stand.” Or something like that. The judge looked me in the face and said, “Even if I had heard any of that I would still have made the ruling I have.” I walked out.

What else was I going to do? They have all of the power when I don’t have any money, family, or reliable friends to back me up.

Although I continue to see my children as little as once a month, I have been told that, in November of this year my children could be adopted out. This greatly concerns me because I will not be able to see them anymore until they are old enough to make their own choices, (that could be a while), and no one is telling them this information either. In the mean-time I have found a permanent home on the coast and continue to access services that are free to me.

I am a survivor of domestic violence and I have the right to care for my children. The rule is different and lies hold in Juvenile Court, as long as representatives of CPS are the ones that are lying.

Please help me right this wrong and bring my children back home. Children should be with their mother, as long as she loves them and is present for their needs. The state of California has made medical use of marijuana legal and this should not be used as a way for the government to steele children from their parents.

Please share this personal story with all who you think can be a part of the rationale movement for medical marijuana patients/parents with children. We should not be persecuted for our medical and religious practices in the United States of America.

Ed note: Because there's no independent review of the case Ms. Jubb has so poignantly outlined here, we won't ever know what the other side said. And we certainly won't know the judge's thinking. But we do know that the CPS office is dominated by people who should not have authority over others. Which is where the judge is supposed to come, but judges in Mendocino County seldom, if ever, overrule CPS, and I know of many cases where CPS should not only have been overruled, they should have been fired for gross incompetence.

Unless Ms. Jubb is shading the truth, it's clear she's made every effort to regain custody of her children. Her use of medical marijuana, legal in this state, should have no bearing on her case. Given the facts, all be them the mother's facts, and given the unstable nature of the foster system, these children should be returned to the one person in the world who loves them.

32 Responses to "How The County Stole My Children"

  1. james marmon   December 18, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Allowing these children to languish in foster care for 4 years is unforgivable. I doubt that the Agency ever intended on returning these kids to their mother. She had mental and physical disabilities, smoked pot, and allowed herself to become a victim of domestic violence. All of the above were considered risk factors.

    It doesn’t matter if you haven’t abused or neglected your children, all CPS has to do is convince the judge your children are “at risk.”

    It took them 4 years to finally get rid of this mom, she must have put up one hell of fight.

    The children should be taken away from CPS, they have caused tremendous harm to these children by not providing them with permanency or returning them home at an earlier date. The emotional impact on these children is going to be irreversible.

    The Agency allowed these children to maintain a bond with their mother knowing damn well they never intended on ever recommending reunification to the Court.

    I’m glad to see a judge change coming in January. Mayfield should have never let this go on for so long.

    The Ortwein kids are another example this type of crap. The same thing, 4 years.

    Reply
    • james marmon   December 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      Rule of thumb for parents:

      Mendocino CPS don’t usually take your kids for just smoking pot, but they’ll never return them to you if you do.

      Reply
    • Christina   June 9, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      anything i could say youve said
      and your still alive

      Reply
  2. Robin   December 19, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    It seems like she’s choosing marijuana over her children? That’s disgusting, here in Texas we would call that abuse on its own, your under the influence and not capable of making quick decisions. There has to be way more to this than said. A judge just isn’t going to remove children from their mother for the hell of it. What you do is get clean (including pain pills, and whatever else mind altering bullshit your on) and get your damn kids back. This pisses me off, I’d go through daily pain to fight for my children, I wouldn’t throw a pity party for myself daily knowing that my kids are somewhere else, having who knows what done to them on a daily basis, being exposed to who knows what. I damn sure wouldn’t stop trying though, and if a CPS person took my kids away, it’s probably for a good reason, I mean 4 years and you didn’t get your life straight all the while these kids are being raised by someone else? Really? No frigging way. Oh and get a damn job, of course $295 isn’t enough to live on, quit complaining and get a job like middle class. I don’t want to hear the pity party (daily pain bs) your kids are going through real pain, the pain of a mom not caring enough or being too damn selfish to slow down and look at the big picture, this is horrible to read and knowing there’s moms out there like this sickens me.

    Reply
    • Pamela Hunter   December 31, 2015 at 1:24 am

      Robin… you overlooked the fact that this woman is legally disabled. And you have to know not everyone can take pain meds…. or meds at all. I know because I deal with chronic pain myself and most meds have made me ill. The meds attacked my stomach, intestines and liver. Not everyone can take meds. And in this state Marijuana is a Medication. And if you did not read all the ways she did get her life back together. This is sad all around. And if you know anything… you can be totally bedridden and they will string you out for years before they finally will allow you to have disability income. You might want to try and walk in her shoes just a little. And for CPS to say she is putting her kids in danger by being around their abuser… and then giving the kids to the abuser. I do not think that makes common sense… Does it to you? So please stop taking up for the real abusers here… CPS.

      Reply
      • Kelli Perritt   May 17, 2018 at 9:02 am

        Amen!

        Reply
    • Christina   June 9, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      no frggin way huh? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT0p1KgJ7rE

      I can dollar you penny for penny on your budget btw

      Reply
    • Kelli Perritt   May 17, 2018 at 8:59 am

      Robin you have a lot of nerve judging this lady. You sicken me, knowing that you could just judge some one so quickly. CPS in Mendocino County Anderson Valley and Lake County make up lies and steal peoples children.
      This person did what she was suppose to do. CPS gets a bonus for every child that they steal and place elsewhere. So before you go running your mouth to someone that is already hurting, makes you a monster. Only God can judge REMEMBER? WHO IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? WHY DONT YOU GO GET A JOB YOU JUDGEMENTAL OLD BITCH ! UNTIL YOU’VE WALKED IN SOMEBODY’S SHOES, IF YOU HAVE NOTHING NICE TO SAY DON’T SAY NOTHING AT ALL YOUR MOTHER TEACH YOU ANY MANNERS ?

      Reply
  3. Kimberly   December 19, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    I know this all too well. You don’t even need to use drugs or alcohol for the county to keep your children. All’s needed is just another person to want them and then your doomed. Poor children suffer. They’ll be messed up for years. So sad the trauma this causes them. I don’t know how cps and court workers and judges lay there heads to sleep at night with such dirty corruption they do to families.

    Reply
  4. james marmon   December 23, 2015 at 10:53 am

    The problem with Mendocino CPS is that they have a hard time with their decision making process. Decisions are being made without the proper use of the Structured Decision-Making (SDM) assessment tools.

    For proper use of these tools it is crucial that trained qualified staff are conducting the assessments. The reunification assessment tool will help staff determine when to let go of a kid or not.

    When a case is 4 years old, it tells me that the tools were not used properly or they were completely ignored.

    The Agency is quite aware of the problem and that is why they don’t rely on them (the tools). They simply don’t trust the them or themselves. The agency then takes a “better safe than sorry” stance which leads to all kinds of confusion in the courtroom. Facts don’t seem to match the recommendations.

    Parents are doing everything they’re supposed to be doing, but they still don’t get their kids back.

    Parents with mental health issues are too risky for the Agency. It’s sad, especially since they know they don’t have adequate outpatient mental health services in place in the first place.

    The fates of these parents with mental health issues are usually pre-determined by the Agency’s decision makers, not social workers. Because these decision makers are so concerned with risk, unqualified social workers are then tasked with building a case that will finally match the Agency’s pre-determined disposition.

    That’s what they call best practices. “Do what ever you can to make sure these kids never return to their parents.” “We don’t care how long it takes.”

    They are more concerned about their own risk factors than they are for the children they serve.

    I have a solution. Hire qualified CPS staff and provide proper outpatient mental health services to these parents. That is how you reduce everyone’s risk factors so that we’re not screwing up a bunch of kids’ heads in the process. Foster care or adoption is not always the solution.

    Mendocino County is discriminating against the mentally ill, plain and simple.

    Reply
    • james marmon   December 23, 2015 at 11:34 am

      The unqualified social workers have no idea what they do is illegal. They think they’re protecting the hell out of these kids. They’re superheroes.

      Reply
    • Pamela Hunter   December 31, 2015 at 1:29 am

      I agree with your conclusion. You would think they would be doing this already.

      Reply
    • Jane Doe   May 17, 2018 at 9:14 am

      You’re absolutely right and here it is 3 years later and they still haven’t done anything to change are unqualified workers.
      There’s a worker here in Mendocino County that I was in jail with that was so off-the-hook wasted with blue hair and criminal cases with her mom was a dumpster diver and now she’s a worker and I’m sure she’s CPS worker with no college experience They even stoled some ones baby and gave it to her. Her name is Robin so you’re right they are not qualified workers there.
      They don’t call you back they make up lies and they take kids that aren’t even at risk just to get there a little bonus and I hope and pray one day that it happens to them so they could feel some of the pain that they cause a lot of people and I hope they never get their kids back and I hope they rot in hell for stealing people’s babies they’re probably just pissed off cuz they can’t have their own!

      Reply
  5. Kimberly Ortwein   December 28, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    These kids are tortured and end up with mental health issues as adults in the long run. It’s a never ending cycle and these kids are place and forced to take “prescription drugs” that don’t let them develop normal and get told they’re ptsd or add/adhd. This is all to rake in the big bucks. I say pathetic that’s what it is.

    Reply
  6. Lyra Prism   December 30, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    I understand that there are concerns with regard to parents with mental health issues, however if those conditions are managed properly, many parents continue to care for their children effectively. I was not offered such assistance.

    Also, marijuana is not a drug. It is an herb and has no physical or psychological side effects if used properly. I have been monitored by three doctors and two therapists in conjunction with my medicine. People who think that it is better for parents to be on opiates have not done the research. Many opiates are highly addictive, impair judgement on many levels, and have a rather high mortality rate.

    Reply
    • Lyra Prism   December 30, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      No one allows themselves to become a victim of domestic violence. It is a sad reality that people still believe that there is fault on the part of the victim.

      Reply
      • Jane Doe   May 17, 2018 at 9:15 am

        Amen!

        Reply
    • Pamela Hunter   December 31, 2015 at 1:37 am

      I like that you pointed out about opiates for treatment for pain over marijuana. CPS would have looked on her better if she were taking meds that would then make her an addict. And the Medical system is doing just that by the handing out of opiates like candy. But others, like the woman above from Texas would look on someone taking opiates as OK… but then be real judgmental of someone on marijuana. What… JUDGMENTAL IGNORANT IDIOTS.

      Reply
  7. james marmon   December 31, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Here’s one of my brothers in arms’ from Texas. He says that 85 percent of Texas CPS’s cases are for marijuana use. I wonder how much of their pot is coming from us here in the Emerald Triangle.

    CPS Whistleblower Exposes CPS’s Corruption, Kidnapping, and Drugging of Children.

    Reply
  8. james marmon   December 31, 2015 at 8:42 am

    “The right to care for and raise one’s own children is among the most fundamental rights parents have. Parents with disabilities frequently experience discrimination in child protection proceedings based on stereotypes and presumptions about their parenting capacity. Despite these persistent stereotypes, individuals with disabilities are capable of caring for their children, particularly with appropriate services and supports when necessary. Yet parents with mental health, cognitive, or other disabilities often find themselves fighting to maintain custody of their children or prevent their parental rights from being terminated.”

    http://www.drcnh.org/familylaw.html

    Reply
  9. james marmon   December 31, 2015 at 8:46 am

    “Some state laws cite mental illness as a condition that can lead to loss of custody or parental rights. Thus, parents with mental illness often avoid seeking mental health services for fear of losing custody of their children. Custody loss rates for parents with mental illness range as high as 70-80 percent, and a higher proportion of parents with serious mental illnesses lose custody of their children than parents without mental illness.”

    http://www.healthyplace.com/parenting/parents-with-mental-illness/parents-with-mental-illness-and-child-custody-issues/

    Reply
    • james marmon   December 31, 2015 at 9:13 am

      In Mendocino County, mentally ill parents are even more likely to loose their children to the system. We have no services for them.

      In another County there was a judge who refused to move forward with cases against mentally ill parents until the County Agency made appropriate services available.

      Jennifer Cram, the mother of Baby Emerald who was murdered in foster care, recently had another child taken from her. She had an appointment with Otner but missed it. She claims that she “completely spaced it out.” She received no phone call prior to the missed appointment and no call afterwards to reschedule.

      Well, we all know now that Ortner doesn’t do any outreach, because phone calls are not billable. She and baby Dean were left homeless to wander the streets of Ukiah without proper supports. It was only a matter of time before that baby was removed from her care.

      She said that she had attended one of Ortner’s screening interviews and was promised all kinds of help, they were going to reassess her meds and find her housing and so on and so on, none of it ever happened.

      I have talked with several women who have experienced discrimination from CPS for their mental health issues, and I will tell you right now, none of them are stupid. They know that they are being discriminated against and are all refusing to give up.

      I hope that the new CPS judge taking over next week will have more compassion for parents with mental illness. That’s my wish for the new year.

      I

      Reply
  10. james marmon   December 31, 2015 at 10:44 am

    “The small town of Ukiah, California was once home to the Mendocino State Hospital for the Insane. The hospital itself sat among lush forests painted against a backdrop of picturesque mountains, but within its walled gardens, 113 men and 51 women were sterilized without consent up to the year 1939. Though these figures are much lower in number than other institutions such as the Patton (1,693) and Stockton (1,455) State Hospitals, the Mendocino State
    Hospital is emblematic of the eugenic landscape of California between 1909 and 1979. Among forests and rolling hills you could be committed six times for fleeing home in a “nude condition” because your husband “drank and bought lottery tickets” with such frequency that you “would go without meat for days at a time.” You might not officially be diagnosed for twenty years despite being subjected to repeated intelligence and venereal disease exams. Eventually, because you had been classified as “unfit,” “asocial,” or “promiscuous,” you might even be sterilized without consent.”

    http://www.whittier.edu/sites/default/files/media/history/JPaniagua_Constructing%20Eden.pdf

    From what I understand, thousands more mental health patients were sterilized in Mendocino from 1939 until its closure. For some reason those records are missing.

    I remember this shit going on, Judge Hale McCowen used to send bus loads of people out there. You didn’t dare act out.

    Now we have evolved to the point where we recognize that there’s money to be made on the children of mentally ill parents. They have become million dollar babies.

    Reply
    • james marmon   December 31, 2015 at 11:35 am

      THE ASYLUMS NEXT DOOR

      “Opened around the same time in 1893 was the Mendocino State Asylum for the Insane at Talmage, near Ukiah. The facility was intended to be the new overflow mental hospital for the state system, but records from the early 1900s show the great majority of patients came directly from San Francisco, for reasons not clear. Like the other hospitals it ballooned as its inmate population and staff grew to the size of a small town over the first half of the 20th century. But the story of the Mendocino Home takes several odd twists that Ripley might not have believed; for 25 years starting in 1929 it housed the criminally insane (a must-read story can be found here), then became an alcohol and drug rehab center during the 1950s and 1960s. In this era there were psychiatric residency and research programs that experimented with giving alcoholics massive doses of LSD. As the hospital was shutting down in 1972 because of a directive by Governor Reagan, cult leader Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple reaped a financial bonanza by setting up nursing homes to care for the former inmates. (It is also alleged that cult members who worked at the hospital before closing had stolen a stash of psychotherapeutic drugs like Thorazine and Lithium that would later be used to control dissenters at Jonestown.) Today the site is a Buddhist monastery that’s supposedly the largest Buddhist temple in North America.”

      http://comstockhousehistory.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-asylums-next-door.html

      Reply
      • BB Grace   December 31, 2015 at 11:56 am

        your post spurred my imagination Waldo: had the Talmage hospital structure remained, and the County turned it into a campus and recreation area with tours of the hospital, archives of State Mental Hospitals to do research, programs, speakers, events about good mental health, hmmm.. call it… Mental-cino jk, Mendocino County Mental Hospital Research and History Center. I bet it would be very popular, if done right, draw people from around the world..

        Reply
        • james marmon   December 31, 2015 at 6:38 pm

          People could come from all over the world just to look at us. Visit Mendocino.

          Reply
  11. james marmon   December 31, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    I had to be very careful growing up in Mental-cino, I was nervous. Being nervous was grounds for incarceration and possibly sterilization. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have my 2 daughters and 3 granddaughters today.

    And yes, i worked for the monks out out at the Temple one summer in the early 80’s and had full access of the facility. I thought to myself “what a wonderful place for a hospital.” It was still in pretty good condition then, but its history was not. There was a lot of pain and suffering that took place there.

    I’m hoping that Angelo, Cryer, Lowery, Mr. P. and the ASO’s will get out of our way, and let the right people take over. Your idea above would be very popular if done right.

    James Marmon MSW

    Reply
  12. brandy   June 9, 2016 at 4:10 am

    Riverside county did the same exact thing to me – took my children due to domestic violence. They made it imppssible to do all they ordered. They ended up spliting my children, telling my 15yo if they put the 3 oldest with thier baby sister that she couldnt guarantee their saftey. It was all a ploy to get the baby adopted out. 4yrs of fighting…I had another baby girl that they immediately took despite the fact that my “abuser” lived in a different state and I had all means to take care of her and I wasnt even given a chance to get her back. At the hearing that my parental rights were terminated for the two baby girls, I was given a chance or reunufication with my oldest daughters who are now home where they belong and have been home for 1 1/2 yrs. My oldest graduated high school
    This year withoutI one of her favorite people thier to watch – her baby sister ashley who she had an amazing bond with. Now they are home – the adoptive parents will not returnI calls so they can see thierI sister and the babys adoptive family has blocked all of us so we cant even see pictures of her online..
    I understand your pain and all I can do is suggest you appeal anything and everything you can…dont wait til the termination hearings, do it now.

    Reply
  13. Tina Mendoza   January 22, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    It is now 2019 and CPS in Fort Bragg are still corrupt…My sisters daughter was kidnapped by the father 10 months ago and he still has the child, cps gives my sister 1 supervised visitation a week..Father has tested postive for meth,is possibly sexually abusing my niece,Social Security fraud and much, much more but Fort Bragg sheriff’s, cps, and judges all turn there head the other way….They just keep giving my sister another court date every 2 weeks and nothing changes….Somebody please help!

    Reply
  14. Melissa Mosqueda   January 29, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    They did same to me . I live in fortbragg ca, cps don’t do there Job, as the father molesting my daughter, using her for her money, and food stamps he sick man. My little girl bellia is 6 yrs old. Father has full custody of her for last ten months. Jennifer Hamilton,and Rita are not doing jobs, he also using illegal drugs with my daughter sick sick!!!

    Reply
    • james marmon   January 30, 2019 at 8:23 am

      Tina and Melissa, you must have pissed off a social worker or two, the judge protects his social workers. If they don’t like you they will vilify you in court even if the child is at risk with the father. They never let the facts lead the case, instead they determine where the want the case to go and then select or make up what facts they want to include in order to get there. I’ve had 2 other calls from Fort Bragg in the last 2 weeks. The Fort Bragg office in the same shape its been in for decades, a big mess. I refer to them as the CNN of child welfare, they manipulate the facts as they move along “Fake Court Reports”,

      You can contact Ms. Jubb through the Reform Mendocino County CPS on their facebook site

      https://www.facebook.com/ReformMendocinoCountyCps/

      James Marmon MSW
      Former Social Worker V
      Del Norte and Mendocino County

      Reply
  15. Tina Mendoza   January 31, 2019 at 12:06 am

    My story was in reference to my sister Melissa, I live in Idaho and have been working her case from June to now. California laws, CPS, sheriff’s and everything is different there vs. here. I will continue to fight my sisters case. I have even asked for custody and they so “no” since I live in Idaho. Have court again tomorrow…Just pray for sister to get her daughter back…

    Reply

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