A man who lost custody of his children because he had a relationship with a 16-year-old has reached an agreement with officials from Fayette County Children and Youth Services, and he could soon get his children back.
The stipulation entered in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh yesterday requires John Doe, as he is named in court filings to protect the identity of his children, to continue counseling.
He must also submit his home to a visit from CYS employees before the children are permanently returned. In the meantime, according to the agreement, Mr. Doe has unlimited, unsupervised visitation with his three children, who are 8, 6 and 5.
They have been living with Mr. Doe's parents since September 2006, after the 16-year-old girl's mother learned of the relationship.
She went to the police but was told no charges would be filed since the age of consent in Pennsylvania is 16. The woman then went to CYS and claimed Mr. Doe committed sexual abuse.
The agency immediately started an investigation and told Mr. Doe if he could not find someone to care for his children, they would be removed to emergency foster care.
He continued to have supervised visitation with them for nearly a year. But in August 2007, a new caseworker took over and ended the supervised visitation.
Mr. Doe didn't see -- or even speak with -- his children until the end of June, when he filed a lawsuit against CYS.
Sara J. Rose, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which is representing Mr. Doe, said that even with the agreement, the lawsuit will continue.
They are seeking to determine the constitutionality of the CYS policy that authorized the removal of the children, as well as receive monetary damages for Mr. Doe.
The counseling requirement in the agreement entered yesterday was not difficult to make since Mr. Doe has been voluntarily going to therapy for a long time, Ms. Rose said.
After he was told he could no longer see his children, Mr. Doe sought help for depression at Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services. That's where he'll continue counseling.
"It was something he decided to do," Ms. Rose said. "He recognized the need for that."
Mr. Doe's wife, from whom he is estranged, is currently living in a psychiatric institution, Ms. Rose said.
The reunification between father and children has gone well, she said, though there has been some difficulty for the youngest child.
That girl, who was only 3 when she went to live with her grandparents, did not have a strong memory of her father when they were reunited, Ms. Rose said.
"There's been some readjustment," she said. "He has been working very hard to re-establish his relationship with the kids."
After his children were removed, Mr. Doe moved into a smaller home. Now that his children will be returned to him, he plans to seek a new, larger place, Ms. Rose said. He also will be starting a new job to earn more money and work better hours.
He currently is a garbage collector but will be starting a job with a well-drilling company, she said.
Paula Reed Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2620.
Link - Man reaches agreement with CYS, to be reunited with kids
My Two Cents..
I get it now.. see last post I must have been confused.. I didn't realize that if I shot the *&%$ or slept with a 16 year old... I wouldn't be going through this insanity fighting to see my kids.. our wonderful just, and fair courts would have given me back my children YEARS AGO!
Man.. and here I thought the right way to get custody was to go through our honest fair and just court system...
YES THAT WAS TONGUE IN CHEEK!