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A Happy Mother's Day Greeting from Social Services

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Arthur when he was 8 years old. For mothers they are always our children

Two women, Michelle Hammond, and Lynn Sears, accompanied by a sheriff, Deputy Kemmerling, drove up to the house in two white cars, one a patrol car and the other a government vehicle. They asked to see Arthur, my son. Arthur is 30, but disabled. Arthur had left to take a short constitutional after having lunch, he had then been gone for about 15 minutes. I told them he would be back shortly and went inside, leaving them to wait on the driveway.

The house is a cabin located in a small subdivision. Most of the cabins are occupied only on weekends as most owners only vacation here. We live here full time to save money and since Arthur needs full time care this is the only way I can provide that care and survive, and that just barely. I work from home doing free lance writing and an online radio show. The downturn in the economy has hit all of us.

I was informed that there had been an anonymous complaint regarding the care of my son. When I let them talk to Arthur out of my hearing I later learned from him that he was asked if I abused him. He was asked a series of questions that each served to demean me, prying into our personal lives in ways that clearly violate our rights. My son was asked if he used illegal drugs, among other evidently routine questions. It was manipulative, ignoring my son's Constitutional rights. This would have been true even if he was not severely disabled.

We are obviously being targeted. My son represents potential income to the system. Income that amounts to more than $400,000.00.

There was a time when being poor did not make you fair game to predators like the people from Social Services. That time is past. Having ascertained that Arthur is not abused; he was astonished at the suggestion, any legitimate inquiry should have ended. Instead they used intimidation as an opening wedge in an attempt to influence my son. Having listened to their blandishments Arthur told them that although he was sometimes lonely he preferred to stay with me. Arthur helps when and where he can; he knows families pull together. At that point they transferred their attention to me. Arthur had unwittingly thwarted their agenda.

There was a time when we all knew that the family was the center for our lives. Families stayed together, in good times and bad. Families were and are the kind of insurance that both protects and makes our lives whole. We are who we are because of our family; being a good mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter carried us along with our faith in God through things that otherwise would destroy us.

Refusing to tell either of us who might have filed such a charge they demanded answers to questions that no part of government has a right to know under the Constitution. Arthur and I have a happy and amicable relationship having passed through much pain and adjustment; he receives all the care I can afford and participates in every event and activity possible. Hearing his voice makes the hardships of the last ten years unimportant. He has his own computer and spends time on line. He attends church and goes to Bible Study once a week. I drive him to events when possible but attend few myself since it is costly and interferes with my work. At our small church I usually read the weekly lesson.

The obvious thrust of the procedure the women followed was an attempt to get control of Arthur if money could be generated for their department. The presence of a deputy sheriff, although he said later he was only there to show them where I lived, was intimidating and embarrassing. I am nearly 60 and have suffered two heart attacks, I am no threat to anyone. Although the deputy then said he was only there to show them where I lived, the place is not served by the Post Office, he stayed, listening to what transpired making his explanation problematical.

Over and over Hammond implied that I was 'keeping Arthur away from his friends,' that he was not happy. They asserted that Arthur had a 'right' to make his own decisions regarding where he lives. If such a 'right' exists, and it is not included in the Bill of Rights, then most of us would choose to live in Beverly Hills. Arthur well knows that we live at the cabin because I do not have funds to live elsewhere.

These well paid government 'workers' assumed as a matter of course that Arthur should be receiving welfare or disability; he is not and never has. The distress on their faces was obvious. Immediately they wanted to know if I would apply.

There was a time when Americans stood tall, accepting help from friends and family in need. Government was not part of the equation. That was a better time for all of us. Why do those who make their living supposedly, making us safer, bring a message of fear? Why have so many families, already struggling, been forced over the edge from just this kind of predation from the agencies funded through our taxes? Why can they afford nice homes, goodies, and pensions when so many of us are struggling to stay off the street?

The answer is obvious.

Evidently during their time alone with Arthur they worked to persuade Arthur that he would be happier living elsewhere. It is hard to imagine that they could believe that a man who has had two major brain injuries is capable of deciding for himself that he is capable of making life-impacting decisions, or that they, having known him for around 30 minutes, were better qualified than myself to do so but this was, indeed, their attitude. It is amazing that they could, with straight faces and such fervor, maintain that it is appropriate to interfere with the most intimate choices a family makes. They showed no concern over the stability of any situation they might offer, simply rejecting the obvious fact that the economic meltdown every other part of America is feeling in the most visceral way could impact their small, ugly shake down.

With bright, glassy smiles, they asserted Arthur's right to be happy over any other consideration. But his wellbeing and happiness were not on their agenda.

They promised Arthur that he could go back to Santa Barbara, something I considered to be doubtful. They ignored his need for further therapy. There are many new approaches now coming into availability for the victims of brain injuries. They demonstrated complete ignorance and indifference about the facts regarding brain injuries. They told me I would let him go if I cared about him. They were insulting, demeaning, and verbally abusive to both me and to my son. That was the underscoring and the message received by me and by countless others who find such 'workers' on their door steps.

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Melinda Pillsbury-Foster is the author of GREED: The NeoConning of America and A Tour of Old Yosemite. The former is a novel about the lives of the NeoCons with a strong autobiographical component. The latter is a non-fiction book about her father (more...)
 

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Some people have contacted me asking how they coul... by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster on Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 11:38:28 AM
I am a social worker from Michigan and I work with... by beccy on Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 7:14:48 PM
I do not want to insult you and I do appreciate wh... by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster on Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 11:46:29 PM
Sorry, if he was disabled after age 18 and had not... by Gallaher on Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 11:51:47 PM
They have their hand out just like you did when yo... by Gallaher on Sunday, May 11, 2008 at 11:47:08 PM
I'm sure he offered to take care of his child,... by Gallaher on Monday, May 12, 2008 at 12:37:44 AM
I had no idea about this part of your life.  ... by Rob Kall on Monday, May 12, 2008 at 8:02:33 AM