Santa Cruz, Ca. — HUFF met today with a homeless couple today who had their adorable daughter, 8-month old Baby I, removed from them by the Santa Cruz County Child Protective Services, and placed in foster care.
Her intact family had been living in their van, until a car accident put them on the streets. Without money or jobs, they were living day to day on donations from kind-hearted strangers mostly in motel rooms.
Applying for help at the Homeless Services Center, the couple were told that the 3 programs they qualified for, 1 in Watsonville, the Mary,Joseph & Jesus program, & New Life Community Services were all full so they signed up on the waiting list.
They made plans to apply the following week for services at the Rowland Rebele Family Shelter but were approached by a CPS worker who said she had received calls concerned about the family.
Since Baby I’s father, who has been the mother’s partner for the past 12 years has been struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, CPS assigned the mother a service plan.
At the well-baby check, a CPS worker told the mother a removal hearing was to be held in a Watsonville court at 9AM a scant 12 hours later.
The mother told the CPS worker they had been able to find shelter at a private home in the Live Oak area of Santa Cruz, and had been housed for the past three days.
Despite that the CPS worker”forgot” to give her bus passes as she had promised, the mother was left to find her own way to the hearing.
Court documents claimed among other things that the couple had been offered housing but refused it.
At the hearing,Judge John Gallagher ordered Baby I removed from her parents and placed in foster care pending a hearing.
When the mother surrendered Baby I to authorities, the CPS worker told her she would need to find” different housing” as her current housing would not be acceptable. When she asked why, she was told the information was”confidential.”
Based on this and other findings, HUFF passed a resolution “strongly condemning the removal of Baby I from her parents by CPS because of their homeless status absent any abuse or neglect.”