In Defense of My Daughter: Based on Actual Events (Paperback)
Another day in the Sacramento County Juvenile Hall health clinic. Michelle walked in, eyes wide open, long dirty-blonde hair pulled back, and county-issued white T-shirt with blue pants two sizes too large. At 15, she was a veteran of the foster care system and determined to get out.
Like many kids in trouble, Michelle didn't really understand how serious her problems were. Over six years of being moved from one foster home to the next, she'd developed dangerous coping behaviors sexual activity, alcohol and drug use, and running away. With her self- esteem virtually nonexistent, she was desperately alone in the world and oblivious to risk. She was ready to do almost anything to avoid being placed in yet another group home. Could she be saved from herself until she became mature enough to understand and think responsibly about her life?
This is the story of what happened when the author, the registered nurse who saw Michelle in the clinic that day-a happily married man with two children of his own-stepped in to try to help. He and his wife hoped to become the last in Michelle's string of foster parents. In the three-way tug of war that ensued, the author contended for months with Child Protective Services, encountering numerous delays, bureaucratic hurdles, outright incompetence, and even a cover-up at juvenile hall. At the same time he had to try to protect Michelle from herself as she engaged in her own misguided struggle for "freedom" from CPS.
What started out as the author's desire to help a teen in trouble eventually progressed to fighting for his job, his integrity, his ethics, and his reputation. Was the system more concerned with self-preservation, procedures, and protecting its own than with the children it was supposed to care for?