Your Letters: Fighting to get kids back a long struggle

A wise woman once told me "to be raped and not telling anyone is just as bad as something happening and not saying a word when people just like you could use a voice."...

A wise woman once told me "to be raped and not telling anyone is just as bad as something happening and not saying a word when people just like you could use a voice."

I haven't been physically raped or abused but what I have had to go through this past year couldn't be any worse. I want to be the voice of those who fear or are fearing Social Services.

My nightmare began last October when my two little girls didn't come home after school. Frightened and horrified I played the answering machine hoping that there had been a mistake for pickup times but it was Wadena County Social services.

My daughter had a bruise noticeable on her thigh near her buttocks, a mandated reporter had reported the bruise. Social Services picked up my girls and took them to the hospital for examination. They placed them on a 72-hour hold in foster care and we then waited for court to see if my children needed protection.

I and my fiance were interrogated like criminals treated like prisoners, emotionally beaten like a victim. They had no factual evidence that there was in fact physical abuse. Despite my and my fiance's statements that neither of us abused my daughter, they didn't believe us. They then took it upon themselves to use the statement that one doctor had made that 90 percent of all boyfriends are abusers and ran like the wind with it.


After the hearing for child in need of protection we were then forced to submit to social services and start the grueling treacherous court game that I am currently still in limbo with. I had no money to afford a attorney so I was court-appointed one, my fiance because he was not the biological father could not have an attorney and was forced to work with mine. My public defender, it turned out, was working with social services and was more like a puppet on a string doing what ever they wanted him to do to make the case better for them, but I was a force to reckon with.

I wrote him a letter in not so nice words telling him that he was either going to work for me and believe in what I was telling him or I would find another attorney. He started to work for me but was not fighting my case hard and standing up for the wrong things the county had been doing.

I am not perfect and as a parent I have made some irresponsible choices but I have never touched or abused my children. There were two incidences not abuse related that had been reported sometime earlier in the past, with human error and a 1 and a 1/2 year-old's energy, mistakes can be made. With social services holding the gun to my head I had to admit to the court that I could have been a better parent and that I was willing to comply with what they wanted.

I was submitted to Random UAs, a parental assessment, and other hoops and jumps social services wanted me to do. Soon after I started working what they called "The Plan," I soon began to feel the pressure anxiety and the never ending need to be the perfect parent. I then started to dig about and find tidbits here and there about social services and how a poor county makes money by taking and removing children from homes, how they are above the law, and how they don't need to follow privacy act procedure.

I want to take a few minutes and just brief on two of the following from the previous paragraph:

1. The parental assessment. That is one big crock of crap. They make you take an assessment done by one of their own so-called psychologists, but what they fail to tell you is that the tests that you are about to take you can't pass. They are based on traits from various groups of people with various mental illnesses what you score is where you compare with a certain mental illness. The county then takes that information about you and turns you into an unfit parent based upon the test result traits.

2. Don't even bother to sign privacy acts with social services. They tell you it's confidential, and that's a lie. Some of our private information was leaked and told to family members, and then they told privileged information to a police officer. When confronted about our rights they said because they are social services they can give any information they feel necessary to whom ever they feel like. When I called the number on the privacy data sheet to report what they had done the regional office said social services is not in their jurisdiction and I would have to contact the state. When I contacted the state to make the complaint I was told that the privacy data with social services wasn't in their jurisdiction either. I was sent on the run-a-round and social services got away with murder.

I have been stripped and have had my rights violated, I have had to sacrifice my job to get my kids back. As a self-employed business owner I can tell you that I have lost money, time and clients because of this mess. I have had to terminate a relationship with my fiance, whom my girls only knew as their dad because their real dad doesn't want them. I had to cancel my wedding of my dreams so social services could have their way. I was happy before this took place. I finally found someone who was dedicated to my kids and wanted to have a family, I had found someone who loved me for me despite my ups and downs. I gave all of that up so I could fight to get my kids back and that still wasn't good enough.


Months have gone on and by very quickly, and time is so precious. In June, I made the mistake of wanting to better my business in the hopes of taking some continuing ed classes. My plan was to go to the Twin Cities and take my girls with. I had made arrangements to stay with their biological father and he would watch them just like any other time before. He bailed out on me at the slast minute. My kids ended up staying where they were, I went to my classes and when I got back there was an emergency hearing going to take place to permanently remove my kids from me. This situation cost me a lot and I almost lost my kids because the county said I put them in danger by wanting to place them with a non-safe person.

I knew that my quack attorney wouldn't fight this so my family pulled together because they didn't want to lose their grandkids, great-grandkids. We found an attorney who would take the case and we paid for it, she did a good job and things started to turn around.

Since June we have had three hearings and now I'm going to trial, because the county has a vendetta against me for God knows why and for some reason they want to stick it to me. Despite the financial set backs to keep my attorney retained it's been hard. I can't tell you what this has done to me emotionally. I cry because I miss my kids, I want my life back, I want to be able to actually enjoy life instead of living in hell from day to day.

Now the newest incident that has come up is my oldest child had gotten a bruise on her. Again because of another mandated reporter even after I mentioned the bruise I'm now being investigated again for abusing my child. I have spent a lot of money for an attorney I couldn't afford, and right now given my current situation because of financial reasons I will lose my attorney. But nonetheless, I am fighting to get my kids back and why would I jeopardize what I have worked so hard to do thus far. I am a fighter and I can take on a lot, I will not give up hope that I will get my kids back. I love my kids with all my heart and they are my life, my world.

I could have written more and given more detail, but I want to be someone's voice. I know there are others like me that have been wrongfully accused and have been in the same place that I am right now or are in the same place right now. When is it going to stop! There are children out there who are in so much danger and because incompetent doctors, money hungry counties, and corrupted mandated reporters the wrong children are being taken. It is time for someone to say no more, and I want it to start with me.

Kristen Betts


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