By this picture you would think that we are an average family getting our picture taken outside on a bright summer day. On another day you might be right, but on this particular day you don’t know the half of it. We have had a great day and are about to part ways. Everyone is strained and worried about what tomorrow will bring. At this point my children and I have been separated from each other for over a year. Each month we have a short visit and then they are transported to different parts of Mendocino County by employees of Children's Protective Services.
I was a victim of domestic violence for over 14 years and recently was awarded disability status under Federal Social Security Laws for a medical recommendation. Before I was awarded my benefits under federal law, I could not make enough money to support myself and my three children. Me and my oldest son had just recently, in 2011, suffered domestic violence. I called the police for help and CPS came and told me to leave my house and my trailer with nothing but a few suitcases and my children. They urged me to go to the local homeless shelter, which is full of drug addicts and mentally deranged men. I refused and stayed with a friend for a few nights. I continued looking for a place to put my trailer. When the abuser pleaded for me and the children to stay at a hotel across from his room and work, having no relations or job prospects, and in great desperation, I accepted the room and his apology.
I believed that this would ease my children’s and my circumstances when I drove to Juvenile Court with him and our 6 month old baby, believing that everything would be OK. When we arrived, one lawyer came in to talk with us. I thought that we could still be together and work out the complications. I was naive and desperate, and was told that, since I arrived with the abuser and failed to appear for court to get a permanent restraining order, that I was ‘failing to protect’ my children.
On October 26, 2011, my children were removed from my custody and I have been fighting for their return ever since. Although there were many occasions when I had stable and adequate housing, I was told that I was too late or that my disability was such that I was incapable of taking care of my children.
During the last four years I have attempted to remove all concerns regarding concern over the safety of my children. Despite my efforts, attendance, and cooperation with the county officials over the past four years, CPS has awarded my children to their fathers, who were the abusers. When this was not deemed safe, after many warning signs topped off by abusive explosions, my children have been removed and placed in foster care. ‘Why were they not placed with me?’you ask yourself.
I am disabled and have been trying to exist on $295.00 a month for three years. You try doing that and maintain impeccable attendance to every Court Ordered class and visit for any length of time.
When I received my Social Security I thought that my problems were solved. That was not the case. Although I owned my own trailer and then moved into a two bedroom house, paid for all the furniture, and continued to attend all classes and visits with vigor, CPS of Fort Bragg, now managed by the same worker who originally awarded my kids to their abusive fathers, felt that my use of medical marijuana and my humanitarian nature were too risky for my children to return to me.
After three years of AODP and attendance at AA meetings, I was still labeled an addict even though I had remained clean and sober for over a year. Prior to my children being taken from me, I had survived three major car crashes and over fourteen years of domestic violence. My doctors had tried a number of medications to relieve the symptoms of migraines, degenerative disc disease, anxiety and PTSD. After many trials and hospital stays, it was determined that medical marijuana was the only medicine that helped mitigate my disability symptoms.
When the children were removed from my care, I was told that I would have to stop using marijuana if I had any chance to have my children returned. I stopped using medical marijuana for two and a half years, (excepting some extreme situations, brought on mainly by CPS’s complete disregard for my children’s safety), as I faithfully continued to attend all of the classes, believing that my efforts would not be overlooked. This was not the case, as I continued to see that my parental rights were being trampled on, apparently due to the positive test result for marijuana in my urine.
Despite my current stability, both mentally and physically, through the use of medical marijuana, CPS has continued to allege that my condition and medical treatment will not allow me to be present for my children. I have never shown any lack of love or understanding for my children, have maintained an alert perspective during all our visits together, and have gone so far as to take classes at the local college to help me grow both mentally and physically, while investigating and understanding my own part as well as the mental health of my children and how I can better support their needs.
On July 10, 2015, I appeared in court to request return of my children to a two bedroom home where they would be safe and cared for solely by me, all paid for by HUD-Section 8 Voucher. This hearing allowed me to bring in supportive witnesses, one of which was not well, to testify to my care and devotion to my children. My lawyer was ill-prepared, and the social worker who left her job two days earlier, lied on the stand. At the end of the hearing the judge ruled to close my case and consider permanent placement of my children elsewhere. I stood up in indignation, asking the judge, “How can you make this decision? What about how the children feel about this? She did not tell you how my children cry when we part. She lied on the stand.” Or something like that. The judge looked me in the face and said, “Even if I had heard any of that I would still have made the ruling I have.” I walked out.
What else was I going to do? They have all of the power when I don’t have any money, family, or reliable friends to back me up.
Although I continue to see my children as little as once a month, I have been told that, in November of this year my children could be adopted out. This greatly concerns me because I will not be able to see them anymore until they are old enough to make their own choices, (that could be a while), and no one is telling them this information either. In the mean-time I have found a permanent home on the coast and continue to access services that are free to me.
I am a survivor of domestic violence and I have the right to care for my children. The rule is different and lies hold in Juvenile Court, as long as representatives of CPS are the ones that are lying.
Please help me right this wrong and bring my children back home. Children should be with their mother, as long as she loves them and is present for their needs. The state of California has made medical use of marijuana legal and this should not be used as a way for the government to steele children from their parents.
Please share this personal story with all who you think can be a part of the rationale movement for medical marijuana patients/parents with children. We should not be persecuted for our medical and religious practices in the United States of America.
Ed note: Because there's no independent review of the case Ms. Jubb has so poignantly outlined here, we won't ever know what the other side said. And we certainly won't know the judge's thinking. But we do know that the CPS office is dominated by people who should not have authority over others. Which is where the judge is supposed to come, but judges in Mendocino County seldom, if ever, overrule CPS, and I know of many cases where CPS should not only have been overruled, they should have been fired for gross incompetence.
Unless Ms. Jubb is shading the truth, it's clear she's made every effort to regain custody of her children. Her use of medical marijuana, legal in this state, should have no bearing on her case. Given the facts, all be them the mother's facts, and given the unstable nature of the foster system, these children should be returned to the one person in the world who loves them.