I received a phone call today from the CPS Case Manager for Lil Sis. The CM was calling because, after talking with Sweets and her dad, she wanted to find out the real scoop about how much Sweets was with me and whether it was a burden or a choice. Bottom line, was dad really caring for Sweets and can dad take care of two girls?
I explained to the CM that it was my choice to have Sweets at my home as much as she is, that although I totally recognize that dad has legal and physical custody and all decision making power, Sweets is emotionally and psychologically still my daughter. I told her I recognized that I was helping her dad by taking her, but that Sweets had a better life and more opportunities because of her current situation of going back and forth. I did say she would probably be all right at his place (at least for a while), but that some specific things concerned me. The biggest one I mentioned was his dependence on his sister for daycare. I said her house is totally inappropriate, that the older male cousins pick on her continuously, and Sweets hates it there when her dad is not present.
Unfortunately, the CM currently sees "no issues" with dad on his way to getting custody of Lil Sis, who is happily placed in a maternal relative's home right now. She stressed that dad need only be a "mimimally adequate" parent to have Lil Sis placed with him. I simply said I understood that but clearly had a different definition of minimally adequate. I did express that I was very concerned about him parenting two children, and I wanted to make sure that he did not rely on Sweets to parent Lil Sis, because that was clearly the model in play at his sister's house.
I really do recognize a parent's right to raise his own child. But really, how low can you draw the bar and still raise a decent adult? The good news is Sweets is back with me tonight after she went back to her dad's last night to be there for the CM visit this morning.