We will be running a series of articles pertaining to issues with Kansas’ Department for Children and Families. Rose Flores’ story will be the first in that series.
Rose Flores is a 45-year-old single mother living in Wichita, Kansas. Rose contacted DCF for help with her oldest child, who is mentally handicapped, and who had been smoking marijuana. Rose thought that DCF could help her get her son under control and on the right path. Rather than providing Rose with assistance in parenting her special needs teenage son, DCF opened an investigation into Rose, as a parent, and took her children into state custody.
In justifying the removal of Rose’s children from her home the state cites several factors, painting Rose as an unfit parent.
In their report, DCF points out that the police have been called to Rose’s home 11 times. What the report omits is that Rose was the person who called 911 on each of those eleven incidents, which stemmed from harassment by the family of her son’s ex-girlfriend. Rose called the police for help, and the state used this against her in court.
DCF also claims that Rose has a “history of domestic violence”. Again, the most relevant information pertaining to this factor was omitted from the report. Rose does not have a criminal record. Rose has never been charged with, or accused of a crime. Rose’s “history of domestic violence” stems from the fact that she was actually the victim of domestic violence, 15 years ago.
DCF says that Rose has a substance abuse problem. Rose is not an addict. Rose has never failed a drug test. Rose has never been arrested on drug charges, or been admitted to a rehabilitation program. The reason DCF says Rose has a substance abuse problem is because Rose was honest with her case worker, Letitia Herrman, and admitted that she does drink alcohol, on occasion.
But in DCF’s report, prepared by Herrman, it simply claims that Rose has a substance abuse problem, a history of domestic violence, and that the police have been called to her home 11 times, without providing any context, details or evidence to support these allegations. And so the state took Rose’s children and placed them in foster care, through St. Francis, a private contractor.
While in state’s custody, Rose’s children have been subjected to abuse and neglect. In a supervised visit, one week after the state took the children, Rose’s eight-year-old daughter appeared to be upset. Rose asked her daughter what was wrong, and the child began to cry, and said, “he’s touching me”. Rose asked her who was touching her, and her daughter said it was the foster dad.
Rose’s children have since been removed from that foster home and placed into another, but the foster parent was not charged with a crime, and may still be a foster parent at this time.
Rose’s son, the one she initially called for help with, ran away from the foster home, twice. The second time, the state placed him into the Sedgwick County Juvenile Detention Facility, where he was beaten by two other juvenile residents. Rose received a letter from her son, informing her that he had been injured, and that he thought his hand was broken.
At the time of the incident, Rose’s son was not offered medical attention, and it took JDF over two weeks to get the child into an x-ray room, after repeated complaints by Rose, where it was discovered that his hand had been broken. The state has also failed to provide Rose’s son with the medication that he has been prescribed to take, and continues to hold him in the detention facility because they have had trouble finding a more appropriate placement for him.
Rose has never abused or neglected her children, has never been accused of abusing or neglecting her children, has no criminal record, and is gainfully employed. Rose has kept detailed records of this entire ordeal, showed up for every court date in this case, and has complied with every demand made by the state, yet she still does not have her children. Rose will go to court this Tuesday, December 8th, at 8:00 am, at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Division at 1900 E. Morris, in Wichita, and is asking the public to attend this hearing so her story can be heard.