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Probe: 2-06-02

February 16, 2002

QUESTION: County Child Protective Services took my teen-age niece from my brother, a single parent, because the agency believed the home was an "abusive environment."

The girl was released to her mother, who lives in San Diego. The mother never did take the child to San Diego. My brother continues to go to court to fight for his children.

We have told the social worker assigned to this case that the girl is not with her mother nor with her father. So where is she? Our concern seems to fall on deaf ears.

If CPS removes a child from the home of the custodial parent and gives the child to the other parent, does the child welfare agency keep track of the allegedly abused child?

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When the agency views the parents as the problem, isn't it the responsibility of the agency to protect the child? What can a parent do to report the activities and whereabouts of an "out-of-control" teen? — Worried Uncle, e-mail

You asked a lot of questions but you didn't give us enough information to find the answers. You didn't tell us the name of the child or the name of the parents.

We don't know why the girl was taken from her mother in the first place or why she was removed from the home provided by her father. Was the father arrested for neglect or abuse, just an overloaded single parent, or a parent driven bonkers by an "out-of- control" teen?

Jim Semmes, director of the county Department of Social Services, said he could not check on the well-being of the child without more information.

Teens need at least one stable parent to guide them through a turbulent adolescence. Not everybody can be that parent. But so far, society has not come up with effective substitutes for parents.

Get in touch with us, and this time, give us a phone number so we can call you.

INSURANCE HELP — You mentioned it can take you a whole morning to iron out an insurance problem. If you are covered by Medicare or a Medicare supplemental insurance, we can help you. We will help you fill out your forms, go to bat for you when a snafu develops. If a simple phone call won't do it, we have attorneys to help. — HiCapp, El Centro

Thank you. Currently we have no insurance problems. But now that we're part of the Medicare generation, we'll call you at 339-9977 if we need help.

THE FIX WAS IN — Why did the Carrot Festival parade judges decide Saturday to give a trophy to the float of Holtville High class of 1952? — Unimpressed, Holtville

We've wondered how the class got the trophy ever since they won the "best high school float" award in 1949 when they were freshmen. That was a tough win. The float was a replica of a wide hoop skirted dress worn by the then Mona Green (now Hefner). The dress was made of crepe paper. We recall it rained that weekend but we can't recall if it rained on Holtville's parade.

We think they got points this year because so many of the old grads were able to climb up on the float. It was the class' 50-year reunion.

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