County Family Service Workers To Travel To Veracruz To Return Children To Father

(March 22) San Bernardino County is paying $3,228 to cover the out-of-country travel and expenses to Veracruz, Mexico for two children and two county of San Bernardino employees so those children can be delivered into the custody of their father.
According to Deanna Avey-Motikeit, the county of San Bernardino’s director of children and family services, two division employees have been called upon to escort the children to Mexico to comply with an order of the San Bernardino County Juvenile Court.
“On June 30, 2011, the county of San Bernardino Department of Children and Family Services removed the two children from their mother’s care due to her inability to protect them,” Avey-Motikeit told the board of supervisors. “At that time, the father’s whereabouts were unknown and the children were placed in foster care as they had no relatives who reside in the United States. On July 29, 2011, at the Department of Children and Family Services bequest (sic), the Mexican Consulate began their search/investigation of the children’s father. In November 2011, the father was located in Veracruz, Mexico, where a home assessment was conducted by the Mexican Consulate. On September 20, 2012, the Department of Children and Family Services received the final home assessment from the Mexican Consulate stating the father’s appropriateness for placement of the two children. On September 24, 2012, the court ordered the two children back to the parental home of their father with the case to be dismissed upon their reunification with the father. Since this time, the Department of Children and Family Services has been working on acquiring the appropriate documentation and travel arrangements for the children’s placement with their father in Mexico.”
Avey-Motikeit said that having the two county social workers accompany the two children on the flight to Mexico is in the interest of the children’s welfare. “One social worker has been responsible for the reunification process for this particular family and has bonded with the children; and the additional social worker is bilingual in English/Spanish and will act as a translator to assist in the permanence efforts of the two children for placement with their father in Mexico.”
Avey-Motieit added, “As dependents of the San Bernardino Juvenile Court, the two children are provided reunification services, which may include transportation costs for placement, by the Department of Children and Family Services pursuant to California Welfare and Institutions Code § 202 and 361.5. The Department of Children and Family Services has obtained authorization from the court to return the two children, ages four and eleven, to their father now living in Mexico where he has completed his court-ordered home study.”
It is anticipated the social workers and children will depart on March 24 or March 25.

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