I have a lot to say about my experience in foster care and there will be much more to come on this. In short, I spent 10 years in the foster care system. Nevada State and Washoe County Social Services were involved in a scheme that falsely terminated my mother's rights. For this reason, I was unable to see or communicate with anyone in my family for 10 long years. Keep in mind that as a child, years are much longer than they are as an adult. 10 years as a child feels more like 20-30 years as an adult. Or maybe my years seemed longer because I essentially spent my childhood in prison. To be ripped away from my mother as a four year old was by far one of the most traumatic experiences I still struggle with today. I had a social worker and CASA who were heavily involved in the scheme and did what they needed to in order to ensure I never saw my family again. Over the years I have met people who were familiar with my social worker and case; who said that there were many other cases that were manipulated just like mine. Eventually, the social worker was fired and the state and county covered up everything to protect themselves. Rumor has it that the county took over these cases from the state because of these very incidents. I remember this switch happening, but I didn't know why that was until someone familiar with the incidents told me about it more recently. The foster care system is filled with dark money, innocent children, and vulnerable parents who are used in this sick game. I know for a fact that Nevada isn't the only state who has this kind of corruption. I have seen incidents in other states as well through the news and documentaries. The thing of it is, I can read between the lines and can quickly identify exactly what is going on. More recently, the case out of Riverside County, California involving the Turnpin children who were abused and held captive by their parents their entire lives. I watched the documentary on it and none of the issues they faced after their rescue surprised me. This was another motivator that reminded me why I need to run congress.
Moving forward, the CASA assigned to me from the beginning had an agenda of his own in the scheme. He was a white man and his wife was Hispanic. They had a daughter who looked Hispanic and despite not actually being Hispanic, he found that I would blend right in with his family. My dad was white and my mother was primarily Native American and Pakistani, giving me a dark/light complexion. Conveniently, immediately after my mothers rights were terminated, he was already trying to adopt me. He even wrote a letter encouraging the judge to terminate her rights. All the while he pretended to be on my family's side and acted like he was rooting for them and had their best interests when he actually didn't. I had become content with the idea of adoption since I knew his family from the first day I entered the system and I already hadn't seen my own family in years. He had a big hand in helping to "ease" this process. I got used to the fact that I would never see my family again, but I always wondered what happened and always missed them. I remember the CASA, Stan Mentzer, (if you think you know him, you probably do) registering me for school under his last name and everything was looking very real. My new name, Joseph Mentzer, was being placed on everything. Even if your name changes for a brief moment, that is not something you forget. I came to live with him and his family as a 7 year old and after 1 month, they kicked me to the curb because I didn't get along with their daughter. I was placed back into foster care and I never saw or heard from them again until I made contact as a teenager several years later. Sadly, every adoptive placement I witnessed in foster care was like this. People would adopt kids and then give us back to the system like a bad Walmart purchase. Simply because we were too damaged for anyone to love forever. (Think Humane Society) The state prefers this though because big money comes into the state for each kid they can keep in the system. Again, it is all corrupt.
In year 8 or 9 of being in foster care, I found my family on my own by simply looking in the phone book. I was constantly lied to about my family and the county led me to believe that my family lived in California and didn't want anything to do with me. Funny thing, my grandmother lived in the same place with the same phone number as before I had entered the system. She never went back to California like they claimed. In fact, the only reason my grandmother kept her number listed was in hopes that I would someday find it and call her. (she knew I would too because I learned how to dial her number when I was two) My mother was working at the same job in Reno as before I entered the system. My social worker told me my mother was in jail in California, but she too never left Reno. I had other family who had lived in the same places with the same phone numbers as well. Why wasn't any of this on file? Why didn't they try to contact other relatives? I had 11 half siblings who were ALL adults when I was born. They didn't even bother finding any of them. They were enjoying cashing in my social security and annuity checks while also getting money for having an Indian child in the system. Not to mention the money the federal government throws their way on top of it. I was a considered a "profitable" child that was too valuable to lose. Most kids can't afford their care and weren't as profitable.
As a teenager who was smarter than they had anticipated, they knew I would find out the truth soon enough. They gave me back to my mother after I found her, but they claimed they couldn't legally give her parental rights back - so they gave her guardianship instead. Really this was their way of protecting themselves from a lawsuit. They made it very clear that this NEVER happens and that it was a big deal that they were doing this. I remember them saying that my case was the ONLY one they have EVER done this with. Had it not been for my persistence and own efforts, I know I would have never left the system. They were hoping I would be too stupid to figure things out on my own and didn't anticipate that I would be as smart as I was. They even tried to drug me into compliance and it didn't work.
There is much more to come on this story, but this is the gist. My first 18 years could fill a book and I still have a lot to say about all of it. Stay tuned.