I-Team: Questions Surround Removal of Foster Child from Home - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Questions Surround Removal of Foster Child from Home

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LAS VEGAS -- Foster kids in southern Nevada often move from home to home. But the little girl in this story was one of the lucky ones. She spent three-and-a-half of her four years in the same foster placement with a family who wants to adopt her. But earlier this week, the child was abruptly removed from the only home she has ever known.

"Is there something else you want?" asks foster mother Patricia Date. Her foster child Aleria answers, yes. The girl wants to know why Date is crying. "Momma, why you cry?" "Honey, I can't help it, I'm just going to miss you so terribly," answers Date.

With only a sleepless night to consider it, Date has yet to come up with a plan after learning late Monday that the Clark County Department of Family Services plans to remove her foster daughter Aleria Tuesday morning.

"I don't want to go," cries Aleria. "Honey, I can't help it. I can't help it," replies Date. The 4-year-old -- with special needs -- has been her baby since she was 7 months old.

"I told Aleria that she was going to have a new mommy and daddy and go to a new house but that we would always love her," said Date.

Aleria's clothes and toys wait by the front door and on the porch when two county cars pull into view.

"I don't want to go, I don't want to go," Aleria said.

Although Date has tried to adopt Aleria, she says she can't find a divorce record required for the application. Without it, the county insists, per a court order, it must move forward with a permanent placement for Aleria. Although it claims it considered the Date's, the agency concluded another family could best meet Aleria's long term needs.

"Patricia, we have gone to HART where they made a multidisciplinary decision to move Aleria. I'm asking you respectfully to bring Aleria to the car and make sure this is not traumatic for Aleria because that's what this is about," said one of the case workers who showed up at the house.

(HART is a multi-disciplinary team that selects an adoptive family that is best suited to a child's needs)

Date told the case worker she would not take Aleria to the car. "You take her from the porch," said Date to the case worker. "So, if you can't do this today, we would like to come back when you can bring her to the car," said the case worker.

"No, you take her to the car," said Date.

"I want my toys," said Aleria.

"We'll get your toys. We'll get your toys, come on," said the case worker as she led Aleria to the car.

Date believes a personality conflict between her and the newly-assigned caseworker is the real reason for Aleria's removal.

"I want to come back to mommy and daddy," said Aleria. "Bye baby. Bye, I love you," said Date, as Aleria, who is sitting in the backseat of the county car starts to sob.  "She's gonna cry and scream for days, that's what's gonna happen, that's what's gonna happen," said Date.

With Aleria's things still waiting on the porch, Date can't bring herself to close the front door.

Date talks on the phone with Jeanmarie Schirling, the vice president of the Clark County Foster and Adoptive Parent Association. "I don't know what to do, she has nothing, she has nothing with her."

"Unfortunately, Aleria's the one that suffered in this situation. There was no transition. Let's say you did choose another family, let's take her over there for an hour and let's take her over there and play and introduce her. And then let them come to her home and give them some time to adjust to each other. That would be the proper way to do things," said SChirling.

Date admits she refused to help the county transition Aleria to another home. She explains she really didn't know what that meant and after more than three years, she couldn't bear for Aleria to think she was willingly giving her up.

"I told them if they wanted to visit with Aleria, they were going to have to pick her up and take her somewhere," said Date.

Ultimately, that's exactly what they did. Except this time, they don't intend to bring her home.

"She thinks she's coming back. She doesn't know she's going to be gone forever," said Date.

Sources tell the I-Team that although it's not the basis for Aleria's removal, the agency is investigating whether Date met Aleria's medical needs. The I-Team can't verify that claim because those records are confidential. Date says she took Aleria to multiple doctors and therapy appointments every week and only recently missed one well-baby check.

Date suspects the investigation is manufactured to give the agency cover for their decision to take Aleria. She's working to fight to get Aleria back.

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