Thursday, March 20, 2008

Free Silvia Klaiber

"My story begins when I removed my daughter from her day program at Community Gatepath in San Mateo. At the time, I was Conservator of the Person and San Mateo County was Conservator of the Estate. I had called the local regional center and was waiting for a call back when I began to get calls from Community Gatepath wanting to know why I had removed my daughter."

Two years ago, the Public Guardian and Silvia’s attorney entered the home without permission, without a warrant and without notification. These people then performed an illegal search of the home. After they induced Silvia into saying she wished to live in a group home (Silvia had never seen one) they petitioned the court to remove her mother as conservator of the person. The court decided that because her mother was paid IHSS funds for her care, this constituted a “conflict of interest”. Silvia has lots of other relatives but none of them were notified by the court or contacted in any way.

After two weeks at the group home, Silvia told her Guardian that she would like to return to her family. The change of conservatorship was only temporary at that point. Neither Silvia nor her mother received notification of the hearing date which made the order permanent. Silvia has constantly continued to verbalize the wish to return to her family during the two years. The home she once owned was sold for about $75,000 less than the market value. Her mother who co-owned the home and Silvia’s 12 year old sister were forced to move out of the home as a condition of the sale. However, her mother was still responsible for the payments during the 6 months that it took to sell the home. Silvia was removed from a community based program she attended and placed in a sheltered workshop where she had been verbally abused and which has a practice of administering performance reviews of it’s disabled clients in public.

While at the group home, Silvia was not bathed nor cared for properly and it was discovered that her roommate was sexually assaulted repeatedly in Silvia’s presence. Only as a result of her mother’s diligence was Silvia removed. Two weeks before Christmas, Silvia was again cruelly stripped away from her family. It was the eve of her grandmother’s death and her mother was served with a restraining order obtained by the Public Guardian using false information.

"I discovered that the PG had gotten the restraining order by alleging that I had taken Silvia from the group home without permission and refused to return her two months earlier and that I would not now tell them her location. The TRO also indicated a "past history of abuse". It wasn't abuse by me. They lied. They themselves approved her stay with me but it was the only way they could have obtained such an order."

There was a 3-day trial. Silvia was able to speak to the judge in chambers and told her she wanted to see her Mom and that she wanted to go home to live with her family. The judge decided that the actions leading up to the TRO constituted abuse because Silvia had to be taken in such a traumatizing way.

"County Counsel had indicated to my attorney that they would be coming after my 12 year old next. I saw the file from Family Court Services with my other daughter's name in big black print in the arms of Lani Blazer, a supervisor. I knew there was nothing incriminating in it, but I also knew that it didn't mean anything because they manufacture what they wish and innuendo becomes fact. So I was scared. I'm still scared."

Finally, the judge ruled that Sylvia's mother could speak to her by phone and could begin visiting her in the group home.

Conversations with Silvia indicate that they placed her back in Community Gatepath and she is occupied with work approx. 20% of the time. She cannot have a confidential phone call at the current group home due to only one phone. She describes being discouraged to call her advocate and the PG. Until recently, Silvia did not have the phone numbers for any family member or agency. She is not allowed to use the phone at work for personal calls. There might as well be barbed wire and gun towers. Silvia is scared to speak openly on the phone and has told her mother this.

See also: Send Sylvia Home

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