Hi! My name is Amarah. Kids are important to Jesus, and they’re important to me, too!
“Kids like me” are kids and adults of all ages whose parents are, or were, drug addicts, and alcoholics; kids who have suffered, or who are suffering, abuse and neglect on multiple levels; and kids who are victims of bullying.
Hey kids like me! I am excited to introduce you to my Friend, Deputy Evan Dick (he’s your friend, too!):
I would like to start with a “thank you” for giving me the opportunity to reach out to my community through such an awesome person with such a great impact on so many people. I hope you have great success with future endeavors and I hope you can reach many people being guided by your passions.
I am Deputy Dick. I have been working for the sheriff’s office for approximately three years and have seen and done a lot! I took an oath years ago that I would serve my community and my country with honor, dignity, respect, and integrity. I swore in that oath to lay down my life for a stranger and I swore to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I have been to fatal crashes, seen people at their absolute worst, and I’ve even seen a Brother-in-Blue succumb to the pressures of greed.
However, the hardest aspect of my job is when an adult has made poor choices or has fallen into terrible situations and finds himself/herself dealing with law enforcement, while their children are with them, and I have to remove them from their parents. This has proven to be the most difficult task for me, not because of paperwork or protocol, but because the children only know the life they have had with their parents. All too often, the parents have repeatedly told their children that a law enforcement officer is bad and that the ‘bad’ man is taking mommy or daddy away. The pain these children suffer is horrendous. I hope the situations I share with you may offer some thought on what it’s like from the law enforcement perspective.
The process we have to go through to remove a child from a home is not a pleasant one. Law enforcement does not have authority to remove children just ‘because.’ We must prove the living conditions of the home are unsafe and that it’s unsafe to leave the children at that location. Things we look for: signs of malnourishment, excessive punishment, negligence, or if the child’s life is being placed in danger. If an officer believes this is the case, the officer must contact Department of Human Services or Child Protective Services and have a case worker come to the location to determine if the officer is correct. If the home is determined unsafe, the case worker is required to locate a home or temporary placement for the children. The idea is to care for the child’s welfare and overall safety. It is common that a family member is available and willing to take-in the child. Unfortunately there is no enforced regulation that keeps the family from reuniting the children with the parents. The other option is to place the child into the custody of the state. Usually this is only when the child is being removed permanently and placed into foster care. The foster care system is overworked and unable to support the number of children in the system. Because of this the children are placed in homes that may not normally suffice as a suitable home.
These children do not put themselves in these positions or make the decisions that put them at risk. These children are dragged through the wreckage of their parents’ lives and poor decisions. They are forced to grow up much quicker than they are supposed to and are robbed of their childhood and the ability to be free and young.
Parents are putting their children in horrific situations and exposing them to dangers that no child should ever see or experience. I leave you with this: I hope that people will find some peace in knowing that there are people fighting for these children. There are people contributing to the cause, and there are people breaking the silence and speaking up for our children. These people are courageous and strong. We as a community need to acknowledge the problem and help end this unnecessary pain for our children in our communities. Deputy Evan Dick, Patrol Division, Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office.
Thank You, Deputy Dick! (Stay tuned for Part 2 next week)! Thank you for reading my column. Write to me at Amarah’s “Kids Like Me” P.O. Box 354, Alamosa, CO 81101.
My goal is to help kids like me, and I want to help their parents, too. Until next time, remember, Jesus Loves You, and JESUS IS LORD!