Legally Kidnapped in Flathead County
My name is Vesta Kelly and my children and myself are victims of legal kidnapping. I am a single mother of 3 and they are all in diapers. I have a 3 year old who is disabled and cannot speak, so, she can’t tell me when she has to go potty and she doesn't understand the concept. She really can’t “tell” me anything, only make vocalizations and gestures. I also have 23 month old fraternal twins.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, August 26th 2009 I dropped my children off at my mother’s house in Columbia Falls because I, like many parents, needed a break. The following morning at 10:30 am my mother had my children picked up from her home while being baby sat by CPS (Child Protective Services) and I didn’t find out until several hours after they were taken. I didn’t find out through CPS or my mother. I found out when another family member was informed by my mother that the children had been taken and that family member came to my home to inform me what had happened.
CPS took my children into custody without a Judges order and without conducting an investigation into the allegations against me that my own mother had made. The allegations made against me were false and completely unfounded. It was all one big lie on top of more lies. Several witnesses stepped up and contacted CPS debunking the allegations made against me and still my children were not returned home. Instead, my children were placed in foster care. No information as to the credentials or qualifications of this foster family were given to me nor was I given my legal right to request temporary placement of my children with family or “extended” family members.
According to Montana state law CPS had 48 hours from the time of the removal of my children to file a motion with the County Attorney’s Office. This did not happen. The legal 48 hour period in which CPS had to file such a motion expired on Monday, August 31st at 10:30 am. I was at the Flathead County Court House by 10:45 that morning and remained there until the end of that business day. I was not in any computer system anywhere in that Court House. Not the County Attorney’s computer, not the Clerk of Courts computer, not the Sheriff’s Office computer, no where. When papers are filed with the courts or with the County Attorney's or the State’s Attorney’s offices, they are immediately entered into the computer system and time stamped. Yet my case was nowhere to be found, there was nothing, no paper trail of any kind. I wasn’t in the computer at the Public Defenders Office either and I had been told by CPS that I would immediately be appointed a Public Defender. In fact, I wasn’t in any one’s computer system until the morning of September 4th, 2009. That meant that I couldn’t talk to any one regarding my children until the 4th of September because no one had me on file anywhere. I could get no help. Not even the Police or the Sheriff could help me and I certainly couldn’t talk to the Public Defender I was supposed to have immediately appointed to me. I found myself in a position where my Civil Rights, Human Rights, and Parental Rights were being grossly violated, as well as my children's rights and there was no one I could talk to, not even a Judge.
On Tuesday, September 1st I had a scheduled visitation at the CPS Office in Kalispell with my children and it was to be a 2 hour supervised visit. When I entered the visitation room the condition of my children was deplorable. My 23 month old son had a busted, fat lip, a knot on his head, several bruises and cuts on his head, cuts on his arms and bruises up and down his legs and his eye glasses were broken. My 23 month old daughter had scratches all over her face, and her clothes were mismatched. There were regular rubber bands in my 3 year old daughters hair and all of their little faces were filthy. I asked my CPS Worker what that was about and told her that the condition of my children was absolutely unacceptable. My CPS Worker told me that my children arrived at the office that way that morning when the foster family dropped them off. My children NEVER were in that condition at home.
I sat on the floor of the visitation room and gathered up all my babies and hugged them tight, all the while fighting back the tears. I didn’t want to upset them any more than they already were. They all began fighting for my attention and it was hard for me to see them so distraught and not knowing what was going on. My CPS Worker then came into the room and removed my 23 month old son. When this happened my girls began to scream. My youngest daughter went to the door of the room and began pounding on the door and window of the little room, screaming and crying. My 3 year old who can’t speak grabbed me tight and screamed and cried while pointing at the door as if she had something to tell me that something was seriously wrong but she didn’t have or know the words to say. My heart broke even more that day. The girls didn’t stop screaming until their brother was returned to the room by my demand. Then my 2 hour visit was cut in half. My CPS Worker said “It’s just too traumatic for them to see their mother.” and my children were taken away.
At the end of the visit I had a meeting with my Worker and her Supervisor to discuss the issues I had with the condition of my children and the visit being cut in half. At this time the Supervisor told me that my children did not come to the office in that condition that day. Yet just an hour prior my CPS worker stated that they had. I then immediately went to the Kalispell Police Department and filed a report on the condition of my children and demanded an immediate Health and Welfare Check on my children. The Officer had to contact CPS to get the location of my children and the Health and Welfare Check was not done until several hours later and, no surprise, CPS backed the foster family.
Now, while several calls were made to CPS on behalf of my children and myself, debunking the allegations made by my own mother, none of this information was entered into my case file. When I asked why that was I was told by the supervisor at CPS that i would have to sign release of information forms for that to happen. When I demanded the forms to sign, for people whom are not covered under the Freedom of Information Act, I was blatantly denied those forms by the supervisor at CPS and wasn’t granted these release forms until several days later, after I had finally received my court papers.
I have called supervisors all the way to the top of the CPS chain in Helena and have gotten nowhere. I was however told by the supervisor that oversees Flathead County that I could take my issues up with my Public Defender and that “CPS works hand in hand with the Public Defenders Office.”. How can I get proper legal representation if the two are working “hand in hand”? I’m a single mom with almost no income and I certainly do not have $2000 for a retainer to hire a private Attorney. I need real legal help here and being that I cannot financially make that happen I am left at the mercy of yet another State run organization.
What is happening to me and my children can happen to any one. Any person can call CPS and make any claim they like, weather it be true or false, and your children can and will be removed and without any proper investigation or Court Order. There are no safeguards in place in the legal system to prevent this from happening to good parents like myself. It’s called Legal Kidnapping, and it DOES happen. It’s happening to me and my children right this very minute, and it can happen to you too.