Monique *

She had four siblings. The eldest was born with a birth defect, but took care of the family—she made the shopping lists and cooked for them all and took care of the younger ones. The next was hit by a car as a young child as her parents smoked crack on the front porch, and suffered a closed head injury, so she could not take care of anyone. The younger was sweet and smart, and wished for more attention than she got. The youngest was the only boy, and he suffered most visibly from the neglect they all felt. She—Monique—was the smartest and most together of them all. She was twelve when we met her.

Her mom meant well, she really tried. But she was addicted to crack. Her husband was in prison. Her IQ bordered on retarded. She neglected her children and left them to fend for themselves. The youngest was 4 and was using the floor as his bathroom. The younger was molested at a drug dealer’s house and was kidnapped outside her school. The older suffered from a sex addiction that made her prey for older men. The eldest left and moved in with her boyfriend. And Monique, well, Monique was strong and brave, but she was a child. She ended up in Juvie.

Over the years, there were complaints about the family’s living conditions. Child Protective Services got involved. When the investigators came, the siblings formed a protective barrier around their mother by saying the things that the strangers wanted to hear. Monique’s mother went to programs and tried to get help, but nothing could be done. Due to agency incompetence and legal loopholes, in all it took five years to get the youngest siblings removed from the home. The youngest two were young enough to be adopted. But it was too late for Monique.

It is our sincere desire that the Carter-Alexander Institute will be able to advocate for policy changes through writing and the implementation of practical solutions so that situations like Monique’s will be prevented in the future.

* Monique's name has been changed to protect her privacy