Investigators: Foster family fighting for Poca

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by By / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 13, 2009 at 1:08 PM

Video: Foster family fighting for Poca

EVERETT, Wash. - Tuesday, a foster family heads to court to fight for the child who lived with them for nearly four years until the state took her away from them.

For weeks, the KING 5 Investigators have exposed systemwide missteps in the case of "Poca."

This special-needs foster child is about to spend her fourth birthday away from the family that raised her.

"She jumped up in all of our arms and said, 'Hey, Sissy, I miss you,' and all that," said Ashley Langley, Poca's foster sister.

A few days ago, state social workers let Poca's four foster sisters visit her for the first time since she was taken from their home.

They arrived with pictures, play dough, and homemade cards.

The visit came just a few days before the Langleys' day in court.

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Tuesday, Judge Anita Farris will rule on whether or not the couple who raised Poca since she was an infant should be allowed to be heard in court to ask that Poca come back to the only stable place she's ever called home.

Deane Minor is the Langleys' attorney.

"In my mind there is nothing that merits keeping this child out of their home, absolutely nothing," said Minor. "I just can't say enough about what they have been willing to go through for the benefit of this little girl."

But that's not how DSHS and Poca's court-appointed advocate -Christopher Desmond - have portrayed the foster parents. They say the Langleys neglected one of their other children and tried to keep Poca from reuniting with her birth parents by meddling and accusing them of bruising her during visits.

The KING 5 Investigators looked at hundreds of pages of documentation and found no evidence any of that is true.

"The state messed up big time," said Sen. Val Stevens.

Stevens first heard about this case in February when Amy Langley testified before a legislative committee in Olympia.

The senator will be in court Tuesday.

"Four years? Four years is unconscionable and the Department knows that wasn't right. They admit that wasn't the way this case should have been handled," she said.

At the end of the Langleys' last visit with Poca, it was difficult to say goodbye.

"It was hard, seeing her all happy with us and then when she had to leave, and she just broke down," said Ashley.

"She's voicing she wants to come home and there's nothing we can say. She even asked if we would come to her birthday," said Amy. "She looked at me and said, 'Mama, are you going to come to my birthday?' And I didn't have anything to say to her."

Tuesday in court the state is expected to recommend the judge allow the Langleys to weigh in on who should raise Poca, but that she should stay in her new foster home for now. They want a thorough, independent review of the Langleys before even letting them be considered to adopt their former foster child.

A rally called "Justice for Poca" in support of the Langleys will be held before the court proceeding Tuesday. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in front of the Juvenile Justice Center in Everett.

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