EVERETT, Wash. - About a dozen people gathered this morning for a rally in support of the biological parents of a 4-year-old foster child known as "Poca."
Over the last few months the KING 5 Investigators have exposed many missteps in the handling of the Snohomish's County child's case by state social workers, the court system, and the child's court advocate which led to Poca being removed from the foster family who raised her since infancy.
People at this morning's rally held signs reading "Send Poca back home," "Bio families first," and "Ask Poca who her mommy is."
"We're tired of foster parents trying to think that they can keep our children because either the department has not been completely honest with the foster parents or they've told the foster parents they can be an adoptive resource for the child," said CC Tillett, Vice President of Washington Families United. "Those foster families have a tendency to sabotage reunifications."
"We're protesting because bio families have rights and we feel that the story that some of the news media has portrayed hasn't been fairly portrayed," Tillett said.
Poca was born a critically ill preemie, who weighed just two pounds, four ounces. After a 3 month stay in intensive care she entered foster care, eventually being placed with Dick and Amy Langley.
The Langleys have extensive experience caring for special needs children. The state has placed more than 20 foster children in their care over the last 10 years.
Soon after being placed with the Langleys, the foster family made waves about how the child's case was being handled by DSHS social workers and Poca's court appointed advocate. Three-and-a-half years later the state asked a judge to remove Poca from the Langleys and she agreed. For the last month, Poca has lived with family friends of the birthparents, whom she'd only met a few times.
At the direction of Gov. Chris Gregoire, an expert has been hired for $35,000 to fully investigate Poca's case. That report is due at the end of June. Then, in mid-August, he'll submit a report on problems system-wide, as related to Poca's case.