On May 19th Samantha will be placed in front of a panel review in Jackson County,Georgia. This review panel is made up of several people who are hand picked by the Juvenile Judge of that district. In this case it is Judge Kevin Guidry.
The problem with this panel is simple this is a very small county. All of the members of this panel are from either Commerce or Jefferson two cities within this county. Most of the people in these two cities are second or third generations of families. They all know each other including those who are in the Jackson County DFCS office.
If you have never lived in a small town or county you have no idea of what goes on, the gossip, the preconcieved ideas and the hand shaking deals behind closed doors, the converstations that on the surface maean nothing but underneath say alot.
That being said, when Samantha gets in front of this firing squad she will have several things stacked against her, the foster care provider is probably known by at least one if not all of the parties, the Judge and the caseworkers at DFCS are also probably known by if not all then at least one of the panel. The County is broke. The state is broke. Samantha’s girls Shawna, Carly and Sara would bring a heafty chunk of money into the coffers of DFCS as well as the court’s coffers. Up to $12,000.00 for each entity.
The foster care provider is allowed to be there, however, Samantha’s public defender has stated and I have it in writing that he is not allowed. That is not true, it is a lie. He is supposed to be at all review hearings. Under the new Georgia Code 15-11-78 it is an open hearing anyone can be there.
Samantha has two things left on her eighth case plan to do. She needs a job and a housing. Jackson County is at 10.4% so needless to say jobs are gold. Needless to say she is scared to go in front of this stacked panel. Not because she is not doing what she is supposed to do, but because she knows the deck is stacked.
It is like entering the mouth of a very large lion, you know he is going to eat you alive, but it is the only option. Not going is not an option. She needs and wants her children and they need and want her. Jackson County could have given her the tax free $16,962.00 they gave they foster care provider Donna Webb last year helped her with a place to live under Section 8 or Hud and helped her with child care, transportation and she could have kept her children. However, there was no money in it for DFCS. They would not have gotten the $4000.00 per child when they kidnapped them and placed them in foster care.
Those of you who have been there keep her in your thoughts, send good vibes her way. She needs them. She needs her children.