Dear Friends, I am the biological grandmother of a bright, beautiful, loving three-year-old boy named Jaxx and his sweet, six-month-old brother, Maxx. I cared for Jaxx for over two years because his parents struggled with alcohol and drugs and became unable to care for him after the death of his three-month-old sister, Marlee in 2018. Jaxx’s parents’ rights were severed in June of 2019. After having lost both his parents and his sister, the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) came to my home after receiving an anonymous tip from Jaxx’s paternal grandparents that I was “neglecting” my grandson and immediately removed Jaxx from my care without having any proof or conducting an investigation. DCS informed me that because Arizona does not recognize grandparents’ rights and because Jaxx’s parents’ rights were severed, I was legally no longer Jaxx’s grandmother and had no rights to Jaxx. DCS placed Jaxx and his infant brother, Maxx in the care of their paternal grandparents. The paternal grandparents were parties to a criminal investigation after my granddaughter Marlee died in their home. They smoke and drink with my grandsons, have a documented criminal history, are being investigated for child abuse and neglect, and have multiple family members who have used and distributed drugs. Jaxx has since developed a speech disorder, is showing signs of physical abuse including a black eye and repeated bruising all over his body, has had three serious injuries that required hospitalization, and both Jaxx and Maxx have developed respiratory illnesses since being placed with the paternal grandparents. DCS refuses to admit that Jaxx and Maxx would be safer with another family member because they do not want to admit that they were wrong, and they want to close the case on my grandsons. I have no criminal record, yet, DCS has treated me like a criminal and labeled me an unsafe person who is not fit to have any contact verbally or in-person with my grandsons. In August of 2019 I retained an attorney and have fought to get custody of Jaxx for over a year. Because DCS does not want to admit that they removed two children from a loving and safe home to a home in which they are subjected to abuse and neglect, I am at risk of losing my grandsons forever. Our juvenile system and the Arizona Department of Child Safety is broken. Many of the individuals who work for DCS, the Juvenile Courts, and the Attorney General’s Office are accustomed to rubber stamping a child’s file and moving children through the system based only on the testimony of a case worker, without ever determining where the child is safest. In this state, a DCS case worker only needs to cite “neglect” or “abuse” and there is no documentation or proof required and your children could be removed and become lost in the system forever. The judges and the Guardians Ad Litem who are supposed to protect a child and have their best interests, will always defer to the DCS case worker’s testimony regardless of the evidence. These individuals should be the last line of defense for a child in the system, yet they are equally as guilty of moving files through a system without ever spending one minute with the child. I have spent my entire life savings, was forced to sell my home, and am facing the slimmest chance of ever seeing my grandsons again. If you have ever experienced the loss of a child, a grandchild, or have known anyone who has been forced to deal with the Arizona DCS system, please consider helping me to appeal my case for Jaxx. I will use everything I have and receive to fight for the children who are unfortunate enough to have become a part of this broken system and I will continue to speak out against the injustices that the state of Arizona is allowing to happen to our children. Please consider helping in any way that you feel compelled. If you have a similar story, please contact me to share it as I intend to speak up for the grandparents who have lost their grandchildren, for the children who have lost important familial connections, and to encourage our legislators to implement changes to the system to prevent these injustices from occurring. Please also pray for my family and especially for my grandsons, Jaxx and Maxx, that they be protected from any further pain and suffering caused by DCS. Thank you and may God Bless you and your children.