Justice for baby JOEY JR

This is a true honest presentation of what happened to our Family. This could happen to ANYONE. On August 23, 2016, Joseph Robert Ferrugia III was born. No doubt about it, this was a life changing event for our family. At the time Shauna gave birth, she was legally married. She married her husband in 2013 only one year before he was to begin a three year prison sentence. His incarceration started on August 25, 2014 and he was released September 19, 2016. Our son was born August 23, 2016, a month before his release. Shauna served her husband divorce papers during her pregnancy, which to this day, have not been signed nor returned. It is clear that this man had no part in the conception or birth of this child, but according to FL law was still his legal father.  The Archaic Law “Under common law, a child born to a married woman is presumed under common law to be the child of her husband by virtue of a presumption of paternity; or presumption of legitimacy. In consideration of a possible non-paternity event (which may or may not include paternity fraud) these presumptions may be rebutted by evidence to the contrary, for example, in disputed child custody and child support cases during divorce, annulment or legal separation."         I was aware of this law and immediately began a now 16 month process of petitioning the state of Florida to recognize me as his biological AND legal father. I could not afford the $5,000 to $7,500 attorney fees, so I started and completed the process on my own. On Friday January 5, 2018 I had completed all the required documentation and proudly annouced so on social media. Not even 24 hours later on  at 12:00 AM, there was a knock on my door identifying themselves as Police Officers. Someone had reported child and spousal abuse in our house. That someone was Shauna’s husband. No sign of child or spousal abuse was found. The DCF officer, was a weekend employee who admitted she was unable to reach a supervisor and decided to to take the child until a weekday supervisor and a court could sort out the invesitagation. She removed our sleeping son from his warm crib and proceeded to carry him in 49 degree weather with no socks or warm clothes, and no car seat; she never asked if he took any medication, if he had any allergies or if he had any medical issues. She would not allow us to provide clothes, supplies, or his iron supplements since he is anaemic. Our child was removed from his safe loving home and taken on a false DFC allegation from a disgruntled ex spouse.           Monday January 8, 2018 When Shauna and I arrived at court the following morning, her husband and his mother where already there, sitting with the DFC investigator and a public defender. They were asking for our child to be placed with them. It was apparent to all they were the anonymous callers to the DFC because the court hearing took place not even 8 hours after our son was removed. Even though I was not recognized in a legal sense as Joey's father, the Judge still permitted me to speak. I updated her of my ongoing petetion to be recognized as Joey's biological and legal father. She obviously recognized an issue in the timing and the claim. She charged the husband with child abandonment since he has never been present in our son's life and denied him visits with our son. She ordered a DCF home study of my grandmothers house in Vero Beach. She passed the case to Judge Delgado and asked him to advance my petition to be recognized as Joey’s biological AND legal father. DFC determined charges against me were unsubstantiated and dropped. We left that day to await the homestudy and anticpated our sons placement with his biological grandmother. Wednesday January 10, 2018 Judge Delgado refused the previous Judges request and would not allow me to speak much less allow me to provide proof of my biological status. He said he would permit me to sit in the courtroom, but not participate. Shauna was not provided an opportunity dispute the false claims against her, but rather a court date was set for January 23, 2018 to determine Joey’s placement. Every day we call and visit the DFC offices to speak to our case worker. She has been absent since our case began. No one can help us see our child. We were being denied our court ordered visits and no one could do anything about it. They were all sympathetic but could not help and kept telling us we must speak with our case manager and that she is the only one who can handle our case. Our case manager is still on leave to this day and we have yet to meet her. Tuesday January 23, 2018 We appeared before Judge Delgado. The state attorney’s office and the DFC had determined my grandmother’s house suitable for foster care. The Judge denied this and ordered Joey to remain in DFC foster care instead of with his grandmother. He permitted the husband 3 visits a week despite the fact he has never met our baby. Shauna’s public defender told the judge we have been unable to contact Joey’s caseworker. We have left countless messages and visited both DCF offices multiple times in an attempt for some answers. He instructed the DFC court repersenative to correct this and have our calls returned within 24 hours.         Our son was removed on January 8. 2016. We are court ordered to see him three times a week for 2 hours at a time. To this day we have only seen him twice which was this past Wednesday & Thursday, January 24th and 25th.  According to our court order we have only had 2 visits so far when we should have had 9. We barely recognized our son when they opened the door. Our happy, smiling, outgoing baby boy was not the same child we were greeted with at the door. We were greeteed with an underweight, pale, sad shell of what used to be our always happy beautiful baby.  Our first visit after 14 days   He is so sad and confused    He is alarmingly thin and we continued to feed him for 2 hours straight at our last visit. Usually he pushes food away when he's full. He did not push anything away.          I went right to work as soon Joey was born and the hospital denied me as being listed on my sons birth certificate. At this point my main priority was not only our son's saftey, but to also be recognized as his legal father before Shauna's husband was to be released from prison. The first step in this whole case was sending an application to the Florida office of Vital Statistics. Shauna and I applied and mailed in the required paperwork along with the notarized birth certificate amendment.  We also enclosed a $50 money order to have it rushed in order to have BOTH parents listed on Joeys birth certificate instead of just Shauna. Not only was it immediately denied due to the fact that the she was legally married at the time of birth, but they also kept the $50 money order and deemed it non-refundable. Obviously the Vital Statistic Office did not know the specific circumsances and without legal representation did not care to listen to the facts.         When Joey was born, the hospital informed us this was all that was needed to be done in order to correct the birth certificate. Not only were they wrong, but this misinformation they gave us was just the beginning of a now 16 month long process that has lead nowhere while Shauna is still listed as the only parent Joey's birth certificate. Before leaving the hospital, Shauna had to sign a paper in order to refuse her husband as being listed as Joey's father. That paper was based on the following statute:  Husband To Be Shown (FL Statute #382.03) When the mother of a child is married at the time of birth, she must list her husband as the father of the child regardless of circumstances. Local registrars are asked to require that such birth record be completed in accordance with these instructions. If the mother desires to show anyone other than her husband as the father of her child, she should be advised to institute proceedings in the courts to determine the true facts of parentage. If the court decrees that the husband is not the father of the child is thus declared illegitimate, the decree of the court will be followed in filing or changing the birth record. Should a married mother refuse to supply information on her husband because he is not the biological father of her child, the following statement should be entered across the record in items 19 and 20. "Mother refuses information on husband." All other father information should indicate "Unknown."          This is a summary of the steps I had to take to be the legal father of my son. I thought I was on my way. I could not afford a lawyer. I attempted this on my own. Joey and I spent hours upon hours at the clerk’s office processing paperwork. Little did I know the past 16 months and numerous petitions, court ordered DNA tests and mediations were all for nothing and could all be wiped away by one simple phone call from Shauna's husband.  Calling DCF was his last resort to keep Shauna in his life because he knew once I was the legal father, he would no longer be able to control her life pertaining to our son.  PATERNITY ACTION DOCUMENTATION          We had been ordered by the court to have a mediation and apply for an establishment of paternity, but as you can see we had already completed a successful mediation agreement and we were issued a court date in front of a Judge. The honourable Judge Coates sent me certified mail that I didn’t need to be heard in his court room that this was a matter for the vital statistics which is where we started back in 2016 (see first document photo). That was because he neglected to read the cover sheet, noting I am NOT the husband and this was for establishment / disestablishment of paternity. Yet ANOTHER unfortunate delay. The court continued to send us in circles for many months to come.           After coming to a mediation agreement, all that was left to do was the court ordered DNA test. This is the second conclusive DNA test administered by Sonya Howard A.A.S. CAP Director of the treatment center of West Palm Beach. I am Joseph Robert Ferrugia’s father.           After getting the DNA test results, one of the last things the mediator said I was required to do was to complete a parenting course which I had to pay for myself out of pocket. Pictured below is my "Certificate of Completion for Parent Education and Family Stabilization Course."          This Last Step was filed January 5, 2018. In less than 48 hours after filing this document and FINALLY being granted a court date, an unstable, jealous, love sick, (ex) spouse found out through social media and filed a false complaint of abuse against me and Shauna to attempt to get our son in court and to force her back into his life by doing so. According to the law, the DCF requires two persons to complain, so he got his mother to co-file who has a history of battery assault. He filed the complaint because he wanted to take the baby and prove to Shauna he could be a good father and get her back. She wants no part of this and they have been separated for almost 4 years. I bought his divorce packet myself, Shauna served it to him in person while he was working at a job during his work release in prison and he has never returned it. She served him the divorce packet while she was still pregnant to avoid a situation like this, but obviosuly since he never signed or returned it, this has been his plan all along. She has had his phone number blocked for over a year just to stop his constant texts and calls. We cannot comprehend how someone could be this desperate for love and attention that they are willing to try to get it from a baby who has no relation to them besides a piece of paper signed in 2013 stating they were married (at the time).  This is to show he could not have been there at the time of Joey's conception or at the time of birth. After all, Joey's name is JOEY JUNIOR after his REAL father.          Help us to prevent these two from having control of our child because of some archaic law. He has no interest other than to satisfy his own selfish desire to reunite with Shauna whether it's in the babies best interest or NOT. She wants nothing to do with him which should be obvious by now as her and I have resided together for almost 3 years now. The fact that a court or a State of Florida department would even consider putting our son or anyone’s son in a home with a mature woman who had pled guilty to a battery charge is unfathomable. This is not the first time she has been known to call DCF either. She had Shauna's husbands prior girlfriends son taken by DCF also. Imagine a 53 year old woman fighting and calling DCF on a 19 year old girl? These are the people trying to take custody of our son. This is his mother’s assault charge which she got from fighting saif girlfriend.  Our beautiful, happy, inquisitive and loving son is somewhere in the world with strangers  and should never have been removed from his loving family.      Our Home, Our Family, Our Entire World.........            In the meantime the clock is ticking. Our son has never been away from us for a single second and has only been with family and people he is familiar with. He's just an innocent baby and shouldn't be the victim here. He belongs with family, who can give him the love, care and attention that he deserves. He deserves the best.   This is Joey's grandmother who despite was approved to take him temproraily until this is resolved, but was ultimately denied by the judge. It is unfair for Joey. If they want to punish someone it shouldn't be him.   I cannot begin to explain the range of thoughts and emotions that run through my mind and body. How many times I wake up with a pain in the pit of my stomach, momentarily thinking I was dreaming only to realize it wasn’t a dream, but the reality of an evil act, by evil people. I was not dreaming, and he is not in his room talking to himself waiting for one of us to take him out of his crib. We struggle because our job is to protect him at all times, we had no way of way of knowing that a perfect storm of pure evil and incompetence would conspire to take him away. We never missed a paediatrician visit, we never missed an eye doctor visit for his eye condition, and we have never missed a single physical therapy visit. He's never missed a meal; we gave to him before we gave to ourselves as parents should.         I miss him terribly, Shauna misses him terribly. We have an emptiness in our lives and in our home. There is nothing in the world that can replace this emptiness. I miss his smile, the sound of his voice; I miss his walk, his smell, his touch. We have never hurt so badly not knowing where he is or how safe he is. Please help us get him back. I am asking for your help, whatever you can give is more than enough. We have learned the HARD way, we cannot do this without an attorney.  We have exhausted EVERY option at this point and it took 16 months going on 17 to do so. This is our last option. Joey needs to home. We need our Joey home.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts from our family to yours. #justiceforjoey          


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Joey Ferrugia 
West Long Branch, NJ
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