Posted: Nov 7, 2012 1:42 PM by Janine Reyes
Updated: Nov 8, 2012 4:17 AM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- The pregnant mom who left her two toddlers alone last month was in family court this morning.
Judge Brent Chesney placed her three children with a couple temporarily.
"Are you really wanting to get these children back, are you willing to do what it takes to do that," Chesney asked Maria Carrejo in court. "Yes, I'm willing to do whatever it takes," she said.
She didn't have much more to say in court this morning when Chesney appointed Belinda and Joseph Jaimes as temporary caregivers of her 3 daughters, ages 6, 3 and two.
They've been in foster care since CPS removed them two weeks ago when a caseworker for the agency found her toddlers home alone.
An attorney for the children also addressed the court. "I did visit with my clients, 3 delightful little girls, Kristin of course wanted to be returned to her mom, the middle child seemed pretty happy where she was and the youngest was non-verbal," Sarah Stukenberg said.
Chesney said the court's goal is to reunify the family, but that means mom has a lot of work ahead of her. She's been reported to CPS five times before, on allegations ranging from neglectful supervision to drug use, even hitting and burning one child.
"If you don't participate, if you don't do what I order you to do, then those children aren't going back to that situation," Chesney told Carrejo in court.
Carrejo, CPS, a CASA advocate and the attorney for the children all agreed to place them with the Jaimes, Carrejo knows the couple from her childhood since they previously fostered one of her friends.
They also successfully adopted that girl's baby, so Chesney said he felt comfortable placing the children in their home, since they'd already passed rigorous background checks for the adoption.
A family member also spoke up, asking for the girls.
"I'm the grandma to the older child and my son told me to come over here to try and see if I can get her," Nancy Salazar told the court. Carrejo's younger children belong to Salazar's brother. Both fathers are incarcerated.
Judge Chesney did not allow her to take the children right now, CPS voiced concerns with her criminal history and prior CPS investigations.
Chesney did order a home study since she is related to the girls and may also be considered.
Carrejo has criminal child endangerment charges to answer to before the court even considers reuniting the family.
Right now Carrejo is banned from seeing her younger girls as part of her bond conditions, but Chesney said he'd allow it if the criminal court judge would okay the visitation.
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