ROANOKE, Va. – The case of a mom fighting for custody of her kids goes to the Virginia Supreme Court on Wednesday.
10 News has been following Angela Key and her case in Carroll County for months. She’s still fighting to get her three children back after they went into foster care four years ago.
As we’ve reported, the Carroll County Department of Social Services has been under investigation for violating Virginia laws, rules and policies meant to protect children and families.
The state agency tasked with investigating complaints involving children in foster care, the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman, investigated Angie’s case, along with several others in Carroll County.
The final report showed:
- “The lack of urgency or interest” to “achieve reunification”
- “Lack of meaningful visitation with the children”
- Court records that contained incomplete and inaccurate information
- “Troubling internal policies”.
But that report was never allowed in court.
Angie’s lawyer, John Koehler, already appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals.
He hopes that appealing the decision in the Supreme Court will change the process for termination of parental rights and hold the local Department of Social Services accountable.
“It would bring a level of accountability to the departments and hopefully resolve the issues that the office is finding in some of these cases. In other words, once they know that this information may be brought out in court, they will take on a higher level of responsibility to see that the needs of the parents and the children are being met and that the goal of unifying the family is met,” said Koehler.
Ultimately, Koehler says the Virginia legislature needs to make changes to help in situations like this.
We’ll be following what happens on Wednesday and will give you updates on 10 News. It could take up to six weeks for a decision from the court.
Koehler says if the panel of three judges grants the petition, then the case will be briefed and argued to all seven justices, which will take about six to eight months. If the panel refuses the petition, then the process is ended and Key loses the chance of getting her children back.
For more information on the role of the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman and how you can file a complaint for them to investigate, click here.