The picture is my son the last time I saw him. Now, he is 10 years old and I have no idea even what he looks like.
I will try to make a long story short. In 2004, Carla entered into a plea agreement (which was a new program for felony offenders) for her felony narcotic possession charge she received in July that year because this was her first offense. (Carla had been associating with a bad crowd and one of them had left narcotics in her possession without her knowledge, and because "snitches get stitches" she stupidly accepted the charge). With the Judges permission, Carla was granted permission to move back to her hometown in North Carolina with her family.
Even though she lived in another state, her case and sentence remained in Lake County, Florida. She was sentenced to community service, probation, drug and alcohol rehab, pay her monthly fees and call her probation officer who was in Florida once a month.
She arrived to her first Alcohol and Drug Rehab appointment, and was told by the caseworker, "I do not know anything about this program, you will have to reschedule, see a specific caseworker and the earliest appointment is a month away. She arrived at her next appointment and was told, "I don't know what they expect me to do. I'm not familiar with this program, I am going to reschedule your appointment for next month and you will have to see another caseworker who should be able to help you better." Carla frantically explained, "No I am suppose to drug tested once a month, and attending drug classes. I haven't even been given one drug test yet; I do not want my probation violated." The caseworker said all she could do was to schedule another appointment. Carla called her probation officer and informed him of the situation and asked him if she could be assigned to a different alcohol and drug rehab. He said no, it's against their rules. He will call them himself and get things straightened out and schedule her next appointment for her too. Carla arrived to her next appointment and once again heard, "I don't know anything about this, I will have to reschedule your appointment for next month and you will be seeing this specific caseworker."
Three weeks later Carla received a letter that stated she was in violation of her probation and was assigned a court date.
At this time, Carla was four weeks pregnant, and was already a single mother of an 8 year old girl and a 2 year old boy. Without any financial support from the children's father and with a criminal record, Carla was unable to find employment.
In addition to all that overwhelming stress, while Carla was incarcerated her healthy 8 year old daughter began experiencing severe separation anxiety and developed trichotillomania, a psychiatric disorder where the individual pulls one hair strand out of their head by one, then when completely bald began pulling out their eyebrows and eyelashes, etc.
Her daughter had always been very shy, very self consccious, low self esteem, self confidence and had difficulty making friends. This disorder made her 8 year old life devastating. Kids at school laughed, picked, joked, bullied and tormented her daily. She went home everyday crying and begging not to return to school because she already had three enormous bald spots on her head.
Carla took her daughter to the doctor and began seeing a psychiatrist after many different treatments including antipsychotic medicine for an 8 year old child, nothing helped. Her disorder progressively got worse.
Fearful of having a completely bald headed child and the effects it would chronically cause for her daughter, Carla forced her daughter to wear a hat to school every day and at home wear a shower cap, even at night while she slept. To everyone's satisfaction, the treatment worked and her daughter's hair slowly began growing back.
It was the day before Carla's court date, she decided after much pondering and consideration, broke and without gas money to travel from North Carolina to Florida, not wanting to give birth to her baby from prison, not wanting her daughter's awful disorder to return, and not wanting her children to end up in foster care (because over the last decade everyone in her family had passed away except her mother who was too old and not in good health to care for her now 6 children, her sister who had 6 children of her own and could not care for Carla's 6 children too, no one else in their family was left, everyone had passed away), decided she could NOT appear in court.
From 2004-the present Carla has been through license checks and received minor traffic violations; however, Florida will not extradite her for her charges.
When Carla's son turned 5 years old, his father who lives in Florida and knew Carla could not travel there or she would be arrested, took him on a visit and never returned. He moved, changed jobs and phone numbers and has not allowed Carla to see or speak to her son since.
Now, Carla has located them and dreams of reuniting with her long lost son who is now 10 years old.
Please sign this petition and help Carla regain custody/visitation of her son, will help her obtain employment, and follow her dream of going to college to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice, a program that needs a clean background to obtain employment after graduation. After all, Carla has 6 children she will have to financially assist with obtaining their college degrees too.
Carla Austin started this petition with a single signature, and now has 49 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.