My name is Stephanie Ifeatu and I am the executive director of Ifeatu Healing and Community Services, a non-profit organization located here in Sacramento. Our agency provides supportive services to families that engage with child welfare services. I have been working alongside Ms. Treahannah Clemmons and her family for the past couple of months. I request that this email and direct communication with the department is documented in CWS/CMS as a collateral contact and also included in any future court reports as a collateral contact.
Our agency is one of the community organizations that signed the Community Letter of Demands that was given to Sacramento County, DCFAS, CPS last month requesting the children be returned to Ms. Clemmons. Ms. Clemmons has cc’d all her community advocates on her correspondence with the department and we have been observing her advocate and fight for her children to be returned to her. I want to stress that Ms. Clemmons is completely supported by all of us in her efforts in seeking transparency and accountability from the department.
Ms. Clemmons is a caring mother, who is devoted to her children. She is extremely impacted by the separation from her children which has caused trauma not only to her, but to her children as well. If it seems as if Ms. Clemmons presents as aggressive and demanding in response to the department’s request for cooperation, it is because she is battling with the reality that her children are not physically in her care. It is not normal for a caring and loving mother to be separated from her children – especially a mother that does not harm her children. We must remind the department Ms. Clemmons is the expert of her family needs and dynamics. We have observed that the children have not been doing better in the care of the department as we know one of the children has voluntarily left a placement, was detained by law enforcement by which he sustained minor injuries and placed on a psychiatric hold. His motive in leaving placement was to seek his mother and return to her care. This is highly concerning as it does not seem the child is safer under the department's care.
One of Ms. Clemmons’ younger children has started wetting the bed more frequently while in the care of the department. We have observed her youngest children screaming and crying to be with their mother after in-person visits have ended. We have been told directly by the eldest daughter of Ms. Clemmons that the original allegations against Ms. Clemmons were false and she wants to be in the care of her mother. The children are separated in various placements and have endured severe familial disruption. From our observation, the children are not doing better emotionally, mentally, or spiritually under the department’s care.
We have witnessed Ms. Clemmons take an additional parenting class, although she had completed a parenting course prior to the department’s involvement. We have corresponded with other community organizations that have reported Ms. Clemmons is an appropriate caregiver that uses appropriate methods of discipline with the children. Furthermore, the children and community partners that have worked with Ms. Clemmons have all denied Ms. Clemmons has been physically abusive to her children. This significant piece of information was reported in the Community Letter of Demands. As a community, we are very concerned that the children were removed from Ms. Clemmons’ care and still remain outside of the home.
It has come to our attention that Ms. Clemmons is being asked to have her youngest child, her newborn be observed by Sacramento County CPS and there is possibly an impending juvenile dependency court hearing regarding her newborn. We strongly state that the newborn is safe in the mother’s care and needs to remain in the mother’s care. The mother is breastfeeding and is the only person that can provide the newborn what he needs. Please strongly consider this as the newborn needs to be with the mother to thrive and stay healthy.
We request that all community advocates involved with Ms. Clemmons and her children are consistently invited to any future CFT meetings. We hope we can all work together to have the children returned to Ms. Clemmons to honor family preservation.
Stephanie Ifeatu, MSW, ACSW
Ifeatu Healing and Community Services