The story of Monica's former foster mother

Relates to:
Date: 2007-04-28
Source: king5.com

April 28, 2007
Pam Deming

I was a foster parent for Monica when she was 2-1/2 years old.

Fabregas was obsessed with her at that time and I reported time and time again to Monica's social workers that he was inappropriate in his behavior with her during visits.

He tried to control her as she was living in foster care.

He brought clothing he asked us to have her dressed in at the next visit, he often kissed her with his tongue in her mouth, he touched her as if she was his girlfriend, even when she was just a toddler/preschooler.

One social worker informed him of a regular appointment I would take Monica to each week and he started stalking us in the parking lot at that place and would attempt to hug and kiss both Monica and me in the parking lot.

He tried several times to talk me out of taking Monica into the appointment because he would not accept that Monica had any developmental problems.

He would stand there and tell Monica that only "Papa" loved her and no one else understood her or cared about her.

In my opinion, Fabregas was creepy and I reported these incidents to the social workers time and time again.

The response was always that it is his Italian "culture" to be friendly and touch people in a way that is not typlcal in the U.S., that is was okay for him to give Monica gifts, and that I was overreacting.

One social worker told me she agreed that he was creepy but there was nothing she could do about keeping him away from Monica.

They would ask him not to attempt to see Monica outside scheduled visits but he just ignored them.

Eventually the social worker started allowing him to attend the appointments with us because, I was told, it was just easier than putting up with his phone calls and personal visits at her office everyday.

I reported my suspicions many times that Monica had been molested by Fabregas prior to going into foster care at the age of 2 and that my gut feeling was that he was interested in more than a father-daughter relationship with her.

He gave me a video he asked me to show Monica everyday so she would know he was thinking of her.

This is the tape referred to in the King 5 report. It showed one strange or dangerous situation after another he purposely put Monica into in an attempt to make a funny video.

He told me he sent a copy to America's Funniest Home Videos and hoped to win some money. After I watched the video (without Monica) I gave it to her social worker and asked her to watch it, explaining to her what was on the video.

The social worker said she didn't have a right to view it or keep it and told me later she gave it back to him.

Monica was developmentally delayed and had some serious issues even at 2 years old.

I never understood why DSHS allowed Fabregas to have a relationship with her at all since he was not a blood relative and Monica's mother was no longer involved with him (or Monica) at that time.

One social worker told me they were encouraging the relationship because Monica had no family who was interested in her and Fabregas was the closest thing she had to family.

I was also told that because of her developmental issues it would be hard to find an adoptive home for Monica and Fabregas was, basically, better than nothing.

Because of my constant complaints about Fabregas and the view that I was not "cooperative" in DSHS's attempts to "reunify" this family, and due to the impact the situation was having on my family, Monica was moved to another foster home after 6 months in our home.

I kept in contact with that foster family periodically and was appalled when I learned that custody of Monica had been given to Fabregas after only a few months with them and DSHS was going forward with allowing him to adopt her.

I'd like to blame the judge for signing the adoption papers but, having adopted foster children myself, I know that the judge rubber stamps based on the home study done by DSHS.

So the blame there is back on DSHS.

When Monica ended up back in foster care at the age of 12 with a friend of mine who is also a foster parent, and then I saw the reports of the Tamas girls and of Febregas' arrest on the news and in the newspapers, I first of all was appalled that DSHS had given him a foster care license to take in more girls, and then I cried when I thought of what Monica must have been through despite my own repeated warnings and suspicions reported to DSHS.

I've been a foster parent for 12 years and have seen what I consider to be some totally irresponsible decisions made by some (not all) social workers, putting kids into terrible situations, and I've seen some kids come back into foster care in worse shape because of those decisions (at least they came back alive).

But Monica has always haunted me even though I lost all contact with her after she was returned to Fabregas.

There was something very wrong with the relationship between Fabregas and Monica, even when she was 2 years old.

The social workers involved ignored my suspicions, warnings and reports, and ignored what they saw for themselves (chalking it up to cultural differences).

It appears Monica's best interests, and the best interests of the Tamas girls, were repeatedly ignored or downplayed.

Having dealt with Fabregas for 6 months I know from personal experience that he is arrogant and extremely manipulative.

It has become increasingly more difficult to become and remain licensed as a foster home over the past 10 years.

Some of the safety provisions we are required to maintain in our home to prevent children from getting physically hurt are beyond what any "normal" family is expected to maintain.

The amount of training foster parents are expected to participate in and the level of accountability foster parents are required to maintain is far beyond what any natural parent is required to go through to have a child returned to him/her after being in foster care.

If the reports of falsified information given by Fabreges to DSHS foster care licensors and adoption workers is true, I am appalled to learn that the information was not verified by DSHS prior to Monica or the Tamas girls being placed with him.

The message that sends to me is that the hours we spend and the burdens we endure to meet the expectations of DSHS and keep the high level of integrity we hope to maintain, is really just a joke.

Someone like Fabreges can come in, falsify information, smile, charm and lie to a DSHS licensor or investigator and no one will bother to check anything out nor take repeated reports seriously enough to do anything about them.

The reports indicate that the police found about 1,500 video tapes in Fabregas' home.

I think that the fact that Fabregas kept those tapes in his home, knowing that he was under suspicion, just shows how arrogant he is, apparently believing that he could manipulate, charm and outwit the police detectives just like he did DSHS investigators, social workers and licensors.

I hope that Monica and the Tamas girls will be able to recover from the abuse inflicted upon them by Fabregas and DSHS, but it will be a long, slow process and the abuse will never be forgotten.

They deserve every penny of whatever monetary award a judge or jury decides will compensate them for their years of abuse.

As for Fabregas...well, what can I say?

My hope for him is that he doesn't get off on a legal technicality and that his punishment will sufficiently give Monica and the Tamas girls some peace.

As Monica's former foster mother, I thank Ester Tamas for doing what no on else was able to do - getting Monica away from Fabregas and getting Fabregas behind bars.

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