Author: GORDON OLIVER - of the Oregonian Staff
Children's Services Division officials said in court Friday that the agency opposes the immediate return of any children to Sherry Scott, a former Cornelius woman who was accused of neglecting the 27 youngsters she once cared for in her home.
CSD caseworker Brian Dobbs said the agency believes that Scott still does not accept full responsibility for the problems that led to CSD's removal of her children last February. Dobbs also said Scott has lived in her present home for only six weeks and needs more time to stabilize her living situation.
Scott, who lives in a mobile home near Forest Grove, told Washington County Juvenile Court Judge Gayle Nachtigal that she would like four daughters returned immediately.
She eventually wants nine other biological and adopted children back in her custody in two subsequent phases. Many of the children, now living in foster homes, are physically or mentally disabled.
Attorneys for six of the children presented progress reports to the court, and two teen-age Scott girls appeared in court to request a return to their mother.
Hearings on the remaining children are scheduled for next Friday. Nachtigal will decide after that hearing how many, if any, of the children should be returned to live with Sherry Scott in her two-bedroom home.
CSD has proposed returning the children to Scott within three months.
The Children's Services Division removed 27 children from the former Scott home in Cornelius last February on allegations that the children had been poorly supervised, the home was unsanitary, and that some of the children had been involved in sexual abuse. Scott later admitted the neglect charges.
Ten of the children unrelated to the Scotts were returned to their families or to agencies that had placed them in the home. Four of the remaining Scott children are at or near adulthood or have been released from state custody, leaving 13 who remain in state foster care.
In lengthy testimony, Scott said she now realizes that she had become overextended in trying to care for so many children. She was burdened by her separation from her husband, the death of a daughter, and financial problems, she said.
``I had a place in my heart for every one of them. I just had too many to handle,'' she said.
Scott also said she is only recently learning the details about sexual abuse that occurred among children in her Cornelius home. She also said she is coming to terms with her own abuse as a child and how that affected her ability to be a good parent.
Dobbs said that Scott had recently quit her job as a housekeeper, but Scott said after the hearing that she has taken a leave of absence from that job.