Man Fights for Daughters to Return Home | NBC Connecticut

Man Fights for Daughters to Return Home

DCF now faces fight from a father and the Peruvian government.



    In August 2009, William Gonzales' three daughters were taken from his home and he has been fighting to get them back ever since.

    It all began when his daughter, Melanie, complained at school about fighting in the home.

    Father Fights for Custody

    [HAR] Father Fights for Custody
    William Gonzales is fighting with the state to get his kids back, and time is running out until his Visa to the U.S. expires. Two of his daughters are in DCF custody, and his oldest daughter talks only to NBC Connecticut. (Published Tuesday, March 20, 2012)

    Gonzales said the Department of Children and Family Services got involved and took his daughters away with no explanation. His daughter said it was all a big misunderstanding and a mistake that has ripped their family apart for more than two and a half years.

    "He's never been to that point where he has abused me, verbally or sexually, or any of those things," Melanie Gonzales said. "And if that was the case, I'd be the first one to speak up about it because I would never want my sisters to go back to that situation, ever."

    Gonzales was never charged with any crimes in relation to his daughters.

    The Peruvian Consulate has sent several letters to DCF and state officials, including Gov. Dannel Malloy, imploring them to review the case and reunite the family. The Peruvian government alleges that some DCF workers have treated the family unfairly and have not been forthcoming during family court hearings.

    They point to a September 2011 police report from Farmington when Gonzales went to his daughter's school to check on her academic status and administrators called police.

    In their report, officers describe Gonzales' demeanor as calm. It also says DCF case worker Ileana Escarraman was called to the scene.

    According to the report, when the officer told her that it appeared the family would be reunited soon, "Escarraman confirmed that was the agency's goal, but not her's."

    DCF would not comment on the handling of the Gonzales case other than issuing a statement outlining their legal obligations in a case involving parents that are not U.S. citizens. However, in a December 2012 letter from DCF to the Peruvian Consulate, they do concede that Melanie was moved to four different foster homes just in the previous October.

    Melanie told NBC Connecticut she lived in eight different foster homes in just one year.

    Melanie was reunited with her father in December. The other two daughters remain in foster care.

    Earlier this week, he went to the Juvenile Court in Hartford only to hear one more time that his case has been delayed because DCF needs more time to review the DCF documentation. The judge scheduled a new hearing for April 9, which is a problem for Gonzales.

    He has an immigration hearing on March 26 and his lawyer said chances are that he will face a deportation order due to his expired visa.

    Gonzales' attorney, Alisha Mathers, said she believes DCF's request for a delay in the hearing is intentional.

    "The department is fully aware of the deportation hearing and they probably strategically planned to delay in whatever capacity possible to make sure Mr. Gonzales does face deportation after the hearing," Mathers said.