ROSELLE PARK - A campaign to reunite a boy in the New York foster care system with his original foster family in New Jersey has gone viral after it was posted on social media.
Hilda Ramos has been fighting for about a decade to be reunited with her foster son Duane. About 14 years ago, Ramos’ mother took Duane in when she lived in the Bronx. He was just five days old.
When Duane was 3, Ramos’ mother passed away and Duane came to live with her in Roselle Park.
“New York City child protective services placed him with me. Then they realized it was an illegal placement because I lived in New Jersey and he was a ward of the state of New York,” Ramos says.
The Ramos family has been trying ever since to get him back. Duane is now 14 years old. He has been allowed to visit the family over the years. He has been living with his birth father at times. Other times he is back in the foster care system.
In a Facebook post that has gone viral, Ramos’ daughter Deirdre lays out their fight to get Duane back. The posts says that Duane’s birth father has issues with drugs and Duane has told them that he is afraid to live with his father.
“On my mother’s death bed, her concern was what’s going to happen to [Duane]. I told my mother ‘I will take care of your boy,” Ramos says.
Duane has even written letters himself to a judge to ask to come live with the Ramos family in New Jersey.
The Ramos family cannot adopt Duane because the boy’s birth parents have not relinquished their parental rights.
A custody hearing is scheduled for Feb. 11.
New York City's Administration of Children Services issued a statement saying that confidentiality laws don't allow them to discuss specific cases, but a spokesperson says that the agency takes all allegations seriously.