What is the going rate for taking a mother’s children from her care at the ages of 10 and 12 and placing them in the foster care system for nearly four years with little or no reason? Fausat Ogunbayo says it’s $900 trillion, a number most likely pulled from an aching heart that has YET to have her boys back with her. She’s suing the State of New York and Ogunbayo is representing herself, citing in court papers, her boys have endured ” terror, horror, grievous harm, time lost, substantial economic hardship and injuries,”  while in the foster care system.

According to the Staten Island Advance,  the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) removed her boys because Ogunbayo appeared unstable and refused treatment, “She allegedly told a doctor her children’s skin was becoming darker each day, due to radiation. In another incident, she wrote her children’s school that the FBI and Secret Service were out to get the boys, ACS said in court papers.”

[There was an episode on Law & Order where kids were getting sick from chemicals stored in a apartment building. I’m just saying. Maybe not so crazy.]

ACS also noted that Ogunbayo left her 10 and 12 year old children alone while she worked. But according to the New York Office of Children’s Services, 12 or 13 is appropriate for leaving children unsupervised. [I started babysitting at 11].

The Advance also notes that “Ms. Ogunbayo submitted a November 2008 letter from the children’s pediatricians, saying they seemed to be well cared for during the eight preceding years in which they were patients. Doctors also said they hadn’t seen Ms. Ogunbayo behaving erratically.”

And, the children had up to date immunizations, excelled at school and had near perfect attendance records.

Recently, the State Appellate Division vacated the Family Court’s order saying, “Proof of mental illness alone will not support a finding of neglect,” unless there’s a causal link between the parent’s condition and actual or potential harm to the child, said the court.”

The court ruled the children must be returned to their mother, but ACS is planning to appeal, so they won’t give them back.

By the way, in the state’s custody, the oldest boy was arrested for marijuana possession just last year. There were no run-ins with the law when their mother cared for them.

$900 Trillion. The price Fausat Ogunbayo and her children have already paid is much higher.