It sounds to me like the ex wife may be feeling regret and anger for leaving your fiancee. During times like this its difficult for some people to keep these feelings in check so to speak. I highly recommend you, your fiance and his ex-wife read a book called “Moms house Dad’s house” I can’t remember the author’s name but its in every Barnes & Noble or Borders book store.
And if all of you truly only have the child’s interest at heart you will find it to be quite helpful. It will help you understand why some parents do the horrible things they do and provide you with the tools to refrain from doing these things yourself.
It takes a special person to take on the responsibility of another’s child. I know my fiancee is and I’m sure you are but you’ll need to be prepared for some bumpy roads ahead. If I were you I would look for some books on step-parenting and understanding your role in the child’s life.
When you go back to court your fiancee needs to request what is called a 730 in CA or child custody evaluation & psych evaluation. This is not cheap, last year mine was $2500 for my daughter and the one for my son this year is $4000. You may even want to offer to pay it up front or the court will order a payment plan for both of you. The down side to this is it takes 3-4 months to complete and it sounds like to me you may want to go to court on an ex parte change of custody.
Your proof will be provided with the evaluation, they will or should automatically drug test when there is an allegation of substance abuse. If so you should request they test through the hair, to my knowledge that goes back for months maybe even years depending on the length of the hair. I know this is expensive but isn’t the little girl worth it? Borrow, beg and plead from anyone who can help or take a 2nd out on your home if you have one.
Remember your goal is to provide a stable and healthy environment for this child. Read the book “Mom’s house Dad’s house”. Although 22 months may be too young for therapy you and your fiance can give this little girl the world if you keep your visits with her stable, predictable and loving, free of any kind of stress. This is a lot of stress for you too, remember take care of yourself emotionally and physically.
I have a question, why is she on welfare? is it for the other kids? is your fiance paying her child support? If not he needs to start paying whatever he can, prove that his is making an effort. And pay with checks or money orders only! No cash ever! Good luck to you, your fiance and his precious little girl.