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child protective services

Discussion in 'Other Family Law Matters' started by justice, Dec 30, 2002.

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  1. justice

    justice Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I briefly skimmed some of the other posts regarding abuses by child protective agencies. This has become an epedemic across the country I am sadly learning. There are lots of websites out there on this topic. I had heard the horror stories before, but never believed them. I figured in DCFS was involved, the parents HAD to have done something illegal... So having felt that way myself, I understand that even arguing this may make me sound guilty of something.... Thankfully, my children have not been removed, but my family has been egregiously damaged none the less.


    In my case, the mandatory reporter was a school counselor who my daughter turned to because her feelings were hurt and she wanted someone to talk to. I had broken up a fight between her and her sister that morning and had physically disciplined her. Physical discipline is a rarity in our home, that's why it upset myb daughter. I have rarely had to use this form of discipline with her, and cannot even remember the last time before this. This discipline was NOT abuse under the laws of this state (even school's can use physical discipline here) as long as there is justifiable cause, and there is no injury or other statutory elements of abuse.

    The reportet happens to be close friends with the child abuse investigator, who happens to be a renegade caseworker hoping to eradicate all physical forms of punishment and hoping to enroll all parents in "parenting classes." she told my oldest daughter that she intended to teach me some things "including better ways to discipline." This was before she had even interviewed me, so obviously I was guilty and signed up for parenting classes before she even coerced her way into my home without a warrant.

    This woman has twisted many things and even flat out lied and fabricated evidence. She asked me how I slapped my child, and I raised up my hand to show her an open hand. She put in her report that the way I demonstrated this to her "made her believe the slap probably landed in the facial area." This is nothing more than trying to make the incident fit the statutory definition of an unreasonable act, one of which is "striking a child on the face" which I did not do. How does showing her an open hand indicate where my hand landed? This is ludicrous. She also fabricated an injury which was not there, which she well knows, since she practically strip searched my child during an unlawful seizure of her at school. She had no warrant, no reasonable cause, and yet she touched and looked underneath my daughter's blouse, over my daughter's objections, and over her protests that she had no injury. There is no picture or other documentation of this "injury", she simply added it as an afterthought. The school counselor was present and saw no injury, so I can only hope that she will be honest about it.

    This woman coerced her way into my home, knowing I was fearful that she would take my children if I didn't comply with her every whim. She has violated so many of my rights, my children's rights, and my family's as a whole. The very laws are unconstitutional as is the inaccurate and discriminatory "risk assessment" used to label people "at risk" of becoming child abusers, which allows social services to open a protective case and keep families under state control. Of over 1,000,000 reports of child abuse, over half were cases with no abuse present, and only "at risk" parents deemed so through a checklist and the subjective opinion of a caseworker. This has caused such hype that protective service agents have been given way too much power coupled with immunity, because they need it to "err on the side of the child."

    They cannot force their brand of "protection" on children who do not need to be protected. At least it shouldn't be that way in a free country.

    There is no material evidence against me, just a preponderance of a caseworker's opinions and lies, yet I have been listed on the child maltreatment registry, and can no longer practice child care, which I have done in the past and fully intended to due when my baby is old enough to go to preschool. There is no opportunity to be heard other than a post deprivation hearing, at which I cannot obtain full relief. This is yet another violation of due process, of which there have been several in this case.

    Due process on many levels, equal protection, family integrity, privacy, unlawful search and seizure of children and of home, parental rights.... how many rights does one agency have to violate before a stop is put to this?

    I will be informed of my appeal date soon and can appeal the "true" determination and try to have my name removed from the registry. They never even gave me notice that they were sending a notification to the school to place in all my children's files, and I have had no chance to be heard on that matter either. All this on a caseworker's whim, and with no chance to be heard before the adverse actions are taken. All without just cause or evidence. They have harmed my family and my children in the name of "protection."

    Sorry for being so long winded. My actual question is, do I need to raise all Constitutional issues at this Administrative hearing in order to preserve them for appeal, and how do I do that? I can have witnesses and cross examine the caseworker and her witnesses and present evidence, but do I get to file a brief or anything like that? I am over my head where the procedural issues come into play. When it comes to the how to file, what to file, and the format, I have no clue...
     
  2. duskieone

    duskieone New Member

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    Boy, can I feel for you on this one

    First and foremost, go to this web site: www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/civilrights/color.htm This is very informative about "color of law" issues where civil rights are concerned.

    Also, check out www.cpswatch.com. There is a LOT of information there about how to handle court proceedings, including forms you may need to file, and gives a lot of good advice.

    Now...I have to say that reading your post, my heart went out to you. I don't know if you have read our story, but since you say you have skimmed through the other posts, I'm guessing you have. I found myself shaking my head and almost in tears, as I got further and further into your post, because I have been there, and I know for a fact that you are not making this up. Case workers all have their own personal agenda, even if you are not always aware of what that agenda is. Some of them have been abused children and have a "grudge" against any parent that could even possibly *think* about hurting a child. I know in our case, the worker even TOLD me that she grew up with an alcoholic father, and was clearly appalled when she saw a bottle of wine in my refridgerator. (Yes, they even looked in my fridge)

    I guess I won't bore you with any of the details of my own situation, as there is already a string of posts from my husband and I on this site and you can read them for yourself. I would like to say, though, that your comment about how you used to think that parents MUST have done something illegal to have their children removed really hits me hard. You can't imagine how many times we have heard that comment over the last few months. I was in a chat room last night, and our case came up in conversation, and without exception, every single person in the chat room said, "there is something missing here...there's something you aren't telling us. They cannot take your kids without a reason. This sounds like a melodramatic movie of the week. You have GOT to be making this up."

    Even my own MOTHER will not believe that we did nothing wrong. The only people who DO believe us, are other parents who have gone through something similar, or, interestingly enough....other social workers, who see this kind of abuse of the system every day. I actually spoke to a regional director of the Dept. of Human Services where I live, who said, "Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad case workers, and they DO make a lot of stupid mistakes or use poor judgement, and they WILL go to any lengths to cover that up, to save face or save their job." I also have two relatives in my own family who have degrees in social work and they are appalled at how my case was handled. Unfortunately, they are not in the state where it took place, and feel helpless to do anything about it. (and again...they weren't "there" and the violations of our rights and the illegal activity which took place and is STILL taking place is even unbelievable to them)

    Good luck, and count your lucky stars that you did not lose your child over this. I DID lose mine, and I am still fighting to have them returned, even though we can PROVE they were kidnapped without a court order. We can't even get anyone to press charges or get an attorney to take this case, because they simply refuse to believe it. "They can't DO that. You must be mistaken."

    As you can imagine, my level of frustration over this is at a frightening level. I'm starting to understand how people go "postal" over things like this and climb up into a clock tower with a sniper rifle and start shooting at people. This kind of pressure is enough to make even the most stable among us lose control of our emotions and sanity. Don't misunderstand. I would never do that sort of thing, myself. I'm just saying, I am starting to see how it happens.
     
  3. justice

    justice Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you

    Thank you so much for responding. First of all, I am very sorry for what you are going through. It breaks my heart to imagine what it must be like to have your children taken this way. I fear that this could be the ultimate result in my case if these people keep on like they have been. They will not give me any information to prepare an adequate appeal. My requests for copies of the report go unanswered, even though I followed their exact orders for making the request, and have the receipt from the return receipt mail, so I know they got my first request. I sent a second one now. I have also contacted the Hearings Office to inform them that I cannot get the necessary information to fight this case. I have not heard from them either. I contacted the local office supervisor, but she merely plays phone tag with me, always with promises to get back to me and provide me with this vital information, but she never calls and is "unavailable" when I call now. I have turned to sending her registered mail.

    I have a bunch of case law and information on this subject, but my biggest problem is the procedural issues, because civil law is so different. We all need to contact our legislators (which I started doing today) to see these laws changed, so that they protect ALL children, including those whose parents are innocent. How they can justify violating children and families in the name of "protection" is absolutely sickening.

    I have been to cpswatch, but am eager to look at the other site you mentioned. Thank you. I have been researching these issues like crazy and this entire system is out of control. I cannot believe that this is really happening in America.

    I really feel for you and your family. I know that just the fear of losing our children is enough to have changed life as we once knew it, so I can't imagine what you are going through. I wish you and your children all the best. I also feel terrible for having in the past assumed parents to be guilty when cps gets involved. I can so relate to what you were saying on that matter. Like you mentioned, even attorneys don't believe it. I tried to get help from legal aid, but they told me the same kinds of things.

    This is all just such a nightmare!

    The Constitutional issues are the way to fight this, IMO. Anything else, is just our word against their's, and with such a low standard of evidence, they are always a step ahead.
     
  4. duskieone

    duskieone New Member

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    I agree...this is a constitutional rights issue

    Your last comment was very well stated. I agree that we have to stand on the constitution and the law in these issues, because clearly the CPS people have such low standards they have to be accountable for (while as parents we must be "perfect" or we are not fit).

    There was a post on the parent support group at cpswatch today from a mother who just had a court appearance. She stood up and told the judge, "you are violating my constitutional rights!" and called him a communist. lol...now while I find her statement kind of amusing, she isn't far off. And by the way, she said the judge replied "I don't give a damn about your rights." EXCUSE ME? How does a JUDGE get away with that kind of statement?

    The mother said she was requesting the transcripts so she could make his comment public knowledge, but if experience tells me anything, there probably won't be any transcripts. I sat right next to the court reporter, watching her transcribe the proceedings at my "trial" in November, and I'm told now, when I call to request a copy..."there are no transcripts."

    Another one of the posts was from a parent who had adopted their children and CPS had taken the children from THEM as well. They started out as "foster parents" who then adopted the children, after which CPS took the kids from them. Now think about that for a moment. Doesn't this seem a bit like double jeopardy? First, they take the kids from their natural parents, placing them in foster care (first big chunk of money they get from the state), then the attorneys and courts get paid for the adoption process (second big chunk of money) then CPS steps in again and says, "sorry, we said you were fit parents and could have the children, but we changed our mind, give them back," and they place the children BACK into the system (third big chunk of money). This poor family has several adopted children and now they are feeling horrible for ever becoming involved in a system they had NO idea was so corrupt and was devastating the real families of these children.

    I don't really have any more advice, other than do NOT sign anything that could even remotely be construed as an admission of guilt. That means safety agreements, or anything of that nature, and definitely do not agree to consultations with CPS appointed therapists or counselors. If the court orders it, pay for your own. The ones they appoint are all in the back pocket of CPS and will twist anything to their own advantage and to your disadvantage. I have found in my research that those tactics are universal. Get the parent to admit guilt in some way (even if they are not guilty of anything). They convince people to do this pretty easily, by threatening to take your kids, or withhold your kids if you don't "comply".

    Holding the ONE thing you hold most dear, over your head, is tantamount to putting a gun to your head to get an admission of guilt, and they damn well know it....but continue to do it anyway.

    The other thing I find really tragic, is that they know most people in this situation have never had to deal with anything like it before, and they are simply not AWARE of their rights. They work very hard to keep it that way, too. That's why you are getting stonewalled at every turn, as are we. It's an uphill battle, but we have definitely hit on the way to fight this. They are standing on nothing but lies and deception and "illusion".

    "We, the people" are standing on the constitution of the United States of America, and when push comes to shove, they can't fight that. By denying our rights as citizens of this country, they are invalidating the very principles the country was founded on...and I don't know about you, but to me, that doesn't make them look like the "hero" anymore.
     
  5. justice

    justice Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Very well said...

    Can you hear me applauding? Very well said.

    It's very refreshing to hear someone speaking patriotic language. When so many have died to protect freedom, and many risk their lives as we speak to defend our freedom, it is reprehensible that here at home, our freedom is not being protected. It's our responsibility to make sure that these brave men and women's sacrifices are not in vain.

    I have so many issues to raise, I really don't know how I'll ever properly address them all. Starting with the first call, which was not properly screened, and should not have been accepted in the first place. Even if the report were true, it would not meet the statutory definition of abuse.

    Then, there is the question of whether or not all calls made by mandatory reporters are automatically investigated, which if true, creates a "suspect class" of persons who are investigated (and deemed guilty) based on nothing more than the origin of the call.

    In my case, the mandatory reporter (I know who she is because she told me herself) did not really believe the situation to be abuse, but felt she had no choice but to make the call because she said "better safe than sorry" and that she "could lose her
    job." This shows that mandatory reporters are much more likely to "over-report" just to avoid liability, which increases the erroneousness of investigating all reports made by them as a matter of practice.

    Then there is the fact that the reporter is the investigator's "very best friend" as she told me. I suspect that she may have called the investigator directly rather than going through the hotline, therefore bypassing the proper screening process. I intend to subpoena her and ask her about that.

    Let's see, Constitutional issues....

    First Amendment - associational rights, which protects familial relationships

    Fourth Amendment - unlawful search times two, and unlawful seizure times 3, in seizing my children at school.

    Ninth Amendment - numerous invasions of privacy

    Fourteenth Amendment - Completely desecrated by numerous violations of both due process (no innocent until proven guilty, no right to be heard before irreparable deprivations, post deprivation hearing effectively shifts burden of proof and full relief cannot be obtained, too lax a standard of evidence for cases of such a serious nature, conclusive presumptions, central registry is punitive in nature despite being labeled a civil remedy by the legislature and a person cannot be criminally punished without being convicted beyond a reasonable doubt...) and violates
    equal protection in creating suspect classes through reporting practices, in using discriminatory "indicators" in their risk assessment, and in placing accused persons on registry right along with convicted persons, with no categorization of alleged "dangerousness" or accused/convicted status...

    Parent's rights are also protected by the 14th Amendment but are blatantly violated by CPS........... but I'll need another page to properly address that point.

    How many Amendments do they have to violate, how many rights and liberties do they have to trample, and how much evidence does there have to be that even though they have unbridled power, they have been failing to protect children?
     
  6. duskieone

    duskieone New Member

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    I know exactly how you feel!

    <<How many Amendments do they have to violate, how many rights and liberties do they have to trample, and how much evidence does there have to be that even though they have unbridled power, they have been failing to protect children?>>

    That is a question my husband and I have been asking ourselves and everyone we can get to listen to us for months now. You're right, they DO have almost unlimited power, immunity and are not held accountable for their mistakes and errors in judgment, even within their own department. We found that out when we tried to complain and were told "sorry, we can't help you, this isn't a DCS matter." We said, "HUH???" As our attorney here said today, "What the *bleep*??? They can't have it both ways. They can't be completely involved for months and then when they get their butts in a sling, say they are NOT involved." That's what WE said, too...but so far, they are getting away with it.

    And the sad fact is, as you pointed out...that immunity and complete power they CLAIM to need in order to "protect the children" is NOT protecting them. They "err on the side of caution" with the parents, using any excuse they can find to remove the children from their homes and families, and then place them into foster care, where it is statistically PROVEN they are much more likely to be abused and even DIE. Even if the foster home is safe and loving, it is no replacement for the love of the family that child has grown up with. I hardly think an occasional spanking (despite how you may personally feel on that issue as a form of discipline) is going to harm a child more than the trauma of being taken from their parents and siblings. Funny how the case workers never take THAT into consideration.

    In my own case...I had raised my girls alone from the time they were 1 1/2 and 4. Their biological father abandoned us and ran off with another woman (who he married and who DID physically abuse my children. She finally left him, thank god). I was a single mother till 5 days before my kids were taken. Immediately after I got married, and we were happy, and about to move into a nice neighborhood and a new home, and my kids were thrilled and totally in love with their stepfather.... what do you know, DCS shows up and says, "we're giving the kids to their father, because you have a dirty house...it's not safe here for them. Don't worry, it's just temporary...will give you all time to get moved." And they never gave them back. Not only did they NOT give them back, they helped the father keep them, using every dirty trick and illegal method in the book.

    My husband and I keep trying to get someone...anyone...the media, the government, hell...even a movie producer would work...just to come to our home, and SEE for themselves that we have a nice home, it's well-kept, my husband and I are very happily married, despite everything that's happened, and we want my children with us, desperately. The children themselves have said over and over they want to be with us. They are miserable in TN with their father, and even at the ages of 5 and 8, they KNOW they are being lied to by their father and DCS, and they are understandably confused as to why my husband and I can't "fix this." And I can't make sense of it myself, let alone explain to them why they can't come home yet.

    How much sense does it make, from a "best interests of the children" perspective, to take kids away from a stable, happy, two-parent home, and place them with a single father who only wants them to get out of paying child support and because of his vanity can't bear to see another man raising his children?

    It's just so ridiculous that it would be hilarious if it weren't true.
     
  7. justice

    justice Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Well...

    That's the worst part for me, that the children are far worse off once they're removed from their homes. They more often suffer serious physical abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, and death! AFTER they are removed from their homes. This is insane. It shows that there is a larger picture here... The problem is, when you try to disclose "conspiracies" people think you are insane. The inflated statistics of abuse cause a public panic, which is by design, so they can play on people's fears gathering ever more power. People will give up a bit of freedom if they think they are exchanging it for security... I think it was Ben Franklin who said (and this is not verbatim) People who will sacrifice liberty from temporary security, deserve neither liberty nor security. SO true! Allowing the systematic erosion of ANY liberty in ANY way, leads only to further and larger deprivations, and does not guarantee security but further unwarranted intrusion instead.

    These "child laws" are unconstitutional in most states to begin with. Many are open-ended and vague enough to implicate due process, because "a reasonable person would have to guess at its meaning, and would differ as to its meaning." And, they can be "interpreted" in whatever way suits CPS's agenda...

    A messy home is always high on their list, but a messy home does not equate to a statutory act or element of abuse, but they squeeze it into the "at risk" clause which is found in most of these laws. With such a low standard of evidence, a caseworker's opinion becomes all the "evidence" they need.

    Also, they are good for telling you that you cannot file a complaint. I came across the same thing. I was told there is no formal avenue for filing a complaint, all I could do was talk to a supervisor. This is a lie. There is a form ...out there somewhere.


    I heard this on tv, but it rings so true in this situation, "It's not about cutting off the arm of the monster, it's about killing the monster." The CPS monster's demise is long overdue.
     
  8. duskieone

    duskieone New Member

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    *APPLAUSE*

    Well stated. You take the words right out of my mouth, which is almost frightening. lol

    When my husband and I mention to people that we believe CPS should be abolished, not "reformed" they look at us like we've grown two heads. We are trying very hard to appear rational, and have the FACTS when we present our argument to people, but as you said, we end up coming off like the lunatic fringe for implying that there is a conspiracy at work.

    The sheer numbers of parents who are in the same situation as we are, is what will bring this into the light of public scrutiny. When enough people are abused and trampled, and made aware that they are being abused (this is a key factor...so many are just simply unaware of their rights, sadly) we will be able to pull the covers off these people.

    The other thing I find tragic, is that even the people IN CPS, many of the caseworkers themselves, truly believe that they are doing "the right thing" and got into the social work profession for noble reasons. The ones who get sucked into the lie stay in it. The ones who think for themselves and begin to see the damage they are causing, very quickly get out of it. This explains the huge turnover in "good caseworkers" and how the bad ones end up with the power.

    Absolute power, corrupts absolutely.
     
  9. justice

    justice Law Topic Starter New Member

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    A voice of reason!

    CPS has had many opportunities to reform. At least 30 states have been the subject of class action lawsuits in an effort to mandate reform. Sadly, few are in compliance some just lower the standards to show that they are, but with the ability to "self report" who knows how accurate any of the information might be?

    I wish children's advocacy groups and the like weren't blinded by the truly horrible cases of child abuse and the inflated statistics to the point where they cannot see how many children are actually abused by the system itself. They know CPS isn't doing its job, but their answer is to give them more power, and throw more money at the problem. If they would realize that many parents truly are not abusers, and that these parents' children are also victims, their groups could team up with groups like CPSwatch and others to effect some real changes... and fight to protect ALL children.

    CPS is in my opinion a huge social experiment that has failed miserably. Since real child abuse is criminal, let's put it back in the hands of law enforcement. That way far fewer innocent families will be destroyed, and truly abusive people will be properly punished.
     
  10. duskieone

    duskieone New Member

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    That's exactly what WE have been saying...

    If you can't remove the parent from the child (by pressing criminal charges) then it stands to reason that you should not be able to remove the child from the parent.

    To me, that seems like such a simple and basic idea. It hit me a couple of weeks go, and it was like a 500 watt bulb went off over my head.

    My husband and I are starting a local support group in our community for families who have been abused by the system in the same way ours have, and I think we'll make that the motto of our group.

    Btw, we are calling it the "4-14 Parent Support Group"...with the 4-14 signifying the constitutional rights which are most often violated by social services workers (and police and judges and any number of other "authority figures" in the name of protecting what they see as state property (our children).
     
  11. justice

    justice Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Some stuff that might be helpful...

    Check this out... scroll down this page... I believe it's a
    "father's rights" site because it mentions shared parenting, (I didn't read the whole thing) but there is some information that might be helpful, including a list of attorneys at the bottom of the page (who might be able to refer you to someone).

    www.childsbestinterest.org/custody_parents

    Also, Tennesse is known as a fairly parent friendly state...

    The Tennessee Supreme Court in Hawk vs. Hawk, 855 S.W.2d 573 (Tenn. Sup. Ct. 1993), said that "[w]e too agree that neither the legislature nor a court may properly interfere in parenting decisions absent significant harm to the child from those decisions (referring to the oft-cited line of Federal cases proclaiming the parent's fundamental rights)." Id. Therefore, Hawk is premised really on both Federal and state constitutional grounds.

    Hawk is a really good case. Also, something I think you need to check into is the fact that these agencies pull stunts like this, then try to get you for "abandonement." A friendly suggestion>.. do your best to keep as much contact with your children as possible, and document it. Send cards and letters return receipt if you have to. Find out what (both) state laws are about taping phone calls, and keep your phone bills to show you called. I'm not sure if they declare abandonement after 6 or 12 months, or what in TN. But, make sure you document contact so they can't say you weren't in touch. If you visit in person, get video tape of you with the children or have pictures taken of you with the children (film is dated), but make sure you are in the pictures, so "dad" can't claim he just sent you some photos of the girls.

    I'm sorry I didn't say something sooner, but I just went back and re-read some of the posts I had been "skimming" and realized they were yours.
     
  12. justice

    justice Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I was just looking through some case law...

    found a case dealing with a father who had voluntarily signed over custody to a grandparent, but later changed his mind. You may be able to apply for modification of custody, based on material change in circumstances (moving into a nice house, for one) which would show that living with you is in the children's best interest.

    Oh, and remember, anything I say is friendly advice, not "legal advice."

    LOL
     
  13. justice

    justice Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Re: I know exactly how you feel!

    Duskieone,

    I talked to a social worker who posts on another forum, and described your situation. This was her response:


    "Not surprising at all. It will have to go through the legal process. In the voluntary agreements, there is a clause at the end of them that indicate if they should feel the child is at risk or the parent has not resolved the issues within the stated time from on the agreement, they can then file a complaint with the court or terminate the agreement with the parent. I would have the parent run a copy of this form past their attoreny. These are not legal or binding in any way but simply open the door for cps to file a complaint in an easier fashion. Meaning, the parent gave CPS grounds to find neglect by simply agreeing to give up their child for a short time. Never do these!!!!! Never you are admiting some form of inability to care for your child and thats all they need."
     
  14. duskieone

    duskieone New Member

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    Already aware of that...

    We are already aware that a "safety agreement" is not a legal, or binding document. In our case, it was a simple photocopied piece of papter. One page, and there were NO reasons listed for the removal of the children. The only thing it said was that visitation would be supervised by the father (no explanation for why they thought that was necessary) and that we would "comply" with DCS caseworkers. No specific requests were made. They didn't ask us to DO anything.

    Also, because this was just a single page (no carbon copies) document, and we had the only copy....they don't have ANYTHING with my signature on it until the court hearing in August on the father's private party petition, where my own attorney (who typically was all buddy-buddy with the case workers and their attorney) forced me to sign a re-dated, extended copy of the safety agreement. But that was only in effect until November 24th, and now DCS is claiming they were never even INVOLVED in the matter and that this is all a "private matter between you and the father." hmm....that's not how WE saw it. Is the social worker you talked to, aware of the fact that they never got a court order to take my kids...EVER? And that they NEVER took me to court for any kind of hearing? I'm aware that they typically will lie to get what they percieve as evidence to use against you in court....but our case is unique in that they never DID take me to court. They were there...they testified against me (not even allowing me to defend myself or present evidence)....they had their own attorney prosecute me....but it was NOT their petition. It was a private party petition filed by THE FATHER. They just wanted it to APPEAR as if it was their petition....almost 6 months after they took the kids. (isn't there a little legal glitch here, in that they are required to have a hearing within 72 hours?? That THEY file?)

    Anyway, we have appealed the court's decision, and are waiting for it to be docketed. At this point, I don't see how, in their right minds, ANYONE from DCS can show up for the appeal date...seeing as how everybody, from the DCS commissioner, up to the Governor of TN, has now been told (and told US) that "there was never an open case, this wasn't a DCS matter."

    Are you now starting to see what I mean when I say "they kidnapped the children?" What they did (using authority they did not have, since they never got a court order or even opened a case) was lie, lie and lie some more, and placed my kids with someone who had no legal right to have them, and then pretended to everybody that they DID have an open case, even to the point of helping the father terminate child support, and pay for his day care with state funds, and pay for the children's counseling with state funds, and pay the DCS attorney with state funds.....

    BUT THEY WERE NEVER INVOLVED. Um...this does not compute.

    Can you see why we're frustrated? Even our attorney here in Iowa is beating his head against the wall, yelling, "They can't DO that...they can't BE involved and then NOT be involved as soon as they get their ass in a sling."

    Anyway, once this case gets OUT of juvenile court, where clearly, they are all in on this cover-up to save each other's butts...hopefully we will get it resolved quickly. So far, it's been just a lot of passing the buck, and denial and lies...but at some point, the truth will come out, and we will prevail. They can't keep hiding it forever.
     
  15. justice

    justice Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Beyond Frustrating...

    It's criminal. I call it kidnapping too. I just can't believe they get away with all this so easily. How does this happen in America? I sure find myself asking that a lot these days! I found it interesting that the social worker I talked to, wasn't even surprised. Apparently, they do these kinds of things all the time (all over the country). How scary is that???

    I agree with you. This "secret inner sanctum" known as family court is out of hand. They say it's all cloaked in secrecy to protect the children's privacy, but it's to cover their own butt, like you said. All they would have to do is use initials, or write the case up as "Jane Doe" and use the case number rather than names to identify it. In my opinion, nothing they do is REALLY about children. I think (hope) you'll get somebody reasonable who will say "this ain't right" once you get into a REAL court.

    This is all just insane.
     
  16. duskieone

    duskieone New Member

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    Here's an interesting update...

    Today we received a "court order" that was sent from the DCS legal dept. (since when can a DCS attorney issue their own order of the court? Any other orders have come from the clerk of court's office.)

    This "order" matches the docket numbers on the petition I appeared in court for in November, but is entirely different from the order I received from the court. It was also filed almost 2 months after the court date. It was also issued AFTER we got a statement of "non-involvement" from DCS itself.

    Just when I think they can't possibly do anything more stupid than they already have, they surprise me again.

    I am guessing that when my mother took the children back to TN after Christmas vacation and spoke with the father, she told him I was appealing the court's decision, and he then informed his buddies at DCS, who decided to issue their own court order to muddle this up even worse and try to keep this tangled up in court in TN.

    This is an exact quote from the special ops investigator at DCS:

    "This is now a legal issue between you and the children's father. Any allegations made regarding the court or the attorney are completely beyond our control. The Governor nor the Department of Children's Services can become involved in an attempt to influence the workings of our judicial system."

    Umm...they can't become involved? But they can issue their own court orders regarding a matter they are not involved in?

    I spoke to the clerk of court today, who sounded as frustrated as I am over this, and all she could say was, "just make sure when this comes up for appeal, that you make the judge aware of all these facts."

    The only bit of good news, is that the second appeal form and documentation I sent to the clerk of court wasn't "lost" this time, and DID get filed. A court date has been set. After the statement from DCS of non-involvement, I was fairly sure that no one from DCS would be caught anywhere near the courtroom on the date of the appeal, but as has been proven to me, over and over, they insist on digging themselves deeper and deeper into this situation, refusing to accept responsibility for their actions, (or inaction, as the case may be) but refusing to back out gracefully and admit to any wrong-doing.

    It seems to me that it's a matter of stubborn cockiness on their part. They will not admit they did anything wrong, and they are so used to getting away with this, that they refuse to believe they will ever get caught.
     
  17. justice

    justice Law Topic Starter New Member

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    unbelievable!

    This would make a really good made for tv movie. I swear....

    I was thinking the same thing as I read the end of your post. They have never been held accountable before, so why should they fear it now? Apparently, they still don't realize they have come after someone who will not sit idly by while they engage in their bogus tactics.

    I think it's great that you are starting a group to help others in your situation. I'm thinking about doing the same, as soon as I can get a little more organized with my own mess. Parents, families, and children need to know they have rights and how to fight for those rights.

    Keep me updated!
     
  18. duskieone

    duskieone New Member

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    Actually, they have been held accountable...

    There was a recent class action suit against DCS and the state of TN (we found the court order on their own web site) and the state LOST, and was placed under a 54 month moratorium for "complete compliance" with the laws and procedures they must follow regarding the removal of children and placement in foster care. Although my children were not placed in foster care, per se...and even DCS says "they were never in the care of the state", a lot of the order applies to our situation. We found 17 places in that court order where they are in violation of it.

    I also found a couple of interesting things regarding this most recent court order, as well. One of which is that the docket numbers are identical to the ones on the father's private party petition, but they are now trying to say that DCS filed the petition on August 16th (two days after the father filed his). I was never summoned for ANY DCS petition, nor did I ever recieve a copy of one. And when the director of the Ombudsman's Office of Families and Children investigated in December...he found NO petitions filed by DCS. Where did this one come from? And why was it never mentioned by anyone before this? Seems to me a case of retroactively filed petitions...again, to cover their butts.

    I have to talk to an attorney about this, but I'm wondering now whether I will have to appeal THIS order, as well, even though it was filed LONG after they legally could, in regards to the same hearing.

    Using their logic, they could concievably just continue to issue more court orders whenever it suits them, to keep this tied up in court forever. No, I don't think so. lol

    I find myself wondering...at what point are they going to become so annoyed, that they give up? At what point do they admit they were wrong and give me my children back, before they all end up in prison and the state goes bankrupt with the lawsuits that will hit them?
     
  19. justice

    justice Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Same here...

    Our state had a class action suit too, but that doesn't seem to mean much to them. They still violate half the things they agreed to.

    What I am doing is writing my governor and legislators. Look at your governor's website and see if there is an area for constituent complaints. You will rarely, if ever, hear from the governor himself, but there are people within his office who might be able to help. And sometimes legislators will surprise you. Have you tried contacting the Director of CPS? I'm considering doing that now.

    As for CPS worrying about lawsuits or being criminally prosecuted, they never worry about it. They so often are covered by immunity, and that immunity seems to get more and more outrageously stretched and enlarged by the courts, that they really aren't too concerned. However, there are ways around their immunity, which I'm sure you are aware, you since mentioned "color of law" issues.

    Go get 'em!!! Let me know if I can do anything to help. Look stuff up, post case law... I'll try to help out when I can.
     
  20. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Many states have horrific records with regard to child services. I'm currently mulling over whether there is a basis to sue the state based upon some absolutely mind bogglingly negligent behavior that has likely permanently and needlessly damaged a family and their children. You could tell me almost anything these days and I'd believe it.

    My personal opinion is that people need to be pressed against the wall with paperwork so that if there is any problem, their head will roll. It's not a guarantee of some competent behavior but it's the best modus operandi I can think of at this time.
     

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