THE FIRST THING TO UNDERSTAND IS THIS: Child Protective Services DOES NOT REALLY CARE ABOUT THE CHILDREN! Now you know why they do the mean things they do.
THE SECOND THING TO UNDERSTAND IS: CPS only cares about FUNDING. This is what drives them to do ANYTHING.
My top ten list of advice and information:
1. STAY CALM AND COLLECTED. When you yell, argue, and/or make threats of any kind, they have the ammunition to accuse you of being violent and/or claim that the children would not be safe in a “volatile environment”. Always be polite and courteous to everyone who has anything to do with your case. Yelling and arguing only incites them to make up more crap about you and an excuse to refuse to return your children. When I say be polite and courteous, I mean play it up big by saying things like, “Thank you so much for your help and concern with the welfare of my family. I really appreciate everything that the Department is doing for us. We strive to become better parents, regardless of how. We are learning a lot and are dedicated to completing our case plan.” YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MEAN IT! I know how you really feel about them. This is normal. Heck, if I said all the things I thought about social workers, well, I would have a lot of problems to deal with. That is all I will say. My mom always used to say, “Kill them with kindness.” Best advice she ever gave me yet, in this situation, I understand how difficult it is to do. However, it is well worth the efforts as this has a great deal to do with if and when they return your child(ren). This is not a guarantee but it is very important that your social worker LIKES YOU.
2. Stop fighting them. UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CAN NOT BEAT THEM IN COURT – EVER! What I mean by that is this: The case will not be dismissed for lack of evidence. It will NOT be dismissed once you prove your innocence. It just will not happen so let’s move on. [ALTHOUGH IT IS POSSIBLE IF A BRAVE LAWYER OR GROUP OF LAWYERS HAS ENOUGH YOU-KNOW-WHAT TO PRESENT A DEFENSE THAT EXPOSES THE ABUNDANT CODES, STATUTES AND REGULATORY ACTS WHICH ARE VIOLATED IN EVERY CASE. If every parent hired a private attorney or if there was a program through the BAR Association where pro bono services were provided to defendants in Juvenile Dependency cases, the court cohorts would not be able to collaborate and collect our kids for cash!] However, there is a lawyer named Vincent Davis who has been educating and preparing parents and guardians for court.
When I say stop fighting them, I do not mean that you shouldn’t get objections on the record. This is extremely important for appeal. So, file a Declaration or Objections to the Detention or similar document that clearly objects to the false allegations, the fabricated evidence and the perjury the social worker has made and submitted to the court in the form of written testimony (the Detention Report and or any other report the county has filed).There are things you can prove with providing your “attorney” proof of in the form of documents and testimony. This may alleviate requirements of some of their case plan programs but it will not get your case dismissed.
Once you get your children back and the case CLOSED, you can and should sue them. But check your local and state rules regarding claims against a government agency. You may have to file an administrative complaint FIRST. A Federal 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 complaint for violating your 14th Amendment rights and your child’s 4th Amendment rights is a good way to go however, it is not the only way.
3. .Complete the case plan without complaining or arguing. If you don’t feel you should have to go to any Domestic Violence classes, you need to tell your lawyer to negotiate that requirement if there has been no domestic violence. YOU CAN BARGAIN WITH CPS but you must get it approved by a CPS supervisor and/or the Court.
4. GET EVERY PROMISE IN WRITING. Whether it is to place your children with family, increase your visits, close your case early, or to relieve you from drug testing, write up a promise agreement and have them sign it.
5. RECORD AND DIARY EVERYTHING. Al;ways make sure to get names, dates and times or every communication with CPS and your lawyer. This will be particularly beneficial when you sue them as well as be able to politely disagree with social workers when they tell you something different that they told you previously.
6. NEVER MISS A VISIT WITH YOUR CHILDREN. EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO START WALKING THE NIGHT BEFORE, GET THERE SOMEHOW. IF YOU MISS A VISIT THEY COULD TAKE YOUR VISITS AWAY BY SAYING THAT YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN VISITING.
7. If you do need to complain, do it in writing and send copies to those in higher positions. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO WRITE TO THE DEPARTMENT’S DIRECTOR! This will ALWAYS GET THEIR ATTENTION and most times your complaint is duly acknowledged and something is corrected.
8. IF THE ALLEGATIONS WERE EVEN SLIGHTLY TRUE, STOP THE BEHAVIOR PERMANENTLY. If they said you were doing drugs, STOP USING DRUGS! If they said there was domestic violence and it is true, EITHER FIGURE OUT A WAY TO GET ALONG OR SEPARATE. When you can’t prove you were not on drugs or that there was no domestic violence, the quickest way to get the children returned is to separate immediately and make sure that CPS has NO KNOWLEDGE OR SUSPICIONS THAT YOU BOTH ARE COMMUNICATING. That means do not talk on the phone, do not email, do not meet them in public places during the day. Make sure when you do talk or see one another that you are not followed. Take extra precautions to ensure that whatever actions you have taken to convince CPS that the children are or will be “safe” stays that way according to them. WHAT THEY DO NOT KNOW WILL NOT HURT YOU. Also, do not tell anyone anything different than what you tell CPS.
9. Always file an appeal regardless of what your “attorney” says. You never know what the appellate court will be able to argue. However, you MUST GET OBJECTIONS ON THE RECORD!
10. ,MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE FOSTER MOTHER/FATHER. This can prove to be your most valuable ally.
This code section explains how CPS needs to file another Petition when they remove a child placed with the parents, family or non-relative kinship/guardian (a person somehow related to the family or is a close friend): So, if CPS removed your child but allowed the child to come home but the case is still open and you have to participate in “services”, then they come and remove the child AGAIN, OR your child was removed and placed with, say, your mom, but then CPS comes to remove the child from mom’s house, or if your child was removed and placed with a non-relative kinship and they come to remove the child from them, then they MUST file another document called a 387-Supplemental.
(Every State has rules, laws, statutes, codes or other court regulations that govern CPS court. If I do not have the links on the side under your state, just Google, “CPS laws” or “Child Welfare Statutes” or “Child Protection Codes” and you should be able to find them.)
387. (a) An order changing or modifying a previous order by removing a child from the physical custody of a parent, guardian, relative, or friend and directing placement in a foster home, or commitment to a private or county institution, shall be made only after noticed hearing upon a supplemental petition. (b) The supplemental petition shall be filed by the social worker in the original matter and shall contain a concise statement of facts sufficient to support the conclusion that the previous disposition has not been effective in the rehabilitation or protection of the child or, in the case of a placement with a relative, sufficient to show that the placement is not appropriate in view of the criteria in Section 361.3. (c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), dependency jurisdiction shall be resumed for a child as to whom dependency jurisdiction has been suspended pursuant to Section 366.5 if the jurisdiction established pursuant to Section 601 or 602 is terminated and if, after the issuance of a joint assessment pursuant to Section 366.5, the court determines that the court’s dependency jurisdiction should be resumed. (d) Upon the filing of the supplemental petition, the clerk of the juvenile court shall immediately set the same for hearing within 30 days, and the social worker shall cause notice thereof to be served upon the persons and in the manner prescribed by Sections 290.1 and 291. (e) An order for the detention of the child pending adjudication of the petition may be made only after a hearing is conducted pursuant to Article 7 (commencing with Section 305).
Many people ask about a “388 hearing”, well, here is the California Welfare & Institutions Code for that:
388. (a) (1) Any parent or other person having an interest in a child who is a dependent child of the juvenile court or a nonminor dependent as defined in subdivision (v) of Section 11400, or the child himself or herself or the nonminor dependent through a properly appointed guardian may, upon grounds of change of circumstance or new evidence, petition the court in the same action in which the child was found to be a dependent child of the juvenile court or in which a guardianship was ordered pursuant to Section 360 for a hearing to change, modify, or set aside any order of court previously made or to terminate the jurisdiction of the court. The petition shall be verified and, if made by a person other than the child or the nonminor dependent shall state the petitioner’s relationship to or interest in the child or the nonminor dependent and shall setforth in concise language any change of circumstance or new evidence that is alleged to require the change of order or termination of jurisdiction. (2) When any party, including a child who is a dependent of the juvenile court, petitions the court prior to an order terminating parental rights, to modify the order that reunification services were not needed pursuant to paragraphs (4), (5), and (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 361.5, or to modify any orders related to custody or visitation of the subject child, and the court orders a hearing pursuant to subdivision (d), the court shall modify the order that reunification services were not needed pursuant to paragraphs (4), (5), and (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 361.5, or any orders related to the custody or visitation of the child for whom reunification services were not ordered pursuant to paragraphs (4), (5), and (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 361.5, only if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the proposed change is in the best interests of the child. (b) Any person, including a child or the nonminor dependent who is a dependent of the juvenile court, may petition the court to assert a relationship as a sibling related by blood, adoption, or affinity through a common legal or biological parent to a child who is, or is the subject of a petition for adjudication as, a dependent of the juvenile court, and may request visitation with the dependent child, placement with or near the dependent child, or consideration when determining or implementing a case plan or permanent plan for the dependent child or make any other request for an order which may be shown to be in the best interest of the dependent child. The courtmay appoint a guardian ad litem to file the petition for thedependent child asserting the sibling relationship if the courtdetermines that the appointment is necessary for the best interests of the dependent child. The petition shall be verified and shall set forth the following: (1) Through which parent he or she is related to the dependent child. (2) Whether he or she is related to the dependent child by blood, adoption, or affinity. (3) The request or order that the petitioner is seeking. (4) Why that request or order is in the best interest of thedependent child. (c) (1) Any party, including a child who is a dependent of the juvenile court, may petition the court, prior to the hearing set pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 366.21 for a child described by subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 361.5, or prior to the hearing set pursuant to subdivision (e) ofSection 366.21 for a child described by subparagraph (B) or (C) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 361.5, to terminate court-ordered reunification services provided under subdivision (a) of Section 361.5 only if one of the following conditions exists: (A) It appears that a change of circumstance or new evidenceexists that satisfies a condition set forth in subdivision (b) or (e) of Section 361.5 justifying termination of court-orderedreunification services. (B) The action or inaction of the parent or guardian creates a substantial likelihood that reunification will not occur, including, but not limited to, the parent’s or guardian’s failure to visit the child, or the failure of the parent or guardian to participate regularly and make substantive progress in a court-ordered treatment plan. (2) In determining whether the parent or guardian has failed to visit the child or participate regularly or make progress in the treatment plan, the court shall consider factors that include but are not limited to, the parent’s or guardian’s incarceration, institutionalization, detention by the United States Department of Homeland Security, deportation, or participation in a court-ordered residential substance abuse treatment program. (3) The court shall terminate reunification services during the above-described time periods only upon a finding by a preponderance of evidence that reasonable services have been offered or provided, and upon a finding of clear and convincing evidence that one of the conditions in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) exists. (4) Any party, including a nonminor dependent, as defined insubdivision (v) of Section 11400, may petition the court prior to the review hearing set pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 366.31 to terminate the continuation of court-ordered family reunification services for a nonminor dependent who has attained 18 years of age. The court shall terminate family reunification services to the parent or guardian if the nonminor dependent or parent or guardian are not in agreement that the continued provision of court-ordered family reunification services is in the best interests of the nonminordependent. (5) If the court terminates reunification services, it shall order that a hearing pursuant to Section 366.26 be held within 120 days. On and after January 1, 2012, a hearing pursuant to Section 366.26 shall not be ordered if the child is a nonminor dependent. The court may order a nonminor dependent who is otherwise eligible to AFDC-FC benefits pursuant to Section 11403 to remain in a planned, permanent living arrangement. (d) If it appears that the best interests of the child or the nonminor dependent may be promoted by the proposed change of order, modification of reunification services, custody, or visitation orders concerning a child for whom reunification services were not ordered pursuant to paragraphs (4), (5), and (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 361.5, recognition of a sibling relationship, termination of jurisdiction, or clear and convincing evidence supports revocation or termination of court-ordered reunification services, the court shallorder that a hearing be held and shall give prior notice, or cause prior notice to be given, to the persons and in the manner prescribed by Section 386, and, in those instances in which the manner of giving notice is not prescribed by those sections, then in the manner the court prescribes. (e) (1) On and after January 1, 2012, a nonminor who attained 18 years of age while subject to an order for foster care placement and, commencing January 1, 2012, who has not attained 19 years of age, or, commencing January 1, 2013, 20 years of age, or, commencing January 1, 2014, 21 years of age, or as described in Section 10103.5, for whom the court has dismissed dependency jurisdiction pursuant toSection 391, or delinquency jurisdiction pursuant to Section 607.2, or transition jurisdiction pursuant to Section 452, but has retained general jurisdiction under subdivision (b) of Section 303, or the county child welfare services, probation department, or tribal placing agency on behalf of the nonminor, may petition the court in the same action in which the child was found to be a dependent or delinquent child of the juvenile court, for a hearing to resume the dependency jurisdiction over a former dependent or to assume or resume transition jurisdiction over a former delinquent ward pursuant to Section 450. The petition shall be filed within the period that the nonminor is of the age described in this paragraph. If thenonminor has completed the voluntary reentry agreement, as described in subdivision (z) of Section 11400, with the placing agency, the agency shall file the petition on behalf of the nonminor within 15 judicial days of the date the agreement was signed unless the nonminor elects to file the petition at an earlier date. (2) (A) The petition to resume jurisdiction may be filed in the juvenile court that retains general jurisdiction under subdivision (b) of Section 303, or the petition may be submitted to the juvenile court in the county where the youth resides and forwarded to the juvenile court that retained general jurisdiction and filed with that court. The juvenile court having general jurisdiction under Section 303 shall receive the petition from the court where the petition was submitted within five court days of its submission, if the petition is filed in the county of residence. The juvenile court that retained general jurisdiction shall order that a hearing be held within 15 judicial days of the date the petition was filed if there is a prima facie showing that the nonminor satisfies the following criteria: (i) He or she was previously under juvenile court jurisdiction, subject to an order for foster care placement when he or she attained 18 years of age, and has not attained the age limits described in paragraph (1). (ii) He or she intends to satisfy at least one of the conditions set forth in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (b) of Section 11403. (iii) He or she wants assistance either in maintaining or securing appropriate supervised placement, or is in need of immediate placement and agrees to supervised placement pursuant to the voluntary reentry agreement as described in subdivision (z) of Section 11400. (B) Upon ordering a hearing, the court shall give prior notice, or cause prior notice to be given, to the persons and by the means prescribed by Section 386, except that notice to parents or former guardians shall not be provided unless the nonminor requests, in writing on the face of the petition, notice to the parents or former guardians. (3) The Judicial Council, by January 1, 2012, shall adopt rules of court to allow for telephonic appearances by nonminor former dependents or delinquents in these proceedings, and for telephonic appearances by nonminor dependents in any proceeding in which the nonminor dependent is a party, and he or she declines to appear and elects a telephonic appearance. (4) Prior to the hearing on a petition to resume dependencyjurisdiction or to assume or resume transition jurisdiction, the court shall order the county child welfare or probation department to prepare a report for the court addressing whether the nonminor intends to satisfy at least one of the criteria set forth in subdivision (b) of Section 11403. When the recommendation is for the nonminor dependent to be placed in a setting where minor dependents also reside, the results of a background check of the petitioning nonminor conducted pursuant to Section 16504.5, may be used by the placing agency to determine appropriate placement options for the nonminor. The existence of a criminal conviction is not a bar to eligibility for reentry or resumption of dependency jurisdiction or the assumption or resumption of transition jurisdiction over a nonminor. (5) (A) The court shall resume dependency jurisdiction over a former dependent or assume or resume transition jurisdiction over a former delinquent ward pursuant to Section 450, and order that the nonminor’s placement and care be under the responsibility of the county child welfare services department, the probation department, tribe, consortium of tribes, or tribal organization, if the court finds all of the following: (i) The nonminor was previously under juvenile court jurisdiction subject to an order for foster care placement when he or she attained 18 years of age. (ii) The nonminor has not attained the age limits described in paragraph (1). (iii) Reentry and remaining in foster care are in the nonminor’s best interests. (iv) The nonminor intends to satisfy, and agrees to satisfy, at least one of the criteria set forth in paragraphs (1) to (5), inclusive, of subdivision (b) of Section 11403, and demonstrates his or her agreement to placement in a supervised setting under the placement and care responsibility of the placing agency and to satisfy the criteria by signing the voluntary reentry agreement as described in subdivision (z) of Section 11400. (B) In no event shall the court grant a continuance that would cause the hearing to resume dependency jurisdiction or to assume or resume transition jurisdiction to be completed more than 120 days after the date the petition was filed. (C) The agency made responsible for the nonminor’s placement and care pursuant to subparagraph (A) shall prepare a new transitional independent living case plan within 60 calendar days from the date the nonminor signed the voluntary reentry agreement as described in subdivision (z) of Section 11400 and submit it to the court for the review hearing under Section 366.31, to be held within 70 days of the resumption of dependency jurisdiction or assumption or resumption of transition jurisdiction. In no event shall the review hearing under Section 366.3 be held more than 170 calendar days from the date the nonminor signed the voluntary reentry agreem