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.