Day: May 17, 2008

child abuser, cps, system failures, writing
How to prepare if you are falsely reported for abuse or neglect
416514122_0597a8826f_o.jpg

Because the swing of every pendulum brings with it potential adverse consequences, it is important to emphasize that in the area of child abuse, as with the investigation and prosecution of all crimes, the state is constrained by the substantive and procedural guarantees of the Constitution. The fact that the suspected crime may be heinous – whether it involves children or adults – does not provide cause for the state to ignore the rights of the accused or any other parties. Otherwise, serious injustices may result.
Syl.Pt.3,WALLIS v. SPENCER, 202 F.3d 1126(9th Cir. 2000)
I ran across a group of articles on Helium about CPS and what to do when they come knockin’…

There’s no definite answer but having been through it I have the knowledge of the system and CPS, and even with all the cases I’ve seen, I don’t know how to tell you, this is what you should do. Every case is different and you should contact an attorney for the best personalized legal advice.

Being falsely accused is one of the worst nightmares a good parent can go through. It destroys lives. It kills…. (I’ve read several suicide reports after such family tragedies); most of all, it takes a child’s innocence and childhood from them. It forever changed my world, and it won’t ever be the same. Sometimes, like in my case, the children never come home. Its devastating. I’m still not over it, nor will I ever be. They destroyed me when I lost my boy…. I was a good mom falsely accused.

I couldn’t have prepared for it, when you’re falsely accused you don’t expect to be accused,and you don’t expect to be doubted by the state.If you’ve never dealt with them before, CPS is supposed to help families and until you see for yourself the flaws, there’s no way to believe how wrongly a good parent can be treated. I have faith in the merits of my case, in the system, and in the truth. I never expected my son wouldn’t come home. I knew I hadn’t abused him. However, my faith in the system was where I went wrong. Don’t take for granted it could happen to you. It can happen to anyone, and its the worst pain/nightmare a parent can imagine…. particularly when the child is injured, killed, or never comes home. No parent can prepare for that. Its a tragedy.

# 1 tip I tell parents is to TAPE RECORD EVERYTHING – EVERY VISIT, EVERY INTERACTION with the child, the CPS social workers, the front desk lady, even.TAPE EVERY meeting, phonecall, etc., tape it all. Its value may not be realised until late in your case or even after your case is complete when you recall something that was said, or when something conflicts with something else, etc. Keep those tapes securely in a safe place, and make copies.

5715143.jpgOther best advice I have – don’t take anything for granted, and kiss your babies twice every night that you put them to bed. Once for you, and once for all the parents who can’t kiss their kids goodnight.

They may not be there tomorrow.

Thank you to Helium.com and the writers for their contributions. You can also see my articles on Helium here.

How to prepare if you are falsely reported for abuse or neglect

  • by Dan Weaver October 4, 2004. I will remember that day for the rest of my life. For me, September 11, 2001 fades in comparison bec… read more
  • by Catsy Jones I can remember the day quite clearly. I was sitting on the couch, my husband was packing our things for the move to o… read more
  • by Frances Gordon I’ve had allot of experience with child Protection Services. A great deal of experience. The Departments vary a lit… read more
  • by Shanna Coon No one expects to be falsely accused of child abuse or neglect; yet bogus cases are reported daily to Child Protectiv… read more
  • by Sabrina Schleiger First of all, let me just say that if your child has any birth marks or blotches on his or her skin, be sure to tell … read more

View All Articles on: How to prepare if you are falsely reported for abuse or neglect

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child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, General, government, law, legal, social worker
When Children Services Comes Knocking

Children Services was founded to protect abused children.

However, they have now become the largest group of child abusers.

How do you stop them?

***Force them to obey the laws of the State and the United States of America***

The most commonly broken laws and regulations are:

*Agency staff enters homes and schools without court orders or search warrants.
Just like any other government agent, caseworkers (social workers) cannot enter your home without either your permission or an order signed by a judge or magistrate.

*Children are only to be removed if they are in “imminent danger.”

This does not mean your children can be removed because you spanked them or your refrigerator is broken. (If your home has mold and feces, then they can take your child. If they have sustained life- threatening or permanent injuries, then they can take your child.)

*Caseworkers (social workers) cannot interview your child without your knowledge unless they have a court order to do so.

Schools must cooperate with investigations, but you must be informed. Children should not be taken from school without a court order.

Every effort must be taken to keep a family together before the removal of children. This measure should be taken as a last resort only.

If it is determined that the children must be removed, they should be place with family whenever possible.

Do not sign a case plan unless it has been court ordered! Otherwise, you have been tricked into giving up your rights to fight any/all allegations. You are admitting that you have abused/neglected your children. (These are sometimes referred to as Service Plans.)

It is unlawful for caseworkers (social workers) to threaten you with the removal of your children for exercising your Constitutional Rights.

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, education, family, foster care, General, government, statistics, system failure
Sadly, Statistics Say So….
    • Every day more than 3 children die as a result of abuse and neglect. Over 75% of the child abuse fatalities were children under the age of 5.

    • Children who have been abused experience anxiety, depression, poor self-esteem, substance abuse, and even worse many contemplate or attempt suicide.

    • Over 50% of foster youth become juvenile delinquents and furthermore, commit violent crimes as adults. Studies conducted in prisons have shown that over 50% of the inmates had spent some point of their life in the foster care or juvenile system.

    • Roughly 50% of foster youth do not complete high school.

    Sources:

    California Department of Social Services Research Development Division
    UC Berkeley Center for Social Services Research

    What and How Many Children Are In American Foster Care?

    On September 30, 2004, 518,000 children were in our country’s foster care system. Most children are placed in foster care temporarily due to parental abuse or neglect.

    Average Length of Stay in Foster Care
    The average length of stay for a foster child is 2½ years. However, this figure does not include subsequent re-entries into foster care.

    Age of Children in Foster Care

    Average age: 10.1 years

    Age

    Percentage

    Younger than 1 year

    5%

    Age 1-5

    25%

    Age 6-10 years

    20%

    Age 11-15 years

    29%

    Age 16-18 years

    18%

    Over 18

    2%

    Race and Ethnicity

    As a percentage, there are more children of color in the foster care system than in the general U.S. population. Child abuse and neglect, however, occur at about the same rate in all racial and ethnic groups.

    Ethnicity

    Foster Care

    General Population

    Black, Non-Hispanic

    34%

    15%

    White, Non-Hispanic

    40%

    61%

    Hispanic

    18%

    17%

    American Indian/Alaska Native, Non-

    Hispanic

    2%

    1%

    Asian/Pacific Islander, Non-Hispanic

    1%

    3%

    Unknown

    2%

    N/A

    Two or More Races, Non-Hispanic

    2%

    4%

    Gender

    Gender

    Percentage

    Male

    53%

    Female

    47%

    Foster Homes

    In 2002, there were 170,000 foster homes nationwide.

    Adoptions

    In 2004, 59% of adopted children were adopted by their foster parents. Of children adopted in 2004, 24% were adopted by a relative.

    What Happens to Children Who Leave Foster Care as Young Adults?

    Each year, an estimated 20,000 young people age out of the U.S. foster care system. Many are only 18 years old and still need support and services. Several foster care alumni studies show that without a lifelong connection to a caring adult, these older youth often are left vulnerable to a host of adverse situations:

    Outcome

    Percentage

    Earned a high school diploma

    54%

    Obtained college bachelors degree or higher

    2%

    Became a parent 12-18 months after discharge

    84%

    Were unemployed

    51%

    Had no health insurance

    30%

    Had been homeless

    25%

    Received public assistance

    30%

    *The above information was provided courtesy of the Child Welfare League of America. For more information contact: Child Welfare League of America, 2345 Crystal Drive, Suite 250, Arlington, VA 22002, or cwla.org.

    ChildStats.Gov::

    America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2007 is one in a series of annual reports to the Nation on the condition of children in America. In this restructured report, three background measures describe the changing population of children and provide demographic context and 38 indicators depict the well-being of children in the areas of family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. Highlights from each section of the report follow.

    Demographic Background

    • In 2006, there were 73.7 million children ages 0–17 in the United States, or 25 percent of the population, down from a peak of 36 percent at the end of the “baby boom” (1964). Children are projected to compose 24 percent of the population in 2020.
    • Racial and ethnic diversity continues to increase over time. In 2006, 58 percent of U.S. children were White, non-Hispanic; 20 percent were Hispanic; 15 percent were Black; 4 percent were Asian; and 4 percent were all other races. The percentage of children who are Hispanic has increased faster than that of any other racial or ethnic group, growing from 9 percent of the child population in 1980 to 20 percent in 2006.

    Family and Social Environment

    • In 2006, 67 percent of children ages 0–17 lived with two married parents, down from 77 percent in 1980.
    • The nonmarital birth rate in 2005 increased to 48 per 1,000 unmarried women ages 15–44 years, up from 46 in 2004. The recent increases in nonmarital birth rates have been especially notable among women age 25 and older. Births to unmarried women constituted 37 percent of all U.S. births, the highest level ever reported.
    • In 2005, 20 percent of school-age children spoke a language other than English at home and 5 percent of school-age children had difficulty speaking English.
    • The adolescent birth rate for females ages 15–17 continued to decline in 2005. The rate fell by more than two-fifths since 1991, reaching 21 births per 1,000 females ages 15–17 in 2005. The 2004–2005 decline was particularly steep among Black, non-Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander adolescents. The birth rate for Black, non-Hispanic adolescents dropped three-fifths during 1991–2005.
    • In 2005, there were 12 substantiated reports of child maltreatment per 1,000 children.

    Economic Circumstances

    • In 2005, 18 percent of all children ages 0–17 lived in poverty; among children living in families, the poverty rate was 17 percent.
    • The percentage of children in families living below the federal poverty threshold has fluctuated since the early 1980s: it reached a high of 22 percent in 1993 and decreased to a low of 16 percent in 2000.
    • The percentage of children who had at least one parent working year round, full time rose from 77.6 percent in 2004 to 78.3 percent in 2005.

    Health Care

    • In 2005, 89 percent of children had health insurance coverage at some point during the year, down from 90 percent in 2004.
    • In 2005, 48 percent of children ages 2–4 had a dental visit in the past year, compared with 84 percent of children ages 5–11 and 82 percent of children ages 12–17. In 2003–2004, 23 percent of children ages 2–5 and 14 percent of children ages 6–17 had untreated dental caries (cavities) upon dental examination.

    Physical Environment and Safety

    • In 2005, 60 percent of children lived in counties in which concentrations of one or more air pollutants rose above allowable levels.
    • The percentage of children served by community drinking water systems that did not meet all applicable health based standards declined from 20 percent in 1993 to about 8 percent in 1998. From 1998 to 2005 the percentage has fluctuated between 5 and 10 percent.
    • In 2001–2004, about 1 percent of children ages 1–5 had elevated blood lead levels [greater than or equal to 10 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL)]. The median blood lead concentration for children ages 1–5 dropped from 14 µg/dL in 1976–1980 to about 2 µg/dL in 2003–2004.
    • In 2005, 40 percent of households with children had one or more housing problems, up from 37 percent in 2003. The most common type of housing problem is cost burden, followed by physically inadequate housing and crowded housing.
    • In 2004, the injury death rate for children ages 1–4 was 13 deaths per 100,000 children.
    • The leading causes of injury-related emergency department visits among adolescents ages 15–19 in 2003–2004 were being struck by or against an object (33 visits per 1,000 children), motor vehicle traffic crashes (25 visits per 1,000 children), and falls (20 visits per 1,000 children). Together, these causes of injury accounted for half of all injury-related emergency department visits for this age group.

    Behavior

    • The percentages of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students reporting illicit drug use in the past 30 days remained stable from 2005 to 2006. However, past month use among all three grades significantly declined since 1997.
    • In 2005, 47 percent of high school students reported ever having had sexual intercourse. This was statistically the same rate as in 2003 and a decline from 54 percent in 1991.

    Education

    • The percentage of children ages 3–5 not yet in kindergarten who were read to daily by a family member was higher in 2005 than in 1993 (60 versus 53 percent). A greater percentage of White, non-Hispanic and Asian children were read to daily in 2005 than were Black, non-Hispanic, or Hispanic children (68 and 66 percent, compared with 50 and 45 percent, respectively).
    • Between 1982 and 2004, the percentage of high school graduates who had completed an advanced mathematics course almost doubled, increasing from 26 to 50 percent. Likewise, the percentage of graduates who had completed a physics, chemistry, or advanced biology course almost doubled, increasing from 35 to 68 percent.
    • In 2005, 69 percent of high school completers enrolled immediately in a 2- or 4-year college. This rate was not statistically different than the historic high of 67 percent reached in 2004.

    Health

    • The percentage of infants with low birthweight was 8.2 percent in 2005, up from 7.9 percent in 2003 and 8.1 percent in 2004 and has increased slowly but steadily since 1984 (6.7 percent).
    • In 2005, 5 percent of children ages 4–17 were reported by a parent to have serious (definite or severe) emotional or behavioral difficulties. Among the parents of these children, 81 percent reported contacting a health care provider or school staff about their child’s difficulties, 40 percent reported their child was prescribed medication for their difficulties, and 47 percent reported their child had received treatment other than medication.
    • The proportion of children ages 6–17 who were overweight increased from 6 percent in 1976–1980 to 11 percent in 1988–1994 and continued to rise to 18 percent in 2003–2004.
    • In 2005, about 9 percent of children ages 0–17 were reported to currently have asthma, and about 5 percent of children had one or more asthma attacks in the previous year. The prevalence of asthma in children is particularly high among Black, non-Hispanic and Puerto Rican children (13 and 20 percent, respectively)
  • child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, General, law, legal, social services, system failure children
    Texas Laws on Child Abuse

    Reporting Child Abuse

    Mandated Reporting

    Texas Family Code

    261.101 Persons required to report

    A person (everyone) having cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person shall immediately make a report as provided by this subchapter. This requirement to report under this section applies without exception to an individual whose personal communications may otherwise be privileged, including an attorney, a member of the clergy, a medical practitioner, a social worker, a mental health professional, and an employee of a clinic or health care facility that provides reproductive services. The identity of the reporter is confidential and may only be released by order of court or to law enforcement agency conducting a criminal investigation.

    Texas Family Code

    261.103 Report made to appropriate agency

    A report shall be made to: any local or state law enforcement agency; Child Protective Services if the alleged or suspected abuse involves a person responsible for the care, custody, or welfare of the child; the state agency that operates, licenses, certifies, or registers the facility in which the alleged abuse or neglect occurred; or the agency designated by the court to be responsible for the protection of children.

    Texas Family Code

    261.104 Contents of report

    Person making report shall identify, if known:

    name and address of child; name and address of person responsible for the care, custody, or welfare of child; and any other pertinent information concerning the alleged or suspected abuse or neglect.

    Texas Family Code

    261.106 Immunities

    Persons acting under good faith who reports or assists in the investigation of a report of alleged child abuse or neglect or who testifies or otherwise participates in a judicial proceeding arising from a report, petition, or investigation of alleged child abuse or neglect is immune from civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed.

    Texas Family Code
    261.107 False report
    A person commits an offense if the person knowingly makes a report under this chapter that the person knows is false or lacks factual foundation. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor (up to 1 year in jail and/or $4,000 fine).

    Texas Family Code
    261.109 Failure to report
    A person commits an offense if the person has cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been or may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect and knowingly fails to report as provided in this chapter. The offense is a Class B misdemeanor (up to 180 days in jail and/or $2,000 fine).

    Child Outcry Statements

    Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 38.072

    Hearsay statement of child abuse victim
    Statements of a child under the age of 13 who is a victim of sexual offenses or assaultive offenses made to the first person 18 years of age or older are an exception to hearsay rule and that person can testify directly as to what the child said to them.

    Privileged Communications

    Civil

    Texas Family Code
    261.202 Privileged Communication
    In a proceeding regarding the abuse or neglect of a child, evidence may not be excluded on the ground of privileged communication except in the case of communications between an attorney and client.

    Criminal

    Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 38.10 Exceptions to spousal privilege
    The privilege of a person’s spouse not to be called as a witness for the state does not apply in any proceeding in which the person is charged with a crime committed against the person’s spouse, a minor child, or a member of the household of either spouse.

    Texas Rules of Criminal Evidence 503 and 505

    The privileged communications afforded by attorney/client and clergyman/ client relationships applies to criminal prosecutions except as noted in the Texas Family Code 261.101 (initial reporting).

    Statute of Limitations

    None –
    murder/manslaughter

    10 years past child’s 18th birthday –
    aggravated sexual assault of a child
    sexual assault of a child
    indecency with a child by contact

    10 years- indecency with a child by exposure

    • All persons are
      required by law to report child abuse.

    • The report can be made
      to law enforcement, Child Protective Services, or the agency regulating the
      facility where the abuse is occurring.

    • Report should contain
      name/address of child and caregiver as well as information regarding the
      abuse.

    • Information about the
      reporting person is confidential except if ordered by court or to aid law
      enforcement in their investigation.

    • Persons reporting in
      good faith are immune from civil or criminal punishment.

    • Persons making
      intentional false reports can be punished criminally.

    • Persons failing to
      make a report can be punished criminally.

    • Hearsay (statement
      made by another person) is usually not admissible in court. In cases
      where a child is a victim under 13, the first person the child told about
      the abuse 18 or over can testify to the hearsay statement.

    • There is no privileged
      communication in civil child abuse cases except for statements to your
      attorney.

    • The only privileged
      communication in a criminal child abuse case is those to your attorney and
      your clergyman.

    • A spouse or other
      family member can be compelled to testify against anyone.

    • The time that a person
      can be charged after committing sexual abuse of a child is up to 28 years
      except in cases of child death in which case there is no set time to bring
      charges after the commission of the offense.

    source: ATCCAC Home Page

    cps
    OOPS!!! Pregnant ElDorado Minor Is Really An Adult…

    Long litany of legal disputes begins in FLDS raid

    By Ben Winslow
    Deseret News
    Published: May 14, 2008
    Legal motions are being filed in several Texas courts challenging the decisions to put 465 people from the Fundamentalist LDS Church’s YFZ Ranch in state protective custody.Meanwhile, Texas Child Protective Services officials conceded Tuesday that a young mother they initially believed was a minor is legally an adult.

    “We received information — credible information — and we now believe this woman who was believed to be a minor in question, is in fact, an adult,” Texas CPS spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner said after a court hearing in San Angelo.

    The mother will remain in state custody alongside her baby boy, who was born in San Marcos on April 29. A hearing on the issue has been continued until Friday. A spokesman for the FLDS Church said the woman in the case, identified as Pamela Jeffs, is 18.

    A spokesman for the FLDS Church accused Texas authorities of disregarding legal documentation to keep the babies in custody.

    “The state wanted to make sure that they got possession of those babies,” said Rod Parker. “If they’d have let mom go, they are afraid the baby will get away from them.”

    On Monday, another young woman gave birth to a boy in Austin. Louisa Jessop’s husband is challenging the decision to keep them in state custody, and a judge held off on ordering them moved to a new shelter in San Antonio. A hearing is scheduled in an Austin court on Thursday.

    In the meantime, the child and his mother remain in foster care.

    “The mother and 26 others are in the ‘disputed minors’ category, which applies to YFZ Ranch residents who CPS believes are minors, or who have provided different ages and other conflicting information to CPS at different times,” Texas DFPS said in a statement posted on its Web site.

    The FLDS insist that Jessop (who they say is 22) and other young women are adults. Texas CPS believes they are underage. The government agency said it is reviewing information about the women deemed “disputed minors.”

    “If CPS determines that any are adults, appropriate action will be taken,” the agency said.

    A massive series of hearings to determine the placement and status of all of the children in state protective custody is scheduled next week before five different judges in San Angelo.

    Lawyers for a Fundamentalist LDS couple went to court Tuesday to get an emergency restraining order blocking Texas authorities from separating a mother from her child.

    Joseph Steed Jessop Jr. turns 1 on Thursday and it is expected he will be separated from his mother, Lori.

    “A CPS worker has told her that after the infant, Joseph Steed Jessop Jr., turns one year old, which will be on May 15, 2008, he, too, will be taken away from her,” Corpus Christi attorney Rene Haas wrote in a motion filed Tuesday in a San Antonio.

    CPS officials declined to offer an immediate response. The judge granted their request for a temporary restraining order, and ordered that the baby’s father, Joseph Steed Jessop Sr., be told where his other children, Ziana Glo Jessop, 4, and Joseph Edson Jessop, 2, are being kept. Haas wrote in court papers that the couple last saw all their children on May 9.

    The judge granted them daily supervised visits until another hearing can be held on May 23.

    In another legal motion filed in San Antonio on Tuesday, three fathers filed a petition claiming their children are being illegally restrained in the custody of Texas CPS.

    The motion said that Texas law enforcement knew the phone call that prompted the raid was likely a hoax.

    “Nevertheless, Amy Marie Dockstader, Natalie Joanne Keate, Britton Bauer Keate, Jameson Rand Keate and Marreta Keate were removed from the community and the relators’ custody,” the fathers’ attorney, Gerald Goldstein, wrote.

    In separate sections, fathers James Dockstader, Rulon Keate and LeLand Keate describe the raid and how their children and wives were taken from them. Dockstader’s attorneys described him praying outside the FLDS temple as law enforcement went inside, Keate’s wife accompanied their children onto buses as they were removed en masse from the ranch.

    The fathers say there is no evidence their children were abused and they have been denied their rights to hearings and due process.

    “This court should order the return of their children and individualized hearings if, and only if, an adequate showing can be made that such hearings are necessary with respect to their families and child,” Goldstein wrote.

    The raid on the YFZ Ranch began April 3 when authorities responded to a call from someone claiming to be a 16-year-old girl, pregnant and in an abusive polygamous marriage to a 49-year-old man. When law enforcement and child welfare workers responded, they said they saw signs of other abuse — including other pregnant minors.

    That prompted a judge to order the removal of all of the children from the FLDS compound. They are now in foster care facilities across Texas. Authorities have said the FLDS culture poses a danger to children, with girls being groomed to become child brides and boys being groomed to be predators.

    “To prove that it has a compelling interest in holding these children, CPS must prove that they will suffer actual harm,” Goldstein responded. “Speculation does not suffice.”