Category: law

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, crime, domestic violence, law, legal, sex offenders, texas
ACTION ALERT:: ELLIS COUNTY PROSECUTOR FREES SEX OFFENDER – SPEAK OUT!

Please speak out against this outrageous move by Patrick Wilson, for the sake of my children and others out there that he WILL victimize. How can this happen years after a guilty plea??

Comments, please, petition, write your congressman, this is outrageous!!!

Child sex offender cases released, charges dismissed

KELLIE ROBINSON
and GLEN JACKSON

The Ellis County Press

WAXAHACHIE – Angel DeJesus Hernandez was alleged to have raped a child.

He plead guilty in 2005 and was given a probation sentence of five years and ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution.

One of the terms of his deal with County Attorney Joe Grubbs’ office was he would have to register as a sex offender if he violated any terms of his sentence. (under deferred adjudication, alleged suspects are not required to register).

Hernandez, according to court documents in the Ellis County District Clerk’s office, committed another act of sexual assault of a child in July of 2006.

This time, the sexual assault charge resulted in another two-year probation sentence with no fine.

Other cases The Ellis County Press has researched include the more recent James Leonard file. The Waxahachie lawyer was placed on 10 years probation for allegedly molesting two girls under the age of 14, according to court records. He has since fled the country to Central America, according to investigators with the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office.

A warrant has since been issued for his arrest. Leonard was placed on probation several days after 40th District Court Judge Gene Knize won a re-nomination battle in the 2006 Republican primary over Midlothian attorney Dan Altman.

Other cases The Ellis County Press has reviewed:

Cause No. 30278CR – Renee June Deguizman
Court records state, ‘�forced sexual organ of �Logan’ (under 17 yoa) to contact and penetrate mouth of defendant. Five years jail and no fine. Plead guilty.’

Cause No. 29502CR – Brian Keith Martin Jr.
Documents state Martin ‘raped �J.D.’ a child under 17 yoa, plead guilty, two years [jail] and no fine.’ Defense attorney Cindy Ermatinger had Martin credited for 91 days off his jail sentence.

Cause No. 30390CR – Ronnie Lynn Cummings Jr.

‘Rape, child under 14 yoa, with penis and vibrator, sodomizing, forced oral sex on her, 40 years each count.’

The prosecutors dismissed the charges of oral sex and assault due to Cummings maintaining his innocence, according to court documents.

Assistant prosecutor Patrick M. Wilson signed the court documents allowing for the dismissal of the case. Defense attorney Cindy Ermatinger filed a writ of habeas corpus, stating the bond of $100,000 was ‘excessive.’

This is not a good thing, this man will re-offend, I’m willing to place my soul on that … OUR CHILDREN WON’T BE SAFE. So my question is what, if anything, does it change for his sentence?! 

How do the on-record victims that each of these pedophiles were convicted for, feel about this? 

 How can this happen after he plead guilty?

Anyone know these answers?
Cause No. 31362CR – James Cotter
‘Rape of a child under 14 yoa, plead guilty, five years in jail, credited 183 days.’
Cause No. 30830CR – Joe Rudy Ramos Jr.

 

Court documents state Ramos Jr. ‘forced �C.F.’ (child under 14) to place her genitals in his mouth.’ Ramos attempted suicide on July 11, 2006 and as a result, prosecutors dismissed the case. Ramos rejected a plea bargain of 10 years deferred adjudication. A trial date had been scheduled for Jan. 9, 2007, but ‘due to vacation plans the state has not had time to adequately prepare child witnesses.’

Cause No. 31045CR – James Edwards
Judgment was entered on Nov. 3, 2006 in Knize’s 40th District courtroom for allegations of aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to court documents. The offense allegedly occurred on Dec. 31, 2004.

Edwards plead guilty and in exchange, he received 10 years deferred adjudication, paid a $2,000 fine and was ordered to perform 720 hours of community service. Edwards, according to the documents, served 149 days in jail and went through sex offender treatment.

Lindy Tober, one of Grubbs’ assistant prosecutors, stated ‘it was in child’s best interest for Edwards to be on deferred adjudication.’

Court documents also reveal the victim was a foster child and that he ‘placed finger in anus of [victim under 14].’

(more…)

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, collin county, cps, custody, divorce, false allegations, family, foster care, government, home, judicial system, kidnapping, law, missing child, sexual offenders, system failure, texas
Collin County Texas – Still taking kids from the innocent..

North Texas Man Fighting For Custody Of His Kids

DALLAS (CBS 11 News) ― A North Texas man has been found not guilty of the aggravated sexual assault of a child. Now, he and his wife are fighting to get their children back.

Douglas Buchar was a successful custom homebuilder when he received a phone call two years ago, almost to the day. Child Protective Services called to inform him that they had taken away his kids. “My secretary got a phone call at the office and said, ‘You need to take this, it’s CPS,'” Buchar recalled. “And I got on the phone and it was just like, what? And they said they took all our kids.”

The children, 4-year-old Megan and 11-year-old Justin, were picked up at school and placed in foster care on January 20, 2006. This all came after the couple’s 12-year-old adopted child accused Buchar of sexual assault.

“I couldn’t,” Buchar started, “the whole thing didn’t make no sense. It wasn’t logical, the charges they had. It just couldn’t have happened.”

Over the next two years, the couple lost their business, their house and their children.

Buchar’s wife, Joy, was arrested as well, but the charges were later dropped. “It’s like someone just took all my guts out,” she said.

The kids lived in foster care for a year and a half. Six months ago, they were given permission to live with Buchar’s sister in New York.

Earlier this week, Buchar faced his accuser during the criminal trial. “Looking at her in court and what not, it was just, she had no clue of the repercussions she has done,” he said. “She doesn’t realize what she has caused, nor do I think she really cares what she has caused. Yes, we do feel sorry for her.”

But most of all, the Buchars said that they miss their biological children.

On Wednesday, a Collin County jury found Buchar not guilty of the crime.

“One thing I learned from all this,” Buchar said, “I was a workaholic and I was working six, seven days a week, 12, 13, 14 hours a day, and I learned now. I promised Justin I’d go fishing with him so many times before. Everytime, it would be like, oh, something’s come up. I got to go. That’s all changed now. I’m going to definitely have weekends off, and definitely spend time with him.”

The Buchars have terminated their parental rights to the adopted girl.

Kelly Davis is Buchar’s lawyer who is trying to get the couple’s biological children back home. She said that she never doubted their innocence. “I think that Doug was able to prove to everybody else that he was innocent by performing all the different types of polygraph and tests that they required, and performing in order to prove his innocence.”

Although Buchar was found not guilty, the nightmare continues. The couple said that they will not stop until they can bring Justin and Megan back home.

(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

child support, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, false allegations, foster home, government, law, legal, system failure, system failures
Check out LawyersandSettlements.com – Article written about my story!

Abusive Ex-husband Makes Sure Woman Loses Son News

Its Almost Tuesday – Read Our Story on http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com

January 8, 2008. By Julia Browne RSS FeedRSS Del.icio.usDel.icio.us NewsvineSeed Newsvine FacebookFacebook

Dallas, TX: Mary’s abusive husband, Robbie, vowed to make her pay if she left him. She dared escape domestic violence, but due to additional victimization by Child Protection Services (CPS), the police, and her own mother, she lost her 8 year old son.

“After my divorce I moved with my son to a ‘safe state’, Florida. Robbie followed me there so I had to get a domestic violence protective order and he wasn’t allowed within 5 miles of us. He did try to contact me by email and phone on holidays, which I logged and reported to the local police but it wasn’t considered severe enough for an investigation.”

“For six years in Florida I was happy. I’d gotten married and was living the typical life of barbecues on Sunday and PTA. But stress from the aftermath of that previous abusive marriage and living in constant fear made things difficult and my new husband and I separated. In October 2003, with my family in Texas I figured we’d be all right there for a couple months but that was a fatal mistake.”

Abused WomanIt didn’t take long for Mary’s ex-husband to catch up with his prey.

“Just after the holiday season I reported his stalking behavior and calls to the police department of a suburb of Dallas/Fort Worth. On at least eight occasions they said, ‘oh that’s a Florida order, we’re not going to uphold that in Texas’.”

“Getting away with minor violations made Robbie bolder. He conspired with my mother to take my son away from me, even though he wasn’t his biological father. Together they made allegations against me of mental and emotional abuse, of drug use, and they even claimed I was in a baby-killing cult. When my son was born I cleaned up my life and stopped any drug use. CPS did four different tests and found nothing at all so in mid 2004 I was cleared of all charges of neglect and abuse.”

Mary and her son prepared to move back to the safety of Florida. Their nightmare was over… or so they thought.

“In May 2004 my son went to church and never came home. He was abducted. When I reported it the police, they and a CPS agent showed up at my door, not to give me news, but to get me to sign another accusation of abuse from my ex-husband and my mother. I refused. My attorney tabled a motion to have my son immediately released to me but on day the court order was signed, the police came and took me to a mental hospital for ‘observation’ based on a false affidavit.”

“The doctor couldn’t find any reason to detain me but during that 24 hours I was in that hospital Robbie, GrandMommy, the police officer and a CPS worker broke into my apartment and stole over $10,000 worth of property including all my home videos and photos of me and my kids, all my legal files and evidence, electronics, medication and even my wedding ring. Even our dog was gone.”

Mary’s son was placed in a foster home.

“Parents have to do something like take parenting classes, go to rehab or counseling to have a chance at getting their kid back. I did but they said I didn’t complete their services just because I chose to get my own counselor, not the one of their choice. They called me uncooperative if I did anything that was against my civil rights but even though one of the case workers wrote that my case wasn’t of abuse but of child custody they do retaliate, I hate to say. They ruled against me because I challenged when I knew things weren’t being looked into, like my accusation of Robbie molesting children.”

“The last time I saw my son was just before Christmas 2004. The case worker arrived without him and said, ‘we forgot to bring him’. But that wasn’t possible. He’s nine years old and he knows when it’s Tuesday. The next day, December 22nd, they brought him. He had a black eye, blood on his shirt; he’d been beaten. I never saw him again.

That’s when I started my blog almosttuesdays.com which came out of a poem I was commissioned to write for Child Abuse Awareness month. It was all the things my son had said to me during out visits that we shared that no one else knows about.”

“When I realized he wasn’t coming home I fell apart. I was in such shock. I didn’t have an attorney so I represented myself. Fortunately I’m a paralegal so I could write my own pleadings but they were just ignored. My son’s name was changed, he lives with GrandMommy and I’m not allowed to talk to him. Then Robbie was jailed in 2006 for child abuse. I’m too tired to fight. How do you find an attorney when those hired by the state to work on behalf of the kids say it’s too hard to go up against the system?”

awareness, child custody, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, family, foster care, foster child, government, healing, law, legal, love, parental alienation syndrome, system failure
Hostile? Leave the kids out of it…

It is the responsibility of the parents to not alienates the child from the noncustodial parent. Those around the child can make or break a child.

It is the family members, co-workers, friends, neighbors, school & court officials, social workers, doctors, etc., who recognize the signs of this type of abuse and take the appropriate action that protects the child and victim parent.

Those people surrounding the child may save a life…

The effects of this abuse can be more than a little bit harmful, but extremely detrimental, and even deadly.

If you haven’t read my story, you can find it here –Its Almost Tuesday, The True Story.

Children deserve their childhoods to be free of abuse…

The effects are devastating and may not be immediately noticeable, but long-term and lasting…

photo-059.jpg

 

What is implacable hostility?? (Source: Wikipedia):

After separation or divorce implacable hostility denotes the attitude shown by one parent to another in denying access to, or contact with, their child(ren).What differentiates implacable hostility from the typical hostility that may arise after separation/divorce is that the deep-rooted nature of the hostility cannot be justified on rational grounds and measures taken by third parties including mediators and the family courts are to no avail.

Cases of implacable hostility are increasingly being seen as domestic violence and as a human rights abuse if not recognized by agencies involved, although it is important not to classify hostility as implacable if it is itself justified by domestic violence perpetrated by the other parent.

 

Implacable hostility is akin to Parental Alienation Syndrome; but is not the same condition.

The typical outcome of situations of implacable hostility is that the parent to whom implacable hostility is directed becomes excluded from the life of their child(ren). There are two ways in which this exclusion arises.

Firstly, the excluded parent, having exhausted all the avenues available for resolving the situation, finally gives up the effort. This may be done in the belief that the option of withdrawal is best interests of the child(ren) given the stress that inevitably arises from repeated applications for access/contact.

Secondly, the child(ren) may become parentally alienated — they deny that they want to see the excluded parent. Once a child has become alienated from the excluded parent, the originating implacable hostility becomes subsidiary. From this point, the formerly implacably hostile parent often claims that they are supportive of access/contact but they have to respect the wishes of the child.

Family courts are usually unwilling to force children to see one of their parents against their expressed wishes – and often fail to examine the cause of such statements.

Most often the child is who is harmed.


(more…)

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, education, family, foster care, foster parent, government, law, legal, missing child, murder, system failure
Caseworkers changed, destroyed records in starvation case

 

Documents: Counties changed, destroyed records in starvation case

(AP)

Caseworkers from two neighboring counties and a state agency doctored or destroyed records pertaining to a 4-year-old girl whose starved body was found stuffed into a picnic cooler, according to a newspaper’s review of court documents.

One caseworker testified in a pretrial deposition that her supervisor ordered her to burn records pertaining to the girl, Kristen Tatar.

“And make sure that you sit down with a glass of wine and a box of Kleenex when you burn Kristen’s” records, Penn State Cooperative Extension worker Pam Walmsley testified in a deposition detailing her supervisor’s instructions. “And get it out of your system and move on.”

Tatar’s 11 1/2-pound body was found stuffed into the cooler that had been set on a curb for trash pickup behind her Armstrong County home in August 2003. Her parents, James Tatar and Janet Crawford, are serving life sentences for starving her to death.

Criminal investigators determined the couple grossly underfed the girl, who was often tied to a chair with a pacifier in her mouth and rarely bathed or nurtured.

The horrific details of Tatar’s life and death are scheduled to receive a second, more detailed airing in April when a federal judge in Pittsburgh hears a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the girl’s aunt, Cathy Fondrk. Fondrk, of Hyde Park, has adopted Kristen’s surviving brother and sued her parents and various child welfare agencies on behalf of the boy.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Wednesday reported that documents filed in the case reveal that Armstrong County officials admitted that they added details to Kristen’s case file after police found her body.

But Armstrong County officials are convinced that Westmoreland County officials also doctored records. Armstrong County has hired a chemist who will testify that dates and signatures on various forms don’t match, based on his analysis of the ink used.

A key issue in the case is whether Westmoreland officials should have warned Armstrong County that the girl was at “high” risk for abuse, not “moderate” or “low” as various Westmoreland records reflected.

Fondrk sued caseworkers and officials in Armstrong County, where the girl died; the Westmoreland Children’s Bureau and some of its caseworkers who supervised Kristen case before her parents moved to Armstrong County in 2001; and the Penn State Cooperative Extension, whose employees helped Westmoreland County supervise the Tatar case.

Westmoreland County officials got a judge to declare the girl dependent and in county custody due to neglect, and twice placed her in foster care in 1999 and 2000.

Generally, the Armstrong County defendants contend Westmoreland County never relinquished jurisdiction in the case, even after Kristen’s parents moved with her to Armstrong County. Westmoreland defendants have argued in court papers that they did the best they could to supervise the girl, but were not ultimately responsible for her death in another county because Armstrong County caseworkers had begun supervising the case by then.

The state Department of Welfare in 2003 found that Westmoreland caseworkers failed to monitor whether Kristen was getting adequate medical attention and that “lax supervision” and “infrequency” of caseworker visits led to the girl’s death.

___

Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com

domestic violence, family, foster care, foster parent, healing, law, legal, missing child, murder, system failure
Schaefer: Trial by jury needed to remove child

Sunday, December 2, 2007
Last modified Thursday, November 29, 2007 9:03 AM EST

Schaefer: Trial by jury needed to remove child
By Tom Law

Source: The Toccoa Record

State Sen. Nancy Schaefer last week called for an overhaul of the state’s child protection services provided through the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS).

Among the recommendations by Schaefer, who represents the 50th District which includes Stephens County, was that a jury trial be held when a child is taken from their parents.

Schaefer also called for the requirement of a warrant signed by a judge before removing a child from their parents, except in an emergency situation such as a medical crisis.

“The Department of Family and Children’s Service, known as the Department of Child Protective Services in other states, has become a protected empire built on taking children and separating families,”

Schaefer said in a lengthy e-mail…

“This is not to say there are not children who do need to be removed from wretched situations and need protection,”

Schaefer said.

“This report is concerned with the children and parents caught in legal kidnapping, ineffective policies and DFCS that does not remove a child or children when a child is enduring torment and abuse.”

Schaefer offered as an example an unnamed county in her district where she met with 37 families to discuss the “gestapo” tactics of the DFCS.

“I witnessed the deceitful conditions under which children were taken in the middle of the night, out of hospitals and off school busses,”

Schaefer said.

“Having worked with probably 300 cases statewide, I am convinced there is no responsibility and no accountability in the system.”

Among Schaefer’s conclusions:

  • Poor parents are targeted to lose their children because they do not have the wherewithal to hire lawyers and fight the system.

“Being poor does not mean you are not a good parent or that you do not love your child or that your child should be removed and placed with strangers,”

Schaefer said.

  • All parents are capable of making mistakes and that making a mistake does not mean children should be removed from the home.
  • Parenting classes, anger management classes, counseling referrals, therapy classes, etc. are demanded of parents with no compassion by the system while they are at work and while their children are separated from them.
  • Caseworkers and social workers are often guilty of fraud.
  • “They withhold evidence. They fabricate evidence and they seek to terminate parental rights. However, when charges are made against them, the charges are ignored,” Schaefer said.
  • Separation of families is a growing business because local governments have grown accustomed to having taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-expanding budgets.
  • DFCS and juvenile court can always hide behind a confidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions.
  • There are no financial resources and no real drive to unite a family and help keep them together.
  • The incentive for social workers to return children to their parents quickly after taking them has disappeared.
  • The policy manual for DFCS is considered the last word.“The manual is too long, too confusing, poorly written and doesn’t take the law into consideration,” Schaefer said.
  • Children removed from homes may not be safer in foster care.“Children of whom I am aware have been raped and impregnated in foster care and the head of a foster parents association in my district was recently arrested because of child molestation,” Schaefer said.
  • Grandparents are not often contacted by DFCS when children are removed from homes.“Grandparents who lose their grandchildren to strangers have lost their own flesh and blood. The children lose their family heritage, and grandparents lose all connections to their heirs,” Schaefer said.Schaefer is calling for an independent audit of DFCS to expose possible “corruption and fraud.”She also called for immediate change. “Every day that passes means more families and children are subject to being held hostage.”Schaefer said any financial incentives to separate families should end, and parents should be given their rights in writing.She also called for a required search for family members to be given the opportunity to adopt their own relatives, and when someone fabricates or presents false evidence, a hearing should be held with the right to discovery of all evidence.
  • cps, families, family, foster care, government, law, legal
    New Revisions to CPS Handbook 2007 – Texas

    This revision of the Child Protective Services Handbook was published on November 1, 2007. Summaries of new revised items are posted below, followed by the edited versions with significant changes noted in red. Not displayed are minor copy editing and formatting changes.

    Baby Moses Cases

    The items listed below are revised to include:

      ·  the recent change in the law allowing CPS to file for termination of parental rights as a part of the original petition;

      ·  the presumption that the person who delivers the child to the designated emergency infant care provider is the biological parent, and intends to relinquish parental rights; and

      ·  criteria for determining whether or not a child born and left at a hospital constitutes a Baby Moses case.

    Changes made for style and clarification are not displayed in revision mode. See:

    2360 Baby Moses Cases

    2361 Criteria for a Baby Moses Case

    2361.1 A Harmed Infant

    2361.2 A Designated Emergency Infant Care (DEIC) Provider

    2362.3 When Someone Claims to Be a Parent or Relative of the Infant

    Correction

    Item 7244 is deleted to correct an oversight made during a revision in September 2006, when the information in Item 7244 was incorporated into 7460 Intermittent Alternate Care, Baby-Sitting, Overnight Care, and Respite Care.

    2360 Baby Moses Cases

    CPS October 2006 November 2007

    A Baby Moses case is a specific type of abandonment case in which an infant has been delivered to a designated emergency infant care (DEIC) provider and other statutory criteria are met. The purpose of this law is to encourage parents who might otherwise abandon a newborn in a dumpster or other unsafe place to deliver an infant safely to an appropriate facility. To encourage use of DEIC providers and to promote safety, parents who comply with this law are protected from child abandonment allegations or criminal penalties. Some infants that are delivered to a designated emergency infant care (DEIC) provider are a special subset within the abandoned child definition and are often referred to as cases under the Baby Moses law.

    Texas Family Code §§262.302; 262.303; 262.308; 262.309; and 263.407

    2361 Criteria for a Baby Moses Case

    CPS October 2006 November 2007

    An abandoned infant meets the criteria for a Baby Moses case if the infant:

      ·  is known to be or appears to be 60 days old or younger;

      ·  has not been harmed. See 2361.1 A Harmed Infant;

      ·  has been voluntarily delivered to a DEIC provider. See 2361.2 A Designated Emergency Infant Care (DEIC) Provider; and

      ·  is delivered to a DEIC provider by a person (presumed to be a parent) who does not express intent to return for the infant.

    When Statutory Criteria Are Not Met

    If the criteria for a Baby Moses case are not met (that is, the infant is more than 60 days old, was harmed, or was delivered to a location other than a DEIC provider by someone other than a parent) DFPS must handle the case as it would any other abandonment case. A thorough investigation must be completed, including diligent search efforts to locate parents and relatives of the child. See 2224.1 Thorough Investigations.

    When a Child Is Abandoned After Birth in a Medical Facility

    If a woman is admitted to a medical facility, gives birth, and leaves the medical facility without the baby, the case would be considered a Baby Moses case if:

      ·  the case meets the general criteria listed in this section;

      ·  the mother indicates in some direct manner that she is unwilling to parent the baby; and

      ·  there is no presumed father.

    If a woman is admitted to a medical facility, gives birth, and leaves the medical facility without the baby but does not indicate a deliberate intent not to parent, the worker handles the case as an abandonment case regardless of whether or not there is a presumed father.

    When Application of Statutory Criteria Is Unclear

    If it is unclear whether a case should be handled as Baby Moses case, the worker consults with supervisory staff, and the DFPS regional attorney. In some instances, the court may close the courtroom and maintain confidentiality as in a Baby Moses case, even though DFPS has determined there is not sufficient basis to terminate parental rights under the Baby Moses statute.

    2361.1 A Harmed Infant

    CPS October 2006 November 2007

    If a “harmed infant” is delivered to a designated emergency infant care (DEIC) provider, the situation is not a Baby Moses case.

    The definition of a harmed infant includes, but is not limited to, an infant who:

      ·  appears to have been abused;

      ·  appears to have been neglected; or

      ·  has a positive toxicology screen and other factors (such as the condition of the child) indicate that harm resulted from exposure to alcohol, drugs, poisons, or other substances.

    Exposure to Risk of Harm

    If an infant is abandoned at a DEIC provider in a manner that causes harm to the infant or exposes the infant to a risk of harm, the case does not qualify as a Baby Moses case. For example, if an infant is left in a remote location in or near a DEIC, where no one is likely to find the child or an infant is left where the child is exposed to severe temperatures or similar dangers, the case is not appropriate for handling as a Baby Moses case. 

    2361.2 A Designated Emergency Infant Care (DEIC) Provider

    CPS October 2006 November 2007

    According to the Baby Moses statutes, the following entities are DEIC providers:

      ·  an emergency medical services provider;

      ·  a hospital; and

      ·  a child-placing agency licensed by DFPS that:

      ·  agrees to act as a DEIC provider, and

      ·  has a licensed registered nurse or licensed emergency services provider on staff.

    Texas Family Code §262.301

    The following entities are not DEIC providers:

      ·  a DFPS office;

      ·  a police station; or

      ·  any other location that is not noted above as a DEIC provider.

    If a parent delivers an infant to an entity that is not a DEIC provider, or delivers an infant in a manner that is not safe, the case does not qualify as a Baby Moses case.

    If a woman is admitted to a medical facility and gives birth, then leaves the medical facility without the child, the case does not qualify as a Baby Moses case.

    2362 Investigating Cases Under the Baby Moses Law

    CPS October 2006 November 2007

    After making sure that the infant is safe, the investigator must should immediately determine whether this case meets all of the criteria for a Baby Moses case. See 2361 Criteria for a Baby Moses Case.

    In addition to performing the standard tasks for an investigation, the caseworker must take the following actions in every potential Baby Moses investigation:

      ·  Determine the facts surrounding the delivery of the infant to the facility: 

      ·  Know the specific location where the infant was found. If the location is outside the DEIC or in an out of the way location, take a photo of the location.

      ·  Obtain any available description of the person who left the baby, and any written or verbal information the person left.

      ·  Assess the health, age, and general well-being of the infant. This information may be necessary to determine whether the case should be handled as a Baby Moses case. 

      ·  Interview any persons at the designated emergency infant care (DEIC) provider who have information regarding the infant and obtain any form for voluntary disclosure of medical facts and history that was offered to and completed by the parent.

      ·  Notify the state office program specialist responsible for Baby Moses cases within 24 hours of initiating a Baby Moses investigation (excluding weekends and holidays).

      ·  Notify local law enforcement during the investigation and before the court renders an order to terminate parental rights that an infant has been abandoned under the Baby Moses law.

          Ask that law enforcement complete local and state law enforcement checks as well as National Crime Information Center (NCIC) checks to ensure that the abandoned infant has not been previously reported as a missing child. An NCIC check can generally be completed by a local law enforcement agency.

          If the local law enforcement agency cannot complete the NCIC check, fax a letter requesting the check to:

    Texas Department of Public Safety

    Fax: (512) 424-2885

          In the letter, the worker describes the infant, the city in which the infant was abandoned, and the known circumstances surrounding the abandonment. Include the worker’s name, address, phone number, and fax number.

          DPS will conduct an NCIC check to confirm that the infant has not been reported as a missing child.

    Texas Family Code §263.407(c)

      ·  Search the paternity registry no earlier than the 30th day after the infant’s estimated date of birth, but as soon as possible after that date. This must be completed before the court enters an order to terminate parental rights. See 5390 Bureau of Vital Statistics Reporting Requirements.

    Texas Family Code §263.407(c)

    2362.1 Legal Provisions

    CPS October 2006 November 2007

    There are several differences between a regular CPS investigation and an investigation conducted under the Baby Moses law.

    For Baby Moses cases it is presumed that the person who delivers an infant to a designated emergency infant care (DEIC) provider:

      ·  is the infant’s biological parent;

      ·  intends to relinquish parental rights and consents to the termination of parental rights with regard to the infant; and

      ·  intends to waive the right to notice of the suit terminating the parent-child relationship.

    Unless a court order requires it, DFPS does not attempt to identify or locate the parent of an infant left under the Baby Moses law, in order to protect the confidentiality of the parent.

    Texas Family Code §263.407(a)

    Similarly, DFPS does not conduct a search for the relatives of the infant, as this would violate the confidentiality protection provided to the parent.

    Texas Family Code §262.309

    When DFPS files a petition for a Baby Moses case, DFPS requests a closed hearing. Unless the court finds that the interests of the child or the public would be better served by opening the hearing to the public, the court orders the hearing to be closed. .

    Texas Family Code §262.308(c)

    Any pleading or other document filed with the court is confidential, is not a public record, and must not be released other than to a party in a suit affecting the child, the party’s attorney, an attorney ad litem, or guardian ad litem.

    Texas Family Code §262.308(b) and (d)

    All identifying information about a person who delivers the infant to the DEIC provider is confidential and must not be released other than to a party in a suit affecting the child, the party’s attorney, an attorney ad litem, or guardian ad litem. This section does not prevent DFPS from serving notice, when required, to a parent in a suit to terminate parental rights.

    Texas Family Code §262.308(a)

    Parents cannot be criminally prosecuted for abandoning an infant under the Baby Moses law.

    Texas Penal Code §22.041(h)

    2362.2 Disposition of a Baby Moses Case

    CPS October 2006 November 2007

    The intent of the Baby Moses law is to prevent parents from abandoning infants in unsafe locations.

    Although delivering an unharmed infant to a designated emergency infant care (DEIC) provider could otherwise meet the statutory definition of abandonment, the parent has abandoned the infant in a location that is legally designated as a safe haven.

    If a case meets all of the necessary criteria for a Baby Moses case because the infant was not left in a situation in which he or she would be exposed to harm, the case is not investigated as abandonment and the disposition of the case is Ruled Out.

    2362.3 When the Identity or Location of the Parent is Known

    CPS October 2006

    To avoid the risk of a termination decree being invalidated, it is as important to serve a parent with notice of a suit to terminate parental rights, as it is in any other case when DFPS knows a parent’s identity or location.

    Due process in such cases requires DFPS to serve the parent, unless the parent waives service.

    The notice may be served in person, or DFPS must make diligent efforts to locate the parent, and if unsuccessful the notice may be made by publication. See 5261 Diligent Search for Missing Parents.

    When serving notice to a parent in this situation, every effort should be made to keep the parent’s identity anonymous to the extent possible.

    Any questions about service should be referred to the regional attorney or the county or district attorney representing DFPS in the case.

    2362.3 2362.4 When Someone Claims to Be a Parent or Relative of the Infant

    CPS October 2006 November 2007

    Parent of the Infant

    If someone claims to be the parent of the infant before the court renders a final order terminating parental rights, DFPS must notify the court.

    The court is required by statute to order genetic testing to determine parentage, unless parentage has previously been established.

    Texas Family Code §263.407(b)

    Relative of the Infant

    If someone comes forward claiming to be a relative of the infant before the court renders a final order terminating parental rights, DFPS does not share any information with the individual except the cause number of the court case. DFPS informs the person that if he or she wants to be involved in the case, he or she must intervene in the court case.

    britney spears, child custody, cps, law
    Judge Rules For K-Fed In Custody Dispute With Britney Spears

    BRITNEY SPEARS V. KEVIN FEDERLINE
    (Superior Ct. of Calif., County of Los Angeles, Oct. 1, 2007) – L.A. Superior Court Judge Scott Gordon ruled that Britney Spears is to surrender physical custody of her children to ex-husband Kevin ‘K-Fed’ Federline. According to the judge, Federline will “retain physical custody of the minor children on Wednesday, October 3, 2007 at 12:00 p.m. until further order of the court.” Read more…

    Related Resources
    Britney v. K-Fed Divorce Case
    Mark Kaplan, Federline’s Co-Counsel
    James Simon, Federline’s Co-Counsel
    Sorrell Trope, Spears’ Lawyer
    Child Custody Lawyers
    Child Custody and Your Rights

    child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, foster homes, government, law, psychotropic medications, system failure
    Survey: Too many children stuck in temporary foster care

     

    Overloaded courts, insufficient services part of problem

    By Susan Shepard

     

    Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn tells reporters that action must be taken immediately to reform the Texas foster-care system. On Friday Strayhorn held a press conference to answer questions about her recently released report,

    Media Credit: Mark Mulligan

    Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn tells reporters that action must be taken immediately to reform the Texas foster-care system. On Friday Strayhorn held a press conference to answer questions about her recently released report, “Forgotten Children.”

    Children are languishing in temporary foster care due to overloaded family courts and a lack of services, according to a national survey of judges who hear child abuse and neglect cases.

    Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn on Friday called for sweeping reform of Texas’ foster-care system, and Gov. Rick Perry has called for an investigation into the state’s Child Protective Services department.

    The survey was administered this spring by Fostering Results, a foster-care public education project of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in partnership with the National Center for State Courts and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

    In Texas, only half of the 125 judges who responded to the survey said they received training in child welfare before hearing cases. Scott McCown, a retired state district judge and executive director of the Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, said training is critical.

    “It’s not so much figuring out whether there’s been abuse or neglect,” McCown said. “What’s different in these cases is figuring out how you help and how you structure services so that you can get children back to families, where they can live safely.”

    The study found that the time available to judges to hear child welfare cases is inadequate. Fifty percent of the Texas judges who have more than a quarter of their docket composed of child welfare cases said their dockets were overcrowded. McCown said lack of time was a problem when he was a judge.

    “I wished I had more time per case. I think that’s a serious problem in our urban areas. We’re making decisions in minutes that we should be making in hours,” he said.

    One positive aspect of Texas’ court systems, McCown said, are cluster courts – child welfare courts that cover rural counties. In a cluster court, judges are responsible for hearing all child welfare cases in their circuits.

    Continued…

    child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, family, foster care, law, system, system failure
    How Does A CPS Case Work? When to report?

    This is a summary I wrote up about how a case works. For the exact laws and rules/procedures, read the Guidelines on the TDPRS website (for Texas) or the guidelines for your specific state which should be available for your information at your state’s Health and Human Services website. The following is simply a summary outlining generally the way a case works, specifics may differ from state to state. I am not an attorney and this is not to be construed as legal advice to follow in your specific case, for assistance with a specific case, contact an attorney licensed to practice law in your area who can assist you.

    twin210l.jpg

    What are Referrals?

    When a call or report of abuse/neglect comes in, it is assigned a certain priority level;. Depending on the level of priority it is assigned. The allegation and amount of imminent danger the child may be in determines the level of priority.

    A REFERRAL IS THE REPORT OF AN ALLEGATION of ABUSE and/or NEGLECT.

    A REFERRAL DOES NOT MEAN THE ALLEGATION IS TRUE

    To the contrary, only about 25% of allegations are substantiated, which means approximately 3 out of 4 reports that come in are false or unsubstantiated allegations of abuse and/or neglect.

    Anyone can call in a referral on anyone else. It can even be done anonymously.

    It is common to have referrals come in that are based on misinformation, misunderstandings, or reported with malice, spiteful intent, and based on lies and deceit.

    Of course, there are good faith reports that are made when someone truly believes a child is being abused or neglected. Those are the reports that are supposed to be called in.

    Often times couples in custody battles call in referrals and make allegations. These are spite referrals which are the most damaging to the children.

    Every referral must be assigned a priority and looked into, to determine whether or not further investigation is needed.

    An investigator is assigned, and he case is looked at by the investigator in the following (usually six weeks) period of time. Sometimes the children remain in the home, other times they are removed.

    During that time the child is interviewed, parents, school teachers, friends, family, and a determination is made by the investigator whether or not abuse/neglect occurred.

    If it is determined that it did occur or that the child is at risk of it occurring, the parents are placed into “services” they must complete over (usually) an 18 month period of time. Services include counseling, drug treatment, parenting classes, etc., and if they complete those services. Parents must prove to the court that they have met certain requirements of a ‘family service plan’ before they get their children back if the children are removed from their care and placed into a foster home.

    Part of that plan includes several court dates, PPT Staffings (meetings with CPS to determine the status of the case), visits with the child (if the child is removed from the home), and classes, therapy sessions, drug test screenings, rehab, and other services. Sometimes the parent is required to find better housing, a better job, remove a spouse or partner from the home if that spouse/partner is found to be a danger to the child. It is even common to have CPS tell you to get divorced if you want your children back, or break up with your lover. They have parents jumping through hoops, and sometimes even that is not enough.

    It sounds like a good system (on paper), but upon deeper examination you realize how many children are placed into the foster homes when the allegations are not substantiated. Sometimes this is because the children were removed early on ‘just in case’. When that happens, the trauma to the child and family is indescribable.

    The involvement of CPS in the household is extraordinarily stressful, often devastating. Parents lose jobs, socially they are scrutinized by those they associate with, reputations are ruined, family bonds are often severed, and lives torn apart. Nervous breakdowns and even suicide has been known to be the result of these cases.

    In cases where the child did not need to be removed, but was, OR when the unthinkable happens and that child is then abused in the foster care system that he wasn’t even supposed to be in to begin with – the results can be absolutely devastating.

    So with stakes so high, in order to keep from destroying children’s’ lives, the CPS workers should be held accountable at the very least, wouldn’t you think? Accountability in CPS is a joke.

    There are laws that make the workers not liable in many cases, that protect them against being held accountable in the court of law. This is not only frustrating, but it opens up a whole new arena for parents to take matters into their own hands, placing the workers at risk. It also leaves room for the workers to mishandle cases, placing families and children at risk.

    In order to ensure that they are not deliberately hiding facts, concealing items of evidence that would otherwise change the entire scope of an investigation or case, that the children’s placement in foster care may not be what was best after all, or done by mistake, or inappropriately. Rather than admit to the mistakes these caseworkers often cover their mistakes by backdating, moving the children, or sometimes downright lying in order to fill in the gaps. At the children’s expense – how much is a worker’s mistake costing us? Its costing us in our children’s lives – which is UTD unable to determine – in terms of $$ or placing worth on our childrens’ lives.

    • IF YOU ARE THINKING OF CALLING CPS TO GET BACK AT YOUR EX- PLEASE DON’T!
    • IF YOU WANT TO CALL CPS TO GAIN STANDING IN A CUSTODY CASE PLEASE DON’T!
    • IF YOU ARE THINKING OF REPORTING FOR ANY REASON OTHER THAN IN GOOD FAITH… DO NOT DO IT!
    • ONLY CONSIDER CALLING IN A REPORT BECAUSE YOU TRULY BELIEVE A CHILD IS BEING ABUSED OR NEGLECTED!
    • FALSE ALLEGATIONS ARE A CRIME IN MOST STATES!
    • FALSE REPORTING HARMS THE CHILDREN MORE THAN IT HARMS THE ADULTS! MANY TIMES IT BACKFIRES AND PARENTS LOSE THEIR KIDS AFTER MAKING A REPORT AGAINST THE OTHER PARENT IN BAD FAITH.
    • SEEK COUNSELING, THE ADVICE OF AN ATTORNEY OR TALK TO YOUR PRIEST.
    • FIND A FRIEND TO LEAN ON, OR TAKE A HOT BATH, RELAX AND SEE A MOVIE.

      WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO DO IN ORDER TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION.

    YOUR KIDS WILL THANK YOU FOR NOT RUINING THEIR LIVES BECAUSE YOU ARE ANGRY. MANY ABUSED KIDS WILL BE GLAD YOU DIDN’T WASTE THE TIME OF A WORKER WHO COULD’VE HELPED THEM.

    PLEASE – MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE.

    ( for those who don’t, lets hold them responsible for their wrongdoings)

    For an example See This Court Opinion I Posted Below:

    Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin