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Update pg 10. Yay!-The ever-present CPS fears have materialized for us - Page 8

post #141 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by AHodges View Post

Also, there seems to be a misconception that CPS itself has the power to take your children away from you.  In reality, you'd go to court over it and a judge would decide.  CPS would share whatever evidence they had (which, if everything you say is true, they don't have any), but the judge would ultimately decide.  I don't see them wanting someone to follow up within seven weeks as them "holding you" or anything of the sort.  It will likely be a phone call or a short visit.  The chance of them taking your children is very very slim.  If they had reason and proof to do that, they'd have done it by now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

I've seen two situations where the children were removed at an initial visit, with no order. I'm in Canada, and I'm sure the rules are somewhat different, but I've never read anything that suggests this can't happen. I know CPS can't keep kids without an order, but I've seen them take them without an order. (Neither situation was a wonderful living environment, in one way or another...but there was no hint of immediate danger to the children in either case.)


In the US, social workers only remove kids immediately when there is a huge, immediate, pressing safety issue.  Parents who refuse access to their children can be lumped into this category because the worker cannot verify that there isn't a huge issue and may have to rely on the initial report until they have access to the children.  But, certainly judges are making a lot of decisions, and quickly, so if a child truly is not in danger, that child would be returned home per the judge's order or per the social worker realizing once they had access to the child that the child was safe.  It isn't like a social worker can yank a kid out of a home and then have no courts and no judge, GAL, parents involved for months. 

 

Also, Storm Bride, respectfully, you have no idea really what the report was that ended with those two families having CPS involvement.  The vast majority of people don't air their dirty laundry.  They cover it up.  So, if mom got really ticked off and had a hard time controlling her anger, and happened to burn Junior with a cigarette, but feels nothing but shame and remorse about this, do you really think she's going to fess up to you?  I can count on one hand the number of parents I've worked with who haven't truly loved their children and who haven't felt shame and remorse at the things they did that landed their family in "the system."  I highly doubt the majority are willing to share secrets from their darkest moments.  So, unless you lived with them, and shadowed their children 24/7, you cannot possibly be even close to certain that you know why they had contact with the CPS system.  Assuming that you know the real circumstances when it is impossible for you to be certain, and assuming CPS is the big bad monster at fault for their childrens' removal does nothing but provoke worry in the people you share this story with and in you as well.  Do yourself and everyone and favor and leave room for the probability that these parents weren't giving you a complete and accurate portrait of what occurred. 
 

 

post #142 of 192

OP,  Did you feel confident that the lawyer was looking out for your best interests and reasonably effective?  If so I think I'd sign if I was you.  It's really sucky, though, and very scary.  :(  I'm sorry this is happening and I hope, hope, hope it's over at the end of the seven weeks.  
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AHodges View Post

Also, there seems to be a misconception that CPS itself has the power to take your children away from you.  In reality, you'd go to court over it and a judge would decide.  CPS would share whatever evidence they had (which, if everything you say is true, they don't have any), but the judge would ultimately decide.  I don't see them wanting someone to follow up within seven weeks as them "holding you" or anything of the sort.  It will likely be a phone call or a short visit.  The chance of them taking your children is very very slim.  If they had reason and proof to do that, they'd have done it by now.


I think storm bride is right.  They aren't going to leave a child in a situation they think is dangerous until they can get a court date.  They'd take the child and then start proceedings, but I bet it would be days or weeks before it'd be before a judge.  For those who know...  I'm curious what sort of findings have to be made before a child is removed.  Can a social worker look around a house, see the condition of a child, and just walk out with them?  Or are there procedures to ensure that it is only done fairly (like maybe more than one CPS employee involved or an outside observer)?  

post #143 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

In the US, social workers only remove kids immediately when there is a huge, immediate, pressing safety issue.  Parents who refuse access to their children can be lumped into this category because the worker cannot verify that there isn't a huge issue and may have to rely on the initial report until they have access to the children.  But, certainly judges are making a lot of decisions, and quickly, so if a child truly is not in danger, that child would be returned home per the judge's order or per the social worker realizing once they had access to the child that the child was safe.  It isn't like a social worker can yank a kid out of a home and then have no courts and no judge, GAL, parents involved for months. 

 

Also, Storm Bride, respectfully, you have no idea really what the report was that ended with those two families having CPS involvement.  The vast majority of people don't air their dirty laundry.  They cover it up.  So, if mom got really ticked off and had a hard time controlling her anger, and happened to burn Junior with a cigarette, but feels nothing but shame and remorse about this, do you really think she's going to fess up to you? 

 

With respect, you have no idea what you're talking about, and are jumping to conclusions. I know exactly what happened, and what the allegations were, in both cases. In one of them, I was in court during the proceedings and also read the affidavit from the key "witness" in the case. In the other, I was interviewed by the case worker when they were trying to determine whether the children could safely be returned to their home, and she was discussing the "reasons" for their concerns. The entire thing was a pathetic joke, and those kids went through a whole lot of unnecessary emotional turmoil.

 

I can count on one hand the number of parents I've worked with who haven't truly loved their children and who haven't felt shame and remorse at the things they did that landed their family in "the system."  I highly doubt the majority are willing to share secrets from their darkest moments.  So, unless you lived with them, and shadowed their children 24/7, you cannot possibly be even close to certain that you know why they had contact with the CPS system.  Assuming that you know the real circumstances when it is impossible for you to be certain, and assuming CPS is the big bad monster at fault for their childrens' removal does nothing but provoke worry in the people you share this story with and in you as well.  Do yourself and everyone and favor and leave room for the probability that these parents weren't giving you a complete and accurate portrait of what occurred.  

 

Oops - hadn't read your post. I actually do know the "secrets from the their darkest moments", and I don't happen to think either of these situations were terrific for the kids. I also happen to be absolutely sure, knowing the families before, during and after their involvement with CPS, that the "help" they received did them a lot of damage. Do yourself and everyone you share the "social workers are wonderful people" spiel with a favour, and consider that maybe they do a whole lot of damage that they never see. I have good reasons to be concerned about CPS (and have had my own very negative experience with them...and all they did was come to my door, at the worst possible moment for me - no file was ever even opened). The social workers I've interacted with have been a mixed bag, and some of them were, admittedly, wonderful people. Some of them were on an obvious power trip, and were obviously punishing families who didn't live the way they thought those famlies should live. That scares me. They are out there, and they're not the tiny little minority that many seem to think.

 

 



 

post #144 of 192
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post

OP,  Did you feel confident that the lawyer was looking out for your best interests and reasonably effective?



Well, I wouldn't necessarily say looking out for our best interests, maybe, as much as everyone's (hers included, I guess). Something about her made me feel like she was just giving us the amount of time she thought we could afford (the half hour consult at $25) and sending us on our way with the advice we'd been able to afford...? But she was brutally realistic. On the intake form we were asked to give our monthly income. At that point she knew exactly what we needed to do. Sad, but true.

 

She did try to make it all go away for us. She tried to get a particular supervisor on the phone, and if she'd been able to she might have gotten to the bottom of the case and gotten her to just close it, I think. But she was unable to reach her while we were there, and she basically told us we'd have to retain her in order for her to work on it. Instead she gave us advice to ask penetrating questions about every single thing they say and that they want, to write it all down, to be vigilant and like we're looking out for ourselves. And to feel free to mention her and/or that we have spoken with an atty. Things that will show that we can't be pushed around and won't just blindly go for everything w/o doing our due diligence, etc. Also to ask the parent aid people when they think we'll be done with their services and try to push for sooner rather than later.

 

She did say that she is the only atty in our area that has been successful at fighting one particular dept/worker/type of case (something I can't quite remember). The man lost literally everything he had, but got his child back. It took 6 months and many tens of thousands of dollars. I could probably scrape together 4K. :(

post #145 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by gabbyraja View Post

Well, I wouldn't necessarily say looking out for our best interests, maybe, as much as everyone's (hers included, I guess). Something about her made me feel like she was just giving us the amount of time she thought we could afford (the half hour consult at $25) and sending us on our way with the advice we'd been able to afford...? But she was brutally realistic. On the intake form we were asked to give our monthly income. At that point she knew exactly what we needed to do. Sad, but true.

 

She did try to make it all go away for us. She tried to get a particular supervisor on the phone, and if she'd been able to she might have gotten to the bottom of the case and gotten her to just close it, I think. But she was unable to reach her while we were there, and she basically told us we'd have to retain her in order for her to work on it. Instead she gave us advice to ask penetrating questions about every single thing they say and that they want, to write it all down, to be vigilant and like we're looking out for ourselves. And to feel free to mention her and/or that we have spoken with an atty. Things that will show that we can't be pushed around and won't just blindly go for everything w/o doing our due diligence, etc. Also to ask the parent aid people when they think we'll be done with their services and try to push for sooner rather than later.

 

She did say that she is the only atty in our area that has been successful at fighting one particular dept/worker/type of case (something I can't quite remember). The man lost literally everything he had, but got his child back. It took 6 months and many tens of thousands of dollars. I could probably scrape together 4K. :(


 

Based on what you just said, I would beg, borrow or steal to get the retainer and let her help you make it go away. She's telling you the folks involved in your case are not the most trust worthy people to deal with, and then telling you to sign the BS form and do your best to advocate for your self, basically hope for the best. No way would I feel comfortable doing that.

 

I don't understand why you are assuming that the lawyer was just giving you the advice she thinks you can afford and leaving it at that. Are you saying that you can only afford $25 dollars to deal with all of this? Is her retainer $4000?

 

From our recent experience (the one and only experience) with lawyers and navigating a bankruptcy, I can tell you the best thing we did was fork over a $500 retainer, and let the lawyer guide us through the process. Everyone that knew we were going through this process thought we were nuts for spending the last of our savings to pay for a lawyer (total $1500) when we could have filed ourselves and spent only $150 (and who knows if that is all it would have cost to do it ourselves.) What did we learn? So much of the law does not make moral sense. So many weird issues come up that you just can't predict that a lawyer can shield you from. Some of those things may be in the future, not even on anyone's radar right now. A lawyer that is truly in your corner will let you sleep at night. DH and I were truly giddy on the way home from our appointment after we paid our retainer because the huge weight of stress was lifted.

 

Do you have family you can borrow from? A credit card? Valuables you can sell? A church group you can ask for help? 


 

 

post #146 of 192

I think it's safe to say we do all have a small amount of fear due to CPS.  When my girls were little we had scheduled their well baby appointments at the same time and were given two different doctors.  One that was our normal Ped and the other was new.  DH went with our oldest to see the new one while I went with our youngest to see the old Ped.  The rooms were side by side.  Halfway through our visits the new Ped came over to talk to the old Ped while I was in there about her concerns.  DD1 had bruises on her shins, scrapes on her feet, and no tan lines.  She told the Old ped she was calling "it" in.  She felt something was not right with the situation.  Our old Ped asked her the name of the patient.  She said DD1's name.  The old Peds' face got red and he marched out into the hallway for privacy I guess, but instead berrated her for jumping to conclusions.  DD1 had an issue with her left foot, it rolled under at the toes and our old Ped had suggested we keep her in soft leather shoes, (robeez) to allow the foot to form with out pressure.  This did cause her some issues in the beginning but eventually her foot grew properly and her 5 yr check up with x-rays showed the foot was the same as the other.  The shin bruises were from our deck.  The no tan lines... she was allowed to run around the back yard nude.  She didn't potty train completely til almost 6.  He knew this, he had been through it all with us, calmed our worries and advised us every step of the way.  At the time DD2 had just started to walk and she was 2.  Again something he had helped us through.  Turned out she was lazy, seriously just didn't feel like it.  However the new Ped wasn't convinced and was going to call anyway.  Thus began a decent fight in the hallway between a rotund old asian man and a scrawny wet behind the ears female. 

 

Two people.  Both viewed the issues differently, one didn't know all the facts the other put two and two together and knew DD1 her entire life.  He knew the why to everything.  I'm trying to point out how easy it is for someone to come up with all sorts of terrible things and literally jump to conclusions.  Had the old Ped not been there we would have been waiting for MP's to show up.  Instead he asked us to leave against her will and told us he'd be calling us to apologize for the stress the new Dr. had put on DD1.  Gave DD1 a hug asked her how his little "warrior" was doing and sent us on our way. 

 

People have power of your life in ways you can't shake.  Why shouldn't that be an issue?  Why should we just take it?  We are allowed to call BS, if you tell people to sit back and enjoy the ride you're telling people they have no power over their own lives.  Government workers are not all good nor are they all bad.  They may be over worked or they may not be.  My friend who is now a Capt in the Army was a Social worker in Floridia during the time social workers lost track of one too many kids.  He admitted most people would come into work show their face then take off for the day.  Of course that was his office.  Not all may be that way.  But if just one office is that way that's one too many.  My kids do not need to get lost in the system.  My kids do not need to be part of the system.  My grandmother is a foster and from her reports of 30 yrs of fostering the hard to place, most of the damage was done after the kids were put in foster care. 

 

Paint the whole system pretty if you like, but the rest of us know it's not.  There are too many factors to consider. 

post #147 of 192

Ugh...  I only have a minute and I'm gonna be gone all day, but I just wanted to say...  You should do a little more work on maybe getting a lawyer.  Are you near a law school (or is there even one in your state)?  If you are, you should call them and see if they have a clinic.  Clinics are free and a great resource.  If they don't have the right kind of clinic for you, you might be able to talk to someone in whatever clinic they do have and ask their opinion of the "public defender" (I don't think that's quite what it's called, either, that would be for criminal cases).  Ime (and I'm a lawyer) public defenders are often quite good.  I actually haven't run into a public defender office that wasn't top notch.  (Otoh, I've mostly been in pretty big cities, so I'm not sure outside of NY, DC, LA...)   There are also sometimes other public interest-y organizations that can help you (ask the law school if they know, also you can call the criminal public defender and ask them, and also ask their opinion about using whatever the "public defender" is for family cases).  

post #148 of 192



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gabbyraja View Post

 Instead she gave us advice to ask penetrating questions about every single thing they say and that they want, to write it all down, to be vigilant and like we're looking out for ourselves. And to feel free to mention her and/or that we have spoken with an atty. Things that will show that we can't be pushed around and won't just blindly go for everything w/o doing our due diligence, etc. Also to ask the parent aid people when they think we'll be done with their services and try to push for sooner rather than later.

 

She did say that she is the only atty in our area that has been successful at fighting one particular dept/worker/type of case (something I can't quite remember). The man lost literally everything he had, but got his child back. It took 6 months and many tens of thousands of dollars. I could probably scrape together 4K. :(


OP, she has given you fantastic advice.  The man who "lost" his child and got him back was in a different situation from you in that his child was out of the home already.  Quite frankly, it is really hard to say if this attorney deserves credit for him being returned home or not.   The majority of children who are placed in foster care are reunified with their families.  This is the norm.  Permanent foster care/adoption is the exception to the rule.  Can't recall stats off the top of my head, but I want to say 80% of kids go home.  So it is really hard to say if this boy would have been in the 20% and the attorney really helped, or if he would have gone home anyhow.  Personally, if I had been this guy, I would have used my energy to meet CPS's conditions rather than fight it in court.  They basically have a checklist for families to complete to have children returned.  Anyhow, If I were in your shoes, I would put that in the back of my mind and keep my money in my pocket unless it became very clear I really needed it.

 

Right now, you are looking at having to do 7 weeks of ongoing services, no?  So 7 weeks from now, you should be done with this process if you play along.  If it makes you feel better, don't sign the document, or cross out the parts that make you feel uncomfortable.  I would ask this attorney what the purpose would be in hiring her today.  Everyone is screaming from MDC get a lawyer get a lawyer.  Okay.  So what would she do for you today?  Get your case closed immediately?  How?  How fast?  In less than 7 weeks?  No way.  That will not happen.

 

CPS isn't going to be easily pushed by an attorney when all ("all" to them, obviously it is a way bigger deal to you understandably) they are asking is to be allowed in your home and do their little parenting plan.  A judge is highly unlikely to see a point in closing your case immediately no matter what your attorney says because he has to cover his own behind too.  Don't forget that like CPS, judges are personally responsible for outcomes.  So when the CPS worker says she feels she needs to keep your case open for two months or whatnot to ensure your childrens' safety, the judge is almost undoubtedly going to say "okay" regardless of what sort of argument your lawyer has prepared.  And what argument would she prepare?  I'd ask that.  The judge is not going to want to feel personally responsible for having a case closed two months early because if he/she regularly does this, it is sure to come back to haunt him/her as CPS typically truly does have very good reason to keep a case open.  Not only that, but social workers spend a lot of time in court.  Many judges really respect the social worker's opinion and understand that they have studied child welfare and that lawyers have studied *law.*  I haven't personally seen any successful cases unless CPS majorly screwed up.  I would like to say they have in your case, but really they have not at this point.  They've totally overreacted, stressed you out, majorly inconvenienced you, intruded on your life, stressed out your kids, kept you up nights worrying--but they have not taken your children from you without reason.  From the judge's POV, your children are remaining in your home and you are being inconvenienced as everyone ensures your children are safe so s/he and your worker can feel good about closing your case in a couple months.  They would rather put you through the stress of this and ensure your kids are really safe than close your case and end up with a bad outcome. 

 

By all means, if things sour along the way with this ongoing worker and there is any indication that you truly are at risk of losing your kids, I would do anything in my power to hire this attorney.  Anything.  I just don't think you are there yet.  Breathe.  You can get through these weeks of ongoing services by being cooperative.  99% chance your case will be closed.  If it is not, then think about plan B.  But right now realize you're a loving and capable mama, who has been put in a terrible spot, but that if you can just hang on a little while longer, your life will almost undoubtedly go back to normal without you forking over 10k. 
 

 

post #149 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

With respect, you have no idea what you're talking about, and are jumping to conclusions. I know exactly what happened, and what the allegations were, in both cases. In one of them, I was in court during the proceedings and also read the affidavit from the key "witness" in the case. In the other, I was interviewed by the case worker when they were trying to determine whether the children could safely be returned to their home, and she was discussing the "reasons" for their concerns. The entire thing was a pathetic joke, and those kids went through a whole lot of unnecessary emotional turmoil.

 

Oops - hadn't read your post. I actually do know the "secrets from the their darkest moments", and I don't happen to think either of these situations were terrific for the kids. I also happen to be absolutely sure, knowing the families before, during and after their involvement with CPS, that the "help" they received did them a lot of damage. Do yourself and everyone you share the "social workers are wonderful people" spiel with a favour, and consider that maybe they do a whole lot of damage that they never see. I have good reasons to be concerned about CPS (and have had my own very negative experience with them...and all they did was come to my door, at the worst possible moment for me - no file was ever even opened). The social workers I've interacted with have been a mixed bag, and some of them were, admittedly, wonderful people. Some of them were on an obvious power trip, and were obviously punishing families who didn't live the way they thought those famlies should live. That scares me. They are out there, and they're not the tiny little minority that many seem to think.

 

 



Sorry.  I just don't really buy it.  You were in court?  For 20 minutes as a witness or the entire time?  I cannot imagine you would have been present for the duration of the proceedings as I have never heard of anything but a closed hearing in cases like this with children.  Which would mean you did not hear everything.

 

As for knowing their deepest secrets, I don't buy that either.  It is possible, I'm sure, but you will never know what you don't know, nor will I.  So you say the situations were not "terrific" for kids?  That is another thing.  There can be widely varying opinions on what is unacceptable in a situation or not.  For instance, the mother of a good friend of mine felt it was okay for the two of them to live with a sex predator who sexually abused my friend, as long as she (the mother) tried to "cure" him.  I know people who think that it is okay to beat the crap out of your kids, leave bruises, etc., as long as it is part of a punishment and not just for "no reason."  So when you state that in your eyes, you don't think these kids were in terrific situations but they shouldn't have been pulled out of their homes, it is hard for me to understand what that means.  Does it mean they ate Cheetos for all their meals or does it mean mom left 1 year old Junior to go out drinking every night but she did leave him in his crib where he couldn't get out and get hurt, so it was okay?  I'm not looking for an answer from you.  I'm just making the point that your judgement may be very different from someone else's on what is and is not acceptable. 

 

You're right.  Social workers are a definite mixed bag.  Luckily they work within a system.  Nothing happens in a vacuum.  They have supervisors.  The child has a GAL.  Therapists make recommendations.  The judge ultimately decides the fate of these cases.  So, while it is possible to get a really crappy social worker (though I think that is a small number), there are luckily safeguards in place that make truly unfair negative outcomes the exception to the rule. 

 

post #150 of 192

Random people have been in court, for the entire time (the whole five minutes they give you), during my cps case.  So there is no reason to assume that StormBride is lying.  My ex husband's family likes to come and be nosy during my court hearings.  The judge allows it as long as you state your name and relation to the child (and family friend seems to be good enough). 

 

Just because you know how things work in your area...doesn't mean that all of CPS everywhere else works like that too.

 

My child has a GAL who has never met or spoken with her, and just repeats what CPS wants him to say.  He says stuff that anyone who actually knows her, knows isn't how she feels or what she thinks.  There is also a judge who I have never once been allowed to speak to.  Not say a word, submit a statement, nothing.  Everyone else is allowed to speak to her except for me.  She has also never met my child.  I have a public defender who is allowed to speak for me, but he never has much to say (too busy, too many cases).  He didn't feel it was important to correct the social workers lies (blatant lies that she could have never proven, even if she wanted to), and since I am not allowed to say anything at all, the judge just believes whatever she reads in the report (which apparently can be any kind of fiction that someone feels like writing down).  So yeah...in my case it kind of did all happen in a vacuum.  Everybody is busy covering the original social workers butt, and their own.  All while nobody actually listened to anything that my daughter or I had to say.  Where is the justice in that?

 

Oh but I must be lying or secretly burning my kid with cigarettes since she was removed from my home. irked.gif Because social workers are just awesome, loving people, who never screw up.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

Sorry.  I just don't really buy it.  You were in court?  For 20 minutes as a witness or the entire time?  I cannot imagine you would have been present for the duration of the proceedings as I have never heard of anything but a closed hearing in cases like this with children.  Which would mean you did not hear everything.

 

As for knowing their deepest secrets, I don't buy that either.  It is possible, I'm sure, but you will never know what you don't know, nor will I.  So you say the situations were not "terrific" for kids?  That is another thing.  There can be widely varying opinions on what is unacceptable in a situation or not.  For instance, the mother of a good friend of mine felt it was okay for the two of them to live with a sex predator who sexually abused my friend, as long as she (the mother) tried to "cure" him.  I know people who think that it is okay to beat the crap out of your kids, leave bruises, etc., as long as it is part of a punishment and not just for "no reason."  So when you state that in your eyes, you don't think these kids were in terrific situations but they shouldn't have been pulled out of their homes, it is hard for me to understand what that means.  Does it mean they ate Cheetos for all their meals or does it mean mom left 1 year old Junior to go out drinking every night but she did leave him in his crib where he couldn't get out and get hurt, so it was okay?  I'm not looking for an answer from you.  I'm just making the point that your judgement may be very different from someone else's on what is and is not acceptable. 

 

You're right.  Social workers are a definite mixed bag.  Luckily they work within a system.  Nothing happens in a vacuum.  They have supervisors.  The child has a GAL.  Therapists make recommendations.  The judge ultimately decides the fate of these cases.  So, while it is possible to get a really crappy social worker (though I think that is a small number), there are luckily safeguards in place that make truly unfair negative outcomes the exception to the rule. 

 



 


Edited by CrazyCatLady - 10/24/11 at 12:58pm
post #151 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

Sorry.  I just don't really buy it.  You were in court?  For 20 minutes as a witness or the entire time?  I cannot imagine you would have been present for the duration of the proceedings as I have never heard of anything but a closed hearing in cases like this with children.  Which would mean you did not hear everything.

 

I wasn't in court for the whole case, and I didn't say I was. But, I was in court, and I do know what the allegations were, and I did read the affidavit from the only witness CPS/the court had. I was also present for a conversation the social worker reported - completely incorrectly - to the judge. That social worker's lies (I'd like to think it was an honest mistake, but I'd had previous dealings with that particular woman, and I suspect it was deliberate, because she didn't like the family's lifestyle) about what she'd heard were used to completely invalidate key testimony from one of hte children involved, and delayed their return home by months.

 

As for knowing their deepest secrets, I don't buy that either.  It is possible, I'm sure, but you will never know what you don't know, nor will I.  So you say the situations were not "terrific" for kids?  That is another thing.  There can be widely varying opinions on what is unacceptable in a situation or not.  For instance, the mother of a good friend of mine felt it was okay for the two of them to live with a sex predator who sexually abused my friend, as long as she (the mother) tried to "cure" him.  I know people who think that it is okay to beat the crap out of your kids, leave bruises, etc., as long as it is part of a punishment and not just for "no reason."  So when you state that in your eyes, you don't think these kids were in terrific situations but they shouldn't have been pulled out of their homes, it is hard for me to understand what that means.  Does it mean they ate Cheetos for all their meals or does it mean mom left 1 year old Junior to go out drinking every night but she did leave him in his crib where he couldn't get out and get hurt, so it was okay?  I'm not looking for an answer from you.  I'm just making the point that your judgement may be very different from someone else's on what is and is not acceptable. 

 

When being removed from a child's home causes that child trauma, then the allegations had bloody well be more serious than eating Cheerios for all their meals. In neither case was there any reason to believe the children were in immediate harm, and in both cases, the children were badly traumatized by their removal. (I had the distinct displeasure of being present for one of them, and I've never seen a child so terrified in my entire life.)

 

You're right.  Social workers are a definite mixed bag.  Luckily they work within a system.  Nothing happens in a vacuum.  They have supervisors.  The child has a GAL.  Therapists make recommendations.  The judge ultimately decides the fate of these cases.  So, while it is possible to get a really crappy social worker (though I think that is a small number), there are luckily safeguards in place that make truly unfair negative outcomes the exception to the rule. 

 

I guess I just have crappy luck, as I have yet to see a case with anything but a negative outcome. The only one that turned out well was the one where the addicted mom left her kids with the dad (who had had them for visitation all along), and he realized just how messed up they were, and pressed for custody. But, he was the one who got them out.



ETA: I'd also like to point out that my reply was to your assertion that I didn't know the allegations that created the CPS involvement for these two families. Whether or not I know "everything" about their cases isn't even relevant to the question of whether or not I know the allegations that were levelled against them. I absolutely do know what the allegations were, in both cases.

 

And, I'll also mention that the "judgment" issue is one of the many reassons why I don't trust CPS. Do you have a clear line of where crappy parenting stops and out and out abusive/neglectful parenting begins? No, you don't. Since "judgment" plays a huge role, there are absolutely valid reasons for people who choose unusual lifestyles, or people who have low incomes, or people with a variety of other "we don't fit in" type issues to be afraid of social workers. I've seen the absolute contempt one worker had for the children on her caseload (the same one who lied in court, actually - she was the worker for one of my friend's in high school...and the other case was several years later, so she had lots of time to damage families, and was still being treated as a credible witness in the case I was involved in). I've seen/heard another worker dismiss everything that came out of someone's mouth (the person was peripheral to the case at hand) as soon as he heard where that person lived...while paying respectful attention to what I said, because I had a "good" address. The idea of ever having my family's future, and my children's well-being, subject to that kind of judgment is terrifying. It just is.


Edited by Storm Bride - 10/23/11 at 5:42pm
post #152 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCatLady View Post

Random people have been in court, for the entire time (the whole five minutes they give you), during my cps case.  So there is no reason to assume that StormBride is lying.  My ex husband's family likes to come and be nosy during my court hearings.  The judge allows it as long as you state your name and relation to the child (and family friend seems to be good enough). 

 

Are you sure they weren't attorney's waiting for their case to be heard?  Where I have been to family court attorney's are allowed in the courtroom (that's how the judge knows that they are ready to be heard), but anyone that doesn't have a license to practice law cannot be in the court room until their case is called.

 

As for family being allowed, that sounds really bizarre to me.  Have you ever asked that they be excluded?  You could just say that they are potential witnesses if there is ever an actual trial, and for them to be included in the preliminary appearances would be prejudicial.

post #153 of 192

I don't really care who all the people are.  I am sure that some of them have reasons for being there.  Privacy is honestly the least of my concerns after everything that my daughter and I have been through.  I do know though, that you can bring in friends or family to witness everything during court if you want to (at least where I live).  I have done it, and people on the "other side" have done it.  Just trying to point out that Stormbride wasn't lying because it can be done.  But you are right, I do have the "right" to ask them to be removed.  I just never did because it was low on my priority list after losing my six year old for no good reason yk?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

 

Are you sure they weren't attorney's waiting for their case to be heard?  Where I have been to family court attorney's are allowed in the courtroom (that's how the judge knows that they are ready to be heard), but anyone that doesn't have a license to practice law cannot be in the court room until their case is called.

 

As for family being allowed, that sounds really bizarre to me.  Have you ever asked that they be excluded?  You could just say that they are potential witnesses if there is ever an actual trial, and for them to be included in the preliminary appearances would be prejudicial.



 

post #154 of 192

Who's allowed in the courtroom varies depending on where you are. In Kentucky, I was involved in a case (not against me), and all juvenile cases were in a closed courtroom. The only time anyone other than CPS, the GAL, and the lawyers were allowed in was when it was someone's turn to speak to the judge. In Florida, I've gone for two separate cases (one mine), and they may (or may not) ask who a person is, and being a friend is indeed good enough. People are called into the courtroom in batches, so the case is being heard by not only those involved, but anyone they've brought, anyone interested in the case, everyone else with a case coming up in that block, everyone they've brought, and anyone interested in those cases. Asking that someone not be allowed in doesn't fly. I know, because I tried.

post #155 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyCatLady View Post

I don't really care who all the people are.  I am sure that some of them have reasons for being there.  Privacy is honestly the least of my concerns after everything that my daughter and I have been through.  I do know though, that you can bring in friends or family to witness everything during court if you want to (at least where I live).  I have done it, and people on the "other side" have done it.  Just trying to point out that Stormbride wasn't lying because it can be done.  But you are right, I do have the "right" to ask them to be removed.  I just never did because it was low on my priority list after losing my six year old for no good reason yk? 

 


Wow, that is definitely not allowed in NYC.  In NYC I wanted to bring my mom in, but she was required to stay outside.  Literally no one but the parties, their lawyers, and any other lawyers that are trying to get their case heard. 

 

I was just putting it out there that attorney's generally wait in the back of the courtroom to wait to be called by the judge - so that the judge knows they are ready.  They aren't random. 

post #156 of 192

Storm Bride is Canadian, as am I.  Some of the differences in how things are handled could be due to different laws and different child protection agencies.  Here, we have Community Services and Children's Aid.  One odd thing I bumped into as a family support worker, for example, was that while either agency would know if a parent was on the Child Abuse Registry, they don't know any other information from each other's agency.  So, Children's Aid, for example, could know that a child's behavior was due to a documented disability, but Community Services wouldn't.  Also, Children's Aid is a not-for -profit and Community Services is government run.  Hiring and documenting practices can be somewhat different between the two.  And anecdotally, people in the field have told me that  child apprehension can happen somewhat more easily in most of Canada than the US.

 

APToddlerMama, I agree with most of what you have posted, and I don't think the OP is in a situation where it is in her best interest to be uncooperative or assume the worst about the social workers or the system she's dealing with.  Her lawyer's advice seems sound, and she really is doing all the right things, so in less than two months this will most likely be done with.  I just wanted to point out that Storm Bride's perspective may be different due to where she lives.  The US and Canada have much in common, but there are some major differences in our legal and social situations that may be affecting point of view, here.

post #157 of 192

Op - do you have family the kids can stay with if they are apprehended?  I think most places prefer kinship placement if possible. While the idea of apprehension is horrible, I know for me it would be easier on everyone if the kids were with someone I know and trust.  

 

I do not think anything you said at this point means the kids will be apprehended, but I understand your worry!  I have only known a couple of families with CPS involved and all of them had to sign "plans".  

 

IIRC - your plan asks you to go to parenting classes?  No biggie - go to parenting classes.  I would cross out some of the wording if you feel the need to.  Example:  Due to defeciencies in parenting, the smiths have agreed to take parenting classes.  Initial anything you change.  As for whether or not you need a lawyer - it is a hard call, isn't it?  Most cases are opened and closed and no one needs a lawyer.  In a small amount of cases, though, things go south and people probably do need a lawyer.  In which case you get one, money be danged (sell thing, debt,  etc)  If I were you I would wait for signs that things were not going well, and then get one.  

 

APT and LROM - do either of you have signs of what things look like if things are heading south/if an apprehension is near?

 

 

 

 

post #158 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

Op - do you have family the kids can stay with if they are apprehended?  I think most places prefer kinship placement if possible. While the idea of apprehension is horrible, I know for me it would be easier on everyone if the kids were with someone I know and trust.  

 

I do not think anything you said at this point means the kids will be apprehended, but I understand your worry!  I have only known a couple of families with CPS involved and all of them had to sign "plans".  

 

IIRC - your plan asks you to go to parenting classes?  No biggie - go to parenting classes.  I would cross out some of the wording if you feel the need to.  Example:  Due to defeciencies in parenting, the smiths have agreed to take parenting classes.  Initial anything you change.  As for whether or not you need a lawyer - it is a hard call, isn't it?  Most cases are opened and closed and no one needs a lawyer.  In a small amount of cases, though, things go south and people probably do need a lawyer.  In which case you get one, money be danged (sell thing, debt,  etc)  If I were you I would wait for signs that things were not going well, and then get one.  

 

APT and LROM - do either of you have signs of what things look like if things are heading south/if an apprehension is near?

 

 

 

 




thumbsup.gif  Great idea!  Knowing a back-up plan for worst case scenario would be a relief.  And that's a good example of how to handle signing the parenting plan document.  Make sure anything crossed out is just a single line (not scribbled over) and as stated, initialed, as per legal documenting criteria.

post #159 of 192

The problem is with waiting to hire a good CPS lawyer is that by the time you need one (if you ever do), so much damage has already been done.  And at that point it's very hard for a lawyer to go through and fix/un-do all of that damage.  So really a lawyer from the get go is better if possible (and if your gut feels that it's necessary).  Because they can usually nip this stuff in the bud before the parenting "plans" are put into place and all the drama that can follow.

 

Lawyers prevent a lot of the bad from happening.  It's an outside source holding CPS accountable for their actions (because I don't believe for a second that public defenders do the same thing).  Though I realize that hiring one is not always feasible or possible.  In my case though, if I had a lawyer I would have never lost my daughter.  So I personally can't help but recommend them to people going through this.

post #160 of 192

Another option if you truly can't afford a lawyer is an advocate. I took that route and I'm positive that it saved my case. Just be careful who you pick. There are some out there working as advocates who may make matters worse rather than better. This woman was not some nut on a crusade against CPS. She had a good reputation as a clinical social worker, a lot of experience and background with CPS (mostly positive), and she was appalled at how my case was going, so she took a time out to help me (without financial compensation). Her presence on my behalf made a huge difference. There was a lot of really shady stuff going on. The advocate was a sharp lady, and I wouldn't have been able to get through that crap without her. She didn't stay with me for the whole case as she had prior obligations, but she went to court with me once, stirred things up for a few weeks, and made herself available to make phone calls for me when I encountered problems,  and that was enough. She had CPS walking on eggshells. If matters take a turn for the worse, that may be an option for you. I couldn't afford a decent lawyer, but I imagine having had a good lawyer from the get go would likely have headed off a lot of the torment my family went through. If there's any way you can come up with the money, it may be worth it. Things seem to go better with CPS when they know they have someone holding them accountable for their actions.

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