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Update pg 10. Yay!-The ever-present CPS fears have materialized for us - Page 5

post #81 of 192
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the hugs!

 

Seriously they can/will use your online posts against you in court? I mean, these are places to vent. While I try to stay positive, there have been times when I've been irritated beyond belief and coming here for advice was my last avenue, so I vented my frustration, I'm sure. Who knows what I've said online in the past that could come back to bite me. Oy!

 

Plus, some of the things I've done/do that I'd rather not advertise to CPS, like UC and EBF, would be glaringly obvious. I'm starting to double-think pics I have taken in the house where there are various naked 2 yr olds (MY 2 yr olds, just each of them has been caught in photos at different times) and so on, or taken on a really messy house day... Are these photos I should get rid of? I'm completely paranoid again now. But I'm immediately going to begin taking pics on a semi-daily basis, with clothed kids and a clean house. Thanks for that suggestion! Sigh...

post #82 of 192

 

A social worker finding your online history is possible, but not probable, unless a vindictive relative or acquaintance has identified you online and specifically points a worker in the right direction. On the list of things to worry about, having your posts read should probably come way below having thing look nice around the house. But I wouldn't blame you for scrubbing your online history either, especially for anything you might have posted about mental health issues. 

 

I wouldn't destroy pictures, if there's a trusted friend or relative you can give them to for safekeeping. 

 

Good job holding it together, mama! I cringed at your description of the kids turning fearful when they heard somebody at the door. That's some tough stuff. 

 

If nobody shows up at your place before moving day, make sure you make contact with your new address. They sure do hate it when they show up and the family under investigation has vanished without a trace. 

 

... and while I know that you're broke, I still wish you would speak to a lawyer. Every. darn. thing. with CPS agencies is so particular to the area in which ones lives! Internet advice (including mine, obviously) is well-meant but lacks that county-level regional expertise. 

post #83 of 192
Thread Starter 

Last week's visit was quick and easy. This week she came today. She had a paper with her. It referred to the "parent aid" thing she'd talked about at the first visit, the people who will help me develop a plan to keep it organized/clean or something. She wanted us to sign it. It says lots of scarey things and I don't want to. Luckily dh wasn't here so she had to leave it and is coming back tomorrow for it. I'm pretty sure I'm going to leave her a message tonight saying I'd like to speak to our atty first and I'll give her a call tomorrow.

 

When I was reading it while she was here I stumbled on the following sentences: "CPS is referring the family to your agency for parenting skills training. Based on a recent needs assessment, services should address parenting skills." She blew it off, saying That her system gives her a list of options and she has to choose one, and this is the option you choose for this service.

 

Then it says: " By signing below I authorize the DHS to release information...I agree to this release for 60days or until the service is completed, whichever is longer. I agree to voluntarily attend and participate in the services listed above. I understand that the disposition of this case may be reclassified to Category II if it is determined that my failure to attend and participate...places any child in this case at substantial risk of harm...if this case is escalated to Category II, my name will be entered on the child abuse/neglect central registry for life...."

 

Then she was talking to the kids and nonchalantly asked what our homeschool day looks like, as if she were just curious. She was taking notes. I'm freaking out again. I'm pretty sure when I talked to the atty he told me that he didn't think there was anything to worry about, but if they started asking me to sign things then call him right away.

post #84 of 192

 

I'm so sorry.

 

You are being lied to. Nothing on that form you were asked to sign is extraneous or accidental. 

 

DO NOT SIGH THAT PAPER. Call your lawyer tomorrow. Have him contact the worker directly and arrange a meeting with the worker, at his office. Hopefully he can negotiate for you to attend a parenting class or something, so that you minimize access to your home and your kids, and still give the worker something concrete to put in her file that demonstrates her responsiveness to the initial report of child neglect. 

 

Don't believe me, and don't believe whoever else might swoop in here to tell you that signing the form is no big deal. Believe your lawyer and follow his instructions. 

post #85 of 192

Smithie is spot on.  Take it from someone who has been down this road.  I am scared for you right now.  This is how it starts.

 

Call your lawyer first thing tomorrow.  If you don't involve a lawyer asap, I don't see this turning out the way you want it to.  I know you are already freaked and I really hate to add to it.  But your posts are giving me flashbacks to how it was before they took my daughter, it all sounds so familiar.  They generally don't mess with families who have lawyers because then someone is holding them accountable (my biggest mistake was not involving an outside attorney quick enough). 

 

So please call them tomorrow, do whatever you have to do to pay for it, and keep us updated.  I'm sending as many good vibes your way as I can.

 

 

post #86 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

I'm so sorry.

 

You are being lied to. Nothing on that form you were asked to sign is extraneous or accidental. 

 

DO NOT SIGH THAT PAPER. Call your lawyer tomorrow. Have him contact the worker directly and arrange a meeting with the worker, at his office. Hopefully he can negotiate for you to attend a parenting class or something, so that you minimize access to your home and your kids, and still give the worker something concrete to put in her file that demonstrates her responsiveness to the initial report of child neglect. 

 

Don't believe me, and don't believe whoever else might swoop in here to tell you that signing the form is no big deal. Believe your lawyer and follow his instructions. 


I totally agree. Call your lawyer. I'm sorry you are dealing with this.hug.gif
post #87 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by gabbyraja View Post
Then it says: " By signing below I authorize the DHS to release information...I agree to this release for 60days or until the service is completed, whichever is longer. I agree to voluntarily attend and participate in the services listed above. I understand that the disposition of this case may be reclassified to Category II if it is determined that my failure to attend and participate...places any child in this case at substantial risk of harm...if this case is escalated to Category II, my name will be entered on the child abuse/neglect central registry for life...."


OK, the three things I bolded above would freak me out -- if you sign this, you're giving them permission to be in your lives for as long as they deem necessary. Whether you've 'participated' enough is highly subjective, and if there's someone there who doesn't like you for any reason, they've got a legal document to escalate the case.

 

I agree, talk to your lawyer. If she comes back tomorrow, you can point out the places that you don't understand and say firmly but politely,"I cannot sign this until I have my attorney check it out." Your atty should be able to find out what other options are possible. I'm pretty sure there's a "watch and make sure things look ok" option, and this looks like one step up.

 

I would also make up a loose homeschool 'schedule' and post it prominently on the fridge.

 

post #88 of 192

yes. ur decision is very wise. going through a lawyer will meet the workers will have to sit up and notice that they can't 'play' with you. 

 

yikes. this is getting crazy. 

post #89 of 192

Definitely talk to your lawyer, and I hope they are familiar with child protection cases. Do not sign without him present. Anything you can do to show initiative in attaining help will also look good.   Attending  a parenting class of your own choice and providing records of attendance might help, so will having records of your children's home school work, results from State testing for homeschoolers or whatever program you presented to school officials (I don't know if you did this, in Canada we have requirements along these lines).  I agree with Lynn about the prominent homeschool schedule on the fridge.  Recent doctor check ups also look good, and it gives the physician a chance to have positive things to say if asked.  I feel so sorry for you that you are going through this.  Hang in there and use whatever legal and social resources you can.

post #90 of 192
Thread Starter 

Still waiting for the call from the atty. All of the kids have been to the dr recently (and their drs and dentists are literally always complimenting me on 1. what good kids I have, and 2. what a good job I'm doing with them). There are no homeschool regulations in our state. Dh and I took a parenting class before we ever even had kids, to make sure we were on the same page regarding discipline (still have the transcript), and I own more than 20 parenting books...

post #91 of 192

Oh man this is rough. grouphug.gif hugs and hoping they will get the heck out of your lives!

post #92 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by gabbyraja View Post

Still waiting for the call from the atty. All of the kids have been to the dr recently (and their drs and dentists are literally always complimenting me on 1. what good kids I have, and 2. what a good job I'm doing with them). There are no homeschool regulations in our state. Dh and I took a parenting class before we ever even had kids, to make sure we were on the same page regarding discipline (still have the transcript), and I own more than 20 parenting books...



Sounds like a good start.  Hope you have some helpful info from the atty.  Big hugs!grouphug.gif

post #93 of 192
Thread Starter 

Well, nobody wants to give free info over the phone (imagine that). The one atty I'd been speaking with (state bar referral, so he had to talk to me for free the first time) is $200/hr and required a $500 deposit. There is no universe in which we can afford that. Plus, he didn't even have any CPS experience. Nice he tells me that now. I found another atty. Rates seem more reasonable and they know the CPS workers by first name. They didn't have an opening until Tues, however.

 

That said, I spoke to both of them today and they both said things like "unnecessary", "excessive", "insulting", "I'd be scared, too." So, I'm not imagining things. While I've not gotten a solid "NO WAY do you want to do this" from them, that's the way they are both leaning. So, I just left a message with our worker tonight that we do not want to participate in the program after all and if she had any questions to give us a call. Then we'll see what she says when she comes out for her visit next week. Maybe it's the standard form they give everyone, and since she was stressing the first day that it was totally voluntary she'll just drop it. Maybe it'll make her hackles rise and I'll be in for a fight. But, at least I seem to have an atty now, with experience, so I hope cold-calling was a good idea and these people know what they're doing enough to help me fight the ridiculousness without any bumps in the road...

 

Since I knew I was going against their wishes now, and presumed they might have a problem with that, I decided to have a talk with the kids today. I was honest with them about what was going on, and I told them the basics of what would happen if they were to be taken from us. I also made sure that every one of them knew that I would never until my last breath stop trying to fight to get them back. They didn't like it at all, but all I've been able to think about is their terror if they are taken away by surprise and have no idea what to expect and think they'll have to live with another family forever. And sure enough my 8 yr old told me through her tears that when she was 18 she'd come back to us. So, I got the opportunity to dispel that fear for her that apparently she'd been carrying for a month, that if they were taken away it would not be forever. Whatever hoops I had to jump through to get them back I would. It's all just so upsetting.

 

Keep sending prayers/good vibes this way?

post #94 of 192
Thinking of you and sending LOTS of prayers. hug.gif I'm glad you found the other atty. and called the case worker to say no.
Hugs to your kids too, I think it was a good idea to talk to them since they probably were imagining things that were much worse than what was really going on.
post #95 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by gabbyraja View Post

 

Keep sending prayers/good vibes this way?



Sent!  

 

I second the notion that perhaps you could find your own parenting class (if this will appease CPS) and attend it.  Another option would be to find a way of organising that you think will work and show it to them.  This way you are addressing their concerns, but you are in the drivers seat.

 

Of course, it does not look from this end that they have much basis for their concern - so it does all seem unnecessary.  Sigh.

 

Talk to the lawyers first.

 

 

post #96 of 192

I dont understand why they keep coming back after the initial visit when the worker commented that everything looked ok. Why do they keep harassing you? What a waste of taxpayers money to say the least.  Are they obligated to harass you for the minimum of 60 days even if in that time it is clear you  and especially your kids dont need their help? Or is the main worry that you are homeschooling?

 

For every  loving family they harass, children who really need their help are being ignored. I detest the cps, it should be abolished. 

post #97 of 192

I wuld definitly be proactive as far as making it clear you are making changes. Now, Im not saying you NEED to make changes, but simply doing it as a way to appease them. What I did when I went through this crap: wrote up a homeschool schedule and posted it in plain view. Also, I wrote up a Family Routine (I stole SuperNanny's idea there) and wrote it on big ol poster board and hungit in the kitchen. I hung up the kids school papers all over, plus kept the school books, educational supplies out in the open. I talked to a  few friends and asked them if could use them as an official support system so I could tell the CPS worker  I hadpeople to help me outwith childcare, etc.... (They seem pretty pro-support systems.) I had no problem asking the worker to explain things I was not clear on and I was always very poite but firm when saying  needed a day or two to read over i or speak to a lawyer. Not in a way to make  sound like I was fighting anything, just in a "I just really want to be clear on the specific details here" way. Basically, you want to look like you are saying "I agree with you that changes need to bemade and I am proactivly MAKING changes in agreeance with you, I just dont necesarily need the services YOU are offering. But thank you for presenting me options. "  Be very careful what you sign though!! You are wise to seek legal counsel.

post #98 of 192

hug2.gif  You are so brave, mama. You are doing all the right things. The fact that your lawyer knows the caseworkers by name is a very, very good sign. 

 

If they do get taken, remember, there is somebody like me on the other end who will give them a soft spot to nest while you fight this thing.

 

If they do get taken, send them with photos that include your spotless home in the background, their favorite books and toys, appropriate clothing (no stains! no holes! the right size!), immunization records, a copy of their birth certificates, contact information for all their doctors etc. A foster parent who is impressed by the bag the kid arrives with is a foster parent who will be disposed to think well of you, and to be open to the idea that this is all a bunch of nonsense, and to share those sentiments with the GAL and the caseworker. 

post #99 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post

 

For every  loving family they harass, children who really need their help are being ignored.



Agreed! I have a friend whose son passed away and even after the corner confirmed that the death was not in any way caused by the family CPS still has yet to close the case 7 months later and keeps giving them the run around. Complete waste and not to mention emotionally exhausting for my friend and her family.... all they'd like at this point is some closure.  

post #100 of 192

I think it's good, given how worried you are, that you have a lawyer.  But the following advice I give you regardless of whether you have a lawyer, because I think it's key for you to understand.

 

I think it is totally appropriate for you (directly or through your lawyer) to ask for a specific written list of CURRENT concerns (i.e. not the concerns that brought them into your home originally, but their concerns today given their contact with you since the beginning of this).  Then I would ask for - in writing - exactly what they feel you need to do to close your case and what the classes they're asking you to agree to have to do with their current concerns.

 

Lastly I would ask every other question you have "What does Level II classification mean?  What criteria will you use to decide if I got what you expected  me to out of the class?" or any other question you have.  You can even have a handheld tape recorder running and clearly let the worker know that you are so concerned about what the form means, you'd like to tape your conversation with her as she answers your questions.

 

I don't know your worker so I don't know how she'd react, but I do know that you have a right to all that info and if you say that you understand things much better with them in writing and you also want documentation of what you're being told, they should give it to you.

 

Once you have that info, you should be in a much better position to decide what you will and won't sign.  Oh yeah, another key question to ask and get documentation of the answer: what happens if you don't agree to the class or don't sign the paper?  You should have a clear understanding of the worker's answer to that too.

 

Also critically important: as much as possible, STAY CALM when talking to your worker.  It is totally, 100% reasonable to say, pretty much about any decision she's asking you to make, "I need to talk to my husband/lawyer about this, so I'll call you after I have" or "Because I need to run this by my husband/lawyer, can we set up a time when you can talk to all of us at once about this?"  If any worker insists you have to make a decision or sign somethign on the spot, calmly ask why it has to be signed on the spot and how can she expect you to sign if you don't have all the info you need about the consequences?  But try hard not to freak out, and try to just remember that CPS wants (or at least is supposed to want) INFORMED parental decisions.  You have a right to ask for this clarifying info, and you should not flip out and imagine the worst when they ask you to sign something.  But you SHOULD understand fully what you're signing, why, and what the consequences are, hence all of the above.

 

Still wishing you the best of luck!


Edited by LROM - 10/14/11 at 9:57am
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