CPS came to my home last night to investigate reports of my son not being in school from neighbors.
I showed them the documents that they are aloud to see...ie the attendance form...and the lady walked to the sidewalk and called for police backup. She pushed past me and walk through my house and said "okay so you have covered your ass there" her words not mine, and said without even looking around or at the environment "this house is unsafe the children are all being neglected and are in immediate danger" My jaw dropped. The house is cluttered but not dirty. There is food in the fridge and all 4 of my children are well taken care of.
She loaded them into her van and left them there screaming while she and now 8 police officers walked thru the house searching through things. They went to my room and found a couple empty button type baggies in a box full of seeds. The bags came with seeds in them. The seperated them and layed them on the bed and took pictures of them saying "look drug parifinalia" I begged them to test for residue or to bring dogs or anything. They wouldnt listen.
They continued through the house and found a window that the kids broke the day before. Their was a five and a half foot tall hutch pushed in front of it and the glass is on order but is a very large piece so couldnt be fixed immediatly. They said it put the children in danger even though they couldnt get to it.
They wouldnt tell me what I have to do to get them back. They said to go to court Tuesday and the judge will decide.
This makes no sense to me how can they take my children? A broken window they should give you time to fix right? I showed them the receipt where I ordered the glass.
I am completely lost. I have never been away from them. They are just babies they are 1, 2, 3, and 6 years old.
This morning they took the children to a Catholic church and I specifically told them it was against my religion. They sent me pictured of my babies sitting there with the christ on the cross thing in the background I guess to mock me.
They told me they are taking my oldest home schooled son to school monday and that I have no rights to stop them. I tried to tell them this is a temporary placement until the judge declares it unfounded and that they have no right to do this to them. They are violating there and my constitutional rights and rubbing it in my face.
I know obviously I will need to get a lawyer but do I have any right or way to prevent them from taking my children to church and to school?
I tried talking to the worker and she wont tell me anything. Tells me I have no rights and that they are doing what is best for the children like I should have been doing.
I pride myself on my children. I am a very involved mother. My oldest boy has mental illnesses that make public school not an option. He has been diagnosed and is even on medication. My youngest daughter was born at 28 weeks and is considerably behind for her age.
I do tons of growing and canning and try to teach the children to be self reliant and sufficient. I try to be as hand on and natural a parent as possible. I would consider myself a good person and parent and have always been there for my children.
I dont know what to do..or who to talk to..I got to talk to my oldest boy this morning and didn't know I was on speaker phone and told him to tell me is she was mean to him. I had young cousins who were in foster care for a few weeks and were badly abused. Duct tapped to chairs and gagged like. The foster parents were put in jail but the kids were to little to even tell. If a CPS person hadnt made a suprise visit and found them that way nobody would have known.
The lady took the phone from him and told me not to talk about her like that...remembering all i said was tell me if shes mean...and hung up on me and called the social worker and told her I didnt get to be on the phone with them anymore.
Sorry to be so long. Thanks for reading. Anyone have any ideas about what my rights are? can I stop the school and church attendance?
Please help me.
Beyond that, I don't know what else to say besides I'm deeply sorry that you and your poor children are going through. How awful, scary and tragic. I do hope this resolved quickly. (((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))))
HAVE YOU HEARD OF SQUAT ANARCHIST BIRTH JOURNAL YET?? IF NOT, GOOGLE IT!
i would definitely get a good lawyer and see what s/he can do for you.
i'm sorry that you are going through this. it is an absolute horror! *hugs to you*
When I worked with children who had been removed from their parents custody, the agencies I worked with were very respectful of the religious beliefs of parents whose rights had not been terminated. In the US, at least, children in foster care have first amendment rights to freedom of religion. It's a pretty big deal for foster parents to try to indoctrinate a child into their religion, especially if the parents' rights have not been terminated. Your rights have not been terminated - that process takes years and you haven't even been to court once. I wonder if maybe the kids weren't at a church service. It's not Sunday. There's no law against CPS working with a church-affiliated agency or using a facility in a church to meet with foster parents and children or conduct other, basically secular, activities. The Catholic Church does a lot of social work in some parts of the country.
Obviously, you can't tell the whole story of something this complex and emotional in a single message board post. But I wonder if, really, the picture was meant to reassure you that your kids are OK, not to flaunt the agency's power to violate your constitutional rights. Regardless of who is in the right, here, you are probably going to need to cooperate with CPS to regain custody of your children. CPS is not on your side, but it may help you get through the process faster if you can frame their actions as having a purpose (albeit one you may legitimately disagree with) rather than being intended to taunt you.
homeschooling mama to DD 10 & DS 7
here's to hoping for a positive update soon!
mom of three with on the way
Single mom to Rain (1/93) , grad student, and world traveler
I am so sorry!!!!!(((((hugs))))) Keep the pictures of the baby at that Catholic church. Keep the baggies they took pictures of and everything. But most of all, get a lawyer fast. Can they do this in your state? They cannot even do this where I live. I know in some states, they are awful and can do these things. Where are you? When you get your children back, can you relocate? Does your state allow you to pick where your children are placed, as in family or friends? If so, pick someone you trust to be their guardians while this is being settled.
|She pushed past me and walk through my house|
|now 8 police officers walked thru the house searching through things.|
Wait, wait, wait. Did you see a warrant to search your house? Surely, this is illegal.....
That's what I was thinking. Unless your children were in immediate danger, they had no right to enter your home without permission.
I hope his nightmare ends soon, OP. I can't even imagine.
So, in this case, the warrant-less search may have been legal. I don't know what the OP's house looks like and what she has going on. However, a social worker removing children from a home in what she considered exigent circumstances would have to call the police. The OP states that this happened. Depending on what the cops saw, they may have decided evidence of a crime was in plain sight and they needed to conduct a further search. Again, I don't know what the OP's house looks like. But, suppose that, when the cops arrived, they saw an assortment of household chemicals and over-the-counter medications on a table in the kitchen or living area. They may have felt this was evidence that the household contained a meth lab and decided to conduct a search based on what they thought was criminal evidence in plain view. Child abuse and neglect are also crimes, and if the police saw what they and/or the social worker considered evidence of that crime in plain view, that alone may have justified a further search.
Depending on the situation, the police may have felt they had exigent circumstances which would also make a warrant-less search permissible.
Objecting to the lack of a warrant when the police entered the home to remove minor children from a perceived dangerous situation (no matter how misguided that perception might have been) is probably not a good use of energy here. The OP needs to get the window fixed, get her house decluttered, make sure she has enough food, and prepare to demonstrate to a judge that her home is safe. Arguing over the warrant is not going to accomplish any of that.
|The police can search your home without a warrant if, while they are at your house, they see what they consider evidence of a crime in plain view.|
|aid without even looking around or at the environment "this house is unsafe the children are all being neglected and are in immediate danger"|
Ah, that's why she probably said this--to justify an immediate search without a warrant. However, surely there must be SOMETHING specific in order to do this. And I know that cases get thrown out of court when a search was conducted without a warrant and without sufficient justification.
|Depending on the situation, the police may have felt they had exigent circumstances which would also make a warrant-less search permissible.|
|The OP needs to get the window fixed, get her house decluttered, make sure she has enough food, and prepare to demonstrate to a judge that her home is safe.|
Just trying to get a better understanding of the situation. Homeschoolers shouldn't be fearing CPS simply b/c their kids aren't in school.
Right or wrong, now that the children are in CPS custody, CPS can come up with TONS of evidence that the home situation was dangerous - interviews, medical examinations, medical records or the absence thereof, the social worker's notes on her observations of the home - they have a lot of options. The police search can easily be irrelevant to the outcome of the case.
I hope it all works out for you as soon as possible.
Ok so one week into my private school for my son and I need to get all of my documents in order. I guess I should have known better than to excersice my civil rights in a county with a personal grudge.
IMO you need to retain a family law attorney who has experience with homeschooling clients ASAP. Perhaps there is a homeschooling association in your state that has a list of attorneys who are recommended.
Here, I found this:
"If you ever have any hostile contacts regarding homeschooling, please inform an HSC board member. HSC maintains a list of attorneys and experts with experience in these areas or can assist your attorney with homeschooling questions."
Here is the link to the page to email the board members:
I would email them all as this is an emergency, so you can get lawyer info ASAP and start leaving phone messages to retain a lawyer as quickly as possible. Just having an attorney retained to show up at the hearing might be a big help.
and 3 , in our happy secular
You've said the county has a grudge against you. Laundrycrisis already asked, and I am also wondering what makes you think that. Has your household had a lot of interaction with county agencies for any reason?
like others have stated you need a lawyer ASAP. Did they give you an indication of what their "concerns" were (you mentioned the seeds) what else? If you are not able to get a lawyer by your hearing I would make sure that at the least you make huge efforts to show the judge that you have addressed those issues (even if you think they are bs). For instance if they said the house was dirty I would make sure that you literally scrub down the house, ask friends to help see how much it would be to have someone come over to clean professsionally at least to help you along. Take tons of pics to show the judge the home now. Take pics of your fully stocked fridge heck even the clothes closet/drawers. They think your doing drugs because of the "seeds" take a drug test most labs will be able to give you results within 24hrs and proof. My line is that I'd do everything in my power to get my kids now before they trully enter the system, statistically it is much easier at this point to squash the cps giant (coming from a FP)
I hope that everything works out, and that you keep us updated. I am not a big fan of the HSLDA, but this sounds like exactly the kind of case they can help you with. I would call them as soon as possible.
The social worker's actions seem so overboard! Calling in eight police officers? Wow, that must have been so scary for you. Does anyone know if that is normal, even in cases where drugs are suspected? Maybe she thought that the broken window was a sign of violence in your house? I'm not saying that it was, but maybe that's how it appeared to her. Do you live with a partner who might be suspected of domestic violence?
Hugs, Mama. I hope that everything works out for the best.
Stephanie . Maybe you should cross post this in Parenting, you'd probably get a lot more responses/advice.
mom to all boys B: 08/01, C: 07/05 , N: 03/09 , M: 01/12 and far too many lost ones
Single mom to Rain (1/93) , grad student, and world traveler
|They wouldnt tell me what I have to do to get them back. They said to go to court Tuesday and the judge will decide.|
|My oldest boy has mental illnesses that make public school not an option. He has been diagnosed and is even on medication. My youngest daughter was born at 28 weeks and is considerably behind for her age.|
If they even suspect drugs in a home with that many pre-existing perceived risks, I believe they have to act on it immediately using whatever their protocol is (in this case it was remove the children from a perceived risk first, investigate what specifically needs to be repaired second). The believed drugs added a fourth 'risk' to their list. And when they found not only a broken window, but the glass left out/not cleaned up with developmentally delayed children whose understanding of danger may not be good enough to stay safe, it is very likely that added a fifth risk in their eyes.
|she and now 8 police officers walked thru the house searching through things. They went to my room and found a couple empty button type baggies in a box full of seeds. The bags came with seeds in them. The seperated them and layed them on the bed and took pictures of them saying "look drug parifinalia"|
|I dont know what to do..or who to talk to.. Anyone have any ideas about what my rights are? can I stop the school and church attendance?|
Right now, you only have control over yourself and what you need to do. Don't waste precious time and effort on things like trying to change someone else's routine/block school attendance. Yes, it's not what you want, but you can always homeschool again when you get them back home. But you've got to prioritize what to do first because you won't get them back home until you change whatever it is that has your home environment or life situation labeled inappropriate and unsafe. KWIM?
Wife of 1. Mom of 3. Conquering disability challenges, one achievement at a time.
Best of luck. KUP.