The Dirty Little Tricks CPS Doesn’t Want You to Know
THE LITTLE KNOWN “DIRTY TRICKS” OF DCFS/CPS/DSS THAT ARE HIDDEN FROM VIEW
(Resource…Gregory A. Hession, attorney and Creator of Web Site Mass Outrage)
You will not find this “DIRTY TRICK” section in any DCFS/CPS/DSS manual, but it ought to be. These tricks are well known by all DCFS/CPS/DSS agents and they use them and pass them on as oral tradition. Forget the law and regulations. They do! Their tactics are questionable and they have all the power. They don’t fear the law and DCFS has everyone, even the judges and lawyers, scared of that power. DCFS/CPS/DSS doesn’t seem to know the difference between “actual abuse” and “minor harm.”
The code of ethics visited upon the foster caretakers is far different than those enforced for biological parents. True…there are those few foster homes that practice abuse to the children they serve and it is agreed that these homes should be closed and the caretakers dealt with severely. But that is NOT the norm with foster caretakers. More the norm is that they love these children that they care for. They go the “extra mile” to give them a normal life. True, they receive a monthly allotment but for the caring foster caretaker this does not even begin to cover what they spend on these children. And they do it out of “love” for the child…not for any other reason. It has been stated that the biological parents detest these interim caretakers but truth be known, many bio parents have a good relationship with their child’s foster caretakers and, as a result, are able to enlist their help when trying to reclaim their children. Unfortunately, as with any profession, it is the “poor” foster caretakers that get the media coverage and that makes for a bad name for them all. You never hear about the “good” and truly “caring” ones. You never hear about the successes. And that is because DCFS/CPS/DSS wants it that way.
The average, everyday citizen does not believe that a government agency that is charged with the protection of children and helping families can be so deceitful and corrupt. It often takes months or even years of being on the “business end” of these “dirty tricks” to finally realize that the DCFS/CPS/DSS agent is NOT their friend. Perhaps this information will help you become informed sooner and allow you to protect yourself before damage can be done to your family.
This material is NOT a substitute for good legal advice. You DO need a GOOD, dedicated attorney in order to win. If you expect to have a chance of winning against the system then you and your attorney MUST fight like you have never fought before. Pull out all the stops…Your future and your “children’s” future depends on it.
THIS MATERIAL IS NOT SPECIFIC LEGAL ADVICE FOR YOUR CASE. IT IS ONLY GENERAL INFORMATION WHICH MAY NOT APPLY TO EVERY CASE. REVIEW IT WITH YOUR ATTORNEY BEFORE YOU DECIDE ON A COURSE OF ACTION IN DEALING
WITH DCFS/CPS/DSS. I WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY PROBLEMS YOU MAY CAUSE BY NOT GETTING LEGAL ADVICE.(Hession/Crowell 2001)
#1~ #2 ~ #3 ~ #4 ~ #5 ~ #6 ~ #7 ~ #8 ~ #9 ~ #10 ~ #11 ~ #12 ~ #13 ~ #14 ~ #15 ~ #16
DIRTY TRICK #1
DCFS/CPS/DSS will PRETEND to help you, when in actuality they are gathering evidence against you.
· Beware of these tactics and
· Don’t give them the ammunition to use against you.
Some DCFS/CPS/DSS agents DO want to help you and the families they serve, and some don’t. You can believe that the system as a whole is on the negative side of this coin. It is estimated that Child Protective Services takes about 25% of the children of the families it services. Most Child Protective Services agents don’t know or respect the restrictions in the law against taking children. The sad fact here is that no one holds them accountable. Even the judges have not been able to reign them in, so these “outlaws” do as they please and not what the law allows or requires.
DIRTY TRICK #2
DCFS/CPS/DSS will try to get you to talk. In plain English, SHUT UP! EVERYTHING you say will be twisted and used against you in a court of law. Be pleasant but firm. Don’t fall into their trap. They will be sugar sweet in the interviews and they will “bait” you into making comments that they can twist and turn into lies. If you say you argue with your husband, then they will twist your words in their report to read…”Husband is verbally abusive.” If you say you discipline your child by spanking or “popping them on the behind”, the report will say “Parents physically abuse children.” If you tell them you are depressed, the report will read, “Parent has mental health issues.” If they require you to go to therapy DO NOT GO TO ONE RECOMMENDED BY THEM…You can bet the therapist will break the “patient/therapist confidentiality” rule and report back to DCFS everything they ask for. Don’t go to a therapist unless you are dead sure that the therapist “hates” DCFS/CPS/DSS. Just remember…YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT…DO SO AND PROTECT YOURSELF.
The sad part here is the “good social workers” who suffer because of the “bad “ ones…And there ARE some good, honest ones out there. Unfortunately, just as bad foster parents are classed with the good ones, good social workers are classed with the renegades. Those “good” workers out there that really do care spend their time fighting a system that they know to be “not” in the Best Interest of the Child. They really do want to help but their hands are tied and they often are threatened with the loss of their job if they “dare” intervene in your behalf or attempt to “buck” the system. In the long run, they find that although their hearts are in the right place, there is very little that they can do to help you when allegations are filed.
DIRTY TRICK #3
There are those workers in DCFS/CPS/DSS that will abuse and traumatize you and your children themselves. Those caretakers who have had children “yanked” out of their home by an unscrupulous DCFS/CPS/DSS agent or have been shoved out of the way as they enter to talk to the children privately know the indignity of the process. What kind of monsters are these workers, you may wonder? The answer is…THEY are the abusers, at least by their own definition. It is agreed that genuine abuse does occur in foster facilities and they should be criminally prosecuted and jailed. But more often than not, the DCFS/CPS/DSS agent’s definition of abuse is some manufactured perversion of their own making, rather than real abuse. If you crumble and give into them then they are happy but if you stand strong and keep your dignity and independence then you become the enemy” and must be crushed.
Many Child Protective workers do not have children of their own ( and those that do often have children that are unmanageable, rude and disrespectful because of lax boundaries and consequences) and they don’t understand that families, biological and foster, go through some trying times once in awhile and need some room to work things out. This is especially true for those caretakers in the foster system because they take in these traumatized children with baggage so damaged and dysfunctional. The problems faced by these foster families are often monumental and the worst part is their hands are tied when it comes to dealing with them. To the caseworkers your methods, even though they are normal parenting skills that are accepted in the biological home, are cruel and inhumane. It is at these times these social workers will swoop in and commit their travesty of injustice. They will show you no mercy and they will give you no explanations. But they will take your children…screaming and crying to their cars and whisk them away, often never to be seen or heard from by you again. Remember…In this fantasy world FOSTER PARENTS HAVE NO RIGHTS! After facing the false allegation process foster parents leave the profession by the hundreds. Facts prove that 40,000 foster parents a year leave the profession. State and private social workers think nothing of destroying your life and then, after they have efficiently ruined your life the agents actually wonder why you don’t want to warm up to them and work with them. It’s as though they socked you in the eye and then wonder why it turned black.
DIRTY TRICK #4
The DCFS/CPS/DSS will try to get one parent to say incriminating things about the other and if this doesn’t happen then they will twist and turn your words to fit their case. This is one of their favorite dirty tricks. When they get a report of an allegation the first thing they do is to rush in and take the children often stating that this is an emergency and that they are doing this in the “best interest of the children.” They won’t tell you anything and leave you standing and scratching your head and wondering in a panic. If the allegation is against one caretaker they will try to get the other one to make damaging statements which they will in turn use to build their case with lies. If you keep quiet they will not be able to get you to succumb to their subversive tactics. If you bend to their demands and “friendly requests” these disclosures will be the beginning of the end and will form the basis for the DCFS case against you. Some favorite tricks are to convince one partner that they need a “restraining order” against the other. Or that IF the partner would kick the other out of the house, then the children “might” be returned…and the clincher is (as in our case)…IF one partner will divorce the other then DCFS will return the child(ren). DON’T BELIEVE THEM…Does it even make sense to break up a loving family and a successful marriage of a number of years just to please the DCFS/CPS/DSS. Isn’t it more important to have a secure, loving, functioning family unit for these children than to operate dysfunctional in order to meet DCFS/CPS/DSS standards? If your marriage is solid and you want to keep it that way, present a united front to DCFS. Don’t give into their coercive tactics.
DIRTY TRICK # 5
The DCFS/CPS/DSS will try to get your children to make damaging disclosures about you using manipulation, coercion and fear. They will use their “divide and conquer” mode of investigation keeping the children and the parents separated with little or no contact allowed between them. The tactics they use here are what qualifies them as “abusers.” They will manipulate your frightened children into saying almost anything they want to hear. The tactics used by these workers appear to be akin to those used by interrogators in war. These strategies work with children because they are frightened, traumatized, and are taken out of the security of a loving home that they have come to feel needed and wanted in. The tactic of “recovered memory” is quite useful when you and your children are separated. If it is only one disgruntled child in the home that might have brought the allegation, the others suffer by the forced removal and separation. Even when the other children deny any wrongdoing, DCFS workers keep hammering at them until they get the damaging statements that will verify their reports to make their cases stronger. The saddest part is when the accusing child recants and admits to lying, the agents refuse to believe them because now they are at risk of being held liable for their hasty, ineffective investigation of the facts. DCFS/CPS/DSS will “always” believe a child’s disclosures but they will “never” believe his denials.
DIRTY TRICK #6
DCFS/CPS/DSS will always try to make sure that you do not get any help on the legal issues surrounding your case. They will tell you that you don’t need an attorney to deal with this problem and if they offer to help you get one I would be sure to decline. GET AN ATTORNEY ON YOUR OWN…ONE THAT HATES DCFS/CPS/DSS. They are few and far between but they are out there. Unfortunately the major problem here is usually “limited finances.” In the majority of the cases foster caretakers are rarely in a position to afford these expensive attorneys. If they are like we were, you beg, borrow and steal whatever funds you can to fight the injustice of the system and even then, that is not enough.
You will request copies of your case files and copies of the allegations but the workers will tell you that this is not allowed. DON’T BELIEVE THEM! DEMAND to be provided with these records. THIS IS YOUR RIGHT! If you are able you can go onto the Internet and search. You can find the needed legal documents to file to get these records…And you can do this on your own. Many of these forms can be found on the CPS WATCH site. Simply type in http://www.cpswatch.com (site no longer available: See Webmaster Note for further information) and then go to the “legal forms” section. Cheryl Barnes has done a great job of putting together a site to assist biological parents to fight for their children. Many of these legal forms can be used by the foster parents in their fight against the system. You can also go to the local law library for information. Many foster caretakers who face these allegations probably do not need an attorney but when you do you should not hesitate to seek out a good one. An attorney may be needed in the following instances…(Kulp 1993)
· Defend you against a specific charge
· Communicate for you
· Gain protection for the children in your care
· Gain protection for your spouse
· Gain access to your records
· Have your records corrected or destroyed
· Supply legal advice or counsel
Most foster caretakers do not have the finances to hire a “top of the line” attorney so they settle for the next best thing or try to “go it on their own”. Do NOT get an attorney that will “climb in bed” with the department. Inadvertently we did this and it was a disaster. We could not convince this man to see things the way we did and could not convince him to proceed the way we wanted him to proceed. You know you have the wrong attorney if you are told to cooperate with DCFS. You have the wrong attorney if you see him being “chummy” with the social workers or opposing attorneys. You know you have the wrong attorney when you cannot get him to see YOUR side and fight the way you want him to.
The right attorney will have COURAGE, will believe in the rights of the individual against the state, will respect constitutional restraint on government, will hate the subversive tactics used by DCFS and will openly stand up to every unlawful and biased ruling of a judge without fear. The right attorney will fight the fight because he holds no respect for the open deception presented by DCFS/CPS/DSS workers. If you secure two attorneys make certain that they agree to work together and not try to undermine the work of the other.
DIRTY TRICK #7
After DCFS/CPS/DSS barges in and takes your children…be they biological or foster…the court is required to give you a hearing within a reasonable length of time. For biological parents it is 72 hours…For foster parents it should be the same length of time but it rarely is. For you see, foster caretakers have NO RIGHTS in the eyes of DCFS. Even in the biological family DCFS rarely meets their obligation on this time constraint on keeping the children. Once the children are removed from the foster caretakers it is “rare” that they ever are returned. DCFS finds one reason after another to keep them apart and once out of the home for a month or two DCFS claims that the “bond has been broken” and they will not return the children. The 72 hours allotted for the “hearing” includes weekends, (and Friday is their favorite time to snatch these children) so it makes it difficult for you to take any action immediately. By rights you should have this hearing scheduled by Monday but this rarely happens. The DCFS Dirty Tricks machine usually goes into overdrive at these hearings, because if, by some quirk of fate you happen to win, they have to rectify things and give your children back and this is simply NOT within their guidelines.
The first tactic of DCFS is to “delay” the hearing as long as possible. IF you are a foster caretaker chances are you will not even get the chance at a hearing unless you pursue it with a vengeance. The courts often comply and extend the hearing far past the date required by law. But think of it this way…This gives YOU more time to prepare your case against DCFS too…So make good use of this “gift.” If you get an attorney and he favors DCFS he will try to get you to waive the 72-hour hearing. DO NOT DO IT, unless you are truly guilty of their claims. You must go on record as opposing DCFS/CPS/DSS for taking your kids. If you don’t, even though they tell you that you have NO RIGHTS, it will go against you later when you are fighting to have them returned. The “divide and conquer” tactic works well at these hearings as DCFS will try to get the two parties (you and your husband) fighting and if they succeed then they have won. Do NOT accommodate them. Keep your cool. Do all you can to become informed and use their tactics against them. Remember, these tricks can be used both ways if you are knowledgeable. In our case, I discovered this too late.
To keep custody of the children they take DCFS must prove that they have made reasonable efforts to protect the children in the foster care situation. This is rarely the case so they resort to compromising, deceitful tactics. They must prove that the child is suffering from serious abuse or neglect or is in immediate danger of such. This means wounds, broken bones, burns, starvation, etc. If they cannot prove it they will fabricate a case to match their suspicions. They must also prove the removal continues to be necessary to protect the child from serious neglect or abuse and that is where more fabrications enter the picture. Once they realize that they have acted too hastily, that is when the fight turns nasty and dirty. If the DCFS workers cannot prove their case they stand to face embarrassment for wrongly removing a child. Once they have taken action they MUST make their case stand at all costs. In our case, there was no reasonable way that the social workers could have had any valid records as to what went on at our home because they RARELY, if ever, came to our home to visit and inspect as they should have. In the five years we had our daughter, CPS workers never came to our home as required (they came only once in the beginning). And the State licensing workers NEVER came to inspect for license renewal either. The license was simply sent to us in the mail. Then, when an allegation was made they fabricated case records and ruined our lives.
In our case everything that we did to build our foster daughter’s self esteem and ALL her successes were held against us as “abuse.” The claim of CPS agents was that we “coerced” her into taking part in the varied activities (4-H, Equestrian competitions, vocal presentations with a local girls choir, School Sports, school academic competitions such as Spelling Bee Team, Math Counts Team, Speech Team), Pre Teen America, etc.) and “forced” her to win the various competitions that she participated in. It was their contention that I did all these things “for my own benefit” and to make myself “feel important.” I contend that you can force a child into participating but you CANNOT force them to “win.” Our daughter, whose parent’s rights had been terminated four years earlier, was never in danger of any kind. She was always given every opportunity to succeed and develop a healthy, complete self-image. We had planned to adopt her (she was 13 now and we’d had her since the age of 8). We were nearing the final adoption stage when our daughter and CPS workers brought false allegations (or at least that is what the State and the social workers contend) and the California CPS and Nevada DCFS stepped in and claimed her for their very own. All communication was cut off between us and she never really knew how hard we fought to have her returned to us. Why in the world would they allow their “meal ticket” to escape when they could remain “in control” and receive federal funds for another five years while she remained in the system and bounced around from foster home to foster home with no security or attachments?
Of course, had we known then what we know now about RAD…Radical Attachment Disorder…We would have been better prepared to deal with what came our way. But like they say…hindsight is better than foresight! Remember, your best defense and chance to protect yourself is a well informed, well defined offense…So do yourself a favor and educate yourself before it’s too late.
DIRTY TRICK #8
The DCFS agent will try to get into your home to do an assessment but will use any evidence gathered there against you. They will try every trick in the book to gain entrance to your home but if you are smart you will block their efforts. They will try many times but you must be consistent in your refusal to admit them. You probably think that you cannot keep them out…I know I thought that…But you can and should exercise your RIGHTS as an American citizen and cite the CONSTITUTION as your source. Local law may be written to allow them to gain access to your home without a warrant, but the Constitution, which is over the local law claims priority here. In the Western States the Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that DCFS agents MUST have a written warrant to enter when it is not an emergency. The way the agents get around this is to claim that there “IS” an emergency and they use this tactic very effectively.
Everyone, even the lowly “foster parent” has the right to freedom from illegal searches and seizures of his person, his home, his personal papers and all his possessions. It is unfortunate but the courts frequently turn a “blind eye” to the wording of our Constitution contending that the “best interest of the child” overrides the law. Do your best to assert yourself in these instances and refuse the agents entry into your home. Of course there are certainly instances where this is an impossible task, but do everything you can to protect yourself here.
DIRTY TRICK #9
The DCFS has a network of “mandated reporters” everywhere. All parents…biological, adoptive AND foster…need to be aware and on guard at all times. These “mandated reporters” are doctors, nurses, teachers, counselors, therapists, dentists, chiropractors, day care workers, etc. that are “trained” by CPS instructors on what to look for and how to go about reporting suspected abuse. They are told in their training that if they even “suspect” that some sort of abuse has occurred, then it is their job to report it. They need to report it, “just in case!” They are told if they don’t they can be prosecuted and perhaps even lose their job. I know this to be true because I was a teacher at one time and I underwent this training yearly. The last time that I attended one of these sessions I had already had adverse dealings with CPS so I stood up and challenged the presenter. I believe that this was the “beginning of the end” for me, as less than a year later the California States attorney for CPS saw to it that he had informed my district superintendent of “the States suspicions”, however unproven and eventually dropped, and I lost my teaching job of nearly forty years.
There are other programs in the schools that are teaching our children to be “reporters” of adverse circumstances within the home…Things like “Kids on the Block” and the Wild Iris Program (other programs go by other names) that comes into the school each year and teaches the children “good touch”…”bad touch.” In a way, I think this is probably a good idea because many parents DON’T teach their children these things…but on the other hand, these same people encourage your child to come and talk privately with them and you never know what is said in these private sessions. Even the teachers don’t know. It is mandated that parents be notified when these special sessions will occur in their child’s class and are asked to sign a slip IF they don’t want their child to take part. In my personal experience it is rare that a parent refuses this instruction for their child, even though that is the RIGHT of every parent to do. I suggest you as a parent exercise your right to refuse this training for your children and take the responsibility to instruct your children yourself in these matters.
DIRTY TRICK #10
When Child Protective Services takes your children they will do everything they can to keep them…be they biological or foster children already in the system. If they are foster children being moved from one home to another this is just one more disruption in the child’s life and one more reason for the children to add insecurity to their baggage. Once foster children are removed from a home they are not often returned. Social workers dilly-dally around and give one excuse after another to keep the children and these foster caretakers apart for an extended length of time. During this time they allow “no contact” between you and the children so it is natural that the children feel rejected and that you don’t care about them any longer. Then the caseworkers tell you that the child has formed a bond with the new foster caretakers and that your bond has been broken, so they have decided not to return the children to your home.
DCFS/CPS/DSS can make a “ton of money” by keeping these children in the system as long as they can. Children whose parents rights have been terminated and have settled into a structured, secure life in a foster home are offered for adoption and quite often it is the foster caretakers who apply to adopt them. More often than not, this is when difficulties occur because the system stands to lose money once these children are adopted out. As long as they have these children in “captivity” they can leverage large amounts of state and federal cash from a number of different programs. Now, this author fully realizes that there are definitely those children out there that need the services of the Child Protective Services due to truly coming from an abusive, dangerous situation, but this is not always the case. Those children who truly need these services should receive any and all protection afforded them and they are the ones who need a new home and a loving family, but social services even fights to deny them this right. Frequently it is the foster/adopt family that faces these “false allegation” difficulties because the system fully realizes that once these children are adopted out of the system they will lose major funding and this could mean a loss of jobs or programs or worse. It has been documented that a truly needy child in the system can earn the system up to $250,000 a year in government money. Now answer me this…Who in their right mind would give up easy cash such as this?
DIRTY TRICK #11
In their efforts to build a case against you DCFS/CPS/DSS will often try to get you to sign waivers and documents and reconstructive case plans for changing the way you do things. In this way they coerce you into “doing things their way” and try to make you believe that if you sign that you are “guilty” of whatever they dream up then you have a chance to have your children returned to your home. DON’T BELIEVE THEM! This is simply one of their sneaky tactics to get you to succumb to their corruption. It is a multi-page document that has been constructed of lies and untruths in an effort to get you to admit to your guilt. It keeps you busy hoping that your children will be returned because you know you have done nothing wrong and have nothing to fear but this never happens without a major fight. The DCFS agents will exert much pressure for you to sign these plans and waivers and will tell you if you sign them you can get your children back sooner. DON’T SIGN ANYTHING until you have consulted a reliable counsel. Simply tell them that you must show this document to your attorney and get his permission to sign it. This can create substantial delay. If you sign anything then remember you are admitting to something you most likely did not do and now DCFS has you by the nose.
Once allegations are filed a favorite ploy of DCFS is to require you to attend therapy sessions WITH A THERAPIST OF THEIR CHOICE. Don’t do it! If you must attend therapy, search out a therapist that is NOT part of the system and one who “hates” DCFS/CPS/DSS. If you go to one selected by them, despite the patient/therapist confidentiality rule, they have access to all the information needed to build their case against you. On your own try to follow as many of the stipulations in the plan as you can…i.e. attend parenting classes, obtain therapy, drug tests, etc. Have your own report ready to give to them that shows you are honest and stable and NOT what they claim you to be.
DIRTY TRICK #12
The Department of Child and Family Services will attempt to withhold key records that you need to make your case even though they are required by law to give them to you. As in our case, when I requested our case files I was told that these could only be gained by securing a “court order.” In my naivety I believed this meant I had to hire an attorney and since we did not have the money to do so, I thought this meant we had no way to get the records. Too late I discovered that I could have petitioned the court myself to get these records. Even when I finally hired an attorney and tried to fight them, the attorney I hired did not get all the case records for me to review and use against them. Being UNINFORMED is what beat me…DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!
It is a known fact that DCFS/CPS/DSS plays games with their records. They are known to alter and falsify them in order to make you look bad or to make themselves look efficient. They conveniently ‘lose’ the ones that would be most helpful to you. They withhold or delay giving you records when you request them so they can keep important information out of your view. When they do give you copies of the records they black out key parts so you cannot see their dirty tricks or the lies that they have posted in the records. DCFS keeps all kinds of records…Don’t let them tell you anything different. If they think you don’t know about something then they will conveniently just not mention it to you. It is important that you do everything possible to familiarize yourself with everything that you can so you can ask for whatever you need. Insist on getting EVERY scrap of paper. There is one form that the average lay person like us is not aware of…It is the secret 29C form where the caseworker has often perjured himself/herself about the reason they took the children in the first place. They make absolutely amazing statements on paper when they think you will never see them, so be diligent and obtain everything that you can to help your case.
DIRTY TRICK #13
Once the investigation is completed the DCFS/CPS/DSS will allow you to challenge their findings of abuse. However, it is their OWN agents that do the review and call it a “Fair Hearing.” There is absolutely NOTHING FAIR about it. They literally “stack the deck” in their favor right on down to selecting/rejecting the “judge” to hear the case. In our case, we were dealing with two states so ours was more complicated than most others. What one state said the other backed up but we never quite knew just who we were dealing with. We figured that since our daughter was now back in the Nevada system then we needed to deal with them and get them out of the way. This took over a year and NEVER once were we told that we could request a “Fair Hearing.” All we were ever told was that we “had no more interest in this child’s life” and we were now “out of the picture.” The statement by the social workers was to “leave her alone and let her get on with her life.” Ironically, we were only one week away from the final meeting with the State adoption people because we were in the process of adopting her and still they said we had “no further interest” in this child’s life. They severed ALL contact between us and our daughter. She did try to contact us but once the system and the current foster parents found out they put a stop to her calls. We wrote to our congressmen, senators and even the Nevada governor. It was finally a local Nevada State Congressman who finally was able to arrange a “hearing” for us and this finally occurred ten months AFTER she was removed from our home. We hired an attorney, who we found out too late was “pro” CPS, and drove over eight hours to get to the “Fair Hearing”, only to be “refused” entrance. You can bet that Nevada had their quota of social workers there…And we had supporting family members who had driven long distances to be with us…But none of us were allowed into the hearing room. Only our attorney who eventually “sold us down the river.” When I say that they “stack the deck” in their favor I’m not joking. The “Fair Hearing” is conducted by a “magistrate” or a DCFS attorney…NOT a judge. If one who does not look favorably upon DCFS is assigned then the workers submit a refusal and request another, and another until they receive one who will “lean their way” at the hearing. At the beginning of the hearing the attorney puts on the record that she/he is neutral and has no interest in the outcome but this is a “big joke.” Even though you know you have not done anything wrong, and you believe that the truth will come out at the hearing, nothing could be further from the truth. At the first “Fair Hearing” you are almost always found to be “guilty.” It is then that you can appeal to a higher court and it is on record that you disagree. Make certain that you get every bit of evidence you want heard submitted at this hearing because if you don’t you will NOT be able to get it entered later.
DIRTY TRICK #14
You will find out that DCFS/CPS/DSS will rarely let the foster parents visit the children once they are taken. If you are allowed to visit you cannot show them any affection. They do everything in their power to keep you apart. If you are allowed visitation then you are watched like a hawk and will not be allowed to get too friendly. DCFS fills the children’s heads with all kinds of negative things prior to these visits…even telling them that they will never go back “home” again and that you don’t care about them any more, that is why you have not contacted them.
If you are lucky enough to obtain a visit or two, make sure you reassure them that you still love them and are fighting to get them back home, if that is what they want. If you overstep the boundaries set by DCFS at these visitations they will terminate the visits early and try to make it more difficult for future visits.
Another “dirty trick” they pull is to file new abuse allegations prior to you going to court to increase your visitation time with the children. In our case our California hearing was delayed three times and each time…two weeks prior to the planned hearing…I received an amended list of allegations. By the time the hearing finally arrived the allegations had grown from four to twenty three. This deception simply gives them more ammunition to say “NO” because they have found more evidence of abuse, even though it may be false information that they have created.
DIRTY TRICK #15
It is true that you have the right to challenge DCFS/CPS/DSS findings of abuse at a “Fair Hearing” but it is not uncommon for the department to delay these challenges for a year or more. This is one of their dirtiest tricks and the long delay is really detrimental to your case. This trick is what deprives you of “due process.” What is “due process” you ask? It is the right to have your case heard in a “timely” manner, that you get the legal protections provided by the state and federal constitutions and that you are innocent until you are proven guilty. DCFS gives you NONE of these things. Foster parents do NOT have the right to “due process.” You can fight all you want at the pre trial hearings, if you are lucky enough to secure them, but the ‘judge’ will never let you present your side in full.
DIRTY TRICK #16
It has been proven that if DCFS cannot get you for abuse or neglect it will get you for what they call “safety issues.” That is you did nothing to prevent abuse to the children by your partner. In other words, “guilt by association.” DCFS calls it neglect by not keeping the child safe from a perpetrator. It doesn’t matter that no abuse ever occurred and that the allegation is entirely false, you are labeled an ‘enabler’ and they demand that you recognize the other parent as an abusive caretaker. This particular ‘dirty trick’ is very hard to oppose because it is considered a ‘thought crime,’ rather than actual abuse or neglect. BE AWARE!…Thinking incorrectly is now considered abuse or neglect. Stand together and present a ‘united’ front whenever dealing with DCFS/DPS/DSS. When will this nonsense ever end?
IN THE END
I, the author, fully realize that all of the above sounds ludicrous and cynical but it is the truth. DCFS will deny these things ever happen. There is the rare and honest social worker who will attest to these happenings as true, and that is the worker who finds herself/himself looking for work somewhere else. Sometimes the truth is hard to accept but believe that these things really DO happen and DCFS/CPS/DSS is as corrupt as shown here. The system is ‘evil’ and the courts are helpless in the face of this DCFS power OR they simply agree with it because they side with the system. AS foster parents accused of wrongdoing YOU need to know how to fight back. And that is the purpose of this packet of information. Having experienced the injustice and corruption of the Department of Social Services and their corrupt attorneys, I hope the information that you find here will help you be more successful than I was in defending our daughter and having her returned to a loving, caring home and parents.
CA. State Director for NFPCAR
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