Family Preservation In Geogia A Legal and Judical Guide to Preventing Unnecessary Removal to State Custody


In my research for my upcoming book on the abuse, greed and corruption of Child Protective Services I am also researching the attorney’s position and their role in this criminal act of snatching and selling children which is perpetrated on families without due process.
I found an interesting teaching guide titled: “Family Preservation in Georgia: A Legal and Judicial Guide to Preventing Unnecessary Removal to State Custody”. This guide was written by Lisla Newberry Bradley,JD. The Editors were Judge Stephen E Franzen, and Judge Peggy H. Walker, the Editor in Chief was Elizabeth A. Reimels, JD. It was published by the Barton Child Law and Policy Clinic Emory University School of Law.
They plainly state “Our Courts have a legal and ethical duty to respect and protect the rights of families. In both federal and Georgia case law, the parents’ fundamental liberty interest in the care and custody of the child is well established. The Georgia Court of Appeals has stated that “the right to the custody and control of one’s child is a fiercely guarded right in our society and in our law.”(See In reM.S.,178 Ga. App. 380,381(Ga.Ct. App.1986)(discussing parents’ fundamental liberty interest in the care and custody of the child).
“It is a right that should be infringed upon only under the most compelling circumstances.” (In re D.N.K.,282 Ga. App.430,434 (Ga. Ct. App. 2006) The family’s right to live together without governmental interference is, in many ways, central to our country’s culture.”
This guide continues, “The United States Supreme Court has referred to “the fundamental liberty interest of natural parents in the care, custody, and management of their child, (Santosky v Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 753 (1982). Consistently finding this liberty interest to be protected by the privacy rights found in the Fourteenth Amendment. (Id.;Lassiter v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs.,452 U.S. 18,37 (1981); Quilloin v Walcott, 434 U.S. 246,255 (1978); Smith v. Org of Foster Families, 431 U.S. 816,845 (1977); Cleveland Bd. Of Edu. V.LaFleur, 414,U.S. 632,639-40 (1974); Stanley v Ill., 405 U.S. 645,651-52 (1972), Prince v Mass., 321 U.S. 158,166 (1944); Pierce v Soc’y of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 535-34 (1925); Meyer v. Neb 262 U.S. 390,399 (1923). For an extensive discussion of constitutional law relating to parents rights and child welfare in general, see MARVIN VENTRELL & DONALD N. DUQUETTE, CHILD WELFARE LAW AND PRACTICE: REPRESENTING CHILDREN, PARENTS AND STATE AGENCIES IN ABUSE, NEGELCT AND DEPENDENCY CASES 185-210(2005)”
In Santosky V Kramer 455 U.S. 745, 753-54 (1982) the court determined, “A Parent’s liberty interest does not evaporate simply because they have not been model parents or have lost temporary custody of their child to the State. Even when blood relationships are strained, parents retain a vital interest in preventing the irretrievable destruction of their family life.”
This brings up the point this guide makes which is “The majority of abuse and neglect cases in our child welfare system involve murky facts and circumstances that require intense inspection and analysis.”
They also go on to state, “May also argue that the standard for removal of a child is unclear and that it leaves to much room for abuse, misuse or inconsistent application.” They cite Donald N. Durquette, Protecting Our Children- And Our Liberty- Striking the Balance in Child Protection Removals. He states: “that over- response to child maltreatment not only erodes personal liberty but also casuses additional harm to the children we are trying to protect.”
While this guide agrees that true abuse leads to disrupts neurodevelopment and can have lasting effects on brain structure and function. They also acknowledge that separation from a primary caregiver is very traumatic to a child, especially very young children. They agree that removal from that home will become one of those adverse childhood experiences that will likely effect the child’s brain development. They state that as soon as a child is removed they suffer fear, confusion, shock, anger, depression, anxiety and guilt. Children will also manifest their emotional distress by tantrums, bedwetting, stealing, hoarding, nightmares, refusal to eat, and sleeplessness. They also will blame themselves believing that what happened was their fault that they were snatched by DFCS. This guide states: “Accordingly , we must be constantly vigilant to ensure that children are removed from their families only when no reasonable combination of supports or services can assure a child’s safety in the home.”
We who have been up close and personal with Georgia DFCS more specifically Jackson County know this is not the case. They absolutely refuse to offer services; they refuse to work with that family. Their main goal is to snatch and grab. The reason is simple, There is a ruling in “The Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 that provides that if the “contrary to the welfare” finding is not in the first court ruling that sanctions (even temporarily) the removal of the child from the home, the child is not eligible for Title IV-E foster care payments for the duration of that stay in foster care. The omission cannot be remedied. No federal statute or regulation addresses the factors that a court should consider when making the determination of whether remaining in the home would be contrary to the child’s welfare. In other words, if DFCS doesn’t lie and say staying in the home would be “contrary to the child’s welfare” in their paper work- the foster care provider gets no tax fee money.
According to this guide, when the court gives custody to DFCS the must consider and determine as a finding of fact whether DFCS and any other appropriate agencies made reasonable efforts to preserve the family, prevent the need to remove the child from the home, and to return the child home safely except in certain circumstances delineated by law. (O.C.G.A.15-11-58(a)(2008). We also know this is not done in Jackson County. The idea is not to reunify- the idea is to adopt out. It is plainly stated in the manual for the training of caseworkers “Best Practices in Termination and Adoption Cases” page 5 section 9- “The best practice is to continue to offer reunification services until the petition to terminate parental rights is heard unless there is a specific finding by the Court that continuation of reunification efforts is, in fact detrimental to the child. This is a high threshold that should not be comprised. Discontinuation of reunification services is not a condition precedent to the filing of a termination action and, in fact discontinuation of reunification services prior to termination seems to be in disfavor with the Court of Appeals. TheWorkgroup believes that, unless actual harm would result to the child, reunification services should continue to be offered up to the time parental rights are terminated. There was some concern expressed about this practice making unnecessary work for the Agency and the panels. However, the reunification plan is already in place and all that has to be done is to monitor progress. Also, in most cases, the parents are not, in fact, accessing the services offered anyway, so there is not a lot of work involved in offering and monitoring services. We believe that the value in offering the services and the impact that may have in the appellate courts outweighs the disadvantage of continuing to offer services. This approach also allows us to avoid the necessity of having a permanency hearing except in cases where it is absolutely necessary, that is where actual detriment to the child can be clearly established. Keep in mind also that, if the time frames proposed herein are met, we are not talking about continuing to offer the services for an extended period of time.”
This guide plainly shows that Georgia DFCS has no intention of making sure children are reunited with their parents in fact it plainly shows their intent is to adopt out. Their intent is to give lip service to the reunification process. This is strongly practiced in Jackson County. When I questioned Stephanie Smith who was Samantha’s case worker before this last one Katie Bice about the services I knew they had to offer under the Title IV-E Funding she lied as they are known to do and said they didn’t have to offer those.
Everything I research, legal, and judicial it plainly states that DFCS is supposed to work toward reunification except in the extreme case of abuse. To me extreme cases mean children who are beaten, sexually abused, burned, etc. That does not mean children who are just poor. Any reasonable person would understand that. However, it requires work on the part of the caseworker, which they plainly state in the above manual that they don’t want to do.
It is plainly about the money, the greed, the abuse and corruption not to mention the lazy attitude the lies and the collusion. It is time to hold them accountable, to clean up the corruption to make reunification the norm and not the exception

About yvonnemason

Background:  The eldest of five children, Yvonne was born May 17, 1951 in Atlanta, Georgia. Raised in East Point, Georgia, she moved to Jackson County, Ga. until 2006 then moved to Port St. Lucie, Florida where she currently makes her home.  Licensed bounty hunter for the state of Georgia. Education:  After a 34 year absence, returned to college in 2004. Graduated with honors in Criminal Justice with an Associate’s degree from Lanier Technical College in 2006. Awards:  Nominated for the prestigious GOAL award in 2005 which encompasses all of the technical colleges. This award is based not only on excellence in academics but also leadership, positive attitude and the willingness to excel in one’s major. Affiliations:  Beta Sigma Phi Sorority  Member of The Florida Writer’s Association – Group Leader for St Lucie County The Dream:  Since learning to write at the age of five, Yvonne has wanted to be an author. She wrote her first novel Stan’s Story beginning in 1974 and completed it in 2006. Publication seemed impossible as rejections grew to 10 years. Determined, she continued adding to the story until her dream came true in 2006. The Inspiration:  Yvonne’s brother Stan has been her inspiration and hero in every facet of her life. He was stricken with Encephalitis at the tender age of nine months. He has defied every roadblock placed in his way and has been the driving force in every one of her accomplishments. He is the one who taught her never to give up The Author: Yvonne is currently the author of several novels, including:  Stan’s Story- the true story of her brother’s accomplishments, it has been compared to the style of Capote, and is currently being rewritten with new information for re-release.  Tangled Minds - a riveting story about a young girl’s bad decision and how it taints everyone’s life around her yet still manages to show that hope is always possible. This novel has been compared to the writing of Steinbeck and is currently being written as a screenplay. This novel will be re-released by Kerlak Publishing in 2009  Brilliant Insanity – released by Kerlak Publishing October 2008  Silent Scream – Released by Lulu.com October 2008- Slated to be made into a movie Yvonne’s Philosophy in Life - “Pay it Forward”: “In this life we all have been helped by others to attain our dreams and goals. We cannot pay it back but what we can do is ‘pay it forward’. It is a simple
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8 Responses to Family Preservation In Geogia A Legal and Judical Guide to Preventing Unnecessary Removal to State Custody

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  5. Jan Smith says:

    You are spot on. Good job on the legal research.

    Like

    • yvonnemason says:

      Jan thank you- I have so much more. I will be releasing a book later on this year and much of my research will be in it. I want parents to be armed and educated. I will also be posting more blogs.
      Yvonne

      Like

  6. Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer! I will bookmark your blog and have my children check up here often. Thumbs up!

    Like

  7. Margaret underwood says:

    Please who ever wrote this artical i need your help please ..my children where taken wrongfully by douglas county dcfs if u call me on the numb i can explain but i been trying to get my story on the media ..please someone help me please 678-396-2762 is my numb my name is margaret

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