A Report Which was Written by An Intern – Be Sure and Read the Part Highlighted in Bold


The paragraph highlighted in bold is very scary, in that DFCS is allowed to use heresay in the hearing. This is what causes most of the parents problems. The fact that the hersay is allowed as fact in a hearing. Also it plainly states that all the lawyers, judges etc are in bed together to see that the parent is the guilty party. Just another piece of proof that the State is buying and selling our children illegally.

Barton Clinic Summer 2008 Intern Report
Intern: Natalece Washington
Assignment: Jackson County Juvenile Court Attorney GAL Division
School: University of Georgia School of Law

As an intern in the Juvenile Court of Banks, Barrow, and Jackson Counties I worked with a Child Advocate Attorney who is appointed by the court pursuant to statute O.C.G.A. §15-11-6 (b) that requires that all children in Juvenile Court be represented by council and § 15-11-9 (b) that requires a Guardian ad litem to be appointed in order to protect the interest of the children whose interests may be in conflict with their parents’ interests. The Judge presiding over the Piedmont Judicial Circuit has enacted a standing order that requires a staff attorney who is assigned to the court’s Child Advocate Division to serve as an attorney- Guardian ad litem in all deprivation actions of the Juvenile Courts of Banks, Barrow, and Jackson Counties. At the start of the internship I identified the main goals of the Child Advocate Attorney. First, we investigate the child’s or sibling group’s situation. Next, we advocate in court hearings for what we have found to be in the best interest of the child. Finally, we monitor the child’s ongoing best interest for as long as they remain in care or as long as they are in a placement that must be reviewed by the court periodically.

Generally, in our office the child advocate attorneys follows the Best Interest model. This means that it is our strategic goal to always secure outcomes that are in the child’s best interest. During my internship, I only experienced one instance of conflicting roles. A teenager’s desires were in conflict with the Child Advocate Attorney’s best interest recommendation. Because of this conflict another attorney was appointed to follow the client-directed model of representation and represent the child’s wishes. I learned that this happens rarely and that this situation was unique because of the child’s age and competence.

Early into the summer I learned the models of representation to achieve the goals of the child advocate. However, there were many practical aspects of the task of child representation that could only be gained from work in the field. Efficiency, camaraderie among professionals in the Juvenile Court, and lawyering skill and savvy to work with an ever-changing group of babies, toddlers, pre-teens, and teenagers are the essential practical components of child advocacy.

The Juvenile Court’s efficiency is a top priority in the Piedmont Judicial Circuit. One method the judge uses to ensure efficiency is the Pre-Trial Conference. This is a time for all parties to come together to decide on the particulars of an Adjudicatory hearing. Another effort to maintain court efficiency is timely appointment of council. Parents who are a part of deprivation actions have the legal right to an attorney. If they are without the state requisite income to hire an attorney, the Public Defender’s office will have one appointed for them. In the Piedmont Judicial Circuit, parents often decide that they can use an attorney’s services only after the original shelter care proceeding. Unbeknownst to a pro se parent, the shelter care hearing allows hearsay and can be damaging because the judge hears this information when he is first introduced to the case. I have learned that skilled parent attorneys, when appointed before the shelter care hearing, often consent to waive the shelter care hearing- stipulating deprivation- and make plans to advocate for their client in the Adjudicatory hearing that is governed by the rules of evidence. Often after experiencing the damaging effects of a shelter care without legal representation, parents opt to have council in subsequent proceedings. This creates backlog and the judge will have to continue any case scheduled prior to appointment of council. In this circuit, the judge never neglects to tell the parents of their right to an attorney early, at the start of a shelter care hearing. Unfortunately, despite his good effort, their change of heart is often unavoidable.
Surprisingly, there is high level of camaraderie among the attorneys, service providers, DFCS, DJJ, and placement representatives in our deprivation proceedings. The child advocates are frequently in friendly negotiations with parent’s attorneys and the SAAG to achieve the best interest outcome. Although all attorneys involved have a distinct agenda, there is no embittered power struggle among them. Perhaps it is simply professional courtesy. Whatever the cause, I believe it is their relationships and discussion that clarify the issues of a case and each party’s desired outcome. I think this is the best environment for a child client who is often present in the courtroom during proceedings that directly effect his or her welfare. This camaraderie may not exist in a metropolitan environment. I have heard that there is more hostility between parties. I believe this may be do to the greater number of players involved. In this circuit, we deal with the same parent’s attorneys, private attorneys, SAAGs, and Child Advocates. There are not any surprises. We know who and what to expect and they are all familiar with the culture of the court. This probably differs from more populated counties.

Finally, a high level of technique and savvy is required to deal with child clients. Getting documented information from agencies, placements, schools, and doctors is relatively easy since we are equipped with a court order that requires that all reasonable requests be granted. Any requests found to be unreasonable must be challenged in writing before the court. What seems to be more difficult is getting information from a child. Child advocates interview children frequently. As an intern testing my interview skills I found myself often quite uncomfortable. I would often stutter and choose my words all too carefully. This only confused the child and discredited me as a professional. Children seemed to respond best when the interviewer is comfortable. So as the summer progressed I felt more at ease talking to kids about their home situations and desires and made more progress in that manner. When I watch my supervisor interview children it is as if she is working from a checklist of the perfect questions to ask. She does this all while playing with the child or casually speaking to a teenager, never note taking. Her casual nature seems to help the interviewee put their guard down just long enough for her to uncover the information that she needs. My supervisor assures me that interviewing skills are developed with time and practice.

I have notably learned this summer that the Attorney Child Advocates are expected to be much more than attorneys. They are social workers, counselors, therapists, pharmacology students, and friends to their clients. They perform each of these roles as they advocate for their clients best interest. Throughout the internship we’d visit clients’ homes, schools, relatives, and service providers and conduct social worker-like investigations. Child Advocates often act as a check on DFCS personnel. I appreciate the work of the Child Advocate for this reason. The leg work and time put into investigation are our own “reasonable efforts” to ensure the child’s best interest are being met. If you are advocating for a child to go live in their grandmother’s home and you have never met grandmother, visited her home, or spoken with her to learn of her consent to this plan, then you are advocating blindly.

Child advocates often are skilled in identifying a need for counseling or specialized treatment. They see problems and often know when a child is at their breaking point needing someone to talk to or therapy to keep them from harming themselves or others. As lay pharmacology students, child advocates often know just what a child’s diagnoses are just by viewing their list of prescribed medications. I have also learned that if parents are on certain mood regulating drugs, then children are potentially suffering from the same mental health issues. In what might be considered their most important role, child advocates are the familiar friendly face that a child can see consistently in and out of court. In our court, children sit by their attorney when present. Unless it is a shelter care hearing, they have already talked to their attorney and had an opportunity to develop a relationship with someone not involved with DFCS who represents them. Unfortunately, a child’s tears dampen many court proceedings. The child’s attorney, not only represents them, but also helps them through this period of fear or frustration. Because this attorney wears so many hats the job is a little overwhelming. However, looking forward to the end result makes the multi-tasking worthwhile.

Because of the court’s expectation that every child be effectively served and the heavy case loads that come along with that expectation there is a need to check that everyone’s job is being completed adequately. There are means to review cases periodically, outside the setting of a hearing to ensure that kids are having all of their needs met. The Citizens Panel Reviews provide a way to review cases that hadn’t been to court for a while. It makes the child advocate review the file and have a chance to meet with and discuss issues with other agencies. The community gets to participate to observe their tax dollars at work or to identify when some child is getting short changed.

18 Responses to A Report Which was Written by An Intern – Be Sure and Read the Part Highlighted in Bold

  1. Divotdawg says:

    Oh, my f’ing God. I am speechless for the first time in my life. How do you respond to this? I quite literally don’t know what to say.

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  2. Callie says:

    Thank you,thank you to the Interns!

    Might not help us for the past but sure could in the future! If nothing else, it just may help for the past if you were not provided with an attorney for the “shelter care” hearing. Or if you were and he didn’t ask you if you wanted to waive it or suggest it then you might have “insuffcient Council”

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  3. allie45011 says:

    Divotdawg 🙂 I have to admit that I rarely see YOU as being speechless, but can understand why! I honestly don’t know how you (or me) would respond to this! It’s definitely not like me, or you, to be speechless and I’m not saying that us being speechless is a good thing, in this case-I’m appaled and have to have time to think before I can make a comment! All I can say right now is Damn those corrupted government beings!

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  4. SR says:

    The hearsay bit does not surprise me at all. Before I went to our shelter care hearing I asked a disability advocate (who works for the state) whether I needed an attorney at that hearing. He nonchalantly said it doesn’t make any difference in the shelter care hearing. To that, years wiser, I say “Hah!” (Turned out he was worthless as a disability attorney-advocate as well, he repeatedly poo-poohed concerns I had about my child’s special education, I would have to go and research and file complaints–which I invariably won). What I do find most chilling is something the intern seems to find positive–the “camaraderie” among the professional players. Doesn’t that say it all? What is the message to anyone whose rights and life are on the line? Seems to me the message is, “This is our game, you can watch but you really aren’t playing.”

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  5. Genia says:

    Here is something else parents need to make sure they don’t fall for “There is information wrong in this document.” Response by a COURT APPOINTED LAWYER “Oh that’s ok just sign it we will fix it LATER” do not fall for this at all. And in many hearings after the shelter hearing a parent will find that hearsay is often permitted because the court appointed attornies do not care and let it go through. Many parents are actually railroaded and in the end told they do not make enough money to have children and lose their parental rights. Newsflash for any social worker looking at this site I will be coming for your kind and when I finish you won’t have a job. Do your job right stop trying to take the civil rights of a child and parent away from them.

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    • Marybeth B. says:

      yes, beware of everyone! including lawyers that may not have your families best interest at heart. its a scary possition i know. we are headed for a termination trial next month. ive done whar dcf wants and they dont support against me,but they changed my goal to adoption five months in even though i was doing everything they asked of me. im very scared and im fighting for my beautiful boys. housing is a main issue now and lack of funds as well. they help and support families they sell them to people they think deserve them more. the horror is never ending

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  6. Mother in Despair says:

    Almost speechless as well, this seems to be written by a young naive intern who has not understood corruption she actually has seen for herself. (The camaraderie??? Opposing parties should not have camaraderie, if they do it’s obviously behind the parents back, which cannot possibly serve the best interest of the child, unless the parent has admitted to guilt and the parties are just trying to guide her through the caseplan.) This hypothetical situation is still problematic because as any of us involved in this system knows it’s the State Attorney’s job to win and in Dependency cases the success is measured by how many children the S.A. has been able to permanately remove and adopt out.(That’s where they make the big bucks) So if a parent’s lawyer is part of the camaraderie, I don’t imagine a vigorous defense happening to support reunification by any party involved. This young intern probably has not been able to see all of the corruption happening behind closed doors, or she is over zealous w/good intentions and somehow justifying all of the evil deeds she has witnessed. I’m also quite confident she has no kids of her own. Ms. Washington: If your in this field in order to help families and make a positive difference to children, your only hope is to be a whistle blower, or document everything you see and write a book that would actually help families, because unfortunately this giant organization is not making profits by helping families become stronger by supporting the needs of the children or parents. They generate profits, pay workers, and buy ice cream cones for their own kids w/the money robbed from parents completing worthlesss caseplans and all of the federal and state funding they receive while kid’s are in FC or adopted out. Oh, I almost forgot this ignorant statement “Child advocates often are skilled in identifying a need for counseling or specialized treatment. They see problems and often know when a child is at their breaking point” In my experience it’s the system who brings the child(and parents)to the “breaking point” so it shouldn’t be hard to recognize. I highly doubt the 3 months of training many of the caseworkers get after their GED or H.S. is sufficient to recognize anything besides which kids will raise the most revenue. It’s not the same as a psychologist w/a masters. Wake up! I’ve rambled enough, so much more I could go on about but have to wrap this up somewhere. BY CHANCE DOES ANYONE KNOW IF INSURANCE FRAUD IS HAPPENING WHEN DCF FORCES AN INSURED CHILD ON MEDICAID? ALMOST A YEAR HAS GONE BY WITH MY CHILD BEING INSURED THROUGH ME, AS WELL AS MEDICAID.

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  7. It’s so frustrating that my cps case was so corrupt and I knew it all along. I wrote to the attorney general, state advocate, and whoever I thought would help me. All of them sided with cps. They ripped my baby out of my life. I was treated so unfair as was my baby. I need to do something about it. I can’t let it go. I don’t even have my daughter or any contact. I want the case manager to pay for her actions. Seriously.

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  8. Steve Omtvedt says:

    Is there an organization/s thats fighting to change this? A few ( malcontents) arent going to be able to do much but a large group might. My daughter is going through this right now due to her fiance’s ex wife. The state of Virginia has ruined their lives, lost their home, had to separate, and since their case is crumbling around them they are now trying to tag the boy as a Natzi/KKK member ( False). I would like to find a State official willing to sponsor a simple bill stating that if no phisical/sexual abuse is found then cps has to back off and allow a trained profesional to get to the bottom of the accusation. This profesional should be a licensed Psycologist or the like not a social worker. I have watched this farse in Orange County VA go on and you would think we were in a communist country the way the police and court has acted. The fear and intimidation tactics used upon my grandsons and daughter to (tell) on the fiance’ even though no evedence of abuse was found is frightening.
    Saddened Grandfather

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  9. Rikki says:

    Mother in Dispair please email me at Courtneystinker@gmail.com. I did not admit guilt and the judge, CPS attorney, and my attorney all knew I wouldn’t so they framed me. My state appointed attorney told me not to show up for the Premiliminary Conference hearing because I didn’t have to testify and he would be there to give them the witness list for the trial. Which he was. Judge then declared my kids adjudicated because I wasn’t at the hearing. The fact is, sister, my daughter was taken from my home where she received a 3.6 GPA and college bound, placed in a group home (where she was required to get glasses even though she has perfect vision and) where she was introduced to gang members and hard core drugs. When she was returned to me she was addicted to herion. She is not in rehab. I would like to know if you have any ideas of how I can fight back against CPS and make the abuse stop. Anyone else in the Arizona CPS system please contact me I want to hear from you so I can get an attorney to file a lawsuit.

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  10. Interns, paralegals, and others please contact me, i would like inout as to where i go from here. i have commonalities like most. and also many more ive never read in any other case, or comment. NO ONE will talk in my county. my case long over, but its not …… my children are alive, im alive we know who we are no paper is going to stop us from being family. they were denied so much and still are, they have siblings cps refuses to reveal to them. now , i ask u …..where do i go from here????? the court reports wil speak for themselves and if not …..i still have my copies

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  11. A.Y. says:

    My daughter and I were separated over 10 years by false allegations of child abuse. I had never spanked, cursed, manipulated, yelled at or ever had a dissatisfied look on my face for my daughter. I had raised her as a Spock baby from the time she was born and had not ingested any aspirin, drugs, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, not caffeine, etc. while I was carrying her. I daily made plans for her development and our future until CPS had taken her in 1996. Over these years, I had attempted to obtain visitation by filing over 250 orders. I too, have most of my documentation. However, when my daughter attempted suicide three times while in her father’s care, the judge ruled that I could not get a copy of my daughters’ medical records from the Children’s Hospital of Orange County when she was admitted after one suicide attempt. If I am murdered from defending any child in my daughter’s name as did Senator Nancy Schaefer, it will not be in vain. A few deaths amongst adults can never equate to the multitude of children murdered by CPS. The only justice I can see for the future is death, but I must die trying for the cause to protect children from the future, murderous CPS. Unless the dying numbers of victims attract a fearless group of righteous attorneys to defend the cause as well. Do any exist?

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    • clarita says:

      it seems SOME have to go it ALONE as in pro se but there is help out here on the internet -you can find cases that WON and figure out how to format your complaint.
      search out the other fight cps blogs as well for hints and lists and google CPS lawyers for your state-or go to the federal court of your district and search out cases and see what attys WIN and look for them.
      you have to make the complaint directly along the lines of the Constitution as in 14th amendment,etc and you will find a csae or 2 out here for no due process,daughter’s denial of familial association things like that.
      you’re not going to get murdered–FILE–THEY ARE suing and winning and that’s WHERE the justice begins and CPS gets reined IN–sue the individuals as individuals and the agency they work-we cannot sue judges but can definitely SUE the rest of them.
      remember when searching for a civil rights atty or a CPS atty that YOU JUST BECAME AWARE THAT RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED regardless of the crap they tell you about a 6 month statute of limitations– or bs on judicial immunity–tell them thanks and keep searching….YOU…just found out NOW that rights were violated and are seeking JUSTICE and compensation.

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  12. Marybeth Boyd says:

    I need help…please On Jun 14, 2013 6:17 AM, “How Child Protection Services Buys and Sells Our

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  13. JUST LIKE THAT SHOW?( DANCING WITH THE STAR’S THE PUBLIC VOTE FOR WHO THEY WANT TO WIN, WE THE PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE THE VOTE, FOR WHAT WE KNOW IS RIGHT AND WHAT IS GOOD AND POSITIVE FOR THE WORLD, WE SHOULD NOT HAVE SOME TWO FACED BACK STABBING SAP SUCKING MONEY HUNGRY, BILLIONAIRES RUNNING ARE LIFE?

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  14. Cassie says:

    I am writing you today to seek help with the legal placement of my blood nephew Sam Sam Alishlah and to inform you of a rights violation performed by the Department of Family and Children Services. We love and miss our nephew very much and justice has not been done to ensure that Sam’s best interests are maintained.
    Pursuant to regulations governing the placement of a minor, who is a ward of the state, with relatives (or the Relative Home Approval Procedure outlined in DFCS policies) that upon receiving a request from a relative that said minor be placed in Relative Home Placement, a DFCS social worker is REQUIRED to:

    1. Prepare forms SOC815-817-818, complete them, and submit them to the Placement Tracking Team (PTT).
    2. Forms SCZ200A, SCZ200B, LIC 508 D are to filled out by the prospective caregiver/s.
    3. Upon denial of placement, the agency is to send out form NA1271, a Notice of Action- Denial of Home Assessment/Approval.
    4. The prospective caregiver is entitled to a grievance hearing upon receipt of a denial notification (Welfare and Institutions Code Sections 10951-10967).

    In this case, all DFCS worker/s involved in this case failed to provide ANY of the above forms or RIGHTS to either myself or my husband. We have been informed that because we have 5 children and a four bedroom house we are unable to have Sam placed in our home because we cannot meet the guidelines for placement approval. I have checked and there is no statute that states there is a person limit or cap in regards to placement. The caregivers are required to meet the requirements outlined in the California Code of Regulations (Title 22, Division 6, Chapter 9.5, Article 3). We do meet the requirements detailed, yet we are being told that we do not. We also meet all other requirements set forth by the DFCS to approve a relative placement, although no forms were ever filled out or sent to us to be completed as requested by us.
    I would like to request, even demand, that an inquiry be done into the actions of DFCS and their lack of following mandated procedures. Our rights have been violated and the fate of our nephew rests in seeing this corrected. Please do not mistake the tone of this letter to be angry or vindictive. We simply want our nephew placed with us and all due process given to this matter.

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  15. clarita says:

    what i went through and was exposed to as in the ACTIONS of the AAL GAL and the INACTIONS of my PAID RETAINED ATTY,i came to the same conclusion BUT THIS APPLIES TO our handicapped/disabled ADULT AGED chidren THE SAME.
    They are trafficked AWAY from home via these BS probate guardianship proceedings,held against their wills and cry to come home the SAME AS your young children.
    I AM PRAYING THAT AN ATTY ASSISTS ME IN SUING THIS AAL GAL for her outright LIBEL
    NOBODY outside of these groups cares and these actions ARE HUMAN TRAFICKING plain and simple.
    THEY finally caught up with that judge in PA getting his kickbacks for sending kids to jail,
    PRAY that ALL our children even our ADULTS with intellectual disabilities GET HOME and these LIARS ARE SUED.

    Like

  16. Eli Jackson says:

    Our children are also in state custody. In 2008, our grandson was taken from us, the Alaska Office of Children’s Services falsified documents, then after they adopted him out without our knowledge or consent, they told us that his “incurable disease” was cured…What is going on?

    Like

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