The following is the basic process of the removal of a child from his/ her parents.
*The accusation is made;
- A scratch is seen.
- A parent is charged for a unrelated crime.
- The parents chose not to vaccinate.
- Homeschool is chosen as education.
- The police are called for domestic disturbance.
- Little Johnny tells his teacher his daddy beat him for making an F on that paper. Vindictive grandma or ex calls with a complaint.
CPS SHOULD investigate the accusation. Determine if the report/charges are Unfounded or Substantiated.
- Unfounded the case is closed (The information is kept, names filed etc. These will be pulled up again if any other accusations come up)
- Substantiated case:CPS thinks there is something to the charges. If the child/children are marketable, babies, no health problems, CPS will find reason. These kids are prime.
CPS will go to judge with Affidavit & Petition to remove the child. OR contact the parents if there is anything that needs to be clarified, or investigated. Possibly things can be explained and resolved (which rarely happens) the child is sent home with the parent /family receiving services, or the child is sent home with no services. The latter being basically an unfounded, after being determined a substantiated.
So a bit of an overlap happens at this point. The Affidavit and Petition to remove the child occur when CPS decides to remove the child. This can occur before any contact with the parents. The parents can be blindsided with a call from the police, or a knock on the door saying CPS determined their child was abused and took them from school or daycare and the parent is now being charged with abuse. Or a domestic dispute or some other reason the police get involved, the children are removed cause mom and or dad got in trouble. THEN CPS files the Affidavit and Necessity to Remove, after the children have been removed.
*An Affidavit is presented to the Judge – The Affidavit states when where and what happened, to whom and from whom. The account given by CPS. Facts Necessitating Removal.
along with the ;
Original Petition for Protection of a Child for Conservatorship and for termination in suit affecting the parent child relationship
CPS files this with Family Court/Judge. This is supposed to be filed prior to removal. From my experience, it is often filed after the removal. CPS manipulates the dates so it seems they are in the process. The judge has no idea. It is presented as this is an emergency and child is in danger. The judge reads the accusations, presented by CPS, which WILL justify the need to remove with facts mixed with fabrication. The Judge has to consider the accusations the truth, if they did not they could be leaving the child in danger.
*The judge then determines if the child should be removed, if ‘Yes’ they provide the:
Order for Protection of A Child in An Emergency and Notice of Hearing. – This states that the judged has reviewed the evidence (given by CPS) and that all reasonable efforts have been made to prevent the removal and it is for the good of the child. This gives CPS permission to take the children and place them in foster care or kinship. The date is set for the full advisory hearing. The Ad litems (lawyers and guardian ) are appointed.
When CPS removes a child or is called in to investigate, they basically have two options.
- Emergency Removal ;the child is removed and placed with relative or foster care. The Judge has to approve the removal of the child.
- Non Emergency Removal does not necessarily mean removal, it means they are looking at accusations, considering them possible, investigating. They can drop the thing or if need offer services. Removal, may never happen. The latter is really where most cases should go, but rarely does. CPS should be helping the families when there is a crisis but they don’t. This really goes back to the first step of deciding if there is any merit to the charge of abuse. The cases I have seen, CPS files the emergency, because they have already removed the children. They adjust the dates to make it look like the judges decision will remove the already removed child.
*CPS contacts parents and takes kids. This should be done with a law officer presenting the order. Many times CPS will remove the child without the orders, then file for orders. Or they will tell the parents to bring the children in or something of that sort, with out legally presenting the orders.
This removal can be from the school or daycare. CPS can come and take the child from the school and start the process without notifying the parent. Based on ‘need’ to protect the child. This removal can take place from a hospital ER room, if medical staff notifies for suspicion of neglect/child abuse. This removal can come with a knock on the door and CPS saying they are there to take the child. It is illegal though, for CPS to remove the child without a warrant served by law enforcement, most do not know this.
The children are placed: They will place them with grandparents/family or in foster care or group home.
Family or friends/kinship placement the kids are basically dumped at the doorstep. CPS instructs the kinship take them to doctors for exams CPS will set up, and get em to school. If the child is placed with family, or friends, the kinship is not compensated. Eventually the child should be placed on medicaid, and medical is ‘provided’. Extra money is not given for clothing, food and other expenses, to the kinship placement. Kinship placement is -grandparents, aunts uncles, older siblings (rarely) sometime friends (even more rare). Because of the relationship with the parents, the kinship placements are dealing with not only taking in children and reorganizing their lives to accommodate the children, but also dealing with whatever the parents have been accused of doing. They also are responsible for making sure parents only visit kids at the CPS assigned times and that the visits are supervised.
Foster placement: the fosters are contacted from a list of pre approved families. Many of these already have fosters in their homes. These families do receive compensation for their taking in the children. Some fosters are ‘signed up’ so they can adopt eventually. These fosters will be looking at the child as their potential own.
Group Homes: this is last resort. Group homes are being phased out, except for those for troubled kids. It is said the homes do not care for the children properly, too institutionalized. I wonder if this is CPS not wanting the homes. These businesses demand their funds from CPS, complain about CPS and may actually hold CPS accountable for the children. More witnesses and many times Christian based. Most of the homes are in the bigger cities so this can remove the child from the area, and the court appointed lawyer and guardian
Lawyers are assigned.
CASA is contacted.
The Affidavit, CPS presented to the judge, is shared with the lawyers and CASA.
Investigation into the accusations and parents is NOW to be done by CPS. But supposedly it already has been investigated, and information is on the Affidavit to Support Removal.
The Affidavit contains,:
- Names of children removed; Names of Parents.
- Facts Necessitating the removal- This includes the police reports, if any. Accusations. The reason CPS was contacted. What the ‘abuse’ is, who is accused of it, the response of the person who has been accused of the abuse, all the statements from all the people involved in the accusation. Police, teachers, doctors, ex spouse, neighbor, in-law, child, etc This is written by CPS so it will describe the worst scenario, in order to justify the removal of the child.
- CPS History, which many have a history with CPS. If CPS has been involved for anything one time, there will be a history. Listed are allegations that were investigated, and dismissed. The allegations are in detail. Anything the parent has ever been accused of is presented, in full description, with an open and closed comment at the end. Accusations and proven abuses are basically cut and pasted from a CPS file.
- Criminal History: on both parents as well as steps. This will include DUI’s, dismissed and convicted. It will include any past criminal, even if committed as a minor.
This is the case AGAINST the parents.
Now that the children have been removed from the parents. They are now CPS/the States responsibility.
CASA visits the children, in the home where they have been placed. The CASA should contact parents, others involved with the children, other family, teachers, doctors,CPS. CASA studies the affidavit and police reports, medical records, CPS reports etc.
The children lawyers and parents lawyers may or may not visit. They have other cases, appointed and paid they are dealing with daily.
Next is the Adversary Hearing. Within 14 days of the removal ( Up to 2 weeks of parents having no contact with their children) The Adversary Hearing is the judge putting the allegations/ the affidavit to the face of the parents.
Those in attendance: All parents involved come- bio’s, steps, (ex: separated dad, if kids live with step dad and mom)etc. Attorney for children. Attorney for each parent. Attorney for CPS. CPS caseworker. Guardian Ad Litem/CASA. Possibly grandparents/kinship. Children usually are NOT there.
- Statement is made by judge that whatever affidavit says is true and this is reason children have been removed.
- CPS tells the judge where the children are staying and with whom. They describe the when and where the parents can visit the children- with supervision.
- Parents are told they are still in obligation to support the children.
- CPS has custody of the children.
- Parents are told to get psych evaluations, from provider chosen by CPS.
- Fathers told to have paternity tests.
- Parents are ordered to have counseling, ( for abuse, alcohol, whatever the psych eval determines is needed) by providers chosen by CPS. The type of counseling is to be determined, by the psych eval that has just been ordered.
- Parents are ordered to drug testing.
- Parents are ordered to participate in parenting classes. Per eval results
Then the parents are told
- to furnish the court with tax returns and income proof.
- Immigration papers.
- Marriage license.
- Birth certificates.
- SSI cards.
- Indian Ancestory Membership.
- All medical history of the children.
- The parents medical history as well as ancestors medical history.
- Address and Phone.
- The dates are set for all the next hearings, for the following year. 4 hearings.
- The opportunity is never given for the Attorneys to tell the parents side of the story.
The next four hearings are basically to hear if the parents are doing their services as commanded by the court. Sounds easy, if parents comply, but it isn’t. CPS usually mismanages the assigning of the providers so the evals and counseling can not be attained in the time appointed. CPS then presents the case as if the parents are not complying. As time goes each court is another step to terminate parental rights, or possibly reunite them with their parents.
In each hearing CPS and CASA present reports of the progress of the case.
The report CASA presents includes,
- visitation of parents with children.
- Information of the child in the home of placement.
- Information of the parents evaluations and attendance to counseling.
- CPS has or has not done with the children/family.
- problems seen for the child/family.
- suggestions as to where they believe is the best permanent home for the child.
The CASA report is read by the judge. CPS also reads the CASA report prior to their having to file their report. Basically they can counter, manipulate and rewrite their report should CASA point out any faults made by CPS.
Early in the case a Family Group Decision meeting is had. A couple more of these ‘meetings’ will happen before the case is closed. In attendance are the parents, lots of CPS caseworkers, attorneys, if they show up, CASA ad litem and supervisor and placements possibly. Supposed to be a face to face relational thing. The idea of the meeting is parents, CASA, placements, will state their frustrations with not being able to see kids, do services receive funds etc. CPS ‘listens’ and works with them. It is off the record. But not. It is assumed the parents ‘did’ what CPS has accused them of. No one debates this. The plan that has been made in previous court is discussed. Each person is to speak as to what they want for the children. Parents will say they want them home, CASA may too. CPS will respond with do the services then maybe. I believe this meeting is a waste of everyone’s time and emotions. CPS uses it to get the parents to say something that will be used against them later. CPS uses this meeting to confuse the plan made in court and trick the parents into failing court orders.
It has been ‘mandated’ that these proceedings conclude in 12 months. But many times they go longer. Rarely does the case end before a year. Instead of looking at the get er done in a year as ‘up to a year’ CPS approaches it as plan it out a year. The courts are guilty of this also, they plan out the court hearing for 1 year, at the first court.
Hearing plan for a year:
- Court:Adversary Hearing -Within 14 days of investigation/removal
- Family Group meeting -1 month
- Court:Status Hearing -within 60 days – Review plan of services
- Family Group Meeting 4 months
- Court:Initial Permanency Hearing within 5 months- if CPS planning on terminating will give 180 day notice.
- Subsequent Permanency Hearing within 9 months
- Court:Final Hearing within 11 months. If parents rights terminated, it is now.
Never are the parents given opportunity to defend themselves. The reports written by CPS and CASA are the only input into the hearings. The judge may ask the parents questions brought up on the reports. The judge asks the CPS lawyer to present in addition to the report they have given. The judge will question the parents lawyers and allow comments from them. The judge may ask the CASA if there is anything they would like to add, opinion/thoughts. Usually the judge will go by the recommendations of CPS and a little of CASA. If the parent concludes all services and there are no issues, the child may be returned to the home. IF CPS recommends.