|Posted by Diane Vigil on September 18, 2013 at 2:45 AM|
Do you know that if you are a child caught in Sacramento CPS and the juvenile court system,
(1) You may not retain your own attorney for your hearings or trial. You are assigned an attorney, who is on contract with CPS and thus works hand-in-hand with CPS?
(2) You may not request an open trial as in other cities, but must conduct all hearings and trials behind closed doors, with no family members, media, or interested citizens permitted to following the proceedings?
(3) You may not seek help for CPS wrongs against you except from the Foster Care Ombudsman, an entity WITHIN the Department of Social Services, whose aim is to protect CPS? The Foster Care Ombudsman comes with a warning: “Proceed with a complaint at your own risk. Your identity will not be protected and you will face retaliation for complaining.”
Do you know that if you are a family member of a child caught in CPS and the juvenile court system,
(1) You have no right to inquire about the case nor do you have a right to be interviewed for any knowledge you might have? Yet you can be quoted and lied about in court documents as "evidence"? Evidence enters by "stipulation" (all parties must agree--yeah, right) or by CPS stapling its "evidence" to the back of the court document. This is known as the "staple-on" rule.
(2) You can be threatened with a restraining order JUST for calling and asking about the child or youth?
(3) You can be denied ALL contact with the child or youth, EVEN if a 17-year-old has been rushed for emergency surgery for a life-threatening condition to a major medical center and is asking repeatedly for you? And CPS has to give NO reasons why you are not allowed contact.
Do you know that if you are a therapist, an educator, a CASA worker, mandated reporter, or any professional or caring adult in the child’s life, ALL of the ABOVE can also happen to YOU??? And do you know you will have NO recourse? That there is not one law to protect you from the power of CPS against you?
Do you know that CPS can threaten you, libel you, slander you, restrain you, forbid you complete contact for 18 years, and enter court documents deliberately filled with lies WITHOUT EVER EVEN SPEAKING TO YOU??? Even if the child or family member who is part of the proceedings is pleading with his social worker to speak to you?
Every one of these things happened to our family because we cared about an abused 15-year-old needing help. He told us not to go to CPS--he knew better. His mother was a former CPS emergency social worker, and he knew what would happen if he became caught in that system. So we didn't. We just gave him emotional support. But when someone DID contact CPS, he experienced every one of these things and more. CPS can do WHATEVER it wants. It has unlimited, unchecked power, carte blanche. How did it get the kind of power that can trample due process and hold itself above the law? FROM THE LAW!!!!! The laws MUST be changed! You may not have fallen into the jurisdiction of CPS and the juvenile courts, but one day you may, and then what? You might make the "mistake" we did and actually care about a child being abused. You might think that child protective services actually protects children. You will be in for the surprise of your life. And then it will be too late. Don’t wait for YOUR freedoms to be ripped from you along with the child's. ACT NOW!
This youth is now 18. He is meeting with legislators with eight suggested reforms of the law:
1. Create independent ombudsman agency for youth in CPS
2. Create complaint process that does not bring harm or retaliation to reporting youth
3. Allow open court hearings and trial if requested by youth
4. Allow evidence into court without having to be vetted by CPS and require CPS to substantiate all evidence and allegations on more than just hearsay
5. Mandate training for social workers on questioning techniques and on emotional abuse under WIC 300
6. Record all interviews with youth, parents, and third parties so court documents cannot be distorted and falsified
7. Establish due process protection for mandated reporters, family members, and concerned third parties to prevent CPS abuse of power and intimidation
8. Allow sibling visitation if in best interest of the youth
Fight with us for these legislative reforms! They will protect all of us