Fight Child Protective Services CPS/DCFS
The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) or Child Protective Services (CPS) alleges that a parent’s conduct places a child at risk of abuse or neglect. Fighting DCFS to get your children out of foster care is battle too many parents are losing. The system in Los Angeles County is too overwhelmed to give families the time and attention that they deserve. The information that parents need to save their families is often never clearly communicated to them. Children are shuffled from foster home to foster home and social workers neglect to work their cases due to high caseloads and all other sorts of excuses. The frustration and emotion drives parents over the edge.
DCFS never wants to admit that they have made a mistake or a bad decision for a child. Like the police, DCFS protects their own at all costs. DCFS holds too much power that that is often abused. When the proper procedures are followed DCFS can have your child removed from your home based on lies, half-truths, and gross misrepresentations that are written in social worker’s reports and given to the judge. The sad part is that the Judges take the social worker’s reports as gospel. It is important to have a strategy and understand a social worker’s function and powers when they first make contact with them. Kyle R. Puro, Esq. works on the front lines of the Los Angeles foster care system representing parents. The foster care system can be very repetitive. Before you can begin to fight CPS, you must understand the process.
LA DCFS Funding
In Los Angeles County, LA DCFS or CPS has around a $1.8 billion dollar budget. At any given moment, around 35,000 children are being supervised by LA DCFS. LA DCFS funding comes from the state and federal government like clockwork for the number of kids in foster care. DCFS main goal is to prevent a child from being hurt while under their supervision or investigation. This is the unfortunate reason why so many kids get brought into the foster system. With big budgets and pockets comes great liability. DCFS makes decisions often not based on what is best for a minor, but what type of liability DCFS and the county would face based on the facts if child was further abused or neglect by their parents.
How CPS Locates Your Family
Each year, LA DCFS gets about 160,000 referrals a year for child abuse and neglect on their child abuse hotline. These referrals come from teachers, police officers, therapist, jealous neighbors, and all other sorts of people. Once a referral is received, a social worker will be dispatched to investigate the referral and determine if abuse or neglect has occurred. Based on the findings of their investigation, you may find yourself in court.
It is important to be respectful to the social worker and dispel their concerns. If you are rude or do not cooperate, you can expect that they will file a case in court against you. The level that you cooperate depends on the facts. It is wise to consult with an attorney to determine your rights. The first social worker that makes contact with you is referred to as an emergency response worker or ER worker. Do not be charmed by the ER social worker. Everything that you say in this investigation will be used against you.
Sometimes closing an investigation is as simple as taking a drug test to confirm the allegation that you abuse drugs is not true. If you are clean and the social worker wants you to take a drug test it is very smart to do that. Do not let your pride interfere. If you are using drugs, best to call a lawyer. Even if you have a medical marijuana license, still call an attorney.
CPS Investigation Before Filing in Court
While investigating a referral, a social worker will interview you, your children, neighbors, friends, police officers, teachers, and many others to determine if abuse or neglect is occurring. It is important to treat social workers with courtesy. By blowing off the social worker, you may force them to file a petition in court. Once in court, you lose all control over your family. Be aware social workers are trained to catch people in lies.
After talking to everyone, the social worker will either close the referral, offer you an informal contract or safety plan to avoid filing allegations in court, or file allegations with the court. The two former are always more desirable. If the social worker decides to file formal allegations against you in court, they will compile all of the statements of witnesses and your children into a social worker’s report. Even though it is mostly hearsay in the report, it comes into evidence and can be considered by the judge. Therefore, what you and others say will be used against you in court. The initial court report being generated by the social worker is called the Detention Report.
The social worker’s reports are often the hardest things for parents to process because they contain fragments of statements and misrepresentation drafted by the social worker that is intent on proving their allegations true. The reports are heavily relied upon by the judge. Once DCFS files a case against you in court, DCFS will be intent on proving the allegations true.
Social Workers and Services/Classes
At the core of the dependency court system is the solution to every case is that a parent attend classes or services to fix the reasons why they were brought to court. Types of services include: parenting class, domestic violence group for perpetrators 52 weeks, substance abuse course, and individual therapy. Parents often get very frustrated because these classes are often like going to traffic school. However, it is very smart to accept services that DCFS offers you. During the ER workers initial investigation this could be the deciding factor if your child goes into foster care or not.
If DCFS files a case against you in court. It is smart to enroll in services right away. The dependency court system has time frames for you to reunify with your child. The sooner that the classes are over the more likely you are to reunify. By enrolling in the services, you are not admitting that you have done anything wrong. Rarely will that be used against you in court.
Time Frames to Get Children Back
Time is not on your side in dependency court. As a general rule, you only have as much as 18 months to get your children out of a foster care from the day they enter. The reasons is that the law states children deserve permanency. It is not in their best interest to be in foster care without a loving home. Click on this link to understand each and every type of dependency court hearing.