Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

For those who need to know the laws.

Moderators: family_man, LindaJM

mrstovar
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:00 am

Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

Postby mrstovar » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:53 pm

I'm trying to prepare for things that could happen and I hope that never do. Anyway, I read that I should have a CPS file on hand and that the file should include thier handbook and the state and federal laws. Since it looks like it's pages and pages I do not want to print it off the Internet. Where can I get paper copies?
Also, I looked up the recording laws for PA and it sounds like we are not allowed to record unless all parties consent. Would this also include government officials? I don't really think I"d want to turn on a tape recorder secretly anyway but just checking.
Another question. I would like to somehow, in correct legal language, tell our local CYS that if someone reports us to them for any reason and we need to be investigated, we would like to be investigated by our pastor and/or his wife who know us well and pray for our son every day, and if our son must be removed, that he would go to brethren in church or to my local extended family, and would come home at our pastor's and our discretion. Our Prepaid Legal Services law firm has been very helpful in updating our will, etc., but claims there is nothing we can do about CYS and furthermore, that it makes uds look suspect for being concerned. Are they correct? Thanks!

User avatar
Daruma
Posts: 677
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:34 pm

Re: Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

Postby Daruma » Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:31 pm

The US Department of Health and Human Services "Guide for Caseworkers" is here:
http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/cps/cps.pdf

Pennsylvania Child Protective Codes:
http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/055/chapter3490/subchapAtoc.html

Various other Pennsylvania links:
http://citizensforparentalrights.org/resources-by-state/

Also see Family Man's post on state statutes, scroll down to PA:
http://forum.fightcps.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=10360&p=58032&hilit=guidelines#p58032

For printed copies, all I can think of is to contact the agencies that publish the manuals and ask.
These are my personal opinions only. They are not legal, medical, or financial advice.

User avatar
Daruma
Posts: 677
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:34 pm

Re: Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

Postby Daruma » Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:48 pm

mrstovar wrote:Also, I looked up the recording laws for PA and it sounds like we are not allowed to record unless all parties consent. Would this also include government officials?

Probably. In my opinion government officials have no reasonable expectation of privacy while engaged in official duties, but I'm not the one making the rules. :?

mrstovar wrote:Another question. I would like to somehow, in correct legal language, tell our local CYS that if someone reports us to them for any reason and we need to be investigated, we would like to be investigated by our pastor and/or his wife who know us well and pray for our son every day

CPS uses their own investigators. They would never allow your pastor to do the job. And honestly, I would not do anything to bring myself to CPS attention if you don't already have an open case. Sending them a letter like that would be a huge red flag. Please don't ask for trouble.

mrstovar wrote:if our son must be removed, that he would go to brethren in church or to my local extended family, and would come home at our pastor's and our discretion.

If only it were that easy! Please understand this: if they take your son, it's because they're pretty sure you're an abuser, or at least neglectful. To them, letting him come home at your discretion would be like letting a criminal out of jail at his own discretion. I'm not saying you're really an abuser, of course; I'm just telling you the mindset you're up against. Caseworkers like to assume you're guilty until proven innocent. Your pastor has no legal standing to have any say in the case.

Your son does have a right to be placed with extended family, providing they can pass a criminal background check. I doubt they'd place him with church members unless one of them is already a registered foster home.

mrstovar wrote:there is nothing we can do about CYS and furthermore, that it makes uds look suspect for being concerned. Are they correct? Thanks!

Everyone has a right to legal counsel. That's one of the founding principles of our country.

Unfortunately, some people assume that the accusation itself is proof of guilt. It sounds like you're dealing with one of them. Ignore that kind of advice. If you see trouble coming, lawyer up right away. If your legal service won't provide the lawyer, then hire one yourself. (But make sure he or she is dedicated to fighting for your son, not just holding your hand while you jump through CPS hoops for the next two years.) Don't wait till you're in a hole so deep there's no climbing out.

It sounds like you're pretty sure they're going to come after you. If you don't mind saying what's going on with your son, someone here might have some additional advice.
These are my personal opinions only. They are not legal, medical, or financial advice.

mrstovar
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:00 am

Re: Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

Postby mrstovar » Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:01 am

It's interesting to me that it seems we can legally say where our son should go if we both die but not if CYS decides we can't have our son.Is this true? I want to be sure. Nothing's happening now, but when our son was a few weeks old ( about year and a half ago) they investigated us. Fortunately we were found innocent. We were not prepared and I'd like to be prepared if there ever is a next time. We think it was our kinda strange nieghbors across the street who reported us. We don't have much to do with them since, but still...
There is a family in church who do foster care. They've had 3 siblings for a year or maybe longer. I haven't seen the children with them for a while, so I assumed CYS is no longer after them but I found out that's not true. It's still going on in court apparently and it sounds just shockingly hostile. It seems it all started with them questioning the oldest girl (maybe a five year old at the time, I'm not sure) and she said something wrong. I happen to know lots and lots of little ones who might say something wrong esp. if they're being asked the wrong questions. I hope our son will never encounter those people without us until he is old enough to understand.

User avatar
Eljay
Posts: 2645
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:01 am

Re: Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

Postby Eljay » Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:12 am

CPS has the authority to take control of a child who has been abused, neglected or exploited, or is in imminent danger of being so. The problem is that they often overstep their bounds and make up their own interpretations, or outright lie, in order to gain custody and force parents into their "services." So, as long as your child(ren) are not abused, neglected or exploited, you are relatively safe. If you have someone repeatedly calling in false allegations, there is a huge risk factor because CPS caseworkers couple a "where there's smoke, there's fire" mentality with their "guilty until proven innocent" practices.

Having the information about them ahead of time and knowing what to avoid will help minimize risks. For example, if they ever do come back to "investigate" a false allegation, you should:
- not let them in your home,
- get a video recorder rolling,
- grab a pad of paper and write down everything they say and write down everything you say BEFORE you say it,
- ask them specifically what the allegations are,
- if you can address the allegations right then and there, do so, otherwise tell them you'll respond in writing to the allegations,
- do not discuss anything BUT the allegations (that's all they have the right to investigate),
- say the absolute minimum to them because they will twist your words around.


"It's interesting to me that it seems we can legally say where our son should go if we both die but not if CYS decides we can't have our son.Is this true?"


Again, CPS only has authority over abused & neglected children. Dead parents are, by definition, neglectful parents and after the death of both parents (i.e. let's say they were killed in an accident while the kids were at school) most kids DO end up in foster care for some period of time until authorities can determine where the children will go. Even if the will says that they are to go to, for example, Auntie Jojo, CPS has the right to hold the kids until they do a home study and decide if Auntie Jojo is good enough, and sometimes until a judge blesses the will. The state has legal custody until they give legal custody to someone else. A way to get around this is to create guardianship/custody papers, contingent on the death of parent(s), that the future guardians can hold onto, giving them the right to take the child(ren) right away instead of having to wait for CPS to mess up the kids' lives.
Advice & opinions provided are no substitute for genuine legal assistance. Laws & rules vary by state/jurisdiction so do your homework and get
an education in CPS laws, rules & practices so that you can FIGHT for your children's rights. I am not a lawyer. Your mileage may vary.

----<>----<>----<>---- BREED WITH CAUTION ----<>----<>----<>----

User avatar
Daruma
Posts: 677
Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:34 pm

Re: Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

Postby Daruma » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:37 pm

mrstovar wrote:It's interesting to me that it seems we can legally say where our son should go if we both die but not if CYS decides we can't have our son.Is this true? I want to be sure.

Yes, it's true. Once your kids are in CPS care, CPS calls all the shots. (Well, the court does, technically, but usually the courts just go along with CPS recommendations.) Remember, from their point of view, parents are the perpetrators and children are the victims. Perpetrators have no right to say what happens to the victim.

I went back and read your earlier posts. I'm glad your case was declared unfounded. It sounds like you're still traumatized, though, which is understandable. A CPS investigation is a frightening and humiliating experience. It can damage parents emotionally, financially, and even physically. (Not to mention traumatizing the kids.)

It's good that you're getting information now about how the system works. That way, you need never be caught off guard again.

If it's within your means, consider starting an emergency savings fund to hire an attorney. Hopefully you won't ever need it, but it would give you some peace of mind just to have it in the bank. (And if you never use it, then voila!, you've got a head start on college or retirement savings.) If your neighbors are still a problem, you might also consider moving to a new neighborhood.

It's just too bad people who make grudge reports are almost never prosecuted.
These are my personal opinions only. They are not legal, medical, or financial advice.

mrstovar
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:00 am

Re: Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

Postby mrstovar » Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:40 am

I did not know that CYS could get involved if we were both killed. I just imagined our will would be immediately effective but I can kinda see why not. I just hope that if we ever cannot look after our son, either temporarily because of an accident or permanently because of death, he will be with extended family/church brethren before anyone that might report us to CYS finds out. Surely they would think twice about taking him if he is already with, for instance, Aunt Regina and his little cousins, and obviously well cared for and happy.
But, apart from being well cared for and happy, I worry about what else they want. He's outside a lot because he wants to be which means he can be observed more from the road, etc. We try to supervise him closely but he's not always right with us and he's quick enough that he actually could wonder off when I or his daddy get preoccupied for a minute. And, I can't keep him clean all the time. Sometimes he isn't anywhere near clean. And the bruises he gets! Oh well, we are doing what we can.
I apreciate the information you al have given me.

User avatar
Eljay
Posts: 2645
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:01 am

Re: Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

Postby Eljay » Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:55 am

mrstovar wrote:I did not know that CYS could get involved if we were both killed. I just imagined our will would be immediately effective but I can kinda see why not.


Situations like that are one of the nice things CPS does... parents are injured, killed, jailed, and CPS is the one who gets a call, at all hours of the night, and finds a family member or foster home that can take them in. The police might make a cursory effort if the kids are old enough to know names and numbers of relatives, but they still become wards of the state immediately when parents are incapacitated.

The problem is when they think they have the right to take a child, or an entire family of children, because of something like a poke in the eye. Sounds silly, huh? Remember the news from a few months back about a family with 7 boys, all named the same as their father, and one daughter who were ALL in foster care, and the parents took them during a visit and ran? The reason they took all 8 children is that two of the boys got in a tussle over a video game and one poked the other in the eye (interview in second link). Parents took him to the ER to make sure he was okay. CPS was called and they took all 8 kids. The kids were split into several homes and were being abused in the homes. Unreal, isn't it? Now the parents are facing jail for doing what any parent would do to protect their children.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/nyregion/abducted-children-found-in-pennsylvania.html?scp=1&sq=nephra%20payne&st=cse
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/11/29/exclusive-parents-who-abducted-8-kids-from-queens-foster-care-tell-their-story/
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/26/nyregion/couple-plead-guilty-to-taking-8-children-from-foster-care.html
Advice & opinions provided are no substitute for genuine legal assistance. Laws & rules vary by state/jurisdiction so do your homework and get
an education in CPS laws, rules & practices so that you can FIGHT for your children's rights. I am not a lawyer. Your mileage may vary.

----<>----<>----<>---- BREED WITH CAUTION ----<>----<>----<>----

Beatthescammers
Posts: 259
Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 7:04 pm

Re: Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

Postby Beatthescammers » Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:22 am

Don't send CPS any letters unless they open a case on you.

If you suspect that someone might call CPS on you, STOP associating with this person NOW. By calling CPS, they will cause your life to become a living hell.

Understand that the public school system will allow CPS to interview your child WITHOUT your permission at anytime. If your child is in a public school, you need to role play this possibility with your chidren NOW. Teach your children now to not say anything to the CPS monster. Teach your children about what will happen if CPS takes them (they will be removed from their home and friends possibly forever). Tell them to NOT let the CPS monster take photos (Any birthmark or dirty area will be labeled as a bruise. My daughter's kitten lightly scratched her face and CPS tried for twenty minutes to convince my daughter that someone in her family cut her or she cut herself in perfect parallel lines. It was unbelievably shocking that they would do this, but it happened.) Tell them that they should immediately ask to return to class. Teach them that they should tell the CPS monster to call their mom/dad and their attorney if they need to talk to someone.

You can prepare legal forms in advance to appointment someone to be the legal guardian of your children. This might save your child from entering into foster care for months if CPS takes them.

mrstovar
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:00 am

Re: Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

Postby mrstovar » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:08 am

How do I prepare legal forms in advance to appoint someone to be the legal gardian of our child? I would really like for our son never to go to who-knows-who when there's no need, it's one reason we did our will. You can be sure our son won't be going to public school either, and we'll try to keep him out of the emergency room as well.

User avatar
Eljay
Posts: 2645
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:01 am

Re: Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

Postby Eljay » Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:35 am

You should really work with a lawyer on this issue, the same as you would with a will. However, to get you started, just do a web search on "pa guardianship forms" and you'll find lots of information and forms available online.
Advice & opinions provided are no substitute for genuine legal assistance. Laws & rules vary by state/jurisdiction so do your homework and get
an education in CPS laws, rules & practices so that you can FIGHT for your children's rights. I am not a lawyer. Your mileage may vary.

----<>----<>----<>---- BREED WITH CAUTION ----<>----<>----<>----

mrstovar
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:00 am

Re: Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

Postby mrstovar » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:41 pm

Thanks!

susanheffley
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:53 pm

Re: Federal and PA satate laws and handbooks?

Postby susanheffley » Sun Jul 06, 2014 7:34 pm

what happens if your child refuses to be interviewed at school, if they request a parent to be there, is that followed through, if your child say's no I am not speaking without my mom what happens then, do they inform you, I thought parents had to be given written notice of any interaction with children, unless something really serious has happened and the law are involved?


Return to “Legal Research”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest