What's WRONG with this advice from a qualified lawyer?

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Greegor
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What's WRONG with this advice from a qualified lawyer?

Postby Greegor » Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:41 am

http://www.lawtolife.com/CM/Features/CPSCASE.asp#15

No Time to Lose: The CPS Case

1. A CPS worker has called me and wants to meet with me to talk about my children. What do I do?

You need to cooperate. If you don't cooperate, CPS will infer that you are attempting to hide something. Try to get some information from CPS about what they wish to discuss with you. Chances are, you probably know why they want to talk to you. CONSULT A LAWYER and have legal counsel with you when you are interviewed. If you do not have time to obtain counsel and must participate in the interview, follow these guidelines.
Be polite and helpful
Show concern for your children
Listen more than you speak
Ask for exact information from CPS, they will often use phrases such
as "we have concerns" or "it has been alleged" or "we believe"
DO NOT GUESS about your answers to any CPS questions
DO NOT GUESS about what other people knew or didn't know
DO NOT SAY the following, "he would never do such a thing" "I don't
believe that happened" "my child is telling a lie"
Be able to clearly explain how your home is a safe home for your children
Be able to provide positive references who have frequent contact with
you and your children
Do not lose your temper
At the end of the conversation ask the CPS worker to summarize her
discussion with you, her findings, any actions she is considering
taking and her reasons for taking those actions.

2. Do I need to have a lawyer with me whenever I meet with CPS?

CPS workers do not like lawyers. Unfortunately, a lawyer who is not
familiar with CPS and takes the wrong approach in dealing with CPS may
do you more harm than good. An experienced CPS lawyer can help to
clarify the issues, present your case in a positive manner, and
minimize the risk of your children being taken into foster care.

3. CPS wants me to bring my children to their offices for a meeting.
What should I do?

This is a setup. NEVER, EVER take your children to CPS offices without
your lawyer right beside you. This tactic is used by CPS to get you to
surrender the children to them at there offices instead of them going
to the effort of removing the children from your home. To summarize,
take your children with you to CPS and chances are you'll be going
home alone.

4. CPS wants me to sign a "Safety Plan" or they are going to take my
children into foster care. What should I do?

A Safety Plan tells you that you have to follow certain rules to keep
your children with you in the home. For instance, in many cases, the
Safety Plan will instruct you to remove an alleged abuser from your
home, or to clean your home, or to participate in counseling. You must
ask yourself whether you can follow the Safety Plan - if you can't
then you are at risk of having your children removed. You must make
sure that both you and CPS understand what exactly the Safety Plan
tells you to do or not do. Many children are removed each year because
CPS interpreted the Safety Plan differently than the parent did. Ask
CPS when does the Safety Plan expire. If no expiration date is given,
then you are forever at risk of having your children removed. As
always, try to review the Safety Plan with a lawyer before you sign
it.

5. CPS wants me to separate from my husband or wife and to keep my
children away from him/her. What should I do?

Just do it. CPS always believes that sexual abuse has occurred, no
matter what the facts and logic suggest, and that children always know
what they are talking about. The problem is that if you question any
of the facts, your child will be out of your home. It is a difficult
situation, but you must ALWAYS choose your child over your spouse.

6. CPS has done an "Emergency Removal" and placed my children into
foster care. What should I do?

Find out as much as you can about why the children were taken into
foster care. Ask questions, but volunteer little information at this
point. Be helpful. Tell the CPS worker what your child likes and
doesn't like, and inform her of any medications your child might be
taking or other special needs he or she might have. Ask for a visit
with your child. Typically, you will get a one hour visit one time a
week. Do not threaten the CPS worker and try not to show too much
anger. If the CPS worker feels threatened by you or senses that you
are "unstable" it will only hurt your chances of getting your child
home. Suggest relatives who would be willing to have temporary
possession of your child. Try to make arrangements to get your child
some of his toys, clothing, and other possessions that will make him
feel more secure while in foster care.

7. I received legal papers telling me I have a court hearing to
determine temporary custody of my children. What should I do?

Time is critical. You are going to have a Court hearing within 14 days
of the date your child was removed from your possession. At the
hearing, the Court will determine whether there is a continuing danger
to your child in your home. CPS will have their investigators, lay
witnesses, doctors and police officers ready to testify. Who will
testify on your behalf? Who will present your case to the Court? Do
you know how to cross-examine a witness or how to object to improper
testimony? You need legal representation. If you lack time to hire an
attorney, ask the Judge for an additional two weeks to hire one. Your
child will have to stay in foster care, but many times it is better to
wait an additional two weeks and be truly prepared for court rather
than rushing in unprepared.
Several things can happen at the initial or "14 day hearing." Your
child can be returned to your care (this rarely happens); CPS can take
steps to determine whether a relative would be able to care for the
child, or your child can continue in foster care for a period of at
least 60 days. A CPS case can be won or lost at this point. Without
aggressive representation at the 14 day hearing, there is a very real
chance that your child will spend months in foster care - - possibly
without justification.

8. CPS is telling me my children have been sexually abused. What should I do?

Please do not say, "I don't believe it" or "that's not true" or "she
tells stories" or anything that gives CPS the thought that you don't
believe sexual abuse has occurred. Show genuine concern. Ask, "what
can I do to make sure I am providing my child with a safe home?" Ask
the CPS worker questions. Seek detailed answers. Who is the alleged
abuser? When did the abuse occur? How many times has the abuse
occurred? Exactly what did occur? (you need to get over your
embarrassment and ask for graphic details about what happened). You
must ask yourself if you knew of the sexual abuse or had any hint that
it was taking place. What has your child told CPS? Unless you convince
CPS that you knew nothing about the sexual abuse and that you are able
to protect the child from the abuser, your child is going to be placed
outside your home.

9. CPS is telling me my children have been neglected. What should I do?

"Neglect" means different things to different people. Ask questions.
Seek specific answers. Try to get CPS to agree to leave the children
with you while you participate in parenting classes or other services
CPS recommends. If your house is dirty, clean it. If it's still dirty
after you clean, move. You may have to agree to do other things like
place the children in daycare, or change your work hours. Remember,
you are doing these things to keep your children with you.

10. CPS is telling me my children have been physically abused. What should I do?

Physical abuse occurs usually occurs in one of two instances. One is
the case of the baby who is shaken or beaten by an adult. The other is
the case of improper physical discipline of a child. Cases involving
injuries babies and young children are the most difficult mainly
because the victim is unable to speak. You need to convince CPS that
you didn't injure your child and that your home is safe. This is very
difficult. CPS wants to know who injured the child and until someone
comes forward with an explanation, the child is not going home. Do not
make up stories, for instance, "he rolled off the bed." Do not
cover-up if you know who hurt the child — unless the person you are
protecting is more important to you than your child. Your attorney may
suggest you take a lie-detector test. You must attempt to obtain legal
counsel.
In the case of improper discipline, you have a chance of keeping your
child at home, but you are going to have to participate in parenting
classes and counseling. Of course, it will depend too on the type of
injuries sustained by the child and if there appears to be a
long-standing pattern of improper physical discipline — for example
the use of extension cords to administer spankings is abuse and may
result in removal of the child.

11. CPS tells me I don't need a lawyer at the emergency court hearing.
Is this true?

You need a lawyer. CPS is represented by the District Attorney. Your
children will have their own attorney. You will not be successful
representing yourself. Also, don't fall for the line, "this is only
temporary." Many a termination case starts with such a representation.

12. I am embarrassed to tell my family about my CPS case. What should I do?

If your family can help you in any way, financial, emotional, or as a
temporary placement for your children, tell them. A CPS case could be
the most serious legal matter in your life. It is no time to "go it
alone." Show CPS that you come from a good family and that you have
their support — it will make a difference.

13. CPS wants me to take a drug test. What should I do?

You know whether you will pass. If you will pass, sure, take the test.
If you know you won't pass, consult your lawyer. Depending on the
circumstances, you may want to refuse to take the test, or admit to
your drug usage. These are critical decisions and you need a
professional to advise you. The main thing is GET CLEAN! If you are
using illegal drugs, find someone in your family to care for the
children while you go through a inpatient program. The longer you
remain in denial about your problem, the worse things will get.
Remember, in a CPS case, you have one year to get your act together.
It's better to start early rather than waiting until you are out of
time to save your family.

14. CPS has my children. Will I ever get them back?

It depends. You have a year to prove yourself to CPS. You need to form
a success strategy with your lawyer. This will include taking steps to
improve you life and then showing CPS what you have done. You will
have to persuade the child's lawyer that the child belongs with you.
You will attempt to discredit as much of the CPS case as possible. You
have to visit each and every week. You have to be appropriate with
your child in the visits. You have to INSPIRE CONFIDENCE in the people
who are evaluating you as a parent. As a last resort, you may have to
prepare for trial — this is both an expensive and uncertain endeavor.

15. CPS wants me to do a "Service Plan." What does this mean?

The Service Plan consists of a list of things for you to do in order
to have any hope of getting your children home. But, understand that
the Service Plan is not a contract and CPS doesn't have to return your
children just because you completed your service plan. Typically, you
will be asked to take a psychological evaluation, do counseling and
parenting classes. You may also be asked to take random drug tests,
participate in anger management, or sex offender's counseling.

16. What is a "Guardian Ad Litem?"

The Guardian Ad Litem is an attorney who has been appointed by the
Court to make an independent recommendation to the Court about what
arrangement will be in your child's best interest. You will want to
make sure the ad litem is doing his or her job and not merely
following CPS recommendations. You will want to work to obtain a
favorable recommendation from the ad litem.

17. Will the Court appoint me an attorney if I cannot afford to hire one?

The answer is "NO." Now, having said that, if you are indigent and CPS
files suit to terminate your parent-child relationship, you will be
appointed a lawyer. But the point is, you should never wait until you
are in such a bad situation to find legal help. When CPS files to
terminate you, they have had around 6 months to build their case
against you and there is little your court-appointed attorney can do
to erase the damage of what has already happened during the case.
Finally, the legal services organizations do not take CPS cases either because they are so specialized and time-consuming.

© Copyright 2004, by Gregory L. Housewirth. All rights reserved.

Gregory L. Housewirth is Board-Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists.

debbiescalese
Posts: 460
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:55 am
Location: WV

Re: What's WRONG with this advice from a qualified lawyer?

Postby debbiescalese » Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:23 pm

Greegor wrote:http://www.lawtolife.com/CM/Features/CPSCASE.asp#15

No Time to Lose: The CPS Case

1. A CPS worker has called me and wants to meet with me to talk about my children. What do I do?

You need to cooperate.(VIOLATION OF THE FOURTH AMENDMENT) If you don't cooperate, CPS will infer that you are attempting to hide something. (TRUE BUT ALSO ILLEGAL) Try to get some information from CPS about what they wish to discuss with you. Chances are, you probably know why they want to talk to you. CONSULT A LAWYER and have legal counsel with you when you are interviewed. If you do not have time to obtain counsel and must participate in the interview, follow these guidelines.
Be polite and helpful
Show concern for your children
Listen more than you speak
Ask for exact information from CPS, they will often use phrases such
as "we have concerns" or "it has been alleged" or "we believe"
DO NOT GUESS about your answers to any CPS questions
DO NOT GUESS about what other people knew or didn't know
DO NOT SAY the following, "he would never do such a thing" "I don't
believe that happened" "my child is telling a lie"
Be able to clearly explain how your home is a safe home for your children
Be able to provide positive references who have frequent contact with
you and your children
Do not lose your temper
At the end of the conversation ask the CPS worker to summarize her
discussion with you, her findings, any actions she is considering
taking and her reasons for taking those actions.

2. Do I need to have a lawyer with me whenever I meet with CPS?

(THE WORDS YES BUT DO KNOW SHOULD BE HERE) CPS workers do not like lawyers. Unfortunately, a lawyer who is not
familiar with CPS and takes the wrong approach in dealing with CPS may
do you more harm than good. An experienced CPS lawyer can help to
clarify the issues, present your case in a positive manner, and
minimize the risk of your children being taken into foster care.

3. CPS wants me to bring my children to their offices for a meeting.
What should I do?

This is a setup. NEVER, EVER take your children to CPS offices without
your lawyer right beside you. This tactic is used by CPS to get you to
surrender the children to them at there offices instead of them going
to the effort of removing the children from your home. To summarize,
take your children with you to CPS and chances are you'll be going
home alone.

4. CPS wants me to sign a "Safety Plan" or they are going to take my
children into foster care. What should I do?

A Safety Plan tells you that you have to follow certain rules to keep
your children with you in the home. For instance, in many cases, the
Safety Plan will instruct you to remove an alleged abuser from your
home, or to clean your home, or to participate in counseling. You must
ask yourself whether you can follow the Safety Plan - if you can't
then you are at risk of having your children removed. You must make
sure that both you and CPS understand what exactly the Safety Plan
tells you to do or not do. Many children are removed each year because
CPS interpreted the Safety Plan differently than the parent did. Ask
CPS when does the Safety Plan expire. If no expiration date is given,
then you are forever at risk of having your children removed. As
always, try to review the Safety Plan with a lawyer before you sign
it.

5. CPS wants me to separate from my husband or wife and to keep my
children away from him/her. What should I do?

(MURKEY LEGAL WATERS HERE) Just do it. CPS always believes that sexual abuse has occurred, no
matter what the facts and logic suggest, and that children always know
what they are talking about. The problem is that if you question any
of the facts, your child will be out of your home. It is a difficult
situation, but you must ALWAYS choose your child over your spouse.

6. CPS has done an "Emergency Removal" and placed my children into
foster care. What should I do?

Find out as much as you can about why the children were taken into
foster care. Ask questions, but volunteer little information at this
point. Be helpful. Tell the CPS worker what your child likes and
doesn't like, and inform her of any medications your child might be
taking or other special needs he or she might have. Ask for a visit
with your child. Typically, you will get a one hour visit one time a
week. Do not threaten the CPS worker and try not to show too much
anger. If the CPS worker feels threatened by you or senses that you
are "unstable" it will only hurt your chances of getting your child
home. Suggest relatives who would be willing to have temporary
possession of your child. Try to make arrangements to get your child
some of his toys, clothing, and other possessions that will make him
feel more secure while in foster care.

7. I received legal papers telling me I have a court hearing to
determine temporary custody of my children. What should I do?

Time is critical. You are going to have a Court hearing within 14 days (72 HOURS IS MORE THE NORM UNLESS THEY TAKE THE CHILD BEFORE A SCHEDULED HOLIDAY OR A FRIDAY)
of the date your child was removed from your possession. At the
hearing, the Court will determine whether there is a continuing danger
to your child in your home. (THE JUDGE WILL USUALLY RUBBER STAMP THE ORDER) CPS will have their investigators, lay
witnesses, doctors and police officers ready to testify. Who will
testify on your behalf? (NOBODY WILL BE ALLOWED) Who will present your case to the Court? ( A WORTHLESS PUBLIC DEFENDER BECAUSE YOU DON'T HAVE TIME OR MONEY TO HIRE YOUR OWN) Do
you know how to cross-examine a witness or how to object to improper
testimony? You need legal representation. If you lack time to hire an
attorney, ask the Judge for an additional two weeks to hire one. Your
child will have to stay in foster care, but many times it is better to
wait an additional two weeks and be truly prepared for court rather
than rushing in unprepared.
Several things can happen at the initial or "14 day hearing." Your
child can be returned to your care (this rarely happens); CPS can take
steps to determine whether a relative would be able to care for the
child, or your child can continue in foster care for a period of at
least 60 days. A CPS case can be won or lost at this point. Without
aggressive representation at the 14 day hearing, there is a very real
chance that your child will spend months in foster care - - possibly
without justification.

8. CPS is telling me my children have been sexually abused. What should I do?

Please do not say, "I don't believe it" or "that's not true" or "she
tells stories" or anything that gives CPS the thought that you don't
believe sexual abuse has occurred. Show genuine concern. Ask, "what
can I do to make sure I am providing my child with a safe home?" Ask
the CPS worker questions. Seek detailed answers. Who is the alleged
abuser? When did the abuse occur? How many times has the abuse
occurred? Exactly what did occur? (you need to get over your
embarrassment and ask for graphic details about what happened). You
must ask yourself if you knew of the sexual abuse or had any hint that
it was taking place. What has your child told CPS? Unless you convince
CPS that you knew nothing about the sexual abuse and that you are able
to protect the child from the abuser, your child is going to be placed
outside your home.

9. CPS is telling me my children have been neglected. What should I do?

"Neglect" means different things to different people. Ask questions.
Seek specific answers. Try to get CPS to agree to leave the children
with you while you participate in parenting classes or other services
CPS recommends. If your house is dirty, clean it. If it's still dirty
after you clean, move. You may have to agree to do other things like
place the children in daycare, or change your work hours. Remember,
you are doing these things to keep your children with you.

10. CPS is telling me my children have been physically abused. What should I do?

Physical abuse occurs usually occurs in one of two instances. One is
the case of the baby who is shaken or beaten by an adult. The other is
the case of improper physical discipline of a child. Cases involving
injuries babies and young children are the most difficult mainly
because the victim is unable to speak. You need to convince CPS that
you didn't injure your child and that your home is safe. This is very
difficult. CPS wants to know who injured the child and until someone
comes forward with an explanation, the child is not going home. Do not
make up stories, for instance, "he rolled off the bed." Do not
cover-up if you know who hurt the child — unless the person you are
protecting is more important to you than your child. Your attorney may
suggest you take a lie-detector test. You must attempt to obtain legal
counsel.
In the case of improper discipline, you have a chance of keeping your
child at home, but you are going to have to participate in parenting
classes and counseling. Of course, it will depend too on the type of
injuries sustained by the child and if there appears to be a
long-standing pattern of improper physical discipline — for example
the use of extension cords to administer spankings is abuse and may
result in removal of the child.

11. CPS tells me I don't need a lawyer at the emergency court hearing.
Is this true?

You need a lawyer. CPS is represented by the District Attorney. Your
children will have their own attorney. You will not be successful
representing yourself. Also, don't fall for the line, "this is only
temporary." Many a termination case starts with such a representation.

12. I am embarrassed to tell my family about my CPS case. What should I do?

If your family can help you in any way, financial, emotional, or as a
temporary placement for your children, tell them. A CPS case could be
the most serious legal matter in your life. It is no time to "go it
alone." Show CPS that you come from a good family and that you have
their support — it will make a difference.

13. CPS wants me to take a drug test. What should I do?

You know whether you will pass. If you will pass, sure, take the test.
If you know you won't pass, consult your lawyer. Depending on the
circumstances, you may want to refuse to take the test, or admit to
your drug usage. These are critical decisions and you need a
professional to advise you. The main thing is GET CLEAN! If you are
using illegal drugs, find someone in your family to care for the
children while you go through a inpatient program. The longer you
remain in denial about your problem, the worse things will get.
Remember, in a CPS case, you have one year to get your act together.
It's better to start early rather than waiting until you are out of
time to save your family.

14. CPS has my children. Will I ever get them back?

It depends. You have a year to prove yourself to CPS. (CHILD HAS TO BE IN CPS CUSTODY FOR 15 OF THE LAST 22 MONTHS) You need to form
a success strategy with your lawyer. This will include taking steps to
improve you life and then showing CPS what you have done. You will
have to persuade the child's lawyer that the child belongs with you.
You will attempt to discredit as much of the CPS case as possible. You
have to visit each and every week. You have to be appropriate with
your child in the visits. You have to INSPIRE CONFIDENCE in the people
who are evaluating you as a parent. As a last resort, you may have to
prepare for trial — this is both an expensive and uncertain endeavor.

15. CPS wants me to do a "Service Plan." What does this mean?

The Service Plan consists of a list of things for you to do in order
to have any hope of getting your children home. But, understand that
the Service Plan is not a contract and CPS doesn't have to return your
children just because you completed your service plan. Typically, you
will be asked to take a psychological evaluation, do counseling and
parenting classes. You may also be asked to take random drug tests,
participate in anger management, or sex offender's counseling.

16. What is a "Guardian Ad Litem?"

The Guardian Ad Litem is an attorney who has been appointed by the
Court to make an independent recommendation to the Court about what
arrangement will be in your child's best interest. You will want to
make sure the ad litem is doing his or her job and not merely
following CPS recommendations. You will want to work to obtain a
favorable recommendation from the ad litem. (GAL WILL PROBABLY NEVER TALK TO YOU OR YOUR KIDS THEY ARE THERE TO SUPPORT CPS IF YOU COMPLAIN THEY CAN MAKE THINGS HARDER ON YOU)
17. Will the Court appoint me an attorney if I cannot afford to hire one?

The answer is "NO." (UNLESS THERE ARE CRIMINAL CHARGES AS WELL AND IS ALSO AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION) Now, having said that, if you are indigent and CPS
files suit to terminate your parent-child relationship, you will be
appointed a lawyer. But the point is, you should never wait until you
are in such a bad situation to find legal help. When CPS files to
terminate you, they have had around 6 months to build their case
against you and there is little your court-appointed attorney can do
to erase the damage of what has already happened during the case.
Finally, the legal services organizations do not take CPS cases either because they are so specialized and time-consuming.

© Copyright 2004, by Gregory L. Housewirth. All rights reserved.

Gregory L. Housewirth is Board-Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists.


NOW I'M SURE I MISSED SOME SO CORRECT ME!

Trisha G
Posts: 124
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2007 7:30 pm

Postby Trisha G » Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:05 pm

RE: The GAL, and people testifying in court for you
1. Our kids did testify for us, it helped close the second case faster.
2. We explained the kids were there because the GAL was worthless and they wanted to have a voice. The GAL got reprimanded (sp?) by the judge for not being in contact with our kids, and never said a word in their defense or against us.
So it's risky to bring your kids to court, but in our case it was a good move.

MaggieC

Postby MaggieC » Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:09 pm

From my professional experience -most GALS tend to be worthless. Perhaps it is because they are stretched very thin or perhaps because rather than go out and actually represent paying clients (law is fiercely competitive), they settle for being a government paid GAL.

From time to time, one will encounter a GAL who truly cares, but again, in the decade I have been in this gig, it is rare.


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