Help CPS Took My Children!!

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SDCHARGERS
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Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby SDCHARGERS » Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:16 pm

My wife and I take no government aid and we support our family. My son broke his glasses for the 3rd time in 3 months. My wife was upset and spanked him with a belt and while doing so he turned and accidentally hit his leg causing a bruise. The after school counselor asked my kid about what happened when he left the night before and my son was honest and told them he got a spanking and a bruise. now they interviewed all my kids and they stated that they get disciplined with a spanking, but never had a bruise. They stated that my wife and I do the discipline.

I received a call and went to the school to get the kids. I had them except for one and when I got the last one a police officer and a worker who never identified herself told me they were taking my kids even before we could explain. Now my kids are going to miss their 1st football game and are being placed in foster care. I was told that we can not hit our children with any object in the state of California. I explained that we use physical discipline as a last resort, but they stated for the kids safety they could not be release to us even though I have never left a bruise on my children.

This makes no sense to me as the bruise did not hinder his walking ability or anything and now we must prove we are fit to retain custody of our children. I have a court appearance on Wednesday. What should I expect and what should I do about getting my children back ASAP?

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family_man
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby family_man » Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:50 pm

Try to get an attorney to represent you ASAP!! This is an unfortunate and fuzzy area of the law.

Parents do have the right to discipline their children physically (otherwise known as corporal punishment on a child)...so long as the discipline is reasonable and causes no bodily injury. As a result, "spanking" (with your hand or an object) when used as a means of disciplining a child is not considered child abuse under California law unless it becomes unreasonable or excessive.
Each case of alleged child abuse will therefore necessarily involve two questions: (1) Was the punishment "necessary" or warranted? and (2) Was it reasonable or excessive? If your California child abuse defense lawyer can convince the prosecutor, judge and/or jury that the alleged corporal punishment was justified as a reasonable means of discipline, you must be acquitted of this charge.
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice.

SDCHARGERS
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby SDCHARGERS » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:08 am

I understand, but I personally have never injured my children and my wife has never injured our children before this incident. The CPS worker states that since I have used a belt event though it was an elastic dress belt and even though I have never left any bruises or mark the fact is I used an object and that is illegal in California. However i do not see it anywhere under WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE SECTION 300-304.7 that states I can not use an object to spank my children.



300. Any child who comes within any of the following descriptions
is within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court which may adjudge
that person to be a dependent child of the court:
(a) The child has suffered, or there is a substantial risk that
the child will suffer, serious physical harm inflicted
nonaccidentally upon the child by the child's parent or guardian. For
the purposes of this subdivision, a court may find there is a
substantial risk of serious future injury based on the manner in
which a less serious injury was inflicted, a history of repeated
inflictions of injuries on the child or the child's siblings, or a
combination of these and other actions by the parent or guardian
which indicate the child is at risk of serious physical harm. For
purposes of this subdivision, "serious physical harm" does not
include reasonable and age-appropriate spanking to the buttocks where
there is no evidence of serious physical injury.
(b) The child has suffered, or there is a substantial risk that
the child will suffer, serious physical harm or illness, as a result
of the failure or inability of his or her parent or guardian to
adequately supervise or protect the child, or the willful or
negligent failure of the child's parent or guardian to adequately
supervise or protect the child from the conduct of the custodian with
whom the child has been left, or by the willful or negligent failure
of the parent or guardian to provide the child with adequate food,
clothing, shelter, or medical treatment, or by the inability of the
parent or guardian to provide regular care for the child due to the
parent's or guardian's mental illness, developmental disability, or
substance abuse. No child shall be found to be a person described by
this subdivision solely due to the lack of an emergency shelter for
the family.

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family_man
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby family_man » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:47 am

I am not aware of any law in California that prohibits spanking or paddling a child with an object (other than the hand) in a non-exceesive manner when warranted. However, the qualifications "warranted" and "excessive" are vague and open to interpretation. That's the problem. There are some people who consider any hitting of a child to be criminal assault. There are others who consider failure to discipline a child to be "neglect." So you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. CPS has already decided you are a risk to your son, or they wouldn't have taken him into their emergency custody. You really do need an attorney to represent you on Wednesday, who knows the law and the right questions to ask, if you're going to head off a year of separation from him.

Section 273d of the California Penal Code prohibits willful infliction of a traumatic condition by cruel or inhuman corporal punishment. "Traumatic condition" is defined as "a wound or abnormal bodily condition resulting from the application of some external force." People v. Stewart, 188 C.A.2d 88, 91 (1961).

The law appears more concerned with the reasonableness of the punishment under the circumstances, and whether the child is physically injured, than with what is used to spank a child. The likelihood of injury (traumatic condition) is not automatically determined by whether an empty hand or an object is used to spanking a child. A fist can be used to inflict a "traumatic condition" if the blow results in a swollen eye, a cut and swollen lip on a child. See People v. Thomas, 65 C.A.3d 854 (1977).

Finally, although spanking a child in public may result in complaints being filed with Child Protective Services by third parties, there is no state law prohibiting spanking in public.


http://www.pacificjustice.org/content/parents-rights-discipline-california
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice.

fatherofthree
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby fatherofthree » Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:43 pm

I retired as a police officer in CA. I can say It is not against the law to spank a child. Now to further clarify you cannot beat the shiat out of a child. If you leave marks and bruises, then it "could" be considered excessive or abuse, depending on the specific case. I know some kids will toss about and resist being spanked, hence possible accidental bruising.
Information I cannot review:
I would be curious to what was stated by your child; what evidence was found; photographs; prior cps/criminal history; what questions were asked, ect.

A report like this IS appropriate for mandatory reporters if there are marks/bruises. The object of the intake is to find out if they are being abused or not. If not, clear the parents and move on.

This is not meant to be legal advice nor take the place of an attorney
.
DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney and am not providing legal advice.

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monkette31
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby monkette31 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:03 pm

I'm in LA County and I've been told that it's fine to spank but it cannot leave any marks. This is what a social worker told me at one point several years ago. So my guess is that may be the issue here, the marks. There is also another policy down here that says the abuse is not abuse if it was an accidental incident.

State laws on spanking may be clear but DCFS has their own policies which outweigh the letter of the law on spanking. Another issue you have may have, the accidental nature of the incident, by law is also defined as not abuse, however in the end I think DCFS policiees, which differ are the ones that rule.

There's more here at : scroll down to United States section, they start about California right away. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporal_p ... n_the_home
I'm not a lawyer but will try and help you any way i can. My postings may seem harsh but they all stem from personal experience with DCFS. I am not a victim and take responsibility for my part in my life, but I will always help ANYONE learn about the corrupt sick system.

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monkette31
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby monkette31 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:08 pm

The dcfs policies up here also refer to "age appropriate spanking" as a matter of determining abuse, so if you had told them that you hit all children with a belt as a form of punishment, they may write it up as you commonly using a belt on a very young child. They are pretty sneaky, but I would try and get a trial on this matter...and a lawyer.
I'm not a lawyer but will try and help you any way i can. My postings may seem harsh but they all stem from personal experience with DCFS. I am not a victim and take responsibility for my part in my life, but I will always help ANYONE learn about the corrupt sick system.

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monkette31
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby monkette31 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:12 pm

Since our counties are so close, here is an article I read last year that sounds eerily similar to what you're going through. I would read some of the comments, as James has a suggestion, perhaps for mediation in this matter. When they drag you to court, try and ask for a safety plan instead of breaking the family apart.

http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_18941445
I'm not a lawyer but will try and help you any way i can. My postings may seem harsh but they all stem from personal experience with DCFS. I am not a victim and take responsibility for my part in my life, but I will always help ANYONE learn about the corrupt sick system.

SDCHARGERS
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby SDCHARGERS » Mon Feb 06, 2012 1:16 am

I want to thank you all for your replies and provide an update. My children are out of the children center and with their grandmother. The boys have learned some bad habits such as cursing and talking back to adults, which they never did prior to being removed. Also it seems as if my oldest son has been brain washed believing that we do bad things to him because we spanked him in the past, which I would like to add I can count on maybe one hand the amount of times he has been spanked. It is very unfortunate that the system has now advised my children to call 911 for anything. My wife heard them singing a song saying "call 911 when mommy and daddy try to spank you, 911 911".

At this time I have a lawyer and plan to go to trial as I have done nothing wrong and have never left any marks on any of my children. According to CPS the children stated after a spanking they had redness on their bottoms, but never told me or told each other about it. My wife was identified as giving the child two linear bruises on the thigh and one on the wrist as the child moved and tried to shield himself during the discipline act, but stated it was by the child that this was an accident and I have that on a recording at the time he was taken from us. I plan to voluntary do parenting classes, but will not agree to any CPS terms. I believe that any classes I take are an investment in myself in order to be the best parent I can and not because I did anything wrong. I never hit my children out of angry, but instead discipline them to change their behavior that I know is wrong and try make them a better person in the long run. I am just stunned that my children have been indoctrinated to the point where they are lobing threats at us when anything they say will be taken literally. I know if you show indecisiveness to a child they will walk all over you and I am determined to remain in control and guide them to be good kids and eventually good men. I just need to find a way to do this without using any physical discipline because obviously this brings up red flags and is causing to many problems. I just hope I can achieve this life lesson by using a more softer approach.

In the meantime I need to know how I can speak with them to try and make them understand what they are doing is dangerous without violating the court order to not discuss the case, but I don't want to bring up the subject as I don't want to keep reminding them of the spanking. I am just hope this will all work out, but scared to death that the social worker will speak with them at school and they will say things which will be taken out of context and used against us.

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monkette31
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby monkette31 » Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:59 am

wow...they are being instructed that a spanking is not allowed and to call 911?...wow.

A standard order during any dcfs involvement includes: No corporal punishment of any kind, at least that's what is on ALL of our orders. Also, did they send any reports to your children? I know, they are young, but dcfs always managed to send the report as well to the children when/while they were taken, they might have read things.

I'm glad at least the kids are with grandma and not split up in many different foster homes.
I'm not a lawyer but will try and help you any way i can. My postings may seem harsh but they all stem from personal experience with DCFS. I am not a victim and take responsibility for my part in my life, but I will always help ANYONE learn about the corrupt sick system.

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Eljay
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby Eljay » Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:37 pm

You're going about this all right. :) Good for you for taking this to trial, although make sure you weigh your options carefully. Are they encouraging/offering for you to agree to "voluntary services" at this point? Could you possibly avoid a trial (stress, time off work, atty fees) by agreeing to a service plan at this point? The problem is that these caseworkers don't play fair and you never know what they are going to try to do to win their case. Unfortunately, your case isn't all that clear-cut and things could go badly for your if the judge is of the opinion that what happened was excessive. Not that I'm trying to advocate for giving in to CPS, but it's a much easier decision to fight when the allegations are false or greatly exaggerated. What you have is a question of interpretation, which is subjective. If you opt for voluntary services now, then you can negotiate what you'll agree to. If you think that you and mom going to benefit by attending parenting classes (ones that YOU found, not the CPS sanctioned/partnered classes) then tell them you'll agree to attend them for X months and will have verification of attendance forms sent. Negotiate that the kids come home with you guys immediately. They will probably want to also check in with the kids 1-2 times per month. If you can live with that, then having it be YOUR choice and not court mandated would help you to transition out of it faster. If all goes well during their six months, you can push for closing the case. Very unlikely that they'd push for further services as they'd have to go back to court and would have no new evidence. You can also negotiate the service plan as far down as you can get it (minimal involvement in your lives) but if they won't budge into a comfortable plan for you, take THAT plan to court and tell the judge that you'll agree if they change/remove that one other item. Then you'll be able to say, "Okay, I'll agree to that plan if the petition for removal is withdrawn" and avoid having to make it court mandated.

No matter what, you need to get a statement on file. You probably have a hearing before the trial date, right? I would prepare a statement w/your lawyer to get on record that points out the California law on corporal punishment, what happened and how what you did falls within the law. I would also make a HUGE issue of the children being taught to call 911 when "mommy and daddy TRY to spank you." Emergency/911 services are for life-threatening circumstances and crimes in progress. To see that a CPS-sanctioned facility is promoting the use of 911 for this purpose is egregious beyond words.

As for other discipline techniques, I'll share ours with you. I have a 13 yr old son w/ADD, son of a grown man with ADD who grew up during the time when ADD didn't exist and boys were just discipline problems. His upbringing involved a lot of physical discipline and he grew up hating his father for it. When our son started needing discipline, it was hard for my husband to think of anything BUT a spanking, or threat thereof, prefaced by yelling and intimidation. That was all he knew. It took a lot for me to control my husband and get him to invest in other discipline methods. That said, our son absolutely deserved spankings at times, but most of the time, he needed reminders, incentives and ADD medication. Time outs are okay for some things, but when you've got a 4 yr old who is playing with toys instead getting his shoes on (which you've asked him to do 4 times and now you're going to be late if you don't get out of the house NOW) then a time-out doesn't work. So.... here's my universal child discipline method:

DISCIPLINE DIMES
--------------------------
1. Pick a cup/dish/bowl for each child and one for the parent. Fill the parent's cup with dimes. Never spend another dime... they all go in the cup!

2. Determine an allowance amount for weekly allowance. We use $0.50 per year of age (so a 6 year old gets $3/week; a 12 yr old gets $6/week).

3. Put each child's allowance in dimes in each cup on a day that will be deemed "pay day."

4. Make three lists: House rules, chores (for each child) and bonus chores.

5. Sit down with kids and explain the new system:
- Allowance will be placed in the cups on (let's just say) Sunday evening.
- During the week, they will have the opportunity to earn or lose dimes based on their behavior.
- Whatever is left at the end of the week is what they are paid.
- If they ever run out of dimes completely, they spend the rest of the day in their room; the following morning they get one dime to start the day.
- When they are told to move a dime(s) they must do it immediately. If they do not respond, mom/dad will move to do it and will DOUBLE the punishment (this usually gets them running to the cup).
- If they ever are caught moving a dime without authority, they will lose 4 weeks of allowance (or whatever you deem appropriate)

6. Chores are expected to be done by X:00; each chore not done by that time will lose a dime (it's not about $ for chores, but taking responsibility). A child who regularly avoids a certain chore will be subject to other discipline, even more chores, etc. Chores can be simple for little kids (make your bed, pick up toys, clear the table) and, of course, more complex for older kids (but recommended 1-3 small chores per day).

7. The great part about this is that you get to tailor it to your home/family/child/situation. For us, we expect that when a child is called, he/she says, "Yes Sir/Ma'am" and is moving within about 5 seconds. If not, a second call is made "now pay me a dime and come here."
Child leaves shoes all over the house? Come here, pay me a dime and put your shoes away.
Leaves dishes at the table? My 13 yr old is notorious for this, loses 5 dimes every time.
Didn't make your bed? Pay me a dime and go make it.... later that day: STILL haven't made your bed? Pay me 2 dimes and go make it! (I double the dimes if they don't do it when told, then triple, etc.)
You didn't give your brother the TV remote when the timer went off? One dime for every minute you went over your allotted time.

8. If/when a child hits or is mean to a sibling, they pay dimes to both the sibling AND the parent.

9. Now the fun part.... the rewards! Respond with a willing helping hand? Yay! A dime! Empty the dishwasher without being asked? 5 dimes! Share your last cookie with your sister? 10 dimes! Help the neighbor rake leaves? 10 dimes! We also have a list of bonus chores that earn them extra dimes, but wow... you should see the eager, helpful children when dimes are on the line. :) Awww... you're ready for school 5 minutes early? 3 dimes for that! Packed your lunch AND your brothers? 5 dimes for that! Washing a car is a 20 dime bonus. During training periods, they may get an extra dime for something that is a standard expectation (our son had a real hard time remembering the 'yes ma'am/sir' so we paid him a dime when he did, but we didn't pay our daughter because she did it 99% of the time).

It's very flexible and can be tailored to suit your family. You can use real dimes or play money, or poker chips or ???? More or less allowance as you see fit. It teaches young children to count (they have to count their dimes on payday). It teaches them the value of money... when you're at the store and they say, "Daddy PLEASE buy me that toy!" you just respond, "that's about 3 weeks worth of dimes... you'd better be on your best behavior and save up!" You can discipline out of the home by keeping tabs of their good and bad behavior wherever you are, they just take/pay dimes when you get home.

You can entice them to behave with the promise of dimes, get them moving "I'm taking a dime for every 5 seconds I have to wait for you!" Have a child who balks at brushing his teeth? For the next month, you'll pay 2 dimes each morning & night he does it without being asked. Always crawling into mom & dad's bed in the middle of the night? For the next month, a dime for each day you wake up in your own bed. Having trouble getting rid of a pacifier? 10 dimes for each one turned in. (We started our kids on this when they were 3 & 4). Roll your eyes at me? I'll take an apology and 5 dimes. Teenager coming home late? A dime for every minute late. Tired of kids leaving their stuff all over the house? Collect it all in a bin, then on payday, they have to pay a dime for each item they left out, or they "buy" it back, giving them the choice to buy it or lose it forever.

The best part of this for us, as parents, is that it gives you something to do OTHER than yelling, spanking, taking things away (there are other situations that warrant other forms of discipline), but the dimes make for a quick and easy way to raise awareness that they are doing something good or something bad, a little reward, a little punishment, not just a lecture again. Raise their awareness without having to get into a power struggle.

You can also teach them to save, tithe, give to charity and PAY DEBTS with their allowance, i.e. for broken glasses and lost retainers. Really, the bottom line is you end up paying for them, so give him $5 a week, but take back +/-50% of it each payday until the debt is paid. Then he's paying for it out of what could have been fun money and you're having a conversation about the cost of those broken glasses every single week. Not to berate him or yell at him, but just to let him know the impact of his actions.
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.

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LynMCo
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby LynMCo » Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:21 pm

Eljay, Awesome parenting! I salute you!

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Eljay
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby Eljay » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:47 am

Awwww... Thanks! :)
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 ----<>----<>----<>----

MotherGoose84
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby MotherGoose84 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:15 pm

You are doing well to stay informed.
The classes are great and hopefully you can get some one on one time with the instructor or any parent aid. Anything you voluntarily do looks better than having to be ordered to do by the courts. Finding other discipline alternatives are really all I see to complete your case at this point.
Surely they are casing your home and have a list of things for you to complete like fire extinguishers, emergency plan and #s listed etc.
I would go as far to have a list of rules in each room with a consequence posted perhaps to show them your design of discipline actions and so its clear to the children & the agency.
Some thing as simple as "jumping on the couch, consequence being you will have to vaccum the couch entirely", something of that nature.
Some kids do well to have pictorial reminders of whats expected, like in the bathroom, list/picture brush teeth; put cap back on; rinse sink; they have websites that can help you print off pictures with step by steps. Every child is different and responds differently to different disciplines so that will aid you in determining what might work best for each child vs corporal punishments. Also there's the whole mommy/daddy time out to think about how to respond more positively and effectively and afterwards if you still feel corperal punishment is key then do so.
Hope that helps & I will keep you and your kiddos in my thoughts and prayers along with so many others. Its a long heart breaking process & Glad to hear they are with Grandma =)

fatherofthree
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Re: Help CPS Took My Children!!

Postby fatherofthree » Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:19 am

Interesting update. I know I've investigated many cases of this type in police work, and on most occasions we chalk it up too excessive discipline and counsel the parent on the use of physical discipline. As I said before, contrary to most social workers beliefs, It is not against the law to spank you child.

If this were my investigation, I would want to see a couple of factors.

1: I would be curious to see the bruising and/or photographs. DO NOT POST any pictures of that sort of your child. I am more thinking allowed and in this scenario nobody needs to see those aside from your counsel.

2: I would be curious to hear the records your child made during their statements. What they said, along with the markings probably lead to this legal action.

3: Are there any criminal charges pending or just the CPS civil case?

Do not speak to your kids about what to say to CPS. If the court finds out, you will be hosed as that would be construed as coercing your children or even intimidating a witness.
DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney and am not providing legal advice.


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