oklahoma

Newcomers, please post something to let us know who you are and if you have an open case, you can post about it here.

Moderators: family_man, LindaJM

formybbg
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:54 am

oklahoma

Postby formybbg » Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:20 am

Hello. I am new here, OK DHS has taken my baby girl, solely for the fact that there was a domestic violence incident in my home, between myself and husband. And I ended up calling the police. DHS showed up 10 days later to take my baby simply because she had been in the home. She was not harmed in any way, and she was asleep til the very end of it. There was no warning, no investigation, they just got the report from the police and got a pick up order. I was not home when they came, so I contacted the caseworker and a lawyer. I kept my baby until they approved a kinship placement and then turned her over to her grandmother.
This was 5 days ago. We went through the show cause hearing where they just showed us proof that there was an incident of domestic violence in the home and called it reasonable suspicion. Suspicion of what? I don't know, it hasn't been said.
I like my lawyer and I can't afford anyone else, but she doesn't seem very strong in representing us. I intend to be better prepared to speak up myself at the next hearing next week. Initial appearance whatever that is. But they already have her. And it hurts more each day. I'm breastfeeding and trying to keep it up by pumping several times a day and delivering milk every day. At least I can do that for her.
Edit: I forgot to mention that we attempted an emergency guardianship to her grandmother to keep DHS out of it, but the judge denied it because of the pending DHS case.

whosechildrenarethey
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: oklahoma

Postby whosechildrenarethey » Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:20 pm

Oklahoma
Circumstances That Constitute Witnessing
Ann. Stat. Tit. 21, § 644(H)
In criminal law: ‘In the presence of a child’ means in the physical presence of a child or having knowledge that a child
is present and may see or hear an act of domestic violence. For the purposes of this section, a ‘child’ may be any child
whether or not related to the victim or the defendant.


Consequences
Ann. Stat. Tit. 21, § 644(G)
Any person convicted of domestic abuse that was committed in the presence of a child shall be punished by:
• Imprisonment for not less than 6 months or more than 1 year, a fine not exceeding $5,000, or by both
• For second or subsequent convictions, imprisonment for not less than 1 year or more than 5 years, a fine not
exceeding $7,000, or by both
For every conviction of domestic abuse, the court shall specifically order as a condition of a suspended sentence or
probation that a defendant participate in counseling or undergo treatment by an individual licensed practitioner or a
domestic abuse treatment program certified by the attorney general to bring about the cessation of domestic abuse.
If the defendant is ordered to participate in a domestic abuse counseling or treatment program, the order shall require
the defendant to attend the program for a minimum of 52 weeks, complete the program, and be evaluated before and
after attendance of the program by a program counselor or a private counselor.
The defendant may be required to pay all or part of the cost of the counseling or treatment, at the discretion of the court.


"This factsheet discusses laws that extend legal protection to children who may be harmed by witnessing acts of domestic violence in their homes. The issues examined include the circumstances that constitute "witnessing" domestic violence and the legal consequence to persons who commit the domestic violence, such as enhanced penalties and fines. Summaries of laws for all States and U.S. territories are included."


https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide ... nessdv.cfm

formybbg
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:54 am

Re: oklahoma

Postby formybbg » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:32 am

Thank you. But it doesn't say there that a punishment for domestic violence is removal of child. I could understand the incident being grounds for an investigation. But to take the baby right away? And ten days after the incident. I believe any imminent danger had passed by that time.

whosechildrenarethey
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: oklahoma

Postby whosechildrenarethey » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:01 pm

I agree that much of any State's Statutory language is subjective but in this particular instance it seems clear. DV when committed with the knowledge that a child/ren are present in the home, is considered DV in the presence of the child/ren. This alone seems to have given CPS their inside fast track to removal of the child/ren and the court their Jurisdiction over the case unless there were other allegations included in the CPS Shelter Petition to the Court.

Hopefully you are working on your Declaration of Facts and or Objections and Corrections to the Petition so it's ready to be admitted into the court record at your upcoming hearing. CPS allegations not disputed, denied or refuted will turn into facts on the court record. You will want to ask your attorney to review it first and then place it on the record. http://familyrights.us/how_to/fight_cps.html

DV when it occurs the first time, is something we generally can't predict absent a crystal ball. If this is a one time incident, the court needs to know about it. At this point the court only knows what CPS's allegations are against you which they outlined in their Petition to the court when the kids were removed. You will want to attach supporting documentation as exhibits to your declaration so the Judge has facts about your family and situation to counter the CPS allegations which no doubt will paint and ugly picture. Health Records, Dental records, highlighting the children were free from any marks or bruises at the time they were removed and that they were in good health, clean, well dressed and absent from any physical/visual signs of abuse/neglect, school attendance, copies of paid rent/mortgage receipts, employment verification, criminal background checks ... etc...

formybbg
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:54 am

Re: oklahoma

Postby formybbg » Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:19 pm

What petition? I'm not working on anything. I don't know what to do, that's why I'm here. I don't know what they are alleging except that there was dv in the home, which they proved in the first hearing, and is true, there was this single incident. This next hearing they said we just show up and its super fast, like 60seconds before the judge. The lawyer said we should receive the petition there?
Last edited by formybbg on Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:29 am, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
family_man
Posts: 1138
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:02 am
Location: TX

Re: oklahoma

Postby family_man » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:28 am

When you say, "They already have her," do you mean DHS already has your daughter in their legal custody? Are they or have they petitioned the court to obtain legal custody? That may be what the initial hearing is all about. If your daughter slept through the whole incident, then there is no way she could have been a "witness" to it. You should definitely make that point.

When you called the police you thought you were doing what was best for your family. Instead you are being rewarded by having your baby girl removed from it, right when she needs you the most. This sure sounds like punishing the victim. I don't know how far the DV went, but parents need to think twice about calling the police in such situations. For relatively minor verbal altercations, it isn't worth the trauma of losing your kids. Most parents have no idea of what can happen.
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice.

formybbg
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:54 am

Re: oklahoma

Postby formybbg » Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:26 am

They have her.. I don't know. She is in kinship placement through dhs, I thought that meant they have custody. The hearing said they had to show reasonable suspicion and she would remain in custody. I don't know. The only document I've seen is my lawyer gave me a copy of the pick up order right before the show cause hearing.

whosechildrenarethey
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: oklahoma

Postby whosechildrenarethey » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:30 pm

When CPS removed your child they had to file a Petition with the Court containing their allegations against you. If you do not have a copy you should. Your Attorney should have a copy or check with the clerk of courts at your local Court house to obtain a copy. In that Petition are CPS's allegations against you. Those are the allegations you want to refute, rebut, and deny in your Declaration for the court Record. When CPS removed your child they took temporary care, custody and control of the child. You mentioned Kinship Care which means your lil one is with a relative and that's a good thing. Within the Court's order in response to CPS's Petition there should be court orders which will likely include visitation specifics. You will want a copy of that as well. Ask for a copy of the Petition and all court orders in response to the Petition. Each State is a little different but the dependency court process is generally as follows if they have removed your child. Shelter Hearing within 72 after removal. Next court hearing is the Arraignment where you will either admit or deny the allegations. After that it's usually Pretrial and then Trial and if found in the wrong you will have to work a case plan and there will at some point be a dispositional hearing. CPS will work hard prior to a hearing to get you to voluntarily sign a Case Plan. What they don't tell you is that facts on the court record not denied or refuted will stand as facts and you will have a child abuse/neglect history with CPS if that is allowed to happen.

formybbg
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:54 am

Re: oklahoma

Postby formybbg » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:45 pm

Hmm. As far as I know, my lawyer only has the pick up order. I guess I will try the court clerk tomorrow. I was reading on the other site you linked about not signing the service plan? They are setting us up a "team meeting" I guess to start discussing the service plan, that is going to be on the same day as our next hearing for schedule reasons. Monday.

whosechildrenarethey
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: oklahoma

Postby whosechildrenarethey » Wed Apr 02, 2014 5:33 pm

You will find Oklahoma's Definition of child abuse/neglect at this link by scrolling down to Oklahoma:

https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide ... 2&view=Fit

After reviewing it, how do you see the circumstances of what occurred in your DV case resulting in CPS removing your child?

As I mentioned previously, CPS will push hard to get you into one of their plans without ever having a trial, (CASE PLAN, SAFETY PLAN, SERVICE PLAN). Regardless what they call it, it has the same effect if they can get you to voluntarily contract with them agreeing to their plan. You will never have your day in court. CPS will never have to prove you did something wrong because there will never be a hearing on the matter. Whatever their allegations are against you, they will remain facts undisputed, denied, or refuted and you will come out of all this with a negative case file and history with CPS if they can get you to voluntarily sign their plan. IDK what their specific allegations against you are but as you can clearly see, DV is not included in the abuse/neglect category and if the first link I sent you is relevant to your case I would think it was the DV perpetrator and not the victim who would be held accountable. Your attorney should be able to tell you how this DV incident fits into Oklahoma law and the dependency court's jurisdiction over your child who was asleep in another room when the incident took place. You called the Police to get the DV situation under control and I am going to assume you followed up with an order of protection for yourself and your child and that he is no longer living in the home? You have to educate yourself as best you can and make a decision to fight CPS or work their Plan. Either way, you will want to make an informed decision so you need to see the Petition filed against you by CPS which your attorney should have or the clerk of court. If not, you will want to ask your CPS social worker for a copy of the original Petition and the courts orders ASAP... You have to know what their specific allegations are before you sign and agree to anything. If you decide to fight them, you will want to use your Declaration and have it placed on the record denying, refuting and rebutting their allegations. Also, Case Plans are not written in stone. What I mean by that is that at any time, should CPS decide you need additional services, all they have to do is go to court and ask the Judge to add the additional services. Usually they tell the Judge "new information has come to light" or something equally as lame. They may have you jumping through hoops for months to come. Also, CPS likes to include in their services that you have a Psych Evaluation rendered by their contracted Dr. and paid for by them. Subjective mumbo jumbo maybe, but the Dr.'s hold a lot of sway in a court room and CPS likes to put the Dr. on the stand to make parent's look bad if for any reason CPS decides to attempt to TPR. Just food for thought.

formybbg
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:54 am

Re: oklahoma

Postby formybbg » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:13 am

Ok. As far as i can gather, no petition has been filed yet. They are currently doing their investigation. Which means calling our friends and family to ask questions about us. I was told that at the hearing monday is where we will be served with the petition. And that is apparently the sole purpose of this hearing. Just to go before the judge and receive this petition. After this hearing we are having a team meeting. With our investigative worker, our permanency worker the investigative is passing us on to, this service plan worker, the care provider (grandma), my husband, myself, and any other friends and family we would like involved in our plan and support. In this meeting we will discuss the reasons we are here, why cps got involved, what they found during their investigation, and what services can be offered to help "alleviate any safety concerns that were found during the investigation," and "help us get to a safe point for reunification which is the ultimate goal."
I did call the police to end the situation that night. There was no protective order, no charges filed on my part, and we still share a home. We decided before cps even got involved that we needed to take some steps to fix the things that led up to this incident, and prevent it from ever happening again. And we intend to do so, on our own, and with the support of our families.

whosechildrenarethey
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: oklahoma

Postby whosechildrenarethey » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:03 pm

This will give you a glimpse of Oklahoma CPS process and what your up against. I have been searching but still can not find anything in the Oklahoma Child Welfare Code that specifically speaks and relates to Domestic Violence, unless it's considered threat of harm? This is something you will want to ask your Attorney about and you will know more after CPS files their Petition containing there specific allegations. Until then, I strongly urge you to not sign anything prior to knowing exactly what your being accused of and the consequences of doing so.



OKLAHOMA:

340:75-3-510. Reports to the district attorney regarding child abuse or neglect investigations:

http://www.okdhs.org/library/policy/oac ... 510000.htm


340:75-3-500. Child Protective Services investigation findings:

http://www.okdhs.org/library/policy/oac ... 500000.htm


Title 10A. Children and Juvenile Code:

http://www.oscn.net/applications/oscn/D ... eID=455456


OAC 340: Chapter 75. Child Welfare
Subchapter 3. Child Protective Services:

http://www.okdhs.org/library/policy/oac340/075/03/

formybbg
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:54 am

Re: oklahoma

Postby formybbg » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:21 pm

Well we got a letter today stating they have substantiated allegations of neglect on both of us. Neglect by exposure to domestic violence, failure to protect, and threat of harm, for both of us. And it included a form to mail back if we would like to appeal. Will see my lawyer in the morning.

whosechildrenarethey
Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: oklahoma

Postby whosechildrenarethey » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:30 pm

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/userm ... olence.pdf


Questions: Assessment for domestic violence should occur on every child abuse and neglect report received by the agency. Initial screening questions typically include:
•Is any adult in the home being assaulted or hurtby his or her partner? •Have the police ever been to the home to respondto assaults against adults or children?
•Have the children said that one of their care takers is a victim of violence or is acting violently in the home?
•Have weapons been used to threaten or harm a family member? If so, what kind of weapon andi s it still in the home? If the reporter confirms the presence of domestic violence, the initial screener should continue with additional questions to determine the nature and severity of the abuse and the risks posed to the children. Examples of supplementary questions include:
•Have the children intervened or been physically harmed during a violent assault?
•Is the perpetrator physically or sexually abusing the children?
•How is the violence affecting the children?
•Has the abuser made threats of homicide or suicide?
•Does the abuser have access to dangerous weapons or firearms?
•Is the non offending parent able to protect the child? If so, how?95\\
Initial screeners also should ask if the reporter is aware of efforts by the alleged victim to protect the children. Systematically collecting initial information regarding domestic violence will allow the screener to make a competent and informed decision as to whether the report should proceed for further assessment.

These may all be good arguments for you against CPS Intervention. Also, you will want to get a copy of the Police Report resulting from your call to them at the time of the incident. Having an argument that rises to the level of raised voices and actual pushing and punching are very different although both likely may be considered domestic violence. What does the police report say? You need to know because you can be sure CPS does.

Try as I might, I still can not see how CPS can make their case against you using Oklahoma's definition of neglect. I'm certain many couples/parent's have disagreements while the children are in the home and the fact that you called the police alone should not make this DV. What happened in your situation that the disagreement was raised to the level of DV resulting in the police notifying CPS? That's what you have to ask yourself? Furthermore, your having called the police demonstrates you did in fact protect your child from any potential of harm. Threat of harm, how so when the child was not even in the room and slept through it. All good questions for your Attorney. You may want to print out Oklahoma child abuse/neglect definition's to take with you when you speak to your attorney so she can go over it with you line by line with an explanation of how you were substantiated for Neglect by way of exposure to domestic violence, failure to protect, and threat of harm?

Neglect
Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-1-105
‘Neglect’ means any of the following:
• The failure of omission to provide any of the following:
»» Adequate nurturance and affection, food, clothing, shelter, sanitation, hygiene, or appropriate education
»» Medical, dental, or behavioral health care
»» Supervision or appropriate caregivers
»» Special care made necessary by the physical or mental condition of the child
• The failure or omission to protect a child from exposure to any of the following:
»» The use, possession, sale, or manufacture of illegal drugs
»» Illegal activities
»» Sexual acts or materials that are not age-appropriate
• Abandonment
‘Heinous and shocking neglect’ includes, but is not limited to:

formybbg
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:54 am

Re: oklahoma

Postby formybbg » Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:32 pm

We have read all this. Don't quite know how to use it. We have seen the police report, and the photos the police took of my forming bruises. DHS used them to show reasonable suspicion in our showcause hearing. The police report states that the baby was in the room with us. That is incorrect, and there were a few other incorrect statements in it which I explained and corrected during the interview with the caseworker.
Our lawyer said basically we should go along with them to get babygirl back, and she's starting work on our case to sue. She said usually since there has already been court action on our case (order for removal), we wouldn't be eligible for appeal. But since they sent us the form for appeal we should sign and send it in, all they can do is say no. I asked her about sending our evidence and declaration with it and she said we can and let her look it over first. So I guess we will work on getting that together this weekend.
Their recommendations are for him to do batterers intervention (which he has already started), for me to leave him and continue my education on domestic violence (I'm not sure what that means). For us both to seek individual counseling (which I have begun) and for us to do family counseling. (Why would I leave him, AND do family counseling with him?) And we were planning on doing all the counseling since the incident anyway.

User avatar
family_man
Posts: 1138
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:02 am
Location: TX

Re: oklahoma

Postby family_man » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:30 pm

Whether you or the state has legal custody of your child is a big deal. It is important to get a definite answer to this.

If CPS deemed your child to be in imminent danger of harm, they could have taken your child into emergency custody without a court order. However, they would have had to convince a judge very shortly thereafter in court that their actions were necessary for the safety of the child, and that reasonable actions to keep her safe in your home were not possible. It's hard to believe that you and your attorney could be unaware of such legal proceedings, if the state had actually undertaken them.

I therefore have to assume that you still have legal custody of your child, and that the kinship placement should be viewed as a step that you voluntarily took, at the request of CPS, to keep your child safe while the investigation was ongoing. The case is now closed with a finding that the allegations against both of you were substantiated. CPS has given you written notice that you have the right to contest these findings. They wouldn't have done this if there were any legal actions pending. CPS has made recommendations for you which they believe will make such DV incidents less likely in the future. I believe these should be viewed only as recommendations, since they are not court-ordered. Because the case is now closed, I see no reason why you couldn't go and pick your child up and take her home whenever you want, being forewarned that the next time something like this happens, CPS won't let you off so easy. What am I missing?
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice.

formybbg
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:54 am

Re: oklahoma

Postby formybbg » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:01 pm

There is nothing on us in oklahoma judicial system, state, county or city courts we've checked ok court system docket records online and I called the county clerk. Lawyer said they have their own administrative court. County clerk said juvenile court is different and separate from them. If the state had custody..where would we find that out?

User avatar
family_man
Posts: 1138
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:02 am
Location: TX

Re: oklahoma

Postby family_man » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:03 am

Your lawyer was talking about your appeal to the CPS finding that their allegations of child abuse were substantiated. This matter will be settled first in their own administrative "court." However, this isn't a real court, and it won't affect your custody of your girl. Only a real court, with a real judge, elected by the people can do that. That is not to say that this administrative court is unimportant. At stake is whether your names will be removed from the Oklahoma Child Abuse Registry. With your names on this Registry, you and your husband will never be able to get a job, or do volunteer work, in the child care industry anywhere in the state. If you don't get satisfaction at the administrative court, your next step is to appeal the matter to a real judge in a real court.

If you had lost custody of your child, you certainly would have been served notice of it, AND you would be able to obtain records of that order through the official Oklahoma Court System, which is easily searchable by any judicial clerk of any court (appellate, superior, county or juvenile). The fact that you have made an effort to locate such orders and came up empty convinces me that there was no court involvement in your case. Therefore you still have custody of your girl, and you are free to pick her up whenever you want. I am sorry that CPS and your lawyer didn't make that clear to you.
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice.

formybbg
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:54 am

Re: oklahoma

Postby formybbg » Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:46 am

This is all so confusing and frustrating. So she's technically still ours, until what. Until they file their petition?

User avatar
family_man
Posts: 1138
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:02 am
Location: TX

Re: oklahoma

Postby family_man » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:05 pm

What makes you think they're going to take any court action at all? Everything you've written is consistent with your case being closed. Good luck with your administrative appeal, but even if you don't succeed in overturning the decision, you can still keep your daughter. Raise your her well and don't let anything like this happen again. If you want to be safer still, move to a different state, where CPS will have no record of this unfortunate incident.
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice.

formybbg
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:54 am

Re: oklahoma

Postby formybbg » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:14 pm

But they had the court order, and police officers to take her. It can't be that simple. And if the case is closed, why are we meeting our new case worker Monday to start working on our service plan. Grandma doesn't want to do anything that would make dhs take baby out of her care, including unauthorized visits.

User avatar
family_man
Posts: 1138
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:02 am
Location: TX

Re: oklahoma

Postby family_man » Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:01 pm

formybbg wrote: I was told that at the hearing monday is where we will be served with the petition. And that is apparently the sole purpose of this hearing. Just to go before the judge and receive this petition. After this hearing we are having a team meeting. With our investigative worker, our permanency worker the investigative is passing us on to, this service plan worker, the care provider (grandma), my husband, myself, and any other friends and family we would like involved in our plan and support. In this meeting we will discuss the reasons we are here, why cps got involved, what they found during their investigation, and what services can be offered to help "alleviate any safety concerns that were found during the investigation," and "help us get to a safe point for reunification which is the ultimate goal."


OK, I'm sorry, but I forgot about this statement. From what you wrote here, the state is planning to file a petition to obtain temporary custody of your baby. I'm not sure whether the judge will rule on the petition on Monday, or not. This would definitely be a good time to have your Statement of Facts ready, so the judge can see your side of the story. When they talk about "reunification," they mean returning custody back to you, as they assume that the judge will almost automatically approve the petition.

formybbg wrote:We have read all this. Don't quite know how to use it.

The answers to all of these questions should be placed in your Statement of Facts. Sooner or later you will have an opportunity to stipulate (agree) that you subjected your daughter to abuse or to deny it. If you deny it, it may prompt an evidentiary hearing to settle the issue. On the other hand, it may prompt CPS to close the case if they feel they have insufficient evidence to demonstrate neglect. Your attorney seems inclined to simply agree that abuse was committed without presenting any evidence to the contrary. Fighting the allegations will entail more legal fees, but if you're successful, you will get your daughter back sooner. It's a very difficult decision every parent in your situation has to make.

CPS cannot order the two of you to separate, but they can make it very difficult for you to get your daughter back if you stay together. Another consequence of stipulating to neglect, as your attorney recommends, is that you may have to separate or divorce. When I was in a similar situation, I stipulated to neglect, legally separated from my spouse, reunified with my children, moved out of state, then reunified with my spouse. In your case, we'll have to cross these bridges if and when they come up.

Once again, I apologize for giving you wrong information previously, since it looked to me as though the case was closed.
Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice.

formybbg
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:54 am

Re: oklahoma

Postby formybbg » Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:56 pm

I have considered doing that. When they first said they are going to take her I said to my husband maybe we should divorce, get her back with me, then move away and remarry down the road. That could be acceptable, just that I wanted to be here for support if the DA decided to press charges with the domestic. He would think I've abandoned him. Really want my babe back home though. Really want our family whole. I don't know what to do at this point.


Return to “Newcomers - Welcome to the site - please sign in here”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests