Family hopes child-protective system gets fixed

Full story: WOOD-TV Grand Rapids and Michigan

A West Michigan family is speaking out in hopes a system that protects newborns gets fixed.

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The Truth

Sterling Heights, MI

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#41
Aug 11, 2008
 
Allover wrote:
CPS is a disgrace. No accountability. Children die either by their biological parent(s) or foster parent(s). CPS is all about the $$$$. They have not been around as long as people think, but oh what monstrosities they have allowed or made. Kind of reminds me of a system that Hitler himself would be proud of. Human life = zero value.
Comparing CPS with Hitler? What do you do to protect children?
The Truth

Sterling Heights, MI

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#42
Aug 11, 2008
 
Mark wrote:
CPS is not worth 1 penny of tax dollars that are spent on them. disband it altogether
Quality solution Mark.

“Be Respectful”

Since: Jul 08

Grand Rapids

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#43
Aug 11, 2008
 
Has anybody tried to contact their State or Local Legislators to discuss this system? Just curious.
Mark

Rockford, MI

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#44
Aug 11, 2008
 
Gentle Taz wrote:
<quoted text>
Family court will act on suspicion on the part of CPS to remove a child. CPS can say that the child "may" be in danger and the court WILL remove the child. Then it's a six month wait for the next court hearing. In the meantime the child is in foster care with no contact with the parents because the child "may" be in danger. This is not in the best interest of the child to be separated from loving parents for no reason other than a suspicion with no evidence.
I have no idea where you get this from - but after a child is removed from parental custody a court hearing is required within 48 hrs. Might want to get your facts straight on this...
Ex Parte

United States

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#45
Aug 11, 2008
 
Mark wrote:
<quoted text>
I have no idea where you get this from - but after a child is removed from parental custody a court hearing is required within 48 hrs. Might want to get your facts straight on this...
That doesn't mean parents get proper notification so as they can actually ATTEND the hearing.

Only Federal Indian Welfare Law requires proof of service by certified mail/return receipt. For anyone else, they can say "We sent them a letter" or "We spoke or left them a message" But no proof is required.

Word to the wise, if someone sicks CPS on you when there was no reason for it, call your attorney and insist on having your lawyer present for ANY and ALL parts of the investigation.

Sans a court order, CPS cannot demand anything. They will threaten you and call the police, but the police also know that a court order is needed.

Kindly tell them to wait until your attorney arrives and you will be happy to speak with them.

It's the best way to keep them honest and protect your child from unwarranted disruption and ridiculous intrusion.

If it goes past the initial investigation, your attornies court room credibility is far superior to a hysterical parent defending against bogus allegations.

Thank you and good day.
Ex Parte

United States

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#46
Aug 11, 2008
 
concerned wrote:
I have fought with CPS enough! I have called, filed reports and submitted photos to them of my ex-husband leaving bruises all over her body when he has her. CPS would take the reports and have copies of the photos but they won't do a single thing about it!! They say that there has to be someone to witness him abusing her. When my daughter was 2 she told me that he touched her privates. They still wouldn't do anything about it! This system is so messed up!! What is wrong with these people?!
""What is wrong with these people?!""

What ISN'T wrong with these people?
The Truth

Sterling Heights, MI

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#47
Aug 11, 2008
 
Gentle Taz wrote:
<quoted text>
Family court will act on suspicion on the part of CPS to remove a child. CPS can say that the child "may" be in danger and the court WILL remove the child. Then it's a six month wait for the next court hearing. In the meantime the child is in foster care with no contact with the parents because the child "may" be in danger. This is not in the best interest of the child to be separated from loving parents for no reason other than a suspicion with no evidence.
Misinformed again. When a child is removed, the hearing must usually be within 24 hours, sometimes 48 if the courts do not have time alotted.

Secondly, contact is usually ordered on through visitation in the initial preliminary hearing, unless termination is requested. Those are the cases of sexual abuse and physical abuse where serious injury is present.

Third, it is very difficult to be granted removal. Trust me when I say the grounds for a granted removal must be VERY extreme.
Ex Parte

United States

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#48
Aug 11, 2008
 
The Truth wrote:
<quoted text>
Misinformed again. When a child is removed, the hearing must usually be within 24 hours, sometimes 48 if the courts do not have time alotted.
Secondly, contact is usually ordered on through visitation in the initial preliminary hearing, unless termination is requested. Those are the cases of sexual abuse and physical abuse where serious injury is present.
Third, it is very difficult to be granted removal. Trust me when I say the grounds for a granted removal must be VERY extreme.
Preponderance of evidence is not "VERY extreme" grounds. If these were tried in criminal courts where they should be, as "sexual and physical abuse" is a CRIME, your presentation of evidence for grounds of removal may mean something. Until then, preponderance of evidence simply means what you can sucker a judge to believe.

From the law dictionary,
http://dictionary.law.com/definition2.asp...

""preponderance of the evidence
n. the greater weight of the evidence required in a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit for the trier of fact (jury or judge without a jury) to decide in favor of one side or the other. This preponderance is based on the more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy, and not on the amount of evidence.

(Read that again="NOT ON THE AMOUNT OF EVIDENCE".)

and.....

Preponderance of the evidence is required in a civil case and is contrasted with "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is the more severe test of evidence required to convict in a criminal trial. No matter what the definition stated in various legal opinions, the meaning is somewhat subjective.""

Family courts and CPS actions are "civil cases" and therefor the strength of the evidence test is weaker by law.

Which is why anyone with 1/2 a brain wouldn't cooperate with any CPS investigation without an attorney present. Someone who has legal, credible standing to refute "preponderance of evidence" claims. Basically a caseworker can say what they want and a judge will find it more credible simply because no one is standing there to refute it.

Anyone who doesn't call their attorney the MINUTE they first are made aware that CPS is investigating, is a fool and will most likely lose.
The Truth

Sterling Heights, MI

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#49
Aug 11, 2008
 
Ex Parte wrote:
<quoted text>
Preponderance of evidence is not "VERY extreme" grounds. If these were tried in criminal courts where they should be, as "sexual and physical abuse" is a CRIME, your presentation of evidence for grounds of removal may mean something. Until then, preponderance of evidence simply means what you can sucker a judge to believe.
From the law dictionary,
http://dictionary.law.com/definition2.asp...
""preponderance of the evidence
n. the greater weight of the evidence required in a civil (non-criminal) lawsuit for the trier of fact (jury or judge without a jury) to decide in favor of one side or the other. This preponderance is based on the more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy, and not on the amount of evidence.
(Read that again="NOT ON THE AMOUNT OF EVIDENCE".)
and.....
Preponderance of the evidence is required in a civil case and is contrasted with "beyond a reasonable doubt," which is the more severe test of evidence required to convict in a criminal trial. No matter what the definition stated in various legal opinions, the meaning is somewhat subjective.""
Family courts and CPS actions are "civil cases" and therefor the strength of the evidence test is weaker by law.
Which is why anyone with 1/2 a brain wouldn't cooperate with any CPS investigation without an attorney present. Someone who has legal, credible standing to refute "preponderance of evidence" claims. Basically a caseworker can say what they want and a judge will find it more credible simply because no one is standing there to refute it.
Anyone who doesn't call their attorney the MINUTE they first are made aware that CPS is investigating, is a fool and will most likely lose.
Thank you for taking the time to explain what a preponderance of the evidence means. I think you missed the point I was trying to make. My point again is it is very hard to remove a child. Removals are granted when serious risks apply. Here are the types of cases where removal is generally granted.
-Evidence of sexual abuse
-Serious injury of a child (ie broken bones, internal bleeding, skull fracture, burns, etc caused by a parent of individual in charge)
-Child found without proper care and custody
-Repetative neglect
Now tell me (since you know my job better than I do) What would you do if you went to a home and found any of these. Leave the child there? Because that is the only other option. We are granted emergency removals in these cases. We then prepare our case for court, which means medical evidence, police reports, etc. This usually means we must call hospital personnel and law enforcement as witnesses. But I guess they are crooked too and lie to the judges.
See the problem with people like yourselves is that you condemn a position you have never done and do not know anything about. CPS does not pick names out of a phonebook. We investigate referrals received from the community. MOST come from manadated reporters (teachers, attorneys, counselors, physicians, etc.) Occasionally we do get false referrals, but unfortunately we do not know that until we make contact.
The point is, the majority of people go through life without ever having us knock on their door. Coincidence?
Ex Parte

United States

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#50
Aug 11, 2008
 
The Truth wrote:
<quoted text>
Thank you for taking the time to explain what a preponderance of the evidence means. I think you missed the point I was trying to make. My point again is it is very hard to remove a child. Removals are granted when serious risks apply. Here are the types of cases where removal is generally granted.
-Evidence of sexual abuse
-Serious injury of a child (ie broken bones, internal bleeding, skull fracture, burns, etc caused by a parent of individual in charge)
-Child found without proper care and custody
-Repetative neglect
Now tell me (since you know my job better than I do) What would you do if you went to a home and found any of these. Leave the child there? Because that is the only other option. We are granted emergency removals in these cases. We then prepare our case for court, which means medical evidence, police reports, etc. This usually means we must call hospital personnel and law enforcement as witnesses. But I guess they are crooked too and lie to the judges.
See the problem with people like yourselves is that you condemn a position you have never done and do not know anything about. CPS does not pick names out of a phonebook. We investigate referrals received from the community. MOST come from manadated reporters (teachers, attorneys, counselors, physicians, etc.) Occasionally we do get false referrals, but unfortunately we do not know that until we make contact.
The point is, the majority of people go through life without ever having us knock on their door. Coincidence?
No need to get p!ssy or holier-than-thou. I was clearing up a few misconceptions for the readers.
You say: "Here are the types of cases where removal is generally granted.
-Evidence of sexual abuse
-Serious injury of a child (ie broken bones, internal bleeding, skull fracture, burns, etc caused by a parent of individual in charge)
-Child found without proper care and custody
-Repetative neglect"

Which such removals are predicated on YOUR statements of "preponderance of evidence" and may or may not be true. You even say yourself that a case has to be built as an after action, so parents are essentially guilty until proven innocent.

You are probably not one of the callous social workers who take children on false pretenses simply because you know someone will adopt them. Kudo's to you. Others aren't so ethical and professional (as seen in the video). Some social workers WILL take children when it's not appropriate because they can. Good for you that you don't.

Which brings me to MY point, which you seemed to have either missed or intentionally skated around. People should call an attorney IMMEDIATELY when they discover CPS has an investigation. This will minimize "falling thru the cracks" and "human error" when it comes time for caseworkers to present their version of "preponderance of evidence". What you see as a broken bone, fracture or bleeding stemming from abuse, may simply be from falling off a bike.
If a family doesn't have legal representation to refute YOUR version of preponderance of evidence, the judge will take your word before any PROOF is presented. Caseworkers get carried away everyday. I'm glad you aren't one of them.
The Truth

Waterford, MI

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#51
Aug 11, 2008
 
Ex Parte wrote:
<quoted text>
No need to get p!ssy or holier-than-thou. I was clearing up a few misconceptions for the readers.
You say: "Here are the types of cases where removal is generally granted.
-Evidence of sexual abuse
-Serious injury of a child (ie broken bones, internal bleeding, skull fracture, burns, etc caused by a parent of individual in charge)
-Child found without proper care and custody
-Repetative neglect"
Which such removals are predicated on YOUR statements of "preponderance of evidence" and may or may not be true. You even say yourself that a case has to be built as an after action, so parents are essentially guilty until proven innocent.
You are probably not one of the callous social workers who take children on false pretenses simply because you know someone will adopt them. Kudo's to you. Others aren't so ethical and professional (as seen in the video). Some social workers WILL take children when it's not appropriate because they can. Good for you that you don't.
Which brings me to MY point, which you seemed to have either missed or intentionally skated around. People should call an attorney IMMEDIATELY when they discover CPS has an investigation. This will minimize "falling thru the cracks" and "human error" when it comes time for caseworkers to present their version of "preponderance of evidence". What you see as a broken bone, fracture or bleeding stemming from abuse, may simply be from falling off a bike.
If a family doesn't have legal representation to refute YOUR version of preponderance of evidence, the judge will take your word before any PROOF is presented. Caseworkers get carried away everyday. I'm glad you aren't one of them.
My apologies for getting heated. People can feel free to obtain an attorney. If the investigation is not that one of a emergent nature as stated above, then they would have time. However, in an emergent nature, an attorney can not help them. CPS has to make direct contact with a judge and receive written permission to remove children. The judges themselves will not grant a removal unless there is substantial evidence pursuant. The vast majority of these referrals termination is not requested.

The families are always appointed attorneys at the court hearing that are familiar with the Child Protection Law. Its always a bad idea for a parent to hire a regular attorney as they always have no idea what they are doing.

As for the money issue, it is not even relevant. The reason for states getting the adoption bonuses is not to encourage investigators to remove for children, its a reward so children do not languish in the foster care system. Trust me when I tell you that I never even heard of this bonus structure until a couple of weeks ago and I have been with DHS for many years. Whether I remove a 100 kids, or none, my check is the same.

Just keep in mind there are always two sides to every story. No parent has ever freely admitted to being a bad parent. Earlier, a poster posted a youtube video called CPS part 2 or something. If you watch Part 1, they tell a story of a woman who had her children removed because the ex-husband sexually assaulted one of the kids. What they don't tell you, is it was the second time the father had done this. The first time the mother was warned she cannot have her children around him anymore, then she went and did it anyway. Guess what happened. Of course that part is never told.
Ex Parte

United States

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#52
Aug 11, 2008
 
Truth-"People can feel free to obtain an attorney. If the investigation is not that one of a emergent nature as stated above, then they would have time. However, in an emergent nature, an attorney can not help them."

* Not so. An attorney cannot STOP a removal if a judge has issued an order, but they can serve as an intermediary to ensure that civil rights and code of ethics are adhered to. That's highly helpful with respect to the 24-48-72 hour hearing. Having counsel present at any "legal" proceeding is more beneficial than waiting to get one appointed. Namely because the appointed attorney wasn't present at the time of removal and CANNOT attest to the accuracy of anything in the reports.
If a removal order has not been issued, an attorney will ensure that civil rights and ethics are followed as well. Most people don't understand what their rights are so by the time they arrive at the hearing, they may have already conceded 1 or more of them.

Truth-"CPS has to make direct contact with a judge and receive written permission to remove children."

*Yes. Thank you time in helping people understand how the process works. CPS makes direct contact with a judge to receive written permission to remove. Some CPS workers are highly trained, skilled and their only motivation is protecting children. They would never embellish, or downright lie and falsify or forge documents to achieve their desired outcome. You are most likely in that catagory.
Some are inexperienced and because of their age and minimal education and/or people skills, they misinterpret what they see. Some times that means taking children needlessly. Some times that means leaving children in the wrong homes.
Some are just downright bad apples. Lifers who suffer such bitter burn out that they lost sight of what they originally set out to do.
Some are just mental sadist and actually enjoy their drunken power.
How is a parent to know which type is showing up at the door? They NEVER admit to being a bad caseworker, just like parents NEVER admit to being a bad parent.

Truth-"The judges themselves will not grant a removal unless there is substantial evidence pursuant. The vast majority of these referrals termination is not requested."

* Here we go back to the evidentary standard that civil proceedings are bound by. "Proponderance of evidence". As pointed out from the law dictionary, that means the likelihood that someone is being truthful and accurate, but has nothing to do with an "Amount" of evidence, or "actual" evidence. It means what the judge THINKS to be accurate. If a caseworker is anything but perfect, there is a chance that error's are going to occur. That is why I would suggest calling an attorney IMMEDIATELY to get them involved as soon as possible versus waiting for a court appointed. 2 B Cont'd.
Ex Parte

United States

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#53
Aug 11, 2008
 
Truth- "The families are always appointed attorneys at the court hearing that are familiar with the Child Protection Law. Its always a bad idea for a parent to hire a regular attorney as they always have no idea what they are doing."

* This I agree with in part and dissent in part.

I agree that families are always appointed an attorney at a subsequent court hearing. I agree that the lawyer is most likely 'familiar' with child protection law. However, that doesn't mean that a court appointed attorney will always vigorously put on a defense.
They may not file necessary motions on rulings for appellate issue's or go out of their way to do ANYTHING because they make so little for what they do. Of course parents don't realize this, because they aren't lawyers.
Plus, bucking the system isn't always the greatest idea for court appointed's if they want to continue getting 'appointed' cases.

I STRONGLY disagree with your statement that it's "always a bad idea for a parent to hire a regular attorney". This is incorrect. "Regular" attorney's may have had their start in 'family law' court appointments. "Regular" attorney's may not be up to snuff with the latest & greatest status quo, but that's not a bad thing.
Even contract lawyers, insurance lawyers and ambulance chasers are familiar with the working of civil court. They KNOW when to file motions, appeals on rulings etc. They also know which lawyers they can delegate duties to, who DO know the ins and outs of family law.
Retained attorney's or their delegates are more likely to properly represent a legal proceeding because they bill by the hour. The more they do for you, the more money they make.
Court appointed lawyers make no extra for going to bat for the client. They do the bare minimum because they are paid the bare minimum. It's a close knit group of professionals inside the family courts.

Truth- "As for the money issue, it is not even relevant. The reason for states getting the adoption bonuses is not to encourage investigators to remove for children, its a reward so children do not languish in the foster care system. Trust me when I tell you that I never even heard of this bonus structure until a couple of weeks ago and I have been with DHS for many years. Whether I remove a 100 kids, or none, my check is the same."

* By that same token, see above. Court appointed attorney's get paid the same whether a child goes home or goes to foster care. Even if the child was needlessly brought into the system on a false allegation or "mistake due to human error", a court appointed attorney has no vested interest in seeing that child returned. So for all the policies and procedure's in place to give parents "a chance to prove their innocence" or in cases where problems exist "proof that the problem has been corrected" children suffer at the hands of a broken system.

I realize there are 2 sides to every story. Actually, it's more like 3. Thank you for what you do to keep kids safe.

“Be Respectful”

Since: Jul 08

Grand Rapids

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#54
Aug 12, 2008
 
Children suffer every day at the hands of a broken system. I, personally, don't see any improvements coming any time soon.
Victim of CPS

Kalamazoo, MI

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#55
Aug 14, 2008
 
I think it is funny how a caseworker can come on here and defend themselves, when in fact I have seen what they can do first hand. When my son's teacher called CPS he had no signs of physical abuse, and the child tried to say a grown man punched him in the eye. Of course there was no bruise and yes he had"what appeared to be a tiny scratch on his cheek", which he explained was from our dog. CPS came out investigated and of course found nothing. Did it stop there? No she hounded and threatened the boyfriend until he audio taped me yelling at the boy for lying, again to his teacher. He turned over this tape and they took my son immediately, without an court order!!! We didn't even know about a court hearing until 8:00 am the following morning. At that hearing I lost my other two children because they had witnessed domestic viloence between the boyfriend and myself. I completed EVERYTHING they asked and my caseworker, who I seen once, and only visisted my home one time in the year she had been my caseworker asked for a TPR. She lied, made false allegations and couldn't even describe my home for the Judge. i still lost my children, because she believed that I wasn't going to ever be a good mom. How can she make that kind of decision when the woman never even seen me interract with my children? Furthermore I didn't get weekly visitation try every two weeks and that is when DHS felt like giving it to me. They are liars and only want the children for their bonuses. She seen my children twice and lied in reports to say she seen them once a month. How do I know this, because she wrote it in her reports!!! She has gotten away with too much and now my children will suffer for it. She would call the foster parents before court so that she could say that she checked on them. CPS needs to be overhauled and the bad seeds need to be plucked out!!!!

“Be Respectful”

Since: Jul 08

Grand Rapids

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#56
Aug 14, 2008
 
There are a lot of bad seeds working within the system. And, yes, some of the caseworkers do lie.

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