Thursday, June 28, 2018

How to talk to CPS Workers


One of the first things I learned about dealing with CPS

Back when I first started getting involved with the CPS issue I was in a Yahoo! Group that was focused on the reform of CPS in Maine.  The following question was posted to the group one night...
What would be the one best piece of advice you would give to parents who are dealing with CPS?
A lawyer who was rather new to the group answered saying...
I would advise them to keep their mouths shut.  
Her reasoning behind this was that the report that sparked an investigation was usually not enough to remove a child.  The workers instead came to gather evidence to determine whether or not your child was abused or neglected.  More often than not, the parents gave it to them simply by running their mouths during an interview.

Social workers are trained to conduct interviews of both children and parents.  They are taught different techniques to build trust and to get information.  The are taught ways to dig for more dirt if they hear something that sparks their curiosity.  A keyword might be spoken that catches her attention and she starts asking questions about it.  She leads the conversation in that direction.  She can play the bate and switch game, she can leave you wondering how she got you to say those things.  Before you know it, you give her all the evidence that she needs to take your kid away.

So lets take a look at some of the techniques CPS workers use when interviewing people.   It is my hope that by being aware of these, you might be able to fight smarter, turn it around on her or use some of these concepts yourself to help you with your case or your life in general.


Rapport Building

The first thing you need to know is that CPS workers will try to get you to trust them.  They will use rapport building techniques so to try to convince you that she's not a threat, "I'm here to help."  Or validates your feelings sympathetically, "Oh I know how you feel," and pretend to be supportive.  "It sounds like you have your hands full." 

All of this is done to get you to trust them so you feel safe in telling her your story or working with her.  Recognize it.

Rapport building techniques can be important at any stage in the game.  Lets say, for example, you are reported and she is making her initial visit to your home.  She will try to make you feel comfortable so that you will open up.  Another example, your last very mean and scary worker quit and you are getting a new one.  Your expectations would be that this one is a monster too but she comes in and says, "I'm a totally different person.  Don't judge me by the same standards as your old one.  You don't even know me."

I once even heard one say that the parents she worked with loved her because she was so helpful to them.  I wasn't one of those parents however.  Good or bad, a CPS worker is a CPS worker.  At the end of the day, all CPS workers will do their job.

It's important to be aware of this technique.  It will help you to see it for what it is.  It will help you to stay on guard.  Allegations have been made and you really want to stay focused on what those allegations are so you can dispute them specifically without giving her any more to use against you.


Open ended questions

Back in High School English Class we learned about open and closed ended questions.  An open ended question is one that requires a thoughtful response from the person being asked.  Opposed to a closed ended question which requires a simple answer such as yes or no, the number 2 or something like that.
Example:
Open ended question: What happened?
Closed ended question: Did this (insert specific event here) happen?
Open ended questions are specifically taught in many professions as a way of learning information about the person or organization you are doing business with.  Unfortunately, most people didn't pick up on this important life skill because I myself have been able to use these techniques in jobs I've had as a sales person to gather the information I needed to hook them in and make the sale.  Selling a car or a computer often resulted in hearing somebodies life story.  In fact, if you are in sales training of any kind, you are probably taught this concept over and over again.  Get to know what motivates the buyer.  Get to know what causes their pain.

CPS workers use open ended questions to get you talking.
Example:
Open ended: How did you get that black eye?
Closed ended: Did so and so punch you?
The trick in dealing with this is to play dumb but not too dumb.  Perhaps you can keep her talking by pretending not to understand her question or make her reduce her questions to closed ended that doesn't offer her any more information to go on when digging for dirt.

CPS: Can you tell me what happened?
You: What do you mean?
CPS: I want you to tell me what happened?
You: Regarding what?
CPS: Well, did so and so do such and such to who and who?
You: No.


Promoting the positive

What you really want to be talking about is all the positive things in your life.  "I'm planning on going back to school," or "According to the doctor the kid is doing great."  Perhaps you could talk about plans for an upcoming birthday, anything happy and positive.

I realize this might be difficult in the face of a child abuse investigation or fighting to get your kid back, but it is important because people who focus on positive things tend to appear stronger and attract more of the same.

Example:

  • "Yes I have a lot of support, my mom helps me when I need it," is a good reason not to take your kid.   
  • "Oh I'm alone, I don't have any friends or family," makes it easy for them to make your life difficult.

It's like the story of the Little Train Who Could.   If you think you can you will.  If you think you can't you won't.  If you think life sucks it probably does but if you tell the CPS worker that, she will use it against you.

It's your choice what you say to her but if you want to get your kid back or if you want to get her out of your life fast, you need to demonstrate that your child is safe and well cared for.  You don't want to be bashing your ex, or talking about how bad your anti-depressants make you feel.  Those are things the worker can write down in her report and there are better ways to deal with it anyway.  The worker can say things like, "it's too much for you to handle," or "there are mental health issues in the home."  You don't want to talk about how hard it is to put food on the table or the worker will say, "the kid isn't being fed."  CPS loves to focus on the negatives.

You can argue, "CPS is corrupt and will take your kid anyway."  I would have to argue that positive people tend to appear stronger.  Therefore the worker will be less likely to mess with you because they prefer easy targets.  Negative people tend to be easier targets.

The important thing is to demonstrate that you are a capable and loving parent.  The better you can make yourself look by expressing the positive, the better you will be perceived.   This is especially important in front of anybody who is making decisions regarding your right to parent your child.


Standing up for your rights vs fighting smart

To tell you the truth, nobody at CPS gives a hoot about your rights so you can stand up and speak out all you want.  The courts are going to back them up.  The police are going to back them up.  Most of society is going to back them up.  If you tell her she's corrupt or she sees where you started bashing you on Facebook she's liable to retaliate.  Organizing a protest or starting an anti-CPS Facebook page might not be the wisest thing to do at this point either because it takes your focus off of where it should be...  Fighting for your kids.

In fighting smart you deal with the issues presented.  You don't give them more to work with by making yourself look crazy.  Fighting smart takes work, requires learning in many cases and there are groups that help you to do that if you are willing to do the work.  Work means keeping your stuff organized so you can prepare to fight them properly.  Work means giving your lawyer what he needs to dispute the claims written in any reports to the court by the CPS worker.  Work can also mean learning laws and court procedures.  Regardless, by keeping organized, you help yourself not to mention it helps your lawyer and advocate to fight for you because you know what's going on in your case and you don't have to go around trying to remember anything. 

Remember, when a report comes in to the Child Abuse Hotline, that's all she has to go on.

If you want to deal with the laws that allow CPS to run amok, then you do that after you get your kids back.  If you want to start an anti-CPS blog or Facebook page, do so after your case is closed.  I've seen some of the loudest and most outspoken Facebook activists drag out their cases or even loose only to have their parental rights terminated.  It doesn't work.


Your right to remain silent

Shooting your mouth off takes away your element of surprise.  It gives CPS more to work with.  It

If you don't know what you are doing, I strongly suggest you take your right to remain silent when dealing with CPS very seriously and contact a lawyer or an advocate who is experienced in helping people to fight CPS.  Even though this may be considered a civil case rather than a criminal one at this point, anything you say can and probably will be used against you in court.

In many cases what you say may be twisted to suit her purpose.  So why would you give her the evidence she is looking for?








5 comments:

  1. Can you refer me to a good source of stats?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/statistics/

      Delete
  2. What great information for those who continue to state we who dont use loud mouths and shoot it off in public to attempt to make us who dont shoot our mouths off, like we dont care about our children simply because we wont publically denigrate cps as they do,its simply not the case...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure what you're saying. But the point of the article is not about not speaking out. The point is: if they have your children, first, fight to get them home before you risk speaking out.

      When you can, such as when your children are grown, and ideally before you have grandchildren, by all means, DO try to make the truth of your story known. It could make all the difference for other families.

      Delete
  3. Omg there is sanity in the DCF, Florida, horrifying mess.

    I am a domestic abuse survivor regarding a popular twist of drug trafficking up the coast of Florida since age 15. That's when my abuser started traumatizing me. I came very close to not be writing this message but I am so here is truth in all those lies.

    DCF encountered me more than 2 times and each time returned my kids to me. Each time involved my abuser and his drugs and bc I was around him so were the kids which mean drugs also.

    When I left him really he got mad and started rumors of me being racist, bad mom. Then of course the ppl who were also paprt of dope sales or involved one way or another also get mad. Whole topic. He also started trying to make a mother girl he was messing with seem as though the only girl so would testify against me in court on his behalf but she got caught in the evil was conjuring up.

    So I was investigated many times and my kids returned to me. Court gave full custody. Then after 3 years of court proceedings, him harassig me, fake internet accounts from the other girl, and still in college I had a break down.

    DCF reabused me all over again. Honestly all the abusive ppl must of gotten employed during 2014??? They must be good actors??

    Its has been 2014 been without my kids. What really is happening? I am about to have to stop because I am getting overwhelmed still as any parent would.

    The most important facts are timelines of what dcf did overlapped to my court and police investigator testimony, what was happening in the town gossip and my kids being taken. There was bias as the whole local town of a specific group is drug involved....some work some do not.

    DCF is NOT protections they are the most unethical abusive worse than dirty cops???? It really is a major matter to be stopped.

    When I was previously encountered yes there were drugs around but I was slowly working towards removing my.kids and myself from the situation. At the time of how strong the group ge is involved with and the extend of my abuse it was better timed to leave at another time.

    1900 block was their rap name and they are part of a Miami dope line up coast of Florida. They were taking their crack and cocaine drug sales money into rapping to launder the funds. Opening up at "famous" ppl concerts at Venue aka Florida Theature, VIP. It is organized street crime and very dangerous. There are annual meeting at the Florida Classic, Step Show weekend, Daytona gathering where the dope people bring out cars and such to show the dope sales. Their extremely violent and there is racism but have been aware to mirrior and project their racism to turn it around on the victims or survivors. It is a superceiminal organized crime population which needs to be stopped.

    ReplyDelete

How to talk to CPS Workers

One of the first things I learned about dealing with CPS Back when I first started getting involved with the CPS issue I was in a Yahoo...