Monday, June 25, 2018

How to Fight CPS - The Organization Strategy

Ripping hair out of head

How to loose your case

A couple years back, a good friend of mine asked me to help somebody with their case.  The CPS victims were a young mother and father, in a not so perfect marriage.  They had 2 small children, a toddler and a baby, I'm not exactly sure of the ages.  The original accusation was minimal, regarding a mark on the body which quickly faded.  The mother thought it was from being in the car seat and even the doctor at the emergency room didn't seem to worry about it that much and sent them on their way.

Anyway, a report was made by a so called Mandated Reporter and CPS opened an investigation.  So I got them hooked up with an advocate who quickly came to the conclusion, "I can't help you."  I was a little dismayed by this because it was somebody I knew with a good track record for helping families to win, and so I tried to give them a little advice myself, only to discover that I couldn't help them either.

So why couldn't they be helped?  First it was because they didn't know what they were dealing with and second because they couldn't be bothered to lift a finger to help themselves.  For example, they had been given papers by the CPS investigator which they hadn't even read and had gotten mail from DHHS that they hadn't even opened.  Because of this they missed an important evaluation that had been set up and now the worker was threatening to remove the kids.

Ultimately, they were unfamiliar with the specifics of their own case.  The mother was unable to articulate what exactly she was being accused of by CPS, nor was she sure of what CPS wanted her to do about it.  Everything was coming to them as a surprise.  They knew that they were supposed to be engaging in child abuse prevention services but the worker was, according to them, in no hurry to help them get it going.  They missed one appointment and she was "being a total bitch about it."

Unfortunately an important appointment had been set up and they were notified in writing through the mail but because they didn't open their mail, they didn't know.  The papers were piled up on the counter.  Therefore the CPS worker was able to walk all over them and come up with new issues unrelated to the original report.  And they didn't see it coming.

Help yourself by staying organized

When fighting CPS, it is important to stay organized and to document everything you do.  You should be keeping track of all of the phone calls you make regarding your case, all of the messages you leave, appointments you go to, parenting classes, doctor appointments, shrink appointments, court dates, team meetings, visits with your kids, discussions with your lawyer, etc.  Dates and times are important because you might be asked when you did something.  Whatever it is that you do that is in regards to your case or the care of your children, you should make a record of, so that you can quickly refer to it later if the need arises.

For example: A CPS worker once accused someone I know, in court of failing to keep in contact with her, but the person had a list of dates and times of multiple messages she had left both with the receptionist whose name she had as well as messages left on the voicemail of the CPS worker.  Therefore she was able to successfully dispute the workers claim by arguing that she was nearly impossible to get a hold of.  Even though this was a little thing, it did not help the workers credibility and the judge reprimanded her for not doing her job.

organizeYou should also read all of the paperwork you are given from the worker, service providers, lawyer or the court, and you should have it all organized neatly in a binder by date.  By doing this, you help yourself and your lawyer to better prepare for your fight.  By doing this, you can pick apart your paperwork and discuss with your attorney that which you feel you can dispute. If your lawyer can disprove enough of it, the papers on the judges desk, which contains everything that CPS is using against you, loose credibility.

In another case I am aware of, the worker wrote in her report that the mother was taking anti-depressants.  This was not true, so she was able to obtain a letter from her doctor disputing this claim, and her lawyer entered it into her court record.

You should also have a list of contacts including your lawyer, cps worker, her supervisor, and everybody else you are dealing with in regards to your case.

It's a lot harder for CPS to take advantage of you when you have your ducks in a row so to speak.

If they don't, that is why people often feel like they have the rug ripped out from under them, because they lost track of the reports and complaints, they forgot about appointments.  That's why they don't see it coming when the CPS worker pulls the rug out from under them.

A few simple tips to getting organized...

I can't stress enough the importance of staying organized when you are dealing with CPS.  Here are a few tips on what you should be doing.
  • Get a 3 ring binder and a hole puncher and a notebook to write on.  
  • For the first page, create a list of contacts.  Include the contact information for everybody you deal with.
  • This is not what you want

    • Advocate
    • CPS worker
    • Workers supervisor
    • Counselors
    • Service Providers
  • For the second page, create a simple To Do list.
    • Call the worker on Monday.
    • Shrink appointment on Tues.
    • Meeting with lawyer.
      • Include things you would like to discuss with this person.
    • Clean the house.
  • Write a short narrative of what happened to get you involved with CPS while it's still fresh in your mind, try to remember dates and times so you can keep as complete of record as possible. 
    • This will save you from having to sit back and think about it, or to have to try to figure it all out later..
    • You can reference this material when writing your affidavits for court.
  • Open and read every letter you get.  Keep it all together.
    • Organize it by date.  
    • Read it.  Make sure you're familiar with everything they have on you and everything they want you to do. If they send you notice of an appointment, put it on your to do list.
  • Get a notebook with the holes already punched out so you can rip pages out and add it to the binder.  Keep track of...
    • ALL Phone Calls and Messages.
    • Meetings with workers, and team meetings.
      • Dates.  Times.  Who was there.  What was discussed.
    • Appointments with service providers.  

You can use highlighters to highlight important points.  You can take notes on letters you receive from your caseworker and lawyer.  You can do whatever works for you.

What this will do for you

It must be understood that doing these things is completely for your own benefit, so organize in a way that works best for you, but do it regardless.  Be honest with yourself.  You do not have to show this to your worker.  It will prepare you for what's coming.  It will help you to know what you're talking about.  By doing these things you are much better prepared to fight CPS.  You can help your lawyer to do his job.  You can help your advocate help you by being able to refer to something you did, a call that was made, etc.  You will have an easily accessible record of everything you did that either helped or hurt your case.

Not doing this can have drastic consequences because you will be left with your head spinning wondering where it's all coming from, trying to remember things in desperation.

By doing this, you will greatly improve your chances of winning.

1 comment:

  1. When CPS does this crap to anyone - and that person is "cleared" (so to speak) - there MUST be compensation for the GRIEF, suffering and HARD LABOR to fight them off.

    Why is CPS even in this country? I'm shocked there aren't that many instances of violence due to this. Taking a child from the home is KIDNAPPING - PERIOD.


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