These are things you should have done BEFORE CPS invaded your life. The chances are, though, that until they knocked on the door, it had never crossed your mind to have to protect yourself and your kids from them. Sadly, this is WHY they have such success at destroying families and stealing kids.. the parents have no clue of the dangers. You are working to protect your kids from every danger you are aware of, and the most dangerous of all threats is one that you are paying to support every time you cash a paycheck. Think you have nothing to hide? You don’t have to.. they will be happy to make some up FOR you.
Based on my personal experiences, these are the steps I deem absolutely necessary to self defense in this situation:
If you have not already- NEVER EVER let them into your home without seeing a
SIGNED Search warrant. Yes the refusal pisses them off, and they MAY just have
the cop with them force you out of the way. MAKE them. Don’t make it easy for
them to violate your rights. Make them force you and get every word and step on
GET the taping laws for your state, and know your rights, and the law.
If you live in one of those states where both parties must be aware of the tape recording, you CAN place two recorders in play.. one in plain sight. If the worker objects to being recorded, you do a song and dance about “WHY, what do you have to hide, etc. If you are only doing your job, why does a tape recording intimidate you?” If she absolutely refuses to be recorded, shrug and sigh, and reach over and turn off the one on the table. DO NOT SAY ANYTHING, just continue talking to her, asking unrelated questions, or something to side track her. Leave the hidden one running. You will have a tape of her objecting, but going on speaking as if she just gave up.
The other self defense to this sort of two party law is to place notices on all your doors (the WARNING sign noted above) which include the statement that entering this home is an implied consent to be tape recorded or video recorded and you may be recorded at any time.
You can also send a letter (CERTIFIED, so you can PROVE they got it) to all parties and notify them that calling you or visiting your home may be recorded at any time. IF they object to being recorded, they are welcome to communicate to you through written media.
Write a request for a Child Welfare Manual for your state. You will have to ask what the proper term is for it, they are different in every state. You have a right to a copy of this book, though, and can request it. Give them five business days to respond, and if they do not, contact your STATE DHS information officer and complain that you have been denied a copy. Again, send these things CERTIFIED mail so you have proof of dates etc.
Require that they give you some written explanation of the grievance process for filing a complaint against the agency or a social worker. Do NOT be intimidated or side tracked by their standard “Why, what do you want that for? Who are you complaining about?” you have the right to be informed of the right to complain, and the process to use, as a part of any initial contact with you. They know that, and never EVER inform the families that this right exists. MAKE THEM PROVIDE THIS!
Go to a dollar store, and buy a half dozen loose leaf notebooks and a hole puncher. EVERY time you send a letter, or get one, or get a court document, a note on a scrap of paper from someone related to this case, place it in one of those notebooks. Include copies of all the certified letters you are sending, along with the proofs of mailing etc. You will rapidly fill them all, trust me. Keep everything, and keep it in order of the dates. You can place tabs and dividers to locate various important things if you need to.
There is a list of books you should read. If your local library doesn’t have them, ask if they can GET you a copy to read.
Profane Justice-also visit http://www.profane-justice.org
Making Reasonable Efforts
There are more, I will add them when I have time to find the right titles. If some of YOU have favorites, by all means, post them here in the files list, as a reading list.
Get and read the Children’s Codes of your state laws. They are called statutes in some states, Codes in others, but they are the laws governing your states handling of child welfare cases. Get and read and RE read the Federal and State Rules of Civil Procedure. You HAVE to know how to properly address the court, and how to file a motion or report to the judge on your own. Likely, your lawyer is going to be totally worthless, so learn to handle yourself in court, you are going to HAVE to.
If they have EVER had information on you in the child protection offices or even on your EX or just a step kid, you must get ALL of your records, mentioned above.
Every time you have a conversation or meeting with ANYone, Dr., Social Worker,Attorney, anyone, write a letter to them as soon as you get home. There is a form to use on Profane Justice and also on AFRA. It says this is what I understood you to say at our meeting, (phone conversation, whatever) today, xXX date at about XXX time. And this is what I recall that I said to you or that we agreed upon. If you object to this accounting of any portion of this conversation, please notify me within five days in writing of exactly what your objection is, and why. Failure to respond will be considered an implied agreement to the facts as I have stated them herein. Send them the same way.. certified, return receipts. File the copies in your trusty notebooks, along with the mailing and delivery proofs. Do this EVERY TIME you have a talk , phone call, a meeting with etc anyone involved in your case in ANY way, even your ex mother in law. Hell, even your MOTHER! (lighten up, I’m kidding! Although I have met some Moms, aka Grammas, who would say anything to GET the grand kids from the son or daughters ex spouse!)
If you can’t get online at home, go to the library and sign up for a free email address at yahoo.com. Start joining Family Rights groups and reading the posts on them. Write the timeline in the next item, and post it to the yahoo groups. Those parents will most likely have cases very similar to yours, some of them will even be from your state. They can save you DAYS of searching for information and documents.
Write a timeline of your case, and keep it current.
List every single thing that led up to this case, from day one. Don’t go into deep detail, just the facts, listed in the order that they happened, along with notations of what proof you have and what lies were entered. This list should be done by date and time. If several things happened on one date, list the times, at least approx. of each.
Do not try to gloss over things you think will make you look bad. Save that for court. If you did something wrong, admit it, and explain it. HOWEVER, do NOT make any public admissions, if there are things that they have valid accusations against you for, talk about those privately with an attorney AND a trusted advocate. NOT on the internet. What I am referring to here is things like not mentioning that you tested positive for Coke a couple of years ago and the investigation was later dropped. Things like that. Don’t leave those things out of your timeline, they have a direct impact on what CPS is doing to you. But if you DID something that could be twisted, and misrepresented, don’t admit to it in a public document. Remember, EVERYthing you post anywhere IS public, no matter how private it looks. While you need to be as honest as you can with people who are trying to help you, you must not expose yourself to some accusation or admission of guilt in the process. Also know that CPS regularly taps phones, hacks emails, and monitors boards where it is a members only forum. They regularly pretend to be parents needing help, to get IN to monitor US. Let the others help you defend or mitigate anything you might have accidentally done to warrant CPS attention. If you are guilty of some accusation they are posing against you, at least privately with your advocate, you MUST be honest about this. These people are your support. If you aren’t honest with them, they can’t help you. If you hide things that come out later you look more guilty than you probably are. For instance.. if the house really IS a pig sty, the position most of us have about that is that it may BE a valid excuse under current law, to have a CPS intervention. (We object to THAT, but it IS the law right now, so hard to stop til we can get some laws changed) BUT it is NOT a valid reason to take a kid out of the home. IF you are guilty of some drug abuse, and are willing to get treatment, there are other ways to protect the kids and assure that you don’t endanger them besides traumatizing them with removal. Family support, church supports, etc can and should be the protection of choice. If you LIE about those things, no one can help you fight the invasion effectively, besides your lack of honesty will likely make the advocates angry, and they will not TRY to help you.
Learn what the court process is for your state, and know what to expect. Learn what the lawyer (especially if he is court appointed) should be doing and when, and know the laws yourself. There are blanket sample instruction letters for attorneys that you can modify to fit what you want to tell your attorney about how you wish to be represented. Copy one and use it for a guideline, and send him one, remembering to send everything with return receipts.
The center most point of this is that you will rarely, if EVER, find a lawyer, paid or not, who knows how and is willing to fight this sort of case effectively. The only person you are going to be able to trust and rely on to help you is YOU. If you don’t know what should be said and done, and when, you will be a victim. The only way to defend your family is to become your own attorney. This is going to mean that you basically take on the task of learning overnight what some lawyers still don’t know.. you need to become an overnight expert on family courts and civil rights. Get on the internet and read til you are blind. Learn what the Bill of Rights is, and what it says, and how those things apply to your rights as a parent, and the rights of your kids. Probably the most powerful tool you will have in this fight, after you have followed this list, is the support and advice of the other parents on these email groups. They are all veterans of this war, know the standard tripe that CPS does to people, and know how to combat it. Keep in constant touch with these people. NO one is more of an expert than someone speaking from experience, and from hindsight. They may well be telling you things that they wish THEY had known or done, and realize NOW could have saved them the loss of their kids. There are several on these groups who have permanently lost their kids, and are trying to help people like YOU avoid that heartbreak. I would again caution you that not everyone on these groups is a friend. I would wager a guess that a mole doesn’t last long, because we are all watching for it, and aware. Many of us have tracking devices on our sites, and know who is hitting them and from where, specifically. But if you are asking for advice, it is your responsibility to hear all the various people responding to you, and then make your own mind up. NEVER just accept some persons advice without checking out that person with the groups, and hearing THEIR ideas, and making your own informed decisions. And yes, that includes ME.
Go to the websites, http://www.familyrightsassociation.com is the best, there are tons of links there.. and find a HATCH letter for your kids’ schools. There is also a more in depth one on http://www.profane-justice.org, Suzanne Shell’s website, along with a “reverse Miranda”. Print and sign copies for the schools, to be kept in your kids files, and get the school to date and sign for the receipt of one for each child. Just have them date and sign a copy of the letter. Keep those copies in your notebooks. They require that the school never allow anyone to interview or examine one of your children without you and a legal representative present. They can and DO sneak to the school, with the HELP of the school, to interview and coerce your kids to say things to use against you. This letter slows them down, and also gives you a handle on holding the school accountable later. The threat, written in that letter, of prosecution, may stop the school from violating your rights. Be aware that it may NOT. Educate your kids not to speak with social workers, or cops, no matter how friendly and nice they seem. You can print cards for the kids to hand them that state the phone numbers of you, grand parents, family friends, your lawyer, etc. Also they should include the kids rights, that they may read to the SW or cop. (See reverse Miranda) Instruct the kids to NEVER talk to even a school counselor without you telling them in person that it is ok. Suzanne suggests making up some code word that only you and your kids know.. so that if you really intend for them to speak, you can tell them that word, and otherwise, they don’t talk at all. I highly recommend that if your kids are old enough to handle it.
PLEASE consider home schooling your children. This is the number ONE access these child stealers have to your kids.. the public school, also known as indoctrination camps, and intake portals. The BEST defense is to get your kids out of public schools.
There are a couple of kids’ books out that help to instruct kids about how to defend against this crap. AFRA (familyrightsassociation.com) has them listed. The one on Suzanne Shells site, Profane-Justice.org, written by her, is GREAT!
Know, in your heart of hearts, that you are not alone, that this is a nasty battle, and you must have some resolve to be aggressive and to educate yourself FAST. And that you CAN win. If you wring your hands and whine and wait for someone to fix it FOR you, I will simply pray that you kissed your kids goodbye last time you saw them.
Know that if they have EVER done an investigation on your family, even if it was closed as unfounded, they WILL be BACK. It would be best to move, and get your kids outta their reach. Social workers REGULARLY make anonymous calls to hotlines FOR one another, to get cases opened up. Some of them have recently been offered a substantial bonus for opening at least six new investigations a month. No kidding, a CASH BONUS! If you are in their computer, you are a target. This includes if you get food stamps, Medicaid, etc. Nothing is FREE. There are some strings attached to Welfare that are beyond comprehension. If you have no choice, make it as short as you can, and learn from these family rights sites to protect yourself from the almost certain victimization that will be brought to you as a result.
If there is no open case against you, you have no court orders, the CPS has not notified you of an open investigation, etc… but they have been snooping around your kids, trying to question you, etc, take your kids as far away as you can. I have often urged parents to just pack up, grab this weeks paycheck, and run. Even if you have nothing to hide and are a pillar of the community, you are in grave danger if they have targeted you. IF they have not yet officially opened a case against you, the best defense is get outta there. Failing to do that could cost you years of misery, and you might never see your kids again. That sounds melodramatic, but it is the God’s Honest Truth.
IF they already have opened a case, and even if they already have taken your kids, you still must follow this list of things to do, and you must learn fast to defend yourself. Possibly the most important thing you can take away from reading this list.. :
THE BEST DEFENSE IS AN AGGRESSIVE, AFFIRMATIVE, AND RELENTLESS OFFENSE!!!
Keep posting to the groups, and keep reading, you never know enough. One last thing, the most important of all, NEVER stop praying for guidance to get you through this evil time.