There are a number of things that can be done to fight the corruption and abuses of Child Protective Services. It’s clear that the payment structure for these state agencies needs to be altered in order to take away their incentive to take children into custody unnecessarily. It’s also the case that these dollars need to be carefully allocated so that states aren’t using CPS funds in order to balance their budgets.
States should be required to pay for their own services out of their own budgets. The huge Federal dollars that have been streaming in have to be cut off. This means we need to be more diligent in finding out what our elected officials (at the local and national levels) actually think concerning CPS and Federal funding. It’s not something most of us even consider when electing representatives, but it needs to be added to our list of criteria.
But change at the national and state level will be slow in coming. In the mean time, we as individuals need to do what we can to publicize CPS corruption. There are good sites out there attempting to consolidate the unfortunately huge number of abuse stories and inform people of their options. And if you are the target of CPS aggression, let me give you a few pointers from my experience:
- Don’t lose your cool. They assume you are guilty before they have even met you. If you go off the handle as soon as they start acting like tyrants, they will use it as evidence that you are everything they thought you were. This is lame, I know. It’s like testing to see if a mother bear is naturally angry by taking her cubs away. But it is what it is. Remain as calm as you can, and be smart about what you say.
- You actually don’t have to let CPS or the police into your home without a warrant. But beware of pressing this right. They will, again, assume you are guilty, and will probably start asking stupid questions like, “What do you have to hide?” They will likely accuse you of (and possibly even charge you with) obstructing an investigation, and you can be sure that all of this will get a very ugly gloss in their exaggerated report of your “wrongdoing.”
- Under no circumstances should you keep your court-appointed lawyers. Do whatever you need to do to hire your own lawyers. You should try to get lawyers who have worked in the juvenile court system. Preferably ones who are familiar with CPS tactics.
- If you are married, they do everything they can to set the interests of one spouse against the other. In fact, in LA County at least, you aren’t even allowed to have the same lawyer represent both parents. Each parent is treated as a separate legal party. This is calculated. You can be sure that the mother will receive all sorts of bargains: “If you’ll testify that your husband was the main instigator of abuse, you can get the kids back yourself. And eventually maybe your husband can move back in. But isn’t getting your kids back as soon as possible the most important thing?” Don’t fall for this despicable manipulation. As husband and wife, make every decision together, and do not let this ordeal pull you apart.
- Do not agree to the guilt of any of their charges or claims. They will do everything they can to get you to attest your own guilt on at least one count. They do this in order to protect themselves from liability. The question is, “Have you broken the law?” If the answer is no, you are not guilty of anything. No matter what bargains they dangle in front of you, under no circumstances should you plead guilty to anything. If you have not broken the state law, stick to your guns without wavering. It might take longer to get your kids back this way, but step 6 will make it clear why it is worth it.
- Sue. Sue. Sue. Sue their pants off. If you don’t plead guilty and your case is dismissed, you will generally have a very good case for a civil lawsuit. Am I recommending this because I am greedy? No. It’s because money is the only thing CPS seems to understand. They have no moral compass, and they could care less if they have destroyed your family. But if you hit them in their wallet, they might just be a little more cautious next time around.
- If you have the opportunity, publicize your case and convince as many people as you can of the fundamental brokenness of the Child Protective Services system.
Other than that, there’s not much more I can think of to do. CPS is a clear example of the fact that we have been living in a tyrannical system of government for quite some time. Our civil government has encroached on all the other spheres of government. Churches cannot say what they want without being accused of hate crimes. Their non-taxable status is dangling by a thread. Private individuals are harangued every day about the way we drive our own cars on roads we paid for. Everything we pretend to own is taxed. Even already-taxed inheritance money is taxed again when we inherit it. We aren’t even allowed to figure out our own healthcare situation without government interference. And parents have few if any rights about how they are going to train and educate their own children. These are just a few examples of how our civil government has usurped every other sphere of government. And it isn’t going to change until we do.