< CURiOSiTY >
If Your here, that probably means that at some recent point in your life, DCFS knocked on your door.
This section is set aside as a 'What do I do?!' guide, compiled from various internet resources- as well as my own recent personal experiences. Once organized, I will site the appropriate sources!
Please realize - and remember! - that I am not a lawyer, and nothing on my site comes close to the security and necessity of seeking legal council! I cant stress this enough, guys. This site can not be classified as legal council. If you can afford a lawyer, get one immediately!
If yer like me, however, and can't get a lawyer to talk to you past hearing your income figures... Well, then this site's fer you!
Saddle up, kiddies; Chances are, yer already ten steps behind the DCFS System. We all are, heaven help us...
Page Content & Topic List
Jump to A Specific HELP! Topic
At this point, what you need is a notebook/binder/folder. By 'document', Im talking document everything! Write down and notate phone calls from your Case Worker, face-to-face meetings, text messages, get it all in there! If you have the time, it will work to your favor to document things as in-depth as what you did during the day, where you went, what errands you ran, whateva. Journal if you want, but keep your 'file' clean and legal and non-psychotic in content, preferably... (?) After any DCFS contact, it is in your best interests to write or type out the details of each meeting in a letter and request your Social Worker confirm or deny the facts as you understand them within 10 days. If you hear nothing back from DCFS or your Case Worker disputing you're understanding of the situation, your statement of facts will be automatically confirmed. This form of documentation can later be used as evidence in your favor in juvenile court.
If you have a tape recorder, keep it handy as well. When you are recording DCFS interactions, (which isnt a bad idea!) be advised that there is a law that states that one other individual must be made aware of the recording. If you have a reason to keep your documentation undisclosed to the opposing forces of Child Protective Services, make sure to plan ahaid for a friend or other confidant to be there with you as an informed witness to your documentation. If you are alone, you are required by law to inform the other party/DCFS that they are being recorded. An English activist recommends you write down every word and insist that the worker must wait until the words are properly recorded. You have the right.
Recording laws vary per state - please proceed to the "Can We Tape?" website to verify & inform yourself on local applicable media law - Its a great site, and now is a good time to start paying attention to laws & 'the system'.
It is my understanding that the government has allready been putting CPS agents in public schools to look for qualifying children/families to 'protect'. There is no public record (that I could e-Locate) referencing which schools and districts are possibly harboring this unusual staffing need.
I mention this for a simple and often overlooked truth - How can you deny DCFS an interview with your child, when your child may very well just be pulled aside between classes at School - Uninformed?
" Be sure that your children know that they have the right to say, "I don't want to be interviewed without
my parents and an attorney and a tape recorder present." Caseworkers will not tell your child that s/he
has the right to say that. If there is still time, you must be the one to train your child how to deal with
government agents. Be sure your child knows the consequences of CPS interviews. If anyone is
detained, it is the child. If they say the wrong thing, they can be taken into custody and removed,
possibly permanently, from parents, siblings, friends, their home town, their pets, and everything
else they hold dear in life! We owe it to our children to help them learn to deal with government agents
that may harm them. Remember, children are eight to ten times more at risk of abuse in foster and
group homes, so we are not over-reacting in teaching our children these self-protective measures. "
Along this same topic, if you are concerned or interested, hop on over to the Alliance for Separation of School and State Webpage.
In theory, we (me?) as parents should have allready prepaired and planned for that random (or unwaranted) fatal knock at your door. If your anything like me, however, there is plent of space for theory to go wandering away... In retrospect, we do what we can with what we have. And Information is Power! (which any Grade School Science teacher will confirm.)
Full understanding of the structure and procedures of local Social Workers... Introducting yourself to the dissapointing realities of procedure & madness... this is what we, as Parents, must do and what we must strive to attain first and formost.
If you are fortunate enough to have legal counsil in your endeavors, this step is still crutial! We can't have our lawyers with us all the time, and keeping informed can only help. With or without a lawyer, it can be paramount to have printed copys on hand of some key information on hand or for reference.
Read All Applicable State Laws and Cases.
Find out the exact legal definition of child abuse and neglect in your state. Once you've found the statute, research caselaw to find out how the courts have applied the atatutory definition in other cases.
Courts base their rulings on what higher courts have rules in the past. A hierarchy is shown below:
Use this basic information to help you BEGIN YOUR Collection of Law, Fact, Local codes, and eventually full understanding of your specific rights.
Suggestion: Print all Codes that apply, even if the relationship is distant. Designate an entire folder or notebook towards your compiled findings in this step.
Take me To the Child Welfare Information Gateway! Dont forget to bookmark their neat-o
State Statutes searchable online database!