Frequently Asked Questions
About Child Welfare

Does a caseworker have to tell me what I’m accused of and who accused me?

Under the law, a caseworker MUST tell you what the accusations are and advise you what your rights are at the time of the investigation, but the identity of the reporter is confidential and she will not be permitted to reveal who reported you.

However, you have the right to all the records. The name of the reporter will be redacted, but the details of the report will be shown. It is likely you can deduce who made the report based on the information they give to the agency. Additionally, if you request any police report that is indicated in the CPS report. Often the law enforcement agency will not redact names.

Do I have to let a caseworker into my house?

You have the constitutional right to refuse any government official entry into your house without a VALID warrant or court order.

VALID court order means a
written court order in most states. Phone orders do not comply with this requirement. Orders issued after the seizure of the children are not proper orders. Any alleged VERBAL order (in the states where verbal orders are valid) must be documented on the record by the judge with a court reporter making a verbatim transcript of the ex parte hearing - and you have a right to that transcript/recording of that hearing. If there is no transcript, the hearing can be invalidated. NO after-the-fact record is valid.

When you refuse entry, the caseworker will threaten to get a court order. If you let her in without a court order, you will be deemed to have given your consent to her entry. A caseworker cannot serve a warrant, only an officer of the law can serve a warrant. You have the right to see any court order or warrant. If the caseworker leaves to get a court order, we recommend that you take the children and flee until the case can be resolved (
see below for the right way to do this). It is clearly established in law that case workers ARE subject to lawsuit if they violate your constitutionally protected rights in their efforts to "protect children."

AS A RESULT of parents refusing state agency caseworkers access to children or entry into homes, state agencies are enlisting the aid of private organizations to gain entry an conduct the investigations. FOR EXAMPLE: Recent reports reveal that social workers with the Salvation Army are cooperating with CPS to gain entry into home and investigate reports of child abuse or neglect. Beware of any person seeking entry into the home or seeking to gain access to your children - especially social worker types.

Check out this quote from Michigan’s Child Welfare Law manual, “The  sanctity of the home is constitutionally protected and parents may legally refuse a caseworker admittance to the home and refuse access to the child. In such a case the worker might seek a court order to assist the investigation or contact the child at some other location. Current law does not require the workers to apprise parents of their right to refuse entry. Even silence may constitute implied consent as long as the parent makes no physical gesture such as barring the door, which indicates lack of consent.” footnote include:1. MFIA Services Manual, Item 712 2. MFIA Services Manual, Item 712, p. 83 3. MCL 722.628(2); MFIA Services Manual, Item 712 4 See Myers v Morris, 810 F2d 1437 (8th Cir. 1987); Fitzgerald v Williamson, 787 F2d 403 (8th Cir. 1986); Doe "A" v Special School District of St. Louis County, 637 F Supp 1138 (E.D. Mo 1986); Achterhof v. Selvaggio F2d (6th Cir 1989) No. 88-2231  

What if the caseworker has a police officer with her?

Caseworkers often bring police officers in order to intimidate you into cooperating. They also use and manipulate officers of the law by falsely stating that you are a danger to them. The police (NOT a caseworker) are allowed to remove children from a home without a warrant ONLY IF the child is in IMMINENT danger to his life or safety. You should demand that the officer state exactly what the imminent danger is. If he cannot state it, then you are within your legal rights to deny them access to your children. 

A caseworker cannot remove a child without a court order unless you consent. This consent is obtained when she gets you to sign any paperwork. This is often why she will bring a police officer with her, because she needs the intimidation factor to get your consent. The problem is that the police are much more vulnerable than the caseworker to a lawsuit if they seize the the child without
exigent circumstances. In this context, they must be present in connection with a criminal investigation, not a CPS investigation, or they are liable for civil rights violations. If you know your rights and assert them, they will often leave without the child, leaving the caseworker to stand alone without support.

Otherwise, caseworkers MUST have a warrant or court order to remove your children. You do not have to allow the caseworker or police entry into the home without a warrant or court order - no matter what they tell you to the contrary. We advise making them use force in order to preserve your right to sue them later. Keep the door closed and make them push it open.

We have received reports of officers reaching for their weapons or actually drawing their weapons when the parents demand a warrant or demand the officer to state what exigent circumstances (emergency) exists. They will state they don't need a warrant with their hand on their gun. Sometimes, the caseworker will have a S.W.A.T. team to make a forced entry into the home for sole purpose of seizing the children. If the police have a warrant or seize the children, you should call an attorney immediately. Get the seizure on video tape if possible, or audio tape if that’s all you have. Tape recorders and video recorders tend to keep things honest and are vital to protect you from false testimony on the stand and false CPS reports/records. Bottom line is, if you didn't record the event, the violations didn't happen.

What if the caseworker wants me to sign something?

You may be asked to sign documents when they seize your children. Since you probably have no idea what you are signing, it is best not to sign anything.

Often, they will ask you to sign that you agreed to have your children taken. You must understand that caseworkers
need you to agree to whatever they do to you and your children in order to protect them from malpractice and other lawsuits. Once again, we advise you to make them use legal force to kidnap your children. Don’t give them permission by signing anything. Especially don’t sign releases of information. These releases are too broad and can cost you your children. Just tell them you will have to ask your attorney before you sign anything and keep the forms they want you to sign.

Should I let the caseworker have my children’s birth certificates or social security numbers?

We recommend not providing this information to any caseworker who wants to place your child in foster care. They need these documents in order to collect federal funding. Don’t even give your children’s birth dates. There are specific laws which prohibit the forcible disclosure of Social Security numbers (see Profane Justice) and you can legally refuse to volunteer for Federal entitlement programs on behalf of your children.

You can also forbid them from obtaining Social Security numbers by any other means AND enforce that in a Federal Court. If they must bear the burden of foster care and treatment plan expenses without Federal funding, you stand a better chance of having your children returned. They may simply obtain another SS# for your child. We have had reports of children having as many as NINE SS#'s, and the CPS agency was receiving funding under each number for that child.

We also recommend NOT sending any of your child’s personal belongings, including clothing, when they go to foster care. We have had volumes of reports that their clothing and belongings are often lost or redistributed or stolen and sold in consignment shops. Don’t risk it. The foster care givers get an initial clothing allowance so your children will be clothed.  The state will be charging you child support to recover foster care expenses, so don’t be duped into providing their clothing AND paying for new clothing. Make the state bear the expense if they insist on seizing your children.

Do I have to let the caseworker speak to my children?

No, not without a court order. This is tricky, because the law says they can speak to the children. However, the law does not say that you or your child have to cooperate with their investigation.

We recommend that you have an attorney set up terms of any interview with your children (See
Profane Justice for detailed instructions on interview conditions). A great many child interviewers--even the so-called experts--employ inappropriate interview techniques which can be devastating to your family. Your children should NEVER be interviewed without your representative present and without a video recorder documenting all persons, face front to the camera. You do not have a right to be present because you are the perpetrator. They will not interview your children in your presence if you are considered a perpetrator or offending parent.

Do my children have to speak to the caseworker or police?

If your children are with you, you can refuse without a court order. If they are not with you -- i.e. in school, daycare, etc. -- they have the right to refuse to speak with the caseworker. It is imperative that you teach your children to say, "I don't want to talk to anyone without my mom/dad here. I want my mom or dad." They can leave the room, call you to pick them up, and wait for you to come get them.

Can a caseworker strip search my child?

Caseworkers believe they have the right to strip search your children. However, it is our opinion that if they do, it constitutes sexual abuse. They do not have the authority to conduct any kind of search without a court order. A caseworker should not be permitted to undress your child and examine their naked bodies. They are not qualified to conduct any kind of medical evaluation unless they are an M.D. They will attempt to photograph the child's naked body for use in court, but without a proper medical examination and diagnosis, the photographic evidence serves only to support their puerile or rabid speculations. These photographs are not secured and anyone in the building can access them. We've done it. . .trust us, they are not secured.

If they suspect the child has physical injuries, we believe that the child should be taken to a medical professional who is qualified to make a determination as to the child’s medical and physical condition.

Your children must also be taught that they should NEVER let a stranger take their clothing off or view their unclothed bodies without YOUR permission. If a caseworker attempts to strip search them, they must be taught to scream and run and call 911. We have received numerous reports of caseworkers who have records of pedophilia and sexual abuse - and this is the perfect arena for them to achieve their perverted sexual gratification with impunity.

What if anyone says I don’t have to appear in court or attend a meeting?

We constantly receive reports where a caseworker, Guardian ad litem (GAL) or even a respondent parent attorney advises a parent that they don’t have to show up for hearings or attend meetings. Failure to show up for any hearing without directly being excused by the judge means that you will lose by default. It is vital that you appear at ALL court hearings in order to protect your rights as a parent.

The first hearing will be to determine whether your children will stay in the custody of the state Child Protective Services (CPS) agency. You are allowed to present evidence and testimony at this hearing. It is imperative that you do so, no matter what everyone else says. If your attorney has not subpoenaed witnesses, he must request a continuance so that they can be subpoenaed. DO NOT count on simply being able to cross examine state witnesses. They often don’t put on the officer who reached for his gun when you asked for a warrant, they’ll put on the rookie who was simply along for the ride. Trust your instincts when deciding which witnesses to call, and contest the continued placement of your children in foster care. For detailed information on preparation for the temporary custody (shelter) hearing, see
Profane Justice.

You should also attend all administrative meetings, and your attorney or advocate should also be present. This is where all the decisions really get made, you need to be a part of that process. Video or audio record these meetings, don't let them intimidate you into not recording.

Can a caseworker demand that I separate and/or divorce my spouse?

All across the country, caseworkers and GALs are responsible for the heartless and unnecessary breakup of marriages. They will often tell a parent, usually the wife, that unless they get a restraining order, or separate or divorce their spouse, or accuse their spouse of domestic violence, they will never get their children back. This is one of the most cruel tactics employed by professionals in these cases, making someone choose between their beloved spouse and their beloved children. This torture is reminiscent of the Nazi tactic of making the condemned dig their own mass graves before their executions or by forcing the first five or ten condemned victims to select who of their friends and families will die and then torturing them to death in before their eyes. It is nothing more than torture for the sake of torture.

In a small percentage of these cases, there has been violence in the home, but in most there has been nothing more than an argument. Even if there has been violence, the purpose of intervention and the implementation of case plans is to rehabilitate parents so that they can provide a safe and appropriate home for their children. The act of forcing divorce on parents is an admission that their case plans and rehabilitation don’t work, but they will still make you jump through all the hoops before they terminate your parental rights. They have no intention of reunifying the family.

This is often a tactic employed when the parents have presented a unified front against the seizure of their children. Not only do these professionals need to separate you from your children, but they need to separate the spouses, too. This separation makes it easier to destroy the family and terminate parental rights. Most parents who have complied with these cruel demands from the professionals have lost their children anyway. They will say that the non-offending spouse cannot keep the children safe.

Separation and divorce creates severe financial hardships on the family and these financial difficulties further prove your unfitness to provide for your children. The best option if one spouse is physically violent is that he or she participate in treatment and modify violent behaviors. If there is no offending parent, this issue must be addressed in court by making the state PROVE there was violence in the home. Any kind of admission on your part to violence in the home if there was none, or separating from your spouse under their heartless threats will frequently backfire. They will say you don’t have the capacity to choose the right mate and probably not help you get your children back.

There are tactics that you can employ to protect your marriage, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. Our publications can assist with that strategy.

What is Concurrent Planning and Expedited Permanency Planning?

Concurrent Planning is the policy of having two case plans put in place at the same time regarding children who are placed in foster care. The first plan is usually to reunify the child with the family, and a case plan is ostensibly devised to accomplish that goal.

The second plan is to prepare the child for an alternative permanency plan, such as adoption, permanent foster care or guardianship. It is important to note that during the pendency of the case, the child is subjected to both plans. This often means that while the department will continue to allow the child to see his parents and make the parents jump through all their hoops, the professionals are using therapy and other services (
read: brainwashing and conditioning) to weaken the child’s bonds and affections for his real parents and strengthen the child’s bonds and affections for his proposed artificial parents. It is, in effect and practice, the Stockholm Syndrome (remember Patty Hearst?) put into action. Through the application of concurrent planning, it becomes very easy for caseworkers and GALs to report to the court that the child doesn’t have a strong bond with his parents and that it is in his best interests to terminate parental rights. Well, no wonder, they destroyed the bonds through the mechanism of the case plan.

Expedited Permanency Planning is the Federal mandate which requires that children must have a permanent plan in place within twelve months after they are removed from their homes. For children under six, expedited permanency planning speeds the process up, permitting a permanency hearing to occur in as few as six months. Bear in mind that the first two or three months of this time is eaten away by the adjudication process and a case plan is rarely put in to place before the four month mark. That means, under the best scenario, that the parents only have two months left to complete the case plan to the satisfaction of the professionals involved or else the caseworker will recommend termination of parental rights.

Should I trust the caseworker or the police?

If a caseworker or police officer want to question you or your children, it is because you have been accused of child abuse or neglect. The overwhelming majority of parents who have trusted these government agents regret it. Most parents feel that they have done nothing wrong, they have nothing to hide and they want to show their good faith by cooperating. Many of these parents have lost their children permanently as a result. In most cases, any trust you place in caseworkers or police officers is misplaced, and that trust will likely be betrayed.

What do I do if I have a caseworker’s card on my door or a caseworker message on my machine?

Do not panic. This is the best time to get the case shut down if you handle it properly. You are not obligated by any law to return a caseworker’s call or to respond to her message. But if your children are in school, she has already probably spoken with them without your knowledge. Your children may have been instructed by her not to tell you that she has questioned them without your permission.

You will need a GOOD lawyer. We have found that attorneys who practice criminal law or civil rights law have the best foundation for handling these cases, however, they don't necessarily have the esoteric knowledge required for this case. It is not exactly civil and not criminal, and it is not a hybrid of the two. You may ask your attorney to call us to consult on the case. Attorneys who practice in this area of law are often nothing more than court appointed facilitators, and they will unlikely be willing to present vigorous representation to you.

It is best if your attorney handles all contact with CPS during the investigation. Do NOT meet caseworkers at their office and do NOT let them into your home. Meet them at your attorney’s office, or another neutral location. You do not have a legal obligation to answer any of their questions. If you do meet with them, get it in writing that the case will be closed before you leave. For more details about how to handle a first contact with a CPS agent, see
Profane Justice.

Should I take my child and flee?

There is a lot of debate among the self-professed amateur family rights advocates and groups out there whether or not to flee. Most will advise against it, due in large part to the fact that they did not develop the strategies and advice they offer to parents. They copied their strategies and recommendations from AFAC. Consequently, they really don't know what they are doing or how any strategy was intended to be played out.

AFAC devised virtually all of the strategies being recommended and implemented by all the other advocates and groups out there today. We do advise parents to take the children and flee, if there has been no petition filed yet. You should never remove the children from the jurisdiction if the court has assumed jurisdiction over them.

Having said that, there is a right way and a wrong way to flee. We have had many parents take our advice and follow our instructions when fleeing, which has prevented the state from seizing their children, and has resulted in the investigation being closed as unfounded. Not a single one of our parents who fled and followed our instructions has ever spent a single day in jail for failing to produce the children, and have never had their child taken from them. Their cases were all closed as unfounded.

If you are considering employing this option, we recommend you be very careful who you trust. Just because someone else doesn't know how to do it doesn't mean it can't be done. Who you will choose to consult with on any strategy, the ones who say it can't be done or who haven't been able to do it, or the ones who devised the strategy and have done it successfully?

Should I talk to the Media about my case?

We believe media exposure of child welfare abuses is very important. However, we do not suggest you speak to the media yourself.

If you decide to take the case public, you should have an experienced and knowledgeable spokesperson conduct the interviews on your behalf with you by your spokesperson's side. I have not seen many attorneys who can do that effectively. We offer spokespersons who can portray your case sympathetically to the public and who can make the professionals appear as irrational and hysterical as they actually are.

The purpose of speaking out is to gain public sympathy for your side of the issue, and it takes a professional to accomplish that well. You don’t know the laws well enough to portray your case properly, and, sadly, neither does your attorney. Most parents and their attorneys talk too much and say the wrong things. They also are not experienced in speaking in sound bites. If you do decide to speak for yourself, by all means NEVER admit guilt, NEVER admit you should not have spanked your child, NEVER admit you did anything in anger or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, NEVER admit you deserved to have your children taken away. It not only hurts you, it hurts all of us.

What are the things I should always do to protect my family?

  * You should ALWAYS tape record and/or video record EVERY contact with any child protection professional, even if they object. NEVER stop recording, even if they leave. There is a right way and a wrong way to do this. If you do it the wrong way, you can be sure the agency will request the court to order you to stop recording and you don't want that. We are the only organization who knows the right way to handle this.

   * You should train your children how to protect your family by recognizing which authority figures cannot be trusted (See
Who Do I Trust? Knowing My Rules ) and to always tell the truth.

   * Document everything with follow up letters. If the judge orders you to stop writing your follow up letters, continue to write them.

   * If they make a promise, get it in writing before you agree to anything. If they refuse to put it in writing, they’re only lying to you.
  * Don’t miss a single court appearance. Attend all meetings.
  * If you are under a post-adjudication court ordered treatment plan, do not refuse to comply with the conditions. But while you are cooperating, be sure to document that cooperation and successful completion with frequent written contact with the caseworker so that you won’t be blind sided by a petition to terminate parental rights for your failure to successfully complete the treatment plan.

   * Do NOT assist them with building a case against you by cooperating before an adjudication. Every time you speak with them, or if you comply with their demands for psychological evaluations and other treatment, you are providing them with evidence to twist and use against you. Make them prove the case against you by their own efforts.
  * Unless you have abused/neglected your children, do NOT admit or stipulate to the petition. Adjudication is one element required to terminate parental rights. Once they have that, all they need to do is say you failed to complete the treatment plan in order to terminate your parental rights.
  * Do NOT presume they are acting in the best interests of your children. They are acting in the best interests of keeping their job.

  * Do NOT presume they are interested in the truth or that the truth will necessarily exonerate you.

   * Do NOT believe that you will be able to manage this case without competent, professional help. These cases are emotionally debilitating, and even the most competent of people find themselves emotionally overwrought, anxious, fearful and more. Find a GOOD lawyer, or at the very least, join a TRAINED family rights group for support, guidance and help. This does not mean relying on online groups. . .they are at best enthusiastic and sympathetic, but they are untrained and reliance on their advice has been known to hurt cases. At the worst, they will cost you your children. Many of the most vocal participants on the online groups have never gotten their own children returned, and actually did abuse or neglect their children, which should be a consideration by consumers before seeking the services of an advocate.

Should I sign the case plan? It signing the case an admission of guilt?

Signing the case plan is a requirement under the Federal statutes that govern state's acceptance of federal funding for child welfare. It is not an admission of guilt. Signing the case plan only indicates that the parent participated in the formation of the case plan and agreed with the content of the case plan. Only admitting to the petition is an admission of guilt.

That being said, we do not recommend that parents sign a case plan. We advise lawyers to inform the court that they have advised the parents not to sign the case plan, but that they have also advised the parents to comply with the case plan. By this method, the parent is protected from retaliation by the case worker and guardian at litem, because if their lawyer advises them to refuse, they cannot be held responsible.

There are several reasons for not signing the case plan. In most cases, the case plan is inappropriate. It offers services that are not designed to remedy the problems that brought the child to the attention of the agency, or services that are irrelevant to the issues that need to be addressed. Many times, the parent was not permitted to participate in the formation of the case plan, nor provided an opportunity to object to inappropriate or irrelevant services. There are other reasons for not signing the case plan, all of which which are discussed in more detail in our publications.

Update August 11, 2011
Some organizations are advising consumers that signing the case plans indicates that the parents volunteered to participate in services and/or have their children placed in foster care. This is in error. Signing the case plan does not in any way constitute your volunteering to receive services or keep your children in foster care. This confusion arises from a misreading of the foster care provisions in the federal law, which is describing that there are two ways children can be placed in foster care: 1-the parents request it (i.e. voluntary placement) ; or 2-the court finds the home is unsafe for the children. A parent can volunteer for services, but signing the case plan is not the way that is accomplished.

There is also incorrect information being disseminated to consumers that signing the case plan cancels your constitutional rights. The case plan does not affect with your constitutional rights and you cannot be compelled to waive any of your constitutional rights when you sign or participate in a case plan. The trick is knowing what to do if and when you are faced with what appears to be an attempt to get you to waive your constitutional rights. For example: you have both a civil dependency case and a criminal case arising out of the same allegations. The police may want you to incriminate yourself in the civil case so as to use that self-incrimination in the criminal case. There are powerful provisions available to insure the agency can provide appropriate services and you can cooperate while the police/district attorney cannot know or use any of the information revealed during your participation in those services. This balancing act requires some legal skill, which AFAC has been executing successfully for years.

My attorney is trying to make me stipulate (admit) to a petition that my child was abused or neglected . . .

. . .but I don’t have to admit I did anything. Will this get my children back more quickly like he says?

Many jurisdiction have a "no fault" provision in their child protection scheme. Even if they don’t have a statutory no fault provision, they will often offer you some kind of no fault provision in your petition if you will stipulate or agree to the petition. What this means is that the child was abused or neglected through no fault of your own and he requires services to address that abuse or neglect.

If you stipulate, admit or agree to any petition, you lose your ability to appeal the decision to a higher court. You lose your right to a trial and to have the state bear the burden of proof. Legal and sometimes physical custody of the child will remain with the state. Your name will appear on the state child abuse registry. You are, for all purposes you have admitted you are an unfit parent (GUILTY of child abuse or neglect), no matter what the agreement was. At this point, a case plan will be put into place to rehabilitate you, even if you weren’t at fault and there is nothing to rehabilitate.

A no fault admission does not protect you in any way. You can still lose your child to termination of parental rights the same as any parent who did abuse or neglect their children. You will still be charged foster care fees for their placement. You are not different than any abusive parent in the eyes of the professionals and they eyes of the court.

They NEED you to agree, especially if they can’t meet the burden of proof, in order to impose services on you and obtain Federal Funding, and your attorney will help them accomplish this. The only time you will have any semblance of due process is the adjudicatory trial. If you sign their stipulation, you waive all due process rights and claims.

I am also facing criminal charges for abusing/neglecting my children. . .

. . .How should I handle both the civil and criminal cases?

Any admission of guilt or admission to a dependency petition will be used against you in the criminal case. It is best to have one attorney handle and/or coordinate both cases to insure that something doesn’t happen in one case that will cause problems in the other case. YOU CAN WIN both cases, but NOT if you admit anything in either case.

Exercise your 5th amendment rights - KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.

You have remedies to employ that will prevent the information disclosed in your dependency case from being used in your criminal case. We have had parents fight and win Termination of Parental Rights while facing trial for manslaughter - which they also won (the family is now reunited and the children and safe and well). We can advise your attorney how to handle this effectively.

My court appointed attorney wants to quit OR I want to fire him. Should I do this?

Many self-professed family advocates and family rights groups will advise you to fire your attorney. This is very bad advice and has cost many parents all rights to their children. If you agree in any way to allow your count appointed attorney to withdraw without objecting to his withdrawal, or if you fire your attorney, the court has no obligation to appoint another attorney to replace him.

You will be very unlikely to effectively represent yourself without an attorney. We recommend that you always object to an attorney’s request to withdraw unless the court will appoint another to replace him. You have a due process right to court-appointed counsel, but if you do not object to his withdrawing, the court has no obligation to appoint a replacement. You must object, even if he is useless, to preserve your right to have the court appoint a replacement. As soon as you get notice of his motion to withdraw, you must enter your objection to his withdrawing unless the court will appoint a replacement.

For the same reason, you should never fire your court appointed attorney. If he is not doing his job, there are other options to employ to establish the record of his ineffective assistance of counsel and protect your due process rights. These alternative options are discussed in our other publications.

What are the greatest dangers in these kinds of cases?

Parents and kids who talk too much.

Kids who lie.

Trusting anyone listed on the
Family Advocate Consumer Advisory web site.

Inadequate, ineffective assistance of counsel for respondent parents

Parents who talk too much.

Caseworkers, GALs and CASAs falsifying reports to the court.

Trusting the Caseworkers, GALs and CASA and telling them the truth.


Incompetent investigations by caseworkers

Caseworkers and others tampering with child witness statements or conducting inappropriate interviews with children.

Tampering with or manufacturing evidence by caseworkers and others.

Parents are denied access to their case file and to medical or school records of their children which could provide exculpatory evidence or prove incompetence, malice, malfeasance and crimes by professionals


Biased and incompetent judges who err on the side of the child rather than acting as true finders of fact and judicial abuses of discretion.

The universal presumption of guilt when a parent is accuses of child abuse/neglect, and the associated judicial practice of believing the caseworkers and professionals never lie and the parents always lie.

Physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect of children in foster care, and the subsequent cover-up of that abuse/neglect.

Parents being denied the ability to preserve the evidence by using audio or video recording devices or having witnesses present.

Foster parents, therapists and other professionals who undermine parent-child bonds.

Fraud by child welfare agencies, including medicaid fraud, insurance fraud, and more.

What kind of help can I expect from online parent’s rights or family rights groups?

Online groups, such as Yahoo! groups or Facebook, are comprised mostly of parents who are in the same situation you are. They are hoping that by joining such groups, they can get useful information to assist them in their cases. There are usually some members who have been at this for some time--even years--and who appear to know what they are talking about. If you decide to join online groups, you should do so with caution.

Many of the members of these groups never got their children back, because they didn’t handle their own cases properly or because they are abusers. If they didn’t handle their own case properly, chances are the advice they give you won’t be beneficial to your case. Most of the others took over a year to get their children back, which is the normal time frame for parents who did not seek assistance from online groups or join parent's rights organizations.

Some of the people on these groups needed CPS intervention, but are in denial about it. They use the groups to vindicate themselves from any responsibility for abuse or neglect they perpetrated. These people will focus very heavily on abuses committed by CPS (y
es, they were probably abusive, but that doesn’t change the fact that these parents needed help) and cannot look at anything objectively. They will make blanket statements, tell lies, attack anyone who disagrees or questions their statements, cite absurd patriot law and appear to be knowledgeable, but the advice they give is what caused them to lose their children and their cases. After all, misery loves company and its no skin off of their nose if they take you down with them.

Some of the members, and especially the leadership of the AFRA groups and CPS Watch, have misappropriated AFAC proprietary written materials and attempted to provide information and advice from those materials in an effort to be credible, but they don’t know the entire process, and therefore, don't get it right. We have provided limited information to the public, but not all, and they don't know what to do with it beyond what we have released. They do not know how to follow the strategy to the logical conclusion. The advice that comes from these sources is literally harmful, and should not be relied upon if you hope to win your children back.

There are caseworkers, Guardians ad litem and other professionals lurking on those groups to gather information against parents. We know because members complain that their posts on these groups are being used in their court cases against them.

Some of the AFRA groups and other groups have used their groups to incite harassment and stalking against NON-AFRA participants, including filing false reports with law enforcement and government agencies. If you make certain people on these groups angry, they will stop at nothing to get even and destroy you.

Membership and participation on these groups should be carefully considered. You will likely find sympathetic people who understand your situation, which can be beneficial from the perspective of being support groups. If you limit your participation to that use, you may be safe as long as you do not reveal private information. There are other ways of obtaining accurate factual information to assist you with your case, including from our publications.

People say CPS agencies are corrupt and unconsitutional. Is this so?

Organizations or individuals who make claims like this are in error.

By definition, these agencies are not corrupt, and a blanket claim that they are corrupt only makes the person saying this look ignorant. The same goes for claims that they are unconstitutional agencies.

Child welfare agencies are state agencies. They operate according to state law. The state's acceptance of Federal Funding to run a state child welfare agency is strictly voluntary. The states can refuse to accept Federal monies and the regulations that accompany that money. Since the Federal government does not require a state to accept the money, the state agency, by definition, is not unconstitutional.

Neither are they corrupt. If one actually looked at the laws and regulations governing the agency, there is nothing corrupt or unconstitutional about the agency. However, perhaps certain people who run the agency or administer the cases are incompetent, or lazy, or ignorant, or stupid, or even corrupt. That does not make the agency corrupt. Even if there are employees who use the agency for corrupt purposes, that still does not make the agency corrupt. By definition, under our laws, state agencies are not corrupt.

It is silly to attack the institution when one should be pointing the finger at individual offenders. Saying the agencies are corrupt or unconstitutional is so absurd that it actually prevents the speaker from obtaining any public support and sympathy for the cause of family rights. Blanket attacks like this undermine our credibility, and make us all look like kooks and whackadoodles who deserved to have our children removed. And, quite frankly, some of these speakers did deserve to have their children removed, and remain in denial about what lousy and abusive parents they were. Their preferred response is to make absurd claims blaming everyone but themselves for losing their children. They should be shunned, not glorified.

Do I surrender my rights when I cooperate?

That depends. As a general rule, no.

There are different rights at play for different parties during different stages of child welfare cases. Knowing what these rights are at any point in the process is very important.

Knowing how to assert these rights without invoking retribution or retaliation is critical. In-your-face resistance, fighting every step, refusing to cooperate at the wrong time, name-calling, bad mouthing and shouting is not the most effective way to accomplishing your goal of having your children returned quickly and the case closed.

By virtue of the hearings held in the court, rights are waived, invoked, enforced or diminished. Some of this is legitimately related to insuring the welfare of your child, some isn't. Knowing when and how to discern the difference is complicated. Knowing what to do about it is very important, and many self-professed leaders don't understand these nuances or get it right. This is why AFAC created family advocates and train them, to assist parents with navigating this complex system effectively and safely.

Is this an unconstitutional court of no due process. . .

. . .as some organizations are saying?


The courts that hear child welfare cases are constitutional courts. There is nothing unconstitutional about them. Claiming they are unconstitutional is utter nonsense, and diminishes the credibility of the person making that claim. It also undermines the grassroots family rights movement by making participants believe they can reform the child welfare process by attacking the courts, rather than directing their efforts reforming to legitimate problems. The child savers love it when activists are taking on non-existent problems, because the real problems continue without scrutiny or interference.

These courts do enforce due process. What often happens is that the attorneys representing parents or children waive a variety of due process protections on behalf of their clients without fully informing them of all the options and ramifications. They will substitute their own judgement for the judgement of their client, which is wrong.

Sometimes they do this under pressure from the judge, which is even worse.

But on the record, the judges and attorneys dot their i's and cross their t's as far as the appearance of due process is concerned. This is evidenced by the high percentage of appeals that affirm the trial court's determinations, which are upheld because the challenged rights or law or procedure were waived by the attorney.

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Recommended links:

American Family Advocacy Center Blog

Sage Wisdom Press - books and more for anyone seeking information about child welfare

Legal Resources - for attorneys only, parents not allowed

Family Advocate Consumer Advisory - exposing harmful advocates

The Mighty Pen

If you don't know your rights, you have no rights.

If you know your rights and the court won't enforce your rights, you have no rights.

The Pen is Mightier Than the Gavel blog.

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Q. How can CPS seize children who have not been abused or neglected by their own parents?

A. Under the very popular statutory standard that the child is at risk of future abuse, based on the subjective "precognition" of the caseworker and her interpretation of the parent’s known or merely alleged conduct in the past.

A very large percentage of children are removed from family homes under this standard alone, essentially constituting draconian preventive intervention for hypothetical acts which have not yet occurred and which may never occur
Q. If you could do only ONE thing to reform child welfare, what would that be?
A. It's not having a rally in Washington D.C , it's not protesting at your state capitol. It's not even testifying at legislative hearings. The single most effective thing that can be done to reform child welfare is to amend Your State Constitution with the FAMILY RIGHTS AMENDMENT

Parental Rights amendments have all failed, because when you pit children't rights against parents' rights, the children's rights always win. With the Family Rights Amendment, you are either pro-family or anti-family. Who wins now?

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