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Child Removal Proceedings by Child Protective Services – Part II

family lawyer New YorkLevels of Proof

In proceedings brought in the Family Court by CPS, the level of proof necessary to establish child abuse or child neglect is minimal.  The formal rules of evidence which apply in other courts do not apply here.  CPS workers can present hearsay evidence from third parties.  They can present statements from three year olds or four year olds who have no clue as to what they are talking about.  The exercise of power by CPS in abuse and neglect proceedings can be abusive and inappropriate.  Allegations by CPS workers the parents failed to use appropriate standards of care concerning their children are extremely general and are difficult to defend against.

Children’s Injuries

In the normal course of their lives, children may be injured.  They will fall.  They will get knocked down by their friends or while playing.  They will be bruised.  They will have bumps.  Sometimes they will require stitches.  Sometimes children will break bones.  None of these events specifically is indicative of a parent being abusive or neglectful.  These injuries and maladies which children suffer are indications they are living fulfilling lives, playing and participating in sports, social and other recreational activities.  Children do not live in foam, rubber worlds where they don’t receive nicks and injuries.

Allegations by CPS are difficult to deal with.  Should you be contacted by CPS workers who are investigating allegations of child abuse or child neglect, you should immediately contact an attorney familiar with handing these types of cases.  Be very careful what you say to CPS workers.  Be advised that without a search warrant CPS workers do not have a right to enter your home.  The fourth amendment to the United State Constitution prevents the unreasonable search of parent’s homes.  If the CPS worker comes to your door and says they are there to investigate you, you can tell them you wish to seek consult with your attorney before meeting with them or discussing anything with them.  They may tell you you do not have a right to an attorney.  They are lying to you if they say this.  You have an absolute right to be represented by counsel in these proceedings.

Obtain Competent Legal Counsel

Getting involved in CPS proceedings without the appropriate legal representation puts you at great risk of saying something that can be misinterpreted and later used against you in an administrative proceeding involving your children.

family law attorney Elliot S. Schlissel is an attorney who has written numerous articles about CPS and ACS cases.  He represents individuals being investigated or charged with child abuse and child neglect throughout the Metropolitan New York area.  Elliot and his associates have been representing family members regarding CPS and ACS matters for more than 35 years.

Child Removal Proceedings by Child Protective Services – Part I

family law in New YorkChild Protective Services (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”), provides an important public service by protecting innocent children from difficult circumstances. We applaud CPS workers for protecting children from violence, negligence and inappropriate circumstances. This article, however, is about CPS workers threatening to remove or removing children from situations involving no violence and parents who have neither neglected nor abused their children.

CPS Filing Charges Against An Innocent Parent

If one parent is involved in child abuse or child neglect, CPS can file child abuse and child neglect proceedings against both parents. If one parent should have a proceeding brought against him or her because they were the neglectful or abusive parent, CPS files proceedings against the other parent claiming they endangered their children’s health and welfare by letting the other parent act in an abusive or neglectful manner. This is the case even if the innocent parent was not around, unavailable or was unaware of the allegations of the abusive or neglectful parent. This is also the case if the allegations against the abusive or neglectful parent are simply not true.

CPS Controlling Family Situations

In these situations CPS seeks to establish control over the family situation. They seek to force the parents into programs under threats they will lose their children. CPS sets extremely high standards in these programs and the goals that must be met by the parents to comply with CPS to their satisfaction to either avoid the children being removed from the home or to have the children returned to the family’s home.

CPS As An Adversary

The parents often find instead of CPS helping them to be better parents, that they are in an adversarial situation with CPS wherein CPS is both the investigator and the de facto prosecutor of the parent.family law attorney

Child Abuse and Mandated Reporters – Part II

assistance for parents dealing with cps and acs Vigilance By Parents

If you or other members of your family are contacted by CPS with regard to an allegation of child abuse don’t be surprised if the police eventually show up at your doorstep to investigate the same occurrence. The best way to deal with allegations, no matter how silly, of child abuse and child neglect is to immediately contact an experienced attorney who handles allegations of child abuse and child neglect.

Rescuing Children and Creating Nightmares for Parents

Child Protective Services (“CPS”) performs an important public function. They help remove children from terrible situations where they are subject to abuse and neglect. They deserve the public’s admiration and appreciation by helping innocent children in these circumstances. However, at the same time they perform this valuable public service, CPS creates nightmares for parents by abusing governmental power against innocent parents and guardians of children. Cases involving innocent parents repeatedly shown that when Child Protective Services investigated them the social workers looked to find child abuse even in situations where it didn’t exist. CPS workers often lie, manipulate children, and fabricate evidence to blow up innocent situations to create evidence of alleged child abuse and child neglect. Parents are put into the position that they are guilty until proven innocent and it is extremely difficult to disprove a negative.

Conclusion

If you hear from the police or Child Protective Services about what may seem like minor issues of child abuse or child neglect, be careful, CPS may be looking to prove there is child abuse, not to investigate as to whether there is or is not child abuse.

Elliot S. Schlissel is an attorney who has been representing parents charged with child abuse and child neglect for more than 35 years.child custody attorney

Child Abuse and Mandated Reporters – Part I

defense when charged with child abuse by CPS or ACSThere are a number of mandated reporters of child abuse and/or neglect. There are many mandated reporters in New York who have legal obligations to report suspected and/or potential child abuse to Child Protective Services. Mandated reporters include doctors, nurses, school nurses, teachers, counselors, psychologists, police officers, and guidance counselors. Many of the reports submitted by mandated reporters are based on innocent events which are sometimes retold by children at school which involve common bruises, bumps and lumps children get from their normal daily activities when they play with their friends. School personnel have the misguided belief that under New York State law they are required to file a report with Child Protective Services if there is any possibility, no matter how remote, that there has been child abuse or child neglect. Teachers, guidance counselors, school nurses and other school personnel, although well meaning, file numerous false reports with child protect services virtually every day. The large majority of these reports should not have been filed in the first place!

Although school personnel are mandated reporters, they do not have to report each and every possible event no matter how far fetched to Child Protective Services. Unfortunately, school personnel believe they have to report every possible bump and bruise they see on a child to Child Protective Services. The statute in New York gives teachers and other school personnel latitude to take into consideration that bumps and bruises on a child was not caused by child abuse or child neglect.

Cross Reporting of Child Abuse

In every situation where police are brought to a home, school or other location where there is a child or children and there is suspected child abuse, the police are required, even if they find no child abuse took place, to report the incident to Child Protective Services. This causes a second investigation by Child Protective Services with regard to the incident.

Child Protective Services are called to a home if they suspect child abuse has taken place. They also cross report to the police. This can cause a second investigation by police officers. The fact that Child Protective Services and police cross report to each other causes families throughout the State of New York to be subject to multiple investigations of suspected child abuse and/or child neglect if their children received a bump, scratch, black and blue mark or other mark on their body from athletic activities or while playing with their friends.child custody attorney

Removal Of Children From Homes by Child Protective Services

assistance for parents dealing with cps and acsChild Protective Services (CPS) investigates abuse and neglect complaints against parents. If they have reasonable belief children have either been neglected or abused mentally or physically, they may seek to have the children removed from the family’s home.

Family Court Proceeding

Abuse and neglect proceedings are brought in the Family Court in the State of New York. In Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island, these matters are prosecuted by the County Attorney’s Office. In the five boroughs of the City of New York, these proceedings are prosecuted by the Corporation Counsel’s office.

In cases where it is believed the children are at substantial risk of physical injury, sexual abuse or other types of abuse, proceedings can be brought in the Family Court to remove children from the family’s home. The taking of children from a home usually has a traumatic impact on the children’s parents.

Child Removal Proceedings

During the course of the child removal proceedings, Orders of Protection are usually given to the children to prevent the continued abuse of the children by the parents or other family members.

Parents who have their children removed from their home are entitled to a hearing. At that time the removal agency must establish a reasonable basis for the removal of the children. It is extremely important that families being investigated by CPS or who have had action taken against them by CPS retain competent, experienced counsel to represent them in these proceedings. Often arrangements can be made to have the children returned to their family’s home as part of an arrangement where the parents take parenting classes, and/or anger management classes. In these situations there is usually a series of follow up visits by Child Protective Services to make sure the children are being properly cared for. When parents enter into these agreements to take classes or obtain therapy it is important they actually go to the classes and therapy sessions. Entering into an agreement to undergo therapy or parenting classes and not attending either therapy sessions or the parenting classes can give the impression the parents aren’t serious about changing their ways and the children remain at risk.child custody attorney

Child Abuse – Mandatory Reporters

assistance for parents dealing with cps and acsChild Protective Services (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”) and the Administration for Children’s Services (hereinafter referred to as “ACS”) are charged with protecting the rights of children who are unable to protect themselves. To a large extent, they do a good job. However, these agents of ACS and CPS have been known to harass families, remove children from homes, and intimidate families over false claims of child abuse and child neglect. When ACS or CPS receives an allegation of child abuse or child neglect they presume the allegation is true. Even if there is no supporting documentation or evidence to back this claim.

Mandatory Obligated Reporters of Child Abuse and Child Neglect

There are numerous individuals who have a legal obligation to report any potential issues involving child abuse and child neglect to CPS and/or ACS. This group of mandatory reporters include doctors, nurses, school counselors, teachers, police officers and psychologists. Sometimes, these mandatory reporters misinterpret an innocent situation and surmise some type of child abuse and child neglect is present. It may be simply that some young boys were wrestling, or fooling around and one boy ended up with a black and blue mark. Small bumps or bruising from normal recreational activities children are involved in can trigger a complaint from a mandatory reporter of child abuse or child neglect. The filing of false, non-documented allegations of child abuse has become especially common in recent years by teachers, school social workers and psychologists.

Many of the mandatory reporters feel they have to report even the most minuscule, insignificant situations as potential child abuse.

Cross Reporting of Allegations of Child Abuse or Child Neglect

If the police are called with regard to an investigation concerning either child abuse or child neglect and they come to a conclusion there was no child abuse and no child neglect, they are still legally obligated as mandatory reporters to report you to CPS or ACS. This means after the police have conducted their investigation a CPS or ACS worker will come to your house and they will start an investigation all over again which will not take into consideration the fact the police investigation has resulted in a determination there was no child abuse or child neglect. This is called “mandated cross reporting.”

assistance in family court cps and acs Elliot S. Schlissel is an attorney with more than 35 years of experience representing parents when dealing with allegations of child abuse and child neglect by ACS, CPS, and police investigations.

What To Do if a Child Protective Services or Administration for Children’s Services Worker Contacts You

family law attorney on long islandVirtually anyone can report you to Child Protective Services (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”) or the Administration for Children’s Services (hereinafter referred to as “ACS”). This will trigger an investigator either coming to your house or contacting you on the phone. When they initially contact you, they will advise you they need to speak to you and they want the child who was the subject of the report present. When they arrive at the house they will tell you they want to come into your house. You have no legal obligation to allow them into your house. You can tell them you will not be allowing them entry into the house without a warrant. Unfortunately, if you do this, generally they will go to court, present a one sided presentation, and a judge will sign and issue a warrant to allow them into your house to see if it is “safe”. You can advise the CPS or ACS investigator you do not wish to speak to them until you have had a chance to consult with an attorney with regard to this matter. They may be persistent, but if you tell them you are not going to speak to them until you speak with counsel, they will eventually go away.

Speak to the Other Children

If you let the CPS or ACS worker come into your house they will speak with your child, and then do a body scan to make sure there are no bruises or signs of abuse or neglect. They will then ask you “can I speak to your other children?” If no probable cause has been established the child they are investigating has been abused or neglected, there is no reason for them to speak to your other children. There is no probable cause to investigate your family situation concerning the other children. You can at that point say, NO. You have no probable cause or reason to speak to my other children. There has been no establishment of child abuse or child neglect here and I am not going to allow you to speak to my other children. At that point in time, you can also ask the investigator for a copy of all the allegations made with regard to the case. My experience is they will usually not provide you with this information at this time.

Body Check of Your Children

You do not have to allow a CPS or ACS worker to do a body check of your child to ascertain whether he or she has been abused physically. Instead you can take your child to your pediatrician or other treating physician and have them write a letter to CPS stating after an examination of your child he or she found the child not to have been abused or neglected.

It is suggested you do not speak to CPS or ACS investigators. Should they want information concerning you, you should advise them to contact your attorney.CPS and ACS  attorney on long island

Mother Criminally Charged For Locking Up Children In Her Room

criminal defense attorneysIn the case of People v. Leonard, New York State Court of Appeals rendered a decision that the kidnapping of an individual’s own child, even though the individual was the residential custodial parent, was not a “legal impossibility.” The Court of Appeals said that while parents have a right to control their children’s movements, there are cases where they go too far and they violate the law.

The Mother’s Activities

Jacqueline Jordan prevented her five children and two adults, one of whom was a case worker, from leaving a room at a Catherine Street women’s shelter. This took place on October 3, 2013. Ms. Jordan placed a chair under the doorknob which prevented the children and adults from leaving the room for a period of an hour and twenty minutes.

Unlawful Imprisonment

Ms. Jordan was charged with unlawful imprisonment of her children. Her attorney brought an application to have the allegations dismissed claiming she was the custodial parent.

In this case, the court found the mother’s conduct extreme and beyond the scope of a legitimate parental decision. The court went on to state her actions were “outside the bounds of a custodial parent’s lawful right to restrict her child’s movement.” Judge Statsinger found the mother’s behavior was unfathomable and her actions were not undertaken for the purpose of protecting her children or disciplining them. He went on to state “a parent who restricts the movement of an angry or unruly child, under the reasonable belief that such is necessary to prevent the child from harming another person or damaging property would…likely be acting on the lawful end of the Leonard spectrum.” He also went on to state “similarly a parent who restricts the movements of a sick child so the child will not infect others is also likely behaving lawfully. But…the court here discerns no such goal in the defendant’s behavior.”

Judge Statsinger came to the conclusion the criminal charge of unlawful imprisonment, attempted unlawful imprisonment, and endangering the welfare of a child were appropriate in this case.

Conclusion

If you are going to lock your children in a room, you better have a really good reason!

child welfare advocateElliot S. Schlissel represents fathers and mothers concerning applications for orders of protection, investigations by child protective service agencies, as well as defending them in Family Courts concerning accusations of child abuse and child neglect.

Mother Seeks to Keep Children Away From Killer

mother-150x150In 1991, Kristine Cushing killed her four and eight year old daughters. She was tried for these murders and found not guilty by reason of insanity. Her defense counsel claimed that she murdered her children due to a bad reaction to Prozac. Kristine spent four years in a mental institution. In addition, she had ten years of psychiatric monitoring. She received an unconditional release in 2005 from the State of California.

Kristine Cushing has now moved back in with her former husband, John P. Cushing. John had two children with Theresa Conlin. Their sons are 13 and 14 years of age. The 13 year old lives with Mr. Cushing. Since Theresa Conlin has moved back in with Mr. Cushing, he also lives with a convicted murderer, who murdered her two children. This does not sit well with the 13 year old boy’s mother, Trisha Conlin.

Theresa Goes to Court in California

Theresa has brought a proceeding in the King County Superior Court to prevent her sons from spending time alone with a convicted murderer. Mr. Cushing originally lied to Theresa. He advised her that he was not living with his ex-wife.

In the court proceedings, Mr. Cushing’s attorney stated that Miss Cushing was temporarily insane and didn’t know what she was doing. They are taking a position that she has recovered from this temporary insanity and presents no immediate threat to children.

In June, Miss Conlin received a court order giving her full custody of both of her sons for a period of 30 days. The court advised her that she would have to make a showing on the next court date why this new parenting plan should become permanent. She is still dropping off her sons to spend time with the Cushings on Sundays. Query: Should an ex-murderer be allowed to be alone with children?

Family Law Lawyer for Mothers’ Rights and Fathers’ Rights

Mothers and fathers have rights when dealing with issues concerning their children. Children should be kept in a safe environment. They should not be subject to child abuse or neglect.

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have been representing parents in matrimonial and family law matters for more than 30 years. We have developed an expertise in dealing with divorce, orders of protection, child custody and visitation. We litigate changing child custody, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony) and issues involving paternity. We also negotiate prenuptial and post nuptial agreements on behalf of our clients. We are especially adept in dealing with parental alienation issues and parental alienation syndrome. Call us for a free consultation.

Divorce Rates For Women In the Military

Divorce rates for women in the military is double the divorce rate for men in the military. Approximately 8% of the women in the Armed Services of the United States obtained a divorce in 2010.  Only 3% of the men in the military were divorced in that year.  Dr. Benjamin Carney, a psychology professor at UCLA, conducted a study of divorce rates among military families between 1996 and 2005. This study showed that divorce rates for women in the military were 2 to 3 times higher than divorce rates for men.  Dr. Carney has two theories as to why the divorce rates for women are higher.  First is that the Armed Services are designed for military families that have civilian wives.  The Armed Services is not designed to deal with families where the husband is the civilian.  Marriages between men, who are in civilian life and women who have military careers have the highest  potential of ending in a divorce.  Men who have chosen military careers have civilian wives in 90% of the marriages.  However, women in the military have a majority of spouses that are also in the military service. Professor Carney also sees gender role reversals as an additional reason for the disparity between the divorce rates for men and women in the Armed Services.

Conclusion: If the Armed Services is going to be a more attractive place for women, action must be taken to help them maintain and keep their marriages going.

New York and Long Island Divorce Lawyers

The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo handles all types of divorces. We represent individuals in the service as well as men and women in civilian life. We litigate divorce issues involving divorce grounds and family law related matters. We represent our clients concerning orders of protection, child custody, child abuse and child neglect matters. We negotiate separation agreements, pre nuptial and post nuptial agreements on behalf of our clients. We litigate issues involving mother’s rights and father’s rights. We help our clients deal with the division of property in divorces and we also work towards amicable resolution of divorce issues. Feel free to call us for a free consultation

Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick, Bellmore

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