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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

The Removal of Children From Their Parents’ Homes by CPS and ACS Workers

parents attorney on long islandChild Protective Services (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”) and the Administration for Children’s Services (hereinafter referred to as “ACS”) are social service agencies which have one extreme power. This is the power to have children removed from their parents’ homes. The intent of this power is to avoid children from being exposed to future child abuse or child neglect. The intent of this power is not to punish parents and their children. In this writer’s experience this power unfortunately punishes both the parents and their children! Children have two parents. Sometimes the parents live together in the household and sometimes they live in separate households. Even if the non-offending parent lives in a separate household than the alleged offending parent, CPS and ACS will often bring child abuse and child neglect allegations against the non-offending parent too.

When Abuse or Neglect is Suspected Action Needs To Be Taken by CPS and/or ACS

When a CPS or ACS worker reaches the decision the allegations made against the parents may be true, he or she must decide how to best protect the children from future abuse. The issue then becomes if one parent is the individual who caused the child abuse or child neglect, can the children be maintained by the other parent. In these cases, CPS and ACS then investigates the non-offending parent. They investigate as to whether the non-offending parent should have known about circumstances and events which may involve child abuse or child neglect. CPS and ACS will virtually always take the position that in the event there is domestic violence in the household, both parents are exposing the children to child abuse. In these cases the victim of the domestic abuse is also guilty of exposing the children to a dangerous situation. This makes the victim of domestic abuse doubly abused. Once abused by the perpetrator of the abuse and secondly abused by CPS or ACS.

Keeping Families Together

There are other options that CPS and ACS can take instead of removing children from a family’s home. CPS and ACS are required to preserve the family situation and the children’s safety. They must make reasonable efforts to establish a service plan the family can follow so the children can be maintained in their home. However, it should be noted even if CPS and ACS established a service plan for the family, they are still acting in an adversarial relationship to the parents. The service plan actually means that if you don’t do what they are telling you to do pursuant to this program we are going to take your children away from you. Instead of providing families with help it terrifies victims of domestic violence that they will lose their children. CPS service plans can also be hostile and punitive instead of educational and helpful.

Cooperating With Service Plans

When CPS or ACS establishes a family service plan, family members should use their best efforts to participate and cooperate with these plans. If the plans become overly burdensome you should notify the CPS or ACS worker in writing about the burdensome nature of the plans and discuss with them alternative plans. Simply not complying with the service plan is usually a mistake. The failure to comply with service plans will usually cause CPS or ACS to bring proceedings for the removal of the children from the family’s home.attorney for parents dealing with CPS

Child Protective Services and Mandatory Reporters

family law in New YorkThe purpose of this article is to provide a discussion on how innocent parents can sometimes fall into the net of Child Protective Services’ (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”) and the Administration for Children’s Services (hereinafter referred to as “ACS”) investigations even when they have done nothing wrong.

Mandatory Reporters

The laws in the State of New York make many individuals mandatory reporters of potential child abuse or child neglect. These mandatory reporters include police officers, counselors, teachers, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and other individuals who work with children. Many of these workers are under the mistaken belief that any possible incident of suspected child abuse or suspected child neglect must be reported. This is not necessarily what the law requires and/or the intent of what the reporting statutes are. Mandatory reporters actually have a choice. Not every skinned knee, skinned elbow, black and blue mark, or bump on a child is an indication a child has been abused or neglected. These minor bruises can be indications the child actually has a fulfilling, playful, athletic life. These bruises can be an indication the child rough houses with his or her friends, or participates in sports, karate, and other activities.

What mandatory reporters do not seem to understand is they have a choice as to whether or not to report an innocuous injury to child protective services.

Powers CPS and ACS Workers Do Not Have

The following is a list of powers that CPS and ACS workers do not have:

  1. They cannot arrest you.
  2. They are not law enforcement officers.
  3. They cannot open up a criminal investigation. CPS and ACS workers are social service employees. They are a branch of social services’ departments. They are not part of the criminal justice system.

CPS and ACS and Your Rights

Even though CPS and ACS workers are not involved with prosecutorial or criminal justice powers, they can initiate a series of events which can lead to investigations by police agencies. It is therefore in your interest should you be contacted by a CPS or ACS worker related to an investigation either concerning child abuse or child neglect that you consult with an attorney experienced in representing individuals subject to CPS and/or ACS investigations. CPS and ACS investigations can lead to decisions that you have committed child abuse or child neglect. This material can be maintained in computers in New York State for a period of up to 28 years and have a negative impact on employment situations involving children.family law attorney

New York Orders of Protection Explained

family lawyer orders of protectionAn Order of Protection is an order granted by a court which protects one individual from another. Individuals who are threatened or who have been abused or assaulted can request an Order of Protection in New York. If an Order of Protection is granted, it can require the alleged abuser to:

  • stay away from the home or other location of the individual who alleges he or she was abused
  • cause the individual to be removed from his home if the other party lives there
  • prevent the individual from telephone contact, verbal contact or contact through third parties with the individual who was allegedly abused
  • surrender all of his or her guns

Who Issues Orders of Protection?

Orders of Protection can be issued by the Family Court, Supreme Court or by Criminal Courts in the State of New York.

Family Court Orders of Protection in New York can be issued against spouses, persons related by blood or marriage, individuals who have a child in common, or individuals who have an “intimate relationship” with each other.

Criminal Courts issue Orders of Protection after an individual has been arrested and charged with a crime. A Criminal Court Order of Protection usually is issued against the person who was arrested and prevents him or her from contacting, communicating or threatening the alleged victim of a crime.

Term of Order of Protection

Orders of Protection usually last for one year but can last for as long as five years. If an Order of Protection is taken out against you, you should consult with competent legal counsel. Orders of Protection can be modified, changed, or rescinded. An application can be made to the court which issued the original Order of Protection and evidence presented that the Order of Protection as it currently exists is not appropriate.family law attorney

VIDEO: Orders of Protection

Please click on the link below to watch today’s video blog on the topin of Orders of Protection:

Elliot S. Schlissel is an attorney with nearly 38 years experience representing clients in all aspects of Family Law. He and his associates may be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to elliot@sdnylaw.com.

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

Mother Brings Application To Regain Parenting Rights

Tune in to today’s video blog where we are discussing a case in which a mother brought an application to regain her parenting rights:


Elliot S. Schlissel is a family law attorney. Elliot has been representing parents in child custody, CPS and ACS investigations and other family matters for more than 35 years. He and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net. The phones are monitored 24/7.

The Grandparents’ Custody Lawyer – Part II

grandparents custody lawyersChildren’s Best Interests

There are a variety of factors which can be considered by a court when looking into whether the children’s best interests would require the grandparents to receive custody of their grandchildren. Some of these factors are:

  • whether the parents have drug or alcohol issues
  • whether there is physical abuse taking place between the parents themselves, or between the parents and the children
  • whether a child or the children have a problem living with the parents
  • whether there is mental abuse taking place between the parents in their residence and/or between the parents and the children
  • who shows the love, affection and nurturing nature that will contribute to the best interests of the children
  • do the natural parents have the ability to provide a safe residence, appropriate food and clothing for the children
  • have the parents provided appropriate medical care for their children
  • who would the children prefer to live with (this becomes a more important factor as the children grow older).

Conclusion

Grandparents are an incredible, unique resource for their grandchildren. Every grandchild should have loving grandparents in addition to having loving parents. However, in situations where the children’s best interests may require legal intervention by the grandparents, grandparents who are willing to take responsibility for their grandchildren, can literally save their grandchildren’s lives. An important step in bringing legal proceedings is retaining an experienced, dedicated law firm to represent the grandparents in these proceedings. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo have more than 100 years of combined legal experience negotiating and litigating grandparents’ rights issues.>grandparents rights attorney

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

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