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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    7

    Default What to Do at a Meeting with CPS

    My question involves child abuse or neglect in the State of: California

    My wife and I have had behavioral problems with our oldest son. At times I have "potched" (spanked) him on his rear with an open hand. On one occasion I did push him into a wall and pinned him down for 30 seconds while he cooled down. My reaction to him was due to defiance and language. There were no injuries, bruises, or other physical effects. This was approximately three months ago.

    After this event, I wanted to get help for him as his attitude was getting worse and becoming uncontrollable. We got him help with a psychologist. After about 7 sessions or so, he called us into a conference. He said our child was severely depressed, and had been physically abused by me. He stated that he was required as a mandated reporter to report this to the local CPS.

    CPS interviewed my kids at school today. I haven't spoken to my children about what they revealed. During the interview with my two younger daughters, it was revealed that I spanked them and I pushed both and threatened to break my older son's arm (which I never did). She also stopped by my house and asked several questions to my wife outside our house and disclosed that she interviewed my kids at school.

    She scheduled a meeting with us for tomorrow morning. I am mortified. I do not feel I have abused my kids. I certainly did not cause physical harm to them.

    The CPS social worker stated that our meeting would last about 20 minutes. I am somewhat versed on what to say and what not to say. My wife did not witness any events.

    The psychologist stated to me that he believe the response by CPS would be mild at best.

    1) Do I admit to CPS that I have used corporal punishment as defined by CA law? Do I admit to anything?
    2) Should I secretly record our conversation with my iPhone? (is this legal?)
    3) What are the potential outcomes of this for me?
    4) Should I discontinue therapy with the psychologist? Could any additional information learned be used against me?

    I've never had any entanglements with the law.

    Thanks in advance..

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Somewhere near Canada
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    27,300

    Default Re: CPS Meeting Tomorrow

    1. That's entirely up to you - nobody here can tell you what to do. Do you have an attorney? That should have been your first move.

    2. No. That's not legal. California requires both parties to consent.

    3. The case can be closed completely with no negative results or you can be found to have abused your child. The penalties vary, but for a first time and in the circumstance you describe I would imagine the penalty would not be overly severe. You may be told that you are not allowed to physically discipline you children at all.

    4. Again that's your decision.

    There is a very, very fine line between discipline and abuse. Maybe you're not aware that you're going too far?
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: CPS Meeting Tomorrow

    Dog,

    Thank you very much for your reply.

    Any other suggestions or opinions?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Somewhere near Canada
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    Default Re: CPS Meeting Tomorrow

    Honestly? I would have gotten an attorney immediately. CPS accusations aren't to be taken lightly.

    Three of your children have made accusations - that's going to be taken more seriously than only one child making a complaint. You also have the psychologist reports most likely - who determined that your son had been abused.

    How old are the kids?
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: CPS Meeting Tomorrow

    11, 8, 6

    Our conference is scheduled for 8:30a. Should I cancel, hire an attorney and reschedule? Do I tell them I will have representation?

  6. #6
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    Apr 2009
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    Somewhere near Canada
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    Default Re: CPS Meeting Tomorrow

    Spanking an 11 year old is rarely warranted - at least that's the common stance taken by most experts in the field.

    You can try to reschedule, yes. You don't have to tell them anything. Legally, you don't have to let them in your house without a warrant. But be aware that non-compliance can result in the kids being removed temporarily.

    Is it fair? Not necessarily.

    But does it happen? Frequently.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: What to Do at a Meeting with CPS

    Met with CPS today.

    I clammed up. I said nothing. The social worker read the report and asked me to comment. I said I would like a copy for me to digest (buy time to find a lawyer). She said she could not release it as it was not sanitized, but could read it to me. Wife was very emotional and in tears. Wanted me to sign an action plan, but I refused. CPS said they would do a "welfare check" over the weekend.

    I retained an attorney immediately after the meeting. He specializes in CPS work.

    He told me he'd take care of all CPS interactions from here on out.
    1) He wanted to get me on a (negotiated) action plan so they don't get jumpy. He spoke with the social worker and informed that he was representing me. (I haven't gotten the plan yet from CPS or him as it was late Friday afternoon). From his conversation with the social worker, CPS did not have an intention to snatch the kids.
    2) Expect a welfare check over the weekend. When CPS arrives at the house, if they ask questions about past events say that I'm more than willing to discuss past issues or allegations, but only with my attorney present. DO allow admittance into the home, make sure house is clean, etc.. Be upbeat about things.. everything is well.
    3) He will accompany us to the CPS meeting where we will discuss the allegations (as they weren't done in the first meeting)
    4) Told me to immediately discontinue services with the psychologist that mandate reported. Give no reason why if asked. I didn't mention this earlier, but the psychologist requested seeing our other kids (and interrogate them about me). Lawyer said that it was very unprofessional for a psychologist to "investigate" the other kids as they did not have an existing relationship. I looked up the CA Mandated Reporter handbook and it instructs professionals not be investigative as that's CPS's job (which he did with my other kids that he never saw before).
    5) Referred me to a family psychologist. Spoke on the phone with him for an hour and disclosed everything. He also said that the reporting psychologist may have overstepped his bounds by investigating the other kids he never saw before. He also said that based on the information I provided, he would not have mandate reported and felt really sorry for the situation I was in. He has 30 years exp. First meeting set up for next week.

    Laywer said that this would be minor if anything. Not to worry and get some sleep. Highly doubted that things would spin out of control. He expected this to be over in less than 2 weeks. I shouldn't worry about anything criminal. Gave me his cell to call 24/7 in an emergency. This guy is aggressive, really seems to know about CPS workings, and I feel protected.

    I do feel much better about this situation. I'll probably get some sleep tonight and spend quality time with the kids over the weekend.

    He anticipated fees around $3k or so, but could change on the situation.

    Thanks to Dog for encouraging me to retain an attorney. If this works out like he says it may, this will be the best $3k I ever spent.

    Geez.. what happens to people who don't have any cash? What a freakin nightmare.
    Lawyer said to me that I am the top 1% citizen on CPS's hit list (nice house, stable family, never arrested, secure job, etc..). CPS deals with scum of the earth every day (in the southern CA). Also said that CPS employees are generally not too intelligent.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Somewhere near Canada
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    Default Re: What to Do at a Meeting with CPS

    Your attorney sounds pretty much on the ball with things - and also with how the CPS machine works.

    The sad truth is that CPS (or whatever they're known as in other states) are a drastically overworked and underfunded agency. There are mistakes. There are case-workers who have so many cases that some children slip through the cracks. And paradoxically, there are instances where the case-workers are so over-zealous as to recommend removal after one incidence of a simple spanking. There are instances where CPS is just out and out wrong.

    And yet, CPS workers can and regularly do literally save the lives of thousands of children. We do need them. And being an eternal optimist, I'd like to think that the good things happen more often than the bad. However, I also must acknowledge that the system is not perfect. It needs a lot of work. Hopefully that will happen.


    Good luck - please update the thread if you get a chance.

    One other thing, as an afterthought - the psychiatrist who actually made the report did in fact treat your child. This new psychologist has given an opinion - without seeing your child - that the first psychologist was wrong to make such a report.

    That would concern me a little.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: What to Do at a Meeting with CPS

    Quote Quoting Dogmatique
    View Post
    One other thing, as an afterthought - the psychiatrist who actually made the report did in fact treat your child. This new psychologist has given an opinion - without seeing your child - that the first psychologist was wrong to make such a report.

    That would concern me a little.
    Yes, it was opinion based on the information I provided on the initial call. I was as accurate as possible with full disclosure. The first psych gathered additional information from my other kids and included that in his mandated report to probably "build up his report". The new psych also has seen carnage CPS has done to families in his 30 years of experience and was sympathizing with my situation. New psych knows CPS workings very well also. Thats why the lawyer referred me to him.

    I'll update as appropriate.

    Dogmatique, thanks so much for your help on the high seas of the internets. Greatly appreciated!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    California
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    15,076

    Default Re: What to Do at a Meeting with CPS

    Is this first psychologist employed by the school or district? Or is he a private therapist with an office outside the school or district?

    It seems very peculiar that he would go to the school to interview the other kids or that the school would make the children available to him - a legal stranger - absent some other special relationship.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

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    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

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