How Can Parents Protect Their Children From CPS?
Facebook users are asking this question as this video continues to circulate three years later. Indiana CPS workers came out and harassed this mother after the police brought her 10-year-old daughter home in handcuffs after she was expelled from Dickinson Intermediate School. The mother spanked the child in front of the police. The mother complained to the male social worker that he was interfering with her ability to parent her children and interfering with her parental authority, and that this has led to children disrespecting authority and why her children do not listen to her. Sylvania Nipper refused to allow a male social worker to take pictures of her daughter’s bottom. The Department of Child Services sent two women and one of them took her daughter into a bedroom and took pictures of her naked butt with her cell phone camera.
Safety Plan Pushed by DCS after Mother Told Spanking was Not Illegal
After the police witnessed the mother spanking her daughter after they brought her home in handcuffs expelled from school. The mother felt harassed after a male social worker shows up to take pictures of her daughter’s butt. Then after the mother is cleared by a female social worker and told that no marks were left on the child from the spanking and that the mother had every right to discipline her children, the male social worker asks the mother if she is going to sign a safety plan. When the mother refuses, he tells the mother that he is going to come back in a week because she refused to sign a safety plan. It didn’t seem to matter that they found no abuse.
Is the Mother Right?
Many parents don’t know their rights and they are afraid to stand up to social workers. If this mother had not stood up to them her daughter could have been subjected to a pedophile. The mother is right, you do not know the person sent to examine your child. It is not unheard of for child safety workers to be pedophiles. Divorce Corp movie interviewed a parent who was required to allow their child to be alone with an expert that the court appointed and later finds out that this person had a history of pedophilia.
This mother is right in that it is her duty to protect her children, and that the state policies and laws are harming children.
Have DCS Policies Changed Since 2012?
The Director of DCS has changed but the agency is still struggling to update their policies. They don’t even follow the policies they do have. Mary Beth Bonaventura resigned in 2017 and was replaced with Terry Stigdon. After The departure of Bonaventura surprised several family law attorneys … in Needs of Services cases (CHINS) escalated from 11,325 in 2012, to 20,063 in 2016 according to the Indiana Judicial Service Report. DCS’ annual budget in Indiana will inch over $1 billion dollars in 2019. Bonaventura became director in January 2013 following the outcry of the mother in this article. This outcry was unfortunately just one of many that finally brought the legislators to propose many legislative bills. But the problems still continue and Indiana social workers are still being given caseloads that exceed the state’s cap of 17 children per worker. Some workers say they had as many as 43.
Their caseload isn’t the only problem. Having a policy to focus on the best interest of the children is what rots most state agencies to the core. Social workers, family law courts, and juvenile courts use this phrase as a smokescreen for violating civil rights of parents and children. They literally lose their mind and the abuse of power is rampant as soon as anyone mentions protection of a child. The fact that there are no protection issues most of the time simply get overlooked and the social workers, as you see this male worker do in this video goes into robotic mode and pushes children and parents into the process and takes over their rights for as long as they can whenever they hear or see something they don’t like. In this mother’s case in 2012, the male social worker clearly went looking for a reason to get this mother’s under his control. Most parents are too scared to fight the worker because they have the power to remove their children from them even if the parent did nothing illegal. The social worker can cause you years of anguish and separation from your child at great financial expense too. Unless they attempt to terminate your rights, you might not even be assigned an attorney. The cost will fall on you. So one can imagine how many parents in poverty cannot do anything but do as Simon says or as the state worker on a power trip says.
The state makes money off of taking possession of your child and putting you through a safety plan. The larger they grow, the more money they need, so the more urgent it gets to take in more children. Changing directors does not solve the problem if the same policies remain in place. The policy changes are meaningless however as long as the agencies focus remains on the social worker’s ideas of the best interest of the child. Department of Children’s Services are required to find an illegal act and provide you with proper due process before they impose their idea of best interest on you. They are going to care about protecting their job and earning money for the agency more than they care about respecting the supreme law of the land. It is going to be up to you to know your fundamental parental rights and how they protect your parent-child association and relationship. If you don’t want to suffer bond obstruction and become one of the erased family members in this nation, it is time to make it a priority to make sure that your rights are a priority. If this mother did not have rights, these social workers would have taken her children immediately and had her arrested by the police or at least restrained while they stole her children from her. It has happened before and it will happen again and again until these policies change. And these policies will not change until parents learn the problem in the policies is not just caseload but best interest of the child. The caseloads grow larger because the policy is over-broad and vague and allows these social workers to much latitude for deciding how they want to interpret child abuse or neglect.
Limits and Litigation
In 2015, DCS case manager Mary Price filed a class action lawsuit against the department, alleging the caseloads exceeded limits set by the Indiana General Assembly of 12 active cases and 17 children. Her own work required her to monitor about 43 children.
The Indiana Supreme Court dismissed the complaint. All five justices ruled the statute does not require the department to take specific action.
DCS still is not complying with the state standard. In her presentation to the Indiana House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee in January 2017, Bonaventura noted only one of the 19 DCS regions in Indiana was meeting the state’s caseload requirement.
ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk, who represented Price, maintains the repeated use of the word “shall” makes the statute clear. The caseload limits set forth in the law are not aspirational, but intended to be adhered to.
“I find it very depressing,” Falk said, noting the caps are still being exceeded. “I think that means we’re putting children at risk.”
The total number of CHINS cases has increased from 26,018 in 2010 to an estimated 40,743 in 2017, according to state court data. Moreover, the Associated Press reported that the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group — outside consultants hired by Gov. Eric Holcomb to review the DCS — found Indiana is removing and placing in foster care twice as many children as the national average.
At least 14 DCS related bills were introduced into the Indiana General Assembly legislation. Sen. Andy Zay, R-Huntington, is an author or co-author of six measures regarding CHINS cases. He believes “some of the problems within DCS may be better resolved by policy changes within the agency than legislation…He sees two issues arising from CHINS — the care of the children, and the state’s ability to cover the costs. Indiana, he said, may be unable to fund infrastructure projects or other initiatives because it will be diverting so much money to helping children in need. Additionally, Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Merrillville, “wants the Legislature to have a role in examining the troubles at DCS and potential solutions. He has offered Senate Resolution 14, which urges the Legislative Council to establish a two-year interim study committee.” Both democrats and republicans are authoring and co-authoring these legislative bills.
Parental Rights and DCS
DCS is a state agency and they must respect your constitutional rights. Your state can set laws but those laws are supposed to comply with the constitution. When they don’t and you get harassed by an agent representing the state, you can sue them. It would be ideal for the state’s laws to comply constitutionally and protect your fundamental parental rights to rear your child as you see fit and for the state to respect your right to determine the best interest of your child, but that just is not the case. As government bureaucracies grow so does their abuse of power. When states abuse their power and unconstitutionally use the state’s parens patriae power to interfere with fit parents and decide that it is the state’s job to decide what is in the child’s best interest, and when parents don’t know their rights, it can be very easy for the state to use its power illegally and intimidate parents and to harm children.
Can You Spank Your Child?
Parents and “people don’t know where the line is between spanking (perhaps leaving a red mark or bruise) and potential criminal charges.” According to the Indianapolis criminal defense attorneys at Banks & Brower shows that “most of the case law set out by the courts show that there needs to be a longer lasting effect of spanking and that bruises alone are not likely to be enough for a conviction of battery.”
Indiana law has what is called a parental privilege and this attorney site says that this can be used as a defense if you are charged with child abuse for spanking your child. Notice how the state calls these privileges and not rights. This is a way of sending a subtle message that if you do not know your rights they are going to be downgraded so that the state can more easily take them away from you. Learn what is a parental right or you might find yourself facing criminal charges for something you had a right to do.
According to Indiana Code § 35–41–3–1. “[A] person is justified in engaging in conduct otherwise prohibited if he has legal authority to do so.” This statute has been interpreted to provide legal authority for a parent to engage in reasonable discipline of his/her child, even if such conduct would otherwise constitute battery.” McReynolds v. State, 901 N.E.2d 1149, 1152 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009)(quoting State v. Fettig, 884 N.E.2d 341, 345 (Ind. Ct. App. 2008).
What Would You Do if DCS Showed up at Your House?
If you are a single parent in a high conflict divorce or separation and the other parent has narcissistic personality or is just set to destroy you and is vindictive and wants revenge, you are at risk of having CPS called out on you. If you get into a new relationship and have children with another parent, you are at risk. More child custody modifications are filed because a parent gets a new partner. Rather than put you and your new partner at risk or suffer years of harassment and abuse you now have an easy solution for protecting your child custody and a chance to win child custody battles that involve false allegations when you know your rights. Become a member where we go into more details regarding your parental rights here.
We are not attorneys, do not practice law, and are not a substitute for an attorney.
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Alexandra Koehn of ABC News 57
[The Limits and Litigation section was published by The Indiana Lawyer. This lawyer’s blog has a lot of good information about DCS in Indiana. Go there for more details and deeper read on cases like this.]
[Read more about the Indiana DCS bills here.]
Read more about the Banks & Brower case regarding spanking and the Indianapolis Attorneys view on this subject here.