Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Racial and Class Disparities Within Family Unification

Those who aren’t as fortunate to be aided by their community lose their children to an already inundated foster care system. The foster care system is designed to be a temporary solution for children until a permanent placement can be made. Yet statistics from 2009 indicate that there are more than 423,000 children in foster care—some who have been waiting years to be reunified with their families or to be adopted.

Most of the children who face this outcome are African American. Disproportionately, African American children constitute 30 percent of those in foster care despite composing only 15 percent of all children in the United States. According to a report by Jessica Arons, black children are not only four times more likely than white children to be in the child welfare system but are also more prone to languish in foster care for years due to lower rates of adoption and family reunification.

Click here to read the entire story.

Four Arrested In Death Of Ame Deal Locked Inside Box

Here's another horrible story where everyone, including nosey neighbors, ignored a little one getting abused. What is up with that?

While many people who are not abusing their child are being falsely turned in daily by a menacing ex-spouse or ex-friend, nosey neighbor, disgruntled co-worker and etc., the little girl in this story suffered and everyone watched! No one did a thing to help her, from the people in that house, to the neighbors who reported they saw what was going on - but did not say anything to anyone until little Ame was dead, to the school the child went to and yes, the child's doctor (she had to have vaccinations to go to school,) to CPS - Shame On Everyone!

Children who are truly being abuse send off a vibe that is very easy to pick up on. It can be found in their behavior, in things they say (or don't say,) body language and so on. A lot of people knew Ame was being abused - there is no doubt about that.

Police say the family of a 10-year-old Arizona girl who suffocated to death in of a plastic container locked her inside as punishment for stealing a popsicle from the refrigerator.

Police arrested Ame Deal's aunt, Samantha Allen, and her uncle, John Allen, on charges of first-degree murder.

The girl's grandmother, Judith Deal, 62, and her aunt, Cynthia Stoltzmann, 44, were also arrested and charged with child abuse and kidnapping. Cynthia Stoltzmann was the girl's legal guardian. Family members originally told police that the 10-year-old's death was the tragic ending to a game of hide and seek. They claimed Ame must have climbed into the box to hide and accidentally suffocated.

Police said Thursday that Ame Deal had been abused for a long time, and had been locked in a chest as punishment, according to reports.

Authorities say before being locked in, the girl was forced to run and do other exercises in the backyard, despite nearly triple-digit heat.

Police investigators said the girl apparently had been put in the box at least five times in recent months for misbehaving, and had been beaten with a wooden paddle, forced to swallow hot sauce and to eat dog feces.

Police said the girl slept on the floor of a stall shower in the home with no blanket or pillow as a disciplinary measure for bed wetting.

"This child died at the hands of those who were supposed to love and care for her," police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said. "This case has turned the stomachs of some of our most seasoned detectives."

A judge set all four suspects' preliminary hearings for Aug. 8.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

CASA - Best Interest Of The Children?

NCCPR has written a good article about CASA and how sometimes, the best interest of the child takes the back seat to arrogance and know it all attitudes. While there are some very good CASA workers who really do care about the children and do a very good job, some CASA volunteers can and do help CPS to destroy families.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oregon DHS And Attorney General Delay Releasing Info On Oleander Labier Death

Here is another interesting story about CPS failure to protect a child. Where are they when there is real child abuse going on? How is it that they can take children away from parents who are not abusing their kids but CPS has gotten an anonymous phone call, false allegations and etc? CPS failed 5 year old Oleander Labier who died after years of abuse and torture. Now CPS and the attorney general are playing games regarding the release of records in the case. Sounds like a case of CYA which goes on at all CPS offices across the nation. People want the truth in this case but all they will get is a diluted mix of info and the real truth will likely never be released.

Where IS CPS Concerning The Cushing Boys?

The facts about the Cushing's are very disturbing. It is absolutely impossible to believe that CPS does not see a reason to step into this matter. If this is not poor judgement, abuse, neglect and failure to protect - then nothing is.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute FYI 2011 Congressional Briefing

While this video has information from foster children who seem to have been removed from their homes for good cause, we believe that it gives a good look into the deficiencies in foster care and CPS in general. That is why we are including it on our blog.

FYI 2011 Congressional Briefing from CCAI on Vimeo.

Childhood Depression, Anxiety Tied to Pain in Adulthood

Kids living with adversity, such as abuse, more likely to have chronic diseases later, study finds

By Robert Preidt
Monday, August 1, 2011

Child Mental Health

MONDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Children who experience abuse or other adversities and develop mental health disorders are at increased risk for chronic physical problems when they're adults, according to a new study.

Researchers examined data from people in 10 countries included in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys initiative. The team looked at anxiety disorders and depression in children and at the following childhood adversities: abuse, neglect, loss of a parent through death or other causes, divorce, parental substance abuse, parental criminal behavior, family violence and being poor.

Both anxiety and depression in childhood were associated with three chronic pain conditions in adulthood: osteoarthritis, chronic spinal pain (back or neck), and frequent or severe headache.

Physical abuse in childhood was associated with a number of chronic diseases in adulthood: heart disease, asthma, diabetes, osteoarthritis, chronic spinal pain and headache.

The greater the number of childhood adversities, the higher the risk of physical health problems in adulthood, the investigators found.

"These results are consistent with the hypothesis that childhood adversities and early-onset mental disorders have independent, broad-spectrum effects that increase the risk of diverse chronic physical conditions in later life," concluded Kate M. Scott, of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, and colleagues.

The study is published in the August issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Aug. 1, 2011


Is Kinship Care Good for Kids?

by Tiffany Conway and Rutledge Q. Hutson

March 2, 2007

More than 2.5 million children are being raised by grandparents and other relatives because their parents are unable—for a variety of reasons—to care for them. 1 These relative caregivers are willing to care for the children—but they may require financial help in order to meet the children’s needs. A number of states have utilized subsidized guardianship programs as a way of supporting such families, often called “kinship families.” Such placements help the child to, among other things, maintain family—and oftentimes community—connections. These programs provide subsidies to relatives and, in some cases, other interested, non-relative adults who are caring for and have a close emotional bond with children who are not biologically their own.

Subsidized guardianship is consistent with national policy preferences espoused in both the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 and the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997,2 and there is considerable evidence of the value of subsidized guardianship programs. Still, some wonder whether kinship care is a good thing—and how we know this. This fact sheet addresses these often unasked but crucial questions.

Children in kinship care experience greater stability.

􀂾 Children in kinship foster care have been found to experience fewer placement changes than children placed with non-kin foster parents do.3

􀂾 Multiple studies indicate the value of placing siblings together, when safe and appropriate.4 Perhaps equally as important, children in foster care consistently express the desire to be with their siblings. Research has shown that children in foster care are more likely to live with their siblings if they are placed with kin.5

􀂾 Fewer children in kinship care report having changed schools (63 percent) than do children in non-relative foster care (80 percent) or those in group care (93 percent).6

􀂾 Children who reunify with their birth parent(s) after kinship care are less likely to re-enter foster care than those who had been in non-relative foster placements or in group care facilities.7

􀂾 The Child and Family Services Reviews (CFSR) are designed to ensure that states are achieving safety, permanency, and child and family well-being. Kinship care bolsters states’ ability to comply with federal requirements by providing children with stability and permanency.8

Children in kinship care report more positive perceptions of their placements and have fewer behavioral problems.

􀂾 Compared to children in non-relative foster care and those in group care, children in kinship care are:

􀀹 More likely to report liking those with whom they live (93 percent vs. 79 percent [non-relative foster care] and 51 percent [group care])

􀀹 More likely to report wanting their current placement to be their permanent home (61 percent vs. 27 percent and 2 percent)9

􀀹 Less likely to report having tried to leave or run away (6 percent vs. 16 percent and 35 percent)10

􀀹 More likely to report that they “always felt loved” (94 percent vs. 82 percent [non-relative foster care])11

􀂾 In terms of scores in physical, cognitive, emotional, and skill-based domains, children in kinship care have scores more like those of children who are able to remain at home following a child abuse and neglect investigation than do children in foster or group care.12

􀂾 Both teachers and caregivers tend to rate children in kinship care as having fewer behavioral problems than do their peers in other out-of-home placement settings.13

Kinship care respects cultural traditions and may reduce racial disparities in a variety of outcomes.

In a number of cultures—including many communities of color—the family and home are understood to include the extended family, and in some cases the community. Kinship care represents an opportunity for states to provide federally required safety and permanency to a greater number of children who come into contact with the child welfare system, while enhancing their well-being by providing them with access to their ethnic, racial, and cultural traditions.14

Kinship caregivers provide stability to children and youth with incarcerated parents.

According to a 2000 report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, over 75 percent of mothers and about 18 percent of fathers incarcerated in state prisons in 1997 reported that their children were being cared for by a grandparent or other relative.15 The incarceration of a parent is often traumatic on a variety of levels for children, and living with family members can provide some measure of stability.

In spite of the numerous benefits associated with kinship care, myths remain.

Myth: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
In fact, research shows that children living with relatives are no more likely—and are perhaps less likely—than children living with non-kin foster parents to experience abuse or neglect after being removed from their homes. A 1997 study found that non-kin foster parents were twice as likely as licensed kinship foster parents to have a confirmed report of maltreatment.16 Furthermore, Illinois found that children in kinship foster care are at lower risk for maltreatment than are children in either specialized or non-relative foster care.17

Myth: “It’s your moral responsibility.”
Clearly, kinship caregivers agree. They take the responsibility of raising their grandchildren, nieces, and nephews when the children’s parents, for a variety of reasons, cannot. These caregivers lack neither morals nor a sense of responsibility; they do, however, lack resources. They may be living on a fixed income or be retired; whatever the reason, it is highly unlikely that they planned financially for raising a relative’s child.18

􀂾 The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that it costs at least $7,000 per year to raise a child.19

􀂾 The vast majority of children living with relative caregivers are eligible for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) child-only grant. However, 70 percent of relative caregivers do not access TANF or any other public financial assistance.

􀂾 Even when caregivers access TANF child-only grants, this assistance amounts to, on average, just over $4,000 per year—or about 57 percent of the anticipated cost of raising a child.20

Research debunks these old fears about the risk of placing children with kin.

In fact, the research tells us that many children who cannot live with their parents benefit from living with grandparents and other family members. Supporting kinship caregivers in their efforts to address the needs of these children thus provides an opportunity to improve the lives of many children who have already experienced trauma.

1 U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 2000 Census American Fact Finder Advanced Query. Calculations by Children’s Defense Fund of the number of children living in relative-headed households without either parent present.
2 The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (P.L. 104-193) requires states to consider giving preference to relatives over non-related caregivers when determining a placement for a child, assuming that relative meets all relevant state child protection standards. The Adoption and Safe Families Act (P.L. 105-89) clearly establishes legal guardianship as an acceptable and appropriate permanency plan.
3 Testa, M. 2001. Kinship care and permanency. Journal of Social Service Research, Vol. 28 (1) pp. 25 – 43.; Chamberlain, P., et al. 2006. Who disrupts from placement in foster and kinship care? Child Abuse & Neglect, Vol. 30, pp. 409 – 424.
4 Herrick, M. & Piccus, W. 2005. Sibling Connections: The importance of nurturing sibling bonds in the foster care system.
5 Shlonsky, A., Webster, D., & Needell, B. 2003. The ties that bind: A cross-sectional analysis of siblings in foster care. Journal of Social Service Research, Vol. 29 (3) pp. 27 – 52.; Wulczyn, F. & Zimmerman, E. 2005. Sibling placements in longitudinal perspective. Children and Youth Services Review, Vol. 27, pp. 741-763.
6 National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) CPS Sample Component Wave 1 Data Analysis Report, April 2005. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, 2005).
7 Courtney, M. & Needell, B. “Outcomes of kinship care: Lessons from California.” In Child welfare research review. Vol. 2. J.D. Berrick, R.P. Barth and N. Gilbert, eds. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997, pp. 130 – 149.
8 Outcome P1: Children have permanency and stability in their living situations; and, Outcome P2: The continuity of family relationships and connections is preserved for children.
9 NSCAW 2005.
10NSCAW 2005.
11 Wilson, L. Satisfaction of 1,100 Children in Out-of-Home Care, Primarily Family Foster Care, in Illinois’ Child Welfare System. Tallahassee, FL: Wilson Resources, 1996.
12 NSCAW 2005.
13 NSCAW 2005.
14Casey Family Programs. Commitment to Kin: Elements of a support and service system for kinship care. 2004; CFSR Outcome S2: Children are safely maintained in their homes whenever possible and appropriate.
15 Mumola, C. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Incarcerated Parents and Their Children. (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, 2000).
16 Zuravin, S.J., et al. “Child Maltreatment in family foster care: Foster home correlates.” In Child welfare research review. Vol. 2 J.D. Berrick, R.P. Barth. And N. Gilbert, eds. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997, pp. 189-200.
17 A Child Welfare Research Agenda for the State of Illinois. 1999. Urbana, IL: The Children and Family Research Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
18 Some question whether relatives who cannot afford to care for a child without assistance are appropriate placements. CLASP believes that placements with relatives, like all placements, should be made on a case-by-case basis and that when relatives offer benefits, like greater stability and less trauma, they should be supported in caring for a child.
19 This calculation is based on the cost of raising the younger of two children in a single-parent, two-child household with a before-tax income of less than $41,700. Lino, Mark. 2005. Expenditures on Children by Families, 2004. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Miscellaneous Publication No. 1528-2004. Retrieved 12/7/06 from
20 Table 42, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families- Active Cases, TANF Families with no adult recipients receiving cash assistance October 2003 – September 2004. Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance. Retrieved 12/6/06 from

Source: Center for Law and Social Policy •

52% of foster kids are prescribed psych drugs—One of them is fighting back

By CCHR Int - Original Article 06-23-2011

At just 6 years of age, still grieving over the death of the only mother he’d ever known, his foster mother, Giovan Bazan received the first of many psychiatric “diagnoses” and drugs that would plague him for the next twelve years of his life. Moved from foster home to foster home, orphanages and other modes of state care, Giovan was stigmatized with a plethora of psychiatric diagnoses and drugs until the age of 18, when he could finally make his own medical decisions and quit. Now a child advocate working part time at the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) in Georgia, Giovan is on a mission: To get a full-time job with DFCS and help enact laws to combat the wholesale labeling and drugging of foster children. In the video below, Giovan tells his story and why he decided to fight back against the abuse of kids in foster care.

Foster kids—often removed from family homes because of abuse—are further abused when they are prescribed psychotropic drugs under state care. Many of these children are on cocktails of prescribed drugs, including antipsychotics and antidepressants with documented side effects of diabetes, stroke, mania, psychosis, tumors, coma, suicide and death.

Yet, the rates with which these children are being given drugs has been increasing. The antipsychotic use rate among foster kids increased by 5.6% between 2004 and 2007 (from 11.7 percent to 12.4 percent). Another study in Pediatrics, revealed that youth in foster care covered by Medicaid insurance receive psychotropic medication at a rate more than 3 times that of Medicaid-insured youth who qualify by low family income.

Only half of state child welfare systems have a policy to review usage of these drugs, and those are weak policies at that.

The psychiatric drugging of foster kids has caused so much concern nationally that in July 2010, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) started an investigation into the use of these drugs in foster care, as they are widely used in dangerous combinations, and for so-called “off-label” uses to treat symptoms for which they have not been medically approved. The GAO is looking into the estimated hundreds of millions of dollars of fraud arising from this and is collecting and analyzing data from Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and Texas.

Facts About Foster Care Children Abused With Psychotropic Drugs


Whether under the care of Child Protective Services, Departments of Family and Child Services, or Youth Welfare Offices, foster children—often removed from family homes because of abuse—are furthered abused when they are prescribed psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs. Some US states report that more than 60% of foster children are prescribed mood-altering drugs (at a rate 300% above the national average).

Already troubled over their circumstances, these children are drugged for emotional and behavioral issues, sometimes with tragic outcome.

Take, for example, 7-year-old Gabriel Meyers, who didn’t want soup for lunch one Thursday in April 2009. He was sent to his room after he threw away his soup, kicking his toys around and threatening to kill himself. Around 1 p.m., police responded to a frantic call and found Gabriel had hanged himself.

He’d been prescribed a cocktail of psychiatric drugs, including an antidepressant that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned could lead to children committing suicide.1

Psychiatrists prescribed 93% of the psychotropic medication dispensed to foster youths, according to a 2008 study.2

• In Australia, one in four foster children was taking psychotropic drugs, and in residential homes, where children live in small groups supervised by social workers, the rate of drug use is 50%. Foster children are being medicated with psychotropic drugs at 10 times the rate of other children. 3

• In Ontario, Canada, psychotropic drugs are prescribed to nearly half of the state wards accounting for drug prescriptions at a rate three times that of children in the general population.4

• In 2007, in Texas $37.9 million was spent on psychiatric drugs for foster children.5 Pharmaceutical companies have played a major role in encouraging their increased use on foster care clients. They participate in aggressive marketing, and conduct misleading research about efficacy and safety.6

• The United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 requires governments to protect children, including those in foster care from excessive and unwarranted exposure to psychotropic drugs.

Psychotropic drugs can be prescribed only for medical purposes, yet foster care youth are routinely prescribed drugs for behavioral control.

1“Psychotropic Drug Abuse in Foster Care Costs Government Billions,” Politics Daily, 17 June 2010.
2 Julie Zito, “Psychotropic Medication Patterns Among Youth in Foster Care,” Pediatrics, Vol. 121, No. 1, Jan. 2008, pp. e157-e163.
3 Caroline Overington, “Foster kids medicated for ‘mental health,’” The Australian, 4 Nov. 2008.
4 “Nearly half of children in [Canadian] Crown care are medicated,” Globe and Mail, 9 June 2007.
5 Evelyn Pringle, “Psychiatric Drugging of Children Intolerable-Betrayal of Innocence,” Lawyers and, 8 Mar. 2009.
6 Op. cit. Politics Daily.

Speaking Out

• ”This is child abuse on a grand scale.” — Richard Wexler, head of the Virginia-based National Coalition for Child Protection Reform.

• “We call it the chemical straitjacket.” — Denise Crisp, President of the New South Wales, Australia, Foster Care Association.

• “Children in state foster care systems and juvenile prisons are
particularly at risk of overmedication with psychotropic drugs…and under conditions that constitute egregious [extremely bad] departures from sound medical practice.” — Angela Olivia Burton from CUNY School of Law.

• “All kids in foster care have some story of trauma, like abuse or neglect, so we need to ask the question, ‘How are we dealing with trauma?’” Further, “The fact is that medication does not treat a disorder, it treats the symptoms of the manifestation….” — Charles Manos, School psychologist.

• “We’re taking away their future…By blunting their emotion, we take away children’s ability to relate to people, to trust, love, to care for others or to put themselves in another person’s shoes to see how it feels.” — Neuropsychologist who examined Texas records of children under state care.

• “Child advocates should illuminate that no alternatives were first tried and/or that the treating physician has given the prescription(s) without knowing if less invasive interventions were attempted.”

Guardians must “ensure that psychotropic drugs are not administered improperly to children in foster care as a means of chemical restraint.” — Bob Jacobs from the Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities, Inc.

• In 2010, Florida’s Department of Children and Families prohibited foster care children being enrolled in clinical trials for psychotropic drugs. Foster care parents and guardians in any state or country should object to any child under their care being part of a clinical drug experiment.

Angela Olivia Burton, “They Use it Like Candy’ - How the Prescription of Psychotropic Drugs to State-Involved Children Violates International Law,” Social Science Research Network, 3 Apr. 2010,
Carol Marbin Miller, “Mind-altering drugs given to some babies in DCF’s care,” Miami Herald, 17 Sept. 2002.
Caroline Overington, “ONE in four children who have been removed from the care of their parents and placed in foster homes are being heavily medicated to control their emotions and
behaviour,” The Australian, 3 Nov. 2008.
Angela Olivia Burton, “They Use it Like Candy’ - How the Prescription of Psychotropic Drugs to State-Involved Children Violates International Law,” Social Science Research Network, 3
Apr. 2010,
Eileen FitzGerald, “”Growing numbers of children on medication,” NewsTimes, 7 June, 2010.
Vera Sherav, “America’s Over-Medicated Children,” AARP, June, 2005
Bob Jacobs, psychologist, Advocacy Center for Persons with Disabilities, Inc, “Legal Strategies to Challenge Chemical Restraint of Children in Foster Care A Resource for Child Advocates in
“Florida to FDA: No Foster Care Kids in Psychotropic Trials,” Pharmalot, 19 July 2010.

The Medication Of Foster Children

Jan. 7, 2011

A recent 16-state study from Rutgers University on the use of antipsychotics in children and adolescents covered by Medicaid found that foster children received antipsychotic medications at a rate almost nine times that of other children covered by Medicaid.

Here is a PBS video about children in foster care being drugged.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

LA, Alameda, Fresno & Sacramento County CPS Under Investigation

As usual, CPS feels that they are above the law. In the below article, CPS officials in Los Angeles county California are fighting to prevent a release of documents relating to 70 child deaths since 2008 to state officials wishing to audit the agencies. A subpeona for documents was issued but CPS defied it. It has now become a very adversarial situation. Read more at the link below:,0,2996347.story

AARP & Kincare Advocates Urged Governor Andrew Cuomo To Find Funding

By Katie Miecznikowski

August 01, 2011

AARP and kincare advocates urged Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a July 19 letter, to find funding to maintain programs they say are critical for children cared for by non-parent relatives.

"As leaders of organizations deeply concerned with family issues, grandparents and children," the letter reads, "we are writing with great urgency to ask that you fund just $1.3 million to maintain programs critical to the health, well-being and safety of grandparents struggling to raise their own grandchildren."

These kinship programs, designed by the state Office of Children and Family Services, allow community-based organizations to deliver services, such as counseling, legal help, support groups, parenting skills workshops and education to address the needs of kinship caregivers.

Kinship programs, according to the letter sent to Cuomo, have cost the state about $500 per child each year, as opposed to the $22,000 cost of traditional foster care.

These caregivers are non-parent relatives, such as grandparents, who step in and care for children whose parents enter the military, become sick, go to jail, or are unable to care for them for other reasons.

State budget cuts implemented in April have forced over half of these community programs to close their doors or greatly reduce services.

The 2009-2010 state budget provided $2,750,700 from Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and state general funds to the state's 21 kinship programs. Two years later in the 2011-2012 budget there was $389,750 in supplied funds — an 87.7 percent decrease.

According to a letter released by Gerard Wallace, director of the New York State Kinship Navigator, eight of the 21 state kinship programs have contracts in place until the end of November, while 13 programs – supporting 3,172 kinship families – were contracted until this past May or June.

The state Office of Children and Family Services, the main contributor to kinship programs, decided only to continue funding the programs with contracts ending in November, he wrote, because of the cut in state aid.

The office is attempting to find funds for eight of the 13 programs, whose contracts ended in the spring, through "one time" funds contributed by the services office along with the funding requested in the letter sent to Cuomo, said Susan Steele, the assistant director of communications for the Office of Children and Family Services. All 13 programs could be reopened if the $1.3 million comes through.

"When significant cuts are made, we can't assume programs will be able to continue," said former Senate Aging Committee Chairman Jeffrey Dinowitz, D-Bronx. "Because, if the cut is too large, the programs might not be able to sustain themselves. There's only so much belt tightening to be done."

"We shouldn't delude ourselves into thinking these cuts aren't going to affect people," he added, "and, unfortunately, these cuts are affecting some of our most fragile – our senior citizens. It's a shame."

In New York, there are between 200,000 and 300,000 children who live with relatives who are not their parents, according to Wallace. This compares with the 23,000 children in the state who are in foster care, 6,200 of whom live with relatives in foster care settings.

It's likely that many of the children living with relatives involved with the kinship programs will need to relocate to foster care because of the cut in funds, said Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, who chairs the Assembly Children and Families Committee.

"When you shut down programs intended to protect and prevent, it's going to have a worse outcome for children and families and financially (for the state)," she said.

According to Paulin, there was no funding for these programs in the original budget. The Legislature and Gov. Cuomo restored what remained in the final budget. The assemblywoman says she is not optimistic about the kinship programs regaining funds before next year's budget is decided. Neither is Sen. Dinowitz.

"I'm not sure new money is available now that wasn't four months ago," he said.

Susan Antos, senior attorney at The Empire Justice Center, an advocacy group involved with AARP on this issue, says Gov. Cuomo has not responded to their letter.

"We hope that he (Gov. Cuomo) will see it is a cost-effective program worth investing in," said Antos, "and that if the Legislature doesn't come back this summer, that it will be high on his radar screen for next year."


Monday, August 1, 2011

Glossary Of CPS Terms

Adjudicatory Hearings – held by the juvenile and family court to determine whether a child has been maltreated or whether another legal basis exists for the State to intervene to protect the child.

Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) – signed into law November 1997 and designed to improve the safety of children, to promote adoption and other permanent homes for children who need them, and to support families. The law requires CPS agencies to provide more timely and focused assessment and intervention services to the children and families that are served within the CPS system.

CASA – court-appointed special advocates (usually volunteers) who serve to ensure that the needs and interests of a child in child protection judicial proceedings are fully protected.

Case Closure – the process of ending the relationship between the CPS worker and the family that often involves a mutual assessment of progress. Optimally, cases are closed when families have achieved their goals and the risk of maltreatment has been reduced or eliminated.

Case Plan – the casework document that outlines the outcomes, goals, and tasks necessary to be achieved in order to reduce the risk of maltreatment.

Caseworker – see Child Protective Services Caseworker.

Central Registry – a centralized database containing information on all substantiated/founded reports of child maltreatment in a selected area (typically a State).

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) – see Keeping Children and Families Safe Act.

Child Protective Services (CPS) – the designated social services agency (in most States) to receive reports, investigate, and provide intervention and treatment services to children and families in which child maltreatment has occurred. Frequently, this agency is located within larger public social service agencies, such as departments of social services.

Child Protective Services (CPS) Caseworker – an individual employed by a CPS agency to receive reports, investigate, and/or provide intervention and treatment services to children and families in which child maltreatment has occurred.

Concurrent Planning – identifies alternative forms of permanency by addressing both reunification or legal permanency with a new parent or caregiver if reunifi cation eff orts fail.

Cultural Competence – a set of attitudes, behaviors, and policies that integrates knowledge about groups of people into practices and standards to enhance the quality of services to all cultural groups being served.

Differential Response – an area of CPS reform that offers greater flexibility in responding to allegations of abuse and neglect. Also referred to as “dual track” or “multi-track” response, it permits CPS agencies to respond differentially to children’s needs for safety, the degree of risk present, and the family’s needs for services and support. See Dual Track.

Dispositional Hearings – held by the juvenile and family court to determine the legal resolution of cases after adjudication, such as whether placement of the child in out-of-home care is necessary, and the services the children and family will need to reduce the risk of maltreatment and to address the effects of maltreatment.

Dual Track – term reflecting new CPS response systems that typically combine a nonadversarial, service-based assessment track for cases in which children are not at immediate risk with a traditional CPS investigative track for cases where children are unsafe or at greater risk for maltreatment. See Differential Response.

Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) – a first responder who has been trained and certified in providing certain medical care to patients in need of immediate medical attention before and, if needed, during transport to a health care facility.

Emotional Maltreatment – see Psychological Maltreatment.

Evidence – information or items, such as testimony, written documents, and physical items, that are presented to prove or to disprove an allegation.

Family Assessment – the stage of the child protection process during which the CPS caseworker, the community treatment provider, and the family reach a mutual understanding regarding the behaviors and conditions that must change to reduce or eliminate the risk of maltreatment, the most critical treatment needs that must be addressed, and the strengths on which to build.

Family Group Conferencing – a family meeting model used by CPS agencies to optimize family strengths in the planning process. This model brings the family, extended family, and others important in the family’s life (e.g., friends, clergy, neighbors) together to make decisions regarding how best to ensure the safety of the family members.

Family Unity Model – a family meeting model used by CPS agencies to optimize family strengths in the planning process. This model is similar to the Family Group Conferencing model.

First Responder – a professional whose responsibilities include the initial response to the scene of child maltreatment. Types of professionals who are first responders include child protective services (CPS) caseworkers, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

Guardian ad Litem – a lawyer or lay person who represents a child in juvenile or family court. Usually this person considers the best interest of the child and may perform a variety of roles, including those of independent investigator, advocate, advisor, and guardian for the child. A lay person who serves in this role is sometimes known as a court-appointed special advocate or CASA.

Home Visitation Programs – prevention programs that offer a variety of family-focused services to pregnant mothers and families with new babies. Activities frequently encompass structured visits to the family’s home and may address positive parenting practices, nonviolent discipline techniques, child development, maternal and child health, available services, and advocacy.

Immersion Burn – a type of burn whereby an individual is forced into extremely hot liquid. These burns have a “water line” or sharp demarcation border.

Immunity – established in all child abuse laws to protect reporters from civil law suits and criminal prosecution resulting from filing a report of child abuse and neglect.

Initial Assessment or Investigation – the stage of the CPS case process during which the CPS caseworker determines the validity of the child maltreatment report, assesses the risk of maltreatment, determines if the child is safe, develops a safety plan if needed to ensure the child’s protection, and determines services needed.

Intake – the stage of the CPS case process where the CPS caseworker screens and accepts reports of child maltreatment.

Interview Protocol – a structured format to ensure that all family members are seen in a planned strategy, that community providers collaborate, and that information gathering is thorough.

Keeping Children and Families Safe Act – the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-36) included the reauthorization of CAPTA in its Title I, Sec. 111. CAPTA provides minimum standards for defining child physical abuse and neglect and sexual abuse that States must incorporate into their statutory definitions in order to receive Federal funds. CAPTA defines child abuse and neglect as “at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”

Kinship Care – formal or informal child placement by the juvenile court and child welfare agency in the home of a child’s relative.

Law Enforcement Officer – an individual who is given the authority to uphold Federal, State, and / or local laws, which may include responding to and investigating possible crimes, pursuing and apprehending individuals who break laws, and issuing citations. Law enforcement officers may include police officers, sheriffs and deputies, detectives, and State and Federal agents.

Liaison – a person within an organization who has responsibility for facilitating communication, collaboration, and coordination between agencies involved in the child protection system.

Mandated Reporter – individuals required by State statutes to report suspected child abuse and neglect to the proper authorities (usually CPS or law enforcement agencies). Mandated reporters typically include professionals, such as educators and other school personnel, health care and mental health professionals, social workers, childcare providers, and law enforcement officers. Some States identify all citizens as mandated reporters.

Miranda Rights – read by law enforcement officers upon the arrest of a suspect and state that a suspect does not have to speak to police and that the suspect can request an attorney. These rights are designed to protect the Fifth Amendment rights of individuals to not self-incriminate.

Modus Operandi – a habitual method of procedure or operation, often in reference to how an individual commits a crime.

Multidisciplinary Team – established between agencies and professionals within the child protection system to discuss cases of child abuse and neglect and to aid in decisions at various stages of the CPS case process. These terms may also be designated by different names, including child protection teams, interdisciplinary teams, or case consultation teams.

Neglect – the failure to provide for the child’s basic needs, including physical, educational, or emotional. Physical neglect can include not providing adequate food or clothing, appropriate medical care, supervision, or proper weather protection (heat or coats). Educational neglect includes failing to provide appropriate schooling, failure to address special educational needs, or allowing excessive truancies. Psychological neglect includes the lack of any emotional support and love, chronic inattention to the child, exposure to spouse abuse, or drug or alcohol abuse.

Open-Ended Question – a type of question used during an interview that allows the respondent to express what is most relevant and important to him, as opposed to a question that directs the respondent (e.g., What did you do to your daughter’s arm when you entered the room?). An example of an open-ended question is “What happened this afternoon?”

Out-of-Home Care – child care, foster care, or residential care provided by persons, organizations, and institutions to children who are placed outside their families, usually under the jurisdiction of juvenile or family court.

Parent or Caretaker – person responsible for the care of the child.

Physical Abuse – the inflicting of a nonaccidental physical injury. This may include burning, hitting, punching, shaking, kicking, beating, or otherwise harming a child. It may, however, have been the result of over-discipline or physical punishment that is inappropriate to the child’s age.

Primary Prevention – activities geared to a sample of the general population to prevent child abuse and neglect from occurring. Also referred to as “universal prevention.”

Protective Factors – strengths and resources that appear to mediate or serve as a buff er against risk factors that contribute to vulnerability to maltreatment or against the negative effects of maltreatment experiences.

Protocol – an interagency agreement that delineates joint roles and responsibilities by establishing criteria and procedures for working together on cases of child abuse and neglect.

Psychological Maltreatment – a pattern of caregiver behavior or extreme incidents that convey to children that they are worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered, or only of value to meeting another’s needs. This can include parents or caretakers using extreme or bizarre forms of punishment or threatening or terrorizing a child. Psychological maltreatment is also known as emotional abuse or neglect, verbal abuse, or mental abuse.

Response Time – a determination made by CPS and law enforcement regarding the immediacy of the response needed to a report of child abuse or neglect.

Review Hearings – held by the juvenile and family court to review dispositions (usually every 6 months) and to determine the need to maintain placement in out-of-home care or court jurisdiction of a child.

Risk – the likelihood that a child will be maltreated in the future.

Risk Assessment – the measurement of the likelihood that a child will be maltreated in the future; frequently carried out through the use of checklists, matrices, scales, and other methods.

Risk Factors – behaviors and conditions present in the child, parent, or family that will likely contribute to child maltreatment occurring in the future.

Safety – absence of an imminent or immediate threat of moderate to serious harm to the child.

Safety Assessment – a part of the CPS case process in which available information is analyzed to identify whether a child is in immediate danger of moderate or serious harm.

Safety Plan – a casework document developed when it is determined that the child is in imminent danger or at risk of serious harm. In the safety plan, the caseworker targets the factors that are causing or contributing to the risk of imminent serious harm to the child, and identifies, along with the family, the interventions that will control the safety factors and ensure the child’s protection.

Secondary Prevention – activities targeted to prevent breakdowns and dysfunction within families that have been identified as being at risk for abuse and neglect.

Service Agreement – the casework document developed between the CPS caseworker and the family that outlines the tasks necessary to achieve risk reduction goals and outcomes.

Service Provision – the stage of the CPS casework process when CPS and other providers deliver specific services geared toward reducing the risk of maltreatment.

Sexual Abuse – inappropriate adolescent or adult sexual behavior with a child. It includes fondling a child’s genitals, making the child fondle the adult’s genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, sexual exploitation, or exposure to pornography. To be considered child abuse, these acts have to be committed by a person responsible for the care of a child (for example a babysitter, a parent, or a daycare provider) or related to the child. If a stranger commits these acts, it would be considered sexual assault and handled solely by the police and criminal courts.

Substantiated – an investigation disposition concluding that the allegation of maltreatment or risk of maltreatment was supported or founded by State law or State policy. A CPS determination means that credible evidence exists that child abuse or neglect has occurred.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – the sudden death of an infant younger than one year of age that remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history.

Tertiary Prevention – treatment efforts geared to address situations where child maltreatment has already occurred, with the goals of preventing additional maltreatment and its harmful effects.

Testify – to provide testimony in court. See Testimony.

Testimony – the statement made by a witness in court. For example, a CPS caseworker may provide testimony in court about what she saw when she entered a house due to a report of child abuse.

Treatment – the stage of the child protection case process when specific services are provided by CPS and other providers to reduce the risk of maltreatment, support families in meeting case goals, and address the effects of maltreatment.

Unsubstantiated (not substantiated) – an investigation disposition that determines that there is not sufficient evidence under State law or policy to conclude that the child has been maltreated or is at risk of maltreatment. A CPS determination means that credible evidence does not exist that child abuse or neglect has occurred.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Where Was CPS While Lilly Manning Was Beaten And Tortured?

You have got to watch and read this horrific story. A true story of abuse and torture that spanned several years. Where was CPS? Where were the first responders? Where?!

Be sure to watch the video and read the pdf file of the sheriff's interview with Lilly at the above link. It is absolutely heartbreaking!

It was not hard to see that this girl was continually abused. It wasn't like she could hide all of the wounds as they were inflicted upon her or the scarring after the wounds healed. Her abuse was up front and in the face of anyone who had contact with her.

While CPS is out creating cases against falsely accused, chasing anonymous tips (usually false info) and making up things against people, how many other children are suffering in the same manner as beautiful Lilly?

CPS and all first responders that Lilly had contact with should be held accountable for neglecting her need for protection from her abusers.

No. 97-15385. - CALABRETTA v. FLOYD - US 9th Circuit

Robert CALABRETTA, individually and as parent and natural guardian of Tamar and Natalie Calabretta, minor children;  Shirley Calabretta, individually and as parent and natural guardian of Tamar and Natalie Calabretta, minor children, Plaintiffs-Appellees,


Jill FLOYD, individually and in her official capacity as a Caseworker of Yolo County Department of Social Services;  Yolo County Department of Social Services;  Nicholas Schwall, individually and in his official capacity with Woodland Police Department;  Russell Smith, individually and in his official capacity as Chief of Police of the Woodland Police Department;  Woodland Police Department, Defendants-Appellants.

No. 97-15385.

Argued and Submitted June 8, 1998 -- August 26, 1999

J. Scott Smith,Angelo, Kilday and Kilduff, Sacramento, California, for the defendants-appellants.Michael P. Farris, Home School Legal Defense Association, Paeonian Springs, Virginia, for the plaintiffs-appellees. Steven Bailey (briefed), Placerville, California, for the plaintiffs-appellees.David E. Gordon (briefed), Home School Legal Defense Association, Purcellville, Virginia, for the plaintiffs-appellees.Thomas R. Yanger (briefed), Deputy Attorney General, Sacramento, California, for amicus State of California Ex. Rel. Eloise Anders, Director of the California State of Social Services.Kevin T. Snider (briefed), United States Justice Foundation, Escondido, California, for amicus United States Justice Foundation and Christian Action Network.

This case involves whether a social worker and a police officer were entitled to qualified immunity, for a coerced entry into a home to investigate suspected child abuse, interrogation of a child, and strip search of a child, conducted without a search warrant and without a special exigency.


The two individual defendants moved for summary judgment based on qualified immunity.   The district judge denied it.

Some individual called the Department of Social Services October 27, 1994, with the information that gave rise to this case.   The report says that the caller was anonymous, but the report redacts names, thus it is not clear whether the caller gave her name but the Department treated her as anonymous, or whether she refused to give her name.   The caller said that she was once awakened by a child screaming “No Daddy, no” at 1:30 A.M. at the Calabretta home.   Then two days ago she (or someone else, possibly a Department of Social Services employee-it is not clear from the report) heard a child in the home scream “No, no, no” in the late afternoon. The caller said that the children “are school age and home studied” and that “this is an extremely religious family.”

The report was put into the in box of defendant Jill Floyd, a social worker in the Department.   She checked the Department files to see whether the Calabretta family had any “priors,” or had ever been on welfare, and ascertained that they had no priors and had never been on welfare.   She did not attempt to interview the person who had called in the report.

On October 31, four days after the call, the social worker went to the Calabretta home to investigate.   Mrs. Calabretta, the children's mother, refused to let her in.   The children were standing at the door with their mother, and the social worker noted on her report that they “were easily seen and they did not appear to be abused/neglected.”

The social worker was about to go on vacation, so she requested that someone else be assigned to the case, but the investigation had not been completed when she returned.   On November 10, fourteen days after the call and ten days after the first visit, the social worker returned to the Calabretta house with a policeman.   She did not tell the police dispatcher about the specific allegations, just that she needed police assistance to gain access so that she could interview the children.   Officer Nicholas Schwall met the social worker at the Calabretta house, knowing nothing about the case except that he had been assigned to assist her.   She told him that they had received a report of the children crying, and he understood her to mean that they might have been beaten.

The policeman knocked, Mrs. Calabretta answered, and the policeman said they were checking on the children's welfare because someone had reported children crying.   Mrs. Calabretta did not open the door, and said she was uncomfortable letting them in without her husband at home. The police officer had the opinion that in any check on the welfare of children “there is an exigent circumstance” so no search warrant is needed.   Mrs. Calabretta and Officer Schwall disagreed in their depositions on whether Officer Schwall told her that if she did not admit them, then he would force their way in.   Appellants concede that for purposes of appeal, the entry must be treated as made without consent.

The social worker then took Mrs. Calabretta's twelve year old daughter into one room while the policeman stayed with the mother in another.   The twelve year old did not remember any of the children screaming “No, Daddy, no,” but did recall that at about the date of the report, her little brother hurt himself in the backyard and screamed “no, no, no.”   The social worker asked what kind of discipline the parents used, and understood the twelve year old to be saying that the parents used “a round, wooden dowel, very, very thin wooden dowel,” about “twice as big ․ as a pen.”   The three year old came into the room at that point and said “I get hit with the stick too.”   The twelve year old told her, according to the social worker's report, “that her parents do not discipline indiscriminately, only irreverence or disrespect.”   The social worker wrote in her report “Minor is extremely religious-made continual references to the Lord and the Bible.”   The social worker testified that any physical means of disciplining children “raises a red flag” for her, and “I always counsel or advise parents on other ways of discipline before they resort to corporal punishment.”

While the mother was still with the policeman in the other room, the social worker told the twelve year old to pull down the three year old girl's pants.   She wanted to look at the three year old's buttocks to see whether there were marks.   The twelve year old did not do so, and the three year old started crying.   The mother heard her daughter crying and ran in.   The twelve year old said “she wants me to take down Natalie's pants.”   The social worker said “I understand you hit your children with objects,” and went on to say “It's against the California state law to hit your children with objects.   And I found out that you hit your children with objects.   And I need to see Natalie's bottom to see if there are bruises there.”   The policeman said “I'll leave you alone to do this” and backed off.   The social worker said “The rod of correction?”   Mrs. Calabretta answered, “Oh, it's just a little stick,” referring to “a little Lincoln log, piece of Lincoln log roofing, nine inches long.”   Mrs. Calabretta “explained the Biblical basis of its use” to the social worker.   The social worker repeated “It's against California law to hit your children with objects.   This is breaking the law.   And I insist on seeing her bottom.”   The three year old was screaming and fighting to get loose, the mother looked at the social worker to see whether she would relent, but she did not, and the mother pulled down the three year old's pants in obedience to the social worker's order.

There were no bruises or marks on the three year old's bottom.   The social worker then insisted on seeing the piece of Lincoln log roofing, and Mrs. Calabretta showed it to her.   The social worker then decided not to interview or examine the buttocks of any of the other children.   She “had a brief conversation with the mother in which we discussed her looking into alternative forms of discipline.”

The Calabrettas sued the social worker and policeman and other defendants for damages, declaratory relief and an injunction under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.   The defendants moved for summary judgment on grounds of qualified immunity.   The district court denied the defendants' motion, and the social worker and police officer appeal.


 We have jurisdiction over interlocutory appeals from denials of summary judgments denying qualified immunity.1  On summary judgment, “even in a qualified immunity case, we must assume the nonmoving party's version of the facts to be correct.” 2  Those facts must, of course, be established by evidence cognizable under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.   In this case, although the parties disagree on some details, the disagreements are not material to the outcome.   We review denial of the qualified immunity claim de novo.3

A. The coerced entry

The social worker and police officer concede that for purposes of appeal, they should be treated as having entered the Calabretta home without consent.   They argue that the district court erred in holding that their nonconsensual entry required special exigency or a search warrant.   Their theory is that an administrative search to protect the welfare of children does not carry these requirements, and the social worker was doing just what she was supposed to do under state administrative regulations.   They claim immunity for entry into the home, interviewing the twelve year old, and strip searching the three year old.

 “[G]overnment officials performing discretionary functions generally are shielded from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” 4  The right the official is alleged to have violated must have been “clearly established” in an appropriately particularized sense.  “The contours of the right must be sufficiently clear that a reasonable official would understand that what he is doing violates that right.   That is not to say that an official action is protected by qualified immunity unless the very action in question has previously been held unlawful, but it is to say that in the light of pre-existing law the unlawfulness must be apparent.” 5  The “relevant question is the objective (albeit fact-specific) question whether a reasonable officer could have believed [the] warrantless search to be lawful, in light of clearly established law and the information the searching officers possessed.  [The officer's] subjective beliefs about the search are irrelevant.” 6  “Specific binding precedent is not required to show that a right is clearly established for qualified immunity purposes.” 7

 The facts in this case are noteworthy for the absence of emergency.   The social worker and her department delayed entry into the home for fourteen days after the report, because they perceived no immediate danger of serious harm to the children.   The police officer was there to back up the social worker's insistence on entry against the mother's will, not because he perceived any imminent danger of harm.   The report that led to the investigation could have indicated a problem, but was not especially alarming.   A child screaming “no, Daddy, no” late at night could mean that the father was abusing the child.   But in a household where the father puts the children to bed, these words are often screamed at bedtime, and also in the middle of the night after a child has gotten up to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, check the television, and enter his parents' room to say that he cannot sleep, when the father puts the child to bed the second time.   The other scream, “no, no, no,” likewise may mean abuse, or may mean that a child around two is developing a normal, healthy sense of separateness of herself as an individual and perhaps does not care for her mother's choice of vegetable.   The tipster's reference to religion might imply that the tip arose from religious differences between the tipster and the Calabretta family.   Had the information been more alarming, had the social worker or police officer been alarmed, had there been reason to fear imminent harm to a child, this would be a different case, one to which we have no occasion to speak.

 Appellants urge us to adopt a principle that “a search warrant is not required for home investigatory visits by social workers.”   They claim qualified immunity on the ground that there is no clearly established principle to the contrary.   The principle they urged is too broad.  Anderson requires more particularized analysis, to determine whether, in these particular circumstances, notably the absence of emergency, a reasonable official would understand that they could not enter the home without consent or a search warrant.8

 In our circuit, a reasonable official would have known that the law barred this entry.   Any government official can be held to know that their office does not give them an unrestricted right to enter peoples' homes at will.   We held in White v. Pierce County 9 , a child welfare investigation case, that “it was settled constitutional law that, absent exigent circumstances, police could not enter a dwelling without a warrant even under statutory authority where probable cause existed.” 10  The principle that government officials cannot coerce entry into people's houses without a search warrant or applicability of an established exception to the requirement of a search warrant is so well established that any reasonable officer would know it.   Under White, appellants' claim, that “a search warrant is not required for home investigatory visits by social workers,” is simply not the law.

 Appellants urge that White speaks only to police, not social workers.   That is an invalid distinction.   In the case at bar, the social worker used a police officer to intimidate the mother into opening the door.   Also, there is no reason why White would be limited to one particular kind of government official.   The Fourth Amendment preserves the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses ․” without limiting that right to one kind of government official.   It is not as though all reasonable people thought any government official could enter private houses against the occupants' will, without search warrant or special exigency, and then White said that police officers could not, without speaking about social workers.   Rather, everyone knew that the government could not so enter houses, and White said that principle was well established, in the context of a child abuse investigation.   Appellants' argument that they be allowed qualified immunity because White did not speak expressly about social workers is of the kind that Anderson rejects, “[t]hat is not to say that an official action is protected by qualified immunity unless the very action in question has previously been held unlawful․” 11

There is a distinction between White and the case at bar, but the distinction is of no help to appellants.   In White, there was a special exigency.   Someone had called in a report that the seven year old had several welts on his back.   The boy and his father talked to the police officer at the door, and the boy tried to show the officer his back, but the father would not allow him to.   Based on the report, and the father's violent and abusive response when questioned, the officer thought that if he delayed to get a warrant, the father would injure the child or remove him from the house before the officer returned with the warrant.   We held that “the deputies had probable cause to believe the child had been abused and that the child would be injured or could not be taken into custody if it were first necessary to obtain a court order.” 12

By contrast, in the case at bar, the report did not describe any evidence of physical abuse, and the social worker and police officer did not perceive any danger of injury to the children or loss of evidence if they secured a warrant.   On her first visit four days after the call, ten days prior to her return with the police officer, the social worker wrote “Minors were easily seen and they did not appear to be abused/neglected.”   The only reason the social worker and police officer did not seek a search warrant was that their subjective opinion was that they did not need one.

Appellants argue that Baker v. Racansky13 limits White to the principle that compliance with a constitutionally permissible state statute entitles the government officials to immunity.   That is not correct.   We did not limit White at all in Baker, but merely held that it did the claimants in that case no good.  Baker is not on point, because it did not involve any kind of home search, and did not turn on any child welfare exception to normal search and seizure law.

 In Baker, we held that social workers were entitled, in the particular circumstances of that case, to qualified immunity for their decision to take a child into protective custody.   We noted that at the time, “there was no binding Ninth Circuit or Supreme Court precedent which clearly established when state officials could or could not take a child into temporary protective custody.” 14  That, of course, distinguishes Baker from the case at bar, where at the time there was binding Ninth Circuit precedent, White, which clearly established that the general law of search warrants applied to child abuse investigations.  Baker also differs from the case at bar in that the investigators reasonably believed that the child was in imminent danger of abuse if they did not act.   A neighbor's children reported to their mother, and to the social worker, that the child's father had sexually abused them, and one of them had a vaginal rash that corroborated the accusation.   When the social workers asked the father's own child if his father did anything sexual with him, the child denied it but “started walking around the room ․ would crawl up in his chair ․ went into the corner of the room, put his head in between his legs, raised his legs up, put his arms up toward his head like this, curled up.” 15  The social workers thought the denial was false, because of the child's bizarre behavior when he made the denial, and thought that the mother would not be able to protect the child when the father was released from jail.

Appellants argue that other circuits have allowed broader qualified immunity, so the social worker and police officer could not have been expected to know that they were acting unconstitutionally.   They cite Darryl H. v. Coler,16 Wildauer v. Frederick Cnty.,17 and Franz v. Lytle,18 and some out of circuit district court and state court decisions to show that there is no well-established right to privacy from inspections by social workers.   It is not clear that a conflict among other circuits would create qualified immunity where clearly established law in this circuit would preclude it,19 but even if it could, these cases would not establish such an open question about coerced entry.

Darryl H. involves strip searches of children, not warrantless entries into homes, and is discussed below with respect to the strip search.  Wildauer involves an entry into a home, but there was apparent consent and no express objection, no criminal aspect to the investigation, no entry of a parental home to investigate parents' treatment of their children, and no investigatory purpose.   The householder had nine “foster children” living with her (apparently the children were not placed there pursuant to custody orders), and two sets of parents had complained that she would not give their children back despite the absence of any custodial claim.   When the social worker appeared, the householder gave two children back and said there were two more she could not find, and invited the social worker in to help look for them.   The social worker came back with a nurse because many of the children were disabled and the house looked unhygienic to the social worker, but the purpose of the second look, to which no objection was made, was to see whether the children should stay there, not to investigate any crime.

We are unable to see why appellants cite Franz v. Lytle.20  A neighbor told the police that a woman was leaving her two year old unsupervised and not changing her urine-soaked diapers.   The Tenth Circuit held that the investigating police officer was not entitled to qualified immunity, for having the neighbor take off the child's diaper so that he could examine and feel the baby's vaginal area, and under the guise of investigating for sexual molestation, threatening to take the baby into protective custody to make the parents bring the baby to a hospital for further vaginal examination (which revealed no evidence of sexual molestation, a crime for which there was no evidence).   The case would not have given the police officer and social worker in the case at bar any reason to think their entry into the Calabretta house and strip search of the three year old was constitutionally permissible, because to the extent that Franz was in any way analogous, the police officer lost on his qualified immunity claim.

One other circuit has spoken on facts analogous to those in the case at bar.  Good v. Dauphin County Social Services,21 like our decision in White, holds that a social worker and police officer were not entitled to qualified immunity for insisting on entering her house against the mother's will to examine her child for bruises.  Good holds that a search warrant or exigent circumstances, such as a need to protect a child against imminent danger of serious bodily injury, was necessary for an entry without consent, and the anonymous tip claiming bruises was in that case insufficient to establish special exigency.   In our case, the anonymous tip did not even allege bruises.

 Appellants also argue that the doctrine allowing certain kinds of administrative searches without warrants or special exigency applies to social workers' entries into homes for child protection.   That proposition is too broad for the kind of particularized examination of conduct in particular circumstances required by Anderson.   We need not decide whether in some circumstances that doctrine might apply, because it does not apply in the circumstances of this case.

The starting point for administrative searches is Camara v. Municipal Court.22  The case involved a routine municipal housing code inspection of an apartment house, yet the Court held that the Fourth Amendment requirement of a search warrant, consent, or exigent circumstances applied.   The requirement of probable cause was diluted in the circumstances, so a warrant would be easy to obtain if an occupant would not let an inspector in without it, but a search warrant was necessary in the absence of special exigency or consent, despite the lack of any criminal investigatory purpose.   Our analysis in White is consistent with Camara, and Camara is of no help to appellants.

Appellants argue that Wyman v. James,23 establishes that where a social worker enters a house to investigate the welfare of a child, Fourth Amendment standards do not apply.   It does not.  Wyman holds that the state may terminate welfare where a mother refuses to allow a social worker to visit her home to see whether the welfare money is being used in the best interests of the child for whom it is being paid.   It does not hold that the social worker may enter the home despite the absence of consent or exigency.  Wyman distinguishes Camara on the ground that in Wyman, “the visitation in itself is not forced or compelled.” 24  In the case at bar, by contrast, the entry into the home was forced and compelled.

New Jersey v. T.L.O.25 holds that the Fourth Amendment does apply to a school administrator search of a student's purse, but that in the special context of in-school searches, the Fourth Amendment did not require a warrant or probable cause.   It has no bearing on searches of a home.   Appellants would have us read T.L.O. as a blanket suspension of ordinary Fourth Amendment requirements where children are involved.   The Court's opinion does not support so broad a reading.   The court emphasized that it was “the school setting” that “requires some easing of the restrictions to which searches by public authorities are ordinarily subject.” 26  Of course there are occasions when Fourth Amendment restrictions on entry into homes are relaxed.   We emphasize that in this case the officials entered without a warrant or consent simply because they thought they had a right to do so, and thought that the Fourth Amendment did not apply to entries into homes where children were involved.   This was not a case where the officials coercing entry into the home recognized some special exigency creating imminent risk to the child.  White v. Pierce County 27 establishes that a special exigency excuses a warrantless entry where the government officers have probable cause to believe that the child has been abused and that the child would be injured or could not be taken into custody if it were first necessary to obtain a court order.

 Appellants also argue that the coerced entry into the home was primarily to protect the children, not investigate crime, pursuant to California regulations.   It is not clear why this would excuse them from compliance with the Fourth Amendment, in light of the Camara holding that administrative inspections of buildings are “significant intrusions upon the interests protected by the Fourth Amendment,” even though not criminal, so in the absence of emergency, warrants should be obtained if consent is refused.28  We held, years before the coerced entry into the Calabretta home, that even in the context of an administrative search, “[n]owhere is the protective force of the fourth amendment more powerful than it is when the sanctity of the home is involved․   Therefore, we have been adamant in our demand that absent exigent circumstances a warrant will be required before a person's home is invaded by the authorities.” 29

Nor did the California statutes and regulations direct the social worker or police officer to coerce entry into the home without a warrant or special exigency, or suggest that no warrant was needed in that circumstance.   The statutes 30 appellants cite say nothing about entering houses without consent and without search warrants.   The regulations they cite require social workers to respond to various contacts in various ways, but none of the regulations cited 31 say that the social worker may force her way into a home without a search warrant in the absence of any emergency.   A possibly related regulation, in the chapter on “Report of Child Abuse Investigative Procedures,” does speak to search warrants, but not at all helpfully to appellants.   It says that the “child protective official” receiving a report should “consider the need for a search warrant.” 32  This administrative regulation would tend to put the social worker on notice that she might need a search warrant, not that she was exempt from any search warrant requirements.   Appellants presented no evidence they did “consider the need for a search warrant.”   They both imagined incorrectly that no search warrants were necessary to enter houses for child abuse investigations.

We conclude that on appellants' first issue, whether they were protected by qualified immunity regarding their coerced entry into the Calabrettas' home, the district court was right.   They were not.

B. The strip search.

 Appellants second issue on appeal is whether they were entitled to qualified immunity for the social worker's requiring the twelve year old to talk to her in a separate room and requiring the mother to pull down the three year old's pants.   They argue that there is no authority on point in the Ninth Circuit, and the Seventh Circuit held in Darryl H. v. Coler 33 that such a visual inspection is shielded by qualified immunity.   They also argue that there are so many reports of child abuse that the social workers cannot bear any additional restrictions on how they conduct their investigations.   In their memorandum in support of summary judgment filed in the district court, appellants did not argue that they were entitled to qualified immunity for the interview with the twelve year old.   Because this claim was not raised in the district court, it cannot be raised for the first time on appeal 34 and we have no occasion to pass on the question.   The argument in the district court was limited to the proposition that the social worker violated no clearly established law in strip searching the three year old, so that is the only issue we consider.

Darryl H. is not entirely supportive of appellants' position.   The strip search was conducted at the children's school, and did not involve an official takeover of the family home.   The Seventh Circuit reversed a summary judgment in the social workers' favor on constitutionality of the search.   The opinion says that “nude physical examination is a significant intrusion into the child's privacy” and even where the child is too young to have the same subjective sense of bodily privacy as an older child, the nude body search affects “legitimate expectations of the parents ․, protected by the fourteenth amendment, that their familial relationship will not be subject to unwarranted state intrusion.” 35  Although a warrant or probable cause was not needed, in the Seventh Circuit's view, reasonableness was under the Fourth Amendment, and there were issues of fact that precluded summary judgment regarding reasonableness.   Although in Darryl H., as in the case at bar, the social worker ordered the mother to strip the child, there was a genuine issue of fact about whether the mother did so consensually or in response to coercion.   Also, not much checking had been done on the validity of the tip, the children denied abuse, and there was evidence that the tipster might not be fair and objective.

Darryl H. offers some support to appellants because it held that the social workers were entitled to qualified immunity.   But the strip search was not done during an unconstitutional entry into the home, and the information supporting a strip search was much stronger in Darryl H. than in the case at bar.   The school principal reported “Lee H., age six, was tied up for punishment.   Lee and his sister, Marlena, age seven, were thin and not allowed to eat lunch at school, and the children's clothes and bodies were dirty.” 36  The principal told the social worker that “both parents were usually angry when they came to school ․ that other students indicated Lee was tied up for punishment,” but “that bruises had never been observed on the children.” 37  Thus, in Darryl H., the social workers had substantial reason to believe that the children were malnourished, dirty, and abusively disciplined.

By contrast with Darryl H., in the case at bar the social worker had little reason to believe that the three year old was abused.   The tip itself included a reference to the Calabrettas' religious views that might suggest that the tipster was motivated by religious differences.   Even if the tip was entirely accurate, a benign explanation of “no, Daddy, no” and “no, no, no” was at least as likely as any punishment, let alone abusive punishment.   The social worker had noted on her first visit that “Minors were easily seen and did not appear to be abused/neglected.”   The twelve year old had already explained away the screaming and told the social worker that the children were not abusively disciplined.   The social worker's notations refer to the religiosity of the household, but surely a family's religious views cannot justify social workers invading the household and stripping the children.   The social worker plainly expressed the view to the mother that use of any object to spank a child, such as the “rod” (a nine inch Lincoln log) was illegal, and she did have reason to believe that such an object was used, but appellants have cited no authority for the proposition she was right that California law prohibits use of any object to discipline a child.   The statutes we have found prohibit “cruel or inhuman” corporal punishment or injury resulting in traumatic condition.38  While some punishment with some objects might necessarily amount to cruel or inhuman punishment, a token “rod” such as a nine inch Lincoln log would not.   A social worker is not entitled to sacrifice a family's privacy and dignity to her own personal views on how parents ought to discipline their children.

The Third Circuit held, in factual circumstances much more similar than Darryl H. to the case at bar, that the social workers lacked qualified immunity for strip searching small children.   In Good v. Dauphin County Social Services,39 an anonymous tipster told Social Services that a seven year old girl had bruises on her body and said she got them in a “fight with her mother.”   As with Calabretta, a social worker and police officer insisted on entry, claiming that they needed no search warrant to investigate child abuse.

Good reversed a summary judgment in the social worker's and police officer's favor on qualified immunity, and held that they were not entitled to qualified immunity.   Even though there was no case in point, the Third Circuit held that the general proposition was clearly established that the government may not “conduct a search of a home or strip search of a person's body in the absence of consent, a valid search warrant, or exigent circumstances.” 40  Good cited a Seventh Circuit case for the proposition that “It does not require a constitutional scholar to conclude that a nude search of a thirteen-year-old child is an invasion of constitutional rights of some magnitude.   More than that:  it is a violation of any known principle of human dignity.” 41  Good holds that under Anderson, “a public official may not manufacture immunity by inventing exceptions to well settled doctrines for which the case law provides no support.” 42

Good distinguishes Darryl H. on the ground that in Darryl H. the social workers acted pursuant to state guidelines but they did not in Good (nor did they in the case at bar), and because “the strip search in this case came in the context of a forced entry into a residence” at about 10 P.M.43 Good held that “the propriety of the strip search cannot be isolated from the context in which it took place,” referring to the coerced entry into the home.44

The Tenth Circuit has likewise held that a police officer conducting a strip search of a small child in the context of a child abuse investigation lacked qualified immunity.  Franz v. Lytle,45 discussed above, held that a police officer who insisted on looking at a two year old's vagina, and having a doctor look at it, to assure the absence of sexual abuse, lacked qualified immunity for the strip search.   The Tenth Circuit rejected the officer's arguments that there was no case directly in point establishing the unconstitutionality, that this was an administrative search, and that such great latitude should be allowed for child protection, and held that a tip that the baby was going around with urine soaked diapers and unsupervised was not sufficient reason to allow this search.   The Tenth Circuit said that the social interest in child protection included not only protection against child abuse, but also “the child's psychological well-being, autonomy, and relationship to the family or caretaker setting.” 46

This case is like Good, not Darryl H. The strip search cannot be separated from the context in which it took place, the coerced entry into the home.   An unlawful entry or search of a home does not end when the government officials walk across the threshold.   It continues as they impose their will on the residents of the home in which they have no right to be.   There is not much reason to be concerned with the privacy and dignity of the three year old whose buttocks were exposed, because with children of that age ordinarily among the parental tasks is teaching them when they are not supposed to expose their buttocks.   But there is a very substantial interest, which forcing the mother to pull the child's pants down invaded, in the mother's dignity and authority in relation to her own children in her own home.   The strip search as well as the entry stripped the mother of this authority and dignity.   The reasonable expectation of privacy of individuals in their homes includes the interests of both parents and children in not having government officials coerce entry in violation of the Fourth Amendment and humiliate the parents in front of the children.   An essential aspect of the privacy of the home is the parent's and the child's interest in the privacy of their relationship with each other.

The social worker had already established that, as against the weak tip, “no, Daddy, no,” and “no, no, no,” the children did not appear to be neglected or abused, the twelve year old said that they were not, and the object with which they were disciplined was a token “rod” consisting of a nine inch Lincoln log.   By the time the social worker forced the mother to pull down the child's pants, the investigation had contracted to the social worker's personal opinion that any discipline of a child with an object must be against the law, and her puzzling mention of the family's religiosity.   The government's interest in the welfare of children embraces not only protecting children from physical abuse, but also protecting children's interest in the privacy and dignity of their homes and in the lawfully exercised authority of their parents.



1.  Act Up!/Portland v. Bagley, 988 F.2d 868, 870 (9th Cir.1993).

2.  Liston v. County of Riverside, 120 F.3d 965, 977 (9th Cir.1997).

3.  Act Up!/Portland, 988 F.2d at 871.

4.  Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818, 102 S.Ct. 2727, 73 L.Ed.2d 396 (1982).

5.  Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 640, 107 S.Ct. 3034, 97 L.Ed.2d 523 (1987) (internal citation omitted).

6.  Id. at 641, 107 S.Ct. 3034.

7.  Brady v. Gebbie, 859 F.2d 1543, 1557 (9th Cir.1988).

8.  Anderson, 483 U.S. at 640-41, 107 S.Ct. 3034.

9.  White v. Pierce County, 797 F.2d 812 (9th Cir.1986).

10.  Id. at 815.

11.  Anderson, 483 U.S. at 640, 107 S.Ct. 3034.

12.  White, 797 F.2d at 815.

13.  Baker v. Racansky, 887 F.2d 183 (9th Cir.1989).

14.  Id. at 187.

15.  Id. at 189.

16.  Darryl H. v. Coler, 801 F.2d 893 (7th Cir.1986).

17.  Wildauer v. Frederick County, 993 F.2d 369 (4th Cir.1993).

18.  Franz v. Lytle, 997 F.2d 784 (10th Cir.1993).

19.  See Garcia v. Miera, 817 F.2d 650, 658 (10th Cir.1987).

20.  Franz v. Lytle.   997 F.2d 784 (10th Cir.1993).

21.  Good v. Dauphin County Social Servs., 891 F.2d 1087 (3d Cir.1989).

22.  Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523, 87 S.Ct. 1727, 18 L.Ed.2d 930 (1967).

23.  Wyman v. James, 400 U.S. 309, 91 S.Ct. 381, 27 L.Ed.2d 408 (1971).

24.  Id. at 317, 91 S.Ct. 381.

25.  New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325, 105 S.Ct. 733, 83 L.Ed.2d 720 (1985).

26.  T.L.O., 469 U.S. at 340, 105 S.Ct. 733.

27.  White v. Pierce County, 797 F.2d 812, 815 (9th Cir.1986).

28.  Camara v. Municipal Court, 387 U.S. 523, 534, 539-40, 87 S.Ct. 1727, 18 L.Ed.2d 930 (1967).

29.  Los Angeles Police Protective League v. Gates, 907 F.2d 879, 884 (9th Cir.1990).

30.  Cal. Welfare & Inst.Code §§ 16501(a) & 16208.   Though appellants cite § 16208, the Code says that section was repealed.

31.  DSS Regulations §§ 31-105.1, 31.105.11, 31.120.1, 31-125.2, & 31-130.2.

32.  Cal. Admin. Code tit. 11, § 930.60.

33.  Darryl H. v. Coler, 801 F.2d 893 (7th Cir.1986).

34.  Marx v. Loral Corp., 87 F.3d 1049, 1055 (9th Cir.1996) ( “Generally, an appellate court will not consider arguments not first raised before the district court unless there were exceptional circumstances.”) (citation omitted).

35.  Darryl H., 801 F.2d at 901.

36.  Id. at 905.

37.  Id.

38.  Cal.Penal Code, tit. 1, §§ 11165.3 & 11165.4.

39.  Good v. Dauphin County Social Services, 891 F.2d 1087 (3d Cir.1989).

40.  Id. at 1092.

41.  Id. at 1093, citing Doe v. Renfrow, 631 F.2d 91, 92-93 (7th Cir.1980).

42.  Good, 891 F.2d at 1094.

43.  Id. at 1096.

44.  Id. at 1096, n. 6.

45.  Franz v. Lytle, 997 F.2d 784 (10th Cir.1993).

46.  Id. at 792-93.

KLEINFELD, Circuit Judge:

CPS Demands Truth When They Do Not Tell The Truth

When dealing with CPS, you will find that they will demand you to be truthful and sometimes, they will even accuse you of telling lies when you are not. But don't wait for the truth to come from their lips because that is not how they roll.

CPS will twist, exaggerate, omit, fabricate and whatever they can think of to their benefit and to your detriment. Your caseworker may be sneaky and may make things up but we have found that caseworker supervisors and regional supervisors tell lies more frequently. Even some of the CPS personnel associated with your state capitol offices have been known not to tell the truth about procedures to remedy wrongs done to you by CPS. (We have found that they frequently tell parents and relatives that there are no processes available through the state, such as administrative hearings.) CPS will do whatever they can to make you and your family look bad for the sole purpose of keeping your children until they are adopted out.

What is a lie?

A lie (also called prevarication, falsehood) is a type of deception in the form of an untruthful statement, especially with the intention to deceive others.

To lie is to state something with disregard to the truth with the intention that people will accept the statement as truth.

Somtimes, CPS will state part of the truth out of context, knowing that without complete information, it gives a false impression. Likewise, they can actually state accurate facts, yet deceive with them.

There are times that CPS will create a complete fabrication which is a lie told when they submit a statement as truth, without knowing for certain whether or not it actually is true. Although the statement may be possible or plausible, it is not based on fact. Rather, it is something made up, or it is a misrepresentation of the truth.

One of CPS' favorites is telling lies by omission (selective omission.) They omit an important fact, deliberately leaving another person with a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. Also known as a continuing misrepresentation. CPS is famous for selectively omitting anything good about you when they are in court or any other process where that information might be valuable and a benefit to you, your case and your children.

CPS often uses exaggeration to make your case even more crazy than it is. This occurs when the most fundamental aspects of a statement are true, but only to a certain degree. It is also seen as "stretching the truth" or making something appear more powerful, meaningful, or real than it actually is.

Many people who have fallen victim to CPS lies have stated that CPS even tells lies in court - directly to the judge. This is known as perjury. Perjury is the act of lying or making verifiably false statements on a material matter under oath or affirmation in a court of law, or in any of various sworn statements in writing. Perjury is a crime, because the witness has sworn to tell the truth and, for the credibility of the court to remain intact, witness testimony must be relied on as truthful.

So just how can they expect anyone to trust them? How can anyone believe even one word that they say?

Well, no one can but in most instances, only the judges in the courtrooms do believe them.

Victim after victim has come forward for years and each tells the same story. CPS lies to your face, behind your back and in court.

Why do they lie?

Job security - Those lies enable them to take children from their parents or guardians and feed them to the greedy CPS / foster / adoption system. The amount of money generated by our beautiful children is enormous. As long as there are children to funnel through their money machine, their jobs are safe. In the meanwhile, each state is making a ton of money also.

When it comes right down to it, the biggest lie is - "the best interest of the children." CPS could care a less about what is best for the children. All they care about is lining their pockets and scratching the backs of all their accomplices.

When dealing with CPS in person or over the phone, record everything! Check your state laws about recording conversations first but whatever you do, make sure you have proof of what was said. Using a mini-cassette recorder is best because other forms of recording would be considered easy to manipulate. You can get a device to use on your phone at electronics stores that is fairly inexpensive.

Click Here To Read Oral Coversation & Telephonic Recording Laws - State By State Information