It is sad that every parent and caregiver in the Western world needs to also make time in their very busy lives to prepare themselves for the possibility that they may, at some point, have to do battle with "Child Protective" "Services" (CPS). In the United States, alone, about 3-4 MILLION children each year will be evaluated at some point during the year by over-zealous, incentivized, CPS employees who are interested in possibly taking those children from their families, even if there is no serious threat to those children.
That is about 5% of every child in the country, and while that may not sound like a lot, that is a 1-in-20 shot that CPS will come calling, and it is definitely too great a chance to ignore, especially when some very simple steps can be taken to make any interaction with them far easier to resolve without the horrific consequences of being ill prepared.
The following article needs to be read, and then printed off and posted somewhere prominently by every parent and caregiver:
Here is an excerpt:
"GET the taping laws for your state, and know your rights, and the law. If you live in one of those states where both parties must be aware of the tape recording, you CAN place two recorders in play.. one in plain sight. If the worker objects to being recorded, you do a song and dance about 'WHY, what do you have to hide, etc. If you are only doing your job, why does a tape recording intimidate you?' If she absolutely refuses to be recorded, shrug and sigh, and reach over and turn off the one on the table. DO NOT SAY ANYTHING, just continue talking to her, asking unrelated questions, or something to side track her. Leave the hidden one running. You will have a tape of her objecting, but going on speaking as if she just gave up."
The above is just a good example of the type of very practical and commonsense advice contained in this article. It is jam-packed with similar gems to the above excerpt. There are also links to more groups that tie other parents and families together who have had to deal with the CPS nightmare. Perhaps the most important thing of all is to GET and STAY CONSTANTLY LINKED with parent's rights groups, and especially with anyone in those groups you contact that has successfully maneuvered the CPS labyrinth as a result of similar circumstances as your own.
The article emphasizes repeatedly that you need to be prepared to be your own best advocate. While there are now more lawyers willing to fight CPS for honest and disadvantaged families than when the article was written, it is still important to understand that some lawyers may pretend to be on your side when they are not. AGAIN, use your local parent's rights network to discover what lawyers have proven themselves to be truly sympathetic to the plight of parents and caregivers, as well as COMPETENT in terms of their ability to fight CPS successfully.
The other major theme of the article is DOCUMENTATION. The article gives practical advice on how to be sure that CPS has a much harder time misrepresenting facts, twisting statements, interviewing children without you or a lawyer present, etc. The schools are mandated to assist CPS and most will go out of their way to do that, unless you are best friends with the principal, on the school board (and liked there,) or related to the police chief or the "Family Court" judge. I hate to be so cynical, but the truth is that CPS will NOT hassle families that they know are well connected to powerful people who can effectively intervene on your behalf. They will go after families they see as vulnerable--poor, uneducated, not well-connected, "from away," unliked for political views, etc. So, it is up to YOU to record everything, and when/as necessary to get CPS and their allies to sign off on your records.
The old saying is that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." In dealing with CPS, it's more like a few ounces (and of flesh) but that is the price, unfortunately, parents and caregivers need to be prepared to pay to avoid the CPS nightmares to which so many have fallen victim.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS and KNOW HOW TO GET THEM ENFORCED.
It is simply commonsense