CPS: What Every Parent Needs To Know
This is an article that has taken me some time to write. This is an embarrassing and touchy subject, but one that must be known as common knowledge. I want every parent to know this, what I did not know about CPS. Hopefully you will not ever have to deal with this government agency, rightfully so, but there are millions of calls every year. Around 20-30 percent of these calls are actually founded. I do not write this article for you, look away. I write this article for those 70-80% of the MILLIONS of calls received each year in this country. They mainly come from anonymous tip lines, which was the case, in my case. So here is what you need to know. By the time you are done with this article, you will be informed of your Constitutional Rights. I will give you specific court cases, as well as what you need to say to get the best results.
DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO ENTER YOUR HOME!
If you do/did, you have already started a ball rolling that could have been stopped.
I will first give you a very quick background to why I even wrote this. I had a fall out with a friend, she chose to call CPS on me for nefarious reasons. She also threatened them in a text both times, yes twice and then I had text messages gloating a few days later after each visit. First “visit” was a foul mood woman who looked at me like a wanted criminal, and I instantly knew that I was guilty in her eyes. She was also accompanied by a police officer. Long story short, both times all charges were unfounded. I felt like I had nothing to hide, thus, I let them in. My first mistake.
Now my case was ended without minimal damage. My son was a bit upset at how the CPS worker cornered him asking him question, which they have a legal right to do! The second time, the man actually apologized for coming out after the reports a month prior. Many cases however, do not turn out as well. So please heed this, understand you have rights. We live in a great country who was founded on a Constitution that guarantee us certain rights.
The three Amendments that will be in your focus is the Fourth, Sixth and later briefly the 14th, which may be one of the most powerful in term, as well as attached case law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
So this is why these two pieces of our Constitution are important to every parent out there. When CPS comes to your home, you should NEVER give them admittance into your house. Your legal rights through the Constitution, via the Fourth Amendment, require any officer of the law entering your home against your will, to have a warrant signed by a judge, in hand, before they can enter you house.
Many times though, the CPS agent will insist that this does not apply to them, it does. It also applies to police officers. If they try to intimidate you and gain your compliance, explain that according to Federal Court Ruling of Mary Roe vs. CPS, the judge found that the Fourth Amendment does in fact apply to social services investigations and workers.
Also if they try the “probably cause” approach, inform them that according to Loudermilk vs Arpaio, precedent states that under federal law, an anonymous tip without more, does not constitute probable cause. Period. Name these case files, keep them near you or close at hand.
So then, you may worry about court and warrants, but here is the truth, they will most likely NOT be able to get a warrant. This is for many reasons, one being the Sixth Amendment, more specifically, the accuser to be confronted with witnesses against him/her. So basically, if it was an anonymous tip, they will not be able to confront you with the witness, thus no warrant can be issued. Remember, anonymous tips are not probable cause. Also, hearsay is not admissible.
So, if you let a worker into your house, she/he can start an investigation on you. This changes the accuser from the anonymous tipper, to the CPS worker herself, thus you lose your benefit to this Amendment. So once again, do not let them in!
One last resort that may be used by CPS worker or a police officer, it gives them the right to entry without warrant if there is immediate danger. This will be called exigent circumstances or hot pursuit. Explain that you understand the law and that none of your children are screaming and there is no sign or cause of immediate danger because an anonymous tip is not probable cause!
If they still insist on coming in, move back, don’t resist, yet make it clear that you have not given consent and will be filing charges. Do it. We have rights for a reason.
Additional Tips and Information
Always be polite, don’t give them a reason to escalate the situation.
Get a paper and pen, make sure to close and lock door behind you if you need to retrieve anything from inside.
A CPS worker can be sued and has been many times. The two cases above were on illegal entry, as well as illegal strip search of a child.
Get the name and details of the complaint. This should include the actual codes of your violation.
Get the name of the CPS worker, as well as the police officer that comes. Ask for business cards from both, if you are lucky like me to get both.
Video tape or record the conversations. This is legal, save for phone calls in California. Do not tell them they are being recorded. Most phones have recording capabilities, use them to your advantage.
So listen, I hope that those hurting or neglecting their kids get caught. But to those that are a victim to a pissed off friend or lover, stay strong and know your rights. This may go against your grain as an American citizen, however the chances of something bad happening are too high. .0000000001% is too high. Children are five times more likely to be abused in foster care than at home and that is a chance I refuse to take.
Even if you feel there is no possible reason for them to take your children, understand the system is stacked against you. The system of course, is voluntary in most cases. You decide if you want to participate.
If the worse thing happens, though I hoped it doesn’t, know that they legally have to place the child with a family or friend before foster care. If you have to be away from your children, at least it could be a family member instead of a stranger taking care of the most precious part of your life.
UPDATE: New court ruling in California back up the unconstitutionality of CPS and police entering a home without a search warrant!
Have you had CPS called on you in the past?
After reading the full court proceedings above and then the conclusion five years later, I must add. If you are being threatened with the removal of your child and intimidated by the police. You must mentions this case in particular. The problem with CPS workers and police officers in these cases are they have what is called qualified immunity. This gives them immunity from prosecution, civil and criminal. So here is the deal guys, make it well known that coercion to get into your home by way of threats is violating your rights under the Fourth Amendment as described above, as well as your Fourteenth Amendment right to parent your children without government involvement. In the Loudermilk case, five years later in appeals court, the CPS worker and police officer were given qualified immunity because they did not know they were violating her Constitutional rights! Imagine, state workers who deal with this everyday, do not have the knowledge to know when they are breaking citizens rights? So make sure they know they are breaking your Constitutional Rights and explain that they will lose qualified immunity to the illegalities they commit. In a nice way though!
I also want to leave you with words from a Supreme Court Hearing that I think is powerful and very relevant to this subject.
"We have recognized on numerous occasions that the relationship between parent and child is constitutionally protected.
We have little doubt that the Due Process Clause would be offended "if a State were to attempt to force the breakup of a natural family, over the objections of the parents and their children, without some showing of unfitness and for the sole reason that to do so was thought to be in the children's best interest."
- Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U.S. 246 (1978)