Female: This is the Body Politic Radio Show.
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Female: Suzanne Marcus Fletcher.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Good evening and welcome to the Body Politic Radio Show. I am your host journalist Suzanne Marcus Fletcher. My special guest today is Vince W. Davis, Attorney at Law, who was an experienced trial attorney and expert in juvenile dependency law. Today, we will be talking about a topic that is of immense interest to many people of all walks and demographics and that is how to get your kids back after they have been taken away by Child Protective Services. Please call KABC at 1-800-222-5222 to speak to Vince W. Davis with your questions. Actually, the board is already lit up so please be patient and we’ll get your questions as soon as we can.
Attorney Davis obtained his BS Degree in Accounting from Loyola Marymount University and his JD from Loyola Law School of Southern California. He’s been a member of the California State Bar for 29 years. Once again, Mr. Davis is an experienced trial attorney with an expertise in juvenile dependency. He is the founder and lead attorney of the Law Offices of Vincent W. Davis and Associates which is a full service law firm representing as noted juvenile dependency issues as well as divorce, tax law, immigration and a variety of other legal issues. They can be reached at 1-888-888-5222, that’s 1-888-888-5222. Please call in to the show at 1-800-222-5222 this evening. Call in, we’ll be here for the next 50 minutes so get online and get your spot.
Let’s begin. First of all, welcome to the Body Politics, Vince.
Vincent W. Davis: Thanks, Suzanne.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Yeah.
Vincent W. Davis: I’m glad to be here.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: I’m so glad you made it. Okay. So let’s begin by telling people what Child Protective Services’ role typically is or should be at what they are supposed to do by law to protect children in an abusive or bad situation?
Vincent W. Davis: Well, their primary job is to protect children that have been abused or are in danger of being abused. And in Los Angeles County, they are known as the Department of Children and Family Services. And from county to county around the country, they are known by different names but generally people refer to them as CPS, Child Protective Services.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Okay. And so do you find that most people are in agreement with your definition of what they’re supposed to be doing?
Vincent W. Davis: I think so. Well, I actually take that back. I get a lot of complaints about perhaps social workers stepping over the bounds of trying to implement their job and do their duties and sometimes, people believe that these social workers are doing more than just trying to protect children, they might be doing some type of social engineering.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Okay. So we’re going to get to that. But if you’re just joining us, I’m talking with Attorney Vince Davis, a high profile attorney and expert in juvenile dependency law. We’re talking about how to get your kids back if they have been taken away by Child Protective Services. Please call the station to speak to him at 1-800-222-5222. So for a lot of people, this conversation is going to be a bit of a paradigm shift because many people rightly believe that Child Protective Services is there to protect children and many social workers certainly do that and that taking them away is the last resort. Would you agree that taking children away from their parents should be a last resort and if so, what is the present reality of taking children as last resort instead of a first resort?
Vincent W. Davis: I think that it should be a last resort and I think that’s what the law contemplates. Unfortunately in a lot of different counties, it sometimes becomes the first or maybe even the second resort and a lot of personalities get involved. Social workers are sometimes overworked, underpaid and when they investigate cases, parents are naturally defensive. And sometimes, you know, social workers being human, they might let some prejudices or dislikes about the parent get interfere with their decision to take the kids faster than they should take them. I’m working on a case right now. I have to go to court Monday on it and a social worker took a child away claiming that the child was malnourished. And she didn’t even talk with the social workers — excuse me, the child’s pediatrician in making that decision and I have been communicating with the child’s pediatrician and the child has some type of condition that was leading to the malnourishment. And the doctor or their pediatrician had already prescribed different remedies to solve that problem but the social worker came out and took the child.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: And what auspices of the law that gives the social worker the right to do that without first going before a judge?
Vincent W. Davis: The welfare and institutions code here in California allows a social worker to do that. Generally though, a social worker does have to go before a judge and get a warrant or a court order to detain a child. And in this particular situation that I was referring to, the social worker did do it. But here’s the problem, sometimes the social worker may leave out certain facts, sometimes the social worker may exaggerate certain facts and I have been involved in cases where social workers have written things to get that court order or that warrant that were just not true.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Right. So in those cases, this comes out in a hearing setting?
Vincent W. Davis: Yes. The parents are entitled to full blown hearings in the juvenile dependency court, the Department of the Superior Court of California and the first hearing for — when your child is detained is supposed to take place within 48 to 72 hours.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Right. And does that happen usually?
Vincent W. Davis: Yes, it does.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Otherwise the case can be turned out?
Vincent W. Davis: It could be. I’ve been involved in a few cases where they’ve filed a case more than 72 hours later and have asked for dismissal and maybe in my entire career have seen that happened one time and in that instance, the social workers just refile the case anyway.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Okay. We’re going to take a call from Riverside County, we have Jennifer, go ahead Jennifer. Are you there? Okay. That will have — please call back in. Megan, are you there?
Megan: Megan Bacilli.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Are you there?
Megan: Yes, I am. Can you hear me? This is Megan Bacilli.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Hi, Megan. Please go ahead with your question.
Megan: Okay. I’ve spoken to Vincent Davis before in my life. I had a few questions for him because I’ve had some issues with Department of Child Service. I don’t really know what questions I ask other than the fact that my children had been detained from me because of allegations that are untrue. I’ve been very fearful of the social workers because of the situations that I have been threatened by them at time as to — with my status of my marriage had been and to the fact that if I were to return to my husband in anyway, my children will be taken from me even though we’ve gone through the courses of what’s then asked to get our children back.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: So what’s your question? What’s your question?
Megan: Okay. My question is do they have the right to detain the children if the allegations — the children were not in the home and already given to my family voluntarily while I was having a bit of a breakdown, they were not with me and I had a relapse. Children services then came in and detained my children for the next six months to my family. Okay. But they weren’t with me at the time of my relapse. So they’re now making me go to programs and do all of these things. I’m looking the reports of my past history that are lies and not true. And so my question I guess to Vincent Davis is probably, I don’t know if he recognizes my voice because I have spoken to him before, if the children were not in my home and the allegations say that they were, isn’t that ground to go into court and dismiss the case or should they go on prior allegations in the past because of history?
Vincent W. Davis: That’s a very tough question. The answer could be yes, it could be no. It depends on what the allegations were, what your history was and it depends on what you and your attorney decided to do at the court hearings. Sometimes, instead of having a trial, your attorney, court appointed attorney, may recommend that you plead no contest to some allegations. And if you did that knowingly and willingly, all of the arguments that you just mentioned become moot. But if you have a trial and you make a defense and if you win, you should get your children back; if you lose, you can appeal to the Court of Appeals in California.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Does that make sense to you?
Megan: It does.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Okay.
Megan: Could I ask one very important question?
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Okay, go ahead because we have other people that are waiting.
Megan: Okay, then I will let you go. In the process of the Department of Family and Children Services, people get involved in your family and you’re wanting to help with your children, if DCFS has a problem with let’s say a very, very close friend that was approved as a monitor and throughout this process of the children being detained has become very, you know, obsessed and not really under the best chance, does DCFS have the right to take this person away as a monitor and no longer allowed then to come around the children if the mother says that the relationship is just been stressed but that she still wants this person become a monitor?
Vincent W. Davis: The department has the right to do that. However, if you are in disagreement with that, you and your attorney have the right to go to court and get that person reinstated as a monitor.
Megan: Okay. Is that person — because we are going to trial next week and that person would like to be there to testify on mine and my husband’s behalf even though she’s had a bad situation with Department of Family and Children Services on our behalf, is that a danger to have her come and be part of that child to testify for us?
Vincent W. Davis: Based on what you’ve told me, I don’t think so but she should definitely speak to your court appointed attorney in making that final decision.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Thank you so much for your call. We really appreciate it.
Megan: Okay. Thank you so much. Thank you.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: We’ll be right back. Stay with us. We’re talking with Attorney Vince Davis about how to get your children back. Stay with us, we’ll be right back.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: For just joining us, I am talking with Attorney Vince Davis, a high profile attorney and expert in juvenile dependency law. We’re talking about how to get your kids back if they had been taken away by Child Protective Services. Please call the station to speak to him at 1-800-222 or call him at his office at 888-506-6810. We do have some calls but I have to get this question in, just bear with me just for a little while longer. Vince, you wrote a book called The Secret: How to Fight Child Protective Services and Win. In your book, you say do not talk to a social worker or a policeman without consulting with an attorney, can you go into detail about why this is so important?
Vincent W. Davis: It’s so important because a social worker doesn’t have any evidence against you generally, maybe it’s third hand, second hand statements. They don’t get the evidence against you until you talk to them and give them the evidence. So it was a rule when I used to do a lot of criminal law that you never talk to the police unless you knew it was going to be positive. If it was going to be negative or neutral, you don’t talk to the police. We’ve seen this on television, we’ve seen it in the movies, the same applies to social workers.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: I see, okay. And so there’s less of a chance of the facts being distorted if you precluded yourself from talking to them?
Vincent W. Davis: Yes, definitely.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: And has a lot of damage resulted from people just, you know, seeing the charming social worker, invited them into their house for coffee and sat down and had a long chat and tried to persuade them?
Vincent W. Davis: Yes. I hear that story maybe three times a day, seven days a week. Social worker comes in, they’re very nice and all of a sudden, the parent starts talking, starts telling them things that are detrimental to their case and all of that is being recorded or being written down in notes and when you go to court, the parent usually says, “Well, I talked to the social worker, some of the stuff I said in the report is true, some of the stuff is not true at all and some of it is twisted and taken out of context.” You don’t have that problem if you don’t talk to the social worker.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Right. A very good advice. Stephen from Richcrest, you’re on the air, please go ahead. Do you have a question?
Stephen: How are you doing?
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: I’m working fine.
Stephen: I just want to make a good comment, we were just represented by Vincent specifically on one of his attorneys, Stephanie Davis, his ex-wife. And I believe it’s hard to be a stellar, professional attorney. She represented us really professionally. She got our son returned back to us really quick. I’m really nervous about being online by the way.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Oh, don’t worry about it, you’re doing fine.
Stephen: But, yeah, I just want to say that the quick turnaround time was not expected for us. Our prospective adopted child was taken — was ripped away from us from — through folks reporting by CPS and I just want to say real quick that, you know, this turned into false allegations which turned into a real freaking headache for our [taxpayers] because if it wasn’t for Stephanie, I don’t know what I would have done. I really had sort of an idea of the context on how to present my case, but man, she took it all, a mountain of paperwork, turned it around and organized it and just with a quick wit, just picked it up, picked up the ball, ran with it and here I am with my son back with me in a month and that was with the judge taking a break like three-week break. So I’m really happy with the performance of his law firm. They’re outstanding.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Well, thank you so much for your call. Vince, do you have a comment?
Vincent W. Davis: Thank you very much. I don’t want to mention your last name but is your wife’s last name begins with a C?
Stephen: It does, it does.
Vincent W. Davis: Okay. So I know your case and I’m very familiar with it.
Stephen: Yeah, thank you so much.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Thank you, thank you so much for calling. Kristine from San Valley, you’re on the air. Kristine, are you there? Kristine? Okay. Let’s go to Christian from Las Vegas talking about bad judges.
Christian: Good evening. Thank you very much for taking my call. And Vince, I want to thank you that recent — just previous call endorsing the services of your firm is just monumental, very solemn. You hear any good news about representation from law firms especially in the CPS.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Yes, yes.
Vincent W. Davis: Well, thank you. I appreciate that.
Christian: Vince, I’m a congressionally authorized private special advocate. I go to many of these cases. I’m familiar with a lot of the larger with nationwide [0:16:57 Stacey Land] in Colorado [0:16:59 Amy Sharone] in Texas, [0:17:00 Wendy Green] is another one. So I’ve read across one of the most corrupt courts I’ve ever seen that’s in Salt Lake City where they absolutely withheld [0:17:09 inaudible] mitigating and extenuating circumstances that would have exhilarated the parents that worked independently collaborated by numerous children of the family and they twisted the facts and circumstances. In fact, the judge unfortunately is highly conflicted being a former employee, a supervisor over the CPS workers that was been reason to a judge and she’s sitting over the people that she worked with before as a supposed judicial officer. And that’s a tremendous conflict of interest and really, she shouldn’t have ever sat there and should have moved to a different venue. And [0:17:45 inaudible] opinion, what do you say?
Vincent W. Davis: You know, I’m not licensed to practice law in the State of Utah. If that case were here, I would have to agree with you. That sounds very strange.
Christian: Well, and even worse than that, most people don’t know their rights and I’m sure you’ll probably generally agree with me and if you don’t know your rights, you don’t have any. But in this particular case and most cases, they never have a felony criminal complaints supported by an affidavit of fact to provide probable cause to a judge to issue a warrant. And they always just operate off the presumption and trying to fool the people, trick them into voluntarily surrendering or allowing them into their homes, surrendering their children. And then like you said before, don’t talk to the police or Child Protective Services, unfortunately, they’re very treacherous and tricky about questioning tactics where they dupe the people into getting evidence that they can use against them in the court and help them fabricate the pretext to take their children and they absolutely have a fiduciary vested interest in seizing the children because of the funds that are provided from the title for security act funds that could take…
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: So I’m going to have to ask you to wrap up the column. I’m so sorry because we have so many callers. Is there any final comment that you want to make because we need to move on?
Christian: Well, just bless Mr. Vince for being incredible and moral and conscious individual trying to protect the rights of those parents that are being victimized by these predators from CPS. Thank you.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Thank you so much for calling.
Vincent W. Davis: Thank you.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: And Jill Julian from California, you’re on the air.
Jill: Yes, thank you. Pretty much everything that every caller has said has been a part of my situation and I have also spoken to Mr. Davis in his office. I don’t know if it was himself directly. Recently, they did say that, yes, my civil rights were violated but these are very expensive cases and therefore cannot only carried by the firm which makes total sense. I totally understand that. This was supposedly a voluntary case which of course there was no such thing in CPS. This involved a child, my son, who was just short of being 17. Neither of my children who are raised by myself ever has been in trouble with the law, school, suspension, detention. I know this is about the child but I have very serious poor health and what affects does affect the child and they required all that hoop jumping which did cause my health to deteriorate.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: So can you get down, I’m so sorry, we’re so booked with calls.
Jill: [0:20:29 inaudible].
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Can you please get to the question?
Jill: You know, I’m sorry, I don’t really have a question because — in regards to information, when I called the ombudsman and reported how the worker had overheard me make a doctor’s appointment, showed up at the doctor’s appointment, got into the exam room, followed the ambulance to the emergency room, and I reported that things quickly changed around. And so I just encourage people to call the ombudsman. Some people don’t even know that that exist for them. And I agree about the social engineering is historically correct. And, again, Mr. Davis has been very approachable to myself and it sounds like all the other parents. So it’s just [0:21:19 inaudible].
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Thank you so much for your call.
Jill: So thank you.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Thank you.
Jill: All right.
Vincent W. Davis: Thank you.
Jill: Good day. Bye-bye.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: So could you give us some example, Vince, of what you have witnessed as far as parents, grandparents and foster parents being virtually crippled by the juvenile dependency system and its processes?
Vincent W. Davis: For parents I think a lot of times, more times than not, social workers exaggerate and I think that parents become so — I don’t know what the right word is — distraught, depressed. It’s worse than putting them in jail. Taking their children away is probably worse than going to jail and they become so despondent. So if you had a minor drug problem, your drug problem becomes deeper because your children are gone and you go into deep depression. I met with a woman yesterday. Her children were taken away from her and she had smoked marijuana one time and she didn’t have a license marijuana card here in California…
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Right.
Vincent W. Davis: And her children were taken away. And so now that is the big thing that they’re using against her. They want her to go to a drug counseling program and they want her to do drug testing. Because there was a domestic violence in her past from a few years ago, they wanted her to do domestic violence counseling. They wanted her to do parenting. And it becomes so onerous and she works a full time job. So she’s lost her children, her four children. She’s got to do all these classes. She’s still trying to work. So it becomes very onerous. And I think that’s one of the ways that is so unfair to parents.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Yeah, it definitely is. We are talking with Attorney Vince Davis, a high profile attorney and expert in juvenile dependency law. We will take your calls in just a minute. Stay with us. We’re going to break. We’ll be right back.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: If you’re just joining us, I am talking with Attorney Vince Davis, a high profile attorney and expert in juvenile dependency law. We’re talking about how to get your kids back if they have been taken away by Child Protective Services. Please call the station now to speak to him at 1-800-222-5222. Richard in LA, please go ahead with your question.
Richard: I want to ask Mr. Davis, how would I hold the LA DCFS accountable for basically removing an 11-year old child from I guess an anonymous referral [0:23:59 chip] so to speak with no grounds of neglect and abuse which took him into a foster home, they drag him through dependency court for three months and it resulted in his illegal extradition out of the United States to Germany while we had pending asylum applications, while his mother was and is still in immigration custody in the US? Not [0:24:26 inaudible].
Vincent W. Davis: [0:24:27 inaudible] but I have been involved the most types of cases over the years. Now, the one thing that you want to do is that you want to make sure that you — are you the father?
Richard: No, I’m not. I’m like — well, they call me the legal uncle, I’m a brother-in-law.
Vincent W. Davis: Okay. So the parent, the mother who’s in custody, I hope she was brought to court so that she could express what she wanted to do.
Richard: She was not. She was prevented from immigration [0:24:54 inaudible] if I’m going to round dependency court hearing.
Vincent W. Davis: Oh, that’s very unusual.
Vincent W. Davis: Did she have an attorney who was able to file an appeal for her?
Richard: Yes, she did, someone out of Burbank, very good, very good and had a terrific motion to strike very solid and the judge at the [0:25:13 Edelman Court] just basically say no.
Vincent W. Davis: The only thing that the mother can do is appeal or file what’s called a writ.
Richard: Right, a writ, right.
Vincent W. Davis: …which is like the emergency appeal, a fast appeal. The other thing that the attorney could have done is possibly go to federal court and look for some remedies there and some protections there. However, if the mother had a juvenile dependency court attorney, it’s unlikely that court attorney would have been able to do that.
Richard: Right, right. We’re literally fighting ice now to do it because the federal law supersedes state law and they were supposed to not let the child out but that’s a whole another [0:25:54 inaudible].
Vincent W. Davis: Is the child in Germany right now?
Richard: Yes, and he’s been there since December 17th of 2014 with [0:26:00 inaudible], the Germany’s authority known for child trafficking and human rights abuses and they will not let the mother and my mother-in-law talk to or contact the child. We have no way of getting to him.
Vincent W. Davis: You know, there’s something in the United States called the Hague Convention and it’s a treaty among most countries in the world and this sounds…
Richard: We’re working on that.
Vincent W. Davis: Yeah. This sounds like a case that would come under the Hague Convention which is federal law and you probably have to go to federal court to deal with that.
Richard: I think we’re going through the State Department right now to try to deal with that but we’re also trying to pitch to immigration that they basically [0:26:36 inaudible] the 1967 protocol, the UN protocols regarding the status of refugees so it’s become a huge thing but, yes, we are trying the Hague as well at the State Department.
Vincent W. Davis: Do you have an immigration attorney?
Richard: Yes, we do.
Vincent W. Davis: Good, good.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Okay. Well, thank you very much for your call.
Richard: Thank you.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: We hope we answered your question. Good luck with your issue.
Richard: Thank you so much.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Okay, thank you. If a child is taken away due to parents with substance abuse issues, can you talk about how drug testing is administered for the parents and how often they must be tested [0:27:13 inaudible] negatively before getting custody?
Vincent W. Davis: The type of testing that’s done here in Los Angeles County is what’s called the urinalysis. That’s the only type of testing that the court can compel you to do to get your children back. There are two other types of drug testing, hair follicle testing and blood testing. The law does not permit the court to force you to do those types of testing because it’s so intrusive. So it’s generally urinalysis and it’s random. In the old days, maybe 10, 15 years ago, the parent would go randomly and test every week but because of budgetary crises that they’ve had here in the state and in the county, that’s been cut back to maybe every other week, once every other week on a random basis. Different judges treat drug testing differently, some want to see a lot of drug test claim, some don’t want to see that many that they look at the time that you’ve been testing clean. Generally, if I have a client who’s had a drug issue, I talk to them about hair follicle because if you have long hair, that can go back several months and that’s proof to the court that even though you were testing twice a month for the social worker but you’ve been clean for maybe six months.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Okay, that sounds good. So is that working out?
Vincent W. Davis: Yes, it is. Some counties like Orange County have a patch that they put on your shoulder and you go in I think once or twice — once a week maybe and they take the patch off and they test it. There’s a lot of problems with that. Nothing is a hundred percent accurate and the patch is less accurate than the urinalysis and if the urinalysis is less accurate than the hair…
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: You’re right, right.
Vincent W. Davis: And the hair is less accurate than the blood.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Oh my god. If you’re just joining us, I’m talking with Attorney Vince Davis, a high profile attorney and expert in juvenile dependency law. We’re talking about how to get your kids back if they had been taken away by Child Protective Services. Please call the station to speak to him at 1-800-222-5222. Chris in San Diego, please go ahead with your question.
Chris: Yes, just on November 30th, I had a contested adjudication of disposition hearing which was continued until January 15th and in the meantime, the judge ordered the CPS’s discretion that they could place my son back with me and that to set a special hearing to do so. And I wanted to know basically what the best things I can do in the meantime to see that I get that special hearing as possible.
Vincent W. Davis: The best thing you can do is talk to your attorney. What were the allegations against you?
Chris: The allegations were simply an unsafe home and substance abuse. I’ve been drug testing. I have two clean tests. That’s been ongoing for over two months now. And the house had been cleaned up. I had social workers come out to do inspections. They found the house to be clean. I’ve shown the court pictures to demonstrate that. I just get the feeling that they are really pressing issue with the case plan and insisting that I do certain of the programs and services that they want to do but — and which I’m willing to do but I just want placement set with me in the meantime as long as I’m being cooperative with the case plan, you know, doing clean testing and I have a clean safe home, I don’t see why he can’t be placed with me. Considering the last continuances that from, you know, all the way till January 15th, that’s a long time from now and the reason the hearing was continued was issues with ICWA noticing which was failure on their part, they put the wrong dates on the paperwork, so that’s just next to two and a half months added to the time before I could possibly have my kid back.
Vincent W. Davis: Right. Well, you know, is your case on [0:31:24 middle part] San Diego or is it downtown?
Chris: It’s [0:31:26 middle part].
Vincent W. Davis: Okay. Do you know who your judge is?
Chris: Yes. The judge that’s…
Vincent W. Davis: Or your department?
Chris: Department 5, Sharon Kalemkiarian.
Vincent W. Davis: Yes. I really like her. She’s a very fair judge. What you should do is talk to your court appointed attorney and have that attorney file what’s called a 388 petition for you. Some people will argue that the 388 — you can’t file a 388 until after the disposition of hearing, but I’ve been told by people who do legal research in this area and I’ve been shown the legal research, that you can — there’s actually authority in California where you can sometimes file the 388 before the disposition hearing. So talk to your attorney. If you’re testing clean and got the house cleaned up, I suggest you take pictures of the house, of the room, front yard, backyard, everything, submit those to your attorney and perhaps you can talk to your attorney about doing a hair follicle test, maybe you can show the judge that, you know, in addition to these random tests that they’re just not lucky, you know, you’re just not being lucky testing clean, that you’re truly, you know, not using any illegal substances. And I think that particular judge will give you a hearing and I think that she might rule in your favor. I don’t know all the factors but she’s a very fair judge.
Chris: So is the CPS, are they obligated to give this special hearing or it’s entirely up to their discretion?
Vincent W. Davis: Entirely up to their discretion. And generally, in most counties, San Diego being one of them, they rarely use that discretion unless you’re doing everything that they want you to do.
Chris: Right. Well, I mean, I’ve corrected everything that’s in the original petition and then some. I’m doing everything that they want me to do. I just haven’t finished doing everything that they want me to do.
Vincent W. Davis: Right.
Chris: Of course that takes time.
Vincent W. Davis: Correct.
Chris: And so…
Vincent W. Davis: Are the children in foster care or with relatives?
Chris: Foster care.
Vincent W. Davis: Okay. Do you have relatives that could take the children?
Chris: No, I don’t.
Vincent W. Davis: No close family friends? Now, they don’t have to…
Chris: Well, right now, actually, he’s not in a foster home. He is in what they called [0:33:56 inaudible], non-related extended…
Vincent W. Davis: Yes.
Chris: He’s with one of those in which does a whole separate matter because he was placed with somebody that they determine to be a non-related extended family member but he’s somebody that I’ve never met and — but that was a whole separate issue. But, you know, I’m done with that. It’s no longer an issue with me. I’m fine with where he’s placed at but now the question is no, I don’t — he’s with a non-related extended family member that CPS basically — you know, they determine that this person was…
Vincent W. Davis: Okay. Well, to wrap up the call, I think you should talk to your attorney immediately on Monday about filing a 388 petition even though you’re predispo — even though the disposition hearing hasn’t been issued.
Chris: So there’s no way that’s something that [0:34:50 inaudible] after disposition?
Vincent W. Davis: Yes. But I believe you can do it before — I believe there’s some authority in California that would allow you to do it. Thanks for your call.
Chris: Thank you.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Thank you for your call. We are talking with Attorney Vince Davis about how to get your children back from Child Protective Services. We’re going to take a break. Stay with us. We’ll be right back.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: This is the Body Politic Radio Show and I’m talking with Attorney Vince Davis, a high profile attorney and expert in juvenile dependency law. We’re talking about how to get your kids back if they have been taken away by Child Protective Services. Please call the station. We only have 10 minutes to go, 1-800-222-5222. Can you talk about how important it is, Vince, for people not to sign any forms the social worker might try to have a person sign and why that is so important in the scheme of things?
Vincent W. Davis: Whenever you’re dealing with a social worker, the case could or is already in court and before you sign anything, you should consult your attorney. If you don’t have a private attorney, an attorney would have been appointed to you by the court. So you had to make sure that you know what you’re signing and what the implications are. I’ve heard of cases where people have told me, “The social worker had me signed a blank form,” and then filled it in later and they said to me, “I never agreed to that but I did sign the form, it was blank when I signed it.”
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Right.
Vincent W. Davis: So those…
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: That sounds illegal actually though.
Vincent W. Davis: Yes, it is.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Okay. So wouldn’t it be thrown out?
Vincent W. Davis: Your word against the social worker?
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Yeah. Right. So there’s that battle.
Vincent W. Davis: Yes.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Okay. And then there has to be hearing in front of a judge to determine the outcome of that?
Vincent W. Davis: Correct.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Jennifer from Riverside, you’re on the air.
Jennifer: Thank you for taking my call. I just had a few questions. To give you a little background, I gave birth October 2nd this year to my little daughter, Annabelle. They tested us in the hospital and we’ve all tested positive from marijuana. The social worker came to visit me in the hospital there, not the CPS worker but the hospital social worker, asked me if I had, you know, documentation of the marijuana medical card. I said I didn’t have it with me. He explained that he would have to notify CPS and at that time — within I don’t know, about eight hours, CPS — a social worker from the CPS came out to talk to me in the hospital.
And, you know, you guys talked about earlier about talking to the social worker without legal representation and she did exactly that. I mean, I thought that I was being, you know, I was being — I’m trying [0:37:39 inaudible] I’m sorry, I’m nervous, I thought I was being cooperative by answering all of her questions regarding drug history, things like that. What I did do inadvertently was give her, you know, a lot of the evidence like you had discussed earlier that they didn’t have otherwise because I have no drug history, as far as no arrest, no forced rehab, things like that of that nature.
Anyway, to make it quick to get to my question, I have been testing clean. I was in a methadone maintenance program throughout the pregnancy. When I found out I was pregnant of 16 weeks, I went on methadone maintenance. And they tested me every three to four days religiously and I continuously tested negative, you know, for illicit substances. And, you know, they talked to my counselor. I did sign a permission for them to get authorization to talk to the counselor there at the methadone maintenance clinic. The counselor, you know, let them know that I did everything that I was supposed to be doing throughout the, you know, the course of my pregnancy. In addition to that, getting prenatal care, you know, in conjunction with the doctor at the methadone clinic as well as the OB-GYNE and I continued to test clean.
We just — the father and I just gave the hair follicle samples. That came back negative for drugs and we continued to get [0:39:09 inaudible] also to go visit the baby. The baby is still in the NICU being treated for NAS symptom, like withdrawal from the methadone. The way that the order stands right now is we only have two visits for two hours each visit with the baby and my seven-year old who’s with my father. And I just — you know, I don’t — I’m so worried I don’t know when I can have my children back. I feel worried that being a newborn, she’s missing out on a lot of bonding. I was not allowed to breastfeed. That’s another thing that, you know, I was not allowed to do. You know, I don’t know, I just feel like — aside from the marijuana, you know, and I do have the medical record for that, you know, I was testing clean. I continued to test clean and I’m just wondering, I mean, how long do I have to prove to them that I’m clean before I can have my child with — my children with me.
Vincent W. Davis: Well, have you been to court yet?
Jennifer: We have gone to the very first hearing. Our second hearing for the — I guess it would be the disposition hearing, that would be this Wednesday.
Vincent W. Davis: Okay. So the second…
Jennifer: [0:40:21 inaudible] court.
Vincent W. Davis: The second hearing that you have is called the jurisdictional hearing. Now, are you in Riverside on County Farm Road or in Murrieta or Indio?
Jennifer: County Farm Road, it’s the County Farm.
Vincent W. Davis: Okay. Is your judge — when you go — Commissioner Wagner or Judge Jackson?
Jennifer: I think it’s Jackson. Yeah.
Vincent W. Davis: Okay. Very fair judge. So what you need to do is you need to test and continue testing. But if you’ve already been testing for a period of time, I would suggest that you talk to your court appointed attorney and talk about filing a 388 to get the child back or to increase your visitation to liberalize your visitation from monitored to unmonitored. The code, and I think it’s in the 200 section of the California Welfare and Institutions Code, calls for visitation for parent in your situation to be as often and as frequent as possible.
Vincent W. Davis: I like to ask for my clients to have visitation four or five times a week and a lot of times, I get looks at by the county counsel, the social worker’s attorney or sometimes even the judge like, you know, are you kidding. But push for it, fight for it because your — everything that you said about what that child is missing out on is true.
Jennifer: Right. And it’s devastating. You know, it’s absolutely devastating to try and bond with our newborn for two hours in the NICU, you know and…
Vincent W. Davis: Right.
Jennifer: …dealing with nurses who, you know, I don’t know if they understand the situation or whatever and it just seems like, you know, I feel like they must think, well, where are these parents at, well, we’re rocking her baby, you know, because she’s going from withdrawal from this methadone. Where are the parents at, you know, well, we’re taking care of this child.
Vincent W. Davis: One last thing I want to tell you, talk to the hospital and see if you can stay at the hospital. A lot of hospitals and a lot of NICUs will allow you to stay there.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Thank you for your call. I’m afraid that we’re running out of time but thank you for your call.
Jennifer: Okay, thank you.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: I hope that this has been helpful. So we just have a few minutes left, Vince, and I’d like to give you the floor. I have so many questions that I wanted to ask you but there are things that are priorities that I want you to tell the public that you think are priorities for you.
Vincent W. Davis: When you have a juvenile dependency case, in the beginning, when you’re being investigated, it’s my policy in maybe 95% of the cases to advise you not to talk to the social worker, not to talk to the police. Now, I’ve been criticized for giving that advice by some judges and, you know, what’s the worst case scenario. If you speak to the social worker or the police, there’s a strong chance that what you say is going to be used against you. If you don’t speak to them, the social worker will say, “Well, if you don’t speak to me, I’m going to tell the judge, he or she is not going to like that,” and that’s probably true. But what’s the best of those two alternatives? In my opinion, doing these many years, it was not to talk to the social worker or police without your attorney being present.
The second thing I think is the most important thing and this comes up a lot of times. Let’s say that the social worker has accused you and take your child because of domestic violence, it is not bad for you to immediately enroll in a domestic violence class, it is not an admission that can be used against you. As a matter of fact, most judges, if not all, will think in that situation, that’s a great idea and that you’re moving towards cooperating with the social worker and the court towards getting your child back. Whatever services that are suggested by the social worker, I think that no matter what has happened, what’s true, what’s not true, until you have a trial and everything shakes up, that you consider getting into those programs like parenting, like drug counseling, like domestic violence counseling, like drug testing, you know, and in some cases, sex abuse counseling. And talk to your attorney about the importance or how that could benefit you right at the beginning. Don’t wait. And the most important thing that I think that everyone should consider is you must give a list of relatives to the social worker at the very beginning because the law is not relatives come forward and get the child at any stage of the case. Get the relatives, give that list. For my clients, we usually give a list of 25 relatives and those relatives can be anywhere in the world. They can be in New York, they can be in Africa, they can be in Mexico, anywhere.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Thank you so much. I wanted to thank you for coming on and for really sort of getting into this. I hope that you can do a follow up show because people have so many questions and it’s just an area of tremendous value. If you want to learn more about how to get your kids back from Child Protective Services, please contact expert Attorney Vince W. Davis at 1-888-888-5222 and check out the firm’s website at www.vincentwdavis.com. Thank you, Vince, for coming on the show, you’re extraordinary.
Vincent W. Davis: Thank you, Suzanne. I appreciate it.
Suzanne Marcus Fletcher: Okay, thank you. Bye-bye.
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