Vincent Davis: Good morning. You’re on the radio with Attorney Vincent Davis. The show is Get Your Kids Back Now! This show is dedicated to keeping families together, and to fighting the tyranny of CPS and DCFS social workers. A secondary purpose of the show is to educate parents and relatives, or to at least show them where to get the necessary information for their fight. The final purpose of the show is to remind the people that change can be effectuated at the ballot box, at the state and federal levels. Let us unite, vote, and elect those who will make the necessary changes.
Good morning. I am broadcasting this morning from Orange County, California, and this morning we’re going to be taking calls and we’re going to also be talking about a topic that I think is very important for people that have a CPS or DCFS case. And that topic is how to prepare for a trial. Sometimes these are known as contested hearings in the juvenile court. I generically refer to them as trials. Contested hearings or trials are where the social worker is going to be putting on evidence to either keep your child away from you or to take your child away from you for a certain amount of time.
Now, one of the things that first comes up right at the very beginning of any type of juvenile dependency case is something called the detention hearing. Very few people know this, and I doubt very few people are explained to the — explained this to. But at the first hearing, you have a right to cross examine the social worker who wrote the report to detain your children away from you.
Many times that detention hearing goes by very fast and just argument is made. But you actually have the right to put a social worker on the witness stand and cross examine her right there at the hearing. Now, if the social worker can’t be present, the judge must continue the case one day so that the social worker could come in and testify. I know in some counties, and I think this happens a lot of times in San Diego, the social worker is there present in the court, in case that you want to call that person as a witness to cross examine them. But in Los Angeles County that rarely happens. And when you make that request to cross examine the social worker, sometimes the judge will order the social worker to come down later that day, and sometimes they continue to the next day. But these types of what I call mini trials are rarely done at the juvenile dependency detention hearing. Now, they — there may be a strategy for not doing that. But at least you should be aware that you have the right to do that.
Before I go to the next stage of the juvenile dependency process and talking about trials or contested hearings, I’m going to take a call right now. First call is from area code 951, ending in 98.
Good morning. You’re on with Attorney Vincent Davis.
Female: Good morning.
Vincent Davis: Good morning. Did you have a story to share or a question to ask?
Female: I actually have a story to share. I’m a foster parent in the [0:03:39 inaudible], and I took a placement in on a baby who was born. They disclosed the baby was born at 20 weeks, one pound and exposed to drugs. Never disclosed any medical condition of this baby. I have had plenty of babes. I’ve been a foster parent for now almost nine years. I’ve had many previous and drug exposed babe. I’m in the process of adopting my son. He’s a meth baby, a heart patient. Had him since birth. And this baby was technically critically, critically ill. They just held this baby’s health condition from myself and my agency because nobody wouldn’t take this placement.
So now I’m in the point to where they removed my kids off my home. They took my son, and they said that I had to rush the baby to the hospital like five days later after I got the baby. And the baby was — the blushes overflowed, the baby was full of acid, the baby had sepsis, I found out. Then the baby was born hemorrhaging on the brain. The baby had all these medical condition. So, now I’m at the point to where they are saying that the baby had a fracture. I caused the — they — no, let me back up. They say — they know I didn’t cause the fracture. But because the baby was in my care at the time that they’re estimating this fracture, and they don’t know who actually done it, they have to say that I had done it.
So now they’re turning their investigation over to my [0:05:25 inaudible] and then putting me up under severe neglect and [0:05:28 inaudible] substantiate on my home by telling me that I may not get my son back because of the allegation. And my question, you know, to them, I had the baby five days, she never disclosed any medical history about but telling from the [0:05:45 inaudible] I need this baby medical history in order to get him to the pediatrician and the social worker withheld this information and never even provided the health and educational passport on this child. So now I’m in a limbo of them taking my license and not giving me back my son who’s I’m adopting.
Vincent Davis: Okay. You have a lot going on in this particular case. Let me say this initially. And — you know, I’ve seen and heard about these types of situations. In my opinion, in my humble opinion, what I think is that you were set up, and that since something bad has happened, they’re going to blame you to cover their tracks of what they didn’t do, what the social workers didn’t do.
Vincent Davis: And, you know, this is not an unusual story that I hear, where foster parents are blamed because the social worker screwed up. What happened was, in my opinion, that they committed fraud against you and against this child, to trick you to take this child, because probably nobody wanted to take this child because there were too many medical problems. And, you know —
Vincent Davis: it’s hard work to take care of a special needs child that has all these medical conditions. I don’t know — I don’t know if you are a certified medical home. But this child should have been placed in a medical home where there’s some foster parent there that’s trained specifically to take of children with these types of medical problems. Generally, those are, you know, registered nurses or retired nurses. So, there was a fraud on you to begin with.
Secondly, regarding the child that you are about to adopt, they were supposed to give you notice that you could file with the juvenile court an objection to the removal. If you were in the process —
Female: I’ve done it. I’ve done it. My court hearing —
Vincent Davis: And — well, the juvenile —
Female: My court hearing is July 15th.
Vincent Davis: Okay. What county are you in?
Female: I live in Riverside County but my case is in San Bernardino County.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So, you should be having a hearing pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code 366.26N as in Nancy. I mentioned that to you because you should look that up on Google and read what it says. Welfare and Institutions Code Section 366.26N as in Nancy. You have substantial rights. There are things that you can do and that you can file and that you can — you know, or your attorney can prepare to help make sure that that child that you are going to adopt is returned to you.
Third, you’re now going to have a community care licensing issue. And I heard that you were a certified foster family home, not a licensed foster parent. But you have substantial rights with respect to your license and with respect to your reputation. You — if CCL has not contacted you yet, they will be contacting you, and you should take steps to defend yourself and defend your license.
Also, they will findings that will be — attempt to be made by the county social workers against you. You should file — you should be given written notice that you have the right to file a grievance, and you should file that grievance so that you can give — so that you can have a hearing to present your side and — you know, and present how you were set up in this case.
Vincent Davis: Unfortunately, it sounds — unfortunately, it sounds like you’re going to be the — they’re trying to make you the fall guy for the social workers mistakes. Perhaps it wasn’t even a mistake. Perhaps it was even intentional that they were going to tell you about this child’s special need problems, because they have to find some place to put these children in a —-
Female: Right. And they have been — And when I got to the hospital —
Vincent Davis: After —-
Female: the nurse did say, you know, and I’m not thinking on this, “Well, we have been trying to place this baby for over 30 days,” and everybody has been saying those. So my knowledge is, they don’t want to take a — bring me a baby that’s exposed to drugs. You know, why? You know, this poor, innocent baby. But then the nurse also said that “We don’t understand why the PHN from the county is saying ‘Release this baby.'” And I spoke with the PHN because I’ve worked with her before with my son, because there was a distinct to his eyes, and I asked her, I said, “Is he blind?” And she was like, “His eyes look dead, huh?” “I don’t know what dead eyes look like,” I said, “but I know there is a distinct to his eyes,” and she left it at that.
I have had private detective come to my home, searched my home from top to bottom, drilled me like I was on my [0:10:56 inaudible]. CCL has come out. They did say they investigated what’s [0:11:01 inaudible] but I’ve never heard from them and it’s been over a month now. And the social worker did tell me. “We know you didn’t hurt this baby. We know you would not hurt your son. But we have to fault someone for this incident, and it has to be you and we’re sorry.”
Vincent Davis: Ma’am, what I would suggest to you is that — by the way, before I tell you this — you know, the reason why they released the child, because it cost the county a lot of money to keep that child in the hospital. And what I think they did was they released that child to save money, and they were crossing their fingers, hoping that some foster parent would take the kid, and when a foster parent didn’t take the child, they started hiding information so that someone unsuspecting like you would take this child into their home, and they were crossing their fingers that nothing would happen, and then when something happened, oh, guess who’s going to take the blame? Not the social workers. You. And they’re going to — they’ve thrown —
Vincent Davis: under the bus. You have substantial rights that need to be protected in several different areas. So if you have a pen and piece of paper, I want you to write this down so that you can —
Vincent Davis: talk to an — so that you can talk to an attorney about protecting yourself and about protecting your rights and observing your rights. Number one, you have a huge lawsuit against the social workers and the county. So you should — you should talk to someone who has a lot of experience in suing social workers in the county for civil rights violations. The child has a huge lawsuit against the county, but that’s a whole another story. I’m just talking about you.
Vincent Davis: That’s number one. Number two, with respect to the county, you want to make sure that they’ve given you your grievance review hearing rights and that you file for a grievance hearing. Number three —
Vincent Davis: CCL is going to contact you. And what they’re going to do is they’re going to file probably some type of administrative action against you to make sure that you’re not a certified foster parent any longer. When you get that, there’s going to be something called a notice of defense. You’re going to fill that out with your name, address and telephone number, you’re going to send it in, and you’re going to demand to have a hearing in front of a neutral office of administrative hearing judge in California.
The last thing that’s really important is the juvenile court matter regarding your adoptive son. You have filed the objection, you have a hearing coming up, but one of the other things that you want to do is you have to file something called a de facto motion, and something called a 388 petition, and something called an 827 petition. Because you need — you or your attorney needs to do some discovery with respect to the medical condition and everything that has happened with that child. Technically, you’re not entitled to all the court records right now. You’re not entitled to all the court reports. And what happens in this type of situation is you go to the hearing. They’ll be talking about records and reports that you and your — you and your attorney never saw, and they’ll be making decisions based upon their evidence, which you and your attorney will never able to look at or even read.
I know that sounds almost unconstitutional, but the state of the law in California right now, that is happening to people like you all around the state. So it’s probably happening to people all around the county, but I’m just licensed here in California and involved in cases here in California. And I’ve seen it many times. So those are the three or four things you need to do and you need to talk an attorney. If you can find one that can take one or all of them, that would be the best strategy and scenario. If you can’t find one, I welcome you to call me at my office. I’ll give you the telephone number, and you can make an appointment and we can have a free initial consultation, either in person, on the phone, or via Skype, whatever is more convenient for you. So, call this number — you could call this number today after 9:00 and make an appointment to talk to me. It’s 888 —
Female: Okay. Uh-hmm.
Vincent Davis: 888-6582. So that’s 888-888-6582. So —
Female: Yes, because I was phoning your last call. And I did — and I got your email, and I did email you a lot of the documentations that I have, so I don’t know if you might not have seen it in your email. Regarding my case —
Vincent Davis: Oh, no. You know what? You know what? Now I do remember. I do remember. I did receive the documents. So call and make an appointment today after 9:00 AM. The secretary will be there. It’s Saturday, she’ll probably get there about 9:30-ish. So call around that time and make an appointment and I’ll talk to you more about your respective cases that you have and I’ll try to help you out, okay?
Vincent Davis: Thank you very much for calling, ma’am.
Female: And thank you so much for help, and I really enjoy listening to your radio shows on the weekends, too.
Vincent Davis: Well, thank you very much. You know what? Tell your friends, tell your neighbors who are involved in the juvenile court system or foster care system to listen, to call in, ask questions or tell me stories, okay?
Female: Okay, I will.
Vincent Davis: Thank you. Bye-bye.
Female: Thank you and I’ll call your office this morning.
Vincent Davis: All right.
Vincent Davis: Okay, we’re going to take another call right now from area code 909, ending in 27.
Vincent Davis: Good morning. You —
Female: Good morning.
Vincent Davis: Hi. How are you?
Female: I’m fine, thank you. How are you?
Vincent Davis: Doing good. Doing good. It’s a beautiful Saturday morning. Did you have a story or a question?
Female: Kind of. Maybe several questions and a little bit of a story.
Vincent Davis: Okay, go ahead.
Female: Like, okay, my daughter, she’s — well, CPS came to my house. I let — I didn’t —
Vincent Davis: Okay.
Female: know that — I couldn’t have them wait out, but I let them inside and he spoke with me and he told me the allegations, and I told them, “No, everything was fine.” Then he — then he spoke with my father and my nephew, separately and in private, each of them.
Vincent Davis: Uh-hmm.
Female: And they said other things. They said different things because some of the things were about the dad.
Vincent Davis: Uh-hmm.
Female: And — what’s it called — so then I talked to a social worker again and he said he still had concerns and he was going to set up a TDM. So, me, my mom and my dad we went to this TDM meeting and — also, I had spoke with him and he told me that he was going to request police report. Then he told me they didn’t have no police report, that — no, he told me he couldn’t get the police report. And I thought that there wasn’t any and he said he was going to put in a second request. And after that, I never followed up with him.
So we have a TDM meeting and we told him — we were saying, you know, our daughter — my daughter — my granddaughter, she’s fine, she’s safe. The father, he’s not a danger — he’s not a danger if he were to come or anything like that because she’s safe, and they said they’re — they had a big, long police report that was made and — what’s it called — they said, “That’s our concern,” and that because we couldn’t come — because they’re saying they’re concerned and we’re saying we’re not concerned, they ended the meeting, they closed the meeting and they said they were going to have a meeting and make a decision.
Vincent Davis: Okay. What county is this?
Female: San Bernardino County.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So, there’s a couple — before you continue on with the story and ask your questions, I want to tell you and the listeners something, okay?
Vincent Davis: Number one. Number one. If a social worker ever comes to your door, and wants to talk to you, do not talk to them without first talking to an attorney. Number two, if they ask to come into your home, in 98% of the cases, you should not let the social worker in your home, unless they have a warrant to come in and talk to your child or inspect your home or take your child away from you. And you can just ask the social worker, “Hey, do you have a warrant?” “No, but I’ll get one.” “Okay. Please come back –” you know, people like, “Please come back when you have a warrant.” And in the anteroom you need to call an attorney and get some legal advice.
Number three, and this almost unanimous for me — oh, I won’t say ‘unanimous’. Instead of 98%, it’s 99% — you and your family should never go to a TDM without legal representation. Now, just so our —
Female: When —
Vincent Davis: Just so our listeners will know, a TDM stands for team decision-making meeting. And that’s where they have you and your family come, and you talk about the case so that things can be worked out. That’s what’s supposed to happen. Let me tell you what really happens. You and your family come, you’re all interviewed, you — I mean, you all talk, you all give information, and they’re writing this information down, and the next time you’ll see it is in a court case that they file against you. They’re just gathering evidence. They’re just gathering —
Vincent Davis: evidence to use against you. Never go to a TDM without a lawyer, and as a matter of fact, you don’t have to go to a TDM. So if somebody tells you, a social worker tells you, “You got to go to a TDM,” you do not have to go a TDM. And I suggest that you do not go to a TDM.
Now, I want to tell you and the listeners something else. Recently, someone called me up and they said that the social worker told them they had to go to a TDM. And they said, “Mr. Davis, we saw in your website, you know, one of your videos or something, that we don’t have to go to a TDM.” I said, “That’s right. You don’t have to go to the TDM.” And they said, “Okay.”
So, they hang up the phone, and subsequently what must have happened is the social worker told them that they must go to the TDM or they were going to tell the judge that they were uncooperative. And they talked to another lawyer, someone who I know — oh, I don’t personally but I know professionally — who’s been practicing probably 15 years. I’m almost 30 years. This lawyer told them that they should go to the TDM. Now, lawyers are like life. Everybody gives different advice. Okay?
Vincent Davis: I strongly — I strongly believe that that lawyer told them something that is not good advice. All right? But that lawyer, you know — that — he gave his opinion. And that’s fine. But if you go to a TDM, bad things are going to happen, most of the time.
A few weeks ago I just finished a lawsuit against five social workers and the county of Los Angeles about some crap that mostly happened at a TDM. So, you know — and this lady — the funny thing was she brought an attorney — it wasn’t me, but she brought an attorney to the TDM with her. She didn’t even know she could, but she was, you know, smart enough to figure it out that “Hey, I’m about to do some interaction with government officials, I’d better have an attorney.” Well, when the attorney got there, guess what they told the attorney? “Oh, we don’t allow attorneys in the TDM. You have to leave the building.”
Female: That’s what they told me, too. Because my father, he asked —
Vincent Davis: Okay. That’s false. That’s false. And by the way, that is a violation of your civil rights. And that was one of the violations we sued the social workers and the county for. Now, you would think that if somebody gets sued and, you know, things don’t go well for them in the lawsuit, you would think that they would change their actions. Well, they don’t. Because for every hundred people that they say, “You can’t bring a lawyer, and we’re going to — you know, basically use the TDM against you,” for the — every one person that challenges that, there’s still 99 people that don’t challenge it. So, you know, when you’re doing these thousands of times a month over a year or whatever, you’re going to — you’re still going to tell people, “You can’t bring a lawyer.”
I’m telling you, you can bring a lawyer. And I have told people — social workers, “Hey, if you don’t allow me in at the TDM,” which, most of the time they don’t, “there ain’t going to be a TDM.” So if you want to tell the judge that, you know, “Oh, the parent was uncooperative because they didn’t go to the TDM,” what the real story is, the parent was going to go to the TDM if they could bring their attorney, but you refuse to let the attorney in. And that’s unconstitutional, by the way. That’s a violation of your civil rights.
I just wanted to interject that in. Go ahead and finish your story and your questions.
Female: So, now I’m waiting for them to have their own meeting and make a decision, and I’m scared that they want to remove my daughter from my home.
Vincent Davis: How old is your daughter?
Female: She is a year old.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So what were the allegations that they’re investigating? Was it domestic violence or something?
Female: Yeah. There were so many allegations. Domestic violence. They — the father does drugs. He hits me. He comes over here banging on the doors. He breaks the doors and he kicks them in. The — that’s, like, basically it. They wanted me to say that —
Vincent Davis: Okay.
Female: he hits and — And there is a police report made but nobody was ever arrested on the police report and there’s no real proof. There’s no pictures, there’s —
Vincent Davis: Well, there’s a —
Female: They basically — what — they — uh-huh.
Vincent Davis: They basically use what?
Female: They basically use what the — because my dad doesn’t like my boyfriend, he said bad things about my boyfriend. He didn’t know that it would hurt the baby or have her removed from the home or anything like that and — Like, they’re using — basically everything that they have is, like, what they got from the initial report and what we all said.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So here is what you can do. I’m not going to ask you if any of that was true. Okay, I’m not going to ask you that —
Vincent Davis: and I don’t want you to tell me one way or the other.
Vincent Davis: But if any of that is true, you can take a step to try to take some of the air out of their balloon. And what you can do is you can file for a restraining order down at the courthouse. Okay?
Female: —- right?
Vincent Davis: In the family law — in the — Yeah. To the family law department. And —
Female: Okay. That — I’m sorry, I missed a very — okay, my — he was coming — the boyfriend, he was coming around, and my father would say, “No, please leave. Don’t come around here. I don’t want you here,” and he would still come around, so he went to go file a restraining order and he put my name on the restraining order, and he hadn’t been served that restraining order that’s why he could still come around. And what — he’s incarcerated right now and they served him his paper works in the jail. And now he has a restraining order, and we said, “Well, now he has a restraining order. He can’t come around,” and they said, “Well, that’s just a piece of paper. It doesn’t matter. What’s to stop him from coming and taking the baby or hurting you guys or, you know, being dangerous in front of the baby?”
Vincent Davis: Okay. Well — I mean, all of that could possibly, and I’m saying ‘possibly’, be true, but you don’t lose your kid on a possibility. There has to be what they call a substantial risk of danger. Now, one of the things that’s probably preventing them from filing a case is the fact that your — the baby’s father now lives — excuse me — now is incarcerated. So there’s no immediate danger to you or the child because he’s in jail, probably on unrelated charges.
Vincent Davis: So one of the —
Female: They think —
Vincent Davis: One of the things —
Female: Oh, I’m sorry.
Vincent Davis: Go ahead. They think what?
Female: —- that they think he’s going to — because he’s in there for something kind of small, they think he’s not going to be in there long and he’s going to be out soon.
Vincent Davis: That’s a possibility. But now when he comes out, your father has a restraining order against him, protecting your father, and you, so he can’t come around you.
Vincent Davis: So — I mean, that kind of, you know, mitigates the fact of whether he’s a risk or not. Now, one of the things I would advise you is that — to take like a preemptive strike to stop the social workers in their tracks, what — you have the right to move to another county. Now, I don’t know if you want to do that, but San Bernardino social workers have no jurisdiction in Los Angeles, or in Orange County, or in Riverside County. And you don’t have the — you don’t have the obligation to keep in touch with them. All right? So —
Vincent Davis: You know, you might want to consider that. You — sounds like everything is safe with the child, safe with you. I would advise you to stop talking to the social workers, because all they’re doing is gathering evidence to use against you to try to take your baby away. If you were an immediate risk to the child or if the child was in danger, you would not have your child right now.
Vincent Davis: The fact that they haven’t — the fact that they haven’t taken your child is they’re thinking of ways to make up a story that they can sell to a judge so that a judge will sign a warrant to detain your child. So the more you talk to them, the worse it could be getting.
Female: The only thing I did —
Vincent Davis: So —
Female: after that meeting, because I’m, like, worried, I’ve been trying to contact them to see if they’ve had a meeting or he knows when he’s having the meeting, and I — I’ve been — I went over there to take them the copy of the restraining order.
Vincent Davis: Oh, good. As long — you know, what I would do is I would email him a copy of that restraining order. So that there is no confusion about whether you have a restraining order protecting you or not. That restraining order, by the way, is going to be a big and powerful piece evidence in your favor in order to make sure that they do not take the child away from you. So you want to have —
Vincent Davis: proof that you got — that he got the restraining order. A lot of times, especially down the road in court or down the road in the subsequent lawsuit, “Oh, I didn’t get any copy of the restraining order. I don’t believe that she brought it to us.” But if you had to email, it’s hard to deny that. Okay?
Vincent Davis: Did you have any other questions for me this morning? If you do, go ahead.
Female: So what about if they — now they’re — I don’t know what’s going on. They’re going to have a meeting by themselves to make a decision, that’s what they said. So now what do I — or what should I do now?
Vincent Davis: Well, if they have a meeting, they have a meeting. You can’t do anything to stop that. You can email him the paper work. And, you know, all you have to do is cross your fingers and hope that they do not decide to try to take your child, because if they do they will start a case in juvenile dependency court, and you’ll have to go to court to fight — to get your child back.
And the juvenile dependency court in San Bernardino is over there on Gilbert. And there is — see, there is a department four, five — there are four juvenile dependency judges there. Three I really think are fair people. So, you know — but you don’t want to be placing yourself in a position of, you know, having to fight for your child back.
Female: No, I don’t.
Vincent Davis: Yeah.
Female: But what about if — what about if they decide, like, to — “Okay, this child is in danger. We’re going to remove her from the home?”
Vincent Davis: Well, if they get a court order to do that, that’s what you’re — you know, there’s nothing that you’re going to be able to do, except for go to court in the juvenile dependency courthouse and fight for your child back.
Female: Can they — can they — can they come, like, and just take her, or what do I need to see in order for them to be able to take her?
Vincent Davis: If they are going to come and take her, they usually come with a sheriff or a police officer, depending on what jurisdiction you live in, and they’ll have a court order that says that they have the right to take the child. And of course if they have that and the police are there, you’re going to have to turn the child over. What I would do if I were you is I’d make a list of 25 close family friends and relatives, by blood or marriage, who can take the child temporarily. Okay?
Vincent Davis: Who can take the child — who can take the child temporarily so the child is not placed in a strange foster home.
Vincent Davis: It’s quite traumatic. It’s quite traumatic for people — for kids taken away from their parents and placed in a foster home. Not because the foster parents are bad, it’s just that the kid doesn’t know the foster parent. I mean, it’s a totally strange home. I mean, I just imagine, you know. So you want to make sure that there are some friends and relatives that you can tell the social worker. You can just give her a list of people, names, address, telephone numbers, emails that they have it, with the relationship of the child to — excuse me — the relationship of the relative or close family friend to the child, and that social worker will have a certain amount of days to evaluate and investigate placement of the child with that relative or family friend. So —
Vincent Davis: get that list — if you want to do something, get that list together. And the other thing that you can do is you can email that list to the social worker to let him know, or to let her know that, “Hey, if you take my child, here’s a list of people, 25, that I want you to place the child with.” You know, it’s a lot of work to investigate 25 people. And maybe the social worker will think twice about taking the child because he’s got to investigate all those, you know, damn, relatives and close family friends. But, you know —
Vincent Davis: the worst place — the worst place for your child, in my opinion, especially a child of that age, is in a foster home because the child is not going to know the foster home. Can you imagine —
Vincent Davis: being one year old — can you imagine being one year old, taken from your family, and placed in a home you don’t — you don’t recognize anything? You don’t recognize the surroundings, you don’t recognize the people there. How do you think that one year old is going to feel?
Female: Bad. She’s so close to us.
Vincent Davis: Yeah. She’s going to be devastated.
Female: She’s very close to us.
Vincent Davis: Devastated. And in my opinion, it’s my humble opinion, I don’t think social workers give that enough consideration when they make the decision to take these children from their families. That’s my —
Vincent Davis: that’s my humble opinion. Of course, a lot of people will tell you otherwise and have different justifications, but that’s just my feeling.
Vincent Davis: Okay?
Female: Right. So —
Vincent Davis: Ma’am, I want to thank you for your — I want to thank you for your — did you have another question? Go ahead.
Female: I was just wondering, so, if they get a court order and they come over here to take her, what — before — is it — exactly happening — is there any way I could give temporary custody over to, like, my sister or something, before — that way they could say, “Well –”
Vincent Davis: Yes, you can. You can actually — your sister can actually go to the probate court and get a temporary and/or permanent guardianship of the child, which would show that, you know, her father would have monitored or supervised visitation. That way you and your family have taken a preemptive strike, so to speak, to try to keep the social workers out of your lives.
Female: Yeah. So I could do that —
Vincent Davis: So they’re — you can’t do —
Female: So if they come over —
Vincent Davis: You can do that.
Female: here with a court order — Uh-huh. Probate — so I could go to —
Vincent Davis: You can’t do that.
Female: probate court and give temporary guardianship?
Vincent Davis: To your sister? Now, in a lot of cases — in a lot of cases, and the law is not really clear about this, social workers don’t to recognize that temporary guardianship out of the probate court. Juvenile courts may not recognize. I had a case very similar to yours, and the grandparents would have got temporary guardianship of the child, and they were moving towards permanent guardianship. The social worker didn’t want to recognize the temporary guardianship but the children were already placed with the grandparents, so there wasn’t much they could do. And what eventually happened was the court, the juvenile court didn’t recognize the temporary guardianship, but it also let the children stay with the grandparents. So they were never —
Vincent Davis: placed in a foster home. So, if it was just for that little thing, keeping the child with a friendly relative, the relative that the child knows, it might be worth it to — you know, to have the sister who’s the aunt of a child get that temporary guardianship while all of this stuff is being played out.
Female: Oh, yeah. I’d rather have it —
Vincent Davis: Okay?
Female: I’d rather do that. So — okay, so they — if they come over here with a court order and she has temporary guardianship over her — over her, they can’t take her from her, right?
Vincent Davis: They’re not supposed to be able to. Does your sister live there with you?
Female: No, she doesn’t live here with me.
Vincent Davis: Yeah. So if they came over there, what you might want to show them is that piece of paper where your sister has temporary guardianship, and the child is at your sister’s house.
Female: Uh-huh. Where’s the —
Vincent Davis: Okay. Did — didn’t have — going to have a little bit of a hard time keeping the child away from you — keeping the child away from the sister.
Vincent Davis: Where is the what?
Female: Where is the probate court?
Vincent Davis: Okay. So in San Bernardino there are a number of courthouses. But the main courthouse in San Bernardino is on Arrow Highway, downtown. Do you know where I’m talking about? It’s a very old —
Vincent Davis: historic building? Okay. So what you want to do is you would want to go down there, take your sister down there, and they’ll give her the paper work to file for probate, temporary guardianship. Now, it’s a lot of paper. It’s like telling you to go do, you know, open heart surgery. So you may not able to do it. If you’re not able to do it, have the — you know, your sister give us a call or you give me a call and we’ll be able to help you out with that situation, okay?
Female: Okay. Can I have an — if I need a lawyer, can I have a number?
Vincent Davis: Yes. Do you have a pen and a paper?
Vincent Davis: Okay. It’s 888-888-6582. That is 888-888-6582. And when you call my office to make sure that you don’t get routed to the wrong person, you want to make sure you ask for Attorney Vince Davis, that’s me, and tell them, “Oh, Vince and I have already talked on the phone. He knows about the situation.” And they’ll take a message for me if I’m not in the office or they’ll patch you through to me if I am in the office, okay?
Female: Okay. Thank you.
Vincent Davis: Thank you very much and thank you for calling.
Vincent Davis: Bye-bye.
Vincent Davis: Okay, we’re — wow, we have a lot of calls here this morning. The next call that I’m going to take is from area 714, ending in 36.
Female: Good morning.
Vincent Davis: Good morning. You’re on with — Good morning. Did you have a story to share or a question to ask?
Female: I have some questions, based on the last call —
Vincent Davis: Sure.
Female: regarding the — questioning of the social worker in a dependency hearing. What if —
Vincent Davis: Yes.
Female: the social worker no longer works for the agency?
Vincent Davis: You have to subpoena her to make her be there. Now, what happens in a lot of cases when you — this happens more times than you would think, but it’s not, you know, something that usually happens. You know, you’re going to have a trial or the social worker has made some decisions and written some reports, and the social worker is on, you know, leave, went on vacation or just left and got another job, what you have to do is you have to — you and attorney have to subpoena that social worker to come to court.
What usually happens — you know, nobody explains this to you but — it’s because the social is not available anymore because she’s not employed there, and by the way I don’t believe that makes her unavailable, but they say, “Oh, we’ll have the supervisor testify.” That’s not the same. Okay? So my —
Vincent Davis: don’t ever agree to that. Make the social worker come. And in certain types of hearings and trials, the social worker must be brought there. A lot of times the county counsel who represents the social worker, though they show up, you know, at the hearing and say, “Oh, the social worker you wanted doesn’t work for us anymore, so we brought the supervisor.” No, no, no. That’s not acceptable. They have to bring the actual person who wrote the report, or your attorney has to argue that that report must not be admitted into evidence and must not be considered by the judge. So, make sure that you and your attorney subpoena that social worker.
Now, if you have to go and hire a — you know, look on Google or hire a private investigator to find the social worker that retired or that is no longer working for your — or working for that county government, that’s what you’re going to have to do. But in my opinion —
Female: Okay. It’s already — it’s already late. It’s at the end of my six months or whatever, so that — this happened like in November, so that passed. So there’s nothing I can do about that now?
Vincent Davis: Well, when was your — let me ask you, when is your last court hearing and when is your next court hearing?
Female: My last court hearing was December the 3rd, I believe. My next court hearing is July 11th.
Vincent Davis: Okay. So, is July 11th a hearing, a review hearing, where — a six-month review hearing?
Vincent Davis: Okay. So, for this next — there’s nothing you can do about December. If you have an appeal or if you to make any motions to turn that around, in my opinion, it may be too late to do that. So what I would —
Vincent Davis: tell you, just based upon what you’ve told me, is to focus on this upcoming July hearing, make sure you have all your docs in a row, and if the social is not recommending that the children be returned to you, you and your attorney must set that for a contested hearing or what I call a trial. Okay, and at that trial you’re going to have to call witnesses. You know, you don’t want your attorney just to argue in 99% of the cases. You want your attorney to present some real, you know, evidence, like your counselor, your parenting instructor, you know, you — the monitor of your visits. You know, I could go on and on, but you get the picture.
Female: Okay. Yeah.
Vincent Davis: You put witnesses on the stand that talk — that talk under oath. Okay? There’s nothing —
Vincent Davis: more persuasive than a live witness on the stand, under oath, giving great testimony for you. So where is —
Vincent Davis: your case? What county? What county is your case?
Female: Ventura. Ventura.
Vincent Davis: Oh. You had a [0:46:51 inaudible]. I thought you were in Orange County. So you’re in Ventura.
Vincent Davis: Now —
Vincent Davis: Ventura is one of the least favored counties that I like to do juvenile dependency cases in. For very many, many reasons. In Ventura, do you have a court-appointed attorney?
Female: I had one but she failed at her duties, so I dismissed her. And then I tried to get another court-appointed and could not, so at this point I am standing on my own two feet.
Vincent Davis: Okay. That is the worst thing you could do. You realize that?
Female: Yes. Yes. Well, I was hoping —
Vincent Davis: So —
Female: that when I went to court on the 11th that the judge would see that I was unrepresented and would then appoint a new appointed, and postpone the hearing or whatever, set it for another date. That’s what I’m hoping.
Vincent Davis: Okay, what I would do is I would call the court of the juvenile dependency court, explain your situation and find out if they can help get you an appointed attorney.
Female: I’ve done all that, and they won’t help me.
Vincent Davis: Uh-huh. They won’t help you?
Vincent Davis: You might — you know, you might be left to having to hire a private attorney on your own. How many kids are involved?
Female: Four. Two are my own and two are my guardian grandchildren.
Vincent Davis: Okay. And where are all four of the children right now?
Female: They’re with family.
Vincent Davis: Okay. Are they friendly family relatives?
Female: No. No.
Vincent Davis: Okay.
Female: My older two children are with my son who speaks very negatively of me. My two older kids don’t even want to reunite. They barely want to attend the visitation. My daughter stopped visiting altogether. The two grandkids were with my dad, and my dad has just this past week sent them to Vegas for two weeks with my other sister who wants to adopt them. And she doesn’t even —
Vincent Davis: Oh, no.
Female: know them. That’s why they’re over there for two weeks, so they could get acquainted.
Vincent Davis: Okay, so this case —
Female: Yeah. So this — it’s —
Vincent Davis: is much more serious.
Vincent Davis: It’s a very serious case. You need an attorney. And if you’d like, I can give you a free initial consultation if you call my office today and just make a phone appointment. Because if you’re in Ventura, it may not be easy for you to drive down to my office. So if you want to have a free initial consultation or a free consultation over Skype —
Vincent Davis: Skype is free — I welcome you to call my office. And if you want, I can give you the telephone number right now.
Female: I have the number.
Vincent Davis: Are you ready?
Female: I have another question. I already have you number, but I have another question —
Vincent Davis: Okay. Go ahead.
Female: about the TDM.
Vincent Davis: Right.
Female: First, notified me that there was a concern or that had a report. It was through email. She emailed me that she had — wanted to talk to me, that they received the report. So she came out and spoke with me that afternoon, outside [0:50:24 inaudible]. And then after that, she went in to interview the children at school. Well, I didn’t know she was doing this but she did it. And then after that, she emailed me again, that after speaking to the children, she wanted to have a family meeting. TDM was never referred to. It was never referred to as a TDM. So I said — I told her I was not going. I was not interested, I don’t need help. Nothing’s going on.
So I don’t know, did they have this meeting without me or what, but because I refused she then emailed again. “I’m sorry you feel that way, and I want to speak to you before proceeding.” Okay? This was on Thursday. On Friday, the following day, I called her six times but she didn’t work. She was off that day. But I didn’t know that. She didn’t tell me anything in her email that she would not be available. So Monday morning she went and obtained a warrant. While the kids were school, she took them. And then she emailed me that the kids were taken into care. So, that, because I didn’t want to go to this TDM meeting. So that’s very dangerous, I think; very dangerous not to go because I think that if I would have went I’d probably have the kids.
Vincent Davis: Okay, so let me explain something to you, because I get that question all the time. If you don’t go to the TDM, on a scale of one to five, it’s probably a five. If you go to the TDM, on a scale of one to 10, in my opinion, it’s a 10, because they’re going use everything against you. Going to the TDM does not guarantee you to keep the kids. And if you don’t go, they will say, “Oh, we took the kids because you didn’t go to the TDM.” If you go —
Vincent Davis: “Oh, we took the — we took the kids because of all of the information we learned from you at the TDM.” So you’re kind of screwed either way. But if your choice is between a five and a 10, what are you going to take?
Female: The five.
Vincent Davis: The five.
Vincent Davis: And the five is, don’t go to the TDM. Now —
Female: See. So I didn’t go to the —
Vincent Davis: when I — what —
Female: they have — if they had that meeting, my adult son was there. He doesn’t like me. And my daughter, the caller, the instigator in all this would have been there, too. So they could have told them —
Vincent Davis: So you —
Vincent Davis: Yeah. Right. So you would have still lost the kids. You see — and what I’m telling you is my opinion, my humble opinion. But look, it’s based upon many, many, many, many cases; many, many, many, many years. I’m just not telling you that. I’m not just pulling in that out of the sky. I’m telling you —
Vincent Davis: that based upon my experience, my knowledge, my expertise. So, you know — and a lot of people go to the TDMs. And here’s a really big problem. A lot of people go to the TDMs, thinking that they’re going to outsmart and outmaneuver the social worker. That ain’t going to happen.
These social workers are specifically trained, they’re — I think they’re all college graduates, they — a lot them have master’s degrees. These are — and they’re highly trained at their job. They’re investigators. They’re trained. They take classes. They go to seminars. You know, the next time you have a trial you might want to ask for the resume’ of your social worker. You’re going to look at it, you’re going to be shocked. This is a highly intelligent person who’s trained, in my opinion, to take your child away. And they’re going to do it —
Vincent Davis: you know, with or without you. So, don’t ever think that you’re going to go to a TDM or meet with the social worker and explain stuff away. That ain’t going to happen.
So, you know, on my website, on one of my websites there’s a video, a YouTube video of a woman who is the former governor I think of Mississippi or Georgia or somebody. I mean, this is — and I think she’s also — was or is a lawyer. Okay?
Vincent Davis: So this is a highly intelligent person. She talks for about 30 minutes about — to a group of people, that you should never ever, ever talk to a CPS worker without a lawyer being present. Now, this is a lady that’s a former governor of a state.
Vincent Davis: So, you know, if you don’t talk to the social worker, it’s going to say, “Oh, we’re taking your kids because you didn’t talk to me.” If you talk to the social worker, “We’re going to take your kids because of the evidence that we gleaned from your own mouth. Your own admissions.”
By the way, there is no law so ever that you have to talk to the social worker. They can’t even get a warrant to make you talk to them. Now, they can get a warrant to inspect your home. They can get a warrant to inspect your children. They can get a warrant to take your children. But they cannot get a warrant to make you talk to them.
Now, I’m sure you’ve seen the movies and TVs. Okay? When the police officer approaches you, should you — and starts questioning you, should you be talking to the police officer? No.
Female: No. You ask for an attorney.
Vincent Davis: You should — Yeah. You should do — you should what they call lawyer up.
Vincent Davis: Right? So — now, that’s when you’re going to go jail. Now, when somebody, like a social worker, who’s equivalent, in my opinion, to a police officer and investigating, you know, a crime, when the social worker comes to you and the consequence is you losing your child or your children, should you be talking to that social worker without an attorney? I think not.
Female: No. Even in your monthly —
Vincent Davis: Now, get this, I —
Female: meetings that you have with them?
Vincent Davis: In my month — in a lot of my monthly meetings, not all, depending on where we are in the case, but — I mean, if it’s going to be adversarial, I tell my clients, “Don’t talk to the social worker, without me being present.”
Vincent Davis: Now, see, that’s the significant — that’s a very significant difference. I’m not telling you, “Don’t talk to the social worker.” I’m telling you, “Don’t talk to the social worker unless I’m there.” Now, a lot of social workers will say, “Well, I don’t talk to attorneys.” Or, you know — and then the response is, “Well, get your own attorney at the meeting, because we’d love to meet with you. That’s just that Mr. Davis has to be there.” Or be on the phone if it’s going to be a phone conference.
You know, earlier this week, I did — I did a trial. Okay, I did a trial in juvenile court in Los Angeles County. And the social worker kept saying my — the mother, my client, would not meet with her, so she didn’t know. She didn’t know. She didn’t know this, she didn’t know that, she didn’t know this. And finally, the case had to be continued. But I think the judge is on my side because one of the things that I was arguing was, “Oh, she doesn’t know anything. And there’s no law that says that my client has to talk to her.”
So, the — it turns out the case in a different procedural foster now. And the judge asked me, she said, “Mr. Davis, would you mind if your client talks to the social worker?” You know what I said? I said, “No, I wouldn’t mind.”
Female: “Not as long as I’m present.”
Vincent Davis: Ma’am, you know, we’re — we have 90 seconds left in the show. I’ve lost track of time completely. I want to thank you for calling. If you have any questions, call me at my office. Make an appointment to talk to me for a free consultation, or you can call in next week. But I have to go now.
Vincent Davis: Thank you very much for calling.
Female: All right. Thank you. Have a good weekend.
Vincent Davis: Bye-bye.
Vincent Davis: Boy, I lost track of time completely there, today. So we have about a minute left. I just want to remind people that, you know, elections are coming up in November. You can vote judges in. You can vote judges out. You can vote state legislators in. You can vote state legislators out. You want to make sure that you’re voting for judges and state legislators who are family-friendly, who fight and help people keep children in families together. Think about trials and about preparing for trials because this is a very important topic that I want all the listeners to know. If you have a story or a question, call us at 646-668-8791 during the show. Also, these shows are tape recorded, and you can go to our website and listen to past shows. Thank you for listening and we’ll see you next week on the radio.
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