"Diversity on the bench is critical. As practitioners, you need judges who 'get it!' We need judges who understand what discrimination feels like. We need judges who understand what inequality feels like. We need judges who understand the subtleties of unfair treatment and who are willing to call it out when they see it!" Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Jury's Verdict is in!!

**Mother Vindicated**

" I prefer peace. But if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace." - Thomas Paine

“Nobody, especially the government, is above the law. You don’t seize a child from a mother until there is a life-threatening emergency.” Shawn McMillan




********Roughshod Against Families Under The Color of The Law ******

Join The Fight Against the Unjust Seizure of Children by 
D.C.F.S. in Los Angeles County From Fit & Loving Families!!

Baby Ryan was seized by LA County social workers without a warrant.

Baby Ryan had feeding difficulties since birth. His mother was addressing those issues with the help of medical professional. At the same time, his mother was in a very nasty custody battle where Ryan's dad was accusing the mother of not feeding the baby. He wouldn't allow baby Ryan to go to necessary medical appointments. After a pediatrician recommendation, Ryan's mom took him to a nutritional consult and his dad began to accuse Ryan's mother of not feeding him. The nutritionist called DCFS and that is how it all started. He was only 15 months old.

Social workers did not properly investigate. They grabbed the baby without a warrant, they didn't call baby Ryan's pediatrician, they lied on reports under penalty of perjury, fabricated evidence, withheld exculpatory evidence and discriminated against baby Ryan's mom.   

Deposition of Social Worker Susan Pender Vol. 1


On Nov. 3, 2009, a jury found that Ms. Pender seized Rafaelina Duval's baby without a warrant, without reasonable and proper cause showing exigency in time to get a warrant to detain baby Ryan and she did it with malice, oppression and fraud. 


Pender Vol 2 Video Depo. Excerpts

 Ms. Pender has a habit of lying about parents to judges under penalty of perjury, falsifying documents and withholding exculpatory evidence that could exonerate parents in order to seize their children from their care and custody. 

This is Supervisor Kimberly Rogers. Ms Rogers was Ms. Pender's supervisor in Nov. 2009. Ms. Rogers decided to override the assessment tools results for the Duval family to high risk in order to detain baby Ryan from the care and custody of his loving and fit mother Rafaelina Duval. 


 Trimarchi Vol 2 Video Depo Excerpts

** Additionally, the jury found that the county DCFS had “an official custom and/or practice of seizing children from their parents without a warrant” and failed “to enact an official policy or procedure when it should have done so.”


Trimarchi Vol 2 Video Depo Excerpts 

Person most knowledgeable for the County of Los Angeles on Policy creation for DCFS.   

Excerpts of Video Taped Deposition of Assistant Regional Administrator Muzeyyen Balaban as played to the jury in Duval v. County of Los Angeles et al.

She was Ms. Rogers' supervisor at the time. She signed documents under penalty of perjury as well. 

Excerpts of Video Taped Deposition of Elba Pinedo as played to the jury in Duval v. County of Los Angeles et al.

Ms. Pinedo drafts detention reports based on false allegations, she writes these petitions that judges read without verifying any of the information on the file and she adds her own interpretation of the evidence so the department can get more funding. She makes up the allegations that will be on the detention report for judges read.

Excerpts of Video Taped Deposition of Candis Nelson Dependency Investigator.

**On Nov. 3, 2009, a jury found that Ms. Nelson discriminated against Rafaelina Duval.

-Ms. Nelson violated policy by attaching an upfront assessment to court reports. 

Excerpts of Video Taped Deposition of Candis Nelson as played to the jury in Duval v. County of Los Angeles et al

-Ms Nelson lied to a judge about Ms. Duval and withheld exculpatory evidence favorable to exonerate mother. 
-She never disclosed to a court that she was being investigated by the civil rights unit for discrimination.

Excerpts of Video Taped Deposition of Melissa Egge, M.D. as played to the jury in Duval v. County of Los Angeles et al

- Dr. Egge purposely misdiagnosed baby Ryan to blame his mother for his medical condition.
- Dr. Egge have been found to harbor biases against good parents to make children warden of the state. 
- She wouldn't allow baby Ryan to undergo proper testing to find the cause of his medical condition so she may continue to blame his mother.

Excerpts of Video Taped Deposition of Melissa Egge, M.D. as played to the jury in Duval v. County of Los Angeles et al.

Excerpts of Video Taped Deposition of Victoria Scheele as played to the jury in Duval v. County of Los Angeles et al.

- Ms Scheele used to be a social worker for Los Angeles county and now works for OC Social Service Agency. 
- Ms. Scheele also lies and falsify reports under penalty of perjury to keep children from their parents.

Excerpts of Video Taped Deposition of Victoria Scheele as played to the jury in Duval v. County of Los Angeles et al.

- She practices social work in a fraudulent manner violating positions of trust with her clients.
- Ms. Scheele discriminates against disabled parents to keep their children in the custody of the state. 

Excerpts of Video Taped Deposition of RA Stephen Sanders as played to the jury in Duval v. County of Los Angeles et al

- Dr. Sanders makes mental health diagnosis of parents without ever meeting them, without having their full medical records or interviewing them even though he knows he should not do that.
 - He requested for the discrimination findings to be reversed internally violating due process of a parent to appeal it.

Watch the entire highlight video of the deposition of Dr. Charles Sophy, the Medical Director for Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services gives testimony under oath with plaintiff attorney Shawn McMillan in a deposition his declaration under penalty of perjury in the Duval vs County LA County et al..

 Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy – The Psychiatric Diagnosis Used Against Parents to Remove Children from Their Home


At about the 7:30 mark in the video (full video below) McMillan begins to question Dr. Sophy about Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a controversial psychiatric diagnosis that is used against parents often to justify removing children from the home by medical doctors. The diagnosis is often made when the parents disagree with doctors over medical care, and when the parents want to continue seeking out other medical advice, or second opinions, when doctors allegedly believe there are no medical conditions present.
In his testimony, Dr. Sophy admits that Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (MSP) is a “very tough diagnosis to make, and it is not a very easy diagnosis to make.”
McMillan asks Dr. Sophy if there is an “empirical test” that one can do to determine if someone has Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. Dr. Sophy replies: “Not a real black and white clinical test. It’s more by things not being present.”
Mcmillan then references two medical articles that state Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy is an “exceedingly rare mental illness” affecting only 2 out of every 100,000, according to the two articles referenced. McMillan then asks:
And yet, don’t you tell us in your declaration that you have treated many patients, many families affected by Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy?
Dr. Sophy then proceeds to clarify his written statement by saying:
That doesn’t mean I had direct contact with them. I was involved somehow in the case.
McMilllan then asks:
“You’re not necessarily meeting with the patient, looking at the patient, talking with the patient? You may just be involved somewhere over on the sidelines?” Dr. Sophy replies: “Correct.”
McMillan then asks:
“What qualifications does it take, legally, to be entitled to tag someone with that MSP moniker?” Dr. Sophy replies, “I do not know.”
Dr. Sophy also responds that he has been a doctor since 1982, and the Medical Director of LA DCFS since 2003, but he states he does not know what qualifications someone needs to legally tag a parent with the Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy diagnosis that can result in the removal of their child from their custody.
At about the 18 minute mark in the video deposition, McMillan asks:
“So potentially any pediatric case you see could be a Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy case?” Dr. Sophy replies, “Could be.”
McMillan then asks if Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy could lead to the death of a child? Dr. Sophy replies,
“It can. But not very often.”
McMillan: “In fact it is exceedingly rare for a child to actually die as a result of a parent suffering from Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, right?”
Sophy: “I don’t know for sure. But I would imagine, yes.”
McMillan: “What does the generally accepted and respected medical literature tell us?”
Sophy: “It’s rare.”
McMillan: “Exceedingly rare?”
Sophy: “Rare. Exceedingly rare.”
 At about the 16 and half minute mark of the video, McMillan asks Dr. Sophy what percentage of his income comes from his private practice, and how much comes from his position as Medical Director of the Los Angeles DCFS. Dr. Sophy replies that it is about 20% private practice, and 80% from his position at DCFS, but that he “really didn’t know.”

Damage to Children When Removed from Home

McMillan: “Do you give training to your workers regarding the damage that can be done to a child’s brain when they are seized from their home?”
Sophy: “Yes.”
McMillan: “Tell me about that.”
Sophy: “What do you want to know?”
McMillan: “What kind of damage can be done to a child’s brain when they are seized from a parent’s home?”
Sophy: “What did you learn when you watched the video? It’s devastating.”
McMillan: “Ok, it is devastating when a child is removed from it’s parents home. And that’s whether there was abuse or not, correct?”
Sophy: “Period.”
McMillan: “Period. What do you mean when you say it is devastating to the child?”
Sophy: “Well, it’s physically and emotionally devastating. From a physical perspective, it changes his brain; growth development.”
McMillan: “What sorts of changes?”
Sophy: “Neuronal changes. Neurons…”
McMillan: “Neuronal changes – I don’t know what that (means).”
Sophy: “You know, just the growth and development of the brain. The brain can be affected, when the child is removed from a home.”
McMillan: “Is that referenced somewhere in generally accepted medical literature?”
Sophy: “Yeah.”
McMillan: “Ok, what are some of the articles I would look for?”
Sophy: “Mine. Harvard has done some studies. I think Yale has done some…”

Legal Issues on Entering a Home – Sophy Admits He does not Know the Law

Next, McMillan questions Dr. Sophy on the law regarding when a child should be removed from a home:
McMillan: “The law defines for us, and for you and for your social workers, the circumstances under which it is appropriate to seize a child from a home without first getting a court order, correct?”
Sophy: “Correct.”
McMillan: “Do you know what those circumstances are?”
Sophy: “Not off the top of my head.”
McMillan: “Based on your training and experience the last 12 years as the Medical Director with the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, is it appropriate to go out and seize a child without a court order, when we’re lacking sufficient information?”
Sophy: “I don’t have an opinion.”
McMillan: “You don’t know?”
Sophy: “I don’t have an opinion.”
McMillan: “Do you know what the training is that you give your social workers?”
Sophy nods his head yes…
McMillan: “In that regard.”
Sophy: “Generally yes, not specifically.”
McMillan: “Ok what is that general training? What do you tell your social workers about seizing a child without getting a warrant when they don’t have sufficient information?”
Sophy: “I’m not sure. Specifically.”
McMillan: “Well just generally. That’s all I am looking for.”
Sophy: “Well, I think that they need to have whatever it is they are told they need to have. If it is a checklist of information, or whatever it is they need, or they have to get approval from their supervisor. There is a chain of command or whatever that needs to be in place in order to do it.”
McMillan: “Ok, and what is the nature of the information that they need to be in possession of before they seize a child without first obtaining a warrant?”
Sophy: “Well again, if I knew I would tell you. You are asking me for specifics – I really don’t know them.”
McMillan: “Are you aware of whether or not the law specifically defines the type of information a social worker must have before they can seize a child without first obtaining a warrant?”
Sophy: “I do not.”

No Apparent Training of Social Workers on Constitutional Rights of Children and Families

McMillan: “Let me see if I can help you. Turn to the second page of exhibit number 7. And it says there a social worker’s duty includes protecting Constitutional rights of children and families. That is the title of the slide there. Did I read that right?”
Sophy: “Yes.”
McMillan: “Have you ever heard or learned that concept during your 12 years as Medical Director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services?”
Sophy: “I’ve heard of it. Not in necessarily these words, but yes.”
McMillan: “Have you ever offered any training to your workers in the last 12 years regarding this concept of their duty to protect the Constitutional rights of children and families?”
Sophy: “No.”
McMillan: “Have you ever heard of anybody in your entire 12 years with the agency… have you ever heard of anybody offering training on this concept that a social worker’s duty includes protecting the Constitutional rights of children and families?”
Sophy: “Not to my knowledge.”
At about the 31:18 minute mark in the deposition video McMillan continues on the issue of Constitutional rights:
McMillan: “When we’re talking about the Constitutional rights of parents and children, one of those rights… well, maybe you don’t know. Do you know whether or not one of those rights includes the right not to be seized from the child’s home… unless there is a warrant, or some other circumstance that justifies it?”
Sophy: “I don’t know.”
McMillan: “You don’t know? And you never ascertained that knowledge in your 12 years as the medical director of the agency?”
Sophy: “Not to my knowledge.”
McMillan: “Well if we look at this particular slide, it sort of answers the question. It tells us a ‘CSW will always need to determine if she/he needs a warrant or court order.’ Have you been privy to any training where this concept was taught to your social workers?”
Sophy: “No.”
McMillan then moves on to another exhibit of written material in the deposition at about the 33:45 mark.
McMillan: “It says when a court order is required.., a CSW (pauses to clarify that “CSW” means “Children’s Social Worker”) must always obtain an order PRIOR to: 1. Entering or inspecting a home, 2. Interviewing a child, 3. Conducting a visual inspection of the child, 4. Obtain a medical exam of a child, or 5. Removing a child from a parent or legal guardian’s custody. Just looking at this as a psychiatrist, do you have any understanding what the significance of putting “prior” in all caps bold would be? Why would we do that?
Sophy: “Maybe the typewriter was broken?”
McMillan: “Would we do it to draw emphasis?”
Sophy: “Absolutely.”
McMillan: “And the reason we do something like that to draw emphasis is because it is an important concept?”
Sophy: “Yes.”
McMillan: “How long does it take to get a warrant in Los Angeles County?”
Sophy: “I don’t know.”
McMillan: “Now, looking at the slide that is in front of you …. It tells us that exigent circumstances must exist if we’re going to seize a child without getting a warrant, right?”
Sophy: “Right.”
At about the 53 minute mark in the deposition video, McMillan returns to the issue of “exigent circumstances.”
McMillan: “Turn to page 33 of exhibit 7. This one is really cool. Because it actually defines for us….if you recall earlier in your testimony, you were unable to define for me what was meant by the phrase ‘exigent circumstances’… this page 33, you see at the bottom there, it cites a case, Wallace vs. Spencer, 9th Circuit 2000… And I’ll represent to you that that date there, 2000, that is the date at which the law, in regard to exigent circumstances, was made perfectly clear to everyone residing in the 9th Circuit. That being said, the slide is titled: Exigent Circumstances Federal Definition. CSW can act without a warrant/court order if CSW has reasonable cause to believe child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury and the scope of CSW’s intrusion is reasonably necessary to prevent that specific injury.”
McMillan: “What specific injury was it that the social workers were seeking to prevent by seizing this child (in the case in question) on November 3rd at the end of the team decision?
Sophy: “I have no opinion.”

 Excerpts from the Video Taped Deposition of Beth Minor as Person Most Knowedgeable for The County of Los Angeles in Ferguson v. County of Los Angeles et al.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A System of Lies!

"Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms (of government) those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny”
Thomas Jefferson


Below is the fully recorded one hour hearing from today at the Capital.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLyHE9iLNUU

"You only have the freedoms you are willing to fight and die for" Unknown

The Culture of Secrecy That Hurts Children!

Our social service agencies must stop the fraudulent practice of making false
allegations of neglect and abuse against good, fit and caring parents. Far too often
parents are falsely accused of abuse and neglect only for the intended purpose to
make their children dependent of the court, put them in foster care and for the agency
to receive the match up of federal funding. 

The number of children detained have increased in alarming numbers while the ability
of good parents to get meaningful representation have decreased. Usually, parents are
treated as if they have no rights, and when a parent stands up for their constitutional
rights they are ignored and made examples out of without the hope of family
preservation or reunification. Despite the concerns and outcry of many advocates,
change has been slow and not significant.

Social service agencies must be held accountable of their poor handling of cases instead
and confronted for hiding behind good faith laws to break up families, destroy individuals,
traumatize children, enable abusers to further victimize their partners by holding their
children hostage and putting them in unsafe environments.Too often, spouses in
custody wars are protected and encouraged by social services to “punish”  the other
spouse instead of looking out to protect the children.

Its time to stop ignoring or completely disregard the use of exaggerated and made up
allegations against protective parent which driven by financial incentives are abusive and
a failure of publicpolicy. Social workers should not be promoted for wrongdoing and Child
Protective Services should not be encouraged  to keep up and advance failed and trivial


Some how The LA and OC County Board of Supervisors think that they may
continue to wiggle around accountability when it comes to the out of control
and abusive policies of child protective agencies, foster care providers and
contractors under their supervision.


La Flamme got paid through his contracts with the county over 6 million
dollars a year!

Ruby Dillonhttp://eventful.com/orange/events/cancelledmotion-disqualify-harold-laflamme-and-recus-/E0-001-020047255-6

 What Can You do??

Let's make some NOISE!!! Flood the auditor with calls and email demanding support of the audit, it MUST be done!http://www.bsa.ca.gov/contactus

California State Auditor - How to Contact Us www.bsa.ca.gov

Phone Number: (916) 445-0255 General Fax: (916) 327-0019 Executive Office Fax: (916) 323-0913 TTY: (916) 445-0033Legislative Contact: Hallie Fisher (916) 445-1253 x292Press Contact: Margarita Fernández (916) 445-1253 x343Information Privacy Officer: Stephanie Ramirez-Ridgeway (916) 445-1253 x266Info

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why Children Die? May You Be The Judge!!

Why Children Die? Systematic Failure
From a Fit & Loving Mother’s Perspective

“Every clique is a refuge for incompetence. It fosters corruption and disloyalty; it begets cowardice, and consequently is a burden upon and a drawback to the progress of the country. Its instincts and actions are those of the pack.” Madame Chiang Kai-Shek

To explain the reasons why children die under the supervision of DCFS is a huge task because it is multi-factorial. I won’t try to address them all; as it will be quite challenging given that I don’t have actual data of all the cases to make such evaluation. However, awareness and understanding about the system inadequacies can give us an idea of the main cause. Legal child catching or kidnapping is on the rise, but no one knows what to do because of the tremendous power DCFS has. There is sufficient information to address the major weaknesses that contribute to such inefficacies which lead to hurtful and damaging abuse of power, miscarriage of justice, discrimination and sadly the dead of vulnerable children. Any form of discrimination is vicious and cruel and the workers’ behavior deeply hurt parents and their relationship with their children. Pertaining to profiling and discriminatory acts on behalf of the social workers in most cases, in addition to, their inability to maintain objectivity or show the ability to effectively perform social work in an ethical and neutral manner is appalling. There are some workers who genuinely care for their clients, but those are very few.

• Incompetency exists at every level in this agency.
1. Administrative incompetence occurs due to dysfunctional administrative behaviors that hinder DCFS’ ability to provide neutral assessments of cases to meet the needs of families in complex situations. Unfortunately, one size does not fit all and given that DCFS clients have different cultural backgrounds and socioeconomic standing, then this approach is set to fail either the family or the child and in some instances both. Administrative incompetence may also be blamed for the inadequacy in the application of failed policies and ill procedures resulting in racism, discrimination, abuse, misuse of taxpayer money and denial of real protection to children in need of a safe environment.

2. Job-related or Professional incompetence describes the culture and working conditions of social workers, child therapists, physicians, related agencies, contractors and other mental health and medical professionals. Fraudulent practice of social work violates positions of trust which is disgusting and reproachable. DCFS workers hide behind good faith laws to abuse families in vulnerable positions due to a mental and physical anxiety. They punish parents for challenging a social worker for failure to do as they say -no matter whether it is good or bad for the child and whether a parent is aware of it or not. The “how dare you question me” mentality drives many workers to make an example out of good parents, punish children emotionally and leave them with strangers who put them in greater risks. Many of them stretch themselves out of their professional capacities in order to intimidate and subdue parents to their wills. Such practice is risky and pervasive because cases are poorly assessed, good parents are deemed unfit, it sends off a bad message and it undermines the public’s trust on the agency. Such practice might put their lives in danger as well.

3. Team Decision Meetings have become a failure and a waste of taxpayer funds. Originally, these meetings were intended for the department to make a neutral assessment of a case. Instead, it has become a tool to victimize and take advantage of parents by using both their weaknesses and strengths against them in court. DCFS has changed the purpose and the protection these meetings give both the families with an open case and the unit working with the family. A TDM should be comprised of several professionals who assess the ability of a parent to provide for the physical, emotional needs of the children and a safe environment, not as means of bullying and extorting a family.

4. Ignorance is displayed at large in complex cases, especially cases that might involve children with disabilities or substantial medical challenges. Social workers make up scenarios and stretch the truth about cases just to blame fit and loving parents. Unfortunately, this is a hazard to already vulnerable children who are used as shields or pawns to make them dependent of the court and quick accessory of the process that leads to foster care placements and adoption.

5. Indifference has been shown for a long time despite the public outcry by many grassroots groups and child advocates. Rather than take action, DCFS has become more secretive, manipulative, conniving and aggressive in hiding their mishaps for fear that the department might be sued. In fact, alliances across fields have been made to bury and shut up the voices of the innocent families that have been abused by DCFS.

6. Over-reaction means to react with unnecessary or inappropriate force, emotional display, or violence. This is the shared sentiment expressed by almost every family that feels abused by DCFS practice. Most parents are so overwhelmed by pain and sorrow by the separation from their children that it becomes a daunting and almost impossible task to challenge DCFS since they have all the power and parents do not have the means to fight back.
Over-reaction is also shown when sensitive and negative stories about DCFS leaks to the press. Frenzy breaks out to try to “neutralize” and dilute the story, so it won’t make an impact in the community. A lot of PR tactics are used, mass emails to contracting agencies are sent to alert them not to talk to the media because they are dealing with the issue internally. Yet, nothing ever changes. Instead, DCFS become better and better at hiding its shortcoming and avoiding accountability.

Another type of incompetence shown by the agency is bias. Most social workers pad themselves on the back about their bias claiming that just like them “everyone has a bias”. It is important to note that in our judicial system, jury selection focuses on selecting juries without biases, so a defendant may get a fair trial. Yet, to break families apart, uproot children from good families and safe environments, there no consideration of how a projection of a worker’s perception may influence that process.
These are all valid reasons why DCFS has become obsolete and ineffective in most of the cases it handles. Yet, these are not the only reasons that support such a reckless and neglectful system. Please consider the following:

Conflict of Interest is another reason why children under DCFS supervision remain un-protected and at risk of dying. A conflict of interest could impair an individual's ability to perform his or her duties and responsibilities objectively. Also, conflict of interest occurs in a situation in which a social worker, who is in a position of trust, has a competing professional or personal interest that could hurt the interest of that client. Such competing interests can make it difficult to fulfill his or her duties impartially. A conflict of interest exists even if no unethical or improper act results because a conflict of interest can create an appearance of impropriety that can undermine the confidence in the internal worker or the unit, the organization as a whole and the county.

Conflict of interest exists in almost every interaction related to a case. For example, a social worker might call a therapist of a client. Most often, DCFS outsources therapeutic services to agencies contracted with the county. Rather than asking how a client is doing and making a neutral assessment, workers work hand in hand with these biased professional so therapist’s assessment of that client agrees with that of DCFS. Luckily, some therapists stand up for their clients and refuse to change their findings – which might help families stay together. This is the case with doctors, teachers, psychologists and even law enforcement. DCFS asks pediatricians to lie about parents in order to take their children away.

Unnoticeably, DCFS hires top gun doctors (paying them top money) to head their medical hub’s and oversee the children’s unit. With their expertise and knowledge these physicians could never be disqualified in Court because whether they are testifying truthfully or making up the evidence, their outstanding career would be enough to back up their claims. Unfortunately, these doctors are only used to rubberstamp anything DCFS and the malevolent county counsels want them to say. This situation opens up the door for children to be purposely misdiagnosed, poorly treated and given minimum care; if it can help blame a parent and benefit DCFS detain a child. In the interim, if the child dies, then DCFS can blame the parent and not take the blame themselves for the lack of proper care. This is truly a disservice to the children and it might be the reason why the LA Board of Supervisors does not want to release these records.

Regrettably, conflicts of interest are not limited to those who work directly with DCFS, but also with lawyers and judges. This last one is not only punitive and abusive, but unconstitutional also. Children’s Court is run by DCFS. Many judges fear DCFS retaliation if they side with parents and order more services for the families such as reunification and family maintenance. With such low standards such as “the preponderance of the evidence” DCFS manages to intentionally fabricate evidence, lie and interfere with any parent’s due process rights granted by the Constitution - since these judges won’t stand up to them. Every so often a judge may slap DCFS’ hand, but for the most part, judges refuse to step on the toes of conniving county counsels for fear of being removed from their post.

All states have "Rules of Professional Conduct" that all lawyers (judges included) have to abide by. The state bar association is who enforces the Rules of Professional Conduct, but nearly every state has adopted those same rules into their Supreme Court Rules for more power against those who break the rules. However, as with any broken system, very rarely do we hear dependency judges and attorneys get disciplined for obstructing justice.
Judges are supposed to recluse themselves from cases when personal conflicts of interest may arise. For example, if a judge has participated in a case previously in some other judicial role he/she is not allowed to try that case. Recusal is also expected when one of the lawyers in a case might be a close personal friend, or when the outcome of the case might affect the judge directly, such as whether a county physician has a working relationship with that judge. This is required by law under Continental civil law systems and by the Rome Statute, organic law of the International Criminal Court, but not required in Juvenile and Family Law Courts. At least disclosure should be on the record.

Codes of ethics help minimize problems with conflicts of interests because they can spell out the extent to which such conflicts should be avoided, and what the parties should do where such conflicts are permitted by a code of ethics (disclosure, recusal, etc.). Therefore, social workers, lawyers, judges cannot claim they were unaware that their improper behavior was unethical. It is important to mention that social workers do not have immunity, even though many behave as if they do. Policy change to stress the need of boundaries is exigent. The threat of disciplinary action (for example, a lawyers being disbarred, social workers prosecuted for lying under the penalty of perjury, social workers found responsible in civil matters, judges removed from their posts) would help to minimize unacceptable conflicts or improper acts when a conflict is verified and avoidable.

Dirty Tricks are normally employed by DCFS. Substantiation of abuse and neglect using trickery, inflammatory tactics and fabricated evidence can only result in the violation of a parent’s right to due process. Very often parents are not given due process, when it is people in the county who are saying the parent did something to their child, especially when there is no clear evidence of such - other than the hearsay and providers making false claims. Often these claims are arrived by without an unbiased true professional making such diagnosis. Sometimes it is a social worker who is making that assessment. Often time with such behavior, workers can and do cause so much emotional trauma on a family that affects their psychological state.

Toxic Culture, it is quite appalling that so many of these workers employ intimidation tactics forcing parents to admit fault even though evidence claims otherwise.
· Self-policing - it is negligence of the state to allow social services to continue to police themselves. It is the biggest hypocrisy and waste of taxpayer money. So often, social services and other compliance units of these agencies turn away parents who have real and convincing evidence of abuse from a worker. In turn, they work hard to cover it up, destroy the evidence or water it down, so the parent cannot sue the county. Court reports are often tarnished and carefully put together so DCFS doesn’t look responsible. That leads to the lack of disclosure and transparency.
· Lack of Disclosure- there has been an effort by many civil rights and children’s activist to demand public disclosure of the cases where children have died under the county supervision. However those efforts have been minimized by special interests such as lobbyist and the social worker’s union. It is a disgrace that such efforts have been trampled by those who benefit directly from the pain and death of innocent children. Misused policies, unethical practices, and questionable procedures employed by DCFS workers are in direct violation of a parent’s constitutional rights, under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution; which is the freedom to raise and associate with one’s child free from governmental interference.
Financial Incentives do exists due to current legislation that allows for DCFS to receive aid from the Federal and State government to operate. The financial incentives workers, administrators, foster parents and agencies have are massive. These incentives increase with the number of children detained. No wonder DCFS claims to have a backlog of cases that seem to never decrease. The more children under DCFS’ supervision the bigger the budget and the bigger the federal handout. That allowance per child is greater if the child has a disability. This situation sets a requirement for state and federal aid to “protect” these children in bad situation. Often time the reality is other. With family maintenance, most children could stay in their current households, but if so, then DCFS would lose the enormous budget to run the foster care system. Consequently, there would be less social worker, fewer administrators, fewer therapists and fewer contracting agencies biding and lobbying to keep a failed system such as foster care.

Political Games – DCFS has various groups (special interests) lobbying for an increase of these harmful policies that serve the agenda of few. Since many of DCFS efforts are driven by financial incentive, then they exploit the opportunity to get more money and grow the agency’s budget.
Sadly, most politicians aware of these issues use the pain of these families and children as collateral to get votes. Countless of local politicians only show interest to their community just in time to be re-elected. After they get elected, they forget and nothing truly changes. As codes of ethics cannot cover all situations, there should be grassroots groups with no loyalty or ties to a political party ready to challenge DCFS when these cases surface. An ethics commission should be appointed by the legislature and should report to the legislature and charges should be brought upon individuals who commit these crimes regardless of the titles and position of power. With that said, people should contact their legislators to address these issues. The reality is that current agencies, who are supposed to watch out for these behaviors, rather cover them up when parents complain.
The Best Interest of the Child is the most deceptive argument DCFS and Family Court System use to victimize and traumatize families. DCFS meddles in child custody proceedings favoring the parent who has the most money, more likeable personality and most of all, the one who is the better liar. So often, DCFS asks family members to turn against the parent with an open case with the luring offering of the ability to keep the child and receive monthly allowances for doing so. This practice is despicable and intrusive as it corrodes the familiar bond among relatives.

Conclusion: Suing is the Remedy
Most parents really believe that by cooperating with their social workers they can get their children back after completing mandatory programs. That is not always the case. It is unconstitutional to force an individual to admit guilt. The concept of innocent until proven guilty does not apply in Dependency proceedings which easily leads to discrimination, violation of due process rights and doubt of the constitutionality of the dependency proceedings. Parents who have not put their children in eminent danger of neglect and abuse are often violated by this agency.

The fact of the matter is that someone who commits murder has more rights in criminal proceedings than a parent who may or may not have abused or neglected their child in dependency proceedings. It is an uphill battle for any parent to take on this system because of the tyrannical power it possess. Very few parents are able to sue them and hold the system accountable to serve its clients rather than serve itself and leave clients vulnerable.

In the public sector negligent behavior is punishable by the law. “In Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. v. Greenmoss Builders, Inc. 472 U.S. 749 (1985), the Court held that "[i]n light of the reduced constitutional value of speech involving no matters of public concern...the state interest adequately supports awards of presumed and punitive damages — even absent a showing of 'actual malice.'"[66] Despite varying from state to state, private individuals generally need prove only the negligence of the defendant.” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/)

Many parents don’t know that social workers are held liable in civil proceedings for defamation, fabrication of false evidence, bullying and discrimination. It is hard to prove, but it can be done. Until the laws change, it is imperative to teach parents to 1) not be afraid to stand up for themselves and the rights of their children, 2) learn and be empowered to understand the dirty tactics and 3) be ready to defend themselves even if they have limited resources. For this to happen, parents have to ensure that they have the best interest of their child and that they would do what is right for them no matter what happens.

Sadly, in LA County there is a group that reviews the death of children and gathers professionals from different fields to give input and provide directive to the county about how these deaths happened and how to avoid them. Shockingly, the same county doctors who misdiagnose children in DCFS proceedings, the same social workers who are responsible for running families to the ground, and the same judges who weight in cases are part of this panel. These judges in these panels have working relationships with these physicians and workers, yet they do not recluse themselves from hearing cases involving allegations of abuse and neglect brought by these workers and county physicians. Everyone question should be: where is the independency???

The answer is that there is none. Lack of independence might be the reason why these failed policies never change. It is not convenience for the county or DCFS to show independence since it would bring about scrutiny to every case where a child died and DCFS was involved. It could be that evidence would show that it was not the parent who was neglectful, but it may have been DCFS who purposely misdiagnosed a child or put a child in greater harm than he was exposed to at a home that may had just need services……May you be the judge!!!!!



Lundy Bancroft
http://lundybancroft.blogspot.com/2011/11/judge-hulsing-jails-mother-because-her.html Judge Jon Hulsing appears to have a history of targeting mothers whose children report abuse by their fathers, either jailing them or cutting them off from contact with their children.






Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Mother Challenges the Abuse of Power by LA County Department of Children and Family Services and Dependency Court

Mothering is reciprocal. It is not just something we do for our children. It defines us, and it liberates us. When we can mother in a powerful, creative, and transformative way, we can more easily move between our role as mother and our other roles as women, embracing all of our passions, without believing that being a devoted mother compromises us. When being a mother comes from our strengths and our positive opinions of ourselves rather than from an imposed script, we will easily embody a powerful feminine presence.
Peggy O’Mara publisher, editor and owner of Mothering Magazine.

 You are my son whom I love!!!


The birth of my son was the most important event of my life; a gift from Heaven. When I found out I was pregnant, I put so much effort into eating right (mostly organic), avoiding preservatives, sugar, and no dangerous chemicals. I did lots of reading about healthy pregnancy, specific topics such natural birth, reading about healthy parenting styles, vaccinations,  keeping children safe, and I attended several birth and parenting classes.  I was in awe and so excited to know that a life was growing inside me. I also endured a very sick pregnancy, but my sickness did not dampen the excitement of receiving my little bundle of joy. Like any mother to be, I’d wonder about what the color of his hair or eyes would be, what his personality would be like or what sort of things he would like. I would day dream about his first years of life, how hard it would be to drop him off at preschool on the first day, I would wonder what he would be like as a teen or how much I would miss him when he moves away to go to college.

At birth my son had minor feeding difficulties, but he was quite alert, happy and an adorable little boy. The first few months he struggled with his sucking reflexes, for which I was getting help from a lactation consultant and two pediatricians (one holistic). His weight slowed down gradually around seven months he began to fail gross motor milestones. He also presented some sensitivities and symptoms that are common in children/adults with Sensory Processing Disorder. I worked with medical professional to address those issues.

Soon after birth, I found myself in a very conflicting and tough custody battle with my son’s father who has friends and influence in LA County through family members. The conflict with the other parent became enormous as the other parent began to use our son's condition as means of advancing his legal agenda. My son's father accused me of not feeding my son in front of a nutritionist who called DCFS. Social workers showed up at my doorsteps and the witch hunt began.
Soon after meeting the social workers I realized that their intent was not to help my son, but it was to help the father with his personal vendetta agaisnt me. Social workers omitted evidence I presented them in order to clear myself of any wrong doing. I was falsely accused of neglect in Nov 2009 by DCFS. In my quest to defend myself (because I knew I had not neglected my child), I found out that  my son’s symptoms were a result of a medical condition that was not properly diagnosed by DCFS’ nurses, and physicians. Instead my choice to breastfeeding, my holistic approach of medicine and my parenting style (Attachment Parenting, Nonviolent Parenting) were used against me to prove the allegations that I had willfully and intentionally "starved" my child. Although my son was very small, he did not present the signs of malnourishment or starvation. He was healthy over all with significant delay in gross motor functions and speech.
I showed DCFS proof that since my son turned 7 months his weight began to decrease and that I worked with two pediatricians closely to monitor his weight issue. Since most developmental disorders start early in infancy, I knew there was an explanation for my son's symptoms other than I starved him. Instead of looking at the evidence, DCFS social workers began to try to use the evidence of how I helped my son thrive against me - to the point that they accused me of having Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. This diagnosis was reached without any competent mental professional making an evaluation. This was only the word of social workers who did not have an expertise and/or professional education on mental health to make such diagnosis. Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, is a mental disorder and form of child abuse in which a parent induces real or apparent symptoms of a disease in a child.

Upon detention, I hired expert medical witnesses (nationally recognized doctors) to address the health issues the county physicians were hiding and purposely manipulating. These experts publicly challenged the LA County's false allegations proving that there is something medically wrong with my child not neglect on my part as stated by DCFS social workers and physicians. The experts diagnosed my child with a neurological condition; Microcephaly cause by possible brain abnormality or a rare syndrome, but they wanted to run tests to confirm the diagnosis. The county's physicians and DCFS workers opposed these test and went  to great length to convince the Court of not granting it.

County physicians denied the need of testing and accused me of further putting my son in harm's way by having experts suggest that my son get an MRI. What was troubling is that children who are diagnosed with any abnormality or disorder usually get an MRI as a medical routine.  Even after detention my son's weight was suboptimal. According to the experts, if my son's weight issues were cause by me, then within six months he would have made great strides, but he wasn't improving. County doctors would lie on their reports to the Court stating that my son was improving when in fact  he was growing at the rate the experts who testified on my behalf said he would. There is evidence that social workers in the case asked medical professionals to change their diagnosis to make me look guilty of starving my son. Such triangulations have resulted in a heartbreaking separation between me and my son whom I love with all my heart. Why should my son be deprived of his mother’s love and care?
Why would DCFS opposed the testing?: The Witch Hunt
DCFS social workers and physicians intentionally fabricated twisted, exaggerated and misrepresented medical evidence and reports during visitations to obtain a court order to make me look unfit, terminate my parental rights, provide no reunification and conclusion that I had MSBP. DCFS opposed proper testing to be done in order to manipulate the proceedings and hide their true motives. They didn’t care to find out what was wrong with my child. There was no reason why my son could not get testing if these tests are standard, reasonable and necessary when a child is diagnosed with a neurological disorder. I realized then that this was not about the well being of my son, but a way of specific people within DCFS to make an example of me for not "rolling over" and keeping quiet, as well as the influence of an interested party gain legal advantage over me.
My case is very complex because the agency had improperly sustained the allegations with the help of a Dependency judge who serves in the LA County Death Review Panel along with the doctors contracted by DCFS who misdiagnosed my child. This judge never disclosed her working relationship with the County's physicians, instead she retaliated against me and the experts for exposing the bias and conflict of interest. 

Civil Rights Violation - A Traumatizing Evil
“Truth is powerful and it prevails.” Sojourner Truth 

Practice of social work by practicing fraudulently, incompetently and violating positions of trust and dependency by committing acts detrimental to a client is deeply damaging, reproachable and quite evil and it should be exposed. 
Disability harassment is a form of discrimination prohibited by Section 504 and Title II of the ADA.  DCFS must abide by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Section 504 prohibits recipients of federal funds from discriminating on the basis of disability.
Such triangulations mentioned above have resulted in a violation of my civil and constitutional rights by DCFS. Prohibited Disability Harassment occurs when unwelcome physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct is based upon an individual's disability and when the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual's case or receipt of benefits that any other person with the same disability would otherwise receive, creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment during the handling of the case that negatively affects the individual's health due to their disability. Also, acts interfering with one's ability to participate in or benefit from services or an educational program or activity is considered harassment. Such harassment may occur where conduct is directed at the characteristics of a person's disabling condition, such as negative comments about speech patterns, movement, physical impairments or defects/appearances, or the like.
As a mother who loves her son and who was unjustly separated from him, I have fought with the limited resources at my disposal for my son’s health and for our reunification. County resources have gone into making false charges, misdiagnosis and wrongful removal of my son.  Yet, children who truly need protection are not getting it while other families are unjustly and unnecessarily being torn apart.

The threatening remarks often came with a passive-aggressive behavior intended to punish me for even questioning DCFS's claims. I was exposed to substances that can cause me an allergic reaction and adverse effect to my health to the point I had to be rushed to the ER after a visit with my son. This is one of the many ways how DCFS used my health challenges (disabilities) against me. Having visits with my son all too often were in dirtiest rooms, which was detrimental to my health because it would trigger a series of allergic reactions.  The badgering I received from a social worker after refusing to sign transfer papers that I thought were against the interests of my son, sent me into a "shock" which caused me involuntary shaking and my blood pressure to drop. DCFS would provoke these "shocks" then, the workers would claim that I behaved in an odd way during visits with my son. The badgering was so detrimental to my health that during one visit, I nearly passed out due to my blood pressure dropping to low levels.
Clear evidence showed that I am a mother who is very loving and caring who was only trying to do everything in her power to get her child the medical help he needed.  Instead, DCFS social workers minimized my efforts, bullied me, treat me in an overbearing and intimidating manner to prove their allegations.
After so much complaining to several county entities about the discrimination I was subjected to and fighting with DCFS, I received an admission of the violation of my rights in a letter from DCFS Civil Rights Compliance Section on October 4th 2010, saying that “there is evidence that the Department staff involved in your case subjected you to inappropriate conduct, denied you benefits or services or treated you disparately based on your disability. It is the policy of the Department to treat all people equally, with dignity and respect. We feel that these standards were not met in the processing of your DCFS case.”

I wouldn’t want to see any other parent go through what I’ve been through

Inappropriate practices by DCFS end up wrongfully accusing any parent and removing children from fit homes. The stories of such traumatizing and evil practice by DCFS are numerous. This must be stopped. I have fought DCFS vigorously to defend my rights and the right of my child to appropriate medical care. Due to deep pockets and unlimited resources the County of Los Angeles possess, I have been discriminated and blocked from getting justice. Huge efforts to minimize and manipulate my claims have been made.
 As a result, contact with my child is reduced to very limited time, and only with monitored visits.  I am required to pay for the cost of the monitor - which I am having increasing difficulty finding the resources to do so.  This punishes my child  and I for my alleged transgressions.  My resources have been drained as a result of the litigation involved in this case. I can no longer continue to pay for legal representation and I am left unrepresented as I try to protect my son and defend myself in family law proceedings. These family law proceedings that are aimed to further strain me and deepen the emotional pain from the separation from my child.
Any form of discrimination is vicious, cruel and the misused policies, unethical practices, and questionable procedures employed by DCFS workers, county doctors and judges towards fit parents are a real travesty of justice.
Right to Petition in the United States

The right to petition government for redress of grievances is the right a citizen has to make a complaint to, or seek the assistance of, right to sue one's government, without fear of punishment or reprisals. A discriminated party is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment.
I have embarked on a journey to hold DCFS accountable for violating my civil rights, fabricating false evidence, violating my constitutional rights to Due Process under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment. My child and I have been subjected to unnecessary emotional trauma, a painful separation and I have suffered financially due to DCFS illegal practices. No money can never make up for all the pain my son and I have suffered but challenging the County of Los Angeles and the Department of Children and Family Services with a civil rights lawsuit may be the only way to get transparency and change from this agency.

How can you help?
 I have set up a legal fund to maintain competent legal counsel and pay for the monitored visitations

I have begun the steps to challenge the County of Los Angeles and the Department of Children and Family Services in a civil proceeding. I have literally spent all my financial resources fighting these false allegations.
Only justice can help heal the wounds and trauma that so many families have to endure because of these illegal practices. Unfortunately, it is very expensive for families to have access to our broken justice system, so they give up. I have decided to persevere despite my lack of resources.
Currently, I am asking for your help to maintain competent legal counsel. Any donation is welcomed. No amount is to little.

The more families stand up, the harder it becomes for DCFS to hide

Unless fit parents and the public rise up and challenge the County's Supervisors who are allowing these travesties to occur, then it would continue and such practices won't change!
I have met with families who have gone through these very traumatizing experiences and the truth is that this can happen to any family despite your race, socio-economic background, education or fitness. This can happen to anybody!

My Advocacy
The core of my advocacy is aimed to bring a bill to CA just like it was established in the state of Florida that makes it against the law for social workers to lie in Court proceedings. I also advocate for DCFS to stop violating federal law by denying families the implementation of the Reasonable Efforts Act. It is for financial reasons that DCFS does not adhere to federal regulations of providing family maintenance and keeping more families together if reunification is possible. The statistics are alarming of how children are more abused in foster care than left with a family that receives services.

Under the Reasonable Efforts Act, the State must make reasonable efforts to:
  1. maintain the family unit and prevent the unnecessary removal of a child from his or her home, as long as the child’s safety is assured;
  2. effect the safe reunification of the child and family (if temporary out-of-home placement is necessary to ensure the immediate safety of the child); and
  3. make and finalize alternate permanency plans in a timely manner when reunification is not appropriate or possible.  45 C.F.R. §1356.21(b). 

Florida legislators passed a law making it a felony for child-welfare workers to falsify records.
In Florida, nearly half of the DCFS employees and contract workers who falsified records in 2007 and 2008 were prosecuted, according to state and court records. Only three states have this law in place. Please note that in these states hearings are OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, so it is harder to cover up these practices.

Lina Duval, madre del pequeño Ryan de dos años, perdió la custodia de su hijo en 2009. Según la madre, Ryan fue porque padece de una enfermedad congénita. Según el DCFS fue porque la madre fue negligente. "Si hubiera tenido dinero para pagar un abogado y demostrar que no fue descuido de mi parte que desarrollara esa enfermedad, no me lo hubieran quitado", dijo Duval.

Community Dialogue: Budget Cuts, Child Welfare & Poverty
DCFS Give Us Back Our Children Panel Los Angeles, December 11, 2010                              ************************************************

Other families are challenging the system

Recently, a mother was awarded $4.9 million dollars after two county social workers lied to a juvenile court commissioner in order to take away the woman’s two daughters. . 

Marshall family in a civil rights lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles and the Department of Children and Family Services reached a $220,000 settlement. http://stopdcfscriminals.blogspot.com/2011/05/la-county-settles-civil-rights-suit.html

Disorder in the Courts: Mothers and Their Allies Take on the Family Court System


More stories: Open Battle for Transparency