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Minimal Evidence Used To Prove Child Abuse Or Child Neglect By Child Protective Services (“CPS”)

family law attorney handling CPS casesWhen there are allegations of child abuse the level of evidence submitted by CPS workers and investigators can be minimal. The CPS system in New York is arbitrary, abusive, presumes child abuse or neglect in every case, and moves forward backed by the authority of New York State on incorrect interpretations of facts, and outright falsehoods. Guardians, parents and grandparents are sometimes overwhelmed when they find they have so little power and ability to contradict and counteract the actions of CPS personnel.

Family Court Proceedings Regarding Child Abuse and Child Neglect

Individuals accused of child abuse find when they go into the Family Court and expect to be able to tell their story to a judge they are confronted by judges that don’t have the time and often don’t have the patience to listen to them. CPS spends four or five minutes making their presentation and the parent then gets about two or three minutes to rebut the presentation.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Orders of Protection are given to the children based on inaccurate statements by CPS workers. The parents, guardians and grandparents find they are guilty until proven innocent even if the allegations of child abuse or neglect are spurious, mistaken, inaccurate and untrue. Many months go by with Orders of Protection pending, and Child Protective Services workers regularly coming to the door, and the innocent family members often feel overwhelmed and shocked at how they are treated by the legal system. Many family members who are accused of child abuse come into my office and tell me they didn’t even get a chance to speak in court. The events took place without them even having the ability to say even one word. Unfortunately, this happens much too often.

CPS The Do-Gooders

There are dedicated people who work for CPS who rescue innocent children from abusive situations. These CPS workers deserve the public’s gratitude. Unfortunately, I see too many situations where CPS creates nightmares for families who are loving, good natured and provide wonderful homes and care for their children. Innocent family members are threatened that if they don’t cooperate with CPS their children will be removed from the home. I see situations on a regular basis where a child will get bruised while playing with his or her friends, go to the school nurse and not remember how the bruise came to be. The school nurse calls CPS and then CPS shows up in the middle of the night at the family’s home, insists on coming in, investigating the children, harassing the parents, and scaring them to death with an implied threat that they will lose their children.

I recommend to everyone who calls me on a CPS complaint to take it seriously and to make no statements to CPS workers without having an attorney present and not let them in their home. I make arrangements to meet with CPS workers either at my office or at their office for the purpose of reviewing the allegations against family members. I discuss with them in an intelligent manner, without intimidation, that they are going to remove children from the custody of their parents.

Conclusion

Should you hear from CPS about a potential complaint, don’t let yourself become a victim. They have no right to come into your home no matter what they say. Advise the CPS worker that you are happy to cooperate with them, but you wish to retain counsel and your attorney will call them to deal with the issue. If they tell you that you are not entitled to an attorney, they are lying to you! You have a right to an attorney at every stage of the legal system in New York and the rest of the United States. Do not be intimidated, do not let them in your home. If you want to speak to them, speak to them at the front door. They have no right to search your home or investigate your home.Long Island family law attorney

About Elliot S. Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has spent more that 30 years representing individuals in matrimonial and family law cases.