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Evidentiary Standards in CPS and ACS Proceedings – Part I

family law lawyerThe standard of evidence used in child abuse and child neglect proceedings is called the preponderance of the evidence. When Child Protective Services (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”) or the Administration for Children’s Services (hereinafter referred to as “ACS”) seeks to establish child abuse or child neglect they bring proceedings in Family Court. Family Courts makes these decisions based upon a preponderance of the evidence. Unfortunately, individuals representing themselves in these proceedings usually do not understand how the legal system works and how to present evidence. Sometimes the only evidence presented is the evidence by the CPS or ACS worker of the allegations of abuse or neglect of the children. Opinions of CPS or ACS workers, statements made by young children, hearsay statements made by third parties may all be taken into consideration in proceedings involving child abuse and child neglect.

Parents and other individuals often tell their life stories to CPS or ACS investigators looking for sympathy. This is usually a terrible mistake! CPS and ACS investigators are there to prove that there have been instances of child abuse or child neglect. They work under the presumption that child abuse or child neglect has taken place whenever a complaint is made, no matter how frivolous it is. When parents tell their life story to these investigators, the investigators are simply looking to extrapolate from the story evidence which can be used against the parent in the child abuse and child neglect proceeding.

The Power of CPS and ACS Investigators

CPS and ACS investigators have a lot of power. Unfortunately, there is not an appropriate supervisory system to check their use of the power. Their reports, no matter how salacious, based on opinions not on evidence, based on statements made by individuals who have no actual knowledge of the circumstances and events are given credence. There is a tendency for these investigators to abuse their power. They look for any evidence of child abuse or child neglect. The evidence can simply be that a child was injured. They can take the position that if the child was injured it was someone’s responsibility to see to it that the child was not injured.family law attorney

Uncle Found Not Guilty of Child Abuse

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Elliot S. Schlissel is an attorney who has been handling cases with CPS and ACS for more than 35 years.  He and his associates are available for consultation by calling 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by sending an email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Improper Accusations of Child Abuse

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney.  Elliot has been representing parents in child custody, CPS and ACS investigations and other family matters for more than 35 years.  He and his associates can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.  The phones are monitored 24/7.

CPS Investigates A Case of Corporal Punishment

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Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights attorney.  He has been representing parents in child custody, CPS and ACS investigations and other family matters for more than 35 years.  He can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Appeals Court Allows Father to Spank His Son

Child Protective Services is extremely aggressive on Long Island with regard to situations involving parents who use corporal punishment on their children. In a recent case, an appeals court found with regard to a Suffolk County father who spanked his son, that his actions were not inappropriate and this did not constitute child neglect.

The Spanking

In October of 2012, a father spanked his 8 year old son when he cursed at an adult during a party at a friend’s home. The father was reported to Child Protective Services. In March of 2013, in a proceeding in the Family Court of Suffolk County a ruling was made against the father finding he had neglected his child. The Department of Social Services claimed he had spanked his child with an open hand at the party. When they returned home from the party, they claimed he struck his son on the legs, arms and buttocks with a belt.

Family Court Proceedings

During the Family Court proceeding the father admitted he had spanked his son at the party. He denied he struck his son with a belt when they returned home. The father appealed the ruling of the Suffolk County Family Court to the Appellate Division of the Second Department (an Appeals Court located in Brooklyn).

Appeals Court

The Appeals Court held “the father’s open handed spanking of the child as a form of discipline after he heard the child curse at an adult was a reasonable use of force and, under the circumstances presented here, did not constitute excessive corporal punishment.”

As a result of the Appeals Court ruling, the original neglect decision by the Family Court was dismissed. The evidence presented in Family Court, at a fact finding hearing, was not sufficient to prove the son had been struck by the father with a belt.

Conclusion

Child Protective Services on Long Island is extremely aggressive with regard to investigating and prosecuting parents who appropriately discipline their children with spankings when the circumstances require it.

Most parents assume when they are investigated by Child Protective Services they have to cooperate. This isn’t true. The investigators for Child Protective Services are looking for evidence usually to convict the parent of child abuse and/or child neglect, not to find the incident did not take place. The best route to take when contacted by Child Protective Services is to immediately contact an attorney experienced in handling child abuse and child neglect cases.help in handling investigations by Child Protective Services

The CPS and ACS Process

To watch today’s video blog, please click on the link below:

Elliot S. Schlissel is a father’s rights lawyer.  His office can be reached at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Father Granted Sole Custody of Child

helping father's win custodyIn a case before Judge Lillian Wan in the Family Court located in Kings County, both a father and mother brought petitions for sole custody of their child. An attorney for the child was appointed. The attorney for the child recommended the mother receive sole legal and physical custody of the child pursuant to the request of the child.

Neglect Finding

The court took into consideration that a neglect finding had been issued without admissions against the father for excessive corporal punishment. In addition there was an abuse finding against the mother based on her acknowledgment she intentionally burned the child’s buttocks. As a result of these findings the child was removed from the home.

Boy Released to Father’s Custody

The child in question, a young boy, was released to the custody of his father in March 2012. The boy has been in his father’s custody with supervised visitation granted for the mother since that time. Judge Lillian Wan found while there was a finding of neglect against the father, the finding against the mother concerning burning the child’s buttocks was a much more serious finding. Judge Wan took into consideration the boy had been living with the father since 2012 and there had been a dramatic improvement in the behavior of the father since that time. However, the court found the mother had not proven herself to be a stable, fit parent or shown remorse in therapy for burning the child.

Judge Wan reached the decision it was in the child’s best interest to give sole legal and physical custody to the father and give the mother unsupervised visits during the course of the day with the child. The mother was not given overnight visitation with the child.father's rights attorney and custody advocate for dads

The Bad Tactics Game Plan Utilized Against Fathers

father's rights lawyerThere are a number of improper, inappropriate vile tactics that are used to prevent a father from having a relationship with his children.

Sexual Abuse

The most damaging false allegation that can be made against a father is that he is sexually abusing his children.  This false allegation, even if untrue, causes courts to take protective action regarding the children.  Sometimes these allegations are the result of mandatory reporters such as teachers, doctors, or Child Protective Service workers overreacting and/or misinterpreting what is happening in a child’s life.  Fathers who bathe their children, dress their children, or spend time hugging their children on a chair or in a bed can be subject to these inappropriate, nasty false allegations.

Domestic Violence

Corporal punishment is no longer considered an appropriate method of disciplining children in the United States.  Fathers in Family Court proceedings and in divorce proceedings accused of utilizing corporal punishment to help guide their children can be kept away from their children by orders of protection brought on by proceedings from child protective services.  In the five boroughs of the City of New York the Administration for Child Services (hereinafter referred to as “ACS”) investigates child abuse allegations.  On Long Island and Westchester counties in the Metropolitan New York area, child abuse allegations are investigated by Child Protective Services (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”).  When an order of protection is issued against a father it can prevent him from having any contact in person, on the phone, texting or emailing with his children.  It can completely cut a father off from having contact with his children.

Relocation

Technically, the residential custodial parent needs either an agreement between the parties in writing So Ordered by a court, or a court order authorizing them to move away.  However, if the mother relocates with the children and the father acquiesces and doesn’t take legal action within a relatively short period of time, the move can become the new normal.  If the father lives in Queens and the mother moves to Florida it is going to be a lot harder for him to visit with his children.

Protecting Father’s Rights

Fathers who believe the mother is acting inappropriately with regard to their children and/or interfering with their relationship with the children need to take aggressive legal action.  If you find yourself in a situation of this nature, you should contact an attorney familiar with father’s rights issues.  Protecting your rights early on is the best way to help maintain your relationship with your children.father's rights advocate

False Allegations of Child Abuse

father's rights advocateA disgusting tactic sometimes used against men when the children’s mother perceives there will be a custody dispute is to file false allegations of child abuse and/or domestic violence against the other parent. Courts tend to take these allegations seriously. In my experience, false allegations of both domestic violence and child abuse are made by both men and women. However, they are used much more often by women and courts take allegations of domestic abuse against women more seriously. This turns out to be a tactic with very little downside risk. The reason for this is courts do not usually punish individuals who make false allegations of domestic violence and child abuse.

Child Protective Service investigators and the police tend to believe the accuser. They often ignore the credible explanations made by the individual who is accused of either domestic violence or child abuse.

Control

The tactic of making false allegations of either domestic violence or child abuse has to do with controlling the family situation. In many cases, the false allegations of abuse are part of a program of Parental Alienation Syndrome (hereinafter referred to as “PAS”). The individuals making the false allegations of child abuse are not taking into consideration the long term impact this will have on their children. They are doing this for inappropriate, selfish reasons.

When a mother makes false allegations of child abuse, the father is usually thrown out of the house. This gives the mother exclusive occupancy of the home, control of the home’s assets, and control of the children. The man is put out on the street with just the clothes on his back. He needs to get a court order just to get back in the house and get the rest of his clothing.

Keeping Children From Their Father

After allegations of child abuse are made and a temporary order of protection is issued by a court, it can take weeks and sometimes months until the father has contact with his children again. Children who have not had contact with one of their parents for a considerable period of time sometimes become tentative and shy. If the allegations of child abuse are accompanied by the mother filling the children’s heads with false stories of abuse and neglect, the children can become fearful of their father.

My Way

In the end, the parent making the false allegations of child abuse is saying to the other parent, everything will be done my way. If you don’t do what I say, the way I tell you to do it, you are never going to see your children. Who suffers in the end? Both the loving parent kept away from his children and the children. PAS is a terrible syndrome and it can take long term therapy to deal with this problem if it is not nipped in the bud.helping father's with legal issues to see their children

Parental Alienation Syndrome: What Is It?

Parental alienation syndrome, which is often referred to as “PAS”, involves a type of behavior of one parent which is designed to disrupt the relationship between a child or children and the other parent. The deprivation of children of a loving relationship with one parent by the other parent can cause the children to experience psychological distress, and the destruction of the relationship with the other parent. When one parent alienates children from the other, this is a type of child abuse.

PAS And How It Is Accomplished

The usual first steps of one parent alienating children from another involve the interference with the non-custodial parent’s rights to have visitation and personal contact with the children. The residential custodial parent is technically obligated to foster the relationship with the children and the other parent. However, in PAS situations, instead of working with the other parent to build a harmonious, loving relationship with the children, one parent interferes with the parenting time and communication of the other parent with the children.

Inappropriate Comments

Negative statements made by the residential custodial parent such as the other parent has abandoned us, has cut us off from money, is a bad person, and similar statements confuses the children and has a negative impact on the children’s respect for the other parent. These actions by the residential parent have a subliminal effect in casting the other parent as a bad, evil, inappropriate person. Even when the children want to maintain a relationship with the other parent, the conflict created by the custodial parent between the custodial parent’s representations concerning the other parent and the children’s love and affection for the other parent creates a conflict that children have difficulty dealing with. What the residential parent is actually doing to the children is conveying his or her negative feelings, dislike and hatred of the other parent to the children and convincing the children to adopt those negative feelings.

Repetition

When the custodial parent continually repeats negative statements, and/or negative incidents to the children concerning the other parent, these statements, even if untrue, end up being accepted as factual by the children. The children replace his or her warm, loving experiences with the other parent with false experiences which destroy the relationship with the other parent.

Conclusion

PAS damages children. Parents who hate each other should not confuse their children or subject their children into being brainwashed into believing they hate the other parent too. Children should love and respect both of their parents.father's rights advocate on long island