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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

Please click on the link below to watch today’s video blog:

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.

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

The CPS or ACS Investigation

father's rights attorney and advocateThe purpose of a CPS or ACS investigator coming to your house is to get information showing your children have been abused or neglected. They are not coming to your house to prove you didn’t abuse or neglect your children. Do not be fooled into thinking they are there just to clear the record with regard to the allegations. They are there to get evidence your children were abused or neglected. They are not there to clear you. Even if they don’t find evidence of child abuse or child neglect, they may be repeatedly coming back to your house to investigate you further.

Entry Into Your House

It is strongly suggested you do not allow the CPS or ACS worker into your house. Advise them you have a constitutional right to refuse entry and politely tell them they are not coming into your house. Do not get into an argument or confrontational situation with them.

There are occasions when the CPS and ACS worker will come to your door with the police. This still doesn’t allow them to come into your house without a warrant. However, there have been cases when the police are present they will force their way into your home. This may give rise to a civil lawsuit because both the police and CPS workers would have exceeded their legal authority. Once they are in your home, however, do not fight them. Cooperate as best you can and deal with the violation of your rights through the legal system at a later point in time.help with CPS and ACS for parents on Long Island

What To Do If Your Children Are Taken By Child Protective Services – Part II

CPS assistance for parents on Long IslandThe Jurisdictional Hearing

The second trial you are entitled to if your children are seized by Child Protective Services is called a jurisdictional hearing. This gives you a second opportunity to have your children returned to you. If you are innocent of the allegations against you, do not make a deal. Litigate the hearing. If you are successful at the jurisdictional hearing, your children will be returned to you and this ordeal with Child Protective Services will be over. Child Protective Services, even if you are successful at the jurisdictional hearing, may suggest follow up treatments and benefits such as medicaid and food stamps. Do not work with Child Protective Services regarding these matters. Keep them out of your life!

If you are not successful at the jurisdictional trial, a case plan will be presented and you will have to cooperate with it. This means you are in for a long drawn out situation dealing with the Family Court, Child Protective Services and the caseworkers before you will be able to get your children back. Try to finalize the case plan in six months if possible. Do whatever they ask you to do to convince them to give your children back to you. They may want you to take parenting classes, attend therapy, and take other action to convince them and the court to return your children. Do whatever is necessary to comply with their wishes to get your children back.

Unfortunately, if there is a case hearing after 6 months and your children are not returned to you, you need to work on a second 6 month case plan. At the end of the second case plan you can have another hearing to get your children returned to you.

Hearing on the Termination of Parental Rights

The third trial you can have after your children are seized by Child Protective Services is the termination of parental rights hearing. Unfortunately by the time this hearing takes place, your children will have been away from you for close to a year and a half. Take the case to trial at this point again. If you lose the termination of parental rights hearing, you lose your rights to your children. This is your last chance. Should you lose this trial the only thing you can do is to bring an appeal to the Appellate Division. Appeals are costly and can take as long as a year to 18 months to get a decision. It is also difficult to be successful on appeals from termination of parental rights hearings.

father's rights advocates on Long IslandElliot S. Schlissel, Esq., has been representing parents in child abuse cases and child neglect cases for more than 35 years.

What To Do If Your Children Are Taken By Child Protective Services – Part I

father's rights advocateIf your child is taken by Child Protective Services the first thing you need to do is to hire an attorney who has extensive experience in litigating child seizure cases with Child Protective Services. Child Protective Services seize children when they feel the children are in danger of being harmed, abused or neglected.

There are three different trials that can be undertaken to help return your children to you.

Detention Hearing

After a child is seized by Child Protective Services, you can demand a detention hearing within 72 hours. Your attorney should immediately demand this hearing. You should not consent to the detention of your child. It may be suggested to you by your attorney that you wait until the jurisdictional hearing in 30 days to present your defense. Don’t go along with this! Demand a detention hearing immediately.

It may be claimed challenging the detention will hurt you in the long run. Don’t believe it. One of the primary reasons for demanding a detention hearing within 72 hours is that Child Protective Services will have difficulty putting their case together for trial at this point.

This is an excellent opportunity for your attorney to help you have your children returned to you. This also gives you an opportunity to get in front of a judge and hear the allegations made by Child Protective Services which are the basis for removing the child from you. If you fail to litigate the issue of the detention of the children by Child Protective Services, you are creating a problem for yourself. The fact they have your child and are keeping your child will become the law of the case. When you demand a detention hearing you may be offered a compromise arrangement by Child Protective Services. Unless you are guilty of the allegations they made against you, do not make a deal. Move forward with the detention hearing. If Child Protective Services has your children, make sure your attorney brings an application to the court for visitation with your children. If the court wants to leave the visitation arrangements to a caseworker, object to it. Tell them you want a court order with regard to visitation concerning your children.

The attorney representing Child Protective Services may request to the court the jurisdictional hearing and the dispositional hearing be held at the same time. Have your attorney object to this. Each of the hearings gives you an opportunity to get your children back. You are better off with two opportunities to get them back than only one!help dealing with CPS and ACS

Dealing with Child Protective Services – Part II

assistance for parents in CPS proceedingsThe Complaint Made Against You

If a Child Protective Services (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”) investigator comes to your home it is because a complaint has been made against you. Your first question to the worker should be what is the nature of the complaint that was made against you.

The CPS worker conducts an investigation and a report is made. Copies of these reports can be obtained from the supervising agency of the CPS in Albany. On the basis of the report made by a CPS worker, a decision will be made as to whether the allegations against you are “founded” or “unfounded”. “Founded” allegations means you have been engaged in some type of child abuse or child neglect. In these situations you are entitled to demand a trial to challenge the validity of a finding made against you. At a trial witnesses will be called and your attorney will be able to examine the Child Protective Services worker with regard to the material contained in their report and the evidence that this material is based on.

Protecting Your Interests and The Interests of Your Children

The Child Protective Services agency exists for the sole purpose of protecting children. However, in recent years they have become overly zealous in their approach to investigating allegations of child abuse and child neglect. In many situations, allegations are frivolous, false, or don’t amount to child abuse or child neglect. However, in some of these cases the overly aggressive CPS worker can find you have acted inappropriately towards your children. The very best way of dealing with this situation is to immediately contact an attorney experienced in handling CPS investigations, and hearings. Should you have questions regarding a CPS investigation, feel free to contact our office. Our phones are monitored 24/7 and we offer free office consultations.CPS and ACS defense lawyers

Dealing with Child Protective Services – Part I

Most parents spend their lifetime supporting their children, protecting their children from harm and helping their children become successful, productive human beings. When a parent is accused by Child Protective Services (hereinafter referred to as “CPS”) of abuse or neglect it could create a conundrum for the parents. CPS’ job is to investigate allegations made anonymously concerning issues involving child neglect and child abuse. When a parent hears from CPS, the normal reaction for the parent being investigated is to be upset, angry and scared.

Child Protective Services’ Investigations

When a Child Protective Services worker comes to your home, he or she is looking for signs of child abuse or child neglect. They are interested in finding out whether a child or children have been either physically or emotionally abused. Their job is to find evidence of abuse or neglect. Their job is not to seek out information to clear you with regard to the allegations that have been made against you. When a Child Protective Services worker comes to your home, if he or she finds that your home is unsafe or inappropriate for raising children, the worker can go to court and obtain a court order to remove your children to a safe foster care family. The worker may also make recommendations to you with regard to steps to be taken to make your home safer and more appropriate for raising children.

Should You Cooperate With Child Protective Services’ Investigators?

When the CPS investigator comes to your house, the first thing you should do is get his or her name, their phone number, email address, and the name and address of the agency they are working from. The question then becomes should you allow them into your home? Should you allow them to speak to your children privately? The answer to these questions depends on the circumstances and allegations made against you. In addition, it depends on what the Child Protective Services worker will find in your home. It is strongly suggested, when allegations of child abuse or neglect are made against you, that you consult with an attorney and discuss whether you should give admittance to your home to the Child Protective Services worker and/or allow them to talk to your children.

Be Polite

Under all circumstances, it is important that you act polite and appropriate and not hostile when dealing with the Child Protective Services worker. Should you decide not to let them meet with your children or speak with them, politely tell them that you will be happy to talk with them in the future after you have consulted with an attorney.father's rights advocate on long island