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Defence Strategies from attacks by children's aid, FACS

Monday, November 14, 2016 - FACS - Fixcas - Opposition to Children's Aid Societies aka CAS CPS, CFS, FACS, LCAS ...

Most families attacked by Children's Aid can not spend the over fifty thousand dollars that it takes to bring a case to trial. For CAS victims who must rely on legal aid, there is no reliable way to save your family, only a few tips that may slightly improve your prospects. Should you get in a court battle with only legal aid lawyers, your chances of keeping your family undamaged are small.

Say as little as possible - they will twist every fact against you. Particularly avoid revealing that you or your spouse were in foster care or the victim of past abuse. Such parents appreciate the value of a family better than anyone else, but in the CAS fantasy world, that makes you a likely abuser yourself. Also avoid disclosing the names of alienated family members, such as a former spouse.

If you have a good poker face, use it. Any expression of anger, no matter how justified, will be used as a point against you. Social workers have been known to provoke anger to justify child removal.

In an earlier version of this text, we said that one family had warded off the worst CAS abuses through cooperation with CAS. Unfortunately, a year later, the family that was the basis of that statement fled Dufferin to save itself from Children's Aid. Consequently, we must now say that once CAS enters your life, a judge's order is the only legal way to rid yourself of them.

It is important to stick together as parents. Dufferin judges rarely take a child from a mother and father acting together. When your case reaches the courtroom, be sure the judge sees you together. Even separated parents can do this, as long as you are united on who should keep custody. One family unrepresented by a lawyer had an action dismissed by sticking together. Children's Aid has advised some parents to separate or divorce to improve prospects for regaining custody. Reject all such advice. Once divorced, it becomes much easier for CAS to assume control of the children. If you are a parent under investigation by CAS, but your children have not yet been taken, avoid showing any animosity toward your spouse.

Most cases don't get to live testimony, so you will not get a chance to speak to the judge. You must present your case in writing, by affidavit. Preparing an affidavit is a job for a professional skilled in law and journalism. Unless you have those skills, refer to a lawyer. On the day of your hearing, there may be a duty-counsel to help you, but by then it will be too late to prepare an affidavit, and your side may not be heard.

Keep accurate records. Later you can reconstruct exact chronologies to rebut CAS claims. We also suggest using a voice or video recorder for all contacts with CAS workers. They are unlikely to get into evidence, but writing down outrageous statements verbatim will help your case. This is most important at the earliest stages when, unfortunately, most parents are still naive. Some opponents suggest pausing after every CAS statement to write it down verbatim. Attila Vinczer reports on video (mp4) *(404 * see Note) that recording all his conversations saved him from jail time and an exorbitant legal bill.

Be sure to get the names of all the workers in your case. They will usually hand you a business card, if not, get their full names, and badge numbers for policemen, and keep a record. Later it is more useful to say "Jane LaFleur said ..." than just "A social worker said ...".

If criminal charges are filed against you in connection with the CAS matter, do not be suckered into pleading guilty in exchange for probation. If you do, at every subsequent litigation step, you will be threatened with revocation of probation (jail time). After one year of these threats, a Dufferin family simply renounced one child to get free. Actually in a criminal matter you get an opportunity to deny the charge, to present your own evidence, and cross-examine your accusers, rights ordinarily denied in CAS cases. If you are not able to afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you.

Never take your children to a place where CAS workers are present, unless required to by court order. They may use some trick to distract you, while they hustle the children away to a new custodian.

An interesting idea is to ask CAS for the resumes of the social workers assigned to your case. Do so by a courteous letter directed to the agency. They are unlikely to comply, but you can then use their refusal to complain to your MPP. In this, you will appear as the reasonable party, CAS will seem intransigent.

Children's Aid will suggest consultations with professionals, doctors and psychiatrists, and classes in parenting, anger management and drug abuse prevention. Classes delay you while the clock ticks toward crown wardship. A psychiatrist suggested by CAS rarely recommends dismissing the case against your family. If you absolutely must get a psychiatrist on a court order, we can refer you to one who is not in the CAS camp.

When you must attend court, use good business attire. The judge will be watching and if you look like an unsavory person, you may be treated as such.

When stuck with a court order from a judge, or a consent, follow the order scrupulously no matter how oppressive. At the next court hearing, tell the court that you followed every order, or the reason why that was impossible. Also point out the ways CAS did not comply with the order. Don't rely on your lawyer to do this work for you - prepare the story yourself in a form suitable for inclusion in an affidavit. There is an exception to the advice to comply. A boy in Virginia ran away from foster care and phoned his mother for help. She complied with a court order and refused to meet him, instead asking the foster home to get her boy. He has not been seen since. So calls from runaway children should be answered in defiance of the courts.

For parents able to afford legal help, the situation is still perilous. Children's Aid uses a style of litigation not seen anywhere else, and you should find a lawyer who has wrestled with them before. An ingenious method is calling the law firm representing the adverse children's aid society and asking their professional opinion on finding a lawyer. Any lawyers they mention are lapdogs, and should not be hired.

Some lawyers have drained their clients for large payments when they lack the legal skills to effectively represent them. The lawyers in this paragraph, all outside Dufferin, are expensive, but provide good representation. The leading suggestion is Gene Colman, email: [ gene at complexfamilylaw.com ] phone: (416) 635-9264. He charges $500 per hour, beyond the means of most families targeted by CAS, but modest for a lawyer at his level of competence. He regrets that he cannot take clients unable to make a deposit toward his fee. He is endorsed by Rev. Dorian Baxter. Michael Menear successfully represented the Church of God family in Aylmer Ontario whose children were seized by Children's Aid in 2001. He is at Menear and Associates, 100 Fullarton Street, London Ontario N6A 1K1, phone 519-672-7370. A co-counsel on that case was Valerie Wise of Miller Thompson email: vwise@millerthomson.com phone: 416-595-8500 x8545. In Ottawa, Joseph P Hamon helped a family free itself from Children's Aid. Contact information: phone: 613-756-6565 Ottawa: 613-371-6556 Fax: 888-567-0812 email: [ josephp at hamon.on.ca ].

Here are some others we do not rate quite as highly. Ian Mang (no contact information). In one case, once Mr Mang took the case, children were immediately returned without even going to court. Jeffery Wilson, phone 416-956-5622, author of books on family law including Up Against It: Children and the law in Canada. He will charge ten thousand dollars to look at your case. John Dunn reports that several Ottawa area families have been helped by Nathalie Fortier, 261 Cooper St 110, Ottawa, phone: 613-233-5550. If you are in Alberta, try Robert P Lee. Before hiring a lawyer, access the Canadian Legal Information Institute and search for his name. If you get too many responses, limit the search to one province, or one of the disciplinary boards within a province.

One resource that may be valuable is a consultant. Kim Hart, based in Ohio, is not a lawyer, but can advise your lawyer on the conduct of your case even in Canada. She has over fifteen years experience dealing with false allegations.

We want to warn also of the danger of taking legal advice from the wrong sources. American lawyer Edgar Steele provides these comments:

However, there is another aspect to the legal system that bears examination, particularly by the politically incorrect, and it played a key role in the Christine case. There is a cottage industry that has grown up around the legal system, an industry that the Internet, more than anything else, has made possible. It has no real name as yet, though its denizens go by a host of labels, some self applied and some applied to them by others. "Constitutionalist" is the one that I hear most often, spoken proudly by those within this faction and derisively by those outside.

Brian and Ruth Christine fell for this swill when their children were first taken from them. For six months, they listened to various members of this pseudo-legal jungle in and around Grants Pass, Oregon. For six months, while within the system, they did all the wrong things, as a result.

The Gastons filed a petition of some sort with the judge during the Christine trial. It was genuinely laughable, reflective of what unschooled children might imagine legal documents should be. At my urging, the judge decided not to embarrass them by ruling it to be the sort of pseudo-legal tripe that it was. They apparently now are filing it with other courts.

Also, during this trial, another of the crazies endeavored to challenge the judge's jurisdiction, claiming that the oath he took when initially sworn in as a judge was lacking a word or two. This "defective oath" business is a favorite of this crowd in Oregon just now, particularly Pamela Gaston. It is, in a word, irrelevant and totally without merit. The Gastons now seize upon this poppycock to claim that I was part and parcel of a conspiracy against the Christines.

Because of advice like this, given by Pamela Gaston and a few others in the Grants Pass area, the Christines are a permanently broken family and Brian and Ruth will spend several years in prison.

While there is some good advice out there, given by nonlawyers, it is impossible for any but practicing lawyers to separate the wheat from the chaff. And illegal, when proferred to others, whether for a fee or not. And the chaff can get you into serious trouble...just look at Brian and Ruth Christine. Best to stay away from it all. In particular, stay away from Pamela Gaston and the extensive bad advice she offers via her website and her emails. She will get you into trouble, just as she has the Christines.

The full text from which the excerpts were taken, is at Conspiracy Pen Pal  (404)

We give the complementary warning as well: don't take political advice from lawyers. The most common mistake is for CAS victims to avoid political activity while their case is pending. Since this may be an entire childhood, or more, that course will preclude all political activity. Political action is the only real way to fix CAS, and it is imperative to do so from the onset of your case.

New Hampshire lawyer Paula Werme has some unusual suggestions, from her own bitter experience fighting child protectors. You may discover that you child has been hurt while in foster care, and you believe that will be a point in your favor in court. Do not mention the harm to your child. The child protectors could be severely damaged should a child abused in foster care return to his parents with evidence. Once you demonstrate that foster parents have harmed your child, the child protectors will stop at nothing to get the child away from you permanently. Paula's other suggestion is to not show up for supervised visitation with your child. You think this will allow your child to continue at least some of his relationship with you. Actually, supervised visits are purely for surveillance. Social workers will watch everything you do with your child, and will report all of those actions that can be construed against the parents. If you have a lawyer, check with the lawyer before adopting this second strategy. As for the first suggestion, keeping quiet about harm in foster care, your lawyer may disagree. Refer him to the website of Paula Werme, copied below, for a tragic outcome where she brought foster care abuse into the case.

Special situation: If you complain about evidence of abuse in foster care, hang it up. They'll fight you to the end. Talk to your lawyer about this - not the child or the visitation supervisor.

DCYF does NOT want to give you your child so (s)he can tell you it happened. You will not be permitted to ask the child about the injuries. The visitation supervisor will end the visit if you do.

I am dead serious. I represented a father before In Re: Bill F. was decided. When he got suspicious about abuse in foster care, DCYF got ugly. When he pressed, they started moving toward terminating his rights. We eventually sued for this abuse in foster care in federal court. His rights were terminated while the case was pending and the federal court dismissed the case because he no longer had standing to sue on behalf of his children. We did get the discovery from DCYF proving beyond a doubt that he was right about the children being abused in foster care before the case was dismissed, though. It was the worst day of my legal career when his rights were terminated.

Teenagers indoctrinated by their schools may make false allegations to escape parental discipline. They often recant on experiencing foster care. Supervised visitation may protect these parents against further allegations.

Here are some suggestions for parents unable to hire a lawyer. Get a copy of your CAS file. Canada Court Watch has prepared a document How to obtain your child protection file from a CAS agency in Ontario (pdf) (404 * See Note). An associate of Rev Dorian Baxter says that families have used section 136 of the Courts of Justice Act to get a tape recorder into the courtroom. He also got himself into the courtroom as a reporter for his website, Canada Court Watch. In a case in which both happened, Children's Aid abandoned its efforts to take children as crown wards and returned them to the parents on the second day of the trial. Tips for lawyers by lawyers appear in the document Helpful Tips for Lawyers Representing Clients in Proceedings Under the Child and Family Services Act (pdf). Suggestions for non-lawyers, from non-lawyers, appear in the document A guide to tape recording your own court matter by Mike March (404 see note). Another is Family Survival Guide (404 see note). The author is not a lawyer, but has been accepted as a law student. These guides are good advice for parents forced to represent themselves, though a lawyer is better for parents who are able. One self-represented parent got a lot of help by calling the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal at 416-314-3700. Given just a few facts, they searched for relevant case law and sent him copies.

A possible resource for families unable to afford a lawyer is Pro Bono Law Ontario. We have no experience with this service, and await feedback from clients.

When children are apprehended by CAS, the first court hearing is of paramount importance. Dubbed the "shelter hearing" by Americans, this is your only opportunity to challenge the validity of the apprehension, and your only real chance to ask the judge to order a less intrusive intervention than foster care. Canada Court Watch has had some success in freeing children from CAS at these hearings. Chris York of Court Watch has accumulated some notes and case references for decisions at this stage. According to Richard Wexler, veteran
foster children advise newcomers that you go home at the first court hearing or never at all.

Immigrants have another way to escape from children's aid. Returning to your home country with your children will in practice end the action against you, regardless of legalisms. If your children are entitled to non-Canadian passports, there should be little difficulty in getting them out of the country. We regret to say that we know families that have been driven out of Canada this way.

Even if you are not an immigrant, but are fortunate enough to get word of a child protection action before legal process is served, leave the province (or state) immediately with your children. Do not stop to pack your belongings or sell your home. Arrange later for another person to ship your possessions and sell your property. Never return. While we have given this advice many times, none have acted on it. Once families discover how serious child protection is, it is too late. Massachusetts lawyer Louis Piccone saved his family by sending his Russian wife and their children to Russia on first contact from child protectors.

Here is a story of a family with an abducted daughter, responding to a question about email for foster children:

When our daughter was being held captive by DCFS, she was instructed not to contact us this way. This decision may have been made in an individual basis, I don't know. At the group home school her teacher closely monitored children's computer use and watched for kids trying to open hotmail accounts(big no-no)....later when she went to public school I doubt anyone was able to monitor her so closely, but she was just afraid of getting caught, threatened with not being able to see us if she contacted family or friends by e-mail. To those who have children held away from them now, a hotmail account is surely worth a try though. Good idea.

blessings,
Linda S.

Since computers connected to the internet are now everywhere, it is important to teach your children to use email as early as possible, and to give them an email account, if possible, before Children's Aid intervenes.

Facebook is a newer way for parents and children to stay in touch after forcible separation. As soon as a child is old enough to master Facebook either the parents or the child can initiate contact. For best effect, be sure your child knows his own full birth name and the full names of both parents at the earliest possible age.

If you have had a child taken by CAS in the past, legal help is likely futile, because CAS uses the doctrine of "once an abuser, always an abuser". In that case, you need home birth. Here is advice from a mother:

I had a home birth with a Lay Midwife. You can find one by asking at your local health food store or co-op. Some states DO NOT give them licenses to practice. I am from New Hampshire. Also look up the book Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. It tells all about home birth and she may have a website, I don't know. It cost me $400.00 to have her 17 years ago, and that covered everything. You have to be in good health and know your blood type. It is a wonderful way to give birth. Hope that this helps.

Here is the website for Ina May Gaskin

If you are not involved with CAS, you should still be thinking prevention. One place to start is your child's school, a favorite target of child snatchers. Some school administrators know the true nature of CAS and may be sympathetic to your requests. Refer to a document prepared by Canada Court Watch (pdf) for instructions on how to request your school to keep CAS away from your children.
Canada Court Watch on Facebook

As soon as CAS is threatening your family, you should get in touch with other affected families in your area. In Ontario a good place to start is the Facebook group Canada Court Watch on Facebook If you are outside Canada, start with Legally Kidnapped.

Here are some other opinions on how to respond to Children's Aid, (or CPS in the USA):

Defense

Guide (404)

Parent's Guide to the System by Cheryl Barnes. Written for American courts, may be useful in Canada as well.

Weaver (404)

What Should I Do When Child Protective Services Knocks on My Door

Linda J Martin

A victim of CPS in the United States gives her own opinion, and links to several more.

Brenda Scott (404 Error Page)

From her book Out of Control

Surgenor (404)

Retired police officer Robert R Surgenor

Hession (404)

Gregory Hession, a Massachusetts lawyer, gives his advice on dealing with DSS, remarkably similar to defense against CAS.

HSLDA (404)

For homeschoolers, membership in the Home School Legal Defense Association gives safety against child-abduction by Children's Aid. HSLDA has lawyers who are dedicated to the cause, and offer a different kind of defense than lawyers working only for pay. It is worthwhile, even if you are not in concert with their religious views.

Stephen Baskerville (404)

Professor Baskerville suggests a different level of response. His subject is divorce, but his advice applies equally well to child-protection cases.

 

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