Vincent Davis: Good morning. This is attorney Vince Davis and this is the show Get You Kids Back Now. This show is dedicated to keeping families together and to fighting the tyranny of CPS and DCFS social workers. A secondary purpose of the show is to educate parents and relatives or to at least show them where to get the necessary information for their fight. The final purpose of the show is to remind people that change can be effectuated at the ballot box, at the state and federal levels. Let us unite, vote and elect those who will make the necessary changes.
Good morning. It’s March the 4th, Saturday morning, 8AM. It’s a beautiful day here in Southern California, a little cloudy, and I hear that we’re supposed to have rain tomorrow. Today’s show, we’re going to be talking about of number of topics. I’ve gotten a lot of requests to kind of expand the show from giving information just on defending yourself in the juvenile court or getting your children placed with relatives in the juvenile court to expanding it to civil rights lawsuits against social workers and counties.
As you know, in a lot of cases, there are instances where parents and/or their children can bring a lawsuit against the social worker who has violated the civil rights of the family. Typically, that occurs when a child is injured in foster care or children are removed from parents without the necessary court order or warrant or were they removed with a warrant or court order but the application by the social worker was untruthful and usually the third general area where social workers are sued is where they tell — basically when they lie in social worker reports.
Some of you may have known from the news that there were I think four social workers from Los Angeles County who are being criminally prosecuted by the district’s attorney’s office in state court in downtown Los Angeles because they had been accused of lying in social worker reports under penalty of perjury to juvenile court judges in Monterey Park. And I’m not sure of the status of this case, I had heard rumor that the case was over and that they had been sentenced but I don’t know that to be true or not true. I should probably do some research because I really wanted to know what had happened in that case. So we’ll be talking about defending yourself in juvenile court, getting your children to relatives out of foster care and getting — and suing social workers in federal court for civil rights violations.
Today, at the half hour, at 8:30, we’re scheduled to have a special guest, an attorney that I worked with, who’s probably the best attorney in my office. A lot of people think it’s me, it’s not. Her name is Stephanie Davis. No, there’s no relationship between Stephanie Davis and Vince Davis, although many years ago we were married — we were married, we went to law school together, we subsequently got divorced and, you know, got married and had children with other people and we currently work together although that may soon be ending. She’s worked for me the past several years or worked with me for the past several years. She may be going back on the bench as a commissioner in the Los Angeles Superior Court System. I think she’s number 12 on the list to be appointed back to the bench. She spent 16 or 17 years as a temporary judge in juvenile court and then she left because of the financial crisis that hit about five or six years ago seems like and she’s been working with me since but she’s ready to go back on the bench. So hopefully, she’ll be calling in at 8:30 and we’ll be talking about different things. Stephanie is an expert trial attorney and she’s a very well-known expert in appellate laws especially in juvenile dependency appellate law in California.
Before I go on and talk and talk, I see that we have a number of calls of people that have been waiting. So I’m going to take the first call from area code 562 ending in 48. Good morning, you’re with Attorney Vincent Davis.
Daniel: Good morning, Vince.
Vincent Davis: Good morning. Did you have a story to tell or a question to ask?
Daniel: A quick story, I’m not going to take up too much time. This is Daniel from Long Beach and I had a case going which thanks to you guys, it was closed and my daughter’s home, it went on for like two and a half years.
What my concern for now is the juvenile dependency court left the mother’s rights in place where she still gets visitation. She’s been in prison but now she’s in a recovery place and I’d like to have her rights terminated. I did visits with her and her grandma and, you know, good people. And every time that I went to visit, they’d call CPS and start making false allegations about me and just — it turned into a nightmare and so I’m at the point now where I’m burned out from doing all that.
She’s a serious substance abuser, the grandmother’s a pathological liar. So I have a court date on the 27th of this month. This is now three years later. I like this whole thing to be ended. I wish they were good people, I wouldn’t mind my daughter visiting with them. She’s terrified of them. She has had a lot of emotional and mental problem so I have her in therapy right now instead of take up [0:06:57 inaudible] for her and I’m just looking out for her best interest. I want to make sure she has a good childhood and I’m just exhausted and stressed about this whole thing continuing on and on. At one point Children Protective Services were going to terminate the mother’s rights, they did not do that, they kept it going.
Now the mother and the grandmother, here we are, three years later, still do not get unmonitored visits. They’ve done things to her. I did visitation for over a year. They gave her Benadryl, they smoked drugs around her, numerous things. I don’t want to go on and on and on. I have it all documented. So I don’t know if I should write the judge a letter and send the documentation or, you know, I’m trying that you guys to help me on this to feel that I’m next step about and I really don’t want to deal with it but I have to. You know, like I said, I went to court for almost three years so it’s very, very stressful. The whole thing’s done, my daughter’s home with me. She’s got a good home but this chapter is still open and I don’t know what to say at this time. But anyway, I want to thank you for everything that you’ve done in the past and I’m sure you’re going to help me in the future with this and I just — I want to get it over with and move on with our lives.
Vincent Davis: Daniel, I understand your concern. We definitely can help you with that situation. What I want you to do is I want you to call the office today, there’s a crew working today.
Vincent Davis: And I want you to make an appointment to come see me on Tuesday or Wednesday, so let me give you the number.
Vincent Davis: Well, you have the number, don’t you? You have the number, give me a call and we’ll meet and we’ll talk more about this situation. Thank you for calling this morning, I appreciate it.
Daniel: Okay, that sounds great. Thank you.
Vincent Davis: Bye, bye.
Daniel: Bye, bye.
Vincent Davis: Daniel has an interesting, interesting case. He was about to lose his child to adoption and he called us and for the grace of God, we’re able to get his child back to him and he still have an ongoing problems with the maternal side of the family. A very interesting case that he has and things that he’s been through.
I’m going to take the next call from area code 626 ending in 34. Good morning. You’re on with attorney Vince Davis. Good morning.
Vincent Davis: Did you have a story to tell or a question to ask?
Female: Yeah. Yes I did. I was like a lot of parents. I’m very well educated and you know when you hear someone gets their kids taken away from CPS, you are very judgmental and you think, “Oh, that parent must have been a crappy parent.” But when you’re actually in it, you see the inside of how these people are just really good story tellers and how much money they make off the system. I remember — my kids were taken from me over a year ago, just to make it short, due to the fact I have an extra circuit in my heart and my husband — and I am legally still married, he was kicked out of the house a month prior to all these happening due to the fact I’ve seen that he had an addiction problem.
Well, months later, I get all the stress or whatever it was, I had signs of mini-stroke and I lived in the mountain in San Bernardino County. I called 911 to come help me out and they called the cops awful which I don’t know why and suggested I go in the ambulance. I did ask them to take my kids in the ambulance, they said they couldn’t do that. So the cop did tell me, Twin Peaks cop did tell me that he would stay there with my kids so I could go on the ambulance and make sure I’m going to be okay and he would call family as much as it took to call family so we can get the kids with family. Well, that didn’t happen.
He did call me in the hospital and told me that I was a great parent, you know, my kids are well dressed and I’m doing a good job and wanted to see if I was okay. But later when I got out of the hospital, I was released. I come out and didn’t even know where my kids were for two hours. I called the police station, I called everywhere, I got to run around. I got a phone call, maybe two and half hours later saying, “Oh, we got your kids, it’s the CPS and we’re holding them.” Didn’t tell me what I did wrong just to tell me they will get back to me with a court date.
I go to court, I look out with — they’re accusing me up, dirty hair, dirty feet. Of course they’re going to have dirty feet, the cop was watching my kids and I have a balcony. Dirty hair, I take my kids to bathe every day and then I also got allegations I’m a drug — a history of drug abuse. I’m sorry, I’ve never used drugs my entire life. I have a degree in engineering, I used to work for Boeing. So it’s like, these people just — if they have a [0:12:37 inaudible] from the beginning, if they don’t like how you look or anything, they will make up all these stories in your court reports and I don’t know how that holds in court, it doesn’t make any sense. How do you say someone has a history of drug abuse when there is no history, where do you get this, where do you pulled it out of?
So these people are very vindictive and I think I’m hoping someone could fix this system because it’s horrible how it’s run. I actually had a CPS worker that was on my case and he was thrown off my case because he wanted me to get my kids back and the San Bernardino County, I guessed didn’t agree with that so they wrote him up and they transferred him out.
Tuesday, I moved to Northern California because I was told by someone that works for CPS to get the hell out of the county, I’m going to keep being harassed. And the worker that was handling my case before said that all the social workers will talk about me every day, all the women will act like they’re in high school. They were going jogs together and they just talk about me and they don’t want me to get my kids back.
And I took parenting class twice, I took therapy twice. It’s just ridiculous and I’m just hoping that they don’t — they’re not able to keep doing this to other parents to make money off them and I know they make money, they gave me gas cards and they put $60 but next to it, it said $300. So they’re actually asking the state for $300 when that they only actually give me $60. It’s just ridiculous and I’m a tax payer too.
So I feel bad for these kids. You know, my kids do not come back normal. My kids — my daughter is five years old, she’s been on four different schools, she was in two foster homes. I got five minutes a week to talk to my kids. I don’t even know how — you’re saying, you know CPS they’re saying they’re trying to get families back together. How is that keeping families back together if you only get five-minute phone calls a week with your kids and you only get to see them two hours a week? And like I said, I didn’t do anything wrong, the dad didn’t even live there. It’s just ridiculous and I want to sue San Bernardino County, so I’m hoping, Mr. Davis can help me with that. Are you there?
Vincent Davis: You know what, I can definitely help you with that and I want you to call me on Monday or call the office today and then make an appointment for us to talk on Monday. You’re in Northern California so we can’t easily meet.
Vincent Davis: But I want to talk to you in detail about this case because I want to tell our listeners, we’ve talked before in the last couple of days and the story you told is incredible. However I have to say and it’s sad to say this I’m not surprised. I mean, I’ve heard of things like these happening to people like yourself and I hear it over and over and over so I’m not surprised anymore. I’m shocked that it happened but I’m just not surprised about it. So you call me, we’ll get together and we will get a lawsuit filed for you and your children against the county and against the social workers. Okay?
Female: Okay. Thank you.
Vincent Davis: Thank you for calling and sharing your story, I really appreciate it.
Female: No problem. I’m hoping this doesn’t keep happening to other families. You know, it’s like they’re worst than the cops, you have to literally kiss their butt to make sure you get your kids and nothing is black and white, everything is a gray area with them. And like I said, the social worker I got written up, he couldn’t help me get my kids back because they don’t like how he was for me to get my kids back.
Vincent Davis: He’s going to be a very important witness for us in the case. All right, thank you very much.
Female: Yeah. Thank you. Bye, bye.
Vincent Davis: So I had talked to this mother earlier in the week and she wanted to come and call in and share that story. She was without her children for almost 18 months based upon what she says is fraudulent and bogus trumped up charges and the social worker who was initially assigned to the case recommended that the children be returned. He was disciplined internally and from what the story she told me, he left the department — the county where he was working and he is now a social worker in another county in California and hopefully he will be willing to testify and share what happened in this mother’s case. And to make matters worse, the mother is now discovering o now that has discovered that her children may have been sexually molested while in foster care and no one has told her. The social worker and the county hasn’t informed her that this may have happened. Kind of a — it’s a nightmare if you’re a parent.
We’re going to take another call right now from area code 562, ending in 17.
Male: Good morning, Vincent.
Vincent Davis: Good morning, you’re on with Attorney Vince Davis. Good morning.
Male: Yeah, good morning.
Vincent Davis: Did you have a story to tell or a question to ask?
Male: Yeah, I have a story — kind of like a question. I’m a loving father, I have a loving family and I’ve been doing everything I can from day one when they [0:18:41 inaudible], I mean they’re just ripped my family apart. It’s been going on for almost two years now or maybe three years. And I never got the six months, never got the 12 months, never got the 18 months and the hardest thing for me as a father and my wife is that everything that social worker writes is the gospel and with some reason — that’s horrible, they never put in the report or said the dad and mom went to class and were very attentive or the dad and mom completed these tasks or the dad and mom. In fact social services mangled and had talked the talk has then to ripped the family apart and when you try to tell them they’re doing something wrong, they’ll rip you apart further.
They’re on a bonus plan. The social worker were going to [0:19:35 inaudible], the liaison we have is so, so, so bad. She’s barely 25 or 23 years old, not married, never have a family and she’s doing our life. In fact, yesterday I got an email from her saying, “Oh, we need to come in and sign a new case plan.” That’s one question I have for you is that do I have to come in and sign a ridiculous case plan that I don’t agree to, that they’re going to further entrap me because the social worker has a habit of when you meet with her to tell stories even my wife’s attorney would [0:20:12 inaudible] to believe so much in the paper writing. He couldn’t say through it. He’s a good attorney, don’t get me wrong but he was baffled just like the commissioner is baffled and it’s just like this goes on and on and on and on and on.
And it’s like I hadn’t seen my daughter since May 7, 2015. You know, what it is not to be able to hold your daughter who we were so close that we went to take care of my dad’s belongings and we came back so happy as a family but she had a bullying problem. And then the night where it started where they turned her against the father and they make it so difficult because she does love me but I’ve had no writing, nothing, not even a thing that she’s alive and she’s the one that we created out of love and they’ve been trying to drive our marriage apart. They twist things. They’re so bad. Even the public defenders, I’m sorry to say, there’s malpractice, you know, when a public defender flip things in just so that she can get out of the case because they want to move on to the next case just like a cattle. And this is the Orange County system, it’s a cattle thing. They rush people. We sit there for hours and hours and hours and hours. We show up 30 times and nothing ever happens.
And then there comes the big point, liaison, “Oh, they want to settle.” Well, you know, yeah, sure, it’s cheaper, you don’t have to pay attorney to fight your trial but then again, you have all these issues, all these untrues, you read them, so bad. I mean, they’re just like, they’re nightmares, I mean, you know, and this is the only battle I had, you know, I can handle it. I have sat at illegal battles, I have all kinds of things and it’s all because of why, it’s because of the money situation. You lose your job, you try to get a job, you try to get a job, you’re still dealing shits and you try to get a job at old age, they don’t like to hear about it, they don’t think old people can have children. And so I don’t consider myself old but it’s like now I have to go meet with the social worker to talk about a new case plan. We already have one case plan that was written back on September 2015 and that’s the case plan that we’ve been following, the social service has been following.
In fact, they took the letter on November 1st of last year, they give [0:22:42 inaudible] steps for the mother so I have visitations with the boys. They did nothing about it. They did nothing for three months, nothing. And now they’re duping the mother saying. “Oh well, she may see the older son,” who could be emancipated this month. He is 17 and a half and he could be free, “Oh he can start coming home on weekend visits,” so this is ludicrous, there’s a little 11 year-old boy that is going to be devastated.
Well, the foster care family put the notice up about several weeks ago, so it’s only about 15 days left, so we don’t know where the kids are going out. It would be more sensible to put both boys back to the mother like the November 1st, 14 steps said they were going to do and have the boys live with the mother on a trial basis. I know we’re trying to do baby steps, I know we’re trying to do that but you know, on Monday we got a big hoop. They want to put another restraining order on me. I mean, I’m so restrained, it’s unbelievable. I have to stay a hundred yards away from the kids and no contact except when the social service says it. I have a court order that says or written on November 1st that I can’t go around the apartment.
Now they want to put a third restraining order on me that’s going to say you’re not going to see the boys on apartment. This is getting over redundant, they’re just on a witch hunt and it’s just very ludicrous. This definitely is a lawsuit from the civil rights, my wife’s civil rights. They’ve tried to destroy our marriage, they’ve tried to take the family apart, they have lied to the children. Even my son’s new attorney, new attorney, he [0:24:17 inaudible] has twisted around saying, “Stop that, I know that’s not true, I know both of my boys love me, I know my daughter loves me deep down inside but she’s been so convinced that her bullying problem is not the issue, it’s a problem with mom and dad. And now she’s cancelled another visit with mom again.
Mom is getting to a point where her visitations with her daughter, she had only like four hours now, she was supposed to get 12 but she’s down to four hours once a week and now for the last two weeks in a row, my daughter didn’t even contacted. The court order say very clearly the children to contact the parents and tell them that they cannot make it, they’re still sick or have school or whatever it is. And guess, she says her problem is homework, just a homework. Well, that’s fine, mom has a phone, a smart phone that can work as a hotspot to the computer where they visits, it’s the visitation center in Anaheim which my son, my boy — it’s ludicrous, it’s for little kids, it isn’t for people that are 11 or 17 or 14 but we go along with everything. We follow everything and we just putting all my inheritance from my mom and dad that worked all their life, all their life to take care of me, lucky they are still taking care of me, and I put it all into nothing but just thrown at me, burned up and smoke.
And so you know, it’s like — we are good family, we are good people and unfortunately, the financial thing hit me, that was the thing that sunk the ship. I mean, if I had the money, I would have never been in the situation I’m in now and that’s what it takes [0:25:57 inaudible]. And of course, to all you listeners, make sure you got a warrant, make sure you don’t tell them anything and make sure you don’t — you go get an attorney. I don’t care [0:26:08 inaudible] because I got screwed because I was thinking that public — I’ve always been honest about things, I talked to the policeman or you talk to the social worker that they’re your friend, they want to help you, but they don’t. They’re very deceitful, they lie and they lie and lie and it just goes on and on.
And the people that are not telling the truth [0:26:32 inaudible] are going to be taken advantage of. It’s like — it’s terrible and we, our family, we never do drugs, we don’t have weapons, we don’t have tattoos, we don’t have piercings, we’re not gangers, not doing anything. People like that in six months get their kids back. While we, we’re college educated and we were well to do white [0:26:56 inaudible] I can’t say I’m white anyway but I can say my skin is white, it doesn’t look red, it should be red but it’s the other blood in there. But I feel that as a parent and my wife is with me every step of the way, she’s been so supportive to all this, yes we did make some mistakes [0:27:19 inaudible]. And now with this mediation, all those steps, all those steps, ever believe there’s a truth now and it’s so hard because then now you have to pursue a lawsuit. And yes, we will win the civil lawsuit but that doesn’t bring back the heartache, the love you have for your kids. It’s like we worked so hard. And so, you know, I don’t know what we can do about we have to deal with this restraining order and then I had to meet with the social worker which I was told not to meet with the social worker. Now she wants to sign a case plan and it’s just phenomenal, it’s tremendous.
All you listeners out there, it’s bad, it’s really bad, the social service there. And you know I’m lucky to have you, Vincent. I pray to god that one day, we’ll see our children in a normal [0:28:21 inaudible]. I don’t want to lose my wife. She’s now put in to the fact that she’s going to be — have to be apart from her husband now when the boys do get back. And that’s pretty hard on a marriage. We went to marriage counseling for months and months and months on our own initiative, on our own initiative. We did lots of things on our own initiatives. I mean, in focus program, I have that court order to go to. And again, I checked everything they throw at me and so for them to sit there or hear the commissioner who doesn’t know and read reports say, “Oh my goodness, look at all the bad things,” well, who wrote those story books? The social workers, a 22 year-old, she doesn’t have a college degree, getting paid $15 an hour so that she can run our life, she really has that power, it’s amazing. And they say that the director has all these little ponies and assistants and said, “Oh, we’re here for family reunification, we’re here to help you,” that is not the truth at all. He sits on the top of a beautiful, beautiful expensive building, all the money is for their lavishness. I imagined he’s getting more than the fixed rate. Ad so you know, it’s like you go around them and they get to go home to their kids.
Anyway, Vincent, I don’t want to take up time, I know you got stuffs that are coming on so I’ll end it there but I really like to know what are those case plan with the social worker.
Vincent Davis: My advice is not to meet with the social worker without the attorney especially by the case like yours. Listen, I want to thank you for calling and sharing with us and giving the words of your advice to our listeners.
Male: Thank you, Vincent. God bless you.
Vincent Davis: Okay. Right now, I’m going to bring the line with us, Attorney Stephanie Davis. Miss Davis, are you there?
Stephanie Davis: I am, good morning.
Vincent Davis: Good morning and thank you for being on the show with us this morning. Tell our listeners a little bit about your background.
Stephanie Davis: I have been practicing or in the area of law for — I’m celebrating my 30th year this year, went to Loyola Law School. After law school, I worked very briefly a couple of years with the Security and Exchange Commission, then started a law firm that you mentioned Davis and Davis. And then in 1997, I received the opportunity to sit as a referee for the Los Angeles County. I did that in delinquency court for 16 years. And in 2013, because of the budget crisis, those positions were eliminated and I lost my job and then I have came back — came to work for you in 2013 and that’s what I’ve been doing since then mainly in the area of juvenile dependency, delinquency and appellate law.
Vincent Davis: Stephanie, before you became a temporary judge in juvenile delinquency, you were known as one of the top juvenile dependency appellate lawyers and now that you’re in private practice again, you still have that same reputation. Do you have any interesting cases that you’re working on now?
Stephanie Davis: Yes. Actually, there was a case with — appellate case with grandparents who had their grandchild living with them before dependency court and their daughter was also living with them as well. She had a drug problem and they kept their grandson because they were afraid that he would be harmed going out with his mother. So she ended up I think getting upset with them and somehow CPS was called. And they came to the home and instead of leaving the child in the home where he was with the grandparents, the child was removed and he was removed because the home at that time didn’t qualify as a foster home for a relative placement. And the grandparents were misinformed, told the incorrect thing about the grandfather’s qualifying for — having the qualified for the criminal waiver which he did not have to qualify for but the social worker told him he did.
And he had to go — he went to this whole process of trying to do a criminal waiver and then after we got on the case they realized that — Social Services realized that they didn’t need a waiver. But by that time, I think almost 18 months had gone by where he wasn’t in the house anymore, we tried to have him returned. There was a long hearing in which minor’s counsel was in favor of having the child returned to the foster parents, I mean, I’m sorry to the grandparents and we lost that case but the judge did not agree. And then the grandparents have appealed and so we’re waiting, we’ve done all the briefing and we’re just waiting for the opinion to be filed and hopefully the court will see that through no fault, literally through no fault of their own, their grandchild has been kept from them based on errors and omissions and misstatements of the law.
Vincent Davis: Is that child — is their grandchild in a foster home who wants to adopt this child?
Stephanie Davis: Yes. Yes.
Vincent Davis: Did those foster parents appear in the case and with an attorney?
Stephanie Davis: They did not — they appeared in the case, not with an attorney but they did file de facto parent motion as did we. Ours were denied but theirs were granted by the court.
Vincent Davis: Is the denial of the de facto part of the appeal?
Stephanie Davis: Yes.
Vincent Davis: You know, I remember going to a seminar in juvenile dependency law and it was given by an expert juvenile dependency attorney from Northern California, her name was Janet Sherwood. And I remembered her talking about a case that said you can get de facto parent status if you were a prior caretaker of the child, you didn’t have to be a current caretaker of a child. And a lot of times — and I just lost one of these arguments in the court room recently, the judge and the attorneys argued well. Your client isn’t the current caretaker of the child, therefore you do not have or you should not get de facto status. And I’m thinking about this case and I’m trying t argue this case and it seems like nobody is listening to me or nobody really believes me that that’s the law in California, is that the law?
Stephanie Davis: Well, not only is that the law, I just had a very similar experience this week where I presented to court with, I believe it was 10 to 12 pages of legal authority for de facto parent, what the standard is that just — the criteria you’re supposed to look to see whether you qualify as the de facto parent, there is case after case that says that the person does not have to be the current caretaker to qualify as the de facto parent, they just have to have a significant amount of time — have spent a significant amount of time with the child such that a psychological parent-child bond has developed. They have information that you need that they can provide to the court, that they have — they regularly attend court hearings, that’s one of the criteria that’s looked at.
And so there’s actually five criteria I think the missing one I can’t think of right now but those are the — there’s a seminal case that explains what those five criteria are and like I said, there’s other cases that say, specifically, you do not have to be the current caretaker. But that is what the courts and the opposing attorneys focused on. The other thing they focused on is that — because you’re the past caretaker, you wouldn’t have current and relevant unusual information about the child, only that child’s current caretaker would have that but the facts on a case by case basis proved that to be untrue all the time. But like I said, I gave a 10-page points of authorities of what de facto parent law was and that, I will say, the decision hasn’t actually been made yet but it does not — it’s not looking good based on the questions and the statements said all out to be made by opposing counsel.
Vincent Davis: So the judge hasn’t made a decision yet?
Stephanie Davis: No, it was put off again for the third time because the opposing counsel complained that they didn’t have the opportunity to respond to my legal arguments which in fact they did but the judge allowed to continue the case, to allow them to write a written response.
Vincent Davis: I see. I see. Do you have any interesting trial cases that you’re doing right now?
Stephanie Davis: Not that I can think of offhand. No. And actually, not that I can think of offhand.
Vincent Davis: You know, about a year ago, you won a case in the Court Of Appeals for a parent whose family reunification services had been terminated. You represented that parent in the appeal and you won. Tell us a little bit about that case you won on the appeal.
Stephanie Davis: It was writ which after reunification services are terminated and the court sets a .26 hearing, the appellate remedy is by writ which means, it’s a sped up process basically, a sped up process from an appeal and the briefing and everything has to be done before the .26 hearing, so it’s an expedited appellate process.
So the mother had — it took her awhile to get herself together, she had a drug problem and she was dealing with it and she was doing very well with it. She was testing negative, visiting her child all the time but she didn’t have a housing, she didn’t have a place to live, she was going from friends to friend. And so at the 18th-month date, we didn’t represent her at that time and at the 18th month date, the court terminated reunification services and set the six-month — the .26 date and she actually filed the notice of intent and then hired us to do the writ. And so I did the writ arguing that she had not been provided with reasonable reunification services because the social services agency had not assisted her in finding housing and providing her with housing. And I argued other things as well about the reunification services but that was what the Court of Appeal decided was correct, might a correct argument that because they had not attempted to help her with housing, they had not provided her with reasonable reunification services. And so the matter was returned back to the state court — to the trial court and the .26, the termination of a parental right hearing was taken off calendar and she was given additional reunification services.
Vincent Davis: So at the time that happens, you basically stopped the possible adoption of her child at that time?
Stephanie Davis: Yes.
Vincent Davis: Very good. Very good. You know, while you’re on the phone, I’m going to take a call from area code 661, ending in 55 and maybe they have a story to share or question to ask you, Stephanie.
Stephanie Davis: Okay.
Vincent Davis: Good morning.
Male: Good morning, Vince. How are you?
Vincent Davis: Good. Did you have a question to ask or a story to share?
Male: I have a story to share. About 20 years ago, I was involved with a very close friend of mine who adopted her three paternal grandchildren. Those children’s parents had a serious history of drug use and crime and criminal activity and they were — oh, I believe 20 to 30 open CPS cases throughout a five-year period. She eventually was able to adopt them as her own and then she succumbed to cancer and the children were placed in various foster care for awhile. The ages at that time were 6, 14 and 15. Because of my close association with her, the two boys, at that time 14 and 15, were given to me without any formal documentation or kinship or what have you, more of a caregiver status.
The younger one went to live after me, I just couldn’t take care of both of them at that time, with another family and then basically bingoed back to me about a year later and I kept them both until they reach the age of legal age, 18. The older of the children was never a problem, never got involved in drugs or alcohol or crime, he had a typical teenage malfeasance of, you know, staying out late and pushing limits and boundaries but never really had a problem with him. I should say that all three children were born drug exposed and had various incidences of OCD and ODD and depression and were put on medication.
When I got the two boys, there was no further medication needed. They took themselves I guess off and there was no orders to have them back on. The older one, who at this point was 18, decided that he didn’t want to go to high school anymore, he wanted to marry his 15-year old high school sweetheart, got her pregnant, they had a baby boy, they moved to an undesirable location in Kern County, got into drugs and crime and more crime to support their drug use. The child at that time was one and a half, two years old was being neglected and abused to the point where CPS have done several investigations.
About a year later, I got a phone call from the mobile home park manager saying that the child now three had been found wandering the desert being chased by coyotes, crying. And what had happened was his mother had left the house early to score whatever it is, I guess heroin at that time and the baby followed and got misplaced from her and thankfully someone was waking up and saw this happening and called the police and the park manager called me. Park manger gave CPS my name and number because I was listed as, for some reason, the grandparent, and she asked me, would I be interested in taking this child and I said, “Yes, of course.” I was living in Santa Clarita and she told me I needed to come to Bakersfield to pick him up and I didn’t know where Bakersfield was so it was hard.
Fast forward now, the child is three, mommy showed back up, came to live with us for awhile — she’d say, “Hey, I’m going out to get a pack of cigarette,” and she’d be gone two or three days. Those two or three days turned into two or three months and the CPS social workers suggested I apply for legal guardianship. I did so and was granted legal guardianship in May of 2013 and I have the child up until November of last year.
The father made some serious allegations against me of sexual abuse when he was a child and recanted those allegations under oath in the court of law as well as this series of social workers and attorneys and the probate court judge that gave me the guardianship. Even though he recanted those allegations several times, they still removed the child who is now seven from me and we are currently, with your help and your law firm and thank God for you guys, I would never been able to navigate the system we’re in court and I’m hopeful that I’ll get him back.
In the meantime, it’s been an endless, almost Gestapo persecution by social workers, lies and innuendos and I can’t begin to explain the emotional trauma that not only I’m experiencing on a daily if not hourly basis, but that the child is feeling. The fact that I maintain educational rights and I’m able to see him twice a week for a couple of hours and I’m getting phone calls with him for 20 minutes every night that they have tried to change, sometimes I don’t get the phone calls, sometimes the visits, I’m yelled at and threatened. It’s just never ending and for no basis, I was monitored by DCFS as a foster parent caregiver for the last five years with this child without a hiccup, without any type of issue. I was actually facilitating visits between the birthparents and the child because they really didn’t want to take care of his needs, he was more of a possession I should say and I lost a lot of his immediate family support that I want had and I went through the same thing seven years before when I had the father and the father’s brother.
So now we’re in court and we’re fighting. I continue to have hiccups with the social worker and the caregiver. It should also be known that the current caregiver was the one-time legal guardian of the paternal aunt who had a minor’s criminal record for child abuse and just got off probation. The original week report from the CPS worker stated matter of factly because of the seriousness of her crime, the child should not be placed anywhere near her. She finished her probation and the person got custody and she’s living in the house with her nephew. So he’s having some very serious issues at school, transitioning. He was in a very — a smaller school, a charter school and doing very well.
Now he’s — I’m getting reports said he’s acting out, he’s causing trauma to himself, he’s not going along with the program. Every time I see him, he’s complaining about the school or how he’s treated. I got a report yesterday that the caregiver refused to give him food because he did bad at school. So it’s hearsay at this point. I finally took the advice of my attorney, Mr. Davis, and stopped all contact with the social worker and they have to contact their county counsel and county counsel contacts your office and it’s actually become retaliatory now. They instead of contacting me directly, they contacted me through the caregiver and the caregiver sends me emails or the caregiver is now telling me what I can and cannot talk to my child about on the phone. And I have a visit later on this afternoon and I’d read every visit, I want to see him, I want to spend time with him but something always happens. It’s you can’t say this or you can’t do this or you can’t hug him. I’m being treated as if I’m a sexual predator and I’m not being accused of any malfeasance against this child. I’m being accused of a past sexual abuse of the father who is now 26 years old and who has recanted those allegations, I can’t tell you how many times.
So the problems I’m having now is just the waiting and having to deal with the attitude and behavior of the social worker and the caregiver and being told that you’re never going to get him back and the legal fees are expensive to do so I’m doing the best I can and trying to keep my emotions in check. I recently started going to a psychologist for anxiety and I’ve gone to some church recovery type group. I should say that I’ve never had any chemical or drug dependency. My problem is anxiety and I’m a little emotional. My question now is how long do you think it will continue and is there anything else that I need to do to maintain my composure for the best interest of my child?
Vincent Davis: I think you’re doing what you need to do by going to the individual counseling to deal with the stress and the frustration and the anxieties, so continue to do that. And as I told you before, we’re going to have to get copies of the probate file and the probate transcript because we’re in the middle of you trial and I think the judge believes — doesn’t know if to believe that the father has recanted these allegations in another court of law and I believe that if he sees that evidence, that the father had made the same allegation and has recanted them under penalty of perjury testifying in another court of law in Los Angeles County, I believe we’re going to win hands down.
Listen, I want to thank you for calling in and sharing your story, I really appreciate that, I know it’s very difficult, you know, it’s a very difficult situation for you and your family but I do want to thank you for sharing this with our listeners. Thank you. Bye, bye.
Vincent Davis: Stephanie, that’s a very difficult case as you know. I know you know a little bit about the case, but very difficult and it’s becoming very time-consuming because the social workers, for whatever reason, believed the father who has multiple convictions even for theft and things that would impugn his credibility and for them to try to ignore or hide the fact that the father has previously testified those accusations are not true, it’s almost unbelievable.
Stephanie Davis: It is. Yeah, I am very familiar with his story and his situation and it is — this is a perfect example of how children can get destroyed in the system because these little boys did not — was not harmed, neglected, abused in any way and he is now because of the untruth of his father, he’s now been flipped in the system and he is suffering. His behavior is speaking volumes about what’s going on with him and nobody is listening. And I’m hoping that you will be able — I think the strategy that you have is right on point and I don’t know how it can be ignored either when it’s brought to the court’s attention that he has lied under oath and not only lied under oath but recanted that story multiple times to multiple people who are willing to testify about that.
Vincent Davis: You know, the social workers have tried to sweep that under the rug and we’re in the middle of the trial and the judge stopped the trial and told us, he wants to see those records because at first, I don’t think he really believed that this was true, that this father had previously testified and said these allegations weren’t true under oath. The father testified in this trial that he never testified in another case and that he never recanted those allegations. So having heard that testimony, having read the reports of it being swept under the rug by the social worker, the judges thinking, “Well, wait a minute. You know, Davis must be crazy,” but then I put our client on the stand who says, “Yeah, there was a full trial, the guy testified blah, blah, blah.” And so now the judge is looking at me thinking, “Well, if there was a full trial and this was already adjudicated, why are we here and why is the social worker…?”
Stephanie Davis: Why are we here? Exactly.
Vincent Davis: So he stopped — the judge stopped the trial and ordered that these records be obtained. You know, I want to tell you something because we just have a few minutes left, I had a conversation with —— not today, I mean yesterday and she told me that a social worker confessed her that her child was detained because during the pre-investigation, they found out that I represented the mother and that because of the county counsel’s — this particular county counsel’s dislike for me that they detained the child to get —–. We went to court on the detention hearing and the judge sent the child back to the mother and the social worker allegedly confesses to the mother that it was all a bullshit case and that basically it was retaliation because I don’t like to cooperate with the Department of Children and Family Services. Can you imagine something like that happening?
Stephanie Davis: Yeah, well you said earlier, you’re not surprised but you can imagine things happening, that’s the same way I feel. You know, every time somebody tells me a story similar to that, I feel like I’ve been pushed back for a second in reality, can this really be true. But then I realized you can’t keep hearing the same stories over and over again and them not be true. That many people from different agencies, from different locations, different people, different social workers, they can’t all be in the conspiracy of withholding evidence or withholding information about the truth. This consistency in these statements that people say lead me to believe that the things are true.
Vincent Davis: Stephanie, I want to thank you for joining us this weekend on this show. We have run out of time. Hope to have you back as guest in the future.
Stephanie Davis: Okay, you’re quite welcome.
Vincent Davis: Thank you. Everyone, enjoy your weekend. We’ll see you next week on the radio. Bye-bye.