Sunday, February 10, 2008

Investigation of juvenile depedency courts

A reader sent this Mercury news story today about the California juvenile dependency courts. It is part of a special investigation, with more stories to come.

The juvenile dependency court is where govt social workers take kids away from their parents. The article describes how poor families are busted up with a minimum of due process and legal representation. Usually it is a poor drug-addicted parent being charged with child neglect.

Much of this is hidden from the public, I am glad to see the newspaper expose it.
Most dependency cases do not involve physical or sexual abuse. Eighty percent of cases seek to protect the children from neglect, according to state child welfare data. Parents leave children home alone, or with inappropriate caregivers. Bingeing on drugs or just plain impoverished, they fail to stock the refrigerator. Others lose their kids when police are called to break up violent domestic disputes.
The article concludes that the main problem is that judges and lawyers are overworked. I think that the problems are a lot deeper. In my case, we had a formal hearing in court, but then the CPS social worker and the judge ignored the facts and the law and they acted on their personal prejudices.

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