"When we get a report, it's a 'report of suspected abuse or neglect'; we [have to] decide if it needs to be investigated, and that decision is made using some standardized tools, by trained social workers," says the Santa Cruz County Human Resources Agency's Judy Yokel, noting that some reports go no further than the initial phone call.Judy Yokel is lying when she says that Santa Cruz CPS uses standardized tools, and when she says that the agency makes its determinations according to the penal code definitions.
"If we decide to investigate it, then there's a comprehensive investigation conducted by trained social workers in our emergency response unit, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to investigate child-abuse reports. And one of the primary goals of that investigation is to determine whether in fact abuse or neglect did occur, and we use the definitions of abuse and neglect that are in the penal code," explains Yokel, who is assistant division director of the HRA's Family and Children's Services division. "The investigation can sometimes take up to 30 days, sometimes much shorter, and if we determine according to those penal code definitions, that the incident meets the definition of child abuse or neglect, then the report is considered substantiated."
I complained to Ms. Yokel myself about this. Her employee, social worker Sally Mitchell, testified under oath in court that she did not follow those penal code definitions. Ms. Mitchell declared that she "substantiated" that my kids were abused, even tho the statutory definition was not met.
When I confronted Ms. Yokel with this, she denied that any standards apply, and said that Ms. Mitchell could use whatever subjective judgment she pleases.
I would quote Ms. Mitchell's testimony verbatim, but when I previously did that, Cmr. Irwin H. Joseph wrote an out-of-court letter to my ex-wife inviting her to make a motion to find me in contempt of court. And my ex-wife completed her part of her bargain, of course.
So I will have to paraphrase the CPS testimony. The Penal Code defines what CPS
calls emotional abuse in section 11166.05:
Any mandated reporter who has knowledge of or who reasonably suspects that a child is suffering serious emotional damage or is at a substantial risk of suffering serious emotional damage, evidenced by states of being or behavior, including, but not limited to, severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal, or untoward aggressive behavior toward self or others, may make a report to an agency specified in Section 11165.9.Ms. Mitchell testified that there was no emotional damage, and there was no behavioral evidence of damage or risk of damage. She testified that I never committed any acts of abuse. She denied following any standards, and testified that she made no finding that the statutory definition of abuse was satisfied.
Nevertheless she declared that my ex-wife's accusation of emotional abuse had been "substantiated", and I was put on the California child abuser register.
No wonder the county has higher rates of "substantiated" abuse. It has a CPS agency that lies about following standards, and reports abuse based on their own subjective whims.