Many of my problems in family court, as describe in this blog, stem from a Nov. 2007 CPS investigation. Leveraging that, my ex-wife got an ex-parte order from Commissioner Irwin H. Joseph to send the cops to seize my kids at my house, pending the completion of the investigation.
CPS produced a report saying that accusations of emotional abuse had been confirmed, and that I was being put on the California database of child abusers. It is officially called the California Child Abuse Central Index (CACI)
. A social worker, Sally Mitchell, testified in family court against me.
Legally, a CPS social worker's opinion carries no more weight than any other witness. Her testimony was quite weak, and she did not make a child custody recommendation. Apparently her position was that such a recommendation was unnecessary because the court had already seized my kids by the time she testified.
I wasted several years trying to fight what happened, before Comm. Joseph, the appeals court, psychologist Ken Perlmutter, and Judge Heather Morse. It did not matter how much evidence I presented. None could get past the fact that I had been labeled a child abuser, and none would ever let me see my kids unsupervised.
In litigation over the past 6 years, all we have ever had was a series of temporary child custody orders. No one could ever find any evidence that I was an unfit parent, so as to justify not seeing my kids at all.
The previous family court dispute in 2004 resulted in a full child custody trial, and a final (permanent) judicial determination of 50-50 joint legal and physical child custody of our 2 kids. But for the past 6 years, there has never been any possibility of a permanent resolution, because of the bogus CPS abuse listing. Giving permanent sole custody to my ex-wife would require me being found unfit (or waiving my rights), but there was no hard evidence against me. Any other custody determination requires finding that CPS was wrong about the abuse. That is, I might get 5% custody if I am a lousy parent, but if I am an abuser, then no partial custody could be justified.
Joseph, Morse, and Perlmutter all made 6-figure salaries by agreeing with CPS. They are all crooks, and they will not give an opinion against CPS even when they know that CPS is wrong.
At the time that I was put on the abuser database, the only way to contest it was to write a letter to the director of the CPS office. I did that, but the director just parroted Mitchell's opinion, and gave no meaningful consideration to my objections. Since then I concentrated on the battle in family court, as that is the higher power and that is what affected me. There is no reasoning with CPS. In their view, the database is a list of everyone suspected of abuse, and they do not believe that anyone should ever be removed. You could tell them that you are not guilty, and they would say that it is not a database of guilty people, but suspected people, and once suspected you are always suspected.
I have occasionally posted stories about the database. Most of them were about the lack of due process for getting off the database. I assumed that the whole system was FUBAR, and hopeless.
I posted in April
about how CPS was grumbling about some new due process requirements. Cops can no longer put someone in the database, without a CPS investigation. CPS used to put people in as either confirmed or unconfirmed abuser, but now they can only put confirmed abusers in. But I was in as "confirmed" by CPS, so that did not do me any good.
I got some new optimism with an appeals court ruling on spanking with a spoon
that I posted last month. This was the first time, to my knowledge, that CPS judgment was challenged and reversed outside CPS. That is, the mom with the wooden spoon got some meaningful due process.
There are now lawyers in Southern California who specialize in getting people out of the database. A good one is Tate Lounsbery of San Diego
. His web site has an ebook and other good info on contesting a listing. He says:
What are the consequences of being placed on CACI?
If you are placed on CACI, you may never be able to adopt a child, become a foster parent, work at a school or day care, operate a day care at your home, obtain security clearance, etc. Your spouse will also never be able to run a day care out of your home. If you have a sibling who has listed you in his will as the designated person to care for his children in the event he passes away, being on the CACI may prevent you from fulfilling your sibling’s wishes. As the 9th Circuit Court noted, being listed on the CACI creates “a stigma and a tangible burden on an individual’s ability to obtain a right or status recognized by state law”. (Humphries v. County of Los Angeles, 554 F.3d 1170, 1188.)
Child abuse is a crime, so being on the CACI is having a criminal record.
Now that it is possible, I wrote CPS a letter demanding some of that due process. I will post that next.