Friday, November 01, 2013

Tennessee CPS gets new restrictions

A reader writes:
The Tennessean has had an ongoing series since September, exposing problems with the state children's services department. Another news site has an article, New U.S. Waiver To Give DCS More Flexibility To Help Children.

On Sunday, you posted an article from the St. Louis and Atlanta newspapers about CPS in Missouri. Wonder why the news media in 3 different metro areas suddenly started churning out these kind of stories.
I don't know. I would like to think that there is a public shift towards more accountability of CPS.

The Tennessee story says:
The agency told caseworkers this month that they can no longer remove children from homes without an in-person court hearing, a process that can take days — or longer in some rural areas — and potentially leave a child being abused or neglected in dangerous homes until a judge can review the case.

Before the federal ruling, caseworkers and their supervisors could decide on their own to remove a child from a home, but had to petition a court within 72 hours for a hearing to review their actions — a policy that the Sixth Circuit decision made clear is unconstitutional.

Juvenile court officials and attorneys say there is a middle ground between DCS’ previous policy giving the agency sole authority to remove a child on the spot and its new policy to wait until a judge can decide.

This policy is a result of federal court liability:
And in a pair of recent rulings, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit used the cases to spell out for the first time that caseworkers, like police, are governed by the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens against searches and seizures done without a warrant. ...

No other state subject to the Sixth Circuit ruling has gone as far as DCS to limit caseworkers’ abilities to remove children. The federal court has jurisdiction over Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.
I think that one of the cases is Andrews v Hickman County Tennessee pdf.

All state workers, including cops and cps social workers, are subject to basic civil rights laws, and can be sued in federal court under the post Civil War Klu Klux Klan Act. These lawsuit get filed a lot, because if they win, the plaintiff can get attorneys fees. I have considered filing such a lawsuit in my case. But these suits usually lose, under it happens to get the interest of some federal judge who wants to make some sort of procedural point.

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