Corruption and Abuse of Power by Children and Youth Services. News around Berks County and my little hometown Robesonia.
Friday, August 26, 2016
You Can Beat CYS and Lawyers like Shawn McMillan are PROVING it!!
Beating CPS, there is hope.
A Southern California mother, Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick, filed a lawsuit against Child Protective Services (CPS). She claimed caseworkers had unjustly taken her children in February 2000. The children were ages 6 and 9 at the time. The accusation against her was that she was telling the children that their father was trying to take them away from her.
Because of this, the children were placed in the Orangewood Children’s Home. The children were kept there for a month, then transferred to afoster home for two months. Eventually they were placed in their father’s custody, and the mother had to endure the humiliation of supervised visits.
Another family destroyed!
But wait! The mother recovered from the injustice done to her enough to file a federal lawsuit based on violations of Constitutional law. With the help of an attorney, Shawn A. McMillan, they went after the Orange County (California) Department of Social Services and three caseworkers.
In the lawsuit the mother alleged the caseworkers intentionally misled the court, fabricated evidence against her, and hid exculpatory evidence. She also alleged that caseworkers withheld information from the judge regarding the emotional distress of the children, who wanted to be with their mother. Also alleged was that a supervisor in the agency refused Kinship Care rights to relatives without good cause, forcing the children to stay longer in foster care.
On March 23, 2007, after a seven-week civil trial, the jury found the Department of Social Services and caseworkers Marcie Vreeken and Helen Dwojak liable for violating the mother’s parental rights and violating the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick was awarded 4.9 million dollars. The jury also awarded her an additional $5,900 in punitive damages. The large settlement was intended to ‘send a message’ to Child Protective Services bureaucrats.
In a press release after the settlement the attorney gave this list of illegal practices of the caseworkers involved:
… detention of children without a finding of imminent danger or serious physical injury;
… interviewing children without a parent present;
… continuing detention after learning there was no basis to do so;
“My client Deanna Fogarty-Hardwick, is satisfied by the Jury’s recognition of the harm that the defendants caused her. But, obviously, no amount of money can ever undo the damage inflicted upon Ms. Fogarty-Hardwick or her children. We expect the Jury‘s 4.9 million dollar verdict will cause the County of Orange and its Department of Social Services to implement procedures to prevent future abuses by County social workers and protect other families.” …
My opinion: I consider this to be outrageously good news. More people should be filing charges against CPS, but they don’t, mainly because they have a hard time finding attorneys willing to represent them. The attorneys know that CPS maims families by splitting them up using trumped up, inaccurate, or fictitious accusations. But it seems most attorneys don’t have the guts to fight CPS. Perhaps it isn’t a politically correct move to sue this overly powerful agency, yet this is what needs to be done if we’re ever going to be able to stop caseworkers from unfairly decimating families.
I am a mom of 2 boys. Ian 27 years and Elliott 26 years. I have spent all of the past 27+ years being a MOM. They are my life. Dennis is my husband and best friend. We like our peaceful life and traveling to South Carolina for beach time. My guys make my life worth living and they are proof I am the luckiest person because I have them. I have also been a foster mom. Dennis and I took pride in helping children during difficult times in their lives by providing a safe home and guidance. It also helped with my empty nest syndrome which was a rough road to travel. I want to clarify for everyone that follows my page or finds me through a search about their fight with child welfare. I am NOT an attorney. This blog was set up to provide information from experience and or my opinion. After seeing the abuse within children and youth services and small government I wanted to share my insight and personal knowledge of certain events. At no time is the information in this blog to be construed as legal direction.