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Agency found to have violated family law in removing children

The vast majority of parents work diligently to ensure that their children are cared for and are protected. Unfortunately, not every child enjoys these basic rights and may need to be removed while parents work to correct poor behaviors or environmental conditions. There are laws that state how social workers are to conduct themselves in order to ensure that parental rights are not violated. California parents who believe their rights have not been protected may seek assistance from a family law attorney. 

The Department of Social Services in one county was recently found to have violated the rights of parents when removing possibly hundreds of children from their homes. The social workers were instructed to use an agreement referred to as a custody and visitation agreement (CVA). Parents were coerced into signing these agreements rather than having a judge issue an order granting county workers the authority to remove a child believed to be in an unsafe or unsanitary home. This issue recently came to light when one father prepared to fight to regain custody of his daughter. 

This father reported that his wife had suffered a medical crisis and that he needed to provide care for her. He sought child care for his daughter at the home of a neighbor. After a few days of residing with the neighbor, one of the child's teachers reported that she smelled like a cat. DSS workers purportedly determined that the girl was not living in sanitary conditions. Her father was forced to sign a CVA that granted custody to his estranged father.

During the process of regaining custody of his child, it was discovered that the CVA agreement was not a court-approved document. It was determined that this North Carolina county has been using these illegal documents for years and that hundreds of children may have been adversely affected. It is feared by some workers that, because of the illegal documents, vulnerable children will be returned to unfit homes. California parents who find themselves in a serious child custody dispute may seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney who can help find the resolution that will be in the best interest of the child.

Source:, "Child custody: WNC county illegally removed kids from homes", Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr, March 15, 2018

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