Do you feel that DCFS and other Child Protective Service Organizations are taking advantage of the system by interpreting the law?
Do you feel DCFS is interpreting medical diagnoses?
You have rights, How well do you know them?
Below are questions you may ask yourself when DCFS shows up at your door. Along with quotes from the 1.) DCFS Procedure Manual http://dcfswebresource.prairienet.org/procedures/homepage.phtml
2.) Bill of Rights The conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added.
3.) DHH HIPPA http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs8-med.htm
4.) IL DHS (Public Aid) http://www.hfs.illinois.gov/
6.) US/IL Constitution http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.billofrights.html
Illinois gets more money for these programs with more cases received. It sounds more like having to meet a quota for funding rather than protecting our children and preserving families.
The number of cases have increased only due to the mandated reporter which was developed by DCFS because they wouldn't have a job if they didn'tt have reports. If a person, school, doctor did not care for children they should not be in that profession. By telling these entities that they will face charges, jail time, fines and loose their job if they do not report is the only reason for the numerous reports. If they would allow parents to be parents then children could be children.
How well do you know the Mandated Reporter Law?
Sec. 4.02. Any physician who willfully fails to report suspected child abuse or neglect as required by this Act shall be referred to the Illinois State Medical Disciplinary Board for action in accordance with paragraph 22 of Section 22 of the Medical Practice Act of 1987. Any dentist or dental hygienist who willfully fails to report suspected child abuse or neglect as required by this Act shall be referred to the Department of Professional Regulation for action in accordance with paragraph 19 of Section 23 of the Illinois Dental Practice Act. Any other person required by this Act to report suspected child abuse and neglect who willfully fails to report such is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for a first violation and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent violation. (Source: 91-197, eff. 1-1-00; PA 92-0801, eff. 8-16-02.)
Any person who knowingly transmits a false report to the Department commits the offense of disorderly conduct under subsection (a)(7) of Section 26-1 of the Criminal Code of 1961. A first violation of this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a term of imprisonment for up to one year, or by a fine not to exceed $1,000, or by both such term and fine. A second or subsequent violation is a Class 4 felony.%u201D
(Source: P.A. 90-15, eff. 6-13-97.)
Hospitals and medical personnel engaged in examination, care, and treatment of persons are required by the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act to report to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services all suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. The Act provides that anyone participating in this report shall be presumed to be acting in good faith and in so doing shall be immune from liability, civil or criminal, that otherwise might be incurred or imposed 325 ILCS 5/9)
Sec. 9. Any person, institution or agency, under this Act, participating in good faith in the making of a report or referral, or in the investigation of such a report or referral or in the taking of photographs and x-rays or in the retaining a child in temporary protective custody or in making a disclosure of information concerning reports of child abuse and neglect in compliance with Sections 4.2 and 11.1 of this Act shall have immunity from any liability, civil, criminal or that otherwise might result by reason of such actions. For the purpose of any proceedings, civil or criminal, the good faith of any persons required to report or refer, or permitted to report, cases of suspected child abuse or neglect or permitted to refer individuals under this Act or required to disclose information concerning reports of child abuse and neglect in compliance with Sections 4.2 and 11.1 of this Act, shall be presumed. Notice they do not use 'ASS U ME' but that's exactly what they are doing-assuming.
Even DCFS is unclear on what to report as abuse or neglect. Professional opinions and judgments are not considered. Since the Mandated Reporter (as deemed only by their profession) face Felony Criminal charges for failure to report, they report what could be just a normal childhood incident. Then DCFS gets to decide whether or not to proceed. Thus without any medical or professional license, they (DCFS) are attempting to practice medicine.
The definitions in ANCRA are not perfectly clear in helping mandated reporters (or DCFS investigators later) in distinguishing between inappropriate/undesirable parenting and those acts which constitute abuse and neglect. It is clear that there are many points at which judgments must be made.
You need to make the call immediately and no one within your employment setting is permitted to restrain the call. It must be noted, however, that ANCRA prohibits any individual, even a supervisor, from suppressing, changing, or editing a report (ANCRA Sec.4). On the other hand, some mandated reporters/professionals suggest that notifying the parents, especially when one or both are suspected of being the perpetrators of the abuse or neglect, may increase their anxiety needlessly, leading to avoidant or hostile behavior. Telling might give them time to cover up evidence of the abuse or neglect and put pressure on the children to change the story or prevent further disclosures. Some reporters are particularly concerned about the possibility of retribution against the children combined with the improved ability of the perpetrators to avoid detection by DCFS. The child's safety should always be an important factor in deciding whether or not to inform the parent of your report.
These investigations can sometimes be among the most difficult for DCFS investigators because there are many areas subject to individual interpretation. Illinois law focuses on the minimum parenting standards required to provide for the basic physical needs of children. These may differ significantly from community standards.
Accordingly, one must return again to the question of what is the harm, or potential harm, to the child. When a child who is attending a public school is an indicated victim of physical or sexual abuse perpetrated by a member of his or her family, the State Central Register (SCR) will forward a copy of the confidential case investigative summary to the child's school where it will be maintained in accordance with the Illinois School Student Records Act (325 ILCS 5/4.02)
concern about a child's well-being or a fear of being accused of failing to report may lead mandated reporters to "err on the side of caution", reporting incidents that may not meet the definition of abuse or neglect. DCFS is often limited in its ability to intervene in family life, both by the law which defines its operations and by the resources available. In making a report, mandated reporters are in the best position to identify signs of harm to children and to take the steps necessary to help protect them.
Willful failure to report suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect is a misdemeanor (first violation) or a class 4 felony (second or subsequent violation). Further, professionals may be subject to penalties by their regulatory boards.
DCFS calls it an allegation -Guilty until proven innocent
An allegation (also called adduction) is a claim of a fact by a party in a pleading, which the party claims to be able to prove. Allegations remain assertions without proof, until they can be proved. Generally in a civil complaint a plaintiff alleges facts sufficient to establish all the elements of the crime and thus create a cause of action. The plaintiff must then carry the burden of proof and the burden of persuasion in order to succeed in the lawsuit Disjunctive allegations are allegations in a pleading joined together by an "or". In a complaint, disjunctive allegations are usually per se defective because such a pleading does not put the party on notice of which allegations they must defend.
f) Purpose of the Allegation System
The allegation-based system provides specific allegations to assist in focusing the investigator's attention on the incident/circumstances at hand. The system eliminates the need for investigators to review every aspect of a family's life and environment. The allegations also provide a framework for decision-making by SCR and investigative staff and provide an important investigation tracking and record keeping function.
In order to fulfill the purposes of the allegation-based system, it is essential that the allegations be narrowly defined and used consistently throughout the state. In the past, there has been a tendency to mark too many allegations in completing the SACWIS reports, thus thwarting the goal of focusing the investigation on specific issues and concerns. Accordingly, the allegations have been redefined and revised to allow only limited interpretation and usage.
To verify the existence of specific injuries or a medical condition, a doctor's diagnosis is frequently required. (See allegation definitions for specific requirements.) If a doctor, or other medical source, will not or is not able to share information or speak with an investigator, the diagnosis may be documented through a police report or an interview with a police officer, which details the doctor's findings. Medical sources are preferred and are absolutely required for several allegations.
Has a DCFS investigator ever taken you kids out of school and questioned them about abuse or neglect without your knowledge?
Procedures 300.50, Initial Investigation
worker/officer shall make a reasonable effort to notify the parents prior to interviewing the child. Reasonable efforts would consist of telephoning the parents at all home or work numbers provided to the child care facility, checking local listings and directory assistance. If the parents cannot be reached, the interview with the alleged child victim shall be conducted and the parents shall be notified as soon as possible after the interview has been conducted It is preferred that parents be present in the interview, whenever possible.
Has DCFS ever told you that they have to enter your home and complete a safety checklist?
A Home Safety Checklist waiver may be granted by the Investigation Specialist Supervisor if there is an SOR and the family does not have an open service case with the Department; and a checklist was completed for the family within 30 days, and the allegation or allegations of the SOR do not involve inadequate shelter, inadequate supervision, substance misuse, environmental neglect, inadequate food, or inadequate clothing. The Investigation Specialist Supervisor must complete a SACWIS supervisory case note documenting the waiver and rationale for the approval.
Has DCFS told you that they need a signed release of records?
The HIPPA law states that no one can view this without written authorization or a court order.
Medical examinations of children alleged to be abused or neglected can only be obtained with parental consent as long as the child remains in the parents' custody. If the parent refuses to consent to the examination and there is no imminent risk of harm to the child sufficient to justify Temporary Protective Custody, the medical examination cannot be obtained.
Parents shall be asked to sign consent forms for the release of information obtained through these medical examinations. Reports of the medical examinations and copies of parental consent shall be placed in the CA/N Investigative File
Did a DCFS Investigator ever tell you that you have to comply to what is asked? Have they asked you why you won't cooperate?
1) Subject Refuses to Cooperate
The requirement regarding in-person contact with subjects who refuse to cooperate (i.e., who refuse to meet or speak with the investigative worker) shall only be waived when the following steps have been taken and the subject(s) still refuses to cooperate:
· The investigative worker has attempted to notify the non-cooperative subject of the Department's responsibility and authority, under Illinois law, to investigate the report;
· The local law enforcement agency and/or the State's Attorney's Office have either exhausted their authority in attempts to get the subject to cooperate, or have refused to become involved.
The investigative worker shall document, on the SACWIS Case Note, the facts surrounding the subject's refusal to cooperate and all of the steps which have been taken to secure cooperation, including attempts to use a translator or interpreter for limited/non-English speaking persons or hearing impaired persons. (325 ILCS 5/7.5)
Sec. 7.5. If the Child Protective Service Unit is denied reasonable access to a child by the parents or other persons and it deems that the health, safety, and best interests of the child so require, it shall request the intervention of a local law enforcement agency or seek an appropriate court order to examine and interview the child. (Source: P.A. 90-28, eff. 1-1-98.)
Has DCFS ever told you that they must have photos or video tape?
1) Photographs, Video and Audio Tapes
The investigative worker may take or obtain photographs (black and white or color) or videotapes of a child's observable injuries, child's environment, or a child's statement/testimony if the child is the alleged victim in a CA/N report. In fact, photographs or videotapes should be taken when they will provide good physical evidence of abuse or neglect and will serve to substantiate an investigative finding. The Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act does not give the Department authority to make videotapes or audiotapes of children without parental consent. A CFS 600-3, Authorization for Release of Information, must be obtained from the parent or guardian before the videotaping session. For hearing impaired or limited/non-English speaking children, interpreters must be obtained.
NOTE: If photographs or videotapes are being used to document a child's injuries, the investigator must ensure that the safeguards described in preceding Section 300.50(b)(5), Observation of the Child, are to be followed.
A) Request Assistance
If an investigative worker does not have direct access to a camera, the investigative worker shall contact the local law enforcement agency and request that the agency take the photographs or allow the investigative worker to use its camera.
If the alleged child victim is in the hospital, the investigative worker shall request assistance from hospital staff in obtaining photographs.
For consent to be effective, it must be given by someone who is capable of understanding the nature and consequences associated with the videotaping or photography. If you are photographing minors or mentally disabled individuals, you should get the consent of the parent or guardian.
The following is an excerpt from the DCFS Procedure Manual
The following may never be used as the sole basis for dumfounding a report:
Intent to Harm the Child: The alleged perpetrator's intent to hurt a child, leave a mark, or endanger him by leaving him alone in a car is not a factor to be considered in making a finding. The law is clear that the showing of intent is not required to find abuse, but that the abuse occurred by "other than accidental means". In reviewing the specific circumstances surrounding the allegation, the focus must be on whether the caretaker failed to exercise the care that circumstances required, "what happened to the child" not "what was the adult's intent".
One Time Incident: There is nothing in Illinois CA/N law that allows a report to be unfounded solely because the abusive/neglectful incident was a one-time incident. The incident must be evaluated giving greater weight to the other factors. It is equally inappropriate to unfound a case of an infant being left alone simply because it had not happened before.
Agreement to Accept Services: The fact that a perpetrator agrees to receive services (or is already receiving them) has no effect on the decision to Indicate or Unfound an allegation. This determination is based upon the incident that occurred. Treatment can impact the safety and risk assessments, but not the finding decision. For example, a mother who hit a two-year old in the face with a belt should not be Unfounded simply because she is getting anger-management counseling.
Economic Status or Neighborhood: Investigative decisions must never be influenced in any way by a family's economic status or by the condition of the neighborhood in which they live. The fact that families are wealthy or that they live in an affluent neighborhood plays no part in decisions to indicate or unfound reports.
Attitude Toward the Worker: The attitude family members express toward the worker must not influence investigative decisions. Reports must never be unfounded because the family is compliant, agreeable, or cooperative with the worker.
2) If the answer is "yes", the incident or set of circumstances is to be compared to the definitions of all relevant allegations and the established standard for indicating them to determine whether the situation fits. Relevant factors must be considered for applicable allegations [See Appendix B]. If the answer is "yes", the report is indicated. The CERAP and risk assessment should be reviewed to determine what steps should be taken to assure the safety of involved children.
A good website to get information when DCFS comes calling
We the undersigned are concerned with the corruption of our child protection agencies.
We ask that you uphold your Constitutional Affirmation to "support the Constitution as the Supreme Law Of The Land" We the undersigned are exercising our right under the Bill of Rights Amendment 1 to "petition the government for a redress of grievances".
We feel that financial gain is allowing these agencies to loose focus of what is best for the children. We feel that our Constitutional Rights and Amendments under the Bill of Rights are being violated due to personal judgments with no factual basis.
We are concerned with the violation of Amendment IV.
Child Welfare organizations are demanding to enter our private dwellings and search the inhabitants based on a "TIP" and not factual evidence. The investigators and Caseworkers within these agencies are not required to take an oath or affirmation to uphold the law, they are not required to obtain specific education courses to make judgments on the behalf of parents, families and children.
We are concerned with the misinterpretations of Amendment V.
Child Services investigate allegations based solely on one-sided telephone calls. Child abuse is a criminal offense and should be handled by law enforcement. By threats of indicated reports and children removal, these agencies coheres parents and caregivers to possibly incriminate themselves. Liberties are violated by demanding service plans with their agency. They have taken children into custody without due process of the law. Mothers have had their children taken away just after birth in the hospital based on past investigations and child removal. Parents are being deprived of life or said property by not allowing visitation with confiscated children. Parents are required to pay support to the agency for confiscating their children. Parents are required to pay for services that the agency deems necessary in order to have their children returned.
We are concerned with the disregard of Amendment VI.
Because Child Protection Agencies do not operate under the law, there may or may not be a criminal judgment made even though child abuse is considered a criminal offense. Parents are not allowed a trial or jury decision. All decisions are made by the said agency. Parents are denied the right to address the accusers as the agency claims a confidentiality procedure in ascertaining information. These agencies only rely on phone calls and do not fully discuss the events that led up to an investigation. Parents are denied the right to obtain witnesses in their favor of the decisions made against them. Parents must provide their own counsel for defense of the allegations. All decisions are made within the agency although child abuse is a criminal offense when proven beyond all other circumstances.
We are concerned with the abuse of Amendment VII.
Departments of Children and Families are by common law, considered government agencies for children%u2019s well-being. The value that parents place on their children is immeasurable. Parents should be allowed to a trial by jury and not tried by the agency itself.
We are disturbed with the actions against Amendment VIII.
Child Social Services uses one-sided information to make decisions that will effect an entire family. The set sometimes unobtainable requirements due to time and finances. Taking children away from parents without the facts on both sides of an argument creates emotional distress. Then requiring the parents to pay support and finance classes should be considered cruel and unusual punishment for a crime that hasn%u2019t yet been proven.
We are concerned with the actions under Amendment X.
Child Welfare Organizations receive Federal monies therefore should fall under the Constitution of the United States. These organizations and the decisions made within should not be left to the States. The States have accepted no responsibility for the actions of these organizations thereby allowing them the interpret laws to their benefit without repercussions to the agency.
We are upset over the States handling cases without regard to Amendment XIV.
The Child Service Agencies are being allowed to indicate persons for abuse and neglect, place names on a Central Register Compiled List of Child Abusers. They are allowed to make decisions concerning employment in the child care industry without a criminal conviction of abuse. The States are allowing these agencies to process criminal abuse claims without the Judicial System.
Congress has the power to limit or stop funding to agencies that do not follow this Amendment. These agencies are being allowed to make their own judgments in abuse and neglect cases without due process of the laws of the country. With the extra funding given to these agencies that are not required to follow the judicial protocol of the States, it is increasing the national debt that the taxpayers have to burden.
We are frustrated with the division of the States in regards to Article IV.
The Social Services in each State have adapted different rules pertaining to the removal of children, offenses of abuse and neglect, record keeping. Each State has different manuals containing different Rules and Procedures.
Child Protection Agencies are under the impression that they cannot be tried in a Civil Court of Law.
According to Rule 38 of the Civil Procedures, parents have the right to a jury as declared by the 7th Amendment to the Constitution.
We believe that the Mandated Reporter Program is an insult to professionals who by choice, swear to "respect the privacy of patients, for their problems are not disclosed to them that the world may know" (Hippocratic Oath).
We feel that birth defects should not be an open invitation for abuse and neglect allegations.
We feel that some childhood accidents occur and that it is undermining parental responsibilities to accuse parents and caregivers for trivial incidents of bicycle accidents.
We believe that animosity in hotline calls are an invitation for abuse of the system from abusers. By not allowing parents to confront the accusers, due process is denied.
We feel that questioning children without parental knowledge is a violation of Parental and Children%u2019s Rights.
We feel that children should not be pulled out of educational classes without first investigating allegations since they are based on a telephone call.
Specific to the States as to the acceptable age for latch-key children. The age of a child using a subsidy payment for child care should not be less that the acceptable age for latch-key children. This only burdens the parents financially when neglect charges for leaving children this age differs from the State and DCFS.
We would like the state/federal government to address all issues concerning DCFS and their interpretation of the law.
We are requesting a Civil Procedure Review of the Rules and Procedures set forth in the State Manuals for Abuse and Neglect.
By definition of:
Abuse, (Improper treatment, usage, misuse, perversion, bad purpose. Physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, assault, violation, unjust, corrupt, wrongful practice or custom, maltreatment, insulting) Liberties are endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as the abusers of power.
By definition of:
Neglect, (to disregard, pay little attention to, fail to care for, attend or carry out, oversight, carelessness, negligence).
These Welfare Agencies feel that they have received the power from the States and Federal Government to perform abuse and neglect tactics without being prosecuted for the crime.
We feel that the State and Federal Government have neglected their duties to the people by allowing these Agencies to assume the power to make decisions without due process.
These Organizations were developed to protect children and families from domestic violence and abuse. These agencies have expanded and assumed authority to make medical, legal, psychological decisions within their state jurisdictions. Thereby committing the very abuse and neglect that they were set up to eliminate.
We, the undersigned, therefore respectfully request that you, our elected officials stop funding these agencies until a standardized Rule and Procedure Manual is developed that upholds the Constitution of the United States, it%u2019s laws and the Rights of Parents and Children.