Your Children Are Coming With Us
The following fictional scenario is a real one that many San Diego families face. If you find yourself in a similar situation, please don’t wait – call a child custody lawyer immediately.
In February of 2015, Cassie noticed that her daughter, 13-month-old Hannah, was not putting any weight on her left leg.
Of course, being a toddler, Hannah could not communicate the nature of her discomfort. Worried about their baby girl, Cassie and her husband Nate contacted their pediatrician, who told the parents to give Hannah some Tylenol, keep a close eye on her throughout the evening, and bring her to the doctor’s office the next morning.
Growing more concerned about Hannah’s condition, Cassie and Nate made the decision to take her to the emergency room that night. X-rays revealed that Hannah had a fractured fibula and tibia, and Cassie was questioned as to the nature of the injury (Nate stayed home to take care of their 8-year old, Maya, who was sick with the flu). Cassie told the emergency room staff that she wasn’t sure what caused the injury to Hannah. As a result, the hospital contacted Child Welfare Services (CWS) for the County of San Diego, which decided to take both children into custody, placing Hannah and Maya in the care of a foster parent.
Thus began the horrific ordeal that Nate, Cassie, and their two daughters would endure over the next 15 weeks.
Why This Matters to You
It’s important for parents of small children to understand that if the CWS is contacted by a physician who suspects that the parents are guilty of child abuse and/or neglect, representatives of CWS will take immediate action in the form of a “family intervention.” If you are a parent who is wrongfully accused of child abuse, here are some initial actions you must take.
- Remember you are presumed guilty. Social workers may believe that you are guilty of abuse or neglect before their investigation begins. They will be looking for ways to support their suspicion. Despite the fact that you and the social workers are both advocates for your children, the CWS representatives are NOT automatically on your side.
- Get details and specifics. Keeping in mind that the social worker may be working against you, they will sometimes withhold details of the charges you are accused of. They want you to think that they are your friends. But by law, they are required to tell you the charges against you. Be sure to demand that they tell you details and specifics of the crimes you are accused of committing.
- Obtain legal help immediately. This cannot be stressed strongly enough. Hiring an experienced attorney to begin the fight to get your children back is paramount. Don’t say anything to your accusers until you have legal representation.
Nate and Cassie’s children were eventually returned home. The on-duty ER doctor who contacted the child abuse hotline that night was unaware that Maya is a special needs child who sometimes plays roughly with Hannah. Had he known that, he would not have called the hotline. But once CWS was involved, it was too late.
If the state or county has wrongly taken your children from you, call Huguenor Mattis, A.P.C. We are an experienced San Diego family law firm and we will do everything possible to get your kids home safely. Call us at (858) 458-9500 to schedule a free consultation.