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Arizona Family Broken by CPS

This young family was financially devistated due to court ordered services that were neither necessary or helpful. Once they lost their home, CPS moved in to remove their child a second time.

Hi, my family’s story is quite lengthy so I will try to summarize it briefly.

Arizona Family Broken by CPS

It all began on November 29, 2008, when my son was born and the hospital reported that we both tested positive for amphetamines (high levels). Of course, they did not test me until after I had already received painkillers, a labor induction IV (for about 24 hours), and then received an epidural. Then someone decided to drug test me around 8:00 p.m. or so that evening.

They tested my son the following morning sometime between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. I demanded a second test around 10 or 11:00 a.m., the same morning my son was tested. The second test was completely negative.

Infant Removed

CPS proceeded to place my son in foster care and for the next 9-months, my husband and I went through hell, and uprooted our entire lives to comply with the requirements of CPS. We even moved into the city from the rural little town we had been living for 2 years. (It was actually more like 10 years with a break for about 4 years, when we moved back to the town we grew up in.)

So, when this all started we had enough in our savings to put a nice down payment on property, which we were in the process of looking for.

When the CPS case was opened we focused all our attention on getting my son home and used our savings to make up for the income we had lost because of the court ordered meetings, classes, court hearings, and visits that my husband was required to attend.

Toddler Returns Home

11-months later, they finally returned our son to us. My husband was required to finish his classes, and then they would dismiss the case. However, since we had depleted our savings account, and my husband was a self-employed mechanic, between the economic decline and the fact that we had moved to the city, he had no stead work. We found ourselves struggling financially.

Our caseworker, who was one of the few “good ones” understood all of this and offered us financial assistance in paying our bills. The assistance did not come through until after we were evicted from our home, and found ourselves on the streets. A friend of ours offered to let us stay with her until we could find a place. We figured it would take a week or two.

Doing the Right Thing

So, we accepted and had only been there a few days when 4 people looking for our friends daughter broke into the house and trashed the place. There was a physical altercation between one of the males and my husband. Some how the baby and I were caught in the middle. No serious injuries were incurred, just some bumps and bruises, we were more scared than any thing.

We reported the incident to the police and left the house immediately. We left a message with our caseworker to call ASAP because there had been an incident; we wanted her to hear about from us, instead of someone else.

The caseworker returned our call on Monday or Tuesday. We explained what had happened and what we had done to remove ourselves from any danger. She told us it was okay, and that from what she could tell we had done all that we could do to prevent any further danger to the baby or ourselves.

About a week later, we moved into a new house that we had received housing assistance for, to pay the deposit and most of the first months rent. We only paid $80 toward the deposit and $222, toward the first months rent.

New Caseworker — Nightmare

The day after we moved in our caseworker came to the house, she informed us it was her last day and gave us the name of the new caseworker. She suggested we give him a call and introduce ourselves. She said he was a good person, “really down-to-earth” — and just be honest with him, and he would be understanding, when and if anything came up.

So, on Monday morning I called and introduced myself and made sure he had the new address and told him to come by anytime. We then set an appointment for the following Friday, for him to do a home visit.

On Thursday he shows up at my house with two police officers and says he is taking our baby because of the incident back in January. Then, at the team, decision-making meeting it was decided that we would participate in their in-home services program, and as soon as that was in place my son would be returned to us.

We were led to believe that it would be a matter of a week or two at the most. We were told there was no concern about our drug testing and that those were all clean. We even delayed starting visitation because he was supposed to be home in a few days. Another 2-weeks went by and our court hearing, to review the case, was a week away. We finally had an appointment with the in-home services worker and the caseworker. The day before our scheduled appointment, the caseworker requests a hair test — now.

We asked to speak with our attorneys first.

So, during our court hearing, we are faced with a compliance report that show dates, which we were required to test and didn’t, but we had papers from the testing facility showing we had tested. The court showed no test results for the last two and half months.

Nationwide Mother's Day Protest!

Erroneous Compliance Report

When our lawyers requested that our baby be returned to us, since there was no immediate danger requiring his removal, the judge brought up the compliance report, which had been submitted by CPS and since we did not see this until we were sitting in court, we had no time to gather the evidence to dispute it.

After waiting almost a week to get the approval for the hair test we finally called the caseworker who says we could have went up there anytime to have them done.

So, we went to have them done and were told that if they don’t get a request to do it when they pull our name up on the computer, then they can’t do it. So, finally, we get them done on the following Monday.

Until now including in court, they are saying that in the event the hair test shows a positive result they would want my husband to continue his classes and for me to do relapse prevention. However, now they have changed their tune. Now, when someone tests positive, the court is asking for 30-days of clean drops, from the day we took them. Even though all of our drops have been clean, the whole year and half we have been doing this and then we had a meeting for my husbands classes and now they are saying they want 30-days of him going to class consistently before they will give our son back.

Foster Care Leaves Child Emotionless

We have even had to go back to doing supervised visits and they have never found anything wrong with the way we take care of our child. He has formed a secure attachment with us and he has never done without anything. He has always had food, clothes, shelter, love, and anything else he needs.

He used to be so full of life and always happy and smiling and people we did not even know would comment about what a happy baby he was and how they had never seen a baby so happy.

Now, he is just emotionless, I mean he is happy if you are interacting with him but to watch him when he is not interacting with someone there is no life to him it is as if he does not feel he belongs to us or that we didn’t want him or something.

When we do have a good visit and its time for him to go he just gets this confused look on his face when he realizes he’s leaving and he looks at us like he’s wondering what he did and why we were sending him away again.

To make matters worse now there has been a few rumors pop up about adoption and that is not an option for us. The caseworker says that his goal is still reunification but he lies so much its unreal.

We will never give up fighting for our son. He took 14 years to have and even if they sever our parental rights, we will not stop fighting. We will never go away, but we do not want it to go that far. It would not be pretty for any one if it did. I now know why people flip out and start blasting people for no apparent reason. Because my husband and I both feel we are on the verge of losing it and losing my son would just about push us both over the edge.

Do we have any possible options to prevent losing him for good?

Cheryl J.


  1. marlene orf

    My Story is long so I will ask if you would like to call me Fri am (703) 368-2371. I’m Marlene and I have been to hell and backand it’s still going on but at least I got my grandkids back after a year of pain, and suffering in the hands of the most awful people I think I have ever had to deal with.

    Please call I might be able to give you some help.


  2. carolyn smith

    marlene, i apologise for not seeing this sooner but things have been busy for us. we still do not have my son home although the hair test the court ordered recently came back negative and the judge ordered a concurrent case plan with everything supposedly dependent of the results of those hair test. we were supposed to get him back and move forward with in-home services but we can’t even get them to let have unsupervised.visits. if you would like you can e-mail me at that way i can get your msg sooner and we can talk. thank you.

  3. Denise Dopkins

    Dearest Arizona family broken by CPS,

    I am so moved by your horrific experience with CPS. So many thousands of families nationwide can identify with you… including me. I have survived a horrifying experience with CPS and family court in my life. They succeeded at terminating my parental rights, for no legitimate or legal reason.

    Something must be done to stop CPS… the Gestapo in the land. So terrifying is the fact that they are seemingly accountable to nobody… no court, no authority, nobody. I would love to talk with you if you are willing. My contact information is:

    Denise Dopkins


    May I have your permission to post your story on my blog? I think it deserves to be heard by many more people and maybe even persons that can do something about the travesties of justice caused by CPS and so called family courts.

  4. Will Reid

    My fiancee & I are going through a similar nightmare. We have complied repeatedly only to have our caseworker lie & fabricate evidence and omit positive evidence in her case files in order to justify her unnanounced removal of my fiancee’s 6 yr. old daughter! If you have time I would love to speak with you or email you our story.
    Will Reid

  5. Stacy

    I`d also love to speak with you. My neice was placed with us at the age of 15 months. 18 months later, she was taken and we found out she`d been promised to a foster-adopt family 5 months prior to her being removed from us. For 10 long months we fought and we finally did win. A Senator who was helping us told us to “make all the noise we could” to anyone who would listen. I had a reporter following it in the case we had to go that route. I had the same attitude you do about NEVER giving up. I told cps from the beginning I was not going away and if she were adopted out to strangers, I would never ever let it rest until she was home where she belonged. You have to keep after people “higher up” until somebody listens. That`s where the problem lies to begin with. My life will never be the same. Nobody can understand the emotional pain of having a child just ripped from your home unless they`ve been through it. After an investigator from our Governor`s office started investigating, she was returned home. We adopted her June 21st, 2010. Contact me if you want to talk.

  6. camille aldorasi

    I am petrified. How can these social workers even want to work this agency. I see from peoples stories that mine is not that bad as kidnapped babies. Mine are teens at least they remember and are loud. Please someone has to stop this madness soon. Cps is outta control and now just destroying our society by ruining the youth.

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