For years I have been telling people that the best way to fight the system is to make it more expensive for them to fight you than to give in to your demands. Those wonderful folks “protecting children” at the Department of Health and Human Services think they are above the law — and many operate their agencies like they are living in the Wild Wild West. Anything goes.
While you might feel helpless, you actually have much more power than you realize. I always begin my fight with prayer, asking God to guide me, give me wisdom, understanding and any other specifics on my current circumstance. God won’t fight our fight for us, but God sure makes a tremendous ally.
Then it’s time to lay out a battle plan. Questions you should be asking and documenting:
- Who are the players? — You must know your opponent if you are defeat him or her. Create a list. What do you know about the judge, the caseworker, and the other people involved in your case.
- What laws have been broken? — List the statute(s), specific instances, times, dates, etc. Gather as much evidence as possible.
- Put together a support team. — These are people you can trust. This list should include people who can help you with your case, read reports, assist with research and help to keep your spirits up. Stop answering the calls of those who are negative or bring you down. You must stay focused.
- Put together an attack plan. — Passive parents rarely see their children returned home. You must stop playing defense and go on the offensive and stay on the offensive. Hit them with what I like to call a shit storm. One complaint after another — preferably coming from different directions.
Once you have read the Child Welfare Policy Manual, both state and federal (most are well indexed so finding the laws that pertain to your own case is pretty simple, or just ask for help), you can file an official complaint with your local child welfare agency.
In order to file a complaint, you must request the proper forms from that agency. After filing an official complain with CPS/DHS/etc., call your U.S. House Representative, ask to speak with the aid who handles Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) complaints. Briefly explain what laws were broken. You must sign a request for an investigation before the legislative aid can begin an investigation.
Your local agency will be notified that they are under investigation by the federal government. They will not be happy about it — your case could well be closed faster than you can say “Kashisti”. It has happened in the past. Most often, if they have broken the law, they will be advised to close the case as quickly as possible.
Regardless, of what they do. The more eyes you have on your case, the better it will be for you and your children. Don’t stop there. Continue the offensive by bringing your cause to the people who make policy. The Federal Interagency Work Group on Child Abuse & Neglect are involved with many federal agencies. Be sure to contact specific members of this group. Make it personal.
The amendments to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) of 1988 created a Federal Inter-Agency Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect. The Task Force consisted of approximately 30 member agencies drawn from the eight Cabinet Departments and the Office of Personnel Management. The Director of the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN) was the statutory chairperson of the Task Force.
When the 1996 CAPTA amendments created an Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, replacing the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (NCCAN), it also eliminated the requirement for a Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect.
However, the existing Task Force members agreed that it was important to maintain the connections and to continue their work. The name was changed to Federal Interagency Work Group on Child Abuse and Neglect as Task Forces have specific meanings and requirements under Federal law.
Since 1996, the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect has continued to lead and coordinate the Federal Interagency Workgroup on Child Abuse and Neglect (FEDIAWG). Over 40 Federal agencies are represented. The FEDIAWG meets in-person on a quarterly basis and various Subcommittees meet on a more regular basis via conference calls. The overall goals of the FEDIAWG are:
- To provide a forum through which staff from relevant Federal agencies can communicate and exchange ideas concerning child maltreatment related programs and activities;
- To collect information about Federal child maltreatment activities; and
- To provide a basis for collective action through which funding and resources can be maximized.
There are three Subcommittees and related workgroups:
Domestic Violence Subcommittee
Research Subcommittee: NIH Child Abuse and Neglect Working Group
[Find contact information and details. Be sure to scroll down.]