In July 2003 I was contacted by the CPS, Minnehaha County, South Dakota that they had taken custody of my daughter while I was at work, given temporary custody to someone in Iowa (out of state) because it was reported there were bruises on my 8 year old daughter's bottom.
My mother was the one that took my daughter to the CPS. She had told me that if I did not give her my daughter for the summer she would turn me into the CPS for spanking. I told her to do it as there is nothing wrong with spanking.
I went to the CPS building and explained I had no idea there were bruises, no idea what from and yes my daughter is prone to temper tantrums still and I did spank her to stop. The CPS stated all spanking is violence and child abuse. I protested that it was impossible considering how I spanked her, plus my daughter was sliding down the stairs on her bottom with a friend that week. Two CPS caseworkers yelled at me for 3 hours that I have my child an a*s whooping, beat the crap out of her, etc. I asked for her to be seen by a doctor to determine how the bruises were made. They refused. I also told them of my mother's blackmail. They did not believe me.
I contacted an attorney. He said the CPS regularly violates state laws and have too much power and he will not touch them at all. I was given the name of two other attornies to try. The third one does take CPS cases and stated again they violate state laws such as removing children before contacting the parents, before getting a court order, before trying all means to keep the family together. Also my daughter should have been taken to a medical doctor to determine the causes of the bruises and interviewed on tape or camera by an investigator trained in interviewing children so as to not ask leading questions. The CPS broke all of those state laws and agency rules.
Less than a week later my daughter was returned to me but CPS determined child abuse was substantiated from spanking and my name would go on the central registry of child abusers. I appealed. An internal review date was set. My attorney, father's daughter and I appeared to find the supervisor wearing jean, a t-shirt, arriving late and not even had read the case. My attorney stated the facts while the supervisor read the case. He asked no questions and got up and left. It took 12 minutes. Two days later I received notice written 15 minutes after that internal review ended that they were denying my appeal.
I appealed the denial and asked for an administrative hearing. The hearing was scheduled. CPS postponed the hearing due to weather. Hearing rescheduled. CPS postponed due to a witness gone. Hearing rescheduled. I postponed it due to anesthetic allergic reaction due to nasal surgery.
Finally the hearing took place in April 2004. There was an administrative judge employed by the CPS, the same CPS supervisor that did the internal review, my attorney, my daughter's father, his attorney, my witnesses, their witnesses. The CPS supervisor arrived in jeans and a hawaiian shirt. The two CPS caseworkers he had as witnesses arrived one in jeans and t-shirt and the other in clothes befitting a hearing. The CPS supervisor objected to all of my witnesses, to my daughter's father's attorney. He interrupted my attorney and all of my witnesses after about every 5th word to state he objected. In all cases the administrative judge overruled.
I again stated that I wanted a medical examiner trained in child abuse cases to look at my daughter's bruises, 8 year old daughter, and determine the cause but it was refused by the CPS. I also stated that my daughter's father was never contacted at all about this incident. I again stated my mother's blackmail and malicious false child abuse report.
After two weeks the administrative judge determined from reading the medical expert's report on the bruises that the bruises were stratiated, in an angle covering the lower 1/3 of the back and upper 1/3 of the bottom. There were no finger marks, no fingertip marks, no hand prints. The bruises were found to be completely inconsistent with bruises caused by spanking. The bruises are consistent with being caused by a child sliding down the stairs which is what I had said last July.
The attorney fees were $5,000 to get the CPS to admit they made a mistake.
brandon, South Dakota
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