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Report: #137113

Complaint Review: Child Protective Services - Augusta Maine

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: Lincoln Alabama
  • Child Protective Services maine.gov/dhhs/bcfs/index.htm Augusta, Maine U.S.A.

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"A Monster Out of Control"

My Own Case
In October of 1999, the Department of Human Services took my son after my husband struck him while I was gone one day and left him with a black eye. Before I had a chance to act, The DHS came with an officer at night right
before dinner and took him away. Meanwhile, my now ex-husband returned to his country (France) in January.
I have been fighting like hell ever since to get my son back, but to no avail. The DHS has no legal reason to keep him, yet they do. The judge (Rae Anne French) also refuses to hear my side of the case (court records will
prove this). I am only permitted to see him 8 hours per month, sometimes less. I am only allowed the strictest supervised visitation with him. They would not allow me
to see him on his birthday or Christmas. (There were "not enough case workers" to supervise at these times)

My 2nd court appointed lawyer has been mostly ineffective in this case. She advises me to "suck it up" and "go along with it" in order to get my son back. So far, I have jumped through all of the DHS's hoops, but there has
been no change. The court appointed lawyer for my son has been arguing for unsupervised visitation and his return home but the judge refuses to acknowledge it. I will continue to fight these monsters and I would like to hear from anyone else who might be having similar problems. The real tragedy of this kind of thing is that it takes the focus off the victims who really need help.

There are thousands of children out there who are neglected and abused and need help. Another sad fact is that my case is certainly not the worst. There are families who have been torn apart by unfounded accusations of abuse. I know this nightmare will not last forever, but I will continue to fight with others and spread the word and hopefully make a real change in this
country and spare other families from this cruel kind of injustice. If you are interested in joining this fight, there are several ways to do it. Writing letters to Congress and to our State Representatives is a very
effective tool. It is especially easy today because you can send email to almost everyone, including the President of the United States.

I would like to add, finally, that I believe not all social workers are "witch hunters" and there are many who have helped to save children from a life of abuse or neglect. These workers should be commended and congratulated. I would also like to thank everyone who has sent an email of support. It really helps me get through these tough days and nights. Thank you, with all
of my heart.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I am adding the latest later I wrote to my lawyer to this page to further emphasize the difficulties in dealing with this situation:

Dear Karen,
After doing a little soul searching and losing a bit more sleep, I have decided that I can no longer ignore your attitude towards me. Although I can appreciate that you were kind of "forced" to take my case, it was not me who chose you. French demanded it. Ask Mr. Hainke. He was there. The hellhound in the black robe cut me off in mid sentence and demanded that I get an attorney before returning to court. Two names were given and the
first lawyer who was called had a "conflict of interest" as he had briefly represent Corey's father. I also called lawyers on the list that Mr. Hainke gave me. None of them were available. You were the last one called. My 10 year old niece even noticed your lack of concern and asked me why I chose you for an attorney. Children are bright, aren't they?

I admit that I have been a bit naive as well. I was foolish to assume that when you heard this case, you would want to help and you would actually care
and see the seriousness of the situation as well as those of other families.

In retrospect, that was really stupid of me.
Please consider these true scenarios for just a minute. You have heard them before, but please put yourself in my place or the place of a hundred other parents in the same situation just for a minute.

How would you REALLY, I mean really feel if your son was taken and kept away from you for nearly a year with NO REAL reason given? No law. No questions answered. Just a bunch of vague psychobabble from "Policies R Us". How would you like it if you were treated as a pathetic excuse of a parent by people who didn't even know you or try to bother to know you? How would you feel if,
during the very brief visitations with your child, every word you said and everything you did was closely watched? And how would you feel if you were not even allowed to DEFEND yourself in court?

How fast do you think you could deal with it or "suck it up"? How would you feel if someone actually gave you
that advice? Would you be able to do it? Do you even care?

Imagine this: Your son is a legal hostage of the system. The system, by way of keeping your child from you and withholding information, implies that you are guilty of something (its never really made clear of what it is) and you had better do as they say, when they say and how they say or else it might be a cold day in hell before your child comes home again. So, they do as they please, invent their own laws ('cause they can) as well as things to put on paper against you and they actually get away with it because nobody wants to get involved. Not even the people who could make the biggest difference.

I am sure that the DHS workers such as Liz Day and Cathy Cyr sleep very soundly at night, secure in the knowledge that they are well protected by a multi million dollar legal budget, public ignorance on what they REALLY do
half of the time, and the fact that they don't have to lift a finger to actually prove anything in the courtroom. And the icing on the cake for them is that they have a judge who helps this diseased bureaucracy fester and virtually ignores due process. What a grand fortress that they have.

So you got a problem with it, Mom? Here's a quarter call someone who cares! Maybe you are thinking it could never happen to you or any close friends or family. A lot of people thought that. I thought that. It is only natural to distance yourself psychologically from things that are unpleasant to think about. I know that most people do not even think about such things unless it happens to them or to people very close to them. My family and friends are
horrified by what has been going on and they write letters and emails but they are also 2000 miles away or more and so there is a limit on what they can do but they are all with me in spirit all the time. I realize that your job is not an easy one and I don't know how many people could do what you do, but if you do not want this case or it is too much to handle, I wish you would just tell me and let me do whatever it is I need to
do to get another lawyer.

You have never even asked me any questions. You
have told me what they say I need to do, but very little else. You do not return my phone calls. And on the planet I grew up on, when a lawyer represents a client, especially a defendant, they occasionally say positive
things about the client to somebody it would matter to or someone in a position to help their case. Are we still on that planet? As far as I know, nothing has been said in my behalf to the DHS or the court. Nothing. Its just
like what Liz Day said to Mr. Hainke: "I don't have anything against Laura, but I don't have anything for her either". All I gotta say about that is BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY! So, do you think you could take just a few minutes to either give me some kind of an answer? By phone, email or even dixie cup? I can take the truth. It is the apathy I cannot stand.

Laura
Lincoln, Alabama
U.S.A.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author
5Consumer
1Employee/Owner

#6 General Comment

PPS

AUTHOR: Laura - (United States)

POSTED: Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Jody, This is why I wanted to discuss this issue further on a site more conducive to conversation. This nightmare began in 1999 and my original post was a part of a website that I created back then that no longer exists.

The post was much longer but much of it was taken out as per this site's policy. Because of my case, I ended up becoming an activist and met individuals and families from Maine and all over this country. The only lawyer who actually argued for my son to come home was the guardian ad litem.

In the beginning. I tried to speak for myself and French refused to listen and told me to get a lawyer. Throughout that whole ordeal there was NO due process. Absolutely none. As horrific as it sounds, had I killed my son, I would have had due process.

I've actually seen families go broke fighting the CPS. As far as being polite to someone? I've always been very courteous to people, even those who are very angry or upset. My friends, family and anyone who has ever met me knows this.

To be fair, there is a LOT of information you did not have on this case and you made a lot of assumptions as a result. You also had a considerable amount of relevant and helpful information throughout your post, but it was peppered with so much hostility. I've been volunteering since I was in my 30s and I know first hand how frustrating and difficult it can be to deal with people sometimes.

I am sorry for whatever you went through that set you off here, but please know that I did appreciate your good advice and assertions and as both of us know, it is imperative that people know their rights and options and do their part in order for real change to happen.

I still invite you to contact me on Facebook, as it is a more social setting and easier and quicker to respond. Sincerely, Laura Kirkland

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#5 General Comment

To Jody

AUTHOR: Laura - (United States)

POSTED: Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Thank you for that lengthy and omniscient rebuttal. I would love to discuss this further but as this site is not the venue for conversations, I encourage you to find me on Facebook. Please don't worry about me asking for your advice.

I'm finishing my degree in psychology and crju this year. I'm guessing you're either in law school or interning at the State House in Augusta now. I've always loved their cafeteria! Kindest regards, Laura Kirkland

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#4 General Comment

PS

AUTHOR: Jody - (United States)

POSTED: Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I looked online at the names mentioned in these complaints to see if anyone has filed any official complaints against the judge or the CPS workers, and I found NOTHING.  This is what I mean - these agencies assume if you haven't bothered to even file an official report then it's not that bad.  Start with filing the reports that need to be filed.  

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#3 Consumer Suggestion

WHEN YOU'RE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH CPS

AUTHOR: Jody - (United States)

POSTED: Tuesday, April 17, 2018

I'm writing this as someone who has worked as a paralegal and advocate for over 30 years now, and as a mother who has dealt with CPS.  First of all, you can't fault someone for doing their job.  If you are literally on the street homeless and you go to the police for help - guess what?  It's THEIR JOB to take your children into protective custody.  THAT'S THEIR JOB.  What did you think the police were going to do?  Rent you a motel room and buy you dinner for the kids?  Then they'd have to do that for the 1000 other families that are in the same boat.  I know because I've read the history and jails and police used to allow people to stay in the jails until they were literally over flowing.  They can't handle it.  

Wake the hell up!  If you look at the state budgets, and the budgets for some counties, they MAKE MONEY based on the number of children in foster care or receiving services.  We are a capitalist society, meaning not communist.  Meaning you are FREE but NOTHING IS FREE.  Meaning everyone has to MAKE MONEY.  The state has to look for kids to put into foster care so that they can then get that money from the federal government to pay their bills.  Don't like it?  So far everyone I've ever heard complain about this doesn't realize YOU ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN!  I've asked "are you registered to vote?"  The answer is always "no".  I ask if you know who your local representative even is?  The answer is "no".  Have you gone to your town's city or county council meeting?  Have you talked to your senator or congressman about these laws that are being passed?  The answer is always "no".  The reason why our forefathers made these meetings public meetings and their minutes publicly available is that transparency is our only protection against "when the cat is away the mice will play".  So is it any wonder that they pick on the cities and the people WHO ARE NOT INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS.  It's not about MONEY.  People with money are INVOLVED.  They know who their representatives are and they voice their opinions when these laws are written.  Don't like these laws?  DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.   Start with getting registered to vote.  Register everyone in your family who can vote.  Then GET INVOLVED with your local political process.  

I used to volunteer my paralegal services to people who were crying they "needed help" but "couldn't afford an attorney".  I don't anymore and this posting is why.  You are ATTACKING this attorney and then wondering why she "doesn't care about your case".  I frankly got sick of volunteering my time and energy to assist people with their cases and then finding them attacking me!  How can you expect someone to "care" when you're just proving that maybe you got your kids taken for a reason!  Because you need a certain amount of sense to know that if you're nice to people - they're generally nice back.  Be a jerk to someone and guess what?  They're not going to want to talk to you!  So unless you have money to pay someone for their time, then you can at LEAST be courteous.  I have asked people to volunteer their time for me, and guess what?  I do something back.  If I ask a politician to assist me with something, then I go and stamp envelopes for them for a few hours.  It's called COURTESY.  

The reason why your attorney told you to "suck it up" is because you don't have the money to pay for a top dollar attorney to handle your case.  So you got someone CHEAP OR FREE.  So guess what?  You're going to get the minimal service.  That means - yeah suck it up.  If you're at the homeless shelter and they give you a bed - you don't complain about the quality of the sheets!  You "suck it up" because that's what you're getting!  Again, if you are rational and have common sense then you know if you have a free attorney, then you're going to get lousy service and you do "suck it up" unless you want to find a way to get a better attorney, or learn how to handle the case yourself.

When I have taken on a case for free for someone, I am literally SHOCKED at the fact NO ONE FILES A COMPLAINT against these people.  They whine and b**** and moan - but then they don't file a complaint.  Again, our forefathers built a good system.  You file enough complaints against someone and SOMETHING WILL GET DONE.  I know because I have filed complaints against judges and I've seen them sanctioned or taken right off the bench.  So if you were mishandled by a judge in Maine then FILE A COMPLAINT.   Maine has the Commitee on Judicial Responsibility that you can go and file a complaint with them about a judge that's not acting right.

Maine also has a Volunteer Lawyers Project.  But if you're going to get someone doing this for free - then PLEASE BE NICE TO THEM.  Don't rail at them and be nasty and then wonder why they're not giving you the best of service!  

If you have a complaint about a CPS worker, then file a written complaint with the appropriate agency.  The same for an attorney or police officer or whoever.  If someone doesn't act right, then find out who is the agency to report them to and file a report.  Enough people file a report and they will do something.  But if you are not filing a complaint, and the 100 people before you didn't write a complaint, then whose fault is it that this person is acting like an idiot and no one is doing anything?  Maybe they aren't doing anything BECAUSE THEY DON'T KNOW ABOUT THESE PROBLEMS!  

KNOW THE LAW.  If you don't know the law, go on Google and find the laws pertaining to your state.  READ.  You don't need a law degree to READ the local policy handbook for your town or state and KNOW YOUR RIGHTS.  

RECORD RECORD RECORD.  If you have a smart or android phone, there are free apps where you can record these calls.  If you're in court, demand they turn on the recorder or get a court reporter, or ask permission to record yourself if you have to.  But these agencies aren't going to do anything unless you have PROOF.  That means get NAMES.  GET BADGE NUMBERS.  Keep records!  Do you have any idea how many people I have said I would volunteer to help them fight their case and they can't even find their paperwork?  They don't know anyone's name.  They don't have dates.  I can't draw up legal paperwork without EVIDENCE OR DOCUMENTATION.  

If someone tries to take your kids and they don't have a warrant THEN CALL 911.   

If someone tries to enter your house without a warrant  - CALL 911.

Get a diary or a notebook and write down dates, times, names in that book and have a chronological record of events so that you can file the complaints and have the information there.  I can't even explain to you how frustrating it is for me when I would ask people to please "tell me what happened" and I hear a verbal barrage of all of these stories - but not one single event, date, name, etc., that I can put into a legal document.  

Contact the press.  Go down to your local news station and ask to speak to someone.  Go to your TV news or your local newspaper and get to know the press. Bring them a dozen doughnuts or a pizza.  I find that always gets someone talking to me! 

If you need legal help and you can't afford an attorney, then contact your local college or university and see if you can find a paralegal or an attorney in training or even a professor willing to help you for the experience your case would offer them, and referrals.  Attorneys who are coming out of law school and need to build up references will often take your case for free in order to learn how to navigate and get known in the town you're in.  But that means they DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING.  So HELP THEM.  Be understanding and HELP THEM.  Help them with the typing or the research and make it a team effort - don't yell and scream at them that they're "stupid" and then wonder why you're not getting a good job done! 

Keep a clean house, and stop any drinking or drug use.  I also find it's impossible to help someone get their kids back when they're so drunk they aren't making sense on the phone!  Or it comes out that they were smoking something when the cops came!  Don't have a job?  Call the local churches and ask them for help.  They should know someone who needs help. 

But understand that the system MAKES MONEY BY TAKING YOUR KIDS.  They make even more money BY MEDICATING YOUR KIDS.  And the longer they have them, the more money they make.  The court makes money off hearing your case.  So stop acting shocked they'll come up with excuses to take your kids!  They make a point of targeting anyone who is disabled or low income because they figure you can't afford an attorney to help you fight your case and that you won't know the law or know anyone in the system to advocate for you.  So surprise them.  Make friends with local politicians, know the law, and USE THE SYSTEM.  There are systems in place that you have to follow in order to get things done.  Don't follow them and then you shouldn't wonder why the systems' gone to hell! 

If you follow my advice, I swear things will get better for you in situations like this.  Then if you're still not getting anywhere - start up a social media presence and start reporting on these things yourself.  We have youtube and facebook and twitter and ways you can alert people to what's happening.  But please be HONEST.  I clicked on one guy's youtube where he said he had "evidence of government corruption" and it was a tape of him talking to the camera!  That kind of thing just discredits you right at the gate.  People will get involved to help you if you're being HONEST and UPFRONT.  

If you are having problems and you want to fight the system and you are willing to be cooperative and polite - then you can also ask me any questions of where I might be able to help at www.paralegaltotherescue.org

 

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#2 REBUTTAL Individual responds

I've been there, I agree

AUTHOR: JASONFIUME - ()

POSTED: Friday, July 26, 2013

 I had a divorce trial in Maine in front of  Judge french. I didn't have an attorney, I asked for trial to be suspended to get one and she told me I am not going to get one. I didn't do anything abusive to my children, there was no acts and no proof. She took my rights away because I was in Jail and my wife and I didn't get along and we kept fighting. I did get into a Physical fight with my wife in front of my kids, because my wife kept abusing them and I defended my children.  The judge didn't care. When my ex wife left, she moved in with her family whom she happened to have a little brother who molested my daughter and I walk in the room on him and seen him doing it.

I tiold the state police and they said I was making it up in retaliation for my ex wife leaving me. So where does that come in? Because I had said I was taking my kids away from my ex wife for that reason, they said I shouldn't have any contact because I tried to take them. I don't want my kids living with there child molesting uncle which they are. I also had an order of protection against me from my wife and I crossed state lines to put a child support check in the mail box because her mom kept mailing them back to me and telling people i was a piece of crap dad. I got Federal charges  for that, because my ex wife took the check for my children and turned it itno the police. So, my kids never got it.

     Also During the trial, My wife had said My children (at the time ages 2 and 8 months) were afraid of me and my 2 year old daughter goes around and slaps her face saying daddy punch. I never taught my daughter the word punch. It was always hit. Punch is an aggresive word for a two years and not a word i use around children. My ex wife also told the judge that  My children hate me. Who is telling teaching my children what hate is. I didn't know children knew how to hate unless there parents teach them.  Well, it was a bunch of Crap that was told to Judge french.

     I'm also a vet and recieve Veterans benefits, SO i had reieved my benefits while in Jail. Judge French decided, that since I was in Jail, And I had no bills to pay, thats My children were entitled to Half my paycheck, and that all my ex wife's debt would be my responsibility, putting me in $20,000.00 more debt. Even though I had an apartment to pay on because I was expecting to go on house arrest before trial, she said because I wasn't living there at the moment, I don't need all that money to pay rent. I made 1175.00 a month and my rent was 600 dollars. The total child support per month was about 700 dollars. The numbers talk. Judge french abused her power.Violating my rights because i was in jail, and the proof I had that my ex- wife was lying didn't matter. Judge French needs to be dis-barred from being a judge.

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#1

happened to me to

AUTHOR: Kelly - (USA)

POSTED: Saturday, August 15, 2009

Went to Maine to check out the job oportunities.Stayed in a motel when the money ran out we were thrown out of the motel.Went to the police to see where we could go for help.police called child protective services they took our two boys away one 11 and one nine.We've been living in Main ever since in a motel for over one year.My husband can only find part time work.Everything happens just as Laura tells it.My lawyers said suck it up.I will be creating my own report in a couple days.  Kelly

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