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In my personal experience of CPS and the juvenile court system, attorneys assigned by the court do not have the time to properly represent their clients. Neither the children nor any defendant has an informed counsel who represents their interests nor understands what the reality of the situation is nor what are the appropriate means to ensure the children's rights and the parents' rights are upheld. It's critical that the judge gets a fair and equal representation of the truth. The opposing counsel has a bevy of publicly paid witnesses and staff to create cases not based on fact, but focused solely to prove their case, often based an a combination of unproven slander, withheld or omitted facts, control and intimidation of potential witnesses, and even attempts to coerce and teach the children how to attest to evidence against their parents that are not true but the children are too young to understand are untrue, once they are under the coaching and sole influence of CPS and their system. There are paid expert witnesses who routinely represent what the opposing counsel wishes to prove, not what their professional ethics and expertise would otherwise would cause them to conclude. Their testimony and reports are created to win the opposing counsel's case, not to provide actual expert testimony that is factual or matches the training and standards required to legally and ethically perform their professions. While Bonnie has, from all I've heard, the best reputation of the lawyers in San Mateo who are retained by the county to represent parents, my experiences taught me that it's imperative to hire a lawyer who can focus on and fully represent you and ensure your rights are upheld. Since it is your children that are involved, and the system is so prejudiced against the parents and children, one's civil rights are not upheld as in a typical judicial system in the United States there is simply no reasonable way to have a chance to have your rights upheld and to navigate this system without someone who can truly make it their priority to represent you. In a system this profoundly broken and with such uncontrolled lack of controls, lack of legality, to oversee CPS and opposing counsel, if you can afford it, which means you have to be quite well off as the costs are prohibitive, get the best private lawyer you can find to represent you, immediately.