If you find yourself in the frightening, confusing position of having CPS open a case against you, and take jurisdiction of you child(ten), and there is ANY way you can get the money to hire a private attorney, do so! Even if you think you want the same things as CPS, and so you can just cooperate and everything will turn out ok, it’s not that simple. I didn’t want to believe the cynical, paranoid sounding advice I read online over and over when my case began. If there’s one thing that will make all the difference, it will be hiring your own attorney. A private attorney will fight for you, your rights and your position. A court appointment attorney will simply guide you through the process of allowing CPS to do whatever they want to do to your family. At least, this one will. He never put an ounce of effort into talking about potential strategies, but put plenty of brain power into defending and excusing anything and everything CPS did and said. His overall mantra seemed to be “That’s just what they do.”, and assured me that it was useless to stand up to them. I was told it didn’t matter that they lied on court documents, and that I could prove they did so. He said that bringing witnesses and evidence of their dishonesty to court wouldn’t matter. He failed to follow through on my request for a hearing on my founded disposition, after he told me his office would handle that request, resulting in my missing the 30 day window to request the hearing. I was told I would receive a signed plan after the family engagement meeting, and that was never provided. I was talked out of going to trial, even though I could not honestly make a statement of settlement, but he scared me into making a statement I did not mean, telling me if I lost my case CPS would punish me by not lifting their harsh restrictions, and trying to take my rights permanently in the end. He assured me if I just settled they would loosen restrictions right away, and then if I just cooperated everything would work out. They never lifted restrictions, and still tried to cut me out of my daughters life in the end. At that point, Davis told me he’s said all along that that’s what CPS does in situations like mine. Basically, every conversation, he’s tell me something completely different that what he’s told me the last time, and then act as if I were crazy for saying he’s ever said otherwise. He was disrespectful and without compassion, and couldn’t have made it more obvious that he works WITH CPS and not FOR me. I finally got together money to hire an attorney, but I honestly would have sold my every possession to have done so from the beginning, rather than having allowed myself to be kept confused and helpless by this court appointment advocate for the Agency.
Response from Davis Smith October 12, 2020
If your child or children have been removed from your custody because of drug or alcohol addiction, it is imperative that you get treatment, get clean and sober, and maintain and demonstrate that sobriety through consistently clean UAs. Addiction is ultimately a powerful mental illness, and it can warp your perception and understanding. The addict will deny, minimize, deflect, and rationalize their actions, blaming everyone and everything except their own substance use, and may eventually descend into paranoia and delusional thinking rather than acknowledging that their circumstances are the result of their own behavior.
Court-appointed attorneys work just as diligently for their clients as privately retained attorneys. However, in child welfare cases the client must do the often difficult work of achieving and maintaining sobriety before there is any hope of progress in the case.