Welfare & Institutions Code (WIC) 300: WIC 300 describes the circumstances in which a social worker can remove child from his or her home and a court may adjudge the minor a dependent of the court: (a) That the child has or at substantial risk of suffering serious physical injury inflicted by a parent or guardian, (b) that the child has or is at risk of serious physical harm or illness because of a parent’s inability to adequately protect or supervise. (c) that the child has been trafficked, (d) that the child has been sexually abused, (e) that the child has suffered severe physical abuse by the parent or someone known by the parent, (f) the parent caused the death of another child, (g) the child’s parent has been incarcerated or institutionalized and cannot arrange care of the child, (h) the parents have relinquished custody (i) the child has been subjected to any acts of cruelty.
Social workers and courts are removing children that do not fall under the jurisdiction of WIC 300.
Senate Bill 243: In 1987, Senate enacted legislature that made dependency law to safeguard children and families by making the terms of removals more specific. For dependency jurisdiction, there must be “actionable abuse or neglect” with clear and convincing evidence that a child is: (1) In need of proper and effective parental care or control, (2) destitute, or without the necessities of life, or without a hoe or suitable living place, (3) physical dangerous to the public because of a mental or physical deficiency, disorder, or abnormality, or, (4) living in a place that is unfit because of neglect, cruelty, depravity, or physical abuse of either of the parents or of the child’s custodian.
These guidelines in this bill are not being adhered to, making many removals across the nation unlawful.
WIC 306(b): According to this statute, “reasonable efforts” to allow the child to remain in the home must be made in order for the removal to have legal sufficiency. Many caseworkers are flouting this requirement and the courts are allowing it.
WIC 305, 306(b) and violations of the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution: Removal from parental custody should be the exception, not the rule. Absent “clear and convincing” evidence that a child is in imminent danger of physical or sexual harm, peace officers may not remove a child from their home. Moreover, social workers may not enter the child’s home without a warrant.
42 U.S.C. 672, Title IV-E of the SSA: In order to be eligible for this funding, the court must determine at the first hearing that continuance in the home would be detrimental to the well-being of the child. Not only is this not being done in every case, but the unnecessary removals of children are actually proving to be more harmful to children then anything that is allegedly occurring in the home.
WIC 319, Family Preservation Services, Timely Reunification Requirements: As soon as it is considered safe, the social workers and courts are supposed to place the child back in the home and with the parents and to provide supportive service to assist the parent in the issues that removed the child from the home to begin with. This is not happening. Reunification is being unnecessarily delayed and children are being traumatized from the lengthy removals and/or adopted out.
Violations of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution: Parents are being denied both their substantive and procedural rights to Due Process and Equal Protection Under the Law. Children are being removed without the proper burden of proof requirements, parents aren’t being served petitions and detention reports that remove children from their homes and terminate parental rights, and low-income parents are not being afforded the same rights as upper-class parents.
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act: Parents with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities are being discriminated against and unsubstantiated mental-health allegations are being used against parents. Moreover, parents are illegally being forced to undergo psychological evaluations for adjudication reasons.
Witness and Exhibit Lists: Witness and Exhibit lists are supposed to be submitted at least ten days before court hearings, according to most Local Rules of Court. This is not happening and parents are going into trials without proper notice and without the proper means to prepare for trial
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