I’ve never seen DCF move so quickly….and without probable cause. This case was a terrifying jolt of reality.
This week, a family was ambushed by the Florida Dept. Of Children and Families (DCF). The DCF mafia, under investigation and responsible for several deaths due to unqualified and un-credentialed so-called social workers and investigators from mostly third-world countries who have been charged with protecting abused and neglected children in the state of Florida, moved swiftly in their attempts to usurp two children from a couple grieving over the recent suicide death of their teenage son.
In dependency court in Palm Beach County this week, the Child Protective Investigator blatantly lied in her Petition for Shelter, citing that the children of the Palm Beach County family were in imminent danger, citing physical abuse and neglect. The misquotes and material misrepresentations in the Petition were so blatant, that the DCF attorney didn’t even bother putting the investigator on the stand. Without a private attorney present, those parents would have been thrust into a system operated by this mafia that was not only eager to cash in on their living children, but also on their dead son. But why…?
Also disturbing was the jurisdictional issue. Though the family resided in Palm Beach County, it was an investigator from Broward County and a BSO Deputy, that initially contacted the parents just 4 days after the death of their son. DCF cited “a conflict” which was later learned to be that a family member of the natural father, who had been paying child support and, though he had very little (if any) relationship with the children, also stood to capitalize on the estate of the deceased child. The father’s immediate relative is an “award-winning” Supervisor at DCF. Evidently, even DCF isn’t immune from calling in the occasional favor. It is known that this DCF Supervisor and her family made the allegations against the mother, who had been engaged in a custody battle for years, and the step-father, who had been a daily and active participant in the lives of the children, picking up where the natural father had dropped off. Ironically, the natural father, though present, was neither a witness nor a party to the case.
The investigator never entered the home where the alleged abuse took place (which was clean, full of food, and had zero history of domestics or abuse). In fact, they never even went to the home. They coerced the older remaining son to write an email to the investigator…though even his email stated clearly that there had never been any physical abuse. The intake report cited bruising on the now deceased child, but there was never any abuse in the home, and the boy played contact sports. The accusations were false, misleading, and a disgusting attempt at DCF to pull favors and punish a family that was already grieving for the obvious sake of estate standing and child support adjustments.
The parents and their counsel were given less than 24 hours to prepare for the hearing. This isn’t uncommon, though it’s also interesting given the fact that the investigator never entered the home and there had been no police or school reports citing abuse, domestics or any type of violence or even harsh corporal punishment ever. DCF rarely moves quickly in cases of serious abuse, so this move by them was preposterous.
The courtroom was filled with witnesses in favor of the mother and step-father, and when DCF’s fumbling attorney began questioning the son, she essentially threatened him with perjury, trying to prove that there was any purpose at all for DCF to have even removed the children in the first place. Her leading questions were compounded, and she was clearly frustrated. The private counsel was repeatedly interrupted by the presiding judge, who, in his defense, has to spend every day with the DCF lawyers. He walks a tightrope with trying to protect children and families, while protecting same from the Department of Children and Families.
Without an ounce of evidence to statutorily substantiate the removal of the children, and without an iota of case law or factual standing to consider the children in imminent danger, show that the least restrictive means test had been met, or further prove that even notice of hearing had been served except via phone by an investigator that refused to disclose the location of the hearing in the first place, the judge had no choice but to dismiss the Petition against the already grieving parents.
One thing is certain: without the parents having private counsel, they would have been living more of an already massive nightmare. They already lost one child, and now because DCF’s Star-Supervisor was an accomplice in an obvious custody and estate matter that didn’t involve abuse, they would have lost their other children.
The fear-mongering Palm Beach County DCF staff (all colleagues of that Supervisor who called in her mafioso favor) were unapologetic and upset at the outcome. In fact, their manager was overheard saying, “This is ridiculous.” Yes, ma’am, this was. This was a disgusting overreach of your department’s power and a gross example of your desire to intimidate and harass a grieving family as a favor to your colleague.
The reality is, DCF (no matter how lousy their lawyers) rarely loses to unsuspecting parents-yet rarely protect the children that ARE abused (see Miami Herald articles on DCF). Don’t EVER attempt to fight allegations alone. Hire an attorney….you can’t put a price on your Constitutional right and liberty to parent.