Category Archive: Juvenile Dependency


Learn how to equip your child to read with dyslexia.

Literacy is a skill set that has the power to improve one’s economic security, and overall well-being. Yet according to the U.S. Department of Education, 32 million adults can’t read and 14% of the population reads at a below basic level. These figures are of considerable concern in relation to delinquency, poverty, and learning disabilities, where the latter contributes to illiteracy and its impacts, and the former are negative impacts of illiteracy.

Does your child struggle with reading and writing? Are you spending hours assisting your child with their homework? Does your child cry when you are dropping them off at school? Here are some of the red flags of dyslexia:

• Difficulty with reading and spelling.
• Not retaining words consistently.
• Not understanding what he or she is reading.
• Problems converting sounds into symbols
• Difficulty concentrating and getting easily distracted,
• History of reading difficulty in the family.
• Jumbling letters and figures.
• Leaving letters out of words or putting them in the wrong order.
• Lack of progress in reading, writing and spelling, when compared to peers.
• Confusing right and left.
• Trouble with handwriting.
• When reading out loud, often misreading, omitting or inserting words.
• Difficulty learning a foreign language.
• Issues with sequencing words or ideas.

Dyslexia is a learning disability that is neurobiological in origin and has been identified as a frequent cause of reading difficulties. Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. Individuals with dyslexia have difficulty using and acquiring written language. Dyslexia is not a result of a lack of intelligence, or poor work ethic. Dyslexia affects an estimated 5%-17% of the population in the United States. Genetics, brain anatomy and brain activity have been identified as possible causes of dyslexia.

When a parent suspects that their child has a disability, the parent should submit a written request for an assessment for special education services to the district special education director (Sample letters can be obtained here). Be sure to include your concerns regarding your child’s educational progress. Deliver the letter to the district office and make sure you have it stamped with the date it was received. If you are told there isn’t a date stamp, have the person receiving it sign and date the document. Keep the original document. The school has 15 days from the date the request was received to respond to your request with either an assessment plan, or prior written notice indicating why they are refusing to assess your child.

The research is clear about the importance of early intervention to address the needs of students with dyslexia. Fortunately, those affected by dyslexia can still make improvements in their reading ability through structured, scientifically-based reading intervention. Additional interventions such as access to assistive technology and effective instructional practices that target the critical components that are essential for teaching children to read can improve the educational outcomes of students with dyslexia.

By: Michelle Perry, Special Education Advocate
Phone: 562-213-8759

Sex and STD: Prevention Really is Worth A Pound of Cure


An article titled Adolescent Sexuality in the United States, from Wikipedia sets forth: “According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the year 2007, 35% of US high school students were currently sexually active and 47.8% of US high school students reported having had sexual intercourse. According to a 1994 study, every year an estimated one in four sexually active teens contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Teenage pregnancy is four times as prevalent in the United States as in the European Union.”

New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows an ongoing increase in STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) rates nationwide. The increase in the rate has been described as “epidemic” and “alarming.” The major STDs include HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, genital herpes and genital warts. Some are curable but with others it is only possible to treat the symptoms and infection can return.

Syphilis can cause miscarriage, still birth, or foetal abnormality, while chlamydia and gonorrhea can leave a woman infertile. Genital warts are a serious health concern as certain strains of the virus causing this STD have been associated with cervical cancer. In the United States about one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 has genital herpes. You can get it by having vaginal, or oral sex with someone who has the disease. You may get it from a sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected. Genital herpes is not curable. It can cause infertility. It can also be passed from mother to baby. This can cause a deadly infection in the baby.

The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting a STD:
1. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and have negative STD test results;
2. Using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.

Herpes symptoms can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered by a latex condom. Outbreaks can also occur in areas that are not covered by condoms so condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.

Key factors in preventing pregnancy and sexual transmitted diseases are:
1. Knowledge and a keen desire by the participants not to get pregnant or get a STD.
2. Studies have shown that families who have been able to discuss these subjects openly with their children have the best success.

Girls/women/boys/men should demand proof of a recent lab report. Check with your doctor as to how recent the lab report should be. The entertainment industry requires a lab report within 14 days of a sexual encounter. Make sure your partner is wearing a latex condom.

The revised form titled Consent to Engage in Sexual Acts can be an excellent starting point to discussing safe and legal sexual acts by your loved ones. We strongly encourage use of this or a similar form on each occasion before engaging in sex acts. Please click the link to download and print a copy.

We refer you to a prior blog article to assist in understanding the law regarding sex between minors in California; Sex Between Minors.


Protect your college age youth or young adults and encourage them to always use a CONSENT form before engaging in sexual acts. Colleges that receive federal funding are under a direct mandate to aggressively investigate college males taking advantage of college females. If the girl later complains she was taken advantage of, did not consent to the sexual acts, or was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and could not properly consent then the boy will be expelled from college or suspended from college for a long time. It is merciless process for the young man. He is afforded some due process rights. Even if the young man can raise substantial questions about the credibility of the young woman and even show she has outright lied, nothing of any substance happens to the young woman. It is important for the young woman to know the person she is engaging with is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is also very important they not have a venereal disease. Also, they have worked out safe words to use if she becomes concerned and wants to quickly stop what is taking place.

If your son or daughter use dating sites then they should also use a CONSENT form for the same reasons. It is reported that allegations of rape and assault from dating site sexual encounters have increased substantially.

We are not offering legal advice. I recommend parents seek legal advice from their family attorney to make sure the CONSENT form is what they want and meets their expectations. If not, the family attorney can prepare their own which meets the family’s needs.

You can download a Consent to Sexual Acts form here.



What is the age of consent in the United States? Find out and keep your family safe.

When we speak of Age of Consent Laws we are speaking of unrestricted sexual intercourse with minors OVER a certain minimum age.   According to “Age of Consent Laws in Children and Youth in History”, only Colorado has the age of consent to unrestricted sexual intercourse as 15. Another 33 states have the age of consent to unrestricted sexual intercourse as 16. Seven states have the age as 17. Nine states have the age of 18. California has the age of consent to unrestricted sexual intercourse consent as 18. The Uniform Code of Military Justice which U.S. servicemen are subject to sets the age of consent at 16.

The Center for Disease and Control Prevention in their 2013 published Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance in the United States reports that for high school students “Nationwide, 34.0% of students have had sexual intercourse with at least one person during the 3 months before the survey (i.e., currently sexually active) (Table 65). The prevalence of being currently sexually active was higher among white female (35.9%) than white male (29.7%) students.” “Among the 34.0% of currently sexually active students nationwide, 59.1% reported that either they or their partner had used a condom during last sexual intercourse (Table 67).”

We have posted some blogs on the Ages of Consent in England and Scotland. In countries like Spain and Argentina the age of consent is 13. In Italy, Germany, Portugal, Brazil, Ecuador and Canada the age of consent is 14. France, Denmark, Greece, Romania, and Sweden the age is 15. In all the other European countries the age is 16. In one other country, Turkey, the age is 18.

You might ask yourself: who cares what the age is; the higher the better? They do not prosecute two 15 year olds or two 16 year olds who are having sex. That is not true. It is very important you read our blog on Sex Between Minors in California. Two 15-year-olds who have consensual sexual intercourse commit a misdemeanor of Unlawful Sexual Behavior. It is not a registrable sex offense; however, if they also engage in oral copulation or digital penetration, they can be charged with felony offenses. Prosecution of 15- and 16 year-old minors can and does happen.

Two 15-year-olds who have consensual sexual intercourse commit a misdemeanor of Unlawful Sexual Behavior. It is not a registrable sex offense; however, if they also engage in oral copulation or digital penetration, they can be charged with felony offenses. Prosecution of 15- and 16 year-old minors can and does happen.



Vitamin D deficiency can lead to unexplained fractures.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in Great Britain has suggested Vitamin D be given more widely to counter a hidden epidemic of deficiency. The draft of the British Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition guidelines suggest, from the age of one, 10 microgram pills be taken to ensure people get enough Vitamin D. At risk groups include among others pregnant women. The risk of getting too much Vitamin D is considered to be extremely low. This information is contained in a blog on the BBC, dated August 3, 2015, entitled “Everyone Should Take Vitamin D Pills.” The article also points out that people in the UK are at risk for a vitamin D deficiency because of the low level of sunlight in the winter months.

Why are we writing about this? We are frequently consulted by parents who are being accused by Child Protective Services (CPS) of child abuse/parental negligence because their child was taken to Children’s Hospital due to an unrelated health issue and the hospital performed a CT Scan, x-rays, or a bone survey that found some evidence of bone fractures. If the parents’ explanation for the fractures, in the child abuse doctor’s opinion, does not explain the cause of the fractures, CPS is notified and will immediately assign an emergency response worker to investigate. Frequently your child will still be at the hospital when they respond to the call. The CPS worker will meet with the child abuse doctor. The doctor will inform the worker of the findings of the pediatric radiologist that identified the fracture(s). Some might be in a healing state. The child abuse doctor would likely have already spoken with the parent(s) to obtain their explanation for the injury. The child abuse doctor will inform the CPS worker that the parents explanation as to how the fracture(s) possibly occurred does not explain the fractures. It does not matter that the parents seem to be very nice people and have had no prior contact with CPS. Unless the parents can provide a sufficient explanation for the fractures, i.e. the child was in a major car accident, that is acceptable to the child abuse doctor, it is presumed the injuries were non-accidental. Your child will be removed from your custody and placed in a foster home or in a relatives home. The child will not be returned to you until you have satisfactorily completed reunification services to the court and/or CPS. A police investigation will also take place.

Most often parents say they do not know how the fractures occurred. They recall the baby fell off the bed or couch. If your child has been non-accidentally injured, you are responsible whether you know what happened or not. The Juvenile Court’s duty is to protect the child from the abuse or negligence of the child’s parents allowing them to be non-accidentally injured. If you cannot provide a reasonable explanation for the fractures, you are responsible for not protecting your child.

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets and brittle bones. If your child has a vitamin D deficiency they are prone to suffering from Rickets and brittle bones. Such conditions can result in fractures from the normal handling of a baby. Many women who breast feed their babies are encouraged not to use supplements. Some women are vegetarians and have very strict diets that do not provide a sufficient amount of vitamin D for their babies. Some women keep their children out of the sun.

Unless you have had your child tested for a Vitamin D deficiency and can document the deficiency with medical records before your child is taken from your custody, you face an uphill battle in getting a prompt Vitamin D test conducted by the hospital authorities and CPS. Your child will be put into a foster home. It is likely you will not be able to continue to breast feed your baby. If allowed to continue to breast feed, your child will be given milk supplements that contain sufficient amounts of vitamin D to combat any deficiencies. It could be weeks before you are able to get the court to order a Vitamin D test done by an expert you have hired to consult with. By then, any vitamin D deficiency your child might have had is no longer provable.

Based on our experience, not all child abuse doctors initially order a Vitamin D test. Many child abuse doctors call brittle bone defenses an abuse-excuse defense and discount any possible explanation for Vitamin D deficiencies contributing to fractures in young children. The child abuse doctors discount any link between a Vitamin D deficiency and unexplained fractures. The recommendations of British National Institute and Care Excellence and the British Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition will further buttress the opinions of doctors in the United States who argue that a Vitamin D deficiency in your child makes your child more susceptible to unexplained fractures. Make sure you and your child get sufficient Vitamin D supplements both pre and post birth so this does not become an issue for your child.


A DAUGHTER IS SEXUALLY MOLESTED: THE NIGHTMARE BEGINSThe morning of May 9, 1989, around 6:45 a.m. an 8-year-old girl complained to her mother of pain while trying to urinate. The mother noted bleeding and called her husband who was at work. Her husband returned from work and they took their daughter to a local NAVCARE clinic. They arrived about 8:30 a.m. The doctor was told the young girl had pain during urination and defecation. The parents also told him they found blood on the back of her nightgown and on her bed sheets that morning. A medical examination of the 8-year-old girl showed a tear between her vagina and anus. The tear was not bleeding but it was still fresh.

The doctor made a report to Child Protective Services ( CPS]. A CPS worker responded to the clinic. The police were also called by the CPS worker. The child was taken to the local children’s hospital where she was examined by a doctor, a social worker, and the police. She told a female child abuse detective a man had come in through her brother’s window and carried her out. The man said he was her uncle but really he was not. She described him as white male in his 20s, a little taller than her mom, with short brown hair, slight freckles and a pimple on the lower right corner of his lip. He wore a white sleeved shirt with red stripes and brown pants. Once he carried her outside through the window, he put her in a car. The car was green like her grandpa’s. He drove around the corner close to her house and stopped by a grassy area near a brown fence. She described him putting his private part in her butt and her vaginal area. He didn’t say anything while he was doing that but when she started to cry, he said “be quiet or I’ll kill you.” He drove her back home and put her in her bed. The young girl got up and walked into her mother’s room. She got her kitty and went back to bed.

On May 9, the girl’s mother was interviewed by police. She recalled that she and her husband had gone to bed about 8:00 p.m.. Her husband did not get up during the night. She described how in the past her husband had been a drinker. When he would drink, it would always be at home. He would drink whiskey, sit in a corner of the couch and watch TV. He would never yell at the kids or pass out.

The following day, May 10, the mother was re-interviewed by the police. She said she had checked on her daughter the night of May 8 between 9:20 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. She had also checked on her daughter the morning of May 9 between 5:30 and 5:45 a.m. The mother did not notice anything unusual because the girl was still sleeping. The morning of May 9, the daughter woke up about 6:45 a.m. She told her mother she did not feel very good and it hurt when she went to the bathroom. The daughter had urinary tract infections in the past. She would get them three to four times a year. The doctors did not have a reason why she got them. Every time they went to the NAVCARE clinic they would see a different doctor.

The mother and father had been married for nine years. He was in the Navy. She did not believe her husband could have done this to their daughter. The mother came from a dysfunctional family.

On May 9, child abuse detective interviewed the father. On May 8, the day before his daughter was assaulted, he arrived home from work about 2 p.m. He went shopping with his son. Later in the day he, his wife and two children had a barbecue at the neighbor’s house. He did not drink any alcoholic beverage. The family was at the neighbors for 2 hours. He recalls going in to see his daughter in her room about 10:30 p.m.. She had the kitten so he took the kitten out. He said that was the last time he saw her that night. He got up about three or four times that night between the time he went to bed until the time he fell asleep. He recalls falling asleep about 11 p.m. During the police interview of the father, he was asked if he had any idea who had molested his daughter. He replied “No.” He further remarked, “If I did it, I don’t remember if I did it or not.”

-To be continued-




Welcome to part 2 of our probate vs. juvenile court guardianship series. If you haven’t already done so, you are invited to read part 1 in this series.

Juvenile Court Guardianship

Call the Child Abuse Hotline in your community and report the circumstances why you believe your grandchild/minor relative is at risk with their parents. A child protection worker will be assigned to contact you and to investigate. If they believe there is a need to file a petition in Juvenile Court, they will submit their case to the County attorney for filing. Usually the grandchild/minor relative is picked up and placed temporarily in a receiving home pending a Detention Hearing in Juvenile Court. You and your home would be investigated and inspected. There is a risk of you and your home not qualifying for placement. It could be your background includes criminal convictions and/or child abuse referrals when you were raising your kids. Maybe the parents do not want you to take their child and would prefer them go to another relative. If the minor is placed with you, you will have to be very careful not to do anything the CPS worker is unhappy with because they could come and remove the child from your home and place them with a foster family. Juvenile Court is all about reunifying minors to their parents. It could take many months, probably a year to two years, before a guardianship would be established in Juvenile Court. The preferred plan in Juvenile Court is for adoption of the minors if parental rights are terminated. There are legislative mandates and financial incentives for counties to promote adoptions. If a relative initially tells a social worker they are not prepared to adopt but are only willing to be a guardian, there is a realistic possibility they would not detain the minor with that relative as they want the minor in a home that if the parents do not reunify can adopt the minor/s.

Benefits of Juvenile Court Guardianship

1. The main benefits are financial. Initially, you are not hiring an attorney to file for guardianship. The social worker and the County Counsel who represent Social Services are doing all the work filing the petition, writing court reports, and appearing before the court. The parents will be appointed attorneys and the child/children will be appointed a lawyer. If your grandchild/minor relative is initially detained with you, you will not get foster home payments. At some point after reunification services have been terminated and the child has been with you for a certain period of time, you will be eligible for Kinship Benefits for taking care of your grandchild/minor relative. You are not eligible for Kinship benefits if you are appointed as a guardian through Probate Court. If guardianship has been established through the Juvenile Court and they are living in California, your grandchild may be eligible for AB 12 funding for foster children coming out of the Juvenile Court system at age 18. This could be of significant financial help to the grandchild/minor relative. It could provide free State University tuition. They are also eligible for monthly monetary stipends up to the age of 21. Grandchildren/minor relatives appointed guardians in the Probate Court are not eligible to AB 12 benefits or funding.

2. Assuming you have your grandchild/minor relative placed with you, the social worker could be very helpful in dealing with visitation issues, arranging for therapy for the grandchild/minor relative, getting the grandchild/minor relative on MediCal, assisting with evaluations that the grandchild/minor relative could benefit from both medically and academically.

3. The goal of the Juvenile Court is to reunite children with their parents. In nearly all cases, the Juvenile Court will develop a Case Plan for services for parents to follow to reunite with their children. If the parents have substance abuse issues, domestic violence issues, use excessive discipline, have mental health issues, have child neglect issues, and other issues requiring Juvenile Court jurisdiction, the Juvenile Court by way of Social Services will order the appropriate services available to assist the parents. The parents have to engage in their services or else their services will be denied, their parental rights terminated, and their child placed for guardianship/adoption or in a long-term foster home.

If your goal is to hope your son/daughter get the help they need and learn to be proper parents, the Juvenile Court can provide the needed services. The Probate Court cannot.

Detriments to Juvenile Court Guardianship

1. Control of your grandchild/minor relative is with the Juvenile Court and Social Services. You may not qualify for detention of your grandchild/minor relative with you. If you, your spouse/partner, any adult living in the home or any minor over the age of 16 living in the home has a criminal record or prior record with Child Protective Services you may not qualify to have your grandchild/minor relative detained with you. You would have to apply for a waiver and that takes time and may not be granted by Social Services. Your goal of having your grandchild/minor relative raised by you suddenly is in tatters and the grandchild/minor relative is likely to be placed in a foster home or with another qualifying relative. A large number of foster parents are fost-adopt homes. That means they are willing to adopt the foster child if the parents do not reunify. The longer your grandchild/minor relative remains with a foster parent the harder it will be to ever get them away from the foster parent because they will become bonded to them and if they qualify will want to adopt them. The parents are mandated visitation with their children. It may work out you don’t even get visitation with your grandchild/minor relative or, if you do get some, it will be very minimal.

2. Assuming your grandchild/minor relative is placed with you initially, the grandchild/minor relative can be removed by the social worker from your custody if the social worker is concerned you are not following all their conditions of detention of the grandchild/minor relative, such as allowing the parents visits that are not authorized or engaging in some behaviors with your grandchild/minor relative they do not approve of. If you, your spouse/partner, any adult in your home or child over the age of 16 suddenly runs afoul of the law while the Juvenile Court proceedings are taking place, your grandchild/minor relative could be suddenly removed from your custody. Parents sometimes claim you are abusing their child or interfering with custody, you are brainwashing their child, and want their child removed to a friendlier placement or another foster home.

3. If you are having problems getting your grandchild/minor relative detained with you, getting a waiver, having issues as the case goes on with Social Services, you will likely have to hire a juvenile court attorney to assist you. You will not be appointed an attorney; you will have to hire one just as you would in getting a probate guardianship.



Are you a grandparent or relative of a minor and the parents of a child have debilitating issues which in your opinion render them unable to safely care for the child? Are you taking care of your grandchild or minor relative? Have you explored Alternatives to Guardianship to enroll the minor in school or obtain medical treatment? Should you pursue a Probate or a Juvenile Court guardianship?

Probate Guardianship

You want to be proactive, be in control, and you don’t want your grandchild/minor relative being taken by Child Protection Services. Your grandchild/minor relative is living with you or they were living with you until recently being taken by their parent/s from your custody. If you meet the residential jurisdictional requirement, you can file for a probate guardianship in your local Superior Court Probate Department. In some cases, even if the minor has not been in the state the requisite time period to meet jurisdictional requirements, you can still file for emergency court jurisdiction. The court can exercise emergency jurisdiction to issue temporary guardianship orders. You can seek a temporary and permanent guardianship. You must notice the child’s parents, the child’s siblings over the age of 12, and the grandparents. You may also need to notice aunts, uncles and other parties. Some notices must be by personal service others by mail. The rules for notice can be tricky depending on the case. There are Judicial Council court forms one can download from the internet to use. It is very helpful if the parents of the minor consent to the guardianship and waive notice. If you can afford it, it would be advisable to contact an attorney in your local jurisdiction who handles guardianships. If you cannot afford an attorney, most courts have guardianship clinics available for assistance.

Benefits of Probate Guardianship

1. You are in control of your grandchild/minor relative and you do not have to worry about Child Protective Services taking the minor(s) from your custody and placing them with another family member or in a foster home. As the probate guardianship proceeds, a social worker will probably be ordered by the Probate Court to make an investigation as to the welfare of the child. If you are taking good care of the minor, it is unlikely Child Protective Services will be recommending to the Probate Judge to remove the child from your custody and send the case to Juvenile Court.

2. If you or your spouse/partner have prior criminal or Child Protective Services records, depending on their severity and nature, the Juvenile Court may exclude you as a person with whom the minor can be placed. Family Court Services will do a background check on you, your spouse/partner. and any child 16 and over living in your home for criminal records and prior child abuse referrals. Placement with you can be denied based on records for the adults and any juveniles in the home. In Probate Court, a petitioner can have a felony /misdemeanor record and not be automatically excluded as being a prospective guardian.

3. Probate Guardianships can lead to adoption of the minor after a couple of years if the guardians wish to pursue adoption.

4. Once the guardianship is established through Probate Court, you will not have a child protection worker assigned to the case. You will have a lot more freedom in working out visitation with the parents, temporary stays with the parents, vacations, and will not being afraid a child protection worker may come unexpectedly to your home, find some fault, and take your grandchild/minor relative into protective custody. However, you have to be protective and not neglectful in caring for the minor. You are held to the same standard of care as a parent. For example, if you know the parent is using drugs, alcoholic, sex offender, abusive to the minor, you would be neglectful if you left the minor unsupervised by a responsible person with the parent.

Detriments of Probate Guardianship

1. A major detriment to a probate guardianship is financial. You and your minor guardian/s are not entitled to the same financial benefits as guardians appointed by the Juvenile Court. Further, a minor is entitled to more benefits if their guardianship was established by the Juvenile Court. A probate guardian can make an application for welfare benefits for the minor. The amount of funds you receive for the minor will not be as much as you would receive if you were getting Kin-GAP (Kinship Guardianship Assistance) benefits which Juvenile Court guardians are entitled to after a certain period of time the minor has lived with them. Part of the welfare benefits also may include funding for daycare and maybe after-school care. The parents of the minors receiving welfare will be hounded by county child support services for child support. Because of this, the parents might be more inclined to aggressively pursue trying to get their minor back into their custody for financial reasons.

2. Fees can include an attorney if you choose to use one, a process server to serve court documents, payment of the required investigation fee for Family Court Services, and payment of the fee for a probate guardianship.  A Juvenile Court guardianship does not have these fees.




Do Not Allow Your Children To Sleep In Your Bed

Many wonderful family moments have been spent when the kids wake up early and come into their parents room and jump up on the bed to talk and snuggle. Those wonderful moments could become a nightmare if the children are allowed to sleep in the parents bed. Children need to sleep in their own beds.

You are inviting allegations of sexual molest if you permit your minor daughter/s to sleep in their parents bed. The male partner could well be accused of inappropriate touching. A man’s hand can wander in bed. He may think he is touching his wife only to be told by his daughter/step-daughter or partner that the minor alleges he touched them. The minor will firmly believe this man has molested her and will tell a friend, teacher or others what happened. These types of allegations are aggressively prosecuted. The man’s being asleep, being drunk, or being unaware the daughter was in bed with him will not carry much weight if it turns out the minor sleeps in your bed on regular basis.

Minor sons should not be permitted to sleep in their parents bed. Adolescent boys may not be sexually touched, but there will be huge unresolved emotional issues if they are sleeping in their parents bed on a regular basis.

Do Not Allow Your Children To Socialize With Adults or Older Adolescents Without Appropriate Supervision

Do not permit your child/children to spend the weekend, go on overnight visits, or overly socialize with another adult unless you know the sleeping arrangements and know there will be at least another adult present to ensure that nothing improper happens. See my blog about a pedophile priest and how he got started molesting children. His first victim was his nephew. The same goes for a step-father on a weekend trip with a step-daughter. Unless mom is going along, it would not be a good idea. One allegation and your family life is over. The man will be likely facing very serious charges that could have devastating consequences for him and the family.

Do not let your child socialize with another adult or another minor if they are two or more years older. You may think it is cute if your freshman daughter is dating a senior boy. I can assure you the senior boy has certain things on his mind that your freshman daughter may not be considering. It is unlawful for anyone, even with the minors full consent, to have sexual intercourse with any girl under the age of 18 in California unless she is emancipated. That’s right, it is illegal for two 15-year-olds, 16-year-olds, or 17-year-olds in California to engage in sexual intercourse, oral copulation, and digital penetration. Minors are not told this in sex education class at school. They are taught how to use condoms and birth control pills to hopefully avoid pregnancies. Just because your daughter/step-daughter/son are sexually active with their friends is no defense or an excuse for you to do it with them. You will be sent to jail/prison, have to register as a sex offender, and your life and your family’s life will be a living nightmare.

Do not give your children massages, back rubs, leg rubs, etc. Doing so with your children, step-children or friends of your children is very risky. All it takes is your hand touching a spot the minor believes is a private area and they will believe you intentionally did so and you are a molester. Once again, engage in a behavior that can be misconstrued and you do so at your peril.



Contest The Removal of a Wrongfully Removed Foster Child

Foster child

In a recently reported Court of Appeal decision, the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Two, In re A.F., et al., certified for publication 6/30/14, reversed the removal of twin boys from a foster home they had been placed in for 14 months of their 23-month-old lives. The foster parents had also received a de facto parent status designation by the court. The reason Child Protective Services (CPS) gave for the summary removal of the twins was solely because the foster parents once hesitated to adopt them even though they renewed their commitment to adopt the twins before the twins were removed. The twins were strongly bonded to the foster parents and the foster parents had taken outstanding care of the twins. The twins were removed from the home by CPS on February 17, 2013. At the next court hearing on March 5, 2013, the court refused the foster parents request to return the twins to their custody, vacated their de facto parent status and denied a request for an appointed attorney. The foster parents filed a Welfare and Institutions Code section 388 petition seeking the return of the twins. The court summarily denied their 388 petition. The foster parents appealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court. In its opinion the Court of Appeal set forth the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to consider any evidence from the de facto parents concerning whether continued placement of the children with them was in the best interest of the children.

In another case, In re M.V. (2006) 146 Cal.App.4th 1048, a foster child was removed from his biological parents in February 2004. He was placed with the foster parents on July 7, 2004. The foster parent became a de facto parent on July 11, 2005. On October 26, 2005, the Child Protective Services filed a Welfare and Institutions Code section 388 petition to remove the child due to his being bit by the family’s pit bull. The child’s attorney and the foster parents/de facto parents opposed the child’s removal. The child’s special advocate, CASA, also advocated for the child not to be removed from the foster parents. The foster parents agreed to remove the dog from their home. The acknowledged they had made a grave mistake in leaving the child unattended around the dog who had previously bitten one of their sons. The trial court granted the petition to remove the minor from the foster parents. The appellate court reversed the decision. The court ruled the agency (CPS) had to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that a change of circumstances existed and the proposed change was in the child’s best interests. Since the foster parents agreed to remove the dog, which was the cause for concern, the court needed to address what was in the best interests of the child. The court stressed when a dependency case involves a young child’s out-of-home placement, time is of the essence.

What Should You Do If Your Foster Child is Removed or Threatened To Be Removed From Your Custody

1. Work with the Child Protective Services worker. Find out what it is they are concerned about and convince the worker you have corrected their concern/s or will timely do so. The CPS worker is not your counselor. Do not discuss personal issues with the worker until you and your partner have come to a final decision–such as whether you want to adopt or not. You do have to notify the CPS worker of injuries to the foster child. You do have to notify them if you or your partner have been arrested or accused of a crime. The CPS worker will make a summary of all contacts/conversations with you in their Case Documentation Logs. Their job is to protect the child. It is not to be your confidant. Statements made to them are not confidential and can be used against you;

2. If a foster child is removed from your custody without your consent and without a prior court authorization, talk to the minor’s attorney. Talk to the CASA, the child’s advocate, if one has been appointed. Seek legal advice from an attorney experienced with these kinds of cases. Remember, the main issue before the court is what is in the best interests of the child. If the child is bonded to you, the Department of Social Services (CPS) must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that removal from your home is in the child’s best interests;

3. File a Welfare & Institutions 388 motion. Foster parents can file 388 motions to change, modify, or set aside previous court orders. The court will set a date to determine whether your 388 motion sets forth a determination whether the 388 motion warrants a contested hearing on the motion. If the court denies setting your motion for a contested hearing, or after a hearing denies it, you can appeal to the Court of Appeal. Time is of the essence; do not delay. Even if the foster child was improperly removed from your custody and the matter sent back to the trial court for reconsideration, the court must determine, at the time of the new hearing, what is in the best interests of the minor. The longer the minor is out of your custody, the greater the chance the bond with you will be impacted and it will be less likely the court will want to interrupt the new placement.