By Charlie Wittman



Charlie Wittman is the Director of California Family Advocacy Centers, CFAC. The information contained in this article was sent to the NCHR as a presentation of the work being done by the CFAC in California. It is published here with Charlie Wittman's special consent.



The State of California Department of Social Services (SS) is receiving funding from the Federal Government to the tune of 25 billion dollars a year and this does not include incentive bonuses. The federal funding to California comes from CAPTA (Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974) funds. The primary goal of CAPTA as stated in federal law is child safety and family reunification. The laws are there but the SS does not follow them, as there is no effective oversight of the system that is now out of control. It has become readily apparent that SS takes children from families, adopts them out and collects the federal monies for this process.

95% of the children taken by the SS are from low income and minority parents. The next focus group of families will be the middle income parents. SS focuses on the low income and minority families because they can not afford proper legal counsel and will loose their children to the system. Why would SS want to take and keep their children? It is all about money! The system got out of control and was flooded with foster children. The money flows into the state to take care of these foster children. In 1997 the Adoptions and Safe Families Act (ASFA) was passed and it provides a 4 thousand-dollar incentive bonus to the state and counties to increase adoption quotas over the baseline to a set goal to be reached in 2002. The intent of ASFA was to help reduce the number of children lingering in the foster care system. Unfortunately most of the older children are not desirable to adopting parents. Since adoptions of older children could not increase, then the most adoptable age of children would be 3 years old and under. The ASFA also started concurrent planning to help move children especially 3 years and under through the adoption system quicker. Concurrent planning is now confidentially acknowledged to have been a mistake by the state as the counties are abusing the ASFA concurrent planning to steal babies and adopt them out to meet their quotas. Children are now just a quota being used to get a bonus paid to the state and counties.

CFAC (California Family Advocacy Centers) is a grass roots self help organization of parents and specialists representing over 200 families throughout California whom are being abused by the misuse of power by state and local Child Protective Services Agencies (SS). CFAC exists to help families and children with the administrative law process. CFAC survives on the donations of its members and has no governmental or outside funding. The representatives of CFAC have joined together to help others in need. CFAC can provide help to those that want to learn the process to help themselves and eventually others that are in similar situations. The primary goal of CFAC is to help children develop in a safe and loving environment and to secondly keep the family unit functioning if at all possible.

CFAC provides free legal support for the administrative law process to file complaints to the California State Hearings Division. This process is described below. CFAC will then present three California case histories and a few national examples. The abuses by Social Service Agencies are terrorizing parents nation wide.


The child welfare system in California involves two legal processes consisting of the judicial system and the administrative law system as seen on Figure 1. The judicial line within this system consists of Superior Court at the top and the Commissioners, Referees and Mediators at the bottom. The judicial system (juvenile dependency) has jurisdiction over custody of the children in detained by the SS, paternity and visitation with the parents. Administrative law governs all actions of the SS. This is generally consistent throughout the United States through federal oversight. The administrative complaint process or State Fair Hearing is clearly shown in 45 CFR 205.10 et. seq. .; XIV Amend. U.S. Constitution and Title 22 Division 22 22-000 et. seq. pursuant to California's state plan.

Administrative law is that legal process in which the SS operates and additionally provides a clear complaint process if the law is broken through a State Fair Hearing by the California State Hearings Division.

This process is described in more detail below.

Further, in 1992 the Supreme Court of the United States has already clarified the issue of jurisdiction for State Fair Hearings in Suter v Artist M. 503 U.S. 347, 112 S. Ct. 1360, 118 L. Ed. 2d 1. In this case, the US Supreme Court, in an opinion delivered by the Chief Justice clearly states Congresses power to legislate the state plan and give the enforcement power to the Secretary of DHHS. The federal DHHS gives monies to states based upon their approved state plans, which must conform with the federal child welfare laws. Since the state SS and their agents the local county SS accept the federal monies then they must comply with the state and federal child welfare laws. CFAC has been submitting State Fair Hearings for our clients and the state has either denied the client the right to a hearing or bifurcated the hearing to determine if the claimant has the right to a hearing and then denied it. The Supreme Court has already ruled that the claimant has the right to the hearing but still the state of California is denying it. CFAC is currently soliciting pro bono support from several law firms to file a class action suit against California for denial of due process. Additionally, if the state is receiving federal monies but not complying with their own federally approved state plan to receive federal funding, then California is defrauding the federal government for funding (Ketom).

CFAC provides administrative legal support to its 200 plus clients to file complaints to the California State Hearings Division (SHD) at its local state offices. CFAC clients consist of parents and their children. CFAC provides the parent and child Authorized Representatives (AR's) and family advocates on a volunteer basis. California has been systematically denying parents and children their due process. CFAC is interviewing law firms to help file a federal class action suit against the state and its agents the local SS at the county level. Typical SHD problems and due process violations are listed below and include recognition of the claimant and jurisdiction for the SHD process:

· Failure of this adjudication to meet the requirements of due process (see Goldberg v. Kelley (1970) 397 U.S. 254; 45 CFR 205.10 et. seq.; XIV Amend.

U.S. Constitution and Title 22 Division 22 22-000 et. seq. pursuant to this states own submitted state plan).

¨ Failure of the parties to recognize claimants status as a "claimant".

Division 22 22-001(a)(3) et. seq., which defines "aid" that is subject to State Hearings. Listed are the public social services within the manual of policies and procedures in division(s) 30 & 31 (MPP) which are the manuals for "child welfare services." Child welfare services are also defined in 42 U.S.C.625. This verifies these services are subject to state hearing, therefore the claimant IS a claimant for all intents and purposes as a matter of law. Claimants issues being raised are child welfare administrative issues within the state plan/program requirements and within the jurisdiction of California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and their State Hearings Division (45 CFR 205.10 et seq.).

¨ Because of the aforementioned the claimant indeed has a right to a state fair hearing pursuant to 45 CFR 205.10; CCR division 22 22-000 et. seq. U.S. Constitution Amend. XIV. This state submitted it's own state plan (program) for approval by the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) which has been approved by the same. It is therefore stipulated that CDSS is the only agency responsible for the program/plan and is also responsible for State Fair Hearings (see 45 CFR 205.10 et. Seq)-NOT THE SUPERIOR COURT. There is no state court, state administrator or state executive official that has jurisdiction to change this. CDSS must apply for a state plan waiver (which CDSS has never done) from DHHS/ACF (Administration for Children and Families). This is pursuant to the State Plan created by Congress of the United States, which gives the enforcement powers to DHHS/ACF and gives CDSS oversight monitoring and state fair hearing responsibilities within this state, therefore jurisdiction lies with the SHD.

Typically counties claim and it is the SHD policy that the superior court is the court of sole jurisdiction concerning child welfare issues within the state plan which is incorrect. California's plan Title 22 CCR, Divisions 1-89 which was submitted by the state of California CDSS for approval by the Secretary of DHHS clearly states that the state Department of Social Services is the sole entity responsible for this plan under the direction of the federal DHHS/ACF. Further, in 1992 the Supreme Court of the United States has already clarified this issue in Suter v Artist M. 503 U.S. 347, 112 S. Ct. 1360, 118 L. Ed. 2d 1. In this case, the US Supreme Court, in an opinion delivered by the Chief Justice clearly states Congresses power to legislate the state plan and give the enforcement power to the Secretary of DHHS. Typical issues the claimant's raise are clearly within the administration of child welfare services. The Supreme Court has determined that these are administrative problems that fall under the jurisdiction of the office of the Secretary of DHHS by and through the ACF and subsequently through CDSS and their lessor political subdivisions (county agencies). Therefore, jurisdiction lies with the CDSS and its hearings division and not with the Superior Court. The Superior Court has no jurisdiction over the local agency or their programs from which issues are raised in typical SHD claims. Just as the Superior Court has no jurisdiction over the California Department of Social Service, the ACF, DHHS or the Supreme Court of the United States, (See Suter v Artist M.), therefore, the law doctrines of stare decisis and supremacy law must be adhered to and the SHD provide due process.

CFAC is faced with a SHD that does not know their own laws or provide the due process they are mandated to follow by both State and Federal Laws.

CFAC is being left with no choice but to file a federal injunction against the state of California. Many families are being hurt and the following are a few case summaries.


Mother Convicted of Attempted Murder of Daughter, Los Angles County DCFS Tries to Reunify A mother in Los Angles County has been convicted twice of attempted murder on her baby daughter by the criminal courts. The criminal courts have issued a restraining order against the mother to make sure she can no longer harm this poor child. The mother is currently out of jail and seeking to fulfill her promise to kill the baby. Los Angles County Department of Children and Families (DCFS) has decided it is the best interest of the child to reunify her with her mother. The Juvenile Courts and DCFS recommend that the child has unsupervised visits with the maternal grandmother and mother thus seeking the Criminal Court to remove their restraint. If this occurs, CFAC believes that the child will be at extreme risk. To date the visits have not occurred but they will soon.

CFAC has met with the agencies and Governor Gray Davis to plead that the California State Department of Social Services intervenes on the child's behalf and courts to reconsider. CFAC has asked that the child be reunified with relatives that will not threaten the child's life. CFAC has also contacted the Federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to plead for federal intervention. Interestingly, .upon beginning investigation and action on this matter, restructuring occurred to replace the persons acting to the requests. This all appears to be a huge cover up with the child's life at stake. To date none of the agencies have helped this poor child. Don't children have the protection of the "Bill of Rights"?

Girl Molested in Children Shelter-County Cover up - Retaliated by Removal of baby.

The mother called the social services agency in April of this year for help with counseling for her children. Her 9-year-old daughter and her 11-year-old son had issues that needed professional counseling for the best interest of the children. She knew this was a big problem that needed professional counseling. CPS ordered her to take the two children to the local police to talk. The police put the 11yo boy into juvenile hall for two months. CPS put the girl into the county children's shelter.

Court ordered visitation with the 9 year old was denied for 2 weeks by the Social Worker. At the first visit, which was supervised by the social worker, the girl told her mother and social worker that another girl in the shelter had touched her in her private parts. The social worker tried to get her to change her story but she would not. Further, this girl disclosed she kicked the other girl to get her to stop. The mother filed official complaints with the Santa Clara County sex abuse Hotline and the Santa Clara County Ombudsman. The shelter has now claims it never happened and that the 9yo was touched in the stomach. This is a very sick cover-up and no one is helping the mother or child and in fact the mother's attorney indicated that the Counties subsequent actions were retribution for reporting the incident and insisting on the court ordered visitation.

Since the mother complained about the abuse of her two children, CPS then took her baby for no reason and took her older son. The 9yo girl was held in the shelter until they could find a black family for her to be with (she is racially mixed) despite state and federal statutes which not only mandate placement with a "most like home" setting. This also excludes her half sister from being placed in the same foster home. The social worker declared that the girl should be placed with her "own ethnicity" ignoring she had been raised her whole life in a white home, and taught she had two ethnicity's. This is again clearly an abuse of the girl's civil rights and a Federal Multiethnic Placement Act violation.

The social worker then violated this family's freedom of religion by denying a priest give the children a blessing and falsely stated to the court that the mother sent a priest to gather information about the children. This visit from the priest happened only after the mother filed with the county Office of Civil Rights.

Four Gypsy Children Taken From Grandparents in Monterey County on False Burglary Charges, Social Services Recommends Termination of Parental Rights

We have here a clear case of civil and human rights violations by Monterey County Social Services (SS) being perpetrated upon a innocent family of Gypsies (Roma Culture). The grandparents and children's mother and four children live in San Bernardino County and were visiting Monterey County when the abuse started.

They were stopped by the Monterey police based upon allegations that the children were being used to aid in burglaries of homes in Monterey. The police gave the four children to SS whom subsequently put the children into foster care where they have been for the past 24 months. All charges against the family were dropped yet the children have not been returned.

SS has claimed that the mother is mentally disabled but again there is no proof. It clearly appears that the Roma people are being discriminated against. Currently SS wants to terminate the mother's parental rights. By keeping these children, the money flows into Monterey County SS. In the courtroom, the county council made the statement in front of the family that "Gypsies are nothing but liars and thieves" (this statement should sound familiar at it was made by Adolph Hitler). The case has become a cause for the local Gypsies and the Gypsy activists who see this as another in a long line of attempts by the world to wipe out the Gypsy nation.


Massachusetts News, By Edward G. Oliver

January 13, 2000

To the joy of all, the little girl featured on the front page of Massachusetts News in December 1999, who endured harsh treatment in DSS care, was placed back into the custody of her parents by Judge Louis D. Coffin of Falmouth Juvenile Court on January 12, 2000.

New York Class Action Suit Won

A class action suit was filed against the state of New York and the parents and children won. The abuses of children and families has run out of control in this state and is only now starting to be put in check with millions in fines. The class action case was called Marisol vs Juliani (1999) U S District Court, Southern District with a case value of 250+ Million dollars in settlement.

Examining the impacts of the privatization of foster care and family preservation services in the state of Kansas.

After a decade of documented failings in the Kansas foster care system; after eight years of litigation and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, critics charge the state of Kansas still isn't close to meeting even the minimum standards of care for its abused and neglected children.

A record of abuses in Wenatchee, Washington

The town of Wenatchee, Wash., made world headlines in 1994 and 1995 when police and state social workers undertook what was then called the nation's most extensive child sex-abuse investigation. By the time it was done, at least 60 adults were arrested on 29,726 charges of child-sex abuse involving 43 children. Many of the accused were poor or developmentally disabled. Many cases were settled on the strength of confessions taken down by Wenatchee police Detective Bob Perez.

In February 1998, the Post-Intelligencer published a series of articles that documented overzealous -- and even abusive -- actions by Perez and social service caseworkers, civil rights violations by judges and prosecutors as well as sloppy work by public defenders. Since then, many of the convicted have been freed by higher courts, largely through the work of The Innocence Project, a group of volunteer lawyers.


It is clear that the CDSS is not willing to provide due process to the citizens of California. The low income families are targets of the SS with their children being taken to keep the 25 billion dollar California machine oiled with cash. This problem clearly exists in all the states in the USA with money being the clear motivation. The legal community needs to help the defenseless targets of this systematic abuse.


Junior Maning

, Chief Administrative Law Consultant and Family Advocate, CFAC
Mr. Maning has been working in the Labor, Civil Rights and State Plans for over 20 Years. He has worked with the Teamsters and the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Unions. He has been an advocator of Substance Abuse and Familial Rights and opposed Congresses passage of the Adoptions Safe Families Act (ASFA). Mr. Maning is a firm believer in and systematic accountability.

Charlie Wittman

, Administrative Law Consultant and Family Advocate, CFAC
Mr. Wittman has been working in the area of environmental law for the last 20 years with various environmental firms. He has both owned and worked for these firms. He provides legal support to his clients on a voluntary basis. He has been providing family advocacy services for the last six months.

Charlie Wittman, Director
Advocates for Children and Families
California Family Advocacy Centers
PO Box 10
Los Gatos, CA 95031
tel.: 408 395 6999
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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