CPS sued for kidnaping children
December 22, 2014
A lawsuit filed Dec. 12 says Riverside County Child Protective Services staff have made a habit of kidnapping children.
Attorney Shawn McMillan, who specializes in civil rights cases against child protection agencies, said he uncovered an alarming trend about a year ago during discovery for other cases. The suit, currently focused on one case, is slated to become one of many class action lawsuits filed against U.S. child protection agencies after legislation increased funding for adopting foster children.
“County child welfare agencies regularly subvert the constitutional rights of parents and children by seizing children from their parents when there is no danger to the child, and in fact no need to seize the child at all,” McMillan told Courthouse News. “The class action is designed to address a procedural problem. They (Riverside County social workers) as a matter of course don’t get warrants before seizing kids.”
The suit focuses on a newborn baby who Riverside County took from its mother allegedly “without reason or warrant.” McMillan said the county had illegally taken the woman’s other four children months before.
Because there had been an earlier dependency case, a social worker took the three day old breast feeding baby from her mother while still in the hospital. Though the child was returned to her mother approximately a week later, many children spend more than a year in foster care while others are adopted out through county social services agencies.
According to the lawsuit, county social workers know or should know that taking children from their families without a warrant is illegal and violates their civil rights.
In San Luis Obispo County, where a large sign noting adoptions here adorns the child welfare agency, social workers rarely apply for a warrant before taking a child from its family. McMillan said , if successful, his suit could have state wide ramifications.
Meanwhile, studies show children in state custody are up to 600 percent more likely to be neglected, abused and murdered then those left in the custody of their parents.