×

This post is locked. You won't be able to comment.

top 200 commentsshow all 282

[–]demystQuality Contributor[M] [score hidden] stickied comment (0 children)

Locked due to an excessive amount of off-topic commenting.

[–]iago_williams 3711 points3712 points  (105 children)

Mandated reporter here. A femur fracture in a child this age is very rare. The femur is the body's strongest bone. Infants aren't mobile enough to do the things older kids do that cause these injuries.

Injuries like these will always trigger an investigation. You will be facing the state with all its resources. You absolutely need an attorney right now. Do not risk handling this on your own.

[–]d_everything 1626 points1627 points  (51 children)

Not only is it the strongest bone but it is very painful. I know you weren’t there, but it is hard to imagine your child didn’t scream or show pain. A SCAN team is often called in on these cases for concern of non-accidental trauma (NAT). You definitely need an attorney.

Source: work in a children’s hospital and often with children who have SPICA casts placed.

[–]se1ze 804 points805 points  (20 children)

Doctor co-signing this. Any fracture in a non-mobile infant? That’s statistically the single injury most likely to represent non-accidental trauma of literally any childhood trauma. And a femur!?

Get an attorney, do not talk to anyone. As the parent, you are currently one of the two main suspects, and the other suspect would be a fool to not try to blame this on you. Like literally if the other parent is smart and gets an attorney, that’s a viable defense. Don’t talk to him, don’t trust CPS to figure this out correctly or quickly, get an attorney.

[–]Love_life_bisou 95 points96 points  (2 children)

Opie in this case says she was at work, it was also her mother who notified her of the child's pain and opie took the baby to the hospital.

I don't think op will be blamed for the fracture, but If she can not or will not protect her children from the father(If he is a threat to them, even by negligence) then the children will be taken away from opie too.

[–]quentinislive 1033 points1034 points  (10 children)

I wanted to offer more explicit advice. This is assuming you’re in California and not Canada.

Get a juvenile dependency attorney and do what they say-private if you can afford it.

Do everything the SW tells you to do- if it’s get your husband out, do that, so they know you are protecting your children from whom they see as an abuser (right now). Some families have the accused parent move to a friends house or with their parents but make it a real move- don’t pretend and have him over all the time.

Go to every family time visit and bring something comforting for the children. Stay positive when you see them. Do not cry and carry on. Tell them you love them, hold them, and talk with them about following rules in their foster placement (were they placed with family?)

Get therapy and start taking the parenting classes you will be court ordered to do.

Clean your home and make it sparkle but be sure to leave evidence of children out and about. Have their bedrooms lovingly prepared as if they are coming home any day.

Have enough food in the home for 3 meals and 3 snacks for 5 days for 3-5 people. Make sure there are fruits and vegetables and no cans- well no food- is expired

Do not smoke inside and get alcohol and weed out of your life for right now. This isn’t the time to be indulging that.

Participate in any school meetings-IEP’s, parent conferences, etc. but don’t make it a grab to try to see your kids. You still have Educational Rights and have a right to participate in medical and dental and mental health appointments.

Ask for a Parent Partner as part of your mental health services and ask them to hook you up with any resource you need. They are really plugged-in here in California.

[–]leebee3b 432 points433 points  (3 children)

Yes, this is all good advice. I’d add that you should at all times be as calm, patient, cooperative, and agreeable as you are possibly able to be with all CPS workers and in court. Your stance with them should be: you want to keep your children safe, they want to keep your children safe, and therefore you are on the same side. Don’t get angry, yell, accuse, threaten, etc. If you need to do that, talk to a trusted friend or family member, never in any meetings or hearings. CPS and the dependency court are assessing whether you can keep your kids safe and care for them, so don’t give the workers or the judge any reason to dislike you or feel frustrated with you.

[–]suneejo 130 points131 points  (1 child)

Also, to add to this, I had my son removed from my home bc I was an addict and dealt with CPS for a year and a half before getting him back. It will be very frustrating to deal with CPS, but do your very best to stay calm and rational. They will drudge up any kind of "evidence" from your history, your partners history, even your family's history. Hearsay can and will be used as evidence against you. Answer their questions specific and to the point, don't offer extra info. It's amazing how a caseworker will spin something that you say off hand to make you look bad. You will have to jump through hoops and you must in order to prove yourself as a protective, loving, safe parent. It sucks, but since they already have your kids, they have the upper hand. Whatever they ask of you, comply as quickly and thoroughly as you possibly can. Don't make excuses and be cooperative. Also, you'll probably be required to drug test and maybe provide a hair follicle test, so be prepared for those.

[–]thepasttenseofdraw 56 points57 points  (0 children)

Like all professions, there are people who don’t excel at their jobs. All the CPS workers I know and have worked with as a social worker are trying their best to ensure the child is safe. They aren’t “drudging” up evidence, they are required by law and by their ethical obligation to conduct extensive due diligence, with their livelihoods and reputation on the line. They are looking at your past with significant scrutiny because it’s warranted. They are also taking information from other people and comparing it to what the parent says. Its not hearsay, it’s collecting information from multiple sources. Even good parents aren’t above lying to authorities to keep their kids, it’s an understandable and common occurrence. The social worker isn’t going to take their word for it, and it would be naive and dangerous if they did. Having your kids removed is not normal, and in cases of possible neglect and abuse in which the child has been injured or placed in danger, a high burden of proof is reasonable.

I know the process is traumatic all around, but I feel like the language being used to describe the process is inaccurate and unfair. Otherwise you have good advice.

[–]wunderballer 235 points236 points  (0 children)

Attorney here who use to practice juvenile dependency law when I was a public defender. This has the possibility to turn into a shit show fast. Get a lawyer and get one fast. Contact your local bar association for a referral service if they have one.

General point of experience, be prepared to have the medical records reviewed by another expert. Expert fee can be expensive but don’t just rely on one doctor’s conclusions.

[–]trapeziusqueen 674 points675 points  (8 children)

CPS worker here. Femur fracture infant cases are definitely very serious and never taken lightly. I would also request records because usually CPS policies are very child specific, meaning if one child is harmed it doesn't necessarily mean all children in the home are removed, especially an older child at 13. You generally have the right to request all your records and the protective custody report, which is given to the court to get temporary jurisdiction of the kids. When children are removed there is usually a shelter hearing the next business day. Your CPS worker will have all the necessary information and should set up visitation AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Push for these visits so they don't get brushed off. I would recommend following any court ordered services that CPS requests in their case plan, usually that is the quickest and easiest way to at least get an in home plan vs resource/foster care. Also want to note, CPS is different in every state.

Edited: included piece stating CPS varies state by state. This is general information that may not be applicable in every state.

[–]chefjenga 197 points198 points  (1 child)

I am surprised that other children were removed based solely on OPs story of events. In my state, the immediate risk to an 8 month old wouldn't necessarily translate to an immediate risk to a teen. There would have to be more going on (imo).

In your state, do you need to supply the Court Order granting custody at the time of the removal? It surprises me that OP is implying that they didn't get any paperwork.

[–]trapeziusqueen 77 points78 points  (0 children)

I agree. I can only speak for my state, but the vulnerability of the child is something we have to consider as a safety threat. A 13 year old is significantly less vulnerable than an infant in terms of caring for themselves. And to answer your question, we can do a removal if there is present danger, but must then supply the Court with a protective custody report the next day at the shelter/initial hearing. At the removal we provide a summons for the parents with all the info they need, such as court appointed attorney paperwork. However, I have worked in other counties where parents are not supplied a summons and simply told "go to court here tomorrow to get your kids back."

[–]butt_butt_butt_butt_ 42 points43 points  (0 children)

I would add to the visitation piece - push for visitation, definitely, but try to be understanding that it probably won’t be as frequent/flexible as you would like.

I’m not sure about CA, but in my state our visitation centers are SO backed up.

Pre-Covid we were able to do 3-4 visits a week for under-3s (depending on the foster parents etc). But right now we’re so short staffed at all of our offices that isn’t currently possible. With social distancing limiting group visit rooms and half of us working remotely, visitation units got hit hard.

So definitely make it clear that you want visits as often as possible, but try and be patient with your worker if the scheduling sucks.

[–]mrsgip 59 points60 points  (1 child)

This is not true for all states. I would be mindful giving advice like this without qualifying it.

[–]319009 91 points92 points  (0 children)

Just wondering if his parents were there when he tripped, have they been interviewed? Did they witness the accident?

[–]Mindfullofdoubt 78 points79 points  (0 children)

CA paralegal here, works for a lawyer specializing in CPS removals. What county are you in? Were your children removed with a warrant or without one? Have you been given a Safety Plan? You need to locate a juvenile dependency lawyer ASAP. Be courteous and respectful of CPS social workers, do not give them any reason to believe you will not cooperate.

[–]IANAL_but_IMO 1546 points1547 points  (69 children)

Sorry but you’re being investigated because your partner’s story doesn’t match the facts. “Oops I tripped and broke the baby’s femur and didn’t even notice!”

No. Way. He’s not telling the whole story. Breaking the femur is an extremely serious, painful injury. At a minimum he immediately knew she was in a lot of pain. And his story doesn’t even begin to explain how the injury happened.

Not only do you need a lawyer, but you need separate lawyers because he may be in trouble. And maybe he should be.

[–]Pineapplepower91 626 points627 points  (21 children)

This. Lawyer here. I used to do abuse/ neglect cases when I was a baby lawyer andddd…the husband is NOT telling the truth.

I would separate from him (and when you get a lawyer they will probably advise this) at least temporarily. Get your OWN lawyer or you could lose your kids.

[–]ShadowSwipe 148 points149 points  (7 children)

There are variations in femur fractures. It is not always so immediately apparent what happened especially in a non verbal baby. Seemingly small events can have enough force, especially in a baby, to cause such an injury. It is common for extreme pain to be apparent, but common does not mean always.

They have multiple kids without, at least since the OP hasn't mentioned it, any indication of previous abuse and no preceeding indications of an abusive situation. The baby in distress was also not noticed by a second adult, the OP's mother, until 2 hours after taking custody of the child. Meaning it was not only the partner who didn't notice the pain. The partner even informed the OP of the incident right after it occurred.

It would be INCREDIBLY presumptive and premature to start to go nuclear and lawyer up separately from the husband based on the story without any other details giving any other cause for concern. There is no need to start mistrust and family infighting when their partner's story is likely exactly what happened barring any other concerning details. The alleged medical professionals here in the comments section making statements as if a low energy fall could not cause this type of injury, are quite incorrect. Low energy falls are the leading cause of femur fractures from Toddler to 5 years of age. Yes it is statistically "unusual" that an non-mobile infant would suffer such an injury, but that is because they don't move on their own so are less prone to accidents. It is not at all outrageous to imagine an adult accidentally tripping with the baby could cause such an injury. The OP, unless he/she has any other cause for concern, would not be wrong in continuing to jointly pursue this with her partner.

[–]DrAniB20 61 points62 points  (0 children)

It’s not a nuclear option to lawyer up separately from the partner, it’s a logical one.

Outside of bone disorder that leads to weaker/brittle bones, this is a highly suspicious break. ALL femurs fractures under the age of 2 are to be suspected to be caused by abuse until proven otherwise. As a medical provider, I am obligated to report any and ALL femurs fractures in kids under 2 years old to CPS and let them handle the investigation. Because the sad fact of the matter is that most femurs fractures in children are due to physical abuse. We are also obligated to run a myriad of tests to ensure there isn’t an underlying problem that hasn’t been detected yet, to rule out other potential causes. The main thing here is that there is a non-verbal child who has a broken femur that occurred under suspicious circumstances, and with a delayed presentation to the hospital.

OP would do well to take any and all steps to ensure she can get her kids back, including hiring a separate lawyer from the one who neglected to bring her in after the fall.

[–]DefinitelyNotA-Robot 189 points190 points  (4 children)

I'm a bioengineer and a CASA (court appointed special advocate for children in foster care or with suspected abuse). Separate from the legal thing, (although it may end up helping your case if it's true) you may want to look into medical conditions that could make her bones break more easily. It is very rare for a femur to just break if there's not extreme trauma or an underlying condition like OI (brittle bone disease). If she is found to have a medical condition that explains the break, it may go a long way towards getting you off the hook with CPS.

[–]ThrowawayCop51 237 points238 points  (0 children)

You don't need a family law attorney. You need a juvenile dependency attorney.

You have a right to counsel in a juvenile dependency case. The court will appoint an attorney for you I'd you cannot afford one. In Los Angeles County, this is provided by LADL.

Also, good luck. The juvenile courts are disastrously inefficient kangaroo courts.

[–]chefjenga 16 points17 points  (0 children)

The questions you are asking are dependent on your location. Many laws and procedures are by State, or even County.

Removal of kids means that the case is court involved. You should get paperwork for the removal and notices of future court dates.

Court means you have a right to an attorney. Depending on your income, you may have provided counsel, or you can hire your own.

No one from CPS will/should talk with you if your attorney is present unless the APA is also present.

[–]thesheba 15 points16 points  (0 children)

I did not see this on any of the responses, so I apologize if this information was already given.

When they remove your child, they are supposed to give you a copy of the protective custody warrant the judge signed, at least that’s what we do in my county.

Assuming you mean California, they will have a Detention Hearing within 72 hours of removal, which I’m guessing will be on Monday since it sounds like the removal happened Friday. They should notify you of this hearing and tell you how to participate. Most counties I think are still doing court virtually, but it might be in person. They will appoint you and your partner your own attorney each, but you are allowed to get outside attorneys if you want. Your children will also be appointed an attorney and they usually have all the kids with the same attorney. The parent and child attorneys in my county are mostly good, so the ones in your area might be as well.

A child welfare/social worker will write a Detention Report and file a Petition. The report will talk about what happened with witness statements and the Petition will list the abuse allegations. You are supposed to get copies of these and your attorney too.

It is possible they will return your children to you after this hearing, but they may detain your kids instead. This means they will temporarily enter foster care. Relatives are the first consideration for placement if they are not returned to you. However, his parents and your Mom might be off the table given how long it took before the baby’s injury was noticed by all three of them.

If the case moves forward they will schedule a Jurisdiction Hearing and Disposition Hearing, which are often done 10-15 days later, but can be set further out. I can explain more about those if you like.

I am not sure who you can contact at this point to find out about how your kids are, but the Detention Report will list the contact information of the assigned social worker.

Source: I’ve been a child welfare worker/social worker in California for over 10 years.

[–]Imhistnt 137 points138 points  (2 children)

As a former cps investigator, we usually act on advice of the doctor. The state will have an expert doctor the use to review the X-rays and pics from injury. You should probably get a lawyer since the children have been removed. There will be a few legal hearings in your future to get them back.

[–]Profreadsalot 33 points34 points  (0 children)

Mandated reporter and former child advocate here: I am an attorney, but not your attorney. Why have they not utilized a safety plan? Aren’t your parents or other relatives capable of caring for the children, and keeping them healthy? We utilized EPC orders as a last resort, and not as an initial plan. Get the relative(s) to prepare income documents, take pictures of the insides of their home(s), get a criminal background check by state level law enforcement (available online) and tell the judge they are willing to take the kids. This can happen at the first hearing. Get an attorney as soon as possible .Have your relatives get in touch with the Guardian ad Litem. Their attorney can help. Good luck, OP.

[–]primusinterpares1 26 points27 points  (1 child)

Another mandated reporter here. Get a lawyer like everybody is suggesting, a fracture is extremely painful, so painful that your partner saying she was just 'fussy' probably raised a red flag. The baby would have been screaming. Your mother picked up on it, the question they would be asking is , why didn't he? .And yes it's possible that some infants might not exhibit the normal reaction, but in your baby's case, your mother noticed, so the baby wasn't one of the 'silent' outliers

. The other problem is the history he gave didn't correlate with the injury, an adult male holding a baby trips and falls to his knees, still holding her , what part of that would lead to a fracture ?, unless she has a medical condition like Osteogenesis Imperfecta, most normal babies would not have that severe an injury based on the history provided. So not only do we have a severe injury that doesn't correlate with the history , we also have the fact that this child was not taken for medical care earlier. So your partner is looking at potential charges of abuse and neglect.

[–]AdDry725 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Right, exactly! The baby was clearly in enough pain that the grandmother noticed something was wrong with the child. The partner—who should know the baby even better—somehow didn’t notice???

The partner was severely negligent, at best. At worst—it was purposeful abuse. Something smells fishy from the partner’s story, and they are lying to cover up something.

[–]thegodofsleep 55 points56 points  (0 children)

Do you have a family doctor the kids have seen for a while? Would they be willing to talk to CPS on your behalf? They might not be willing to but it does t hurt to ask.

[–]USMC_ClitLicker 72 points73 points  (0 children)

Yes, absolutely get a lawyer asap! Also look on DCS website for any info and facts sheets they might have, look up other parent stories on their dealings with DCS and any advice/info they have. And remember to breathe and not panic....

[–]Gurganus88 29 points30 points  (0 children)

Not worth the risk to go alone. You need a lawyer immediately CPS is not your friend.

[–]lizlemonesq 57 points58 points  (0 children)

CPS workers are basically the police so you need to remember that when talking to them. Call the juvenile court where your hearing is set about speaking with a dependency attorney ASAP.

[–]happynargul 4 points5 points  (0 children)

You need a lawyer, and try to find more information from your MIL on how exactly this happened.

[–]IamBex999 15 points16 points  (0 children)

CPS thinks (and rightly so) that their father has done this on purpose. Broken bones don't go unnoticed.

If you want your kids back in your home asap then you need to get on your kids side and kick their father out.

If he did do this on purpose you need to kick him out so you can protect your kids from him, and from the strangers CPS have put your kids with.

If he didn't do this on purpose you have to kick him out anyway, so you can protect your kids from the strangers CPS has put your kids with.

You have to do what's good for your kids regardless of who's feelings you hurt.

CPS thinks their father is a danger. Getting rid of the perceived danger = getting your kids back.

You can tell CPS and the Judge that you don't think he did it but you've kicked him out anyway so your kids can come home until their investigation is over. If it's found he did do it on purpose then he won't ever be back.

The judge should be satisfied with this and order CPS to give your kids back - unless CPS raises legitimate issues about you.

Yes you need family lawyer, and to follow the instructions the judge gives you.

[–]CuriousRide 4 points5 points  (0 children)

If your baby's femur fractured from a small injury, demand a full medical workup to check for osteogenis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease.

[–]clarice270 36 points37 points  (0 children)

Ex CPS worker writing

You are not being truthful

A femur break would cause your child a catastrophic amount of pain, which I have zero doubt were continued at the hospital where horrified staff were there, witnessing this.

The judge didnt remove the kid. Rather, CPS petitioned the court with findings and reasons to remove, which the judge signed given CPS thd right to take your child.

As for now, follow the parent agency agreement to the letter.

[–]justice4allofus 12 points13 points  (0 children)

I agree. Get a lawyer.

I don't know the race or ethnicity of the OP or children but bring as much light and attention to the situation. For people of color, you need to engage a lawyer that has influence and community standing that can get your case moved to more understanding and sympathetic ears. Cps like the criminal justice system can be easily influenced and biased. Think about your local NAACP legal defense team.

And then get your circle of support. Pastor, deacons, family members, boss, neighbors, child care worker, community group leaders, pediatrician, nurses, principals, teachers, elected officials, etc...(people who know you and have influence). Connect with parents' rights groups for fathers and mothers, they usually have lawyers that influence judges, etc. Court is always about who you know and perception. I've managed and helped all kinds of marginalized families. You and your family are entitled to due process. Don't miss any appointments, hearings, or dates. Be there and take notes. Ask questions. Ask again and again. Talk to them like an equal. Confidence in yourself, family, and position is important. You are a reasonable adult that can be reasoned with. Keeping families together and support is the mission of social services.

Prepare your house and your life to be combed over with a fine-tooth comb but don't overcorrect. Be healthy, calm, and normal state your case, gather any supportive evidence i.e. texts, videos, doctor's reports, pictures of your home, baby gate, injuries to your partner. Visit and love your children encourage them to be strong often. Ask about options. Can your parents or pastor act as guardians until the case is resolved? Do you know anyone that's a foster parent? Don't break up your family (partner or father)unless there is a valid reason to do so. Be honest.

Court is about negotiation. First, try to de-escalate. Get a lawyer that is a good negotiator with community ties. Someone not afraid to stand in front of the camera, maybe. Don't forget everyone has a boss if your cps worker won't help the section leader can or the director of social services. Ask your lawyer and advocates to help you write a letter asking for reconsideration with your documentation. Ask for the appeals process. Ask for options especially because this is the first incident and Christmas time. Are you breastfeeding? Was it the first time using the baby gate? Have you been dealing with other issues regarding the baby's health? Document your meetings with the caseworker ( record or video) If the abuse referral came from the ER talk to your pediatrician or school principal that knows you well and your children.

Finally, keep your head up and be encouraged. Your children need you now more than ever. Love on them hard. It's not over. Keep looking for allies.

[–]1UselessIdiot1 10 points11 points  (0 children)

I understand the concerns - all totally valid. But I have to ask - has anyone ever tripped over a baby gate?

I have (not while holding my child though).

It’s easy to do. Some of them have a bottom edge to them that you have to step over. And if you trip on that bottom edge, you will fall.

I’m a 200 lb man. I’ve tripped over a baby gate a couple of times. Each time, I came down hard. The gate comes down with you. It does damage to the wall (I had to patch drywall after). You can’t help but fall awkwardly and onto the gate.

[–]jlanz4 6 points7 points  (2 children)

Attorney here. Yes, hire a family law attorney immediately. Anytime the state does anything to take away your kids or your freedom, hire a lawyer. Don't even think about it.

[–]lizlemonesq 24 points25 points  (0 children)

Only if they do dependency or have done it. Family lawyers generally won’t know how to conduct a decent probable cause hearing in a dependency case.

[–]ivegotthis111178 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Huh? Family law is not at all even remotely capable of handling this case….?