The goal here is to show the court that the assessment of harm and neglect against you should have never been FOUNDED (you are guilty) and therefore the court has no jurisdiction over the child and should close the case.
You will also want to show that the intake worker lied and coerced you which means that the judges decisions to make your child a ward of the court was based on more than hearsay (which is legal in juvenile court) but was based on distortion, misrepresentation, lies, and omission. This would mean that the judge would have to reconsider the evidence.
If you actually DID neglect or harm your child according to the state statutes, this will not work for you.
Step 1. Download this FREE program to write your Declaration of Facts in. It is called Open Office.
Step 2. Download this template and open it using the Open Office program.
Step 3. Start writing your story of who you are and how you got involved with CPS using the format of the template. You should write how the child ACTUALLY got the bruise, or Why the child was so tired at school. What ever the caseworker is claiming, you should counter claim it with what the truth actually is.
Everything that is printed in red must be changed or taken off.
I do not have a template ready yet, but I am working on it. Meanwhile, take a look at the example below
This is an actual example used in a court in Iowa. You will have to use laws and administrative rules in your own state to make your own Declaration Of Facts
IN THE JUVENILE COURT FOR POLK COUNTY, IOWA
|IN THE INTEREST OF:
CIERA JANE COOK,
A Minor Child
|Case No. JV230141
SWORN DECLARATION OF FACTS OF CYNTHIA D. COOK
To the Honorable COLIN J. WITT, District Associate Juvenile Judge for Polk County, Iowa:
COMES NOW, the undersigned does on oath depose and state the following:
1. I, Cynthia D. Cook, am the Mother of Ciera Jane Cook, DOB 7/11/2005.
2. On March 8, 2011, an argument ensued between myself and my fiancé, Steven Boeckholt.
3. I immediately walked my daughter next door to my neighbor’s house, where she remained until Steve’s brother Don Boeckholt arrived to pick her up and take her to his house to spend the night.
4. Steve left the house later that night and did not return home.
5. On March 9, 2011, an arrest warrant was issued for Steven for alleged domestic assault.
6. Steve was arrested on March 10, 2011 and remained in the Polk County Jail until the end of May. He was transferred to NCF on a parole violation for being arrested.
7. The Polk County Attorney dismissed all charges against him on May 18, 2011, stating that it was “not in the interest of justice to pursue this charge”. They also cancelled the no contact order.
8. On March 10, 2011, I was contacted by phone by Child Protective Services (CPS) worker Heather Hewitt. She asked to come to my home to meet with me. I informed her that I was sick in bed, and my daughter Ciera was in the care of my fiance’s brother and sister-in-law, Don and Sarah Boeckholt. My estranged husband, Gregory Cook Sr. then spoke with her. I am unaware of the context of this conversation.
9. On March 10, 2011, at approximately 11:20 AM, I awoke to CPS worker Heather Hewitt standing next to my bed in my upstairs bedroom of my home. She introduced herself, and I stated I did not wish to speak with her.
10. HH told me that if I did not answer a few questions, my child would be taken into DHS custody and placed in foster care. I was coerced into speaking with her and did so under duress. ANY type of communication, which conveys the idea to the parent that they have no realistic alternative but to allow entry negates any claim that the entry was lawfully gained through the channel of consent. “Consent to warrantless entry must be voluntary and not the result of duress or coercion. Lack of intelligence, not understanding the right not to consent, or trickery invalidate voluntary consent”.Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 US 218 (1973). “Consent” that is the product of official intimidation or harassment is not consent at all. Citizens do not forfeit their constitutional rights when they are coerced to comply with a request that they would prefer to refuse. Florida v. Bostick, 501 US 429 (1991). Coercive or intimidating behavior supports a reasonable belief that compliance is compelled. Cassady v. Tackett, 938 F. 2d (6th Cir. 1991). Coercion can be mental as well as physical.Blackburn v. Alabama, 361 US (1960)
11. The evidence used to gain entry did not satisfy the standard of probable cause.
12. Ms. Hewitt had already confirmed that my child was not at home, as stated in her assessment. Therefore, she was fully aware that no exigent circumstances existed.
13. Police officers and social workers are not immune from coercing or forcing entry into a person’s home without a search warrant. Calabretta v. Floyd (9th Cir. 1999).
14. On March 10, 2011, Heather Hewitt was allowed entrance into my home by Gregory Cook Sr. Mr. Cook was only a guest in my house and was not the adult in charge of the premises. We had not cohabitated since 2001, and he had no authority to allow anyone into my home, or to give anyone permission to go upstairs to my bedroom.
15. Ms. Hewitt was fully aware that Mr. Cook did not live there and so states in her CPS Assessment Summary.
16. There are two and only two recognized exceptions to the requirement of having a warrant for the conduct of a child abuse investigation:
a.) The adult in charge of the premises gives the social worker his/her free and voluntary consent to enter the home.
b.) The social worker possesses evidence that meets two standards:
(1) it satisfies the legal standard of establishing probable cause; and
(2) the evidence demonstrates that there are exigent circumstances relative to the health of the children.
· The Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures extends beyond criminal investigations and includes conduct by social workers in the context of a child neglect/abuse investigation. Lenz v. Winburn (11th Cir. 1995). A police officer and a social worker may not conduct a warrantless search or seizure in a suspected child abuse case absent exigent circumstances. Defendants must have reason to believe that life or limb is in immediate jeopardy and that the intrusion is reasonable necessary to alleviate the threat. Searches and seizures in investigation of a child neglect or child abuse case at a home are governed by the same principles as other searches and seizures at a home. Good v. Dauphin County Social Services (3rd Cir. 1989).
17. CPS worker HH was in fact, acting under the authority or color of state law at the time this occurred in her official capacity as a social worker for Iowa DHS.
18. Her execution of Iowa Department of Human Services’ “customs” and/or “policies” were the moving force behind her unconstitutional acts, and that personally, her individual unconstitutional acts violated my clearly established constitutional rights of which a reasonable official would have known. Davis v. Scherer (1984).
19. Before leaving my house, Heather Hewitt informed me that the case would be unfounded and that my daughter could return home. I told her I had already arranged for Ciera to stay at the Boeckholt’s through March 13, 2011, so that she could attend their daughter’s birthday event at the indoor waterpark.
20. Page 9 of the CPA clearly states that the allegations are NOT CONFIRMED in the Findings. This was later changed verbally by Heather Hewitt, based on false statements and lies nunc pro tunc.
21. Page 10 of the CPA lists the abuse type as Denial of Critical Care and Failure to Provide Proper Supervision. “A reasonable and prudent person” would do just as I did by removing her from the situation.
22. On March 11, 2011, Heather Hewitt informed me by phone that my child should stay with Don and Sarah. I told her that I had already arranged for that. She did NOT explain to me that this was the “safety plan”, or even what a “safety plan” was.
23. I was coerced into signing a “voluntary” Safety Plan. The CPS worker, Shannon Nichols, threatened me that if I did not sign the “voluntary” service plan that my child would be TPR’ed. According to Amanda C., by and through Gary Richmond, natural parent and next friend, appellee, v. Kelly Case, appellant. N.W.2d Filed May 23, 2008. No. S-06-1097 this is unauthorized practice of law and acting under the Color of Law.
24. On March 12, 2011, I was informed by Sarah Boeckholt that the CPW HH had told her that my child could not return home. Heather Hewitt did not inform me of this herself.
25. There was no court order for this, nor did exigent circumstances exist as stated by Ms. Hewitt in her initial assessment.
26. Child removals are “seizures” under the Fourth Amendment. Seizure is unconstitutional without a court order or exigent circumstances. Brokaw v. Mercer County, (7th Cir. 2000). Social workers and police cannot lawfully seize a child without a warrant or the existence of probable cause to believe the child was in imminent danger of harm. Where police were not informed of any abuse of the child prior to arriving at caretaker’s home and found no evidence of abuse while there, seizure of the child was not objectively reasonable and violated the clearly established Fourth Amendment rights of the child. Wooley v. City of Baton Rouge, (5th Cir. 2000). For purposes of the Fourth Amendment, a “seizure” of a person is a situation in which a reasonable person would feel that he is not free to leave, and also either actually yields to a show of authority from police or social workers or is physically touched by police. Persons may not be “seized” without a court order or being placed under arrest. California v. Hodari, 499 U.S. 621 (1991).
27. The assessment by Heather Hewitt does not specify what exigent circumstances existed or what immediate danger to life or health my child was in to justify an emergency situation. None of the following apply:
Iowa Code Section 232.2(6) Life or health – adjudicatory harms defined:
(a) Actual harm
(b) Likelihood of future injury
(c) Emotional abuse or neglect
(d) Substance Abuse (in utero, passive smoke)
28. In the opinion of Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. in the majority Opinion of the Supreme Court of Missouri, In the Interest of: P.L.O. and S.K.O., minor children. SC85120 (3/30/2004): “The mother voluntarily consented to the court’s jurisdiction over her children, voluntarily transferred their custody to the division and never challenged the circumstances of their removal. Accordingly, she cannot now challenge whether an ’emergency’ existed to justify removal of her child under (the statute in question) and this court need not address such a challenge.”
29. I am therefore establishing ON THE RECORD that I strongly challenge that an emergency existed to remove my child, and most certainly do withdraw any “voluntary” agreements I was coerced into entering into.
30. On March 11, 2011, I provided a urine sample for drug testing at the place specified by CPW HH. This test was negative for all substances
31. On March 10, 2011, Ms. Hewitt asked me if my fiancé Steven Boeckholt used meth. I told her he did not, to the best of my knowledge, and that drugs were not allowed in my house.
32. CPS assessment states “Threats of Maltreatment: Domestic violence and substance abuse alleged.” And that “Cynthia is not considered to be protective.” as reasons for removal.
33. The PRC Conference Plan, dated March 16, 2011, states “Cyndi made certain Ciera was safe”. My child was never in any imminent danger, and this shows that I am protective. The mere possibility or risk of harm does not constitute an emergency or exigent circumstance that would justify a forced warrantless entry and a warrantless seizure of a child. Hurlman v. Rice, (2nd Cir. 1991
34. The CPA falsely states that I have mental health stability issues. I was under the care of my family physician for mild situational depression, and on prescription medication for it. The issue was under control, and by no means made me unable to properly care for my child.
35. Therapist Penny Peterson at CFI diagnosed me in August, 2011 with anxiety and situational depression “due to the removal of her child by DHS”.
36. The CPA falsely states that there are domestic violence issues in the home. My child herself states that Steve was never mean to us, and that she did not witness any violence.
37. CPS worker HH states that my child witnessing domestic abuse constitutes as neglect/denial of critical care and is basis for her removal. In a landmark class action suit in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, U.S. District Judge Jack Weistein ruled on Nicholson v. Williams, Case No.: 00-cv-2229, the suit challenged the practice of New York’s City’s Administration for Children’s Services of removing the children of battered mothers solely because the children saw their mothers being beaten by husbands or boyfriends. Judge Weistein ruled that the practice is unconstitutional and he ordered it stopped.
38. The CPS Assessment report falsely states that I told her I used meth once a week for the past several months. I did NOT make this statement to anyone, and my UA on March 11, 2011 was negative. Court orders obtained based on knowingly false information violates Fourth Amendment. Brokaw v. Mercer County, (7th Cir. 2000).
39. On March 12, 2011, I signed over temporary legal guardianship of my child to Don and Sarah Boeckholt, for a period not to exceed 6 months.
40. CPS removed my child after I informed Ms. Hewitt of this fact, which she failed to disclose to the court during the removal hearing. This is a lie of omission. A lie of omission is to remain silent when ethical behavior calls for one to speak up. A lie of omission is a method of deception and duplicity that uses the technique of simply remaining silent when speaking the truth would significantly alter the other person’s (the judge’s) capacity to make an informed decision.
Affidavit re: Child Custody. Iowa Code Section 598B.209 requires that in the petition or first pleading in a child custody proceeding (including a child in need of assistance case), the court is to be advised of certain information concerning the child’s prior custodians and residences and whether there exists any pending custody actions concerning the child.
41. No reasonable efforts were made to prevent removal. The Application for Order of Temporary Removal dated March 17, 2011, and the CINA Removal Order dated March 24, 2011, states that the following reasonable efforts were made:
a. Previous CINA on sibling. This refers to my now 21 yr. old son. He was placed in foster care as a teenager due to behavioral problems. He was doing very well after a while there; he had a job, was doing well in high school and preparing to graduate and attend college. The foster parents and I agreed that it would be detrimental to my son if we were to move him, and that it was best that he remain in their home. MY PARENTAL RIGHTS WERE NEVER TERMINATED.
b. Requested drug screens. As of the date of this order, I had complied with the requested drug screen on March 11, 2011, the results of which were negative for all substances.
c. Child Protective Assessment. The CPA contains false allegations and lies. It is entirely based on fabricated evidence, false allegations, and hearsay.
d. Safety Plan. I was unaware of what a “safety plan” was at this time. It was never explained to me.
Absent extraordinary circumstances, a parent has a liberty interest in familial association and privacy that cannot be violated without adequate pre-deprivation procedures. An ex parte hearing based on misrepresentation and omission does not constitute notice and an opportunity to be heard. Procurement of an order to seize a child through distortion, misrepresentation and/or omission is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Parents may assert their children’s Fourth Amendment claim on behalf of their children as well as asserting their own Fourteenth Amendment claim. Malik v.Arapahoe Cty. Dept. of Social Services, (10th Cir. 1999)
42. The CINA Adjudication Order dated April 19, 2011, states that the reasonable efforts that were made as:
a. Suitable Person Placement. This service was never offered by DHS. I temporarily placed my child with friends before CPS became involved. I do not see how this can be considered a reasonable effort to eliminate or prevent the removal of my child.
b. Substance Abuse Evaluation. This service was never offered. When I was informed I was required to have one done, I specifically asked Heather Hewitt for a referral for an SAE. She told me to “look in the Yellow Pages”.
c. Paternity Testing. I do not see how this can be considered a reasonable effort.
d. Treatment for Mother. This service was never offered by CPS. I sought out this service myself and had been involved in treatment for alcohol related issues since April 7, 2011.
e. Judicial determinations that remaining in the home would be contrary to the welfare of the child and that reasonable efforts were made to prevent removal and to finalize the permanency plan in effect, as well as judicial determinations that reasonable efforts are not required, must be explicitly documented, made on a case-by-case basis, and stated in the court order. A transcript of the court proceeding is the only other documentation that will be accepted to verify that these determinations have been made. Affidavits, nunc pro tunc orders, and references to state law are not acceptable. 45 C.F.R. §1356.21(d). The court, after hearing the evidence, must be satisfied that reasonable efforts . . . have been made. Review and approval of the [state] agency’s report and recommendation alone are not sufficient to meet the requirements of the Act; the court must make a determination that the agency’s efforts were, in the judgment of the court, reasonable for preventing placement. With regard to emergency situations, if the agency’s judgment was that services could not have prevented removal of the child, the court at the time of the adjudicatory hearing must find that the lack of preventive efforts was reasonable.
43. The reasonable efforts claimed to have been made by CPS were inconsistent in the various court documents, which was not questioned before making a determination.
44. CPS was never required to provide specific and detailed documentation to prove that R.E. were in fact made. 42 C.F.R. Section 1356.21(d) requires documentation of judicial determinations concerning both reasonable efforts and contrary to the welfare findings. They are to be explicitly documented on a case by case basis and so stated in the court order. Facts substantiating the legal conclusion must be stated in the order. Lack of compliance results in denial of federal funds for the child’s foster placement.
The juvenile court is required to make factual findings to support its conclusion that reasonable efforts have been made to avoid or eliminate the need for removal of the child from the home. It is not sufficient to merely conclude that reasonable efforts have been made without more. In Interest of B.L., 491 N.W.2d 789, 791 (Iowa App. 1992).
45. I asked Heather Hewitt and Shannon Nichols for several specific services, none of which they provided:
a. Asked HH for SAE referral on March 14, 2011 – was told to “look in yellow pages”
b. Asked both HH and SN for help with transportation:
i. Assistance getting my driver’s license reinstated – I did this on my own
ii. Rides to and from required meetings, court, visits, appointments, etc. – was told to call Don and Sarah for a ride or ride the bus
iii. Help paying for gasoline – SN finally gave me a $50 gas card on July 5th, 2011. I received NO help before then.
iv. Help paying for car repairs – was told there were no funds for this.
v. SN gave me bus tokens on April 19, 2011, knowing that my house was over 2 miles from the nearest bus stop, so this did not help me.
c. Asked SN for mental health evaluation referral – was told to “look online” or “move in to the House of Mercy where they cover all of that”. She did finally send requested information in a letter dated June 6, 2011, at which time I had already found it on my own.
d. Asked SN with help to keep my Title 19 so my treatment and therapy would be paid for – was told “that was not her department and she couldn’t help me”. I had no other insurance and had to pay for these out-of-pocket.
e. Asked SN for temporary financial assistance to pay rent and utilities – was told that I should look into moving into the House of Mercy instead of trying to keep my home.
f. Asked SN for permission to provide random UA’s at a location closer and more accessible to my home due to my transportation issues. She denied this request without valid reason.
g. Federal law for Reasonable Efforts state that they provide services to prevent removal or make reunification possible when requested. IN THE EVENT OF ‘EMERGENCY REMOVAL’ of a child from his home – a “safeguard’ to parents and children that due process will be guaranteed by informed, unbiased judiciaries, who are to mandate accountability for ‘reasonable efforts’, that ‘Child Protection’ agencies be mandated to prove compliance with ‘reasonable efforts’ and not merely accept a preprinted form submitted by Child Protection agencies, for a ‘rubber-stamped approval’ by the court , thereby denying the parent and child due process rights to present evidence to the contrary.
46. The Application and the Order for Temporary Removals both contain false statements about my alleged ongoing and history of meth use. I never stated that I actively used the drug, and I have absolutely NO history of meth whatsoever.
47. At the court hearing on March 24, 2011, proof was given to the court that I have no history of drug use. The records were to have been changed to reflect this fact.
48. Although evidence to the contrary was submitted to the court, “Meth use by mother” is still being used as the main reason for taking my child.
49. On March 17, 2011, CPS worker Heather Hewitt falsified the Affidavit in Support of Placement.
50. HH perjured herself by signing under sworn oath that she had performed child abuse registry and criminal background checks on Don and Sarah Boeckholt, and that there were NO confirmed or founded child abuse reports, and NO criminal history in the State of Iowa.
51. Both Don and Sarah have criminal Child Endangerment and drug convictions from a few years ago, which was to be changed in the court records. Their child had also been removed by CPS and placed in foster care for a time.
52. In spite of Don and Sarah’s prior criminal history with drugs and their DHS involvement. DHS worker Shannon Nichols had arranged for them to become certified foster parents in order to receive Federal Title IV funds as payment for caring for my child, which is against State and Federal Laws.
53. Assistant Polk County Attorney Faye Jenkins falsified information in a sworn statement to the court, which she claims to have verified, to support removal of my child in the Petition for Child in Need of Assistance, stating that I claimed I had not used meth for approximately a month, hearsay regarding a March 2011 police report that I was frequently drunk and on drugs, that I was in prison for drug related offenses, that I was involved with Juvenile Court with respect to another child “because of her sobriety issues”, that I have a history of violence, and that Mr. Boeckholt has a “propensity for violence”, all of which can be proven false.
54. The CINA petition dated March 17, 2011 uses these lies as reason for removal of my child with no proof except the falsified sworn statement of Assistant Polk County Attorney Faye Jenkins, and also of CPS worker HH.
55. Effective July 1, 2000, the application and subsequent order must also establish that the temporary removal is the result of a determination that the child remaining in the home would be contrary to the child’s welfare. Iowa Code Section 232.78(6)(a).
56. It is no longer sufficient to merely recite those conclusions, rather facts to support the conclusions must accompany the application. At a minimum, the court order should incorporate the facts stated in the application for removal which justify the findings. 45 C.F.R. Section 1356.21(c), 42 U.S.C. Section 472(a)(1).
57. The “Contrary to the Welfare” finding in the March 17, 2011 temporary removal order is based on falsified information and hearsay with no proof. It falsely states that “mother admits to DHS that she uses meth, minimizes her usage, and is involved in a violent relationship”.
58. Iowa Code Section 232.78(7) requires that the court make a finding in any ex parte temporary removal order or removal order following adjudication that the temporary removal is the result of a determination that the child remaining in the child’s home would be contrary to the welfare of the child. 45 C.F.R. Section 1356.21(c) which implements 42 U.S.C. 472(a)(1) provides that “the contrary to welfare finding must be made in the first court ruling that sanctions (even temporarily) the removal of the child from the home.” The comment at page 4055 of the federal register indicates the first order includes ex parte orders. Mere use of boilerplate language is notacceptable. 42 C.F.R. Section 1356.21(d) requires documentation of judicial determinations concerning both reasonable efforts and contrary to the welfare findings. They are to be explicitly documented on a case by case basis and so stated in the court order. Facts substantiating the legal conclusion must be stated in the order. Lack of compliance results in denial of federal funds for the child’s foster placement. Iowa Code Section 232.78(7) further requires that the contrary to the welfare “grounds must be explicitly documented and stated in the order.”
59. The CINA petition also falsely states that “Mother has a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and that her usage places the child at risk”.
60. A history of alcohol abuse by a parent was not alone enough to show imminent danger to justify a removal of the child from the home under Iowa Code Sections 232.96(10) and 232.95(2)(a). In Interest of D.R.R., 498 N.W.2d 920, 922 (Iowa App. 1993).
61. I was assigned a court-appointed attorney, Victoria Meade, on March 17, 2011.
62. Ms. Meade has been very inadequate in representing me throughout this entire proceeding.
63. My May 2011 request to the court to fire her and be appointed a new attorney was denied due to my lack of preparation to address the court when asked why I felt she was not acting on my behalf.
64. After the court hearing on March 17, 2011, Victoria Meade informed me that because Don and Sarah Boeckholt have way more money than I do, they can keep my child forever if they so desire.
65. On several occasions, I have requested Ms. Meade to demand that CPS provide the required proof of reasonable efforts. She has repeatedly refused to do this, stating that “they don’t HAVE TO make reasonable efforts, least of all prove it, because they have my child and that’s all that matters”.
66. Attorney VM then told me, “You need to shut up and do what they say if you ever want to get your daughter back.”
67. I asked Ms. Meade if we should request a new judge, to which she replied, “I have to work with this judge and DHS for the rest of my career, and I DON’T want to piss them off.” This seems like a conflict of interest.
68. VM has never informed me of any of my rights, including the right to appeal the outcome of any hearing.
69. Attorney VM has never explained to me the reasons for each hearing, nor prepared me to testify or respond to questions.
70. VM has not called any witnesses on my behalf, cross-examined any of the State’s witnesses, questioned any of their actions, prepared me for court hearings, or tried to defend my rights and prove my innocence in any way whatsoever throughout this entire proceeding.
71. Ms. Meade’s lack of effective representation of me has prolonged reunification with my child, and could have prevented me from a possible appeal of any future decisions.
72. Visits with my child have been supervised, for 2 days a week, 2 hours in length since four weeks after she was taken from me. These visits have not increased in length or frequency, nor will DHS worker Shannon Nichols allow unsupervised visits.
73. The FTM Facilitation notes dated April 8, 2011, state that “Shannon will wait to expand family interactions after I had begun treatment and after verification that Steve and I had not been breaking the no-contact order”, which was cancelled May 18, 2011.
74. SN refuses to extend visits in spite of what progress has been made.
75. FSRP worker Amber Olson has recommended unsupervised visits since October, stating that she sees NO DANGER whatsoever during our visits.
76. DHS worker SN finds a new excuse NOT to allow this every time it is mentioned. She obviously does NOT want reunification to occur.
77. DHS worker Shannon Nichols reported that a urine drug test I gave on April 14, 2011, and a hair sample test I gave on December 5, 2011, were both positive for meth. This is absolutely impossible, since I only used meth once over a year ago.
78. The prescription opiates which I DID use for a month prior to testing DID NOT show up in this test.
79. I believe the results of these tests were altered or falsified.
80. DHS worker SN has only provided computer generated print-outs as proof of the alleged positive drug test results.
81. The name and title of the person who “confirmed” the false drug test results is not given on the “reports”. I was denied the right to face my accuser and to cross-examine or question them.
82. In Crawford v.Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), the Court held that the prosecution cannot admit a testimonial out-of-court statement unless it shows that the declarant is unavailable and that the defendant had an adequate opportunity to cross-examine the declarant. If it is determined that the out-of-court statement is not testimonial, its admissibility is governed by the rules of evidence and due process reliability requirements.
83. In Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts (No. 07-591, June 25, 2009) U.S. [2009 D.A.R. 9363], the U.S. Supreme Court – by a 5-4 vote – held that a drug analyst’s affidavit discussing the nature of the substance tested and its weight was a testimonial statement for purposes of the Sixth Amendment, and as such, absent a showing of unavailability and a prior opportunity for cross-examination, a defendant is entitled to confront the analyst at trial. The majority found this to be a “rather straightforward application” of Crawford v. Washington (2004) 541 U.S. 36.
84. After the falsified drug test results in April, I arranged for my future UA’s to be done at UCS for a small fee, which I would pay for myself. DHS worker SN would not allow this, demanding I do my testing at the DHS approved testing site ONLY. She gave no rational explanation for this.
85. Mid-Iowa Family Therapy FSRP worker Amber Olson, who supervised our visits, falsely reported to DHS that I “smelled like alcohol” during several of my visits with my child.
86. DHS worker SN stated that their agency did not have access to a breathalyzer machine, nor the funds to purchase one.
87. In June, 2011, I purchased a portable breathalyzer machine at Walgreen’s. This would prove or disprove any future allegations.
88. At the June FTM DHS worker SN instructed me to return the test and get my money back. She stated she would have the FSRP worker cut my visit short and send me to the DHS testing site instead. There was no rational explanation for this.
89. At the FTM on April 8, 2011, DHS worker stated that any mental health issues I may have were being covered in outpatient treatment at United Community Services. She decided this after reading my treatment plan following my SAE.
90. At our court hearing in July 2011, SN used the fact that I was not in participating in mental health therapy as reason for not extending visits or returning my child home.
91. I spoke with SN on July 5, 2011, and informed her I had left a message for an appointment for an evaluation at CFI and was waiting for a call back.
92. SN instructed me NOT to get a mental health evaluation, but to start attending weekly therapy sessions without a professional determination as to whether it was necessary or not.
93. I have been attending weekly therapy at Children and Families of Iowa since July 16, 2011.
94. I graduated outpatient treatment at UCS on June 20, 2011. My treatment counselor Jim Koutec had told me that Aftercare was voluntary, NOT required. DHS worker Shannon Nichols told me that SHE was requiring me to attend, contrary to what the professional counselor had required.
95. I have addressed my issues with the alleged domestic assault by confronting Steven Boeckholt at individual counseling sessions with him at MECCA in January 2012. I did this on my own.
96. DHS worker SN withheld exculpatory evidence in court as to my successful completion of treatment. She used my not attending voluntary aftercare as a new reason not to extend visits or return my child home.
97. I have been attending aftercare group weekly at MECCA since October 2011.
98. I was first made aware that Shannon Nichols was assigned as my case worker at the PRC Conference on March 16, 2011.
99. SN stated that she “knows me from somewhere”. At that time I thought she also looked familiar, but I was unable to place where I knew her from.
100. In June 2011, I remembered how I knew SN from before: I worked at the Bavarian Inn at both the front desk and as bartender from 2006 to 2009. SN went by a different surname at that time, which I knew and she admitted. She was a frequent guest at the motel, and a regular patron at the Red Baron Lounge, where I provided her customer service. She used to work part-time at a nearby business. My former manager verified that this was the same person.
101. I informed my attorney VM that Shannon and I had previous interactions several years ago, and requested a new DHS worker due to a possible conflict of interest.
102. Attorney VM, DHS worker SN, DHS Supervisor Stephanie Reinhart, and myself, met at the end of June to discuss this matter.
103. DHS worker SN denied knowing me, and of ever being a guest at the motel and a customer at the lounge.
104. Ms. Reinhart backed her statements, saying that Shannon would never go to a bar or drink alcohol. I was denied a new DHS worker.
105. DHS worker SN and others continued to take the false statements and lies that Don Boeckholt told them about me, as fact without proof, and refused to hear or believe my side of what happened.
106. During a May 2011 visit at McDonald’s, my child told me that “Uncle Don is nice, but Sarah is mean”, referring to the Boeckholts. I informed FSRP worker of this. Don stated at the May FTM that my child said this because Sarah had given her a time-out.
107. On June 13, 2011, my daughter arrived at a visit at a local park with a black eye. She had been out of state on vacation with the Boeckholts for two weeks prior, during which time I had not seen her.
108. I asked both her and FSRP worker Reagan how this injury occurred. My child said she was afraid to tell me, however, FSRP worker stated that her and the Boeckholt’s 5 year old daughter had been playing rough.
109. My child sat on my lap for approximately an hour, seeming rather lethargic. She then wanted to go back to the Boeckholt’s, so we ended the visit early. My child has NEVER been afraid to tell me anything before in her life.
110. I called Don Boeckholt later that day and asked how my child got a black eye. He told me she ran into a table, which was a different story than the FSRP worker had told me.
111. I left two voicemail messages with DHS worker SN, informing her of the possible physical abuse of my child. I demanded an investigation. She did not return my phone calls.
112. I called GAL Paul White to inform him of this. He was not in the office so I explained the situation to his secretary. She said it was not the GAL’s concern and that I should call my own attorney, not him.
113. I called CPS to report the suspected abuse. The person who took my call said they would NOT investigate since I had been founded of neglect and my child had been removed from my care. She said I was trying to start trouble and hung up on me.
114. I called Don Boeckholt and asked him what happened. He became very defensive, even though I was not accusing anyone of anything at this time, and hung up on me. I repeatedly tried to call him back and left four voicemails on his cell phone. I did not leave voice messages any of the other times I called. I recorded all of these calls on a micro-recorder.
115. The incident was never investigated, except to just ask the Boeckholts what happened. This satisfied DHS worker SN.
116. At the June FTM, Don informed everyone that he and Sarah were no longer willing to care for my child, stating that I had called over 30 times, leaving threatening messages. He said I was drunk, even though I had been sober since April 10, 2011.
117. Polk County Sheriff Sargent Richard Blaylock will verify that I sometimes appear and sound intoxicated whenever I get upset, even though I am not.
118. Don Boeckholt falsely stated on several occasions that I am “inappropriate when talking to my daughter on the phone”. I began recording all interactions with my child at that point.
119. I offered to play the recordings of my calls to Don, and the messages I left him, at the FTM. DHS worker SN, DHS FTM Facilitator Scarlett Lunning, attorney VM, and GAL Paul White all refused to allow me to play the recordings, stating that they believed Don.
120. My child was removed from the care of Don and Sarah Boeckholt on July 1, 2011 at their request, and placed with strangers in foster care.
121. I am not allowed to know who she is with, where she is, what school she attends, or how to contact my child, nor have I been allowed any phone contact with her since then.
122. Relative placement with my brother, John Nielsen, and his soulmate, Linda Smith, was, and still is, possible, but DHS worker SN placed costly and lengthy stipulations on them before she would allow them custody of my child, none of which the Boeckholts were required to do before they were approved. It would take over a month and several hundreds of dollars in lost wages and transportation, even though they were prepared to take her immediately.
123. DHS worker SN placed the stipulations on my brother based on the illegal disclosure of confidential employment information regarding my brother.
124. SN got this information from an “anonymous informant”, and it would have been made public information if my brother were to care for my child,
125. DHS worker SN falsely reported at the July FTM that my brother stated he no longer wanted to take my child because I “was screaming at him and acting crazy and he didn’t want to deal with me either”.
126. I was present at my brother’s apartment when this alleged phone call took place between my brother and SN. He did not make the statements SN claims.
127. On July 12, 2011, my adult son, Dylan Gogerty, called to tell me he was at the Red Lobster restaurant with his grandparents and that his sister, my child, was there eating dinner with Don and Sarah Boeckholt. This is AFTER they threw her out. DHS worker SN stated that they are still allowed to see my child, even take her places, because she developed a strong bond with them. I do not want them to have any contact with my daughter.
128. DHS worker SN reported that I missed a random UA on July 14, 2011, when in fact my number was called on July 18, 2011. I provided a UA on that date, for which I showed my copy of the receipt from the testing site. SN reported that she talked to someone at the test site, and that my receipt was fake.
129. I provided the original carbonless copy which I was given at the time, and it was NOT fake.
130. SN’s statement is hearsay, and no information was even given as to who told her this. There was no opportunity to question or cross-examine this mysterious “witness”.
131. Treatment counselor Lexie Galloway from United Community Services was subpoenaed by the State to testify to the validity of a document on September 29, 2011. She stated that I had revoked my permission for disclosure of information on August 10, 2011. She disclosed information regarding my treatment on August 15, 2011 to DHS worker SN, which is in violation of HIPAA. I filed a complaint with the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights, on October 3, 2011.
132. At our last court hearing on September 29, 2011, Your Honor instructed the “Family Team” to schedule a FTM to accommodate my work schedule, so that I would not risk losing my job by taking time off. I informed all those involved of my schedule, but as of the end of November, they could not agree on a date and time when they could all attend. I even suggested weekends or evenings, and offered to host the meeting at my house.
133. After over two months of them not being able to decide a date, I finally told them to just schedule it and I would be there, no matter when it was to be held. I had to take time off from work to attend the meeting on December 8th, 2011, in spite of your honor’s instructions.
134. DHS worker Shannon Nichols is demanding full disclosure of my therapy sessions and my aftercare sessions, which is in violation of HIPAA. She has given not having this information as yet another reason to refuse unsupervised or extended visits.
135. I have authorized SN to be informed of my attendance, my participation, and my progress of addressing certain issues, which should be sufficient without knowing every detail of what is said. My therapist stated that therapy will not be effective if I am afraid to discuss anything with her for fear of DHS misinterpreting my words and using them against me. She stated that I need to feel safe when talking with her.
136. DHS worker SN has tried to coerce me into signing full disclosure of all information by not allowing unsupervised or extended visits with my child.
137. DHS worker SN has tried to coerce me into signing full disclosure of all information by telling me at the January 13, 2012 FTM that she is recommending my parental rights be terminated at the February 2012 TPR hearing if I don’t sign a release.
138. GAL Paul White has tried to coerce me into complying with DHS worker SN’s unreasonable demands by stating that he is recommending my parental rights be terminated at the February 2012 TPR hearing.
139. On September 29, 2011, Your Honor also instructed DHS worker Shannon Nichols to arrange for me to provide a hair sample for drug testing, and to make sure I provided 3 to 4 UA’s per month.
140. My number came up on October 4, 2011, so I went to the DHS testing site. I provided 16 inches of hair for testing, but was told they were waiting for Shannon to call with an authorization number so they could send the sample to the lab.
141. My code number was not called again for many weeks. DHS worker SN would not reply to the messages I left her, both voicemail and text, so I asked FSRP worker Amber Olson if she would have me go provide a UA.
142. On November 29, 2011, and was informed by the testing site employee that my number had expired at the beginning of October. He also told me that my hair sample provided on October 4, 2011, had to be thrown out because SN had failed to call with the necessary authorization number.
143. On November 29, 2011, I provided a UA, which was negative for all drugs. I requested FSRP worker Amber Olson to call SN since I could not get her to return my messages.
144. SN texted me on December 1, 2011, and told me to go provide another hair sample. I tried to comply on December 2, 2011, but was told SN still had not provided an authorization number. I finally provided another hair sample on December 5, 2011.
145. SN did not provide me with a new code number until December 8, 2011 at the FTM.
146. At the FTM on December 8, 2011, DHS worker SN stated that she had indeed allowed my code number to expire without providing me with a new one, thus making it impossible to provide the required UA’s for over 2 months.
147. SN informed me that the “system” won’t call a number more than 2-3 times per month, so she would text me to go drop a UA weekly, AND also that I still must drop when my number came up. This would make my total drops 6 to 7 per month. I told her at the FTM this would be difficult to do so often due to my work schedule.
148. DHS worker SN and attorney VM both instructed me to take my employer’s truck on company time while I was making deliveries, even if it was off my scheduled route, to drop my UA. They told me to park the truck on Merle Hay Road with my flashers on, since the truck is too big to fit in the parking lot, and go in and drop. I told them that in order to do this, I would be risking my job, my CDL, creating a traffic hazard on a busy street, AND breaking the law. They both said I would have to do this if I ever want my daughter back.
149. DHS worker SN does not maintain contact with me. We are supposed to have a monthly one-on-one meeting.
150. We met on August 3, 2011, then not again until December 12, 2011. SN did not attempt to schedule any meetings or to contact me in any way.
151. SN does not attempt to call or text me, nor does she return my phone calls and messages. I have a record of every phone call and text message I have placed to her.
152. At the January 12, 2012 FTM, DHS worker SN claimed that I still have not signed a release of information at MECCA. I had made sure MECCA had this on file when I was there only one hour prior to this meeting.
153. FSRP Amber Olson stated my child is in no danger with me, and once again recommended unsupervised visits, which SN denied.
154. This case is currently under investigation by the Iowa Ombudsman’s Office.
155. My child has been wrongfully and unlawfully removed from my physical custody without Constitutional DUE PROCESS, or even the pretext of Reasonable Efforts having been offered AS MANDATED BY 42 U.S.C. § 671 (a) (15) and 672 (a) (1),
156. This removal meets the definition of KIDNAPPING according to18 USC Sec.1203 since she is being held- “…in order to compel a third person …. to do or abstain from doing any act as an explicit or implicit condition for the release of the person detained, or attempts or conspires to do so…”
157. The parent-child relationship is a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Bell v. City of Milwaukee, 746 f 2d 1205, 1242^Q45; US Ct App 7th Cir WI, (1985)
158. A parent’s right to care and companionship of his or her children are so fundamental, as to be guaranteed protection under the First, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. In re: J.S. and C., 324 A 2d 90; supra 129 NJ Super, at 489.
159. Further, the UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT in Smith et al. v. Williams-Ash No. 06-4638, Decided and Filed: March 26, 2008 said: “We do not doubt that the Smiths, as any parents likely would, resented the safety plan from the beginning. But mere displeasure and frustration fails to negate their consent. Rather than remind Williams-Ash of what she already knew—that they disliked the plan—the Smiths needed to explicitly withdraw the consent they explicitly gave, thus requiring Children’s Services to either return the children or file a formal complaint against them. In light of their admitted failure to do so, the Smiths were not entitled to a hearing.”
160. For this reason, I hereby rescind any and all signatures to “voluntary” safety and service plans or any other “agreement”. Such signatures were obtained through duress, threat, and coercion. I had no way of knowing the long-range ramifications of doing so and now explicitly withdraw any consent I gave.
161. I am requiring the Court and the Iowa Department of Human Services to return my child to my physical custody immediately.
162. Judges must maintain a high standard of judicial performance with particular emphasis upon conducting litigation with scrupulous fairness and impartiality. 28 USCA § 2411; Pfizer v. Lord, 456 F.2d 532; cert denied 92 S Ct 2411; US Ct App MN, (1972).
163. State Judges, as well as Federal, have the responsibility to respect and protect persons from violations of federal constitutional rights. Gross v. State of Illinois, 312 F 2d 257; (1963).
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge, and that this Declaration was executed at Des Moines, Iowa.
Respectfully submitted this ________ day of February, 2012
Cynthia D. Cook
729 Tunafish Avenue, Apt. 1
Des Moines, IA 50316
Email: Put your email here
Sworn and subscribed before me on this _______ day of ________________________ 2012.