Foster Parents; Did you know? Administrative  Law?

We are going to explore the world of what: Administrative Law is. You entered this kangaroo court method of ruling when you walked through the agency door? The day you signed up to hang your foster care license with your current Agency.

Administrative Law is not a seperate area of law at all, but, it is "Contract Law". Simply stated, contract law or an agreement between two people, by way of that agreement you signed when you chose the agency that you are with currently. The day you entered through this door you entered "Administrative Law".

Administrative Law is not complicated. We find it in our everyday lives. At the point when visiting a friend and that friend asks you to take off your shoes before entering his/her home you have entered the realm of "Administrative Law." You have entered an agreement (contract) with this person and by way of taking off your shoes, you have indicated that you agree to this and thereby decided to follow this rule to enter this premises. In essence, you've entered a contractual agreement or "Administrative Law". We find it in our Churches and our places of employment.

You have a Constitutionally protected right to smoke, drink, keep your shoes on, etc. as a citizen of this country. You have waived these rights in the context of an agreement for entering someone's home, employment, place of worship, etc.

For example; What happens if I am late for work three times in any one month? Administrative Law happens that's what! Your employer can/will take some administrative action against you because you have broken the rules. Rules that you agreed to when you accepted the job. You have agreed to the job of foster parenting.

Did you get a copy of the rules and regulations when you signed the contract with your agency? Many foster parents do not! How can you follow standards and regulations if you have not read them? You have signed a contract to perform these rules. Some of the minor violations many foster parents are facing a listed within their manuals, have you read yours?

We began discussing, "Administrative Law" and what it means to you, and how you entered this door? Now that, we understand, let's look at how you become acquainted with this form of law, which is necessary to understand this as a foster parent. Training does not notify you that you will need to read up on this subject! Preparing for any task that you may take on is critical. Personally, this should be part of your training, as well as a full course on documentation, how to do it properly

Many of our foster parents have never even had a traffic ticket, so have never experienced this intimidating moment when they find themselves standing in front of a judge, someone in a black robe staring down at them, asking questions.  

The moment will arrive when you will face Ad Law, trust me!  

Let's take a little closer look at the What. Administrative Law, for all practical purposes, is, "Contract Law", however, it is also, what I call "Kangaroo Court." A place where it is justice you seek, but encounter CPS attorneys and Judges instead.

This court is not a real court of law as we see and hear about in the news and on TV. This law is not constitutional law. You see, in Administrative Law, any information gathered during the investigation process will pass for evidence in this anything goes court of law. The goal of CPS Administrative Law hearings is to prove you guilty of "Child Abuse". In this code, they use the terminology of founded, substantiated or indicated. They cannot call you guilty because that would suggest "due process", but we will discuss that later. More help nfpcar.org.

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We are getting an education on Administrative Law. We are discussing the type of court (law) you will be facing as a foster parent when their (CPS) investigation has culminated, and you walk unaware into the courtroom under Administrative Law, this would be disastrous, you need to understand this "Kangaroo Court."

In this "court of law/board," you will see "he said, she said" presented as evidence. You will discover that children do lie; these lies are presented to the judge/board as truth, against you, and they are accepted. In this court, you are literally "guilty until proven innocent" and you have to prove yourself innocent.

Instead of the nonbiased justice system in America where a person is "innocent until proven guilty", this kangaroo court is the opposite. The worst part is you have to do the proving yourself. More interesting, you have to locate and pay for your attorney.

Take a look at how this CPS hotline works; You have someone who called in your allegation, it could be anyone. Could be your neighbor, your doctor, or it could be the biological parent or even the child.

You see if a foster child does not like your method of discipline, perhaps you took away her cell phone or made her leave the party because things were going on that you did not approve. This teen can just pick up the telephone and call in an allegation.

Whenever a call comes into this hotline, the person who is reporting remains anonymous. Their Privacy is Guaranteed. Therefore, you may never know who called in. The theory was to make it easy to report suspected child abuse, but it also creates a lack of accountability on the part of the person doing the calling. If it was the child, she might have said that you or your husband hit or slapped her. You will not know what the allegation is possibly for months.

Does anyone know what the Constitution of the United States says? Read Articles lV and XlV, then read the;

Declaration of Independence. It states and I quote a portion, "but when a long train of abuses and usurpations" does this not sound like CPS?

We have informed you of the very basics on the "CPS hotline" and how it functions in conjunction with the process of allegations and "Administrative Law." We have talked about what Administrative Law is, and how you entered the door of this type of law as a foster parent. However, in fostering, you are not the only ones who answer to this kind of law. 

Now continuing our review of what we learned about Administrative Law, we discovered that it is "contract law." You became obligated via the contract you signed with your agency. You agreed to their rules and regulations.

Now let's continue; As a foster parent with their investigation completed you are determined founded, substantiated, or indicated they would notify you of the date set for your Administrative Inquiry/Hearing. At this hearing the evidence gathered against you during the investigation is presented. Next, on to the Hearing.

 The probing can take weeks/months to complete. During this time, they probably will not inform you of anything regarding the investigation is going or the charges against you. Sometimes you are not aware of being investigated until you notice the signs. Such as your social worker is not returning your calls. The social worker cannot because of allegations of "child abuse". Other signs are neighbors or friends informing you that CPS stopped by their homes, your school telling you that CPS came to the school today.

There is little you can do while waiting for the Administrative Inquiry. Nothing that you can do will speed up this process. CPS will take as long as is needed to complete this investigation.

However, what you can do is start preparing to defend yourself. For example, are you familiar with your State Statutes applicable to foster parents? What are your rights? When you receive your copy of the investigative report via U.S. Mail, it will reveal your allegations and whether you have been substantiated, indicated, founded. What we are saying here is this paperwork should cite the rules and regulations relating to the charges. Are you familiar with the statutes for your state? Most of us are not, however, if you are playing in a sandbox where these laws are applicable, you need to be.

Often said; "it's all Greek to me."

We were talking about reading your investigative report. For example, if the charge against you reads, (not a real statute, just an example) ARS 55-5101. What does this mean to you? Exactly! So you see if you have the statutes already printed, and in a notebook, you can look up this number. You have just started on what we call your "Law Book." In which contains.

Your state Statutes, (downloaded to your PC) then print off only the ones pertinent to foster parenting, your Agency rules, and regulations, Agency Manual.

You can also start writing down anything that you may have missed in your journal. Incidents that you remember. Keep this separate from your personal journal. If you are one of the lucky foster parents who have instruction in how to document correctly, your efforts may save the day. Start collecting receipts, then organize them into weeks, paper clipping them together and in different envelopes.

Why; you may need to re-establish your whereabouts on a particular day depending on the outcome of the investigation. You can assist your attorney in preparation for the agencies' report. Do not wait until the last minute. When your Administrative Inquiry is scheduled just ten days from the date you receive your notification, you will not have time to complete this project.

Here, is a question for you; How long do you have to appeal the decision after the investigation is complete, and after your Administrative Hearing? Do you have an attorney lined up to handle your case if the report comes back and has found you substantiated, founded or indicated?

As you see, it is advantageous for you to have found a qualified attorney, not afraid of CPS.

Administrative Law is an anything goes court is something you have never encountered before. Evidence often is thrown out of a real court of law as hearsay is allowed in this courtroom. We are used to DNA, fingerprints, real evidence, not admissible hearsay. Take this charge seriously, it is critical and can follow you the rest of your life.

Those under Ad Law; Police officers, firefighters, nurses, school employees, inclusive of; teachers, nurses, bus drivers, custodians, maintenance personnel, ground keepers, day care workers, aides, anyone who works in the proximity of children. A substantiated, founded indicated decision could end your career. Your name can be entered in the State Child Abuse Registry.

Written by your advocate; Marilyn Harrison