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NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

April 7, 2014 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

There’s more heavy-handedness on the part of California Child Protective Services, this time in Ventura. CPS in the Golden State has demonstrated time and again its willingness to play the role of state thug and this looks to be no exception.

It wasn’t long ago that I posted a series of pieces on a couple of Russian immigrants who had their infant son taken from them because they had the audacity to disagree with doctors at one hospital about his course of care. Never mind that another doctor at a Kaiser clinic told them the treatment recommended by hospital personnel was unnecessary. Those parents weren’t pretending to practice medicine; they were following one doctor’s advice that contradicted that of another doctor. For that, the police barged into their house without a warrant, snatched their son and left. It took them weeks to get the boy back and only then were they able to do so with the assistance of multiple media outlets and at least one state congressman.

The case of Scott Rolick and his wife Sara is even worse, though (Opposing Views, 3/25/14). In the first case, at least CPS could point to a doctor who said the child needed treatment the parents weren’t providing. That gave the agency a peg on which to hang its hat. It’s got nothing here.

It seems that Scott and Sara and their five-year-old daughter Stevie were peacefully living their lives and allowing his father, who is 70 to live with them. Unknown to them, the old man was peddling drugs miles away from their home. He was caught, arrested and charged. Somehow that got the attention of CPS who showed up at the Rolick’s home to investigate. They found some minor amounts of pot, but Scott and Sara said it wasn’t theirs and, in any case, they don’t imbibe. They voluntarily underwent drug tests and passed, so, end of story, right?

Wrong. CPS had its foot in the door and it wasn’t leaving. Despite the fact that there was no evidence whatsoever of either child abuse or neglect by anyone, and despite the fact that Scott’s father no longer lived there, CPS took Stevie and put her in foster care.

Now, as we know, foster care can be no picnic for a little kid, and that’s how it’s turned out for Stevie. Apparently the place is infested with lice so that all the children’s toys need to be wrapped in plastic. Into the bargain, there are older kids in the home who’ve been aggressive with the little girl.

But that’s not all. In an effort to prove the conditions under which Stevie is living – conditions that CPS apparently prefers to those in the Rolick’s home, that’s so agreeable to children that neighbors call it “the playground of the neighborhood” – Scott took a video of the foster home. He also videotaped CPS caseworkers interacting with him.

And that, my friends, proved to be a mistake. CPS painted a large target on Scott Rolick and went to work. First, caseworker Christy Byrne wrote a report for the Rolick’s file that Scott, a veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq, and his wife had been arrested and charged with possession of a narcotic. That was an outright lie, but it’s there in the file to this day.

Adding one outrage to another, CPS decided that, since Scott had been arrested and charged (which he hadn’t been), he must attend a parenting class, a class for drug abusers and AA meetings. Understandably, Scott has refused.

But CPS wasn’t finished. They claimed Scott’s videotaping caseworkers was also a criminal violation and called the police. Now, it’s clear that, in at least two federal circuits of the United States, We the People have the right to videotape the police in action and therefore the actions of other public employees as well during the course of their official duties. That includes CPS caseworkers. Now, those circuits are the First and Seventh, and California is part of the Ninth Circuit, so just what the law is there is anyone’s guess at this point.

Still, the videotaping is what’s really irritated CPS. They’re used to doing their deeds in secrecy and Scott’s idea that, being public employees, the public is entitled to know what they’re doing is too dangerous to tolerate. So they’ve rushed off to court and gotten a restraining order, so none of us can see what Scott wants us to.

And of course Stevie is still in foster “care.” Have the Rolick’s done a single thing to suggest they’re a danger to her? No. Is there a shred of evidence of neglect? Not one. So what’s she doing in a filthy and dangerous foster home? She’s paying for her parents’ assertion of their parental rights, that’s what. CPS is abetting the abuse of a child because her parents cling to the bizarre notion that they have not only parental rights but civil rights, among them the right to be free from undue governmental intrusion into their private lives.

And we can't have that. All of us need to be aware that CPS is, if not as big a thug as the Stasi, close to it. They hold not only the power to enter our homes and lives on the slimmest of pretexts, but the far more awesome power to take our children from us for literally no reason. CPS, in its worst incarnation, is raw, terrifying governmental power, operating in secret and on the presumption of guilt.

And of course it’s all encouraged by money from Washington. Make no mistake, Ventura County CPS has its eye on Stevie Rolick. She’s cute, she’s healthy (at least for now) and she comes from a good home. That means she scores high on any test for adoptability. Plenty of adoptive parents would love to get a child like her. And if CPS can manage to convince a judge that the Rolicks are unfit parents, that’s exactly what’ll happen. If it does, the feds will send a check to the State of California that will in turn send one to Ventura County.

All that nonsense about Scott and Sara having been arrested and charged with possession of a narcotic is aimed at exactly that. The same is true of the CPS demand that Scott take a variety of drug and alcohol classes. If he agrees, they can point to that as “proof” of his being a suspicious character. After all, his father was busted for selling drugs and he used to live with Scott. If he refuses, he’s obviously not serious about becoming a better dad. Such is the frame-up in progress.

In short, he and Sara are just where CPS wants them – damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

Let’s hope that they get their little girl back soon. And let’s hope she’s healthy and in one piece when and if they do. But in the meantime let’s not forget that, right there in Ventura County, there are children who are being beaten, starved, hooked on drugs and ignored. And when the next one of them dies or is discovered battered, broken and bruised, CPS employees will rush before television cameras to explain that they’re overburdened with cases, how they just didn’t have the time to properly monitor little Andy or Jenny’s case.

National Parents Organization is a Shared Parenting Organization

National Parents Organization is a non-profit that educates the public, families, educators, and legislators about the importance of shared parenting and how it can reduce conflict in children, parents, and extended families. Along with Shared Parenting we advocate for fair Child Support and Alimony Legislation. Want to get involved?  Here’s how:

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#Childabuse, #neglect, #VenturaCounty, #ChildProtectiveServices, #falseallegations, #ScottRolick, #California

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