Part 5: She was homeless, so cops and Child Protective Services took her kids

Criminal CPS child traffickers use courts and CAPTA law to abduct Liz Washington’s sick children into foster care and possible fraudulent adoption

by Carol Harvey

Liz Washington remains peaceful and hopeful but sad in the face of CPS' repeated abductions of her children.
Liz Washington remains peaceful and hopeful but sad in the face of CPS’ repeated abductions of her children.

Dedication: Liz Washington dedicates this six-part series to Treasure Island mothers – and mothers everywhere – who are undergoing similar human rights abuses at the hands of CPS.

Liz and her four children were gathering inside their front door excited about going together to the auto show. A young woman appeared outside. Everyone’s faces fell. It was the social worker.

“Oh, God!” Liz thought. “If I let her in, she’ll refuse to leave and sit there saying nothing. The boys dread her visits. They escape to play basketball as soon as they can.”

If Liz didn’t let her in, she could lose her kids again. This vapid blonde woman held their futures in her hands.

The first five parts of this series tell the story of Liz Washington, a Treasure Island mother, whose children were first taken because she was homeless. Liz was forced to find low-cost housing on toxic Treasure Island where her family became ill.

This series covers the multiple Child Protective Service abductions of her children when workers blamed the family’s illnesses on Liz, instead of placing the blame where it rightly belonged – on 15 years of exposure to chemicals, radiation, asbestos, lead and mold.

Child Protective Services has repeatedly used an endless litany of flimsy excuses to perpetrate traumatic thefts of Liz’ four children, all the while judging, blaming and shaming a low-income mother who, against all odds and multiple child abductions, with incredible courage, has kept her family together and raised four independent, intelligent and peaceful children.

Ignoring the obvious Island toxins, CPS accused Liz of medically neglecting their gastrointestinal diseases.

The most recent insult was this Child Protective Services worker’s abrupt abduction into foster care on May 1, 2013, of Liz’ two youngest sons.

These criminal acts were perpetrated under, and facilitated by, CAPTA, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, federal legislation originally intended to address child abuse and neglect. CAPTA was first enacted on Jan. 31, 1974 (P.L. 93-247) and amended last on Dec. 20, 2010.

CAPTA provides federal funding to states for “prevention, assessment, investigation, prosecution, and treatment activities” and “establishes the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect.”

Though CAPTA promises all the above benefits and sets forth a minimum definition of child abuse and neglect, rather than helping families, the legislation enables a national, state and county system of paid government agents to utilize the courts to rip kids away from their parents and adopt out children of grieving parents to thieves and liars who profit financially from large monthly foster care and adoption subsidy payments.

It hypocritically enables Child Protective Services agents to perpetrate crimes of massive institutional fraud, injury, maltreatment and child trafficking. One of these agents had just appeared at Liz Washington’s door.

Who are the targets?

The court-supported CPS child-trafficking cartel does not target children from middle and upper class families for foster care and ultimate adoption. Their marks are people they consider vulnerable – largely Black, Brown, and White impoverished mothers.

Parents are wise to the system. On a Facebook page devoted to helping parents, a commenter quoted an internet resource calling itself The Erwin Rommel School of Law. The header read: “The law is the weapon; the courtroom, the battlefield; the judge is your enemy; your defense attorney is an enemy spy.”

Another contributor referred to the disrespectful manner in which CPS handles paperwork: “Can I file a complaint if they have all my kids’ dates of birth and names spelled wrong and my name spelled wrong and refer to me as my boyfriend’s ex who had a drug problem?”

Even though mothers in poverty can’t buy themselves out of these inhumane situations, a private lawyer who knows how to navigate CPS is crucial. Parents desperately need family and friends to come to their aid with community letter-writing and fundraising campaigns to cover legal fees.

A paid attorney, unlike a court-appointed lawyer, will not provide legal advice that may hurt the case. He will guide parents around mistakes caused by their ignorance of the law. He will zealously defend them, hold regular meetings to share strategy and explain clearly what is happening.

Workers watch their behavior and judges extend more respect to families who come to court with a paid attorney.

Who gets kickbacks?

In the CAPTA-funded system, the judge, the court appointed attorney, the CPS worker, her supervisor, foster parents and adoption agencies all make money. Adoptive parents pay big bucks for kids.

The judge

Judges rake in financial rewards of various kinds when they make judgments that facilitate foster care placements and adoptions, funneling federal government money to states and counties.

Court-appointed attorney

The court-appointed attorney may be a shyster there to collect a few hundred bucks as they gently lead the parent through a series of hearings that end with the child’s removal from their custody.

Liz is a savvy woman with impeccable intuition. Liz fired her first court-appointed attorney for “not representing me. He was going along with anything and everything the social worker said.” He was replaced by a young woman who at first seemed honest, but weak.

“Was the woman improving?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she said. “After dealing with all these people, it’s kinda hard for me to figure out whether I can trust them or not.

“What upset me about her was that she sent (the worker) an email asking, ‘Is there anything else you would like from Elizabeth and the boys in order for you to recommend dismissal?’

“And, I’m sitting here like, ‘We’ve done a lot of stuff since 2013 working to get this case dismissed. What else do you think she wants us to do? Cut off a leg or something?’”

How court appointed attorneys pay themselves

Court appointed lawyers commonly follow four steps to exploit CPS cases for financial gain. First the attorney substantiates with lies their petition for abuse and neglect, which gives them the privacy to conceal their corruption legally.

Second, since the parents pose a risk of exposure, the attorney manipulates them not to speak, using as leverage the threat of losing their kids.

Third, when an indigent (poor) child appears at risk from abuse and neglect, that child can be approved for SSI. The attorney gets the court to appoint them guardian ad litem over a minor child, legally too young to handle money. Because the parents are poor, it is assumed they can’t manage finances. To ensure the child’s wellbeing, the guardian ad litem takes control of the SSI.

Fourth, to obtain federal funding, all they must do is state that “reasonable efforts have been made” to re-establish or maintain family unity.

CPS worker’s supervisor

It is the supervisor’s job to move more federal money from the state into the county.

Liz verified that “the government funds CPS (for) as many families as the state can get. Especially between March and July. I’ve noticed the spike on a lot of kids that get taken (at) the end of the fiscal year.”

CPS workers’ supervisors review every case. They have total power. If the social worker hasn’t taken steps to transfer the child from the mother’s custody, the supervisor may tell the social worker to return to the home with police and grab the children.

Liz describes the social worker’s supervisor as “not a nice woman.”

The CPS worker: Larger numbers of children living in foster care homes draw more federal funding into the county. CPS workers justify their supervisor’s job by getting more children into foster care. To keep their jobs, they must please their supervisors. Because victory is essential for CPS workers, they will lie in court papers to win the case.

Liz testified that social workers receive bonuses for each child they place in foster care, “roughly $2,000 to $5,000 if they get a child adopted.

“It depends on the child’s age. They get a lot of money for babies, a decent amount for kids 4 to 6 years, but not so much for teenagers.

“When CPS activist groups confront them, they say, “‘No! No! We don’t get anything.’”

Foster parents: Paid by the government to warehouse children, some act more like predators holding hostages.

Adoption agencies: Adoption agencies rake in billions. Adoptive parents pay big bucks for kids.

The all-powerful CPS worker sitting at Liz’ kitchen table – we will name her Kathy – maintains a constant presence, making unannounced visits to Liz’ home and to the kids at school. Without telling Liz, she speaks with school officials, hospital social workers and doctors, seeking information about the family on the sly.

‘Statement of Objections and Corrections’

Mothers are encouraged to communicate in writing to the judge rebutting the worker’s lies, appending all pertinent documentation – tapes, photos, whatever they have. Here is a helpful link to a Statement of Objections and Corrections. If the judge is hostile, this information must be introduced before filing an appeal.

Below in italics is the CPS worker’s letter to Liz, announcing her unilateral decision to hold a July 15, 2015, hearing.

Together, Liz and I discussed this letter. Line by line, paragraph by paragraph, she set the record straight on Kathy’s many “factual inaccuracies” (lies). Liz can now follow our conversation with a rebuttal letter to the court containing all her refutations.

Here in italics is the social worker’s lying letter to Liz:

“Hi all,

“We have a settlement conference next week on this case on 7/14/2015. I am going to continue to recommend FM (Family Maintenance) services.

“I understand that the family is anxious for the case to be closed.

[That’s putting it mildly. The family has been strung along for 15 years with promises that, if Liz jumps through a series of hoops, CPS will stop taking her children, drop the endless hearings and leave them alone.]

“However, in order for the department to be ready to dismiss the case there are still a few things that need to be in place to address the safety concerns with Chris and Michael.

“Firstly, I need to hear from the family what THEY will do to continue to manage Chris and Michael’s constipation so that the boys will not be in pain, impacted and need to be hospitalized for surgical intervention for their constipation.

Kathy insists here that she “needs to hear from the family.” Though she constantly monitors Liz, Kathy is difficult to reach. Because she twists Liz’ words, motivation to keep in touch is low.

“Chris was hospitalized in early May for impaction after Chris was seen by the GI doctor and was complaining of pain. He was subsequently hospitalized and put under GA (general anesthetic) to be surgically cleaned out.”

Liz points out that, as in this example, Kathy often sets up her accusations with a compliment but concludes with a criticism: “I was impressed with mom for her ability to take Chris to the doctor.”

Kathy speaks condescendingly of Liz as if she is a child who has difficulty completing a simple task like taking her son to the doctor.

“However, it was reported that the problem arose because Chris doesn’t feel comfortable going to the bathroom at school.”

Liz said she herself informed Kathy of Chris’ discomfort in school bathrooms. The words, “it was reported” suggest that Liz had concealed the information, forcing Kathy to obtain it from someone else. Liz was indignant. “I’m telling her the truth, and she’s (implying) I’m lying.”

“This issue was addressed previously during the school year,” writes Kathy, “but no plan was put in place by the mother and Chris with the school, the nurse or wellness center on how this would be handled. Elizabeth didn’t follow through with a 504 plan with the school and Chris didn’t follow up with the school nurse about his own health, although he initially met with the nurse a couple of times and she continued to reach out to help him.”

Liz corrects Kathy’s false assertions. Liz followed through with all plans. Chris, indeed, presented at the nurse’s office on his own seven or eight times and informed her of his conditions.

“When I meet with Elizabeth she doesn’t want to talk to me about anything or share any information with me,” Kathy adds.

Liz disclosed here that Kathy is expressing annoyance that Liz will not provide information specifically about her work. Liz feels CPS is inappropriately checking to see if she is employed. “There are times she actually calls me on the job.”

Liz knows that if she divulges her work number, Kathy will invade her privacy and contact her employer to verify Liz’ employment. Years ago, CPS did phone her boss, disclosing confidential medical information about her case. Luckily, he was sympathetic to Liz and not to the worker.

Kathy ends this statement with a veiled threat: “However, if she did take some time to talk to me about the boys and their health and what is going on, it would make things easier for me and the department in considering dismissing the case.

“Just to give an example, when I visit Elizabeth at the home, she greets me by saying that I can ‘stay for a second’ and within about five minutes she is asking for me to leave.”

“When that happened,” said Liz. “We actually had plans to go to the auto show, and I told her she could stay for a second because we were about to get ready to go.

“When she does come to visit, it’s like she’s expecting me to bust out a cup of coffee and sugar and cream, and then have her stay for an hour or two. She’ll ask questions, and then she’ll do this long, ‘We-e-e-lll.’ And then I’ll be like, ‘Is that it?’ She really doesn’t have anything to say.

“And, me, I’m not going to engage her. I’m not going to bite.” Liz refuses to manufacture polite conversation. “It’s like, ‘If that’s it, then, that’s it. What are you sticking around for? Go home!’

“I don’t think there’s any family that likes a social worker to be in their home. Not one. If they do, then that’s them. Me? NO!

“I would like to say this to her: She is not the only social worker who is not welcome in my home. She’s nothing special.”

“So she shouldn’t feel bad,” I laughed. “She shouldn’t,” smiled Liz.

“Chris won’t talk to me at all and Michael talks to me minimally,” Kathy continues.

“Elizabeth didn’t tell me about Chris’ hospitalization until much later and in fact told me about it through her attorney and didn’t explain to me what led to the hospitalization or what she and Chris are doing to prevent it from happening in the future.”

“She was upset,” Liz reported, “because I didn’t tell her about Chris being in the hospital. I told her I thought that Dr. Green was going to tell her because he tells her everything else.”

I asked Liz, “When you first talked to me about that, you expressed great annoyance that the social worker was talking to your doctor about you behind your back without consulting you first.”

“Yes,” Liz replied.

“Were you being sarcastic, or did you really mean you thought Dr. Green was telling everything anyway?”

“I was being 100 percent serious. A lot of times she would tell me, “Oh! I spoke to the doctor about this and this and that. So, I assumed he was going to call and tell her.”

“Did she ask for that hearing on the 14th specifically because she was angry at you for not telling her about Chris’ hospitalization?” I asked.

“I still believe it to this day,” said Liz.

Kathy’s letter continues: “Again, I understand the family’s desire for the case to be closed, but to be honest, they are not doing anything to help me get to a place where I am not worried about the case being closed.”

“Does she actually set up hearings based on how she feels?” I asked.

Liz pointed out, “That’s a feeling right there.”

“Yes,” said Liz, reading the letter. “She wrote it down.” She’s worried.

Could Kathy’s actual “feeling” be characterized as frustration and annoyance that Liz was not compelled to report everything to her? Because Liz defied the worker’s attempt to gain power over her, was she behaving like a 2-year-old – stomping her foot, having a tantrum, throwing her weight around?

“She’s pouting,” Liz said.

“Do workers have the legal right to call a hearing based on feelings?” I asked.

“I don’t think so. But, they do it.

“There are no feelings on her end,” asserted Liz. “I guess her pocket is getting empty, so she plans to keep the case going to keep on getting her money.”

Kathy’s letter continues: “I am recommending that the case stay open through the end of September (which is when the 12 month FM review should be heard) and that during this time frame, I have time to meet with Elizabeth, Chris and Michael to discuss the safety plan for the family that would support the treatment of Chris and Michael’s GI health and would prevent the department from having to get involved again in the future …”

This was another barely concealed threat.

Liz concurred. “She’s making a prediction. It seems as though they are constantly watching us.”

“… which is ultimately what the family wants too. I would also want to include providers such as the schools and the GI doctor to be part of the safety plan.

“Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.



This letter and Liz’ corrections will be presented to the judge in a rebuttal letter. Mothers facing CPS’ use of the court system to hijack their kids are encouraged to write such letters and document all their facts.

On and on

As Liz feared, the July 14 hearing did not end with the case’s dismissal. The father suddenly showed up in town. Using his presence as an excuse, hearings were set up for Sept. 14 and 15. The courts’ complicity with CPS in continuing this series of hearings inspires Liz’ worst fear: CAPTA could become CAPTURE. She may lose her two youngest sons to the foster care and adoption mill forever.

Carol Harvey is a San Francisco political journalist specializing in human rights and civil rights. She can be reached at