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Parents victimized by
children's protective services

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Throughout North America, social workers employed by children's protective services are hopelessly overworked. There are over three million reports of alleged child abuse and neglect each year in the U.S. Two million of them are found to be without foundation; each of the remainder has to be thoroughly investigated by an insufficient numbers of workers who have inadequate support and often have inadequate training. The stakes are high! CPS workers are required to make judgments that seriously affect each family on their case load. When CPS workers take a child into protection, they generate much animosity and family disruption. However, if they leave a child in a family where it is subsequently abused, then the CPS workers are severely criticized.

When our web site was initially started in 1995, many CPS agencies throughout North America were clearly out of control:

bullet Hundreds or thousands of children were removed from families whose only "crime" was to live in a communal setting. "The Family," founded by David Berg was particularly targeted, even though no abuse was ever found.
bullet There were numerous instances where CPS workers removed children from their families for the simple reason that one or both parents were Wiccans, or followers of another Neopagan or minority religion. In most cases, the CPS workers involved had never received formal training in comparative religion. They acted on the basis of lies and distortions that they had casually picked up during their lifetime -- often from their religious institutions. Many associated Wiccans with Satanism, and Satanism with the Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) hoax. Some felt that every Neopagan parent was a danger to her/his children.
bullet Many CPS workers had been trained in dangerous methods of child interrogation. They had been taught to ask direct, repeated questions of young children. Only in recent years have child psychologists realized that this method is very likely to generate disclosures of events that never happened. further, this technique can unknowingly implant false memories of sexual abuse in children's minds. From this source, many dozens of innocent adults have been charged with performing Ritual Abuse on thousands of young children at day care centers. Hundreds of adults were imprisoned for crimes that never happened. Thousands of children have grown up with false memories of the most horrendous forms of abuse -- neglect, maltreatment and abuse that never happened.
bullet Some CPS workers assumed that certain types of sexual behavior, interest, or knowledge on the part of small children were indicators of sexual abuse.

During the early 1990s, when many CPS workers were clearly out of control, parents needed to be aware of methods to protect themselves and their children against government attack. We published an essay provided by the families of VOCAL - Victims Of Child Abuse Laws, an non-profit agency with chapters in many US states. The essay described various ways in which unjustly accused parents could protect their children. Publishing this material on the Internet was a calculated risk. By helping innocent parents, we might also be helping abusive parents escape punishment. But we felt that on average, justice would be served.

Since the mid 1990s, there have been a lot of changes:

bullet In every case involving The Family, and in almost all other incidences where children were removed from communal settings, families have later been reunited after no evidence of sexual abuse was found. 
bullet Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) has been exposed as a hoax. For two decades, law enforcement agencies have investigated cases alleging SRA. They have failed to uncover any hard evidence supporting SRA. Support for its existence came almost entirely from faulty medical diagnostic testing, and images generated during recovered memory therapy of adults. The latter have been shown to be unintended byproducts of experimental therapy, and generally unrelated to actual events.
bullet Many Wiccans and other Neopagans have come out of the closet, and have been more accurately described in media articles. Many CPS workers have become aware of the reality of these benign, gentle religions and no longer target all Neopagans as probable abusers. 
bullet Psychologists have researched methods of child interrogation techniques and have found that direct and repeated questioning of very young children will routinely generate false memories. Most CPS workers are now trained to avoid direct, repetitive questions. Accusations of mass ritual abuse in day care settings have almost disappeared. The recent debacle in Wenatchee WA has been so widely publicized that similar miscarriages of justice are unlikely to appear elsewhere in the future.
bullet Recent studies into normative childhood sexual behavior have shown that "A broad range of sexual behaviors are exhibited by children who there is no reason to believe have been sexuallyabused." 1 CPS workers are now less likely to assume that certain sexual behaviors are indicators of sexual abuse.

As a result, we have decided that the essay that was originally published here was best removed. 2

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What to do if you have been unjustly treated by the CPS:

A small percentage of CPS workers remain unsuited for their job because of inadequate training, inflexible attitudes, and religious bigotry. Innocent parents are still being accused of child abuse, although at a much reduced frequency than occurred during the 1980s and early 1990s.

In many jurisdictions, case workers are protected by legislation and have qualified immunity from lawsuits from parents who believe that they have been abused. 3 However, if you are an unjustly accused parent, you might consider the following possibilities:

bullet You might obtain the services of an attorney. A lawyer can explain your rights and your children's rights. You may be able to obtain information about lawyers in your area from:
bullet The yellow pages of your telephone directory.
bullet Your local "community information" center.
bullet Your state or provincial Bar Association.
bullet Your Legal Aid Society.

Some attorneys have rates geared to your income; some will accept "pro bono" cases (without charge).

bullet You might consult the web sites of various agencies and authors which oppose improper actions by social workers, attorneys, law enforcement officers and self-appointed "child advocates." 3,4,5
bullet You might consider contacting the local office of the district attorney (in the U.S.) or crown prosecutor (in Canada). They should be able to tell you how to contact the oversight agency to which you can complain. One knowledgeable visitor to our web site suggests that: "Formal complaints against CPS caseworkers are taken seriously. Caseworkers who harass, threaten, or otherwise attempt to strong-arm their 'clients' must answer those charges. They are reflected in the caseworker's performance evaluations, considerations for raises and promotions, and future employment."

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Books that might help falsely accused parents:

bullet Norman Barr & Martha McCarty (Ed.), "On my honour: secrets of survival when falsely accused," Imprint Press, (1998) You can safely read reviews and/or order this book from's online bookstore "A true story of the fall of a firefighter to a false charge of child abuse and his struggle to fight the charge and clear his name after being acquitted of the criminal charge. No only is his story told, but there is an extensive resource guide for those falsely accused who need resource's, information and professional guidance."
bullet Marianne Berry et al., "The family at risk: Issues and trends in family preservation services," Univ. of SC, (1997). Review/order this book
bullet T.W. Campell, "Smoke and mirrors: The devastating effect of false sexual abuse claims," Perseus Books, (1998). Review/order this book
bullet S.J. Ceci & M. Bruck, "Jeopardy in the courtroom: A scientific analysis of children's testimony," American Psychological Association, (1995). Review/order this book *
bullet P. Eberle, S. Eberle, "The abuse of innocence: The McMartin Preschool Trial," Prometheus Books, (1993). Review/order this book
bullet Jill Kinney, "Keeping families together: The homebuilders' model," Aldine De Gruyter, (1991). Order this book
bullet Mark Pendergrast, "Victims of memory: Sex abuse accusations and shattered lives," Upper Access, (1996). Review/order this book
bullet Brenda Scott, "Out of control: Who's watching our child protection agencies," Vital Issues Press, (1996). Review/order this book *
bullet Suzanne Shell, "Profane justice: A comprehensive guide to asserting your parental rights," Sage Wisdom Press, (1997).  Read reviews/ order this book
bullet Dean Tong:
bullet "Ashes to ashes, families to dust: False accusations of child abuse: A roadmap for survivors," (1996). Read reviews/ order this book *
bullet "Don't blame me, daddy: False accusations of child sexual abuse; a hidden national tragedy," self-published. Read reviews/ order this book You may be able to buy it cheaper from Tong's web site at:
bullet Richard Wexler, "Wounded innocents: The real victims of the war against child abuse," Prometheus, (1995). Read reviews/ order this book *
bullet The following books are currently out of print but may still be found in public libraries:
bullet Lawrence Spiegel, A Question of Innocence
bullet Rev. Keith Barnhart, Guilty Until Proven Innocent

* These books are highly recommended by's reviewers.

Additional books, related to allegations of child molestation.

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Internet Resources

  1. W.N. Friedrich, et al., "Normative sexual behavior in children: a contemporary sample," Pediatrics, Vol. 101, #4, 1998-APR-4, Page E9. Online at:
  2. reproduced our discontinued essay, without permission or acknowledgement, as it existed in the mid to late 1990's. See:
  3. Gregory Hession, "How to fight false allegations of abuse and neglect," Mass Outrage, at:
  4. ACCUSED is a network and resource center whose purpose is to help those falsely accused of child molestation. They list many support groups, BBS, Web sights, etc. See
  5. National Association of State VOCAL Organizations (NASVO) had a home page at: It appears to be no longer functioning. However, V.O.C.A.L. of Washington state has an impressive site "designed to assist families who have been falsely accused of physical and sexual abuse of children." See:
  6. Clara Boggs, "A resource for the wrongly accused or convicted, especially of child abuse," at:

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Copyright 1996 to 2001 incl., and 2003 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2003-SEP-11
Author: B.A. Robinson

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