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The Standards in Family Court Regarding Evidence Presentation By CPS and ACS

The Standards in Family Court Regarding Evidence Presentation By CPS and ACSThe standard of evidence in the Family Court in cases brought by CPS and ACS against parents is called the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. This means the majority of the evidence is the basis for a Judge to make a fact finding decision. The CPS and ACS system in the Family court is often impacted on by mistakes, bias, discrimination, prejudice, vengeance and arbitrariness of various kinds. CPS and ACS can seek to establish abuse and remove children for up to 18 months. They can try to force a parent into mandated service plans.

In addition, they can determine visitation, whether it be supervised or unsupervised. The courts are supposed to establish an oversight of CPS and ACS to make the legal system equitable and fair. Unfortunately, the preponderance of evidence standard can sometimes be called the “more likely than not standard”. This means CPS and ACS agencies may need only a small piece of evidence to be successful. This is much different than the standard in the criminal courts of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If this low standard is applied and service plans are recommended, these plans can sometimes be tedious. They can require the parent to engage in unnecessary programs and take drug and alcohol testing when there is no evidence of drug or alcohol abuse.

Fishing Expeditions

The opinion of a CPS or ACS worker on evidence that is misinterpreted, misstated or twisted can result in a decision by a Judge to remove children from a household. Unfortunately, many women mistakenly believe CPS and ACS is their advocate or is protecting them. So they tell the stories of their abuse to the CPS or ACS worker which is then used as evidence the abused mother did not provide adequate guardianship or protection to their child.


Woman who are the victims of domestic violence who cooperated with CPS or ACS have caused many children to be removed from their households. Parents can to be set up by an inadequate, arbitrary system which they do not fully understand. The system is designed to protect children at the expense of women who have been the victims of domestic violence. Unfortunately this is the systems that currently exist in New York!

schlissel-headshotElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is the managing partner of Schlissel DeCorpo LLP. He has been practicing law for 42 years. Elliot, his partner Nathan DeCorpo, and their associates represent individuals in child abuse and child neglect investigations throughout the Metropolitan New York area. The law firm has been involved in handling these cases for more than 45 years. Elliot, Nathan and their associates have extensive experience dealing with scores of cases and successfully defending their clients regarding allegations of child abuse and child neglect. Elliot and Nathan can be reached at 800-344-6431 or e-mail Elliot at Elliot@sdnylaw.com or Nathan at Ndecorpo@sdnylaw.com.

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