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The 1999/2000 Orange County Grand Jury reported that within 12-18 months after leaving the foster care system 27% of males and 10% of females had been incarcerated.

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Accused sex offender Nathan Fort, Exonerated

By: Annette M. Hall

After a 7-year struggle Nathan Fort finally has his day in court. San Benito County CPS officials confronted Fort a resident of Hollister, in April of 1998. Caseworkers confronted him at his home with an accusation of child molestation against his wife's daughter.

Four years would pass before Fort would be allowed to see his adopted daughter again. CPS officials turn over custody of the child to the girl's biological father, a confessed drug abuser with a criminal record due to the allegations.

CPS officials pressed Nathan to admit that he had indeed molested his adopted daughter, a request he repeatedly refused.

Last month, Nathan Fort finally had his day in court, and with the help of his skilled Attorney Robert Powell of San Jose, together they won their case, complete with a $1.25 million settlement against the county. The settlement was one of the largest in California's history.

In yet another case the state is shown to have used a heavy-hand in the application of our laws and damaged yet another child, not to mention the agony the parents were forced to endure at the hands of state agents.

While this might be seen as a huge win for the family, in cases such as these the family never wins. The years which have been torn from this family in error can never be returned. Any mother who has left a clinging crying child in daycare for the first time, knows the heartache of even a self-imposed separation. One can only imagine the horror of being forcibly torn from your mother and fathers arm at an early age, and being placed into the care of total strangers.

The state should never be allowed to remove any child from any home, without due-process of law, unless that child is being physically harmed and if that's the case, an immediate hearing should be held, in front of a competent judge. Only then will families such as Nathan Fort's be protected from abuse by state agents.

Mr. Powell is certified as a family law specialist by the State of California and has been representing parents in CPS/Juvenile cases for 13 years. In addition, the firm handles federal civil rights cases associated with the unlawful removal of children and deprivation of the family's right to association.

Source: Protection for Whom? (CA)

Posted: November 11, 2005