Do Not Tell Your Kids What to Say to DHS
Video Transcribed: So you had that initial interview with a DHS worker, now they want to talk to the kiddos, or maybe they think they’re asking you to have your kids submit to a forensic or some kind of a physical examination. What should you do? My name is Brian L. Jackson. I am an Oklahoma father’s rights attorney here with dads.law.
Well, obviously, you conferred with that lawyer we talked about earlier and got their opinion. But generally speaking, as I’ve maintained all along, it’s usually a good idea to cooperate with these investigations because your non-cooperation will always be held against you in deprived court. Now there may be reasons that your attorney might say, look, wait for a court order, especially if you have potential serious criminal exposure, but as a general rule, it’s a good idea to cooperate.
Now what you should not do if you’re talking about a forensic interview, if you’re talking about a physical exam, if the social worker just wants to talk to the kids, don’t tell the kids what to say. You really want to avoid talking to them about it other than to say, hey, this person will want to talk to you.
Because if it ever comes out in court that you discussed the child’s statement with them ahead of time, any good lawyer will use that to make it look like you tried to manipulate the child, and that’s the appearance it has.
And with things like a forensic interview, they’re going to ask them about whether or not they discussed what they said with anybody, it’s coming out, and if you give the child any inkling, either intentionally or not, as to what they ought to be saying it can affect their statements.
I think any of us who’ve been around young kids, especially real little kids or kids that are elementary school age, are very eager to please, and they’ll say what they think the adults want them to say.
So if you inadvertently or intentionally communicate to them what you want them to say, whether directly or indirectly, they’ll probably say it, but they may come clean later and say, hey, well, I said this because so and so wanted me to say it. So don’t discuss their statement.
Don’t ask them a bunch of questions about, well, did this happen, did this happen, did this happen either because it could affect what they say. And again, if it comes out later, which it will, it could be a problem.
And the other thing about that is that it goes for anybody around you, like family members. You need to be on the ball about that and not allow them to discuss the issue with the child, period.
Now, if the child opens up to you, I suggest you shut your mouth, let them talk, listen to what they have to say, don’t tell them what to do, what to think, or anything; just keep a note of I so you know.
You should definitely not try to do anything that could have even the slightest chance of influencing the child’s statement because that can bite you in the ass. And if a child ever does make a disclosure to you, this is a reason to talk to a lawyer.
Whether DHS is involved yet or not, if they disclose some kind of abuse or something else, talk to a lawyer because that is a situation where you need legal advice like yesterday. If you have questions about any of that, if you ever need a Tulsa child support attorney or a Men’s Child Custody Lawyer in Tulsa Ok, you can find one at Dads.Law.