Dr. Susan Evans, a Beverly Hills dermatologist and doctor‐to‐the‐stars, found that such a respected pedigree is no protection from the capricious whims of the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS). Evans had her four children literally abducted by this agency. The odd thing about the case is that there have been no charges filed against Doctor Susan even though she has lost physical custody of her children: 10‐year‐old twin daughters, a 14‐year‐old son, and an 8‐year‐old son.
If you find it hard to believe an agency charged with protecting children could end up as the instigator of a state‐sponsored kidnapping, read on.
A Broken Marriage
To understand the case better, we return to 2012 when Dr. Susan filed for divorce and a restraining order against her husband. For reasons still unclear, the four children’s names were removed from the protective order, allowing the husband/father to gain weekend visitation. While it’s hard to say why the names were removed, Doctor Susan suspects that it might have something to do with the fact that her ex often served as expert witness in matters of child abuse for the DCFS. She further suspects that he may have had something to do with the children being removed from the house and held in an unknown location for two weeks.
When the children were finally located in a different county, DCFS workers falsely told police that the agency had removed them from the mother. Assuming this was the truth, police made no move to return the children to Doctor Susan. At this point, Susan’s attorney advised DCFS by email that the their actions had met the criteria for felony kidnapping, and issued an ultimatum that the father (who held them) should bring them back immediately.
Keep in mind that, through all this hullabaloo, the original custody order issued by family law Judge Cunningham remained in effect. This was the one which gave Doctor Susan physical custody of her kids and provided for weekend visits by the father.
And they all lived happily ever after? Not quite. Doctor Susan’s nightmare was just beginning.
A Second Removal
Soon after receiving her children back into the home, the LA County DCFS service intervened again and took the kids from their home once again, this time for seven months, while their mother fought a ferocious legal battle to get them back. Without going into the gory details, suffice it to say that, under the care of their father, who had been awarded custody, the childrens’ mental and physical health deteriorated. One child’s braces had fallen off and were not replaced. Another developed a skin infection and warts, neither of which were properly treated. Most disturbing, the oldest son ran away, pleaded for help on Facebook, and was allegedly admitted to a psychiatric facility for suicide watch.
The DCFS Letter
It was about this time that a DCFS caseworker wrote an eight‐page report based upon interviews with the children, Doctor Susan, and her ex‐husband. The report allegedly concluded that the mother should maintain custody of the kids and be primarily responsible for their care.
The writer of the report was summarily removed from the case. New social workers switched the recommendation to the father, and no one was able to locate the original version in the agency computer database. It was almost as if it had been deleted…
Doctor Susan was finally allowed to appear in court on May 7, 2014, to plead for her children. Despite having had 14 months to build a case against her, DCFS showed up with no persuasive evidence to show cause why Susan shouldn’t have her kids. Judge Vasquez, noting the children were present and crying to rejoin their mother, dismissed the case “with prejudice,” to use a legal term. Essentially, the ruling meant that DCFS could not resurrect charges against Susan again in a future action.
But DCFS wasn’t through with their abusive behavior. Despite Vasquez’s dismissal, the agency wrangled a hearing in front of the Appellate Court, who reversed the decision, leaving Doctor Susan’s children back in the hands of DCFS. Oddly, Judge Vasquez was reassigned out of dependency court a few days after the Appellate Court’s ruling.
The idea that the Appellate Court could reverse a dismissal was overwhelming to Susan and her attorney. How could this happen? It was over a year later that Doctor Susan uncovered the truth; DCFS had changed details presented to Judge Vasquez, substituting verbiage taken from an entirely different case, but which supported their claims for unfit motherhood. Doctor Susan describes what happened:
“This case was exactly what they needed to try and substantiate evidence of a mother being unfit and a danger to her children. DCFS social workers and DCFS LA County counsel, Kim Nemoy, cited and directed the Appellate Court justices to an entry dated April 11, 2014 that was another completely different case that had been inserted into the records, making Judge Vasquez’s decision to dismiss my case appear to be an error that endangered the children. What Judge Vasquez truly received on that date, however, were 3 petitions alerting him to the children suffering alienation, and being denied visits with me despite his own court orders, all to the detriment of the children. The true court filing from the April 11, 2014 trial by my attorney was concealed and not shown to the Appellate Court, however, and not included in the appeal exhibits. This was a massive cover‐up by DCFS!”
Doctor Susan is not the first parent to suffer abuse at the hands of the LA County DCFS. Former DCFS supervisors, Julian Dominquez and Melinda Murphy have gone on record with their opinions that the agency operates under a culture of institutionalized corruption.