Is it Me or is Everyone Talking About Parental Alienation?

By Gregg Woodnick and Isabel Ranney Things do not just “trend” in fashion or TikTok. They happen in courtrooms too. In the 1980s, the era of unlocking repressed memory had people suddenly remembering childhood traumas at a scientifically unsupportable rate, and with significant consequences. In the 1990s, guided imagery led to even more “recollections” of memories, […]

Understanding the Basics of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS)/Abusive Head Trauma (AHT)

By Markus Risinger and Isabel Ranney Markus Risinger joined Woodnick Law as a law clerk in 2012. Markus graduated cum laude from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.  Isabel Ranney is a law student at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, Associate Editor for the Law […]

Almost 40 Years Later: Key Takeaways from the McMartin Preschool Trials

By Gregg Woodnick and Isabel Ranney As parents return to work, children across the nation are going back to school and back into the hands of caregivers, which creates an atmosphere ripe for abuse allegations (not to mention the continuous rise of QAnon). It is important for parents and caregivers to be reminded of the […]

An Abuse Allegation Against You Has Been “Substantiated”: Now What?

By Gregg Woodnick and Isabel Ranney A DCS Investigation Crystal is the mother of three-month-old Michael and six-year-old Grace. A few months ago, she was the subject of a Department of Child Safety (DCS) investigation when Michael fractured his leg after a fall in the park. The attending physician at Phoenix Children’s Hospital believed the […]

6 years post-Obergefell: Same-sex parenting rights in Arizona

By Claudia D. Work and Isabel Ranney Originally Published September 24, 2021 on OUTvoices Phoenix. The path to the landmark ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) was a long and arduous one, filled with decades of small victories and crushing losses, many of which went unrecognized. When same-sex marriage was finally deemed constitutional by the […]

How Long Does Arizona DCS Have to Investigate an Allegation?

By Deandra Arena and Isabel Ranney Suppose five-year-old Lucas tells his Kindergarten teacher that his dad hits him and that is why he has a faint bruise on his leg. As a mandatory reporter under A.R.S. § 13-3620, Lucas’ teacher calls the DCS hotline and reports her “reasonable belief” that Lucas may be abused or […]

So You’ve Given Birth to a Substance Exposed Newborn

By Deandra Arena and Isabel Ranney Imagine you have a friend, Chloe, a lawyer who was prescribed pain meds after a car accident four years ago and ever since suffers from an unfortunate addiction to oxycodone. Chloe is also pregnant with her first child. When Chloe starts to go into labor, she arrives at St. […]

Both DCS and the Police have Questions for your Client—What Now?

By Gregg Woodnick and Isabel Ranney Originally Published in the Maricopa Lawyer, online edition available 08/08/21. Your client calls you saying the police and the Department of Child Safety (DCS) are at their door. You know your client is in the middle of a toxic divorce and brace for what is about to come next. “They […]

10 Years Post-Sandusky: CAPTA and Mandatory Reporting in Arizona

By Brad TenBrook and Isabel Ranney Originally Published 06/24/21 for the Maricopa County Bar Association. After Jerry Sandusky’s arrest for child sex abuse in 2011, states across the United States began paying attention. Sandusky was a well-respected assistant football coach at Penn State and the founder of a non-profit charity dedicated to helping at-risk youth […]

So DCS has invited you to a Team Decision-Making Meeting (TDM): Now what?

By Deandra Arena and Isabel Ranney In the grand scheme of nearly indecipherable acronyms in child welfare investigations, one particular abbreviation stands out as being part of nearly every case but nonetheless being misunderstood by most parents. The “TDM,” or “team decision-making meeting,” is an important step in the resolution of child welfare investigations that […]