Commentary by Terri LaPoint
Health Impact News
Though much of the public may still believe that Child Protective Services must have a good reason whenever they take children away from their parents, the curtain is increasingly being pulled back to expose the ugly truth behind the facade.
Children are seized from their families many times over false allegations and lies. Deception within social services is the norm, not the exception.
One judge has had enough.
FOX 26 Houston reports that Texas judge Mike Schneider did something on Monday that has never happened in all of the state’s history – he ordered that CPS have no contact with 2 children they took from their parents.
According to family law attorney Dennis Slate:
The affidavit they used to remove was full of mis-truths, and half truths, and outright lies.
For parents dealing with CPS all over the country, the lies and twisting of the truth by social workers is something that they are accustomed to seeing. What too few parents see is a judge willing to call CPS out on the deception.
Investigative Reporter Randy Wallace reports that Judge Schneider asked the social worker in court why he filed the emergency motion to take the 5-month-old baby boy and 2-year-old daughter of Michael and Melissa Bright.
Despite the fact that the social worker had sworn an affidavit in order to take the children from their parents at Texas Children’s Hospital, he pleaded the fifth amendment in court.
The hospital had called CPS after the parents brought the baby in when he fell from a chair and hit his head in mid-summer. It was an accident, but that didn’t stop the hospital from reporting it to CPS, and it didn’t stop CPS from taking the children from their family.
Same Players Involved in Other Medical Kidnap Cases
Texas Children’s Hospital is the same facility that reported the mother of 4-month-old Aniya Blu Vasquez to CPS after a pediatrician mistakenly injected the baby with the Gardasil-9 vaccine, a shot that is not intended for use in children under 10 years of age.
The hospital blamed the mother, Anita Vasquez, instead of the vaccine, and their doctors have since persuaded a judge to terminate the mother’s parental rights.
See their story:
Was Texas Mom’s Baby who was Accidentally Vaccinated with Gardasil Medically Kidnapped for Medical Research?
Randy Wallace is a rare mainstream journalist in that he has reported numerous stories about corruption within Child Protective Services. He was the first to report the story of the medical kidnapping of the three children belonging to Ahmed and Olubunmi Giwa, Ph.D.
Houston County CPS was responsible for seizing the Giwa children over false allegations of neglect by a doctor who never saw their son or talked to the parents. Thankfully, the children were eventually returned to their parents, but not until the entire family was traumatized by the separation.
Last year, Randy Wallace covered another story involving Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston County CPS, and Judge Mike Schneider.
In that case, the hospital called CPS and a 16-month-old baby was taken from her parents who traveled to Houston from Thailand to get medical care for their daughter. The allegations in that case were suspicions of human trafficking, which later changed to medical neglect.
Wallace reported scathing words to both CPS and Texas Children’s Hospital by Judge Schneider in February of 2017:
It’s actually illegal to put things in reports that are not true or that even have no foundation. And the human trafficking allegation just based on what we know seems completely unfounded.
I have no idea whether it was done because of people’s assumptions regarding people’s race or age difference. It really stinks, it really does. (Source).
Apparently, his words fell on deaf ears, because both entities were involved in making up things for their reports when they seized the children of Michael and Melissa Bright. The judge’s words were even sterner this time around.
Randy Wallace says that CPS could be fined a great deal of money for their violations of the Bright family’s rights. Will that be enough to motivate the department and the hospital to cease making false allegations against parents in order to kidnap their children?
Angry family law judge takes CPS to task for removing children from parents
Last July, the couple’s infant son fell out of a collapsible chair and hurt his head. Texas Children’s Hospital contacted Child Protective Services. Michael Bright says he did something every parent should do when CPS comes calling — tape record everything.
“We got some good advice from a family friend who’s been through this same kind of hell,” Bright said.
In a text, the CPS case worker tells the parents his agency has no legal right to take the kids.
“[Yet] he’s down in court swearing that these children are in imminent danger and he hasn’t actually seen them in 35 days,” said attorneyStephanie Proffitt.
Taking someone’s children is a big deal, and the case worker testified he didn’t know that that was impeding on their Constitutional rights….
He’s the government, and he doesn’t know what the government says.
When asked in a “show cause” hearing why he took the kids, the case worker took the Fifth.
“For their main witness to get up and admit he potentially lied to have this child removed or had these children removed was shocking to me,” said attorney Dennis Slate.
During the three days the children were in CPS custody, the 2-year-old ended up with a black eye and a bad rash.
In an unprecedented move, Judge Mike Schneider told CPS to have no contact with the Bright children even though they were in CPS custody.
Randy Wallace concluded:
Later this month, it will be a sanctions hearing, and CPS could be fined tens of thousands of dollars.
In the meantime, the children have been returned to their parents.
Read the full article at FOX 26 Houston.
Attorney Talks Recording CPS/Dangers of Signing Case Plan
The website for attorney Dennis Slate warns parents of some of the bullying tactics often used by CPS and gives suggestions on how parents can protect themselves. Obviously, they want clients to call them. Beyond that, they explain:
ABOUT THE CHILD SAFETY AND EVALUATION PLAN
The Child Protective Services investigator at your door may request that you sign a “safety plan.”
The Child Safety Evaluation Plan is often presented by TDFPS [Texas Department of Family and Protective Services] with the threat of having your child placed in foster care if you refuse to sign.
The goal of CPS is to investigate the case while the child is in a safe environment, but signing the document can place CPS in your life indefinitely.
FIGHTING CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES
If you have been presented with the Parental Child Safety Placement or Child Safety and Evaluation plan, take the following steps:
- Remain calm and do not answer incriminating questions;
- Document everything that takes place;
- Exercise your right to privacy if the investigator asks to come inside your home; and
- Get legal representation immediately
Keep in mind that, without exigent circumstances, CPS is not legally allowed to remove your children just because you refuse to sign the plan.
CPS must be able to show that an immediate danger exists and that without removal of the child, serious danger will occur to him or her. Just because CPS suspects that a danger may exist, that is not enough to warrant his or her removal from your family. (Source).
Definitions of “Imminent” and “Exigent”
These words are often thrown around by social workers as though every scratch or dirty dish in the sink represents an emergency circumstance allowing them to bypass the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which states that a person or thing cannot be seized without a court order or warrant unless there are exigent circumstances which make it too dangerous to the child to wait to talk to a judge before taking the child.
Contrary to the usual practice by social workers, the words “imminent” and “exigent” actually have meaning. They are not fluff words to fill up space in the Bill of Rights.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has defined the terms in their “Child Protective Services Handbook“:
1221.2 Definition of Imminent and Exigent
CPS February 2013
CPS Investigators and staff may not remove a child from his or her home without a court order unless the child is in imminent danger of harm or there are exigent circumstances to justify acting without a court order.
The terms “imminent” and “exigent” have the following definitions:
• Imminent means immediate.
• Exigent circumstance means that there is a situation requiring immediate action.
For example, a CPS investigator talks to an alleged victim of sexual abuse. The victim states that her father has been physically and sexually abusing her every Friday night during her weekly visitations in his home and that this has been happening for an extended period of time. The date of the interview falls on a Friday, the father is scheduled to pick the child up from school for her weekly visitation, and the investigator finds the child’s outcry to be credible.
In this instance, the investigator can find both that the child is in immediate danger of physical and sexual abuse and that there is an exigent circumstance justifying removal without a court order.
Emergency Removal without a Court Order
Unless CPS staff believe that a child is in immediate jeopardy or sexual abuse is about to occur, emergency removal without a court order is not warranted.
For additional guidance on ensuring compliance with the Fourth Amendment during investigative interviews, see 2390 Investigative Interviews and its subitems.
In far too many instances, children are taken from their families all across the United States under what social workers term “emergency circumstances” in the paperwork later presented to a judge, even though the allegations and situations are neither emergencies, nor imminent or exigent.
It is to be hoped that more judges and law enforcement officers will follow the example of Houston Judge Mike Schneider and hold social workers accountable to the legal definitions of words such as “imminent” and “exigent.”
Children should certainly be protected from actual abuse, which is a crime.
However, all too often, children are abused by the very people who say that they are protecting children. Children are then subjected to much undue trauma and abuse by the child “protective” system.
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