Free-Range Kids

Two Parents Weren't Sure How Their Little Girl Fractured Her Leg, So CPS Took the Kids

Another heart-wrenching state-sanctioned kidnapping.

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Sad girl
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Here's another horrifying case from the Family Defense Center in Chicago. A baby's fractured leg convinced the Department of Child and Family Services that she had been abused, despite the fact that fractures like hers are common in kids, and there was absolutely no other evidence against the parents.

The state fought tooth and nail to keep the kids. I'm not sure what would've happened if the family hadn't gotten expert legal help:

In the early afternoon of February 3, "Cassie" S., mother of 13 month-old "Hannah" and 8-year-old "Maya," first noticed after Hannah got down from her high chair that the toddler wasn't putting weight on her left leg. Thinking at first that perhaps Hannah's leg had just fallen asleep, Cassie's mother put Hannah down for her nap while Cassie left for her nursing school class, calling her husband "Nate" to let him know that she was watching to see if something was wrong with Hannah's leg. When Hannah continued not to use the leg after waking up, Cassie and Nate called their pediatrician, who advised them to give her Tylenol, keep an eye on her, and bring her to an appointment the next day.

Cassie and Nate decided not to wait: Cassie brought Hannah to the emergency room at Central DuPage Hospital at about 6:15 p.m. while Nate stayed home with Maya, who was recovering from the flu.

X-rays soon showed Hannah had a fractured tibia and fibula (two lower leg bones that commonly break together). Because Cassie couldn't say for sure how Hannah got the fracture, the hospital staff called the DCFS. Only later did the family learn from two pediatric orthopedics and medical literature that the sort of injury Hannah had is considered to have "low" suspicion for abuse and it is hardly uncommon for parents to witness the incident that caused the fracture(s) to occur.

Unfortunately the x-ray findings, which naturally concerned the parents, marked just the beginning of the family's nightmare. Without even interviewing Nate, or talking to the hospital's own child abuse pediatrician, and without Hannah being seen by a single orthopedist (for whom injuries like Hannah's are fairly routine), DCFS decided to take both children into State protective custody. The investigator went to the S.'s home and made Nate wake Maya, only to remove her from the home and place her and Hannah with a relative as their temporary foster parent. It was the first time either child had slept away from their parents.

The next day — still without talking to the hospital's child abuse pediatrician, the family pediatrician, other the family members or friends, or Maya's teachers — DCFS filed a petition to take custody of both children from the S.'s in the Juvenile Court of Kane County. Based on hearsay representations concerning the emergency room doctor's opinion, the judge ratified the rushed decision that DCFS had made without talking to any doctors who had relevant expertise in toddler tibia/fibula fractures.

 The Family Defense Center stepped into the case six weeks later, with a trial date then set for June 2. Aggressively fighting for the family, Center Executive Director Diane Redleaf argued for dismissal of the petition against the family. It was the first time, according to Kane County Judge Parkhurst, that such a motion had been filed in that courtroom for parents. The Judge granted the motion to dismiss, but kept the children away from their parents while the State had to re-file an amended petition that set out facts supporting the conclusion that Hannah was abused.

Read the rest of the story here.

Thanks to the intervention of the Center, the parents were able to regain custody earlier this month after the state admitted it had no case. This is only the second time in the Center's history that the government has made such a concession during a legal dispute. 

It took even more legal work to get the parents removed from the child abuse registry. Removal does not happen automatically even after a case is dropped or charges cleared.

Redleaf, the Center's executive director, told me that Illinois law may soon become even more hostile to innocent parents:

"At the same time as justice was done in their case after 15 long weeks, the State of Illinois is proposing new appeal rules that will make it harder for people in their position to get a timely review of the merits of the allegations against wrongly accused parents."

You can donate to the Center here.

NEXT: John Roberts' Judicial Abdication

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  1. Does anything good happen in Chicago?

    1. Well, they’ve apparently invented time travel, so that “justice can be done” when the state steals a pair for kids for 15 weeks.

    2. Deep dish?

      *runs away*

    3. Bars open late and you stumple out of a bar, raise your hand, and a taxi pulls up and takes you to your hotel.

    4. Does anything good happen in Chicago?

      They’re about to go spectacularly bankrupt…..there’s that!

    5. Conceived my 11yo.

    6. It happened in Kane County, not Chicago. The people who helped were from Chicago.

      If anything, this is first story I’ve ever read that actually reflects well on the people of my city.

  2. Government is out of control.

    1. HAHA! Stupid evul SnoCone wont be happy til parents can murder there kids w/o being punished by the guvermint.

      /typical Internet commenter

  3. The government is not your friend.

  4. It’s official: everyone’s straight marriage is now invalid. All must report to the gay camps for processing and selection of a homosex marriage partner.

    1. Glenn Beck is talking about it right now

      1. Glenn Beck is talking about it right now

        His new partner?

    2. So does that mean I get to leave work early?

    3. Great, I was just getting used to my wife and now I have to go get a husband. At least her child bearing days are over so I won’t be losing anything there.

      1. A smart man would have seen the writing on the wall and already picked out his husband.

        1. Then again, there’s still time to pull a Jenner.

        2. Dude, easy peasy. “I identify as a woman.” There, now I’m in a same-sex marriage.

          1. I aleays wanted to be a lesbian

    4. It is? Sweet! I’ll accept that if it means we might stop talking about this issue in the next couple years.

      1. The next two years will be about how ENDA is a harbinger of the libertarian singularity. So different floor, but same hotel.

    5. Awaiting the avalanche of articles as every Reason writer scrambles to get their in.

      1. *theirs*

      2. Let’s decide now, which one will be the main thread to comment on?

        1. The Jacket, of course.

  5. of the people
    by the people
    for the people

  6. Liber.

    Tarian.

    MOMENT.

  7. A gay friend was fearing this since he was married in New York and is in the process of splitting up with his partner in a state that previously did not recognize gay marriage. Divorce court win!

    1. Sorry wrong thread!

  8. Congratulations to these state agents, who have — for no reason whatsoever — informed still more people that the state is the enemy. The state sometimes needs cooperation from the citizenry; won’t get it!

    The State is the Enemy.

  9. Anybody planning on having children should get the name of a lawyer to assist them in family court; because finding a good lawyer takes time, and the guy you get out of the yellow pages may not have the expertise you might want.

    The courts treat people without representation *very* differently than people who have an advocate representing them. The advocate will know what things a judge is looking for in making his/her decisions. The court will often work with an advocate as to how quickly or slowly they schedule hearings.

    People without advocates are seen as people who (a) don’t care much about outcomes, (b) pains in the ass that don’t know the rules.

    Having $10,000 in the bank that can be moved into a checking account within 1-2 days and dumped into a retainer is a very good idea.

    A good lawyer will easily cost $200 – $500 per hour. This means they will burn through the retainer very quickly. But the $10,000 will get your foot in the door.

    The earlier in the process you get your lawyer, the less damage the DCF people will get away with.

    So interview the lawyers *now*, so that down the road if you should find yourself facing this sort of horror, you can pick up the phone, and 20 minutes later they are making a phone call identifying you as their client.

    1. That sure smells like freedom to me.

    2. While what you write is true, it completely sucks that’s the way it has to be. Leaves little room to have any faith in the human race’s ability to learn.

      1. You’re right that it sucks. And for most people it’s not an option. But that advice is the result of a very painful set of learning experiences.

      2. CPS should pay for cases they lose, that would go a long way towards them only bringing rock solid cases

        1. I hope you meant CPS **Workers** should pay. If the organization pays, no one is harmed, no lesson is learned. The workers don’t care if their organization gets sued. The moment you attach the employees paychecks is the moment they’ll pay attention

        2. That’s cute. Just like police having to “pay” damages for abuse means there is no blatant police brutality, ever.

    3. Same sex marriage sounds like it may be much more economical.

  10. Prog fascists, like both their National Socialist and International Socialist cousins, firmly believe all children are solely property of the state. Parents are just the means of production of said state property, and therefore have no more claim to the children than they do to anything else they produce; none.

    1. “So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.” ~ Mawitha Hawwis-Pewwie

    2. So, if everyone stops having kids, the CPS’s of the world will disappear in 20 years, Right?

      1. 26 years as the ACA has redefined childhood to end there. Hawaii is moving the age for buying tobacco to 21. The push will continue until we are all children taking care of our dementia rattled baby boomer elders.

  11. I can’t help but wonder if any of the people in these “child protective services” have ever had children, or at least have friends that did? I’ve never been a parent myself, but I know better than to think that every injury a child experiences is due to being beaten by a parent. I was constantly banged up and bruised during my childhood, because a) I was a klutz and b) I did things that put me at risk of falling down, and I had the strange idea that I could somehow survive falling down.

    1. The fact I ran free as a child as was constantly banged up and occasionally broken makes me very thankful I was born when I was.

  12. Something something something woodchipper something.

  13. I don’t know about Illinois, but I think that in my state this is a violation of HIPPA, and the family would have a good chance at winning a suit against the hospital. I sure hope they give it a go.

    1. Mandatory reporters.

      1. I was trying to find the relevant case, but I can’t. I had a family member successfully overturn something similar. I’ll ask for them to clarify it though. You’re right about mandatory reporting being their fallback position.

  14. Some day someone is going to be driven a little nuts by the government taking his kids and kill one or several members of the CPS who drove it.

    In turn the CPS will claim they need hazard pay and gun control. In no case will they consider whether they acted appropriately.

    1. Surprised it hasn’t happened more, with how much these fucking scumbags take children.

      I know if some DCF case worker showed up on my doorstep to take my daughter, there’s a very good possibility that said case worker wouldn’t like what happened next.

      But you’re absolutely right; there is no way these fucking imbeciles will connect what they’re doing with whatever retribution they (justly) receive.

  15. “…it is hardly uncommon for parents to witness the incident that caused the fracture(s) to occur.”

    Lenore, don’t you mean just “uncommon” or “hardly common” here? Or maybe “hardly uncommon to not witness”? Lose track of the negatives?

    You guys need a better copy editor, or even a copy editor, period.

    /OCD editor mode

  16. DCFS will likely just keep saying something like “when it comes to protecting children, we will never apologizing for erring on the side of caution”. Their supervisors will agree. The MSM mostly won’t notice stories like these – because they too believe that we can’t be too careful when it comes to children. It’s no wonder we are reading about trigger warnings, hurt feelings that merit litigation, micro-aggression seminars for college staff……

    What the hell is happening? Common sense has left the building.

    1. Caution would have been asking the doctor who was actually in charge of determining abuse at the hospital.

    2. Caution would have been asking the doctor who was actually in charge of determining abuse at the hospital.

    3. When they do this to someone who is less forgiving, I can see a fully loaded AR-15 being emptied in a DCFS office. Reload and repeat.

      These people are scum.

      That they abuse their powers in the utter absence of any evidence of abuse disqualifies them from ever having a job more responsible than poop-scooper.

  17. Time to relocate to another state.

  18. My (at the time) 3 yr old swallowed some tea tree oil I had in a bottle. I called poison control and was told to go to the ER. The ER doctor had no idea what tea tree oil is and admitted to me that he was going to check on WebMD and would be back in a bit. After doing his little online search, he came back and simply reiterated what he read on WebMD. He said he didn’t know what to do other than have me wait 6 hrs in that tiny room and see if my son showed any symptoms of poisoning. Needless to say, I left. I can do my own Google searches in the comfort of my home and for a lot less money.

    This is the level of experience and intelligence you’re dealing with in the ER. These interns are also young and unlikely to have kids. So it’s no surprise they are clueless about how often kids hurt themselves.

    1. In all fairness, both the doctors and the nursing staff in the ER are usually overworked, understaffed, under rested, dealing with people who are in pain and often panicked, and in general have a very difficult job.
      The last couple of years before my wife died, we were in the ER every month or so it seems, and not because she didn’t have insurance, she did; these were emergencies.
      There were a few times when I witnessed incompetence or sloppiness caused by being in a rush, but the vast majority of the time, the men and women who we interacted with were true heroes.
      And not just in the ER, and not just the medical staff, either. The people we dealt with in administration were also infused with the spirit of doing whatever they could to help.
      Dammit, now I’m crying.

      1. “In all fairness” WTF happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?

  19. It appears the requirements for being a bureaucrat are stupidity and no common sense.

  20. Cuz nothing heals the trauma a toddler feels over a broken leg quite like being taken from their parents, kidnapped, and held prisoner by the State for months.

    Kidnapping and imprisoning toddlers injured toddlers – do it for the children!

  21. “At the same time as justice was done in their case after 15 long weeks…”

    After traumatizing a toddler for months, likely adversely affecting his healthy development for life, “justice was done”.

    Justice was done? They didn’t say anything about a woodchipper in the article.

    1. Ima change my handle again. I added the copier chipper thing as a kinda “I am Spartacus” solidarity.
      But woodchippers don’t quite give the vibe that I’m looking for.
      I want a corpse, not mulch.
      So, ima change to reflect my firm belief that gibbets along Constitution Ave will cure alot of what’s wrong with this country.
      Just saying.

  22. My phone added”copier” all by itself, bless it’s little “trying to be AI but not quite there, yet” heart.

  23. Well this sounds like a cluster-f of epic preportions. The hospital should have a protocol in place because kids do get injured. Abuse, neglect or misadventure? ?? Also, i trust the journalists did their job as well and ruled out any prior history.
    I’m tired of being burned by shoddy work.

  24. At the same time as justice was done in their case after 15 long weeks

    Excuse me? “Justice was done”??

    “Justice” would be the firing of every DCFS worker, administrator, legal counsel involved, with a year jail term each and $10 million awarded to the family PAID BY THE PEOPLE INVOLVED (not the state).

    No. Better yet. Kidnapping merits life in prison or the death penalty. Here we have conspiracy and kidnapping. At least two counts each. Execute them all.

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  26. What an absolute joke. Waste of good peoples time, waste of bad peoples time. Waste of good peoples money, waste of taxpayer money. I think that covered it all.

  27. This actually happened to my toddler. He jumped off a small stool and fractured his tibia. His orthopedist told me it’s such a common fracture that they refer to it as “the toddler break.” The ER asked me about a dozen times what happened, which was annoying to me at the time. I guess they were trying to decide whether to call CPS. They didn’t…I’m lucky.

  28. “The investigator went to the S.’s home and made Nate wake Maya,
    only to remove her from the home and place her and Hannah with
    a relative as their temporary foster parent. It was the first time either
    child had slept away from their parents.”
    ————–
    So after Hannah sustained a relatively minor injury (particularly at her very young age) the state’s violent thugs attacked the family and BOTH girls have now suffered “Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACEs) as victims of the state. ACEs cause much more grave damage than a simple childhood leg fracture!

    Search for “Adverse Childhood Experience ACE” on https://wikipedia.org/

    also:
    http://www.cdc.gov/violencepre…..index.html

    http://www.acestudy.org/

    It’s a good thing that, according to the proponents of Obamacare, health care is a “right” (I’m being factitious), because people subjected to the state are going to need it!

  29. You know. . . if you end the kidnappers, they don’t kidnap again.

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