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Trouble Not Over for Florida Parents of 11-Year-Old Taken in CPS Dispute

It's an unbelievable story. But it's true.

Yesterday I ran an interview with the Florida mom whose children were removed from their home for a month after a neighbor reported the family to Child Protective Services because their 11-year-old son was left outside by himself for 90 minutes.

This story is so incredible, some people almost can't believe it—and I can see why. It is as crazy as Maryland's Child Protective Services accusing Danielle and Alexander Meitiv of negligence for letting their kids walk home from the park in Silver Spring. Unfortunately, sometimes this kind of thing happens. But when it is sufficiently publicized, change can happen—which is why publicizing these cases is important. And in fact, as Donna St. George reported in yesterday's Washington Post, Maryland's CPS has just issued new guidelines, saying, "Children playing outside or walking unsupervised does not meet the criteria for a CPS response absent specific information supporting the conclusion that the child has been harmed or is at substantial risk of harm if they continue to be unsupervised.”

I hope this starts a trend.

The parents from yesterday’s story—"Cindy" and "Fred"—want their anonymity preserved. They don’t want to provoke the government officials handling their case, and Cindy has very real concerns that she would lose her job if her identity was revealed. But to quell the idea that this couldn't have really happened, here is page 1 of the county court documents ordering the children to be removed from their home. (I blacked out anything I thought might reveal their identities. The full, unredacted document has been viewed by Reason editors.)

David DeLugas, an attorney with the National Association of Parents, spoke with Cindy’s attorney and has confirmed the story she told me, in part by viewing documents relating to the case on an online clerk of courts website.

After this legal mess is safely behind her, Cindy may talk to the press—or not. Right now, the kids are back with their parents, but the family remains in limbo. At yesterday's court appearance the judge instructed the family’s lawyer and the prosecutor to try come to a mutual arrangement and return to court at the end of the month.

These parents may ultimately choose to remain anonymous. But they are not alone. We cannot expect or demand perfect parenting as the only legally acceptable behavior, especially in cases like this one, where no children were hurt or even in danger of being hurt. 

We all have days when plans go awry. Remember this story? The British Prime Minister accidentally left his 8-year-old daughter at a pub!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

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  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    At yesterday's court appearance the judge instructed the family’s lawyer and the prosecutor to try come to a mutual arrangement and return to court at the end of the month.

    Anything short of dropping the charges and receiving a public apology from CPS and the DA's office would be unacceptable to me, but then again this sounds like a horrifying process to have to go through.

    A huge thanks to Lenore for putting stories like this into the spotlight. I hope it results in these people receiving assistance in paying any legal bills they've incurred.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Anything short of dropping the charges and receiving a public apology from CPS and the DA's office would be unacceptable to me"

    In moral terms, I'm for public floggings of all government officials involved, but I'd settle for all of them prosecuted for kidnapping.

  • rudehost||

    I think the real answer is to start turning the weapons of the state against its supporters. My guess is there is a provision to recall this judge. What about a campaign specifically to oust the judge over this? Obviously the neighbor can be doxxed, people can start using the neighborhood association as a weapon against her for every tiny infraction. These people love the machinery of fascism so much lets feed them to the machine

    [Insert woodchipper reference here]

  • Darryl Erentzen||

    YES!
    I'd be suing everybody even remotely involved with this travesty, and you'd be seeing me on every television channel in the nation for months publicly naming the culprits and calling them out. I'd sic a private investigator on the neighbors and ferret them out as well as sue to be informed of who they were - don't people have the legal right to face their accusers? What the ... *sigh*

  • SimonD||

    I don't think I would do that until I had moved out of the state. Government is made up of people, and people can be vile and vindictive (especially if they have just enough power to think they deserve more).

    Once I was out of the reach of said petty functionaries, I'd be raising heck every day in any forum that exists.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    They don’t want to provoke the government officials handling their case...

    Are you suggesting that bureaucrats questioned can turn vindictive?

  • Rasilio||

    Yes, unless you happen to own a woodchipper, that usually keeps them in line

  • Florida Man||

    My wife is a mandatory reporter and she says DCF is a complete crap shoot. Things that seem like an obvious case of abuse they refuse to take and other minor stuff they jump on with both feet. In short, there are no rules to follow. Punishment is random.

  • Juvenile Bluster-fka Andrew S.||

    It's like policing for drugs versus for violent crime. A DCF worker going after a family like this is easy for them. Going after real abuse requires actual work.

  • CatoTheChipper||

    ^^ THIS

  • CASE13||

    Also, the truth is generally in real abuse cases, the "victims" are not very marketable for adoptions....another words they are hard to get rid of once the state takes them, where as THIS family the kids are most likely not minorities and/or damaged in ways that make them unadoptable, so the state could have them adopted out easily. That drives DCF more than actually handling real issues.

  • ||

    My wife is a mandatory reporter an agent of the state

    FTFY

  • SoCal Soccar Mom||

    Now now, many of the mandatory reporters never signed on for such duty. Many were minding their own business, pursued a profession and through no fault of their own are subjected to the ever increasing powers of the police state. There seems to be an ever expanding list of mandatory reporters, all done through legislation and enforced by licensing requirements (daycare workers, teachers, doctors, etc.) A teacher recently moved in next door to my family and is under the impression mandatory reporting includes adults, as well as children ... it has been a real joy. Disclaimer: I and the members of my family have not yet been the targets of her affections.

  • perlchpr||

    EMTs. :(

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Now now, many of the mandatory reporters never signed on for such duty. "

    Much like how the telecoms are now the mass spying arm of the NSA.

  • Florida Man||

    Well she works for the state of Florida, so yes an agent of the state, also a mandatory reporter.

  • tarran||

    Punishment is random.

    Which is why I refer to them as modern day witch-smellers.

  • ||

    Are mandatory reporters also allowed to keep records of which cases they report and which ones prompt actions, and report that to people other than DCF? Cause that would be a valuable public service.

  • Florida Man||

    They document that they called for CYA purposes. Really the only way to get in trouble is not call and then some kid offs himself or gets raped.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It is hard to believe.

    It seems so Kafkaesque.

    When government officials start to assert themselves this way, it always seems comically absurd at first--in a dark comedy sort of way. One of the reasons Brazil was so funny was because it rang so absurdly true.

    If you read Amis' Koba the Dread, William Shirer, anything about the Killing Fields, etc., it always seems to start with people saying, "They can't really be serious about this, can they?". There are whole archives of letters that the victims of Stalin's purges wrote to Stalin, so many of them convinced that if Stalin only knew what had happened to them, he would help them. Surely, this must be the result of some kind of clerical error...

    They died in the gulags still true believers! Like so many parents still believing that the government is looking out for them.

    "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" isn't just a moral precept--it's predictive. If we want to live in a society where the government presumes parents are a threat to their own children, we should definitely keep justifying government intrusion into every part of our lives--and assume that everything out there is a threat to children. One naturally follows from the other.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What's ominous is not that so much that it happened, but it took so many professionals to make it happen and nowhere along the line did any of them put a stop to it. If it was one myopic caseworker who mindlessly fucked with them, that would be one thing. This is social workers, police, prosecutors and judges.

    So many pass by them on the conveyor belt, I doubt any of the workers on the assembly line this has become even gives the lives of their product a second thought.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Any of us could fall into any one of a dozen pitfalls on any give day.

    I guess it is a shock when people realize that.

  • blcartwright||

    not to mention wood chippers

  • Muzzled Woodchipper||

    And yet I bet you will hear CPS workers, etc ALL claim they have so many cases on their plate that they simply cannot be handled with the proper diligence.

  • PACW||

    Oh yeah. Here in Arizona there were enough deaths of children already under CPS 'care' that the politicians were forced to notice and investigate. The ultimate conclusion was that more money needed to be spent.

  • FBurr||

    the 2015 version of the Golden Rule in today's America: Do unto others as they have done to you, your family or your friends.

  • rudehost||

    That is why I am long wood chippers.

  • tarran||

    Do unto others as they have done to you, your family or your friends.

    I believe Family Guy described this philosphy most succinctly:

    Rape it forward.
  • buybuydandavis||

    "Surely, this must be the result of some kind of clerical error..."

    Wasn't that the plot of Brazil? A typo caused by a bug getting caught in a typewriter?

  • prolefeed||

    At yesterday's court appearance the judge instructed the family’s lawyer and the prosecutor to try come to a mutual arrangement and return to court at the end of the month.

    "We request you drop the charges immediately, pay our lawyer's fees, and issue guidelines to your office to never pull such a stunt again. And a press conference apologizing for your reprehensible conduct. Are we mutually agreed?"

  • PutnamSinclair||

    That would certainly make sense. However, the fact that is that they have to deal with the moron in a robe who would have ended the matter on first appearance if he had any awareness at all. Too many judges are looking for a compromise between the parties before them, and fail to do their job of determining if one of the positions is indefensible.

  • B.P.||

    I subscribe to one of those social media websites that connects people by neighborhood. It dispatches e-mails to me. A police officer from the local precinct often posts messages about crime in our area. Yesterday she sent one out about someone approaching kids in parks and offering to buy their bikes. Sounds fishy. But here is some general advice dispensed with the suspicious activity notice:

    "-If you see a vehicle driving the neighborhood with no plate ALWAYS call Police. If you see a vehicle approach a child call 911 immediately and keep your eyes on the child!
    -Educate your children on stranger danger and tell them to run away and scream if they are ever approached by any stranger.
    -Make sure your child is never out alone. Although not 0 effective, the buddy system works great for deterring strangers from approaching children"

    Car approaches child, immediately call 911? Tell your kid to run away when ANY stranger approaches? Child never goes out alone? I live in an urban area, and ages may vary on when to allow your child a little freedom, but this is insane. Can we exercise a little common sense? I have a seven-year-old child, and I don't want him cowering in fear in my basement when he's 35 years old.

  • Muzzle of Bees||

    Telling your kids to "never talk to strangers" will lead to socially-retarded kids. A better line I've heard is that if a stranger asks you for help or to do something, don't do it and immediately tell an adult you know. That way, if a lady at the store says "Hi", your kids won't be programmed to cower in fear (thought they might anyway, cuz kids).

  • ||

    It's okay for children to talk to strangers. What should be stressed is that they never *leave* with strangers.

  • ||

    I would also add a caution to stay a safe distance from any vehicle with a stranger in it. Don't go right up to an open door or window.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Tell your kid to run away when ANY stranger approaches? "

    If the stranger is a cop, he'll take flight as a confession of war crimes and immediately execute the kid.

  • amagi1776||

    I'm curious...and I would like the peanut gallery's take on this (and other) CPS incidents.

    Why are they doing this? Is this just blind application of a terrible law? Do they see it as "not having a choice" when they respond to these instances of "neglect"?

    Or are they trying to justify their phony baloney jobs? Is it just easier for them to jack up the amount of cases they get (and their closure rates) with these petty, silly instances of overly broad application of their law?

    Is it all of the above?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think part of it is hypervigilance.

    Also, I think all the downside risk is on not doing anything. If any given kid later turned up *God forbid* dead from neglect, and it came out that CPS had been called but did nothing--that's the worst thing that could happen from CPS' perspective.

    And from the CPS' perspective, what's the downside of sending the parents and kids through the wringer compared to that?

  • rudehost||

    Because we know government officials are always held accountable when things go wrong. This explanation seems wanting. I will go with Occam's razor. These jobs naturally attract sadistic sociopaths.

  • Ken Shultz||

    CPS doesn't want to get blamed if kids die becasue they did nothing.

    Seriously.

    No question, they need to be held responsible if and when they needlessly put kids and parents through the wringer.

  • rudehost||

    Perhaps not but I am having difficulty believing that such behavior is driven by a fear of consequences that don't exist. When was the last time one of these people were fired for abuse that was missed? The sociopathic sadist explanation seems more likely.

  • amagi1776||

    Maybe in their minds, the consequences are getting chewed out? Attention from the media and or the public, maybe not getting promoted when the time comes? Ext...?

    Consequences for us in the private sector are getting fired, or having liability for negligence. For them, these things might still be "consequences" but to reasonable people they're barely wrist slaps.

  • PutnamSinclair||

    Perhaps they enjoy having the authority to intrude into families, pass judgment and exert power. It seems more likely the lack of consequences of abusing that power is more the problem than is the fear of consequences (real or perceived). Reflecting others comments above, I base that on the failing of supervisors or the judge to exert the consequence of calling them out on the stupidity of this.

  • Darryl Erentzen||

    Maybe, just maybe, the consequence is the voice of their own conscience saying "why didn't you do something?" and the fear of regret.
    They're not necessarily monsters (though in this particular case I'd still want to fry them all if I were the parents)

  • ||

    There needs to be a lot more chewing out over unnecessary harm to parents and children as a result of taking kids unnecessarily.

    Just yesterday we heard from a guy who was taken away from his parents 20 years ago, who was commenting on how he was abused in foster care and punished for trying to run away to get home to his parents. Why was he taken? Because he was skipping school because he was being bullied.

    Shit like that should be the subject of massive lawsuits, like false imprisonment.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It is ironic that the most vulnerable and victimized "class" of people in our society is probably kids in foster care, and yet there doesn't seem to be any organized effort on the left to reform that.

    Maybe it's because foster kids don't vote?

    Maybe it's because there are no easy answers about what to do with abused and legitimately neglected kids.

    I visited a relative for Christmas last year that took in a foster kid who had been taken away from her parents on Christmas eve the night before. Everybody talks about foster care like it's a living nightmare for the kids, and I'm sure it is--under the best of circumstances.

    I can't think of a job I'd want less than working for CPS.

  • buybuydandavis||

    “Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984

  • Not your f*ing khakis||

    I think a big part of it is the bureaucrats involved in this have very little room for judgement. Or if they do, they are so spineless that they lose the ability to use their brain and exercise that judgement. Therefore, any call about neglect is getting the full court press.

    I guess that's fine for the paper pushers, but what pisses me off is that the prosecutors are not using discretion. They "should" be professionals.

  • ||

    I would really like to see something along the lines of a class-action lawsuit by children who were unjustly separated from their parents, and parents who had children unjustly taken.

    Kids get abused in foster care all the time, there have to be many cases in which they were MORE abused in foster care. Especially when the issue was "neglect".

    Also there are lifelong economic consequences of being a foster kid. The foster parents have no responsibility after you turn age 18 to pay for college tuition or help the foster kids out financially, like most parents do. You're basically depriving the kids of their natural financial support network that other kids get from their family. As a result, college graduations rates and lifetime earnings are substantially lower for foster kids.

  • azizim||

    The first part about a class action lawsuit I agree with, The part where you assume that parents have a responsibility to send their kids to college and financially provide for them after turning 18 sounds like something some entitled sjw straight out of tumblr would say. Once a kid turns 18, the parents can kick them straight out the house without a second thought. At 18, that kid is now a legal adult and the parents have no more responsibilities to them. Anything provided after they turn 18 is out of the parents heart.

    I will admit that generally speaking, foster parents do not necessarily provide the proper care needed to prepare a kid for the outside(could be because it is a group home or they just let them be self motivated), but that of course is not always true and some foster homes are wonderful.

  • BuSab Agent||

    I'll tell you what it is. It's low hanging fruit. Caseworkers need to have a certain amount of cases to appear like they're doing their job. But they studiously avoid two sorts of cases, the first is where the parents are well-connected and well off--that brings bad publicity. The second is actual abuse cases where the door is answered by a cross between Khal Drogo and Warty. They avoid those because those guys are fucking scary and dangerous and they don't want to come back a second time. So they spend the majority of the time harassing poor women with dirty houses. And of course every time the scary people actually DO beat a child to death, there's a terrible outcry. The department wails that they don't have enough money and too many cases, and they get more money and more workers. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  • Madisonian||

    Have you noticed that these absurd instances generally happen in middle or upper middle class suburbs? Government officials do need to justify their jobs, but there is the added incentive of proving that middle class stable families are just as bad parents as strung out junkies in ghettos and trailer parks.

  • BuSab Agent||

    Oh the poor families kids get yanked straight off the bat and they have no way to fight or get them back, so it only ends up in the news when the foster parents kill the yanked kids. The caseworkers never go for any parents likely to have a lawyer on retainer, so that leaves the middle class, just enough social status and money to raise a stink, but not enough to be immune from the CPS attentions.

  • FrankCB||

    Some people answered your question, but their answers beat around the bush. Their answers describe symptoms rather than causes.

    This happens because government is too big. That government and government officials have the power to take kids away in these situations causes the problems. By human nature, people will use that power in bad ways.

    Remove that power from the government. Shrink the government. Then you won't have to wonder why case workers over react.

  • Espantapajaros||

    It's social crusading. They want to see themselves as saviors, so they're going to see abused and neglected children everywhere they look, regardless of what they're actually looking at.

    It's entered into honestly I think, they just haven't any idea how they've been deluded by self-importance.

  • ||

    The left is still clinging to its 60s era, self-made myth as scrappy underdogs and righteous revolutionary crusaders, and they have to lower the bar for what's considered offensive, hateful, oppressive and threatening to preserve it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    the judge instructed the family’s lawyer and the prosecutor to try come to a mutual arrangement and return to court at the end of the month.

    Step One-
    Ritual self-abasement and confession of your sins against God Society.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Why are they doing this?

    Because we need their help and guidance. Without them, children will be raped, murdered and eaten (not necessarily in that order).

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Why are they doing this?"

    BFYTW. That's always the reason. The delicious taste of domination. Because they can.

  • ||

    You should redact the date on the file stamp as well.

  • Mike A.||

    I really can't imagine what I would do if this happened to me. I'm afraid the first thought that springs to my mind is "murderous rage."

    I wonder how many of the people responsible for this mess could be killed over the weeks and months that followed before the authorities started connecting the dots. I'm not sure I would even feel terribly guilty about it. You stole my child. You get what you get.

  • Chip the Chipper||

    *and of course by murderous rage Mike A. means he would agitate his murder of crows.

  • FBurr||

    The difference between CPS and a pit bull is with a pit bull, you sometimes get the child back.

  • Chip the Chipper||

    This is another reason I'm not having kids. If any of my family asks, then I will just keep showing them these stories. If my wife plopped out a kid right now, then that kid would be 5 in 2020 and who knows what the fuck the SJW and the "hero" parents/helicopter parents will be up to then.

  • ||

    This is infuriating. Those child-abducting thugs deserve nothing less than to be defied with a Cliven Bundy-style, armed stand off.

  • Beowulf||

    Something just doesn't smell right about this one... We have a neighbor who calls in a cps complaint about an 11yo playing basketball for 90 minutes, at least one cop, a prosecutor, several judges, one or more caseworkers, a 'problematic' relative, problematic foster families, mandatory summer camp, parents who want to remain anonymous...so maybe we really do have two parents caught in a kafkaesque nightmare facing a conspiracy of heavy-handed stupidity, or maybe we are not seeing the full picture... if this was a conspiracy within one agency or a conspiracy centered on laziness and stupidity, it wouldn't create that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that maybe we aren't hearing the full story here. I hope the family successfully extracts itself from the quagmire and goes public with the details, and if they have a case, sues.

  • Overt||

    Beowulf, you beat me to my post below. I agree with you.

    Again, this doesn't mean the state should have intervened, necessarily. But I do think the story is being selectively edited to give us the sense that parents who have a bad day- a single lapse or mistake- are being put through the wringer.

  • ||

    My guess is that the kid was left out in the rainstorm that delayed the parents, and that's what prompted the call. It's just the kind of thing that would make is just plausible enough that some imminent harm could come to the child. Like he could get pneumonia or something.

  • Overt||

    First, let me say that this went wrong the second a police officer called the CPS. It should have been clear that this kid was in no danger and they should have looked at the situation, and then told the "Concerned Neighbor" to mind their own fucking business.

    That said, the vague details in yesterday's post set my spidey-sense a'tingling. I think that if this story gets more light, we will find out a bit more bad stuff about the parents. First, the 90 minutes alone business is odd. If I read the article right, the kid was alone for 90 minutes + the time that police/CPS were on scene. I have a hard time believing a parent wanting to be there for their kids being delayed upwards of 2 hours due to traffic and rain. Further, the "slightly problematic relative" horror story is also very strange. They wanted mom on scene, but a 2 day delay in background checks instead had them in the custody of a relative who couldn't be bothered?

    I could be wrong, but I think if this gets more light, we will find out that these parents are not the decent folk who inexplicably ran afoul of the state due to some black swan event. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that they regularly leave the kids unsupervised and have a pattern of making bad decisions.

    That isn't to say they should have gotten this treatment. I spent a lot of time alone as a kid, and even got into a fair amount of trouble. None of that should have justified the state taking me away.

  • Overt||

    Another odd bit is the whole discussion around the kids going to mandatory summer camp. The mom says that she was going to "spend the summer" with the kids, or send them to work with the dad. And yet the mom presumably has a job that is taking her away from the house. I suppose she could be a teacher or work-from-home person, but the gist I get is that the kids spent a lot of time at home alone, which is why they are being required to go to supervised day care.

    Again, at 11 I had been spending most afternoons during school and most days during summer at home alone. I don't think this is a crime that requires the state to intervene. Rather, this seems like normal child upbringing. That said, the fact is that most parents these days do not leave kids that age home alone. And this story is being spun as if these parents were just the same and made a single mistake. I don't think that is going to be evident as more information comes to light.

  • UnfrozenCavemanTaxpayer||

    CPS in Texas took the still-nursing infant son from a family member for similarly illegitimate reasons. As other commenters have said, their day is easier if they go after soft targets, rather than the hard, truly abusive cases. They also make huge money from selling white babies to adoptive parents, and thought they had struck gold. (Yes, you read that right.) Only when Texas discovered that the extended family had considerable resources, and promised an all-out, scorched-earth legal campaign that would shut down some of their illegal practices statewide, and shine a bright light on their abuses, did they relent.

  • BBB||

    The problem with this story, though, is the lack of substantiation by the reporter. I'm quite willing to believe that such an abuse by the state has occurred. However, there are no names, no concrete places (Florida's got lots of people), nor even details of what is charged in the Sharpie-work scan of a court document. (Every such claim probably has the same first page.)

    This costs credibility. We can't point to abuses without names or places, because it means every counterclaim that "You're just making this up!" has nothing at all to refute it.

    Again, I'm personally convinced by what is here, but it's truly "people are sayin'" caliber stuff. I expect more from Reason.

  • UnWoodChipped||

    Did you not notice that the editors were given the unredacted copy to read? And that there was another lawyer brought in to verify (through a clerk of the court site) the complaint as well? Not 100% satisfying, perhaps, but far better than a Rolling Stone piece.

  • BuSab Agent||

    This absolutely rings true to me because I have been hounded by the CPS. I'm not going to go into the gory details, but here's the TLDR version and it's hideously long. 1st report: I fired a bad baby sitter. She vendetta called CPS. Months of investigation. Cleared. 2nd report: different baby sitter decided to go shopping, took my kids to one of her friends--who I didn't know and without my permission. Her friend hits my daughter and leaves visible bruises. Baby sitter freaks out, doesn't want to be blamed so calls cops to finger me.Cops clear me, but CPS decides more months of "monitoring"--eventually cleared AGAIN. 3rd report. Neighbor overhears husband talking about silly son "hanging" himself--he was jumping on the bed got tangled in light switch pull cord, fell off the bed, the pull cord broke off as it was meant to, no jury-- calls CPS. CPS worker sees two previous reports...."where there's smoke there's fire!" She declares! New investigation, but this goes horribly awry for her. First off the "hanging" was witnessed by 8 adults (it was role-playing game night and a bunch of friends were over). Our pediatrician saw the boy the next morning and documented zero injuries. Youngest son had health issues and visiting nurse is there every week. CPS worker summoned a full panel to "investigate".

  • BuSab Agent||

    (cont.)
    At the panel in front of her regional boss costing thousands mind you-- on our side were: our pediatrician, the visiting nurse, 8 friends, the police, and our lawyer. On her side "where there's smoke there's fire!". She lost big time, and her boss fired her for wasting everyone's time while real cases were being ignored. I know WAY WAY to much about how CPS operates and Fred and Cindy's story is absolutely credible to me.

  • BuSab Agent||

    If you have kids, ANYONE with a grudge can use CPS to fuck you over royally. And even when you are cleared, the fact that you were investigated is used as proof that something is going on. It snowballs, because you can't prove a negative, and that's what happens to all innocent parents accused by CPS. You find yourself desperately trying to prove a negative to a power hungry and largely unaccountable bureaucrat.

  • tarran||

    Not to mention that the probate courts give great weight to the spectral evidence that is a DCF investigatory report.

  • BuSab Agent||

    Not to mention the caseworker's bizarre fixation on how clean your house is. Happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids mean nothing, but by GOD it's a clear sign of child abuse if you ever have a few dirty dishes in your sink.

  • BuSab Agent||

    To clarify why "spectral evidence" led to the above comment. It was second case, and I was wiser to the CPS workers ways, so my house was pristine. You could safely perform surgery on my kitchen floor, nothing out of place, all surfaces disinfected and gleaming, but I had neglected to wash and put away the breakfast dishes before I left for work. I hurry home to meet CPS lady for my weekly house inspection and she discovers the dishes. She documents this in her report as "filthy house".

  • ||

    Bitch.

  • DesigNate||

    Someone should [bleep] [bleep] [bleep] these [bleep] "workers" and run them [bleep] a [bleep].

  • DesigNate||

    The First Lady's fitness campaign explicitly states "60 minutes of play". These parent's were obviously negligent in letting their son get 1.5x the recommended amount of outside time. Good on that neighbor for recognizing this.

    /sarc

    (Jesus Christ, we used to play outside for HOURS when I was this kids age. Hell, when Houston wasn't a sweltering hell hole, I'd just drag my box-o-legos outside and build anything I could think of.)

  • buybuydandavis||

    "we used to play outside for HOURS when I was this kids age."

    And not just in your own damn yard.

  • Beowulf||

    I tend to have a problem with a lot of Lenore's pieces...let's face it, selling a point of view to Reason readers and especially the Reason Commentariat that says that government functionaries are generally stupid, slow, misguided, overbearing, incompetent, venal, vindictive, lazy, myopic and cancerous to the body politic is preaching to the choir in the extreme...at the same time, when I read Lenore's stuff, there is more than a hint of overselling that raises the hairs on the back of my spine...there are some writers on the site i trust implicitly,,,,others i apply a stridency discount until proven otherwise. Similarly, if you value your credibility, you need to pick your poster children carefully.

    Again in this case, i hope its resolved, that the facts come out, and that if they resemble what is being represented, that they sue.

  • Jordan||

    at the same time, when I read Lenore's stuff, there is more than a hint of overselling that raises the hairs on the back of my spine

    Such as?

  • SimonJester||

    Does anybody remember the civil forfiture article a while ago in which the cop said "I am going to keep everything. I can still beat you in civil court."

    What happens with a cop like that ends up at CPS?

  • Zoe_Z||

    I am an attorney and I am having a very hard time believing this story.

    The first page of this petition for dependency doesn't verify any of this story. It states that some set of parents living at some address have had a suit filed by children's services. None of the allegations leading to the dependency action are shown, because they are further in the body of the document, which is not visible - I simply have to believe more was happening with this family than has been reported, or I have to believe that the State of Florida has lost its collective mind.

    This story would be more believable if you posted a redacted version of the entire document, or in the alternative, if you posted a copy of the criminal indictment against the parents.

    This simply is not enough evidence to back up this reporting.

  • AnnPetRescuer||

    This is yet another example of giving some people a little power and they go insane with it. God help these parents and please give them their child back. Remove the issuing judge from office and send the offending employee(s) to the unemployment line.

    Having been the victim of Child Protective Services due to the actions of grandparents who did not want me to adopt their motherless grandchild I can share the pain and terror these poor parents are feeling.

    I was never found guilty of bad parenting nor any crime after 40 visits by CPS. The Judge finally issued a court order to jail the whining, complaining grandmother if she ever complained to Child Protective Services again. He also ordered her and her mother not to ever have contact with the child again. If she had asked nicely and behaved like a real grandmother she could have had frequent visitation but no, she had to be a control freak.

  • ||

    "They don't want to provoke government officials..."? Isn't it officials that attacked their family? Isn't it officials who acted irrationally? Arn't they not guilty of all charges? Haven't they suffered harm?

    As a political/legal strategy going public, naming names, getting as much public attention as possible is what "the system" responds to. Didn't their reps tell them this? But they should know anyway.

    From a personal perspective, how can anyone allow themselves to be pushed around by zombie bureaucrats (police, CPS, judge) and not fight back with every tool?

    This family is being victimized by authorities and they won't demand their rights? I find it hard to sympathize with people who submit so meekly to injustice.

  • MamaBear6||

    In the initial story, it is stated that "the responding officer found our yard good enough to relieve himself in while our son sat in a police car alone."
    Has it occurred to anyone...ANYONE...that the act of relieving oneself in public is considered a lewd act and is a chargeable offense- a crime (one at times results in the person who couldn't "hold it" to be placed on the Sex Offender Registry)??!?
    Additionally, where was the responding officer in relation to the 11 year old that was in the car? Was the responding officer close enough to see the minor? If not, is he then also guilty of negligence? If he was close enough to see the child, is he not guilty of exposing himself under the definition of the law?
    Can't have it both ways.

  • Cynrhia||

    Its a shame that it is happening to.them. I.am.sorry that this is happening to you. I hope you find the person who did this and sue them

  • Lance||

    Where is the independent confirmation of this story? Apart from a court document that is so heavily redacted, that it is essentially meaningless and a repost of this story on Alex Jones' infowar page (hardly a credible source), i have been utterly unable to find another reference for this hyperbolic tale. i'm not saying it never happened, but in the absence of additional, credible material, i'm left feeling more than a little skeptical about the veracity of the claim.

  • Lance||

    Where is the independent confirmation of this story? Apart from a court document that is so heavily redacted, that it is essentially meaningless and a repost of this story on Alex Jones' infowar page (hardly a credible source), i have been utterly unable to find another reference for this hyperbolic tale. i'm not saying it never happened, but in the absence of additional, credible material, i'm left feeling more than a little skeptical about the veracity of the claim.

  • ||

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  • bigkdm||

    I had my 3 teen age boys taken away from me by C.P.S. in Arizona they were 17 15 and 13 at the time. I in the C.P.S. report to the court they said that all our utilities were turned off. I had proof that they weren't but I had to jump thru all the hoops to get them back. Yet there are children getting abused by there parents yet they are still with there parents.

  • Great+Grandma||

    Government in charge of everything causes stupid incidents like this and the left is for larger and larger government that takes over everything so the entire country will be like financially failing Greece who are too stupid to see that one tiny segment of the population supporting the majority causes intense satisfaction.

    Really, why should one small segment support all the lazy jerks who refuse to support themselves and pretend to be sick so they shouldn't have to work. This is the most unfair system possible and has been tried many times in the past and failed every single time!

    Everyone MUST be required to support themselves by being fully prepared to get a job and work!

    If then, they make too little to support themselves or are genuinely too ill with a serious life threatening illness, then, and only then should they receive help. If they refuse to work then they should suffer the natural consequences until they wake up and realize they are in charge of their lives and must work.

  • ||

    I do not believe the so called "Child Protective Services" or the legal system concerned about the kid. They all work day and night to collect money from the citizens. It is all about money. No parenting is better than the biological parents unless they are mentally disabled. It is unfortunate parents and kids suffering from this kind of misconducts. Even the statement "At yesterday's court appearance the judge instructed the family’s lawyer and the prosecutor to try come to a mutual arrangement and return to court at the end of the month." tells a lot about the failer of the system.

  • ||

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