Posts Tagged ‘Child Protective Services’

Update: “Judge determines couple with low IQs can parent both their boys”

“Four years after their son was first placed into foster care, a Deschutes County judge has determined that Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler can parent both their boys.” The couple’s infant had been restored to them by a court ruling three weeks ago; now “4-year-old Christopher is on a track to come home as well. Both boys have spent nearly their entire lives in foster care based on the state’s concerns that Fabbrini and Ziegler were intellectually incapable of caring for their children,” though no abuse has been alleged. [Samantha Swindler, Oregonian; earlier]

Joyous reunion: low-IQ Oregon couple get custody of their youngest back

“Four days before Christmas, a Redmond couple received their miracle. Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler’s 10-month-old son Hunter will spend his first Christmas at home after a judge found the couple’s limited cognitive abilities did not make them unfit to parent.” But the ruling does not reverse the termination of the couple’s parental rights over 4-year-old son Christopher, who is deemed to have more complex needs because of developmental hurdles; they will be back next month in court to fight that. [Samantha Swindler, Oregonian] I’ve written about the case here and here.

A Canadian hair-analysis lab and its fateful findings

“Motherisk, a once-respected lab inside [Canada’s premier] Hospital for Sick Children, performed tests for more than 100 child welfare providers in five provinces, an investigation reveals.” The lab performed hair-strand drug and alcohol tests “on at least 25,000 people across Canada. The tests were discredited, but not before they were used in at least eight criminal cases and thousands of child protection cases. Now, many of those cases are under review.” While many of the cases drew on evidence other than the hair tests, false positives for drug or alcohol abuse could be a factor in temporary or permanent removal of children from parents [Toronto Star]

In British Columbia, a mother is desperate to convince the children she lost years ago that she didn’t choose drugs over them.

In Nova Scotia, a 7-year-old girl prays for her brother, who was adopted into another family.

And in Ontario, a mother whose daughters were taken shortly after they were born is waiting for a reunion that may never come.

More on questionable crime labs: Radley Balko on a new Massachusetts scandal (not the big previous one); John Oliver.

Schools and childhood roundup

Taking kids away from low-IQ parents, cont’d

I was a guest earlier this month on Glenn Beck’s radio show to discuss the Oregon case (earlier) in which where kids were taken away from parents with low IQs (but high school diplomas) in the absence of charges of abuse or neglect.

The Blaze summarizes:

Essentially, the state doesn’t have to prove anything definite to take away a child; the argument is that they are going by the expert’s recommendation for what’s best just in case something could happen. In Fabbrini’s case, her estranged father has told authorities that she is an unfit mother; however, people closer to her have vouched for her ability to parent.

“If they [authorities] want to take your child, they’ve got him,” Olson said….

“It’s been called [‘worst-first’] thinking,” he explained. “If you’re in the child protection business, then, you know, everything looks like a danger. … You always think the worst possible thing could happen.”

During the show I mentioned the Chicago-based Family Defense Center, one group that brings legal help to parents in danger of losing children to the state. And Lenore Skenazy has done an incredible job at Free-Range Kids of collecting stories around the country where harmless mix-ups turn into long nightmares of involvement with CPS.

Orange County: government workers were not on clear notice not to lie in court, falsify evidence

“Using taxpayer funds, government officials in Orange County have spent the last 16 years arguing the most absurd legal proposition in the entire nation: How could social workers have known it was wrong to lie, falsify records and hide exculpatory evidence in 2000 so that a judge would forcibly take two young daughters from their mother for six-and-a-half years?” The argument did not fare well as a hearing before Ninth Circuit Judge Stephen Trott: “I’m just staggered by the claim that people in the shoes of your clients wouldn’t be on notice that you can’t use perjury and false evidence to take away somebody’s children. That to me is mind boggling.” [R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly; video]

U.K. high court rules against Scottish “Named Person” scheme

“Judges at the UK’s highest court have ruled against the Scottish government’s Named Person scheme….The system would appoint a named person – usually a teacher or health visitor – to ensure the wellbeing of every child. Judges say some proposals breach rights to privacy and a family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.” They say that insecurity of data could endanger children’s privacy rights and that the bill goes beyond the legislative powers of the devolved Scottish parliament. The government of Scotland has indicated that it intends to implement the scheme in some form after addressing the court’s objections. [BBC; earlier; my Cato piece]