Yesterday evening, June 20, 2019, Drake Pardo (4) was illegally removed from his parents and two siblings based on claims by Child Protective Services (CPS) that there was an “emergency” which required immediate removal from the home. This “emergency” came after nearly two weeks of stonewalling by CPS officials who initially contacted the family on June 7.
CPS now claims that an emergency suddenly exists which required Drake, but not his two siblings, to be immediately removed from the home. This is despite CPS’s clear failure to make even basic effort to interview the family or in any way avoid the removal, as required by the Texas Family Code. CPS has yet to convey what the actual allegations are.
Prior to the removal, the family filed a complaint against several Children’s Hospital doctors for mishandling their son’s treatment on a previous visit. Children’s Hospital in Dallas appears to have reported the Pardos to CPS after receiving the complaint.
THSC is now fighting to have Drake returned to the Pardo family.
The trauma of having a child wrongly removed from their home was evident in my morning conversation with THSC Members Ashley and Daniel Pardo, Drake’s parents.
With my 10-month-old son at my side, I wondered how I would handle a nightmare like the Pardo’s were facing. Drake, his siblings and his parents are now experiencing an unimaginable pain caused by the very system intended to protect them.
Between CPS’s initial contact on June 7 and the illegal removal on June 20, THSC’s CPS Special Counsel, Chris Branson, made repeated attempts to obtain basic information from CPS officials about the accusations against the Pardos. CPS officials refused to provide any detail on the allegations, a clear violation of Texas law, which requires the allegations to be provided upon first contact with the family. Two prominent family advocacy groups who have also provided significant aid to the family, Parent Guidance Center and Family Rights Advocacy, were similarly stonewalled by CPS.
Due to Drake’s medical fragility, Ashley and Daniel had been taking him to Children’s Hospital for consultations and treatment. In April, Drake suffered complications from a routine test at Children’s, which the family felt should have been avoidable.
After Drake was discharged from Children’s, Ashley and Daniel filed a complaint on April 22 with the hospital over Children’s poor treatment of Drake and the family. Children’s replied that they would review the complaint and inform the family of the resolution within 45 days. On day 46, having heard nothing from Children’s Hospital, CPS suddenly showed up at the Pardo’s door.
At the time of removal on June 20, CPS officials allowed the family to take photos of the affidavit which they claimed provided the basis for immediate removal, although they refused to provide them with a copy. The affidavit contained several pages of “concerns” from one of the doctors at Children’s, including the implication that the Pardos were faking several of Drake’s medical diagnoses, including diagnoses which doctors from Children’s originally made.
The doctor who signed the affidavit had never actually seen Drake, but claimed extensive knowledge of his condition.
THSC attorneys Julie Jacobson and Chris Branson are currently representing the family. The Pardos face an upcoming hearing on July 2 where a judge will decide if the removal of Drake was warranted. We will keep you informed of developments on the Pardo’s case.
Please pray for this family and for the upcoming hearing. THSC is doing everything we can to bring Drake home. This is a nightmare that no family should have to endure.