July 2, 2019

The Drake Pardo case is gaining a lot of attention as people all over the state continue to pray for this little four-year-old, a medically fragile child with special needs removed from his home and family illegally by Child Protective Services (CPS) on June 20th. The video of two CPS caseworkers accompanied by four police officers removing the little boy while his parents wonder why is heart wrenching.

The discussion on THSC’s Facebook page has a question that arises over and over. Why? Why did CPS take the child and the answer is they won’t say. CPS Attorney Chris Branson tried for almost two weeks to get CPS officials to comply with the law and tell him what the allegations were, but to no avail.

We are seeing this kind of situation all too often. It’s often referred to as medical kidnapping. This is an assault against the God-given fundamental right of parents to raise their children as they see fit. Some sources say that it is not uncommon for CPS in Kaufman County (where the Pardo family lives) to ignore the law, CPS rules and protocols in this way.

And this leads us to the second most common question in this discussion: How do we hold CPS accountable?

The legal answer to that is that it is the judge who hears these cases at the local level to require CPS to follow the law and CPS guidelines. In the Pardo case, CPS used an ex parte hearing with the judge to get an order to remove the child. An ex parte hearing is one in which the family is not notified or represented. So CPS got to make their allegations and no one was there to give the family’s side.

The judge in this case has been in office for less than six months. We don’t know if CPS lied to the judge or if the judge did not ask for enough information. We won’t likely know until the hearing on July 2 when CPS must give justification for removing Drake and ask for continued custody or return of the child to the family.

Judges should be skeptical if CPS initiates a case and waits for two weeks before asking for an “emergency order” to remove a child. A judge is supposed to require state agencies to follow the law, not simply give them whatever they ask for. When they don’t do that, children like Drake and their families are hurt and traumatized.

We believe that a loving family home is the best environment for children. If you do too, please stay informed and be prepared to contact your legislators in support of CPS reform legislation. Also consider donating to Drake’s legal fund or signing the petition to demand he is returned home.

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