- July 30, 2019—Pardo Case Highlights CPS Lawlessness
- July 23, 2019—Kidnapped: How the Pardo Case Started at Children’s Medical Center Dallas
- July 16, 2019—Pardo case update: 4-year-old still separated from his parents
- July 9, 2019— A Gag Order?
- July 2, 2019— Holding CPS Accountable for Drake Pardo’s Removal
July 30, 2019
CPS Operating Above the Law in Pardo Case (They Ought to Be Prosecuted)
The Pardo case highlights the problems with the frequent lawlessness of Child Protective Services (CPS) caseworkers while dealing with families who are unfairly targeted by them. State Sen. Bob Hall, who represents the area including Kaufman County and was in court for the full six-hour hearing in the Pardo case, said it was “the most egregious display of injustice” that he has seen.
While I have highlighted the problem with the judges and the hospital involved in this case, the main culprit is the CPS caseworker, the supervisor and the director above them. Many who were in the courtroom for the hearing have commented on the belligerent attitude of the caseworker on the stand who admitted that she did not follow the law by failing to make any effort to pursue efforts to avoid removing the child.
The caseworker, her supervisor and director all refused to give the family or their attorney the allegations, an action they are required by law to take. The caseworker also admitted that she initiated a hearing before a judge without notifying the family’s attorney of the hearing.
Furthermore, the case was already two weeks old by the time the caseworker declared her “emergency.” This, of course, begs the question: why was it an emergency after two weeks, but not before? And why was the family’s legal counsel was not notified of the hearing?
The obvious answer is she wanted the judge to grant the emergency order and she could only accomplish that if the judge did not have all the facts.
She also acknowledged under oath that she refused to notify the family of a meeting with the hospital/doctors on June 10, and then used the fact that the family did not attend the meeting as a reason for the emergency order.
This outrageous behavior led Hall to comment “It was also quite clear to me that the CPS caseworker’s personal push led her to take it upon herself to pursue an ‘emergency’ order. Doing so, in essence, showed the family’s attorney that she was from the government, she could do anything to that family that she wanted to do…”
If CPS employees can take these kinds of blatantly unlawful actions and not be held accountable by the courts or the agency itself, it is no wonder that the system is broken. How many more children and families will have to suffer abuse at the hands of the Texas government before this issue is addressed?
If you have not yet signed the petition to #BringDrakeHome, you can help by donating to the Pardo’s legal fund, signing the petition and telling Governor Abbott to rein in CPS’s abuse of power.
Help us #BringDrakeHome by donating, signing the petition and telling Governor Abbott to rein in CPS’s abuse of power.
Kidnapped: How the Pardo Case Started at Children’s Medical Center Dallas
As we continue to track the horrific state-sanctioned kidnapping by Child Protective Services (CPS) of Ashley and Daniel Pardos’ four-year-old special needs child, the most-often-asked question is, “How did this happen?”
You can read the full background on the case for yourself, but the short answer is that doctors at Children’s Medical Center Dallas started the chain of events that would result in the unlawful taking of this medically fragile child.
The Pardos had taken their son to this hospital for several years for treatment. The family registered a complaint with the hospital regarding the failure of one of their son’s doctors to visit him while he was in the hospital. While the hospital never informed the family of any resulting investigation regarding the complaint, they did launch an investigation into the family.
According to testimony at the July 2 hearing, one of Children’s doctors conducted an incomplete review of the extensive medical records of the child (from various facilities) and contacted CPS with her “concerns.” The doctor who conducted the review and contacted CPS had never actually seen or spoken to the child or family.
CPS asked the doctor to sign an affidavit which, two weeks later, CPS used to justify an “emergency” removal of the child. This is despite the doctor testifying that she never requested removal and did not believe there was any emergency requiring the removal.
CPS contacted the family but cut off communication when the family’s attorney asked to be informed of the allegations (a legal requirement). CPS made no other effort to resolve the case without removing the child.
Many do not know that Children’s Medical Center Dallas receives extensive state funding for a “child abuse unit” at the hospital. This unit is tasked with looking for child abuse. One state official recently said in a public hearing that if his child had an injury which could possibly be construed as child abuse he would never take his child to a “specialty” hospital such as Children’s, and for exactly this reason.
The Pardo case is certainly a case-in-point. We do not know if the doctor whom the Pardos registered a complaint against has been investigated. Nor do we know if this is the reason that Children’s Medical Center Dallas initiated the investigation of the Pardo family, but it certainly seems coincidental.
Senator Bob Hall, who attended the July 2 hearing, recently posted a report detailing the contradictions between the doctor’s complaint and her subsequent testimony, where she significantly walked back her concerns. Despite the doctor testifying that no “emergency” had ever existed requiring removal and admitting that simple communication between the parties could resolve the entire issue, CPS was allowed to keep the child.
This whole sordid saga raises questions about Children’s Medical Center Dallas that should be investigated.
Please pray for the Pardo family and their legal team. Tragedies like this should never happen, but somehow they still do. This is not over. Sign up now to receive legislative updates on the Pardo case and more.
Pardo Case: Next Steps
This tragedy should not have happened…
Some of you may not have heard about the horrible tragedy involving the Pardo family in Kaufman County, Texas. Child Protective Services (CPS) violated multiple laws and protocols in removing the four-year-old special needs son of Ashley and Daniel Pardo on June 20.
On July 2 a judge in Kaufman, Texas, shocked the nearly 100 supporters of the family in the courtroom when he ruled that CPS could maintain custody of the child. Here is a summary of what happened in the courtroom and how THSC is responding to thousands who are asking what the next steps are and how they can help the family.
Pardo Case Executive Summary
CPS admitted on the record that:
- They had multiple legal options available to them which they could have pursued other than removing the child, but they intentionally chose not to.
- The event which they claim created an “emergency” that justified the immediate removal of the child was that the family failed to appear at a June 10 meeting with the hospital—a meeting which CPS stated on the record they knew the family was unaware of and which they stated on record they never informed the family about.
- CPS also admitted that they had refused repeatedly to inform the family or their attorney about the accusations against the family. They said this was because the caseworker wanted the attorney to fly to Dallas from Houston so she could inform him face-to-face rather than on the phone. When their attorney refused to allow the caseworker to speak to the family until she complied with the legal requirement to inform him of the accusations, she testified that she considered the family to be “uncooperative” and that this motivated her to not tell the family about the June 10 meeting with the hospital.
- CPS stated on record that the only concerns that justified removal and justify keeping the child now are based on the concerns raised by Dr. Dakil, who filed the original affidavit. This is important because…
- She had never spoken to the family about her concerns before reporting them to CPS. Her concern that prompted her decision to report the family was that they might go to another hospital and trick the hospital into giving them treatment which Children’s Medical Center Dallas did not believe the child needed. Dr. Dakil also admitted on record multiple times that the family had never done anything to indicate that they might attempt this, and in fact that all four times the family had previously sought a second medical opinion, it was in an attempt to avoid giving their son treatment. Dr. Dakil stated on record that she knew her concern was entirely speculative and she reported it to CPS only because it was “possible” for it to happen. She stated that she had not considered the risk urgent, did not request that the child be removed and was surprised by CPS’s decision to remove the child.
- This “risk” is the risk that CPS claims justified their decision for an emergency removal and justifies their request to keep him now.
Well-intentioned observers often dismiss such abuses of power with the thought that “CPS protects children. Mistakes probably don’t happen often.” While CPS protects many children, it is the job of the public to stand in the gap for innocent families when they get swallowed by the system.
CPS now has 12 months to dispose of this case (and could get a six-month extension if the court allows). A vigorous legal defense is being pursued to get the child returned to his family very soon.
A friend who was in the courtroom told me that she had heard about CPS abusing families and traumatizing children, but it was scary and sobering to actually see it take place in a Texas courtroom.
THSC plans to continue to stand by the Pardo family. This shouldn’t happen to any family. Thank you for standing with us as we fight for Keeping Texas Families Free!
A Gag Order?Kaufman County CPS was in court on July 2 defending their illegal removal of the Pardo family’s young child on June 20. THSC staff and about a hundred homeschoolers, friends and family members were in attendance in support of the family.
This case raises numerous questions about judges in Kaufman County.
Did Judge Gray, who signed the emergency order to remove the child, know that the family had a lawyer who was in touch with CPS but not present at or notified of the initial hearing? Did she know that CPS failed to notify the family of a June 10 meeting that was then used as a justification for the taking?
Did CPS inform Judge Gray that they had refused to tell the family or their legal counsel for two weeks what the allegations were, in spite of being required by law to do so? Did CPS explain to Judge Gray that the doctor whose testimony they were relying on did not believe an emergency existed?
Judge Gray had been a judge at the time for barely six months. It is possible that she was misled by CPS, but we will never know because neither the family nor their attorney were notified, present or represented.
Judge Chitty, who presided at the 14-day hearing, is by all accounts an experienced judge. Did he recognize, as did others in the courtroom, that CPS did not meet multiple legal requirements for removing the child? Why then did he rule that CPS could retain custody when there was absolutely no evidence presented to justify doing so?
Based on feedback from those observing the proceedings in court that day, virtually no one believes this decision was justified. Sen. Bob Hall called the hearing “the most egregious display of injustice” he had ever seen and stated that CPS had “zero evidence” against the family.
Finally, why did the court issue a gag order? The court-appointed lawyer representing the child asked for the order to prevent public discussion of the case. She said it was to protect the child. Of course that begs the question: who will protect him from being kept from his parents when there was no evidence to warrant taking him in the first place?
The gag order is intended to squelch the public discussion about this case and limit the exposure of the obvious injustice perpetrated against this child and his family by the state of Texas.
So why is the family still separated from their child? Are Texas judges just afraid to reprimand CPS? It certainly seems that way. These are questions that need to be addressed.
THSC believes that the best place for children is in a home with a loving family. Due process must be followed to protect innocent children and families from being torn apart unnecessarily.
Holding CPS Accountable for Drake Pardo’s Removal
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.