UPDATE: Another victim of overzealous Arlington social workers
DC Examiner Local Opinion Editor Barbara Hollingsworth on local issues and politics.
POSTED April 23, 10:15 AM
In response to the April 18 Examiner editorial "Baby snatching by Arlington County" (http://www.examiner.com/a-1347693`Baby_snatching_by_Arlington_County.html) we got an email from an Arlington dad who has also tangled with CPS:
"I wish I could say I was surprised by the heartbreaking story of the Slitors, whose
child's disability led Arlington County to take their baby away, but I was not.
"My child has arthritis, and we experienced a less severe, but no less unnecessary, ordeal.When he was in preschool, he was on a medication that made him bruise easily and
impaired his ability to heal from bruises. That winter, he enjoyed sliding on the ice in our driveway, but fell and got a nasty black eye. Based on that injury, his teacher reported us to the county. She claimed that by law she was required t do so. I researched the regulations governing the mandatory reporting, and they actually leave quite a bit to discretion. Nevertheless, she felt bound to report us.
"Based on that one person's report, we had to fill out forms and were subjected to multiple interviews from a caseworker. These involved her coming to our home and observing us with our child, and asking our child's relatives questions about our fitness to be parents. Based on a teacher's report of one black eye!
"After we were 'cleared', we were told that we would be on a list for several years, so that if he got hurt and had to go to the ER for any reason, the investigation would be reopened and we would again be subjected to this invasive and humiliating process. There has got to be a better way."
Another Arlington reader told us about the Center for Individual Rights (www.cir-usa.org) which has information on similar cases in which social workers even presumed to tell parents which medical options they should pursue. In a particularly disturbing case in Idaho in 2002 (Mueller v. Idaho) a five-week-old baby girl was seized and given a spinal tap against her mother's wishes - even though the fever that had prompted the mother to seek medical care had already broken.
Parents are increasingly being subjected to this sort of harrassment by social workers who often have less experience with children than they do. But even for unwarranted intrusions based entirely on flimsy evidence, there's no accountability and no consequences for putting people through this hell. Judges who are supposed to throw these cases out often rubber-stamp whatever the social workers tell them, and confidentiality laws intended to protect children wind up protecting power-hungry government workers instead.
In the case cited in our editorial, the same former Arlington social worker who used baby Sabrina's "milk-stained" shirt as evidence of parental neglect argued in court that the baby had to be removed from her home because her mother wasn't feeding her! This would be laughable were it not for the terrible injustice done to this family.
If you live in Arlington, don't think it could never happen to you.