Submitted by dazzlingupstairz t3_11z8xgm in boston

TLDR, DCF seems to avoid going through the courts if they can.

This is extremely odd, and the story only seems to be getting big because they did it to a family that had the capital to fund a legal battle.

It doesn't seem right.

No paywall

From the globe article.

>- In the Waltham family’s case, child welfare workers had a full business day to obtain a court order before they arrived at the home, in the middle of the night. And still they did not seek one.

>- Sabey and Perkins have been sharing their story publicly to bring attention to what they called a flawed process. After the case workers took the children into custody, they later agreed that weekend to place the boys in the care of their paternal grandparents. But Sabey called for greater oversight, saying there was no need for case workers and police officers to take their children in the first place.

It seems like getting a court order for removing a child isn't the norm? Doc at Tufts noticed a rib fracture. Social worker didn't like the answers. No court order needed, even if everything is discovered on a Thursday.

Reason Article

Reason has done great stuff on civil asset forfeiture too.

They are a libertarian publication, so I know some are turned off. But regarding these sorts of abuses of police power that don't get enough attention, they're pretty good.

>- After an exhausting gamut of interviews and after DCF workers surveyed Sabey and Perkins' apartment—where no concerns were found—the couple and their children were sent home on July 14 with a DCF safety plan, assuming their ordeal was over.

>- Instead, DCF came to their house in the middle of the night—around 1:00 a.m.—and demanded custody of the children, despite having no court documents approving removal. "It seems everything was deliberately timed to avoid having to get a court order and avoid proving to a judge that the children were in imminent danger," Perkins later wrote. "Their laziness came at the cost of our children's sense of security."

>- While Perkins' parents, who had flown to Boston, were eventually granted temporary custody of the children, it still took nearly a month for Sabey and Perkins to regain full custody of their children. According to the Post, the couple spent over $50,000 in legal fees fighting to convince the state to return their children. They will likely have to spend much more to strike from the record the couple's "supported allegation of child abuse."

July 14 was a Thursday. They should have been able to get a court order, right? Most people don't have $50,000 lying around. Does DCF operate extrajudicially?

WaPo article



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dazzlingupstairz OP t1_jdbh2za wrote

The aunt of the father tweeted this (cited in the articles, not just a random person on twitter).

  • Wednesday updates: My nephew and his wife were able to read why CPS felt that the boys were in "imminent danger" (CPS says that has to be believed to do the child extraction). And remember, this is after the pediatrician vouched for them, and the hospital released the baby.

  • There were 3 reasons listed:

    1. "Living in a neighborhood with not enough children." This is straight up punishing parents for not being rich. My nephew and his wife chose a "poor" neighborhood because they are trying to save up for a house, and it was convenient to their work.
    1. "The mother rolled her eyes when asked a question." Want to know what the question was? Here you go: "How often does your husband neglect his children?" I mean... I would have 100% rolled my eyes. What a manipulative thing to ask.
    1. The last "evidence" was that "the mother cried when they wanted to give the baby another blood test." CPS said, "Her crying indicated that she was guilty." Keep in mind, they had already done 12 tests on the baby! And he was distressed by it!

If even a fraction of that is true, then what the fuck?

Also, this.

  • Something you might be interested to know: As soon as the judge ruled against DCF, DCF promptly asked for a gag order against any discussion of the case with the media. But their request for a gag order was denied (except for the actual court records).

What the fuck?

Can anyone explain this to me? What's going on with Harvard/Tufts and DCF?


mgzukowski t1_jdcikrk wrote

It's l part of the DCF cycle. Generally what happens is a child dies, so they go hard and do everything they can to take away the kids. Then a situation like this happens and the reverse happens. Then a child dies in the cycle continues.

It happens every 3 to 5 years.


SomeSortofDisaster t1_jdcboo5 wrote

>Can anyone explain this to me? What's going on with DCF?

Garbage people with an iota of power and no repercussions


tacknosaddle t1_jdcnx2z wrote

There's also a really high turnover rate where a majority of people who get a job as a case worker with DCF burn out within a couple of years. That means the odds of getting someone with significant experience who is better able to assess the situation is pretty low.

That type of inexperience can impact cases like this as well as the ones where a kid ultimately dies despite having an open case with DCF.


dazzlingupstairz OP t1_jdbj13t wrote

Video of the a cop and some social workers showing up at 1:00 AM on a Saturday

Good thing Friday just ended and courts aren't open until Monday. After returning the child from the hospital? For more than a day? It's hard to not think that they're just abusing the emergency powers that they have.

They gave the family ZERO paperwork when they first took the children out. They literally had no documentation that their children were taken by DCF. Not a scrap. No names. No signatures. No documented reasons as to why they're doing it. Nothing.

Tufts by the way. Harvard too.

MGB too.

Newton Wellesley.


priyatequila t1_jdbjviu wrote

oh my God. I remember coming across this story around August or so on Twitter. the mon or a close relative had taken to sharing the story of their children being taken from them by DCFS and took to Twitter after they got nowhere through normal channels. hearing how the kids were taken so quickly, without legitimate reason, WERE NOT CARED FOR in state custody, and how the welfare of the kids and the truth of the story were both pushed aside due to the mess that is our public health system was saddening and maddening.

quote from the article in Reason: "It seems everything was deliberately timed to avoid having to get a court order and avoid proving to a judge that the children were in imminent danger," Perkins later wrote"

the end of that quote links to one of the original Twitter threads. I remember following it for a month or so and not knowing what happened (I think I eventually had to stop checking for updates due to my own sanity).

also, iirc, the mom (or maybe a close friend/relative?) worked in a field that made them semi more familiar with the court system, or they knew someone that had 1st hand knowledge and could help them through. and even then it was a literal nightmare, and their kids could've been in custody for 1 year and there was nothing they could do about it. it's significantly more difficult for the majority of people who get unfairly pulled into the system, as they don't have assistance with first hand knowledge.

how do you fix it? there's so many children who are mistreated by their families who don't get on the radar. and the problems with dcfs, being in "the system", being in foster care.... I can't even get started with that.


dazzlingupstairz OP t1_jdbkt8e wrote

>How do you fix it?

You make it illegal to take children out of homes with no due process. You establish criteria DCF must meet, and DCF must meet it. Unless DCF has firsthand knowledge that child will imminently be harmed, then none of the emergency bullshit. They clearly have gotten used to playing by their own rules.

You have a Judge available 24/7 365 to review warrants. And as often as possible, they are reviewed in person, and recorded for future reference.


priyatequila t1_jdbm4ty wrote

I wasn't talking about fixing this specific case or instances like this, I was referring to the whole children & family services system. there's so many kids in harmful situations, but by taking them away from their families, wherever they end up isn't necessarily better.

I hope you could tell by the first few paragraphs I wrote that this case infuriated me and should not have happened. there are not enough checks and balances in place for sure.


dazzlingupstairz OP t1_jdbmnqu wrote

>I was referring to the whole children & family services system. there's so many kids in harmful situations, but by taking them away from their families, wherever they end up isn't necessarily better

I have no solutions to that deep seated societal issue. This is a societal issue that I can't even begin to solve :(

Most DCF employees are fine people trying to work to make it so that the lives of neglected and abused children are not forgotten. I wish I had an answer.


dazzlingupstairz OP t1_jdbmdgw wrote

Also this part stuck out to me.

>DCF said it doesn’t track how often it removes children from their homes without an order.

Most likely, they almost never get an order and operate totally outside of any legal framework. This is just the way they operate. It's hard for some people to feel bad for parents who may be abusing their kids, but this is beyond the pale shit. They're operating totally extrajudicially.


Unregistereed t1_jdci81j wrote

I’m a social worker in a hospital and my understanding were these situations lacking court order had to be an imminent risk (ie, kid is being trafficked and it’s learned on a weekend but no one wants to wait until Monday because who knows where the kid will be then). If what is being reported is true, this is utterly horrifying. Also, DCF is wildly under-funded and under-resourced, so naturally, they are looking for short cuts. With better funding and support to do what they’re supposed to do, I suspect things like this wouldn’t happen. I hope the kid and family are ok.


scottieducati t1_jdcmnk7 wrote

That may have been the intent of allowing these moves/actions but as usual, they’re abusing the fuck out of it. Fucking pathetic.


Unregistereed t1_jdcploc wrote

It’s awful. And the people who work at DCF are, on the whole, not bad people (of course there are always exceptions). On the whole, I believe the individuals in the DCF system want to do just the opposite of what they’re doing (protect human rights, maintain safety for children and families). The system is broken and doesn’t have the tools to function the way it should and that’s a real shame with horrifying outcomes. But I don’t think that most people who work at DCF desire to be manipulative and harmful.


smokesmokesmokes t1_jdc35t7 wrote

DCF is just like child support enforcement, no matter how hard they are fucking you no one gives a shit you're wrong even when you're right. This is also an issue most politicians wouldn't dare touch for that same reason: no matter how right you are about some things you are always wrong.


GlobeOpinion t1_jddiqza wrote

We had an op-ed earlier this week from a survivor of the child welfare system:

It wasn’t too long after my family was thrust into homelessness that the Department of Children and Families found out.

The DCF caseworkers who came to our hotel room banged on the front door, demanding entry. They scrutinized every inch of the room and questioned my siblings and me, looking for any sign of child neglect. One visit gave rise to countless unannounced visits over the years as school staff reported our family to social services for the same reason: homelessness. Because of that state policy, DCF came to investigate, not to help, searching for any reason to separate my siblings from one another instead of trying to keep my family together.

When many Americans hear the phrase “family separation,” they think of the US immigration policies that allow border agents to rip children from their parents. What many might not see, however, is another horrific form of family separation, one executed by child protective service agencies.

Many states, such as Massachusetts, New York, and California, define neglect to include an inability to provide a child with adequate food, clothing, and shelter. A family’s struggle to maintain stable housing is interpreted as a form of neglect instead of as a consequence of policy failure.


n8loller t1_jdfz3ie wrote

It would be nice if instead of focusing the state's efforts on policing families like yours and separating families, we would have provided y'all with assistance in finding a home and ensuring y'all had enough food (if that was an issue for you). Seems like a much better use of state funds to me.


dante662 t1_jde17zh wrote

Of course they are doing this to purposefully hide from the courts.


It's why civil asset forfeiture (Thanks Biden! , teaming up with his best pal Strom Thurmond and Reagan to pass it) is designed to make it impossible to afford to challenge it unless you are already rich.


This is why due process is so significant. Life, Liberty, Property (and probably a fourth one, Family, should be explicitly added) cannot be taken from people without due process of law.


Nothing in this case even suggests the children were in imminent danger. DCF knew the court would never give them an order so they waited until the court house was closed to fuck a family over, maybe damage their finances permanently and scar their children for life.


murdersimulator t1_jdd31if wrote

I feel like there has to be something seriously wrong for DCF to take the kids. I was a huge piece of shit for many years and had DCF called to my house. I was open, honest and cooperated with my caseworker. Seems like as long as you are willing and can prove you're taking steps to solve the problem DCF will actually help you.


LadyGreyIcedTea t1_jdfpco2 wrote

This case is extreme but, to be perfectly honest, in 16 years as a pediatric nurse I have seen DCF do too much twice (both cases involved children with undiagnosed osteogenesis imperfecta and unexplained fractures) and do too little too many times to count.

Someone in this case had to have filed a 51A against the parents otherwise DCF wouldn't have even known about it. It was a report of suspected abuse and was probably screened in as an emergency response, which led to the middle of the night response. If DCF hadn't removed these children and it actually was an abuse case, the outcome could have been deadly.