HOUSTON — Barbara Marks lost custody of her three children because her 11-year-old son lied to police – and when the boy told the truth, state officials still refused to give her kids back.
Police didn’t believe the boy’s fib, but the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS, better known as CPS) did.
“You are guilty until you prove yourself innocent,” Marks told Fox-5 in Houston.
The agency spent thousands of dollars on legal fees in an effort to take away her kids.
CPS started the action after Marks accidently poked her son – who has behavioral issues –in the eye on December 21. The boy then called police and told them that his mother had intentionally poked him in the eye, the TV station reported.
Officers did not believe the story, but DFPS nevertheless held an emergency hearing designed to take custody of Marks’ three children. Marks ended up spending her own money to hire an attorney and successfully fight CPS.
“It was an accidental poke in the eye and turned into removing three children — one a little baby and going to court for an emergency removal and taking it from there,” her attorney, Jon Parchman, told Fox-5.
Said Marks, “He didn’t require medical attention but they made this big thing out of it.”
Abuse of Power
Parchman thinks the action might have been CPS employees’ effort to retaliate against his client. He noted that CPS was aware of the boy’s behavior problems.
The boy even told the CPS caseworker that he had lied, but the hearing went on, Marks said.
Parchman had to file an appeal in the state appeals court, which she lost 2-1. The dissenting justice, Terry Jennings, wrote that “there is no evidence” that the safety of the children was in danger or that the children should have been removed. Jennings also alleged that the trial court had abused its power by taking custody.
“That particular judge agreed with us that there wasn’t an emergency and the children should have never been removed in the first place,” Parchman said of Jennings.
CPS, though, stood by the action, although it eventually dismissed the case.
“What’s unfortunate is any recuperation of her fees,” Parchman said “She has to spend all of this money to defend herself and when CPS is wrong they just say, ‘Oops, we’re wrong, see you later, have a nice day.”
The department, in a statement to Fox-5, said: “CPS does not consider this wasted time. We want to make sure that the home environment is safe for the child’s return and how to keep the child safe and prevent further CPS involvement.”
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