Saturday, April 03, 2010

In the News

Don't you just love this headline:

Cops & CPS Seize Child From Parents For Mistrusting Government

A family in Williamson County, Austin have lost custody of their 7-year-old son as part of a Child Protective Services investigation because the parents taught their children to mistrust the government, an action that deemed them to be “unsuitable parents,” according to charges leveled by police officers in CPS documents.



The story gets a little murky with this little tidbit:

“Once in the couple’s home, officers discovered a small amount of marijuana and charged the Coopers with Class B misdemeanors, resulting in both their arrests. Each immediately bonded out of jail and paid a small fine. Days later, while Candi’s youngest son was visiting his father in east Texas, Child Protective Services contacted the Coopers, revealing that the incident could cost them not only custody of the boy, but also their freedom on felony child endangerment charges,” writes Stephen C. Webster of True Slant, who has been following the case.

I lost sympathy for the parents because of the drug use issue. But, even so, something sounds a bit off in the official report.

On page five of the CPS case report, police level the shocking claim that the Coopers are “unsuitable parents” because they teach their children “the government is out to harm them”.

On page six of the report, police accuse the Coopers of being “aggressive to authority” because they will not allow government employees to enter their house without a court order.

If the courts can use this criteria to remove children from homes, my family is at great risk. (If you are interested, the entire CPS report is included at the end of the article.)


This article has some more details:

‘KopBusters’ Couple Lose Son Over Misdemeanor Pot Charge

Barry and Candi Cooper, a married duo well-known in the world of drug reform activism, have temporarily lost custody of Candi’s youngest child due to misdemeanor charges stemming from a recent “KopBusters” sting operation against a police officer in Williamson County, Texas....

In the document, an affidavit in support of ex parte relief filed with a court in Upshur County, Texas, Mr. Johnston contends that because of Barry and Candi’s standing as nationally-known marijuana activists and their high (no pun intended) level of comfort with the drug, they pose a danger to Zachary. He cites articles on the duo’s exploits published by Cannabis Culture and Maxim, noting in particular that when Barry and Candi met, she was his “pot dealer.”

This is a hard one. Drug use in the home does put children at risk, no matter how much the parents want to pretend it doesn't. As a foster parent, I've seen the damage of "casual" drug use. The mother and step-father are more concerned about their own agenda than about the welfare of a child. I absolutely care less that a parent who routinely uses illegal drugs for recreational purposes may lose custody of their children.

But even if drug use is a legitimate reason to remove a child from a parent, packaging it with the "mistrust of government" charge is a risk to all of us.

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Technorati tags: parenting, children

7 comments:

Angela said...

Depending on what state you live in, drug use is not a legitimate reason to remove children. I live in Louisiana, and volunteer as a Court Appointed Advocate, and here parental drug use is not a reason to remove children, unless it has led the parents to be neglectful/abusive in some way (kids are truant, unwashed, underfed, etc). That doesn't seem to be the case here.

Fortunately, Zachary has his father he can stay with while this is sorted out (or permanently, who knows how this will turn out), so he doesn't have to go to foster care, but honestly, look at the CPS report. It notes that he has emotional issues because he cried during the raid. I guess kids are supposed to be stoic in the face of armed strangers in their home? But the report doesn't seem to note that he has cerebral palsy, which is mentioned in one of the articles you linked. When removing kids from their parents, it's always important to ask which is going to do the most harm: leaving them, or removing them? Children can be devastated by having the bonds between themselves and their parents severed, something I'm sure y'all have seen the fall-out of as foster parents.

Janine Cate said...

Thanks for the info on Louisiana law. I'm not entirely clear on the California laws.

I hope Zachary's father is up to the task of caring for a special needs child. That can be overwhelming under the best of circumstances.

And as you mentioned, even when the parent is negligent, separation can be very traumatic for the child.

However, the mother and her husband are responsible for creating this situation by flaunting their illegal drug use.

christinemm said...

You blogged:

"On page six of the report, police accuse the Coopers of being “aggressive to authority” because they will not allow government employees to enter their house without a court order.

If the courts can use this criteria to remove children from homes, my family is at great risk."

Us too then.

Since when is upholding one's right as defined in the Constitution (the fourth amendment) something to take issue with?

After hearing stories from homescholing families in Connecticut told in public hearings to the state government about how they cooperated to let DCF employees into their home (when they did not have to) and had problems as a result no way am I letting anyone in without a court order.

Crimson Wife said...

The fact that the parents are nationally known pro-marijuana activists is more central to the story than their mistrust of the government.

I don't know who Alex Jones is but I find it disturbing that he posted the CPS report marked "confidential" and "not to be released to unauthorized persons" out on the 'net for everyone to read. It has the kids' names and everything :-(

Crimson Wife said...

"Jones' political activism began in the late 1990s when he spearheaded an effort to rebuild the Branch Davidian church near Waco, Texas."

This is something to brag about??????

I'm no fan of how Janet Reno & co. handled the incident in Waco but trying to resurrect the Branch Davidians? Wow, what a crackpot!

Janine Cate said...

>no way am I letting anyone in without a court order.

Me neither.




>I don't know who Alex Jones is but I find it disturbing that he posted the CPS report marked "confidential" and "not to be released to unauthorized persons" out on the 'net for everyone to read. It has the kids' names and everything :-(

Good point. I hadn't noticed that.


>Wow, what a crackpot!

I agree

JohnH said...

So, they teach their kid that the government is out to get them, and the response by the government is to take the kid away.

Seems like they're proving the parents point.