New video documents how state stole 4-year-old

By Bob Unruh

Drake Pardo, center, surrounded by his mother, Ashley, and father, Daniel

The Texas Home School Coalition is distributing a video and a petition to restore a family whose 4-year-old son was seized by state officials without apparent legal justification.

The Facebook video describes how Drake Pardo, the health-challenged son of Ashley and Daniel, was taken from his family by Child Protective Services.

According to a website set up by the home school group, a doctor who never had seen the child or the family reported them to the state agency.

The agency admitted in court it scheduled a meeting for the family and the hospital without ever informing the family then took custody based on the fact the family wasn’t at the meeting.

The doctor cited by CPS for removing the child “admitted under oath that she had never read all of Drake’s medical records… admitted under oath that she had never even met Drake … admitted under oath that she never thought there was an emergency … [and] admitted under oath that she had never asked for Drake to be removed.”

The case began in June when state officials, backed up by armed law enforcement officers, took custody of the child from his parents.

The home school organization’s officials confirmed to WND on Monday the case continues.

The family has filed two emergency motions with the Dallas Court of Appeals, which has ordered CPS to respond. An friend-of-the court brief also is being filed on the family’s behalf, with support from numerous advocacy organizations and at least 10 state lawmakers.

WND reported last month when the home school group started its campaign to return Drake to his home.

The family was given no explanation when the boy was seized June 20, and CPS agents refused to answer their questions. The agents simply showed up at the family’s home, accompanied by armed officers, and demanded the child.

THSC attorney Chris Branson, representing the family, said Children’s Medical Center in Dallas reported the family to CPS after the family filed a complaint against the hospital claiming Drake received poor treatment.

The family claimed that one of Drake’s doctors refused to visit the boy while he was admitted to the hospital.

“Children’s informed the family that they would review the matter and resolve it within 45 days. On day 46, with the family still having heard nothing from the Children’s Medical Center, CPS showed up at the family’s door with an affidavit signed by one of the hospital’s doctors and removed Drake,” the homeschool group said.

CPS claimed there was an “emergency” health issue regarding Drake, signed by a Children’s Medical Center physician, Dr. Dakil.

But in the first hearing after Drake was taken from his family, Dr. Dakil testified that she had never seen or met with Drake or his parents.

She said she had no first-hand knowledge of Drake’s medical conditions and the concerns listed in her affidavit were all speculative.

She could not confirm them or rule them out without speaking to the parents, she said, and, furthermore, her concerns did not amount to an emergency.

Dakil testified she had not requested that Drake be removed from his home and only wanted CPS to facilitate a meeting with the family on June 10 to help address her concerns.

She said she was surprised when CPS chose to remove Drake from his home.

Her concerns could be alleviated, she said, through a sit-down conversation with the parents to create a treatment plan and having both parents attend future medical visits.

But that didn’t seem possible as long as Drake remained in CPS custody, she said.

Contacted by WND for comment, the hospital sent the reporter to an unattended phone line. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, when asked for comment by WND, left the reporter on hold, then put him on the opening recording again.

The seizure of the child was caught on video:

Staff members for the Family Rights Advocacy and the Parent Guidance Center were on the phone with the family at the time, and the Pardos “remained calm but can be seen challenging the caseworker’s claim to a two-week delayed ’emergency’ and the decision to suddenly remove Drake,” the homeschool group said.

Drake’s father, Daniel, is heard for several minutes attempting to keep Drake calm as he is placed in the police car and as he asks repeatedly why his father is not coming with him.

In the first court hearing, Judge Michael Chitty gave CPS everything agents demanded, according to the homeschool group. CPS workers never had seen or talked with Drake, his parents, family members, neighbors or any doctor with first-hand knowledge of the boy’s issues.

CPS agents was forced to concede there was no background investigation, they had never looked at resolutions that didn’t involve confiscating the child, refused to specify the accusations either to the parents or their lawyer, had no first-hand knowledge of anything the parents had done wrong, had “intentionally” not informed the family of a meeting requested by the hospital and decided there was an “emergency” because the parents didn’t appear at a meeting they didn’t know.

“To add to the list of offenses, when the July 2 hearing began it was discovered that CPS and the Attorney Ad Litem had failed to respond to the valid discovery requests from the Pardo’s attorney,” the homeschooling group said.

“Observers in the courtroom were left searching for anything that CPS had done correctly during their gross mishandling of the case.”

Chitty then issued a “gag order” against the family.


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