Risks of sedating a toddler
And Nate and Cassie were told that their case was the first the caseworkers had ever seen in which an outside attorney had advocated for parents in that courtroom — which makes them wonder how many other innocent parents are not receiving the sort of legal representation that might exonerate them.
The family’s 15-week long ordeal was especially traumatic for the oldest daughter who, due to her special needs, could not understand or accept the removal from her home and parents.
Even so, the State refused to back down, insisting that it had to investigate the opinions of other doctors when no such investigation had preceded the DCFS decision to take the children in the first place.
At the end of the day, however, the State’s Attorney of Kane County agreed with the family that there was no evidence making abuse a likely explanation for Hannah’s fracture.
As this is being published, the family, with the Center’s help, is still fighting to get the parents’ names off the register because DCFS had “indicated” them for causing Hannah’s bone fracture.
On May 22, 2015, the State’s Attorney voluntarily withdrew the petition and the children, clinging to their parents’ arms in the courthouse, were returned home that day.
This marked only the second time in Family Defense Center history when the State conceded it did not have a case it could take to trial.
The Judge granted the motion to dismiss, but kept the children away from their parents while the State had to re-file an amended petition that set out facts supporting the conclusion that Hannah was abused.
Eventually, at a deposition, the same emergency room doctor who had caused the Hotline call admitted that, had he known there was an older sibling who sometimes played a bit roughly with Hannah, the hotline might not have been called at all.