No Qualified Immunity for Kentucky Cops Who Strip-Searched a 4-Year-Old and Threatened Mom

In Kentucky, it’s a crime to leave children under the age of eight in a car under circumstances that “manifest an extreme indifference” to human life and create a grave risk of death. But the cops didn’t say she’d done that. The kids all looked fine, and they the officers left without charging Curry with a crime. Nevertheless, they felt obligated to call the state’s child protection hotline, thus opening a neglect investigation which automatically required a visit to the Curry home to check on the kids.

When the caseworker arrived at the home, Holly refused to let her in without a warrant. The worker returned with a sheriff’s deputy, but still no warrant. When Holly insisted that they still couldn’t enter, they threatened to “come back and put your kids into foster care.” Holly begged for time to call her husband. They refused. Finally, crying and terrified, Holly let them in.

Labeling that decision “voluntary consent,” the authorities entered the home. Unsurprisingly, the house and kids all looked fine. Even so, the caseworker insisted on strip searching each kid, removing their underwear and examining their genitals for signs of abuse.

A few months later, the caseworker closed the investigation as “unsubstantiated,” saying that what Holly had done was a “one-time ‘oopsy-daisy.'” But she telephoned Curry later and said, “If we ever get a call against your family again, bad things will happen to you, and we’ll take your children.”

At that point, Curry had had enough. She turned around and filed suit against the caseworker and cop, claiming violation of her constitutional rights.

Keep reading

Your child’s a no-show at virtual school? You may get a call from the state’s foster care agency

Massachusetts school officials have reported dozens of families to state social workers for possible neglect charges because of issues related to their children’s participation in remote learning classes during the pandemic shutdown in the spring, according to interviews with parents, advocates, and reviews of documents.

In most cases, lawyers and family advocates said, the referrals were made solely because students failed to log into class repeatedly. Most of the parents reported were mothers, and several did not have any previous involvement with social services.

The trend was most common in high-poverty, predominantly Black and Latino school districts in Worcester, Springfield, Haverhill, and Lynn; advocates and lawyers reported few, if any, cases from wealthier communities.

Keep reading

Arizona child welfare workers fired after posing in ‘Professional Kidnapper’ shirts

On Tuesday, The Daily Beast reported that multiple employees with the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) were terminated last month after posing for a photo wearing shirts that said “Professional Kidnapper” on the front.

The shirts also said “Do you know where your children are?” on the back, reported Blake Montgomery.

“When children are taken into state custody, parents and critics of the agency have been known to accuse Child Safety personnel of being ‘kidnappers,’” said the report. “The staffers are said to have worn the shirts during work hours. Christina Sanders, a former DCS unit supervisor, saw a picture of staffers in the parking lot of the Prescott, Arizona DCS bureau wearing the shirt and emailed the branch’s supervisor.”

Keep reading