July 29, 2019
Drake Pardo, center, surrounded by his mother, Ashley, and father, Daniel
The Texas Home School Coalition Association has launched a petition drive and a fundraiser to help return 4-year-old Drake Pardo to his parents.
The group contends the child was “illegally taken” from his family by Child Protective Services on June 20.
The family was given no explanation when the boy was seized, 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 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 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.
THSC warned of the history of violations by CPS, including a 2018 case in which the agency was sanctioned $127,000 for “lying to a Houston judge.” In 2017, two children were abused in the CPS system when a CPS caseworker “perjured herself.” In 2016, a judge ordered the agency to pay $27,000 in sanctions and to have agency staff read the U.S. and Texas Constitutions.
THSC said, “Since the removal of Drake, the Pardos’ two other children have been fearful of any strangers who enter the house and have asked repeatedly why their brother was taken.”