Thomas and Lori Whitney* recently remodeled their home. Because of some construction debris in their yard awaiting pickup, someone reported them to child protective services (CPS). They wrote this story about their own case:
“One day out of the blue we received a visitor to our residence. We were not home and they left a notice in our mailbox. It was from CPS informing us that there was a complaint against us for allowing our children to play in an environmentally unsafe location. This was due to the debris that was in our front yard due to a burst pipe and a home repair that was ongoing. We had the debris scheduled for pickup multiple times by different companies yet they kept no-showing. This led someone to file a complaint with CPS that we were allowing our children to play in an unsafe environment even though our children knew not to go around the debris area until it was removed.
“We contacted the CPS officer who asked for information about our family. Unfortunately, I had not done what I will do if this ever occurs again and had not yet contacted Heritage Defense.
“We scheduled for her to come out and look at the area and to view the children. I then called Heritage Defense immediately afterwards and was provided a lawyer immediately. He went over my rights and all the things I should do since I had already made contact with the CPS officer.
“On the day of the visit, the CPS officer showed up and viewed the area which had been cleared of the debris with the exception of one remaining load that was scheduled for that weekend. The officer went over the paperwork with me and then demanded to speak to my children alone. At that time I refused and informed her that due to this being my private residence she did not have the authority to speak to my children alone without a court order as I was informed by Heritage Defense. She immediately became aggressive and hostile at which point I called Heritage Defense and was connected immediately to the lawyer I had spoken with previously. He informed her that she did not have the right to speak to the children alone and that I was willing to allow her to speak to them in front of me together. She then said she was contacting her legal department at which time she went back to her car. Heritage Defense stayed on the line with me every step of the way. She came back angry and stated she would be escalating this case further due to me not allowing her to speak to the children alone.
“At that point Heritage Defense set me up with a local lawyer in my area and he took over speaking to CPS. [Heritage Defense covered the attorney’s fees.]
“Two weeks later, knowing that I had obtained a lawyer, the CPS officer contacted me for a FaceTime viewing of the children [no interviews] so she could close the case as unfounded since it appears she had no grounds for escalation.
“Without Heritage Defense I would have most likely allowed a much worse situation to occur as my children were visibly shaken from the hostility the CPS worker displayed at the house.
“My family will not be without Heritage Defense as long as we have children under the age of 18. Thanks again to Bradley and all of the Heritage Defense team as they made an unfounded accusation go away with much less trauma than that which could have occured.”
Additional Note from Heritage Defense:
We are grateful for the Whitney family’s membership and for the privilege of serving their family.
Of course, as the Whitneys mentioned, Heritage Defense encourages member families to contact us immediately upon experiencing any threat to their parental rights, especially contact by a CPS social worker. When contacted by a CPS social worker, we encourage member families to just politely say, “Excuse me one moment while I get my attorney on the phone,” then call our 24/7 line immediately.
When in doubt, reach out. We would much rather member families err on the side of contacting us too soon than too late.
If you are a member of Heritage Defense, we hope it is an encouragement for you to know that your membership is going to help families like the Whitneys. While we cannot guarantee outcomes, if your family is ever falsely accused of child abuse or neglect, we are ready to fight to defend you and your rights.
If you are not yet a member, please join today to have 24/7 access to experienced attorneys ready to defend your family.
*Names changed for privacy