CPS Puts 3-Year-Old on Psychotropic Drugs
Updated: Thursday, 19 May 2011, 11:13 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 19 May 2011, 10:29 PM CDT
HOUSTON - For now, 4-year-old Rachel Harrison is back with her parents.
"She belongs with her mother and her father" Rachel's father David Harrison said.
But if Child Protective Services has its way, Rachel's 28-year-old father David and her 24-year-old mother Christina will not be her legal guardians. CPS wants her to be adopted by non-relatives.
"If it was up to them absolutely they'd take her away in a heartbeat," David said.
== Positive for Cocaine ==
You're probably thinking: David and Christina must have done something really awful to their little girl for CPS to spend almost a year trying to terminate their parental rights.
"They actually testified in the first hearing that Rachel was never neglected, never abused and she was a happy healthy child," Rachel's mother Christina said.
Neither parent has been convicted of a felony, so then why is the state agency so hell bent on stripping this couple of their parental rights?
"I went to the hospital to get my appendix out and tested positive for cocaine," Christina said.
When asked, David confirmed he too tested positive for the illegal drug.
Even though CPS has offered no evidence in court that Rachel was ever harmed by her parents’ prior drug use, just the fact that they've done drugs is enough for CPS to say they should not be parents.
Why was the couple doing drugs?
"Just recreational use out with friends, holidays, an occasion never did it with Rachel around," David said.
== Child Transforms ==
CPS took custody of Rachel in July 2010.
"At first we didn't see her for 3 or 4 months, they refused visitations," Christina said.
When they finally got supervised visits with Rachel, family members said they couldn't believe their eyes.
You might not either. A picture of Rachel taken 1 week before CPS took custody of her paints a very different picture of Rachel 6 months later.
"When I seen her in foster care it was killing me," Rachel's grandmother Debbie Flores said.
"Every time we would go visit her at visitation she was skinner and she'd just be lethargic not wanting to move not wanting to say hi just sit in the corner and keep to herself," David said
"She'd be drooling at the mouth her tongue would be hanging out she couldn't focus it was terrible and I'd ask them is she on drugs and they said no," Debbie said.
== CPS Prescribed Drugs ==
But in a January court hearing, CPS admitted the then 3-year-old was put on a number of psychotropic drugs including risperidone, a drug commonly used to treat schizophrenia.
"I think no 3-year-old needs to be on psychotropic drugs. None of them are psychotic," Christina said.
There seems to be a question as to which CPS-contracted doctor prescribed all the drugs and why, according to court transcripts.
Case workers have testified they had to place Rachel in various foster homes because she would act up.
She acted up, her parents said, because she wanted to be home with them.
== Judge Frustrated with CPS ==
While most judges seem to just rubber stamp the wishes of CPS, Associate Judge Steven Newhouse is the complete opposite. We were in the courtroom for 2 recent hearings and the judge didn't even try to hide his frustration.
"There's no evidence the child had any behavioral issues before CPS came into her life,” Newhouse said in 1 hearing. “As soon as CPS takes her, now she needs help."
In the hearings we attended, CPS suddenly changed case workers.
"So no case worker knows what the other case worker is doing that's their game," David said.
Whenever the judge would ask case workers specific questions, he would get the same response such as "I'm new to the case" or "I don't have access to the file."
"What's more harmful, sitting on this child's needs or the parent's alleged drug use?” a clearly frustrated Newhouse asked a case worker and her supervisor.
== A CPS Vendetta? ==
Why is CPS so adamant about taking this little girl away from her family?
"I suspect this is a vendetta, basically against me for exposing them back in 2007," Rachel's grandmother said.
That's when Debbie Flores first contacted FOX 26 Investigates. CPS took Rachel from Christina soon after her birth because mom tested positive for marijuana
A home video we originally aired in 2007, documents a horrifying case of diaper rash Rachel had while in foster care.
During a CPS-supervised visitation, not 1 but 2 case workers looked at the baby's awful condition, but neither decided to seek immediate medical attention.
A big mistake CPS later admitted to making.
"When a parent messes up, you call CPS,” Christina said. “Who do you call when CPS messes up? There's nothing you can do."
== No End in Sight ==
David and Christina have both tested negative for drugs for many months now and they've done everything CPS has requested of them, according to court testimony.
For that reason, the judge gave Rachel back to them.
Still CPS plans to file suit in order to terminate their parental rights.
The assistant county attorney representing CPS refused to discuss the case with us.
These parents won’t know for at least a month if they are going to lose their little girl for good.
Read more: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/dpp/news/local/110619-cps-puts-3-year-old-on-psychotropic-drugs#ixzz1MskhgD5h