Though the Halberts’ newborn baby boy was otherwise doing great, someone called CPS on them after his weight temporarily dipped below his projected growth curve.
The Halberts had been so vigilant about caring for their newborn baby boy, Jacob.* Within the first two weeks of his birth, they had already gone to two checkups with his doctor and almost everything was looking great. However, since Jacob was below his growth curve for weight-for-age, the doctor suggested that they supplement the breast milk with some formula.
After six weeks of supplementing Jacob’s diet with formula and two more visits to the doctor, Jacob was ahead of the growth curve and the doctor said there were no further concerns about his weight. That’s when the Halberts were contacted by a CPS investigator.
The investigator said she had received a report that Jacob was underweight and injured (neither allegation was true), and she stated that she “needed” to come into the Halberts’ home and perform a home inspection. The CPS investigator also “needed” to interview the Halberts’ other children. The Halberts politely said they would need to talk with their attorney first. The Halberts are members of Heritage Defense, so as soon as the investigator had left, they called the Heritage Defense 24/7 line reserved for members with urgent legal situations (note: we do encourage members to call us as soon as CPS arrives and before answering any questions).
Once the Halberts had spoken with an attorney with Heritage Defense, Heritage Defense contacted the CPS investigator. In the course of those communications, Heritage Defense pointed out to the investigator that a home inspection or interviews with the other children had virtually nothing to do with the allegations.
“It’s protocol,” she insisted.
Heritage Defense then asked the investigator what questions she intended to ask the children.
“Just questions that our normal protocol requires, which includes how they are disciplined, if there are guns in the home, have they ever been sexually abused, do they get enough to eat, do their parents ever fight, etc.”
Heritage Defense pointed out to the investigator that none of those questions were related to the allegations and that pursuing the investigation in this manner treated the parents like they were guilty until proven innocent. After the investigator kept insisting on following “protocol,” Heritage Defense, on behalf of the Halberts, refused the home visit and the interviews. When the investigator threatened to go to court to get an order to inspect the home and interview the children, Heritage Defense made it clear that Heritage Defense would be there in court to fight it. Ultimately, though the investigator did prepare documentation to get a court order, the attorney for CPS refused to pursue it due to the lack of any evidence substantiating the allegations.
Once the opportunity to conduct an unnecessarily invasive investigation had been blocked, the investigator became much more reasonable. In the end, the family agreed to sit down with her (with their Heritage Defense attorney) and allowed the investigator to speak with Jacob’s doctor. Once that was done, CPS closed the case.
By the grace of God, the case was resolved without CPS ever stepping foot in the Halberts’ home or subjecting their children to unnecessary and traumatic interrogations, while the cost of their defense was provided by Heritage Defense.
The Halberts share their thoughts on the experience:
We were blessed to join Heritage Defense near its inception. We joined because we wanted extra protection beyond what other homeschool organizations provided. Being a member of Heritage Defense gave us the peace that someone was watching our back as we raised our family in a Christian manner. The rubber really hit the road for us when a social worker showed up and wanted to come in our home and interview our children. From the moment we told her we had a lawyer and she took a step back, through the entire process, we were so glad we had joined Heritage Defense. Our Heritage Defense attorney walked with us and stood up for us and was able to help us get everything resolved with just a meeting with the social worker. We took it upon ourselves before we ever faced a social worker to learn what we could do to protect our family, and we encourage every other family to do the same.
Have you ever had a baby with weight issues? Unfortunately, there are many well-meaning people who report similar things before getting all the facts, like in this recent story from the Washington Post: Bystander Reports Parents to Police after Seeing Boy’s “Tangled” Hair and “Small” Pants.
If you believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, you may want to download Four Steps to Take if Child Protective Services Shows up at Your Front Door.
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 Halberts. If your family is ever falsely accused of child abuse or neglect through social services, we are ready to defend you and your rights.
If you are not yet a member, please join today to have 24/7 access to experienced, Christian attorneys ready to defend your family.
* Names changed for privacy