On June 20, Child Protective Services (CPS) illegally removed Drake Pardo (age four) from his family, alleging an “emergency” despite having delayed for nearly two weeks since initial contact with the family. The Pardo family (a homeschool family and members of the Texas Home School Coalition) is being represented by Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) attorneys Chris Branson and Julie Jacobson.
On June 7, a CPS caseworker left a business card on the Pardo family’s door. After refusing to communicate with the family’s attorney for nearly two weeks, CPS showed up at the family’s door to remove Drake.
CPS failed to meet virtually every legal requirement for an emergency removal under Texas Family Code 262.102 and TAC §700.508. CPS refused to inform the family of the allegation, failed to make any effort to avoid the need for a removal (such as by failing to conduct any interviews with the family) and waited nearly two weeks before suddenly declaring the situation an “emergency” that warranted immediate removal without prior notice to the Pardos or giving them an opportunity to respond.
In a rough cell phone video captured by the family, 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. Drake’s father, Daniel, can be heard for several minutes attempting to keep Drake calm as he is taken to the police car and as he asks repeatedly why his father is not coming with him.
Krista McIntyre, director of Family Rights Advocacy, was live on the phone during the removal along with an advocate from Parent Guidance Center. She stated: “The advocates at Family Rights Advocacy and Parent Guidance Center stepped in to help this family as soon as we were contacted, and we will continue to raise awareness until Drake is returned safely to his family and the caseworker who wrongfully removed him is held accountable for her actions. We will stand 100 percent behind the Pardo Family and Texas Home School Coalition during this difficult time.”
THSC has launched a #BringDrakeHome campaign to raise funds for the family’s legal defense and to expose the illegal actions of CPS, which have traumatized the Pardo family and their three children.