WICHITA, Kan. — Kansas parents whose children have been taken from them are slamming the state.
They’re accusing the Department for Children and Families of abusing its power and putting their kids in dangerous homes.
After months of trying to find someone who would listen to their cries for help and calls for change, parents, grandparents and concerned community members gathered for a special meeting on the Wichita State campus Thursday night.
During a listening session, they each shared their DCF experiences with representatives from the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services.
“It has been an emotional travesty what has happened to my family,” said Jarus and Lara Pore.
The state took away the Pores’ three kids in May, when a neighbor found their two-year-old wandering alone outside. They say trying to regain custody has been a nightmare.
“The entire time, we’ve been lied to. There’s no communication or advocate for the parents to know or expect what’s coming up,” Lara said.
In 2010, Therasa Owen lost her two daughters, who suffer from a form of Muscular Dystrophy, because the state said the family’s religious beliefs were hurting the girls’ education and health.
“[One of my daughter’s] life is at risk the longer she stays out of the home because she’s developed seizures in a new part of the brain,” Owen said.
Latisa Micheaux says social workers deemed her unfit to care for her grandchildren because of a misdemeanor on her record from 1981. She says she hasn’t been told where they are and worries they’re being abused.
“All I know, is the last time I seen my grandson, he had bruises all around his lower back from the foster parents,” Micheaux said.
Not only do these families want to be whole again, they say they want DCF officials to be held accountable for the mishandling of their cases.
“DCF, all of the foster care agencies, and the courts need to be investigated thoroughly because families are being torn apart,” Owen said.
“They’re suffering now, more than they ever have in their whole life because of the damage,” Micheaux said.
The state has refused to comment on individual cases. Now, the DOJ will investigate each parents’ complaint, and then let the group know whether they have a case against the state. If the DOJ believes they do, the group plans on filing a class action lawsuit