4-year-old seized by state after parents disagreed with doctor allowed to go home – for now
TEXAS, October 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The Texas Supreme Court issued a temporary order yesterday stating four-year-old Drake Pardo be returned to his parents, from whom he was taken by the state after they sought a second medical opinion.
On June 20, a Child Protective Services (CPS) worker and police forcibly removed the medically vulnerable child from his parents’ home due to an accusation of “medical abuse.” Drake spent most of his time away from home in foster care, and was recently allowed to be placed under the care of a family friend.
“On the record before the Court, the Department of Family and Protective Services has not shown ‘a substantial risk of a continuing danger’ to K.D.P. if he returns home,” the court’s order stated.
This ruling does not mean that the case is dismissed. The Court did not rule on any other specifics of the case, just that Drake should be returned home. The Pardo family will need to continue to fight CPS in court at a local level.
“The [Supreme] Court expresses no opinion at this time on the other matters raised by the relators’ motion or by their petition for writ of mandamus. Such matters may continue to be addressed by the trial court.”
The temporary stay order will be in effect until the Texas Supreme Court responds to the mandamus filed by the Pardo family.
Texas Homeschool Coalition Policy Director Jeremy Newman said in a Facebook video that he is optimistic that the Texas Supreme Court’s response will be in the Pardos’ favor.
“It is almost certain that whatever they say in the mandamus will be at least as strong as what they did here in this stay.”
Last week, the Texas Solicitor General said in a brief that the gag order placed on the Pardo family prohibiting them from sharing with the media what is happening to their son is unconstitutional.
“The order below is plainly unconstitutional,” wrote Solicitor General Kyle Hawkins. “It deprives two parents of the ability to use ‘any form of media’ to ‘shar[e]’ with their friends, loved ones, physicians, or religious advisers ‘any information regarding this child and/or case.’”
On August 30, the Pardo family filed an emergency writ of mandamus with the Supreme Court of Texas asking for immediate relief for Drake. The CPS caseworker and supervisor had already testified in court that they had not followed procedure in removing Drake. Additionally, the Children’s Medical Center “child abuse pediatrician” who originally gave CPS Drake’s file testified that she did not think Drake should have been removed from his parents’ care.
The Supreme Court of Texas then requested that the Solicitor General file a briefing expressing the opinions of the state. The briefing was filed on Friday, October 18.
The briefing addressed two issues: whether the lower court “abused its discretion” in ordering Drake’s removal, and if the gag order placed on the Pardo parents by the court was constitutional.
The Solicitor General did not form an opinion about the court’s removal of Drake, citing the need to review the specific facts, not the law itself.
“Because there is no dispute as to any legal question, the first issue presented concerns only an application of settled law to the unique facts of this case. Because the Court’s resolution of that fact-bound question is unlikely to have any impact beyond this case, the State expresses no view of the proper disposition of the first issue presented.”
When asked what LifeSiteNews readers can do to help the Pardo family, Tim Lambert of the Texas Homeschool Coalition encouraged prayer.
“The first thing is they can pray,” he said. “We just really encourage people to pray for these judges…so we encourage them to pray for wisdom and direction.” He also noted the need for financial support. The longer this battle extends, the greater the trauma Drake undergoes and the more expensive it is for the family.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton criticized the Department of Family and Protective Services’ handling of the Drake Pardo case and the dispute over seven-year-old James Younger’s gender “transition” in an October 24 letter.
“We are especially concerned that the Department has yet to intervene in this matter where a mother is using alleged medical professionals to fundamentally alter her son’s physiology,” by trying to force him to undergo transgender procedures “when earlier this year the Department did not flinch and snatched another North Texas child from his family because it alleged that the mother was engaged in similar practices,” Paxton wrote.