Concerned mom not notified when DCF takes her children from school
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Apr. 25, 2013
LEE COUNTY, Fla. - A Lee County mom gets a phone call that sends her into a panic.
She's telling Four in Your Corner, that the Florida Department of Children and Families pulled her kids out of school Thursday without telling her.
She wants to know why she wasn't given a heads up.
This mom didn't want to go on camera out of embarrassment and the stigma that comes along with a DCF investigation. She tells FOX 4 a local DCF worker said the mom should have known they were taking her kids out of school Thursday. When we reached out to the Tampa headquarters however, they said that's not the case.
"What if something happened and I didn't know where they were," the concerned Lee County mom said. "Here I am thinking they are in school safe and they're not."
She assumed her kids would be picked up from school at the end of the day and instead, they were picked up by the Florida Department of Children and Families.
"I was concerned for my kids," she said.
The mom found out through a phone call from her son.
"He was supposed to be in school at this point?" reporter Kelli Stegeman asked. "Yes," she replied. "He called me and I'm like what's going on? He said 'I'm with this woman."
That woman with DCF allegedly took the two kids away from school to interview them about what this mom calls a problem within her extended family.
"He put her on the phone and she was like 'You weren't notified?' No, I wasn't notified," she said. "She's saying 'Well, its normally our policy to let you know that we're picking them up to go interview them. You should have been notified.' I mean at this point I'm freaking out."
Stegeman called the Tampa headquarters of DCF to find out if it was their policy to
notify parents before taking kids. A spokeswoman told her it is not their policy. Notifying parents could hinder an investigation. The spokesperson couldn't talk about this specific instance.
"Whether or not I have anything to say against it or not," this Lee County mother said. "I think I should still be notified so I know where my kids are."
The DCF spokesperson says the woman's first step should be to call headquarters and talk to the operations manager so they can help her through any potential issues.
That's exactly what this mom plans to do. As for her family, she tells me the kids are back home and that the case should soon be dropped.
"You think you have more rights with your kids and you don't," she said. "They can just go in and take your kids without your permission or notifying you. That's just beyond me."
FOX 4 also spoke with the Lee County Schools spokeswoman. She says me anytime DCF comes to a school with a court order, there's nothing the school can do.
We'll continue to follow this story and this woman's quest for answers and keep you posted.