A family has been awarded over $100,000 in compensation after social workers wrongly accused a couple of child abuse and took their children.
The payment comes more than a year after Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) placed Melissa and Dillon Bright’s two children, Mason and Charlotte, in foster care in September 2018.
CPS began investigating the couple in July 2018 after Mason, then five months old, fell from a lawn chair in the driveway of the family’s home in Tomball, Texas.
Mason suffered two skull fractures and brain bleeding in the accidental fall. But the situation took a sinister and disturbing turn when a pediatrician who specializes in child abuse wrongly claimed the injuries were ‘consistent’ with mistreatment.
The doctor’s opinion resulted in the removal of Mason and Charlotte, who was aged two at the time. However, CPS has since admitted there was no evidence of abuse after a four-part series by NBC and the Houston Chronicle shone a light on the incident.
‘The accident and the injury (to Mason) in and of itself was already a nightmare,’ Melissa Bright told KHOU.
After the accident, the child abuse doctor noted that Mason suffered excessive bleeding, but a hematologist diagnosed Mason with von Willebrand disease, which is a blood clotting disease that likely caused the increased bleeding.United States admits zero refugees for the first time since records began
The Brights reached out for a second opinion from a radiologist who determined that a short fall could have caused the two fractures Mason suffered – but CPS still accused the couple of abuse.
Weeks later, the child welfare agency obtained an emergency court order to place Mason and Charlotte into foster care. The Brights were never notified of the emergency custody hearing, so they were never able to present the medical evidence clearing them of abuse.
After the hearing, a CPS worker showed up at the Bright’s home one night and took the couple’s children.
Heartbreaking audio recorded the exchange as Melissa Bright sobs while the case worker tells her he is taking her children.
The couple then hired two lawyers who found inconsistencies and falsifications in the CPS’s reports.Disabled man, 63, was so lonely he posted ad offering to treat stranger to dinner
A judge ordered the children to be returned to their parents weeks after they were taken, hitting out at CPS for traumatizing the family despite having ‘no credible evidence’ of abuse.
The judge also ordered the agency retrain investigators and to pay the family $127,000 to cover their legal fees.
On October 31, the Brights got a letter in the mail from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services ‘ruling out’ the allegations of child abuse against Melissa, but Dillon was never mentioned.