The Family Defense Center’s mission is to advocate justice for families in the child welfare system. The Family Defense Center works on cases of wrongly-accused families who are targeted as a result of Hotline calls to child protective services. The Center is able to represent only a tiny fraction of the wrongly accused family members in medically complex cases, and resources like the Center provides are not available to the vast majority of family members who encounter the child protection and medical care establishment in these cases. Unfortunately, we see little sign that the child protection and medical care establishment are addressing in a meaningful way the harmful impact of erroneous child abuse reports that have resulted from questionable ethical practices that this Paper documents. Physicians have an ethical responsibility to mitigate damage to families. Yet, in no case handled by the Center has this responsibility been met by the medical community; after exoneration, no family has received any offer of assistance or healing by any of the physicians who have caused them injury.
Cassaundra Brown is heartbroken because she is missing her twins' first Christmas. Instead of watching 9 month old Arianna and Dominick delight in the Christmas lights and new toys and pretty bows, she and Warnell Ludington are caught in desperate fight for their babies with DCFS, the child protective services department in Illinois, over what they believe in their hearts is a misdiagnosis. Cassaundra says, "I can't even believe this is happening." The crux of the twins' removal from their parents allegedly lies in an accusation of Shaken Baby Syndrome, a diagnosis which is surrounded by growing skepticism by medical experts, and which does not take into account Arianna's history of medical complications since her birth. Though the parents have reportedly not been charged with any crime, their children have been seized by the state; and they are only permitted to see them for two hours per week. Their visit this week was canceled because the foster parents are out of town for the Christmas holidays. This foster home is the twins' fourth foster home in five months. Their parents are grieving because they are "missing out on every first," and just want their babies back.