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We’ve told you a lot of horror stories about Child protective services over the past week. But we want you to know that it’s not all just a litany of evil and injustice. There are people who fight back, expose the system, and win big victories, and we want to tell those stories too. Because it’s critical that people realize that we can fight back against this, and win.
Rachel Bruno’s story begins in 2015, when she picked up her 7-week-old baby from a nanny, who said he was crying because he was “just gassy.” He wasn’t. Rachel took him to the hospital, and it probably saved his life: Doctors diagnosed her son with severe brian bleeding. Soon he was having 15 seizures an hour, and had to be put in a medically induced coma to save him. Doctors and CPS workers interviewed Rachel without ever telling her she was under investigation.
Immediately, and without any other evidence of abuse, police and CPS swooped in to snatch Rachel’s two children away. In just a few hours, without a single court hearing, CPS told Rachel’s mother that if she didn’t sign papers to adopt the two children, they would be sent off to the foster care system. Rachel was forced to attend a child abuse class, and discovered many people like herself, threatened with losing their children because of routine childhood accidents. She was forced to submit to a polygraph test and a psychiatric evaluation, and was even barred from returning to her own home for forty days.
She was only allowed to see her two boys for seven hours of supervised visitation a week. Her sons were subjected to unwanted medical procedures, including more than a dozen vaccinations. Her older son was subjected to an anal wink test, to see if he had been sodomized.
Rachel kept fighting though. She got her sons back, but when Rachel finally was allowed to see her boys again, it took her months to bond with the older boy, who thought he had been abandoned by his own mother.
So Rachel sued, and eventually won a one and a half million dollar settlement from Orange County, California, for the illegal kidnapping of her children. She’s not the only one who has pulled off wins like this. Just in Orange County, another mom received almost $10 million after social workers fabricated evidence to take her children away. And in Los Angeles County next door, another mom received $6 million after CPS took away her children without justification.
But most parents who lose their children barely have the resources to try and get them back, let alone the time and money to sue the government. So Rachel has been fighting on their behalf. She’s been highlighting federal government policies that give states a financial incentive to seize children and then send them through adoption, and a lot of other problems.
Rachel Bruno joins us.
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