Midnight Separation: Massachusetts DCF Sued by Family After Kids Taken in Middle of the Night
In the early hours of July 16 Waltham Police and Department of Children and Families personnel they arrived at the Sabey residence without a warrant to remove the children from their custody.
A healing rib fracture on Cal, the youngest member of the family, was identified by a hospital employee three days ago. At the same time, he was being treated for a fever in the Emergency Room. Sarah, the mother, was discharged from the hospital and was able to bring her baby home.
In a federal lawsuit filed on Tuesday, the family alleges that their children’s home visit and seizure was “reprehensible and plainly unconstitutional.”
According to the complaint, no credible immediate danger could warrant the confiscation of the sleeping toddler and infant from their affectionate parents and residence in the wee hours of the night. WBZ’s request for comment from DCF went unanswered, and the Mayor of Waltham declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.
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After a middle-of-the-night visit, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) took three-year-old Clarence and months-old Cal into custody. The parents were investigated for child abuse, and the children were placed in the care of their grandparents for a month.
The encounter was recorded by the parents on their cell phones. According to police, in the video, they stated, “I would like to have paperwork…but it’s not here.” Amidst the commotion, the sound of children crying could be heard as they were escorted into a white vehicle by Department of Children and Families (DCF) employees.
Josh Sabey and his wife, Sarah Perkins, have been cleared of suspected child abuse ten months after the initial allegations were made. The Pacific Legal Foundation is representing the Sabeys.
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A lawsuit is being brought against public employees by an individual who claims that their children were taken away due to their privileged status. The individual hopes that this legal action will bring about changes in the Department of Children and Families (DCF) practices. Sarah Perkins explained:
“We’re educated. We have really involved family members. We have access to resources and financial assistance, and I think the vast majority of families in the system are impoverished or, you know, just have way fewer resources at their disposal. And I think because of that; we feel a real responsibility to do something that can help families in this system that don’t have this sort of capability to change laws, to change statutes.”
The cause of Cal’s broken rib remains a mystery for the Sabeys. However, they suspect the incident might have occurred while Cal’s grandmother babysat him. Reportedly by CBS News, she caught him just in time as he almost fell out of his car seat. Many people have shared their views on Twitter:
I think it's really good when people sue Child Services. But it's not enough, because family police will still identify which families have the means to sue and which don't and violently oppress the latter.
we need this AND more pro bono family rep 🙂https://t.co/2LASv5w4bE
— Emily Galvin-Almanza (@GalvinAlmanza) May 3, 2023
The full federal complaint is available for reading here. According to the family, their older son Clarence has been exhibiting signs of trauma, such as night terrors and potty training regression, since he was taken into the Department of Children and Families (DCF) custody. Sarah’s career has led the family to relocate to Idaho.
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