The Arizona Department of Child Safety and the Chandler Police Department in Chandler, Arizona, have fallen under scrutiny, after officers conducted an overnight SWAT-team-style raid on a family's home and took the children because an unvaccinated toddler had a fever.
What are the details?
When a 2-year-old little boy spiked a fever over 100 degrees late last month, his pregnant mother took him to the doctor around dinnertime. The physician — concerned over the fact that the child was unvaccinated and could have meningitis — told the mother to take the child to the emergency room.
The mother initially agreed, but changed her mind after leaving the doctor's office, because she said the boy began laughing, playing with his siblings, and his temperature dropped to where it was close to normal, the Arizona Republic reported.
Around 6:30 p.m., the mother called the doctor to explain the child was better and therefore she didn't want to take him to the emergency room. The mother also reportedly expressed fear of getting in trouble with the Department of Child Safety because the child wasn't vaccinated. The doctor assured the mother she wouldn't get in any trouble, and the mother once again agreed to take the toddler to the ER.
After waiting three hours, the hospital called the doctor to report that the little boy had not shown up and his mother was not answering her phone. The doctor called DCS, and DCS called the police.
At roughly 10:30 p.m., officers showed up at the family's home and knocked on the door several times, but the parents refused to open the door. The father told the police his son's "fever broke and he was fine," according to police records obtained by the Republic.
The DCS then told police they were seeking a "temporary custody notice" from a judge in order to take the sick toddler for emergency medical aid, which was granted around midnight.
According to the police report, "Based upon the court order, the intent of DCS to serve the order, and exigency to ensure the health and welfare of the child, the decision was made to force entry to the home if the parents refused to respond to verbal requests."
So, after 1:00 a.m., after consulting with SWAT and the police criminal investigations bureau, the officers knocked down the family's door, with guns drawn. Surveillance footage released by the father shows the officers' use of force, which the family's attorney said should only be "reserved for violent criminals," Fox News reported.
Police admitted there was no "criminal incident," according to the Republic. Yet, DCS also obtained temporary custody orders for the sick toddler's two siblings, and the three kids were removed from the home and placed in the care of separate foster families, where they remain. DCS is conducting a review of the kids' grandparents to see if they can be entrusted to care for the children.
Neither parent was arrested, but they are being forced to undergo psychological evaluations and complete a "family reunification plan" before officials consider returning their children to them.
Legislators and parents' advocates are furious over the case. State Rep. Kelly Townsend (R) criticized authorities for conducting the raid, telling Fox News, "At that point who now owns control over the child? And it seems like we've given that now to the doctor and the parent no longer has the say or they risk the SWAT team taking all of your children and potentially the newborn."
Lori Ford, a member of a DSC watchdog group called Arizona DCS Oversight told the Republic, "They (DCS) had no right to bust into this family's home and take their kids. But now, they (DCS) have control of this family. These children are traumatized, and all over a fever that wasn't even a fever anymore when they went to the hospital — just like the parents said."
The family's attorney concurred, saying, "All because of a fever. It's absolutely ridiculous."