Child Welfare Agency Treads Where Juvenile Justice System Can’t, Holding Seven Year Old Hundreds of Miles from Home for Years

A disturbing case …

Pennsylvania man’s home is burned down … with him in it.

Neighbor-witness accuses seven year old Boy.

Police interrogate Boy – and eventually secure confession.

But Boy is too young to prosecute under Pennsylvania law.

So child welfare agency (Agency) wins custody of the Boy on an emergency basis … reportedly without any allegations of abuse or neglect.

The Agency commits Boy to a residential juvenile treatment center.

Boy is moved from facility to facility over time.

Five years later, Boy is in a facility in Texas.

Prior to Agency’s involvement, Boy was diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder. Nothing else.

Agency has not acted to terminate Mother’s parental rights in all this time, but neither has Mother enjoyed normal parental rights and access to Boy.

The Agency’s on-paper goal remains reunification, although Mother has been able to see Boy only once since his confinement due to the distance involved.

Agency has the power to confine Boy until he is 21 years old.

Mother and Grandmother are attempting to have Boy evaluated by an independent psychologist, in the hopes that it will cast doubt on the Agency’s assessment of Boy and lead to his freedom and return home.

Read more in this [Wilkes-Barre, PA] Times Leader article: Juvenile arsonist or victim?