HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (WTHR) — A Texas judge has ordered Child Protective services to pay a family $127,000 for wrongfully removing their children, then lying to the court about the incident.
According to NBC DFW, Judge Mike Schneider called CPS "dishonest" and potentially malicious for taking two young children out of their home in September.
Melissa and Dillon Bright's lawyer is calling for the firings of employees who took their 2-year-old daughter, Charlotte and 5-month-old son Mason out of their care.
It all started in July when Mason had a fall and Melissa took him to the hospital for a head injury. While there, an MRI revealed another fracture and bleeding in his brain. Melissa couldn't explain the injury at the time, so CPS placed her two children with family members because they said his injuries were "consistent with child abuse."
Later, the hospital said the baby likely had a blood clotting disorder, explaining the mystery health issues. Despite that discovery, plus instructions that Mason should breastfeed to help avoid a second injury, CPS wouldn't allow Mason back in his parents' home.
The Brights took matters into their own hands, and brought the children home in September. When CPS found out, a caseworker sought emergency custody without telling the court about Mason's blood disorder and the explanation for the mystery fracture and brain bleed.
When that caseworker was later questioned in court, she pleaded the Fifth Amendment.
"They lied in their affidavit, they lied in their sworn removal testimony and they have — when questioned about those lies — taken the Fifth," the family's attorney told NBC DFW.
A spokeswoman said the agency is reviewing its options, including an appeal. The judge ordered CPS to pay the family's legal fees and to give employees new training.
"We do need to deal with the issue of how we make sure this doesn't happen again," he said.
CPS has two weeks to come up with new training for employees.