Adam Dayan, Esq.
Children With Autism Removed From Their Home By Child Protective Services
The Journal News, a Westchester publication, reported the strange facts of a story involving two children with autism: available at http://www.lohud.com/article/20110308/NEWS02/103080332/Authorities-working-return-autistic-teens-parents.
On February 11, one of the boys had a seizure in the family's driveway at the same time that the school bus was coming to pick him up. The bus driver became concerned and called 911. When the cops arrived they noticed that the home was filled with garbage and an enclosure made out of net was set up to contain the young boy. On its face, the fact that parents would confine their child in such a way might sound cruel and bizarre. Upon further inspection, it appears that these parents were well-regarded by various medical professionals involved in these children's lives for the way they raised their children, and the parents did this as a means of protecting their son who had a tendency to wander and hurt himself with surrounding objects in the home. The garbage that was noticed throughout the house was due to renovations that the family was having done to the home. These explanations were not enough for the child services agencies which removed the children from the home on March 4 and separated them not only from their parents but also from each other.
I don't know what to make of this story. It is bizarre sounding. The agencies have stated that they are planning to return the children to their home with conditions to be imposed regarding their living environment. What limitations will they be imposing and should they be imposing any limitations at all? One wonders about due process and what sort of investigation the government conducted before removing these children. One also thinks about the kids - if these children have severe autism, they probably don't know how to communicate their needs or feelings...making this a very frightening experience for them.