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While vague categories like "deprivation of necessities" may save a child from abandonment by a crack mother, they also allow child-welfare agencies to fall heavily on low-income households.

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School Makes False CPS Report

Accuses Mother of Munchausen By Proxy

by: Sue

My story is perhaps different than what most others have experienced, but it happens more often then you might think.

Some school districts will file false allegations with Child Protective Services (CPS) in an attempt to try to intimidate parents of special needs kids from filing complaints about violations of special education laws that cover services for their children, such as physical therapy, assistive technology and various support services.

My son was born in 1993 with a rare eye disorder that led to several surgeries. In July of 1995, he developed a malignant brain tumor, and became so sick that I had to leave my job. I still cannot work due to my son's health and school issues. Since this has happened, I have met several Michigan moms that have had similar experiences, as well.

In 1998, I was having serious problems with the our school district as they were refusing to give Daniel the services that he needed, and had actually withdrew some services without my permission, which is illegal under the special education laws.

I already had a reputation in the school district for, as far as the district was concerned, demanding too much for Daniel. They knew that I would not put up with his services being taken away like that.

One day, CPS came to my door, and said that an "educational neglect" complaint had been filed against me for refusing to sign release forms for his visual medical records. I had never received any forms. They also said that my son's eye doctor had said that I had "changed" his report in order to obtain services for my son.

What really happened was that I am the one that always asked the doctor to send in reports each time they were required, and he had always sent them directly to the school district. The doctor and I have always had a close working relationship, so I knew something was fishy.

After CPS left the first time, I went over to my son's school to try to find out what the heck was going on. My son was in a public preschool program, and was supposed to get services from the school district.

A coordinator at the school took me aside and told me that the district had filed a false report with CPS against me, because they were trying to intimidate me from filing a complaint against them with the county for not giving Daniel the services he was entitled to! She also told me that the district has done this with other mothers they considered to be "troublemakers," too!

Then I called my son's eye doctor to see if he knew anything about what was going on. This was all news to him. He had never told Lincoln Park anything but good things about me, and he himself said that he always mailed my son's, vision reports straight to them, and had done so for years.

He was furious with the district and wanted me to sue them for libel, and said he would be a witness anytime I wanted him to be. He then called them to ask them what was going on. They denied that there was anything going on.

CPS had me sign releases for all of Daniel's medical records, and his school records as well. They also talked to his oncologist, his eye doctor, and his pediatrician. It turns out that I was not told everything by CPS that the school district had said about me. They had told CPS that I had Munchausen By Proxy!

All of his doctors and teachers told CPS that I was a good mother, and that Daniel's medical conditions were all too real. CPS decided that there was no basis for the allegations, declared me an "attentive mother," and closed their case.

I tried to find a lawyer to sue the district for libel after the case was done, but no one knew how to handle it. The major problem was that as you probably know already, there is no way to tell who called in the false allegations to begin with, as all the files are sealed. This ticks me off because knowingly calling in a false child abuse/neglect allegation is considered to be a felony under state law, but the law doesn't say how a victim of a false allegation like can seek any legal remedy for it. I have also found out that this kind of thing has happened in various areas across the country.

I went ahead and filed complaints against the district.

My son now goes to a private school in a city about an hours drive from here every day.

Posted August 24, 2004