It is a sad truth that from coast to coast our departments of children and family service (DCFS) agencies are in disarray. All too often they ill serve the children they are supposed to be helping and they almost always step on the rights of parents without much bothering to give a good reading of the situation before action is taken. The travails of 13-year-old Chloe Faulkner is another such story. Taken from her parents, isolated in a world of faceless bureaucrats, used as a cash cow for state aide, abused, repeatedly raped, and eventually impregnated without her loving parents being given a chance to be heard, this tale is another DCFS/State intervention horror story.
In 2009 Chloe was a 13-year-old, home schooled, bright-eyed girl who had been diagnosed with the serious medical condition of Type 1 diabetes. Like many 13-year-olds she was in a rebellious stage, pushing back at a world of parental rules and the constrictions that her medical condition unfairly imposed upon her. And, like many rebelling teens, Chloe ran away one day, refusing to return home.
Her worried, loving parents involved the police because they feared that young Chloe’s medical condition would make her running away far more dangerous than it might for the average teen. The police found Chloe and brought her home with no incident.
But soon things began to go terribly awry. Because the police were involved the DCFS came knocking at Chloe’s parent’s home. After some interaction between Chloe and the state, DCFS took Chloe away from her home and into state custody under the auspices of a law called MRAI, Minor Requiring Authoritative Intervention (In Illinois it is ILCS705, 405, 3-3-1(a)).
Part of the MRAI laws, give teenagers the right to decide if they want to go home to their parents. In her rebellion, Chloe decided that she didn’t. This gave the state the right to take Chloe away from her parents, exclude parents from the decisions about any treatment given their daughter, and to fully control the girl’s life.
Even though there was no history with Chloe, her parents and DCFS, even though there was no evidence of abuse, no medical emergencies while in the care of her parents, and no evidence that her schooling was lacking, the state allowed a rebellious, naive 13-year-old girl to make the sort of decision that could seriously harm her and send her down a path of abuse. And the worst happened.
Once Chloe was taken away and her parents shut out from being able to help their own daughter, the girl’s life began to get worse by the day.
As the year during which Chloe was forced into the state DCFS system wore on, she was placed in mental health wards –where state money naturally followed her internment — even though there was never any determination that she had mental problems, she was given birth control pills by planned parenthood against her religious parent’s desires, she was sexually exploited by the 20-year-old male friend of a “foster parent” — and was raped three times by this man who lived in the same apartment complex as the foster family — and finally, after getting out of the system, left state custody pregnant.
Chloe’s mother, Shelley, fought long and hard to get her daughter out of this abusive system and is now trying to get people to understand just how dangerous and ill-advised the MRAI laws are.
The state seriously failed young Chloe and fails all too many others. Chloe’s experiences must serve as a warning to us all that we need to seriously overhaul the misdirected DCFS regulations and laws regarding troubled children.
For more information and for ways to contact the Faulkers, see http://standup4chloe.org/index.htm or their facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=118257284892107.