Court fight over Kaufman County boy ends

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A Kaufman County family court judge ended a five-month fight over state custody of a 4-year-old boy, signing an agreement Tuesday sending the boy home to his parents.

Judge Tracy Gray dismissed a lawsuit brought by the parents, Ashley and Daniel Pardo, that drew the attention of state legislators and legal support from the Texas Home School Coalition, according to the court document. Texas Child Protective Services reached an agreement with the Pardos allowing their son Drake to return home. 

CPS and the Pardos have been fighting in court since June 20 when CPS workers removed the boy from his home, alleging that he was the victim of medical child abuse, as The Texas Monitor reported in August.

The Pardos denied the allegations, contending that CPS misinterpreted what was going on in the home and had overstepped its authority in seizing the boy. With the help of the  Home School Coalition, the Pardos went on a social media campaign that raised more than $75,000 for their legal expenses and generated nearly 30,000 signatures on a petition to Gov. Greg Abbott demanding Drake be returned home.

Gray, who signed the original order calling for Drake’s removal, said she agreed to sign the dismissal because attorneys for CPS approved of the agreement, according to The Texan, a subscription information service founded by former state Sen. Konni Burton. 

Gray had expressed concern that the parents were asking doctors in Dallas to implant a feeding tube in their son that wasn’t necessary. A child abuse pediatrician consulted by CPS said she believed that such a surgery constituted medical child abuse, according to court documents.

During a court hearing in August, Gray called for CPS to work with the Pardos to create a new health care plan taking into account Drake’s developmental problems that would allow him to come home.

After an appeal, the Texas Supreme Court on Oct. 24 ordered that Drake be returned home while the case continued.

Mark Lisheron can be reached at [email protected].

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