the Department of Social Services took custody of the baby and his 16-month-old sister, and Sterrett's third child, a 2-year-old boy, was placed with relatives, according to a spokeswoman for the agency.Does DSS not realize, like the Texas authorities in the FLDS case didn't realize, that they need specific, articulable "reasonable cause to believe that the removal of the child is necessary to protect him from further abuse or neglect"? See Mass. General Laws chapter 119, section 51B (emphasis added). Doesn't "further" imply that there had to have been some abuse or neglect in the first place?
DSS previously investigated Sterrett for alleged neglect involving one of her other children. That case was closed last year, according to Alison Goodwin, a spokeswoman for DSS, who gave no details.
Nothing in the Globe article about poor Ms. Sterrett's troubles indicates that there was any evidence of
reasonable cause to believe that a child under the age of eighteen years is suffering physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse inflicted upon him which causes harm or substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare including sexual abuse, or from neglect, including malnutrition, or who is determined to be physically dependent upon an addictive drug at birthwhich is the applicable statutory definition from the infamous section 51A.
It's hard to tell for sure from the Globe article, but it seems as if this is another case of DSS breaking up a family in the name of protecting children from a parent they don't need protection from. Will the Globe report on Tuesday, after Ms. Sterrett's 72-hour hearing , if she gets her children back from the juvenile court judge? Will DSS apologize or even have its spokesperson report that they were wrong if Ms. Sterrett does get her children back?
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives even young mothers the right not to have their children seized by the state without probable cause.