By: Susan Knowles
Justina Pelletier was returned to her family in Connecticut after more than 16 months away from them due to being removed by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in Massachusetts (for more of Justina’s story click here).
What I believe was instrumental in helping to return Justina to her family was her father, Lou Pelletier’s refusal to sit down and shut up, when a gag order was put in place to prevent him from speaking out to the public about his daughter’s plight. I believe that it also helped Justina to have such tremendous public support once the word leaked out that she was being held.
Lou Pelletier first spoke out about Justina’s situation on the Glenn Beck show and from there the family was put in contact with excellent legal counsel, Mat Staver, of Liberty Counsel who represented the family from that point on. Additionally, the local Fox News affiliate in Connecticut, followed the story until the very end when Justina was finally reunited with her loving family.
Additionally, numerous hours were spent by supporters who placed telephone calls to the Governor of Massachusetts, DCF, the judge in the case and just about anyone else who would listen. There were also many who protested in front of the courthouse, DCF’s location, at Boston Children’s Hospital, and a facility in Massachusetts where Justina had been placed. Finally, countless Twitter “firestorms” were held to protest what supporters strongly believed was an injustice that needed to be righted.
Still others, like myself, wrote countless articles and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube so that the word about what was happening to Justina under the “care” of DCF might be made known. I also started a Facebook page, called “Stop Government Takeover of Our Children” as a result of my work toward bringing Justina home. My page was created to bring awareness, foster discussion, and to offer solutions toward resolving government overreach pertaining to our kids.
Once people heard about the facts of the Pelletier case, they were convinced that Justina had been unjustly taken from her family and they were determined to see her case through until she was returned to her parents’ custody.
I’m speaking of the CPS involved case of Dylan Wesolowski. I was recently contacted by Dylan’s mother Monika Wesolowski, after she learned about the articles I had written concerning Justina.
From what I know of Ms. Wesolowski, she is a conservative, a State Department employee with a secret clearance, and her parents emigrated here from Poland.
I’ve just begun to research the facts of this case but I want to present them to you and ask that you do your own research to determine if this family’s dilemma deserves public action, as in Justina’s case.
Here is what I know of the facts. In an April 30, 2014 letter, Wesolowski wrote to Dave Hodges, host of thecommensenseshow.com, for help in getting her son’s story heard.
Wesolowski alleges the following: On December 2013, in Fairfax County, Virginia, police officers dressed in SWAT gear came to her home after there had been a report that she had choked her four year old son, who has Autism, two days prior. Wesolowski accuses Dylan’s father of making this report. According to Ms. Wesolowski, she had gotten sole legal custody of her child approximately 2 months before her encounter with the police and CPS in December 2013.
CPS arrived at the Wesolowski residence about an hour after the police officers’ arrival. The entire meeting lasted from dylan with momapproximately 8:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. During the investigation by the police and CPS, a small red mark was noticed on the back of Dylan’s neck. Dylan was subsequently removed and placed in the temporary custody of Wesolowski’s neighbors.
Following the encounter, Ms. Wesolowski’s neighbors (who had temporary custody) and she, took Dylan to a pediatrician so that the red mark could be diagnosed. The pediatrician’s report, according to Wesolowski, indicates that the red mark was eczema. Wesolowski reportedly has the medical records to prove this fact.
Monika also states in her letter, that once CPS discovered that she had taken her son to the pediatrician, they were very angry, used the report against her claiming that she wanted to cover up the mark with medication, and that she had coerced the doctor into rendering that diagnosis.
Monika further contends that CPS investigated her daycare center alleging that they may have abused her son. She believes these allegations against her daycare center were used as part of a scare tactic.
The case took another turn, when in a separate letter to Dave Hodges, dated May 15, 2014, Wesolowski claims that her parents in Illinois were contacted by the Illinois DCF. She states that they tried to get her parents to sign a document saying that Wesolowski had hurt her son. When her parents refused to sign the document, they were told by someone from DCF in Illinois that Virginia DCF wouldn’t like the fact that they didn’t sign the document. Further, they were allegedly told that since they were on their daughter’s side (evidenced by the fact that they wouldn’t sign the agreement), they had no chance of getting Dylan.
Although, Ms. Wesolowski has never been arrested or charged with any crime, her son was placed in a second foster home with two dads who are gay. Ms. Wesolowski, not only is opposed to the placement of her son in foster care altogether, but believes since she is Roman Catholic, that he should have been placed elsewhere. Supposedly, close friends and family were available and willing to take Dylan into their home.
The case has taken yet another turn. Monika has leveled accusations of possible sexual abuse in this case. She claims in a previous email to Mr. Hodges, that her son is being sexually abused while under the care of Virginia DCF/CPS.
As proof of sexual abuse, Wesolowski claims that she has found “marks” in sensitive areas on Dylan’s body consistent with sexual abuse. In addition, Dylan, now age five, has regressed to defecating in his pants and is back in diapers, according to Wesolowski. She also asserts that Dylan has unexplained fits of temper where he talks about cutting off his hands and the hands of others. She claims that while he is preparing to take a bath, he yells that he “wants to cut his hands off over and over and over prior to the bath.” Dave Hodges, a former mental health professional, is also convinced that these reports are evidence of possible child abuse that are reportable and should be investigated.
Ms. Wesolowski also claims to have photographic evidence of Dylan’s alleged abuse. She contends in an email to Mr. Hodges that Dylan’s dermatitis rash on his back and shoulder were seen for several weeks and were getting progressively work. She described her son as being “skinnier” and that he had lost weight since being placed in foster care. If true, Monika’s allegations of abuse would make any parent cringe. To date, however, Dylan remains in the same foster care environment with the two dads.
As a mental health professional, several things jump out at me as being unusual. First, I have never known CPS to place a child in temporary custody with a neighbor. When there is existing family, barring other factors that wouldn’t be in the child’s best interests, children are placed in foster care with their own relatives. If that is not an option, then there are usually facilities where the child can be taken into the direct care and custody of CPS, at least initially. Why wasn’t that done in this case?
Secondly, any allegations of sexual or physical abuse, if reported must be investigated by CPS. In the Department of Social Services own CPS handbook in Virginia, “What Is Child Protective Services?” CPS has the “responsibility to respond to reports of suspected child abuse or neglect (emphasis added).” Was there a report made of the allegations by anyone? Would CPS have been deemed to have knowledge of suspected child abuse or neglect, if Wesolowski verbally reported her suspicions to them, rather than filing a formal complaint? Did Wesolowski file a formal complaint? If allegations were known by CPS, has an investigation been made, and if so, what was the outcome of the investigation? Undoubtedly, CPS would refrain from responding to that question based upon grounds of confidentiality.
Thirdly, there are a number of foster care homes available in most areas. Should CPS have changed Dylan’s foster care home to avoid potential future allegations being made against CPS or the foster parents as a way of mitigating possible litigation?
Also, if true, why did Illinois DCF become involved in the case when Dylan and his mother live in Virginia? It would be reasonable, if CPS had wanted to place Dylan in a temporary foster home with his grandparents, to have asked Illinois DCF, where the grandparents are located, to check out the their home beforehand to make sure that it was a suitable environment for Dylan. However, according to Ms. Wesolowski, her parents were asked only to sign a document against her.
Dave Hodges believes so much in Dylan’s case that he has set up a gofundme.com account so that Ms. Wesolowski will be able to retain an attorney and try to regain custody of her son. The account indicates a goal of $20,000. Currently, the amount reached is slightly over, $17,000.
If the Justina Pelletier case is any indication of what lies ahead for Monika in her quest to bring Dylan home, then she may be facing a long and arduous battle. Only time will tell if the public will embrace her story and rally around Dylan, as they did for Justina.
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Susan Calloway Knowles, is a licensed California psychotherapist, former practicing California attorney, author, and political/cultural blogger. Her website is SusanKnowles.com. Susan’s book, a political fiction, is entitled Freedom’s Fight: A Call to Remember and is available on Amazon. Susan can be reached by email at [email protected].
© 2014, Susan Knowles.