Micah’s father Jim explained the marks away by saying that Micah had burned himself after finding a curling iron, which Jim’s girlfriend had “carelessly left on in the bathroom.” Even though this explanation did not really fit with the marks on Micah, Amy wanted to believe it was indeed an accident. But as the weeks went by, other marks and signs were appearing after every visit between Micah and Jim. Not only that, Micah’s personality seemed to be changing. He was becoming more withdrawn, and he would cry and become visibly upset when his dad came to pick him up for visits. Amy became convinced that Jim was physically abusing Micah.
Amy called Child Protective Services (CPS) and reported her suspicions. A caseworker came to visit, a young lady who seemed interested and competent and asked thoughtful questions despite having been with the agency less than a year. Shortly afterward, the caseworker visited Jim, who told her that the family had a history of custody disputes and hinted that Amy was likely to say anything to deprive him of access to Micah. The caseworker came away convinced that Amy was overreacting, at the very least, or even trying to manipulate the custody battle by making false claims of abuse. Amy, of course, didn’t know that. She kept waiting for help, but days went by… and then weeks. Amy called the CPS worker with more reports of even more marks on Micah’s little body, but nothing more ever seemed to happen.
Amy had done what she thought was right. She had reported the abuse, sincerely believing that CPS would protect her little boy. Unfortunately, Jim was able to convince the caseworker that Amy was untrustworthy and so the innocent Micah continued to be abused.
In a last plea for help, Amy reached out to Justice for Children. We listened to Amy and we believed her. We provided guidance to her and took Micah’s case, persuading CPS to re-open the investigation. The agency finally recognized that reasonable evidence existed to substantiate the abuse.
We continued to monitor Micah’s case and provided free legal counsel where needed, and enlisted the help of the district attorney’s office in getting the abuse allegations moved from family court to a criminal venue. At last Micah would have justice, and more importantly, he would be safe from now on.