Ohio CPS Destroys Family of 5 – Parents Acquitted of Any Wrong Doing

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Butner family together for a visit, before the children were adopted out. Source: Butner family.

But­ner fam­i­ly togeth­er for a vis­it, before the chil­dren were adopt­ed out. Source: But­ner family.

Liv­ing in a small Ohio town, Chris and Kathy But­ner felt their lives were com­plete. They hadn’t had an easy road, but always tried to do their best for their fam­i­ly of 5 chil­dren, from their old­est son hav­ing asth­ma to their 10 year old, who was diag­nosed with ADHD and seizures. If that wasn’t dif­fi­cult enough, their 7 year old daugh­ter had seizures as a baby. In 2007, after var­i­ous tests, doc­tors gave her a blood trans­fu­sion and insert­ed a feed­ing tube. Their youngest daugh­ter had a cyst on her head.

Accord­ing to the But­ners, all of the chil­dren were being fol­lowed by their doc­tors. Nev­er did they ques­tion the doc­tors’ rec­om­men­da­tions, and they always com­plied with what was asked, which would explain why the But­ners report that they were lat­er cleared of any med­ical neglect that they were accused of by Child Pro­tec­tion Ser­vices (CPS).

Troubled Teenager Enters Counseling, and CPS Enters Their Lives

In 2011 their old­est son had become a teenag­er. He was hav­ing prob­lems with one of his grand­par­ents. He was get­ting depressed and angry and felt upset due to this bro­ken relationship.

While fam­i­ly dis­putes often hap­pen, it was clear to Chris and Kathy But­ner that their son need­ed help and they want­ed to get him treat­ment. Once fam­i­ly coun­sel­ing was start­ed and their son was being treat­ed, they were led to believe that CPS was being con­tact­ed in order to find a clos­er loca­tion to their home for coun­sel­ing. They were dri­ving an hour for the appoint­ments, so they believed them. Because they nev­er had any issues with CPS, they didn’t doubt their judgement.

Social Worker Demands the Children Go to Public School

In March 2012 they were assigned a social work­er that would vis­it the home 1 to 2 times a week. The But­ner fam­i­ly lis­tened to their requests. In fact, they went as far as try­ing to enroll their home­schooled chil­dren in pub­lic school, because the social work­er insist­ed that they do so, even though the chil­dren were hap­py with their online schooling.

It was a shock to Kathy when her and her old­est son entered the pub­lic school to enroll and were told they had been report­ed, and that it was “too late.” Kathy did not under­stand this because she had done as she was direct­ed, and took them out of online school­ing to start pub­lic school. As her old­est son cried and plead­ed with the school offi­cials, they were told to leave the school property.

The 4 older Butner children in happier times, before CPS took them away. Source: Butner family.

The 4 old­er But­ner chil­dren in hap­pi­er times, before CPS took them away. Source: But­ner family.

CPS Takes Kids, Tells Them They Are Going On Vacation

Bewil­dered, Kathy went home and phoned their social work­er. She nev­er got a call back, so she called again, but noth­ing. A few short days lat­er, April 4th, 2012, there was a knock at their door. CPS stood at their door with 2 police offi­cers, and they were told their chil­dren were being tak­en away.

Kathy and Chris asked for an expla­na­tion, because they had been told repeat­ed­ly that every­thing was fine.  As they said their good­byes to their chil­dren, Kathy heard the CPS work­ers tell the chil­dren they were going on vaca­tion and not to worry.

While shocked this could hap­pen, the But­ners start­ed the fight of their life. They tried to get to the bot­tom of why their chil­dren were being tak­en. They had vis­i­ta­tion once a week and often it was an hour.  If they were for­tu­nate, it was a lit­tle more, but many times it was less. Accord­ing to Kathy, they were try­ing to get a grip on how this could be happening.

Don’t Ask Questions – Just Comply”

They were often told that, in order to vis­it with their chil­dren, they would need to bring shoes or new clothes and school sup­plies. They again com­plied what they were told, because they real­ized if they didn’t, there would be no visitation.

Their chil­dren would try on their new shoes or check out their gifts dur­ing those trea­sured short vis­its, but it was nev­er long before the tears would start to flow. Kathy remem­bers her chil­dren beg­ging them,

Don’t stop fight­ing for us!

They gave their chil­dren their word, and kept reas­sur­ing them that they would be back home.

As week­ly vis­its con­tin­ued, they were told by the social work­er not to ask ques­tions, and that reuni­fi­ca­tion was the goal. If any­one showed any emo­tion, the vis­its were cut short and the chil­dren were quick­ly tak­en out of the vis­it and told it was time to go back to their fos­ter home. Once again the But­ner fam­i­ly thought that if they lis­tened to their social work­er and fol­lowed their instruc­tions, they would one day be a fam­i­ly again.

Children Told They Are Going to Be Adopted

As their chil­dren con­tin­ued to beg to come home at their week­ly vis­i­ta­tion meet­ings, it became clear­er to Kathy and Chris that either their chil­dren were get­ting con­fused, or that Kathy and her hus­band were being lied to by CPS. The chil­dren were telling them that they were being adopt­ed. Con­fused and think­ing “how can this be,” they once again asked their social work­er. Again they were remind­ed not to ask questions.

As the chil­dren grew more anx­ious every vis­it, so did their par­ents fear. As the time passed, they con­tin­ued to fight and tell their chil­dren they would not give up.

Source: Butner family.

Source: But­ner family.

Problems with Foster Care

At the very first vis­it, the chil­dren told them that their fos­ter fam­i­ly had burned their Bibles that they brought from home. Their old­est son was tak­en off his asth­ma med­ica­tion and had alleged­ly col­lapsed on the foot­ball field, while one of their daugh­ters came to one of their vis­its with a black eye.  The oth­er chil­dren said she was hit with a 2 x 4.

Kathy’s worst fears were com­ing true. Being a moth­er of 5, she had nev­er want­ed her chil­dren to endure what she had gone through at their age. She had been in fos­ter care and was abused and had a hard child­hood. She had vowed nev­er to let that hap­pen to her chil­dren. Nev­er in her worst night­mare would she think that this could be pos­si­ble, stating:

CPS didn’t help then and they are not help­ing now.”

Her old­est son was not encour­aged to con­tin­ue his coun­sel­ing and was alleged­ly told by CPS that it was not need­ed any­more. Despite this, with­in days fol­low­ing Chris and Kathy’s final vis­it with their chil­dren on June 27, 2013, they got a call to come to the hos­pi­tal, where Chris Jr. had been tak­en after CPS dis­cov­ered that he was cutting.

The dis­turb­ing behav­ior had nev­er hap­pened while he was in his par­ents’ care. Kathy reports that the social work­er told her that he would prob­a­bly kill him­self before he turned 18. His par­ents want to know why, when the state was so con­cerned for him before he was tak­en from his par­ents, would the coun­sel­ing not be con­tin­ued for his best interest?

Kathy hugs her son goodbye at their final visit. Source: Butner family.

Kathy hugs her son good­bye at their final vis­it. Source: But­ner family.

Still Asking “Why?”

The But­ners state that the court said there were no abuse find­ings, and no med­ical neglect. Kathy was orig­i­nal­ly accused of Mun­chausen by Proxy, but she was lat­er cleared of that allegation.

So, what grounds did CPS have to take all 5 chil­dren out of their home and nev­er give them back? Chris and Kathy still ask them­selves that ques­tion dai­ly as they cry for their loss. In fact, the But­ners lat­er learned that alleged­ly the first fos­ter home want­ed to adopt their 3 youngest chil­dren from the very begin­ning, a goal which they have accom­plished. That leads Kathy and Chris to ask the ques­tion that many par­ents would in their shoes: was it set up?

Even though they lost their rights to their chil­dren in June of 2013, they still have not received their court tran­scripts. They were told by their sec­ond social work­er if they would turn their rights over to their chil­dren, they would get the tran­scripts. After they refused, they were told that CPS could take them with­out their sig­na­ture.  They con­tin­ued to fight, and as their funds got small, so did the hope in their hearts that their chil­dren would ever come home.

Children Adopted, But Parents Will Never Give Up

The 3 youngest were adopt­ed last year by the first fos­ter home, while the old­er two chil­dren went to a few dif­fer­ent fos­ters before being adopt­ed. Chris and Kathy have been told there is noth­ing that can be done for them now that they have been adopt­ed, and that they should just move on.

They ask, “How? Could you just move on?”

Kathy still hears her old­est son say­ing, “I thought you made me a promise?” Those words don’t go away for Kathy and her hus­band. There is no clo­sure for them. Not a day goes by in that home that was once filled with their children’s laugh­ter where the silence con­tin­ues to take over their minds. Their chil­dren have now been led to believe that they have stopped fight­ing. They want their chil­dren to know they have not stopped fight­ing, and they will not give up.

Source: Butner family.

Source: But­ner family.

Kathy reports that they talked to many lawyers who believe there were no grounds for this to hap­pen. She states that they came to the same con­clu­sion as Kathy and Chris did, that their chil­dren were nev­er giv­en a chance to be brought back to their home, espe­cial­ly when they lis­tened to their social work­ers and fol­lowed through on the demands that were asked of them.

Kathy rewinds these hor­rif­ic events in her mind. She can’t help but to cry when she remem­bers her chil­dren ask­ing, “Why didn’t you want to see us last week?” From the very begin­ning, she says her chil­dren were being told lies by their fos­ter fam­i­lies. They are left won­der­ing how that can be allowed, while they are hold­ing on to mem­o­ries and their last bit of hope.

Not a birth­day goes by where they do not wish they were cel­e­brat­ing the occa­sion with their chil­dren. Hol­i­days with their chil­dren are a dis­tant mem­o­ry as they won­der about their lives now. They know this con­tin­ues to be the dri­ve that they need to con­tin­ue to fight and believe that they will see their chil­dren again at home where they belong.

How You Can Help

After hav­ing no suc­cess with a court-appoint­ed lawyer, Chris and Kathy still hope to have a lawyer help them with their case. They hope to be able to get the court tran­scripts. This is a parent’s worst night­mare. With all this fam­i­ly has endured, they still need answers.

Sup­port­ers who would like to help this fam­i­ly believe that jus­tice can be served may encour­age the fam­i­ly and fol­low their sto­ry on their new Face­book page, called CPS Bring Our 5 Stolen But­ner Chil­dren Home.Kathy-B-FB-page

Child Pro­tec­tive Ser­vices in Ohio is admin­is­tered under the Coun­ty Depart­ment of Job and Fam­i­ly Ser­vices. The Tus­carawas Coun­ty JFS may be con­tact­ed at (330) 339‑7791, and they may be reached here.

Sup­port­ers are asked to call the office of Ohio Gov­er­nor John Kasich at (614) 466‑3555. He may be con­tact­ed here.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Al Lan­dis rep­re­sents Tus­carawas coun­ty, and he may be reached at (614) 466‑8035 or con­tact­ed here.