A San Antonio family speaks out after an Amber Alert was issued for six children and their parents were arrested in a clash with Child Protective Services. The family’s attorney called the situation “just one example of a complete abuse of power by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.”
An Amber Alert was issued around 6am on Saturday December 3 for Davidson’s six children, ages 1 to 11, after Jacklyn reportedly fled the CPS, officials said on Wednesday November 30 , arrived at the family home to take temporary custody of the children. Jacklyn turned the children over to officers and was arrested later that morning and Jamie Davidson, the children’s father, was arrested a few hours later.
“This brave family is standing up against CPS, against a broken agency,” Davidson family attorney Derek Ritchie said during a news conference on Monday, December 5, according to Express-News. “We’re fighting for the kids here and we’re holding the department accountable.”
The battle with the State Department began two years ago after Jacklyn contacted CPS about an incident in her own home. In September 2020, one of the Davidson children made an allegation of sexual abuse by an older sibling, prompting the parents to contact CPS. The Davidsons reportedly immediately removed the older sibling, who was also a minor, from the household. The Express News said the siblings currently reside in California.
Ritchie said CPS did not follow up on the Davidson family’s allegations until September 2022, when the state agency asked to speak to the children, which Jacklyn refused. CPS petitioned the court to investigate the allegations, which was granted, and the children were questioned in October, while a second child reportedly made an allegation of sexual abuse from the 2020 incident.
The children were removed from the home and, following the interview, placed in state custody until Nov. 1, when a judge denied the agency’s request to remove the children from a home. The Davidsons say CPS continued to try to get the children out of the home and filed complaints against them for being uncooperative when state agency employees reportedly showed up unannounced multiple times to speak with the children, accompanied by law enforcement officials .
Davidson’s attorney said he tried to facilitate several meetings between state agency and the family, but his attempts were reportedly rejected or ignored.
“This caused significant suffering to the family and children who were too scared to go to school at all for fear that CPS would catch them again. It’s the stuff of nightmares,” Ritchie said.
Ritchie claimed in a statement released Saturday that the same judge from the rejected Nov. 1 ruling was “convinced” to remove the children from the home on Nov. 30.
“Twenty-six days after the children were returned to my client by a court, CPS took a second bite of the apple,” Ritchie said. “By circumventing the rules of evidence, CPS convinced a judge that the children needed to be removed from their home. Due to a lack of evidence, the judge issued an order that the children should be removed from the Davidson family again.”
The Davidsons are appealing the November 30 verdict.
“My children mean the world to us. They always have and always will,” Jacklyn Davidson told Express News. “We are not a threat to our children”
The Express-News reports that affidavits supporting the couple’s arrest show the parents told CPS they were taking their children to Austin to speak with Gov. Greg Abbott about the custody battle until the Amber Alert was issued , whereupon Jacklyn handed the children over to police at Ritchie’s law office.
“The Davidsons have fully complied and will continue to comply with the law and the demands of the CPS,” Ritchie said Saturday. “They handed themselves and the children over to the department without incident. Watching this family being torn apart was one of the most heartbreaking scenes I have ever seen. I know these children are safe with their families and were safe with their families for almost a month before CPS got involved. I can’t say the same is true while these children are in government care.”
Here is the full statement, released by Ritchie on Saturday:
“I have the privilege of representing Mrs. Jacklyn Davidson. Mr. and Mrs. Davidson are loving parents to six children. They are both military veterans and Jacklyn Davidson is a former volunteer CASA attorney and Mr. Davidson received a Purple Heart for service in the military.
Mrs. Davidson contacted me after her children were abducted by Child Protection Services. At the first hearing on November 1, after hearing all of the evidence presented by CPS, a court ruled that CPS had no reason to remove Mr. and Mrs. Davidson’s children and returned the children to my client that same day.
Mr. Davidson has been in West Texas since November 9, where he returned to work to support his family and has not had physical contact with children since the November 30 judge’s decision.
In what appears to be a personal vendetta against my client and my office, CPS continued to harass the Davidson family and, on several occasions, turned up completely unannounced with law enforcement at the residence. Despite my office’s best efforts to facilitate a meeting between the children and CPS, all offers of cooperation from my office to interview the children and family in the presence of an attorney were ignored or denied. This caused significant suffering to the family and children, who were too scared to even go to school for fear that CPS would catch them again. This is the stuff of nightmares.
Twenty-six days after the children were returned to my client by a court, CPS bit the apple a second time. By circumventing the rules of evidence, CPS convinced a judge that the children needed to be removed from their home. Due to a lack of evidence, the judge issued an order removing the children from the Davidson family again.
My office has appealed, and we’re waiting to see if the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issues an emergency stay. I wish I could say that this case is unique and that the general public has nothing to fear from CPS, but unfortunately this becomes all too common. I hear from people every day about the trauma and turmoil that CPS goes through for good families. This is just one example of a complete abuse of power by the Texas Department of Family and Protection Services.
The Davidsons have fully complied with the law and the requirements of CPS and will continue to do so. They handed themselves and the children over to the ministry without incident. Watching this family being torn apart was one of the most heartbreaking scenes I have ever seen. I know these children are safe with their families and were safe with their families for almost a month before CPS intervened. I can’t say the same is true as long as these children are in government care.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Davidson family at this difficult time and we will continue to fight this injustice to the fullest extent of the law.”