Friday, February 21, 2014

In NYC is it routine to require a family to visit Social Services if baby has a fractured arm?

Q:  My 8 month old grandchild was taken to her pediatrician yesterday because she was not using her left arm. There was no bruising or swelling but when the doctor put pressure on the arm the baby cried. Pediatrician told them to go to an emergency room and have an x-ray, which showed a small fracture of the bone. At that point detectives were called and the family was kept there for eight hours before they were permitted to go home. My daughter and son-in-law were shocked that they were being treated as if they were criminals. The child had tests that showed there were no other injuries and she was in otherwise excellent health. My daughter was asked to bring the baby into the department of social services tomorrow. Is this routine procedure?

A:  David's Answer:  There had to have been some initial suspicion that the fracture was intentional. Some types of fractures are indicative of child abuse, such as spiral fractures. Thus, if such a fracture appears, it warrants further investigation - and therefore a report of suspected child abuse. At the stage they're at, it would behoove them to immediately consult a Westchester Family Law attorney, particularly one with experience in CPS matters.  -- David Bliven, Westchester Family Law attorney (

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