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Ann Arbor woman allowed to visit with her infant 3 hours a week as she fights CPS for baby's return
6:27 PM, Dec 5, 2013
ANN ARBOR (WXYZ) - "They started knocking on my door, telling me that if I don't give them my baby that they were going to arrest me," said Dalia Kenbar whose infant daughter was taken by Child Protective Services (CPS) the day before Thanksgiving.
On Wednesday, Dalia was able to visit with her baby, Layla, for the first time since CPS carried out what one of their investigators considered a necessary "emergency removal."
The CPS investigator involved in Kenbar's case told a referee this week that Kenbar has not been accused of abusing her children or using drugs, but that she hasn't been working with them as necessary.
Folmar and other critics of CPS accuse the agency of being motivated by taxpayer money in many cases.
Child Protective Services is under the purview of the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS), and while DHS spokesman David Akerly says they cannot discuss any particular case, he calls any allegation that money is a motivator "ridiculous."
In 2009, Kenbar's mother was working as a translator for the United States military in Iraq when she was killed after stepping on a roadside bomb.
After her mother's death, Kenbar, who had a young son, then gained custody of her teenage brother.
In April of this year, CPS removed Kenbar's eight-year-old son and her now 17-year-old brother after Kenbar and the teen got into a fight that left scratches on him.
An investigator with CPS also found the home to be "unfit" for children. There was a lot of clutter and the utilities had been shut off for non-payment days earlier.
Kenbar was pregnant with Layla as she worked to regain custody of her son, but CPS workers say she wasn't complying with their programs or showing them that she was living in a cleaner, safer environment.
Kenbar's attorney, Allison Folmar, says CPS failed to investigate where Kenbar is currently living before coming to seize custody of the newborn.
"I think the most egregious part is the definition of when it's okay for armed officers to come into a home and forcibly remove an infant without any evidence that there is a substantial and immediate risk of harm to that child," said Folmar. "It can happen to any parent. That's why we're fighting as hard as we're fighting so that the system changes."
In court, the CPS investigator acknowledged that when they went to take custody of Kenbar's baby that nothing seemed unfit about the home.
Akerly said they cannot discuss the details of any particular case, but did tell 7 Action News
, "Our position on any case involving CPS that the state is litigating will be both transparent and on the public record in a court of law. The focus of our argument will always be about the safety and best interests of the child/children involved."
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