Journalist Called Child Protective Services on Republican Candidate—for Celebrating Columbus Day

Journalist Called Child Protective Services on Republican Candidate—for Celebrating Columbus Day

“A journalist called Child Protective Services on” a conservative “State Senate Candidate—for Celebrating Columbus Day with Her Daughter,” notes PJ Media. “Apparently, celebrating the man who made it possible for America to exist and for us to live here falls under the leftist definition of ‘abuse.'”

Self-described “Award-Winning Multimedia Journalist” David Leavitt called Child Protective Services (CPS) on Republican Virginia state Senate candidate and single mom Tina Ramirez for being pro-Columbus Day. The drama began when Ramirez referenced PayPal’s recent attempt to fine “misinformation”-spreaders $2,500. Ramirez tweeted, “Only women can be pregnant. Do I owe PayPal $2500 now?” Leavitt replied with the highly rational comment, “Why are you celebrating torture, rape, murder, and enslavement?” Ramirez, apparently realizing that Leavitt was referring to Columbus Day, tweeted, “I teach my daughter real American history. I refuse to join the radical left’s campaign to erase history.”

Leavitt, who has over 330,000 Twitter followers, tried to start a harassment campaign against Ramirez, tweeting, “Can someone please call child care services on Tina Ramirez who’s teaching her child to be a racist?” He then evidently decided that he couldn’t wait for anyone else to report Ramirez, because he began to post an extended tweet thread complaining about how long the wait was on Virginia’s child abuse hotline. Perhaps the wait time is long because woke journalists call the hotline to complain that mothers are teaching their children history?

Ramirez fired back at Leavitt’s stunt, tweeting, “Mighty bold and liberal of you to lecture a Hispanic mother with a black daughter on racism. What’s next? Are you going to lecture me on women’s rights?” Leavitt sneered, “Having a black child doesn’t make you any less racist.” The journalist also retweeted dozens of comments bashing Ramirez and her pro-Columbus tweet, including comments like “Slavery is American history” and “I feel very sorry for your daughter. She will learn the truth one day and hate you for not helping her navigate racism, back lives matter, and all the ‘history’ you choose to ignore.”

Since Leavitt’s tweets revealed that he spent over an hour on the CPS line waiting to report Ramirez, the Republican candidate tweeted, “Radical leftist @David_Leavitt didn’t just call CPS to level accusations against me. He waited an hour on hold, tying up the lines of our CPS professionals trying to help Virginia’s children. The radical left is willing to put our children at risk to cancel conservatives.”

Despite calling CPS on Ramirez, Leavitt later cluelessly whined on Twitter, “I’m being the subject of targeted harassment by someone who’s celebrating the torture, rape, murder, and enslavement of indigenous peoples.” The “harassment” he quote-tweeted just said, “Poor Davey is upset about Columbus day 🙁 Get well soon, pal.” The journalist then claimed he’d received a death threat. He also tweeted about “#IndigenousPeoplesDay,” which is the left’s new name for Columbus Day, but is apparently unaware that Columbus Day was established as a holiday to counteract violent prejudice against Italian Americans. The holiday’s purpose is to fight racism.

Reporting someone to Child Protective Services can inflict terrible trauma, because CPS sometimes makes terrible mistakes. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that Texas’s Child Protective Services (CPS) illegally seized more than 400 children whose parents belong to a strange religious sect.  CPS cared poorly for the children it seized.  Three children of one couple became ill and had to be hospitalized, while another couple’s 2-year-old daughter apparently suffered from “severe dehydration and malnutrition” after being seized.   As Jacob Sullum noted in Reason, “There was never any evidence that their parents abused them, but there’s plenty that the state did.”  Unwarranted CPS seizures of children are on the rise nationally.  Such seizures often cause children great harm.

In Britain, social workers and child-protective services have torn apart happy families, and seized children from loving parents “for no good reason,” noted Christopher Booker in the London Daily Telegraph. For example, one case

concerns a responsible mother who holds down an expert job in a law firm. A year ago, she was in the kitchen preparing packed lunches for her two children when her 11-year old daughter kept on interrupting. The mother tapped her daughter on the arm with a roll of clingfilm and told her to go upstairs. The following day the girl casually mentioned to a teacher that her mother had “hit” her. This was reported to social workers who took her into care, on the grounds that her mother had hit her with an “implement”. They did so under a voluntary “Section 20” agreement, which the mother was prevailed upon to sign – like many other parents before her – in the belief that such a silly misunderstanding would quickly be sorted out and her child would soon return home. However, the council then paid £14,000 to have the mother “psychiatrically assessed” by an “expert”, who produced a 235-page report which, on astonishingly flimsy and muddled grounds, found she had an undetermined “personality disorder”. On this basis, three days before Christmas, at 11pm, the girl’s nine-year-old brother was also taken into care, provoking such a severe panic attack that an ambulance had to called for him.

In another case,

A young mother of three children, married to the father of her youngest, a baby less than a year old, took part in a charity walk with her oldest daughter, aged six. She tripped over, pulling her daughter to the ground, and although the child sustained no more than a graze, reported the incident to the first-aid tent. The child continued going happily to school for several days, but when the mother tried to explain the small mark on her arm to a health visitor (who did not ask the child to comment), social workers arrived, escorted by three policemen, to take all three children into care.  The council commissioned a psychiatric assessment, which found that she was a competent mother. A second report found the same. The social workers then paid for a third report, which described the mother as suffering from a “borderline personality disorder”. Solely on these grounds, a court has now ruled that the three children must be put out for adoption. In each case, the evidence seems to indicate that the distressed children want only to be reunited with their loving parents.

The social workers who seize children indirectly benefited financially from doing so, since their agencies then received adoption bonuses from the government. There are many previous instances in which British children have been taken from their parents based on mere speculation that they may abuse them in the future, even if the government concedes the child has never actually been abused.

In the U.S., improper seizures of children from loving parents are somewhat less common, but it is a problem in the United States, too, as I previously chronicled. In America, such seizures are encouraged by the bonuses and matching funds that state agencies receive under legislation such as the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997.

Children seized by Child Protective Services often experience devastating harm. In Doe v. Lebbos, 348 F.3d 820 (9th Cir. 2003), Judge Andrew Kleinfeld’s dissent described the tragedy that befell a little girl who was seized from her father as a result of false abuse accusations:

After being bounced around in the agency and foster parent bureaucracy for over a year, Lacey . . . was ‘diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, hearing voices, and suicidal ideation.’ She was put on anti-psychotic medication. She had taken to smearing feces and to other abnormal and highly disruptive behavior. . . what the county did to her to “protect’ her apparently destroyed her. Something in this experience, perhaps being ripped away from her father for whom she consistently expressed love during the whole miserable period, perhaps having strangers strip her and search her heretofore private parts, perhaps being put with caretakers instead of her father, amounted to a trauma that was too much for her.

Even when meddling in family life by state social service agencies is deeply unpopular, they are usually able to block any reforms aimed at stopping their abuses. Thanks to all the taxpayer money that they have at their disposal, such agencies usually out-organize and out-lobby their critics in the halls of state legislatures and Congress, and out-litigate them in state courts. They also visit the editorial boards of major newspapers — especially liberal newspapers like The Washington Post — to peddle their side of the story. (Big newspaper boards seldom hear the other side of the story, since those who could provide it are usually poorly organized private citizens. By contrast, little newspapers are often more sympathetic to aggrieved parents.) Such agencies are therefore able to block things things they oppose, like expanded legal remedies for people whose children are wrongly seized.

Thanks to taxpayer dollars, state agencies and allied officials are able to push through legislatures measures that enrich them, like increased state child support guidelines. Officials’ state funding sometimes is based on the level of child support ordered — for example, in Massachusetts, the Probate and Family Court received a percentage of child support awarded, giving judges an incentive to award excessive child support, and to not award joint custody even when it is in the children’s best interests, because that would result in less need for child support. Excessive child support obligations can leave a non-custodial parent too broke to provide a place for the children to stay during visitation, interfering with the parent-child relationship. In Herring v. Herring (2000), a Virginia appellate court ordered a substantial increase in a father’s child support obligations to roughly half his income, even though he was so financially burdened that he had already been reduced to living in his sister’s basement.

Here are several other fascinating and disturbing articles in the Telegraph about the seizures of children and related pathologies in English family law:

More on Leavitt’s threat to report Ramirez to CPS, at this link:

Hans Bader

Hans Bader

Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law. He also once worked in the Education Department. Hans writes for and has appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” Contact him at


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