On Monday, Karen Shaw received a notification DCF was moving to terminate her parental rights.
TAMPA, Fla. -- It is a story that might make you angry. The Florida Department of Children and Families is trying to muzzle a mother who is speaking out about the state giving her children dangerous psychotropic drugs without telling her as required by law.
Karen Shaw says the department is still trying to cover up what it's done. Last week, 10 News explained how her two children had been removed because of a domestic violence incident and, while in DCF custody, prescribed psychotropic drugs without her knowledge.
Shaw says somebody is doing bad things. She adds, "I don't know if it is one person or a whole bunch of people, but they are doing bad things."
On Monday, Shaw received notification DCF was moving to terminate her parental rights. In court Tuesday afternoon, among the reasons the state says it is doing so is because Shaw participated in a 10 News story.
Shaw says,"I was panicked as I went into the courtroom today because the thought of losing my children...I can't even describe that. But the issue of psychotropic medication will not keep me from speaking out in court."
Despite the paperwork filed in court Tuesday, DCF Secretary David Wilkins denies the fact that Shaw speaking out has anything to do with the department's decision. While in Tampa, 10 News reporter Mike Deeson said to Wilkins, "We did a story last week about psychotropic drugs that the agency did not like and one of the mothers who complained has now received a letter to terminate her parent rights. Is this an agency of retribution or one of child welfare?"
Wilkins replied, "Of course it is not an agency of retribution. There is a set of processes and procedures of how all child welfare cases are dealt with."
But Judge Manuel Lopez said at Tuesday's hearing the DCF procedure to terminate Shaw's parental rights "sounds pretty drastic."
Lopez added, "I don't understand the timing of this. Why now?"
Deeson said to Wilkins, "So, it's not suspect that she complained to us and a TPR [Termination of Parental Rights] was issued?"
Again, Wilkins replied,"In child welfare, it is a complicated situation because you are dealing with a situation where there are allegations of abuse and neglect."
However, as Judge Lopez noted, there are no allegations of child abuse. He noted this case is about domestic violence and the father of the children no longer lives in the house.
Lopez added that Shaw seems like a woman who loves her children. When the department countered that she seems emotional, Lopez again came to Shaw's defense, saying, "The flip side is that she might be upset that her children have been with someone else for almost two years."
Judge Lopez not only questioned the state's motives, but also said the department's plan might not go along with his plan.
Shaw says, "He said if I do what he said to do I should not have any problems and my children should be returned to me."
But the DCF will continue to try to terminate the parental rights of a mother who has never physically abused her kids, but instead spoke out about what she said was abuse by the state.
DCF has asked 10 News to keep Senior Investigative Reporter Mike Deeson from being allowed to do any more stories on the agency. The station rejected that request.
Meanwhile, DCF says Shaw's children never received psychotropic drugs, despite the fact 10 News has obtained the prescription the doctor wrote, the forms he filled out saying he was going to prescribe the drugs, and the form showing the case worker lied in the paperwork that allowed the doctor to prescribe the drugs.