Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services—the state agency that provides child protective services—has a practice of obtaining blank emergency custody orders pre-signed by judges. Social workers then fill out the documents with the necessary information after they’ve been signed by a judge and then use them to take custody of children from parents who have come under investigation. Let me repeat that: no judge actually reviews these orders, or the evidence used to justify separating a family, before signing them.
This practice is a galling abuse of parents’ rights and basic civil liberties. It only came to an end after an investigative report by WDRB-41 spotlighted the practice: