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Truth Not in Best Interest of Child

July 30, 2008 permalink

When eight-year-old Fabian Silva asked his dad about a newspaper story on the death of his half-brother, dad told his son the truth. That was enough for Tucson Arizona child protectors to cancel further visitation.



Oscar Silva Jr with son Fabian
Oscar Silva Jr., with Fabian, who died under CPS watch at age 4.

Photo courtesy of Silva family

Father who rebuked CPS loses right to see son

Visitation canceled after dad and boy talked about story on kid's late brother

A father whose son was killed while under CPS watch had his visitation with his surviving older son cut off after talking to the boy about a Sunday Arizona Daily Star story on his brother.

Oscar Silva Jr. was notified his regular Tuesday visit with 8-year-old Oscar III was canceled just a few hours before the scheduled get-together. He was told there will be no further visits until at least next week, when there will be a meeting with his Child Protective Services case manager.

He normally has visitation Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and every other weekend.

Agency spokeswoman Liz Barker Alvarez confirmed Silva's visitation rights have been suspended, but she couldn't say specifically why.

"There were certain behaviors on Mr. Silva's part that went against the case plan and the visitation agreements, and those behaviors were seen as potentially harmful to the child," Barker Alvarez said.

Silva said Oscar III saw the Sunday story, which included a picture of his brother, and he asked to read it.

"I went ahead and let him read it. I wanted him to know what was going on," Silva said.

Silva's younger son, Fabian, 4, died in January from blunt-force trauma to the head. His mother's boyfriend, Alejandro Miguel Romero, 25, has been charged with child abuse and manslaughter.

CPS opened a file on Fabian Silva in October after two doctors examining him for a throat infection reported signs of suspected abuse. Oscar Silva and other family members have criticized the CPS investigation, saying they were never interviewed despite repeated requests to be heard.

Silva said his case manager told him Tuesday that he had violated a verbal agreement with CPS not to talk about the case with Oscar III, and therefore his visitation rights were being suspended. Oscar III now lives with great-grandparents on the mother's side, Silva said.

Barker Alvarez would not say if the unacceptable behaviors involved reading the news story and/or talking about it.

"We do have a child here, who has to deal with a lot. I am giving you as much information as I can," she said. "The decision was made in the child's best interest."

Silva said he felt the move was in retaliation for both the Sunday news story and a $5 million claim he filed against CPS last week.

He acknowledged that under the verbal agreement, he is supposed to contact CPS if his son asks about the case and his brother's death.

"On this Sunday, I didn't ask," he said. "I didn't call no one. I just let him read the article. It was a verbal agreement."

Attorney Jorge Franco Jr., who is representing Silva, called the suspension "off the charts."

"It happens literally two days after the article appears," he said. "That can't be a co- incidence. It has to be tied to the article."

"It's the ultimate in retaliation," he said. "If they are suspending his visitation because the child read the article and then had a conversation with the father about the article, and nothing more, that's outrageous and appalling."

Source: Arizona Daily Star

Addendum: Following bad publicity, Arizona CPS claims they never suspended visitation. They told the newspaper but they did not tell dad's lawyer.




● "Father who rebuked CPS loses right to visit with son," which ran on A1 Wednesday, included incorrect information from Child Protective Services about Oscar Silva's visitation with his remaining son. CPS spokeswoman Liz Barker Alvarez initially told the Star that Silva's visitation rights with his son were suspended after a story about the family ran on Sunday. On Wednesday, Barker Alvarez said the location and supervision has been changed, but that Silva still has visitation rights.

Silva's attorney said Wednesday evening that his client was given the same incorrect information as the Star about visitation being suspended, and that they have not been told otherwise.

Source: Arizona Daily Star