Sunday night, Sept. 30 2018, a Taunton woman, Melissa Hope, 34 was arrested after a confrontation with a police officer who was assisting the DCF remove three children from her home. The DCF came to Hope’s home, which she shares with her husband, Matthew Hope, in an attempt to remove the children under the premises of “abuse” and “neglect”: these allegations included sexual assault and keeping the children in cages.
When the police showed up to the Hope’s residence, they were met with “obscenities shouted from an open window” (The Taunton Gazette) and both Melissa and Matthew stated that the police needed a warrant to enter the apartment, prompting police to explain that emergency situations don’t require warrants. The police then proceeded to enter the apartment by force; Melissa Hope blocked their way to the children, and “grabbed 24-year-old Patrolman Nicholas Kerr in the ‘area of his throat and neck’ and pushed him backwards ‘with a significant amount of force’ (The Taunton Gazette). Hope was charged for assault and battery, and pleaded not guilty; she was not charged for offenses related to the DCF investigation of child abuse and neglect, and these allegations weren’t discussed in court.
When dealing with tough cases like this, we must remind ourselves who needs our help the most. Amidst the mess and distractions that all too often accompany DCF cases, we need to remember the top priority in all child protection matters: for the safety, protection and well-being of children. The children in this case need to be prioritized: they have already been through enough. The children need a safe home environment, therapeutic intervention, and, hopefully, a family member who can take them in in this trying time. Tossing children into a limbo period of foster-care while under the custody of DCF does little to improve their mental and physical health; children need stability, children need familiarity, and children need to know that someone is putting their best interest above all else. Time does not stop for children who are removed from their parents, and the longer they swim about in uncertainty, the harder it will be for them to bounce back to a healthy and happy state.
Here at the Law Office of Kevin Patrick Seaver, we promise to never lose sight of what is just for those who deserve justice; we stand with children, we stand with families, and we stand with what is right.