OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — An Opelousas mother wants answers after her daughter was wrongly taken by Child Protective Services (CPS).
Courtney Richard says her daughter was not the child CPS was supposed to pick up saying they took the wrong child.
She says she knew her 14-year-old was in Lafayette with CPS only because her daughter was texting her while the situation was unfolding.
“What if my child didn’t have her cell phone, we wouldn’t know where my child was,” Richard added.
As a mother, Richard claims she was in the dark the entire time.
“The school needs to pay more attention to what they are doing,” she said.
Richard says she got her family involved because she was having trouble getting answers from the school.
“My brother-in-law end up calling me and said Nicole, they got the wrong person. I said what they came and got the wrong child, Nicole Harrison said.
St. Landry Parish School Superintendent Dr. Patrick Jenkins says CPS came with credentials to do an emergency extraction of a child.
“The school could not contact the parents because it was involving parents,” Dr. Jenkins stated.
He says CPS did not have a description of who they came to pick up, and the child they got did not have ID on her at the time.
“The same last name and very similar first name with a difference of one letter. The child responded to the name that was called. It was a mistake, and we don’t want those types of things to happen. We went through all the protocols that we knew of,” Jenkins stated.
Richard says they’re still baffled by how the school can allow a child to be taken without being certain who the child is.
“When you called her to the office you should have checked, CPS people should have checked. You get all the way to Lafayette and then you check it out. That’s on your book,” Harrison added.
“Wrong person, we’re sorry” and that’s it,” Richard explained.
The superintendent says the parents were notified and apologized to by both CPS and the school principal.
The Richards say they’re speaking because they don’t want what happened to them to happen to someone else.