Help Us Save Mikey
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STOP CHILD ABUSE!
Since infancy, Mikey was abused and neglected "allegedly" at the hands of his mother and her paramours. He was frequently subjected to criminal activity, trauma, and violence on a daily basis. Reports to DCFS were not properly investigated, so it went ignored even though there was substantial proof within police and medical reports. Mikey had been burned, beaten, thrown, and tied up so tightly he had rope burns. Close to twelve complaints had been relayed to DCFS concerning Mikey’s care; and yet, those investigations were all deemed “unfounded”. Shortly thereafter, however, Mikey’s mother was arrested for manufacturing a meth lab in her home and Mikey was removed on an emergency order. Since, four year old Mikey has been living in a loving, structured and supportive environment with his father. But this home is now being threatened.
HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?
The judicial system in McClean County Illinois failed to protect him. They barred testimony from crucial witnesses in his custody battle, citing that the “case is not about the best interest of the child”, and ordered the father who had previously been awarded sole physical and legal custody to return to the state with the boy or face contempt of court. This order came two years after Michael Cadena Sr. and his son relocated to Massachusetts due to numerous threats of physical harm by the maternal grandfather and male friends of the mother in Illinois as allowed by the UCCJA and PKPA laws. The court did this knowing that returning the child could re-traumatize him and went against the recommendations of Mikey’s pediatrician, psychologist, and play therapist combined.
This is not the first time the McClean County judicial system or Illinois DCFS have failed to protect children in these circumstances. In March of 2009, Amy Leichtberg lost her two young children after the same State’s Attorney and judges ignored her continual pleas for help. Similarly with Mikey’s mother, they instead aided Amy’s ex-husband as he worked toward supposed redemption. Despite his odd behavior and criminal record, her husband received the benefit of the doubt from police, prosecutors and a family court judge. Her husband, (a man who vowed often to harm her, himself, and violated a protective order 56 times) killed himself and the children while out on a court ordered unsupervised visit.
In April of 2017, 17 month old Semaj Crosby was found dead under a couch in her home hours after a DCFS well-being check. Semaj and others within the home were subjects of half a dozen Illinois DCFS investigations, some in relation to drug abuse or corporal punishment. Like in many of Mikey’s investigations, hers were also deemed “unfounded”. It was later discovered by the Chicago Tribune that the agency purposefully filed delayed reports related to Semaj’s case to make it appear as though they had been actively investigating claims of child abuse and neglect all along.
In addition to Semaj’s case, then Illinois DCFS director George Sheldon came under fire for controversial contracts and hires. Also that year, a state child welfare probe uncovered that Illinois DCFS investigators had launched contests that awarded $100 gift card to workers who closed the most cases in a month. Most often it was discovered that these cases would be closed without basic information being gathered leaving the children involved in dangerous situations. George Sheldon has since resigned.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Currently, Mikey’s case is under review by Chief Justice Judge Casey of Norfolk County, Massachusetts and he has a chance for a fair hearing in a state that is known to always look out for a child’s well-being. Child abuse should not be tolerated. The system failed Mikey once and we can’t let them do it again. Now more than ever, Mikey’s story needs to be told. We need the public to see the injustice this poor boy has endured and continues to face. No child should ever be forced back into the arms of their abuser.
PLEASE SUPPORT OUR CAUSE!
While we wait for a ruling, we are fighting to give Mikey a voice. Please sign our petition to help keep Mikey safe in his father’s care and raise awareness of child abuse. To learn more about his story or to follow our campaign, click the Mikey's Story link below or visit us at Help Us Save Mikey on Facebook.
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