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Kids in Crisis

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The removal sets off an agonizing process for the Pitcock family, state caseworkers and Judge Payne, who has the ultimate authority over when or if Karl, Brent and Amber will return home.

Karl and Brent moved in with their great grandparents.  Cary and Michelle get to see their boys twice a week. Even though the boys are with relatives, Judge Payne admits there is unknown trauma ahead.

And what about 13-year old Amber? She’s told her parents she wants to be placed in foster care with Cary and Michelle’s former neighbors, a couple her parents strongly object to.  But that’s exactly where Amber is sent.

Cary and Michelle split their time between their own home and visiting the boys at Cary’s grandparents.  They complete drug assessment classes, anger management and continue in family counseling. So why doesn’t Judge Payne return the boys home?

Everyone involved in this case admits it will take even more time to figure out what’s best for Amber. After all, it’s Amber who accused Cary of abuse, and there are hints that there is even more conflict to come for these stressed out parents.

Ninety days - that’s what it took for Cary and Michelle to complete court ordered counseling; Ninety days, the time it took for the state to report to Judge Payne that the Pitcocks were fit to be parents again.  Ninety days, the number of days Karl and Brent spent in relative foster care.

Exactly three months after the traumatizing night they were taken away, Karl and Brent Pitcock were finally back home with their mom and dad. 
Son Karl and father Cary Pitcock back together

Even though the boys are back, Amber remains in foster care.  No one can say for certain when – or if – she’ll ever return home.

MSNBC TV has been tracking the progress of the Pitcock family for more than two years. It’s no surprise the chaotic events that started with Amber accusing her stepfather of abuse and ending with the removal of her brothers from her parents custody had an emotional toll. Amber went through a year of intense counseling before she returned home.  And after months of trauma, turmoil and finally getting everyone back under one roof, the final chapter to this story may-- or may not -- surprise you.

Cary and Michelle Pitcock divorced shortly after the interview.  The couple shares joint custody of Karl and Brent. The boys live with Cary while Michelle and Amber live close by.  What happened to the Pitcock family highlights the debate raging between parent’s rights advocates and child welfare professionals about what is ultimately best for the kids. It’s impossible to know what might have been, if the state had never visited this one Indianapolis home. 

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