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The Family Justice Resource Center: Standing With Families

Peoria, Ill. (WEEK) – The Family Justice Resource Center is a local organization that helps families facing wrongful allegations of child abuse. Sunday night, the organization turned to the community for help during their second annual fundraiser.

The group helps families who say they’ve been falsely accused get connected with specialists who can identify medical conditions that could be to blame.

Colin White’s grandson was reported after doctors found some healing fractures. White says that’s when the Department of Childcare and Family Services started to investigate his family for signs of child abuse.

“Everyone airs on the side of caution when it comes to children’s health and I understand that and I applaud that,” said White. “But we believe that they’re not using common sense, scientific-based medicine. That’s the bottom line.”

White says he is amazed by everything the resource center has been able to accomplish in a short period of time.

“This was a dream when my daughter and I were standing in that hospital room and Michelle had so much information. We thought why isn’t that out there? Why isn’t there a common place? Why can’t you just go to a website and find all of this? Well, this is the birth of that.”

Doug Parrott shares similar feelings as a grandfather that saw his family falsely accused of abuse that experts later found to be a medical condition.

“If it wouldn’t have been for the people involved in the Family Justice Resource Center, we wouldn’t have had the resources or the knowledge or the context to help defend our case,” said Parrott.

The Executive Director of the group knew something was wrong when her family was accused of fracturing her son’s skull and found out a blurred line in a CT scan wasn’t a fracture after all.

“When this happened to my family in 2010, I saw that there were weaknesses in the system and there were certain policies and practices that could be improved upon,” said Michelle Weidner.

Weidner says the FJRC works to advance science, ethics and due process for families that could be wrongfully accused.

“I’m just grateful that people are starting to hear this message that we are not against DCFS. We are not against child abuse pediatrics. We are for protecting children and we think there’s a better way to do that,” Weidner said.

The group is starting to work with statewide and national lawmakers to create more fair, balanced and evidence-based child abuse investigations. You can learn more about the FJRC’s team and events by clicking here.

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Mike Miletich

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