Several supporters of a Fresno couple accused of child abuse rallied in front of the Fresno County Superior Courthouse on Friday.
Valerie Whisenhunt and her partner Steven Shepard are accused of abusing their baby Kayden. Child Protective Services took away the child last November. The boy is currently living with Whisenhunt’s aunt. The parents are allowed visitations twice a week, one hour at a time.
Whisenhunt says CPS is seeking to permanently take away Kayden.
“My fiancé and I are completely devastated. I feel less of a mother since having my son stripped away from me. I was breastfeeding and creating a bond and enjoying my new family and now I no longer can do so,” Whisenhunt told GV Wire.
Carrying a sign reading “Give Me Back My Son,” Whisenhunt was joined by a dozen or so friends at the main courthouse.
In Court Next Week
The parents will be in juvenile dependency court on Tuesday, reports Pablo Lopez of Fresno Spotlight. The hearing will determine whether Kayden returns to his parents, or the baby is put up for adoption.
Lopez reported that a doctor at Valley Children’s Hospital became concerned about Kayden’s welfare, citing multiple fractures. He reported the case to CPS, which took the child away.
The parents say Kayden’s problems are caused by a rare medical condition, not abuse.
“We feel CPS has an evil motive towards us. CPS constantly wants to tear apart my family. They have not been following their policies and procedures. They have been harassing our family,” Whisenhunt said.
GV Wire reached out to Fresno County CPS and awaits a response.
For more on the story by veteran court journalist Pablo Lopez, read his in-depth account at Fresno Spotlight.