Texas officials seek to reassure anxious parents over DNA and child ID kits
It is a tale of two towns. One where one family was so desperate to keep their five-year-old daughter safe that they posted a video to YouTube warning other parents to not use DNA kits for their children in part because they could be used to identify them. That family, known as “the D.A. family,” is fighting the legal battle surrounding their daughter. The other family, the “C.B. family,” has been fighting to have DNA kits for five years because they were so scared they made their parents, grandparents, and aunts sign affidavits saying there was no chance they would ever find the child.
But after an investigation, it appears that at least six law enforcement agencies have used the D.A. family’s story to justify allowing children to be identified without parental consent under state law.
A year after I interviewed the D.A. family, I received a call from Dallas County Sheriff’s Office officials in November, informing me that they had recently launched a new policy after learning through their own investigation that a Dallas County family, known as the B.A. family, was using the D.A. family’s story as an example of the wrong approach to DNA testing.
“We’re in the process of having our policies updated based on the recent investigation. We apologize for any confusion or problems this has caused,” the sheriff’s office stated.
Meanwhile, the C.B. family is continuing the fight. They were joined by other attorneys and law enforcement officials who have decided to join the C.B. family’s side in their legal battle against the Dallas County Family Network Services, a non-profit organization that works with Texas’ Department of Public Safety and Texas Department of Public Safety.
While the C.B. family’s legal struggle is ongoing, parents and families are still being tested.
“This is a difficult issue for all of us,” said John Rogers, the Dallas County district attorney. “This is an issue that we’ve worked very hard to try to address and the recent media coverage of this issue has brought about a greater awareness of the issues that exist.”
A year after I first met the D.A. family during a press conference outside the Dallas County Cour