*Note: In light of new information, we now know that CPS did indeed investigate the Duggar family. However, two important facts remain true: 1) the National Report, which initially reported the claim, is still a satirical site, and 2) Arkansas CPS had not made the claimed statements in a press release. It’s impossible to know whether the satirical story was based on inside knowledge, or whether it is mere coincidence, or a good guess based on the Duggars’ current circumstances..*
Reports that Arkansas’ Child Protective Services department is investigating the Duggar family as a result of Josh Duggar’s admission of guilt in molestation allegations are flying across the internet — but they’re just not true. Barring any new allegations of more recent abuse incidents, the Duggar family is probably safe from investigation for now.
On Wednesday, several sites reported that CPS had launched an investigation into the Duggar household. The reports were startling, carrying quotes from the state’s CPS employees. This in itself should raise red flags, though: it would be unusual for CPS workers to speak openly about an ongoing or yet-to-begin investigation.
It runs out that all stories of the investigation can be traced back to a single source: the National Report. The site reports on the case as follows.
“A representative from the Arkansas Child Protective Services made the following statement via press release: ‘The recent admission of guilt from Josh Duggar surrounding his guilt in abuse of children is not only troubling, but it is a clear sign that our involvement is needed. With our current knowledge of the events that transpired in the Duggar home, it would be against the law for our organization to turn a blind eye to the potential abuse transpiring in the home.’ “
There are a few problems with this statement: there are no allegations of abuse in the Duggar home currently, and it’s not clear which “Duggar home” the CPS rep refers to. After all, Josh no longer shares a home with any of the victims.
More importantly, though, the National Report is a satire site. Some of the stories on it are loosely based on real events, but they just aren’t true.
Other sites, such as the Daily Kos, briefly picked up the story.
However, these stories were quickly removed, corrected, or retracted as it became clear that the original source was false.
It does appear, though, that Arkansas’ agencies for child protection did investigate the Duggar family while Josh was still living in the household, shortly after the 2006 investigation by police. According to NY Daily News, Josh and the Arkansas Department of Human Services found themselves in court some months after the police report.
While the records directly relating to the case are sealed, it’s considered likely that the DHS investigated the Duggar family, and that Josh took advantage of his right to appeal and challenge whatever findings DHS may have had.
It’s impossible to know exactly what transpired, but the DHS findings and ruling may have been altered or sealed due to evidence that Duggar had spent time in a treatment facility. (Remember, at this time, Bill Gothard, the man behind the treatment center where Josh is said to have gone, had not yet been accused of sexually grooming and molesting minors, so the “treatment” may not have been questioned in the way it would have been shortly after those accusations surfaced.)
However, this investigation would have taken place in the months immediately following Josh’s police investigation — there is no evidence to suggest that there is an investigation into the Duggar family home taking place now.
[Image via Screengrab]