'Chickenpox party' draws attention of child protective services

'Chickenpox party' draws attention of child protective services

(CNN) - One mother says Child Protective Services came knocking because she hosted a chicken pox party.

Amanda Witt is among a number of North Texas parents who believe the best way for their children to stay healthy is to sometimes get sick.

"It's only this generation that's been conditioned to believe that it is somehow bad," Witt said.

The Plano mom moderates a private Facebook page for more than 300 parents who believe it's safer for their children to get chickenpox than to be vaccinated for it.

"When one child has chickenpox, we promote play dates throughout," Witt said.

Witt said she can usually handle critics who have their own page mocking her beliefs, but she said recently they've gone too far. She said an overseas Facebook group devoted to publicly shaming anti-vaccine parents reported one of her friends to Child Protective Services in Collin County. The agency then sent a case worker to the home.

"There hasn't been a law broken," Witt said. "Chickenpox parties are not considered dangerous, they're not illegal."

Criminal law attorney Pete Schulte said while he's never heard of parents being prosecuted for this, it is possible.

"If a child is introduced to the chickenpox and gets seriously ill or dies, then the parents could face criminal liability under the penal code."

The mother who said she was questioned by CPS would not agree to an on-camera interview, and the incident has spread fear among the anti-vaccine community.

"I'd like for my parental rights to be respected," Witt said. "I do not break the law. My children are well cared for."

A former Dallas County district attorney also said he's never heard of a parent being prosecuted for intentionally exposing their child to chickenpox. But he said it could be considered child endangerment.

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