How Did CPS MISS The Abuse Of Ruby Franke For Years?

Sep 19, 2023, 10:06 PM

It's a question that has left millions of fans bewildered: How does a prominent YouTube influencer, adored by millions, become a subject of a shocking child abuse investigation?

Ruby Frankie, the face behind the popular YouTube channel "8 Passengers," along with her business partner Jody Hildebrandt, have been thrust into the spotlight, and not for their usual content. Their arrest followed a harrowing 911 call by a neighbor after discovering an emaciated 12-year-old boy, his wrists and ankles bound with duct tape, knocking at their door. This dark turn of events, which Tony Brueski of the "Hidden Killers" podcast termed a "chilling revelation," has shaken the social media community to its core.

“You know, that was a question I had too, because, as you said, there are so many eyes on this family and they're broadcasting their parenting," Eric Faddis, a former Felony Prosecutor, weighed in on the recent episode of "Hidden Killers."

Indeed, their platform was a window into their lives, or at least what they chose to display. But as Tony posited, how did the world go from watching trivial incidents on her YouTube channel, such as Ruby's refusal to bring lunch to her child at school, to hearing about allegations of child abuse, malnutrition, and possible starvation?

A few sharp-eyed viewers had already raised concerns about the "8 Passengers" content, deeming some parental choices as potentially harmful. This led to a petition urging child protective services (CPS) to investigate. The service did step in, but found no grounds to act at the time.

Adding more complexity to the narrative, Faddis mentioned the defense called "reasonable parental discipline," which can be employed in child abuse cases. The defense allows parents to justify their actions as their parenting style if they believe it was "reasonable." The line between strict parenting and abuse can sometimes blur, but the events surrounding the Frankies indicate a much more severe scenario.

There's also the haunting revelation that one of Ruby's older children, currently in college, had previously alerted CPS about the conditions at home. "Why was this not investigated further when you literally have a child going, 'Hey, my mom's crazy. She's abusing us,'" Brueski lamented. This revelation puts CPS under scrutiny. Critics argue that the organization sometimes fails to act even when confronted with glaring red flags, while others believe it often oversteps its boundaries.

Faddis offered a potential solution to the challenges plaguing CPS. "I would strongly push for is evidence-based standards," he shared. Rather than leaving decisions solely to the subjective judgment of caseworkers, introducing concrete, evidence-backed standards on parenting, nutrition, and discipline might lead to more accurate evaluations.

It's undeniable that the case of Ruby Frankie and Jody Hildebrandt serves as a stark reminder of the perils that may lurk behind the curated images of social media stardom. While fans grapple with the shocking revelations, it's essential to remember the broader picture. As Brueski and Faddis highlighted, there's an urgent need for reform and introspection in child protection systems.

As investigations continue and the full story unfolds, one question remains: How many other cases have gone unnoticed, hidden behind the veil of online fame?

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