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WKYT Investigates: A mother's fight for custody

  A mother, beaten by her boyfriend, lost custody of her children.  She says the state took them while she was in the hospital recovering from her injuries.  She says she did nothing to harm her children.  The Cabinet for Health and Family Services, while not commenting on this specific case, says they always protect the safety of children.  The mother says the state is protecting her children from the wrong people.

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Patsy Smith is a victim of domestic violence. "My car was completely packed when the domestic violence started." Smith says her boyfriend of more than three years had been drinking on June 28th of this year. She said arguing escalated between the two and she decided to take her children and leave.
"He tackled me to the ground and smashed my face in, I don't remember a whole lot of details still to this day."
Smith's injuries were so severe she was taken by helicopter to a UK Medical Center. Her boyfriend was charged with first degree assault.
Smith says she released herself from the hospital after several days. No one could tell her anything about her children.
"I called 911, reported my kids missing and they informed me that my kids were in foster care."
It's now been five months since she's had custody of six-year-old Rihanna, one- year- old Stormy and then two-month-old Michelle. Piles of paperwork and pictures are the only daily connection she has to her girls.
She says the state charged her with neglect surrounding the events on the day she was beaten. She says her children were never in harms way.
"I'm not trying to bash the state, I believe they believe they are protecting the kids but you're protecting the wrong people."
Smith says she's followed every guideline, rule and request by the state.
Heath Poland is the man who admits to beating Smith.
"The reason? Goodness. I couldn't give you a reason. Not one that would validate anything that happened on that day," Polland said.
Polland was released from jail just last week, when his case was dismissed.
Smith says she's not getting back together with Poland. They both admit they need help.
"I'm stunned that the state of Kentucky is holding a victim accountable for the perpetrators actions," Smith said.
We did reach out to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for their response to Smith's plea for her children.
Their statement reads:
Because of confidentiality laws, we can't comment on specific child protective services cases or confirm child placement in out of home care. The Department for Community Based Services investigates every report of child and adult abuse or neglect. In situations where a child is not safe in their home, foster care is often a temporary intervention until safety issues are resolved and the children can return home. Family reunification, when safe, is always our first priority.


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