Ball park lemonade lands boy in foster care

Filed under: Big Kids, Just For Dads, Weird But True, Alcohol & Drugs

A few weeks ago, Christopher Ratte took his 7-year-old son Leo to see a ballgame in Detroit. Upon arriving at Comerica Park, they bought some refreshments - a beer for dad, a lemonade for Leo - and settled into their seats to watch the Tigers. But what should have been a fun day of father-son bonding turned into an unbelievable nightmare when a security guard spotted Leo and his lemonade. Turns out that what dad purchased wasn't regular lemonade, but hard lemonade. If you don't know about hard lemonade, you are not alone. Christopher Ratte had no idea that the beverage his son had been sipping on for nine innings contained 5% alcohol.

Ratte explained his mistake to the security guard who promptly confiscated the lemonade and called the cops. Leo was taken to a hospital where he was examined and found to have no alcohol in his blood.

"Obviously, I made a mistake in buying this lemonade, which I didn't realize was alcoholic," Ratte said. "I probably should have read the label carefully, so I'm not critical of the police who were concerned. I just thought they overreacted terribly."

Just how much did they overreact? Instead of releasing Leo to his parents, he was taken into custody by Wayne County Children's Protective Services and spent the weekend in foster care. When he was finally released to his mother, his father was ordered to move out of the house. Christopher Ratte spent spent two weeks in a hotel before the case was dropped and he was allowed back home with his family.

CPS may have dropped the case, but Christopher Ratte has not. He and his wife have filed a formal complaint with the CPS ombudsman's office claiming the treatment they received was excessive.

This story makes me angry, sad and a little scared for families living within the reach of Wayne County Child Protective Services.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.