The Matthew and Wilairat Hernandez family has been torn apart due to false accusations of child abuse against the mother by the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS). This situation is not unique, as every year in the United States, approximately 3 million reports of child abuse are made involving more than 6 million children. However, studies suggest that up to 10% of these cases may be unfounded or unsubstantiated (source: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services). In this case, there is strong evidence and testimony of many family members and friends that indicate Mrs. Wilairat Hernandez has been falsely charged and arrested for abusing their seven-month-old daughter, Emma, and her family unjustly separated. Their children, Emma and Arya, 3-years-11-months old were removed and placed in foster care.


On January 19, 2024, Juvenile Court Judge, Heather Dunn, has determined that Emma and Arya no longer need the protection of the state, and has ordered reunification to begin. However, Matt and Tuckey still have criminal abuse charges that must be resolved before full reunification can happen. They also still have a bond against them which prevents Matt and Tuckey from seeing their children together and cuts them off from their support system.

Here's how you can help us reunite this family

Email Governor Brian Kemp

We ask that you respectfully email the Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp and his Chief of Staff, Lauren Curry to demand action on this appalling situation.

Governor Brian Kemp,

As a citizen of ________ (enter your state here), I am calling on you to meet with Spike Cohen and You Are The Power, as well as the families that your Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) is tearing apart!

I am concerned about how Commissioner Candice L. Broce, the director of DFCS, the department responsible for the safety and well-being of our state’s most vulnerable families and children, allows her employees to seize children from factually innocent parents and place them into foster care.   

The catalyst for this wrong is the reliance on the opinions of child abuse pediatricians (CAPs), a relatively new subspecialty officially recognized by the American Board of Pediatrics in 2009. Between 2009 and 2019, the rate of reported abuse by medical professionals has increased by 55%. Although CAPs’ opinions are not legal decisions, DFCS treats them as such. The subjective opinions accepted as fact, often made within just hours of the child coming in for care, have extraordinary influence over the decision of DFCS to seize a child, even without a lawful supporting basis. Often, the evidence of abuse is refutable, and secondary medical opinion by DFCS is not sought until after a child has been seized, causing unnecessary trauma for children and their parents.  

DFCS partners with CAPs at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), where annually, 1,900 suspected victims of abuse and neglect are evaluated by a handful of doctors.

Independent investigative measures were undertaken by You Are The Power (YATP), a membership-based nonprofit whose network encompasses all 50 states, and found that a mistaken or overstated diagnosis of abuse by a CAP failed to present a factual basis for their findings and instead offered their opinion which resulted in the fracturing of numerous factually innocent Georgia families. CAPs did not identify themselves as such or notify parents that they were being investigated for potential child abuse. Unaware that a CAP was questioning them, parents offered ideas about the cause of their child’s injury, and the CAP saw this as a shift in the account of why they brought their child to the hospital. Moreover, the diagnosis of abuse was not supported by the totality of evidence: all medical records, the testimony of immediate family, or testimony from independent physicians or pediatricians who treated and cared for these children.  

YATP is currently supporting three Georgia families while vetting several more cases throughout Georgia, where DFCS, under the leadership of Commissioner Broce, relied on the sole opinion of a CAP and seized children from factually innocent parents. The fractured families are Matt and Tuckey Hernandez from Forsyth County, Brady and Carrie Timms from Gordon County, and Corey and Diana Sullivan from Camden County. These loving parents brought their medically fragile children to the hospital, seeking answers, and instead were falsely accused by a CAP of abuse. DFCS failed to investigate the claim properly, and the result of their negligence is a nightmare no parent should have to endure. They have had their children seized, were arrested for crimes that never occurred, and faced decades in prison. This could have been avoided if DFCS had done their lawful due diligence and adequately investigated the cases. Instead, DFCS has fractured these families, harming the very children they were supposed to protect. 

The national average for family reunification once a child protective agency has seized a child is 47%. Georgia has one of the nation’s lowest at 30%.

An alarming 4% of the 11,000 plus children in DFCS custody are reported as receiving “maltreatment in care.” Almost 5% of the children in DFCS custody are subjected to a “reoccurrence of maltreatment,” the majority are children of color. Statistically, doctors over-diagnose abuse in children they perceive as being lower-income or nonwhite.

Would you allow your family to board a plane with a 4% to 5% chance of crashing?

During Child and Family Services Reviews, case managers are regularly cited for not properly assessing all home members, updating assessments at critical junctions of the case, monitoring safety plans, conducting drug screenings where needed, and providing the proper supporting case documentation.

CAPs work directly with DFCS lawyers in cases where the state is seizing children, and their opinions help shape false narratives against innocent parents. This is questionable practice because cases where DFCS wants a child seized are heard in juvenile court, where the burden of proof is low, and parents have limited legal rights. Juvenile court judges, who side with DFCS recommendations upwards of 70% of the time in Georgia, allow CAPs to go well beyond their medical expertise and offer speculative testimony about their diagnoses in ways that attack and erode the cardinal rule of our criminal legal system: all are innocent until proven guilty.

The de facto position by DFCS against innocent parents is often adversarial, punitive, and antagonistic because case managers, juvenile court judges, law enforcement officials, and prosecutors accept a CAP’s opinion without question and fail to do their lawful due diligence and adequately investigate the allegations of abuse. The result is an imbalance of power that heavily favors the state and destroys the lives of innocent families.

One child and their factually innocent parents harmed by DFCS and its partnership with CAPs at CHOA is appalling. Still, dozens more represent processes that permit DFCS and CAPs to wield unilateral power in labeling abuse—even though none occurred—in dire need of reform and appropriate oversight.

We ask that you, Governor Kemp, meet with Spike Cohen, the President and Founder of You Are The Power, along with members of his Georgia leadership team and the families that DFCS has fractured, to engage in respectful, meaningful dialogue and discuss ways to move forward, heal, and prevent this nightmare from happening again.

These are Georgians. Not just numbers and statistics; they are human beings and deserve your respect.

Please meet with You Are The Power and these families to talk about their cases, the problems with your system, and fixes that can be made to put an end to this travesty.

Thank you for doing the right thing in this matter.


Respectfully submitted,



Please consider helping us continue to apply pressure to the government players who are responsible for this atrocity by respectfully emailing your concerns.  



Hello my name is [NAME] and I’m concerned about the pending criminal charges against both Matt and Wilairat Hernandez.

In Family Court, the standard of proof is the preponderance of evidence. Juvenile Court Judge Heather Dunn, in her ruling on January 19th, 2024, based on the facts of the case and witness testimony, has started the process to reunite the Hernandez family. Judge Dunn determined Arya and Emma are no longer dependent on the state for their care. 

However, as you know, the standard of proof in criminal matters is beyond a reasonable doubt. I sincerely believe that the elements of the crimes are not met and therefore successful prosecution is unlikely. I believe a jury of their peers will not find these loving parents guilty of the crimes they are being accused of.

Please consider the secondary trauma that is being inflicted upon this family by continuing this process to convict and incarcerate innocent parents who responsibly sought medical help for their daughter, Emma. I respectfully ask that you dismiss these charges immediately.



100% of all donations received through this link go directly to the Hernandez family to help pay for attorneys, court costs, bond payments, expert witnesses, missed work, visitations, and all of the many other expenses associated with fighting an uphill battle such as this. 

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The impact on families from such false accusations can be devastating – emotionally, financially and socially – often leading to long-term psychological trauma for both parents and children alike (source: American Psychological Association). It’s time we stand together against such injustices and support those families who have been wrongly accused of child abuse.

help us fight for human respect!