Balloon Boy Hoax Scenario: What About the Kids?

By Neetal Parekh on October 21, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

One week later, and the balloon boy saga continues to capture curiosity and headlines.  But before you start hearing about the sale of movie rights, there are  very real federal investigations and felony charges to contend with.  First, there are the criminal charges that may be levied against the Heene family under Colorado state law.  And the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has also initiated an investigation for violation of aviation regulations or of the FAA's regulatory authority, which could result in civil charges.

The reaction of disbelief and chagrin for the hoax involving the Heene's six-year-old son, Falcon Heene, has also put the spotlight on the Heenes as parents.  Local Child Protective Services (CPS) have been pinged by the sheriff's department to determine whether the living environment is safe for the Heene children.

What factors will CPS consider when determining child safety?

According to the Larimer County Child Protection website the local CPS investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect.  A team of caseworkers responds to reports of possible child abuse, which can be referred by law enforcement, schools, medical providers, or any concerned citizen. 

What could that mean for the Heene family?

Referrals to the local Larimer County CPS have the potential to lead to temporary placement of children in foster or kinship care.  Additionally, if charges are brought against the couple, the family may have to consider how to address the children's parenting needs as the cases proceed in court.


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