A death sentence: North Carolina Father dies after child protective services refuses to return children

Photo byJoseph Mcfalls

A North Carolina family is devastated and left with so many unanswered questions after their loved one unexpectedly passed away less than 2 weeks ago, just a few days after child protective services denied repeated requests for the man’s 2 children to be taken out of foster care. The tragic death of Joseph Mcfalls is proof that one can die of a “broken heart. “

Like millions of other Americans, Sham and Joseph battled addiction. The difference? They did what many people are often afraid to do. Realizing that they needed help, the young couple asked for it, they were both determined to get sober and recover from addiction.

The loving parents connected with an organization that assisted them with getting back on their feet and finding a place to stay. At some point child protective services became involved. According to the family, rather than intervening to further help this family, or following policy and procedure by placing the couple’s 2 children with a family member, CPS ripped the children away from their family and put them in foster care.


Sham and Joseph continued to push forward and improve the quality of their lives, maintain sobriety, work on their recovery, and become better parents. They received several certificates from classes they took, they found employment, passed their drug tests, and successfully completed everything that cps asked of them. The couple had planned on getting married in the upcoming weeks.

The continued effort and hard work weren’t good enough, roadblocks were continuously put in place to prevent the children from being reunited with their family, according to Joe’s sister Ashley.

Sham and Joseph requested a family team meeting and invited Joseph’s sister Ashley, along with Operation Stop CPS, an organization that fights against the injustices and corruption of child protective services throughout the United States. Although Joe’s sister was given the chance to join the team meeting via zoom, according to her, the department disabled her microphone so that the couldn’t speak on behalf of her brother and future sister in-law. The New Hanover County, NC DHHS Director Tonya Jackson also denied the families right to have Operation Stop CPS present to support them.

The Child & Family Team Meeting (CFT) was held for the family in New Hanover County, NC. Our organization was denied the right to advocate for the family! The Department stressed the family out so much that the father had 2 brain aneurysms after the CFT and is currently on LIFE SUPPORT! He is currently brain dead! The system killed this Father! Share this story! – Operation Stop CPS Founder Amanda Wallace


The department denied Sham and Joe’s request to have their children returned to their home. As a result of the stress induced by child protective services before and during the family team meeting, Joe had a brain aneurysm that he was unable to recover from. Joe Mcfalls died fighting for his children to come home.

The twist: Sham and Joe have three children total, the baby that presently resides in their home and the two children that were placed in foster care. As to why child protective services allowed one child to remain in the home but refused to return the other two children is currently unknown.

Operation Stop CPS is asking the public for assistance with emailing Tammy Shook from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (Tammy.shook@dhhs.nc.gov) and demanding that the McFalls children be reunified with their family so they can begin to heal from this trauma. According to another Instagram post, “the state is very aware of this case.”

This is a developing story. We are working to confirm additional details. Check back for the latest updates as they come in. 

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