COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Former Colorado Springs Council member Charles Wingate said he doesn't think it will take too long to get his son back. That it is simply a matter of cleaning house.
The department of human services, however, said-- not so fast. Cases are different for every family.
DHS could not talk specifics about the Wingate family and their home, but it said the goal is always to reunify the family if that is the best thing for the child.
It's been almost a week since police entered the Wingate. What they said they found was hard to stomach—trash, human waste, and rodents. Among all of that - they said - was a naked 13-year-old boy with autism.
Wingate's son was taken by child protective services.
"There may be some dead rodents in the house. I don't know where they came from," said Wingate of his home.
Wingate said he felt he could just clean his home and get his son back, but cleaning a condemned home is more than washing dishes, or wiping down dirty counters.
"We are not talking about the minimal dirty home. The dirty home that you and I might think, ‘Oh, I don't want my mother to come and visit me because my house looks like this,'" said Karen Logan with DHS.
Child Protective Services also uses special plans to check-in with families who have had their children taken away and then been reunited.
"Something has caused an issue that brought that home to the condition it was in, and that is what we need to make sure we are addressing, not just the condition of the home," said Logan.
The boy in this case is Autistic, but CSPD said he can speak, and that the boy said he couldn't remember being outside this home.
Wingate and his wife Sharon Starkey are facing misdemeanor child abuse charges, but are denying they forced the boy to stay inside.
If you suspect a child is suffering from abuse or neglect you can call this 24-hour hotline 719-444-5700.