by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
A set of twins seized from their home in June by Shelby County DHR in Alabama may have to repeat the 8th grade, even though both were promoted by their school to the 9th grade. Family and friends are very concerned about the impact that the Department of Human Resources (DHR) will have on the twins’ education. There have also been numerous problems with visitation attempts with the twins.
Their family’s story has been at the heart of an ongoing series of articles from Health Impact News after one of the twins, a young rape victim, had her baby seized from her at Shelby County Baptist Medical Center on June 15 without a court order, warrant, or emergency circumstances.
See the original story: Alabama Child Protective Services Steals New-born Breast-feeding Baby from Rape Victim While Still at the Hospital
The story went viral with almost a million views in the first 24 hours after publication, and public outcry arose. In what many close to the situation believe was an attempt to cover their tracks, DHR seized the 14 year old mother and her twin brother the next evening from their home. The mother was placed in a group home with her baby, and her twin was placed into a foster home. He was recently transferred to a group facility that is 2 hours away from her.
Both twins were told last week by DHR officials that they would be going into the 8th grade when school starts, even though both of them completed the 8th grade in the spring. They were promoted by their school to the 9th grade before they were taken from their home.
The male twin told friends that the facility he is in got him a uniform last week for the 8th grade. The facility has their own school on campus. His twin sister will reportedly be attending a local public school near her group home.
Both are upset about the prospect of repeating the 8th grade. The 14 year old rape victim managed to pull out mostly A’s and B’s during the school year in which she was raped and became pregnant. Her baby was born shortly after the school year ended.
Her family has been very proud of the twins for their successful completion of Middle School in the midst of all that they experienced through the school year.
DHR supervisor Riane Hinton reportedly told the family that they don’t have the school records, and therefore, the twins will start school in the 8th grade this week, because of their age. They are 14, but they will be 15 next week, which means that they will then be the same age as the average 9th grader.
Health Impact News was able to obtain a copy of their report cards (see above), and we would be happy to share them with Hinton if they cannot otherwise obtain them from the school. She may contact us at this link: https://medicalkidnap.com/contactus/
Teacher Grandmother is Concerned
As a teacher herself, the twins’ grandmother is concerned about their education. Two of her other grandchildren missed high school credits due to DHR involvement interfering with their schooling. She was able to enroll them into a credit recovery program and they had to do a great deal of extra school work in order to graduate with their class. The family is afraid that DHR is setting the twins up for the same situation.
What kind of educational policy is this for the state to force children to repeat a grade that they have successfully completed, simply because they fail to obtain the proper records? How can the educational system allow this to happen? How is this “in the best interest of the child”?
The twins would like to attend their own school where their friends are. There is concern that DHR may use school as an excuse not to allow the children to go home, because a number of Alabama families have reported that judges don’t like to move kids back home in the middle of a school year. The families note that this concern never stopped social workers from moving children OUT of their homes and schools, but is often used as a justification for delaying reunification back into their own homes.
School starts Thursday, August 11, for Shelby County schools. School started Wednesday where the twins are currently being held, but neither attended school on that day. The twins and the family hope that DHR will do the right thing in their best interest and allow them to enter the grade they were promoted to at the end of last school year. There is no legitimate reason for them to repeat the 8th grade.
Visitation Rights being Violated by DHR
Generally when children are removed by child protective services, a visitation plan is put into place. Many parents all over the nation report that the system seems to do everything they can to interfere with the visitation with their children, and the Prince family is no exception. When they do have visits, the workers often hover over them in Gestapo-like fashion.
On Saturday, the twins were supposed to meet with their family. Supervisor Riane Hinton assured Mrs. Prince that they had 2 visits that weekend. The transporter brought the young mother and her baby to the place for visitation 40 minutes late, and her brother never made it at all. The family was told that there was a problem with the transporter. So his visit never happened that day.
The next visit was to be a visit to support their religious rights. They were to attend their church’s annual Back to School Bash, and one of the twins had a role in a presentation. He never made it. Shortly before the event was to occur, he called and told his family that the transporter never showed up. His family attempted to reach the facility, the social worker, and the supervisor. No one answered the phone. Health Impact News attempted to reach each of them as well to inquire why the teen wasn’t attending the religious function that had been promised to him, but no one answered any phone calls. The family was later told that the transporter was sick, and that no other arrangements could be made.
Thus, the young man missed both of his visits with his family last week.
He had a dentist appointment on Monday to get a cavity filled. DHR recently scheduled the appointment after a checkup they took him to revealed the cavity. However, he never made it to the dentist appointment either. His family had requested that he be allowed to have lunch with them before the dentist appointment since the visits didn’t happen, but that request was denied.
Instead of taking him to his dentist appointment, reportedly, DHR took him to another psychiatrist for a psychiatric evaluation. His family is fearful that they are trying to put their healthy family member onto psychotropic drugs, a practice which is all too common in foster children.
California’s Crisis: 1 Out of Every 4 Children in California’s Foster Care Prescribed Powerful Psychiatric Drugs
Family Locked in at Visits
Most of the visits with the family have been scheduled to take place at Hearthstone Family Services in Cullman, Alabama, which is a facility founded by attorneys who practice juvenile and family law (Source). According to the Facebook page of the facility:
We provide clients with a warm, inviting space that is comfortable for their children, like visiting a friend’s home.
The facility has mirrors and video cameras to monitor the visits, and once, when the twins asked for a drink at Hearthstone, the staff reportedly told them that drinks were only for their staff members.
The business is attached to attorneys’ offices, and is located across the street from DHR, but perhaps the most concerning thing about Hearthstone for the parents who visit there is that families coming for visitation are locked into the building without a way to escape in case of emergency. Several sources have reported to Health Impact News that the area for visitation is locked with a key, and the only way in or out is for a staff member to open it with a key. Once, family members reportedly waited while a worker fumbled with 5 different keys before he found the right one. The family was alarmed and wondered how anyone would be able to get out in case of a fire. They do not feel that they or the children are safe at Hearthstone.
Supervision of Twins in Public Feels like “Gestapo or the KGB”
The visits with the family are often overly supervised, as reported by several sources and witnessed by a Health Impact News investigator. The twins were permitted to attend the annual Kids Camp at their church two weeks ago – an event they have never missed in their lives. Though they were happy to be in their home church and visit with loved ones and friends, they felt smothered. Some observers felt like the Gestapo or the KGB was present.
On one night of the 3 night event, there were 7 government workers present to supervise the twins and baby Braelon. They supervised far more closely than was necessary or reasonable. The twin brother was allowed more freedom of movement, but the young mother was followed virtually everywhere she went within the church. In the sanctuary, the workers sat by her and wouldn’t even let the teenager sit with her family or friends. Once, they even followed her into the ladies room. Workers were observed taking her baby and holding him, which some present felt undermined the young mother.
How many workers are necessary to supervise a foster child? Could they not have observed from a seat across the room? Are foster children not allowed any normal freedom of movement, or is this a special allowance for the young mother? She was the victim of a crime, not the perpetrator, so why does the state of Alabama insist on treating her like a criminal?
Neither she nor her brother have had their cell phones returned since DHR took them from the teens on the 3rd day in their custody.
Newborn Baby Continues to Suffer in State Care
DHR has reportedly contracted with Solace Services to have one or more “sitters” watch the young mother around the clock. Everywhere she goes, in the group home, to her church, to the hospital, even to sleep, one of the hired sitters is right there by her side, watching every move, involved directly in the care of baby Braelon, whether the mother wants it or not.
The baby has been taken to the doctor and hospital with stomach pain on several occasions. He is being given gas drops, sometimes as often as every 4 hours. At least 2 doctors have stated that the baby, born on June 13, should not be given any apple or prune juice, because they are too acidic for such a young baby. This is in accordance with the recommendations of many health professionals and breastfeeding educators. Doctors told the mother and the workers that pear or white grape juice may be given once a day.
However, one of the sitters hired by DHR has been feeding the baby straight apple juice. The mother may be only 14, but she continues to demonstrate that she understands more about the proper care of her baby than the adults around her that have been forced into her life by DHR.
How You Can Help
Senator Cam Ward is the Senator for their district. He may be reached at 334-242-7873, or contacted here.
Representative April Weaver represents their district. She may be reached at 334-242-7731, or contacted here.
According to the Alabama Family Rights Association, ALFRA:
Alabama has a nine-member task force created to examine the work of the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR). If you have issues or concerns about DHR services, your best plan of action is to contact the following legislators/lawmakers and committee members:
Mac McCutcheon, State Representative, Task Force chair / 334-242-7705 / 256-655-3764 / email here
Chris England, State Representative / 334-242-7703 / 205-535-4859 / email here
Greg Reed, State Senator / 334-242-7894
The complete list of committee Members can be found here: Executive Order Number 11
Shelby County DHS Director Kim Mashego may be reached at (205) 669-3000, or contacted here.
DHR supervisor Riane Hinton may be reached at (205) 669 3093.
Wish the Twins a Happy Birthday
They will turn 15 on August 17. The family has a mailbox set up for anyone who would like to send cards and birthday wishes. The family will make sure that the cards reach the twins.
From the SAVE Braelon’s Family Facebook page:
It’s the twins birthday on August 17. We want everyone to send birthday cards to “Braelon’s Mom” and Braelon’s Uncle. Let’s make them KNOW they are not forgotten. Violations against them continue everyday!! The supervisor Sheri Whitehead has resigned!!! Others have resigned too. But still DHR remains hardened against this family! PLEASE WISH THE TWINS A HAPPY BIRTHDAY! It won’t be a good one as they are still hostages but knowing YOU care makes a huge difference. Thank you.
P O BOX 2296 Alabaster, AL 35007
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