Comments by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News
Reporter Bob Ortega of the Arizona Republic has published an expose on the atrocities of Arizona child kidnapping happening within the state’s Department of Child Safety (DCS). We welcome this new report from the Arizona Republic, who has reported over the past several years that Arizona has the highest percentage of children taken out of their homes of any state in the U.S. Only Texas, a state with 4 times the population of Arizona, removes more children from their families.
According to the Arizona Republic:
This story is the first in an ongoing investigation of child-welfare issues in Arizona. In 2016, when the number of children removed from their families peaked at over 18,000, the Arizona Community Foundation gave The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com a three-year grant to support in-depth research on the topic. As part of that effort, reporter Bob Ortega and our other experts investigate the reasons behind the surge in foster children and the systems meant to support and protect them. Through our reporting and editorial pages, we seek solutions to those problems.
But will this report correctly identify the problems, before seeking solutions? Too often these kinds of reports covered in the mainstream media take the line that the reason child social services are failing is due to lack of funding, and lack of staff. But these are not the real underlying problems, and any report that ignores the massive amounts of federal funding these states receive for foster care and adoption, will never truly expose the real corruption that allows these child kidnappings to continue.
MedicalKidnap.com, part of the Health Impact News network, originally started because of parents in Arizona reporting to us that the state of Arizona was kidnapping their children, usually through medical kidnapping where parents were disagreeing with doctors and then losing their children. We were among the first ones to report the alleged travesty of justice regarding one Arizona mother, Melissa Diegel, who lost her two children because she disagreed with doctors over their care.
Health Impact News has published more stories about alleged corruption in child kidnapping in Arizona than any other state.
For our previous coverage of the problems in Arizona, see:
Arizona Continues Record Pace of Taking Children out of Homes into State Custody – Now 1 of every 100 Children in Foster Care
Arizona’s DCS: Why are kids taken away? Too often the answer is unknown
When Arizona workers refused to let Maribel Ontiveros see her son Christopher at the hospital, then came to her house three days later at 3:30 in the morning to take away her other two children, she kept asking what seemed a simple question: Why?
More than a year later, she’s still asking.
Ontiveros and her common-law husband, Antonio Garcia, a house painter, had never had any run-ins with the police or child-welfare workers before they took their son Christopher, then 13, to Phoenix Children’s Hospital in August 2015. They hoped doctors could figure out why he’d started having debilitating panic attacks. The hospital kept the boy for observation.
But after several daily visits to Christopher, one Saturday, security guards refused to let his parents see him.
“‘You have to talk to DCS,’ they said,” remembered Ontiveros.
Shocked, confused, she called DCS, Arizona’s Department of Child Safety. But “they said they couldn’t give me any information,” she said.
Nor would DCS caseworkers say why they’d come, early on Sunday, when they knocked on the door in the dark and demanded to see the couple’s daughter Carolina, 9, and their son Irving, 16.
They wouldn’t say why when they returned with two police officers a few hours later and took the children away in a van, as Ontiveros sobbed and Garcia filmed their removal on his cellphone. He tried to calm her, saying it had to be a mistake they’d soon sort out.
All the caseworkers left the parents was a piece of paper with the vague word, “neglect.”
The Garcia Ontiveros family isn’t alone in finding that DCS can seem to be an informational black hole. There are a great many questions about why DCS removes children that the agency itself can’t, today, answer — because no one there knows.
Why does DCS remove so many children? Are Arizona parents simply the worst in the country? Or is something else going on?
Continue reading the story at azcentral.com.
Medical Kidnapping Stories from Arizona
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