by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
Kaya Thomas, a South Carolina mother, is wondering how the state can justify taking custody of her 2 year old daughter, Egypt, when they admit that she has done nothing wrong to harm her daughter. Egypt was taken into custody when her biological, non-custodial father, almost beat her to death during a visit with her. The father is currently in prison serving an 18 year prison sentence for the crime he was convicted of committing.
When it came time for little Egypt to leave the hospital, her mother Kaya Thomas says that the Department of Social Services kidnapped her child and placed her in foster care, because they decided that she was incapable of taking care of her child who is now labeled as “special needs.”
Instead of working with her to train her in how to take care of her daughter, the state of South Carolina provided a home health nurse 20 hours a day to a foster family that is unrelated to the child. Kaya tells us this option was never offered to her, even though she is the mother.
While in the care of the foster home, the child was allegedly abused sexually by her home health care nurse, who has since been arrested and incarcerated.
Now, they want to terminate Kaya’s parental rights and adopt her out, even though, in their own words, she “was not accused of inflicting the injuries.” She doesn’t understand how her child can be taken “for something I had nothing to do with.”
Advocate Adrienne Lomax has been working with Kaya to help her get her baby back. She has spent time with her and has watched Kaya parent her 5 year old daughter Sha’kyah, who is now back home with her mother, after being taken by DSS and placed into foster care at the same time that DSS seized custody of Egypt, who is now 3.
Regarding Kaya’s parenting skills, Adrienne told Health Impact News:
She is one of the best mothers I have ever seen in my life. She loves her children. Her kids are her life.
Adrienne believes this has nothing to do with Kaya’s ability to care for Egypt, but everything to do with money:
With her having a disability, they can keep her in foster care indefinitely and keep drawing that money on her. The foster parents can keep drawing the stipend for her, and DSS can keep drawing the federal incentive money [provided for by the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997.] They don’t want the incentives to stop for keeping her in foster care.
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Here is the family’s story:
Egypt was born on September 11, 2013. As a single mother in South Carolina, Kaya Thomas had sole custody. Even though the law in her state did not require her to share custody, she believed that it was the right thing to do to allow her baby and her father to bond. The father had never shown any signs of aggression or inability to care for their child, and he often texted how much he loved Egypt, so Kaya allowed her daughter to have bi-monthly weekend visitation in her father’s care. She wanted her to have a relationship with her father.
In October of 2014, Egypt came home from a visit with a small bruise under her eye. Because no one could tell her what had happened to her baby, Kaya reported the incident to the police. The Laurens Police Department investigated, and reportedly told Kaya that the injury “could very well be accidental in nature” and that “the bruise is inconsistent with abuse.” The report was “unfounded.” Kaya believed the police because they were the experts and they knew how to investigate such things. She never saw any other indication that gave her reason to suspect her former boyfriend could be a danger to her baby.
Indeed, a later background check of the father reportedly done by an attorney turned up no reason for concern either.
Nightmare Phone Call: Child Not Expected to Live
On February 23, 2015 Kaya got a horrifying phone call telling her that her baby had been rushed to the emergency room with bleeding on the brain. When she arrived at Greenville Memorial Hospital, Egypt was in brain surgery. Because of the nature of her injury, Kaya was surprised that the police had not been called yet, so she called them. When Egypt got out of surgery, doctors told her that her child would not live 24 hours, and if she did survive, she would be a vegetable. Kaya started praying, and Egypt lived. She spent the next month in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
The father was accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome and arrested the following day. He later confessed to throwing Egypt on the couch. In his confession, he reportedly stated that he didn’t shake the baby but he punched her in the head. According to FOX Carolina, he pled guilty to Child Abuse and was sentenced in July 2016 to 18 years in prison. (Source.)
Because of his abuse, Egypt suffered a traumatic brain injury and is forever changed. She still cannot eat on her own and requires a feeding tube. She is wheelchair bound, partially blind, and suffers from daily seizures. She requires round the clock care.
It is this care that the state of South Carolina alleges that Kaya is not able to give. For that reason, they placed Egypt into foster care, and they want to terminate Kaya’s parental rights.
Egypt Kidnapped by State After Mother Asks for Second Opinion
Kaya has a learning disability. As her advocate Adrienne Lomax explains, that doesn’t mean that she cannot learn. It just means that it takes her longer, and she benefits from hands-on training.
That allegedly did not stop Greenville Memorial Hospital Child Abuse Specialist Dr. Nancy Henderson and another forensic doctor, neither of whom performed a medical evaluation on Kaya, from telling DSS that Kaya was incapable of caring for her child. One doctor who testifies against her said that the fact that she asked questions more than twice demonstrated that she cannot take care of Egypt.
Despite Kaya’s own disability, when Egypt’s injuries first happened, Kaya began researching her condition and anything that she could find about treatment options. As a woman of faith, Kaya refused to accept the doctors’ grim prognosis for her daughter, standing in prayer for Egypt’s healing.
She decided to ask that Egypt be sent to Charleston for a second opinion. Lomax says that the people at Greenville Memorial Hospital did not like that and denied her request. When it was finally time for Egypt to be released from the hospital, DSS placed her and her sister Sha’kyah into separate foster homes.
Could it be that the request for a second opinion is partly responsible for Egypt not being allowed to go home with her mother? Health Impact News has reported numerous stories where hospitals have become adversarial when parents request a second opinion. What used to be considered due diligence is now perceived as a threat, and children have been medically kidnapped following their parents’ request for a second opinion.
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Child Sexually Assaulted in Foster Care by Home Health Care Nurse
The state is providing a home health nurse for 20 hours per day to the foster parents for Egypt’s care, begging the question – Is training even necessary in order for the child to live at home with her own mother? Couldn’t the state provide a home health nurse if the child were in her own home?
As it is, a nurse hired by DSS to provide care in the foster home was apparently not properly vetted, and the state of South Carolina has allegedly allowed serious harm to come to Egypt under their protective custody. Peggy Louise Atkins was the home health nurse attending Egypt in the home of the foster parents. She worked for a company employed by Medicare. In April of last year, Atkins was arrested and charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct with a minor in the 1st degree. Local news station WSPA has reported that the warrant cited witness testimony and photographic evidence of Atkins’ crimes against the child who could not even tell anyone that someone was hurting her.
Peggy Atkins is still awaiting trial.
Kaya was devastated to learn about the abuse that she said would never have happened in her own care. She told Health Impact News that, had the nurse been in her home, she would have been watching her. She also would have been paying attention to learn more about how to care for her child’s medical needs.
Atkins has reportedly been compelled to relinquish her nursing license. Kaya Thomas received a letter last month from the North Carolina Board of Nursing stating that Atkins has voluntarily given up her nursing license in exchange for the board ceasing further proceedings in the matter of the sexual abuse of Egypt.
The abuser was charged, but the abuse happened in the home of the foster parents. DSS never blamed the foster parents for allowing harm to come to their charge in their home.
Kaya doesn’t understand the apparent double standard being shown by DSS.
DSS Refuses to Allow Mother Training Needed to Care for Her Child
According to court documents, DSS alleges that Kaya is “unable to provide minimally acceptable care for Egypt” due to her medical condition. Because of Egypt’s complex medical situation, she requires round-the-clock care. Kaya has documented requests over the past two years to DSS and her social worker for training to care for her daughter, all of which has been denied.
She has made many calls and written many letters to different places seeking the training she needs, including a school for the deaf and blind, Meyer Center, Babynet, Nurse Lines GHS at St. Francis hospital, schools, doctors, and any program she can think of. They all tell her that the child has to be in her care for her to be trained. They all say that they could train her if they have a referral from DSS – a referral that DSS refuses to give her.
This is very unfair, says Kaya. They keep telling her that she needs to be trained but they will not give her the opportunity. In one text to her social worker Gretchen Dalton, she wrote:
I really wanna be there so I can learn and get knowledge of my daughters care.
Despite the lack of cooperation from DSS, Kaya has taken classes on her own and has become certified by the American Heart Association in Heartsaver First Aid CPR AED (automated external defibrillator).
She has certificates for other classes that DSS has asked her to do, including parenting classes, Nurturing Parent classes, a 12 week course in an anger management therapy group, and Stewards of Children’s Training. She has demonstrated a willingness and ability to complete any training that is needed; DSS simply refuses to allow her to get the training she most needs and desires.
Kaya is accused of lacking “the ability … to provide the required level of care” for Egypt.
Faith in God Used Against Her
Because Kaya has a strong faith in God and belief in miracles, Kaya says that social workers see that as evidence that she is too stupid to care for her child. They have reportedly told her that, because she is holding onto belief that God will completely heal and restore Egypt, she demonstrates a poor grasp of the seriousness of her daughter’s condition.
That is not what is happening, Kaya explained to Health Impact News. She recognizes that Egypt needs continuous care, and she is trying hard to get the training she needs. However, she has seen evidence of the power of God in her daughter’s life. Originally, they were told that Egypt wouldn’t survive, or if she did, she would be a vegetable.
She was told that she would never talk, but she is beginning to say phrases.
When doctors said that she needed a particular surgery on her skull, bone grew back on its own – something that only had a 1% chance of happening. No surgery was needed.
She watched Egypt go from having 10 seizures a day to only about 3 per week.
They said she would never show emotion, but she does.
Egypt smiles now when she hears her mother’s voice. She is improving, albeit slowly. Kaya has faith that Jesus is the Great Physician, and that God is not finished with her baby yet. Does that make her “ignorant” or does it show a woman with incredible faith and strength?
Services Are Available, But DSS Withholds Them
Adrienne Lomax sees Kaya Thomas as one who continues to overcome the odds. They understand that Egypt needs a great deal of care, but according to Adrienne:
For everything they [DSS and doctors] say she can’t do, there are resources out there available to her to make it possible. The state just is not offering the resources to her.
Adrienne says she asked Kaya what she would do in case of an emergency. Her response was the same as anyone else:
I’d call 911.
She is resourceful and has a support system. She has worked to comply with all of the demands by DSS. Her 5 year old daughter was returned home to her last year, and is allegedly thriving and happy at home.
DSS Seeking Termination of Parental Rights
Kaya Thomas has a permanency hearing scheduled for February 1 and 2. DSS is seeking the termination of Kaya’s parental rights for Egypt, even though they acknowledge that Kaya did not hurt her child. DSS has decided that:
it is in the best interest of the defendant child that the termination of parental rights … be granted and that the dependent child, Egypt Morales, be placed for adoption.
Further, DSS requests to “have full and complete authority” to:
give written consent to any necessary hospitalization, inoculation, medical, psychiatric or psychological treatment, surgical or dental care.
They have petitioned the court to “be relieved of offering services to” Egypt’s mother.
How You Can Help
There is a Facebook page set up for the family called Prayers for EGYPT.
Kaya Thomas and her supporters want to know why the same services that are being provided to the foster parents to care for her medically fragile, special needs child cannot be provided to her, so that Egypt can live with her own family.
The new governor of South Carolina is Henry McMaster. He may be reached at (803) 734-2100 or contacted here.
The Senator for Kaya Thomas’ district is Karl B. Allen. He may be reached at (803) 212-6008 or contacted here.
Representative Chandra E. Dillard represents the district. She may be reached at (803) 212-6791 or contacted here.
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