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Baby Seized at Birth from Breast-feeding Alabama Mother to go Home More than 1 Year Later

Haly and Avyonna Sept 2017

Avyonna is coming home! Photo supplied by family.

by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff

An Alabama baby seized more than a year ago from her mother by Shelby County DHR (Department of Human Resources) is to be returned home in a dramatic turnaround of events. Public outcry and media exposure of corruption eventually led to meetings with state DHR officials and a change of venue for Haly Boothe and her husband Anthony Lett’s case. Their case was transferred out of Shelby County, and almost immediately, things began to change.

Now, Avyonna is on her way home.

Avyonna was taken from her parents, Haly and Anthony, when she was only 3 days old. She was a breastfeeding newborn taken from her mother’s breast before she ever left the hospital. There was no court order, warrant, or emergency circumstance, but the department mistakenly believed that they had the right to seize children without such, in direct opposition to the 4th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Caseworkers from the same department seized Avyonna’s cousin – Baby Braelon – just one month later in was one of the most-read stories [1] covered by the Medical Kidnap division of Health Impact News and read by millions of people. The family alleged then that they had been unjustly targeted for years by Shelby County DHR, with multiple family members seized without any evidence of abuse or neglect. This newest development in their family’s saga appears to support that allegation.

See Baby Braelon’s story:

Alabama Child Protective Services Steals New-born Breast-feeding Baby from Rape Victim While Still at the Hospital [1]

Prince scared-e1466102054445-895x1024

Baby Braelon with his mother when she realized that her baby was going to be taken by DHR. Photo credit: Juda Myers.

See original coverage of Avyonna’s story:

Pattern of Child Kidnappings by Alabama DHR Exposed: Another New-born Infant Seized at Hospital [2]

Prince-Haly-and-baby-e1466933197541-741x1024 (1)

Haly with newborn Avyonna. Photo supplied by family.

Judge to Give Opportunity to Be Parents – Cancels Adoption Plan of Foster Parent

Haly and Anthony were in court in Chilton County on Thursday, October 26, 2017. According to Haly’s grandmother Dee Prince, the judge told the young parents that, if they wanted to be parents, he would give them that opportunity – an opportunity that has repeatedly been denied to them by Shelby County judges and social workers.

He dismissed Shelby County’s petition to terminate their parental rights for Avyonna, and now, full custody is to be returned to the parents by January. Effective immediately, the couple begins unsupervised 8 hour visits twice a week with their baby, and overnight visits are to begin Thanksgiving weekend.

When children are taken from their homes by Child Protective Services, it is done suddenly. However, the practice is usually for reunification to be a process of “transitioning” over time, presumably so as not to traumatize children by sudden removal from a placement to which they have grown accustomed.

Although this has no logical basis as far as the well-being of the child, the federal funding continues to follow the child as long as the state has some measure of custody of them. Studies clearly show [3] that children are more traumatized when they are removed from the home of their biological parents, than they are in foster care.

Almost every parent involved with Child Protective Services questions the lengthy reunification process, but are so grateful to be getting their children home that they generally do not argue much with the practice. The Boothes are no exception.

Dee Prince told Health Impact News that the foster mother told the caseworkers, who then told the judge in court on Thursday, that Shelby County DHR had told her that she could adopt Avyonna. The judge allegedly stated that what Shelby County had promised was no longer a factor in this case.

As we have seen numerous times in cases involving CPS, the foster parents were apparently lied to about what kind of parents the children had. Most foster parents believe that they are helping poor, abused children with terrible biological parents. They do not realize that less than 20% of children are taken from their parents for reasons of abuse or that at least 80% of the allegations against parents are unsubstantiated. They do not realize that the children they care for often should never have been taken from their families.

Case Moved Out of Corrupt Shelby County

Had Avyonna’s case remained in Shelby County, it is unlikely that Haly and Anthony would ever have had the chance to be parents. It was the change in venue that has made all the difference.

It didn’t happen quickly. Almost a year after Avyonna was taken and news of the corruption against their family hit social media, Haly was given the opportunity to meet with officials from the state DHR office. Her grandmother Dee Prince accompanied her, armed with notebooks put together of all the articles and the evidence that the parents had done nothing wrong to deserve losing their children.

For the first time, they felt as though someone within the system actually heard them.

The officials reportedly looked at them with great skepticism when Dee told them that Shelby County DHR tried to blackmail Haly into voluntarily giving up Avyonna for adoption in exchange for DHR stopping the collection of child support and promising not to take any future children that Haly might have.

Then Dee showed them the emails from the court-appointed attorney Meagan England, providing the evidence that they did indeed offer such a deal.

Haly blackmail email ss

Shelby County DHR Goal to Destroy Families?

Haly and Anthony had already lost custody of their first two children, who were adopted out to a Shelby County couple last year. Avyonna was placed with her brother Haydn and sister Ka’myai in the home of their adoptive mothers, who were apparently promised that they could adopted Avyonna as well.

In offering the “deal,” Shelby County DHR all but admitted that they never had any grounds to take any of Haly’s children. England had reportedly met in the judge’s chambers with Judge Crowson, DHR attorney Jennifer Newman, GAL (Guardian ad Litem) Erin Welborn, as well as Haly’s husband Anthony’s attorney, with none of the family present. They told Haly that, if she did not accept their deal, they would move to terminate her parental rights.

See:

Is Alabama DHR “Offer” to Young Mother Blackmail? Give Up Your Daughter and We Will Not Take Your Other Children [4]

When Haly refused their offer, Shelby County DHR moved ahead to begin termination of parental rights proceedings for Avyonna.

In the meeting with state DHR officials, Dee told more of Haly’s story: how Haly’s older two children were taken from her after she herself was in foster care. She and her siblings had been taken from their grandparents the Princes based on false allegations. (See story [2].)

She was bounced from placement to placement and gave birth to 2 children while in foster care, Haydn and Ka’myai.

Even with 2 babies, Haly graduated on time from high school. Shortly after graduation, her foster mother passed away. Haly was 17.

She and her children were placed with another foster family. That family kicked her out and kept her children, alleging to DHR that she abandoned her children. It was on that basis that DHR kept custody of her children. Their father Anthony, himself an adopted foster child, was treated almost as though he were invisible.

Their rights were terminated based on the length of time the babies had been in foster care. An appeal to that TPR was denied. Avyonna was taken 3 days after she was born because the state already had the other 2 children.

Dee told the state officials what she has been saying all along, that DHR never even gave Haly or Anthony the chance to be parents.

Prince Avyonna

Baby Avyonna – ripped away from her parents and raised by strangers. Photo provided by family.

Shortly after that meeting, Avyonna’s case was transferred to Chilton County, and everything changed.

Shelby County caseworker Star Pope had previously told Haly and Anthony that they were required to move out of the Princes’ home. They had been living in a basement apartment in the Alabaster home. They had their own kitchen, living room, bedroom, and their own separate entrance.

This was not satisfactory to Pope, who wrote in the case plan that the couple were required to move out and live in their own home and demonstrate to the state that they could maintain their own support. She reportedly told them that if they did so, they could get Avyonna back. However, if they did not, she would never recommend that they get Avyonna back.

They moved out, and lived in their own apartment for more than a year. Yet instead of returning the baby, DHR moved to terminate parental rights.

Now that Chilton County is over their case, it is suddenly now acceptable for them to live in the basement apartment of the Princes’ house. They have been able to move back home and recently passed the home study with flying colors.

For years, Haly has felt that the social workers in Shelby County were out to destroy her family. She has found that the Chilton County social workers have seemed more willing to work with her and do what is right. She and Anthony have been able to visit more with their baby and enjoy her.

Understandably, Dee says that they are all a bit skeptical and afraid to trust because they have been lied to so many times in the past. However, thus far, they have much more hope now that the case is out of Shelby County’s hands.

Corruption and Child Kidnapping Exposed in Shelby County Alabama

The Boothe and Prince family have sought justice for their family for many years but told our reporters that Shelby County DHR has targeted them. They have felt that it was impossible to get any kind of justice there.

It was reportedly the series of articles by Health Impact News and other media which drew the spotlight to Shelby County and enabled investigators to start looking deeper.

On June 15, 2016, Health Impact News investigator Terri LaPoint and pro-life advocate Juda Myers witnessed the actions of DHR, police, and Shelby County Medical Center as they stole Avyonna’s cousin “Baby Braelon” from Haly’s sister, who was a young rape victim. The baby was literally pulled off of his mother’s breast without a court order, warrant, or emergency circumstances.

Juda Myers of Choices4Life [5] filmed the dramatic pleas of the mother crying for her baby, and we reported the story [6].

The story quickly went viral and gained international attention. However, local media refused to report on the story.

Before long, it became clear that this story was the tip of the iceberg in Shelby County that people involved did not want exposed.

Dee Prince showed our reporter almost a foot-high stack of documents which chronicled their family’s involvement with DHR – false allegation after false allegation.

Over almost 2 decades, Dee, a teacher, and her husband Rodney, retired police officer, have been forced to hire an attorney to help them fight against the allegations. One by one, the allegations were shown to be unsubstantiated. To date they still do not know where many of the allegations came from, but they suspect that social workers just made up things. Rodney told us that:

They make it up as they go along!

Many families have told Health Impact News that an accusation by Child Protective Services can ruin their lives and reputation, even if the accusation has no basis in fact. At least 75% of the allegations by CPS all across the United States are unsubstantiated, and even those that are substantiated are often false accusations based on lies and hearsay, with no actual evidence of any wrongdoing.

See:

75% of Children Taken by Texas CPS are Based on Unfounded Accusations [7]

85% of Reports to Indiana Child Protective Services Unsubstantiated – Families Destroyed Needlessly [8]

This is certainly what we found with the Prince’s family, including Haly and Anthony.

Dee Terri Kathlee in DC Sept 2017

Dee Prince (left) recently traveled to Washington DC to meet with other advocates like Kathleen Arthur (right) and talk with legislators about CPS corruption and medical kidnapping. Photo credit: Health Impact News.

Attempts to Silence Family and Stop Health Impact News from Exposing Alabama Corruption

Erin Bell Welborn, Guardian ad litem for Baby Braelon (as well as for Haly’s children), filed a $300,000 lawsuit on behalf of the newborn in the Circuit Court of Shelby County against various family members and media personnel, including Health Impact News. They demanded that we take down our story and stop publishing anything regarding this case. We stood on the 1st Amendment Freedom of the Press and refused to back down.

See:

Health Impact News Named in Alabama Lawsuit for Exposing State-sponsored Child Kidnapping [9]

Less than a week later, Judge Corey B. Moore further attempted to squelch exposure of the activities of Shelby County DHR and others involved with the trafficking of children in that county. While Health Impact News reporter Terri LaPoint was present at the courthouse in support of Haly Boothe, Judge Moore had Mrs. LaPoint escorted into the courtroom in an attempt to silence her and stop investigation into Shelby County officials and DHR corruption.

See:

Alabama Judge Threatens Health Impact News Reporter [10]

Dee Prince told us that their attorney Mark Pratt advised them not to talk to media or to post anything about Haly’s or Baby Braelon’s cases on social media. Court hearings involving either case often ended up being discussions about what was being discussed in social media, not anything about the merits (or lack thereof) of the cases, and not about the well-being of the children.

Grandparents of Baby Born of 14 Year Old Rape Victim Still Not Allowed Visitation, but Family of Accused Rapist Is

Eventually, Baby Braelon, his mother, and her twin brother were placed with the twins’ biological mother. Their case was moved to adjacent Jefferson County, but some of the key players from Shelby County have remained involved, including the GAL Erin Welborn and DHR attorney Jennifer Newman. Both Welborn and Newman were involved with Haly’s case as well.

To this day, the Princes are still not permitted to have visitation with Baby Braelon. Yet, Dee reports that she has learned that the family of the biological father, accused rapist Samuel Woods III, is now being allowed visitation with the baby every other weekend.

Woods has been held in the Shelby County jail [11] without bond since April 24, 2017, on 2nd degree rape charges. He has now been charged in the rapes of 6 underage girls.

Social Workers to Be Arrested if They Try to Take Next Baby

Haly and Anthony are expecting another baby in March. Until recently, they have been afraid that DHR would take this baby too. They recall assurances when Haly was pregnant with Avyonna that DHR would not take her from them, but that was obviously untrue.

Avyonna Sept 2017

Avyonna during a recent visit. She looks happy to be with her family. Photo provided by family.

In a dramatic recent development, the family has learned that state DHR officials have told Shelby County DHR to “stand down” with regards to the new baby. A social worker has told the family that if social workers from Shelby County show up at the Birmingham hospital where Haly gives birth, the social workers will go to jail. Chilton County DHR reportedly sees no grounds for removing the new baby.

For the first time during this pregnancy, the family feels that they can look forward to the birth of the new baby without the terror of the baby being taken from them. Victory has been a long time in coming for this family, but they are overjoyed at the prospect of getting Avyonna back home and coming home from the hospital with the new baby.

Dee Prince says that she hopes that some good comes out of their painful story for other families, and that there will be changes made within Shelby County and the State of Alabama DHR that will help to ensure that other families do not suffer the pain that they have been through.

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