It was the best news ever for Chris and Keshia Turner of East Tennessee. After two and a half years battling Child Protective Services, their children were coming home. On Friday, June 24, 2017, Keshia posted the happy news on Facebook that they were on their way to pick up their children. When Health Impact News first spoke with the Turners more than two years ago, their oldest son Brayden had been taken from them by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services (DCS) after doctors discovered that her son had multiple fractures in various stages of healing. Keshia was accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome and abuse. Keshia told us that she believed that her son Brayden was coming home eventually. Her faith in God was what kept her going, she said, and she trusted that God would one day bring good out of all that they were going through. Then, she gave birth to Carson in September 2015. Because DCS had an ongoing case against Keshia, her 4 day old baby was seized by DCS and placed with his brother. Through it all, the Turners fought hard to get their children back. When we first spoke with the couple more than 2 years ago, they knew that there had to be some kind of medical explanation for Braydon's broken bones and symptoms. However, once a doctor accused the parents of abuse, they said that the doctors stopped looking for answers. But Keshia did not stop looking. She knew that there had to be answers that the doctors had missed.
Virginia Mount was a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful boys. She lived a normal and happy life with her boyfriend and two sons, Jace, 15 months old, and Colten, three years old. In their recreation time they enjoyed fishing, sailing, picnicking, and simply relaxing and playing together. On November 11, 2015, Jace stood up on top of the sofa. As he came tumbling down onto the floor, his arm broke and the whole world he lived in with his family, shattered to pieces. After the fall, as she waited in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital waiting room in Columbus, Ohio, Virginia felt as if time had frozen. Initially, she didn’t think the fall was very serious. After all, it was just a tumble. But when he was transferred from their local hospital to this one, Virginia felt a knot form in her stomach. At that point, though, her greatest fear was merely that Jace would have to endure the physical pain of an injury. She had no idea that her entire family was about to be destroyed, that both her sons would suffer the devastating trauma of losing their families, possibly forever, and that she would be incarcerated for a crime she did not commit.
The Rivenburg family was back in court on Monday morning, June 19. This time, it was to fight for Annalise, the big sister of Baby Steffen, the baby who was taken off of life support on June 8. The family, including aunts, uncles, and cousins, were hopeful that the court would send little Annalise back home to be with her family, but that did not happen. Instead, they learned that the Department of Children's Services (DCS) now plans to terminate her parents' parental rights and place her for adoption, presumably with the foster family with whom she and Baby Steffen were placed 4 months ago, just before the baby got sick. They are devastated. Patricia's heart-wrenching sobs could be heard in the background as a family member told the news to Health Impact News. The thought of losing Annalise seems an unbearably cruel blow to the family that is still reeling from what they call Baby Steffen's "potentially preventable" death.
Landmark Federal Lawsuit Charges Missouri With Failure to Protect Foster Kids from Powerful Psychotropic Medications
Watchdogs Children’s Rights, National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) and Saint Louis University School of Law Legal Clinics have today filed a landmark, civil rights complaint against Jennifer Tidball, Acting State Director of the Missouri Department of Social Services and Tim Decker, Director of the Children’s Division of DSS, on behalf of all minor children and youth who are or will be placed in Missouri’s foster care custody. The first class action lawsuit to shine a federal spotlight solely on the overuse of psychotropic medications among vulnerable, at risk populations – such as Missouri’s 13,000 children in foster care – the complaint alleges longstanding, dangerous, unlawful and deliberately indifferent practices by the defendants.
"We just want to raise our daughter. Is that too much to ask?" Juanita and TJ Muhl are a Colorado couple who are grieving over Yechezkela, their infant daughter nicknamed Yael, who was taken from them while still in the hospital by the State of Colorado. The parents are well-educated, and each is employed. Yechezkela was born prematurely with many medical conditions. Her parents are Messianic Jews and at times requested kosher equivalents of medications, which are available. As loving parents, they wanted to be involved in the medical decisions regarding their daughter. On March 5, the Colorado Department of Human Services was granted an emergency custody order to seize Yael. The parents were removed from Yael’s hospital. On that same day, the hospital was granted a court order to give Yael medicines for acid reflux--- which were allegedly not even necessary according to the hospital’s own records. By May 19, the Muhls discovered that the foster family could stay at the hospital with Yael, but her natural parents were no longer allowed to stay by her side.
The Rivenburgs were not ready to say goodbye to Baby Steffen. On the morning of his death, Steffen's parents and grandparents were in court pleading for his life, but their cries were drowned out by the voices of others who literally argued for his death. The events surrounding Baby Steffen's death on Thursday afternoon, June 8, are disturbing, and the family wants answers. The prayer of thousands of people around the world was that Baby Steffen's heart would beat and that he would breathe when doctors at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt removed him from the ECMO machine. According to Lisa Rivenburg, that is exactly what happened. "His heart was beating!" But she says that the doctors didn't give him the option of surviving. A doctor told the family that his heart wouldn't beat for long, so they wanted to give him painkillers "to relax him." Just a short time before he was removed from life support, Baby Steffen was kicking his feet and moving his arms in response to his family. While his parents still pleaded for his life and for time with their baby, Lisa tried to record her grandson's final moments. She reports that a Vanderbilt police officer told her to stop recording: "I'm getting ready to arrest you." She said that he started to reach for something. She didn't know whether he was reaching for his handcuffs or gun or something else, but she stopped recording. Grandma did not get her phone back until she was seated in her car. She and the baby's parents were escorted under armed guard out of the hospital. "We were treated like criminals!"
Meagan Corser of the Texas Home School Coalition recently published an article about the status of Child Protective Services (CPS) in Texas regarding the evidence required to terminate parental rights. What she reports confirms what Health Impact News has exposed in many other states, that the vast majority of children taken away from parents are not for actual "abuse" where the child is in imminent danger. Corser reports that by Texas CPS' own admission: "in 75 percent of cases they lack sufficient evidence to support the accusations they made against the parent." That may seem like a high number to those who do not follow the articles we publish regularly at MedicalKidnap.com, but from our sources that number is probably too low, not too high. CPS whistleblowers have told us that only about 5% of the cases where children are removed from their parents are for actual cases of abuse that can be substantiated. In a recent report by ABC TV6 in Indiana, attorneys there report that "only 15% of children taken away from their parents are ever substantiated for abuse or neglect."
Tabitha and Jeff Shoars are celebrating that their youngest child, 10 month old Nytallieya, is back home after being seized by Nevada Child Protective Services just after noon on Monday, June 5, 2017. The baby was taken from their Las Vegas home after Arizona Department of Child Safety social workers sent a report to Nevada CPS alleging that the Shoars left the child with an "unsafe caregiver." The Shoars disputed that claim, saying that the caregiver to whom Arizona DCS refers is someone that they feel quite confident about - a retired police officer and his wife. The judge ruled that there "was no impending danger to remove the child." He noted that Nevada CPS has been in the Shoars' home on previous occasions, and found no cause to remove the child, who was born in Nevada. He stated: "There is not a factual statement within the report to warrant removal of the child."
Tabitha and Jeff Shoars' youngest child, Nytallieya, was seized early Monday afternoon by Nevada Child Protective Services. The Shoars are devastated and shocked at the strong arm of Arizona DCS and their apparent ability to influence Nevada to take their only child who was still living with them. According to the documents given to the Shoars on Monday, June 5, 2017, they are being accused of leaving Nytallieya "in the care of an unsafe caregiver when they left to visit Arizona." The babysitter that is being called "unsafe" is a retired police officer and his wife, and the Shoars have left the baby in their care several times a month during their visits with their other children in Maricopa County, Arizona. A social worker in Nevada had advised them to keep the baby out of Arizona as much as possible, since she was born in Nevada and thus out of Arizona's jurisdiction. Thus, they had to have a babysitter that they trusted to care for the baby during the visits. When family members were unavailable to babysit, they relied on their retired police officer friend and his wife. It looks like Arizona DCS (Department of Child Safety) has found a way to get to the baby. Tabitha told Health Impact News that she believes that Arizona Assistant Attorney General Bonnie Platter has a vendetta against the couple, and that this is retaliation by her. Those who have been following the Shoars family saga are angry and upset that the Child Protective Agencies have the power that they do. The family believed that Nytallieya was safe. She was well cared for and was thriving. There was no immediate threat and no danger to the child. Since the parental rights, and therefore visits, were terminated, there was not likely a need for the family to need a babysitter in the near future. The family has a 72-hour hearing on Thursday (June 8) morning at 9 am. They have no attorney yet. All of their attorneys are in Arizona, and Nevada family court doesn't assign a court-appointed attorney until the first hearing. Tabitha and Jeff are hopeful that the judge in the case will dismiss the case and return their baby home.
Civil Rights Abuse? Judge Only Gives Parents 24 Hours to Find Doctor Before Baby is Removed from Life Support
After a long day in court, the Rivenburg family did not get the news they wanted to hear about Baby Steffen. Last week, a judge approved a temporary injunction to keep the 7 month old baby from being taken off life support. On Monday afternoon, Judge Wayne Shelton ruled that Baby Steffen's mother does not have the right to make the decision of whether or not to take him off of life support, and he denied the request to extend the injunction. The family has a short 24 hour, up to 48 hour, window to find a pediatric cardiologist in the South willing to testify that the baby is eligible for a heart transplant and would survive it. Unless they find such an expert, Vanderbilt doctors, not the parents, will decide when to take Baby Steffen off of the life support machine that is keeping him alive at this time.