Earlier this year (2018) we reported that a group of Minnesota parents filed a federal civil rights lawsuit accusing Dakota County and the State of Minnesota for kidnapping their children and placing them unnecessarily into foster care. The parents are part of an organization called The Family Preservation Foundation, which also goes by the name Stop CPS from Legally Kidnapping Children. Recently, the group, which is reported to now represent over 4000 parents in Minnesota, garnered more local media coverage when a judge return a 1-year-old boy to his mother who had been allegedly placed into foster care for 3 months based on "false allegations of medical neglect." The return of Amanda Weber's child was seen as a victory for the Family Preservation Foundation: "The legal victory is symbolic for a coalition of parents and advocates seeking to change the state's child protection system. The group has argued that Minnesota's laws criminalize parents for what they consider to be routine parental discipline and have a disproportionate effect on black families."
Federal Funding Provides Incentives for States to Take Children Away from Families Even When No Abuse is Present
When Child Protective Services (CPS) takes children from a loving, non-abusive family, the parents, and sometimes grandparents, aunts, and uncles, often seek out information about what is happening. Many gravitate toward groups on social media that provide education and support for those fighting CPS for their children. As the confused parents try to sort out the information and learn how to get their children back, one question dominates their search: How can this happen in America? Federal legislation enshrined in CAPTA and ASFA provide federal funding to states for foster care. For too long, these legislative acts have enabled and incentivized states taking children from innocent parents who have committed no crime, who have not abused their children. By any definition this is human trafficking. It is time to cut off the flow of tax dollars for the destruction of families, and instead find ways to help and support families.
The Ease with which Government Kidnaps Children – A Review of Current Legislation and the Multi-Billion Dollar Child “Protection” Industry
Attorney Connie Reguli writes: It is hard to imagine in a sophisticated first-world country like the United States that the government officials could walk into your child’s public school, have them removed from their classroom, interviewed by government officials in private (without your knowledge), remove your child from the school, and place them in the home of a stranger all without your knowledge. The reason you ask, maybe you don’t feed your child enough, maybe they missed a few days from school, maybe someone just lied and said you were a drug dealer, and your child could not answer the right questions to exonerate you. It is hard to imagine in a sophisticated first-world country that a new born baby could be stripped from his mother’s arms in a hospital because the Mother had one positive test for opiates during pregnancy, even though there was no showing of drugs in the Mother or the child at birth and there is no other evidence of child abuse or neglect. It is hard to imagine in a sophisticated first-world country that a child could be locked in a hospital with a rare and untreated disease and separated from her entire family simply because her parents wanted to take her for a second medical opinion. This is the state of our nation and the child welfare system in the United States. Here's what has to change....
Investigative Report in Kentucky Reveals Corruption Still Exists in Foster Care as Children Die or Go Missing
The corruption in Kentucky Child Protection Services and Foster Care has been reported on extensively here at Health Impact News since 2015. A new report aired on Wave 3 News by investigative journalist John Boel reveals that corruption in the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services is apparently ongoing, as one child was allegedly murdered by his foster parent after being taken away from his family, and another foster parent is blowing the whistle on the abuses of Kentucky foster care where children go missing due to lack of oversight. The current investigation began in 2017, when 4-year-old Hunter Payton died in foster care, and his biological parents questioned the story put forward as to the cause of his death, which was reported to be an accident. “They told us it was an ‘unlikely’ injury,” Hunter’s mother April Payton said. “It doesn’t happen. Something hit him hard.” He had only been in foster care for 3 months. During that time, the parents allegedly complained to the state about bruising on their son, and they were apparently told several different stories about how he died in an accidental fall. As John Boel reports: "Months after our report, Billy Embry-Martin, 33, was charged with murder. The lawsuit accuses him and his husband, Travis Embry-Martin, of 'violent punishment, physical abuse and denial of food.' Billy Embry-Martin is free on bond awaiting a December trial on the murder charge."
Losing a child for any reason is one of the most devastating things that can ever happen to a parent. The process of dealing with Child Protective Services and family court, while never easy, often serves to dehumanize parents and children. Instead of serving to help families overcome challenges, the system creates further harm when it treats parents as though they are worthless. Not only are civil and constitutional rights violated routinely, but many parents find that the system seeks to strip them of their basic human dignity. Law professor Vivek Sankaran recognizes that the treatment of parents by the courts is counterproductive to goals of restoring the family and helping the children. Sankaran wrote a piece for the American Bar Association addressing these concerns, with suggestions that could be implemented by the courts when dealing with parents facing allegations by CPS.
Just as Child Protective Services and a judge have almost omnipotent, unchecked power to decide unilaterally that the relationship between a parent and a young child is not worthy of being preserved, Adult Protective Services and a probate judge have the same power to sever the relationship between an adult child and their elderly parent. Sometimes the relationship has endured for longer than the judge and social worker combined have been alive, yet with the stroke of a pen, a senior citizen can be completely torn away from their own children. The wishes of the elder can be completely ignored, and documents assigning power of attorney to a trusted adult child can become meaningless. Medical and financial decisions are placed into the hands of a court-appointed guardian who is often a stranger to everyone in the family. Nancy Scott, a retired English teacher from south Alabama, wrote to Health Impact News describing the medical kidnapping of her 102-year-old mother, who is also a beloved retired schoolteacher known to her former students as "Ms. Gregory." St. Vincent's Hospital and the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) seized custody of Marian (Gregory) Leonard in February 2018. She is being held against her will, forced by a Jefferson County, Alabama, court into Hospice care, even though she has no terminal illness or disease. She is elderly, but her mind is sound. She is being drugged against her will and has told her daughter that she doesn't want the drugs. Nancy has always enjoyed a close relationship with her mother, but she has not seen her since midsummer. At that time, Ms. Gregory begged to go home. She told Nancy: "If you don't get me out of here, they're going to kill me, and they're going to kill you."
Was Texas Mom’s Baby who was Accidentally Vaccinated with Gardasil Medically Kidnapped for Medical Research?
When Anita Vasquez sought medical care for the reactions her baby girl was having after mistakenly being given the Gardasil vaccine at only 4 months old, she had no way of knowing that she was walking into a hospital that was working on vaccine development in collaboration with one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. She found herself tangled in what appeared to her to be a deep web of interests that were in direct conflict with her only goal, which was simply trying to get help for her baby. Instead of finding help, she was met with accusations that she had somehow caused harm. Doctors and social workers testified that Anita had Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy (also known as "factitious disorder"), which means she was accused of making up her daughter's medical conditions when there were none. Anita is a licensed nurse by profession. The state of Texas recently terminated her parental rights to her daughter Aniya Blu. It was apparent to Anita from the very beginning that there was more going on than meets the eye. Evidence was hidden. Medical records were kept from her and her attorneys. Medical diagnoses of real problems were covered up. The deception continued throughout the ordeal with Child Protective Services, and it followed Anita into the courtroom. There were many facts of the case that Anita didn't learn about until just before the termination hearing. Even then, the evidence was ignored. Anita Vasquez has appealed the termination of her parental rights for her daughter, who was mistakenly injected at 4 months old with the Gardasil 9 vaccine intended for her older brother. Anita received a letter on August 31, 2018, from the Thirteenth District of Texas Court of Appeals noting that her appeal was accepted.
When Lindsey Nagel gave birth to her son Rico, she recognized that the only reason that she had lived long enough to fall in love and bear a child was because of the courage of her parents to discontinue a dangerous medication for her when she was just 2-years-old. She was devastated when doctors insisted that the same drug be given to her newborn son. When she hesitated to comply, doctors and a social worker with the Mayo Clinic affiliated hospital called Child Protective Services. The Nagel story is one of heartache, then triumph, followed by devastation. While no family escapes encounters with Child Protective Services unscathed, the Nagels' encounter ultimately cost Lindsey's life. Like too many parents before and after her, Lindsey's health declined and she lost the will to live. She is another tragic casualty in the battle for families waging in our country right now as a result of medical kidnappings.
Babies for Cash – How the State Abuses Infants by Destroying the Mother-Child Bond in CPS Abductions
A baby's first year is crucial to a baby's emotional and cognitive development. It is in the earliest months of life that the foundations for basic trust, security, and relationships are laid. The parent-child relationship is the environment in which that is designed to happen. Yet the majority of children who enter foster care are taken within their first year of life, depriving them of critical bonding time and causing permanent trauma and damage to the babies' ability to trust. More children in this age group are not returned home and are later adopted out than any other age group. According to the 2017 AFCARS report (Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, almost 1 in 5 children who entered foster care during 2016 (the latest date for which data is available) were less than 1 year old when they were taken from their parents. Fully 25% of the children deemed to be "waiting for adoption" were babies who came into the system at under a year old. These are defined as "children who have a goal of adoption and/or whose parents' parental rights have been terminated." The numbers are clear that babies are the most likely age group to be seized from their parents, not returned, and adopted out. 92% of the adopters receive an "adoption subsidy," which is a taxpayer-funded financial incentive to adopt. Human babies are born with an innate emotional and psychological need for their biological parents. When the child cannot or does not receive the love and acceptance of their own mother and father, he or she is left with a gaping hole deep inside that they may struggle the rest of their lives to fill even if they are loved, wanted, and cherished by a substitute parent. The harm of that separation is seldom considered by anyone within the Child Protective Services or foster care industry, evidenced by the fact that it is never mentioned in any of the thousands of pages of documents that we have examined for hundreds of families whose stories have been featured by Health Impact News.
Study: Children from Poor Parents, Even if they have a Drug Problem, do Worse if Put into Foster Care
The Lancet recently published a new study which shows that preschool children taken from their homes are twice as likely when they become young adults to have psychological problems and criminal convictions than those left in their own homes. Unlike previous studies, this long term, population-based study matched the children in foster care with children from families with similar sociological and economic demographics. As horrific as the outcomes are for children who are taken from their parents and placed into foster care, many policy makers, legislators, and our friends and neighbors continue to assert that foster care is necessary to protect children from abuse and harm. Billions of dollars are poured into the system, but the evidence consistently shows that the foster care system is not helping children. The majority of children, in the U.S. are taken for “neglect” – an ambiguous term that can be interpreted to include dirty dishes in the sink, playing outside in the yard, or simply being poor. Only 17% of the allegations against parents are “substantiated” or “founded” according to the 2016 Child Maltreatment Report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This is hardly the first study to look at outcomes comparing children in foster care and children left in "troubled" homes. There have been numerous other studies, and they all come to the same conclusion: children left in troubled homes with their families do far better than children put into foster care. How much more evidence do we have to see before we finally wake up as a society and recognize that the way we are doing things that we thought was helping is not actually helping? There are almost half a million American children in foster care at any given time. Many more have been in the system at some point during their childhood. At what cost to our children?