Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS), under fire for its skyrocketing rate of child removals in recent years, was just exposed for a new policy which allowed social workers to secretly record interviews with parents or caregivers suspected of crimes using a controversial and questionable technology meant to detect lying. The Computer Voice Stress Analyzer (CVSA), which a DCS spokesperson labeled a “new tool,” isn’t really new at all, and appears to have almost zero validity. One independent study found the lie detector was "no better than flipping a coin." The CVSA policy had only been recently implemented late last December. Gregg Woodnick, a Phoenix family law attorney whose practice defends families against DCS charges, unearthed the new policy and after confronting DCS legal counsel, notified local TV station 12 News. Woodnick said DCS was effectively performing polygraphs on people without their consent. After 12 News notified Arizona’s DCS they were doing a story on the secret recordings, an agency spokeswoman, Cynthia Weiss, said the policy was being "rescinded." The covert audio story, which broke March 20, ran a week after Health Impact News/Medical Kidnap interviewed Woodnick to discuss the state of Arizona’s DCS.
Arizona DCF Tries to Stifle Free Speech in Medical Kidnapping Case – Demands Our Stories of Coumpy Family be Taken Down
At the same time that Arizona lawmakers have rejected common sense bills to protect families from abuse of power by dishonest social workers, an Arizona mother is battling the Arizona Department of Children and Families (DCF) to get her children back. Aprilli Coumpy has completed everything asked of her, but her children are still not back home. It has been more than 2 years since her children were seized after what both Aprilli and her pediatrician termed an accidental incident, in which her toddler was burned when his 6 and 7 year old siblings accidentally spilled hot noodles on him when they decided to surprise their mommy with breakfast. Never in a million years did the single mom of 5 dream that the state could have so much power as to take all of her children away for something that could happen in any home in the world. Others connected with her case believe that the DCF case manager, Lisa Millett, simply does not like Aprilli Coumpy, thus nothing that the mother does appears to be good enough. Recently, Arizona DCF case manager Lisa Millett has demanded that Aprilli take down the Medical Kidnap articles from the internet. Apparently Ms. Millett does not understand that Freedom of the Press doesn't work like that. Such strong arm tactics by government employees may have been used in Nazi Germany or in Communist countries that desire to hide their actions from the public, but the U.S. still has something called The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Parents don't publish the articles on MedicalKidnap.com, and they cannot take them down. Health Impact News interviews parents and publishes their stories under the protections of the 1st Amendment Freedom of the Press. We will, however, publish a copy of the email that we have received.
A fight is raging across Arizona – parents, foster parents, activists, lawyers and even the Arizona Republic are refusing to back down against the state’s apathetic resistance to real, meaningful solutions for its outrageous record as the top state in the nation for child removals. Arizona has taken children out of their homes at a rate far higher than any other state in the country. And Phoenix (Maricopa county) ranks as the city with the highest rate of child removals by CPS – higher than New York, L.A., or any other major U.S. city. The state’s shameful record goes back a decade or more, and frequently opposition has been disconnected or silenced. More and more families have been destroyed, children lost, and lives broken. But no more – activists, legislators and local media are gaining strength and momentum.
House Republicans beat back an effort by Rep. Kelly Townsend to protect Arizona’s parents’ constitutional rights by amending SB1003. Townsend’s amendments would have prohibited Department of Child Safety caseworkers from lying to the court or withholding exculpatory evidence. Townsend asked her fellow lawmakers how they could oppose the amendments as they appeared to be preoccupied with their laptops and cellphones. The principles behind Townsend’s amendments were clear; parents have a right to due process and social workers cannot lie to parents.
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. 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
Their children's screams still haunt Jeff and Tabitha Shoars' dreams, and echoes of the laughter that once filled their home brings the couple to tears on a daily basis. It has been almost 3 weeks since the horrific day that social workers drove from Maricopa County, Arizona, to Las Vegas, Nevada, and seized 6 of the Shoars children without warning. They still have not seen or heard from their children since then. They want to know why, and they are terrified for the safety of their children. Tabitha asks: "Are they crying for us? Are they having a hard time going to sleep? The house is too quiet." The family's court date was canceled, and four judges assigned to the case have already been removed, with a 5th judge now scheduled to hear their case later this month.
Arizona Kidnaps Shoars Children from Nevada, Children Scream in Terror As They are Dragged Away (audio)
When Arizona Judge Bruce Cohen dismissed the case against Tabitha and Jeff Shoars on April 6, 2016, the family thought that their nightmare with Arizona DCS (Department of Child Safety) was over. They moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, to try to rebuild their lives and heal from the trauma of being separated for 600 days. They were happy. Laughter once again filled their home. The children began school in their new neighborhood. The children welcomed home their new baby sister this week, on Tuesday, August 23, 2016. Due to some complications at birth, Nevada social workers investigated the family, but found nothing wrong. However, while the local social services found nothing troubling about the family, Arizona social workers showed up with local police, and within 10 minutes were transporting the children back to Arizona based on the same charges that had already been dismissed. Terrorized, the children began screaming and trying to get away, as some of them had allegedly been abused in Arizona foster care, and they were horrified as they were being forced to go back to the same foster home. The local police stood by and not only allowed this to happen, but participated by restraining the children and parents. The parents Jeff and Tabitha are stunned, wondering how local Nevada police could honor a social services order from another state, allowing them to take away their children so easily?
Arizona mother Aprilli Coumpy is still fighting to get her five children, ages 2-17, back from the state. We published her story a year ago. Her children were taken away by the state of Arizona after her baby was accidentally burned. Her 6 and 7 year old daughters wanted to fix breakfast for their tired mommy and surprise her. They accidentally spilled some of the noodles onto the baby’s leg. The second degree burn was reported to child protective services by a day care worker the next day. When the burn occurred, Aprilli called her pediatrician’s office and followed the nurse’s instructions for dressing it. She also scheduled a follow up appointment with the doctor according to the nurse’s instructions. The day care worker decided to take the baby to a doctor on her own and CPS swooped in taking all of Aprilli’s children into foster care for two years now.
There were happy children's voices in the background as Tabitha Shoars spoke on the phone Wednesday, April 6, with Health Impact News to share their great news. After 600 days of fighting for their children against Arizona CPS, their case has been DISMISSED! Tabitha and Jeff and their children are overjoyed to be back together again after their horrific ordeal. Tabitha says that the faces of the children lit up when they came home last week. The children, who range in age from almost 4 to almost 11, tackled their parents in their excitement to be reunited. Health Impact News was the first to publish their side of their story. Their lives fell apart on August 14, 2014. Three year old Khloe fell outside while she was playing, and later that night collapsed. Her parents had left the children in the care of a babysitter while they went out for a date night. They rushed home when they were told that the babysitter had called 911. While their sister was taken to the hospital, the rest of the children were taken by Child Protective Services and divided up into separate foster homes. Khloe passed away the next day. Even though no one was ever charged with a crime, the children were not returned to their parents.
An Arizona court has ruled that the Diegel sisters are now eligible for adoption, and have terminated all of Melissa Diegel's rights to her children. In a recently released video, this mother displays an incredible act of love for the children that CPS will no longer allow her to parent. She pleads for someone good to step up and adopt her children, so that, if they cannot be with their family, they will at least be with good people who will love and care for them. It is a plea that no loving parent should ever be forced to make. Melissa received the shattering news from the courts that Judge Kristin Hoffman has ruled to sever all of her and her ex-husband's parental rights to Kayla and Hannah. It was the day before Christmas Eve. She was devastated, and could not bring herself to make the bitter announcement to her supporters until recently. Health Impact News has covered the Diegel Family story since October of 2014. The Diegel Family story spawned a slew of families contacting Health Impact News with similar stories in Arizona, and around the country, and was the genesis for the birth of MedicalKidnap.com.