by Terri LaPoint
Health Impact News
Michelle Rider is in shock. Her son is upset and angry. They cannot believe that the system can get away with making 17 year old Isaiah Rider a permanent ward of the state of Illinois. The Missouri residents only visited the state in order to have a surgery there that was supposed to help Isaiah, who suffers from a rare neurological condition that leaves painful tumors on nerves. Instead of helping him, the actions initiated by Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago have resulted in custody of Isaiah being seized by Child Protective Services of Illinois.
The final hearing for the Riders was on Wednesday, March 11, and the verdict was not at all what they had hoped to hear. Michelle writes:
“Isaiah was just made a ward of the court in the state of IL. A Missouri residing resident is a ward of another state. He can’t even get proper medical care, we have been waiting on Illinois to be able to get him into see a neurologist to follow up on a brain lesion discovered in December … This doesn’t even make any sense at all. How is it any ones best interest for a state and agency 550 miles away to decide and dictate the best interest of a person? Anyone who can help, we need them.”
Isaiah spoke with Health Impact News, and expressed his great disappointment in the decision. He says he doesn’t “understand how DCFS can get away with taking children away from their parents.” He is upset, not just for himself, but for all the other kids that he sees in the system that are going through the same kinds of things, and even worse.
He says that Illinois DCFS placed him in a “crappy foster home” where he ended up being exposed to all sorts of things that he never should have seen, things that he certainly was never around under his mother’s care, like drugs and gangs. He was traumatized by being told that he wouldn’t get to see his mom again, and he was sexually assaulted while he was in foster care in Chicago.
Even though social workers in DCFS had been made aware of the crime committed against Isaiah, they did not report it for some months, and it has still not been investigated properly, reports Michelle. When Isaiah himself tried to report the rape in court (by telephone; he was never permitted to be present in court), his own counsel objected – the same counsel whom Isaiah repeatedly tried to fire, without success.
Isaiah asks the question, “Why is a bad foster home better than a home with parents who love them?” He stresses that his mother has done nothing wrong.
“The only thing she’s trying to do is get me better, not hurt me. Mom is a better person than half of those people [at Lurie Children’s Hospital and DCFS].”
He says that he hopes someday to change the system for all the children of innocent parents who have been caught in the system. Isaiah suspects that money is behind the reason for all the pain that he has suffered at the hands of the state of Illinois. He has seen many innocent children caught in the crossfire, and he wants to make a difference for them.
His mother, Michelle, has worked as a nurse for her entire career, and has never once been reported or even accused of any type of crime or abuse, until Lurie Hospital accused her of Munchausen by Proxy, a charge which a leading expert on the condition, Dr. Marc D. Feldman, says does not fit her case. Though her home was reportedly approved by their home state of Missouri as being suitable for her son, Illinois DCFS would not relent and allow Isaiah to go home.
In December, doctors discovered that Isaiah has a brain lesion. However, Michelle reports that they cannot even get a neurologist to look at it because a state 550 miles away has to authorize all medical care. They have allegedly shown no concern about the brain lesion.
The Riders are frustrated and angry about the injustice of the system that they are facing. Isaiah is almost an adult, but could potentially remain a ward of the state of Illinois until he is 21, according to Illinois state law. In his own state, he is considered an adult now, but he is under the control of an entity in another state. He says that he wants to talk, and will speak with anyone who will listen.
Listen to Michelle Rider interviewed on the Robert Scott Bell show :
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