by Health Impact News/ Staff

Advocates for Missouri teen Isaiah Rider’s freedom are cautiously optimistic following the news that Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill on Friday. The bill would have extended DCFS services to young adults between the ages of 18 and 21.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the bill sent to Rauner’s desk “would require that foster care cases remain open until wards reach the age of 21, instead of 18.” He vetoed the bill on August 21, calling it an “unfunded mandate” which “places a significant financial burden on the department, particularly because the department would not be eligible for matching federal funds for all these services.”

Representative Sara Feigenholtz, D-Chicago, sponsored the bill and is vowing to fight back. She made this chilling statement in response to the veto:

“We made a decision to make them wards of the state. That means we’re their parents.”

Isaiah has made it clear on numerous occasions that he neither wants nor needs the government of Illinois to be his parents.

Isaiah Please Stop Controlling Me

“Please stop controlling me!” Source: Screenshot from YouTube video – Will DCFS arrest Isaiah? #SaveIsaiah

Isaiah Rider became a ward of the state of Illinois after Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago called upon DCFS to seize custody of Isaiah when his mother Michelle Rider asked for a second opinion. Hospital staff had admitted to Michelle that there was nothing further they could do to help her son, who was suffering from painful seizures that began during surgery at Luries. Rather than allowing her to take him to another facility where physicians believed they could help him, they accused the mother of Munchausen by Proxy, a diagnosis believed by some experts, including Dr. Marc D. Feldman, to be a convenient means of getting a parent out of the way when they ask too many questions.

Fight Rages for Teenager Isaiah Rider’s Freedom – His Mother Commits “Cardinal Sin” Of Questioning Doctors

The family has been fighting for Isaiah’s freedom for more than 16 months. As reported earlier by Health Impact News, Illinois caseworker Joe Madden told Isaiah last week that he would not be free to make his own decisions or move out on his own when he turns 18 on August 27. If he does so, Madden said that DCFS would have Isaiah arrested. See:

BREAKING – Illinois Social Worker Threatens to Arrest Teen Isaiah Rider When He Turns 18

What Does This Veto Mean For Isaiah Rider?

That is the question that Isaiah’s family and advocates are asking. Health Impact News has asked Governor Rauney’s office for a statement in regards to that question, and will update as soon as a statement becomes available.

According to advocate Kristi Devine:

“Advocates are anxiously awaiting word from the Governor or somebody that we can hold a huge celebration on Isaiah’s 18th birthday, August 27th. We hope to be able to celebrate his freedom.

How can we celebrate anything at this point when he has been directly threatened with arrest by Illinois official and caseworker Joe Madden?”

According to a post on the Team Isaiah Facebook page:


DCFS has stated that Isaiah should stay in their custody so that they can get him medical care; however, on more than one occasion, DCFS has interfered with Isaiah getting the medical care he needs. Even though his Kansas City doctor has recommended that he go to the Mayo Clinic, DCFS has repeatedly stopped that from happening. Nor will they pay for it. (See: Illinois Stops Teen from Going to Mayo Clinic – “Legalized Terrorism” Claims Distraught Mom.) This makes no sense to either Isaiah, his family, or his supporters, who suspect that there may be a more sinister reason that they are going to such extraordinary lengths to keep him in their custody. Isaiah has access to medical insurance and care without DCFS involvement. Until he is released from under the institution, however, he cannot obtain the care or insurance on his own.

Randy Kretchmar, attorney for Michelle Rider, spoke with Health Impact News:

“I think the governor’s veto was predictable … given the budget difficulties.”

Regarding the actions of DCFS, “It’s clearly no more than harassment of the family. They’re not [providing] services to Isaiah. They never have wanted any services. The whole idea of “services” is kind of made into a mockery by this case. What services were they delivering? Oppression as a service?”

Happy Birthday, Isaiah?

Isaiah turns 18 on August 27. Advocates are hopeful that Governor Rauney’s veto signals Isaiah’s freedom, but are afraid to celebrate just yet, until there is confirmation from the Governor’s office that the Missouri family’s nightmare journey with Illinois DCFS is over.