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Michigan Law Professor: “The United States Destroys More Families than any other Country in the World”

Vivek Sankaran is a clinical professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School, and he directs both the Child Advocacy Law Clinic and the Child Welfare Appellate Clinic, through which law students represent children and parents in trial and appellate proceedings. Professor Sankaran understands the failures of today's foster care system better than most people in the U.S. do, and he has written: "The United States destroys more families than any other country in the world. While our Supreme Court has recognized that a parent’s right to care for her child is one of the oldest and most fundamental rights recognized by our Constitution, our federal child welfare policy is centered on the destruction of families."

DC School Warns Parents they’ll call CPS if You’re Late to Pick Up Your Children After School

As we have frequently reported here at Health Impact News over the years, very few children in the U.S. seized by Child Protective Services are taken because they are being abused.  Frequently, the threat of having children taken away from their families by CPS is used as a weapon to coerce parents. Recently a school district in Pennsylvania received media attention for threatening parents who were late in paying their school lunch fees of being reported to CPS and possibly losing their children. Now, another report out of Washington D.C. shows how one school threatened parents who did not show on time to pick up their children from school with being reported to CPS.

Investigation Reveals North Carolina CPS Took HUNDREDS of Children Away from Parents Illegally

“I’m sort of flabbergasted by it. It’s one of those situations where – very rarely am I speechless – I am absolutely speechless over it.” These were the words spoken by North Carolina District Attorney Ashley Welch, when reporter Kate Martin, writing for the Carolina Public Press, asked her to respond last week (August 2019) to news that an internal memo revealed that state officials knew that Cherokee County Department of Social Services was illegally removing children from their homes, before a civil lawsuit was filed in 2018 and before a request was made for a State Bureau of Investigation probe into the matter. In 2018, Associated Press reporters Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr published an investigative report showing that Cherokee County Department of Social Services removed many children from their homes illegally, perhaps "hundreds."

Arizona Mom Melissa Diegel Suffering in Jail

Malinda Sherwyn, who has been a court watcher and child advocate for 26 years, was interviewed on Northwest Liberty News to give the public an update on Melissa Diegel, who is currently confined to a jail cell in Arizona where her health problems are allegedly not being addressed. The medical kidnapping of Melissa Diegel's two girls is the story that launched MedicalKidnap.com back in 2014. Her two daughters had special medical needs, and when Melissa started questioning doctors and seeking a second opinion, she was charged with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. After losing custody of her two children, she moved to Florida, but was recently arrested and brought back to Arizona as a "fugitive from justice" and now resides in a jail cell in Arizona, as her health deteriorates.  Watch the interview with Malinda Sherwyn to get the latest updates on this sad story.

Former Foster Parent Criminally Charged for Child Sex Abuse – Again

More horrible news this week highlighting the fact that the U.S. Foster Care system is America's #1 pipeline for child sex trafficking. From WCVB5 in Boston: "After 5 Investigates uncovered years of physical, mental and sexual abuse in a state licensed foster home, the state launched a review and the Worcester County district attorney opened an investigation in a case that has been hidden for decades. In the latest case, John Williams told investigators that when he was a young foster child, he was neglected by his foster parents -- forced to sit naked with another foster child -- and was fondled by Blouin, who put his hands in his underwear and touched him on multiple occasions. Williams and his younger brother, Nathan, told 5 Investigates they were beaten, put in dog cages for hours and tortured by Blouin's wife, who is a registered nurse, and her boyfriend, who moved into the home after her husband's conviction in the earlier cases." In Providence, Rhode Island, a man was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison followed by a lifetime of probation for repeatedly recording himself raping an unconscious child. The man was caught with one of the largest collections of child pornography ever seized by law enforcement in Rhode Island, which consisted of more than 36,000 images and 960 videos.

Defying Gag Order, Woman Who Drove Arizona Girl Raped and Burned in Foster Care to Supervised Visits with Parents Speaks Out on Arizona Corruption

Beth Breen, the driver contracted by Arizona DCS to drive young Devani from the foster home where it was later learned she was repeatedly raped by her foster parent who was arrested for running a child pornographic and child sex trafficking ring out of his state-approved foster home, to her parents home 90 miles away each week for a 2-hour supervised visitation, was recently interviewed by Jim White at Northwest Liberty News. Breen states that she is under a gag order and not supposed to speak about the case, but she "doesn't care" because the gag order is unconstitutional. This is one of the most horrific cases Health Impact News has ever covered, and one of the most-read stories ever published on MedicalKidnap.com. Breen gives an update on the current situation in the interview, and states that Devani has still not been returned to her parents, or to her grandmother who has allegedly taken her petition all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court. One of the most incredible statements that Breen gives during the interview, is when she recalls her time in jail with Merissa Hamilton because they were peacefully protesting in Phoenix against the abuses committed against Devani by Arizona DCS in this case, and she said they talked to the other women who were in jail to find out why they there: "While we were in jail, we interviewed a lot of women in jail and asked them why they were there. When we told them what we were doing, they stood up and applauded us, because out of every women that we interviewed, their charges were drugs, and the reason they turned to drugs was (because) their children were taken away. And they fought and they fought, and they finally just gave up. Because you can't win in this system."

Medical Kidnapping of Children Often Based on Race and Economic Class

When a child experiences a mild head injury and a parent seeks medical attention, what happens next in New York City seems to depend on the ZIP code and the color of the parent’s skin. In April, the actress Jenny Mollen, wife of the actor Jason Biggs and resident of Manhattan’s affluent West Village, announced on social media that she had accidentally dropped her 5-year-old son, causing a skull fracture and requiring treatment in the intensive care unit of a private Manhattan hospital’s I.C.U. Three months earlier and several miles north in the Bronx, my client, a Latina mom, was folding laundry in her apartment when she saw her 9-month-old daughter and 7-year-old son bump heads while playing on the bed. The following day she noticed that her daughter had a bump on her head. She took the baby to her pediatrician, and a follow-up at the hospital showed two minor skull fractures with a small underlying bleed. This is where Ms. Mollen’s and my client’s stories diverge. According to Ms. Mollen’s social media account of the incident, she and Mr. Biggs were met with compassion and sympathy by the hospital. Ms. Mollen publicly thanked the staff, saying she was “forever grateful.” At the Bronx hospital, though, my client was met with suspicion, interrogation and accusations of child abuse, even after explaining her daughter’s accidental head bump with her brother to the hospital staff. Emergency room staff members called the New York City Administration for Children’s Services to report possible child abuse.

Appellate Court: Parents Deserve an Impartial Judge and Fair Trial Before Terminating Parental Rights

A recent case out of Washington state was so egregious the appellate court not only rejected it, but sent it back to be heard again—in a different county. Generally, when a case is appealed, the appellate court will either uphold the original decision or “remand” it, meaning they send it back for a do-over, with special instructions from the higher court. But this case required the court to come up with a whole new option. “The right to a fair trial before an impartial tribunal is a basic requirement of due process,” Justice Smith wrote for a unanimous Court of Appeals for the State of Washington. “The right to due process is especially critical in a proceeding to terminate parental rights, where so much is at stake for both the parents and the child.”

Georgia Court of Appeals Blasts Judge in Juvenile Court that Denied Parents Justice Forcing them to Flee the State to Keep Their Children

The Reveal, a weekly news show at Alive 11 news in Atlanta, has published a report about judicial corruption in Georgia's Juvenile Court, highlighting a case where parents were denied their Constitutional rights, forcing them the flee the state to try and prevent the state from kidnapping their children. Judge Tripp Self from the Georgia Court of Appeals wrote in their decision: "We agree with the parents’ view that this ‘case is about much more than its individual facts. It is about the American legal system, about what our state and country require for every person brought before a court: fairness, respect, and a judicial system that should protect its citizens.’" Chief Judge Stephen Dillard went on to call the state’s justification for removing the children, “nonsense on stilts,” citing case law declaring parenting to be “a fiercely guarded right … that should be infringed upon only under the most compelling circumstances.” This story is all too typical of the kinds of stories we have been reporting at Health Impact News for years now, where parents are often denied due process and their Constitutional rights in family courts where decisions are made to remove their children. The judge in the case, County Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Wyant, used the excuse of "imminent danger" to order the removal of the children, even though the children's lives were allegedly not in imminent danger. The parents were denied legal representation and the opportunity to call their own witnesses and to cross examine the Division of Family and Children Services' (DFCS) witnesses. So feeling they had no options left in a corrupt judicial system, the parents packed up their children and fled the state. “I’m sure there are going to be people who are going to be judgmental and be like, 'You were stupid. You put their lives in danger.' Everyone knows in the back of their minds, if you have children, you would probably do the same thing,” said Martha.