It has been well documented that Child Welfare Services across the country disproportionately targets poor families in removing children, when often their only "crime" is being poor. Families in New York City who have been abused by Child Protective Services (called ACS - Administration for Children's Services - in NYC) have a local advocacy group they can turn to for support: FPA-Foundation. The Foundation has their own YouTube channel where they regularly broadcast interviews with parents who tell their stories of how ACS has ruined their lives.
Patricia Tornberg and Steffen Rivenburg, Sr., thought they were going to court this morning, July 17, 2017, to try to bring Baby Steffen's big sister Annalise home to be with family members and out of foster care. Instead, the judge had them arrested and thrown into jail. Family members and supporters alike are shocked at the turn of events, and see this as another way for the court and DCS to grasp at any way to justify their actions and deflect attention away from their role in Baby Steffen's death. Last month (June 2017) Baby Steffen was taken off of life support against the wishes of his family, and before the family could find a second doctor's opinion regarding his condition. Baby Steffen was removed from his parents while still healthy, and yet the parents had no say over his medical care or removal from life support. Tennessee DCS also removed Baby Steffen's sister, Annalise, from the parents. Advocate Serra Frank told Health Impact News: "This judge is scrambling to get rid of this mess, and he's just making it worse." The hearing was supposed to be about hearing motions for Annalise to be placed with family members. Grandmother Lisa Rivenburg and two aunts, each willing and able to care for Annalise, were present at the hearing, but the motions were never heard. Judge Wayne Shelton reportedly stated that he did not intend to hear their motions. Instead, the focus turned to a motion filed on July 1 without the family's knowledge by Margaret Parker, attorney for DCS, to compel the parents to submit to drug testing.
If you had a child born to you that had a medical condition that only one out of every 100 million children have, and of which only 100 children worldwide have been diagnosed with this condition, should the medical system and the government have the right to take your child away from you so that they could research this condition for the "greater good?" If this sounds like something that might have only happened in tyrannical states like the former Nazi Germany, you are wrong. Not only does this happen in the United States today, it is actually legal. See our previous report: "Medical Kidnapping in the U.S. – Kidnapping Children for Drug Trials" The latest story we bring to you involves a mother from Florida and her daughter who was born and diagnosed with Trisomy 9, an extremely rare chromosomal abnormality. The mother, Jasmin Mack, moved with her daughter Nhyariah to Georgia to be closer to family members. Nhyariah was doing well for several years prior to that time while living with her mother in Florida. When Nhyariah was 3 1/2 years old, Jasmin Mack says that a genetic counselor from the University of Florida hospital in Gainsville offered her money to enter her daughter into medical research studies, but she refused. After moving to Georgia, the first doctor they saw recognized how rare Nhyariah's condition was and allegedly commented: "Oh! I have some friends next door that would LOVE to see you!" This was Henrietta Egleston Hospital for Children in Atlanta, which is the pediatric teaching hospital affiliate for the Emory University School of Medicine, located on the campus of Emory University. Even though Nhyariah was not sick, they immediately admitted her to the hospital, and used the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to take over custody of Nhyariah. Jasmin was kicked out of the hospital. Today, Nhyariah's condition has deteriorated greatly while in state care due to undergoing several surgeries, and her mother Jasmin just wants to take her back to Florida, as she fears that the medical professionals in Georgia will soon kill her daughter. "I feel like if she can get out of this hospital, she can have a chance. She's a rare child. She's made it this 10 years."
Baby Steffen was buried on Friday, July 7, almost a month after his death when DCS, Vanderbilt hospital, and a judge decided to overrule his parents' rights to make decisions for their baby. The Tennessee family was thankful that Steffen's big sister was allowed to leave the foster home to attend her brother's funeral. Even so, social workers kept a tight reign on Annalise, and threatened to take her away if the family continued to take photos. The children's grandmother Lisa Rivenburg said it was their last time together as a family with Baby Steffen, and she felt that the social workers' threats were a cruel addition to an already difficult day. Their fight continues to try to bring Annalise home and to find answers to what happened to Baby Steffen in DCS custody.
Today, Health Impact News is reporting on the story of Francis August Schaeffer Cox. Schaeffer Cox is allegedly a political prisoner today, serving a 26 year prison sentence for crimes he never committed. Schaeffer Cox, a well known 2nd Amendment lobbyist who had won 38% of the vote in a State House election, became the subject of an intense FBI investigation after he angered state and federal authorities by openly accusing them of drug trafficking and child prostitution. Oil pipeline service company executive, Bill Allen, who had been spared prosecution on multiple counts of sexual abuse of minors in exchange for his 2008 testimony against pro-2nd Amendment Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, was among those implicated. “The State Wide Drug Taskforce supplied children for sex to a number of state and federal officials in exchange for those official’s cooperation in concealing the ongoing illicit drug trafficking activities of the State Wide Drug Taskforce,” Schaeffer Cox said. Not long after these public statements, the same departments that Schaeffer Cox accused of corruption sent in numerous provocateurs to try to switch his efforts off of exposing corruption and on to violent vigilante-type actions. Schaeffer Cox, who believes in non-aggression and voluntarism, can be heard on multiple undercover recordings telling the provocateurs, “No, I’m going to pull a Ghandi, NOT a Rambo” and “if we turn violent, people will see us as the bad guys.” In what some have called a deviation from accepted investigative techniques, the FBI responded to Schaeffer Cox’s rejection of their violent proposals by creating a threat to his children that could serve as a motivator. Working with the Office of Child Services, the FBI filed a child neglect complaint regarding Schaeffer and his wife Marti’s 1 and 1/2 year old son. Because they do not require probable cause, child neglect complaints are an attractive tool for investigators who wish to enter a home, but lack any evidence to support a warrant.
Judicial corruption is a topic we have reported on frequently at Health Impact News, particularly in our Medical Kidnapping stories on MedicalKidnap.com. A documentary film called Divorce Corp. states: "More money flows through the family courts, and into the hands of courthouse insiders, than in all other court systems in America combined – over $50 billion a year and growing." More about the documentary: "Through extensive research and interviews with the nation’s top divorce lawyers, mediators, judges, politicians, litigants and journalists, DIVORCE CORP. uncovers how children are torn from their homes, unlicensed custody evaluators extort money, and abusive judges play god with people’s lives while enriching their friends. This explosive documentary reveals the family courts as unregulated, extra-constitutional fiefdoms. Rather than assist victims of domestic crimes, these courts often precipitate them. And rather than help parents and children move on, as they are mandated to do, these courts - and their associates - drag out cases for years, sometimes decades, ultimately resulting in a rash of social ills, including home foreclosure, bankruptcy, suicide and violence. Solutions to the crisis are sought out in countries where divorce is handled in a more holistic manner." The film has a YouTube channel featuring the "Family Law Report." We are including here a 4-part series on judicial corruption in family law with film producer Joe Sorge and New York attorney and former assistant district attorney Susan Settenbrino.
Baby Steffen's tiny body will be laid to rest on Friday, July 7, in Clarksville, Tennessee. His battle to live has ended, but his family's battle for his big sister Annalise continues. The Rivenburgs still don't have the answers that they seek as to what happened at Vanderbilt once Baby Steffen was taken into Department of Children's Services (DCS) custody. They are waiting for the results of a private autopsy, funded by donations from people who believe that the family deserves unbiased answers. Those results could take up to 3 months. The fate of Annalise may be decided in less than 3 weeks. DCS has requested a hearing to terminate the parental rights of Steffen and Patricia. That hearing is scheduled for July 24.
Should All Homeschooled Children be Required to Report to “Child Protection Services” to Check for Abuse?
Marie Cohen’s latest column in The Chronicle calls for requiring that every parent who homeschools a child bring that child before a mandated reporter of child abuse for periodic inspection. As with every other well-intentioned proposal to intrude on families, the problem with this one is the harm it would do to children. The singling out of homeschoolers is odd for several reasons. The children most at risk of abuse or neglect are the youngest. So the same logic behind this proposal requires that every child from birth to at least kindergarten age also be presented for periodic inspection. Cohen even is selective in the lessons she chooses to draw from horror stories; and once again, horror stories are Cohen’s entire argument. In the two Iowa cases she cites, the children were homeschooled. They also were adopted from foster care. In one case, relatives desperate to take in the child were turned down. Yet Cohen offers no sweeping conclusions about regulating foster care or adoption.
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Tennessee Dad Who Lost Children due to Medical Cannabis that Saved his Life Continues to Fight for Children’s Return Home
Michael Brooks is a Tennessee dad whose children were taken from him by Child Protective Services after he used medical cannabis to treat his Hepatitis C. After conventional medical treatments failed to cure his terminal Hepatitis C, he turned to medical cannabis and soon his Hepatitis C was in remission. But unfortunately, Tennessee DCS used his medical cannabis treatment as a reason to take away his children. His health deteriorated rapidly when he stopped using the treatment in the attempt to comply with requirements by Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) in order to get his children back. He was set to have his rights terminated last month, but his case was continued. Michael took to Facebook Live on June 26, 2017, to record a video for his followers, and it looks like things may be turning around for the Brooks family. His health has begun to improve and there is again hope of his getting visitation back. On Facebook Live, Michael said that he had been taking CBD oil, or cannabidiol oil and Moringa oil for the past two weeks. CBD oil is legal in all 50 states, as it contains almost no THC, the chemical that gets one "high." His body has responded so well that he has been able to throw away his other 20 medications. In the Facebook Live video, Michael Brooks said that he expects to go to court on July 19, and he is hopeful about getting visitation with his children back.