In an unprecedented move, the federal government has ordered the Department of Children and Families to return a child to her mother. And on Tuesday, we are hearing for the first time directly from the child's family about their 2-year battle with the department. FOX25's Investigative Reporter Kerry Kavanaugh examines allegations the state discriminated against this young mother because of her disability. A newborn girl had yet to leave the hospital when DCF decided the 19-year-old mother, with an intellectual disability, was incapable of caring for her. The mother is publicly known by the pseudonym, Sara Gordon. Her battle to get her baby back is now seen as a victory for people with disabilities.
Unable to pump enough breast milk for her prematurely born baby, the search began for an appropriate formula to feed baby Bella. Finding one that worked, they took their baby home in Alabama. A trip back to Massachusetts, their former resident state, to gather belongings and visit family members resulted in difficulties in finding the same formula they had used in Alabama. They found one that the baby tolerated, but a visit to the local WIC office in Massachusetts put them at odds with a pediatrician who insisted on changing her formula, one that baby Bella did not do well with as her weight allegedly began to decline. The parents decided to go back to Alabama immediately, to be with a pediatrician who was using the right formula. But Massachusetts DCF followed their case to Alabama, contacting Alabama DHR. Alabama DHR investigated the family, and cleared them after seeing how well the baby was doing. But this was not good enough for Massachusetts DCF, which allegedly threatened the family with criminal charges if they did not return to Massachusetts. The frightened family complied, and their baby girl was put into Boston Children's Hospital, where they soon lost custody. Now, Massachusetts DCF is planning to adopt out baby Bella.
"I'm just literally here as a hostage. I didn't do anything. I haven't harmed anyone. I haven't harmed myself, and they won't let me go home. I just want to go home to my mom, so I can have my life back. They took it from me. They are drugging me up every single day against my will." This is the heartfelt plea recorded by a homeschooled American teenager being held in a mental health facility in Massachusetts against her will and that of her family in Vermont.