A Miracle for US

STOP taking OUR children – ALL children belong under the protective umbrella of loving parents.

STOP Massachusetts from kidnapping babies

A Massachusetts’ Department of Children and Families’, (DCF), case detailed below, is strikingly similar to the “Gordon” case investigated by the United States Department of Justice, (DOJ).  It, and very many other cases in Massachusetts and across the country, shows that nothing has changed regardless of the mandates to do so, and that states are wrongfully kidnapping children and putting them up for adoption!  

CONFIRMED! “very common” – States needlessly take custody of OUR children!renee

An independent federal agency that advises the White House and Congress, The National Council on Disability, (NCD), says that states needlessly take custody of the children … Continue reading

A 3-year battle has seen what was once a mother’s joy rapidly turn into every mother’s worst nightmare at the hands of the state.

As a baby her daughter was plagued with chronic ear infections resulting in some hearing loss, a problem discovered because she was not developing speech like other children her age.  In fact, she was significantly delayed.  She received the medical attention to correct the physical problem, and began Early Intervention, (EI), services to address the speech delay.

          As most children do, she “graduated” from EI at the age of 3 and transitioned into integrated preschool classes. She received special education services for many years, but every teacher described her as shy and unwilling to participate in class. Retained twice in elementary school left her a grade behind her younger sister. After second grade, her grades were never spectacular but sufficient for promotion to the next grade.  In 2007, however, the family moved to a new school district with more observant teachers.  The mother was asked if she would allow additional testing, and she readily agreed.  The results of those tests showed a 6 year delay in her daughter’s receptive language skills.
           Her daughter was not simply shy, she did not understand a lot of what was being said, and started receiving additional services at the age of 12.  By the daughter’s sophomore year of high school, they determined that a formal IEP was no longer needed, and the mother was ecstatic. In the alternative high school setting, all the teachers understood her disability well enough that they could make necessary modifications on their own.  The daughter, who we will call Sarah to protect her identity, was a normal teenager, and in typical teenage fashion, she was getting a little rebellious.
          Just before her 17th birthday, Sarah got pregnant. She was terrified, but her parents assured her they would support her every step of the way. Sarah’s mother attended every doctor’s appointment with her, and her doctor was wonderful in regards to understanding her needs. On May 30, 2013 she went into premature labor and delivered Tabitha, (again a fictitious name), on May 31st.
          Tabitha weighed in around 3.5 lbs, and was immediately rushed to Women and Infant’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island where she remained in the NICU for approximately 7 weeks. The hospital staff was wonderful about explaining every aspect of her care to Sarah in terms she easily understood and never hesitated to explain anything she was confused about. They assisted her in getting transportation to be able to spend 3 days a week at the hospital so she wouldn’t miss critical bonding time with her daughter.
Tabitha continued to thrive, and was released on 7-19-13, with Early Intervention and visiting nurse services already in place. She saw the visiting nurse 3 times a week and continued to do well at home.
          On Monday, September 9, 2013 Sarah argued with her parents over a boy she was dating that they did not approve of. She became very angry, packed a bag for her and Tabitha and went to stay at a friend’s house to cool off. This is where the nightmare begins.  After 2 days of not being able to reach Sarah by phone, her mother called local police and asked if they would do a wellness check on them as the parents had concerns with the family she was staying with. The police said they wouldn’t do that and that the parents would have to call DCF.  At no time during the call to DCF were concerns about the care of Tabitha, but rather the concern was for the safety of both mother and child because of DCF’s involvement with Sarah’s friend’s mother who was thought to be mentally unstabile.

State Sanctioned Kidnapping

On September 13, 2013, a panicked Sarah called saying she had taken the baby to the emergency room because she was constipated and in obvious discomfort. While waiting to be seen, an investigator from DCF along with a social worker and intern, had gone to the friend’s house looking for Sarah.  The friend’s mother told them that Sarah and the baby were at the hospital, and that the baby had been constipated for two weeks, even though she had only met the baby 3 days earlier.  She further stated the baby hadn’t been bathed in over a week.  These two allegations would become the issues against Sarah.
          The DCF ensemble proceeded to the hospital where they interviewed Sarah, still a minor under her parents care, for well over an hour.  Sarah called her mother hysterical when she was told her baby was being taken into emergency custody.  Her mother immediately raced to the hospital and attempted to intervene and bring her daughter and granddaughter home. Sarah’s mother had just completed a screening through a DCF office and gained custody of her other granddaughter just the prior month, so had no reason to anticipate a problem.
           The social worker refused to let Tabitha go home with her mother or grandmother, and implied that they had already sought the permission of the court to take the baby.  This later proved to be false.  The family was told they would receive a court date in the mail, but later discovered that the 72 hour hearing didn’t actually take place until the following week.  The family was never notified of this hearing, therefore no one was in attendance to dispute the removal, or argue to get the baby home, and a Public Defender, required by law, was not assigned until after it was all over.  
          That a Public Defender was assigned at all, made no difference.  Nothing was ever done to get the baby returned to her mother, her grandmother, or placed in any kind of “kinship” placement.  No motion in the three years this has dragged out has ever been filed on behalf of the mother or baby, even though the termination for the mother’s parental rights will be decided in two days from now.  
           From the onset, DCF had been given names of all service providers working with the family, all of whom were mandated reporters.  Never once had any complaints or concerns about Sarah’s abilities to parent been raised, but more significantly, they were never contacted and the case went forward, despite much evidence to prove all DCF’s concerns and allegations false.
           Over the course of the following year while Tabitha was farmed out to strangers, and all who loved her were reduced to visitors in her life under the most strained of conditions, Sarah complied with every single thing asked of her. She stayed in school, attended counseling, made every visit with Tabitha except for when she was sick, and participated in parenting assessments.

TERMINATING SARAH’S PARENTAL RIGHTS TO PUT BABY UP FOR ADOPTION

In April of 2014, Tabitha was diagnosed with a mixed type cerebral palsy.  Sarah began to research that extensively, and was at the point where Tabitha’s homecoming was anticipated.  A reunification specialist met with the family in their home, and everything seemed to be going well.  The family was asked for a list of people that would attend a formal meeting at the DCF office to identify a support system for Tabitha.  It was made clear that Sarah would have the full support of her parents, her mother a stay-at-home mom.
          Seven months after the baby was taken, the family had a meeting, accompanied by Sarah’s court appointed attorney and the social worker from his office.  They were told that a “clinical review” of Sarah’s case had been conducted and that these people who had never met Sarah, her baby, or the baby’s grandmother had decided that terminating Sarah’s parental rights and placing Tabitha for adoption was in Tabitha’s best interest. 
They claimed that because of Sarah’s disability she cannot learn to properly care for a disabled child.
          At this point it was made clear that the baby’s grandmother was ready and willing to assume guardianship and help Sarah with Tabitha’s care.  The grandmother was told that DCF would not support any petition to have her granddaughter placed with her because she had “too much on her plate”.  The grandmother had guardianship of other grandchildren, one of whom is autistic.
           At the next court hearing following that meeting, the judge ordered that Sarah be given the opportunity to prove her competence as there had been virtually no services put in place by DCF to work towards reunification. He ordered them to place Sarah and Tabitha into a program where they would live together under supervision. As the only option presented, Sarah had no choice but to move into a Transitional Living program on November 7, 2014.
It is important to note here that the majority of the legal proceedings in this case took place where no one but Sarah’s public defender was allowed into the court to be with, support, or advocate for her at all. DCF consistently viewed every attempt Sarah’s mother made to help as further evidence of Sarah’s incompetence rather than as support – – – even though virtually every parent in the country has or is allowed support beyond themselves.
Sarah’s first appointed public defenders treated Sarah’s mother as an adversary when it was pointed out, time after time, that they had not objected to anything DCF said or did despite the obvious violation of her rights.
          During the 90 days Sarah was forced to live at the program, the situation deteriorated very rapidly. Several disciplinary reports were filed during that time, as well as additional 51A reports for infractions that were frivolous at best.  The agenda had been set, and the narrative was being put in place to take Tabitha again. By this programs own admission, in their IFSP dated December 17, 2014, they stated that they were not equipped to offer one on one support, and they did not have any idea how to deal with the disability of either Sarah or Tabitha. It has been stated in a more recent foster care review, however, that the staff of the program had taken a course in how to deal with Tabitha’s cerebral palsy.  This was in spite of the fact that they claimed Sarah needed the training as well, but it was never offered to her.
          It was again determined that Sarah had not made any progress towards reunification and they still intended to terminate her rights, regardless of the fact that Sarah kept in compliance with their service plans the entire time. She actually graduated high school, and was looking into starting college.

Sarah became pregnant with her second child, and because of the problems she had during her first pregnancy, she made sure to be seen by all of her doctors right away. These included her regular OB, a high risk pregnancy specialist, a hematologist and her primary care physician. She made every appointment, took every medication and did everything to ensure a healthy baby. Sadly her body is simply not able to carry a baby full term and on November 23, 2015 she delivered her son David prematurely as well.
David, was born at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence Rhode Island, where he still remains in the NICU.  The hospital staff has absolutely no concerns about Sarah’s abilities to care for him, but by law they were required to notify DCF of his birth. They said it is just a formality and they have no intention of filing any complaints.
crOn December 3, 2015, MA DCF sought and was granted emergency temporary custody of David despite the fact that he has never left the hospital in Rhode Island.  The hospital has provided letters to the court stating they have no concerns about Sarah’s abilities to care for him, and there is no pending discharge plan for him. 
In their affidavit to the court, they state that because of Sarah’s learning disabilities they have concerns about her ability to provide for his needs after discharge. This is in direct conflict with ADA protections, which were the focus of the recent DOJ case, formally known as the Gordon case.  In the Gordon case,  a 2-day old infant was taken by Massachusetts’ DCF, and two years later the state was moving to forcefully adopt that baby away from her family.  In this case, the mother and grandmother fought for Tabitha for 3 years.  In the Gordon case, the mother and grandmother’s two year battle for custody of the baby ended upon the DOJ’s completion of their investigation.  At that time they issued a finding that Massachusetts had wrongfully taken the Gordon baby and was to return her to the family with reimbursement of expenses.  That, and only that, i.e., the DOJ stepping in, is what prevented that child from being forcefully adopted away from her mother and all other family – – – forever.
          None of the accommodations, provisions, or even the law were followed in Sarah’s case, and the state even flouted MA DCF’s own rules to now take two children from Sarah.
          With the initial case involving Tabitha, there has been no evidence to have allowed the case to get this far, but with David there simply is NO evidence, period. This case is solely based on DCF’s perception of Sarah’s limitations in clear violation of her rights as a disabled person, and the subject of the DOJ ruling. They have now scared and bullied Sarah into agreeing to enter another program in order to get custody of her son, but what difference would that make?  Look what the last 3 years have yielded in getting her child back or having anything remotely close to the stable, supportive home environment Sarah could have, and should have had. A once normal teenager is now a depressed and anxious 20 year old that suffers with horrible nightmares of DCF taking both of her children away, never to be seen again, despite the fact that she has done NOTHING wrong.
            Tabitha was never harmed in her care, and David, a newborn, hasn’t even left the hospital. DCF has already requested a letter from the hospital outlining David’s special needs where none have been identified. This indicates they are aware of how Tabitha’s case was mishandled because they never requested such a letter from Tabitha’s doctors although she already had the cerebral palsy diagnosis.
           In March of 2015, a complaint on Sarah’s behalf was filed with the Department of Health and Human Services.  She just received a response to the March complaint in January of 2016.  They state there is not enough evidence for them to investigate. They have not seen all the evidence, and time is running out.  The trial to terminate Sarah’s parental rights is set for January 28, 2016. DCF has already made it clear that they will not allow the grandmother to obtain custody despite her qualifications, never mind its her granddaughter.  Help and/or direction is desperately needed, and will be greatly appreciated.

Save Kidnapped babies in MAAdvocates have set up a new page about this Massachusetts’ family that have had 2 children taken from them because of the mother’s disability. The mother is perfectly capable of raising her children and plans to do so in her parents’ home with their full support. The premature baby is about to be discharged and released to the foster parents, and it appears they have been lined up all along to adopt both children.

The birth mother has been at her baby’s side everyday and has only gone when she had a visitation with her daughter in foster care.  Recently the mother was made to leave her baby’s side so the foster parents could visit with ‘their’ newborn.

This is an outrage … This is state sanctioned kidnapping at best, and child traficking at worst.  

Please visit the support page at Save Kidnapped babies in MA Save Kidnapped babies in MA's photo.

 

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