Anguished parents have fought a lone struggle against an alliance between hospitals, law enforcement and Children’s Protective Services. Long ignored or listed as crackpots, parents have seen their children snatched from their homes, often violently. Overzealous, cops, corrupt judges and inept CPS managers have been medically kidnapping children for decades.
The reports were often written off as statements of hysterical mothers, if not outright lies. The quantity of situations in the past few years is starting to make headlines in mainstream media and the public is beginning to pay attention.
Medical Kidnapping: A Reality
Beth Maloney fought to get a correct diagnosis for her son who suffered from neuropsychiatric disorders which arose out of simple strep infections. Maloney has a vehicle to tell her story. She is the author of Childhood Interrupted and Saving Sammy. Being successful in her own battle, she now advocates for other families.
“There are parents who are taking their children to the ER of hospitals because their children are ill and they are trying to find help,” Maloney says. The author claims to have seen parents on the receiving end of accusations of medical negligence. After making allegations, the hospitals have notified state authorities and the state steps in and grabs custody of the kids.
According to Maloney, parents are most vulnerable when there’s a difficult diagnosis involved or the parents have questions about the property treatment of rare disorders.
Kayla and Hannah Diegel, 10 and 12-years old respectively, suffer from a condition called congenital disorder of glycosylation, CDG. Part of their condition included Gastroparesis, a partially paralyzed stomach which necessitated their feeding through tubes which bypassed the stomach.
While the girls were being treated, the clinic in which their family physician was credentialed, sent a letter to the girls’ parents tell them the care of the girls would be transferred to the care of Phoenix Children’s Hospital Special Needs Clinic. When the parents sought help at PCH, they were ping-ponged between several doctors. Unknown to the parents, there was a drug trial going on at PCH for children afflicted with CDG.
The girls were enrolled in the drug trial without the knowledge of, or consent from, their parents. The mother started to suspect something was up when she reviewed the medical records that indicated the medications the girls were receiving. She filed documentation requesting that her daughters be transferred to the care of a different physician.
A few weeks later, in April, 2014, the hospital stepped in and took custody from the parents through Child Protective Services CPS.
Medical Kidnapping Business
A common and tragic theme in medical kidnapping stories is the willingness of the judge to approve CPS in the removal of a child from the parents. CPS can enter a home without a court order simply because of a complaint that claims a child is in imminent danger. Frequently, the complaint is from a doctor and law enforcement is trained to cooperate with CPS. Once police are involved, the child will be removed — by force if necessary. Then, the burden to get the children back falls on the parents, often without support.
A video from the Arizona Judicial Branch government website shows why judges in family courts are so quick to agree with CPS and remove children from their parents. In the video, Judges Aimee Anderson and Mark Brain of Maricopa County instructs judges how to lever cases brought to family court by CPS. Even to a casual watcher, it is apparent that the primary concern of family courts doesn’t have to do with justice — it’s about federal funding. In the video, Judge Brain clarifies that if the judge does not remove the child from the parents immediately, they stand to lose federal funding:
“If you are removing a child in a Contrary to Welfare finding, that order is mandatory. If you don’t make that finding whenever you remove the child from placement, you’re forfeiting federal funds,” says Brain.
A child booked into custody by the state will have their medical care billed directly to Medicaid. Medicaid is an industry worth hundreds of millions nationally. Additionally, there is funding for foster care. Children with medical needs represent the greatest amount of federal dollars a state can receive per child.
What if the children are removed unnecessarily and was not in danger of the parents? According to Judge Brain, it is not the responsibility of the family court judge to make the determination.
Family Court Judge Suspended
A family court judge in Vermont was suspended for playing the system to his benefit. Vermont’s Attorney General, Bill Sorrell, sued to stop funding for a nonprofit visitation center handling foster children placed there by a judge in family court. Emerge Family Advocates is operated by a Vermont state legislator, family court judges and even some of the professionals who appeared before the judges.
Emerge earned millions in dollars in grant money from both state and local agencies across Vermont and New Hampshire. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Justice were among the funding sources sending financing to Emerge. Sorrell was concerned that New England courts are more interested in protecting the financial investments of unethical professionals than the needs of the families.
The conflict of interest case that caught Sorrell’s attention was. Boardman was busy acting as both the family court administrator and Emerge’s co-founding director. Besides the suspension, Boardman was required to give up his position on Emerge’s board of directors.
Get Your Own Attorney
For parents caught in the struggle of seeing their children medically kidnaped, a private attorney should be retained. New York violent crimes attorney Arkady Bukh says, “It is imperative that parents get a lawyer to help with the case. Agencies, including law enforcement and hospitals, can be sued if necessary, for any illegal actions which were taken against the parents.”