Just when we think they won’t get any more brazen, they do.
Not long ago, the system’s violations of parental rights were kept to the shadows. Child Protective Services (CPS) targeted minorities and the poor because these were least able to defend themselves, and more likely to be dismissed by the general population.
But the once-secretive system has since faced high-profile cases, like Maryanne Godboldo’s SWAT team standoff and the Pelletier family’s fight to rescue their daughter, Justina, from the trauma inflicted by Boston Children’s Hospital. And instead of being ashamed, the System has just gotten bolder.
Now the System has successfully stacked itself so high against families that even insiders are no longer immune.
Earlier this year we heard from a court officer who found out first-hand how easy it can be for someone to make an anonymous false accusation against him through a child abuse hotline. And he learned that CPS won’t just drop it, even when they have far more evidence that the report was intentionally false than they do that abuse has ever taken place. And now doctors are being accused of child abuse by the very hospitals they work for.
John and Sadie were living a dream, getting to know and love the precious baby girl they were in the process of adopting. One morning John was resting with their daughter on his chest.
Suddenly, he awoke in a panic to her crying. He had dozed off, and in his sleep his body had shifted so that he was now partially lying on the little girl.
In tears, John called his wife and the two examined the child together. Because they suspected she may have a broken collar bone, they agreed John should do as any parent would, doctor or not: take her in to the emergency room (which happened to be in the hospital where they both worked).
That is where their real nightmare began.
The attending physician, a friend of John and Sadie, knew this injury was not a result of abuse. But rather than show favoritism to his colleagues, he treated them as he would anyone else, alerting the child abuse pediatrics team to the injury. After all, since there was no abuse, it wouldn’t hurt anything to let the team confirm that, too.
But that is apparently not what the child abuse pediatrics team does.
Instead, they declared that the broken collar bone was clearly non-accidental, and they diagnosed the baby with “widespread contusions”—bruises all over her body.
The team called CPS, who accused John of abuse and whisked the couple’s baby away. That was nine months ago, and they haven’t gotten to see her since.
But that’s not the end of the injustice.
Two child abuse pediatricians testified in court that the broken collar bone and the widespread bruises were certain signs of abuse. It was their “medical diagnosis.” Nothing else could possibly have created these symptoms, and a child abuse specialist would know. Except that they were wrong.
No fewer than seven dermatologists examined the baby after she was brought in, and all seven agreed: what had been diagnoses as bruises were almost all birthmarks. At most there were three small bruises on her body, and these could have been from basic, even careful, handling if the child suffered from a blood condition that leads to easy bruising.
Four hematologists and the mother, herself a pediatric hematologist-oncologist, knew from the test results that such a condition was likely indicated. But one of the child abuse experts testified the child had no such condition.
That’s five blood experts and seven skin experts against the conclusion of only two doctors who are trained to find and support a conclusion of abuse, and only that conclusion.
And the courts have sided with the two. As John and Sadie found out, the system right now is blatantly unfair, and children are the ones who suffer most.
John and Sadie’s precious daughter is once again without a stable family to love and protect her. Why? Because the system is unjustly stacked against parents. “What has and is happening is not medicine,” Dr. Sadie Dobrozsi told NBC for their report. “It is ego and arrogance and power. And it has to end.”
But it won’t end until more people know. And that’s where the Parental Rights Foundation comes in, where you and I come in.
Because even as brazen as the child-grabbers have become, even investigating court officers and accusing doctors in their own hospitals, there are still so many who do not know. John and Sadie certainly didn’t know.
Parents and professionals alike would join our cause and stand for family rights if they knew these things were going on. And that kind of outcry would bring change.
That’s why we have to tell them.
That’s why we featured this problem of child abuse pediatricians in our online article just a few weeks ago. It’s why we launched the Parental Rights Podcast in January, and why a recent episode featured UNC law professor Maxine Eichner to discuss this very topic.
It’s why we’ve allied with like-minded experts from across the political spectrum who are crying “foul” on the very same issues, including author-attorney Diane Redleaf and NYU law professor Martin Guggenheim.
It’s why other podcast guests have focused on everything from anti-family bills introduced in states around the country to creating an understanding of parental rights as natural, not government-granted, rights.
The need to educate and inform America about the plight of parental rights is what prompted us to file an amicus brief in a Texas Supreme Court parental rights case in December—a case that may ultimately find its way to the US Supreme Court.
And it’s this need to educate and inform that led us to propose new model legislation to protect the due process rights of innocent parents like John and Sadie, to ensure they’ll get their day in court before their name ever goes on a child abuse register.
It is thanks to the hard work of our team and faithful partners like you, FName, that we have been able to do these things this year— things we have never done before.
Now, as our fiscal year comes to a close on March 31, we’re trying to do something else we’ve never done: finish in the black for a fourth consecutive year.
It’s not just a feather to stick in our cap. Fully funding the work we have done this year puts us in the best position to continue our work into the next fiscal year and beyond. It’s good business sense, good stewardship. But again, we’re going to need your help to do it.
Will you support the briefs, the reporting, the model policies and laws that defend families, with a generous gift today to support the Parental Rights Foundation?
No one else is entirely dedicated to preserving the rights of parents against these gross violations. No one else is solely focused on protecting innocent families from this kind of trauma and abuse.
We have big goals for this next year, like growing the reach and effectiveness of our podcast, and seeing the Texas Supreme Court case through to the end. We want to further more policies that protect innocent families, and bring healthy changes to the whole system of child welfare.
Will you take a moment today to support us in the fight for families like these, families just like yours? Your gift will make all we do and are going to do possible.
Thank you for your faithful support of this vital cause. Together we can make a difference and change our country for the better.
James R. Mason
P.S. Families like John and Sadie’s are counting on us to continue the work of calling attention to their plight and working to end the arrogant overreaches that have so harmed their children. We want to see fewer families like Maryanne Godboldo’s, Justina Pelletier’s, or Dr. John Cox’s torn apart. Because, as the court officer and these doctors have found out recently, no family is safe until we all are.