When the Government Takes Your Children

justina pelletier

Many people who have followed the Justina Pelletier case—largely ignored by the mainstream media, by the way—have thought that there has to be more to it, or that it’s an outrageous out-of-the-ordinary affair. This is the case where the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families forcibly took custody from her parents over a year ago of a teenager who had been treated for years for mitochondrial disease (a genetic disorder), when they brought her to Boston Children’s Hospital for consultation about a related gastrointestinal problem and resisted a quickly-made diagnosis by a medical resident and a psychologist there that she instead had a mental problem. Justina has been confined to Children’s Hospital for over a year and then DCF assigned her to a group home and then foster care and a juvenile judge awarded the agency custody of her until she turns eighteen. Justina has written that she feels like a prisoner and she has been denied both schooling and the opportunity to attend Mass or receive Holy Communion—all this, while the hospital and DCF claim they’re “helping” her. Her parents’ have engaged in a protracted legal battle with DCF and now their attorneys have filed a habeas corpus action.

This is not a unique or unusual case. There is nothing more than we’re hearing. Rather, it’s par for the course for the child protective system (CPS) in the U.S., even if especially outrageous. As one who has written about the CPS for over a quarter-century, I can affirm that one aspect of the Pelletier case after another echoes typical CPS practice.

The CPS, by the way, was largely fashioned by the 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (the Mondale Act), another example of the federal government’s efforts to solve a supposed national crisis, the “epidemic” of child abuse. As I’ve written in Child Abuse, Family Rights, and the Child Protective System and elsewhere, however, the epidemic never existed. In fact, even the government’s own evidence shows that there’s actually less true child abuse and neglect than in the past despite an out-of-control system of false reporting and CPS investigations of parents. Recent HHS statistics show that over 80% of reports of abuse or neglect made to the CPS around the country are unsubstantiated.

In the Pelletier case, the resident—who took it upon himself to reverse the long-standing diagnosis of much more experienced physicians connected with Tufts University Medical Center and started the mess—has remained anonymous. Boston Children’s Hospital has refused to publicly discuss the case, citing the federal HIPAA law. Many, if not most, reports to the CPS are made anonymously with the reporters never held accountable. The HIPAA law was supposed to insure patient privacy, just like the legally mandated “veil of secrecy” over CPS investigations was aimed at protecting families. In fact, these confidentiality requirements are being used to shield the hospital and the agency from adverse publicity—just how the CPS routinely uses them. In fact, the state CPS got the judge in the Pelletier case to impose a gag order, which helps minimize public scrutiny.

The judge, by the way, has upheld the agency every step of the way. This is consistent with the usual behavior of juvenile court judges when a CPS case goes that far. Instead of acting as truly impartial arbiters and tightly monitoring the agencies, they simply defer to the CPS. As Professor Paul Chill of the University of Connecticut Law School has written, parents face substantial obstacles when coming up against the CPS in juvenile court. The burden of showing that they are fit is shifted entirely to the parents. Also, the CPS’s removing children is supposed to be an emergency measure (say, when a child is facing serious bodily harm or death). That was not at stake in the Pelletier case and is not in many others.

Actually, the “guilty until proven innocent” standard is deeply engrained in the CPS. The typical attitude of CPS operatives—most are trained in social work and related fields—is if they receive a report there just has to be maltreatment of some kind (even though the child abuse realities, as mentioned, are quite different). This follows from the belief that permeates the system that most parents are potential abusers.

Some may be stunned that Justina’s parents’ rights have been so easily tossed aside. They should know that few Bill of Rights protections apply to parents when facing the CPS. This is because child protection law is mostly under the category of civil, instead of criminal, law. So, criminal defendants have many more rights than parents in these cases.

The hospital and the agency think they definitely know what’s best for Justina—despite the fact that a mere resident and a psychologist who is not an medical expert made the diagnosis—just like the CPS in general believes that it always knows better than parents.

It is clear that the hospital and the agency have dug in their heels in the Pelletier case, insisting their conclusions are correct. The CPS is renowned for never admitting error.

Little leeway seems to have been given to Justina’s parents—even though medical professionals are backing them up. One shouldn’t be surprised: the CPS is known for its attitude that parents can’t be trusted and are always wrong.

The state’s rationale in taking custody of Justina is that her parents were guilty of medical neglect, which comes down to meaning nothing more than they didn’t agree with the hospital’s diagnosis. Such arbitrariness is not surprising, since the child abuse laws are utterly vague and overbroad. There is even disagreement within the CPS as to what constitutes child maltreatment. This was deliberate: the architects of the Mondale Act wanted utmost flexibility to combat abuse. As Professor Philip Jenkins writes, they were driven by “therapeutic values” and could not understand why legal standards or parental rights should hamstring “objective” professionals trying to protect children.

Finally, the Pelletier case shows how, despite its name, the CPS often harms children. In state custody, Justina has received no treatment for her mitochondrial disease, no schooling, and no spiritual sustenance. She appears to be physically declining. This is not unlike the often grueling interrogations the CPS puts children through supposedly to find out if they were abused. In a Supreme Court amicus curiae brief, I argued that this could constitute psychological torture under international human rights norms. Further, the CPS is quick to assign children it has seized to a foster care system where genuine abuse is much more prevalent than in the home. It is striking how the CPS seems impervious to the adverse effects of its actions on children.

The weltanschauung of the CPS is a far, far cry from Pope Leo XIII’s saying that the state should not “intrude into and exercise intimate control over the family” and should intervene only when there is a “grave disturbance of mutual rights.” Anyone who studies the CPS with objectivity and care can readily see its totalitarian dimensions. These are clearly illustrated by the Pelletier case.

Stephen M. Krason

By

Stephen M. Krason's "Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic" column appears monthly (sometimes bi-monthly) in Crisis Magazine. He is Professor of Political Science and Legal Studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville and co-founder and president of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. His is the author of several books including The Transformation of the American Democratic Republic (Transaction Publishers, 2012), and most recently an edited volume entitled, Child Abuse, Family Rights, and the Child Protective System (Scarecrow Press, 2013).

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  • Vinnie

    We need a parental rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution and to never sign-on to the the U.N. Convention On The Rights OF The Child. That convention is what caused Scotland to assign a government overseer to each child born there. Check “parentalrights.org”

  • JERD

    This issue, like many legal issues, is a matter of drawing lines. One presumes the author would not be an advocate favoring the repeal of all laws that protect children from genuine abuse.

    To highlight one case as this author does and extrapolate from it a general conclusion like “the CPS often harms children” (notice the vague qualifier “often”) is unfair to those dedicated persons who work tirelessly to protect children from abusive parents.

    Is the system perfect? No, nothing is. But don’t condemn the entire system based on the exceptional case.

    • Augustus

      The author has studied the system over many years, as he noted in his column. (See his byline for his latest academic contribution.) He was simply using a recent example to illustrate what he has found to be common throughout the system. The qualifier should have answered your objection by indicating that children are not harmed in every case.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      I wish it was an exceptional case. My own family’s experience with CPS tells me that something even as small as a bruise caused by straps on a bike trailer can be called abuse.

      CPS is just a crony corporate funnel for tax money to private corporations like the hospitals involved. They don’t care whose lives get ruined in the process.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      I will not hesitate to condemn the system. It is evil, and overseen by evil people. Virtually every large Christian family I have ever known – including mine – has had bad dealings with social workers and the bureaucrats who direct them. They are not interested in the welfare of children. They are interested is securing their own jobs by manufacturing as many cases of abuse as they possibly can. They find child abuse where there is clearly none, assume all families are violent and abusive, and especially that all religious people are mentally ill. Social workers are a cancer in our society, operating like the East German secret police, encouraging citizens to make spurious accusations against each other via anonymous phone calls in the dead of night. The evidence level required for a finding of child abuse should be exactly that of any other crime: beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, parents have no rights, children are terrorised by social workers and police, and the fabric of society is further eroded. Pure evil.

      • someone

        Yes, they are very EVIL people. You said right, this is the right word to describe them, EVIL. EVIL people. PURE EVIL. They want to DESTROY families. EVIL.

      • Tony

        Very well put. And let me combine what you say with what I’ve noticed. Suppose, as you say, that they want to “manufacture as many cases of abuse as they possibly can.” Suppose, also, that they are mainly women, and are not going to go to certain parts of Toronto or Detroit or Philadelphia or Vancouver to find those cases — because they don’t want to be beaten within an inch of their lives. Suppose finally that they have an ideological animus AGAINST the family, and especially against ordinary families, headed by the father. Then you go after those — and you “win” all three ways.
        I see a similar phenomenon among the abuse-mongering feminists. What is the one thing that will stand a woman the best chance of going through life without being beaten up by a thug of a man, or killed? Following the moral law on sexual relations, that’s what. Don’t fornicate, don’t shack up, get married to a decent man, don’t play around, and don’t get divorced. All right — what is the LAST thing that feminists recommend to young women? Fat lot they REALLY care about a woman’s welfare.

    • RufusChoate

      I am endlessly amused how people see incident after incident of abuse by an unaccountable and irrational government agency and still maintain that “They mean well”. I have very simple and direct reform for to end this abuse permanently:
      Remove all immunity from civil suits for damages from all government workers including Legislators, appointees, Petty Bureaucrats, Police and Judges etc… If the government feared for their personal financial well being they would be more circumspect and restrained in their actions. What we have now is a collective of inept sociopaths lording their petty authority over a free people with malice.

      • Art Deco

        At the very least, an independent ombudsman with authority to dismiss civil servants.

        Glenn Reynolds has been writing about the immunity of judges and prosecutors lately. Evidently, this has no basis in statute and was simply seized by these denizens of the legal profession. They deserve no quarter.

        • RufusChoate

          Yes, I agree. It was a case in Britain that made aware of immunity provisions in America. It is the type of action you would expect of an imperious tyranny.

      • Art Deco

        Recall that Hillary Clinton was an advocate of universal ‘home visits’. They do not mean well, ’tis true.

        • RufusChoate

          Yes, of course Hillary Clinton is for such an invasive governmental intrusion into family life after all she had the long experience of letting government workers raise her only child and that worked for her.

      • TheAbaum

        Well said. I’m not sure why people don’t judge government on results. When “the system” isn’t engaging in this kind of self-aggrandizement, it often misses genuine abuse. Six years and 11 months ago, I served on a jury where a three month old victim died of chronic trauma. Among the diagnosable injuries; 18 (EIGHTEEN) broken ribs, (i will never quite forget the skillful illustration of this by the ADA, who tied red pipe cleaners on the ribs of a medical skeleton one-by-one at the direction of the Medical examiner where the breaks occurred) a scarred liver and a lesion in the brain that the medical witnesses maintained was the result of a severe bow to the soft skull of the infant.

        The “mother” had a social worker, subsidized housing and other forms of public aid and her and her paramour had the intervention of the constabulary and judiciary.

        The case worker testified that in her visits to the residence, she never observed any indication of abuse, but she was still employed in the same capacity in 2007; the murder occurred in 2001. Better luck next time, huh?

        In recent weeks, her defense attorney has had to surrender his law license and suspend his “call-in” show, due to gross financial misconduct.

        • RufusChoate

          Yes, the Massachusetts agency at the center of this abuse has a long history of letting children just like your example die in the same manner.

        • msmischief

          Well, duh. Taking happy, healthy children from good families increases your ability to adopt them. Taking unhappy children from wretched families decreases your ability to justify your job by providing them services. Worst of all, the children will not perpetuate their pathologies — you’d be out of a job!

          • TheAbaum

            This kid was to young to be unhappy. Poor little kid was battered.

            • musicacre

              The same thing happened in B.C. over a decade ago. A young partyer single mother who had a team of social workers and the doctor had seen the small child on at least 2 dozen occasions where he had massive amounts of bruises, finally died. And the result? They changed the law in the province, named it after the kid and basically it was all over the media that ALL mothers are actually abusers, and EVERYONE should be watched and treated like criminals. Naturally, they had to hire (an army) several thousand new social workers at that time, and most from out-of -province, since the Sask government. had just had an electorate change (Conservative government got in) and no place for all these hundreds of social workers. I remember at that time the minister of Child and Family portfolio had resigned and said ( on the evening news) it was for his conscience, because when he compared the Child Act to the one in Ontario, the one in Ontario was a thick large document and the one is B.C. was just several pages, amounting to no more than a blunt instrument designed to remove children from the home, in his own words.

      • Guest

        That would be great. The funny thing is one would think that would have happened by now given the society’s worship of egalitarianism.

      • Rich

        It’s ironic that people don’t realize how they sound on this site when they discuss the evil GOVERNMENT agencies that are abusing their responsibilities toward the populace. Given how much the Church “meant well” when they were systematically covering up sex abuse cases by priests, you would think there might be some measured humility. Oh well.

        • Guest

          Oh Please. Stop with the false comparisons. The State can put you in jail.

          • TheAbaum

            Check “Rich”‘s history and draw your own conclusions about his authenticity.

          • RufusChoate

            Or kill you and now we learn the EPA was testing at risk People with toxic levels of pollutants.

            • musicacre

              Yes, it’s actually in textbooks now that they tested chemicals outside a veterans hospital in California several decades ago.

              • TheAbaum

                See above, this is more recent.

            • TheAbaum

              The EPA Inspector General Report that details how the EPA was using human beings as lab rats.

              http://www.epa.gov/oig/reports/2014/20140331-14-P-0154.pdf

        • Art Deco

          I have a question for you:

          A 31 year old man shows up in your office and tells you a priest of the parish of St. James felt his genitals 17 years earlier. He provides no corroborating evidence and the priest in question says he’s never had his hand on said man’s genitals and only vaguely remembers the family. The 31 year old man has retained a lawyer who says there will be a public lawsuit if the diocese does not pay up.

          What do you do?

          (That’s the modal situation, btw).

          • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

            That is exactly the way a great many of these “abuse” cases went down. Sheer extortion.

        • RufusChoate

          Rich,

          If the government was held to the same standard of effective control of their employees as the church, the cost of liability insurance for the Federal Government alone would be the aggregate of the global GDP. No one abuses more people than the Left in Government.

      • Tony

        Absolutely. These people should be shaking in their shoes when they try to cover up their blunders by making those that are even worse. For example: the CPS villains who kidnapped Domenic Johannsen from his parents as they were ON THE AIRPLANE, about to emigrate to India and his mother’s relatives there, are simply evil. They did it because the Johannsens had the gall to homeschool the boy — and to dare to question the totalitarian Swedish system. The people who did that to the family should be in prison; and for a long, long time.

    • Sam Scot

      Oh, please. American parents cause far less damage to children than today’s social workers. There are no good laws “that protect children from genuine abuse.” Such “laws” in effect exist outside the legal system in an administrative world with its own self-dealing, self-protective, self-justifying set of rules. Added to this structural corruption is the fact that social workers themselves tend to be Leftist cranks—not all, but most. The welfare of families under stress is put at the mercy of meddling malcontents who have an ideological and personal objective to destroy and reinvent the normal family.

      • JERD

        You can’t really mean that “there are no good laws that protect children from genuine abuse.” Some children are in fact abused by their parents – sometimes they are killed.

        We citizens through the State have an obligation to protect helpless children from genuine abuse. Articles like this one, and the posts that feed on it, use emotionally charged rare events to reach extreme illogical conclusions – some parents may be wrongly accused of being abusive, therefor all parents are wrongly accused.

        The fact of the matter is that many children are abused by heir parents. We need to protect them, even though the systems we use to do so may not always work.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          No, it isn’t “Some parents may be wrongly accused of being abusive, therefor all parents are wrongly accused” You have it exactly backwards, which is not surprising. What you meant to say is: “Some parents abuse their children; therefore, we know-it-alls are justified in assuming that all parents are potential abusers, and thus we have the right to torment everyone. At tax-payer expense. And we are real heroes, not villains.” And you are the only people who believe that garbage.

      • someone

        The system doctor that examined my child is an activist. Can you believe that? And she’s not even trained in the kind of problem my son had, but she was very sure to say: it was abuse! We got an opinion from the doctor that actually helped him, a trained one, and he dismissed her completely. Nonetheless, the agency still carried on the campaign against us. They never give up. It justifies their little petty existences.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          Yup, that’s the way it works. Real testimony of real physicians counts for nothing compared to that of fools who “studied” sociology or social work in college!

        • TheAbaum

          Once you are exonerated, call your state’s medical licensing board and get an attorney. Even if you don’t prevail completely, there’s nothing that works quite like a complain that threatens the license and requires the liability carrier to get involved.

    • Rich

      I agree with Jerd here. Just because there are abuses to a system, does not mean the entire thing is useless. If that is the case we should get rid of Police, Teachers, heck…priests and bishops!

      • Guest

        Bishops are not State authorities with coercive power.

      • Art Deco

        Police, teachers, priests, and bishops all have distinct skill sets the acquisition and manifestation of antedated the erection of formal training academies and state licensure. Not so with social workers, and it would be quite a challenge to look at the 16 course program which constitutes the M.S.W. and make an argument that it’s anything but a paper hoop or a means to transmit an ideology. Deal with social workers some time and ask if they conduct themselves in a manner that suggests they have any real skills or listen to the people who have to deal with them (nurses especially). It’s salaried employment for officious nuisances in ugly shoes. Put those empty pantsuits out to grass.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        Police and bishops operate within laws and have to be accountable. And when they are not, it causes great scandal, and a public outcry for reform. Social workers, and increasingly teachers, are not subject to the law, and are accountable to no one. Therein lies the problem. And I might add that it is generally understood and absolutely true that these two “disciplines” – education and social work – draw from among the very worst students on any college campus.

        • Art Deco

          One thing a relation in special ed told me is that you see the same things over and over: 1. undefined goals; and 2. when there’s a mess, the social worker offender gets transferred out but never fired.

  • Guest

    Thanks for the good article. The underlying issue is one of scientism. The para experts now rule our society and inform our consciences. Your article reveals the very same issue that is in many articles here such as the ones on “gay marriage” and even the one about needing more canon lawyers. The premise seems to be we must rely on “experts” in the soft sciences to tell us how to reason.

    People turn to doctors and scientists as their new infallible gods then lawyers use their information as a club to silence others.

  • Tony

    What I have witnessed of the CPS in Canada confirms the author’s evaluation. They have done tremendous harm to two little girls, rather than admit that they were grossly mistaken in the first place. Essentially, they and the system looted the mother of everything she owned; they treat the Catholicism of the mother and the grandparents as some sort of weird cult; they rewarded the adulterous husband, when the adultery was and is admitted in court; they suppressed evidence of the husband’s affinity for pornography, and his violent and pornographic drawings; they suppressed testimony by the girls that they were afraid of their father; they suppressed testimony that he had abused them; they overlooked drawings that the father had made depicting incest (I have, by the way, seen his notebook and seen the drawings); they shrugged away the fact that the father was living with another woman outside of wedlock, and that he now has a child by her also; they forbade the grandparents to have any contact with the children; they yanked the children out of their school and their supportive community (filled with people who knew the father and what he was) …
    There are a couple of principles animating CPS that are simply evil. One is that parents have no prescriptive rights to bring their children up as they see fit — and I am not talking about abuse here. Another is that children do not need both a mother and a father. Another is that social scientists know what is best for everybody. Now add to evil principles untrammeled power, and a judiciary that rubber-stamps everything you do, and no possibility for redress of grievances against you.

    • Tyler

      The last paragraph is a little overwrought and theatrical. One of my kids has a speech disorder and sometimes says very innocent things that sound, well, alarming:-) One day she said something to a teacher. Her words were unclear and were misunderstood. Given what the teacher thought she said, of course she was concerned and she called CPS. Under the circumstances, if I thought a child had said the same thing, I would also have contacted CPS. I’m glad they are there for the children who really are abused. We had a CPS representative come to our home to question all of my children. She concluded that my children were very safe and were definitely not abused, and she went out of her way to clarify that with the school authorities. CPS could not have been nicer or more professional. We didn’t get upset because this wasn’t about us. It was about children and what is best for them. We adults have to put up with this from time to time if we want all children to be safe from abuse in the home.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        I do not believe this post for one minute.

        • Art Deco

          About 25,000 children (out of 3,000,000 minors) are in the foster care system in New York, so there are likely county departments which make precise and prudent judgements.

          You are correct that the last three sentences in his post are a red flag.

        • Tyler

          If you need to believe that the government is a big, evil, scary monster, you are paranoid enough to believe I’m a CPS employee.

          • Art Deco

            you are paranoid enough

            That word does not mean what you think it means.

            You claim at length you were traduced and then close with those three sentences. You smell, buddy. You need to improve your act.

        • Eldridge P Barrington III

          Sir – The clear and concise manner in wich you have articulated your thoughts bespeaks an intelligence surpassed only by the level of ignorance displayed in the articulation

          • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

            Well, since you have nothing to say, it is probably good that you “Like” your own comment.

            • Eldridge P Barrington III

              Nothing to say? Did you want me to respond to a question? Nothing to say about what? As for “Liking” my own comment, it was done accidently when attempting to find out what symbols were for.
              That being “said”, I would like to qualify and possibly retract the disparaging comment I made earlier. I (mis?)understood your comments to be a condemnation of the entire article. If not, then well said. If so, then…..

              • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                I was responding to Mr. Tyler’s response to the article. Peace.

        • Eldridge P Barrington III

          Are you really as ignorant as you would have us believe? More likely, a cps hack, or a DEVIL PATRICK minion.

      • TheAbaum

        “We adults have to put up with this from time to time if we want all children to be safe from abuse in the home.”

        Nobody should have to put up with state invasion absent probable cause.

        Dhimmi.

      • Guest

        You are too funny.

        • Guest

          I thought the same! I was cracking up the whole time I was reading it because it made me think of one of those heartless, robotic, mechanical infomercials that we hear on t.v. pushing lethal anti-psychotics that make people psychotic, and anti-depressants that make people depressed and lead them to their graves. LMBO!!!!

      • musicacre

        The social libs in the States have tried to define rights away from parents for most of the 20th century; it always starts theoretically, and anyone who has kept up with this issue would know it’s not being theatrical to call these people on quashing natural rights of citizens in a democracy. Start with Dewey, who is quoted very early in the century that the perfect state of affairs would be that all children were apprehended by the state and made to be brought up by a neighbor, that way they would be constantly on edge for their child and not be engaged in politics. In other words, everyone would be off-balance. Not a healthy climate for a democracy.

        Canada has definitely followed this trend, and depending on the province, there have been very draconian results. In the case of B.C. when there was an NDP government, thousands of children were removed from good homes for no reason. One women in the lower mainland started an advocacy service, since she knew the law and and helped thousands of parents regain custody of their child; sometimes after a protracted legal battle which involved selling their house for funds. Whenever the parents were found innocent, no apologies or amends were made.
        The next election the NDP were voted out almost 100%, pretty amazing to see only one seat retained in a landslide election. I think the message from the electorate was unmistakable. But if most people remain ignorant, then there is no accountability to the state making all children the creatures of the state, which by the way was the actual name of a Supreme court case in the 80′s in the United States.

      • Tony

        Give people power without a check on them, without any possibility of being held accountable, either criminally or civilly, for their mistakes and their sins, and you will soon have tyrants. AND they don’t actually help to keep children safe, the disgusting fools and tyrants that they are! What is the ONE thing you would do, if you wanted to ensure that children stood their best chance of not being abused? You would strengthen the marriage bond, that’s what you would do. But they do precisely the opposite. Look, they gave custody to an adulterous father, when there was NO accusation against the mother, and plenty of evidence against the father’s character. Did I mention that he had an admitted record of drug abuse? No, I didn’t mention that. Did I mention that the daughters have written damning things about him in their diaries? No, I didn’t mention that — and I have seen the pages, too. Did I mention that last year the father, in a fit of pique, forced one of the girls to walk from a shopping mall, through a small city, and all the way home, two miles away, because he was angry with her? No, I didn’t. These people are appalling. Where’s the worst child abuse? In inner cities, where the family has been blasted. Where will you not find female social workers? In just those neighborhoods — because they are dangerous. No, it’s much easier to go after middle class people who won’t hurt you.
        Sorry, there is no way I am going to put up with an agency that is above all forms of law, for ANY reason. I don’t propose to cure pneumonia by spreading the plague.

      • TheAbaum

        My physician related a story about how a five year old was brought in for rectal bleeding. After an examination, he discovered that the child had anal fissures and lacerations. After making some inquiries, he concluded that his initial suspicion that the injuries were caused by sodomy were correct and the mother’s boyfriend was the abuser.

        He made the mandatory report to the authorities dictated by the “mandatory reporter” laws and the intervention to protect the child was to have the mother promise to stop cohabiting with the boyfriend (the child was apparently incapable of being an effective witness who wouldn’t be further traumatized in offering testimony in a trial). Three months later, they were shacking up again.

        The good doctor told me it was the singularly most frustrating episode he experienced in his career.

        Children are NOT being protected.

      • msmischief

        “We adults have to put up with this from time to time if we want all children to be safe from abuse in the home.”

        Because it’s SO much better for them to be abused in the foster care system.

        You do know that children are more likely to be abused in foster homes than in their own?

      • LeAnn Addleman

        You honestly think CPS is there to help and make children safe? You are either a caseworker for the system or extremely gullible!!! I read story after story everyday about the “good” the child “protective” services does for family. Why, they are actually “protecting” child to death!!

      • Tommy Gilley

        So the CPS came out and interviewed your children because one of your children said ‘a word’? What word could possibly justify that type of response?

      • Guest

        LMBO!!!! This is hysterical!!!! I’m sorry – but you sound like one of
        those mechanical infomercial ads that uses that classical music in the
        background trying to convince its watchers to take a quick fix pill
        that will help them to commit suicide, or at best, lead them to their
        graves or a complete life of misery after becoming addicted to the narcotics, amphetamines,
        and meth being pushed in those ads!!! LMBO! Better … the ones that create anxieties, stomach aches, diarrhea, heart
        attacks, psychosis, worsening depression and all that crazy stuff.
        LMBO!!! If you’re really serious, why don’t you spare us the humor and
        get real with yourself. Ha! Too funny!

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    The parents should cancel the daughter’s medical insurance. The beancounters would quickly bring the doctors back to reality.

    This is a clear case of a hospital committing insurance fraud.

    • dacmichigan

      The State of Massachusetts is paying her insurance bill since they took her (custody), however, I don’t know if it’s true but I heard that the State may be able to send the bill to her parents. I sure hope not, I can’t see how they could, but I know there are a lot of really messed up laws, so who knows.

  • Florian

    This is frightening because the government has not only legalized mass slaughter of innocent human babies in the womb, up until the ninth month of gestation, but now they can take children at any age under the flimsy excuse of alleged neglect or disagreement with their policies. I hope that this fight for the child’s freedom will not go away…it could happen to your child too. And the fact that she is not even able to receive the Sacraments of her faith really proves a malicious intent…where are the honest judges?

    • someone

      It definitely could happen to your child too. I was in a grotesque Kafkian novel when that happened to my family. And the feeling of powerlessness? It’s horrible.

  • richard_fossey

    Having been through the Massachusetts family courts myself, I can attest that the Pelletier case is not atypical. In my view, these courts are corrupt and make decisions based on croney relationships with favored attorneys and not the best interests of the parties. Thanks for a fine article.

  • sybarite123

    Very good discussion! Reminds me of the question, “What is the difference between God and a Social Worker?” Answer: “God doesn’t insist that He is a Social Worker.” The primary role of the family is being dismissed…sounds like Fascism, or, better, Communism, doesn’t it. Who says that the desire for totalitarian power has died in the hearts of men/women? From Canada.

    • ColdStanding

      Or better Fascio-Communism, eh?

    • TheAbaum

      Who says that the desire for totalitarian power has died in the hearts of men/women?

      Not me.

      Such desires are expressed daily on this board. Those who dare to question the erection of the golden calf are treated to howls of “anarchist” and “Calvinist”.

  • Ford Oxaal

    I knew a girl who was in the care of the psychiatrists at a ‘reputable’ ‘hospital’ — we’re talking 10K per month in the 1980′s. The girl became bloated and yellow. She looked distorted and horrible. The psychiatrists DID NOTHING but observe — they took notes and scratched their beards. Attempting to communicate in common sense terms with them was futile. These highly trained professionals had the combined common sense of an ostrich. It took a woman who was a nurse in World War II (ancient history to the psychiatrists) to diagnose, within FIVE SECONDS of seeing her, that she had hepatitis and needed immediate treatment. The psychiatrists were a collection of frauds, racking up enormous sums of money on the backs of the distraught. The fraudulent Freudians.

    • Capt Obvious

      Abusus non tollit usum. Just because you find abuse in a system, does not mean you should jettison the practice. IF that is the case, we should get rid of the Piresthood and Episcopacy of the Church due to the fraudulent fathers who abused children. You can find it in every profession.

      • Ford Oxaal

        Right — I am not trying to make the case that all trained psychiatrists are frauds, or that the entire field of psychiatry is based on dubious premises. I am sure there are cases where psychiatry has done enormous good. I just don’t know of any. I do know of one case where at least some good seemed to come from it — but that was involving a psychologist, so I take that back.

        • Art Deco

          As far as the mental health trade in our time. I will wager they fall into the following categories.

          1. Purveyors of ineffectual talk therapies: 25%
          2. Paint-by-numbers pill pushers: 35%
          3. Fools: 7.5%
          4. Bad attitude central: 7.5%
          5. Occasionally engaging and insightful rent-a-friend: 15%
          6. Helpful with certain tasks and conscientious: 10%

          Only category 2, 5, and 6 are potentially useful to anyone and only category 6 are truly earning their fees (a %#$ nurse-practitioner can write prescriptions).

      • Art Deco

        No, because accused priests were about 4% of the total, 10% in the most corrupted cohort (the 1970 ordination class).

        As for psychiatrists, they are handsomely compensated to accomplish certain things, and that’s not been done well.

        Lunatics create public order problems and severe burdens on families, so we built asylums to hold them. The ‘physicians’ on staff could not do much to help them, so they observed them and superintened the staff who had their standard practices for managing them. As late as 1940, about 4/5th of all psychiatrists worked in asylums and most adhered to a biological view of the causes of insanity. One treatment attempted (during the period from 1935 to 1955) was the lobotomy, which made some patients more manageable but was in general a disaster.

        Running from 1935 to 1975 was what Paul McHugh has called the ‘Freudian detour’, when psychiatrists largely abandoned the asylum and set up comfortable office practice to undertake ineffectual talk therapies inspired by psychoanalytic concepts or derivative of them. Implicit in this game is that the patient is to blame if the therapy does not do diddly/squat. Read some of Scott Peck’s books if you want an insight into the mentality of a talk therapy practitioner of that era. Per McHugh, there was little progress in this era in coming to an understanding of human behavior and cognition in a manner useful to a practitioner. Fuller Torrey’s view was as followed: the psychiatric profession abandoned the truly mentally ill in favor of making a living off the ‘worried well’ (who are much more engaging than schizophrenics).

        Psychoanalytic practice largely died out in the succeeding decades (the hospital I once worked for had one psychiatrist who advertised his psychoanalytic training; he was born in 1923 and on the verge of retirement). You have other talk therapies, though, and ample use of psychotropic medications, something done in the previous era only for psychotics and manic-depressives.

        Keep in mind the conflicts of interest involved in therapy and counseling. This is particularly manifest with practitioners of child and adolescent psychiatry, whose business is commonly holding the parent harmless. It can be manifest with marriage counseling. For pecuniary and ideological reasons, the counselor is commonly an agent of one party or the other (commonly the wife). And, of course, none of them ever take responsibility for their mistakes.

        They’re all well compensated though.

        • Gilbert Jacobi

          While institutionalization was a drastic and often abused response to behavioral problems, turning these people out onto the street during the “deinstitutionalization” movement was hardly an improvement in their lot.

          But it was and is hard to refute the argument of Thomas Szasz, who argued back in 1961 that the use by psychiatrists of medical language to describe what were really not health problems but “problems in living” blurred the line between behavior and disease and was an attempt to deny patients’ responsibility as moral agents, the better to control them. Szasz held that “disease” could only be “malfunctions of the human body…” while “no behavior or misbehavior is a disease or can be a disease.”

          Szasz was also correct in seeing the promotion of the therapeutic state as a secular attempt to usurp the authority of the Church. Since, in the modern world, reason has replaced God as an object of worship, psychiatry could take over the role of the priesthood in order to guard against unacceptable versions of reason – “mental illness”– just as priests guarded against heresy or unacceptable versions of God.

          What is your opinion of Szasz; do you think his influence was good or bad for people with problems?

          • Art Deco

            Critics of Szasz (e.g. Clayton Cramer) have maintained that he was assiduous during his residency at staying away from schizophrenic patients, had little experience with them, and did not know much about them.

            My guess about Cramer is that he extrapolates o’er much from his personal experience (Cramer’s brother is a hopeless schizophrenic) and sees the schizophrenic population as much more violent than it actually tends to be (as Cramer’s brother is a violent man).

            Fuller Torrey is both a critic of Szasz and of conventional psychiatry. Torrey’s position is that the vocation of the psychiatrist is to manage the schizophrenic population and some smaller clientele who have behavioral disorders that are arguably organic in origin (and are public order problems). His view has long been that medical professionals have been expending an unconscionable quantum of labor on a population of ‘worried well’ who would benefit from counseling rather than therapy, counseling in his view being a department of education rather than medicine.

            My horse sense tells me that Torrey is right, for what that’s worth, and that long-term care insurance (public and private) should be employed in financing the supervision of the schizophrenic and allied populations. Medical insurance should be applied to finance the treatment of people with physical problems. Counseling or whatever else the mental health trade propose to do should be cash on the barrel-head, as it’s elective and ideological (as Szasz contends) and not an address to insurable events.

            I would hope that social work would be dismantled as an independent profession and schools of social work closed. Have aspriant administrators attend schools of public and philanthropic administration, staff child protective with cops and psychologists and nurses with supplementary training, and have aspirant counselors attend schools of counseling and clinical psychology. In the medical field, it’s the nurses and physical therapists and occupational therapists who make the actual evaluations; I cannot see the social workers doing anything that would require a 16 course degree program rather than some on the job training (and yes I’ve dealt with them in that setting).

      • smartypants

        It depends on what “system” you are talking about. If you fear a priest in your church, you can leave that church and you can keep your children away from that priest. A parent has complete control over a child’s exposure to that priest. And the priest and the church can be sued, the priest sent to prison, the church will be exposed and condemned in the media, reparations paid, and reforms often follow. The government, on the other hand, cannot be avoided, sued, imprisoned, corrected, opposed, exposed, condemned or hindered in any way when it decides to abuse you and your child.

  • cestusdei

    Is it possible that this is part of an effort to set the stage for the state to claim direct control over children? For example in 40 years will a child be seized became her parents are Catholics and taught her that homosexual acts were immoral?

    • TheAbaum

      The second derivative of our present trajectory would indicate forty years to be far to long a horizon.

    • Art Deco

      I believe there are cases in the UK where something along those lines has been done. Lynnette Burrows had an article in Human Life Review on the operation of child protective in Sweden that bears reading. It was conjoined to a discussion of the ‘children’s rights’ ‘movement’ in Britain. One observation: ‘children’s rights’ is code for the transfer of discretion over the young from their parents to others.

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  • Art Deco

    This couple

    http://www.amazon.com/Social-Work-Survive-Colin-Brewer/dp/0851171885

    made an argument 30 years ago for the dismantling of social work as an independent profession. An examination of the course work social workers are assigned, talking to people who have to work with social workers, and seeing how they conduct themselves in hospitals and nursing homes has persuaded me that it’s a pseudo-profession propped up by state employment, state licensure, and its own useless training programs. The ‘professional’ associations and the schools are peddlers of ideology and that’s about it.

    Have a mix of nurses, clinical psychologists, and sheriff’s deputies run child protective services with the understanding that they are in the business of protecting the young from criminal conduct so severe that the disaster of institutional care would be prefereable.

    And, again, we see judicial misfeasance and nonfeasance (and malfeasance). The legal profession is asking for it, good and hard.

    • TheAbaum

      The lawyers are the new Pharisees. I’m not sure the judiciary will ever just fade away like the Sanhedrin, however.

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  • Thomas

    Government overreaching always creates a new class of victims, just ask any divorced father. What once was a great American system of limited government is now becoming tyrannical.

  • Someone

    From a very personal point of view, I totally agree with you. My family and I have been the subject of abuses from those agencies for over 1 year now. What I learned is the following, never ever take your child to emergency. If possible, wait until the next day and take him/her to the pediatrician first, so those stupid doctors at the hospital won’t have any say against you.

    As if abusers took their children to hospitals… Those agencies are above the law. You feel totally powerless. Our luck is that we have money and therefore we hired a good lawyer to represent us. Poor people, they are in for a loss, they can’t hire good lawyers. When I tried to have our lawyer sue the agency for making us suffer for nothing, she laughed like crazy. She said that in her whole professional life she never ever saw anybody win against the agency.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      I feel for you. My wife and I were luckier. When our neighbor – a public school teacher who had previously expressed her disapproval for the number of children we had – filed an “anonymous,” unspecific complaint of child abuse against us, we found a good, aggressive lawyer who went right after her, the Kansas Department of Child Protective Services, and the local police. We obtained a finding of “unsubstantiated” within only a few weeks and without a single “visit” to our children. But as you say, you have to have the financial means to fight back.

      • Art Deco

        The trouble is, judges are derived from a particular subculture which has an affinity for the mental health trade. If their not professional (and one suspects most are not) you’re in Dutch just like this family.

        • Micha Elyi

          The trouble is, judges know that no judge ever got into trouble for sending somebody’s kid to CPS. Sending a kid home, however, might lead to stories on the six o’clock news about a judge sending a kid back to an abusive home blah blah blah. So judges are on the incentive plan to choose the lazy option.

          • Art Deco

            These proceedings are generally in camera. The judges know no sunshine falls on them and people accept their decisions as a matter of course. The immunity our judiciary has from public censure is just appalling.

  • Tyler

    A factual error in the article is that the parents were accused of “medical neglect” when what they really WERE accused of is “medical abuse” or Muenchausen by Proxy. One in ten children who are medically abused by their parents die. The standard treatment for medical abuse (or Muenchausen’s by Proxy) is to separate the child from the parents. If the accusations against the parents are true, and a judge recently determined this to be the case, then the parents are not victims but are willfully torturing their own child. While we will probably never know all the details due to patient confidentiality, what is clear is that the parents have indulged in threatening and abusive behavior toward staff, that they went physician shopping, and that they have allowed their daughter to undergo potentially dangerous and unnecessary procedures. It’s also important to note that the girl’s doctor at Tufts, Mark Korson, had given her a “working” diagnosis and NOT a definitive diagnosis of mitochondrial disease. Justina has none of the classic markers for mitochondrial disease, and several medical experts believe she has a somatoform disorder that has been induced by her parents.

    • Art Deco

      Check the IP address on this post. Wagers it runs right to Boston Children’s Hospital or the social services department in Boston, or the family court.

    • Art Deco

      Tufts doctors had been treating Pelletier for mitochondrial disease, a group of rare genetic disorders affecting cellular energy production, but physicians at Children’s concluded that her symptoms were largely psychiatric in origin. Her parents rejected the new diagnosis, and when they tried to move the girl back to Tufts, the Children’s team notified the state that it suspected the parents of medical child abuse.

      Pelletier remained at Children’s for almost a year, most of the time in a locked psychiatric ward. Johnston wrote that the girl was ready to leave the hospital in June 2013 but could not be discharged because Massachusetts child-protection officials’ efforts to find a suitable placement “were significantly hampered by the parents.”

      That’s the account of the Boston Globe, hardly a press agent for Liberty Counsel

    • Bruno

      You really are an undercover CPS! Unbelievable.

    • vishmehr24

      “that they went physician shopping,”
      meaning they wanted a second opinion.

    • James

      I don’t know all the specifics of this case, but what I DO know is that media reports of court cases are generally not to be trusted.

      • Art Deco

        She was under treatment for it at the medical center of Tufts University. This is what ‘Tyler’ refers to as ‘doctor shopping’.

    • Tony

      If that were so, why would they prevent Justina from receiving the sacraments? Why that extra dollop of cruelty? Why, while they are treating her disease, if that is what they are doing, do they not allow the girl to see her parents? No, I suspect that an initial and egregious error has to be confirmed, because otherwise you’d be liable to a massive lawsuit.

      • Art Deco

        One of this horrid judge’s excuses was the that parents were rude to various state employees.

        You’ll notice that ‘Tyler’ has accused one of the regulars here of being ‘paranoid’ while lobbing an implicit accusation against Tufts University’s medical center.

    • dacmichigan

      Tyler just skewed the known “facts” and made up the rest of his “facts” to suit his point of view. There is a mountain of factual information to the contrary. Since you spent so much effort on your pseudo synopsis here, I can only conclude that you are a troll, it would be advisable to check for the evil in your heart. Have a nice day.

  • Micha Elyi

    I figure that if the CPS frau tells some horror story to a judge and the judge is not willing to take that child into the judge’s own home right then and there, then the CPS frau’s story is not compelling enough to take the child out of the child’s home.

  • Thomas

    Once upon a time out West, a babysitter left an infant in the car on a sweltering day. It must have been a few hours. Of course, the baby died. So, what did the mother of the deceased baby do? Naturally, she went to the state legislature and found a legislator to sponsor a bill criminalizing the act of leaving children and infants in cars. The bill later passed the legislature and went into effect as law.
    Sometime after the law passed, I jumped out of my car to run into a fast food place for only a few minutes, and left my three kids in the car since I would be right out. My kids were young, but old enough to tell me that a busy-body was trying to write down my license plate number within a minute or two after I ran into the restaurant.
    Do you think people actually go out of their way to find trouble? To seek revenge? To protect children? Why was a law necessary when the babysitter SHOULD have been prosecuted for manslaughter, at least?
    An overly legislative society may create more problems than it solves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dennis.sinclair.16 Dennis Sinclair

    There is more of this coming unless we fight for our rights and put the state in its proper place as our servant. We pay for it, yet we wind up obeying the most disastrous laws the tyranny of the bureaucratic state foists on us. One the state loses its moral core, all is permitted. There are myriad examples from the last century: Cuba, U.S.S.R., China, Vietnam, North Korea, Nazi Germany, etc.

    A free people will never rise up and demand to be ruled by tyrants.

    Therefore, tyranny must be imposed either by force, after first disarming the people as
    happened in the U.S.S.R., China, Cuba Cambodia, etc., or by deceit, that is, by
    promising the masses loads of “free stuff,” such as cell phones, housing food,
    etc..

    However, reality intrudes, as it must and we soon learn that tyranny causes unneeded
    misery, suffering, and destruction and Economics 101 teaches that there is no
    “free stuff!” Everything has a price.

  • Edgy

    The CPS is the reason that my children have not seen their grandmother for the past 13 years. Thirteen years ago my mother, who had been diagnosed as schizophrenic and declared legally incompetent, reported my wife for child abuse for pushing food in my 2-year-old son’s mouth after he refused to eat his dinner. This might not have been the best way to get him to eat, but it is clearly not child abuse. The CPS sent out a social worker to interview us, and interview the boy. I objected that this was inappropriate, because the person who had filed the complaint (they wouldn’t tell me who did, but it was obvious) was legally incompetent. They said that didn’t matter; since they accept anonymous reports, surely they can accept reports from legally incompetent persons.

    Fortunately the social worker decided that the allegation was unfounded, and the CPS even warned my mother against filing false reports. However, the close call convinced my wife that my mother should never be allowed to see our children again. I thought that fear might be overblown, now that all of them are teenagers, but the Pelletier case has caused me to reconsider.

    • TheResearcher

      More than ten years ago, at my urging, my husband and I ceased all communication with his mother, a seemingly sweet yet incredibly self-absorbed, self-centered and critical gossip monger, because of serious warning signs that she was dangerous to the survival our family unite. If you want to know more about what makes people like her tick, Google “Emotional Incest Syndrome” and purchase a book about it written by a psychiatrist surnamed Love. My husband’s sister and her husband also had problems with my mother-in-law’s intrusive and critical behavior for years, yet felt a false sense of Christian obligation to continue in a relationship with her (the children “need” their grandmother, after all), despite the fact that she openly tried to get my sister-in-law to divorce her NON-abusive husband and was openly, publicly disrespectful toward him. A couple of years ago, when all three of my sister-in-law’s children were TEENAGERS, within a period of two months their parents were turned in for alleged child abuse twice—once each for their two daughters. Both reports were found to be unsubstantiated. Yet my sister- and brother-in-law went through hell defending their honor and their freedom against the courts, and trying to keep their family together. It fell apart anyway. To that point, the children had been raised going to Christian services every Sunday. Today, the older daughter lives with a man to whom she is not married and does not belong to a church. The younger daughter is married to the abusive drug addict she was dating, and with whom she was having relations and doing drugs, and who was actually abusing her at the time that she turned in her PARENTS for alleged child abuse. Guess who drove this girl to the police station? Guess who allowed the girl to defy her parents and refuse to return home after their name was cleared by allowing the girl to live with her? Guess who secretly provided both girls with cell phones in the middle of this whole mess. You got it: on all counts, my mother-in-law. It gets worse. My husband has a brother who is married with children, whose personality is very much like his mother’s, and with whom we have also ceased all communication. His wife has told our older niece that she would like to divorce him but is trapped because she knows that my mother-in-law would do everything she could to take her children away from her if she ever left her emotionally (and possibly physically) abusive husband. The moral of this story? Stay away from your mother or you may lose your wife and your children. As a married man, your primary obligation is to protect your marriage and family unit, to protect your wife and children from all harm. It would take a tremendous psychological and emotional burden off of your wife if you were to promise never to revisit the subject of returning to your mother. Your wife will not feel free until you do this.

  • George

    I worked for over six years in the Juvenile Justice system in NC and FLA. I worked closely with child protective services, law enforcement, etc. There are absolutely abuses in the system. But the author of this article, in my opinion, makes it sound as if child abuse is not a huge, huge problem in this country. I don’t know how many times you have seen a child, heard a child who has been horribly abused? I have, many, many times – real, physical abuse, staggering neglect, etc. The case of the young woman in the article sounds like a huge judicial and state overreach and these kinds of things happen so many more times than they should. But the article, to me, also seems a bit dismissive of the real, systemic abuse that is a major problem in this country, particular amongst the poor.

    • Art Deco

      I do not doubt there are people whose treatment of their children is criminal. So, why are scarce human resources and budget being expended on this case? You have two possible answers:

      1. Discretionary decisions by the social workers involved.
      2. Protocols in that department.

      Social work is an ideology, not a profession.

    • msmischief

      Selection bias. Your work pushed you into statistically abnormal situations.

  • Richard W Comerford

    RE: In defense of DCF

    The Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) has an impossible job. The ancient concept of family and local community has been largely discredited by our elites. Divorce and fatherless children are now the norm. Whereas social workers were at best a nuisance half a century ago they are now, with the failure of marriage, a necessity. There are some world class people working for DCF. And like any institution DCF has people who should not be working for it.

    In the instant case in addition to DCF there are other more important actors in this tragedy: 1) The reporting hospital which initiated the 15A, 2) The Juvenile Court, 3) The professionals appointed by the Court to oversea the case (I would guess at least three persons), 4) the not for profit private agency that owns, staffs and runs the foster care facility.

    Let us all pray and make sacrifices this Lent for the suffering family.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

    • Art Deco

      There are no world class people in the social work apparat.

      • Richard W Comerford

        Mr. Art Deco:

        “There are no world class people in the social work apparat.”

        And you know this how? God’s grace can penetrate even into the most obtuse bureaucracies.

        God bless

        Richard W Comerford

        • Art Deco

          About the same way you ‘know’ there are ‘world class’ people working in the Massachusetts Department of Blah Blah.

          Why not turn it over in your head what the term ‘world class’ could possibly mean when applied to social workers.

          • Richard W Comerford

            Mr. Art Deco:

            Thank you for your reply.

            I have met, and interacted with closely, employees of the the Massachusetts DCF who had big hearts, acted compassionately and were quite competent. Really remarkable people. Without them the system would completely collapse.

            God bless

            Richard W. Comerford

  • David Holland

    I am confused, why doesn the court have her medically tested by a reputable doctor/hospital. How hard is it to figure out the truth. Even if the parents were wrong about the disease, its on the original Doctors who diagnosed it and not them

    • Art Deco

      There’s an ongoing dispute between two medical teams. The judge has already sided with one of them and the state social work apparat. There’s a large corps in the legal profession who argue well and are far too arrogant to admit error.

      • David Holland

        Doesnt make any sense. Even if the girl was misdiagnosed, how is that the fault of the parents. More importantly, by what criteria does the judge take one diagnoses over another. Unless the first Dr was some type of quak or is using some weird type of science, it would seem that outside Doctors should be consulted. No matter how smart the judge thinks he is unless he has an expertise in medicine, he shouldnt be siding with anyone until there is enough evidence to demonstrate which side is right. But I ask again, how is this any of the parents fault.

        • mikehorn

          Medical decisions are only sometimes the doctor’s call. The responsible party can accept or refuse treatment, or insist on other care, or any number of other decisions the doctor does not have to remotely agree with. In the case of a minor, those decisions belong to the parents. From what I’ve read in less biased articles, the parents here were pretty ugly to all medical staff at both hospitals. Depending on what they actually did, did not do, insist upon, or otherwise interfere with proper treatment for their daughter, it could quickly and easily rise to the level of child abuse, and in the case of medical treatment this can require that the child be taken from the parents to prevent grave harm. The cases of parents trying to treat diabetes with prayer is one extreme example, but lesser circumstances are also abuse.

        • Guest

          The judge is , by law, the expert of experts regardless of his/her intellect, reasoning, judgment, moral correctness, or education. Which explains much of the issue today.

          • Dart Echo

            Your honor, my a**.

    • dacmichigan

      Mitochondrial disease cannot, repeat cannot be determined 100% in All cases by muscle biopsy or DNA/genetic testing. A lot of people do not realize that genetic testing for many diseases is still in it’s infancy and that researchers and doctors still don’t know everything or have perfect knowledge of anything. The known affected genes only cover less than half of mitochondrial diseases. Mitochondrial disease is actually the Major category of many more specific subsets of diseases that affect the Mitichondria. Dr. Korson is a world reknowned expert in this field and many diagnoses must be made by the cluster of symptoms rather than a specific test as these can be unreliable or not available (such as genetic tests) for all the various types of mitochondrial disease.

  • mikehorn

    From another, less biased article:

    “Just as Justina Pelletier exhibited some symptoms consistent with mitochondrial disease, her case also has some of the hallmarks of medical child abuse. One of her chief complaints was digestive trouble, the most common symptom among medically abused children. She had gone through extreme surgical procedures, including the placement of a permanent port in her belly to flush her digestive tract. Her parents had engaged in physician shopping, and experts at Boston Children’s felt that Justina’s emotional state improved when her mother left the room.”

    This looks like the parents are by no means beyond reproach. They are still possibly innocent, but the only treatment for medical child abuse is removal from parents because the fatality rate if not is more than 10%, completely separate from mental, physical, and emotional damage. Any other medical decision would have been malpractice on the doctor’s part. The rest of the info will have to wait for Justina to be 18, or a court case to go public. HIPPA is no joke, and never should be, but in this case it means the parents are the only ones giving information. From what they are saying, I would be suspicious of them, too.

    • Richard W Comerford

      Mr. Horn:

      Did not the Court impose, in effect, a gag order on all parties in this case?

      Thank you.

      God bless

      Richard W Comerford

      • mikehorn

        The other article canvases as many news reports as it could find, and not everyone with valid info can be gagged. For that matter, the only gag order seems to be HIPPA related, though I might be wrong there. Some of this info might have gone out prior to a gag order. Any number of ways to get info as a journalist.

        • Richard W Comerford

          Mr. Horn:

          Thank you for your reply.

          I am surprised. We have a fair amount of experience in Massachusetts with both DCF and family Court. Although there is often much gossip to be had about a case hard information is quite hard to come by. Both DCF and the Court place what are in effect firewalls in place to protect the privacy of all parties (and by the way protect both DCF and the Court from criticism.)

          Perhaps things have changed.

          God bless

          Richard W Comerford

    • Art Deco

      Your ‘less biased’ article is implicating Tufts University’s medical center. The CPS votaries are accusing Tufts University of being collaborators with the parents in a child abuse game. Why not explain why it’s ‘less biased’ to fancy that?

      • mikehorn

        I only pasted in a small section, the part that directly contradicts this article. Read the rest on Slate. It talks about how to diagnose mitochondrial disease and how wrong diagnoses happen. It talks more in depth about medical child abuse, in this case where the parents seem to be so over treating their child as to endanger her health, mind, and emotions, and put her at, statistically, a 10%chance of death for no medical reason other than over treatment.

        For that matter, do your own research on both problems, and why either might or might not be more likely. You won’t get that info from Krayson.

      • mikehorn

        It actually seems to implicate the parents, though there is one notable bit about the previous doctors refusing to perform the only current reliable test for mitochondrial disease, so that early diagnosis was only a best guess if you feel charitable. The current hospital has not released publically what tests they did or didn’t do.

    • Gilbert Jacobi

      Crimini!! If the fact that a child’s – especially a teenaged girl’s – “emotional state improved when her mother left the room” is accepted as grounds for grabbing a kid, then, at some point in any given day, the majority of children are no longer safe from government kidnappers!

      • mikehorn

        Your response is obtuse. The quote mentions emotional states as only one symptom, that by itself could mean many things, including normal teen angst. What it didn’t mention was the nature or severity of her emotional state, which presents differently when abuse is involved. Any competent psychologist knows the difference. It also presents in combination with other symptoms. This is where you are obtuse: one symptom can indicate multiple problems, while a set of symptoms narrows it greatly.

        The clincher for me is combining emotions with doctor shopping, invasive procedures, grossly aggressive parents who browbeat medical staff, and lack of definitive testing prior. Those together point to abuse, and I’m guessing the emotional problems also indicate abuse rather than anything else. The girl still might have other issues, but it looks like she is better off away from her parents.

        Medical abuse is real this way, and also with parents who forbid treatment. How many kids die when parents try to cure diabetes or cancer by prayer and exorcism? Several dozen in the news just the last year.

        • Gilbert Jacobi

          No, you just failed to recognize a rhetorical device. It’s called exaggeration for effect, and it’s not meant to be objective or balanced, but to exploit an opening and run with it. The phrase “Justina’s emotional state improved when her mother left the room” could have come from an SNL skit, and anyway, all quotes from Slate deserve to get slapped around on GP.

          • Richard W Comerford

            Mr. Horn:

            You have, I take it, never met the parents, child, Doctors, social workers and other figures in this case? You have never examined the primary documents, legal and medical, associated with the case? You have never sat in on any of the hearings, meetings or clinical examinations? Yet you publicly state that based on hearsay presented in various media outlets that the parents in question are in fact guilty of child abuse; and that Caesar acted correctly in seizing their child? Am I correct?

            If you place your faith in media hearsay then why do you think that Caesar has not charged the parents with criminal child abuse?

            God bless

            Richard W Comerford

        • Art Deco

          The clincher for me is combining emotions with doctor shopping, invasive procedures,

          You mean the doctors at Tufts are co-operating with ‘medical abuse’ for sh*** and giggles. Thanks for your non-obtuse observations.

        • Fravashi

          Do you truly believe that GI distress is grounds for making a claim of “child abuse”? I had GI complains for years as an adult after my mom died, and no one was abusing me. In fact, I was allergic to wheat and to gluten, which no clinician even bothered to check out!

          Your reasoning is frankly very disturbing. So the girl’s mood improved when the mother left the room. Do you know how much my mood improved when I was not around my own mother as a teen? Yet my mother did not “abuse” me –this is just normal teenage behavior!

          Shame on your for supporting the unprofessional conduct of the medical staff in this case, who have grossly neglected the well being of this child by confining her in a group home and depriving her of her right to the sacraments. This is nanny statism run amuk, and if any child can be pulled into child protective custody because their mood improves when their mom leaves the room, God help us all. .

  • Robert Kelley

    It appears to me that the Catholic church would be ill-advised to comment on Child Protective Services, given all of that priestly solicitude toward young boys.

    • Guest

      You would be reasoning poorly.

    • Richard W Comerford

      Mr. Kelley:

      “the Catholic church would be ill-advised to comment on Child Protective Services”

      Has the Catholic Church made a comment regarding DCF in this or any other case?

      Thank you

      God bless

      Richard W Comerford

    • Art Deco

      The press officer of the Archdiocese of Boston did not post the article, much less did ‘The Church’. Stephen Krason posted the article.

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  • Jhawk77

    I’m a baby boomer and have found that most of the younger generations believe that government is a good thing. History is replete with tyrannical and oppressive governments, yet a majority of the people of this country impetuously listen to the modern Pied Piper of Hamelin (or, rather, Washington, D.C.). Whoever said democracies last about 200 years nailed it for these United States.

    • Thomas

      “most of the younger generations believe that government is a good thing.”
      That statement requires a separate blog–a book, if you will.
      Common Core state standards will worsen this situation.

  • KDU

    What I want to know is how a once young, vibrant girl who is now overly medicated and confined to a wheelchair, is seen everyday by an infinite number of people in the medical field from nurses to psychologists to government officials, and not one person stands up and says it is wrong.
    Have we become a nation so afraid of losing our own freedom or our job that we are willing to sit idly by as blatant abuse is stacked upon an individual? Does the general public not understand that it is only a matter of time, before this progressively abusive behavior shows up on our own doorstep?

    • Art Deco

      Again, is it your contention that Tufts University medical center is abusing this girl for their own amusement?

      • Fravashi

        I certainly doubt that the medical staff is abusing this girl for their own “amusement.” However, they are abusing the rights of the girl and her family for their own professional sense of standards and for fear of being held accountable for what they are doing as wrong. In other words, they are denying rights to this teen so that they may hold onto their jobs and their “professional reputations.” Medical personnel are among the most narrow minded and herdlike professionals out there . . . they will not deviate from the “norm,” even if the norm is, as in this case, evil.

      • dacmichigan

        Hi Art Deco, maybe I interpreted KDU differently, I don’t think KDU was referring to Tuft’s but rather the Boston Children’s/MassDCF and courts in this case or those in the same professions in other cases that don’t speak up out of fear, complacency, and a multitude of other factors in the dysfunction of these systems.

  • jusbecuz

    FINALLY, AN ACCURATE REPORT ABOUT CPS!

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  • Marietta LeDonne

    Thank you for spreading the word about Justina and about all the other children who suffer the same fate.

  • http://www.justinasjoy.net/ Bennett Cláytor

    FOUR HUNDRED THIRTY FOUR MISSED DAYS IN THE LIFE OF A CHILD #FREEJUSTINA ASAP #FreeJustinaNOW This 2 minute video will break your HEART as you see how the joy has been removed from this 15 year old’s life for 434 days and counting! –> http://ow.ly/vrigs

  • Nancy Claver Witherell

    The picture caption points out how this case is largely ignored by mainstream media. As much as my heart breaks for Justina and her family, I was almost excited when this story was told on the Dr. Phil show because I thought it would stir the pot and the media would finally help expose the horrendous, unmonitored system and the damage it is causing to so many families across the nation. And despite the fact that this IS news and human interest and potentially a reporter’s dream (being the first to uncover a scandal and save the lives of many children), mainstream media doesn’t want to touch it. WHY???

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