What do you do when the government takes away your children based on one allegation of abuse by someone else and you see the rest of them are now in bad foster home situations? Alicia at Fructis Ventris tells about a friend of hers, Nancy, who has 12 children nine of whom were taken away by Arizona’s child protection services because of an allegation against their 18-year-old son. The three oldest are married with families. Here’s just a brief sampling of what has happened from their court deposition:
We have always, during the entire course of our marriage, had one stay-at-home parent, (with the exception of about a 3 month period of time over 18 years ago). We have taken our children to and from school in our personal vehicle, we have taken them on family trips, to religious education, to church services weekly and 2-3 times a week during the Lenten season.
... While James and Nancy were at the center where the interviews were performed with Joanna and Jesse, the 13 mo old breastfed baby was with them. The other children were at home with an adult sitter. Amanda Torres had also been at the center and left. A panic call from the sitter indicated that CPS was at our home in Queen Creek to remove all of our children. They were forcibly removed and were not given time to eat, drink or obtain belongings.
Our 13 mo old was removed from Nancys arms while at the Center. She was not allowed to breast-feed him when we were told to leave. Our other two children, Joanna and Jesse, were not fed while at the center, despite Nancy asking for them to be fed. They later reported they were not given food until after dark that night- and this is after CPS had been told they had not eaten since 6:00AM. (just before we had to leave home to get to Central Phoenix in time for an 8:00AM appointment).
The state is refusing to return the children even though the parents believe their kids are actually being abused in these foster homes. (See more here.) If you go to that link you will see a picture of their youngest baby and how she looked after being in the foster home. She was bruised and battered so badly that an ER doc ordered an MRI to make sure she didn’t have a skull fracture and then was returned to CPS. Who’s the abuser?
So now what Nancy and her husband need is legal help. They can either depend on public defenders or they can hire three private attorneys at $15,000 each (due to some quirk in Arizona law, mom, dad, and the accused son must all have lawyers when the custody case goes before the family court). Considering that they are a family with 12 kids, you can bet they don’t have that kind of money lying around.
What they need now is either donations to pay for lawyers or a family law attorney in Arizona willing to work pro-bono. The attorney they contacted said this could be cleared up in two weeks once a decent attorney is on the case. Is this justice? Is justice only for the rich? If you can help or know someone who can, please go to that last link or contact Alicia.