by Terri LaPoint
Health Impact News
Medical kidnapping of children may be far more prevalent than anyone has realized. When Health Impact Newslaunched MedicalKidnap.com in October of 2014, we believed that these stories were only a small fraction of the larger group of Child Protective Services cases where children were taken away from their families.
As we got deeper into our investigation, we realized that the problem was much more widespread than we ever could have imagined. We now know that medical issues are involved in at least half to as many as 80% of all the cases involving the removal of children from their homes.
The late Georgia Senator Nancy Schaefer may well have been the first to use the term ‘kidnapping’ in the context of the State taking children from their families.
In 2007, she published a scathing report entitled, “The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services.”
Senator Schaefer was a trail-blazer, speaking out for families who had been brutally ripped apart by the system at a time when there was very little public recognition of this threat to American families.
She championed the rights of parents, exposing deep corruption and problems within the system.
Pulling no punches, she referred to what she saw as “crimes against humanity for financial gain.”
She blasted the Clinton administration’s Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) as well as the earlier Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974 (CAPTA). She called for the abolition of federal and state financial incentives for taking children:
Those [tax] dollars have turned CPS into a business that takes children and separates families for money.
See this article, and listen to her powerful speech that she gave at the 5th World Congress of Families in Amsterdam in 2009:
Justina – Kidnapped by Boston Children’s Hospital
Medical kidnapping has been defined as the State removing a family member from their home for medical kinds of reasons, such as parents asking for a second opinion or disagreeing with a doctor. It is a subset of the larger issue of “State-sponsored kidnapping,” where Child Protective Services seizes custody of children from their families.
Lou Pelletier used the word “kidnapping” in an interview with Beau Berman of Fox 61 News, telling him that “It was kidnapping” when Boston Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts CPS seized his 14 year old daughter Justina from her parents’ custody over a medical disagreement.
Mr. Pelletier defied an unconstitutional gag order in order to tell the public what was happening to his daughter, and their story made national news as concerned Americans watched in horror to see the tyrannical power of Boston Children’s Hospital and CPS.
It was through Justina’s story that we learned that children who are wards of the state – foster children – can legally be used in medical research projects and pharmaceutical drug studies without their parents’ knowledge or consent.
A doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital was conducting a study on somatoform disorder when Justina came into their emergency room. He disagreed with the diagnosis of mitochondrial disorder by her regular doctors at Tufts Medical Center, saying that Justina actually had the condition for which he needed another subject for his study.
Former U.S. Representative Michelle Bachmann sponsored “Justina’s Law” on Capital Hill in the attempt to thwart such unethical behavior by doctors. She told Fox 61 News:
We know that this is happening all over the country in all 50 states, that children who are designated wards of the state, are having medical research done on them that may not have any direct benefit whatsoever to the child and in Justina’s case she was made paralyzed by this medical research. (See link).
The bill went nowhere, and to this day, the practice of medical experimentation on foster children is still legally allowed to take place.
There Were Others
Before Justina’s story captured the (brief) attention of the mainstream media, medical kidnappings had been taking place all over the country for years, with the public remaining unaware of either the possibility of it happening or of the extent to which children were being medically kidnapped under our noses.
There were a few other stories that made headlines. Health Impact News covered these stories after local media reported them, including:
- the Godboldo family of Detroit, where CPS sent a SWAT team in 2011 after a mother who refused to give her daughter dangerous psychotropic drugs. See story here.
- the Nikolayev family in Sacramento, California, in 2013. The parents wanted a second opinion before allowing surgeons to perform heart surgery on their baby. When they took their baby out of the hospital, CPS sent police to their home to seize the baby. See story here.
- Isaiah Rider, the Missouri teen who had surgery in Chicago. When doctors told them that there was nothing they could do for Isaiah’s pain and seizures, his mother wanted to take him to another hospital. CPS was called and Michelle Rider was kicked out of the hospital. See our extensive coverage of their story here.
Many parents tried to speak up, but their voices were silenced by the courts or ignored by mainstream media.
There were others who were afraid or ashamed to speak out about their stories. The seizure of children and adults by state agencies remained largely a secret, hidden in the shadows.
The Pelletiers opened the door to more news coverage of these stories, and MedicalKidnap.com was established as a division of Health Impact News near the end of 2014.
Medical Kidnapping Is Everywhere!
We started investigating stories that came to us. We didn’t know if there would be an occasional story to report or a steady stream. One thing is certain: none of us were prepared for the sheer volume of stories that continue to come our way every day.
We have reported many hundreds of stories since then. For every story we publish, there are always more that we cannot get to or who choose not to go public with their story.
It has been almost 4 years, and it hasn’t stopped. Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t contact us, including Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the 4th of July.
We quickly learned that some children simply have the misfortune of being diagnosed with the very condition that a doctor at that hospital wants to study for medical research. A child with a rare medical condition can literally be worth millions of dollars to a drug or medical research company. It is irrelevant what the parent has or has not done if the doctor or hospital wants the child badly enough.
I originally believed that “medical kidnapping” stories were a small subset of the much larger group of “State-sponsored kidnapping” cases. However, almost every story that came to us had some kind of medical element involved, whether it was a disagreement over a treatment plan, desire for a second opinion, a medical condition that mimics abuse, or the drugging of the children after they were placed into foster care.
Children in foster care are three times more likely to be prescribed psych drugs, making them a large market for the pharmaceutical industry.
The circle of cases that had some type of medical element kept growing wider, the more we investigated. Even so, the high percentage of children in the system who have been labeled as having medical issues surprised me.
Medical Issues Involved with MOST Children in the System
The percentage of children in foster care with medical issues is stunning. Far more children in the foster care system have medical problems than children who are not in the system.
According to Pediatrics, there are more than twice the number of foster children with significant health needs than children in the general population:
In a 2008 report to a House Subcommittee in Washington D.C., the American Academy of Pediatrics, represented by Dr. Laurel K. Leslie, stated that:
… nearly half of all children in foster care have chronic medical problems, about half of children ages 0-5 years in foster care have developmental delays, and up to 80% of all children in foster care have serious emotional problems. (See link).
The numbers reported in the 2011 Pediatrics Journal are similar:
The majority of children in the foster care system come from poor families, but poverty alone does not account for the high numbers. Even when children taken from their families are compared to children who are on Medicaid but not in foster care, there is a significant difference. Dr. Leslie writes:
Several decades of research has firmly established that the health care needs of children in out-of-home care far exceed those of other children living in poverty. (Source).
The U.S. Administration for Children and Families combines the number of foster children with physical health needs with the number of foster children with various kinds of developmental and psychological concerns to conclude that most of the children involved with the Child Welfare system have serious medical needs of some kind:
When behavioral, emotional, and developmental concerns are taken into consideration, the estimated proportion of foster children with serious health care needs jumps to over 80%. (Source).
Do Children Enter Foster Care with More Problems than Other Kids?
Most sources theorize that the reason that children in foster care have more medical and psychological needs than other children is because of the horrors that they experienced at the hands of their biological family before entering the system.
If the majority of children in the system had been taken from truly abusive or harmful parents, that would be a logical supposition.
However, as we have reported many times, the data is clear that the majority of children in foster care should not have been removed from their families.
There may be a finding of substantiation by a social worker without any actual evidence, the allegation could be based on lies or hearsay, and the finding can happen without any due process at all.
There are suggestions in some of the literature regarding child abuse that children who are disabled are more likely to be abused by their parents.
In fact, a child abuse policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics entitled, “The Evaluation of Suspected Child Physical Abuse,” is one of the main policy documents driving the abduction of children over accusations of “child abuse,” and it identifies pediatric disability as a risk factor for child abuse that all pediatricians should be on alert for.
The document was written by lead author Child Abuse Pediatrician Cindy W. Christian of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, in conjunction with the AAP Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. In it, Dr. Christian writes:
However, a “systematic review of population-based studies published between 1966 and January 2006” found evidence to the contrary. After searching 40 years of available studies for data showing that a child with disabilities is at increased risk of being abused, the authors concluded that:
The evidence base for an association of disability with abuse and neglect is weak. (Source).
Could there be another explanation for the disproportionately high number of children in foster care needing medical and psychological care?
Follow the Money: More Medicaid Funds Spent on Foster Children
There is a significant disproportion between the amount of tax money spent on Medicaid for the general population and the Medicaid funds spent on children who are in the foster care system:
Children in foster care account for a disproportionately high share of Medicaid expenditures when compared to other children in the Medicaid program. For example, although children in foster care represent only 3.7% of the nondisabled children enrolled in Medicaid, they account for 12.3% of total expenditures and 25 to 41% of Medicaid mental health expenditures.
In California, for example, Medicaid-eligible children in foster care accounted for 53% of all psychological visits, 47% of psychiatry visits, 43% of the public hospital inpatient hospitalizations, and 27% of all psychiatric inpatient hospitalizations among the program’s entire child population.
A Pennsylvania study found that Medicaid mental health-related expenditures for children in foster care are nearly 12 times greater than costs for non-foster children. (Source).
Foster care children can legally be used in medical research and drug testing. It isn’t every day that a parent willingly chooses to allow their child to be used as lab rat, thus foster children whose parental consent may be bypassed can be a prime commodity for researchers and pharmaceutical companies. See:
If the children have a “condition” and are on medications, the foster parents as well as the local CPS office are entitled to receive more money for having the children in their care.
It is a win/win for the drug manufacturers and the foster parents, while the children are the big losers in this scheme, suffering the side effects and numbness of drugs they don’t need.
It doesn’t end there for the children who are labeled as having a mental illness by psychiatrists profiting on the backs of the kids while they are working with CPS.
No Evidence Required for Psychiatric Labels and Meds
Dr. Gina Loudon, Ph.D., is a news commentator, radio host, psychological analyst, and mom who takes the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industries to task over their practices. In her new book, Mad Politics: Keeping Your Sanity in a World Gone Crazy, she points out that:
Every label creates an interest group that can become a recipient of federal funds. But also, being diagnosed with mental illness can be used as a reason to deny people rights.
With the diagnosing psychiatrist holding all the power, people, including children, have been forced into psych wards against their will and force-medicated.
Just as social workers and family courts don’t require actual evidence to take children from their families, objective testing and evidence is not required for a psychiatrist to label someone with a mental illness – a label that can follow the child for years, or forever.
According to Dr. Gina:
Unlike other disease models that require evidence to prescribe drugs, mental disorders don’t.
Her conclusion on the matter applies to foster children as much as to anyone else:
What most of us really need aren’t drugs, but faith, family, friends, and a determination to make the most of our unique gifts.