News reports have again shown that states still take children away from parents based on false conclusions from doctors.
While the reporters say such cases are not common, they continue despite decades of medical studies and public awareness of the problem of false diagnoses of abuse.
No matter how common or rare, the results for the parents and especially children are damaging and almost certain.
Courts can give Pennsylvania’s CYS extraordinary power
The Office of Children, Youth and Families (CYS) can get legal and physical custody of children if a judge gives permission based on their word, the parents’ word and other testimony.
CYS can place children with shelter care and decide medical and other decisions about a child’s future.
Usually, an early step in the process is an interview with the parents. Those parents have the right to have an attorney with them since everything the parents say might go to justifying using these state powers.
If you find yourself talking to CYS, be very polite and consider insisting on having an attorney with your before saying anything.
This year, a fresh round of troubling reports
Throughout 2019, the Harrisburg CBS and the Scranton–Wilkes-Barre Fox affiliate reported the case of a 16-year-old boy with autism and medical issues.
The state charged the parents with neglect and labeled them with an “indicated status,” meaning the state sees them as suspected abusers. But the parents say the state had only partial and conflicting medical facts and feel the state’s actions are retaliatory.
The Houston Chronical and Houston’s NBC affiliate produced a four-part series on families losing their children when doctors make the wrong diagnosis. Their final installment in November showed that very short-distance falls can cause infant injuries and even deaths that look like severe abuse.
And in Tampa, Florida, the ABC affiliate reported that parents who seek medical help for unusual conditions sometimes find their parental rights at risk from doctors with too little training in the children’s’ problems.
For example, a baby with nearly two dozen fractures and bruises turned to have a rare genetic disorder. Another had seizures related to his complicated birth, but a state pediatrician failed to read the full medical record of the 33-day-old child.