State takes away children of family of 12

State takes away children of family of 12

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.

  • I can understand the skepticism that Katherine expresses.  If I had not known Nancy personally for years, if I had not stayed with her family while attending conferences, if I had not gone to Mass and Divine liturgy with them (they’re Eastern Rite), I too would find it hard to believe.  And we didn’t originally put this in the public eye to try to raise money.  We naively believed that the system was designed to help families stay together (at least that is what I have seen in most places – sometimes to my great frustration when I have seen babies and children returned to homes where the parents were actively abusing drugs, where one or both parents were floridly psychotic and not getting therapy, etc.  It isn’t easy being a midwife working with the ‘underprivileged’)
    Most states have laws that actually keep ‘Family Court” proceedings out of the limelight.  I am NOT A LAWYER and I don’t live in Arizona, so I don’t know if that is part of why the media in that state are disinterested. I don’t know if the Diocese of Phoenix isn’t interested due to the fact that they have plenty of problems of their own (God Bless Bishop Olstead, he has had quite a mess to clean up) – or because, technically, Eastern Rite Catholics are part of their own eparchy.  I don’ know a lot of the details, and I don’t think that any human being does. 
    Nancy has already suffered greatly due to her committment to living out her Catholic faith.  Several years ago, when she was practicing in Georgia, she attended a Humanae Vitae conference given by a local parish.  Following that conference, she made the radical choice to no longer prescribe contraception or to counsel and consent women for sterilization.  Even though the practice where she had been was nominally Christian, she eventually was forced to leave due to conflict over this item of conscience. She has challenged me as well to live out this.
    Back in Phoenix, she attempted to set up her own NFP only practice, but was not able to get any kind of medical support (and midwives rely on having consultation, much as family practice physicians do).  So she took a contract job in Omaha (doing births at the AF base) where she alsostudied at the Pope Paul VI institute to learn Natural Procreative Technology.  Her baby, Neil, was born there.  But Phoenix was and is home for her, and so when the contract was up she and her husband headed back there.
    Just a couple of weeks before all this happened, Nancy had presented a proposal to Catholic Health Care West to consider a NFP only practice at one of their hospitals, that would also provide prenatal care to the many indigent patients in the area.  Then all this happened.

    I understand the reluctance of many to send money to some anonymous stranger based on personal stories via personal web pages.  We’ve all been scammed via the internet.  So if you don’t want to send money, we don’t want you to.  What we ask is simply that you pray that 1) truth will triumph and 2) that these children will be held safe.

  • So appalling that this could happen.  How heartbreaking.

    Sweet Lord Jesus, please help this family.

  • Dom:

    I’m going to give this some air on the religion forum over at Free Republic.