We are currently representing a mother in the Los Angeles County Juvenile Dependency Court. She and her husband are being charged with child abuse, specifically not seeking the appropriate medical care for her new born child that has a heart condition.
Facts: Husband and wife have a set of twins, a boy and a girl, age 7. Recently, mother gives birth and the newborn has a serious heart condition. The parents take the child to Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. While there, the parents become dissatisfied with the Hospital because they are allegedly treated rudely by the medical staff, and the parents draw the conclusion (correctly or incorrectly) that the Hospital may be running unnecessary tests.
In late October 2013, the parents tell the Hospital that they are taking the child to a new cardiologist that they have found, but don’t tell the Hospital and the doctors who or where they are going. Allegedly, the hospital makes a suspected child abuse report against the parents, fearing for the child’s safety. And the Los Angeles County Department of Children’s Hospital starts an investigation.
As it turn out, the parents made arrangements for the child to be seen at UCLA, by a renowned pediatric cardiologist. For almost 2 months, the child is treated at UCLA, undergoes an operation and is discharged into the custody of the parents.
During the investigation DCFS required the parents to attend a meeting, in their offices. But the parents were in the middle of hospital visits, upcoming operation for the new born, working and dealing with their older set of twins and couldn’t make the meeting. They allegedly told the social workers they couldn’t make the meetings. For whatever reason, the social workers asked the juvenile dependency court for a court order, a warrant, for the detaining of the all the children. Detaining means, taking the children away from the parents.
I haven’t seen all the paperwork submitted by the social worker to the judge, but the judge signed the order that only the new born with the heart condition could be taken into custody. Apparently, the social worker was upset the twins weren’t also detained.
I am anxiously awaiting to see all the paper work submitted by the social worker. We have reports that two of the doctors at UCLA have told the social workers and DCFS that it was a huge mistake to take this child from the parents. This could lead to a substantial civil rights lawsuit against County of Los Angeles, DCFS and the social worker/s involved with this situation.
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