Doctors and CPS Use Each Other for Cover
June 14 2005
A recent Amber Alert placed Katie Wernecke, barely 13, in foster care and her three brothers in a children’s home until her parents “quickly complied” with doctor-directed power-backed social workers’ plans. The Werneckes agreed to radiation treatments they and Katie thought were risky and not needed.
News reports indicate that “new test results” were announced last week in juvenile court Medical results were available only then? They had to be delivered in a highly-charged setting, justice scales tilted against parents?
Previously told Katie’s Hodgkin’s disease was in remission, and after hearing her express desire to have children someday, her parents believed they acted in her interests by declining treatments that could stunt growth and alter development. They relocated Katie to a relative’s home instead of volunteering her for treatment she wanted to avoid.
That protective move was described as “abscond(ing)” with her by a Nueces County judge. Increasing chances Katie’s parents would cave to orders of the doctor who treated her since January, one who made a prior child protective services (CPS) report, Katie’s siblings were whisked to a children’s home, Katie to foster care and their mom to jail. She is under a $50,000 bond.
The same state in which doctors use child protection agencies for cover has its share of publicized as well as less known errors and egregious cover ups.
Anybody Taking Responsibility?
Are doctors accountable, do judges waive their own immunity, will the State repay families and restore lives if predicted results of demanded treatments, or withholding or interfering with other ones, fail?
If the parents and Katie were right about her life quality, and doctors and child protection agents are overreaching and wrong, will parents and taxpayers be compensated by the system? Will those making health care choices for children repay property owners when suits against the State and agents succeed?
The Wernecke family’s story adds a chapter at another custody hearing this week. For Katie and her brothers, children needlessly traumatized when doctors and child protective services wrongly wield the purse and sword of the State, the damage is done. If posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the only residual effect of their experience, it is a frequent gift of similar government behavior.
If usually mute media and the public’s elected representatives expose how child protectors and doctors need and use each others’ powers to “win” with impunity, they and all will be amazed at the counterproductive protection tax dollars buy.
Health Care: For or Against?
“Under Texas law, parents may withhold medical treatment from a terminally ill child, but not in lesser situations,” claimed a wire story with a Corpus Christi, Texas dateline and appearing in a Florida newspaper.
Tell that to the mother of a child whose amazing life was effectively extinguished by Texas doctors. The story of non-accidental injury against that mother and child is being written. It involves nationally known “experts” in a baseless motivation theory used to remove and reallocate children and newborns for praise and profit to agencies and adopting homes.
The prime offending doctor, one whose failed attempts to have CPS remove the hyper-vigilant mother from her medically fragile child’s side became a challenge, ignored the mother’s and his colleagues warnings about medications that would injure the child. His pediatric team at the same hospital had settled for multiple millions of dollars after an avoidable error recently had killed a teen. He couldn’t make another mistake. What he did was purposeful and he walks free. He, too, had CPS call law enforcement to haul away that pesky parent from the hospital.
How best to divert the attention of a family than to do a cost-free, tax-subsidized smear? Why not have the alert parent, who observes and documents everything, publicly labeled abusive or medically neglectful? How cool to have Fox 4 in Dallas run a “Mother or Monster?” program then misplace the last video of the spunky child’s final upright hours?
Even better, what if the station never reports the mother’s full exoneration or mentions the child’s miserable years of state-covered decline before death? Oh, and forget the mysterious blot on the mother’s credit report that no one will describe but prevents her getting credit or employment and inspires dirty looks and occasional out-of-the-blue cruel comments.
“Shawna’s Bill”—one that legislators throughout the nation should vie to patron and sponsor—is that child’s lasting legacy. It supports justice for defrauded taxpayers as well as for wrongly prosecuted families and terrorized children.
Ordering Professional Payback
Simple tenets of Shawna’s Bill require professionals (medical or mental health doctors, social workers, counselors, school employers, any volunteer or “mandated reporter”) who make serial “mistaken” or malicious reports be flagged in the system (as are alleged offenders, parents, caretakers or others).
Prosecutors are required to pursue repeat offenders to regain misspent tax money: for needless investigations, wrongful removals, unnecessary foster care, inappropriate court time and agency administration, as well as costly prosecutions and payouts due to wrongful reporting and personal injuries.
For 30 years, since the Mondale Act (Child Abuse Prevention the Treatment Act or CAPTA) required states to simplify reporting “suspected” child abuse or neglect, accept anonymous reports, and to give immunity to growing numbers of “mandated reporters” with varying motivations, some children—prayerfully Katie among them—survive odds against benefits of government “help.” That is what removal from siblings, grandparents and all loved ones, including many who begged to provide safety if needed and family security, is called even if unwarranted.
Others, such as Shawna, were snuffed out with an abundance of “documented” justification that backwashes against injured and innocent parents as official and eternal injury. Where were official ethics of “health care treatment” for her? The myriad reasons professionals need CPS, and the reasons the agency requires validation from professionals for actions such as removing children first and asking questions later, if ever, are supported financially by Congress, generally ignored by States, and overused with immunity by local front line CPS agents whose actions mostly are unmonitored or described imaginatively in “records.”
Shawna’s Bill holds accountable professionals who defraud taxpayers for personal protection or gain. Hopefully, even in my native Texas with its seemingly impenetrable sovereign immunity, prosecutors will want to stop financial fraud if not official child abuse and legalized family fracturing.
Barbara Bryan (BHBryan@aol.com)Communications DirectorNational Child Abuse Defense & Resource Center Phone : 540-345-1952