I am a legally blind mother with a ten-year-old daughter. My daughter was just diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes. Just prior to the diagnosis, my daughter had a fainting spell, and my neighbor called social services. Now, I have the Department of Health and Human Services at my door. They have threatened to place her in foster care if there is another fainting spell. The fainting spells happen when her blood sugar gets too low. What are my rights? Do I need a lawyer?
– Please help
Dear Please help,
I am so very sorry for your difficult situation, which is quite complex. I do have some information and suggestions for you. You and your daughter both fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and you must under that law be provided with reasonable accommodations. Both your blindness and your daughter’s juvenile diabetes are squarely within the definition of disabled individuals under the ADA.
I want to make you aware of the national debate of “medical kidnapping” by Departments of Health and Human Services (DHHS). There is national controversy regarding DHHS wrongfully removing children from parents because of misperception of parenting decisions regarding medical issues. In combating DHHS, you must have a good doctor who knows your child’s medical condition of diabetes. You must be educated in your child’s needs because of diabetes, and you must do your best to help your child control diabetes. You will need your doctor to advocate for you and your parenting with DHHS. You will need to call your doctor as a witness at any hearings to make sure there is a clear record of your following the doctor’s instructions regarding your child’s medical condition and treatment.
Even sometimes with the best care, a child with juvenile diabetes can have problems. DHHS may think they can provide better care than you and take your child from you. A child like yours will receive less competent care in a foster home, so you are going to have to fight. You will need a lawyer who can advocate for a parent and doesn’t just go along with the system.
In fact, the Department of Justice has recently issued directives regarding DHHS handling of cases involving the ADA. There have been numerous complaints to the Department of Justice by parents whose civil rights have been violated by DHHS. Thus, the Department of Justice has made it very, very clear that the ADA must be considered by DHHS in cases such as yours where both you and your daughter are disabled individuals. Do not hesitate to complain to the Department of Justice if your rights under the ADA are being violated.
Good luck with your situation.
This blog is an excerpt from Ask Carolyn 2, available on kindle.
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