For years, the State of Florida has been removing children with medically complex needs from their homes – sometimes from birth – and left them to languish in nursing homes for the elderly against their parents’ wishes. The physicians of the children do not recommend this treatment, but the State of Florida repeatedly denies the home care they prescribe until the parents must give in to the State and relinquish their loved ones.
"These kids who are institutionalized in geriatric nursing homes are receiving less services than kids in prison," said Paolo Annino, a law professor at Florida State University, in an article in The San Fransisco Chronicle.
In one home, children were placed on the second floor and never left the second floor unless traveling to a medical appointment, or on rare community visits. They never left the second floor. The children did not go outside.
The investigation showed that many children did not receive education activities for longer than 45 minutes, several times a week.
The children are often kept in homes a great distance from their families. One mother drove two hours there and back every day. These families want their children back, but they have not been prioritized for home care and could wait five years or more to receive it.
All of this, as a federal investigation uncovered, is a violation of the children's human rights. It barbaric to rip a child from its family. If anything, if we want these children to prosper they need more love, more care and more attention - not less.
Had my daughter, May - in the photo above - been born in Florida, she would have been removed from our home. I can not bear the thought of that, or any child experiencing that kind of unnecessary devastation. I am a mother, and while I do not expect to inspire change in Florida's political machine, I can stand in solidarity with the parents of these children.
Please join me. Sign this to tell the State of Florida to send these children home and deliver on the care they have been prescribed.
CBS News (the pdf link to the full Federal report is halfway down the page):
Mama Lewis Blog: One story that has received almost no coverage during the Paralympics