by Health Impact News/Medical Kidnap Staff
Arizona mother Aprilli Coumpy is still fighting to get her five children, ages 2-17, back from the state. We published her story a year ago.
Her children were taken away by the state of Arizona after her baby was accidentally burned. Her 6 and 7 year old daughters wanted to fix breakfast for their tired mommy and surprise her. They accidentally spilled some of the noodles onto the baby’s leg.
The second degree burn was reported to child protective services by a day care worker the next day. When the burn occurred, Aprilli called her pediatrician’s office and followed the nurse’s instructions for dressing it. She also scheduled a follow up appointment with the doctor according to the nurse’s instructions. The day care worker decided to take the baby to a doctor on her own and CPS swooped in taking all of Aprilli’s children into foster care for two years now.
Mother Being Taken Advantage of by the State of Arizona?
Aprilli is feeling very defeated these days. She reports that her lawyers keep quitting on her because they tell her they don’t have the time she is demanding that they spend on her case. She is supposed to be visiting her children every Saturday but that isn’t happening.
According to Aprilli, the case workers seem to only grant visits when they feel like it. She says that she has no case plan and her lawyers won’t fight for her. The judge has told her she is not allowed to speak in court for herself because she has a lawyer.
She filed a grievance against the Department of Children and Families and shortly after they split up her children and moved them away from one another into separate foster homes. Aprilli assumes it was retaliation. The case worker keeps accusing her of not participating in the case plan, but according to Aprilli, the case plan is nonexistent. She says that they do not notify her of what she is supposed to do and where she is supposed to be resulting in being accused of non compliance.
Children Suffering in Foster Care – Mother Giving up Hope
Last Saturday Aprilli was allowed to visit with four of her children; her oldest wasn’t there. The case worker told her that her oldest doesn’t want to see her. The middle kids are having health and behavioral problems and she is very upset because her baby has regressed and is back in diapers.
She seems to have little hope left of ever getting them back.
I doubt she (ombudsman) calls or anything changes. It’s going on 2 years now, I’m not stupid. I don’t know how much more I can take at this point.
Arizona Violating its Own Laws in Taking Children Away from Parents with no Proof of Abuse?
The Arizona Department of Children and Families code states:
When a parent, guardian or custodian inflicts or allows the infliction of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment. Physical abuse includes non-accidental physical injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns, cuts or other injuries. (Source.)
“Non accidental physical injuries” – Is it unreasonable for parents to sleep? Did Aprilli intentionally harm her baby? Was Aprilli putting her children at risk when her 6 and 7 year old acted on their own to fix breakfast for their tired mommy? Waking up early and intentionally being quiet to let her sleep? Do parents put their children at risk by falling asleep? Should they stay awake all night just in case a child might wake up and they are asleep when it happens? What are single parents to do when they need to sleep? Is it now unsafe for parents to be single parents and should the state take away all children from single parent homes? How does the state define an “accident”?
Aprilli submitted a letter in the case from her family pediatrician explaining that the injury (burn to the babies leg) was accidental. The doctor further stated that she has treated the Coumpy children for many years and she has always found Aprilli to be a very good mother. So the statute states that non-accidental injuries are to be reported. This was an alleged accident, and yet the state has not dropped it (or presented a case of abuse) and has not returned these children to their mother.
Arizona law also states when abuse is to be reported:
Any person who reasonably believes that a minor is or has been the victim of physical injury, abuse, child abuse, a reportable offense or neglect that appears to have been inflicted on the minor by other than accidental means or that is not explained by the available medical history as being accidental in nature, or who reasonably believes that there has been a denial or deprivation of necessary medical treatment or surgical care or nourishment with the intent to cause or allow the death of an infant who is protected under A.R.S. § 36-2281, shall immediately report or cause reports to be made of this information to a peace office or to Child Protective Services in the Department of Economic Security, except if the report concerns a person who does not have care, custody or control of the minor, the report shall be made to a peace office only. Source.
So investigators get these cases and go out into the field, speak with parents and any witnesses to determine whether the accusation of child abuse or neglect is warranted.
Attorneys representing the Department of Children and Families present their cases to judges who determine whether they agree with the investigators and allow the children to be taken into state custody. The judge bases this decision on the investigator’s argument that the children are in reasonable danger of harm or neglect.
Parents who cannot afford private attorneys are appointed attorney’s to represent them. These attorneys as well as the prosecutors for the state are both paid for by the state. Some people question whether this is a conflict of interest or not.
Arizona Has Highest Rates of Children Taken Away from Parents and Put into Foster Care
The Arizona Republic reported in October 2014 that Arizona has by far the highest rate of children removed from their homes and placed in foster care of any state in the U.S. While most other states in the U.S. are seeing declines in foster care placements, Arizona is seeing the biggest percentage of increase among U.S. states. Over the past decade, Arizona had the second largest increase in the nation, adding 7,296 children. Texas, with 4 times the population, had the most with 8,294. (Source.)
Why is Arizona putting so many children into foster care? Are there really that many more abusive homes in Arizona than the rest of the country?
How to Help the Coumpy Family
Aprilli Coumpy’s representatives are:
- Governor Doug Ducey to report that despite the attempts to improve the system in Arizona, families are falling through the cracks. Aprilli’s children need to come home to their loving momma. He may be contacted at 602 542 4331. http://azgovernor.gov/
- Representative Rick Gray represents the Coumpy’s district. He may be reached at 602 926 5993. http://www.azleg.gov/MembersPage.asp?Member_ID=36&Legislature=51&Session_ID=110
- The Senator for their district is Senator Barbara McGuire. She may be reached at 602 926 5836 http://www.azleg.gov/MembersPage.asp?Member_ID=103&Legislature=51&Session_ID=112
- Senator John McCain of Arizona is a co-sponsor of the 36 a Parental Rights amendment. http://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/ http://parentalrights.org/sjres36 http://www.onenewsnow.com/culture/2016/06/23/soon-to-come-bill-puts-parental-rights-back-on-the-charts
A Facebook page has been set up for supporters to follow their story, called Parents Protecting God’s Children. Aprilli says that she realizes now that this is so much bigger than just her family, and she wants to work with other families to see justice happen.
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