Sisters Taylor and Deseree Straightiff. Images supplied by family.
Contributed to TLB by: Health Impact News and Medical Kidnap
On January 5, 2015 at 12:00 pm at Dayton Children’s Hospital, Clinton County Child Protective Unit Investigator, Hayli Cingle, allegedly told Hildy Straightiff,
“There is an emergency custody hearing for your children at 1:30 pm today if you would like to be present.”
Hildy responded from her daughters’ hospital room,
“Of course I want to show up, these are my kids, can I at least have the address?”
An hour and a half later, rather than sitting at the bedside of her two sick girls in the hospital, Hildy was sitting in a court room listening to Judge G. Allen Gano order her children into the temporary custody of Clinton County Children Services in the State of Ohio.
Judge Orders Painful and Abrupt Separation – Placing Ill Sisters into the Care of Strangers
Taylor (age 13) and Deseree (age 12) had not been away from their parents for longer than a few days at a time, and suddenly their lives were going to change dramatically.
Hildy pleaded with Children Services to at least let her mother and father, Doug and Mary Ryan, remain at the hospital with her children until the designated foster parents were able to pick them up. Doug and Mary Ryan were allowed to remain with the Straightiff children until January 7, 2015, when foster parents that the girls had never met, picked them up from the hospital and took them to a strange new home.
Hildy and her husband Gus were never allowed to go back to the hospital where their children were being treated. Hildy was extremely upset because,
“They didn’t even let me take the girls’ winter coats to them in the middle of winter.”
Hildy Straightiff began homeschooling her children in 2010 due to extended school absences because of the children’s health problems. Hildy homeschooled her children until they were removed from her care in January 2015. Hildy is very proud that both girls’ grades are above a 3.5 in their current school.
Medical Retaliation for Simply Seeking Second Opinion for her Daughters Care?
It all began on December 30, 2014, when Gus and Hildy Straightiff took their two girls, Taylor and Deseree to Dayton Children’s Hospital, in Dayton, Ohio, due to ketones. The hospital admitted both girls because they were Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA).
Gus Straightiff, Taylor and Deseree, all have Type 1 diabetes. In addition to diabetes, in 2004, Gus Straightiff suffered from a stroke and became disabled.
Taylor and Deseree were both diagnosed with diabetes before they were five years old. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the body destroys the Beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. The insulin must be replaced with subcutaneous injections.
Taylor and Deseree depend on insulin delivery by an insulin pump. Insulin is a life sustaining hormone and without it the children will have elevated blood glucose (BG), and produce ketones which can progress into extreme electrolyte imbalances and result in Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA can result in a coma or even death. Ketones have to be monitored when a child with type 1 diabetes has a virus or infection, or if blood glucose is elevated.
In 2011, the oldest Straightiff daughter, Taylor, began having intestinal problems. According to Hildy, Dayton Children’s Hospital referred Taylor to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Nationwide, a leading pediatric facility, has a gastrointestinal motility center for children. According to their website,
“Our specialists are considered among the best in the world in diagnosing and treating pediatric gastrointestinal motility disorders.”
Dr. Jaya Punati, Pediatric Motility Specialist with Nationwide, diagnosed Taylor with Gastroparesis and gluten intolerance. Dr. Punati placed Taylor on a feeding tube from June to July 2011. Dr. Punati transferred from Nationwide to Los Angeles Children’s Hospital and according to Hildy, the family began having problems with the care their daughter was receiving following the transfer of Dr. Punati.
Mental Health Diagnosis Not Made by Psychiatrist
The emergency removal paperwork stated that Hildy Straightiff, who has cared for her daughters since birth, was suddenly considered to be a threat to their health. The order dated January 5, 2015 stated the following reasons Children Services was contacted:
“…it is not appropriate for the children to be released to their mother. The mother’s mental health issues and lack of supervision and involvement in the children’s diabetic care.”
This was not a diagnosis made by a psychiatrist, but a statement made by Clinton County Children Protective Unit Investigator, Hayli Cingle and a pediatric diabetes and endocrinology doctor from Dayton Children’s Hospital, Yelena Nicholson, D.O.
Further, the court order dated January 5, 2015, finds “that the children would be at imminent risk of harm if permitted to remain in their mother’s custody and their removal is necessary to prevent such harm.”
When the children became sick, Hildy and Gus took them to the hospital, which is why Hildy does not understand how the children are considered “at imminent risk of harm.”
According to Hildy,
“Dr. Nicholson is upset because I was moving the care of my daughters to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.”
“She (Dr. Nicholson) admitted that I did everything right, when you have kids with diabetes and they start throwing up and are running ketones all you can do is take them to the hospital, parents don’t have I.V. fluids, but it’s my fault. She (Dr. Nicholson) started making allegations about my mental health.”
Ohio CPS Claims “Strengthening Families” But Orders Mother to Leave Home
In Ohio, Child Protective Services is under the government organization Department of Job and Family Services. Clinton County Child Protection Unit advertises on their website that they,
“…lead the community in the prevention of and response to the problem of abuse and neglect by protecting children and strengthening families.” (Source.)
The key wording in this statement is strengthening families. The court ordered Gus and Hildy Straightiff, a couple who have been married for fourteen years, to separate to allow Gus to have unsupervised visitation with his daughters.
According to a hearing order dated March 2, 2015,
“The State indicated that discovery is not yet complete. The court orders that the father COMPLETE a parents’ diabetes education course. The mother is to move out of the home where she currently resides with the father.”
Clinton County Children Services, in the matter of three months, demanded that the Straightiff parents live separately and removed their two children and placed them in the Ohio foster care system, to strengthen their family?
Hildy stated that she is now living in a motel. Additionally, Hildy Straightiff’s visitation with her own daughters is up to the discretion of Children Services, according to the order, and currently Hildy is only allowed two supervised visits a week.
Gus Straightiff is disabled and according to Hildy, he pays $1,240.00 of his disability to the State of Ohio monthly for the care of his daughters.
Are Ohio State Laws Being Followed?
According to the court documents, on January 29, 2015 in a pre-trial hearing,
“The court addressed the issue of discovery which the parties agreed was extensive and not yet complete. The Court ORDERS the matter set for further pretrial on March 2, 2015.”
On March 2, 2015 in the pre-trial hearing,
“The State indicated that discovery is not yet complete. The matter shall return for status hearing on March 26, 2015.”
On March 26, 2015, the Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, Clinton County, Ohio had a status hearing in which,
“The state informed the Court that given the stances of the parties the matter cannot be tried in the time available on the Court’s calendar. The State moved to dismiss the complaints without prejudice. The Court FINDS the State’s motion to be well taken and hereby ORDERS that the above complaints be dismissed without prejudice.”
On the same date, in a status hearing, the court re-filed and the record states,
“Based upon the reports provided, the court FINDS that reasonable efforts have been made to prevent the removal of the children from their home, but that it is in their best interest to be placed in the temporary custody of Clinton County Children Services. It is so ORDERED.”
Based on the records the investigation was taking longer than allowed by law, and the orders were dismissed and then re-filed. The original complaint was filed and children removed on January 5, 2015. According to the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 5101:02,
“The Public Children Services Agency (PCSA), shall record the JFS 01401 ‘Comprehensive Assessment Planning Model – I.S., Safety Assessment’ in the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) within seven working days from the date the report was screened as child abuse, neglect or dependency report.”
“The PCSA shall complete the report disposition and arrive at a final case decision by completing the JFS 01400 no later than forty-five days from the date the PCSA screened in the referral as a child abuse and/or neglect report. The PCSA may extend the time frame by a maximum of fifteen days if information needed to determine the report disposition and final case decision cannot be obtained within forty-five days and the reasons are documented pursuant to rule 5101:2-36-11 of the Administrative Code.”
Hildy and Gus were both appointed court lawyers and Hildy claims that both attorney’s did not represent them properly in court. Hildy also states that there is no safety plan for the family. Hildy believes that based on the documents and the state laws cited, the rules set forth by the State of Ohio were not followed in this case.
Clinton County Children Services ordered Hildy to get a psychologist’s evaluation by one of the doctors specified. At this time, Hildy inquired about an independent evaluation and she was told specifically that she could not hire a psychiatrist, but had to use a psychologist. Hildy decided to get an independent psychologist evaluation for court and was seen by Dr. Dennis Schneider from Springdale, Ohio.
According to Hildy,
“Everything came back from the evaluation and tests that there is nothing wrong with me mentally.”
When Hildy told Clinton County Children Services about the evaluation, she was told that her doctor will have to be approved before the evaluation can be used in court, this is still in process.
Hildy Straightiff has continued to be diligent in attempting to get help for her family; she has written the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, and even made phone calls to the Governor of Ohio, pleading for someone to listen to her case.
“Mommy, I hope that someone will help so we can be together again.”
Gus and Hildy continue to fight for their family to be back together. According to Hildy, the Clinton County Children’s Services states that they are trying to reunify the Straightiff family, it has now been eight months.
Hildy had a visit with her daughters on August 3, 2015 and said that her oldest daughter Taylor was in tears when she said, “Mommy, I hope that someone will help so we can be together again.”
How You Can Help
Clinton County, Ohio, 15th District Representative Steve Stivers may be reached at his Washington office: 202-225-2015202-225-2015, or here: Central Ohio District Office at 614-771-4968614-771-4968. Contact him by email here, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
Contact Clinton County Children’s Services here.