Contributed to TLB and written by: Health Impact News and Medical Kidnap staff
A judge has ruled that Vermont teen Elissa Maple be returned home on her 18th birthday, which is July 1, but DCF is fighting the ruling, even allegedly attempting bribery of the teenager to get her to voluntarily sign over her rights on her birthday. If she does so, they can keep her in the system for an additional 3 years. Elissa has spent the last year and a half being held against her will in a Massachusetts mental health facility, and has been forced to consume a cocktail of unwanted drugs.
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With her release date just one month away, Elissa has reported to her mother, Karen, that the people at the hospital have promised her photography classes, money, and a number of free services if she will voluntarily sign herself in to their system, programs that Karen says she would be able to get anyway, even out from under their care. Karen reports that the hospital staff has begun taking Elissa out to eat dinner on most nights, and has taken her to the zoo and the mall, in an apparent attempt to bribe her to sign away her rights. If she does so, Karen says that they will have complete control over her daughter.
As recently as Sunday night, May 31, Elissa told her mother on the phone:
“I’m coming home, Mom. I want to come home.”
But Karen is very afraid that they are trying to brainwash her daughter to keep her in the system. As Medical Kidnap has previously reported, because she is a ward of the state, she can be used as a guinea pig in medical drug testing. If she voluntarily commits herself on her 18th birthday, those practices can continue.
Judge: The Nation Has Heard Elissa’s Voice
Karen went to court about Elissa on May 20. Allegedly, DCF was attempting to silence Karen and Elissa’s voice and asked the judge to issue a gag order, even though a number of legal experts have stated that such a move is unconstitutional. (See article.) Instead of complying with the DCF request, the judge ordered reunification.
According to Karen Maple, superior court judge Howard E. Vanbenthuysen stated:
“We’ve been shamed nationwide. Elissa has made her voice heard all over the nation via the Internet.”
When the DCF attorney asked, “What can we do about it?”, the judge’s response was crystal clear:
“There’s nothing we can do about it. You can’t keep her. Give her back her daughter.”
Doctor – “Not at Immediate Risk”
In April 2014, James J. Hudziak, M.D., of the University of Vermont issued this statement, based on Elissa’s history and time spent with her:
“… it is our opinion that she would not meet the criteria for emergency commitment. In other words, we can’t make a case that returning to her home at age 18 places her at immediate risk.”
Despite this opinion, DCF has allegedly attempted to persuade the court that she should remain in custody, and continue to receive the cocktail of psychotropic drugs that she is currently being forced to take against her will.
DCF Trying to Keep Elissa in State Custody
The DCF attorney allegedly told the judge that they would hand Elissa over to her mother on her birthday without her medications, saying that she would have to withdraw “cold turkey.” Then they would get her back in the system with an adult pickup order for not having her medications. This reportedly prompted the judge to respond, “Say what?”
The attorney told the judge that “something could happen” in the next 4 or 5 weeks. The judge was reportedly skeptical, asking:
“What’s going to happen?”
Federal Transition Laws Ignored?
Meanwhile, Karen asked why they would not instead help her to transition and work with Karen over the next few weeks. This transition is federal law, according to DCF documents:
The Federal Fostering Connections Act of 2008 requires that state child welfare agencies who receive funding from Title IV-E of the Social Security Act to “assist and support a youth in developing a transition as he/she ages out of foster care. More specifically, the transition plan must be developed during the 90 day period before the youth attains age 18.” Further detail as to the process of development and content for this plan is contained in SCYF-CB-PI-10-11, pp. 12-13
However, Karen reports that DCF has not made even a single attempt to work with her on the transition.
They have, however, issued a new case plan where they are in control. Karen is due in court on Tuesday, June 2, and she plans to dispute the plan. Their proposed plan would keep Elissa in a group home, instead of going home, which is all that Elissa wants to do.
Mother Has Great Plans in Place for Her Daughter’s Return Home
Karen has been diligently working to put plans in place for her daughter’s return home. These plans include a private tutor who will come into the home to help Elissa get either her diploma or her GED. She has plans to enroll her in photography and web design classes when they begin in September. Appointments are scheduled with a psychiatrist and an eye doctor.
There is talk of a wonderful birthday party soon after her return. Last year, the facility allegedly did not even give Elissa her birthday cards, allowing her to believe that no one cared.
Karen insists that all the services that DCF is attempting to entice her daughter with are things that she will provide, or that she will provide even better things for her daughter. Elissa’s pony and other pets are waiting for her on the family’s 10-acre property, and Karen has honored her daughter’s request to leave her room just the way it is.
Elissa’s dream of coming home for her birthday is very close to becoming a reality. Both Elissa and her mother are afraid that the system that has kept her unjustly imprisoned and away from her home for more than a year will try to sabotage her homecoming.
How to Help
Elissa’s next court date is June 2. There is a Facebook page set up for supporters to follow the story and offer support – Elissa’s Dream.
Elissa’s case involves two states, her home state of Vermont, and the state of Massachusetts, which has custody of her.
The supervisor over her case in Vermont DCF is Patricia Brett. Email: Patricia.Brett@state.vt.us – Telephone: 802-524-7945
Charlie Baker is the governor of Massachusetts. He may be reached at 413-784-1200 or FREE 888-870-7770, or contacted here.
The Senator of the district where Elissa is being held is Benjamin Downing. He may be reached at 617-722-1625, or contacted here.
The Representative for the Massachusetts district is William Smitty Pignatelli. He may be reached at 617-722-2017, or contacted here.
Vermont’s governor is Peter Shumlin. He may be reached at 802-828-3333, or contacted here.
Senator Norm McAllister is the Senator for the Maples’ district, and he may be contacted here.
The Representative for the district that the Maple family live in is Daniel Conner. He may be reached here.
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