A Missouri mother has permanently lost custody of her son to authorities in another state simply because she disagreed with doctors at a Chicago hospital.
Isaiah Rider, 17, is now a ward of the state of Illinois even though he and his mother are residents of Missouri – and even though both of them want him back home.
“How is it anyone’s best interest for a state and agency 550 miles away to decide and dictate the best interest of a person?” Michelle Rider asked in an email to Health Impact News.
Off The Grid News reported on the case in August, but the mom didn’t lose permanent custody until this week. Isaiah will have to live in a foster home administered by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) until he turns 18, instead of with his mother.
He suffers from a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors to grow throughout his nervous system. He and his mom had travelled to Chicago for medical help, but he was never allowed to return.
“It is with a very heavy heart and great anger that I have to report to you all that my son who is a Missouri … resident was made a WARD of the court of the state of Illinois today,” Michelle posted on her Facebook page March 11. “A state we don’t even live in or have any ties to!”
She called it an “injustice and a complete disgrace to our entire country” and “everything it was founded on.”
“Today, I am deeply ashamed to be an American,” she wrote. “I hope others are as outraged as I am and will join us as we demand answers, demand that our leaders and elected officials who are supposed to be our voice, who are called to protect, that they do just that and stand up for us, that they will stand up for my son who is an amazing young man that has been abused by the very hands of the people who claim to be ‘protecting.’”
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Isaiah Rider has been living in foster homes since last May when DCFS took custody of him at the request of doctors at Lurie Children’s Hospital. Rider has alleged that Cook County Child Protective Services was called in only because she disagreed with doctors’ assessment of her son’s condition.
The doctors accused the mom of medical child abuse and of subjecting Isaiah to medical care he did not need, The Chicago Tribune reported.
“They accused me of medical [child] abuse,” Rider told The Tribune. “I said, ‘What is that?’ They told me to Google it. I was not allowed to have contact with my son and was told they would be making medical decisions from now on.”
One of the hospital’s doctors spoke out and defended the action.
“We really felt we were dealing with a cycle of drugs being given to a child who didn’t need it,” Dr. Zena Leah Harris, one of the physicians who had been treating Isaiah, told The Tribune last year. Harris claimed that Rider had moved her son from state to state to subject him to unneeded medical care.
Officials with ParentalRights.org, which is fighting for an amendment to the US Constitution protecting parental rights, called the latest news a “disgraces to our system of constitutional law.”
“Missouri resident Isaiah Rider was made a ward of the State of Illinois so that doctors who disagree with his mother regarding his medical treatment can continue to do as they please to a defenseless 17-year-old boy,” the group’s Facebook page reads.
Gangs In Foster Care
Michelle wrote on her Facebook page that doctors in December diagnosed Isaiah with a brain lesion.
Isaiah himself has spoken out, saying he was exposed to gangs and was sexually assaulted in foster care.
“Why is a bad foster home better than a home with parents who love them?” he asked in an interview with Health Impact News. “The only thing she’s trying to do is get me better, not hurt me. Mom is a better person than half of those people [at the hospital and DCFS].”
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