A woman claims that authorities in Washington State took her healthy babies simply because one of them had a minor skin condition, because she preferred all-natural health care and because they were born at home.
Erica May Rengo even alleges that social workers literally chased her from her home and took her three children, newborn twins and a boy age 10 months, after she hid at a neighbor’s house.
“This is not the right thing to do to mothers and children,” she told MedicalKidnap.com. “If they thought we needed help, they should have brought help in, not taken the children out. They have suffered and I have suffered since our separation.”
Rengo believes she lost custody of her three children because she notified paramedics in Bellingham, Washington, that she had given birth at home. She had done that to appease relatives who were concerned about her holistic home birth approach. She says her approach is motivated by her Christian faith.
The paramedics visited her home shortly after her twins were born and recommended that Rengo go to the hospital. When Rengo refused to take her babies to the hospital – she and her husband didn’t want to expose them to hospital germs — she believes the paramedics reported her to the Washington State Child Protective Services.
The next day, Child Protective Services social workers showed up at her door and discovered that Levi had a minor skin condition called eczema, which she said was improving. When they learned that Erica was using natural herbs (including comfrey and calendula) to treat Levi’s condition instead of steroids and was not taking him to a doctor, the social workers got a court order to remove the children from her home.
The social workers, she said, knew the “children were not in danger.” The house was clean, the children were healthy, and there was no alcohol or drugs.
The social workers reportedly alleged that the use of natural herbs constituted “neglect.”
Children Taken From Mom
On Nov. 6, the social workers knocked on Erica’s door and she fled to a neighbor’s home, but social workers and police soon tracked her down and took the children. The three babies are now in foster care and Erica and her husband will have to go to court to regain custody.
Rengo told MedicalKidnap.com that she has not seen her children since they were taken. The children were not home for Thanksgiving, nor on Levi’s first birthday on November 28. She and her husband, Cleave, are fighting the court order.
“My children were safe and healthy with me,” Rengo said.
Ironically, actions by CPS agencies can end up harming the very children they’re intended to help. Duke University’s Doriane L. Coleman conducted a study showing how home investigations can shatter the innocence of children, causing a broad range of emotional responses, including trauma, anxiety, fear, shame, guilt, stigmatization, powerlessness, self-doubt, depression, and isolation.
Rengo’s tale has similarities to other incidents, including that of Sarah Anne Markham. Markham, a Florida resident, was jailed in June because she refused to comply with doctor’s orders and fed her boy a vegan diet.
Rengo’s case is also reminiscent of that of Fatima Doumbouya, a Philadelphia woman who claimed doctors transferred her baby to another hospital during a routine checkup because she had stopped prenatal medical visits and opted for a home birth. Doumbouya also said that authorities threatened to call the police on her for questioning their orders.
Parents that choose alternative or natural medicine for their children need apparently need to be very careful when dealing with the medical system. It seems they could lose custody of their children for just disagreeing with a medical professional — even a paramedic.
“They are dehumanizing people,” Rengo said of state officials. “The outcome of that is so much worse than any kind of dispute for medical reasons.”
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