• Parents Routinely Denied Legal Representation in Child Abuse Cases: More Likely to Have Children Medically Kidnapped by the State

    When a medical doctor bridges the line of physician and law enforcement, which many, if not all, child abuse physicians do, the rights of families are not only often violated, but they are blatantly disregarded. The first violation after the accusation is made is the disregard of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Once a medical doctor makes the “diagnosis” of child abuse, it is not just a diagnosis; it is actually the accusation of crime. This accusation, stemming from the knowledge, experience and expertise of a child abuse pediatrician has now damned a family into guilt, until they can prove their innocence. Professor Vivek Sankaran, Clinical Professor of law at University of Michigan, states: "I began seeing parents as sources of great strength in their children’s lives and also as victims of broader societal ills like poverty, homelessness and mental illness, that had been unaddressed by the government. But this perspective hardly came up in my casework. What these parents needed more than anything were strong advocates to tell the untold stories in juvenile court, those involving the many strengths of the families before it. Without these stories, I realized we would continue to fail children."

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