Parents Say Infant Was Taken Because Of Their Disabilities

By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express

SIOUX CITY, IOWA--A Sioux City couple is claiming that the state took their two-month-old son on October 13 simply because they have intellectual disabilities.

Bryon Martin-Stoddard, 20, his wife, Rosada Martin-Stoddard, 18, and his parents, Douglas and Vickie Stoddard, told the Associated Press that they plan to appeal the decision by Woodbury County Department of Human Services to remove Cody from their home.

The couple said they were told the infant was removed because they are "mentally retarded".

A DHS report the family shared with the news service last week showed that a physician and hospital referred Cody to the Department of Public Health just two days after he was born in August. A nurse who regularly visited the Martin-Stoddard home wrote on October 11 that she was concerned about the parents' ability to take care of the child, noting that the father had never been seen holding or talking to his son.

A DHS caseworker added, "Cody is at risk to be abused, neglected or inadequately supervised due to his parents' mental conditions."

DHS officials refused to comment on the specifics of the case, except to note that the agency's policy is to return children to their families whenever possible.

After an October 20 hearing, the family revealed that Cody's parents would be allowed to visit their son, who is currently in foster care, while they take parenting classes.

Last week, the family was seen picketing outside DHS offices. They told a reporter they plan to get a lawyer and sue the agency for discrimination under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

"Family protests after child removed from home" (Sioux City Journal)

"Custody Battle" (KCAU-TV)

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October 31, 2005 - InclusionDailyNews Department | Email this story


Comments (newest comments at bottom)

Ok, I don't understand the following two quotes - both from the Sioux City Journal ...

{The report states, "Byron had never been seen holding, touching or talking to the baby."}

{Byron Martin-Stoddard, while carrying a sign with a picture of him holding his son, said, "I think it's wrong."}

On the one hand, they are saying the man never held his kid because no one ever saw him hold his kid. On the other hand, they are saying he is carrying a poster sized picture of him holding his kid.

Also, they took the kid because there is a possibility of child abuse? Do they routinely take children away from teenaged mothers? I mean, there is a possibility of abuse there.
How about taking them away from people who live below a certain monetary line? I mean, there is a greater chance of possibility for abuse in financially unstable homes.
How about taking all children away from single parents, because we all know that there is an increased possibility for abuse in more stressful situations.

This is just outrageous.

Posted by: Wendy Jo on November 3, 2005 10:47 PM

I have an 11 year old daughter with Down syndrome. I was once talking with a friend (whose daughter also has Down Syndrome) about how I want my daughter to be able to marry when she grows up. She replied: "I used to feel that way, but today I realize that if she has a child, it will be taken from her simply because of her diagnosis. THAT would kill her emotionally. So how can I let her marry?"
So now I know that she is right.
I knew when I saw "I am Sam" that the ending was too good to be true.
By the way, BROOKES publishing has a book on teaching adults with cognitive disabilities parenting . Its called the HEALTH and WELLNESS PROGRAM. I am buying it.
If the social services were so concerned, why did they not suggest that the parents study parenting after their first son was taken away? (This child is the second.) Why did they not THEN tell the couple that in event of further pregnancy they could come take parenting classes?

Posted by: Rickismom on December 7, 2005 03:39 PM

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