October 31, 2005

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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Posted on October 31, 2005