Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019. 11:09 am CST.
By BBN Staff: A woman from Stann Creek’s Valley community is devastated and desperate after she claims that all six of their children were taken away by Child Protective Services last week. Horrifically, their 4-year-old daughter who has been bed-ridden from birth and suffers from epilepsy and a condition called hydrocephalus, which causes a build-up of fluid in the brain; was not only taken away despite her delicate condition but dropped while in state custody, suffering a head injury and reportedly breaking several teeth.
BBN understands from those familiar with her condition that doctors have warned the family about the risks of falling, which could be fatal for the child, which is why she has remained bed-ridden since birth.
According to the mother, she had left her children with a relative in Stann Creek on November 3rd while she traveled to Belmopan to conduct a ‘Dollar Drive’ to raise funds to buy medication for the baby, however, by the time she returned at the end of the day, a social worker had taken custody of her six children based on reports that she had neglected them. The social worker who responded to handle the case reportedly took custody of the children and they were all transferred to Dorothy Menzies Child Care Center in Belize City.
The children had remained there since then but the mother claims she received a call yesterday informing her that there was an issue with the sick child. She traveled from Dangriga to Belize city and when she reached she says she was informed that the child had fallen from a sofa to a tiled floor. She claims the social worker told her that the child swallowed her teeth.
The mother has provided images to BBN which show a large bruise in the center of the child’s forehead and pictures which purportedly show that several of her teeth were also broken.
On Tuesday evening, the ailing child and another of her children were returned to the distraught mother. Sources familiar with the child’s delicate condition claim she should not have been removed and fear the stress and injury may be too much for the little girl.
The mother claims the social worker told the family that they were called out to the home based on an anonymous tip of neglect. The mother, however, is reportedly a stay-at-home mom while the father works in Belize at the Kolbe Foundation.
BBN reached out to the Minister of Human Development, Anthony “Boots” Martinez, who sought clarification on the case an informed us that the report to Social Services was made by a relative of the mother who claims the parents are often gone from the home for days at a time. He added, however, that the number one concern for him and the ministry is the health and well-being of the child.
He responded to concerns about the child suffering the unfortunate accident while in state care in earnest, noting that sometimes not even the Ministry and all its facilities are properly prepared to handle children who require such special care. Based on reports he received, the child “fell on her own.” He said it is a concern for the Ministry, which intends to help.
He said the Ministry has since reached out to the family to see what assistance it can offer. He noted that two of the children are currently not in school and the Ministry is acting to have them enrolled soon. Custody of the remaining four children will be given to the grandmother, according to Martinez who says he understands the family lives together in one yard.
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