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Social Workers Snatch Sick Kids
Home School Legal Defense Association ^ | 8/14/14 | Michael Farris

Posted on 08/14/2014 5:15:25 PM PDT by Valpal1

Lane Funkhouser, his wife Susan, and their two children (whom we will call James and Kat) were all very sick. They went to their family doctor, who was unable to diagnose the problem.

Because the children were not getting better, their attendance at public school became an issue. So Lane and Susan decided that they would homeschool James and Kat while they searched for a diagnosis and treatment.

School officials filed truancy charges against the family, which were quickly dismissed. But, as a result of these charges, the family became embroiled with a social worker named Michael Austin, an investigator for the Clarke County, Virginia, Department of Social Services (DSS).

False Diagnosis

Austin is not a doctor. He is not a nurse. He is not a psychologist. He is not a medical professional of any stripe.

But Austin determined that Susan was suffering from Munchausen syndrome by proxy. This outdated term refers to a psychological disorder in which a parent contends that her child is ill to draw attention to herself. It is extremely rare, and it requires a proper diagnosis by a qualified professional.

There’s one thing we know for sure about this case: laboratory results showed that the children were actually sick with difficult-to-treat illnesses, and it was not the result of Munchausen by proxy.

By the time Austin made his “diagnosis,” the family had found a doctor who determined what was actually going on. The children had a combination of strep, a parasite, and a bacterial infection called Clostridium difficile (C. diff.)—a condition that kills over 14,000 Americans each year. There were positive lab results showing that the children had C. diff. And the doctor prescribed treatment for the children for these illnesses.

The doctor told the family to go to the hospital for treatment of C. diff. They went to Rockingham Memorial Hospital where they were treated and told to return if their symptoms got worse.

In the meantime, we believe Austin had shared his Munchausen theory with the hospital staff and other DSS workers.

Unqualified Opinion

Frankly, the hospital staff should have known better. They had a diagnosis from a licensed doctor and valid lab results. But they listened instead to an inventive social worker who was utterly unqualified to be making a diagnosis of any kind.

On July 25, 2012, Shenandoah County social workers removed James and Kat Funkhouser from their home. Lane and Susan were cooperative, thinking the social workers were simply helping transport the children to the hospital for additional treatment. But that’s not what happened.

The social workers brought James and Kat to the emergency room, where—surprise!—they were diagnosed with C. diff. and prescribed medication.

Despite the fact that the plain medical facts were staring them in the face, the social workers from this neighboring county decided to pursue Austin’s theory. Rather than taking the children back home to their parents for rest and recovery, they put the children in foster care.

A week later, the social workers showed up in court to defend their decision to take away the Funkhouser children. Even though they now had medical confirmation that the children were actually sick and that Susan wasn’t just making up stories to get attention, the judge allowed them to continue the investigation and keep the children in foster care.

Meanwhile, in the foster care children’s home, James and Kat were interrogated repeatedly by employees of the home, who insisted that their parents didn’t love them and that they were never going home, and then tried to get them to give information about how their parents had neglected them.

James and Kat had no such information to give, of course. Inexplicably, the Shenandoah County investigators themselves never talked to the children.

Further Injury

While in the home, which included foster children who had violent criminal and drug histories, James injured his ankle. When he reported it to the staff, they told him it was nothing serious and refused to take him to a doctor.

On August 29, Shenandoah County DSS finally released James and Kat after being ordered by the court to do so. Their parents immediately took James to a doctor to check out his ankle. It turned out that his ankle was broken, not just sprained, and had been left untreated for three weeks. And it turned out that the Funkhouser children had been exposed to tuberculosis while at the children’s home, so to compound all their other health problems, they were put on a regimen of anti-tuberculosis drugs for a year.

About a month later, Shenandoah County DSS decided that the initial allegations about Munchausen by proxy were unfounded. On October 16, Lane and Susan received a letter telling them the investigation was closed.

But then in court on November 7, the attorney for Shenandoah County argued that the family still needed court supervision. Thankfully the judge disagreed.

He looked at the medical evidence, some from the Funkhousers’ doctor and some from the court’s own medical investigator. These facts decimated DSS’ claim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. The judge dismissed the petition, and James and Kat Funkhouser were home free.

Well, except that they had to receive several months of counseling to recover from the trauma of being suddenly taken from their parents and held in a frightening home for five weeks.

Fighting Back

Parents shouldn’t be afraid to keep looking for medical answers. Taking sick children to doctors until they get a proper diagnosis is good parenting. But too often, looking for the right doctor elicits suspicion from social service investigators and medical staff.

HSLDA is hearing about more and more cases where children are being taken away from their families because doctors disagree about their medical treatment. And we can’t take all these cases on.

But we’re taking the Funkhouser case.

HSLDA is fighting for Lane, Susan, James, and Kat because we are sick and tired of seeing parental rights eroded in virtually every area of parenting, including medical and educational decisions. We believe that parents honestly seeking the best treatment for their children should not be punished by irresponsible allegations of child neglect.

We are suing Michael Austin, the Shenandoah County caseworkers, and the employees of the children’s home for their negligence and misconduct. When government workers steamroll parents and children, as they did in this case, the government needs a sharp reminder that families have rights.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: munchausens; socialworkers
Donation link at bottom of page.
1 posted on 08/14/2014 5:15:25 PM PDT by Valpal1
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To: Valpal1

I do not like the militarized police but this kind of stuff bothers me more

2 posted on 08/14/2014 5:27:38 PM PDT by Fai Mao (Genius at Large)
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To: Valpal1

I feel for this family. I was in a very similar, yet different, situation with our youngest son. Everyone thought something was up, until we came across the right diagnosis, and the way to treat his illness. Thankfully, our pediatrician trusted me and I trusted him. We finally had to treat our son’s condition with probiotics. It wasn’t the norm back then.

3 posted on 08/14/2014 5:37:20 PM PDT by FamiliarFace
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To: Fai Mao

It’s the same thing, really. Get the state involved as early as possible, push the parents into the background and convince the kids that they have been abandoned, but the state will always be there for them.

They are building slaves for the new world order.

4 posted on 08/14/2014 5:41:03 PM PDT by Ronin (Dumb, dependent and Democrat is no way to go through life - Rep. L. Gohmert, Tex)
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To: Valpal1

It seems to me these so-called CPS types like to pick on white families. When you look at all the horrible single—I get welfare for each kid—black mothers raising gang-bangers and drug dealers it is apparent the government doesn’t do its job because they fear being called racist more than saving kids who REALLY are in trouble.

Now I know I’ll be considered a racist for saying that but if you quote the above don’t leave out what I’m about to say next.

It’s true.

Statistics are overwhelming. Too bad it looks harsh and sounds cruel, but we help the country and ALL its people by telling the truth and then dealing with it.

5 posted on 08/14/2014 5:49:36 PM PDT by Alas Babylon!
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To: Valpal1

I’ll bet dollars to donuts this Austin person is gay.

6 posted on 08/14/2014 5:52:19 PM PDT by Lurker (Violence is rarely the answer. But when it is it is the only answer.)
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FReepers, Let's go!
Everyone needs to donate!

All contributions are for the current quarter expenses.

7 posted on 08/14/2014 5:55:48 PM PDT by RedMDer (May we always be happy and may our enemies always know it. - Sarah Palin, 10-18-2010)
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To: Lurker

I’m not taking that bet. Of course, he could just be a straight up arsehole liberal that disapproves of homeschooling.

8 posted on 08/14/2014 5:57:24 PM PDT by Valpal1 (If the police can t solve a problem with violence, they ll find a way to fix it with brute force)
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To: Fai Mao

“I do not like the militarized police but this kind of stuff bothers me more”

It’s the same thing, this rather new concept that the government controls us, that this is its function.

They are there to SERVE us, not control us.

9 posted on 08/14/2014 6:00:18 PM PDT by jocon307
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To: Valpal1

This is as disturbing as the Justina Pelletier case in MA.


10 posted on 08/14/2014 6:03:29 PM PDT by Mears
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To: Alas Babylon!
It seems to me these so-called CPS types like to pick on white families

Not sure if it is still the way, or applicable in all states, but the parents were charged support if the child was placed.

11 posted on 08/14/2014 6:06:55 PM PDT by Abby4116
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To: Valpal1

They won’t come for your guns. They will come for your children.

They know that your wife will give them your guns to get the children back. It’s easier that way because it’s “voluntary.”

In any placement plan you will always find “remove all guns from the home” in the first ten necessary steps for reunification.

12 posted on 08/14/2014 6:22:16 PM PDT by Noamie
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To: Valpal1; Lurker

I’ll bet he makes very little money and isn’t qualified to work anywhere else because he has a BA in Sociology.

13 posted on 08/14/2014 6:24:57 PM PDT by VerySadAmerican (Liberals were raised by women or wimps. And they're all stupid.)
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To: Valpal1

Sometimes it’s best not to share an opinion...for me, this is one of those times.

14 posted on 08/14/2014 6:29:45 PM PDT by logi_cal869
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To: Lurker
Why. The incidence of control freaks in the social work business is very high. Many of them are trained to see themselves as superior arbiters of the "common good."

The whole social work field was invented during the Progressive Era early in the 20th century, deliberately to serve the function of getting government involved on people's personal lives. For their own good, of course.

15 posted on 08/14/2014 6:34:31 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: Ronin

I have a lot of family back there, and used to live near that hospital when at JMU.

30 or 40 years ago if the government took kids from decent parents back in that area there would probably been a pack of folk “breakin’ out the shootin’ arns”...

16 posted on 08/14/2014 7:23:58 PM PDT by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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