by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
Tara Chapman, a 33 year old disabled mother, was handcuffed, drugged, and carted away to a facility that is 8 hours from her family. She is being held prisoner in Tennessee under the guise of mental illness, even though a mental hospital in Virginia recently said that she did not meet the criteria to commit her.
The state of Tennessee wants Tara’s three boys to stay in foster care, away from family. The family wants to know how far the state is willing to go to ensure that neither Tara nor her family gets her 3 children back? A fourth child, Tara’s daughter, is being cared for by her mother Whitney, the children’s grandmother, but the state refuses to allow the grandmother to care for the 3 boys.
There was supposed to be a court hearing on Friday, April 13, 2018, but the juvenile court cancelled it without warning less than 24 hours before.
Tara has suffered from mild mental illness for many years, but it was only after her children were seized by Child Protective Services and abused in foster care that her mental health deteriorated to the point where she qualified for disability.
See original story, reported in January:
Tennessee Kidnaps 3 Boys from Mentally Disabled Mom – Refuses Grandmother Custody in Favor of Adoption to Strangers
Mental Illness Symptoms Disappear after Weening off of Psych Drugs
She was recently home with family members in Virginia for almost 3 weeks before she was medically kidnapped. During that time, her mother Whitney Manning was able to ween her off of the psychotropic medications.
The change in Tara was almost miraculous. Whitney found that the symptoms in her daughter that they had been led to believe were due to her “mental illness” disappeared. She stopped hallucinating. The crazy talk ceased. They were able to share meals together. They worked on crafts together.
How much of the symptoms were never part of any mental illness, but were simply effects of the psychotropic medications?
The following video was taken just 2 hours before police arrived on March 7, 2018, to drag her out of the house in handcuffs. Whitney and her attorney Connie Reguli had planned to submit the video in court last Friday, to demonstrate how well Tara was functioning without the medications but with family support.
Since they now don’t know when the next court hearing will happen, Whitney Manning posted it onto Facebook to show the injustice that is happening under Tennessee courts.
There was no warrant. Tara was never charged with a crime. Yet, a woman has lost her freedom, and a mother has lost her adult daughter while her grandsons suffer in foster care with strangers.
See story of Tara’s seizure:
Disabled Virginia Mom Arrested with No Warrant, No Charges Because Health Impact News Exposed her Story
It has been said many times that we have a mental health crisis in America, and that may well be true. However, it is not what people think.
It is not that so many people have mental health issues; it is that government agencies are USING these diagnoses to strip away every human right that these people have – taking them from their families, taking their children away from them, drugging them, and locking them up against their will even though they pose no threat to themselves or others, all when they have family or friends willing to help them.
In short, the real mental health crisis is that the legal system is stripping their humanity from them.
Grandmother’s Guardianship in the way of DCS Goal to Terminate Parental Rights and Adopt Out the Children
Whitney became the legal guardian and conservator over her daughter when it became clear that Tara’s condition had declined to the point where she could no longer take care of her own affairs.
Tara qualified for disability in 2013, shortly after her sons were placed into foster care. The more that they saw signs that the boys were being abused in foster care, the more helpless Tara felt. The grief sent her into a tailspin.
When Tara gave birth to another baby, Makinlyn, DCF placed the baby with Whitney. Makinlyn is thriving in her grandmother’s home. However, Whitney has been fighting to no avail to get the boys back home with her.
Tennessee DCF has been attempting to terminate Tara’s parental rights (TPR) on the 3 boys so that they can be adopted out. The fact that Whitney was guardian and conservator for Tara has stood in the way of the TPR.
The battle has become increasingly vicious. DCF social workers have been working with the Chancery Court, which is the court that oversees guardianships and conservatorships for adults. They allegedly needed to get Whitney out of the picture to clear the way for the TPR.
As part of that effort, an ex parte hearing took place in Tennessee without the family or their attorneys during which Whitney Manning’s conservatorship over her daughter was taken from her and placed with someone else. There was never any hearing for the family to present any evidence or to dispute any allegations. It was a one-sided decision that has resulted in Tara’s captivity.
The very fact that Whitney has always believed that her daughter would get better if her children were safe with family and if she were permitted to be around them has been used against her in the argument that Whitney is not accepting “reality.”
Tara’s brief time home as she weaned off the psychotropic drugs and began functioning normally serves to strengthen Whitney’s position. It would appear that she was right.
When Tara was seized in March, Whitney and the rest of the family had no idea who had been appointed as conservator for Tara. No one told them who it was who came to Virginia to pick up Tara and transport her to Tennessee.
The sequence of events that the family knew about was this:
- Police came to the home in Virginia and dragged Tara out in handcuffs. No warrant. There was apparently an emergency custody order signed by a Tennessee magistrate, but it was not produced for the family to see.
- Tara was taken to a local mental hospital where they found that she did not meet the criteria for admission. The results of the psychological evaluation was that she was not “committable.” She said that she wanted to be with her family, but that didn’t happen.
- Tara was transported to a Virginia police station. Police refused to release her to her family, stating that they would only release her to the newly appointed conservator.
- Someone picked up Tara and transported her to Tennessee.
Since that time, Tara has been placed in a facility near Memphis, an 8 hour drive away from home. She is being heavily drugged again.
It was not until recently that Whitney learned that her daughter is, and was in the past, being given a drug called Effexor, an antidepressant in the class of drugs called selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs).
No one involved with taking Tara has ever asked Whitney about her medical history or family medical history. If they had, they would have learned that Tara did not react well to anti-depressants that were tried when she was a teenager.
They would also have learned that there is a family history that should caution against prescribing anti-depressants, because her paternal grandfather reacted very poorly to an anti-depressant. Not long after he was prescribed one such drug, he told his doctor that he didn’t “feel right.” The doctor reportedly told him to give the drug a couple more weeks to give his body the chance to adjust, but he never did adjust well to the psychotropic drug.
After taking it for 5 weeks, he committed suicide.
While Tara has been in state care, she has experienced hallucinations and has been heavily drugged. How much of her mental illness is simply a side effect or a reaction to the drugs? She already has a family history of severe reactions.
Advocate Jennifer Winn described what happened to Tara:
They kidnapped [Whitney’s] daughter. They put her back in handcuffs, and what do you think happened after that?
They drugged her. They gave her more pharmaceuticals to knock her down and make her shut up.
We have a mom who is disabled who was basically drugged by pharmaceuticals, to the point that her slight mental illness has gone to extreme mental illness that is absolutely induced by pharmaceuticals.
Why is Court-Appointed Attorney Not Advocating for Tara to be Supported by her Family?
At the time we reported the last story, no one in Tara’s family knew who picked up Tara from the Prince William County, Virginia, jail or where they took her.
They now know that Tara’s Guardian ad litem (GAL, court-appointed attorney) Claire Addlestone rode with her husband Steven to pick Tara up and drive her almost 400 miles to the far side of Tennessee.
Claire Addlestone and her husband were the subject of an article in the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation newsletter in 2013 entitled “With Persistence, Recovering from Depression.”
Like Tara, her GAL attorney’s husband suffers from mental illness. Where Claire’s college degree is in teaching, Steven Addlestone has a degree from Vanderbilt University Law School.
It took years of one treatment after another to get his symptoms under control. According to the article:
What sustained him during those years and made it possible for him to function, if with difficulty, was the support he received from his family and colleagues who, he says, “understood what was going on and were willing to work with me.”
…“Most importantly,” he says, “I’m able to enjoy being with the family who supported me so much during the hard times.”
At the time of the writing of the article, the Addlestones had 2 teenage children.
Recently, hoping to help others who may not have adequate support, Steven signed on as a peer counselor in a program for members of his profession who are experiencing mental or emotional distress. “There’s still a lot of stigma attached to mental illness,” he says, “and often people don’t seek treatment because they’re embarrassed at having a ‘weakness’ they don’t want to admit.”
The story of the Addlestone family is one of overcoming the trials of mental illness. Family support appears to have been key to his victory. His wife was there through it all:
No one who has had experience with mental illness needs to be told that it’s a family affair. Claire Addlestone was an up-and-coming corporate attorney when she put her career on hold to take care of her husband during his darkest days and to shoulder the lion’s share of their children’s early rearing.
Today, she practices a very different kind of law, as a guardian ad litem, a court-appointed legal representative for neglected and abused children. In that role, she sees daily the ravages that parental stress and mental illness can inflict on families who lack the knowledge or resources to obtain appropriate diagnoses and help.
It would seem that Claire Addlestone would be uniquely suited to understand the struggles facing Tara Chapman and her mother Whitney Manning. Why is it, then, that as Tara’s Guardian ad litem, she is not fighting for Tara to have the very same family support that made such a difference in her husband’s life?
Where her husband had family support, they allegedly were the ones to drive Tara eight hours away from everyone that Tara knows and loves. Where they were able to raise their own children, despite considerable mental illness, Claire is allegedly involved with working diligently to sever Tara’s parental rights and, indeed, every familial connection that Tara’s sons have with any of their family.
It is obvious that they support the concept of a mentally ill person working through their illness, so why is Claire on the side opposing Whitney Manning and her attorney Connie Reguli in their fight to help Tara Chapman?
Incentives to Keep Children in Foster Care
Could it be related to the fact that Tennessee’s foster care and adoption system, which has been privatized, provides additional incentives to the standard financial incentives that already exist through the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997?
The Tennessee foster care system is being run as a business, with children as the commodities to be sold.
There is an increased incentive to keep children in the system. Sadly, instead of improving outcomes, there is evidence that privatized foster care is even more dangerous to children than typical foster care. In standard foster care, children are at least 6 times more likely to be raped, molested, abused or killed than if they had been left in their own homes, even if that home is a troubled home.
The LA Times found that children in private foster fare even worse. Like Tennessee, the Los Angeles area has privatized foster care.
Those living in homes run by private agencies were about a third more likely to be the victims of serious physical, emotional or sexual abuse than children in state-supervised foster family homes, according to a Times analysis of more than 1 million hotline investigations over a recent three-year period. (Source)
Tara’s sons have reportedly suffered horrific abuse in foster care, and there is no one from their family who is allowed in their lives to protect them.
The LA Times notes:
The currency of the system is children; the key to getting more children — and earning more money — is finding willing foster parents.
The more foster parents the system can find, the more children they can place, and thus keep the funding going. The system is about profit, and the financial incentive is to keep children in the system, eventually adopting out as many as possible.
Because more incentives are tied to adoption and foster care with strangers, as opposed to family members, there is little incentive to keep children with family members, as well as strong motivation to terminate parental rights.
“In the best interest of the child” may be the mantra chanted to the public and to legislators, but the literal translation of that phrase within the system is actually “in the best interest of the state.”
Confined to Mental Health Facility without Evidence
The emergency order filed that enabled the state of Tennessee to medically kidnap Tara Chapman was reportedly based on hearsay. Attorney Connie Reguli said that there was “no competent evidence” used to take her, and they have filed an objection to her seizure.
Meanwhile, attorneys, social workers, conservators, and Guardian ad litems continue to play shell games with the lives of 3 little boys and their mother, all of whom are dearly loved by their real family.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, Tara should be placed in the “least restrictive environment possible.” Yet, she is trapped in a facility a day’s drive away from her home. There is no one and nothing that is familiar to her.
Supporters of the family want to know how a mother who has committed no crime, who is not a threat to herself or to anyone else, who has family ready and willing to care for her, can be abducted from her family and transported to a place where she has no contact with anyone she knows?
Connie Reguli was prepared for court last Friday, but the hearing was cancelled with very little notice. There is no word on when the next hearing is.
How You Can Help
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam may be reached at (615) 741-2001, or contacted here.
Senator Jon Lundburg represents the district in Tennessee where Tara’s conservatorship case is involved with the chancery court and where her boys are being held. He may be reached at (615) 741-5761, or contacted here.
Representative Bud Hulsey is the Representative for that district. He may be reached at (615) 741-2886, or contacted here.
See related story:
Disabled Parents Losing Right to Parent their Own Children in America while Foster Parent Recruitment Seeks “Imperfect Parents”
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