by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
After 3 years of fighting to get her daughter home from foster care, South Carolina mom, Kaya Thomas, has been given a new hoop to jump through. She was told in court on April 18, 2018, that she has to get a bigger vehicle by the beginning of June as a condition for Kaya to begin unsupervised visits with her daughter, Egypt.
This is just the latest in a long line of requirements that social workers have added to the list of things that she must do in order to get her child back. Kaya Thomas has been fighting to bring Egypt home for more than 3 years. She told Health Impact News that South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) keeps adding things to the list.
Her advocate, Adrienne Lomax, asks:
Since when is having a car a requirement for having kids?
Kaya never abused or neglected her children, yet she lost custody of Egypt and her big sister, Sha’kyah, after Egypt’s father nearly killed her during one of his bi-monthly weekend visitations.
Joseph Kevin Morales is currently serving an 18-year sentence for beating his daughter. (Source)
Even though Kaya was not present and had nothing to do with her ex-boyfriend’s vicious attack on their baby, DSS seized custody of the two sisters shortly after Morales was arrested.
We published their story in January 2017. See:
Sha’kyah did not stay in foster care long. She is home with her mother and her step-father. However, although DSS admitted that Kaya did not hurt her baby, they intended to terminate Kaya’s parental rights for Egypt and placed her for adoption.
Since publication of our previous article, the plan has allegedly changed from adoption to reunification.
DSS Makes Unrealistic Conditions for Mother to Take Daughter Home, Resulting in Keeping Child in Foster Care
As we have seen in many stories that we have covered, the reunification process is rarely quick, and social workers seem to love to throw in additional requirements as much as possible in an apparent attempt to sabotage the judges’ orders to reunify. The longer a child is kept in foster care, the longer the state is able to collect funds for that child.
When parents fail, for any reason, to meet the increasing demands, it is not uncommon for social workers to tell judges and foster parents that “the parents are not compliant,” or “they aren’t doing what they need to do in order to get their child back.”
When they told Kaya that her home was too small to get Egypt back, she moved out of her 2-bedroom mobile home into a 4-bedroom home.
Kaya didn’t drive, but instead relied on friends and public transportation to get around. That was reportedly not acceptable to DSS, so she got her driver’s license.
Then, she had to get a car. It was not enough to have a plan in place to utilize the Medicaid van to take Egypt to medical appointments.
She got a car. Now, it isn’t big enough to meet the DSS standards. They are reportedly demanding that she get an SUV or a van.
There was reportedly no mention of the size of car that the state required her to have when Kaya committed to the monthly payments of the car loan. Had she known that the car would not be good enough, she says she would have waited until she could afford a bigger car.
In South Carolina, the Medicaid program provides for patients who do not have a car to get to medical appointments. (See link.) Lack of transportation seems a flimsy excuse for keeping a child from their parents.
Mother Not Allowed to Care for her Daughter, Even After She was Molested while in Foster Care
In our earlier coverage of Egypt’s story, we reported that DSS required Kaya to be trained to take care of Egypt, whose is still considered to be “medically fragile.” This would seem to be a reasonable requirement, and Kaya is determined to learn everything she can to make sure she can take care of Egypt.
Egypt suffered brain damaged from her father’s abuse. She is partially blind, confined to a wheelchair, requires a feeding tube, and she experiences daily seizures. Her complex medical condition requires round-the-clock care.
Her mother has completed numerous classes, including CPR. She has attended all of Egypt’s medical appointments for three years and has been paying attention to what needs to be done.
However, DSS allegedly wants her to become certified. Kaya explains that there is no certification for this.
Her doctor has reportedly said that Egypt’s care has to be learned by hands-on experience. DSS was reportedly ordered in October to have her admitted to the hospital for a 48-hour period so that Kaya can learn what she needs to care for her little girl.
To date, DSS has allegedly not done their part in this, making it impossible for Kaya to meet this requirement.
Egypt has made some improvements since our last article. When it was written in January 2017, she was still in the foster home where a home health nurse had molested her. It took until December 2017 for DSS to move her out of that foster home into a new one.
The new foster parents are reportedly keeping her cleaner than the former ones, and the number of seizures Egypt experiences per day has declined. Her feet are no longer swollen and she is more alert. Kaya told us:
It’s a big change, but I feel like she’ll change more with me, because I am her mother and I know her.
While she continues to press for getting whatever training DSS believes that she needs, she continues to pray that Jesus will heal her daughter.
When she comes home, there will be a home-health nurse available to come to the home each week.
She points out that DSS doesn’t believe she can handle caring for Egypt and any other children, yet the foster parents reportedly have not one, but two, medically fragile children in their care. Egypt is 4 years old, and the fosters are also responsible for another foster child who is a year old.
This is reminiscent of the Ad Council‘s slogan used to recruit foster parents that says, “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.”
The ad is aimed at potential foster and adoptive parents, but it is a slap in the face to real parents like Kaya Thomas who are told by the state that they cannot parent their children because they may be less than perfect.
As countless parents have told us, there is a serious double standard within Child Protective Services and the foster care industry regarding parents versus fosters.
Child Abuse Specialists Diagnose Mental Illness Without Examining Mother
Even though DSS has acknowledged that Kaya had nothing to do with the abuse of her daughter, they continue to keep the family separated based on allegations by Greenville Memorial Hospital Child Abuse Specialist Dr. Nancy Henderson and another forensic doctor that Kaya was not capable of caring for her child.
This allegation was made to DSS even though neither doctor performed a medical/psychological evaluation on Kaya.
In their petition to terminate Kaya’s parental rights in 2016, DSS stated that Kaya:
…has the diagnosable condition of Bi-polar Disorder, which renders her unable or unlikely to provide minimally acceptable care of Egypt Morales due to Egypt’s medically fragile condition.
This is a ground for termination of parental rights pursuant to South Carolina Code Section 63-7-2570(6)(2009), as amended.
That section of the South Carolina code states grounds for termination of parental rights (TPR). Point (6) says that one of those grounds includes mental illness:
(6) The parent has a diagnosable condition unlikely to change within a reasonable time including, but not limited to, alcohol or drug addiction, mental deficiency, mental illness, or extreme physical incapacity, and the condition makes the parent unlikely to provide minimally acceptable care of the child.
It is presumed that the parent’s condition is unlikely to change within a reasonable time upon proof that the parent has been required by the department or the family court to participate in a treatment program for alcohol or drug addiction, and the parent has failed two or more times to complete the program successfully or has refused at two or more separate meetings with the department to participate in a treatment program.
Even though TPR is no longer being pressed, as of court on April 18, DSS is reportedly demanding another psychological evaluation on Kaya. She has already had three such evaluations that have found no issues, other than normal stress from her situation.
She does not have any mental illness. One doctor’s report says that medication is not recommended. She notes that her history includes possible attempts to diagnose some kind of mood disorder; however, she does not have one. The doctor found that there was no need for any therapy or medication.
So why does she need yet another psych eval? Is this a fishing expedition to try to keep Kaya from getting her daughter back?
Kaya Thomas did not abuse her daughter. This fact is not even in dispute. Egypt was the victim of a crime perpetrated by her biological father when her mother was not present. For that, he is behind bars.
Yet, three years later, an innocent mother is still fighting the system to get her daughter home.
She is not financially in the position to be able to go out and get a bigger vehicle. She only has a month to get it. Social workers have told her that if she sets up a GoFundMe type of account to ask for help, that will be used against her.
How do parents fight this kind of tyranny? All Kaya Thomas wants is for her little girl to be home where she can love her and take care of her.
Will the lack of a larger vehicle really keep the state from returning a child to her mother?
How You Can Help
There is a Facebook page set up for the family called Prayers for EGYPT.
The new governor of South Carolina is Henry McMaster. He may be reached at (803) 734-2100 or contacted here.
The Senator for Kaya Thomas’ district is Karl B. Allen. He may be reached at (803) 212-6008 or contacted here.
Representative Chandra E. Dillard represents the district. She may be reached at (803) 212-6791 or contacted here.
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