A Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina and Mitoaction joined in an amicus brief filed today against DCF, arising from its arbitrary reliance on allegations of “medical child abuse” without meaningful standards that safeguard fundamental parental rights. Professor Maxine Eichner is Reef C. Ivey, II Professor of Law at UNC and an expert in the field of family law, as well as in the relationship between families and the state. The brief argues that the state may not intervene in parents’ healthcare decisions for a child absent compelling circumstances in which non-controversial medical treatment is being disregarded that has a high chance of success with limited countervailing risks. In other words, when medical professionals disagree or otherwise leave unclear the likely course of treatment for a cure, parents retain the fundamental right to control the care of their children. The amicus brief criticizes the recent growth of “medical child abuse” accusations that lack reasonable standards by which to impose such a classification, let alone to support the state’s interference with parental rights. In the pending case, the parents allege in their Complaint how DCF teamed up with psychiatrists at Children’s Hospital Boston to threaten parents with the loss of custody if they sought other medical opinions rather than allow their child to be admitted for inpatient treatment at the particular hospital. The treatment imposed upon the parents and their young daughter failed. As a result, the Complaint and amicus brief support a finding that DCF violated the constitutional rights of parents when interfering with their right to determine the best care for their young daughter.
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