[nfbwatlk] Fw: [Chapter-presidents] [blparent] The latest on Baby Micaela

Mike Freeman k7uij at panix.com
Thu Jul 1 21:36:07 CDT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Veronica Smith" <madison_tewe at spinn.net>
To: "'NFB Chapter Presidents discussion list'" 
<chapter-presidents at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 9:45 PM
Subject: [Chapter-presidents] [blparent] The latest on Baby Micaela

> Here is another update.  Veronica
> -----Original Message-----
> From: blparent-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blparent-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
> Behalf Of Cervenka, Stacy (Brownback)
> Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 2:26 PM
> To: Sean Whalen; 'Gregory DeWall'; 'Jason Ewell'; 'blparent at nfbnet.org'
> Subject: [blparent] The latest on Baby Micaela
> Everyone,
>    I just spoke with NFB of Missouri President Gary Wunder. Here is the
> latest:
>    The parents initially thought that if they played by the rules, surely
> the judge would give them back their daughter at the first hearing. 
> However,
> this did not happen, so a second hearing was scheduled for June 16. At 
> this
> point, the parents realized that they needed an advocate and contacted the
> NFB of Missouri. After visiting with the couple in their home and
> determining that there were no extenuating circumstances and that 
> blindness
> was the only concern CPS had about these parents, the NFB hired an 
> attorney
> to assist them. The cost of this attorney is $250 an hour, and $85 for the
> services of the attorney's assistant.
>    About two weeks ago, on June 16, the parents had their second hearing.
> The judge seemed outraged that the hospital had taken the child from this
> couple with so little cause and was further astounded that the hospital 
> had
> never dealt with blind parents before. Unfortunately, this was not an
> evidentiary hearing, so no decisions were made and it was announced that
> there would need to be a third hearing. The problem is that this judge is
> going on vacation, so the earliest they could get a hearing with her was 
> on
> July 20. The parents could have chosen to get an earlier hearing date with 
> a
> different judge, but their attorney advised them to wait for this judge to
> return from vacation, because she had seemed so sympathetic and on their
> side at the second hearing.
>    So, the situation as it now stands is that the parents are awaiting
> their third hearing on July 20, with this hopefully sympathetic judge.
> Meanwhile, the NFB of Missouri is paying for the parents to receive voc
> rehab training, to get letters from the state VR agency saying that these
> parents can indeed perform the tasks that were of concern to CPS. The NFB
> realizes that we shouldn't have to get a permission slip from the state VR
> agency to have kids, but their main focus at this time is to address the
> ridiculous "But, how does a blind person do that?" concerns of the 
> hospital
> and CPS and get baby Micaela back with her parents where she belongs. So,
> the NFB of Missouri is incurring additional costs, as they are paying out 
> of
> pocket for these voc rehab services for the couple. Once Baby Micaela is
> back home with her parents, the NFB of Missouri will likely pursue other
> legal action against the hospital, so that this never happens to another
> blind parent.
>    Gary asked me to pass along that the NFB of Missouri welcomes donations
> to help defray the sky-rocketing legal expenses and the cost of getting
> letters from VR professionals asserting that these parents have received
> training in the skills of parenting and can perform the required tasks. 
> They
> are setting up a specific fund for these donations. You can make a
> contribution at the NFB of Missouri's affiliate table in the Exhibit Hall 
> or
> by visiting Gary in the Missouri delegation during General Session.
>    If you can't make a monetary donation or if you'd like to help further,
> I'm collecting names and contact info of Federationists who would be 
> willing
> to baby-sit during Convention for parents who want to get out for an 
> evening
> or even just attend a few Convention events without their children, and
> donate the proceeds to the NFB of Missouri to help with the legal costs of
> not only returning Micaela to her parents, but also pursuing legal action
> against the hospital in the future.
>    If you'd like to volunteer your time, please contact me at
> stacy_cervenka at brownback.senate.gov<mailto:stacy_cervenka at brownback.senate.g
> ov> or on my cell at 708-359-3301. Please let me know the best way to
> contact you at Convention, a little bit about your experience with kids
> (this might include being a parent yourself, having worked as a counselor 
> at
> a summer program, etc.), and which times you would be available.
>    Furthermore, feel free to share my contact info with any parents who
> might be interested in this service during Convention.
> Thanks,
> Stacy Leigh Cervenka
> Legislative Assistant
> Office of Senator Sam Brownback (KS)
> 303 Hart Senate Office Building
> Phone: (202) 224-6521
> Email:
> stacy_cervenka at brownback.senate.gov<mailto:stacy_cervenka at brownback.senate.g
> ov>
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