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A 9-year-old boy dies two weeks after being medically kidnapped and placed in foster care

A 9-year-old boy dies two weeks after being medically kidnapped and placed in foster care

The “junkie mom” in my neighborhood

for Richard Wexler
National Coalition for the Protection of Children

Richard Blodgett admits he was using fentanyl illegally. The single father told the Associated Press he had to do it to control the pain enough to support his 9-year-old diabetic son, Jakob.

“I didn’t do drugs. I didn’t abuse them. I used them so I could work and support my son,” Blodgett said. “Unfortunately, they’re illegal. I can’t help it. But they were stronger than my medicine and they were working.”

Original image source.

Arizona authorities arrested Blodgett for drug possession, and the state’s Family Police Agency placed her son in foster care. Just two weeks later, the boy was dead.

From the AP story:

A medical examiner listed Jakob’s death in late December as natural with complications from diabetes, a condition he was diagnosed with as a toddler. Specifically, type 1 diabetes, which means your body couldn’t produce enough insulin to survive.

Blodgett said she suspects the Arizona Department of Child Safety breached its duty to protect her son, either by failing to monitor his blood sugar levels or by failing to make sure Jakob had enough insulin to prevent a serious and potentially fatal complication known as ketoacidosis.

“They couldn’t keep him alive for two weeks, two weeks,” the father told the Associated Press…

The story reminded me of another parent with a similar history of addiction.

In the 1960s and 1970s, long before my family moved to Alexandria, Virginia, this addict raised her children in our neighborhood.

It happened to her like so many others. He started with prescription opioid pain relievers. It got stuck. Unlike Blodgett, this addict also got hooked on booze. “I liked alcohol, it made me feel warm,” he would later say. “And I loved the pills. They took away the tension and the pain.” In addition, this addict had serious mental health problems.

She was what the tabloids would have called a “junkie mom” – if she was poor, and especially if she was poor and not white.

However, during all this time, no one took her children away. It wasn’t even investigated. And in 1974, when her husband suddenly got a new job and they had to move to DC, no one from a family police agency ever knocked on the door at the family’s new address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

On the contrary: Betty Ford was hailed as a hero, and deservedly so, when she publicly disclosed her addictions and received treatment. He even established a celebrity rehabilitation center. Gallup polls found her to be one of the ten most admired women in America every year until 1991, the year she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And the house where this “junkie mom” raised her children is now a National Historic Landmark.

Oh, the defenders of this double standard might say, there was no evidence that Betty Ford’s addiction impaired her ability to raise her children. Of course not. Because he had money. She could get all the parenting help she needed and eventually the best drug treatment money could buy.

There is also no evidence that Richard Blodgett’s drug use impaired his ability to raise his child, even without all that help. In fact, the available evidence suggests that the greatest dangers to Jakob Blodgett were the police who arrested his father and the family police who forced the boy into foster care.

The fact is, the world is full of Betty Fords, people who, for all kinds of reasons, use drugs without endangering their children. And where there really is a danger, the solution is to give these other parents a tiny fraction of the resources that Betty Ford had.

We must apply the Betty Ford standard to all parents with substance abuse problems. If only someone in Arizona had thought of that, Jakob Blodgett might be alive today.

Read the full article at National Coalition for the Protection of Children.

See also:

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When the World is Against You: God’s Power to Intervene for Those Who Resist

An idolatrous nation celebrates “freedom” even though they are slaves to the pharmaceutical cult

What happens when a holy and just God gets angry? Lessons from history and the prophet Jeremiah

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Published on January 30, 2023

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