Baby Avyonna was a newborn nursing at her mother's breast when Alabama social workers seized her from the hospital and placed her into foster care almost 2 years ago. Now, finally, she is home with her parents Haly Boothe and Anthony Lett. She was taken by Shelby County Department of Human Resources (DHR) just 3 days after she was born. There were no allegations of abuse or neglect. Avyonna was taken because DHR said they had a pick-up order. Social workers believed they had the right to take the new baby since the department already had Haly's other 2 children Haydn and Ka'Myia in custody. During the course of the family's involvement with DHR, it became clear that the department had been planning all along to adopt Avyonna out. It was never about anything that Haly or Anthony did or didn't do. It was a foregone conclusion that the people who were adopting her siblings would adopt Avyonna as well. It was not until media attention from Health Impact News began to shine the light on what was happening with Shelby County DHR that there was any progress toward getting Avyonna home.
The story of Baby Braelon in Alabama went viral during the summer of 2016, reaching a million people in just the first 24 hours. The baby boy was born to a 14 year-old mother who was a rape victim. When Braelon was born, his grandmother Dee became concerned that DHR was going to try something to take the baby away from his young mother, whom Dee and Rodney had raised since infancy. Dee was shocked when they witnessed the accused rapist Samuel Woods III and his mother barge into the hospital room uninvited shortly after the baby was born, having somehow bypassed hospital security. They saw the shocked faces of the young mother and family members as Woods scooped the baby from the bassinet like he owned the place. After a brief, uncomfortable conversation, Woods was told to leave. That encounter was used later that same day as the grounds for DHR to come into the hospital, flanked by hospital security and armed police officers, to kidnap Baby Braelon out of his breastfeeding mother's arms. It was not until several months later that the Princes were finally able to learn that "inviting the rapist into the hospital room" was the grounds used to seize Baby Braelon that day, and the young mother and her twin brother less than 24 hours later. Dee was warned not to post their story on social media. She was told to "keep quiet" and "comply." But Dee Prince knew that silence would only enable and embolden the bullies that were her abusers. Now, she has won - because she dared to trust God and speak out.
An Alabama baby seized more than a year ago from her mother by Shelby County DHR (Department of Human Resources) is to be returned home in a dramatic turnaround of events. Public outcry and media exposure of corruption eventually led to meetings with state DHR officials and a change of venue for Haly Boothe and her husband Anthony Lett’s case. Their case was transferred out of Shelby County, and almost immediately, things began to change. Now, Avyonna is on her way home. Avyonna was taken from her parents, Haly and Anthony, when she was only 3 days old. She was a breastfeeding newborn taken from her mother's breast before she ever left the hospital. There was no court order, warrant, or emergency circumstance, but the department mistakenly believed that they had the right to seize children without such, in direct opposition to the 4th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. Caseworkers from the same department seized Avyonna's cousin - Baby Braelon - just one month later from Haly's 14 year old sister who was the alleged victim of a rape. It was one of the most-read stories covered by the Medical Kidnap division of Health Impact News and read by millions of people who were outraged. The family alleged then that they had been unjustly targeted for years by Shelby County DHR, with multiple family members seized without any evidence of abuse or neglect. While the grandparents of the Prince family are overjoyed that their granddaughter baby Avyonna will soon be home, they still are not permitted to have visitation with Baby Braelon. Yet, it is reported that the family of the biological father, accused rapist Samuel Woods III, is now being allowed visitation with the baby every other weekend.
Is Alabama DHR “Offer” to Young Mother Blackmail? Give Up Your Daughter and We Will Not Take Your Other Children
Her court-appointed attorney called it "an offer." Haly Boothe calls it "blackmail." She was devastated by the choice that met her when she went to Shelby County Family Court in Alabama. Her family has been fighting to get 10 month old baby Avyonna back from state custody ever since the Department of Human Resources (DHR) social workers came to the hospital 3 days after her baby was born and took the newborn baby girl from her mother's breast. At the time, they told her that the reason that they were taking the baby was because the state already had her other 2 children, children that were born to her when she herself was in foster care. She and her grandparents have maintained that the real reason the first 2 children were kept by the state was because she was a foster child when she had them. The choice that was presented to Haly on Friday lends credence to that assertion. "So let me get this straight, DHR said my only option is to let Avyonna get adopted and they will drop all of the child support and ANY FUTURE children I have DHR will not take?"
Alabama Grandparents of 14 Year Old Rape Victim and Baby Still Not Allowed Contact with Own Grandchildren Raised in Their Home
The story of the 14 year old Alabama mother whose newborn baby was taken away from her by Child Protective Services last summer quickly went viral, and inspired outrage all over the world. That outrage translated into action, with many phone calls, emails, and letters calling upon state legislators to "do something" about the situation. Local courts and social workers tried to silence the media, and squelch the negative attention that the actions of the Department of Human Resources (DHR) was receiving. But the public refused to back down in their fight for this family, and because of the calls for action, things changed for this family. There is also new legislation pending in the state of Alabama which arose from their case. Fortunately, the baby was eventually returned to his mother, but he and his mother were taken to Childhaven, a group home in Cullman, Alabama. Her twin brother was placed in a foster home originally, and then into a group home 2 hours away from his sister. After much public attention, all three children were placed with a relative, but not returned to the grandparents' home where they grew up. Since that time, the relative has declined to speak with media. However, Health Impact News has been able to confirm that the children appear to be safe and baby Braelon appears to be thriving, now that they are out of the group home setting. DHR forbids any contact with Dee and Rodney Prince to the twins whom they have raised since infancy. The week before baby Braelon was taken, a Shelby County DHR social worker had approved the Prince's home as a safe place for infants. What changed?
Should Foster Children who Become Parents as Adults Automatically Have Their Children Seized? Alabama Mother Fights to Get Children Back
A young Alabama mother is fighting to maintain hope that she can get her children back. Haly Boothe was a minor in foster care herself when she gave birth to her first two children. When she aged out of the system, her foster mother and DHR refused to let her take her children with her. She got a job, got married, and had another baby. DHR took that baby from her at the hospital at 3 days old, simply because DHR already had her other two children. Haly and her husband Anthony love their children and desperately want to have their children home. Haly's grandmother, Dee Prince, says that she never even had the chance to be a mother. They feel that the system has been doing everything that they can to keep the children away from their family, even though they have done nothing to deserve losing them. They believe that Haly is the victim of a cruel system, and no matter what she does, it doesn't seem to be enough.
Haly Boothe, a young Shelby County, Alabama mother whose 3 day old baby was seized by DHR without a court order, warrant, or evidence of wrongdoing, is still fighting to get her children back. Many who are close to the family have expressed that they are appalled at what they say is injustice in the family court system. Haly recently sent a lengthy letter to Alabama legislators and others describing what she calls "a lifetime of attacks" by DHR. She posed numerous questions challenging many of the actions of DHR personnel, including those of her children's Guardan ad litem, Erin Welborn, which she has described as "unfair." As of the writing of this article, none of her concerns have been addressed. Her parental rights to her other two children were terminated, even though her family maintains that the state has never produced any evidence of wrongdoing by Haly. They believe that she lost her children because she was in the foster care system herself when she had her first two children at age 15 and 16. Her children were kept by DHR when Haly aged out of the system at age 19. She was not permitted to take her children with her. Before her newest baby, Avyonna, was born in May, Haly was told by social workers and attorneys alike that they were not going to take her baby when she was born. However, Baby Avyonna was seized by Shelby County DHR at only 3 days old in May from a Jefferson County hospital. The social worker reportedly told her that it was because DHR already had the other children in their custody. Since the writing of Haly's letter to state legislators and the Alabama Governor, her court-appointed attorney wrote that he felt that he had no choice but to withdraw from her case. Haly is now without legal representation. Her family is concerned that there are no attorneys left in Shelby County with the ethics and courage to stand up for her. They hope to find an attorney in Alabama who is not a part of the network of Shelby County attorneys.
Baby Braelon and his young mother have been released to the custody of a family member, according to a source close to the Prince family. The mother's twin brother remains in a group home, but the source, who asked not to be named, reports that the judge in the case, Judge Corey Moore, appears to finally be listening to the evidence in the case. No more will the young mother be under the watchful guard of the 24 hour sitters. No more will she be isolated from her support system and everyone she cares about. When she attends church, she will be able to sit with family and friends instead of social workers. She won't be followed into the bathroom. She will be living in a much cleaner environment. Her phone conversations with family members will not be monitored. She will be able to breastfeed her baby on demand and meet his needs, without being coerced to follow poor decisions for his care made by sitters, social workers, and group home mothers. If he needs to go to the doctor, she will be able to get him seen without having to beg for days. In short, the young mother will no longer be treated like a prisoner.
The assumption of the public is that when a child is removed from his or her parents, the government has a compelling reason to be involved, based on allegations of abuse or neglect. Sometimes, however, that is not the case, and children are literally separated from their families because a social worker thinks a parent MIGHT cause harm in the future, even if there is no current abuse or harm being committed. This appears to be the case with an Alabama mother whose 3 day old breastfeeding baby was taken from her at the hospital in May. The mom, 20 year old Haly Booth, is an older sister of the 14 year old rape victim whose story of her baby's kidnapping has been heard around the world. Shelby County DHR has seized Haly's newborn baby with no court order, no trial, and no evidence. The reasons they have given in a written letter to the mother are basically that they do not think she is a good mother, and that she might harm her baby in the future. The mother is a former foster child herself, and that is used against her. Is this what we have come to in the United States of America, where children can be kidnapped by the State so easily? Is any family safe?
A set of twins seized from their home in June by Shelby County DHR in Alabama may have to repeat the 8th grade, even though both were promoted by their school to the 9th grade. Family and friends are very concerned about the impact that the Department of Human Resources (DHR) will have on the twins' education. There have also been numerous problems with visitation attempts with the twins. Their family's story has been at the heart of an ongoing series of articles from Health Impact News after one of the twins, a young rape victim, had her baby seized from her at Shelby County Baptist Medical Center on June 15 without a court order, warrant, or emergency circumstances. Both twins were told last week by DHR officials that they would be going into the 8th grade when school starts, even though both of them completed the 8th grade in the spring. They were promoted by their school to the 9th grade before they were taken from their home. In the meantime, when the twins are allowed to appear in public they are surrounded by many government workers which some observers say feel like the Gestapo or the KGB. The newborn baby also continues to suffer in State care.