by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
A beloved California schoolteacher is still fighting to get her children back 9 months after they were ripped away from her by Child Protective Services. Lori Ibrahim’s two-day old breastfeeding baby was seized by Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) after Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center accused her of drug abuse. The only drugs in her system were properly prescribed medications, but social workers used the positive drug screen as grounds to seize baby Youssef and his 5-year old brother Kian.
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Lori recorded this video shortly after her baby was taken away from her:
Since that time, Lori has allegedly cooperated with every demand that DCFS has placed on her, including submission to a gag order to be silent and take down her Facebook page.
Social workers have created an image of the mother to present to the court which seems to serve their apparent agenda of keeping the family apart.
The reports, however, from the psychologist and other therapists that Lori has been compelled to see paint a vastly different picture. That picture is consistent with the reports from those who have worked with Lori and the parents whose young children Lori has taught in school during her 15 year career, a career that is now closed to her because of the DCFS allegations.
Lori Ibrahim presented evidence to Health Impact News and to the court that she was innocent of the charges that were used to seize her children. The court has reportedly dismissed the substance abuse allegations, finding that, as she said from the very beginning, she was only taking properly prescribed medications.
Yet, it hasn’t made a difference – her boys are still not home.
Therapists Confirm Lori’s Exemplary Record – DCFS Ignores It
When Health Impact News first reported Lori’s story last July (2016), we reported what our investigation found about Lori:
She has received numerous awards and accolades throughout the years, and was known as a teacher that exceeded the standards of her employment. She is known as an exemplary role model for her young students.
Since that time, Health Impact News has received documents which confirm that assessment and contradict the accusations that DCFS social workers used to justify the seizure of her children.
One report comes from a social worker with a parenting class that Lori was ordered to participate in. She describes Lori as a “welcome addition” to the group. According to the report, the social worker found Lori to:
communicat[e] well with other members and group members and group facilitators….While Mrs. Ibrahim was the only mother in the group who did not have her children present, Mrs. Ibrahim persevered and was observed as being interactive and comfortable while utilizing both her teaching and parenting skills with the children. The children were observed as being receptive and enjoying the activities.
Another report comes from a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with over 30 years experience who has worked with more than 500 custody cases. The psychologist is on the list of Child Custody Evaluators accepted for court cases.
Her evaluation presents a stark contrast to the DCFS report and is based upon interviews and a battery of psychological tests.
Regarding the DCFS allegations that Lori abuses drugs, the psychologist states:
It was found that Lori does not have an addiction problem. This would be strongly against her religion, her behaviors, and daily living.
Lori has a prescription for medical marijuana. She has suffered with a painful fibroid during pregnancy. She informed her doctor about her medication and trusted that it was prescribed by Kaiser [hospital], therefore it would be viewed as temporarily necessary until the birth of her child.
There was no evidence that Lori was abusing prescribed medications. Lori was prescribed medications for her severe pain that she experienced when pregnant. She took her doctor’s advice regarding her medication and was relieved of some of her pain.
After her baby was born, the pressure of her uterine fibroid was relieved and she stopped the medication. A urine screen was given (that would not [be] admissible in any court) after the birth of the baby. The results were positive for [the medications that she was prescribed].
Despite the lack of evidence, Lori was mislabeled a drug addict who would not be able to care for her baby.
After Lori’s children were taken from her based on these properly prescribed medications, DCFS accused Lori of being mentally ill. The psychologist refutes that assessment, stating that there is “not enough evidence to support” such diagnoses. She reports:
Lori Ibrahim does not have a mental illness. She presented as a mentally stable individual who is currently experiencing the traumatic event of losing her children. She has provided a healthy and loving home environment for her son and has given birth to a healthy newborn. She has been placed on monitored visitation, lost her teaching job and income, and has been facing the trauma of her losses.
She describes Lori as having:
a long and constant history of working with young children, while raising her son with her husband. Her colleague [name redacted] reported that she has been an excellent teacher and parent guide, but after social services became involved, she could no longer teach.
She has no history of being a danger to herself or to her child.
There have been no negative reports from family members, teaching colleagues, parents she has treated, or friends. There has been no concerns about her mental health. She has often been requested to be their child’s teacher by the parents. She has been a tutor who has a following of students.
Psychologist – Separation Is Traumatizing to Children
The psychologist recognizes a basic fact that seems to elude virtually every person working within the Child Protective System and adoption and foster care industry – that is, separation of parent and child causes trauma to the child.
Regarding Kian, she says:
A five-year-old who has been removed from a stable environment can be traumatized when taken from the primary parent.
The trauma may be even worse for baby Youssef, she continues:
The research that has been achieved on newborn infants is limited, but reveals that both the mother and the child are significantly wounded when separated.
Cutting-edge research indicates that the experience in the womb and the early moments of birth and infancy are the most formative moments of our lives, shaping who we become. Many professionals who work with families do not realize the significance of the mother-baby bond. It is well-known an infant becomes aware while in the uterus as development occurs.
Child Development Specialist, Susan Hois, stated, “Separation from or loss of parents due to death, divorce, incarceration or removal to foster care will have a major impact on the child’s psychological development and possibly on his cognitive and physical development as well.”
These statements are consistent with the findings of experts in the relatively new field of prenatal and perinatal psychology, who confirm that the events in the “primal period,” as Dr. Michel Odent calls it, have a deeply profound impact on the rest of a person’s life.
The Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) states that:
APPPAH educates professionals and the public, worldwide, that a baby’s experience of conception, pregnancy, and birth creates lifelong consequences for individuals, families, and society.
The late Dr. David Chamberlain, one of the founding members of APPPAH and author of the groundbreaking book, Babies Remember Birth, wrote:
Babies know the destructive impact of rejection and separation. Ever since the pace-setting work of pediatricians Klaus and Kennell on maternal-infant bonding in 1976, attention has been repeatedly drawn to the destructive effects of untimely separations…. Separation is both a physical and emotional experience for a baby and can begin anytime in the womb or after birth. Whenever it occurs, it is a stroke of violence. Few things can compare with the oneness between mother and baby during gestation. The connections are total and holistic, embracing mind, emotion, and sensation. (Source)
Suzanne Arms, author, speaker, and founder of Birthing the Future, wrote:
If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the beginning of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust.
Lori Ibrahim is aware of the great harm that separation of mother and child can cause in her children, and she desperately wants to get her children back home with her and her husband. Since the children have been taken, they have been placed in separate placements. They have been reportedly denied sibling visitation and have not seen each other since August 10, 2016. Here is a video with pictures of their first meeting last July:
The baby has been moved 4 times since he was taken last summer.
In this video captured by Lori last year, an angry foster mother runs away with Lori’s baby as she looks on with horror:
Lori reports that the only thing she said to the woman before the recorded events happened was:
What location are we going to?
Lori retains medical rights and was supposed to meet the foster mother and the baby at the appointment. The social worker can be heard attempting to smooth things over, but he did not stop the foster mother from getting into her car and driving off with someone else’s child while she was in a clearly agitated state.
Conclusions of Psychologist
The report from the psychologist is very clear that, in her clinical assessment, Lori Ibrahim is a good mother. However, the court has refused to look at the favorable assessments, even though they come from sources with which DCFS often works.
DCFS has reportedly insisted that Lori is evaluated by the provider of THEIR choosing.
This begs the question: are they looking only for a specific result? Alabama attorney Lisa Chasteen recently testified to former Governor Bentley’s DHR Task Force that an attorney for the state complained in a court hearing that a particular provider did not “find the way we want them to,” and thus rejected the services of that provider.
Is that what is happening here?
The psychologist with over 30 years experience dealing with parents just like Lori who are battling for their children believes that her family should be reunited and that there were no valid grounds for the removal of Lori’s children:
Lori has been a devoted mother who misses her children. She presented herself as a strong and well-educated woman who has been a valued and respected teacher and tutor. Her attitude has been healthy, but she has not understood why her children have been taken from her based on no evidence of poor parenting or self-destructive behaviors.
She and her husband were looking forward to providing a loving home for their newborn. Kian was waiting to welcome home his new baby brother Yousseff….
Being a sensitive parent, she understands how much damage is occurring to her children as they experience the loss of their mother….
Nothing that would lead to the loss of her children was found in her background or her present lifestyle. [Emphasis added]
…This evaluator has serious concerns for the welfare of newborn Youssef who has been separated from his mother since his birth. The separation of mother and newborn can become a greater danger to children than the reasoning for separation. There was no evidence found that would keep Lori from uniting with her children.
After studying documents regarding the reasoning for this mother to be separated from Youssef and Kian, it does not make logical sense regarding the current status of Lori Imbrahim. This appears to be a mistake that has morphed into a disastrous and devastating situation for Youssef Ibrahi, newborn, and Kian Abedi, a kindergartener, and their mother, Lori Ibrahim….
In my professional opinion, this family needs to be reunited immediately before more damage is created by the trauma of an unnecessary separation.
Lori told her story to Tammi Stefano on the National Safe Child Show:
How You Can Help
Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., may be reached at (916) 445-2841, or contacted here.
Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell represents Lori Ibrahim’s district. He may be reached at (916) 319-2070, or contacted here.
The Senator for the family’s district is Ricardo Lara. He may be reached at (916) 651-4033, or contacted here.
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