Mom Who Lost 2.5 Years of Her Children’s Lives While They Were in Foster Care Seeks Attorney to Fight Corruption in Arizona
by Health Impact News/Medical Kidnap Staff
The Coumpy children are finally back home.
Their mother, Aprilli Coumpy, has lost over 2 years of her children’s lives, time that can never be replaced. And like most children who are taken away from their families, the Coumpy children are still suffering today, even though they are back home.
They were seized by Arizona’s Child Protective Services back in 2015, after an accidental injury when the children woke up early and decided to cook breakfast for their still-sleeping mother. It was something that could have happened in any home.
After a hard-fought battle against the State of Arizona, where the state even tried to get Health Impact News to remove their stories on this case published on MedicalKidnap.com, the children were finally returned home shortly after the latest Health Impact News article on their family was published, which exposed wrong-doing by the Department and by social worker Lisa Millett.
Like many families, the Coumpys decided to lay low and stay out of the media spotlight as they began their journey of healing.
It has been 8 months since their case was closed on August 15, 2017, and the family is still suffering trauma from the overreach of Child Protective Services into their lives.
The mother, who refused to give up fighting for her her children when they were in state custody, is now determined to fight for justice, not only for her children, but for all children who are victims of social workers who abuse their power.
Aprilli Coumpy seeks an attorney who will help her to file a lawsuit on behalf of her children, all the while she is working to help her family heal from the damage inflicted on them when they were taken.
Many advocates and attorneys who recognize the catastrophic impact of the Child Protective Services industry on families have said that one of the most effective ways to fight the system is to strike back legally through lawsuits and other court measures that will send a message that their unlawful practices are unacceptable and will no longer be tolerated – practices such as social workers lying in order to take children or seizing children without a court order, warrant, or exigent circumstances.
Despite this, Aprilli reports that she has not been able to find an attorney willing to take on Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) and help her to file a lawsuit. She is hopeful that this article will inspire a good lawyer to help her in holding DCS accountable for the damage done to innocent children.
Corrupt Social Worker Responsible for Attempting to Destroy Family
The children were take from their home in March 0f 2015. Our original article on their story was published on July 29, 2015. See:
By December of that year, it was documented that Aprilli had completed everything that DCS required of her to get her children back. Both a parent aide through a third party agency commissioned by DCS and the social worker Lisa Millet signed off on a report stating such.
The children were not returned.
The following May, Aprilli Coumpy filed a grievance against DCS and against her social worker Lisa Millett. Aprilli reported that Millet “constantly lies in court,” that she and her aides “disrespect me in front of my children,” and that that they have threatened her.
She alleged that the social worker tried to get her fired from her job, and that she did not follow through with court orders or reunification efforts. Also:
Lisa and case aides have verbally told me in front of my kids, “You are no longer their mother.”
In what Aprilli saw as retaliation, her children were moved into different foster homes and separated from each other.
On July 29, 2016, Health Impact News published an update story:
Aprilli Coumpy was advised to file a motion for “Rule 59” which she did pro se (on her own, without an attorney) on January 17, 2017.
Arizona Rules of Civil Procedures Rule 59 appears to correspond to Rule 59 of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The federal rule, according to Cornell Law School, is the rule for a new trial, or for altering or amending a judgement. (Source.)
In Arizona, Rule 59 allows for a verdict, decision, or judgement to be vacated and a new trial granted for a number of reasons “which materially affect that party’s rights,” including:
- Error in the admission or rejection of evidence, error in the charge to the jury, or in refusing instructions requested, or other errors of law occurring at the trial or during the progress of the action.
- That the verdict, decision, findings of fact, or judgment is not justified by the evidence or is contrary to law. (Source)
Judge John Dittsworth was removed from the case, and the Coumpys were assigned a new judge, Judge Alison Bachus.
Still, her children remained in state custody.
It was after this that social worker Lisa Millet wrote to Aprilli Coumpy demanding that she stop posting information about her case on social media and take down the Medical Kidnap stories.
The next article we published was on April 25, 2017:
Arizona DCF Tries to Stifle Free Speech in Medical Kidnapping Case – Demands Our Stories of Coumpy Family be Taken Down
Things moved quickly after that. Lisa Millet was finally removed from the Coumpy case.
The next court hearing was on May 17, 2017. Judge Bachus ordered that the children return to the physical custody of their mother, effective a week later when the children finished the school year.
On May 25, one month to the day after the latest Health Impact News article, the Coumpy children returned home to their mother.
The long, drawn-out reunification process that Child Protective Services typically insists upon didn’t happen, proving that returns can, in fact, be accomplished quickly. (The usual argument is that the children need time to adjust, that they were attached or bonded to the fosters, or other such nonsense. The social workers who argue for such have no problem abandoning such lofty ideals when it comes to snatching children suddenly from their REAL parents.)
Their case was dismissed on August 15, 2017.
Happy to Be Home, But Trauma of State-sponsored Kidnapping Continues
The return home of children seized by Child Protective Services is bittersweet. The sweetest thing in the world for a family separated is to be reunited. It is the stuff of Hallmark movies – this thing that parents fight for, pray for, and cry out for, with every fiber of their being, while their children cry themselves to sleep longing for their real family.
But it is also bitter, because the children who were taken away from their families are never the same as they were before they were kidnapped.
When Child Protective Services takes children from their homes, they often leave destruction in their wake. The majority of children who are seized by CPS should never have been taken from their families. Even when they are returned home, more often than not, the children are traumatized. Even a short separation can do untold damage.
Foster care statistics reflect this trauma in data that shows that foster children who grow up are far more likely than the general population to commit suicide, be homeless, have a teen pregnancy, battle addiction, become entrapped in the sex trafficking trade, or be incarcerated.
What the data does not reflect, however, is the aftermath of the trauma suffered by the children who are returned to their parents, who are often innocent of any wrong-doing. These children, too, have needlessly suffered great anguish, and their lives are never the same.
The Coumpy children are no different. In fact, when Aprilli’s children were about to come home, an advocate told her:
Your kids are coming home totally different. Are you ready?
This was the very thing the broken-hearted mother had been fighting for more than 2 years for. Of course she was ready:
Those are my kids! I want them HOME.
They were different. They came home on May 25, 2017. They were so excited and told their mother:
It’s REAL! We’re really home!
To this day, they still have nightmares from their time away from home.
They have behaviors that they never had before. Relatives and friends of the family have noticed. Aprilli says that more than one of them have told her:
Wow, your kids have never acted like this before. DCS really did a number on them.
They were never afraid of the police before. The children had believed before that police officers were the good guys who helped people and went after the bad guys. Now, they are afraid of police. They are afraid they will take them away again.
This is something we commonly hear from children who were taken by Child Protective Services with the assistance of law enforcement. These officers frequently act upon accusations made by social workers without looking into the evidence that is required to obtain and to take before a judge to get a court order, and all too often they rush quickly to seize the children and remove them from the home, which is illegal without a warrant signed by a judge.
Many families, including the Coumpy family, have also reported that the children struggle with respecting their parents’ authority.
When DCS/CPS came into their lives, they undermined parental authority. Children saw that their parents were not able to protect them from the strong arm of the state.
Other adults – social workers and foster parents – came into their lives and showed them that their parents’ standards and rules no longer applied.
Many of the children suffer abuse at the hands of foster parents, and we have published reports of Arizona foster care homes being used to sexually abuse and traffick children.
Kids have to adapt to a whole new way of life just to survive. If they are shuffled between different foster homes and facilities, each transfer means learning a whole new set of rules.
When they return home, it is difficult to bring them back into the protective shelter of the once-familiar routines. Rules set up for their own safety that were once seen as immutable are now questioned, and comfortable boundaries are now viewed as capricious, arbitrary, and able to be challenged like never before.
Social workers and visit supervisors maintain that illusion during visits when they criticize, undermine, and outright defy the things that parents tell their children.
Aprilli’s oldest daughter Zanaeja aged out of the system before her siblings were returned. She told her mother that social worker Lisa Millet had told her that she did not have to listen to her mother or follow directions given to her by her mother since she was almost 18 years old.
The other Coumpy children were also allegedly told that they didn’t have to listen to their mother.
Children within the foster care system become greatly confused, and many lose their inner compass along the way, because of ill-thought-out comments such as these.
Aprilli reports that she told social worker Lisa Millet:
You guys taught my kids to think of me as “a visit.”
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Worse for Foster Children than Military Vets Returning from War? The Drugging of Foster Children
Aprilli herself has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and high blood pressure. Again, these are things that we commonly see in parents whose children are taken. Many parents and grandparents who never had blood pressure issues before Child Protective Services entered their lives have reported being diagnosed with high blood pressure and PTSD after CPS comes on the scene.
The effects of PTSD are, of course, even more severe in the children who are kidnapped out of their homes and put with strangers, many of whom then abuse them.
The constant “fight or flight” instinct is something that Aprilli and her children now struggle with, post-CPS. That is a classic symptom of PTSD.
Her children were apparently diagnosed with some sort of emotional trauma issues and were prescribed medication during their time in foster care. This too is common in foster care, where studies have shown that children in foster care receive far more psychiatric drugs than children outside of foster care, and possibly at a rate equal to or greater than soldiers returning from combat. (See: Foster Care Abuse: Drugging Children Against Their Will.)
DCS would not tell Aprilli what medications they were being given, or what their diagnoses were. She is still trying to get the medical records for her children, but she was aware at the time that her children were being drugged.
Even while they were still in foster care, Aprilli tried to address the issue with social worker Lisa Millett. In an email sent to Millet in December 2016, Aprilli wrote:
Why are my children not receiving any type of counseling from being snatched away from their family for 2 years now?
… Considering what DCS has done to my children and family, medications are not the correct response when they are showing normal behavior under the circumstances of what DCS has done.
For almost a year she has been trying to get the children’s medical records. She still doesn’t have them. What she does have is a list from DCS of “all the doctors and dentists the kids saw over the last two years.”
There are 32 doctors and dentists on that list.
Aprilli has been attempting to get records from the practitioners for the time that her 5 children were in state custody. DCS has told her that “parents can request any records for their children when they are back in their care,” but Aprilli has been largely unsuccessful in obtaining them.
Some of them stonewall her. Other offices tell her that the doctor in question no longer works there or is retired, and she still cannot get the records. There are others that she cannot find at all.
Attorney Needed to Sue Arizona for Crimes Against Families
Aprilli Coumpy is searching for an attorney who will help her to hold DCS in Arizona accountable, and to protect her children and other children from the overreach of DCS.
Arizona DCS takes more children from their parents than any other state in the country. The Coumpy case is closed. It never should have been opened.
She recently learned that Arizona a 1 year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit, and a federal lawsuit has a 2 year statute of limitations. The clock is ticking. She does not want to lose this opportunity.
I have so much evidence; I just need the representation.
She asks how many other families there are whose cases have been mishandled by social worker Lisa Millett.
If you are an attorney willing to look into this case, or if you know of one, please contact Health Impact News or the Facebook page set up to support the family called Parents Protecting God’s Children.
Governor Doug Ducey needs be called upon to put a stop to the abuse of families under DCS. The DCS agency and the actions of the DCS workers are ultimately his responsibility. He may be contacted at 602 542 4331 or reached here. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.
Representative Kevin Payne represents the Coumpy’s district. He may be reached at 602 926 4854, or contacted here.
The Senator for their district is Senator Frank Pratt. He may be reached at 602 926 5761, or contacted here.
Aprilli is very thankful that her children are home. She says:
I don’t think we’ll ever be the same again, but I know it can be better.
Prayer for Children Traumatized by Child Protective Services
When we spoke with Aprilli for this article, our reporter prayed with her for her children, and for all of the children whose lives have been turned upside down by CPS. Aprilli requested that we include that prayer in her story, and so we are honoring her request, as this is HER story, not ours:
Come Holy Spirit, and minister to the Coumpy children, and to all the other children affected by CPS. Jesus, You are the great Healer, and these children have suffered great trauma. They need You to come and heal their hearts.
They have suffered things that no child should ever have to suffer, and the hurt is profound. But You are greater. You can do what no man can do.
We ask you to go deep into the depths of their hearts, to the root of all the emotional trauma and anguish, and bring healing to their hearts. Protect their hearts. Give them the grace to overcome.
What the enemy meant for their destruction, Lord, we know that You can turn it and even use it for GOOD, for the saving of many lives, like you did with Joseph in Genesis 50:20.
God, heal their hearts, and the heart of their mama, because she has suffered too. Lord, help them to process all the pain, and to be able to rise up victorious, that they would not see themselves as victims but as victors, knowing, God, that You love them so much, and that you promise to bring good out of even this.
Hold them close and protect them. Speak truth to their spirits that they may know that they are loved and cherished by You, in the mighty name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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