Gov. Branstad: Keep Audre'y Eby's sons safe.

Join Audre'y Eby, RH Reality Check and
other signers to tell Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to investigate why Plymouth County Courts want to return two special needs Native children to a home where Iowa Child Protective Services knows they're being abused.

My sons going to a doctor's appointment with their friend, Manape LaMere, on Winnebago Reservation, Nov 27th, 2013.

Background: Last August, I picked up my sons from their father’s fiancé in Iowa and drove them back for a visit to my home in Nebraska. The five-hour trip is uncomfortable, especially for 16-year-olds with special needs. J* is blind and has injuries from an auto accident, while his autism creates communication difficulties. C* has cerebral palsy, which requires a wheelchair and causes painful muscle spasms. But this time, it wasn't just the car trip bothering them. I took them to the emergency room. What they found was horrifying.

With only health care professionals in the room, J described a vicious kicking attack directed at his groin by his father's fiancé, in an incident that C also witnessed. There was blood in J's urine and the bruises lasted for days. [1]

The doctor who treated J reported the incident to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and advised me that if I returned my sons to their father's custody, I would be reported to the authorities for child endangerment. I kept the boys with me in Nebraska as an investigation was begun, while their father successfully petitioned a Plymouth County, Iowa judge to enforce his custody order and issue a warrant for my arrest.

In addition to cases of documented abuse by both their father and his fiancé in the home before 2013, the boys' father has also been found by Iowa Child Protective Services (CPS) to have abused C as recently as last April, yet he was confident enough to tell me in front of police that he would bury me in the legal system.

Native parents have had their children kept away from them for as little as having dirty dishes in the sink when a social worker came to visit; if it had been me who was abusing my sons, I would never be allowed to see them again. Though their father wants to put C in an institution against his wishes and has continued to let the boys be cared for alone by his fiancé, against the advice of CPS, the Iowa court system wants to send them back to him.

Will you please join me in asking Gov. Branstad to immediately investigate Plymouth County Courts' refusal to take my sons' welfare seriously?

Audre’y Eby

[1] - "Sioux Mother Rescues Abused Children, Faces Arrest," by Stephanie Woodard, Indian Country, January 6, 2014.