‘Protect Those Kids': Words of Support for Woman Whose Children Were Ordered Into Abusive Home


As of this writing, over 8,400 of you have joined RH Reality Check in asking Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to investigate Plymouth County Courts for ordering Audre’y Eby’s two special needs children back to an abusive home.

People from across the country have signed the petition, and many felt strongly enough to leave comments that were supportive, impassioned, and sometimes searing. This is a sample of the thoughts* that have been left for the Eby family and Gov. Branstad:

G.W., Iowa: “There are serious issues in this custody fight that need to be fully explored. Are disabled Native American children being abused by the legal process itself?”

F.H., Wyoming: “I hope you win this. I will being praying for you and your boys. My story is similar. But they went to a foster family and were adopted by them. They suffered years of abuse. I have two that are still there.”

G.V., New York: “I am a Native Mom with a disabled son. I have a spare bedroom if they need a place while trying to figure this all out. We need to stop this child trafficking war on Native children.”

J.W., Kansas: “Many prayers for Audre’y and sons. I am so sorry you are having to go through this. Your story brings tears to my eyes.”

S.L., Colorado: “I was born and raised in Iowa and we used to protect children, not put them back with their abusers. Please reconsider.”

H.P., Louisiana: “The children’s health and safety are more important than any political motive.”

P.B., California: “Native Americans have a right to retain their own children.”

N.C., Connecticut: “Native people are STILL getting abused by the government. It is time this stops.”

S.C., Pennsylvania: “As a disabled adult, I am horrified by judge’s disregard for the welfare of these teenagers.”

B.A., Ohio: “The judge who would allow these boys to go back to their father should be banned from ever trying another case!”

J.B., Michigan: “Child safety ethically trumps a court order for custody. This judge should be charged with child endangerment.”

R.K., Iowa: “As an ex-foster parent, this sounds all too familiar. Please investigate and protect those kids!”

R.E., Washington: “I wish when I was going through the foster care system someone had believed me. Believe Audre’y Eby.”

Y.H., Texas: “Do not hesitate on this matter. Child protective services neglected to follow up, and a baby died from the force of a boyfriend (? Yah, no friend.) Stay on this!”

D.F., Florida: “My severely cerebral palsied son is 45 and lives at home with us. Just the thought that anyone could ever harm this gentle and helpless soul makes my blood boil. All disabled people need to be cared for by people with infinite patience. Any sign of abuse is justification for termination of custodial rights. End of story.”

K.V., New Mexico: “No child should ever be left in an abusive home. Too many end up dead, not to mention the permanent emotional/mental/physical damage done to those who survive.”

N.F., Michigan: “I was nearly killed as a child due to physical abuse at the hands of my abusive father, who tried to pull a similar stunt in the legal system. CPS accused me of lying. The judge always ruled in his favor. He had more clout in the tiny town we lived in, so he succeeded for a very long while. I don’t even have special needs, and I still bear scars—physical and emotional—to this day, even though it’s been a decade and a half. Do not let these poor children be victimized any longer. I still suffer to this day because no one would help me. Please don’t let these children suffer as much as I have.”

J.M., Georgia: “My family has owned land in Plymouth County for over 70 years. I am horrified to think that our tax dollars have supported this incredibly dangerous man. Do something about your incompetent court system!!!!! Protect these boys now!!!!”

L.M., New Mexico: “We just had a case where a child was returned to his abusive mother and she kicked him to death. A child should not be returned to an abusive parent!”

C.L., Illinois: “As a survivor of child abuse that went on until I went to college at age 18, I can tell you that it can destroy people. Do not let these boys go back to an abusive home. A loving home is what they need.”

G.K., Missouri: “As a former volunteer juvenile worker (specially trained and court cerified), I have no patience with agencies that don’t seem to pay attention to issues dealing with kids, of any age. Courts today don’t seem to be able to understand the simplest warnings dealing with children.”

D.D., Massachusetts: “My heart breaks for Ms. Eby and her sons! So many disabled children are abused by relatives and non-relatives alike. This mother wants her children safe, nothing more should be more important than that. Please let her keep her boys in Nebraska where they will be safe and LOVED!”

P.B., Washington: “As a child, I was beaten & sexually molested by my dad. Please don’t subject these kids to further abuse. It will stay with them the rest of their lives!! Fears & low self-esteem, feeling defeated.”

G.C., California: “I am the parent of an adult child with severe CP and Epilepsy I KNOW how hard it is for children to communicate and get justice when it is needed.”

W.F., Kansas: “I have worked in child protective services. These children’s blood will be on your hands and will stain your soul.”

J.M., Colorado: “I work in pediatric neurosurgery and see victims of abuse every day!!! How dare you put these children back in the abusive home!!!!! They will end up dead one day or in a vegetative state.”

C.H., South Carolina: “I spent 34 years teaching special needs children and found that they often had additional emotional and psychological problems because of abuse. Such children are often family scapegoats because they are unable to defend themselves. To place a blind, autistic child and a child with cerebral palsy back into a home where abuse has been documented is beyond cruel. These children have a mother willing and able to care for them and meet their needs without abuse. PLEASE do not subject these boys to more abuse.”

M.T., New Jersey: “As a long-time practitioner of Pediatrics, I can attest that sending a child back to a known abusive environment that has not undergone and passed extensive intervention and for which an intensive follow-up plan has been created will increase his/her chance of death (in cases of physical abuse) or mental deterioration (in cases of pure emotional abuse.) The acceptance of “parents’ rights” in child-rearing—irrespective of evidence of dangerous and repeated misdeeds on the part of the child’s family member(s) MUST END.”

R.M., North Carolina: “I am a retired Child Protective Services social worker. These children do not need to return to their father’s home. This is not questionable or a borderline situation.”

T.N., Washington: “There was a similar incident. The father was alone with his three year old son. Dad threw the child out a second story building, then he jumped too.”

M.C., Washington: “Stop giving Indian children to white people. This happened in WA State, 4 children were killed in one year in a foster home. One was a 5-year-old downs child.”

*Very minor edits for grammar and punctuation have been made to a handful of these comments.

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