Can you imagine living in a home that had no heat, electricity or running water? What about raising five children in that same home?
One Pennsylvania couple has lost custody of their five children after living under these conditions, but the catch is… the children were virtually unknown. No birth certificates, no schooling, no medical care, and neighbors had no idea there were children in the home at all!
The children ranging in ages 13 years old to two years old were taken out of the home after an anonymous tip to the Pennsylvania child welfare agency sparked the fourth visit to the home since 2003. The parents – Louann Bowers, 33, and Sinhue Johnson, 45, have been charged with five counts of felony child endangerment.
The children have been placed in foster care which has caused a new set of issues for the children who previously never had social interaction with children outside their siblings. Case workers suspect mental health issues due to the conditions in which they have been raised.
After being vaccinated, and enrolled in school it became clear to the child welfare agency that the children were not at the education levels of their peers, even speculating that they were never home schooled as parents had previously claimed, investigators also commented that no materials for schooling were found inside the dilapidated home they resided in.
For myself the story splits me in two different directions. The conditions that the children were living in are not acceptable, but on the other hand it makes me question other issues cited for removing them from the home – lack of vaccinations, home schooling, no records of being born, living in isolation… while many seem like choices mainstream parents would not make, should they be considered crimes?
The lawyer for mother Louann Bowers made a statement saying :
“She understands she had some shortcomings as a parent, but her love and desire to have the children and wanting to be there for her children has not changed,” Gross said.
While the story still has a lot of unanswered questions, and information that has not come to public light, it is certainly a case that many parents should continue to follow as it unfolds into the media.
What are your opinions on the case?
photo : flickr.com/Orin Zebest
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