Social Worker Uses False Diagnosis to Take Kids from Homeschooling Parents

Dave Jolly | August 28, 2014 

If your kids are sick and missing a lot of school you could end up losing them to overzealous social workers. That’s what happened to Lane Funkhouser and his wife Susan Parker and their two kids.

The family of four were all sick and at first their doctor could not figure out what was wrong. Their son and daughter, who are not being named in the report were missing so much school that the parents decided to homeschool them until a diagnosis could be found and treatment started.

The school listed the two kids as truant, but the charges were soon dismissed. That’s when an overzealous social worker from the Clarke County, Virginia Department of Social Services by the name of Michael Austin stepped into the fray. Upon a visit to the Funkhouser home, Austin diagnosed Susan as having a mental illness known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

Munchausen syndrome by proxy is a very rare and difficult condition to diagnose for a trained professional, but Austin is not a trained professional. As the Home School Legal Defense Association put it:

“Austin is not a doctor. He is not a nurse. He is not a psychologist. He is not a medical professional of any stripe.”

By the time Austin made his wondrous diagnosis, a doctor had finally diagnosed the kids as having a combination of strep, a parasitic infection and a bacterial infection known as Clostridium difficile or C. diff. Lab tests confirmed the diagnosis of C. diff. and quickly put the kids on treatment since around 14,000 Americans die each year from the bacterial infection. Following the doctor’s advice, the family went to the local hospital to be treated for the bacterial infection.

Finally having a diagnosis and getting the kids treated wasn’t enough for Austin as he pushed his diagnosis of Munchausen syndrome by proxy with the hospital staff. Instead of believing the doctor’s diagnosis and being treated by the hospital for a real illness, the hospital staff succumbed to Austin’s pressuring. The kids were subsequently removed from their home on July 25, 2012 by social workers who took the kids to the emergency room where they were diagnosed as suffering from C. diff. and treated.

At this point you would expect the children to be returned to their home, but Austin was not about to let that happen. The two kids were placed in foster care where they were interrogated mercilessly by the county employees at the home. They were bound and determined to get the kids to admit how mistreated and abused they were, but neither child told them anything of the sort, since they had not been abused or mistreated.

The foster home they were put in was not the greatest. There were violent juvenile criminals and kid with a history of using drugs. Shortly after arriving at the home, the male Funkhouser child suffered an ankle injury. The staff brushed it off as nothing and refused to give him any kind of treatment or take him to a doctor.

Just over a month after the two kids were wrongfully taken from the home and submitted to torture at the hands of Austin and the foster home employees, the Shenandoah County DSS returned the kids to their parents. The son was immediately taken to a doctor who looked at his ankle and determined that it had been broken for about 3 weeks. Lane and Susan also learned that while the kids were at the foster home that they were exposed to tuberculosis, resulting in both kids having to undergo a year of anti-tuberculosis drugs.

Lane and Susan received a letter from the Shenandoah County DSS on October 16 informing them that the investigation into the charges against them had been closed. However, on November 7, the attorney for the DSS testified in court that the parents still needed court supervision. The judge hearing the case seemed to be the first official that saw what the family had been put through and denied the DSS request for supervision.

After examining all of the medical evidence provided in the case, the judge not only denied the request for supervision, but dismissed all charges against the Lane and Susan. They were finally free after nearly three and half months of needless persecution.

Now, Lane and Susan, with the help of the Home School Legal Defense Association have filed a lawsuit against social worker Michael Austin, the employees of the foster home and the caseworkers with Shenandoah County. The lawsuit charges all of them with negligence and misconduct. I think they also need to include child abuse and wrongful persecution.

Parents, according to HSLDA, this is not an isolated case. They are hearing about more and more of these cases from all over the country. Social workers, child protective services and even doctors are using erroneous diagnoses and false accusations to rip children away from their parents. In a growing number of cases, it involves families that are homeschooling. Our socialist government can’t tolerate the idea of parents raising and educating their own children, especially if they are Christian and conservatives, which is generally the case. They want to force your kids into public schools where they will be brainwashed to reject parental authority and grow up to be good little socialists.