Mother, Firefighter, Cincinnati Yoga Day founder, Lasha Cauthen and six of her seven children experienced the traumatizing ordeal of being separated from each other on February 9th & 10th and remains separated. The traumatic events leading up to and following the removal and separation of my children from me and each other were due to my holistic way of living and noncompliance with western norms. Instead of admitting my healthy, hydrated, one week old babies to the ED as stated by CCHMC MD to be “watched” as I breastfed, and after being cleared by a second medical professional, I hired a lactation consultant. The weights of my one week and five day old twin babies had begun increasing, yet they still removed my babies from my care.
The overwhelming situation of their removal after improving their weights with a trusted medical professional, being told I could no longer use these professionals, the concern with their weights ultimately causing me to choose to feed them instead of attending their out of home appointment on time, and the knowledge that they were also wanting to remove my eldest children had me feeling defeated immediately.
In that moment I thought reaching out to the crisis hotline “988” was what was best. I Thought it was safe to allow them to hear my thoughts. I was wrong. I was not allowed to tell then I feel like I want to kill myself because they’re trying to take all my children. I was not allowed to tell them I had a gun in my car that was parked in the garage of the hospital, I was not allowed to tell them I would never harm myself I just need someone to get the thoughts out to. That space wasn’t safe as they called law enforcement and had me detained. I was released without any followup recommendations within 12 hours. During that time the public defender, knowing I was released, GAVE JFS my older children as well.
Although after taking three psychological evaluations in one in February and March without being diagnosed mentally unstable or with any other chronic mental health illness, my children have not been returned. Although my therapist I’ve seen for six months has repeatedly informed them she has no concerns for my children in my care or mental health, they still have not returned them to me.
I have been told during a hearing by the caseworker that I must have HUMILITY to have my children returned and that my behavior must change. They find it concerning that a mother of seven who has never been separated from her children and who love them wholeheartedly would want to know their whereabouts and go to their extracurricular activities to stay involved. They find that my sadness, my anger, and my happiness is abnormal and brings concerns for my mental health.
Even through this, not seeing my now seven month old babies since April 5th, me being alienated from the rest of them except once weekly for two hours with one and only three times since May 22nd with two, my children still maintain the stance that they want to come home to be with me and their siblings together. The GAL and Magistrate are aware of my children’s wishes but have no compassion towards them.
The court has allowed them three extensions without ever forcing HCJFS to present evidence besides “hearsay”.
I have spent over 25 thousand dollars in court costs and attorney fees so far and with another 90 days of hearings and transcript costs I am expecting another 20 thousand dollars in expenses.
I’ve reached out to multiple public officials, county commissioners, the head of HCJFS, section chiefs, city council, and the news. No one is advocating or protecting this black family, these black children from the trauma being caused by the countless delays and separation from mother and each other.
I still hold my job as a Firefighter. I can care for your children but not my own. Please donate what you can and don’t let my story be yours.
I have not seen all six of my babies at once since April 5.