DCFS to Back Off Pursuit of Custody, Chemo

DCFS to Back Off Pursuit of Custody, Chemo


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Jill Atwood ReportingMark Shurtleff, Utah Attorney General: "Because of where it is right now, because of Parker's attitude and his parents’ attitude refusal to go forward with the treatment, it simply cannot be forced. It's just not possible."

The state will heed Daren and Barbara Jensen's request and back off, at least for now. But ultimately Parker Jensen's fate lies in the hands of a juvenile judge.

The Jensens are meeting with legislators today while the state decides what to do next. At this point the Division of Child and Family Services has no intention of taking Parker away from his parents.

At this point the state is very frustrated and feeling like its hands are tied. It feels like it has lived up to its end of the bargain, but the Jensens have not. It seems the Jensen's may get what they've been asking for all along, the chance to explore an alternative treatment, or at least sell it to a judge. Because, according to the state, up until now their intentions haven't been clear.

Carol Sisco, Division of Child and Family Services: "If we can find out exactly what they want, we will help them go into court and present that."

The Division of Child and Family Services says it will not try to take Parker away, but will never stop trying to get him the help he needs. At this point caseworkers realize chemotherapy can't be an option.

Carol Sisco, Division of Child and Family Services: "Chemo, it takes a positive mental attitude. We have a little boy who thinks it will poison him."

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff agrees.

Mark Shurtleff, Utah Attorney General: "The doctors have said for his chance for success through chemo, for any patient, you need the support of the family around you. Parker’s old enough now and we've all heard how he feels about chemo and doctors don’t feel like they can strap him down. What are they going to do? The possibilities are just gone."

Shurtleff admits he doesn't understand their decisions up until now considering the most recent round of testing. Parker's doctor told the Jensens there is a 100 percent chance his cancer will resurface. Still Shurtleff says for now they can't push the issue.

Mark Shurtleff, Utah Attorney General: "The concern is what happens from here. What precedent do you set for other cases that if you flee the state, that if you go talk to your legislators, that if you get politically involved, that the state is going to back off on their duty to protect the child? I hope that message isn't sent that that's what we're doing now."

The Jensens will be in court this Thursday on the criminal charges of kidnapping, and we're hearing that at least at this point, the district attorney plans to move forward. The family will then be in juvenile court again a week later to answer to the judge on these latest developments and hopefully discuss other treatment options.

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