MA Policy COVID vaccine foster children without parental consent pertains to attorneys

A child receives a COVID-19 vaccination shot during an open vaccination clinic on Wednesday in Worcester.

WORCESTER – A government ministry for children and families’ policy of vaccinating children in its custody against COVID-19 has raised concerns among local lawyers who questioned whether the decision to vaccinate should be made by the department instead of parents or the court .

“The approach I take with all cases is that parents have the moral and legal right to make medical decisions, educational decisions, for their children,” said Kathleen Byrne, a private lawyer specializing in juvenile and school law, in a recent interview. “For DCF to rob itself, it is wrong in any case. Parents have the right to make that decision. “

Others agreed that the DCF should not have the last word, but stressed that it is a matter for the courts if the parents object to the policy.

“If a parent objects, the court should decide, not the parent,” said William Comeau, who serves on the children’s and family law’s private counsel panel and as Worcester County’s resource attorney. “We have only had vaccines since February / March. A parent can make the decision whether to get vaccinated if they are concerned about possible side effects.

“But if one asks the state to make that decision when the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine can still be discussed versus the effectiveness of not having the vaccine and taking chances with the virus, then someone else should make that decision.”

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