TAMPA, Fla. — After a five-month custody battle that started over how to treat a little boy's cancer, a judge ruled 4-year-old Noah McAdams will remain in the care of his grandmother, not his parents.
McAdams was removed from his parents' custody in April after they didn't show up for chemotherapy to treat his leukemia.
After one round of treatment, Noah's parents, Taylor Bland-Ball and Joshua McAdams wanted to try alternative medicines instead of chemotherapy.
Turns out they didn't have the right to keep their son from life-saving treatment. According to Florida law, when it’s a situation of life or death, the state can mandate medical treatment for a child.
Ever since the state got involved, McAdams has been in his grandparents' care, with his parents receiving only supervised visitation rights.
After a lengthy trial, the judge ruled Monday to keep Noah in the care of his maternal grandmother.
Bland-Ball and McAdams' attorney, Brooke Elvington spoke on behalf of the couple the day after the judge's order.
"They’re distraught. Obviously, they had hoped very much that Noah would be in their custody today, that he would have spent the night with them in their family home last night and he’s not there obviously and he’s not going to be there for any determined amount of time so I would say distraught is an understatement," explained Elvington.
The family is planning to file an appeal notice as soon as they receive a copy of the judge's order. In the meantime, the state is coming up with a required task plan for Noah's parents to complete in the coming months.
Elvington says the case plan could include mandates such as psychological evaluations and parenting classes. Joshua McAdams could be ordered to take a domestic violence class because of an incident in 2016.
The judge cited the incident when he issued his ruling.
Elvington said this is no longer about a fight over chemotherapy. Her clients are willing to follow all medical protocol and meet any court requirements as long as they get their child back.
Their attorney added, "He is going through probably the toughest thing in his life at 4-years-old, receiving extensive medical treatment, and without his parents."
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