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Seattle’s Top Child Abuse Advisor Caught Lying in Court; an Industry-Wide Problem?

For more than three years, authorities in the state of Washington considered Dr. Elizabeth Woods one of their go-to experts in cases of suspected child abuse, often relying on her medical opinions to determine when to take children from parents or file criminal charges.

But this winter, Woods left her position as the director of the child abuse intervention program at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, and last month she was removed from the small roster of doctors who provide expert medical reports to the state’s child welfare agency, hospital and state officials confirmed.

These changes follow an NBC News and KING 5 (KING-TV) investigation from one year ago that revealed that Woods, 39, had provided false information while testifying under oath about why she never received key training to become certified as a child abuse medical expert. The investigation also examined four cases in which child welfare workers took children from parents based on Woods’ reports — including some in which Woods misstated key facts, according to a review of records — despite contradictory opinions from other medical experts who said they saw no evidence of abuse.

Her exit was celebrated by several parents — many of whom banded together in a Facebook group titled, “Families Wrongly Accused by ‘Dr.’ Elizabeth Woods” — who say mistaken reports by Woods led the state’s Child Protective Services to needlessly separate them from their children. Read more…

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