Montana father Todd Kolstad and stepmother Krista have accused the state of medically kidnapping their 14-year-old daughter after they refused to support her transgender identity. But the state’s Republican governor alleged that their decision had nothing to do with the transgender debate. So, what’s the truth here? Glenn speaks with the Kolstads, who share their side of the story. They discuss why they’re speaking out, what actions they’re taking next, whether their daughter is being sent to Canada, and how the Montana hospital they went to allegedly started suggesting transgender surgery on “day one.” Todd and Krista also claim they were asked to go to marriage counseling to accept their daughter’s transgenderism and accuse Governor Greg Gianforte of not doing enough: “We’re very disappointed in the way this has been handled. He has never reached out to us.”
TranscriptBelow is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: The Krista and Todd Kolstad family in Glasgow, Montana, is accusing the state of Montana, the Child Protective Services of kidnapping their teenage daughter after the girl began to identify as a transgender boy.
The child's stepmother Krista explains the nightmare began August of '23 after they received a call that their 14-year-old daughter Jennifer had expressed suicidal ideations while in school.
Later on in the same evening, a case worker with the Montana Child and Family Services showed up at the Kolstad home, to speak with Jennifer, and do an inspection of the home.
During the interview with CFS, Jennifer claimed to have consumed toilet bowl cleaner and pain killer medications that day, in an effort to commit suicide.
Krista said, that it immediately struck her as being highly unlikely.
Not only did Jennifer not have access to other substances, you know, these kinds of substances unmonitored.
But Jennifer had expressed no symptoms of imminent illness that day. Despite the doubts, Krista and Todd agreed to take Jennifer to the local hospital on an emergency basis. They found in all the blood work and everything else. She had not consumed any of these things.
Copies of the medical paperwork to substantiate their claim. That Jennifer had not consumed any of the dangerous substances, confirms that there are were no abnormalities detected in her system. Her system was good. However, they consistently mentioned that Jennifer identifies as a male and wishes to be called Leo.
Krista says, she and Todd immediately their objections to the hospital staff known.
They're supposed to call her by her birth name.
We were very clear in the emergency room, that this goes against our values, our morals, our religious beliefs.
They told me to call a lawyer, if I have an issue, because they're going to do what the patient tells them to do.
Then she said, we came in, and our -- our daughter was talking about having top surgery. And being nonbinary. She took her complaint to the on-duty doctor. Doctor who dismissed her. He told me, why are you not more concerned that your daughter tried to harm herself, than what the aid is talking about with her?
They then tried to switch her out of state, to Wyoming. There are six facilities in Montana, that she could go to. They had a facility in Wyoming. The family looked it up.
Looked like kids were allowed to have procedures done, and hormones without parental consent.
So when the hospital called, they said, we have an opening in Wyoming. And she needs to go there.
Quote, she has to go. She's not doing any good here.
End quote. The parents said, not on your life. That's when things got ugly.
They showed up, CFS showed up at their home to serve us with papers. To take Jennifer out of our care, according to Krista. They told me, the reason was we were unable or refusing to provide medical care.
That's not true. Now, the Republican governor has come out against the family, and honestly I don't understand this. They keep saying, well, we don't take, you know, children out of the home.
If it's just a transgender thing.
But, yeah. I get that. But I'm looking at the document, immediate threat to danger.
There's nothing checked, except child needs medical attention.
And parents are unwilling to perform parental duties.
So that's the loophole.
Is this an out-of-control state agency, or what's happening?
We have both of the parents on with us, now.
I can't imagine being you guys.
Krista and Todd Kolstad, thank you for coming on the program.
KRISTA: Thank you for having us. We appreciate it.
GLENN: So, Krista, what do you -- why did the governor come out in defense of this?
KRISTA: You know, I don't have an answer for that. There's no reason for him to. It's not hard for him to say, I made a mistake. This shouldn't have happened. And apologize. I really don't know why he's coming out against us.
Todd, are you there?
TODD: Yes, I am.
GLENN: Is there any idea in your mind, is there anything that is happening or has happened in your home, that we don't know about?
TODD: Absolutely not.
It's as simple as that. We keep going back to what the garden ad litem said, when he went to our house. He saw that everything was fine. We have a very nice home. We have a comfortable life. And she flatout told us, she asked if we were going to be willing to raise our daughter as a boy with the transgender care.
And she said, if we aren't, then she said, we're not going to like what she has to say in court. And that's exactly how it went.
GLENN: Now, you've got a call just recently, that she's not in Montana. She's in Canada stop they moved her across state lines.
GLENN: And then out of the country. To her mother, who if I'm not mistaken. And correct me if I'm wrong, there's been some issues with mom, as well in the past, is that true?
KRISTA: That is true. There is some documented -- some documents that we submitted from counselors and what not, supporting our claims.
And also, you know, her birth mom just wasn't really involved in her life, the last seven years. Never called her. Never visited her. Anything like that. So this is really a stranger to her. So we do have some great concerns. That is a fact that I believe that Canada operates on a whole different system, as far as transgender care.
So we have some great concerns about her being there.
GLENN: Oh, yeah. Did you have joint custody?
GLENN: You did have joint custody?
GLENN: What were you going to say, Todd?
TODD: There was no custody battle with them.
We were on speaking terms with them. So there was no problem with that. It was CPS who initiated the contact with her in Canada. And then sort of pushed it to send her there.
GLENN: So what do you have remaining to do? What can you do from here?
KRISTA: Well, we're getting more lawyers involved.
We're challenging the gag order, based on our First Amendment freedom of speech rights. And we're continuing to speak out.
We just want other families to be aware, and by bringing light to our situation, we're hoping we can help others. And this doesn't happen to another family.
GLENN: So, you know, we've -- I've seen the documents from the state.
And the state and the governor say, that's not the reason why she was taken out of the house.
So this is -- and, you know, I -- I'm really uncomfortable, because we can't find anything bad on you guys.
And the state kind of -- it feels kind of like they're saying, well, we've got something else here. And we just can't tell you.
And I -- I mean, I -- it makes it hard. Have you -- have you guys tried to engage some of these, you know, law firms that are -- are out there to help parents like you.
Why do you have a public defender still?
KRISTA: Well, we are interviewing lawyers currently.
So, yes. We are engaged with the lawyers. And trying to get different legal representation.
TODD: So to better answer that. The world has changed drastically when it comes to finding an attorney. When you blindly look, Googling areas, family law. You have to find an attorney that has been practicing in your state.
Almost all of them are scheduling consultations, like eight months out. That's how busy they are.
And then when they hear the state, they don't want to get involved. So it's far --
GLENN: Yeah. But this one is -- I mean, the Thomas Moore Society.
I mean, there are places that you can call. And maybe you just didn't know about them.
But there are big organizations, that take these cases, and they move rapidly when it comes to children. Because, you know, seven months is a long time with a child.
And so I'm wondering, have you been contacted by anybody? Or can -- you know, we'll give you the phone numbers. That that's -- go ahead.
KRISTA: I was going to say, I have not heard of the Thomas Moore Society, so I will definitely look them up, and get in contact with them.
But several agencies have contacted us. And we -- the -- from what I understand. And again, I'm not a lawyer.
From what I understand, the way it works, they don't practice in Montana. They have to find a lawyer that does practice in Montana. They become a cocounsel. The issue is, they are having a hard time finding lawyers that practice in Montana. That are willing to take this on with them.
GLENN: Pat is from the great state of Montana. Pat, what do you know about this governor?
PAT: Almost nothing. You know, I've lived in Montana for 40 some years.
GLENN: Yeah. I didn't know if --
PAT: I don't know virtually anything about him.
But, you know, Montana is perceived to be a Republican state. But they elect Democrats on a fairly regular basis.
GLENN: Yeah. Yeah.
PAT: And so maybe this guy has RINO tendencies. I don't know. How does you guys feel about your governor?
KRISTA: We're very disappointed in the way that this is being handled.
He's never reached out to us. The -- Kyrsten Juris (phonetic), I think her name is. The one that he's tasked into looking into our case, she called me personally. And she said, I am going to look at your case, and then I never heard from her again.
So I don't feel like there's a lot of action on their part.
GLENN: Well, we have asked the governor -- I think we have. He's invited now. And our producers will be reaching out again. We have been in touch with the governor's office.
And, you know, there's a -- there was something here that I was sent, that talks about that you are -- because you guys said no to sending her to Wyoming. Which I think I would have too. Yeah. Well, state of Montana is limited in disclosing the specifics of cases involving minor children in its care, due to the sensitive nature.
Broadly speaking, the state does not remove minors from homes to provide gender transition services or to use taxpayer funds to pay for those services while a minor is in the custody of the state.
But your child is not in the custody of the state. Child Protective Services, furthermore, the governor has asked the Department of Public Health and Human Services to codify a formal policy in developed regulation to clarify and ensure the definition of abuse or neglect does not include a parent's right to refuse to provide gender transition surgeries to his or her minor.
So he's suggesting policy. But we also have, you know -- I have seen the Department of Health.
CFSD. Does not investigate. Nor remove children based solely on allegations that parents oppose, and will not allow their child who has gender dysphoria, to transition genders.
So I think that's very consistent, with what they're telling you, but I feel that that's a massive loophole.
They're leaning on that.
TODD: Yes. You would like me to comment on that?
GLENN: Yes, go ahead.
PAT: Okay. So right from the get-go, day one at the hospital. A nurse in, that kept talking about getting top surgery in front of our daughter. They immediately started calling her a boy. Immediately.
And they started -- we turned and complained, but it was immediate.
And there was -- when they said that they were going to have a bed for her in Billings, we knew immediately, before that, that that was not going to happen.
Because they kept looking at our daughter with an unspoken language, like almost assuring her it was going to be Wyoming. So we knew they would pull that card. And Wyoming allows the transgenderism, not without parental approval on anything. Where Montana, the Dakotas, Idaho, those states do not.
We were able to stand right there and Google that.
GLENN: So let me -- I only have a minute left.
Let me read this statement. This came from the Valley County attorney: Had the motion been granted, Todd Kolstad's legal rights as a parent would have remained fully intact. The state of Montana would have no more involvement in his relationship with his child.
Mr. Kolstad and his wife objected to dismissal and requested the state remain involved.
Any statement made otherwise is false and inaccurate.
KRISTA: Well, if we can respond to that.
When we were in the courtroom that day, we asked that the birth mother call the investigated as a safe place for her -- because they said no matter what, they were going to send her to Canada. And so we had asked they investigate the birth mom, and make sure that's a safe place for a child to go. And we explained our concerns, and we had documentation supporting those concerns. So that's not exactly true. We would love to have children services out of our lives. Our lawyers, our public defender still, at the time said, this is -- let them investigate the birth mom on the record.
And so we were told, that that's all that they were doing. We didn't understand that we were -- you know, hanging out with CPS for another six months.
Further, they've asked us to go to marriage counseling to accept our daughter's transgenderism.
GLENN: All right. Guys, we will follow this story. Thank you. We'll probably talk again. Thank you so much. We're praying for you, and especially your daughter. That the right thing happens. Thank you. We'll be in touch.
KRISTA: Thank you.
GLENN: You bet.