Woman Arrested For Defending Her Child

Yesterday I posted a story about school children taking a psychiatric drug, and getting a big surprise…namely, “sick”. Today the issue is a wee bit more serious. Today I’m posting about a story on a woman who has had her daughter taken away from her because she wasn’t drugging her.

Last year, in Detroit, Maryanne Godboldo, the mother of a 13 Year old home-schooled girl took her daughter to a Children’s Center, a group working with troubled children, because her daughter had a bad reaction to a series of immunizations she had received. The girl wanted to attend a public Middle School, and those immunizations were a requirement for admittance. As a part of the Center’s treatment plan, her daughter saw a psychiatrist who put her on a neuroleptic drug. The neuroleptic drug only seemed to make her daughter worse, and so Mrs. Godboldo took her daughter to another doctor for a second opinion. This doctor recommended she take her daughter off the psychiatric drugs she had been prescribed. She did so, and her child’s condition seemed to show a world of improvement. Child protective services objected to Mrs. Godboldo’s child being taken off her former treatment plan, and they told Mrs. Godboldo to put her child back on the program, or she would have to surrender her daughter to them.

Thursday of last week CPS workers and police showed up at Mrs. Godboldo’s apartment claiming to have a warrant that said they could take Mrs. Godboldo’s child. Mrs. Godboldo demanded to see the warrant, but no warrant was produced.

As covered on mlive.com in a story with the heading, Was a Detroit mother right to resist efforts by Child Protective Services, police to take her child?

A standoff ensued. A gunshot was fired from inside the house — though, according to [Wanda] Evans [Godboldo’s lawyer], not at officers. Finally, after long hours of tense negotiations, Godboldo — a mother, a teacher, a dancer and a respected figure in the city’s arts circles — surrendered, was jailed and, on Sunday, was arraigned on multiple felony charges.

The child is now being held by the state although a number of Mrs. Godboldo’s relatives have offered to care for her in her mother’s absence.

But for now, at least, the drugs are off the table. A Wayne County Circuit Court judge ordered the medication discontinued until further review.

Mrs. Godboldo was released from jail Wednesday on $200,000 bond. This $200,000 bond had been reduced earlier at a special hearing from the $500,000 the judge thought excessive.

As Judge [Deborah] Thomas’ remarks suggest, the incident has sparked shock and outrage among many in Detroit who believe that Child Protective Services overreacted (and that state agencies are often far too quick to recommend medication for kids, especially black children). A rally of support for Godboldo is being held at Detroit’s Hartford Memorial Church on April 2.

This is not a localized problem, this is a national problem. The state can take children away from their rightful parents if the state feels they aren’t following a treatment plan it favors. Although in the past there was an effort to enact a national Child Safety Medication Act, this effort failed. Now more than ever we need legislation, on whatever level, to insure that the government doesn’t make those decisions that should rest with a child’s parents alone. This is a safety issue. Neuroleptic drugs can cause neurological damage, and bring on metabolic changes, whether the state recognizes this fact or not. Parents need the right to protect their children from injury at the hands of the state. This woman’s only crime was in being a good mother and in trying to protect her child. She shouldn’t be punished for doing what any other mother in her circumstance should have done. I hope community members, friends, and supporters are ultimately successful when it comes to correcting this miscarriage of justice.