Saturday, May 7, 2011

Foster care in Michigan: DHS, out for revenge

The Detroit News reports that less than two hours after being forced to release Maryanne Godboldo’s daughter from the institution, (see the previous post to this Blog) the Michigan Department of Human Services rushed back into court seeking an “emergency” order to snatch her back.

Fortunately, the judge refused.  But just imagine, for a moment, what it would have been like for the 13-year-old girl had they succeeded.  Try to put yourself in her place: Institutionalized for seven weeks, not knowing when or if you’d ever see your family again, finally released to an aunt, and probably still in the midst of celebrations with family and friends when DHS is back at the door to haul you away again.

Any government agency, any excuse for a human being, who would inflict that kind of cruelty on a child isn’t acting in anything resembling a child’s “best interests.”  These are the actions of a supremely arrogant agency that’s used to getting its own way but didn’t for once.  Now they’re out for revenge.

That also explains why, even after their own doctor and the doctor Maryanne Godboldo turned to help her daughter reached an agreement on her medical care, the state is appealing the decision to free the child to a higher court.  And they’re pressing ahead with a trial on neglect charges scheduled for June.


Meanwhile, tomorrow, Mother’s Day, at 11:00pm, WXYZ-TV in Detroit will have a story about DHS misusing its vast power in other cases. There’s a preview on the station’s website.

None of this behavior by DHS is particularly unexpected.  It all harkens back to the kind of arrogance that develops in any organization full of fallible human beings when that organization has near absolute power and operates in secret.

Twenty years ago, a caseworker in another state (not Michigan) allegedly told some parents: “I have the power of God.”  It’s alarming if he said it.  But what’s even more alarming is: It’s true.  Caseworkers for agencies like DHS do have the power of God.
To give a young, inexperienced worker the power of God, send her out on what she is convinced is a Godly mission to rescue innocent children from those she believes are the scum of the earth and then expect her to exercise self-restraint is more than can be expected of most human beings.  Rarely is the power of God accompanied by the wisdom of Solomon

But more should be expected of the leaders of these agencies.  The new leader of Michigan DHS could have stopped all this suffering, but, at best she did nothing, at worst she encouraged it.  Sadly, given this leader’s track record, that’s no surprise.

That story on this Blog Monday.