Monday, April 18, 2011

Foster care in Michigan: Well what do you know? Maryanne Godboldo’s daughter doesn’t need drugs after all

But Michigan still is 
institutionalizing her anyway

Remember how workers for the Michigan Department of Human Services were so sure that Marianne Godboldo’s daughter absolutely, positively had to be on powerful psychiatric medications that they rushed into court to get an order to tear the child from her mother, by force, if necessary?

Remember how they did that without giving Godboldo a chance to respond?   (It must have been do urgent to get the child on those drugs that there just not enough time.)

Remember how they went to Godboldo’s home and, when she would not surrender her child, called in the police, complete with SWAT team and a tank to force her to give up her child?  Remember how, faced with that armed force outside, Godboldo allegedly fired one shot?

Remember all that?

It must have been really, really urgent that the child get those drugs right away.

Apparently not.

Because now, 25 days after Godboldo’s daughter was institutionalized, she is, not, in fact, back on the meds.  DHS told the court that there is no immediate need for it at this time.

So of course, having realized their mistake, the DHS workers asked the court immediately to return the child to her mother – right?

Yeah, right.

It only works that way for affluent white children like Leo Ratte, the child who was returned home after 48 hours in the Mike’s Hard Lemonade case.  It only works that way for families who can bring top legal talent to bear immediately and win instant sympathy from media – because they are the kind of people lawyers and reporters identify with immediately.  I don’t see any high-powered lawyers volunteering to help Godboldo’s legal team.  And I don’t see the Michigan ACLU rushing to help Godboldo, they way they’re helping the Rattes, by filing a civil suit which that family, to its credit, is using to try to help all Michigan families.

It doesn’t work that way for low income Black children.  Maryanne Godboldo remains institutionalized.  There won’t even be another hearing in the case until April 22.  By then Godboldo’s daughter will have been taken from her mother for 29 days, 14.5 times longer than Leo Ratte.

And even then, the judge isn’t even talking about letting Godboldo’s child go home.  Rather, she says “I’d love to get this child into a family member’s home [but the court] has to follow the law.”

And what law is that?  There is no law barring the placement of a child with a relative, not even in Michigan.  Apparently it has to do with getting background checks done.

But a background check should take a day or two at most; with the right technology it can be done in minutes.

Unless, of course, this case now has run headlong into the odious consent decree between DHS and the group that so arrogantly calls itself “Children’s Rights.”

As has been discussed often on this blog, those consummate bureaucrats at CR imposed a requirement that relatives meet all of the same hypertechnical licensing requirements imposed on middle-class strangers before being allowed to take in members of their own families.  This has led to the expulsion of an estimated 1,800 children from the homes of relatives across Michigan.  It also has added a lot of time to the approval process for a grandparent, aunt to other relative to take in a family member as a foster child.

There are exceptions to these rules, but they are few and far between.  It’s also true that technically, the decree itself allows a child to be placed with a relative even before a formal “home study” of that relative is completed – a process that can take 30 days.

But DHS has proven to be scared of doing anything to upset the bureaucrats at CR – they may well be waiting until every i is dotted and t is crossed before placing children with relatives in some cases, especially a high-profile case like this one.  And it’s irrelevant both to CR and DHS how much the child suffers in the process.

So the question remains: Is the CR consent decree part of the reason Marianne Godboldo’s daughter remains trapped in an institution?  And this much is beyond question: CR hasn’t lifted a finger to help get Maryanne Godboldo’s daughter out.

 Supporters of Maryanne Godboldo and her daughter have their own website, and a   Twitter feed.