Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Foster care in Michigan: How would YOUR child have reacted to this?

Try to imagine that it was your child.  She is 13-years-old.  The police are banging on the door, then forcing entry.  They are coming to take the child away from her mother, her father and everyone else she knows and loves.  Mom won’t let them in.  To keep the police at bay, mom allegedly fires a shot.

The police surround the house with a SWAT team.  They send in a helicopter and at least one tank (or maybe it was just an armored personnel carrier).

After an hours-long siege, mom surrenders.  The 13-year-old is torn from her, thrown into a police car and taken to an institution.  Even the artificial leg she walks on is taken from her and she is confined to a wheelchair.  She doesn’t know when, or if, she’ll get out, or if she’ll ever see her loved ones again.

All of which brings me to this sentence in a three paragraph news brief in today’s Detroit News about the trial of Maryanne Godboldo:

Dr. Julie Arellano said Monday that Godboldo's daughter was combative, with poor judgment and unpredictable behavior when she was brought to the Hawthorn Center in Northville after a standoff and had to be given an anti-psychotic drug.

You THINK????

I’d be a whole lot more worried about a child who wasn’t “combative” under these circumstances  - wouldn’t you?

That one sentence, however, does sum up the child protective services mentality: First, CPS traumatizes the child, then they use the trauma they inflicted to justify inflicting the trauma in the first place.

Of course, had Godboldo’s daughter somehow managed to remain completely calm in the face of the insanity surrounding her; that, too would have been used against her mother.  Then, you can bet CPS would have said she showed “insufficient affect” or something like that.

The miracle here is that, in spite of everything she endured, the institution ultimately decided that Maryanne Godboldo’s daughter didn’t “need” to be on medication – which was Godboldo’s position from the start.  That didn’t stop the Michigan Department of Human Services from keeping the child institutionalized for seven weeks.

So far, the very brief account in the Detroit News is all I’ve found on yesterday’s hearing.  I’m hoping Voice of Detroit will post something more complete later today, in which case I’ll post a link.

And speaking of links, tomorrow I’ll post about the link between the Godboldo case and a bizarre case in Oakland County in which the District Attorney’s office tried to convict a father of sexual abuse using the functional equivalent of a Ouija board.