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Mom Loses Custody Of Daughter For Refusing To Give Her Psychiatric Meds

By Sierra Black |

Just days after a Massachusetts mom was found guilty of attempted murder for withholding medication from her son, a Detroit mom has lost custody of her daughter for refusing to give her meds.

The cases could not be more different, though. In the Massachusetts case, Kristin Labrie withheld lifesaving chemotherapy from her autistic son, apparently because she was so overwhelmed and depressed she couldn’t bear the pain the meds caused him.

In the Detroit case, Maryanne Godboldo’s 13-year-old daughter began acting strangely, so she took her to a doctor who prescribed anti-psychotic medication. The drug seemed to be making her daughter worse, she thought. Then Godboldo did what many parents would do: she sought a second opinion. She wound up working with a holistic doctor instead.

This is where the story gets weird.

CPS stepped in, saying that mom was in denial about her daughter’s mental health issues. They forcibly removed the girl from her home after a 10-hour-standoff during which the mom fired a gun (but not at anyone, her lawyers would like you to know). Now she’s in a mental health hospital. Here’s the really strange thing: the doctors treating her now say she doesn’t need the antipsychotic medication.

What happened there?

Jezebel thinks CPS overreacted:

…a child seems to have been removed from her home solely because she wasn’t getting a medication she may not even have needed. While parents shouldn’t be allowed to jeopardize their children’s physical or mental health, Godboldo doesn’t seem to have been doing either — and, in a terrible irony, the removal that was supposed to help the teen may instead have harmed her. Without knowing more about the girl’s ailments or the nature of her treatment, it’s hard to say what would’ve been best for her. But taking her away from her mother doesn’t seem to have been the answer.

Ya think?!? They brought in a SWAT team to take this girl away from her mom because she wouldn’t medicate her. That seems excessive no matter what the circumstances were.

I can’t help but feel that we’re not getting the whole story here, but in some ways the whole story doesn’t matter. The questions this story brings up, incomplete as it may be, are about how powerfully government should be allowed to reach into the lives of families and make decisions for parents.

As the Massachusetts case showed, there is a limit to the leeway parents can have about their children’s medical care. LaBrie was convicted of attempted murder for failing her son when he needed her most: to administer an unpleasant but lifesaving medication.

This case is totally different. This woman wasn’t denying her daughter care; she was working with a doctor. A doctor who advised her against giving her kid this powerful medication. Parents do this sort of thing all the time: they’re faced with options about the best course of care for a sick child, and they make the best choice they can. Should the state really be allowed to call the shots on that?

Photo: anolobb

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About Sierra Black

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Sierra Black

Sierra Black lives, writes and raises her kids in the Boston area. She loves irreverence, hates housework and wants to be a writer and mom when she grows up. Read bio and latest posts → Read Sierra's latest posts →

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9 thoughts on “Mom Loses Custody Of Daughter For Refusing To Give Her Psychiatric Meds

  1. Diera says:

    From what’s been presented, it sounds like CPS over-reacted. However… how did they get involved in the first place? Was the daughter’s behavior problematic at school or something? There is frequently more to these stories than gets out at first.

  2. Amadea says:

    Terrifying.

  3. Audrey Howard says:

    I feel strongly this is all how the Government still tries to take control of our lives and further line their pockets. For all drugs approved by the FDA (Food and Drug administration which is yes, you already know, run by the government) the pharmecutical company pays the Gov’t a patent fee. Its the same as why the Gvt won’t legalize medical marajuana, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT MAKING MONEY OFF OF IT! therefore the Gvt lays the law with CPS that if a child is treated holistically as opposed to the prescribed pharmecutical treatment, which again, gives money to the gvt, they treat this as a child endangerment case. isn’t that a shame that the health and well being of our children are our responsibility but at the hands of the Gvt? Sick and Twisted, and who says USA is not communistic? please. If I find a root from zimbabwe may be an even better cure for my child’s ailement and my money is going to a zimbabewe root selling plant as opposed to the pharmacy, which then pays the pharma co, which then goes and pays the FDA aka Govt, my child can be taken away from me. basically, give your kids what the Govt wants you to give your kid to further inflate the gvt’s salaries or loose your kid. not communism?

  4. bubblecup says:

    Wait… What is a “holistic doctor”? Maybe part of the problem here is that the mother in question did not seek counsel from a legitimate medical doctor – and let us distinguish between the two.

  5. JB says:

    This is outrageous… I have a child who is heavily medicated for a mental disorder and to be quite honest I am not sure he has one.. yes I can see a difference with the medication but I also have a friend (300lb 6ft tall Man) taking the exact same dosages and meds as my 4’9 115lb 10 yr old.. Come on! Medical doctors and those of the like just hand out meds because that is how they make their money…. and last I checked we as parents have to right to refuse any medications, vaccinations, and antibiotics we choose. As far as he having trouble in school.. still NO reason for CPS to get involved.. Bother the people who are doing drugs, neglecting their kids, and driving off bridges with their kids in the car.. Seriously if CPS would have stepped in that may have not happened.. but now they bother innocent people trying to do what they feel is best for their own child.. Definite overreaction by all parties involved.. Give that child back to her mother.. apologize and leave them ALONE!

  6. Bonnie says:

    Bubblecup-
    it doesn’t say what kind of “holistic doctor” she was seeing, but there is a difference between going to a licensed holistic health care practitioner and looking up home remedies on the internet. Our pediatrician is an MD who is also certified in holistic medicine. There are also naturopathic doctors (NDs), who have the same amount of education as MDs but are trained in different, yet still evidence-based, methods. If the original pharmaceutical treatments were making her daughter worse, I think it is wholly reasonable to seek an alternate course. Of course, there could be more to the story than what is being reported, but there are plenty of legitimate licensed doctors who would be referred to as “holistic”.

  7. Gib says:

    This link here:
    http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2011/04/physician_who_advised_godboldo.html

    Says that the “holistic doctor” was “Dr. Margaret Betts, a veteran Detroit MD who specializes in holistic treatments and who consulted with the mother, Maryanne Godboldo, on alternative treatments for her child.” It also goes on to say “…Dr. Betts, who’s practiced medicine for 25 years…”

    I found Dr Betts’ website, which is very “holistic” and “natural”, and describes Dr Betts’ qualifications on this page:
    http://www.drmlbetts.com/drbetts.htm
    That page says, amongst other things “Dr. Betts attended Wayne State University and received her medical degree from the Medical College of Ohio. She served her internship and residency at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Michigan and for 10 years acted as Chair of the Infectious Control Committee for the Detroit Psychiatric Hospital.”

    She sells seminars, hair loss creams, lemonade diets, xango juice, and promotes salt water cleansing. Xango juice seems to be a multi-level marketing scheme to sell fruit juice.

    So, assuming her page can be trusted, it appears she’s a real doctor, who happens to have gone a bit fruity…. And the mother in this story is someone who blames her daughter’s substandard health on vaccines.

    Neither of these women sound very reliable.

  8. ChasensMom says:

    I have seen this happen time and time again. If I refused to give my youngest his shots he was not allowed to attend school where we lived for a year. But it was perfectly OK for his pediatrician to get a Medical lic.and take on new patients while under federal investigation for raping his patients not only in the state of Delaware but had been arrested in the state of PA . he video taped himself raping and molesting children ,1000 of videos . but hey NOONE WAS TOLD and he continued to accept patients and Rape them as young as 2 months old , then I was sent a letter by the Dept of Justice in DE that all of his SHOTS may have been watered down ….. Umm WTF !! why did the FBI ALLOW him to take on patients ,including my children ? ? ? W H Y ..?!?! MONEY !

  9. ChasensMom says:

    His Name was Dr.Earl Bradley… his old partner , Dr.Scott had been reporting suspicious activities to the state of DE who never replied or investigated …

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