CPS victims statewide and national group Govabuse.org show up July 17
By Diane Bukowski
July 22, 2011
DETROIT – Dozens of mothers and others who have lost their children to Michigan’s Child Protective Services showed up to speak out at a rally for Maryanne Godboldo July 17, held at the Little Rock Community Center on Woodward. They included members of the national organization, Govabuse.org.
A Special Response Team with armored cars and assault weapons took Godboldo’s daughter Ariana, 13 on Mar. 24 after she refused them entry to her home, when they told her they had left court papers in their cars. She faces multiple charges of , and is scheduled for a preliminary exam Monday, July 25, promptly at 8:30 a.m., in front of 36th District Court Judge Ronald Giles.
The Justice4Maryanne coalition is calling on her supporters to pack the courtroom. Her attorneys have moved to exclude the court order in the case as faulty.
“My daughter is going through a very difficult time right now,” Godboldo, who was close to tears, said. “She should not have to do this, but she is a very strong little girl.” Ariana was held against hers, her family’s, and her doctors’ wills at the Hawthorne Psychiatric Hospital for weeks until a juvenile court judge finally ordered her release, and placement in the home of her aunt Penny Godboldo, with full visitation rights for her mother and father.
Godboldo’s criminal defense attorney, Allison Folmar, said Ariana was medicated not only with Risperdal, the dangerous psychotropic drug her mother was trying to keep her off of, but with three other strong drugs while held at Hawthorn.
Folmar said Godboldo has a team of six attorneys to help her fight on the two fronts involved: to regain custody of Ariana, and to have the criminal charges dropped. They are herself, Wanda Evans, Roger Farinha, Adam Shakoor (formerly Deputy Mayor of Detroit under Coleman Young), Byron Pitts (son of Cornelius Pitts), and Jim Bashid.
“These attorneys are very well educated in both family and criminal law,” Folmar said. “You have a right to notification before CPS and DPD kick down your door to take your kids away. Case law says that police cannot simply rely on what appears to be a valid order, but must check to see if it’s legitimate. There were gaping holes, blanks and inconsistencies in the court order CPS used to take Ariana. This should shake the conscience of everyone.”
She said this type of activity is common now, but that “it can only continue to happen if we let it. Maryanne did not choose this fight. God has chosen her to fight this battle not only for herself, but for everyone.
Dr. Margaret Betts, an M.D. and an allopath who is well known in Detroit and is Ariana’s doctor now, said the child’s case exposes the “massive experimentation” that is going on now.
“It is not only Ariana Godboldo but all children that have been thrown into these types of situations around the country,” Betts said. “This may well be the largest mass experiment in the 21st century. It is comparable to the Tuskegee Institute study where Black men were allowed to die of syphilis so doctors could analyze its effects.”
Deborah Williams’ grandchildren were taken from her daughter. (Photo above right.)
“When I heard of Maryanne’s situation, I began crying again, feeling like the life was being choked out of me,” she said. “My daughter told CPS she wanted me to take her children. They said I could see my grandbaby, but then they did a home assessment and said my home was unsuitable. Marian Kramer of Welfare Rights and Debbie Johnson of Moratorium NOW! went with me to meet with CPS in Washtenaw County, but to no avail!”
Many of the family members at the rally were from the national organization Govabuse.org, which is planning to hold national protests at courthouses across the country on Friday, Aug. 12 (times to be announced). The protest in Detroit will be held at Lincoln Hall (Family Court) at 1025 E. Forest at the service drive for I-75. Coordinators here are Dana Davis, email email@example.com and Mark Sweetman, email firstname.lastname@example.org. See flier in post below story.
Complete information for protests nationally can be obtained by clicking on http://www.govabuse.org.
Mark Sweetman spoke at the July 17 rally. He and his wife have foster children, but he said that after dealing with Catholic Social Services and the foster care system, they have become advocates for families whose children are taken by the state. He termed CPS and foster care an “industry.” The state and private agencies get federal funding per head for every child taken from their family.
Safonia Kent’s story (photo above) was particularly heart-breaking.
“Four of my children were taken away in 1994,” she said. “Now they are 25, 23, 21, and 20 and they have aged out of the system. I fought for them in every way possible. They ended up being beaten, raped, and forced to take medication. One foster mother left them at 13925 Glastonbury and moved to Southfield. My youngest son ran away and was with me illegally until he turned 18. The workers lied about my home situation. They said I didn’t have food, but my dad retired from Ford and makes a large pension and my mother worked for the city. They gave me whatever I needed.”
Shirley Herrell of Harper Woods said her son was taken by the same CPS worker, Mia Wenk, who took Ariana Godboldo. She said she is considering a lawsuit but is waiting for the results of an investigation.
Judith Fay came all the way from Grand Rapids for the rally. She said she has been fighting for the rights of families and children ever since her attorney son’s partner lost his children to CPS.
A woman who identified herself as Deena, from Roseville, told a horror story of how her adult, disabled nephew was treated when he was taken by Adult Protective Services.
“He was on a portable ventilator that attaches to his wheelchair so he could move around and go outside,” she said. “But they put him in a nursing home two hours away from his family, and took away the portable ventilator so he has to stay in bed. He hasn’t been outside anywhere since May.
Al Woods raised another problem parents whose children are taken face: they are frequently put on the state’s child abuse registry, and afterwards have difficulty finding work.
He said his son was getting into so much trouble that he locked him up at home rather than have the police take him to jail, so CPS intervened.
“I knew the next thing CPS would do is take my six and 13-year-old daughters, so I sent them down to Georgia. But the judge made me bring them back and CPS came and took my girls as well. Almost every day, my six-year-old would call me begging me, ‘Dad, come get me.’”
He said when he went to court to contest his son’s case, the judge threw out CPS’s allegations, because the judge knew the trouble his son had been in with the law. He has his children back now, but neither he nor his wife have been able to find work in their chosen fields because of their placement on the registry.
“We are guilty for life, I can’t even adopt my own grandchildren if I want to,” he said.
Brenda Blue said, “Macomb County is one of the most corrupt counties in Michigan. These people are too evil. I spent over $20,000 getting our kids back after false allegations were made. Ninety percent of kids who are taken are taken illegally. My prayer is that every kid comes home. LET MY PEOPLE GO!”
Tammy Watson, a Govabuse organizer, said, “On Nov. 23 of last year, there was a knock at my door, and it was a CPS worker with a police officer. She claimed that people said I threatened to leave the state with my kids. I was not under any court order to stay in the state. What the workers called ‘clear and convincing evidence’ was nothing more than their opinion compounded with hearsay. I have six kids, and I’m not even allowed to visit them. On Sept. 22 this year, they want to terminate my parental rights. The same thing can happen to you, your family and your friends. If we don’t speak up, nothing will change!”
Sandra Hines (photo above left) of Justice4Maryanne, who worked as a social worker, said she has seen the devastating effects of CPS kidnappings.
“I’ve seen children in foster care burnt with cigarettes and molested,” Hines said. “CPS views parents as nothing especially if they themselves were mistreated all their lives. I always thought the purpose of CPS was to keep families together, not take hundreds of thousands of children and put them in foster care. This is nothing but a fascist government move to take our rights. They don’t love your children–you do!”