Modern Day Heroes—Detroit Mother Maryanne Godboldo & Attorney Allison Folmar, CCHR Applauds Women's Campaign Against Coerced Drugging of Children

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The mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights International reports on the outstanding efforts of two Detroit women in the fight against coerced drugging of children and what this means for parents nationwide.

Attorney Allison Folmar (left) and Detroit Mother Maryanne Godboldo (right)

We need help putting the word out that this case affects everyone. Forcing medication down parents throats and literally the throats of children cannot be tolerated. This is about parents' rights to be able to protect their children. — Allison Folmar

Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) announces the latest article written by investigative journalist Kelly Patricia O'Meara.

O'Meara states, "It has been said that, 'heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.' Maryanne Godboldo and Allison Folmar are extraordinary women. Their names may not elicit immediate recognition by the masses but it is because of their belief in the right of parents—not the state—to decide whether to medicate a child, that their struggle could lead to the protection of thousands of children who otherwise would have become victims of coerced psychiatric drugging.

"It's been two years since Detroit mother, Maryanne Godboldo, withstood an armed assault by a tank, assault weapons and helicopter, accouterments worthy of a Die Hard film. The alleged crime? Godboldo refused to give Ariana a drug she considered harmful—the antipsychotic drug Risperdal." [Case No. 11057748-01, 36 District Court, Detroit, Michigan, filed 03/27/2011]

O'Meara details key events of the Godboldo story:

·    ABC Action News in Detroit (WXYZ) reported on 10 may 2012, in "Mom who chose to take daughter off medication files lawsuit, alleges daughter deprived of prosthesis," that Godboldo, after an hours-long standoff, gave herself up to police, was taken into custody and charged with multiple felony counts. Her daughter, 13-year old Ariana, was taken into state custody while Godboldo's case worked its way through the court system.

·    Godboldo's attorney, Allison Folmar, firmly believed in Godboldo's parental rights and never wavered in her support. Much to her credit, Folmar has represented Godboldo pro-bono throughout the judicial proceedings and was pleased when, in August of 2011, all charges were dropped against Godboldo, as reported by the Associated Press in "Criminal charges dismissed against Detroit mother Maryanne Godboldo in police standoff," on 29 Aug. 2011.

·    But that was just the first hurdle. As reported in "Daughter Of Detroit Standoff Mom To Return Home," by CBS Detroit on 29 Sept. 2011, it wasn't until five weeks later that Ariana was returned to Godboldo, and then only after three Michigan courts had determined that Godboldo's refusal to drug her child was within her rights.

·    According to "A new court policy leads to judicial oversight and better protection of parents' rights," published by ABC Action News on 1 Sept. 2011, in fact, from beginning to end of the Godboldo saga, Child Protective Services did not have a legal court order nor warrant to forcibly remove Ariana from her home. Rather, a "writ" was issued to CPS with literally a rubber stamp, with no judge actually reviewing the request.

·    To make matters worse, in initially agreeing to treat Ariana with the state-recommended Risperdal—an extremely dangerous antipsychotic—Godboldo signed an informed consent document guaranteeing her the right to stop the medication at any time, according to the CBS Detroit story above from 29 Sept. 2011. Despite these assurances and the law behind Godboldo, Child Protective Services moved forward with the assault.

O'Meara provides statistics from a December 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report reviewing psychotropic drug prescriptions covered by Medicaid for 2008 data for Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon and Texas, which show:

·    Foster children in the five states were prescribed psychotropic drugs at rates 2.7 to 4.5 times higher than were non-foster children in Medicaid in 2008 (most recent data) and the rates were higher in each of the age ranges reviewed.

·    Children in foster care across the five states were prescribed five or more psychotropic drugs at higher rates than non-foster care children and exceeded the maximum doses at higher rates than non-foster care children.

·    Psychiatric drugs were given to infants (under 1 year old) at higher rates than non-foster care children.

Given the above data, is it any wonder that Godboldo stood up for her daughter?

In an interview with O'Meara, Attorney Allison Folmar states, "We need help putting the word out that this case affects everyone. Forcing medication down parents throats and literally the throats of children cannot be tolerated. This is about parents' rights to be able to protect their children."

"In the end," continues Folmar, "it is a basic human right for parents to choose if they want to medicate their children. When the state steps in and says 'hey, mom and dad, we know what's better for your child,' that's wrong. There are too many of these cases where the state believes it knows more than the parents. It isn't good for the kids, it isn't good for the parents and it is ripping families apart."

"I'm happy to represent someone like Maryanne," says Folmar. "She stood up and said 'no, I refuse to harm my child.' It boggles the mind that they are putting kids on medication that they don't need and is harmful. Maryanne did the right thing to protect her child. How could anyone not support that," asks Folmar. "Whatever it takes, we'll see this through," she says.

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Kelly Patricia O’Meara is a book author and former award-winning investigative reporter for the Washington Times, Insight Magazine. Prior to working as an investigative journalist, O’Meara spent sixteen years on Capitol Hill as a congressional staffer to four Members of Congress. She holds a B.S. in Political Science from the University of Maryland.

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