Schwartz Law Firm


Photo of the Schwartz Law Firm legal team

Trouble for Michigan mom who refused to administer drug to child

While families and family members are often the bright spot in people’s lives, sometimes families run into hard times or may not get along. It should be comforting for Michigan families to know that they have the support of the family court system and other public health and child services organizations to get them through these tough times. But the family court system isn’t always perfect and can make mistakes. And while family courts often make tough decisions regarding custody issues, no parent wants to lose legal custody of their child simply for doing what he or she believes is in the best interests of the child.

This is the story of a Michigan mother. The mother lost her daughter to the state in 2011 after a standoff with Detroit police. The state previously order the mother to administer an antipsychotic drug to her daughter but the mother refused. Because of the refusal, a family court judge in Wayne County then ordered police to remove the daughter from her home.

When Michigan Department of Human Services arrived at the family’s home they were accompanied by police. They were denied entry and eventually a standoff took place. Although the facts don’t look favorably on the mother of the then 15-year-old girl, it does raise the question of whether or not the state should force a parent to administer drugs to a child and if refusal is grounds to remove the child from custody of the parent.

Many people believe the mother was justified in her response and that it was her right as a parent to refuse to administer the antipsychotic drug. The Wayne County Circuit Court Family Division looked at the case again and found that the order to remove the daughter was inadequate. The court found lack of evidence and other Constitutional violations of the search and seizure. The appeals court overturned this decision recently and the mother could face criminal charges once again.

Regardless of who is right in this instance, the mother or the state, parents and guardians should remember that sometimes with family law issues like custody, taking matters into their own hands can be detrimental. It will be better for all parties involved if everyone acts calmly and discusses the best course of action with an attorney.

Source: MLive, “Detroit mother who fought state-ordered drugging of daughter to face charges,” Gus Burns, May 29, 2013