Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Good Parental-Rights Termination Case from the MO Supreme Court

See this article in today's Post-Dispatch, which begins:

Even though the courts had ruled that Angela Williams' mental condition made her unfit to parent her son, she kept a bedroom for the absent child.

As her son grew older, she dismantled an unused crib and replaced it with an unused toddler bed. On Christmas and birthdays, she's never stopped buying toys.

"My life has been on hold waiting for Christopher," she said.

On Tuesday, the state's highest court took a key step toward reuniting the mother and child, in what is considered a significant ruling for the rights of mentally ill parents.

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Williams was unjustly denied parental rights based on an outdated mental evaluation of bipolar disorder.

The case had raised broad questions about mental illness, what it takes to be a fit parent, and how the system ought to regard parents whose mental health improves.

"I think it's a groundbreaking ruling nationally, because there are very few cases of this kind," said Jennifer Mathis, an attorney for the Bazelon Center for Mental Illness in Washington. The group, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, joined the case in support of the mother.

Here's the Missouri Supreme Court's opinion, which was written by Judge Teitelman -- a really great judge, who we're lucky to have on our high court.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I simply cannot understand why sho lost her son in the first place jst because of mental illness. Was she in crisis at the time she gave birth? Did the doctor call in dfs? How did this even come about?

This is an atrocity. I myself have bipolar disorder and this was a known fact when I gave birth to my 3rd child. My doctor certainly did not seem to think I could not parent him and my two girls even tho i was not married and would be a single parent.

I just want to know how the authorities even became involved before she was even able to take her son home.
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7:05 AM  

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