So a woman on a message board that I frequent wrote about her situation. She had been having issues with postpartum depression since her daughter was born. She even had some thoughts of hurting her baby. None that she had acted on, or even been tempted to act on. They were just thoughts that were there. So, she went to her doctor and asked to be put on medication for the depression. Her doctor reported her to CPS and her daughter was removed from her custody. She was put on anti-depressants, but at the custody hearing was denied return of her daughter. She was granted supervised visits 3 times a week instead, and has to wait another month before they’ll reconsider the case. Presumably to make sure the medication is working.
There are so many things wrong with this scenario. First of all, removing her child from her custody is likely to make her depression worse, not better. Second, the people who ask for help are not the ones to worry about. The people who hurt their children are the ones who never ask for help. The ones who never acknowledge anything is wrong. Third, other mothers are going to hear about this, and not seek help for depression for fear that their child will be taken away. Then they might hurt their child because they didn’t get the help they needed. Finally, she is essentially being convicted and punished for a crime of thought. What sort of chaos would arise if we were all punished for every crime we ever thought of committing?
There has to be a better way. This can not possibly be the best way to handle situations like this. Three supervised visits a week?!?! She should be allowed to see her child daily at the very least. Or they should just take the baby at night so she can get some sleep. After all, sleep deprivation is a major contributor to PPD. But that might be helping, and we wouldn’t wanna risk actually helping someone now would we. She may miss out on the entire first year of her baby’s life, possibly more, all because she thought of harming her baby in a moment of depression and weakness, and then sought help.
This is not helping. This is hurting. This is the problem with CPS. All too often they do more harm than good.