My name is Alice Goltz. On April 13, 2007, I had a baby girl. The next day, two men came into my hospital room, stating that they were from the Vermont Department of Children and Families and were taking custody of my daughter.
The state of Vermont had already made up their minds that they were going to have my daughter. I did not give her up – she was stolen. In order for me to have my daughter, they said I had to live with someone.
We lived in three homes that had no experience working with a parent with a disability. The last home me and my daughter lived at was with a so called friend who was also a single mother. We first lived with her in Maryland, and then in Virginia.
One day, when we lived at the home in Virginia, I got a letter on my door saying I had thirty days to get out. She had notified the Department of Children and Families, which gave the state of Virginia temporary custody of my daughter.
There were two court hearings: One in Virginia and one in Vermont. I was never called for any of the court hearings in Vermont. So, when Virginia told me that my daughter was going to be taken back in Vermont state custody, Virginia also told me I had to go wherever my daughter went. On May 3, 2008, I flew back to the state of Vermont on two airplanes. On May 5, 2008, I went to the court hearing. My attorney asked the state whether visits were set up for me and my daughter and the state responded that they did not know I was coming so they already had her in a permanent home. The judge ordered five day visits. I lived in two homes to get to all of my visits.
In 2009, the state of Vermont asked the court to terminate my parental rights. The judge was so bad that he would argue with my attorney and fall asleep on the bench. It was so hard for me when I had my last visit with my daughter. I started crying and my daughter could not understand why I was crying. She said to me, “Mommy, why are you crying?”
This was so painful that I moved out of the state. When I came back to Vermont, I moved to central Vermont. On June 14, 2014, I saw my daughter by the grace of God because even though they were not going to give me a visit God was. It was a very happy sad time. We hugged and kissed.
Also in 2014, my friend and I wrote a letter to the National Council on Disability in Washington, DC about my case.
In 2015, I got a call from Al Jazeera America, who wanted to do an interview with me, psychologist Susan Yuan, and the Department of Children and Families. I encourage you to watch this interview as it gives all three sides of my story: Parents with disabilities fight to keep their kids.