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Poverty is not abuse…

October 21, 2010 in Child Protective Services, family court, parental rights

I have been reading through the many stories and articles on kidjacked, I am thrilled to see so many speak out, we really need thing to change. What I want to point out is a problem that is repeated over and over again as we read.
 
Many people complain when social services fails. Many of the cases where they failed in these stories, where the victim dies, are police issues. Police should be sent where someone is being beaten or abused. The county can follow up, but police should respond first. Don’t get me wrong, I am not defending the protective services, I feel they are a waste of taxpayers money and I totally disagree with everything about them as they stand right now. No matter how many people you get to say that foster care saved their lives there are 20 more who are in prison, on the street or dead because of that same system. 
 
The cases where the county fails are those where they remove the children because…

  • the parents are poor,
  • the parents are not keeping a spotless home,
  • the parents who are leaving a bad relationship or abusive relationship and the county takes sides with the parent who has more money.

The county workers are failing…

  • when they falsify paperwork and reports or write reports about multiple family visits after the visits and misrepresent the facts. 
  • by attacking good people and homes because it makes them money from the state and federal laws to do so. 
  • every time it rips a child out of a home and destroys a family.

I don’t believe that we are in a perfect world where abuse does not happen, and yes there are cases where the abuse goes above and beyond what many of us can even imagine. I do believe the majority of the cases that are investigated by the county are not abuse at all, but poor families who can not make it in a manner that is expected by society. Neglect and lack of supervision, are excuses for the county to rip families apart, they are not intentional abuse in most cases.
 
There needs to be clear and definite definitions of what neglect and lack of supervision are. All forms of abuse should be clearly defined, not based on the opinion of a social worker or supervisor who is burnt out or lives with a silver spoon compared to those she is supposed to help and protect. If we as a society are going to insist on having these programs and services in place then we need to be responsible and have accountability for those who we give more power than even a court system. Protective services has the power of God and government in the hands of individuals who have no accountability for their choices or actions. 

  • It is not neglect to not have enough food because there isn’t enough money to live on.
  • It is not neglect to not provide new clothing and shoes when you can’t pay your electric bill.
  • It is not neglect to not have a spotless home when you are taking care of your children and supervising them supercedes washing the dishes because a worker may show up.

Parents can not be on guard for their children 24/7, 365 days a year. An accident should not be cause to charge a parent with “lack of supervision” by the county. The system has been allowed to grow way out of proportion for what it was intended to do. As a society we need to reign it back to what it was intended for and make it accountable to the family court system in order to allow it to work. There should be no registry available to tag individuals as abusers solely based on the opinion of a worker who wasn’t given a warm welcome by the parents.
 
We want reform, we expect to have our rights be protected. We want children and families protected. We demand it is done legally and fairly.
 
Michele Bridge

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