As parents and citizens of this fine, 'free' country we are all shocked at the horrible faces and stories of child abuse portrayed by the media who have been spoon fed these stories by Government agencies. We all wish we could find a way to protect all our children, but at what cost? What should be the role of Government in protecting children? Should we give our Government divine powers in this effort to stop child abuse? Or will we just be throwing out the baby with the bathwater?
Authors Note: I am not an 'anti-government' activist. It seems that those who may question the actions of even one government agency are portrayed by the media and government as such. This is disturbing as this is a tactic that was used by Hitler in propaganda. I am for a responsible government and in the majority of my beliefs I support our current government systems. But if we observe a glitch in our American Government, wouldn't it be 'anti-American' not to question its authority?
Sanctity of Family and the Governments Role:
I am disgusted by any child abuse, but how do we define child abuse? The obvious cases where a helpless 3 year old has repeated bruises in places not common to normal childhood activity, broken bones, and distinct injuries such as cigarette burns are easy to identify as child abuse.
To me, child abuse is the sadistic intention to cause a child pain for pleasure or uncontrolled anger and should never be tolerated by society. Or a WILLFUL neglect of a child's basic physical survival needs. However in our hunt to stop such true child abuse and true neglect have we gone to far?
In one answer...yes. In the 70's, 80's, and 90's our conquest to prevent and stop child abuse has become increasingly out of control. The Child Protective Services was originally put in place to be available too and weed out these truly abused children. To help them by either removing them from bad homes or working with the family to make it the safe home it should be.
In my opinion, in reality, if parents are sadistic people and torture their children for pleasure (which generally does not happen with two biological parents, but an outside ((step)) parent or once removed family member), then their is no amount of counseling in my view that will make that home safe.
With the great tragic story of David Peltzer (A Boy Called It) and his work, fortunately GENUINE child abuse was brought to light, but at what cost?
In our schools, children are now drilled as to their parent's private activities at home with out so much as a question of permission. 'Does your dad have a beer after work?' 'Do your parents yell at each other or argue?' 'How are you disciplined when you do something wrong?'
Children are so educated about and against child abuse that even most normal children are pitted against their parents, especially during their rebellious teen years. 'Call 911 if your Mom threatens to spank you'.
Of course this statement alone instills many ideas of revenge to a mischievous 14 year old that wants to go to a party and is denied by a caring but firm parent.
The solution? If it is not REAL and dangerous child abuse it is not anyone's business, especially the government (CPS). The Government has shown in the past how incapable it is in handling other business...Family is PERSONAL!
This is America which founded it self on the right to pursue happiness and raise our children as we see fit (minus GENUINE child abuse and willful neglect). We were to have religious freedoms and the freedom to different lifestyles. Our country was not founded to make every family and child conform to one specific standard, but to encourage diversity (not only in race, but lifestyle choices and I don't mean homosexuality).
Our children that we bring into the world out of love deserve to have his or her own, rightfully two parents together and to be raised in a loving home. Whether the family enjoys traveling the country and seeing the world from an RV or are popular members of the school soccer league.
In addition, our families should have the right to choose which God they want to raise their children to believe in and the freedom to exercise the laws of that religion with their God-given children.
20 years ago, the CPS had a better idea of identifying true abuse. Most employees were probably parents themselves and knew that a six year old boy who is a great outdoorster also might have a few bruises on his legs...yes repeatedly. But a naturally occurring event for a child such as this. This same CPS worker knew that a six year old with hand-mark bruises around his neck time and time again was probably being mistreated. The difference from then and now, THEY EITHER DON'T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE OR DON'T CARE.
Another issue...Poor people love their children too. In this society we are diverse in our income levels. There are the rich, the middle class, and the hardworking (or even lazy) poor. Poor parents and families are often the majority of those who are alleged of crimes against children. There are two scenarios to this:
Guilty by victim of circumstances
(no excuse only explanation)
Lower income families are often less equipped to handle everyday stresses of providing for a family and often turn to illegal behavior to obtain finances for the demands. Or even worst, low income people often turn to alcohol or drugs to ease the pain of having a family they cannot provide for.
These influences certainly can effect the quality of life a youngster has during crucial growing years. The effects of certain chemicals over extended period of time can alter a parent's natural protective instinct that can cause or allow harm to come to a child that in other circumstances might not occur.
This does not excuse them from child abuse or neglect, just one possibility why poor are targeted.
Poverty does not change the instinctual love for their born children. Often poor families may lose their children if say the power is shut off due to lack of utility payment. This is not willful neglect but a lack of financial resources. Willful neglect would be that of a family that purchased a large amount of booze and refused repeatedly to buy food for their children with that money causing willful malnutrition. If CPS truly cares for the family assistance for power and food could be accommodated, with out blackmailing the family with their overseeing requirements.
Another REAL cause for concern is that these families are easy targets to a career minded young worker trying to make a name for themselves and exert a little power. The financially challenged have little financial resources to fight the immune CPS. A young worker looking to get a promotion, gain experience, and get power can target a poverty stricken, frightened family with out much defense.
Again, as politically incorrect as this is, the facts are that most abused or sexually molested children are not victims of a natural parent but an introduced parent (step). Say that 90% of all step fathers DO love their wife's children and raise them well. But with the high rate of divorce and re-marriage climbs the 'statistics' (don't like that word) of child abuse and sexual molestation. My point being is that parents who are the natural parent of a child are less likely to defy their natural instinct to protect and nurture their children. It is actually quite rare that two natural parents take part in active genuine child abuse willingly on their natural child, however their are exceptions.
In the past ten years our CPS system has grown into an industry of great proportions. It has obtained so much power that no one can defy its order. This is an awesome responsibility that can't be taken lightly.
On one of my quests to be a 'better' parent in my 20's I was referred to a Child Psychologist, who was said to be an expert in children and their behavior. Upon my visit, my first question was, "So how many kids do you have?"
Of course you know the answer. "None yet, but I have attended so many years in college and have lots of nieces and nephews in Vermont."
Ok, so this is our parental guidance counselor, one who has no experience, natural instinct, or real parenting experiences of raising a child they gave birth too. It's hard to take advice from someone like that.
Upon talking with a good friend and foster parent for the State, *Betty*, her concerns are that there is a high turn over at the her local CPS office. New social workers come and go. They are usually young, have no children, are fresh out of college and want to SAVE THE WORLD'S CHILDREN. They have their own pre-conceived notions of just how things should be for all families at all times. Any variation is a certain sign that the children are not getting the optimum care, which is cause for concern.
These 'virgin' workers are given a job with a higher responsibility than they are able to handle properly. The job of taking children away from parents on a hunch or their own personal feelings and not evidence or testimony is a monumental responsibility that must require accountability. Yet in our current system there is none. The only time an agency is questioned is when a child is left in a truly dangerous home and suffers disability or death at the hands of a family member.
Since this is the only accountability they are faced with, the rogue CPS often feels it is better to remove 10 children from OK homes just in case, than be held accordingly for 1 child that doesn't make it.
This is a wrong assumption. The taking of a child or children away from loving but not perfect parents is an extremely traumatic event for all family members and can cause irreparable harm.
The 'routine' physical exams on young girls and boys on all children being places whether or not there has been any allegation of sex abuse is horrendous and there is no doubt in my mind that this sex abuse performed by state doctors will ruin the child for life.
When a State worker shows up at your door, it can be for any reason. An angry neighbor, mad because you had a disagreement about a mutual friend, can report you anonymously. Wha la, a day later there is the CPS ringing your bell.
When you get arrested by a police officer or even questioned about your knowledge or lack of knowledge about a crime, you are legally read your Miranda Rights. This means you have rights and protections under the law. When a CPS worker comes to your house, there is no such rights read or available to you. The perception of your family and decisions made about it are merely at the whim, mood, anger or mercy of the worker visiting you that day.
Think your a normal family with nothing to worry about? Let me drop by your house un-announced, say on a Thursday evening at 6 pm, dinner time. This hypothetical situation is typical of any 'normal' family, not one of an abusive, dangerous one.
You just get home from work and picking up the kids from day care and football practice. Your house is a mess, your TV is too loud. Big brother is picking on his little 5 year old brother in the back room. You are caught 'yelling' at him to stop torturing the little guy.
You have Mc Donald's on the table because no one did their chores and the kitchen is full of filthy dirty dishes from two days ago. 13 year old Bobby never took out the trash before school this morning and it is overflowing. Of course, he never does do what he his told because it was always against the law to spank your child when Bobby was little thus teaching him little self-discipline, respect etc.
The phone rings and your 10 year old daughter races to get it first and trips over the phone cord falling and bumping her head on the edge of the coffee table, not too bad, but enough for her to holler out a horrible cry....all just as a unexpected CPS social worker peeks through your screen door.
You know that in two days it will be a weekend and all the chores will be caught up on. The house will be clean, and your family will be enjoying a fun-filled family day at the lake, laughing. But this stranger CPS social worker does not see this, nor takes this into consideration. What he or she sees at a surprise visit at any un-appropriate time is what the social worker thinks life is always like in your home:
She sees a loud, dirty, violent household and fears for your tearful 2 year old sitting in the high chair waiting to be fed some fries, while you anxiously rush around nervously, straightening up for the worker and telling the kids to keep it down. Your daughters bedroom door was left open revealing an unkempt room and a loud CD player blaring.
This worker, who didn't see the trip and fall a few moments before, is concerned for the bruise and small cut on your 10 year olds daughter's forehead 'FROM A FALL'. This worker is concerned for the safety of the 5 year old as his older brother seems to have 'violent tendencies' (which is in actuality typical sibling pestering seen in all families).
See, this worker has no kids of her own but has watched enough Brady Bunches, Cosby Shows, and Home Improvement to know that your chaotic evening is not a healthy environment for any child.
You pleadingly insist that your two year old is not starving, your five year old is never really hurt when his big brother picks on him, and that yes, your daughter DID just have a good fall.
The social worker skeptically, as you plead, decides NOT to take your children into custody if you agree to a list of requirements. Such as parenting classes (as if you have time as a full time working, single mom of 4), weekly therapy for each of your children that are old enough to talk, and an annual physical exam for all.
Even if you could afford an attorney you are now on the list of suspected child abusers and neglecters on a national computer system, possibly hurting a future custody battle with your x-husband down the line if this gets out. And what about your volunteer work at the elementary school, with this on file, will you still be allowed to help out for parties?
Welcome, you are now under the supervision of the State! Even your religious beliefs are now in question. You must cooperate or lose your kids.
Meanwhile while your case worker is busy working on your 'frivolous case, little 3 year old, blonde haired/ blue eyed Joey, in a nice, well to do State Foster Home across town is beaten to death by his drunk foster father for spilling his beer. Think that foster homes are BETTER places than your home? Check out some of final links and you will see that they are in SOME cases NOT!
www.avoiceforchildren.com has some disturbing foster family stories for you.
This same agency is the same one that thought 25 years ago that a simple spanking for misbehavior was 'hitting' and violence and that time out and love would rear a child into a productive adulthood. To our dismay this generation of children that did not receive loving discipline are now shooting each other on the playground, defying authority, and killing each other on the streets of America. Why? Because our government went politically correct for a while and this generation of children learned no consequences for their behavior.
Honest, loving parents were denied the tools and the instinctual parental discretion that they needed to teach their children honest lessons about life, respect, and responsibility for their actions. Instead children were taught if they became a failure, they could blame it on MOM. Society would except that! And they did for a while.
This can happen to you. Just visit the websites to follow.
Legislation must be put in place to protect families as well as GENUINELY abused and neglected children.
1. CPS must be open to civil liability or criminal suits when they needlessly rip families apart.
2. CPS workers that are granted with the power to take children out of homes but not only have children of their own, but be educated fairly on the signs of REAL child abuse and not what is politically correct 'child abuse' for the decade.
3. Parent's should have a set of rights established that they are informed of immediately upon any visit by a worker.
4. A separate overseeing entity needs to watch over the CPS to make sure they do not abuse their power (so often the case), act un-ethically, or illegally.
5. Rights for all families in regards to freedom of religion and lifestyle should be established and respected in the court of law.
6. Doctor's exams should be done by the normal family physician or pediatrician who knows the family, not a state paid stranger, who for obvious reasons will always air on the side of caution ( the state who pays them).
7. Only exams that are appropriate to an accusation. No need to further harm a child if at all necessary.
8. If the allegation is found false the state pays for the exam, instead of billing the parents for everything that happens against their will.
9. When cases are won in court for the parents and the children are ordered to be returned to their homes (although most Judges blindly believe in the State, overlooking the fact of objectivity in any allegation), the CPS should reimburse the family for the harm they caused.
This is only a beginning to a big battle. There are too many more rights to mention here that need to be established. But it is a call to justice that must be fought before the CPS becomes so powerful they accomplish there unwritten goal, all children should be a ward of the state first, parents second.
Please keep one thing safe from government involvement, our families. The one institution that is the most sacred of all is the family. Unless there is absolutely positive evidence that a child is in imminent harm, no person, agency, or government should intrude.
www.avoiceforchildren.com (see bottom)
and many others