Thursday, May 29, 2008

Keeping Children Safe From Government

David Friedman, after watching the debacle that is child protective services in Texas, asks:

Which raises the general question: Would it be better if governments had no power to remove children from their parents? It is easy to imagine, probably to point out, particular cases where such removal is justified. But in order to defend giving government the power to do something, you must argue not only that it can sometimes do good but that, on net, it can be expected to do more good than harm. Judging by what we have seen in Texas over the past two months, that is a hard argument to make.

From what little I can gather, it's relatives who rescue kids from abuse. A parent, a grandparent, even a brother or sister. Every once in a blue moon a neighbor, if the abuser is really obvious. Yeah, everybody thinks that relative is the problem- the potential abuser, and as such shouldn't have any say in the matter. But there are more relatives than just one, and sometimes the abuser isn't family. If there are so-called good cases in the CPS files, you can bet it's because grandma called the police.

On a 'good' case the CPS just fills out paperwork after the fact. On a bad case the CPS causes massive problems in a family. When I was a child, my family was seriously harmed just by one social-worker visit. My brother was pulling a stunt, but my parents were seriously scared and had trouble parenting properly from that day forward. They never found out the CPS thought my brother was full of it too, until years later when he was pulling some other stupid stunt that required the family to go before a judge (I think it was truancy). By then, the damage had been done.

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