Monday, September 8, 2008

A sad day in Georgia

This story illustrates so much of what is wrong with our child welfare system today. When did we decide, as a society, that it's ok to take a child from her mother because some social worker speculates the mother may, at some future time, cause "harm" to her child? When did that happen?

Only when the outcome is tragic do we hear any outcry. And then it's lost in the cacophony of foster care supporters clamoring over the thankless suffrage they endure for the good of all those orphaned waifs.

Except they're not orphaned waifs. Not most of them. Most have been removed, like Jessica, for reasons shaky at best, imagined and vindictive at worst. See, Jessica's mother had recently asked for help with her bi-polar disease. It is well-managed with meds, but, as with most meds, periodic visits to a physician are required to continue the prescription. Being young and not particularly affluent, she sought help with the public health system.

That's it.

That's the reason little Jessica was taken from her mother.

Ironically, Jessica died of excessive heat when the foster mother became drowsy and napped after taking some medication, leaving Jessica in the hot car outside while her adopted toddlers played unattended indoors.

Why wasn't Jessica with extended family? They were available and willing.

Don't get me wrong, there will be the rare occasion where unrelated foster care truly is the best answer. But should a weighty decision like this be made on a personal whim? Absolute power corrupts. Perhaps citizens should be made to sit on rotating "foster boards" of a dozen or so, like jury duty, and only upon their approval may a child be placed outside of biological family. I don't know. Certainly the power to disembowel the family is too often invoked.

Apparently, the UK's system isn't much better. Run Sam, run!

1 comment:

Nic said...

My God...isn't it just awful? I heard that story (being in Georgia) and having family that used to work for DFACS, I wanted to SCREAM! I cried, I shook, I threw was awful...that poor girl.

Can you imagine? My.GOD!

(also, I commented back on your comment on my blog about the car breaking down...just wanted you to know)