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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Government should become 'a parent'?

100% cropWhile browsing the net, I came across this article from a news source in the UK. The headline caught my attention as it seems they think the government should have more involvement in the social welfare of "at risk" children, giving government more control of parenting decisions. Here is an excerpt of the article entitled, "Government should become 'a parent':

Monday, 20, Apr 2009 12:01

By Alice Cannet

A report calling on the government to take a hands-on role in the parenting of disadvantaged children has been published by a committee of MPs.

The report, entitled 'looked-after children', comes in the aftermath of the Baby P case, which triggered deep reflections on the need for an overhaul of the British care system.

Opinions about social services have suffered in recent years and especially after the poor handling of Baby P by Haringey's social services.

To read more see Government should become 'a parent'

While I understand child abuse cases are a big reason for social services, such as CPS or DFS here in the US, there is a fine line to allowing government involvement in our daily lives and how we parent.

This article explains how they plan to support at risk children and families, in order to prevent cases of child abuse, after the horrible case of Baby P about a year ago.

However, we all know giving government more control of our children and taking them away is not necessarily the solution to the problem of child abuse prevention.

The solution starts with helping parents learn to cope with anger issues, substance abuse issues and through providing them with the education and resources to help them learn to be better parents. Parenting is hard work and children do not come with instruction manuals!

While I believe social service programs can be effective, I find that in the US giving the government more control to decide if a parent is fit to raise a child can be more detrimental than helpful.

For example, I have a niece who was removed from my half-brothers home because they (CPS/government) claimed he was not taking her to school. I do not know all the facts of the case and situation, but do know she is not in a better home now and was placed in a worse situation.

The home CPS and the courts ended up placing her with was the home of her late mother's sister. During this time my niece was exposed to a smoking home, along with drug users and other shady characters. The parents (her aunt) have since divorced and somehow she chose to live with the step-father, to my dismay, she turned to drugs, smoking and other destructive behavior as a result. Currently, we have no idea where she lives, but last heard she was raped, is using drugs and living with a boyfriend, based on comments she wrote on her myspace page lats year.

Before she was placed in her aunts home at the age of five, my sister and her military husband petitioned the court to place her with them into a smoke-free, drug-free and stable Christian home environment. However, the court and CPS chose to place her with the aunt and in this case her situation deteriorated. CPS and the Courts do not necessarily have the best interest of the children in mind and end up making mistakes that cost children their futures and too many times their lives.

So, based on my experience and knowledge of government run systems it seems we are better off as parents getting the support and education we need to raise our children in a healthy home environment before the government becomes involved in our children's lives. If you know of someone who is new to parenting or struggling, or you  have a neighbor or friend with kids, reach out to them and offer your time or listening ear. Let them know you are there for them and will offer any support you can provide.
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