Thanks for your response Mark. I think the problem is systemic AND execution. Systemic in how we decide which children should be taken from the home, and if it is necessary. Someone who has an unclean home could very well be taught to clean. They may have never been taught. It’s kind of like the school to prison pipeline so to speak. We have become so punitive and short-sighted in our thinking on how to deal with child abuse and neglect, heck even determining what is child abuse and neglect.
Sometimes kids are taken away from parents who simply need assistance and can’t get it (i.e. needed a babysitter but couldn’t afford it so the parent made a bad choice and left young kids at home to go to work). That’s a waste of state and federal resources, when all the parent needs is affordable child care and monitoring. Moms that knowingly allow boyfriends to beat and molest their kids, that’s a totally different scenario which needs intervention and perhaps punishment.
As it relates to execution, I believe the system is bogged down with so many punishments, rules and red tape that it prevents family caretakers from stepping up and assuming responsibility for their loved ones which eliminates the need for foster homes, group homes, and hotels. Our systems have realistic and unattainable standards of living for some of the poorest, most distressed people, people which tend to be removed from their homes at a higher rate than other groups. While I know family caregivers are not always an option, when it can be an option, all of the background checks, fees, housing requirements, etc prevent many people (especially grandparents) from stepping up and taking custody.
The system is complex, and broken.
The system takes too many kids who may not truly be at risk. We are also choosing to overlook certain groups of families (i.e. wealthy suburban families) who engage in similar behaviors just as frequently, but are not considered “at risk.” Little rich 14–15 year old Johnny’s parents leave the country to go on vacation and leave him unattended where he parties, engages in illegal drug use and under-age drinking, statutory rape, etc. but it’s socially acceptable for rich kids to engage in such behavior. It’s a right of passage it seems, and the system turns a blind eye. He is not placed in a home. Meanwhile, low-income Tamika leaves her kid to go out a party, to the store, or in the car while she runs in the store and her kids get confiscated. We have a double standard in how child welfare is viewed, and it viewed unfavorably if you’re poor, a female and of color. It seems the system has no problem taking some kids, and the attitude is that the system of things is helping, when in fact all it’s doing is leaving a trail of future destruction, broken people, and burdening taxpayers.