Abuse of April

A Terrible Thing to Do To April 040412

Child abuse prevention month

A Fringe Editorial


April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.  The Sierra County Prospect continues to go on record against child abuse and neglect.  The Prospect supports the Sierra County Child Abuse Prevention Council and encourages everyone to support local Family Resource Centers.  (Google “Sierra County Child Abuse Prevention Council”).

I personally just don’t agree with the idea of a child abuse prevention month.

I’m probably more familiar with the statistics than most in the county, and more familiar with how such numbers are generated and assigned meaning.  I understand the potential damage abuse and neglect can cause.  I am aware of the generational nature of child neglect and abuse.

I’m also very familiar with the processes of intervention, fully conversant in the special culture that is generated around child abuse prevention, and deeply familiar with the fallibility of the people who staff the system from the school yard monitor who reports “suspected abuse or neglect” to the judge who struggles to protect the child and the Constitution, to the foster care provider who would love to adopt a little neglectling and raise it to be a good Christian person.  I know about the disruption to the family system an intervention represents, I understand the miserable statistics on foster raised kids, I have heard first hand of how families are railroaded into cases, and then subjected to so much hoop jumping the process would be disabling to a family that had no other problems.  I completely understand the rationale that drives government intervention into the family, and am thoroughly familiar with the myopia or blindness that practitioners assume to believe that their intervention has no negative impact.  I clearly perceive that parents, even wealthy parents, have little chance of obtaining redress for abuse at the hand of government bureaucrats, and there is very little to keep social workers and cops from bullying parents beyond all reasonable expectation of civil rights.

The entire notion of “child abuse prevention” is an idea which has waxed and waned since before the Enlightenment.  The idea is propelled by some humanitarian thinking: kids are little, don’t own much, and represent the future, so something should be done to protect them from the worst of life’s vagaries.  Take a good idea, create a bureaucracy around it, generate people with degrees to do nothing else, and eventually a stinking brew of self-interest and professional dogooderism will bubble and foam and rise to over-flow the bowl of reason. 

In a nation which distinguishes itself only in the ideal of liberty, the family is at constant risk of government intervention. 

The problem arises out of a long chain of self-service, from grandstanding and clueless politicians to public trough nuzzling bureaucrats.  I’ve used enough pixels on this subject, and won’t outline the nature of the problem further.  Instead, I’ll pause to note the hubris the system shows in believing it can be all things to all people, and only heal with its touch.  It is an abandonment of reality to think intervention in the family isn’t harmful, and a denial of reality to think every unhappy life needs their touch.

Do I advocate for the dismantlement of child welfare services?  Not at all.  Do I think funding for children and family services should be cut?  The reverse, I would happily take one dollar in two from drug interdiction and give it to provide assistance to families. 

I just think parents should be treated like free Americans, and families protected from government meddling unless dire circumstances exist.  It isn’t within the authority or ability of the government to jigger parents and families as it does.


    Monday's child is fair of face,

    Tuesday's child is full of grace,

    Wednesday's child is full of woe,

    Thursday's child has far to go,

    Friday's child is loving and giving,

    Saturday's child works hard for its living,

    And a child that's born on the Sabbath day

    Is fair and wise and good and gay.

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