Every Child in Californi

The home that every child in California will have 031311
Fringe Opinion

I attended the Self-Improvement Plan meeting for SC Health and Human Services.  I was pleased to see so many knowledgeable and motivated people at the meeting, and appreciated that the attendees allowed me to participate in a session.  As was mentioned in a report HERE, the groups discussed four issues identified as needing improvement: Permanency, social worker/probation officer visits, placement stability, and placement restrictiveness. If these problems can be solved in our community, this group can solve them.

As I participated, some things drew my attention, things I would call “the absolutes”.

First is the phrase which motivates CWS Redesign, and the process of review:

That every child in California lives in a safe, stable, permanent home, nurtured by healthy families and strong communities.

Every child?  Stop for a moment and think about what this means; it means that every child in California is automatically the business of the state.

While I know liberals in deep denial who believe this, it gives me the creeps: children belong to the state; parents are simply the coincidental producers of the child.   If the parents do a good job according to the values of someone at the state and what they believe are “safe, stable and permanent homes” and so on, they can keep their children.  

The next absolute is absolute perfection: the belief that the county is never perfect, never even good enough.  There is simply no way a county can come through the process without needing some kind of improvement.  Those improvements impact the agency, and by extension, families and kids.

Finally, the belief that there must be enough resources out there, the county can comply with the “every child” mandate.  For example, are there enough homes to become foster homes in the county?  There are already a couple of foster care providers, but some are only so for the purpose of caring for specific family children.  Some already have stable placements, and may not be available for years.  There is no way to know who has the desire, the lack of criminal history, and the necessary facilities to have foster children.

The problem is not insignificant.  Indeed, many relatives don’t want to provide shelter for kids because they don’t want the state in their lives, or they don’t want the in-laws in their lives, or they don’t have room.  

Finally, Governor Jerry “I’ll cut until it hurts” Brown intends to reduce the flow of funding to CWS; how will that impact the ability of the system to care for the kids it’s already taken?  Can they continue to monitor “every child”?

There is simply no way the state can nanny “every child in California” without become what is it has become: unwieldy, intrusive, and of questionable efficiency.
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