New Jersey's child welfare system, like most state child welfare systems, is a corrupt and deadly mess. Children are lost in the shuffle, shipped to abusive foster homes, returned to rapists and child molesters, and left to die in closets while paperwork piles up. So whom does the government decide to punish for the bureaucracy's abysmal failure to protect these innocents?
And what does the government think will solve its ills?
More power and paperwork.
Last week, a Democratic assemblywoman introduced a bill that would impose annual academic testing and annual medical exams on home-schooled students in the Garden State. Never mind a federal law that prohibits states from requiring that homeschoolers take the state assessment designed for public school students. And never mind the fact that no public or private school students are subject to such health regulations. The State Board of Education would be given unprecedented regulatory authority over homeschoolers.
The sponsor of this Anti-Homeschooling Act is Assemblywoman Loretta Weinberg. She said one impetus for the legislation was the infamous case in Collingswood, N.J., in which four adopted boys abandoned by the state Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) were found starving last fall. The boys' parents, Raymond and Vanessa Jackson, allegedly home-schooled the children when they weren't rigging up security alarms to keep their famished kids out of the kitchen.
The Weinberg proposal is a shameless smokescreen for government social workers who botched the Jackson case. Child welfare officials claimed they visited the boys' home 38 times in the past four years. Apparently the sight of a 19-year-old teenager who weighed less than a few bowling balls fazed no one. Department of Human Services Commissioner Gwendolyn Harris admitted that she had employed staff who were "either incompetent, uncaring or who had falsified records."