While New Jersey politicians attempt to punish law-abiding homeschoolers for the sins of DYFS and the Jacksons, one of every 14 children in foster care in the state is placed in a home operated by someone with a criminal conviction or documented as having mistreated a child. Moreover, according to a study released last summer by the School of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania, one in 10 were abused or neglected by the agency caregiver and one in five didn't receive needed medical care. "The DYFS picture is not just bleak; it is one of chaos and tragedy," the report concluded. "From the reading of the disorganized and incomplete case files, to the statistical analysis of the status of children in the 'care' of DYFS, institutional abuse, neglect and ineptitude are the dominant themes."
Congressman Mark Foley, R-Fla., a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, noted at a hearing last year that: "Most people treat their pets better than the state of New Jersey has treated its children." The problem is systemic and nationwide. In Foley's state, 7-year-old Rilya Wilson is just one of 500 missing children in the child welfare system who have vanished. In California, Independent Institute research fellow Wendy McElroy reports, children are rushed into dangerous foster care homes thanks to a toxic combination of perverse financial incentives and lack of accountability for social workers' gross misconduct and neglect.
At bottom, Weinberg's bill is a cynical power grab -- something homeschoolers across the country have been fending off as the movement's success has skyrocketed. "This is about legislators interfering with parental rights," Tricia McQuarrie, a South Jersey homeschooling mother of five, told me. "It's Big Brother." Indeed, legislators and the liberal media (witness CBS News' anti-homeschooling hit piece last October) are pushing for increased regulation of homeschooling parents, including criminal background checks, because the grass-roots movement gravely threatens their socialist agenda of promoting dependency. God forbid children be taught by their own parents without oversight from the all-knowing, all-caring, infallible wizards of the child welfare-public school monopoly!
A crackdown on innocent homeschooling families to cure the incompetence of government child welfare agencies is like a smoker lopping off his ear to treat metastatic lung cancer. It's a bloody wrong cure conceived by a fool who caused his own disease.
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