When the liberals and the feminists, including Hillary Clinton, began saying the "village" should raise the child, most people recognized village as a metaphor for government. We're now seeing how intrusive Big Government Nannyism really is.
Operating under various names, state agencies such as Child Protective Services (CPS) have been assigned the task of protecting kids from abuse or neglect by any adults, especially by their own parents. A new study casts doubt on the value of CPS.
Child Protective Services, which rushes into action based on anonymous tips, investigated more than three million cases of suspected child abuse in 2007. Alleged to be at similar high risk for abuse, researchers examined the records of 595 children nationwide and tracked them from ages 4 to 8.
The researchers concluded that CPS's intervention did little or nothing to improve the lives of the children, and there was no difference between children in the families CPS investigated or did not investigate. The social scientists looked at all the factors known to increase the risk for abuse or neglect: social support, family functioning, poverty, caregiver education and depressive symptoms, plus child anxiety, depression and aggressive behavior
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was passed by Congress in 1974, and about 45 states passed complementary state laws. Taxpayers' money began to flow big time to the bureaucrats.
The research results were reported in the October issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The report was accompanied by an editorial entitled, "Child Protective Services has Outlived its Usefulness." It argued that CPS should not be engaged in law enforcement. If it's a crime, call the police; if it's neglect, call a public health nurse; if it's an unsuitable living situation, call the appropriate social services.
Unfortunately, the researchers did not look at the harm caused by CPS bureaucrats who arrive unannounced with the police, interfere with a functioning family, and often take the children away from their parents and turn them over to foster care. When Congress and state legislatures vote on taxpayer appropriations next year, CPS bureaucrats should be required to demonstrate whether any good outweighs the harm.
Two cases involving Child Protective Services are now before the U.S. Supreme Court. The High Court has just agreed to take a case involving the interrogation of an elementary child at school by a CPS caseworker and a deputy sheriff about possible sexual abuse at home.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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