Thomas Sowell

Little Angelo finally got justice, though he died too young to even know what justice meant. Angelo Marinda lived only eight months and it took more than twice that long to convict his father of his murder.

 Tragically, the policies and the mindset among the authorities responsible for the well-being of children -- the practices and notions that put this baby at risk -- are still in place and more such tragedies are waiting to happen. Little Angelo came to the authorities' attention just 12 days after he was born, when he turned up at a hospital with broken bones.

 How would a baby less than two weeks old have broken bones? And what do you do about it?

 Many of us would say that you get that baby away from whoever broke his bones and never let them near him again. But that is not what the "experts" say. Experts always have "solutions." How else are they going to be experts?

 The fashionable solution is called "family reunification services." The severity of little Angelo's injuries would have made it legally possible to simply take him away and put him up for adoption by one of the many couples who are hoping to adopt a baby.

 But no. Through the magic of "family reunification services" parents are supposed to be changed so that they will no longer be abusive.

 A social worker told the court two years ago that the San Mateo County Children and Family Services Agency "will be recommending reunification services, as the parents are receptive to receiving services." The fact that little Angelo's sister had already had to be removed from that same home did not seem to dampen this optimism.

 At the heart of all this is the pretense to knowledge that we simply do not have and may never have. There are all sorts of lofty phrases about teaching "parenting skills" or "anger management" or other pious hopes. And children's lives are being risked on such notions.

 Little Angelo himself apparently knew better. After months in a foster home, he was allowed back for a visit with his parents and "had a look of fear in his eyes" when he saw them.

 But "expertise" brushes aside what non-experts believe -- and little Angelo was not an expert, at least not in the eyes of the social workers who were in charge of his fate. The fact that he had returned from a previous visit with bruises did not make a dent on the experts.

 Social workers thought it would be nice if little Angelo could have a two-day unsupervised visit with his parents at Christmas. It was a visit from which he would not return alive.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate