Family Services

What a misnomer. Of course, in many states it’s called “children’s services”, which is certainly more apropos. Besides “serving” children, they may as well say they bow down and worship them; because, you know, “children” can’t do wrong, “children” are innocent, and on and on and on.

Of course, most of us think of “children” as those between the ages of 3 and 12; prior to that, small people are usually referred to as toddlers, and after that, as teenagers. Of course, at 18 they become adults.

Here are a few questions – please answer, to yourself of course, what you would do in these situations. Don’t forget to use common sense!

A one-year-old is awakened in the morning, about 5:00 a.m., to be taken to the sitter so her parents can go to work. Instead of waking her at 4:00 a.m. for breakfast and changing the parents, by prior arrangement with the sitter, simply put the child in her car seat and leave the home.

Would you call a family services hotline to report neglect?

A two-year-old is having a tantrum, while walking with her mother, holding her hand. The toddler drags her feet, but Mom keeps walking, lifting her up so she won’t scrape her little knees. This continues for approximately five steps.

Would you call a family services hotline to report abuse?

A father notices a slight scratch on his six-year-old daughter’s leg, and asks her what happened; she says her mom smacked her with the hairbrush when she wouldn’t stand still for her ponytail.

Would you call a family services hotline to report abuse?

You witness a fourteen-year-old kid spew vile words and curse his mother; she slaps him.

Would you call a family services hotline to report abuse?

A fifteen-year-old boy plays football one day, and the next day, for no reason, shows someone his bruises and says that his dad beat him.

Would you call a family services hotline to report abuse?

A sixteen-year-old, who has a record of assault, claims his father beat him. He has claimed this several times, all unsubstantiated.

Would you call a family services hotline to report abuse?

Think long and hard about your answers, because all of these incidents occurred, at one time or another, and all were “investigated”. In one case, the investigation was dropped at the request of the parent; in another, a parent was actually arrested and is facing jury trial, and in yet another instance, the charges are pending.

All of these “case”, yet most family services offices complain of being overworked. I wonder why that is. Could it be because in their zeal to investigate and increase their caseload, in order, I’m sure, to promote bureaucratic effectiveness (an oxymoron if there ever was one), they create busy-work? The biggest obstacle to good parenting, and well-trained children and teens, is family services itself.

They are so concerned about “missing” a child in need that they overwhelming target every tiny instance of alleged abuse or neglect, frequently, I am certain, to the detriment of those children who really are in danger.

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