I recently received a cry for help from a friend. Puzzling over the situation, I finally decided to write about it. There appears to be a two edged sword wielded by protective services. On the one hand, the mission statement appears to urge keeping families together and attempting to assist sincere parents in that direction.
The other side, more ugly, are the many drug and alcohol infested homes with children the victims. Certainly, if hard drugs are being used or worse, manufactured in a home with children, those children need to be relocated. What sometimes complicates the issue, is the sometimes treacherous non-custodial parent, who sometimes tries to manufacture a negative situation to either gain custody, or to discredit the custodial parent.
In the case of the party that contacted me, it was a woman that I know not to be either of the above mentioned alcohol or drug Moms. What she apparently did, was leave her eleven year old son in charge of his younger siblings, the youngest being four years old. He had the number of where Mom was, which was close by. Non-custodial
Dad who appears to be creating trouble out of bitterness, called the kids when Mom was out. When the son told him Mom wasn't there, he instructed his son to call the police, who then located Mom quickly,cited the Mom and in subsequent actions, Idaho Child Protective Services eventually took the children and placed them in various foster homes, separating the children from not just the mother, but from each other.
This woman is a working mother, who lives next door to the maternal grandmother. both are known to me as responsible people. The question then here, is why,without the extenuating circumstances previously mentioned, were these children taken away. I have related here one side of the story. Unfortunately, child protective services seal the files, making the only time they have to justify anything, is if a child is killed and it becomes a criminal situation.
Certainly, not all parents that claim foul in these custody situations are right. Many children are in need of intervention, but the taking of children out of a parents home and turning them over to strangers should be a last resort. One questions whether leaving these children in a "latch key" situation, rises to the level of those actions by CPS. In this case, neither the mother nor grandmother have access or visitation rights to these kids. That, on the face of it appears dead wrong.
Asking CPS for their side of the story, privacy issues are quoted, even if the parent involved wants the information out. This smells. Somehow, someway, we need to shine a light on both over protection and in real sad cases, under protection. These public employees need to be accountable.
One would think, that considering the financial cost of foster care, that providing child care, or at least subsidizing it, would be cheaper by far, and would have the obvious advantage of keeping a family together. When children are kept from either natural parent, and the child knows that they are available, it has to be a gut wrenching experience, no, a continuing nightmare for both. There are way too many one parent households. The problem can't help but get worse. Perhaps we need an agency called,"Family Protective Services."