Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This disturbs me

Sorry, I'm not adept at posting links. Anyhow, the gist of the story is that a family went to visit grandparents and were sleeping in one room. The baby fell through the floorboards and was missing. The police were called in and they found the baby, safe and sound, although dirty from being trapped between the floorboards.

Social services removed the three children from the home of the grandparents and then the parents' home because both were too dirty.

Should Social Services remove children from dirty homes? Does that constitute abuse and neglect if the children are fed, clothed and loved?

Frankly, I feel torn. On one hand, I don't want children to suffer abuse or be neglected. In those cases, I support the decision of social workers to remove children from dangerous situations. But I have to question the wisdom of removing kids from a dirty home. Heaven knows, my home is not always clean. Does that mean I'm neglecting my kids and do I have reason to fear that my children will be taken from me? I'm concerned that Social Services has too much power and that there isn't a counterpoint or balance to their decisions. And its hard to trust that they are actually doing a good job when you read of kids dying because of abuse and neglect and then other children who aren't being abused but are removed from their homes.

What do you think?


wendy said...

It depends on the state of "dirtyness." Most states, I think, don't have unrealistic expectations. Things have to be pretty bad for them to be considered unfit.

Still, having worked with a lot of foster kids, it is pretty damaging to remove the kids, and I think the agencies are often too quick to remove.

Mrs. Organic said...

I think there's a difference between dirty and endangering. Do they ever give a warning? Like, we'll be back in three days and A,B, and C, need to have happened or we'll consider your kids abused/neglected?

Or how about teaching the parents how to clean?

swedemom said...

Wendy, I'm glad you chimed in. I didn't realize you were a social worker. Of course, the news story never gives us the full details. So we don't really know what the complete state of the house was in.

Do the rules vary from state to state?

dalene said...

There is a big difference between dirt and filth. And if they're pulling kids from messy homes I'm in big trouble.

I have family members who have worked with child welfare services--it can be a hard call and I'm sure it must be so painful to see what some children endure at the hands of their parents.

But what I don't get is how they can take this kid but they couldn't come and get the kids I know whose bones were being broken by their dad or the other kids I know who were neglected and left hungry by their dad.

swedemom said...

I agree with you, Dalene.

Johnna said...

it's got to be an order-of-magnitude thing.