Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Parental Rights Amendment

Parentalrights.org is forwarding a parental rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 
This has been tried and failed before in various states. Repeatedly. Right concept, wrong way to do it. In 1996, Colorado lost this attempt, and I immediately saw why it failed. In response to this failure, I reframed the issue from children's rights vs. parents rights to family rights. That concept has caught on with grassroots activists, but evidently the merits of eliminating the competition between parents and children have escaped the monied activists. 

This should not be handled at a Federal level. The states pass the laws governing child welfare, the states administer the laws governing child welfare, the Feds maintain a "hands off" policy regarding child welfare to the point that they don't even exercise oversight over the federal funding they give the states to pass and administer their child welfare laws. A  family rights amendment  to the state constitutions is easier to pass and will be much more effective in reigning in child welfare abuses. Even better is an amendment which closes all the existing loopholes in the parental rights amendment. 

A Parental Rights Amendment is not going to work. In analyzing the tension of rights between parental rights and children's rights, the children's rights will win every time.  It is a waste of time and resources. Furthermore, it does not remedy the problems families face under our current scheme.

Notice the language "Neither shall the United States nor any state shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served." Loophole. All the judge needs to do is recite the incantation, "The court finds the state's interest is of the highest order and not otherwise served," whether or not the evidence supports that finding. Just like they do with Reasonable Efforts now. It feels good but lacks substance. We must be smarter than this. . .duh.

more links on failed attempts:
other states and analysis http://parentalrightslegislation.blogspot.com/2006/04/brief-history-of-parental-rights.html

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