Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guaranteeing Reunification Failure

The generally accepted practice when a child is at risk of abuse or neglect is to swoop in and remove the child, rather than remove the danger from the child's environment.

The most absurd snatch and grabs occur in hospitals, shortly after the child is born. Right when the most critical bonding between the mother and the child is supposed to occur. According to an article in The Scientific American,
"It’s fairly easy to wrap our heads around the notion of the mother-child bond. The two are intimately connected during the nine months of pregnancy. Hormones, such as oxytocin, that course through a mother’s body biologically link her to the baby. Their heartbeats can even synchronize. Following birth, a mother provides a natural food source for the newborn."

Child welfare professionals insist that this bonding is not critical, at least not as critical as insuring the safety of the child by placing the child in foster care--where studies have proven children are 10 to 35 times more likely to be abused. It is, after all, better for the child to deny him his bond with his mother, his mother's milk, and the comfort of the heartbeat he has heard for the past nine months.

But it gets worse. Science has now proven that dads bond with babies, too. And like the mother, this bonding requires close proximity to the baby, because touch and smell play an important part in this bonding process. According to the article, It seems that this bonding involves hard-wiring the brain, the baby's brain and the father's brain.
"We are now learning that in the first few days after birth, changes occur in the brains of both the dad and the baby, depending on whether the father is around or not."
Child welfare professionals cite "the best interests of the child" as justifying the removal of newborn children from their parents. This argument is only valid if these professionals discount the child's biological and psychological needs for the very two people they have excluded from this child's world.
". . .it seems a child. . . may be born with a brain that expects this bond to form in the first place. "
And the absence of the father from the child's world has proven to cause problems for the child as he grows up.

So. . .let me get this right. . .rather than go through the bother of conducting a valid investigation and providing appropriate in-home services to the parents, it is best for the child to inhibit this bond with his parents by excluding them from his world. Shuffle the child from stranger's home to stranger's home. Expose him to abuse, neglect and abandonment. Put him on drugs when he acts out, dump him on the street when he turns eighteen without a dime, without a job, without the safety net a family affords, and take the babies he makes to repeat the cycle because he's a product of the system and presumed unfit to be a parent.

Yeah, right.

Given the overwhelming recommendations to terminate parental rights based on the lack of the child's bond with the parent, because the "professionals" felt one hour a week was sufficient time to facilitate that bond, removing the child instead of providing in-home services looks remarkably like a set up to fail. After all, these "professionals" are presumed to know what a child needs, and they can't possibly argue they didn't know removing a newborn from his parents would insure the child would not bond with them, could they?

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