Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Worst thing that ever happened"

Baby taken by child welfare agency at birth alleging mom had drugs in system at birth, and the agency refuses to return the child even after learning Mom's positive drug test result was in error. Oh, let's not forget, the baby had no drugs in her system at birth, either. How do you spell O-V-E-R-Z-E-A-L-O-U-S?

Taking a newborn baby (or any child) without conducting an investigation, without providing--or even considering--services designed to keep the child safely in the home pursuant to statutory reasonable efforts mandates, based solely on an unsupported hot-line call by a rabid child-saver collaborator is simply business as usual in our society. I call it "where there's smoke, there's fire knee-jerk syndrome." Except that often what the reporter sees isn't even smoke, it's only steam from a boiling pot of water, or dust stirred up from shaking a throw rug.

Mandated reporters have become expert at interpreting the most benign and innocuous events into life-and-death situations in order to have children seized and warehoused in stranger foster care.

Do you doubt these facts? Read the Complaint for yourself. It is a recitation of error after error committed by the agency in its rush to snatch a marketable baby to feed the voracious baby mill under the righteous guise of protecting children. Oh. . .and let's assume Mom refused to consent to drug testing. It's mandatory to consent, she refuses, they refuse to admit her for her childbirth. They then report her for medical neglect for leaving the hospital to have her baby. What a set-up.

One problem I see is that the child is not named as a plaintiff. She has the greatest claim to violations of her fundamental rights to family association. She has the right to the same protections as her parents, including a competent and ethical investigation, and the presumption that her parents are fit. She had the right to bond with her parents from birth--the most critical bonding time, which was stolen from her. She has the right to competent representation from her attorney, who won't rubber stamp agency actions at her expense. Her right were violated to a far greater degree than her parents's rights were.

The parents and attorneys are seeking some reform,

"I'm hoping that they'll either change their policies so it doesn't happen to another family, or they'll investigate it better before they take babies from their homes," said Ms. Mort, 21, joined by lawyers, her fiance Alex Rodriguez, 23, and 6-month-old Isabella Rodriguez at the American Civil Liberties Union's Oakland office. Read more:
Changing policies won't prevent this from happening again to anyone else, or to this family in the future. Even if they win, these parents will lose. Nothing will change. Past lawsuits haven't prevented this from happening to this family.

YAWN. . .This story is nothing all that outrageous, or unusual. I've seen this same scenario over and over, thousands upon thousands of times since 1991. You'd think, after nearly twenty years, the so-called experts would get it right.

Since they haven't gotten it right yet, one can only conclude they aren't intended to "get it right." Certainly, the courts aren't enforcing the law, or the rights of the children and parents. Attorneys representing parents and attorneys aren't even demanding the agency get it right. So, is it any wonder the child welfare agencies are more rabid, more overzealous, more wrong than they were twenty years ago?

Getting it wrong has been institutionalized. Lots of luck with the lawsuit. . .the statutory immunity enjoyed by the agency, the workers and the hospital will make this an uphill battle. As for this suit being a catalyst for changes in policy or practice. . .dream on.