Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why was this woman even free, much less allowed unsupervised visitation?

The mother of the 8-year-old Idaho boy, who had been missing until he was found dead -- and who has been charged in his death -- had served only 39 days of work release for fracturing the skull of another of her children.

Missing Idaho Boy's Disappearance 'Suspicious,' Police Say

She was still on probation for cracking the other child's skull. He was removed from her custody by the state, but was still permitted unsupervised visitation with Robert. Let me repeat that. This woman was on probation for deliberately slamming her baby's head against something hard enough to fracture the skull, yet she was allowed unsupervised visitation with the now-dead child.

Whoever made that decision ought to face criminal charges for willful endangerment, at least. Or if it was some sort of oversight, the agency that lost track of the fact that this woman, who was clearly a life-threatening danger to children, needs to be held accountable. And whoever let her off with probation and 39 days of work release is on my shit list as well.

And something is amiss with Robert's father. This is the second child of his to be murdered. Another of his sons was stabbed to death by his own mother. This man ought to go out and have himself sterilized before he reproduces with any more of these violent women. And what say did he have in this woman being allowed unsupervised visits after she'd proved herself to be violent toward children?

What the hell went wrong here?


Katie said...

Oh wow. :(

army_wife said...

I read once that 60% of the children in foster care don't actually belong there. I don't know where to find a study reference for that (I read it in a book borrowed from someone else, so I can't look it up unless I find another copy at the library). IF that is true, however, then that adds a new aspect to the problem - not only do child protective agencies overstep their bounds and remove up to 60% of children on false charges, but they blatantly ignore OBVIOUS cases of child endangerment, such as the one you posted on here, and leave children in harm's way.

Why the rush to accuse parents on trumped-up charges on one hand, and on the other hand incompetently ignoring very obvious evidence that a parent is not to be trusted with her childrens' welfare? Can't child protective agencies do ANYTHING right?? What's the matter with them, anyway?

Kathy said...


Probably because we're dealing with different arms of the same system. Take, for example, public school -- it's supposed to be set up so that everyone gets an equal education, but that's not the way it works out -- there are dramatic differences between different schools in the same system, or different systems in the same state, and different states in the same country. Probably the same with social services. On one side, you may have hyper-vigilant people, fueled by stories like this who fear leaving children with normal, loving parents because they might not be as loving as they appear; while on the other side, you have overworked and/or lazy people who can't or won't stay on top of things and let cases fall through the cracks. I remember several years ago reading about a foster mother who horribly abused the children placed in her care. They were supposed to be receiving better care than their own mothers could provide them, but they were given to a "qualified" foster mother who locked them in closets and fed them dog food. The social worker(s) in that case were supposed to have regular check-ups on the children to make sure they were actually okay, but didn't, blaming a huge case-load. Then you have a completely different case, which happened in Texas also many years ago (saw this on 20/20, I think, 10-15 years ago), in which an angry ex-employee filed an anonymous tip against her former boss & his wife, claiming they abused their children. In a "shoot first, ask questions later" scenario, they first took the children into protective custody [sounds so nice, doesn't it? In reality, the policeman dragged the children, kicking and screaming, away from their parents], then investigated. Even though the initial investigation revealed absolutely no evidence of abuse (the worst they wrote was that there were crumbs on the counter!), the children were still kept from their parents while the investigation continued. When it was finally figured out what had happened, the children were returned to their parents, but they were scarred by their experience. The youngest child would hide in the floor-boards of the car when they saw a police car on the road or in a parking lot, because it was the policemen that had taken him away from his mommy.

Sad, sad, sad.

army_wife said...

It IS very sad.

So what you're saying is the wierd disparity in what's going on is probably not happening in the same jurisdictions - one child-welfare department might be overly paranoid, whereas another which has jurisdiction in a different place may be either too overworked or lax in their duties.

It's a shame that there isn't more balance there. I don't know why the overworked departments can't just add more staff - I understand funding issues but if it is needed, it's needed - shouldn't budgets be increased accordingly, and the difference made up however works best for the particular place/situation involved? The lazy ones should be fired and replaced. The overly zealous departments need re-educating and possibly a little "housecleaning". Shouldn't the solutions be somewhat obvious? Why isn't enough being done to prevent tradgedy?

I HATE hearing about all these terrible, PREVENTABLE cases. A precious life lost that could have been saved. It really burns me.

Kathy said...

Yeah, that's my assumption. In the two different cases I mentioned above, one was from Texas and I think the other was from Florida -- completely different states.

As far as why not change? Your solutions are very workable... which is probably why they haven't been implemented {rolls eyes}. That's the problem with bureaucracy -- and one reason why I don't like big government like it is, and why I don't want any increase in government's size, particularly as regards to health care, since that's the topic du jour in our country.

Take the post office -- it's running a big deficit right now, and one of the steps it would like to take is to cut out one of the delivery days. A pretty common-sense approach -- every day they deliver the mail, they have to run the vehicles the same, regardless of how much mail they deliver, or even if the whole mail run is to deliver one piece of junk mail to every third mail-box between the post office and the furthest mail box. So, they want to cut out their lowest-volume day (probably a Tuesday or Wednesday), and save all that money on gas (and possibly salaries, equipment costs, etc.), but they cannot do it without a literal "act of Congress" -- because of the freakin' RED TAPE that they're tied up in.

This is probably the same type of problem that a lot of government agencies face, not just DHS/CPS -- there is so much red tape involved in the hiring and particularly the firing process (making sure you're not going to get sued for discrimination for firing someone, even if that person is lazy and worthless), and so much waste and bloat and money going to certain operations and/or departments, that it's rather like a 400-lb man running a marathon -- so much dead weight that he cannot do it, and certainly not efficiently. The government (in all its branches and ramifications) needs to go on a diet, but instead, it seems to be increasing in size. Sigh...

army_wife said...

Yes, I agree completely. Much rather have LESS government and LESS (or even NO) pork-barrel spending. I doubt it's possible, though, unfortunately. Everything I've seen tells me gov't = waste and rediculousness.

Don't get me wrong, I think we need SOME government. We all need protection from crooks, laws to "remind" people to behave, a national defense, etc. I just agree that our government as it sits now is huge, bloated, and just generally unnecessarily wasteful and greedy (amongst other unpleasant things).

I think members of Congress should be paid on the same scale as military servicemembers with the government reimbursing their travel, etc. the same way. Why should they get any more than any other public servant? For that is what they are. Public servants. And I think they need to be reminded of such. And living on a budget keeps anyone a bit more humble, IMO. :-) Of course, part of it may also be because we are living the realities of life literally fighting for something we believe in.

While our government leaders *are* fighting for our freedom in a different way, I think they tend to lose sight of that amidst all the opportunities for pride, corruption, power (and the abuse thereof), and greed.

Kathy said...

Don't get me wrong, I think we need SOME government.

I'm in a ridiculous conversation right now on another blog, about Obamacare, and I've made a comment about government being too big and taking too much in taxes and taking our freedoms, and the woman made some straw-man argument about me wanting not to have policemen at all or some similar idiotic statement. Can people not realize that one can be anti "police state" without being anti-police, or anti "large government" without advocating for "no government" or anarchy?? Sigh...

You and I are on the same page here, at least. :-) There is a balance between too much government and not enough, and I see us tipping over into the "too much" and I don't like it. Argh.