LynMCo wrote:Hi everyone, looking over the posts and this caught my eye. This was actually covered in my child abuse course in college. I forget the year but, a little girl caught the attention of the authorities due to severe abuse. Up till then the attitude had been, what parents did was their business and people generally looked the other way. This little girl was so bad off, they got involved. However, the agency that handled it was...the S.P.C.A! That's right, it seems in this country we cared about cruelty to animals before we gave any thought to children. Soon after that case came to light, the monstrosity we now know as CPS was born. Of course, it was started for the right reasons but, like we've all learned, grew too big and out of control for anyone's good!
In 1874, Mary Ellen Wilson was indeed saved by the SPCA - from a foster mother.
According to Richard Wexler ["Wounded Innocents"] "The history of child-saving has a text and a subtext: the text written by the child-savers themselves...that the saving is done "in the best interests of the child" that removal from alledgedly abusive and neglectful parents and placement in substitute care is always a happy ending to an unhappy story."
The subtext is entirely another matter: "It is the story of [some] genuine concern for children, mixed with a great deal of racial and religious bigotry, fear and loathing of the poor, and enormous harm done to children in the name of helping them." ......end quote.
Also from this book - historically, but in much more recent times - a redefinition of the term "neglect" has resulted in placing at risk almost any family who is not reasonably well off - but especially those who lack the resources to fight the system by being able to adequately go to law.
"Neglect" - is the catch-all golden term, used and abused in endlessly inventive ways (something even a Mother Theresa would have been found guilty of)........and that, combined with Federal legislation in the 1970's and also in the 1990's has created the Golden Goose the system now uses to squeeze out all the eggs she can lay.
This history is fascinating...and horrifying.
Any of us old enough to remember a childhood even pre-Reagan, can remember a time when kids and parents fussed and mussed, and made mistakes galore - without ever the threat of kidnapping.
Interesting too....if anyone here has ever checked out the Free Range Kids website.......a site devoted to examining the almost hysterical preoccupation with ridiculous infringements on the free ranging of kids to protect them from themselves, supposedly.........I wonder now - did this shift in our society get a huge boost from the terrorism of the REAL bogeyman? CPS.
Richard Wexler wrote an excellent book - 21 years ago.
I wish he'd get around to writing an update...a 2011 version.