Question: please read the following to the end and then write...
Please read the following to the end and then write your own thoughts, reflections on the failure to define abuse and the unequal freedom to free-range parent v.s. the appearance of neglect .
Please connect your claims and ideas to the articles, make connections to the world around you, the news, etc. You are free to share your own thoughts or feelings but please engage with my discussion questions and examples/claims.
In The Case of Gabriel we have the first instance where CPS (Child Protective Services) were put on trial for their own failure to protect a child. The journalist conducts interviews with the major workers involved, the teacher, and others who knew Gabriel. The sense at the end of article is even after this case, it is likely to happen again. Why? Lack of funding, lack of workers, poor metrics for what is safe/unsafe, assumptions about families being rehabilitated etc.
So many things went wrong with this case: the teacher has limitations in intervening with the students, there are assumptions by caseworkers that a child will be better off with their family, we even see a shift in how the mother/a physical abuser is spoken about--(find this in the article-- what is the terminology for her? Why does softening how she is referred to matter?)
To me, all of this language, all of the CPS protocol, misses things many experts are now understanding and claiming about generational abuse. The assumption that any good mother doesn't want to harm her child, leaves out the mother herself being a victim to a trauma-cycle (the cliche: hurting people hurt) that when untreated and unacknowledged can be passed through generations). Saying this does not excuse the mother, but it shows there is language and understanding missing in how we understand the problem. If anything will get better we need to pay attention to how it's being talked about. In my opinion, it is not about finding "bad moms" and locking them up. It's about understanding the social conditions (and conditioning) that make good parenting possible or impossible.
**Note** Yes, for the sake of today's discussion, we are looking at specifically children and parents, and whether or not they can be safe in their home. But in recognizing our (mis)understanding of abuse and simply calling it "anger" or "unfit parenting" by simply putting mothers (and fathers) in jail-- we only separate families with no promise anything will be better. I do think if Gabriel had been removed from the home, he'd be alive today; and that is crucial and worth fighting for. But my argument is there will be other Gabriels--and it is unjust and heartbreaking. We are missing the point somewhere. It makes me curious about the greater history of CPS. We can see there are trends in National idealogy in American family values--80's Regan admin ("the family is number one!") that changed goals for CPS to keep families together! We don't separate families--it sounds good! it sounds wholesome and positive! But we see this thinking has actually led to more children staying in unsafe homes. And CPS is not equipped to handle long-term healing or rehabilitation--they think family is the answer! Also, we can and should note how unsettling it is to think, in Gabriel's case "we do not separate families" but as we know with the immigration detainment centers, America does separate families everyday. We say things as a nation that do not hold up in all of our policies.