2. Place the
investigatory powers with the police.
Police are trained in matters of investigation. It is
the nature of child protection to be accusatory.
Cloaking the investigation under social services and
anonymity does nothing to hide that essential fact. The
behavior that we are discussing is criminal in nature;
therefore police should gather the evidence. Once the
scope of what constitutes child abuse is appropriately
narrow, local police would be the best government agency
to conduct investigations. If the investigation suggests
a crime was committed, the case would then proceed to
court for adjudication.
3. Re-criminalize child abuse and neglect Having already narrowed the scope of child abuse and neglect to serious cases, what remain are cases of assault and serious neglect. That means that the standard would be the same if someone harmed a stranger’s child or her own. Now child abusers are only guaranteed punishment if they harm someone not related to themselves. Most importantly, criminal cases require public records and due process. (Related Information: Model State Legislation -Parental Due Process Act )
4. Repeal mandatory reporting laws that are in effect in all the states. Mandatory reporting laws, designed to encourage those who work with children to report incidents of maltreatment, have had two negative effects.
5. Make child and family services voluntary. Having separated criminal behavior from deficient parenting, we could enable caseworkers to do what they were trained to do and what they do best, i.e., social work. Without the threat of child removal hanging over their heads, parents might more willingly accept services—such as help with parenting skills. Knowing that an agency only provides services, parents might be more receptive to receiving such help. Moreover, these services should be privatized, as private agencies with performance-based contracts tend to work more effectively than state bureaucracies.
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