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October 02, 2008

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It's also hard to see how a law that allows parents to simply abandon not just infants, but teenagers, at a police station, can possibly be a good idea

How could it be a worse idea than having children stay one moment more than necessary in homes where the only thing motivating the provision of any support whatsoever is fear of criminal prosecution?

There's a word for teenagers growing up in homes like that, "runaways".

Oh, the stories I could tell from when my wife did her rotation as a public defender in the Juvenile unit.

[shudder]

Basic case:

[prosecution testimony]
Judge to mother: You've heard the evidence against your son. Anything to say?
Mother: He's broken. You take him and you fix him.
Judge: Where he's going, he ain't getting any better. You sure you don't want to try again a little harder?
Mother: [on cell phone]

Juvie goes a long way to explaining alcohol use among court staff and lawyers.

It's heartbreaking both to think that there are adults who are so damaged that they care that little--or at least, are that incapable of translating their care into action--for their own children, and (even more so) to think of how it must feel to be those children.

"Juvie goes a long way to explaining alcohol use among court staff and lawyers."
That is a cheap shot Francis. The fact that it is true, only makes it cheaper.

As weird as these examples are, it has been going on for a long time. Usually they have DCF take their kids. Better the state does something with these teens then their asshole parents.

I am 100% in favor of a law allowing parents to abandon teenagers at the police station. I have a special expertise here- I was the abused teenage child of well-meaning but clueless parents who came close to killing me. If they'd had the option of dropping me off at the station, it would have been so much better.

Most people think child abuse results from malice. Sometimes it does, but that's rare. Usually it results from unrealistic expectations (such as expecting an infant not to cry, or expecting a two-year-old to remember detailed instructions). My parents expected me to function as an adult when I was 9 years old. Any shortcomings must be due to moral evil, to be corrected by serious beatings. (And my parents were not dummies in the ordinary sense- my father had a PhD from Stanford, my mother a master's from San Francisco State.)

Let the parents do the drop off, and then deploy social workers to determine which families are lethal and beyond fixing, and which can be fixed with counseling and parenting classes.

For bitchphd- in many cases, it's not that abusive parents do not care. It's that they are out of touch with the realistic. My parents cared intensely. They just had no idea what a child is (and is not) capable of.

"It's also hard to see how a law that allows parents to simply abandon not just infants, but teenagers, at a police station, can possibly be a good idea -- at least if the system for dealing with abused and neglected kids is at all functional."

Been following it for a while, and the law was written to not have an explicit cutoff but it was assumed to be young children (they were thinking if we make it 5 weeks and a parent comes in at 6 we shouldn't say no).

I have mixed feelings. If your dad really wants to drop you off at 12 you are probably better off (with the understanding that the range we are starting from is really really low).

As a former foster parent, I know for a fact that most children in the system hang on to the fact that Mommy or Daddy promises to take them home someday. I know it's hard to imagine but I think it would be better to just surrender them so those children make better goals for themselves. They need to see the truth, which is they need to be prepared for the real world because 90% of the time, Mom and Dad won't ever change and they feel constant rejection over and over again.

Ronald Reagan's early movie career was made in movies like "Hell's Kitchen".

Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall's, too. The Dead End Kids.

Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy in "Boy's Town".

Cagney and Pat O'Brian and those Dead-End kids again.

Our world is being remade in the image of the 1930s.

Poverty and privation end up as cheap morality tales ----- what America loves.

There will be more of this.

Sorry to be so flip in my earlier comment. As a former juvenile law attorney, I can see both sides of the issue because I represented both sides of the issue.

I have seen children taken from their parents who I believed should not have been, and I have seen children given back to there parents when I thought it was unwise.

This law may shock some people but in practice, I don't think it matters much. It creates an easier middle man, the hospital, as opposed to the Department of Children and Families. The hospital will just call DCF.

I had a client once who wanted to give DCF custody of her 15 year old runaway gang banging son to "the system" and the AAG objected. "Liability issues your honor." The judge ruled in our favor.

Tammy, if the percentage was 65% instead of 90%, would your opinion change?

gocart mozart, I love the name.

How do we arrive at a conclusion other than that life is a pointless exercise? Except, maybe someday there will be a kid with a better answer. However, s/he might have to get knocked around a bit to remember it. Though, hopefully, not so much that they would rather keep it to themselves.

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