Two parents in Maryland were recently written up by the local department of social services. These parents allowed their children to walk home from a park without adult supervision. The agency subsequently ruled that this was “unsubstantiated” neglect on their part.
The ruling was not merely meaninglessly vague. It was also intrusive. The parents were well within their rights to decide whether their school-age children should walk home unsupervised.
But the governmental shame doesn’t end there. I have done family law as an attorney for well over twenty years. And I have seen time and again that governmental social service agencies do little more than interfere with people. They do not help them. Their involvement has more to do with the exercise of governmental power than anything else. Families in need receive far more assistance from private agencies such as the Salvation Army.
Even when caseworkers are diligent and conscientious, decisions affecting families are made over their heads by supervisors. And these decisions are based almost exclusively on budgetary and political considerations. The department will do what’s good for the department.
Either help people or leave them alone.