Saturday, February 7, 2004

Hola:

That CPS statement about not sleeping with babies really irritates me on a variety of levels.

First, the arrogance of it... industrialized nations -- the US, various European nations, etc. -- are the minority in such separation-based child-rearing practices. The assumption that they know best, despite the common practices of the majority of the entire world, irks me. Especially when it concerns such natural, common sense things.

Throughout the world, sleeping with infants and young children is common practice. Just as long term nursing is. The World Health Organization recommends nursing for at least two years, and the WHO, anthropogists and other researchers clearly demonstrate through their work that nursing into the fourth year is common practice.

Yet, in the warped world of CPS, a mother nursing naturally in relation to established world-wide norms can find herself defending against abuse charges.

The vast majority of children are NOT removed from their parents for sexual or serious physical abuse.

The fate of children is often determined by a caseworker -- frequently narrowly educated, with little life experience or understanding of broader cultural mores -- who uses what is called risk assessment.

Risk assessment is a series of theoretical models and paradigms used to determine the degree to which a child is likely to be abused or neglected at some undefined point in the future.

In other words, a child can be removed without actual neglect or abuse taking place, but merely on the suspicion that it could happen at some time in the future.

In addition to these rather abstract standards, caseworkers are encouraged to develop and work by their instincts and 'gut feelings'.

I think it interesting to point out here that calls to psychic hotlines were among the 9 million dollars worth of questionable and illegal expenses charged to the taxpayers by foster care agencies in LA.

The result of these processes, which are not uniform in nature or practice, are arbitrary removals of children.

While one investigator may see a mother without a crib as failing to provide, and thus guilty of neglect, another may see a loving and natural parent.

Economic class comes into play here. If an investigator walks into a middle-class home with no crib, she is much more likely to believe the explanations of a mother practicing natural parenting.

Upon entering the home of a poor woman, she will likely assume that it is poverty, as obviously the poor are ignorant (too ignorant to live or parent properly) and undeserving and she'll be doing society a favor in removing that child sooner than later.

And, perhaps then she'll deliver the child to the waiting arms of an infertile, middle-class -- thus much more deserving -- couple. Many such couples are turning to child welfare agencies to avoid the inconvenience of the long waits invloved with obtaining a child through standard adoption agencies.

Or perhaps the child will be delivered to a couple pushed into the middle class by the monthly per child money they receive.

The vast majority of children in the CPS system are taken from poor people, who lack the financial resourses to fight.

CPS making their negative position known about co-sleeping demonstrates the potential for this to be a factor in a decision making process that is already severely flawed, opening one more area of parental care to the unjustified harrassment for which they are becoming notorious.

Siempre en Paz...

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