Michael Farris, Child Abuse Denialism, and the Christian Homeschool Movement

In 2002 Stephen Baskerville wrote “The Truth about Child Abuse,” in which he claimed that judges and courts grant women access to no-fault divorce in an effort to remove fathers from the home and thereby create situations where child abuse is more likely to occur in order to make work for government bureaucracy. In 2004, Baskerville wrote “Could Your Children Be Given To “Gay” Parents?in which he argued that the government uses child abuse as a pretense to take children from loving heterosexual families and bestow them on gay couples. After being hired as a professor by Patrick Henry College in 2007, Baskerville delivered Patrick Henry College’s 2013 Faith & Reason lecture, in which he argued that child abuse is a trumped up pretext women use to remove children’s fathers from their lives.

What I want to know is this: to what extent does Michael Farris, who founded both Patrick Henry College and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), share Baskerville’s ideas about—and his denial of—child abuse? If you think about it, if Farris shares Baskerville’s view that biological fathers married to children’s mothers do not commit child abuse, or that children in married families are not at risk of child abuse, or that child protective services should automatically be assumed to be wrong (as a result of being either overzealous or corrupt), it could help explain some of his actions and comments. (We do know that Farris shares Baskerville’s opposition to no-fault divorce.)

Baskerville is certainly not the only child abuse denialist in the Christian homeschool world, and Farris’s past words and actions suggest that, like Baskerville and a number of other prominent Christian homeschool leaders, Farris too is a child abuse denialist. First, I want to be clear about what I mean by “child abuse denialist.” I’m not using the term to refer to someone who believes child abuse never happens. In fact, you can claim to abhor child abuse and still be a child abuse denialist. Here is how I would define the term:

Child Abuse Denialist: Someone who believes  at least one of the following:

  1. That child abuse is something that only happens in other families, and not in families in your own group (whether religious, social, or other).
  2. That the vast majority of child abuse reports are fake, trumped up by exes, relatives, friends, and neighbors acting out of malicious motives.
  3. That most families who are prosecuted for child abuse are actually being prosecuted for frivolous reasons, such as simple spanking, homeschooling, or not letting their kids watch TV.
  4. That beating a child with a rod or other implement so as to cause bruising, welts, or swelling is not child abuse provided it is done calmly and in order to discipline a child.
  5. That child protective services is a corrupt racket, and that social workers go out of their way to tear apart perfectly healthy families, whether for money or out of anti-Christian bias.

With definitions out of the way, let’s turn first to Mary Pride. In 1986, Mary Pride, the pioneering homeschool mother who started the quiverfull movement with her book The Way Home: Beyond Feminism, Back To Reality, wrote a book called The Child Abuse Industry: Outrageous Facts About Child Abuse & Everyday Rebellions Against a System that Threatens Every North American Family. Allow me to quote from a review of Pride’s book:

In 1985, over one million North American families were falsely accused of child abuse. Mary Pride claims that bureaucrats have actually maneuvered themselves into a position of having the power to take all the children in the family, without having evidence and without any appeal. North America has become anti-family. Even social workers have become the enemy rather than the supporters of the family unit. Pride wonders whether there is anything in the current anti-.family climate that would stop a social worker from lying in order to yank a child away from his natural parents – all “in the best interests of the child”?

Today’s family appears to be without civil rights, as far as child abuse is concerned. Pride questions the charge that child abuse has dramatically risen in recent years. She says, “It came as a great relief to me personally to find there is much, much less abuse in America than we have been told. The reason? .A great, glaring gap between what you and I mean when we talk about abuse and what the ‘experts’ mean. You and I think of bloodied children, battered children, raped children. The ‘experts’ think of parents who scold and withhold TV-watching privileges. Abuse, you see, is undefined by law.”

Mrs. Pride attributes the current anti-family mood to the spiritual change America has undergone. Once it was governed by laws based on an absolute; we are now governed by the dictates of special interests fads of the elite.

To be honest, this sounds very familiar (or even identical) to much of what Baskerville has asserted. For Mary Pride, child protective services exists not to safeguard the wellbeing of children but rather to destroy families. (By the way, Michael Farris is a big fan of Mary Pride and has wrote a forward to her 2004 Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling.)

Doug Philips, speaking at a men’s leadership homeschooling conference in 2009 (a conference co-sponsored by HSLDA, I might add), went so far as to call for the complete abolition of child protective services:

If the Bible is our standard, dear friends, then we reject, at least principally . . . we understand that the core problem with Child Protective Services is its existence.

“Okay, Phillips! Phillips, what in the world are you talking about? This is nutty, Phillips! What do you mean?”

Here’s what I mean.

The Bible establishes the government to bear the sword against evildoers, and it gives us principles for prosecuting criminal behavior. Criminal behavior should be prosecuted. Child Protective Services is based on quasi-criminal understanding, namely, “You’re not guilty of anything criminal, but we are going to claim the right to have jurisdiction over you to regulate you and possibly take away your children.” The state has no biblical authority to do that. It is unbiblical. It is unjust. It is wrong. And at the end of the day, the problem isn’t simply Child Protective Services to get better; it is eliminating it altogether. And you know what? The children of America would be safer.

The children of America will be safer if we have strong church.

The children would be safer if we taught our fathers to be more responsible.

The children would be safer if we didn’t develop a nanny-state philosophy that taught us that someone else will be acting on behalf of the parents watching out for the children.

Philips argued that children should be protected by their parents (especially their fathers) and by the church, not by child protective services, which he claims is bestowed with extra-legal power.

And here is where we turn back to Michael Farris, because I am reminded of a novel he wrote (yes, Michael Farris wrote a novel—actually, he wrote two that I’ve read, and who knows, he may have written more). I purchased Farris’ novel while at Patrick Henry College one summer during high school, and I read it eagerly. Here is a brief description:

Anonymous Tip is a novel that reveals a Child Protective Services system driven by jealousy, ambition, and drift toward ever-greater intrusion in the lives of families. Gwen and Casey rely on faith in the face of false accusations by a faceless accuser.

I’m trying to remember what all happens and I should probably try to see if I can find the book at my parents’ house and snag it for rereading, but I definitely remember the conniving social workers. Farris includes conversations among social workers as they work consciously to concoct reasons to keep Gwen’s daughter in foster care even though they know that Gwen is in no way abusive. Here are some excerpts from Amazon reviews:

This book alerts people to the army of ‘social workers’ that are out there, who look at themselves as ‘child advocates’ rather than family advocates, and does a great job of explaining who these people are, and how they look at traditional, loving, family, primarily how they look at families that properly discipline (i.e., spank) their kids. For me, it was nothing new, I went to college with these types of (future) social workers, partied with them, and fully learned what they think of traditional families.

From reading the book, one learns right away that social workers are required to respond to anyone with a complaint, even if anonymous – and they will show up at your door to check your kid out. So if someone doesn’t like you, maybe a co-worker (or an ex), you are always at risk of a ‘visit’ and if they see marks, or if you (or your kid) admits punishments of anything more than a timeout, you could be toast. So it’s always in one’s interest to lie to these people if you do spank, for example, and it’s a good idea to teach your kid the same (we basically told our kid that if he talked about our at-home disciple, he’d get a new pair of parents – worked like a charm). Another critical thing to keep in mind, if visited, is the need to immediately get a pediatrician’s exam showing that the kid has no marks (if that is indeed the case, if not…you’re on your own). Parents are also warned that school teachers are required, by law, to report any ‘incorrect parenting’ to the authorities…something that I suspect most parents don’t know.

Having read many articles by Michael Farris I was anxious to read this novel. I was NOT in the least bit disappointed. This is a gripping tale that keeps you bound until the end. I highly recommended that you read it and pass it on and tell that person to pass it on as well. People need to be informed about how the government and it’s agencies can turn situations around to their benefit. Michael Farris’s work as a lawyer who is trying to protect the traditional family has surely put him in many similar circumstances as those portrayed in “Anonymus Tip”. This tells me that this book is an acurate portrayal of what’s really going on. I’m looking forward to reading his next work.

“Anonymous Tip” blends many subjects into an intriguing and compelling story line that will keep you tied to this book until you finish it. A single mother is anonymously accused of abusing her daughter by spanking her. The tip leads to an investigation by child welfare workers who intrude into the home and strip search the little girl as her mother protests.

The mother’s protests ‘antagonize’ the workers who scheme to build a case to remove the child from her mom. A number of sub-plots are woven into the story including a Christian lawyer with strong convictions, the need for accountability among friends, fraudulent fund raising efforts, concerns over divorced Christians, and a love story.

The story is captivating and one comes away with a strong sense of concern about the ability of the state to come between loving parents and their children. Further, the book leaves the reader with a good feeling as all the subplots are tied together.

I hadn’t thought about this book in a while, but honestly, more than anything else this book seems to me to say something about how Michael Farris views child protective services. It also helps explain why Farris works against child abuse reporting and advocates stonewalling child abuse investigations.

Note also that HSLDA’s membership manual states that:

HSLDA believes child abuse is a terrible crime and that true abusers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, about 60% of abuse and neglect reports are deemed unfounded upon investigation.

Why exactly does HSLDA find the need to follow up its condemnation of child abuse with the word “however”? Is it really not enough to simply condemn child abuse without the caveat? Note also the use of the phrase “true abusers.” Why should you need to qualify the word “abusers”? Remember that child abuse denialism does not mean saying that abuse never happens. It shouldn’t be surprising that the use of the term “true abusers” is frequently sign of child abuse denialism.

So what exactly does Michael Farris actually believe about child abuse, and about child protective services? Does he believe that child abuse doesn’t happen in good married Christian homeschooling families? Does he take child abuse allegations seriously, or does he believe that the majority child abuse allegations are fakes made up by conniving and manipulative relatives or neighbors? Does he believe that most child abuse investigations and prosecutions involve frivolous issues that are not actually abuse? Does he operate on the assumption that child protective services is a racket out to take children, especially the children of Christian parents (and hand them off to gay parents, perhaps)? And why exactly is child abuse denialism so deeply embedded in the Christian homeschooling movement anyway?

Farris is the head of the Home School Legal Defense Association, which not only gives legal advice to homeschooling parents facing allegations of child abuse but also engages in lobbying and legal cases designed to narrow the definition of child abuse and limit the ability of child protective services to do its job. If Farris thinks that child abuse doesn’t happen in married households, and that child abuse allegations regarding such families are almost certainly fake, his actions will get in the way of very real abused children getting help. If Farris thinks that child protective services is a racket that should be put out of business, his actions will  work against the safety and well being of any abused child.

Given that Farris is using homeschoolers’ money to fund his actions and advocacy (including the money my parents have been sending him for the past twenty years, I might add), I’d suggest that those homeschoolers have a right to know what he actually thinks about child abuse and child protective services. If they are supporting a child abuse denialist, as I suspect they are, they need to know that. 

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Complaining that social workers advocate for children rather than “families”. They are upset that no one is taking the abusers fee-fees into account. Yeah, screw these guys.

    • Rosa

      THE FAMILY HAS NO CIVIL RIGHTS.

      That’s right. People have civil rights.

      • centaurie

        Something that’s always annoyed me about the parent’s right crowd: How can you say that the family is more/the only important unit in society, and individuals (esp.those of women and children that are not in the interests of the patriarch) do not deserve rights? If there weren’t any individuals, you wouldn’t have any families either!

      • Trollface McGee

        Because it’s all about the right of the male owner to control his female property and the products of his ejaculation.

      • Richter_DL

        The collectivisation of children under their parents’ authority (or their adoptive parents’ authority, in case said parents are heterosexual white Christian Americans) is always fascinating. But then again, those are the people who shout “Land of the Free” and want the Antebellum back. Where America was a slaver nation. So much for Land of the Free.

        Freedom means Imprisonment. Love means hate. Peace means war. Why does this seem familiar. Double-Plus-Good, Conservative America!

      • centaurie

        But then again, those are the people who shout “Land of the Free” and want the Antebellum back. Where America was a slaver nation. So much for Land of the Free.

        I read somewhere once that a British writer – G.K. Chesterton, I think- once came to visit/for business the US in pre-Civil War time, and that when he got of the boat, the first person he talked to was a slave, later writing in his diary “…and this in the Land of the Free”. The disconnect they displayed at that time (and sometimes even now!) is astonishing…

      • Alex Harman

        It couldn’t have been Chesterton, he was born in 1874. Dickens, maybe?

      • centaurie

        Possible.. you can certainly find that same sentiment in one of Dickens’ books, American Notes, so now I’m totally unsure of who it was and where I heard it…:-)

    • smrnda

      Sometimes children need an advocate since parents aren’t necessarily loving or competent; sometimes they are just insecure control freaks trying to get an ego boost out beating babies.

    • Trollface McGee

      Exactly. Rights are individual – Their model of “family” rights takes away rights and it turns children into the property of their parents – which gives me some hope that if any legislature were to be evil enough to pass this parental rights crap that it could easily be overturned on Constitutional grounds.

  • Angela

    Wow, where to even start? For one thing child abuse/neglect is absolutely criminal behavior and clearly outlined by the law. CPS cannot remove children from a home unless these laws have been broken (which do not include spanking or TV deprivation).

    Then I have to wonder what he feels is driving this apparent zeal to break up families unnecessarily. Social workers don’t get any kind of kickback or reward for removing kids from the home. Instead they get a lot of work added to their already heavy caseload. It’s a lot of expense for the government with no perceived benefit. Does he imagine that every CPS worker is just a sadist who rips children away from their guiltless parents for the sheer pleasure of it? There really is no explanation that makes any sense at all.

    • http://atheistlutheran.blogspot.com/ MargueriteF

      “Then I have to wonder what he feels is driving this apparent zeal to break up families unnecessarily. Social workers don’t get any kind of kickback or reward for removing kids from the home. Instead they get a lot of work added to their already heavy caseload. It’s a lot of expense for the government with no perceived benefit. Does he imagine that every CPS worker is just a sadist who rips children away from their guiltless parents for the sheer pleasure of it?”

      I would guess he feels that the supposedly overreaching, liberal government is out to break up Christian families and re-educate their kids in less fundamentalist homes. This seems like a fairly typical conservative Christian/Tea Party belief.

      • Angela

        And yet, only a minority of CPS cases come from fundamentalist homes. The majority of CPS workers likely identify as Christians. Plus Michael seems to have no concept at all of how CPS actually operates. If he was really so concerned why has he never bothered to actually investigate things? It really makes no sense whatsoever.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      Actually, the way a fair number of fundamentalist parents “spank” their kids? With implements such as belts and wooden spoons, leaving bruises and cuts? Yeah, that’s child abuse and yeah, CPS should and will respond to that sort of thing. That’s not spanking, that’s beating. Farris is trying to do the Michael Pearl thing of saying that’s ‘discipline’, not abuse, but he’s just flat-out wrong.

      • Brightie

        I’ve had a wooden spoon and a belt used on me… strap end, not buckle. The belt stung more, but neither of them were swung hard enough to leave bruises. I rarely remember getting more than three hits. And I knew what the justification was for using implements: parents didn’t want their hand-touch to be affiliated with getting punished.

      • attackfish

        Which is bullcrap logic. Using an implement doesn’t keep a kid from associating the person using it with pain.

      • Brightie

        At the least, it meant Mom didn’t equal pain unless the correct
        implement was in her hand and we knew we’d done something recently that
        she considered a punishable offense.

      • attackfish

        This most likely wasn’t because of an implement used, but because as you said, it happened rarely. *shrug*

      • Lyric

        As a child who was largely psychologically abused, with occasional bouts of intensely frightening physical violence, I think that part of the essence of abuse is the unpredictability of the whole thing. One day, a smart remark means you’re a precocious child, but later in the afternoon, you get stripped naked and hit for something milder. You knew that Mom didn’t equal pain because she was consistent, and you knew exactly what did equal pain.

      • attackfish

        This is also very true, although consistency doesn’t make it not abuse. Look at the Pearls.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        I consider that abusive, though very minorly so, and I doubt CPS would remove a child for such minor abuse. They might, however, force the parents to take a parenting class on why you shouldn’t hit your kids and other methods of discipline/parenting that don’t involve violence.

        And did the justification work? Children aren’t stupid- they know the parent hit them. They know the hands that held the implements are their parents’ hands.

      • Brightie

        I guess I have trouble thinking in terms of that being abuse when I still like my parents and want respect from them, and when I know people who’ve had it a lot worse.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Oh yeah, and I wouldn’t say you should hate your parents, either! I got spanked with hands a few times as a kid- I was very young and barely remember it, and while I don’t consider that to be a valid parenting response, I certainly respect and love my parents a lot.

        One can point to something one’s parents did and say “that is not a valid parenting technique, it’s an abusive one, and you shouldn’t do that” without being an abused child. I certainly am not trying to put a victim label on you!

      • Alix

        Also, there really is a fine line between acceptable discipline and abuse, at least if one considers an occasional spanking acceptable. Even techniques that don’t involve physical contact, like time-outs, can become abusive.

      • The_L1985

        There is no Oppression Olympics. Just because other people had it worse, doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to think, “This thing that happened to me was pretty bad.”

        My father “only” spanked me with an open hand. But that doesn’t change the fact that I was spanked for failure to do things that weren’t quite developmentally appropriate (like spilling juice as a 5-year-old, or just plain taking longer than average to develop bladder control). And I think that was wrong. You’re allowed to think that being hit with a spoon was bad, too.

      • Alix

        …You have no idea how long it took me to get that. Abuse left visible marks! Just having a nasty, bullying, demeaning father who never saw me as good enough couldn’t be abuse, it left no bruises!

        You know what changed that? One of the mandatory health classes in high school played yet another cheesy, poorly-acted educational video on abuse – only this one focused on verbal and other forms of “invisible” abuse. And even then it still took me years to admit that the glaring parallels to my own family weren’t coincidence.

        Someone pointed out once that the only people who win the Oppression Olympics are abusers, because they can always point to someone worse as evidence that what they do is okay.

      • redlemon

        I once told my therapist that, while other people often said that I was abused (emotionally), I could never admit or say that I was abused because there were no marks physically.

        My therapist asked me what I thought my parents did. I just answered that it was like they neglected me. My therapist looked at me and said, “Neglect is abuse. It’s on the opposite side of the coin from visible abuses, but they’re both on the abuse coin”.

      • Fanraeth

        I too was punished with wooden instruments and belts, but I bruised. All it taught me was I couldn’t trust my parents and I should lie to keep from being hit again.

  • Kit

    Ok, something that really, really frustrates me about the child abuse denialism rhetoric is the repeated assertion that x% of child abuse allegations are unfounded. Some of them are, absolutely, but for a number of those cases, there just isn’t enough evidence to prosecute, so charges aren’t laid. Moreover, at least in my jurisdiction, the acts that govern our version of child protective services states outright in its preamble that taking children away is the last thing social workers are to do – they are FIRST to try to create a better environment for the child by working with the families themselves (for example, requiring mandatory parenting classes or instituting what’s called a “home alone” provision, which means an abuser parent cannot be home alone with the child). Only when this fails (or is impossible), do they consider taking a child away. In these circumstances, the homeschooling rhetoric actually encourages social workers TO take away children, because the parents are not encouraged to be cooperative.

    Anyway, my point is – lack of prosecution doesn’t mean nothing’s happening. Lack of prosecution just means that either the social worker used her discretion to find the abuse not at a severe enough level to prosecute, or that there isn’t enough evidence for a court case. In some cases, that means there was no abuse – in many cases, it’s just lack of evidence.

    • Conuly

      I don’t know where you are, but here, if they have to take the kid away they try whenever possible to place them with another family member, “kinship care”.

      • Kit

        Here who the child goes to depends on the best interests of the child. However, ties to the original family can be considered quite persuasive in some cases, with the idea that the child can still get to know their biological parents without being endangered. In some cases, however, non-family members have been considered better for the child, particularly where the child has bonded with a particular caregiver, such as a long-term babysitter – and also, in some cases a clean break from the original parents are preferred.

        It really depends on the circumstances of each case.

    • ZeldasCrown

      Always with this 60-2/3%. Shouldn’t that tell all these folks that “malicious anonymous tips” aren’t being prosecuted (at least not all the time)? Doesn’t that indicate that a majority of cases result in nothing? I guess it also depends upon whether “unfounded” means that nothing happened at all, or that there wasn’t prosecution, but perhaps other steps were taken (such as the parenting classes mentioned above)-in other words, what percentage of the time does “substantiated”=prosecution.

      • ZeldasCrown

        Just to add, it would seem to me that the people we keep hearing about are under the impression that substantiated means “take kids away forever and throw the parents in jail”. I’m of the opinion that it actually means “some action is taken (depending upon the severity and specific situation), but generally the kids aren’t taken away permanently”.

      • Christyinlosangeles

        That’s exactly what substantiated means. Sometimes it means that kids are put into protective custody, but sometimes it just means parenting or anger management classes or something.

      • Angela

        Even if this statistic is true that means that a full 1/3 of investigations find proof of abuse, which is still quite a few kids. Also the fact that CPS supposedly does nothing 2/3 of the time doesn’t exactly support the image of child snatchers who are trying to break up as many families as they can.

      • Amtep

        Yeah… it raises the quesion: how many reports *should* be substantiated? What’s a good number, here? If it were 90% they would be crying that CPS always overreacts and finds fault where there isn’t any. If it were 10% they would be crying that CPS spends all its time investigating false accusations and bothering honest families. Apparently it’s 30% and they see something wrong with that, but what would they like the number to be?

    • Angela

      And even most allegations are unfounded, so what? I have known people who were targeted by irate exes or family members with false allegations. I’ve also known others where a legitimate concern turned out to have perfectly reasonable explanations. In each and every case there was a home study which found nothing and that was the extent of it. Not a big deal.

    • Rosa

      there’s also the basic fact that allegations being found to be unsupported means the powers of CPS are NOT unilateral or without legal process or evidence rules.

    • Trollface McGee

      It’s the same as rape denialists. The fact that any one person (man) is falsely accused (which means that they were vindicated by the courts or had the charges dropped so the system worked) is more important than children dying or abuse being woefully under-reported and under-prosecuted.

  • Mel

    *So damn pissed I can barely type*

    As a teacher who is a mandated reporter, I am not required to report “incorrect parenting”. I am required to report suspected abuse (physical, emotional or medical) and/or neglect. Here are some examples:

    (Triggers for physical and sexual abuse)
    * I sent in a report on a little girl from a summer camp who was visibly malnourished, woke up screaming in the middle of night every night, wet her bed repeatedly but was too afraid to tell the counselors when it happened, showed signs of an UTI and would become terrified before taking a shower at night. At the end of the week, she trusted us enough to disclose the physical and sexual abuse that was happening at the hands of her BIOLOGICAL parents. She was 8 years old.

    *I saw a grown man pick up a 10-ish year old boy and throw him down from above the man’s head onto the ground and walk away as the child writhed in pain on the ground.

    *A teenage student started wearing heavy sweaters in the middle warm spring weather and was sitting gingerly in her desk. Her grandmother was beating her with a leather belt and her fists until the girl was bleeding all over her back, side and legs.

    * Some pre-school kids at my apartment complex were being locked outside on the balcony in a Michigan winter – snowy, 20 degrees F – wearing indoor clothing and no shoes, gloves or hat. I called the police directly on that one then followed up with CPS.

    Honestly, I think spanking is an ineffective form of discipline. I have no grounds, though, to report that in my state. Bluntly, if you’re not using piping supply line or a belt, I am unlikely to notice anything. I can, and will, report you in a second if you are leaving marks that can be seen, though. I do this because it’s the moral thing to do and because I don’t want to lose my licence because you are an idiot.

    • Angela

      This is heartbreaking. I hope those kids got the help they needed.

      • Mel

        I know that the report for the little girl was substantiated. That’s the information that mandated reporters get in that county. (Actually, that’s more info than I get in my home county.)

        I have no idea about the boy. It happened in a park and I’m not sure the police were able to track the family down.

        The teenage student worked with the cops to collect enough information – including pictures of her cuts and bruises – to convict her grandmother. She’s doing quite well and receiving therapy.

        The police came several times for the kids locked on an icy balcony. I don’t know the eventual outcome – the kids might have been removed or the family might have fled.

    • attackfish

      This is why as someone who believes that homeschool is sometimes the best option for some kids, I am convinced that along with far educational stricter standards than most US states currently apply, any homeschooling child should have frequent, legally required time spent with a mandatory reporter. Reading this made me feel sick, and I am so glad you were able to witness and report this abuse.

      • smrnda

        That sounds very reasonable – it’s one thing to want to educate your own kids, but quite another to want to isolate your kids, especially when isolating kids ends up being far more important to some parents than teaching them anything.

  • Sally

    “Michael Farris’s work as a lawyer who is trying to protect the traditional family has surely put him in many similar circumstances as those portrayed in “Anonym[o]us Tip”. This tells me that this book is an ac[c]urate portrayal of what’s really going on.”
    This is a really scary assumption. Because Michael Farris writes legislation against child abuse protections and heads an organization which is supposed to *defend homeschoolers’ rights to homeschool,* his novel is assumed to be accurate? Why? The reviewer doesn’t even claim that he claims to have any special experience that informs his storyline. She just grants him that knowledge because his work “has surely put him in many similar circumstances as those portrayed.”
    Really? Does Michael Farris himself claim his novel is reflective of many similar circumstances he’s aware of? Or does he just write the novel and let the readers make those assumptions.

    • smrnda

      I think novels are not a very good mean of examining social problems. They might be an okay starting point (think “The Jungle”) but writers are writing stories, and often are writing propaganda. If you want to understand social problems, look at some real studies and real statistics.

      • Sally

        Yes, if you want to examine social problems honestly. If you want to spread misinformation as a writer or you’re drawn to conspiracy theories as a reader, novels are a perfect way to “examine” social problems. :)

      • rtanen

        Novels are great as sympathy-inducing tools when accompanied by non-fiction sources. Get attention with the novel, then show up with your citations.

      • Alix

        Novels are also a great place to play what-if games. Like, what if the Religious Right got the world they wanted?

      • The_L1985

        Oh, you mean A Handmaid’s Tale, The Blue Pimpernel, or the Nine Inch Nails album Year Zero? :)

  • http://aztecqueen2000.blogspot.com/ AztecQueen2000

    Until recently, I was a homeschool parent. And, thanks to an acrimonious separation from my abusive husband, I found myself on the receiving end of an ACS investigation.
    Yes, my first reaction was bewilderment. However, because I do not abuse my children, *I had nothing to hide!* So, I cooperated. I let the kids speak to the social workers and told my kids to let the social workers check them “like the doctor does” (i.e., strip search.). They found nothing, so no action was taken. A month later, my file was closed.
    BTW, ACS had no problem with homeschooling, as long as I showed documentation to prove that I was in compliance with state law.
    Michael Farris weaves enough truth into his fear-mongering to make it sound legit. Yes, anyone can call in a complaint. Yes, it is frequently used as a retaliatory tactic, especially in divorce. Yes, ACS must investigate every claim, even the anonymous ones. However, they have the training and the experience to know when there is a false alarm. And, in most cases, they will not remove the children.

    • Sally

      “Michael Farris weaves enough truth into his fear-mongering to make it sound legit. ”
      You know, I wonder if the new Common Core adopted by most states has any goals related to teaching all kids the basics of logic. I think every high school kid should have a semester of logic, including recognizing logic fallacies. It could be a really fun class with mock debates where kids intentionally use a variety of logical arguments, some fallacious, and the other kids compete to see who can spot which.
      That wouldn’t help the homeschoolers whose parents are afraid of Common Core and who don’t even think about logic (except to use it fallaciously). But I think for the rest of society, it would be a huge advantage. Might be more valuable to the general population than that 2nd year of Algebra (if one had to choose).

      • Sally

        Well, to answer my own question, it looks like Common Core includes logic, but I’m not sure it’s taught systematically. In other words, some of the goals quoted in this blog post http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/09/common_core_standards_flunk_logic_101.html
        call on the students to employ logic, but unless it’s taught formally and systematically, imo, that can just become something where a teacher notes whether or not kids write good papers or speeches with assertions backed with facts. That’s not the same as training students to recognize fallacious arguments of others, which is really the goal I have in mind that I think is neglected but so valuable.
        Whether Common Core does a better job than I can tell from this post, well, I’m too lazy right now to read enough of it to find out.

  • tyler

    my parents wound up being investigated by social services once, after my brother made an (entirely innocent) comment about having to sleep in the shed.

    one short home visit later and we’re still one big happy family, case closed. it’s almost as if cps is more interested in investigating actual child abuse than in stealing children from healthy families.

    • Hilary

      My mother had someone call and anonymously accuse my father of sexually molesting me as a baby. I was about 6ish when that happened, and it is just barely on the edge of my memory talking to someone about my knees and hands being scraped up – and explaining in detail jumping off a swing at the top of the arc and landing badly. It was so obvious that my brother and I had never been abused that nothing happened. Then there was the time my brother called 911 to report my dad for child abuse, because he wouldn’t let my then 4 year old brother stay up past 10 pm to watch Dr. Who (this was the old Dr in the 80′s). My brother got a nice talking tofrom a police man about when you should call 911 and when you shouldn’t. That’s it. End of story. Those people know what real child abuse looks like, what adults making false accusations to score points looks like, and what healthy kids getting scrapped up on the playground looks like. Farris is abusing the fears of adults to control and manipulate, gaslighting and poisening the well.

    • Gillianren

      My best friend’s older half-sister called CPS on my best friend’s parents back in the ’80s, because she resented that her father spent more time with his new family than with her. (He and my best friend were living in Hawaii at the time, and his other daughter and ex-wife lived in Ohio. I think she did this while staying with him for the summer.) They were investigated. It was touchy, because there was some . . . alternate sexuality going on in the household, so they had to be careful. Seems CPS, at least in the ’80s in Hawaii, was happier if everyone was in a traditional, for preference Christian, family. (Her mom wouldn’t have gotten custody during the divorce if the fact that she was in a relationship with a woman had come up during the hearing.) Of course, they also weren’t abusing my best friend, either physically or sexually, so nothing came of it.

    • Nancy Claver Witherell

      Well count your lucky stars. I am happy that you didn’t have a bad experience. With all of the turnover, there are bound to be a few ok workers – they don’t last long or they become jaded – but there are bound to be a handful of new hires – or perhaps the family wasn’t in the target population – they prefer families who have no resources and single parents…..

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I haven’t finished the post yet, but I wanted to chime in that this thing with CPS that most homeschooler’s have, seems like a classic case of projection to me.

    They would like nothing more than to pull the children of families who don’t agree with them, and indoctrinate them into their worldview, so OF COURSE, everyone else wants to do the same.

    • Hilary

      Good point, I hadn’t thought of that.

  • attackfish

    And here is where we turn back to Michael Farris, because I am reminded of a novel he wrote (yes, Michael Farris wrote a novel—actually, he wrote two that I’ve read, and who knows, he may have written more)

    Honest to God, the thought of him writing fiction makes me want to cry.

    It kills me that he thinks CPS is responding to child abuse cases to give themselves something to do given the critical overwork and underfunding CPS employees deal with in the US.

    Also, if, as Farris states, CPS deems 60% of abuse and neglect reports unfounded upon investigation (and I note he uses passive voice to disguise who is doing the deeming) wouldn’t that mean that maybe, just maybe, CPS is careful to make sure they don’t take children away from non-abusive homes due to a false accusation?

    • TLC

      Oh, Michael Farris is writing all kinds of fiction, but only two of the pieces were actually called “novels”. The rest are called “articles” but unfortunately, many accept this type of fiction as fact.

      • Richter_DL

        WCMRs tend to accept Tom Clancy novels as textbooks on international relations, too.

      • attackfish

        Oh dear, sweet Lord.

  • Gillianren

    Okay, so the “correct” option is for the churches to take in these kids, if they’re “really” being abused. Let’s think about that for a minute.

    The church I went to was big enough to hold at least probably three or four hundred people, though I’ll confess I don’t remember exactly. (Just how insanely crowded it always was for midnight mass at Christmas!) The congregation was big enough so that there were seven Sunday masses, I think. (Well, six on Sunday and one Saturday evening that did the Sunday liturgy!) It wasn’t full for all those masses, most notably the 6:30 AM one, but even that one had a couple of dozen regulars. So figure the congregation was several thousand people, especially since they added more services for Christmas and Easter in order to make room for everyone.

    Where was the church going to put these kids if their only solution was removing them from the household? Oh, I suppose the answer these people would give is “that’s never the only solution,” but in the Real World, we know that’s not true. I mean, let’s say my mother had been abusing us, and nothing made her stop. Who else was supposed to be taking care of us? Single-parent household! Which, if you believe these morons, is always abusive. So, what, should they have replaced the grotto with a dormitory? Put us on cots in the community center? Made the classrooms of the school across the street dual purpose–Catholic school during the day and home for abused children at night? And that’s not getting into “how would they have fed the kids?” and “what would they have worn?”

    • TLC

      We all know the great job the Catholic church has done protecting children.

      • Gillianren

        In some places, yes, they have. In others, they have horrifically not. I’m not Catholic anymore–haven’t been for twenty years–but I’m still awfully tired of the default “they’re all molesters!” The system protected the molesters, and it shouldn’t have, and that needs to be fixed. But I’ve told the story about the priest who was better to my sister in a time of crisis than our mother had been before.

      • Richter_DL

        Molesting is not the whole story. Their treatment of orphans and “fallen women” was just as appaling. And the nuns and priests and laymen who abused them in all ways possible were protected by the same system.

        That’s not to say they’re universally evil, but their track record as an organization is rather bad. Individual priests may well be better than that.

  • Legally Kidnapped

    I don’t believe for a minute that Michael Farris or Stephen Baskerville is denying anything except for the extreme one sided arguments of the anti abuse profiteers or the feminists who will mislabel any form of poverty or non conventional parenting as abuse simply to get the upper hand in custody battles or for personal gain. You can support or deny these people’s motives all you want, that’s not the point. The point is that aprox 85% of the calls to the child abuse hotline nationwide are determined to be either unfounded or do not rise to a level where an investigation would be warranted and the fact of the matter is that with such a high number of false or unwarranted reports more children will continue to fall through the cracks while social workers, (be they corrupt or not) are off chasing shadows and are harassing imperfect parents.

    Also, contrary to popular belief, Social Workers do lie, mandated reporters are often simply clueless and self-righteous hypocrites and there is harm caused when when false or inaccurate accusations are made. For example, God only knows how many innocent men have had their reputations and any chance at a relationship with their children destroyed based on false accusations of sexual abuse. Innocent teachers both male and female have had careers destroyed. But according to people like you, “it’s better to be safe than sorry right?”

    • Rosa

      Please link to stories about innocent teachers with their lives destroyed by allegations later found to be baseless. Please?

      Because googling “sexual abuse cover up at school” or “sexual abuse cover up at church” brings up pages and pages and pages of children’s lives destroyed by people who thought it was more important to protect the reputations and careers of abusers than to do something about it. Public schools, private schools, entire church systems like Sovereign Grace, the Boy Scouts “pervert files”. And of course every single abuser who was a teacher, pastor, or volunteer was also a member of a family. There is no institution in our culture that has not at some point harbored abusers. So yes, “Better safe than sorry” – every one of those allegations should be investigated.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        I never said “cover-up”

        and you’re googling the wrong keywords. https://www.google.com/search?q=teacher+found+not+guilty&oq=teacher+found+not+guilty&aqs=chrome..69i57.11135j0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

      • Rosa

        those are all people who were found innocent in court, which means they were publicly vindicated. That’s how the system works – should we never prosecute anyone because sometimes they are innocent?

        now, about all the abusers not charged until they had victimized tens or hundreds of children – how is that acceptable?

      • Rosa

        cover up means “known about and not prosecuted”. It’s the opposite of your assertion that tons of innocent people have their lives ruined on just an assertion.

        Your link shows a bunch of people who were innocent and for whom the justice system eventually worked. It’s an unfortunately slow and difficult process, just like it is for anyone accused of a crime – but there’s a process, and as best as we can manage, justice is eventually served. Unlike the cases that are handled quietly within the church or hushed up to protect the family.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        or the cases that are gagged due to CPS confidentiality rules.

      • Richter_DL

        Or maybe by FEMA, covering up their concentration camps for TRUE WHITE AMERICAN MALES to initiate the UN’s takeover of America!

      • Trollface McGee

        It was Chemtrails in the library with the Illuminati candlestick

      • Richter_DL

        And the Pope? Or is Franciscus one of the Lizardmen?!

      • Trollface McGee

        Definitely Lizardman material, that’s why they have the Popemobile, to keep the flies out so we don’t get suspicious.

      • Lyric

        . . . are you actually going through and flagging random posts on this thread? Or is that happening for some other reason?

      • Alix

        …I was just wondering that myself. Generally, if a comment winds up awaiting moderation, I at least have some clue why.

    • Lyric

      Investigations happen so that false reports can be dismissed. If the system was out of control, as you seem to believe, far more reports would be substantiated, or children would be taken into custody at the first anonymous phone call rather than having a social worker do a detailed check, documenting everything they find.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        Lyric and attackfish: in a perfect world I would agree with you totally.

        But… since it doesn’t really work that way I will continue to work hard to raise awareness about HOW BAD THE SYSTEM REALLY IS while people like you blindly support those who are pulling the wool over your eyes. And when you sit there glorifying these CPS workers as the unconditional angels of mercy as you all seem to do so carefully, you fail to mention or realize that kids are even more likely to be harmed, physically, sexually and mentally while in foster care. So the solution which you praise so highly is often more detrimental to the child -in many cases not all – than leaving them in a so called abusive home. I am also not saying that we should be leaving severely or sexually abused children to the mercy of their abusers. I simply argued that the high number of false accusations or unwarranted reports takes crucial time away from a child who is really in harms way while people like you will point fingers at the agencies for not doing enough.

        The fact of the matter is that foster kids are more likely to be heavily medicated than are non foster kids. They are more likely to experience multiple placements, homelessness, un-employment, teen pregnancy, incarceration, drug abuse, and are much less likely to graduate from high-school or go to college than are kids in similar situations who are instead left in their own homes. IN fact, the educational disadvantage alone, due to being bounced from home to home or school to school, that these kids face will put them at a major disadvantage for the rest of their lives. So while it could be argued that the system is well intentioned, in practice it fails miserably.

        Of course I’m the bad guy for being critical of a system that fails the victims of abuse who it claims to help and love so much, but at least I can sleep at night knowing that I did something good.

      • attackfish

        I don’t know where you seem to be getting the idea that we believe CPS workers are all infallible angels. They are human, and overworked and underpaid. Some of them are as criminally neglectful as the parents they should be removing children from. Some of them are paragons of human kindness. Do some of them lie? Neglect to follow up on reports? falsify paperwork to make it look like they made a home visit when they didn’t? Of course. Does his mean many or most do? No. Does this mean that the well meaning ones never make mistakes? or allow their bigotry to get in the way of their good judgement? Absolutely no, and I could tell you some stories about that. Does this mean the system has no need for reform or improvement, no. But not following up on reports of abuse is not an improvement, and definitely not the answer, and neither is leaving a child in an abusive environment.

        CPS often fails, and sometimes, when they fail, children die. CPS has far too few resources, employees, and people willing to take in children to do the job we ask of it, and this shows where our priorities as a society really are. The answer is enabling CPS to function as it is needed to function by better funding it, and not by depowering it further.

        Yes, children in foster care are more likely to be medicated. Do you know why? Abused and neglected children often have behavioral problems stemming from the abuse. Or they have parents with mental illnesses that have a genetic component that contributed to their inability to care for their children. Also, disabled children, including children with mental illness, are much more likely to be abused, and abused children with mental illness often don’t get adequate medicine until they’re in foster care. The first of these, I will grant you, is often a mishandling. In a foster care system strapped for resources, many abuse and neglect victims do not get adequate therapy and support and are instead medicated to control their behavior. This also happens frequently in poorer families, where a teacher or parent is unable to manage a child’s difficult behavior, and medicaid and/or the school system is more willing to engage in a medical intervention than a psychological one. And yes, I am very angry that as a society we have made medical intervention the only choice for poor children who might be better served with other care. However, it doesn’t mean those children would be better served by leaving them in an abusive or neglectful home.

        As for false reports, I would love to hear your solution for that. Any system that allows reporting allows for false reports, and any way to limit false reports also serves to limit accurate reports.

      • Lyric

        Ah, you made the point about medication better than I did. Thank you.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        I have to disagree with you on 2 points here. First of all in most states, CPS has more than enough funding. Much of that money is fraudulently misspent or poorly allocated.
        For example, the State of Maine, which has been recognized as a national model child welfare system did so by providing services to the kids and the parents while in the home. They were able to cut the number of foster kids in the state in half over a 10 year period by becoming leaders in family preservation and kinship care placements. Such services included anything from food stamps and daycare to housing, drug treatment, parenting classes and counseling. This was done without compromising the safety of children. Meanwhile other states are taking kids, placing the cute little ones in foster homes and the older ones in juvenile detention facilities or group homes at a much higher cost. The group home that my step son was kept in costed the state $280 a day for that one kid, and that was 10 years ago. (I had nothing to do with his removal btw and am raising 3 happy healthy daughters of my own with no CPS involvement :).

        Most states have not adopted this model and Maine has also lost track of this under the current governor who happens to be great at messing with things he does not understand. The reason that most states will not focus on family preservation rather than the take the child and run policy is because of the money. The foster care system provides tons of work for lawyers, shrinks, adoption and foster care agencies, targeted case management services, transportation providers, etc. It’s good for the economy.

        Family preservation services have proven to be much cheaper than removing the kids and keeping them in care. Of course they also only come when the allegations are investigated, but it’s better for the kid. So that point is moot to argue against.

        The second point is that when a foster child is labeled as special needs or diagnosed with any mental disorders, CPS is able to tap into much larger funding streams that are not available to kids who have not been diagnosed. Therefore a foster kid with the same symptoms or behaviors as a non foster kid will be more likely to receive services be they necessary or not. Some kids are angry or sad because of the situation rather than any biological mental health condition and are medicated to treat those symptoms. I am not saying that CPS does it for the money either or that there are not kids who need mental health services. However there are plenty of service providers out there who work by contract with CPS who do though and as soon as any kid is taken into care about 25+ people get work/contracted/paid out of the deal. CPS simply pays and there are people who know it. Some are honest some are not.

        Also, I gotta ask, where do you get that I said that allegations of abuse should not be investigated? I never said that at all. Once again, what I did say was that false or unwarranted reports take time from the kids who need it. So please explain how throwing more money on that fire will help rather than fuel it?

      • attackfish

        All of the people you mentioned as profiting from the CPS system either don’t really profit from it, or are profiting from it only nominally. Most lawyers, for example, involved in CPS are either legal aid, working for significantly below market value salaries, or doing pro bono work. Social work usually requires a degree, and is poorly paid, and so is very often a labor of love. Adoption agencies work primarily with relinquished children, and their highest profits come from children relinquished at birth, which has nothing to do with CPS or foster children at all. I have been to private companies that provide foster care. The money they receive is barely enough to pay for the care of the children they took care of. Most have other services, such as a day care center, to make ends meet. CPS is anything but profitable, and I would love to know who determined that CPS is overfunded.

        As for disabled children, I think we may be arguing past each other. As I said, the structure as it is now supports medical interventions over psychological care, and that this is a travesty. However, it is also true that a disproportionate number of disabled children find themselves in need of foster care. Also a travesty is the for-profit prison system, both for adults and juveniles. They need to be done away with imediately. You will not get any argument from me there.

        The vast majority of any state’s CPS interventions involve either in home solutions, such as parenting classes, regular home studies, helping parents get access to benefits that better enable them to take care of their children, or kinship care, in which a child is placed with a family member such as a grandparent or an aunt or uncle. Putting a kid in foster care is, as you note, expensive, and there is always limited room available. Saying that CPS should do in home interventions to decrease fostering is great on paper, but they’re already doing it. Keep in mind, CPS is only one (per state) governmental body involved in welfare. If a state doesn’t have other adequate welfare institutions, the ability of CPS to help parents get the necessary resources to support their children is hamstringed. Almost everyone who comments on this blog is extremely in support of enabling loving parents with few resources to care for their children and keep their families together. We argue this whether the family is a single mother with her children, a single father with his, a married couple going through financial difficulties, or any other group of individuals who love each other and are dedicated to raising their children. This is in fact a supremely feminist issue, seeing as poverty disproportionately affects women and female-headed households, and how fears of poverty and inadequate resources have frequently been used to coerce women and girls into giving wanted children up for adoption.

        However, Farris, Baskerville and the people like them who we are criticizing in this blog post are not pro-welfare to help parents support and keep their children. They are advocates of limited government, and no social welfare programs, no food stamps, no WIC, no help. They believe that a woman should never be able to divorce her husband against his will, and that having a father in the home magically makes everything better. The men you claimed surely couldn’t be denying real abuse in fact have a long history of it. Farris has called people who kept disabled children in cages heroes. Baskerville has claimed that single motherhood leads to abuse, and having a father around prevents it. Married (straight, Christian) families are in his eyes never abusive. These are the people you were defending and we are against. If you are pro the solutions you say you are, then please know these men are not your allies.

      • David S.

        It’s a pretty standard story; any organization that someone doesn’t like, they describe as overfunded and wasteful of money. In most cases, once you break down the costs, it turns out they’re doing pretty good with their money. Moreover I wouldn’t expect all 50 US CPS systems, under different governments and different managements, to be all alike in handling their money. Some states give more, some states less; some managers rubberstamp expense reports, some anally pour over every line.

      • Richter_DL

        And again, you offer claims and no sources.

      • Lyric

        And when you sit there glorifying these CPS workers as the unconditional angels of mercy as you all seem to do so carefully

        Who’s glorifying? The point of my comment was that they’re accountable to other people. They document everything they do. CPS is well aware that its workers are only human, so they build in systems for other people to check their work. Where the system malfunctions, it’s usually because it’s underfunded and overworked, not because anybody think it’s staffed by angelic beings.

      • unhappygrammy

        Who are you kidding? They are accountable to no-one and even admit OUR Government gave them the power to do whatever they want. (The words of a former NH DCYF worker).

      • Lyric

        Cite please.

      • Richter_DL

        Got more than empty claims to back this up?

      • unhappygrammy

        Would you like the former caseworker’s name in NH? By the way, after her statement was overheard by staff, she suddenly was gone.
        Plenty of Proven claims in NH. Google them.

      • Lyric

        Wait, you’re trying to tell us that someone said, “I’m accountable to no-one,” and got instantly taken off the case—and you think this proves your point?

      • Richter_DL

        Links to trustworthy sources – better than your hearsay – would be a beginning. No, I will not google them. You make the claim, you bring the evidence. I’m not going to do your work for you.

      • unhappygrammy

        I have in my possession hundreds of documents of proof. Some are posted on the Internet. The NH Legislature and the Center for Redress of Grievances hold all my paperwork and the paperwork of many other’s in NH alone proving my point. I’m done arguing with you people. You won’t listen until it happens to you or your family member’s. The best of luck to all of you.

      • Richter_DL

        If they are posted on the internet youc an provide links?

      • unhappygrammy

        http://centerforredress.com/

        This is just one link. There are many more. I’ve also posted a few on my blog.

      • Richter_DL

        If there are so many, why not … post them?

        And oh, it’s a for-profit scheme. How trustworthy.

      • Lyric

        Oh, and this:

        The fact of the matter is that foster kids are more likely to be heavily medicated than are non foster kids.

        You offer no citation, but assuming your figures are accurate, this does not mean that foster care causes children to need medication. It might mean that the children in question come from families with a history of mental illness; it might mean that children with disabilities are taken into foster care more often, possibly because of parental rejection or burnout, possibly because the school-based caretakers of severely handicapped children are in a position to see damage that regular ed teachers never know about—there are lots of possible reasons for this correlation. Additionally, anything bad enough to get a child removed from xir family altogether, rather than being placed with a grandparent or some other near relative, may cause PTSD and anxiety disorders. Medication shouldn’t be the sole treatment for these conditions, but it surely does help a person through a rough patch.

      • Alix

        …I really love the assumption that medication = bad and scary. >.>

        Edit: not in what you say, but in the comment you’re replying to.

      • Richter_DL

        Scientology would agree!

      • The_L1985

        Scientology is all sorts of fucked-up to begin with.

        Never follow a religion by an author of fiction, especially one who is on the record as having said that the best way to con people out of their money is to start a new religion.

      • Richter_DL

        I couldn’t agree more.

      • Richter_DL

        FOX News strategy. Tell a lie, repeat it again and again, until people think it’s true because they heared it before. That’s what American conservatives’ arguments are like. Lies, retold over and over again until they themselves believe them.

      • attackfish

        Actually, I’m pretty sure that LK is right about more kids in foster care being on medication for mental illness. I studied the phenomenon in college. However, the reason for that isn’t that foster kids are being drugged to the gills because reasons! As I said in my comment to LK, it’s because for several reasons, disabled and mentally ill kids are disproportionately likely to end up in foster care

        However, you’re right about one thing, LK loves hir unsubstantiated statements. Been throwing around a whole lot of them.

      • Richter_DL

        Ah, so it’s a case of correlation is not causality, then. The more subtle kind.

        “People who die in airplane crashes are disproportionally often businessmen. Going into business means you will die in an airplane crash!”

      • attackfish

        Exactly. This is the second time in a week things I’ve read here have tempted me to rent a plane with a banner saying “Don’t bring the statistics until you know what they mean!”

      • Richter_DL

        Nobody glorigfies CPS workers as angels. Just, they are not vilified as you would see them. But it’s the “if they are not with me they are my enemy” kind of binary logic again. Which, outside the brainwashed Taliban culture you seem to originate from, isn’t really convincing.

    • attackfish

      Who do you think determines false accusations are false? CPS! Again with the passive voice being used to disguise this. It’s almost like CPS would rather be safe, i.e. check out a report of abuse, than sorry, i.e. tear a kid out of a happy home, or risk leaving a kid in an abusive home. That’s why it’s called an investigation.

    • smrnda

      You may be referring to the “Satanic Abuse Panic” of the 80s, which was mostly instigated by conservative Christians who were freaking out that kids were being put in day care instead of being cared for by a stay at home mom.

      If that’s the case, then the people responsible for the “Ritual Satanic Abuse” nonsense and people like the HSLDA are pretty much on the same page.

    • Gail

      “feminists who will mislabel any form of poverty or non conventional parenting as abuse”

      I don’t really know what you’re talking about here. Since when do feminists mislabel poverty as abuse? Most feminist stuff I read talks about how many single mothers there are out there struggling to make ends meet, and how there should be more resources to help them. I’ve never seen any feminist writing criticize parenting in poverty; rather, it usually acknowledges how hard the parents are fighting for their children and points out ways to help them. And as far as non-conventional parenting goes, feminists usually praise more involvement from male parents, as well as acknowledging that lesbians can be great parents–both of those could be considered non-conventional parenting methods.

      Could you provide examples of what exactly you are talking about?

      • Legally Kidnapped

        The rest of the statement that you took out of context should explain it.

      • Lyric

        Sorry, I still need clarification.

      • Gail

        Considering you don’t mention feminists anywhere else in the comment, I don’t think looking to the context really explains anything.

        And can I just say, even if your 85% claim were true, if you were one of the 15% of cases who actually was an abused child, I think you’d probably be going for the “better safe than sorry” attitude too, especially since the other 85% of claims weren’t actually prosecuted. I think of it as part of the social contract. Does anyone like being investigated on possible criminal charges? No, because it’s obviously disruptive to our lives and yes, sometimes our social standing. But most of us have nothing to hide and put up with it, because it’s more important that an abused child is helped. For every criminal caught, how many other possible suspects do you think were investigated? That’s really the only way the system can work, and if it saves even a very small amount of helpless children, then it is totally worth it to me.

        P.S. The whole time I was typing that, I kept thinking of examples of all the suspicions brought against pretty much everyone in the whole town on Broadchurch (has the finale aired in the US yet?).

  • smrnda

    This is what I don’t get – if there was some vast conspiracy to take kids away from their families (headed by good Christian heterosexual white men, of course) why would the conviction rate be so low? If 60% of ‘alleged’ cases aren’t substantiated, that’s a pretty shitty conspiracy they have going there. If they get people to invent charges to ‘persecute’ traditional families, why wouldn’t they go ahead and falsify evidence and all that? I mean, if this is a vast conspiracy I think the conviction rate would be higher, or else this is a pretty lousy conspiracy.

    Also, in terms of reports being substantiated, I’d rather that CPS investigates all complaints and then finds out rather than just sitting on their asses.

    And if this conspiracy is driven by $$$, it does not pay very well to work in CPS anywhere.

    • Legally Kidnapped

      smmda: No I was not referring to the Satanic Abuse Panic of the 80′s but you do bring up a good point. That has not actually gone away per say, just shifted in focus.

      So many people fail to realize that the words “child abuse” and “neglect” have become so generic that the grandmother who slapped a 17 year old in the face for telling her to go **** herself is put into the same boat as the sicko who raped and beat the infant to within an inch of her live. This is not a one size fits all issue.

      As for your Christian Conspiracy theory, there is a good example going on right now in Oklahoma/South Carolina…

      http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/04/christian-evangelical-adoption-liberia

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/13/baby-veronica-christian-evangelicals_n_3916683.html

      http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-09-12/national/41994614_1_indian-child-welfare-act-baby-veronica-adoptive

      • Alix

        …are you seriously trying to say that it should be okay for a grown woman to slap a child across the face?

      • Legally Kidnapped

        Alix,

        My first question: If your 17 year old son/daughter told your mother to go fuck herself, and your mother responded by slapping him/her across the face, I suppose you’d have your mother arrested for domestic violence and child abuse?

        This is of course assuming that your mother is a good person like mine. I could be wrong in that assumption.

        2nd question: How would you compare that to a child molester?

      • Alix

        Slapping someone is never an appropriate response to someone simply saying something. Never. That you seem to think it is is alarming.

        Does it require a call to CPS? Not necessarily. Is it inappropriate? Absolutely.

        Abuse isn’t all or nothing. I was emotionally and verbally abused by my father. That was still abuse, even though he never sexually abused me and only very rarely physically hurt me. Just because it’s not as bad as raping or murdering a child doesn’t mean it’s still not bad.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        So I suppose the kid’s who shot up Columbine should be treated with a hug?

      • smrnda

        Telling your mom to f herself != shooting up a school.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        perhaps according to Alix

      • Alix

        Yes, according to me. Telling someone to go fuck themselves is nowhere near the same as actual murder. Seriously, what the hell?

      • Legally Kidnapped

        but a slap in the face is as bad as molesting a child?

      • Alix

        For the last fucking time, they are both bad. That does not make them equally bad, but it also doesn’t make assaulting someone for saying something you don’t like any form of acceptable.

        These things operate on a continuum. It’s not a simple black-and-white “if it’s not as horrible as rape it’s not abuse” thing.

        Are you really saying assaulting someone because they said something crude is okay?

      • Guest

        CPS is taking children away and scaring parents for life with trumpt up accusations when in reality it was something like a slap in the face. Then the child gets taken away into a system that is 10 x higher levels of abuse. If it were me as a teenager knowing the truth that cps is that dangerous and would have ruined my life, starved poss raped in the system, drugged on psych meds to cope ILL TAKE THE SLAP IN THE FACE!!! Personally I agree with you that assault is never a good choice and advocate against it but CPS needs stop putting everything into one bucket so they can always take the child. I think that’s part of the point this LK is trying to make. Get educated dhhs is tricking America. Cps is hostile, violent, hate families they are the a users. Look up corrupt cps on youtube, kids by the thousands dying in state care. I ll take the slap learn my lesson, cps stay away from my parents and me. Cps actions are always more severe than the accurance in 80 percent of there cases, they go into hysteria frenzy.

      • Alix

        Got any proof for any of that?

        Also, frankly, I’d rather CPS investigate those slaps in the face (also known as “assault”) than ignore cases of abuse until children actually die. I’d rather CPS exist to side with the children than it not exist and we just trust families to all be awesome.

      • The_L1985

        1. Citation seriously fucking needed.

        2. Faces have sensitive and delicate parts in them, like eyes, noses, and jaws. All of these things can be damaged by a slap hard enough in the wrong place. Also, faces are right in front of the BRAIN. There is a reason that when people or animals are cringing in terror, they have their heads down and their faces COVERED. I’d rather have been hit anywhere else on my body with a LEAD PIPE than have gotten any of the bare-handed slaps to my face that I actually got. It would have been less humiliating and less traumatizing.

        Because a slap in the FACE is pretty fucking traumatizing. Just ask the bottle of Effexor I currently need in order to stop panicking so I can function like a normal human being.

        3. CPS does in fact have responses other than “arrest the parents and take the kids away” to various situations.

      • Alix

        (The_L1985 – I’m building on your point 2, so you might not want to read this right now. I hope you’re okay.)

        4. A slap in the face is also psychological harm, even if it’s not physical harm. It indicates the person being slapped is of lesser status. In our culture, it’s an insult, a humiliation, an act of disdain and disgust. At one point in the not-too-distant past, it would be grounds for a duel, if the person being slapped had the status to demand one.

        Someone slapping a person across the face reveals a lot about themselves, and none of it is pleasant.

      • The_L1985

        I survived. My fiance is helping build me back up to thriving. He’s a truly wonderful man, and he and his family are wonderful folks. Plus, there are online support communities for people from dysfunctional families, and those help too. :) Also, as I pointed out, I’m receiving medical and psychological help.

        But yeah, I’m okay as long as I don’t think about it for too long. As a teenager, I went back and forth between wanting to beat my parents up and wanting to run away. I viewed My Side of the Mountain and An American Boy’s Handy Book as instruction manuals. I wanted to live in the woods a couple miles from our home at the time, like Thoreau at Walden Pond, just not having to have anything to do with parents or school or society in general for a while. I even squirreled away my favorite steak knife for a few months, because while I didn’t have much experience with outdoorsy stuff, I knew you needed a knife to do pretty much anything.

      • Alix

        …Heh. I still want to run away from society and go be a hermit, but that’s a desire that never developed for me until after I broke away from Asshole Dad and has a lot more to do with my introversion, my fascination with experimental archaeology/prehistoric tech, and my religion than anything else. When I was still stuck at home, I wanted to escape to college or overseas, and being impossible to find that way.

        I’m glad you’re away and that you’ve got help. Also, your fiance sounds awesome, and I’m glad you found him.

      • Lyric

        I know of one case in which the child was removed from the home. One. Among other things going on in that household, the father may be forcing the mother into prostitution—hard to say, since she won’t testify against him.

        And the baby isn’t going into foster care. She’s probably going to go to the aunt. (Who I know, and she’s a highly responsible person—but I can’t say I’m crazy about having the baby within easy driving distance of either her father or a mother who still thinks the father can be reformed if she just tries hard enough and fulfills every sexual demand he makes.)

        In most cases, CPS shows up, CPS goes away, and nothing happens.

        In other words, CITATION NEEDED.

      • Richter_DL

        Uhm … and what about the kids dying in family care? Or the kids traded illegally on youtube because their families didn’t want them anymore? All is well in family-land?

        Also, Youtube. When FOX News is too reliable a source.

        Hello to another conservative troll zombie. Are you born, or are you some kind of Stepford Christian robot?

      • Richter_DL

        Again, burglary without rape and/or gruesome murder is not a crime, yes/no?

      • smrnda

        Are you suggesting that Alix is wrong, and that they are both equally bad? That sounds absurd.

      • Alix

        E’s trying to persuade me that a grandma assaulting her grandkid for saying “fuck you” is not a bad thing, apparently.

      • The_L1985

        Indeed. After all, there are other ways to punish without hitting people.

      • Alix

        I keep pointing out it’s assault for a reason. They’re trying to ignore that by calling it “just” a slap, but it’s assault. Assault is illegal. As plenty of others have pointed out, if I hauled off and struck an adult across the face, I could be facing jail time.

        So why is it okay to slap a mouthy kid?

        Oh, right, ’cause that’s how superiors treat their lessers, in fundie-land.

      • Trollface McGee

        Exactly. Any offensive contact is an assault technically. If I’m annoying you and I poke you in the shoulder – technically that’s an assault.
        Now, will they get jail time? There would have to be some really egregious circumstances or a long record of prior assaults or violent crimes, otherwise no, but it’s still an assault.

      • Alix

        …Frankly, I think more people ought to face jail time for hitting their dependents. Maybe that’s just me.

        …I’m sorry, I still can’t get over the fact that a slap across the face is not minor. Not really. Sure, it’s not as bad as rape. But it’s not only possible to seriously hurt someone that way, it’s a major personal-space violation and a huge humiliating insult. Not least because any bruises left are very visible.

        There isn’t really a clearer way to say you (general “you”) consider someone your despised inferior than slapping them across the face. Especially just for saying something you don’t like. That slap says you think you’re so far above them that they must treat you like gold.

        …It occurs to me that the same people who insist slapping kids for being rude to Grandma is okay would (rightfully) be outraged if someone slapped them. One more sign they don’t consider minors real people.

        (I should note I’m not disagreeing with your comment. I just … feel the need to vent, apparently.)

      • Trollface McGee

        I understand. However, with how the criminal system is – and with jurors and judges who think like our little MRA friend, it can be hard to get a jail sentence – especially for a grandmother. A conviction or just the assault charge is still not a bad thing – is puts the person on notice, and it makes it more likely that they’ll face more serious consequences if they do it again and it may be a way for a court to order some sort of counselling of family intervention or for CPS to get involved.

      • Alix

        Yeah. I think one thing that gets underestimated in talks about CPS is the deterrent effect it has. I seriously think that if someone had called the cops on Dad, for example, even though nothing would likely have come of it, it would’ve scared him off of the more obvious physical abuse he pulled on my siblings. (…To this day, I have no idea why I never called the cops on him myself until he tried to actually murder my brother. One would think I would’ve seen the necessity of it sooner. >.>)

        …Then again, sometimes I think it’s the deterrent effect anti-CPS folks really hate. They want to hit their kids with impunity, without having to look over their shoulders constantly worrying if someone’s noticed.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Okay, minor technicality, here.

        Assault is putting someone in fear of physical harm.

        Battery is actual, unwanted physical contact (i.e. a slap to the face, striking with a rod, etc.)

        BOTH are crimes, and cases of battery usually do go hand in hand with assault because (duh) being hit makes you fear being harmed, or harmed further.

      • Trollface McGee

        Another (really minor) technicality :)
        Civil law has assault as a reasonable threat of unwanted physical contact and battery as the unwanted physical contact. Criminal law has assault as unwanted physical contact typically requiring some sort of, however minor, physical injury.

      • Richter_DL

        He’s trying the FOX News strategy. It’s the only thing he knows from within the conservative bubble whose talking points he repeats like a well-trained parrot.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Considering that there is no evidence either was abused at home- one was likely clinically sociopathic and the other was a marginalized, bullied, rather stupid teenager who glommed onto the charismatic boy who said he was special- I don’t know why you brought up Columbine at all.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        simply trying to understand the thought process is all.

      • Alix

        …really. You’re doing a bang-up job of showing good faith.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        What thought process? The one that says all violence against children is wrong, but obviously using more violence is more wrong?

      • Beroli

        Not responding to anything the other person says but beating up constantly on funny-looking strawmen is an odd sign of a sincere desire to understand the other person’s thought process.

        Or more briefly: Bullshit.

      • Trollface McGee

        Unlike your thought process which is – parents have a right to beat their kids but not to sexually molest them because.. Columbine?

      • Richter_DL

        Sure you are.

      • http://somaticstrength.wordpress.com/ Toranse

        My father and brother fucked me repeatedly. That doesn’t diminish the physical abuse and my mother’s mental abuse. And putting things in categories of “this is really bad so this isn’t” is ridiculous and tells me you know nothing about the nature of abuse at all. You’re not defending the magnitude of the kind of abuse I went through, you’re just using one abuse to justify downplaying another.

      • attackfish

        It’s the new Godwining.

      • Alix

        …I’m sitting here rather aghast at the notion that being less compassionate towards kids would somehow make them less criminal. The Columbine shooters needed help – though as you point out, the help needed would’ve differed between them – not to be further victimized by their families.

      • Hilary

        Can I keep hitting up votes for awhile?

      • Richter_DL

        It’s a cheap talking point. Think of it as a mini-Hitler.

      • Alix

        So, wait, speech = actual physical violence now? Seriously, how do you not see how effed up that view is?

      • Richter_DL

        So I suppose you think the Twelve Tribes were model parents?

      • Hilary

        He might have needed more hugs growing up – it wouldn’t have hurt.

      • Richter_DL

        He might have needed an accessible helper and a school management that cracks down on school bullies rather than tolerating them. But yeah, more hugs couldn’t have really hurt.

      • attackfish

        Speaking as someone who was the bullied, depressed, dependent minion of a probable clinical sociopath, who hung out with her because said sociopath made sure to make me feel special and was subtler about bullying me than everybody else, teachers who actually dealt with bullies, access to a councilor, and adults who know what they’re looking at when they saw a relationship like that which existed between the two boys could have helped a lot. A slap to the face? No.

        I am very lucky that the sociopath I was “friends” with was ten, and that by the time I was eleven, I had figured out enough about her to want out. I am also very lucky that my parents realized what they were dealing with when she proceeded to stalk me for four years. Given how much of a hold she had on me, and how many unkind things I did or said at her behest, I am very grateful we weren’t older, and she didn’t want me to go on a rampage with her.

      • Saraquill

        That was a deeply distasteful comment.

      • smrnda

        If I had a child, and my partner slapped the child, I would call the cops, and would end the relationship. She would stop being a ‘good person’ the moment that happened, and ‘getting angry’ or ‘losing control’ are not excuses adults give for hitting people.

      • Alix

        …I really don’t see why it’s so hard for people to see that slapping someone is assault. In some rare cases, it might be excusable – my brother put his hand through a plate glass window once and promptly panicked, preventing me from getting to his cut-up arm to apply pressure to the bleeding, so I slapped him deliberately to shock him still for a moment so I could apply first aid. That slap was still assault, and there might’ve been a better way to handle things, but I didn’t have the time to do so.

        Slapping someone because they said something you don’t like? No excuse. None.

        And no, “respect for your elders” is not an excuse. Elders don’t get respect from me just by virtue of being old. They have to earn my respect just like everyone else does. I’ve had plenty of older relatives who deserved a hearty “fuck you.”

      • The_L1985

        Indeed. Older people get my respect by default, but they lose it the millisecond they start with stupid power plays. If you’re actually worthy of respect, you don’t need to try to force it on people.

      • Alix

        Yes to all this.

        I should clarify my above comment slightly: I default to treating all people with basic respect. That respect can go higher or lower depending on their actions, but I generally start by treating them as my, y’know, equals.

      • smrnda

        Thought I would add, when I was young(er), I told a number of adults to piss off. Looking back, it was a good call then, and I’m glad I wasn’t taught to be a doormat.

      • Alix

        Honest to god, I see very little wrong with someone telling someone to fuck off. On the scale of ills, being rude is so very, very minor that the idea that someone should be assaulted for it is just … incredible. And very, very telling about how our dear friend here views children.

        I also don’t believe anyone’s above criticism, even rudely phrased. Nobody gets the right to walk unchallenged through the world. The implicit idea in Legally Kidnapped’s scenario – that the grandmother has an absolute right to never be challenged by her grandkid for anything – that’s … deeply problematic, in my view.

      • http://autistscorner.blogspot.com Thalestris

        If your 17 year old son/daughter told your mother to go fuck herself, and your mother responded by slapping him/her across the face, I suppose you’d have your mother arrested for domestic violence and child abuse?

        I’m not Alix, but I have some questions for you. Are you a man? Were you not taught, at some point in your childhood, that you DO NOT HIT PEOPLE, especially people smaller and weaker than yourself?

        I am not a man, but I am an eldest child, was always big for my age, and threw myself into weightlifting as a teenager. As such, I reached adulthood possessing enough strength that I always KNEW, deep in my bones, that I had to be careful with other people.

        I tend to assume that men — or other people who are raised on the assumption that they will be men — get this, because they naturally go through the same kind of dramatic physical change that I put myself through. I tend to assume that, as you start to realize that you have power, you must develop some way to stop yourself from misusing said power. Which is usually a deeply felt inhibition against ever using your body to hurt another person.

        If you have this sort of programming in you, you can’t react to someone else escalating a verbal confrontation to a physical one with anything but shock and horror.

        I will never have a child, but if I did, and my mom hit her as in the scenario you describe? I might not call the cops on her that time, but I would tell her, in no uncertain terms, never to do it again or I would call them. Not that she ever would do such a thing. She’s probably the main person responsible for teaching me my horror of violence in the first place.

        Seriously, I want to know if you have this same inhibition as me.

      • smrnda

        When I was young, I studied lots of martial arts and hand to hand combat systems that are pretty dangerous. It’s made me think that *hitting someone* for me (and I’m only about 5’1″ and 105 lbs at present) would be like pulling a gun on someone.

        Would I *pull a gun* on a kid to make them behave? No, that’s behavior that should send anyone to prison. Pulling a gun on a teenager who told me to f myself would be the same way.

      • Trollface McGee

        If it isn’t child molestation it isn’t a crime? I may have a teeny lady brain but I’m pretty sure there’s a big criminal code in every state that includes many types of crimes! There’s even different penalties for all the crimes!
        If I were to slap another adult who was rude to me, I’d be rightly charged with assault. Why should it be a lesser offence to do the same to a child?

      • phantomreader42

        Admitting that assaulting a child is assault is tantamount to admitting that children are actual human beings with rights instead of just the property of their parents. “Legally Kidnapped” would sooner kill and eat his own family than do anything like THAT.

      • The_L1985

        1. I actually did get slapped for less than that as a teen. I wouldn’t want my parents arrested for that, but if someone, anyone, had said in an official capacity, “That’s pretty harmful to do to your own kids; try doing this other thing instead,” my years with my parents would have been a lot easier. Some parents tiptoe just a tiny bit over the line without necessarily realizing that what they’re doing is a form of abuse. CPS can talk to such parents and help them to improve their parenting before things progress to the point of bruises and broken bones.

        2. As a lesser wrong, but as something that still needs attention. There are allowed to be different kinds and degrees of “abuse.” What, are we supposed to wait for kids to be molested and/or beaten half to death before CPS does anything at all?

      • The_L1985

        Oh gods, the triggering. I honestly thought it was “normal” at the time, but suddenly now I feel deeply ashamed and humiliated that I was ever slapped in the face for backtalk.

      • Alix

        …I’m sorry. :/

        My father slapped me in the face precisely once. I promptly went into an incoherent screaming rant – because of the affront, the sheer insult of the slap. He never tried it again, mostly because he was a coward and would never try something a second time if you called him on it loudly enough.

        You’ve just put your finger on why the slap comparison was bothering me so much: there’s a psychological aspect to a slap in the face that isn’t present with other things. It’s why “that was a slap in the face” is a common idiom, after all.

      • Saraquill

        *tea and sympathy* There’s nothing to be ashamed of. You were not the bad person in those circumstances.

      • http://autistscorner.blogspot.com Thalestris

        I’m sorry if I contributed to your feeling that way with my comment … you have nothing to be ashamed of and lots to be proud of.

      • Rosa

        it is NOT YOU who should be ashamed.

      • Conuly

        It’s nothing to do with you. *hugs* You aren’t the one who should be ashamed or humiliated.

      • fiona64

        I cannot even tell you how many times that happened to me. Seriously. Where, of course “backtalk” = daring to question, or to raise objection.

      • phantomreader42

        He’s saying it should be okay to neglect, beat, torture or murder a child without any consequences at all (as he thinks the existence of any system to enforce consequences is harmful to families and supported only by Nazis). But he draws the line at “legitimate rape”. Or at least he says he does. This time.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Would you believe states actually do have specific definitions of abuse! In my opinion, they need reworking. In many states, it’s not abuse unless it “seriously endangers” a child’s health. In other words, you’re wrong about what counts as abuse, but I wish you were right about it. Slapping anyone in the face is abuse.

        Here are the state level definitions: https://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/define.pdf

      • Legally Kidnapped

        There is a difference in severity levels of abuse. Some are more harmful than others! OMG!

        Case one: the kid learns a valuable lesson, is hardly traumatized, and learns respect for their elders. Case two: the baby was sexually tortured and is now dead.

        You’re saying they’re both the same?

      • Alix

        Case 1 is more like: the kid learns that adults can capriciously haul off and physically assault someone if they don’t like what the other person says. And the kid probably learns to apply that to other people.

        They’re not both the same, but they are both assault and they are both wrong. This isn’t all-or-nothing here.

      • Lunch Meat

        Are you saying that things in the same category are automatically exactly the same and of the same severity/harmfulness? That is not a reasonable assumption and is a blatant misreading of what Libby Anne was saying. Going fifty miles an hour over the speed limit is obviously much more dangerous than going five miles an hour over, but they are both still speeding. A gallon of poison will kill you faster and more surely than a teaspoon of poison, but they are both still poison.

        I think you’re reading an awful lot into what Libby Anne and other commenters are saying, and bringing your own prejudices to the discussion. It might be a good idea to calm down and read the post again, and understand what it’s actually responding to.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Case 1: The child learns that the appropriate response to words is violence. The child doesn’t learn respect for elders, but fear, and learns that when ze is older, ze too can assault people physically for saying things ze doesn’t like.

        Case 2: The baby is dead.

        Clearly they are not the same at all. They live on a spectrum of wrongness, although not close together on that spectrum. Just because torturing a baby to death is extraordinarily bad does not mean slapping someone is acceptable behavior, though.

      • smrnda

        There is a massive amount of evidence that hitting as disciple does not work. Only people touting ‘just so’ stories of the ‘good old days’ and anecdotes about grandpa and the woodshed are promoting hitting as disciple. The only lesson you can teach by hitting is basically fascism.

      • smrnda

        Also, entire NATIONS have outlawed corporal punishment, and they tend to have less violence than the baby-beating US.

      • Conuly

        Nobody is claiming they are the same. However, they are both assault.

        If you say 5+5= 11, you are wrong. If you say 5+5= apple you are REALLY wrong. The first answer doesn’t become right because the second answer is worse.

      • Trollface McGee

        So, if I come over to your house, beat you up to the point where you are bruised and bloody but without any broken bones or organ damage and I won’t sexually assault you – I won’t have committed a crime?

      • The_L1985

        Hardly traumatized? How about the fact that, as a godsdamned ADULT, I have trouble talking to my boss about anything whatsoever, because of the irrational fear of getting five across the face? Is that trauma enough for you?

        Seriously, does someone have to die or be sexually violated in order for it to be abusive? That’s like saying that it’s not wrong to steal a candy bar because it’s not as big a deal as stealing a car.

      • Richter_DL

        Someone breaks into your home, steals your valuables, and leaves.

        Someone breaks into your home, shoots your dog, rapes your children, your wife, and yourself (after making you watch), takes your valuables, and leaves.

        You’re saying burglary without rape is not a crime and should not be punished? Or is your thinking to binary to understand the world does not work in a yes/no kind of way?

        And the “valuable lesson” the child learns is that problems are not solved with civil means, but with violence. You can see the result of that lesson in monthly random shootings in a mall somewhere in America.

      • Saraquill

        It was not a valuable lesson. It merely confirmed that Person A was exactly what I thought s/he was.

      • phantomreader42

        I can get away with beating people up if I’m in a position of power over them” might qualify as a “valuable lesson” for a sociopathic sadist such as yourself. Not for anyone with a shred of basic human decency.

      • The_L1985

        Please stop with the name-calling. Not only is it a and way to argue your point, but I know of a person with actual sociopathy on another blog who is not sadistic by any measure. Acting as if sociopathy = cruelty makes it harder for people with mental disorders to get the help they need due to stigma.

      • phantomreader42

        No, sociopathy is not the same thing as cruelty. If it were, there would be no need to add the word “sadist” in my comment. The person I’m insulting exhibits both a lack of empathy (characteristic of a sociopath) AND a desire for others to suffer (characteristic of a sadist). He has made it painfully clear that he has no interest in civil discourse, so I’m hoping to shock him enough to knock him out of his coccoon of willful ignorance. It’s a longshot, but it’s not like he’d actually listen anyway.

      • Lyric

        There is a difference in severity levels of abuse. Some are more harmful than others! OMG!

        And CPS treats them differently.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        In a perfect world, sure.

      • Alix

        So because CPS isn’t perfect we should just ditch it and let abused kids fend for themselves?

        Suggest a reasonable alternative. Otherwise, you’re just blowing hot air.

      • Alix

        Also, before any anti-CPS folks answer this, I want you to imagine something.

        Imagine you’re responsible for making sure children aren’t being abused.

        Imagine you get an anonymous tip stating that a nice Christian family, a picture-perfect one with two parents, well-to-do, mother stays home, father works-type family, beats their kids.

        What do you do? Not act? Why? Because they look nice on the outside? Because they’re a two-parent Christian household that seems on the surface the perfect family?

        They might still be beating their kids. Some Christians beat their kids. Some well-to-do folks beat their kids. Some picture-perfect families are just well-constructed illusions. Some nice people are only nice from a distance. (Ted Bundy, I hear, was quite nice unless he murdered you.)

        So you get the anonymous tip. You can’t just assume the tip is false – the only way to know for sure is to investigate, and even investigations can miss things.

        So you investigate. The family turns out to have been innocent of abuse. Were you wrong to investigate?

        Why? You had absolutely no way of knowing before an investigation if a child was being physically harmed. Assuming everything was fine could wind up with a child dead. Not investigating cases where the families are Christian or seem nice winds up with kids dead.

        You anti-CPS folks want CPS to not investigate families that aren’t abusing their kids. The only way for that to be possible is for them to never investigate anyone.

        As far as I’m concerned, that means you’re siding with the abusers.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        See, you are so good at putting words in ones mouth and running with it that the whole point of anything said changes.

        I never said that we should not investigate allegations of child abuse. Of course, thanks to people like ya’ll we have every scrape on the knee being reported. “oh my God the kid fell off his bike, the parent must have pushed him!” Lets cause them stress, invade their privacy, throw their kids in foster care, force them to spend their hard earned money on lawyers bla bla bla.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        OMG the fucking hyperbole is absolutely ridiculous. It’s amazing to see how people who have nothing to argue for quickly descend into it.

      • Richter_DL

        If the parents don’t have legal insurance, it’s their loss. If the parents decide to vote for shoveling wealth to America’s oligarchs becase mandatory insurance hurts their freedoms, they have no right to complain that things get expensive in a case where insurance would kick in.

        But since you don’t think small bruises are probable cause for investigation, what would be?

      • Alix

        I, too, want to know what signs are bad enough to deserve a CPS report.

        My brother decided once, in his teenaged wisdom, to go rollerblading down a slide at the playground, and broke his arm. Bruised the shit out of his whole side and face, too. If someone saw that, not knowing he’d pulled a dipshit stunt, would they have been in the right to call the cops?

        Most injuries I can think of can have perfectly innocent explanations. I once really did give myself a black eye by hitting myself in the face with a doorknob – I wasn’t thinking when I was trying to repair my door. I broke my nose (which gave me two nice shiners) once in a freak pool accident, where my brother accidentally smacked me across the face with the pool cleaning net. I’ve gotten burns down my arm by pulling stupid shit while cooking (not paying attention when cooking something that splattered). I had a friend who managed to electrocute himself trying to repair a busted socket. My best friend managed to lock herself out of her house in the middle of a snowstorm while her parents were out visiting other family for the evening.

        I can think of almost no injury that doesn’t have a potentially innocent (if stupid) explanation. So I would really like any anti-CPS folks let me know what signs do constitute “bad enough” to report, even though any of them might net innocent families.

      • CarysBirch

        I broke my nose and gave myself a glorious black eye by kneeing myself in the face tumbling as a teenager. I’m pretty sure I looked battered. Nobody said anything though.

      • Alix

        An example I forgot to mention: my sis is one of those people who is naturally really thin, has sallow skin, and when tired looks like she’s been beaten. We’re talking what appear to be black eyes and even shadows in the hollows of her cheeks. One sleepless night, honest to god, makes her look like someone popped her in the face. She also loses weight like whoa when stressed, and has ever since she was little. (Her doctors perennially try to get her to put on more weight. She tries, diligently, and fails.)

        So even someone seeing what appears to be a starving, beaten girl may not be seeing what they think they are. If someone saw my sis on a day where she was stressed out and tired, should they call CPS?

      • Lyric

        What, specifically, do you think they should be doing differently?

      • David S.

        Two of those links are about the Indian Child Welfare act, an act designed to prevent people, mostly Christians, from ripping apart Indian tribes and families. It can hardly be described as vast; it’s applicable to a narrow group of people, and it works against taking children away from their birth parents. I don’t know about its applicability to the modern world, but it doesn’t seem to support your case.

      • Richter_DL

        You are, of course, aware that those laws are there to protect Indians from good, heterosexual, christian families who would gladly take ALL the children to indoctrinate them in the ways of Taleban Christianity? Because that happened in the past, up to the 60s?

      • TLC

        One of my best friends is still living out the effects of this “indoctrination.” Her father was one of the “lucky” Native Americans who was shipped off to a Christian boarding school to get the Indian beat out of him, quite literally. He was beaten and abused beyond belief. He was finally able to run away when he was 13, and was an alcoholic from then until his death at age 66. He also was homeless most of his life because being confined in one place meant being cornered for more beatings. The longest he stayed in one place was when he was married to my friend’s mom.

        As he aged, he would develop severe pneumonia in the winter, so he learned to find a place to stay in the coldest months. I got to meet him once — he was staying with my friend after he’d broken his arm. I was SO SURPRISED: he was a very kind and gentle man who was having a great time with his grandkids, and was a bit weather beaten from his lifestyle. Not at all what I expected.

        So maybe we need to send Mr. Farris to one of these “Christian” boarding schools. If we could, then he could find out the true and horrific meaning of abuse, and how it almost destroyed a people and a culture.

      • Richter_DL

        He would only have to view the RTL documentary on the Twelve Tribes. It’s got some drastic images. I’m afraid, though, he knows that. And does not care. Because “the cause” is bigger than children screaming their lungs out and being beaten into submission.

        For the Mission. For Freedom. For Jesus.

      • Rosa

        the Satanic Panic stuff actually supports the theory above that Christian homeschoolers are projecting when they worry that everyone who disagrees with them about parenting is out to steal their kids, since that panic was Christian sourced.

  • Guest

    A number of CPS caseworkers have done an AMA (Ask Me Anything) over at Reddit. They are quite informative. It’s probably easiest just to link a google search: https://www.google.com/search?q=reddit+ama+child+protective+services

    • The_L1985

      Reddit has its bad spots and subreddits (and when they’re bad, they’re really nasty), but their AMAs tend to be pretty solid.

  • Rose

    I vividly remember a conversation I had with some friends in my freshman year of college, we were mostly fundie homeschoolers at that point and rattling on about CPS being so terrible and evil. One young man spoke up, very meekly, and said “I would be dead without CPS, I think they do a good job”. That shut everyone up, and hopefully made them think a little bit. The thing that really disturbs me about this “whatever percent of claims aren’t substantiated” is the logic seems to sacrifice children like my friend (he never told me about his circumstances and I didn’t see the need to ask) for the sake of the majority. Religious ideals and personal comfort are not worth the death or abuse of other people.

    • Alix

      This is why I keep asking anti-CPS folks how they’d like the government/society to handle abuse cases. They cannot deny abuse happens. If they want to eliminate CPS, they need to offer a better alternative to it.

      • Rosa

        they would handle abuse cases the same way they would make abortion unnecessary: through the magic of marriage. Married couples don’t abuse, don’t you see the logic? If nobody has sex until they’re married and being married makes you a sufficiently good parent for however many kids just happen to you, then VOILA no problems for anyone.

        Pure magic. Or lies. Whichever.

      • Alix

        I just love how when incontestable cases of abuse do crop up, these people start screaming that CPS ought to have done something. >.>

      • Rosa

        I’m noticing – both here and in the AMA comments – how many people use really hyperbolic language about the (stressful and distressing) process of HAVING TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR ACTIONS as an adult, but really minimize things like hitting a child.

        Like the commenter here saying hitting is a good response to someone using bad language at you. The bias toward adults and their feelings is really striking when the topic is abused children.

      • Alix

        I find it really interesting, when people start talking about how to treat children, to imagine how it would go over if they treated adults that way. Obviously, there are points where this breaks down (I can’t imagine putting a grown adult in time out, for example), but it’s … enlightening.

        Like, would any of the people advocating slapping a child for cussing out Grandma really slap an adult for the same offense? If so, do they realize that’s actually illegal when done to an adult? Etc.

        It makes it pretty damn clear that they really don’t consider kids humans yet, in the sense of “having human rights.”

      • onamission5

        Yes, posing it as “what if another adult did this to you” really does provide an interesting insight into how the abuse apologetics work for some people. Usually it boils down to the idea that kids aren’t really people in the same way that adults are, so you can’t treat them like people. Which is horseshit.

        My spouse and I do grownup versions of time outs.* Difference is, we’ve learned enough self control that we call them on ourselves, rather than each other. Instead of time out I call it a moment: I am taking a moment, give me a second, kids, mom is having a moment, I need a moment.

        Also, ever hung up the phone on someone who was being a dillhole, then talked it through later? Congrats, you put them in time out. ;)

        *I think of a time out as more “time to cool off and collect your wits” than “go sit all alone and feel ashamed of yourself for being a bad person.” Sometimes, although rarely, a serious enough offense has occurred between the kids that time out is called for, but in those times it is to A) artificially and temporarily end the conflict through physical distance and B) give me and them all time to calm the hell down before I/we figure out what to do next. Times outs in our house are not a punishment, they are a diversionary or stalling tactic for when nobody is level headed enough to make good decisions.

      • Alix

        Instead of time out I call it a moment: I am taking a moment

        I do that, too. It helps me keep a lid on things, or at least keeps me blowing up in private and not exploding all over other people.

      • onamission5

        Yup. For me it’s time to figure out if I am really that mad at this person or not, if so why (is it me or them or neither of us at all) and to sort my shit out so that what I need to say or do about it doesn’t come out as arm waving whargbargle.

      • Alix

        It took me years to recognize when I was on the verge of losing my temper. (Side note: this, folks, is what abusing kids when they express their anger teaches them.) Now that I can recognize the imminent signs of an eruption, I’m able to retreat and vent to myself in private.

        …Unfortunately, not everyone’s willing to let me retreat, which usually provokes a spectacular blow up. >.>

      • redlemon

        I do those sorts of “time outs” with my toddler daughter. Usually it’s because she’s overtired, overstimulated, or over something or another. One day, when she started to throw a tantrum, I asked her if she just needed to cry. Amazingly, she said yes. I put her down on her bed and told her that it was okay, that she could sit down and cry, and take a few minutes. Amazingly, she sat in bed for a few minutes, sputtering some tears, and then came back out, calm and ready to face whatever the heck the challenge was. I don’t even remember anymore. All I remember was that it worked, it worked well, and it still works with her.

      • Alix

        Hell, I still go and have crying time sometimes. (I cry when extremely stressed and/or enraged.) It’s a useful way to handle things, like a little release valve.

        Which is one reason why people who demonize crying rather enrage me.

      • redlemon

        I do that too. That’s actually what made me think of the idea. She just looked so frustrated and I saw a glimmer of my own frustration in her. She didn’t want to be yelled at. She didn’t want to be lectured, helped, or shown what to do. She just wanted to cry a bit and think. Now, sometimes, when she gets over frustrated, she just toodles off to her room and lies on her bed, quietly.

      • Alix

        I really wish someone had taught me to do that as a kid, or told me it was okay. I had to teach myself that in my 20s, and it took myself a long time to give myself permission to have a good cry. :/

      • redlemon

        My husband had to teach it to me. It took a really long time for me to get it too. I make it a point to let my daughter know that there are no bad emotions because of that.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        BUT BUT UNBORN HUMAN BAYBEEZ…..sorry wrong topic :^D

      • Alix

        LOL.

        More seriously – come on now, every good authoritarian knows that even a potential baby is worth more than a mere woman. Why, that potential baby might be male, and if nothing else, it demonstrates the father’s virility. You don’t want him to be seen as impotent, do you?

        …I feel sick just typing that. >.>

      • Richter_DL

        In the context of America’s conservatives, unborn babies are tools that maintain the social order, by tying a woman down. They also have no agency of their own. Children, on the other hand, might have an agency, or develop one. That cannot be tolerated in Taleban America. Hence, rod, fist, and whip have to be used to break them down into submissive tools. For Jesus and Freedom!

      • Trollface McGee

        Unborn babies are a precious and wonderful gift from God that turn into horrible beasts of Satan at the moment of birth and require to be treated worse than our death row inmates until they become adults and then get the privilege of beating up little Satanic beasts of their own.

      • Richter_DL

        After bearing angelic pre-satanic beasts, whether they want to or not, if they’re among the unfortunate 50% of the population that is physically capable thereof.

      • Alix

        Apparently original sin only enters a child when they enter the world. >.>

        By that logic, abortion is a mercy.

      • ZeldasCrown

        Though, what else is jail, other than time out for adults? Loss of privileges, requirement to stay in a specified location for a specified amount of time before they can move freely again. Sure, the scale of punishment is very different, but then again, so is the scale of the offense (as well as the maturity and judgment of the person). Break society’s (mom’s) rules, lose privileges and freedom of movement, go to jail (time out) until you’ve stayed there for the prescribed amount of time.

      • Quis ut Deus

        Children and fetii have a right to life…but that’s about it.

        They are property, just like their moms.

      • J_Enigma32

        It’s more of that small government. You know, that kind of small government; the kind that doesn’t meddle in your own affairs but is more than happy to meddle in the lives and affairs of “those people.”

        I swear, these people want less government for the same reason criminals want fewer police.

      • Alix

        these people want less government for the same reason criminals want fewer police.

        Exactly.

    • Gail

      You mean your friend who was rescued by CPS didn’t say, “Yeah, they saved my life, but I wish they hadn’t taken any action regarding the reports. Imagine all the inconvenience and embarrassment all those other parents probably had to suffer just to save a few kids like me. Not worth it.” Color me shocked.

      Honestly, I don’t care if 60% of claims are unsubstantiated. I don’t care if it’s 90%. What’s important is that 9 out of 10 of those parents had to undergo a little investigation before being declared innocent; it’s that that 1 kid got help.

  • GPC

    Can’t believe the amount of misconceptions on this blog?
    First each state has it’s own statutes in relationship to what is considered child abuse. Hate to say this, but many states still state that it is perfectly acceptable to spank a child under certain circumstances.

    Secondly, and depending on the courts there are different levels of proof needed to win a case. .. ie preponderance of evidence; clear and convincing; and beyond a reasonable doubt.

    And, yes unfounded doesn’t mean that there is perhaps something going on. However, it does not mean that even after investigation that the alleged allegation was false or Not Guilty of said abuse.

    Also, by the agencies own records, it was Not 60% but 85% as to cases that were unfounded, after investigation.. A lot of extra work needed for the agency employees, yes?

    In regards to mandatory reporting, here is a recommendation given by one of the agency’s very own employees. Of course, for merely doing this study, at a later time she got on that little known “Black List” for even suggesting such a recommendation. One of her statements:

    “..Mandatory reporting laws, designed to encourage those who work with children to report incidents of maltreatment, have served their intended purpose of raising public awareness and have had unintended consequences. These laws create two negative effects. First, they encourage unnecessary reporting because professionals must report all of their suspicions under threat of prosecution. While such prosecutions are rare, one should not have to report suspicions. Reporting should be restricted to more concrete evidence of a crime.

    Since mandatory reports were required, reports have increased exponentially. In 1968, CPS agencies took in 11,000 reports; in 1975 (the first year after CAPTA),
    CPS had 294,796 reports; now they handle one million with low substantiation rates.

    Second, mandatory reporting discourages fellow citizens from taking positive neighborhood action with families in trouble. Some evidence suggests that depression and social isolation are contributing factors to maltreatment,
    particularly chronic neglect.102 Citizens tend to consider that their responsibilities have been met when they call an anonymous hotline, because that is what the law tells them to do. Knocking on the door and offering help to a troubled family not engaged in criminal behavior, may be the more appropriate alternative…” Child Protection at the Crossroads:

    Child Abuse, Child Protection, and
    Recommendations for Reform (03/31/1998) Link: http://nfpcar.org/eBook/Child_Protection_at_the_Crossroads.pdf
    Myself and my affiliates, who have worked with those Falsely Accused are very familiar with the efforts the agency has made to accuse one of child abuse..
    And, all I can say, many of you need to do your home work and truly find out what is going on.

    • Richter_DL

      So you’re advocating a local self-regulation instead of outside influence, like a government agency? Too bad that works a lot worse. Because in a society like America, especially rural, maintaining face, reputation and a veneer of happiness is vastly more important on an individual as well as communal level than ensuring children are not mistreated. Also, if the abuser is a person of status in a local community, dealing with them from the inside is much harder than with outside influence.

      As evidenced with the Twelve Tribes or the Bolivian Mennonites, self-policing is carte blanche for reclusive communities to cover up abuse to present a better image to the outside. While mandatory reporting is nowhere near perfect, it gets better results than putting a lid on things and hoping for the best.

      • Alix

        in a society like America, especially rural, maintaining face, reputation and a veneer of happiness is vastly more important on an individual as well as communal level than ensuring children are not mistreated

        …I dunno that “especially rural” is entirely accurate, actually. I suspect broader regional dynamics also come into play; in most parts of my state (i.e. not the sea of blue in NoVA that the rest of the state wishes would go away, but even a little bit there too) maintaining face is important. It’s leftover from Southern honor culture*, and it crops up with a great deal of frequency in the cities and suburbs too.

        Can’t speak for the rest of the South, though I wouldn’t be surprised to find the same dynamic at play.

        (Not disagreeing with the rest of your post; I just like mulling over regional dynamics.)


        *Until quite recently, my grandmother had to ask people if they’d ever participated in a duel before registering them to vote.

        Rather pertinently for this particular comment section, slapping a fellow in the face was grounds for a duel.

      • attackfish

        I don’t know about especially rural either. Nowhere are communities more obsessed with keeping face than suburban and urban Southern California.

      • Richter_DL

        Okay, that’s a good point.

      • http://autistscorner.blogspot.com Thalestris

        Until quite recently, my grandmother had to ask people if they’d ever participated in a duel before registering them to vote.

        Wow, how recently? Did anyone ever say yes? What would happen if they said yes?

      • Alix

        Unclear on the exact date, but she stopped helping people register before I was born in the 80s, though apparently not long before. No one ever said yes that I know of, but she told me she would’ve had to deny their application if they had ever been a party to (which included being a witness to) a duel.

        It was apparently a measure taken to try and curb the duel system, which was … getting a bit out of hand. And it worked – turns out Virginian gentlemen liked having a say in their government more than being able to shoot people dead for insulting them.

      • http://autistscorner.blogspot.com Thalestris

        Wow. I had no idea dueling persisted for so long.

      • Alix

        To be fair, I’m pretty sure the practice had essentially died out by the time Grandma got to helping folks register, which is why that question is no longer asked. (At least, I never noticed it on the form I had to fill out in high school.)

        But yeah, it stuck around for a while, and traces of the same mindset – that insults must be met with shows of force immediately to restore one’s honor – persist. It’s where the idea that a disrespectful statement must be met with an immediate blow to the face comes from.

        Authoritarianism crops up worldwide (even in otherwise liberal groups – you can see strains of authoritarian thinking in some pagan circles, for example), but Southern honor culture was a form of authoritarianism, and it still clings to everything here in Virginia, anyway. Even here in the greater D.C. area.

      • Richter_DL

        Those traces persist, for instance, in the belief that beating them teaches children “valuable lessons” and forms “good character”. Right here in this thread. Though I think both dueling and violent child-rearing are only symptoms of America’s larger, sick obsession with violence as the one way to solve problems. It shows in it’s foreign policy (like right now in Syria, and in the fact that America’s army has been constantly involved in active hostilities since the American-Spanish war, possibly since it’s founding, depending on whether you classify the Westward Push as an armed conflict or not). It shows in it’s domestic policies – see the Rise of the Warrior Cop. It shows in the fact that the only productive industry where America still is a major player is weapons. It shows in gun culture and patronizing whinte-knight-ism. It shows in most American video games being about shooting people (other cultures favor other game types – Koreans love competitive fantasy and strategy games, and Germans are really into builder games, for instance; and Japanese … well … Japan). It shows in the way diplomacy and cooperation is very routinely impossible in the dehumanized foes America fights in it’s movies and TV series. It shows in American law being the last western nation to proudly maintain capital punishment.

        And with Stand Your Ground, shooting people dead over perceived threats is still legal in most American states.

      • Alix

        1. Westward expansion was absolutely armed conflict.

        2. America has always been home to a number of groups (and I mean large groups, groups that shaped entire regional cultures) that held to various forms of authoritarianism, including the aforementioned Southern honor culture. That authoritarianism tends to come tinged with an obsession with property rights, the individual right to freedom of the paterfamilias, social hierarchy, and punitive justice.

        3. The American Civil War was being waged since before the country’s founding, and is still being waged today. The four years of actual war were simply the moment when it broke out into actual military mobilization.

      • Richter_DL

        Very good points.

        Property rights, I would like to add, including people. I realize this is a painful thing for Americans to hear, but slavery also left lasting traces in your culture – from the shitty treatment of low-anking workers by law and employer, to the idea that children are their parents’ property (and, until recently, wives).

        I somewhat disagree on the civil war, because there is no clear front there, and never really was (slaver states like Virginia remained in the North, Indian tribes allied with the South). I see soemthing like an eternal Culture wars instead – authoritarian, social darwinist, neo-feudal, paternalistic Christianity versus European-style enlightenment, rationalism, and a drive for social and economical equity. The North/South war didn’t really mirror this. It was, essentially, pure power politics, coated with moralism, like all wars of America have ever been (like wars of aggression waged by democracies have to be). IT is, in a way, a continuation of the 30 years war and the seven years war.

        And America’s culture wars are very similar to the current wars that tear the islamic world apart. They even also feature domestic terrorism, though it seems most Americans don’t remember McVeigh or Oklahoma anymore.

      • http://autistscorner.blogspot.com Thalestris

        Hi, Richter.

        I like your points, they make perfect sense to this American. (It never occurred to me to connect our Civil War and our ongoing “culture wars” with those European wars — does the English Civil War fit into this scheme, too?)

        About Virginia: Wikipedia says Virginia was a Confederate state, not a Union one. I’ve been to Virginia (had a boyfriend from the greater DC area; that’s part of the reason I was so surprised to hear about the longevity of dueling culture in Virginia from Alix, because I never heard it from him, though I learned about plenty of other interesting regional cultural differences from him …) and every other street, bridge or monument is named for Robert E. Lee. It was really strange to see that, I’d always unconsciously thought of Lee as the “bad guy” in that war. Because, for me, he was.

        (Of course, your “no clear front” makes more sense when you consider my part of the country, the states that were frontier at the time. There’s not really much of a difference between Missouri and Kansas that I can see, yet Kansas was Union and Missouri was confederate. Today, they are quite similar to one another.)

        I also take your point entirely about American notions of property rights implicitly including people as property; not sure slavery is the root so much as the most extreme manifestation of that idea. Because I’m pretty sure these ideas were in place, shaping the English settlers’ idea of, say, the family or the village, before slavery took much of a hold in this country? (I know Europeans were kidnapping, buying and selling Africans before the first Europeans arrived in the Americas, but I also know that the plantation system, which really entrenched slavery as the cornerstone of the American economy, took a while to take shape. I’m also basing my idea that there is a “before” period from something Toni Morrison wrote about her novel A Mercy — I read it in an essay, possibly the book’s foreword or afterword, but here’s an interview where she says pretty much the same thing.)

      • Alix

        Hell, Virginia was the site of the Confederate capital. (Good old Richmond.)

        Robert E. Lee – don’t get me fucking started. People ’round here idolize him; seriously, the accounts many Virginians will give you of his life are almost hagiographic. I want to shake them until their teeth rattle. He was a fucking traitor. And what’s worse, to me, is that he came so very close to not siding with the Confederacy, but finally decided to throw in. He didn’t even make a stand out of principle – I can, not respect, precisely, but understand people making principled stands, even if I vehemently disagree with them and find their principles abhorrent.

        He wasn’t even that good a general, in the grand scheme of things.

        …and it infuriates me that people here are so goddamned obsessed with Lee and Jackson and others, yet ignore the fact that, oh, Mt. Vernon is right down the goddamn road. Found the country? Pff. Become a major player in a revolt designed to ensure the continued existence of chattel slavery in the U.S.? My hero. >.>

        …Clearly, this hits a nerve. Sorry.

      • Richter_DL

        Jeez. This rabbit hole of madness, racism and ignorance just keeps going on and on …

      • Richter_DL

        Hey, and thanks!

        The English civil war drove the Puritans out of the country, whose influence is very strong in America, so yes, it totally does, and I should have remembered to put it in in the first place.

        That idolization of Lee surprises me. I always thought the North was more … stringent i making the South submit. Then again, you see a lot of people with Confederate flags even today, so maybe I just should not be surprised.

        Hrm. I see your point about slavery being an outgrowth of an underylying ideology, but I really do think this is close to the core. Well, maybe one can trace it back to the Aryans, who arguably settled on the british isles (Ireland is considered to be derived from the root Arya). Aryan society is … racist. Personal worth is determined by skin colour and caste. this is very, very present in modern India (the girl who was raped to death with iron bars? Dark-skinned and casteless sikh. I should have known, but only recently looked it up). It is a very, very, very insidious system, built on an ideology that blames lower-caste people for being lower-caste (you are born low because you screwed up in a past life, after all). Sound a tad familiar?

        The terrible thing about American slavery, unlike most any other slaver system in history, was that it was genetic. Roman slavery offered a way out at least for later generations – a slave was allowed to buy their freedom after a certain length of service in the republic and onwards, and children of freed slaves were recognised as full citizens (freed slaves were second class citizens, much like first-generation immigrants; a system that America took inspiration from, as evident in laws gioverning who can run for public office). There were similar rules for early colonial slaves (mainly shanghaied Irishmen). An American black slave, however, could never stop to be black, and neither could his offspring. And with the story of Ham, that even got a biblical/religious foundation, much like the Divine Order in Europe which in the end caused the Reformation and the Enlightenment movement and all it’s wars and revolutions.

        That book sure sounds interesting. And on my wishlist it goes. Thanks for the link!

      • Alix

        I always thought the North was more … stringent i making the South submit.

        Oh, not at all. The whole idea was to gently bring the South back into the fold, let bygones be bygones, and heal the country after the Civil War.

        Heck, there are still U.S. military installations named after Confederate generals.

        Some people wanted the North to go in and dominate the South, treating it like a conquered vassal. They got outvoted.

        Sometimes I think it would’ve been a lot better had they had their way.

      • Alix

        slavery also left lasting traces in your culture

        No kidding. I know people who very much do want a return to actual plantation slavery, though they are usually savvy enough to not directly state that in public.

        there is no clear front there, and never really was

        Sort of true; there were border states (Virginia seceded; other culturally-southern states like Maryland and Kentucky did not, and West Virginia got split off Virginia because of various reasons), but it’s also true that a lot of the paternalistic, feudal elements are rooted more strongly in Southern states than Northern ones. (Can’t really speak to Western states, either.)

        The eternal culture war – that’s more or less what I was trying to say. It bubbled over into a civil war over the issues of slavery and secession, but that cultural divide has been there from the start, and continues to this day. The rhetoric of the Civil War – that we’re still fighting it – does have some power still, though, so it’s often useful to frame it that way.

        it seems most Americans don’t remember McVeigh or Oklahoma anymore

        Or dozens of other incidents. Some of us do remember, though, and it’s why places like the Southern Poverty Law Center, which keeps track of hate groups, are important. (And it’s also why, of course, right-wing authoritarians love to attack the SPLC and other such watchdogs.)

      • Richter_DL

        “I know people who very much do want a return to actual plantation
        slavery, though they are usually savvy enough to not directly state that
        in public.”

        … the fuck. Seriously? That is … terrifying.

        “it’s also true that a lot of the paternalistic, feudal elements are rooted more strongly in Southern states than Northern ones. (Can’t really speak to Western states, either.)”
        Seems like it. And I thought my Bay City (MI) folks were bad …

        What I cannot understand is how Americans could forget about Oklahoma city so easily. And how you can forget so entirely and so easily anyway. I … just cannot wrap my head around this. Is it really because the perpetrators, in those incidents, were white, and this is much more easily forgiven than attacks by brown people?

      • Alix

        Seriously. I know plenty of Southern Gentlemen(TM), and also plenty of Southern Belles, though less of them, who will flat-out say they want a return to the good-old-days of the antebellum South, where they could be “gentleman farmers”, while stopping just shy of admitting they want the return of slavery. But they know damn good and well what they’re saying.

        Is it really because the perpetrators, in those incidents, were white, and this is much more easily forgiven than attacks by brown people?

        Yes. And also because the right-wingers in this country want to make it very hard for people to put the pieces together and realize that right-wing domestic terrorism is a real thing in the U.S. Witness how everyone talks about the white shooters, bombers, and other assorted terrorists as lone nuts, and how everyone bends over backwards to deny any connection between these terrorists and each other, and between the terrorists and right-wing rhetoric.

      • Richter_DL

        And I thought Paula Deen (and even moreso her super charming brother) were some freak radical weirdos. “Gentleman farmers”? As in, not doing any actual farming? That’s feudalism. Even if there’s no actual reinstated slavery, it’s reinstated middle ages. Hooray.

        Yeah, just another bad apple. And Americans tend to believe them. Because they’re afraid of the non-Whites. Because, with a highly vengeful, retribution oriented, revenge-glorifying judiciary and accompanying culture, they fear what “they” might do to them in retaliation. *Sigh*

        This might not be possible to fix. It’s just as ingrained and inescapable as the Indian caste system and all the horrors it brings (see the rapes with crowbars).

      • Alix

        “Gentleman farmers”? As in, not doing any actual farming? That’s feudalism. Even if there’s no actual reinstated slavery, it’s reinstated middle ages.

        Exactly.

        And Americans tend to believe them.

        In addition to what you say, there’s also the whole “repeat something often enough and people think there’s something to it” thing going on, especially when it’s either hard to find alternate views or those critical or alternate views are from sources you’ve been taught to distrust.

        I think it’s possible to fix things. I’m an eternal optimist – I don’t think anyplace is truly unfixable.

        But I’m also a realist. It’ll take a lot of hard work, and won’t happen in my lifetime unless someone develops the key to immortality before I croak. This shit is deeply ingrained – the particular form of slavery in America was unique in several aspects, but also was itself imported to America along with the first European colonizers, patriarchy goes back thousands of years and is so embedded into Western culture it’s kind of mind-boggling to think about, etc. And things like a tendency towards hierarchy, tribalism, and retributive justice seem to have psychological roots. The roots run deep.

        I can point to progress happening. I just wish it would happen faster, and that people against such progress would conveniently die off.

      • Rosa

        the resistance to inheritance taxes is also a symptom of this tendency to want a permanent upper class (and join it if you can). Because the alternative to more stable class strata is the dreaded “property redistribution”

      • Anat

        Honor culture shows up when one’s means of livelihood can easily be taken away or destroyed by another. Therefore it is common in herding societies. Also among drug dealers.

      • http://autistscorner.blogspot.com Thalestris

        Huh. I never thought of honor culture as a form of authoritarianism, but now that you mention it I can see that it is.

        (I have a nerdly fascination with a couple of honor cultures, classical Greece and medieval European chivalry. I have to keep remembering that it is a good thing that our social mores are evolving beyond that, and that we’re becoming a less violent society, which is way more important than, say, having the option to be a knight in the service of a lord you admire or having the right to carry a sword. I also have to keep remembering that stories are not life, and what we have from those eras, the things that make people like me think those eras had something worth retaining, are only stories.)

      • Alix

        The concept of honor is fascinating, and it’s interesting to see what is and is not shared across honor cultures.

        That said, my own current nerdly fascination runs towards pre-agrarian societies, mostly because I find the idea of a society not structured on remaining settled fascinating. (Also, looking at societies structured differently than the dominant model in the West helps remind me that no, patriarchy isn’t some universal requirement. That gives me hope.)

      • Richter_DL

        I mentioned rural mainly because communities are very hermetic there, and nternal self-policing an conformity pressure is much stronger there. If conformity means you pretend every family is the 50s ideal family, then in a rural setting, you have an even harder time going against such pressure than in a more open, mixed, urban setting. This is in no way America specific, of course.

    • Trollface McGee

      Knocking on the door when you don’t have the legal authority to take actions opens one up to criminal and civil liability and if they are unable to take any action, it puts the child in greater danger as abusers will likely blame the child for someone noticing the abuse. And I would much rather that someone trained in child abuse issues and with the legal authority to take action does this kind of thing rather than a vigilante approach.
      Plus, if someone reports – CPS is required to investigate. A lot of people would take no action if the system required them to take the risk of an affirmative action.

      We don’t generally prosecute false allegations that aren’t malicious because that goes against a public policy interest in people feeling free to report. With child abuse, yes, it’s difficult for outsiders to sometimes discern what’s going on which can result in unfounded allegations – but typically the children can’t self-report. So again, I’d much rather have unfounded allegations than kids continuing to be abused.

      • GPC

        It’s amazing how some come to a conclusion of what is stated?
        Key to the statement was “..Reporting should be restricted to more concrete evidence of a crime…” Plus what’s wrong with being a friendly neighbor, again only if the is no criminal neighbor.

        Actual, the police should investigate and then report to CPS. Please note, at least in CA, there have been quite a few suits in the millions for the agents of CPS entering and removing children without a warrant stating the alleged allegations of abuse.

        You talk of CPS being trained. However, they agencies first line of funding is for training since, they themselves admit that many of the workers admit are inexperienced.

        Plus there are many in the legal profession, who state that in the Family court, the level of proof is to low to remove a child as compared to Criminal Courts. Also, the greastes concern is that too many being accused have been denied their Due Process to present their side of the story.

        And yes many have been Prosecuted for False Allegations and/or on proof that was not even close to what is stated in the very statutes that those in power are bound to follow.

        But, yet again, I can not continue this conversation, with one who believes the government has the answers.. When in fact our basic Constitutional Rights of Privacy, Due Process and Freedom of Speech are being violated on a daily basis.

        Maybe I’m biased for my beliefs since on a daily basis I work with those who have been accused of abuse, but should never have been. But yes, there is true abuse occuring.. Keeping in mind the worse abuse is that which occurs under the watchful eye of the agency.. This should not be happening since you stated the employees of the agency are Trained to not only recognize abuse, but prevent it from happening.

      • Alix

        1. Please learn to capitalize. >.>

        2. If the problem with lack of CPS training is lack of funding, we should fund it more.

        3. If the government won’t step in to protect children, who should? It’s a collective responsibility.

        4. What should constitute “more concrete evidence”? Bruises? Broken bones? Someone witnessing the abuse? Someone getting it on tape? It’s not always possible to get that good evidence without an investigation. Often people have an idea that something is wrong but not hard documentary evidence on hand, and abusers are often very good at ensuring their abuse stays hidden. Anonymous tips and the dreaded “unsubstantiated reports” are crucial tools that get the necessary investigations underway.

        5. Are you really, seriously putting the parents’ right to privacy and a nebulous concept of freedom (for parents only, apparently, since you don’t seem to think kids have the right to grow up free from harm) over the right of children not to be abused?

        Finally and most importantly, what would you suggest instead? Simply abolishing CPS isn’t good enough. You need something in place to protect children – and no, you can’t just rely on parents or church to do it.

      • Richter_DL

        Re 5.: He said it. He wants paramilitary troopers to deal with potential child abuse. Because what America needs is more militarization.

      • Alix

        …What I find particularly horrible is that his article argues for narrower definitions of child abuse and neglect, and for the elimination of mandatory reporting. It’s telling how these people see the rate of child abuse as a problem requiring the redefinition and ignoring of abuse, rather than something that needs to be solved.

        I also love how they harp on “family privacy,” as if that’s worth more than a child’s life. And of course false allegations are more important than real abuse. >.>

        It reminds me both of how authoritarians treat divorce (they see the increase in divorce rates as a sign that the modern era causes marital unhappiness, rather than a sign that the modern era simply allows people to escape it) and how they treat rape (false allegations are far more of a problem to them than actual assault).

        It’s sickening. I understand how they think, I wish I didn’t, and on days like today I wish I could expunge them from the human race.

        …I am having a rather bad day today, largely because of assholes like this. They are so goddamn vile.

      • GPC

        Alix are you really going to discredit what I am saying just because of typo errors?. A typical move for one who want to discredit another.

        BTW, I never said that True Abuse does not exist.. And yes obvious bruises are a sign of abuse.. Give me a fricken break.
        There is a wide spectrum of issues that face our families. However, like so many, including the news, your tactic of creating “Child Abuse Hysteria” is right on target.

        And yes I value Freedom for all individuals.
        Again, you are coming to a conclusion of your thoughts not mine. Never suggested abolishing CPS. Just and again stating that they are not doing the two goals they were given to even exist. 1)Protecting Children; and 2)Strengthening Families. Check out the heading of this home page>> https://www.childwelfare.gov/

        Take the time to know ALL sides of an issue.. Instead of biasing yourself and your conclusions.

      • Richter_DL

        You do seem to put families above children, if in doubt.

      • GPC

        Did I miss something? A child is part of a family.

      • attackfish

        Elsewhere in the comments for this post, many of us have talked about the ways in which the word “family” and privileging it over children has been used to give license to parents, especially fathers, to do what they want with their children and strip them of their human rights.

      • Anat

        The safety of the child is in conflict with the privacy of the family. You do not address that when you include the child only as part of the family rather than as an individual.

      • GPC

        Anat, apparently you missed one of my comments?
        “And yes I value Freedom for all individuals.” Freedom covers freedom of speech, due process among others.
        The only side I am on is in the quote. “There is No God Higher than Truth” A quote from Ghandi.. However, if you study his history, he was not exactly a Family man.. But I feel the quote reflects what should exist in our courts.. But, their are certain biases many take when presenting the information in court.
        Many alleged experts suffer from paradigm paralysis and do not take a holistic approach when seeking the truth.

      • Anat

        Not a sufficient answer. Parents have a tremendous amount of power over their children. As adults they have access to resources the children do not. The children, especially if young, rarely have access to resources their parents do not approve of, let alone actively object to. There is no balance – unless an outside entity actively seeks to look out for children.

        As for truth – parents are in better position to sabotage a child’s truth coming out than vice versa.

      • Richter_DL

        If in doubt, whose interests are more important: the child’s or the family’s? Or do you suppose a child’s best interest always is maintainance of the family unit?

      • GPC

        Both. For if the Truth comes forth, there should be no Doubt.

      • Richter_DL

        You can’t keep the cake and eat it.

      • Alix

        1. Truth and doubt are also common nouns, not entities.

        2. Answer the fucking question.

        If I see a child wandering around bruised, should I care about the child’s welfare enough to report the injuries? Or should I care about the parents’ rights more, and not report?

        “Both” isn’t an answer. You can’t both report and not report.

      • attackfish

        The way to dispel doubt (small d, for crying out loud) and find the truth is to investigate, which is exactly what you want to prevent by bleating about the sanctity of family.

      • Trollface McGee

        A child is a person. Rights belong to people. A family is not a person, it has no rights. Parents have certain rights as individual people that are balanced along with the individual rights of children. It’s not exactly rocket science.

      • Alix

        The capitalization wasn’t typo stuff. It was a cheap way of elevating ~Freedom~ and ~Family~ and the like over everything else. Sorry, freedom and family are common nouns, not gods. Waaah, someone called you on it.

        …You really don’t get it, do you. “Strengthening families” and prioritizing things like a “right to privacy”, parental rights, and other such things help abusers.

        I read your articles. You want to abolish mandatory reporting and redefine child abuse far more narrowly. Do you deny that? You’d also apparently like to get rid of anonymous tips – any tips at all except where the signs of abuse are extremely visible. Do you deny that?

        So without mandatory reporters, where child abuse is really narrowly defined and requires extreme proof to even be pursued, many, many more kids will be abused. All for the sake of not inconveniencing the parents.

        I would much rather someone call CPS on my kids because they fell off the bike and came in bruised than that someone ignore injuries to my child.

        …Honest to god, I do not get the mindset that says the worst thing isn’t the abuse, but the inconvenience to the innocent parents. No one knows they’re innocent until they’re investigated.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        What constitutes concrete evidence in a case of mental abuse?

      • Richter_DL

        “Actual, the police should investigate and then report to CPS.”

        Just to clarify: instead of civil workers with limited
        enforcement power you want what comes down to paramilitary troopers to
        investigate (potentially false) allegations.

        Fantastic idea.

        Not only do American police have quite enough work at hand without having to investigate families in-depth – something I’m afraid they’re neither qulified nor patient enough for, what with all the crime and shootings. It’s also a splendid idea because police house search doctrine in America more likely than not involves a SWAT raid (for officers’ protection and because current American culture thinks there is no such thing as overkill). Sure, I can see how that is less invasive than CPS investigating. Nevermind that police showing up at the door, even if they’re ringing the bell and not kicking the door in, hitting the living room with flash-bangs and shooting all pets as a precationary measure, are unlikely to make affected families feel less distressed.

        Yes, maybe you are biased because you see only a segment of people investigated. Maybe you should try and look beyond your immediate, anecdotal experiences when calling for such changes in policy.

        And yes, if you believe only you are right, it makes little sense to engage in discussion with you. Have fun living in your randian Police State. I’m privileged to not have to live in America, so I don’t care as much about what this country turned out to be in the past decade.

      • Rosa

        it’s not like police don’t already sort through all sorts of unimportant/false reports of crimes already (just read the 911 call logs in small town newspapers sometime) and have a huge backlog of unsolved cases to deal with.

      • attackfish

        The police? Are you out of your mind? Because the police, used to dealing with fairly obvious criminality, and who are not known for their subtlety or nuanced views of the world, who are, as a population, not infrequently involved in the use of excessive force, should be the ones to investigate a difficult and complex situation instead of CPS social workers, trained and experienced in family dynamics, who know what abuse looks like, know what a false accusation looks like, know what a sick kid whose parents are trying looks like, and know what an overwhelmed caregiver looks like, who are equipped with in home solutions and enabling a family to seek benefits, who know how to remove a child from an abusive situation with as little trauma as possible before the police are called? Sure, leaving it up to the police with protect families. Sure.

      • GPC

        Don’t know if you are familiar with the current audit in CA?
        However, the cases used to create this audit cover both ends of the wide spectrum of issues. 1)Is the death of a child, who was allegedly under the watchful eye of the Trained Agents of the agency; 2)The other is one where the family was watching closely at the medical issues of their child and merely sought a second opinion from another hospital. The police thought nothing was wrong with the parents wanting a second opinion. However, those in the agency thought it was the right thing to remove the child. Later child returned and proper surgery was done, but the agency continued to watch the child for over a month.
        Again too many alleged experts suffer from paradigm paralysis..And consistently look only at the negative, instead of building on the positive of a situation.

      • Richter_DL

        And you don’t seem aware of American police tactics, training and doctrines. Possibly because you’re too wealthy and white to ever know anyone who has gotten on the wrong side of them.

      • GPC

        Actually I’m aware of the Police Tactics as well as the Agency’s Tactics both equally dangerous. Actually, many states now have a team of both Law Enforcement and Agency personal.
        Your comments about my ethnicity and financial status are most interesting, but unwarranted in this particular discussion. Merely yet another tactic to discredit one’s knowledge and life experiences.

      • Richter_DL

        Maybe your knowledge and life experiences are biased, as you already admitted further up, Chuck. And yes, your ethnicity and your financial status matter in this. You’re an American. Your financial status and ethnicity are what defines your social standing in this society. You can close your eyes to this, but that will not make this fact go away.

        And CPS raids homes with SWAT teams? Seriously?

      • GPC

        Yup did say biased in this context. “Maybe I’m biased for my beliefs since on a daily basis I work with those
        who have been accused of abuse, but should never have been”

        The case that comes to mind is “Maryanne Godboldo” and yes very familiar, did some initial research on that for the defense.

        Although, I’m listening, I am very much aware of what is going on regardless of my alleged social standing.

      • attackfish

        I have been thankful not to have to keep up with California’s social services news since I left the state, but I do have some up close and personal experience both with California’s police and CPS, and with California’s more than usually Ableist culture. Dear friends of mine were removed from their home and put into emergency care because their father alleged that their mother had Munchhausen by proxy, and that they weren’t really severely ill. CPS returned them in short order upon realizing that they were in fact sick. Fears of CPS were why my family had to be extremely transparent all of the time, and it was only that transparentness that protected us when teachers misjudged my illness as abuse. We also had the police after us nearly constantly. In our small town, there were too many cops, and they were underworked. My brother was a trouble maker as a teen, and for cops desperate to justify their existence, that was enough for them to hound the whole family. My DARE officer in school routinely humiliated me and insisted that I had to be on drugs because my family were bad apples. The cops called the house to scream at my mother, and if she wasn’t there, to scream at ten year old me. The police stood outside out our house with a bullhorn because of a thirty dollar dine and ditch my brother was involved in that my mother had paid the same day. I have no doubt that were it up to police, I would have been in foster care, and my illness would never have been treated, given the California state opinion that the care I received, well documented to help patients with my particular rare immune disease since the 70s was experimental or possibly fraudulent. CPS needs reform, oversight, yes. But turning its duties over to the cops is so far from a solution that I am appalled at its suggestion.

      • Trollface McGee

        You are aware that not everyone has friendly neighbours and not all neighbourhoods are friendly. Lay people aren’t trained to recognise abuse, and some may be like you and think that there’s a level of abuse that’s ok even if that level violates the law (which they probably don’t know).
        CPS is certainly more trained than a layperson.
        As for police – no, police are overworked and aren’t trained specifically in child abuse and neglect so you’d get a policy like there is with domestic violence with mandatory arrests which you would then complain about.

        There is a reason that family court is held to a different standard than criminal court – in criminal court you are facing being deprived of your freedom, in family court, the judge is deciding what is in the best interest of the child. Note, that your children are not your property, having your children taken away from you is not a deprivation of property and family court does provide significant due process considerations.

        Yes, sorry, I’m not one of those “everything the government does is horrible and everything the private sector does is great.” CPS isn’t perfect but it’s a whole lot better than having no oversight and shifting the focus away from the child.

    • David S.

      According to your numbers, in 1968, CPS agencies took in 11,000 reports; now they find 150,000 cases of child abuse a year. Even if we somehow assume that all those 11,000 reports were substantiated, that’s 139,000 cases they’re finding a year that they wouldn’t be otherwise.

  • Legally Kidnapped

    Oh I’m’ sorry, should I have said “girls?”

    • Alix

      Well, you could always a) not assume what peoples’ genders are and b) not use the term for a child when in all likelihood you’re conversing with legal adults…

      Oh, wait, that means not demeaning the women disagreeing with you. Piss off.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        Your too cute.

      • Alix

        And you’re an asshole. Glad we got that squared away.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        So you can’t even take a compliment?

      • Alix

        Sorry, I only deal in sincere compliments, not condescension.

      • Anat

        Belittling remarks aren’t compliments and you know it.

      • Alix

        Besides, I prefer “elegant,” “kind,” “intelligent,” “weird,” or “built like a brick shithouse.” :P

      • phantomreader42

        Well, to be fair, how would he know what a real compliment was like? It’s obvious he’s too worthless and stupid to ever have gotten a legitimate compliment in his life. All he’s capable of doing is making shit up about people who are so unthinkably evil as to think children should be protected from abuse.

      • Richter_DL

        Oooh, sexism!

      • Richter_DL

        Your grammar is appaling, and not only in this post. Confusing pronouns with verbs, not getting the one English plural right several times … you were homeschooled, weren’t you?

      • Norm Donnan

        Ha,this is hilarious.This person trys to join a conversation,gives a point of view,is taken out of context and over stated and then the insults start.He responds by trying to explain,gets ridiculed and insulted more until he says “get stuffed”.To top it off the old “your not very well educated are you”,is pulled out.To me this shows youve got nothing left but your own poor character.

      • Richter_DL

        Actually, it’d be “you’re”, an abbreviation of “you are”; “your”, on the other hand, is the second person singular possessive determiner. They’re two different things.

        And this person entered a converasation insulting people left and right. In this thread, he already did it *twice*. Maybe that’s how you enter conversations in conservative America. In a civilised context, that is not polite and does not warrant a polite response (and still, he got one most of the time). And hey, your entry in this discussion is just the same. By your own claim, what does this say about yourself?

      • Norm Donnan

        Oh dear you do realize you spelt conversation wrong the first time dont you,home schooled were we ?

      • Alix

        …Norm, you really ought not to pick on other people’s spelling and grammar. >.<

      • Richter_DL

        Contrast with three major errors in your post above. And that is one post out of several.

      • Norm Donnan

        Thats public schooling for you

      • Richter_DL

        So you’re just generally incompetent, gotcha.

      • Norm Donnan

        And whats the bet your a public school teacher,bazinga.

      • Richter_DL

        As good as the stock market in 2008. You lost.

        Also, again two punctuation and one grammar error in ten words. Bad parrot. No nuts for you.

      • Fanraeth

        English was actually the only subject my homeschool textbooks taught well.

      • Richter_DL

        There are, to my knowledge, no mandatory homeschooling text books in America, so you maybe were lucky more than anything there.

    • Richter_DL

      Maybe you should try and be respectful. Too bad that’s something Taleban like you can only ever demand, never deliver.

  • Alix

    …You’re the one slinging insults. So if you disagree with us, it’s “respectful” even if you throw out slurs, but if we disagree with you, it’s not? I see how it is.

    I notice you still haven’t said anything about the harm assaulting children does to the children. Do they not have rights in your view? Or are rights something only adults get to have?

  • Nancy Claver Witherell

    When they take your children or grandchildren because of “the potential for abuse” – you’ll be whistling a different tune – I think 60% false reports is generous to CPS – probably more like 90%. Then there’s a bunch more actual cases that they refuse to look at – such as foster parents….

    • Alix

      I’d rather every report get investigated than children die because no one bothered to check.

      I find your priorities appalling.

      • Richter_DL

        His priorities are those Michael Pearl expresses in his “train your child like your dog” book: If it inconveniences the paterfamilias, childrens’ welfare and safety do not matter the slightest.

    • attackfish

      Strangely enough, my grandmother was the one who reported her granddaughter for neglect…

      (Not me, my cousin, who has starving her children)

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

      They don’t just “take” children. One of my cousins was reported (falsely) because her infant daughter had a strict feeding schedule imposed by a doctor, and someone was aghast they were letting the baby cry and not feeding her.

      CPS came, interviewed the older kids, looked around the house, and left again. It was scary for the family, and it sucked, but at no point was there discussion of removing the children from the home. That is a last-resort option, not a first-resort.

    • David Kopp

      CPS is stretched wafer thin. They very, VERY rarely take children, mostly because there’s no easy place to put them. They only do it in very obvious cases of abuse.

      How do I know this? Because my last childcare provider was an idiot, and I had CPS come twice. Both times they were very nice, professional and understanding.

      In general, it’s hard to have abuse allegations substantiated unless there’s actual abuse. But I find that many “christians” don’t classify things as abuse that are, a group that seems to strongly overlap the types that thing gay is a choice, that they have a first amendment right to force others to be second class citizens, etc.

      • Richter_DL

        As evidenced by TK and the others below, the vocal CPS haters indeed seem to believe in a spank-heavy way of child rearing. Not sure about Granpa Chuck, who seems to be a lawyer specialising in “wrongfully” taken Children, but I suppose from hints he’s more of the conservative kind too.

    • ZeldasCrown

      It’s not false reports-it’s unsubstantiated reports. There’s a difference. Unsubstantiated includes a lot of things-yes, false reports (which can be malicious or genuinely out of concern), but also cases where there’s not enough evidence, or whatever’s going on just barely tows the line of legality (and I’m sure there’s other situations too). If there’s not enough evidence, then nothing happens.

      And, as has been said earlier, substantiated isn’t equivalent to “take the kids away forever”. Most of the time it results in parenting classes, or removing the children temporarily (and to a relative, if one can be found) while the parent has treatment (say if the problem was for some illness that was inhibiting care of the kids, or if there was a substance abuse problem), or fixes a dangerous household situation (say if the house is just inches away from being condemned, once the parent fixes that, the kids can come home), or supervision of the household for some amount of time (if the abusive parent isn’t allowed to be alone with the kids until they demonstrate some change).

      • Nancy Claver Witherell

        You sound very logical and reasonable. If the typical case was handled in such a manner – we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    • fiona64

      Citations needed. Thanks in advance.

    • Richter_DL

      Maybe your and CPS’ definitions of abuse are just somewhat at odds. Then, of course, it’s your loss.

  • Anat

    You used an example of mild assault against a child by an older family member as a positive thing. What did you expect people to think of you?

    • Legally Kidnapped

      I know I’m probably wasting my breath here but I did not say it was a positive thing. I was attempting to make a point about how you all seem to put child abuse into a nice little one size fits all package in the midst of a discussion which included claims of CPS being underfunded, overworked, etc. I also suggested that false or frivolous reports of child abuse, including what you just called “mild assault’ against a “child” or rather a mouthy teenager who needs to learn some respect, wastes precious resources that could go to help children who really are abused and desperately need protection so that they can, for example, live long enough to grow up. I mistakenly thought that you were all intelligent adults who would get it. Instead, you pick one statement, take it out of context, run with it, use it in a nonsensical way that falsely labels me as a child abuser, a sociopathic sadist, whatever, then start moderating my comments which throws the whole thing out of context. I suggested that perhaps certain resources should go to protect a baby who was being molested and severely beaten rather than a teenager who gets a slap in the face for telling grandma to go f*** herself. Apparently I was wrong. I was citing a real world example actually, and fortunately the judge threw it out of court.

      http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/florida-woman-arrested-slapping-granddaughter-face/story?id=10539757

      I hope you don’t go off on her like you did me. But now you got her name. She’s a real monster, eh?

      http://www.tampabay.com/news/humaninterest/charges-dropped-against-largo-grandma-who-slapped-teen/1092557

      • Alix

        1. Slapping someone in the face is assault. End of story.

        2. No one “needs to learn some respect.” That’s an abuser’s excuse. Respect is earned.

        3. Please. You weren’t arguing in good faith with any of us. If you were you a) wouldn’t have whipped out insults, b) wouldn’t have thrown out Columbine, and c) would’ve listened the first fucking time we told you that yes, there is clearly a difference between hitting a minor across the face for saying a bad word and raping a baby, but that both are wrong.

        4. Any person who slaps a minor I’m responsible for will never be permitted contact with said minor again as long as I have a damn thing to say about it. If it’s a pattern with them, I will damn well call the cops on them. Slapping anyone is abusive. It’s not “discipline,” it’s a humiliating assault.

        5. I notice, again, it’s the adults who matter to you, not the kids who got assaulted.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        Alix

        1. You are wrong.

        2. Kids do need to learn respect, self regulation, good behavior, whatever. That’s how we teach them to be good productive citizens instead of prisoners. IN many cases that could be done without a slap on the face, but you’re insistence on criticizing the methods of one simply because you disagree with that method does not make you any better than them. In fact, it’s quite asinine.

        3. I argue in good faith. a. was insulted first, which I can handle much better than you obviously, as some people can dish it out but can’t take it. b. your foolish ways are the reason we have kids that are out of control, and probably the reason that we have situations like columbine, because the feminist’s along with CPS which is a feminist issue has taken away a parents right to discipline their children by mislabeling as abuse that which may be necessary or the end result of lots and lots of frustration in dealing with a difficult child, (which you’ve obviously never done) although you may not agree with it and which does not make them evil, inadequate, or psycho. And c. you could not state your opinion while showing you understood the point.

        Not every slap is abuse. You may not agree but fortunately the judge does.

        4. You need a man to have a baby , God, evolution, mother nature whatever you want to call it made it that way for a reason. Cutting him off because he does not discipline your child according to your strict feminist standards is called parental alienation and is a form of child abuse, or telling a grandparent that they can never see your mouthy disrespectful teenager again is cruel. I find it disturbing that you would protect the actions of a teenager who told her grandmother to go fuck herself. Giving people who love that child and simply want the child to do well an ultimatum on either raising your child the way you demand or cutting him off should get you cut off.

        5. Everybody matters. If you can’t take care of yourself you certainly can’t take care of a child. And you are completely wrong if you think that I don’t think the child matters.

      • Niemand

        Not every slap is abuse.

        Ok, then, in what instance is it non-abusive for someone to be hit by a giant 10x their size on whom they are dependent for everything from food to social feedback? Seems to me a good way to teach the child that might makes right. Not the message I want to send to the person who may be picking out my nursing home some day.

        You need a man to have a baby , God, evolution, mother nature whatever you want to call it made it that way for a reason.

        You need a sperm donor to make a baby. Sort of. For now. It’s probably not that hard to change that paradigm, should anyone want to.

        Cutting him off because he does not discipline your child according to your strict feminist standards is called parental alienation

        Removing a child from the person who is abusing them is called appropriate parenting.

      • attackfish

        Removing a child from the person who is abusing them is called appropriate parenting.

        EXACTLY, THIS! And everyone you’re talking to believes this goes both ways. If it is a mother abusing a child, the father of the child is just as duty bound to do everything he can to protect the child and get them away from their abuser. The fact that a woman carries a child from conception to birth doesn’t change that any more than the fact that sperm is currently necessary to conceive does.

      • Alix

        Also, well, no, you don’t need a man to become a parent. There’s that thing called adoption we’ve been talking about elsewhere.

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        If the grandmother slapped a minor, she likely never deserved respect, and needed to be told to fuck off.

        ” You need a man to have a baby ,”

        But not to parent one. I’m pretty sure God, Mother Nature, evolution MADE THAT ON PURPOSE TOO(that mistreated children could be removed from people that hurt them)!

        “Giving people who love that child”

        You don’t hit people you love. FULL STOP!

      • Richter_DL

        1. in several states, a slap in the face is just cause for the slapped to shoot you dead.

        2. If slapping children would be so effective in producing healthy, self-regulated and respectful individuals, America would neither be at the top of worldwide incarceration lists (both in absolute and per capita numbers), it would also not have the problem with violence it has. Safe to say, your methods are very faulty.

        3. You were condescending from the first post on. That is not good faith. That is being an arrogant jackass.

        4. Strictly speaking, no, you don’t. But human cloning so far is very illegal and riddled with procedural and medical problems.

        5. You only think if in doubt, the child matters less. You’re the plantation owner who cares for his slaves. Just, you know, not as much as for his children, his wife, or his dog.

      • attackfish

        I apologize for replying to you, Richer, LK’s comment is inactive flagged, or something. This is for them.

        Kids do need to learn respect, self regulation, good behavior, whatever.

        Yes, children do need to learn self regulation and good behavior, and yes, sometimes, punishment is a part of that. But that doesn’t mean an act of violence and disrespect. You cannot teach respect to someone by being disrespectful of them. You do it by teaching empathy, not fear. Last week, I saw the perfect example of a humane punishment. The parents of a kindergarten girl I know found out their daughter was bullying a girl at school because of her medical special diet. For Yom Kippur, she had to spend the day on that special diet herself, and afterwards had to apologize to the other little girl. Throughout the process, her parents made their disappointment in her behavior very clear. What she did was far worse than “mouthing off”, and her punishment was far more appropriate.

        telling a grandparent that they can never see your mouthy disrespectful teenager again is cruel. I find it disturbing that you would protect the actions of a teenager who told her grandmother to go fuck herself.

        My parents have never allowed my grandmother any access to me for just such a reason, and I’m sure you would have called me a mouthy teen. They have also kicked my uncle out and told him never to come back afterhe raged at me several times for being “disrespectful”, which in his mind included me coming home from school, putting my backpack down and letting the dogs out before taking my backpack upstairs. That was a lot milder than a slap across the face. Plenty of older relatives could have used a good “fuck off” from me, and some of them got it either from me, or from my parents on my behalf. Blood is not some sort of magical talisman that makes it an act of cruelty for a person to deny you their company if you abuse them, or in the case of a child, their guardians todeny you their company on their behalf.

        Further more, in my experience, children, just like adults, give greater respect, true respect, to people who treat them with respect, and there is absolutely nothing about slapping someone across the face that is in any way respectful.

        And if this mouthy teen was so horrible as to deserve a slap, and your scorn, why would it be a punishment to deprive anyone of their company?

      • The_L1985

        No. Striking a child in any other form beyond an open hand on the wrist or buttocks is assault, not discipline.

        Slapping never taught me respect; it taught me that nobody would ever respect me no matter what I said or did. It taught me that I was what Orwell called an “unperson” and that my thoughts and feelings would never matter as much as anyone else’s. The very act itself was literally dehumanizing for me.

      • Trollface McGee

        ” Kids do need to learn respect, self regulation, good behavior”
        And this can be easily accomplished without beating anyone.

        “Not every slap is abuse.”
        No, but every one is an assault which is a crime in itself and an indicator of abuse – which a real judge would tell you but hey they’re all feminazis.

        “You need a man to have a baby ”
        What does that have to do with anything? You think men all favour assaulting kids? For an MRA troll, you sure don’t think much of men. Oh and nice mention of “parental alienation” because the problem isn’t abuse, it’s men not being given access to their property.

      • Alix

        1. How is striking someone not assault? Do you even understand what assault is?

        2. Respect is earned, not forced. You don’t earn respect by hitting people. “Criticizing the method” is perfectly valid – the method you’re advocating is abusive.

        3. Ah, I see, you think kids all need to be hit to learn anything. Clearly, you’re new to this site. (Also, feminists caused Columbine? LOL)

        Protip: disagreeing with you is not insulting you. Grow thicker skin.

        4. Where the hell did a man come into this? Your initial scenario involved my mother. It’s rather telling of your views, though, so thanks for sharing. I can now write you off completely as another authoritarian asshole.

        Also, anyone who hauls off and slugs a kid across the face has just demonstrated that no, they don’t love my kid or have er best interests at heart. They have their own interests at heart, and are prioritizing their anger and their need for “respect” over the rights of the minor.

        5. You consistently prioritize the family, parents, and “respect” over the child. Clearly, children (and, per your #4, women) rank lower on the hierarchy to you.

        If you can’t take care of yourself you certainly can’t take care of a child.

        Another out-of-left-field comment. Do try to stay on topic.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        Alix:

        You are free to accept or believe whatever you want. That doesn’t make you any less full of shit. It may somewhat irritate those who don’t necessarily subscribe to your view and failure to subscribe to your view does not necessarily make someone an abuser or a psycho or a sociopath or a sadist, or even a homeschooled christian fundamentalist who kills and eats their whole family. It simply means that they might have a different view as to what our rights are in regards to raising our own children.

        Why should we allow people like you to shove your views down our throats while our kids are running wild in the street, doing drugs and telling us to go fuck ourselves? (and no my kids are not btw)

        Why should we who do not agree with you have to allow CPS workers to crawl up our asses and investigate us simply because people like you don’t agree with how we choose to deal with unruly and disrespectful, out of control kids?

        Do you really blame the parent for every kid that doesn’t come out perfect?

        And do you really expect everybody else to be as perfect as you or have it as good as you or have their kids turn out as naturally obedient as yours?

        See the only real problem that I have with your view is that people like you tend to whine so much that it might end up influencing the creation of laws or agency policies that may prove to be harmful to real families in very real and difficult situations.

      • Alix

        I could turn everything you say right back on you. Why on earth should I listen to someone who goes slinging insults, calling people Nazis? Why should I listen to someone who advocates for child abuse?

        What do you want CPS to do? You refuse to answer the question: how, without CPS, or with restrictions on reporting so no one innocent ever gets dinged, do we prevent child abuse?

        I don’t consider the family the highest priority. I consider people the highest priority. I hear you whining that parents get falsely accused (when no one has any way of knowing something’s false until it’s investigated), that slaps across the face get treated as abuse (they are), and trying to blame folks who actually care about the well-being of children for the breakdown of society.

        Society’s not breaking down. Mouthing off is hardly the worst thing a kid could do. Running wild in the streets? Who cares? So they’re not toeing the line, being perfect little pets. They’re people, they’re allowed to be themselves.

        Sorry, but I care about real harm to kids more than whiny parents who want to be able to hit their kids without fear.

      • Anat

        Because your children are people and they deserve to be safe from you.

      • smrnda

        “Kids do need to learn respect, self regulation, good behavior, whatever.”

        Hitting kids when you don’t like what they do at worst teaches them that might makes right, and at best only works by making the child afraid of being punished. You also assume that all adults/parents/etc. deserve respect. That’s not always true.

        People motivated by punishment or reward aren’t likely to make good choices later on in life. I’d consider a child who behaves *out of fear of getting hit* to be a failure. That’s not doing right instead of wrong, it’s carrot/stick.

        I’ve also worked with difficult kids for nearly 10 years. I’m not allowed to hit kids, and I can’t think of anything where I can think ‘wow, hitting a kid would have totally gotten better results than non-violence.’

      • Lyric

        You need a man to have a baby

        Who are you arguing with?

      • Anat

        That was LK thinking that contributing to someone’s DNA entitled one to be involved in their lives even if one was violent to them.

      • phantomreader42

        Respect is earned.

        This is quite true, and needs to be stated. But to an authoritarian who is incapable of earning genuine respect (such as “Legally Kidnapped”), it is absolutely terrifying, and must be denied at all costs. If the only way you can obtain respect is by violence and the threat of it, then you do not deserve respect. Abusers and their supporters know on some level that they do not deserve respect, but cannot bring themselves to change in order to become worthy, so their only option is to ensure that they can get away with ruling by fear.

      • Alix

        The thing they never see is that what they get isn’t real respect, but feigned. Respect, genuine respect, cannot be demanded or forced – it’s not respect once that happens.

        But like any authoritarians, they’ll take the semblance over the real thing. They know they can force the semblance, but they aren’t fully in control of whether or not they get the real thing, and that’s inexcusable. It means their lessers can withhold something they think of as their due. (See also: their views on love, gratitude, and cheerfulness.)

        *Spits*

        This obsession with ~respect~ is deeply toxic. My dad shares this obsession. It’s all about saving face.

        These people prioritize saving face and the appearance of conformity and respect over the actual well-being and individual rights of their “inferiors.” It’s sickening.

      • Trollface McGee

        Oh yes, good faith argument.. where you call us feminazis for the high crime of disagreeing with an MRA troll. Your argument isn’t novel or interesting, and it’s wrong and there’s no amount of slinging insults or crying about the persecution of abusers that’s going to make it less wrong.

        I’m well aware that there are lots of real cases. I’m a defence attorney, I’ve seen plenty of minor assault cases. They don’t typically result in jail and sometimes there’s not even a mark on one’s record – but they’re still assaults and I’m not stupid enough to tell my clients they have the right to act that way. An adult should know better before hitting anyone. Period.

      • Richter_DL

        The only person who puts people into one-size-fits-all-boxes is you, crybaby.

      • Anat

        You mentioned learning a valuable lesson. That sounds like a positive thing. Many of us here, from out own respective experiences, realize the lesson one learns from being slapped aren’t the lesson you seem to think the girl in question would learn. People who believe anything good is learned from being hit are people who are caught up in authoritarian thinking. Rarely is it the case of a single event. Most often the event that gets reported is the tip of an iceberg for a pattern of behavior. Once the extent of the family situation is determined it is time to evaluate what to do. I have no idea if the solutions available are the right ones, but yes, every family where adults hit children needs help.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        “family where adults hit children needs help.”

        What kind of “help” would you offer to the family, besides removing the child?

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        Anger management classes, parenting classes, therapy for the children and parents, THINGS THAT CPS ALREADY DOES!!!!!!

      • Niemand

        Also, financial help, if needed. People who are worried about whether they’ll be able to pay the rent or who didn’t eat last night because they ran out of food and preferred to make sure their kids ate to eating themselves tend to be snappish. CPS per se doesn’t do that (as far as I know), but does refer people to the appropriate agencies.

        Not to mention ensuring medical insurance, including long term care insurance. Because sick kids are more likely to be abused than healthy kids. You know, that evil stuff Obama’s trying to provide.

      • unhappygrammy

        Yes, after they take the child and run!

      • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

        Um, no.

      • unhappygrammy

        Most definitely, YES! I guess it depends on what State you’re in.

      • Trollface McGee

        In any state, they can remove a child who they believe is a threat – however, this idea that they just “take” the children is absolutely false. There are due process considerations that they cannot ignore. The idea that CPS runs around stealing good white Christians’ children is just another bit of fearmongering propaganda.

      • unhappygrammy

        Think again. Parents are NOT afforded due process. Convicted criminals have more rights than ACCUSED parents. DCYF/CPS claim they have the power of God and they walk on water. I guess the CPS worker who told me they can do whatever they want was right. And OUR own Govt. gave them that power!

      • Trollface McGee

        Um.. OUR government which includes the Supreme Court says otherwise. In any situation where a child is removed, the parent is entitled to a hearing with an attorney present if they choose.
        Now, the fact that someone may have misused their power isn’t shocking but it doesn’t speak to some grand government conspiracy to take away kids.

      • Anat

        Others have replied already, for the most part. I would like to stress that when it is found that a child is getting hit by guardians and other adults with regular access to the child there needs to be an assessment of the entire family and individualized intervention. Most of all, the carers need to learn better ways for interacting with the child in question – both at times of peace and at times of conflict. And they need advice that is specific to their family situation.

        I don’t know how individualized the parenting classes one gets through CPS are, but sometimes there are underlying issues that make common methods not work for a particular family. Such issues need to be discovered, understood and addressed.

        In a different country I know of a child who called the police on his parents. The triggering event was something that seems like you would consider minor, but it was part of a pattern, which was the result of a the interaction of a series of physical and mental health issues of various family members. Thanks to the intervention of authorities matters are in the process of being sorted out. It will take a long while to undo years of dysfunction but at least now knowledgeable people are involved directly.

      • Alix

        Also, why is removing the child automatically a huge evil? I for one wish someone had removed us from my father, even temporarily, and his abuse was mostly verbal.

        Do the wishes of the children even matter to you? Or are you so stuck in your parent-centric view that you can’t imagine what it’s like from the child’s perspective?

        Living in a home where I could be struck for any infraction, up to and including just speaking if an adult took exception to that … that’s terrifying. Children should be removed from those homes until and unless they stop, because that is abusive.

        If someone hit their wife for mouthing off, is that okay?

      • duc

        My dad has a story about when I was 3-4-ish and he spanked me and sent me to my room because I called him an asshole. A couple of minutes later I call out to him.
        “Daddy.”
        “Yes?”
        “You know that work I called you?”
        “Yes, sweeteart?”
        “Well, I still think it.”

        which is my dad’s cue to look at his audience with a big “what do you do?” expression.
        Now I have absolutly no memory of that episode, but the first time my dad told it it made a lot of sense to me that getting spanked would not make me feel any more charitable toward him and in fact probably reinforced my belief he was an asshole.
        I was a toddler, imagine a teenager.

      • Lyric

        I also suggested that false or frivolous reports of child abuse,
        including what you just called “mild assault’ against a “child” or
        rather a mouthy teenager who needs to learn some respect, wastes
        precious resources that could go to help children who really are abused
        and desperately need protection so that they can, for example, live long
        enough to grow up.

        If it’s one or the other, of course CPS must protect the more severely abused child. But those sorts of dilemmas happen only in thought experiments.

        Here’s the thing. If I see my next-door neighbor belt her grandchild across the face, you bet I’m going to call CPS, and I’m going to do it for two reasons.

        First, it really is assault, and people should not assault one another.

        Second—far more importantly—I don’t know what else is going on behind the scenes. All I know is that Grandma has poor enough control of her temper that she hits people (who, typically, would not dare to respond in kind) when she’s upset. What else is she doing? Few people use such a dismissive, violent, humiliating gesture once and are an angel the rest of the time.

        Besides, we as a society like to buy into this myth of teenagers being an undifferentiated mass of disrespect and bad fashion choices, but I’ve found that most teenagers are capable of a great deal of respect—for
        certain things. If their sense of justice is offended (and nobody cares about justice quite as passionately as a teenager) then it blots out everything else, including respect. As adults, it falls upon us to recognize that teenagers don’t tend to think of more than one “big
        concept” (justice, respect, truth, etc) at once, and cope with this. If a teenager tells their grandmother to go fuck herself, the most likely explanation is that he or she is feeling overwhelmed by emotion. It would be better to figure out what emotion and why before automatically
        assuming that the teen needs to be “taught a lesson,” which is a nastily flawed concept anyway.

      • Alix

        I was discussing this whole thread with my mother, and she remembered an incident I’d forgotten: she slapped my brother across the face once, in public, because he’d mouthed off to her. It was the one and only time she ever deliberately hit any of us; the fact that she’d ever gotten stressed to the point of lashing out physically scared her shitless, and she made sure she never let that happen again.

        She flat-out told me that if someone had called CPS on her after seeing that, she wouldn’t have blamed them. All they would’ve seen was a grown woman hauling off and slugging a kid in her care. How were they to know it was the only time she did that? CPS isn’t psychic. Other people don’t automatically know when it’s “legitimate” (which frankly, it never is) and when it’s abuse.

        It would be better to figure out what emotion and why before automatically assuming that the teen needs to be “taught a lesson,” which is a nastily flawed concept anyway.

        I’ve been trying to find a way to articulate that since this whole thing came up, so thank you.

      • Frimp

        A single person called you a child abuser, sadist, and sociopath. Incidentally, that was one of the only people you chose to reply to. You skipped over plenty of civil replies to your initial comment. Why did you do that, if you were looking for a discussion?

        Also, it really sort of seems as if “intelligent adults” to you means “people who agree with me.” You ask everyone to step outside of their boxes, but you’re in a pretty small box of your own. And it’s one of some pretty intense extremes.

        Look, here’s the problem: it’s hard to tell when something that you see is abuse and when it’s not. You can’t know for certain unless you check it out. A slap may just be an isolated incident — or it could be part of a larger pattern. Where would you suggest drawing the line? You’ve mentioned molestation a few times. How do we figure out that someone’s being molested if we decide that we should overlook the small, innocent-looking things?

      • Legally Kidnapped

        Frimp: I’m sorry, I responded to a few of the comments that came to my email. I do not have time to reply to 150+ comments or several different people all at once. I wish I did.

        No people do not have to agree with me to qualify as intelligent. Yes I do sometimes ask people to shatter their delusions, and as for my intense extremes, you have no idea.

        In response to the third paragraph, you fail to even consider that the agencies charged with protecting children may very well be problematic, corrupt or complete systematic failures that cause more harm than good, fucks things up royally and leaves children in harms way while investigating so many frivolous cases.

        Agencies that are underfunded need to allocate their resources wisely. That means they can’t investigate every little thing. It’s impossible. It would also piss off a lot of innocent people. That’s why, for example, the child abuse hotline screens calls. That way the more serious cases get investigated immediately and the less serious cases are put on the back burner or are screened out.

        You also make it out to be a completely innocent and harmless investigation to make sure the kids are safe. That is simply not the case. These investigations are invasive and often terrifying. Also you fail to realize that there is often very real harm caused when people are falsely accused and investigated.

        You can say it’s for the benefit of the child all you want but that’s a cop out because such investigations causes them stress too. Kids have been dragged out of their classrooms and subjected to intense questioning by social workers without parental notification or consent and in some cases CPS investigations have even included unnecessary and very invasive physical examinations by doctors. So I’d want to be pretty damn sure that something was going on before subjecting little kids to that kind of trauma.

      • Alix

        *Sigh*

        Again, we see how false accusations, stress, and invasiveness matter more than physical harm to children.

        No one here claims CPS is perfect. We’ve said that over and over. Things like the Satanic Panic prove that.

        But you need to provide us a better option. Specific changes. A different system. Something.

        And, like we’ve asked repeatedly, you can start by telling us what you consider sufficient proof of an abuse claim. When do onlookers know enough to meet the “pretty damn sure” standard? How many bruises does a child have to have before I should call CPS or the police on the parents? How many times do I have to watch someone smack their kids across the face before I call? How many broken bones should they have? Do I have to do all the detective work myself, instead of leaving it in the hands of trained professionals? If the parents have a reasonable-sounding story, do I then not call, even if I really truly believe that little kid didn’t get that injury by falling off a bike?

        What’s “pretty damn sure”?

        You throw out a lot of pretty rhetoric, but you’re critically short on details.

      • Alix

        The other thing worth noting is that a person does not have the right to never be falsely accused of a crime. The mark of a working justice system isn’t that no one ever suffers a false or unsubstantiated allegation, but that after due process the innocent go free and the guilty are duly punished.

        And yes, our justice system is far from perfect, but making it harder to investigate crimes and abuses just so people never have to deal with a false allegation is a good way to make sure justice never happens at all.

        Who do you side with, Legally Kidnapped? The powerful or the powerless?

      • unhappygrammy

        And here you are so wrong! Parent’s and families are NOT allowed due process once that true or false report is called in. The innocent most NEVER go free and the children are stolen and adopted out. This is the problem. The parent is NEVER considered innocent even when they ARE proven innocent. Not in Family Court! When a parent is arrested on Criminal charges and the charges are later dropped due to PROVEN innocence, the Family Court charges NEVER go away. CPS plays their illegal little games with their puppet Judges and make sure the child is never returned.
        In many States a parent can be charged with “Neglect in the Future”. Not that they’ve done anything wrong in the past or present, but in the future. The CPS Psychic’s believe they can see that the child WILL be neglected, so without proof of any wrongdoing, they take the child and run. Like I said, there is NO due process in Family Court and “Hearsay” without proof rules the Family Courts!

      • Richter_DL

        If by “innocent” you mean “raising their children biblically”, as in “spanking the shit out of them for Jesus”, that sounds plausible. However, your definition of “innocent” is rather off, then.

        Also, CPS has psychics? Don’t you mean the CIA or the Psi Corps?

      • Alix

        Proof, please.

      • unhappygrammy

        Google them. They’re all over the Internet.

      • Lyric

        Then it shouldn’t be hard for you to find credible proof.

      • Alix

        Nuh-uh, that’s not how this works. You made the claim, you need to provide the evidence.

        Also, anecdotes aren’t sufficient evidence.

      • Richter_DL

        Ah, unsubstantiated claims, the lifeblood of the modern conservative.

      • David S.

        Any organization can be problematic, corrupt or complete systematic failures; churches, schools, governments. That doesn’t justify judging any of them summarily.

        At the end of the day, most of us weight the good and the bad and judge literally saving the lives of children and protecting other children against abuse justifies the existence of CPS and their general practices.

      • Trollface McGee

        “Kids have been dragged out of their classrooms and subjected to intense questioning by social workers without parental notification or consent and in some cases CPS investigations have even included unnecessary and very invasive physical examinations by doctors. So I’d want to be pretty damn sure that something was going on before subjecting little kids to that kind of trauma.”
        O noes! Teh traumaz! Seriously??? Seriously?? Being asked questions and having to see a doctor is worse to you than being physically assaulted… you sir, are a piece of work.

  • Richter_DL

    Talk about a straw man. You are, however, a child abuser if you consider corporeal punishment a valid way to “instill discipline” in children.

  • Eve Fisher

    When I was a child, 50 years ago, there was no CPS – and in my middle-class, suburban neighborhood, every child knew that across the street, the father was sexually abusing his three children; that there were many families where the children were being beaten like a gong; that such-and-such were alcoholics, verbally if not physically abusing their children. But nothing was done, nothing could be done, and if we even mentioned any of this, we knew that we would be smacked because this was a nice neighborhood where things like that didn’t happen. Of course, that was back in the 1950′s and early 60′s, when it was common to see wives and children with black eyes and bruises, but that was fine, because it was the man’s right beat his wife and kids. “What did they do to deserve it?” was the question. I like the current situation much better. I agree with Alix: “I’d rather every report get investigated than children die because no one bothered to check.” Or children be sexually abused, battered, etc. Sorry, it was a lousy, lousy, lousy way to live back then. Except for the abuser, who got away scot free. Every effing time.

    • attackfish

      There aren’t enough up-votes in the world for this.

    • Richter_DL

      This.

  • phantomreader42

    The “lesson” taught by slapping a child in the face for saying something you don’t like is that it’s okay to assault people for fun if you can get away with it. You claim to consider that a valuable lesson, but the only kind of person who could consider it valuable is someone who likes hurting people (that is, a sadist) and has no conscience (that is, a sociopath). The fact that you call people Nazis, then whine about how “respectful” you’ve been, is one of the many, many, MANY signs you’ve shown that you do not have a shred of basic human decency.

  • Alix

    You’re the one telling me that people call too easily and need more proof before calling. Why won’t you tell us what proof people need?

    Stop dodging the question.

    • Legally Kidnapped

      Just use a little common sense Alix.

      Of course for a group of people who would want to investigate every little scrape on the knee as a potential sign of child abuse, that might be a difficult concept to grasp. You of course bring up the blatantly obvious scenarios. Like I said, if it make you feel good, call on them all you want.

      • Lyric

        You do realize you’re edging coyly around accusing Alix of false witness, don’t you? A pretty big deal, in some circles. Before throwing out such serious accusations, perhaps you should have some specific transgression to point at.

      • Anat

        Your ‘common sense’ is a weasel word. Be specific. Because you are the one who wants to interfere with a service that performs an essential function. So the burden is on you to offer solutions.

      • Alix

        Stop dodging the question. When do you feel it’s appropriate to call CPS/the police?

      • David S.

        Use common sense here means do whatever Legally Kidnapped would do. The difficult concept to grasp is that common sense means different things to different people, and is not a terribly useful instruction in any group where you don’t personally know and trust the judgment of every single person.

      • Richter_DL

        Cheese with your whine?

        You owe an explanation of what DOES
        present sufficient reason to call CPS (ot the police, Homeland, the
        national guard, Xo, whatever). You repeatedly said what you don’t think
        warrants abuse charges. Now say what DOES. If it’s so easy to understand, it should be no problem for you.

      • Legally Kidnapped

        I owe an explanation of what does present sufficient reason to call CPS to people who would already call CPS on anything from a parent yelling to to a kid stepping outside without a jacket? And on a website called “Love, Joy and Feminism” no less where select comments are being moderated out?

        That makes a lot of sense.

        How about this. If you can make the reasonable assumption that a kid may be being abused or is at risk of harm in any way shape or form, then by all means, make that call. The only problem I have with this is that you’re all so damn sure that because little Johnny got a bump on the head it automatically means they got smacked and even if it didn’t you figure that it’s best to have a social worker preforming a state sponsored anal-probe on the parents, just to make sure.

      • Anat

        If you are wondering what gets your comments moderated, look up the comment policy of this blog. It’s accessible from the top of this page. And note that your comments that are awaiting moderation are not gone, anyone can view them by clicking on them. (Hint: using the word ‘feminazis’ did you no favor.)

      • Richter_DL

        Evasion, evasion, evasion. That’s all you have to offer, don’t you. Big mouth and nothing to back it up.

        And you contradict yourself a lot, too. So suddenly you’re okay with anonymous reports about potential abuse? Right. You have no idea what your red line would be.

        Sure, like all white, male, Christian Americans, you are being persecuted. The usual whine of your kind when you face opposition. For all your indoctrination, nobody in your talebanesque community taught you that, right? And your comments are being moderated out? Awww. Maybe you should have cut back on the insults. But that is surely worse than the Klan! Poor white people like you!

        Then again, there’s an entire TV network built on that premise. It’s a common state of mind in conservative America.

  • J_Enigma32

    I’m just getting immersed in this, so if it’s been mentioned before, forgive me for pointing it out again: I wonder if this has anything to do with their warped view of human nature? These people have a twisted and perverse way of viewing humans – all humans are evil, they’re corrupt, and if left to their own devices, they’ll expression that corruption and evil in corrupt and evil ways (Doctrine of Total Depravity, I believe it’s called). I have a friend who believes that way. This doctrine is beat into their heads, and it’s a foundational keystone for their entire perception of reality.

    If you believe that humans are innately evil and need to be put under thumb in order to act “Godly”, then their whole approach makes a very sick degree of sense; in the same way that defending a rapist if they’re the star quarterback on the high school football team makes sense. It’s devoid of any kind of morality completely, but if their notion is that you’re evil right from the start, then you have to do everything you can to keep that evil from manifesting and keep them inline. Thus, when the outside word calls them on this shit and tells them they’re abusing their children, it comes out of left field, since they’re keeping their children from being naturally evil.

    This breeds a very nasty way of seeing humanity and seeing the world. And while I don’t think this is the case for most of these people (I’m not above accusing good ol’ fashioned cynical manipulation because it makes you money and feeds your ego), I wonder how many are taking that approach, with that “logic” backing it up.

    • Alix

      Authoritarianism in a nutshell, or at least one common strand of it.

    • attackfish

      This is exactly what it is, and they can get quite blatant about it. All the Pearls’ talk of breaking children’s wills, for example.

  • GPC

    How about some Warrant Training for all those in this group?
    Please note this was part of a Civil Court suit in CA.. and as a training required for employees.. But perhaps one can learn a bit about the Rights in our constitution?
    http://www.nfpcar.org/Legal/Briefs/Shawn_McMillan/Warrant_Training_Part2_Edi.pdf

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