Imagine a parent torturing their own child. Child Protective Services takes in the child to protect him or her, and begin the long process of trying to find a foster family for the child while courts try to deal with the parent. In the middle of this long, drawn-out process, the parent has another child. Because of the prior abuse, this baby also goes into state custody.
Although there are ranges of outcomes and different stories of children who lived through situations like this, if we look at the statistics, we can safely say that the children going through the state system are not, on average, getting a fair start in life. Recent reports found state systems that are failing children across the board. The community loses out too, because it will pay for the costs of this failing child protective and care system, in the short-term and in the long-term as it absorbs scores of unprepared children reared in public systems.
Would it be possible to design a worse system?
There is a solution. In some egregious cases, judges are ordering abusive parents not to have more children. Many courts have upheld those orders as constitutional, finding that a child’s right to a minimum level of well-being should balance against a parent’s right to have a child.
But the process of using these orders is haphazard and undertheorized.
Having Kids strongly believes a child’s right to a fair start overrides other considerations. We are exploring ways to help standardize this process.
And if you agree that the child’s rights should come first, please click and sign our Fair Start Declaration. Thanks so much!