In the dystopian (and un-put-downable) novel, “The School for Good Mothers,” parents who don’t helicopter get sent to a state re-education school. There, each interaction they have with their child is graded to see if it is kind enough, warm enough, educational enough, safe enough (obviously!) and selfless enough.
Yes, this is a parody of the standards some social service agencies demand from parents — especially moms. But how much truth is embedded in “Good Mothers”? Can you really get your kids taken away from you for trusting them to walk home from school, or not getting them to quiet down quickly enough as an government-approved instructor looks on?
Over at Let Grow we begin our discussion of the overlap between “The Good Mothers” and real life. We will be adding to it with a granular look at what can happen once the state opens an investigation of a parent, so stay tuned.
But, frankly, this first installment is worrisome enough! Remember, you can join our campaign to NARROW the neglect laws, so that neglect charges kick inÂ only when you TRULY put your kid in REAL and LIKELY danger. NOT anytime a caseworker can dream up a worst case scenario (“They could have been kidnapped in those 10 minutes, or bitten by a snake!”). The FANTASTIC news is that the Colorado House passed our “Reasonable Childhood Independence” law last week and next it goes to their Senate.
Woo hoo! Let’s keep our laws grounded in reality! (And read fiction to show us where we don’t want to end up!)
Lenore, Did you intend to write “bitten by a VENOMOUS snake” rather than merely “bitten by a snake?”
In the plea deal offered Melissa Henderson, she would have been required to attend parenting classes a/k/a School for Good Mothers (as if doing so would “fix” her and she would know better than to allow her now 16 year old teen daughter and the 11 year old and the 14 year old siblings look after their younger sibling, which her neighbor and the Deputy didn’t approve of her doing and her children would be safer (what a disconnect by the District Attorney’s Office).
Attorney for Georgia Mom Arrested, Melissa Henderson
Crossing my fingers for the Colorado bill!
Kudos to you guys, the Colorado House!
Any chance worth considering going on the offensive? Namely, that it’s unlawful neglect not to ensure kids ample Free Ranging, reasonable independence out and about? I believe when I was a kid, neglect could stem from keeping kids housebound whenever not helicoptered. Certainly truancy — with the school responsible for transportation to/from a bus stop within a mile, half-mile? No matter the conditions: snow/ice covering what minimal shoulders there normally were, ice- and hail-storms, blizzards, regular darkness. Schools would close for inclement weather, but not always timely: sometimes we were already there. Again, I believe it the school’s responsibility to ensure our release, busing back to the bus stop.
I havenâ€™t read the book but I have lived through this. I see much hope in the bills being past and the push for more. But unless and until cops is eliminated, restrained or remake, massive misuse will continue to haunt innocent parents and children. No one wants children to be abused but when a normal childhood is considered negligent everyone is affected. No more anonymous reports, if you are concerned enough to report it, you should be concerned enough to face those you accuse in court. No more lifelong reports kept on file just in case, if the charges against you are unfounded. The report gets shredded. There needs to be more realistic training for cops personnel and witnesses to what they tell you. And stop removing kids just in case, have real evidence. And when you have that evidence, remove them, donâ€™t leave them because you need to take kids only to even out all classes i your check sheet. They need to have clear definitions of negligence and abuse, not standards so vague they can be applied to anything the cops decides. Sorry for the rant but it hit my jitter trigger even after all these years.
Where autocorrect put cops should be cps