Treating the Symptom Instead of the Disease

A link to this article came through my Facebook feed recently. According to the article, child abuse in West Virginia is declining, but the group “Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia” is advocating a three-pronged approach to further reducing the incidence of child abuse throughout the state.

The first item on their agenda, which can be seen if you scroll down the article to the embedded Scribd window, is to expand the In-Home Family Education program to allow for an expansion of early childhood home visitation programs statewide.

Next, they want over a half-million dollars to expand the “Partners in Prevention” program to all 55 counties.  This funds ‘training and local grants for evidence-based and innovative programs that prevent child abuse and neglect before it occurs’.

Finally, nearly a quarter-million dollars to fund a safe-sleep education campaign, a program about crying babies to deal with reducing shaken-baby syndrome, and a sexual-abuse-prevention training program.

The article says child abuse reports are down 39% from 2005 to 2009. Of course we all want the rate of child abuse to be zero, but the last time I checked, pigs have yet to grow wings. I’m just not sure whether throwing more money (a big portion of which is Federal money) at it is going to reduce it any more quickly.

One way I’d suggest to reduce those numbers is for the social workers who investigate reports to actually determine that there is something of substance there, rather than yanking three children out of school and child care, placing them in foster care before the parent is even notified, on the word of the 14-year-old sibling who was grounded for excessive truancy etc. and subsequently ran away from home on the advice of the high school guidance counselor.

And the guidance counselors – where do they learn to tell high-school students that if their parents impose disciplinary consequences (non-corporal) for any offense, that they can call an 800 number and be taken to a “youth shelter”?  When I was in high school, the guidance counselor was the person you talked to about where to go to college or trade school, and what to major in once you got accepted to college. I think if anyone had gone to my guidance counselor and wanted s*x advice, he would have said “don’t waste my time, that’s what your parents are for!”

Or recognizing that there are families which adhere to a more traditional moral code than what is glorified in many television programs and movies, and a house rule that prohibits sexual activity between a person listed on the tax return as a dependent, and a guest in the aforementioned home, is within the limits of parental authority.

But there’s not much likelihood of those things happening.  West Virginia is the most socialist state in the union according to this article, with public expenditures swallowing nearly a third of the state’s GDP every year. For a state whose motto is “Mountaineers Are Always Free”, we just keep electing lawmakers and executives who see government intervention as the only answer to any problem, and encouraging activist groups to lobby for more government money to be thrown at their pet issue, so that we become less and less free, bit by tiny bit.

Where are we going, and why exactly are we in this handbasket?