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Sunday, December 21, 2008

State fails, kids die

Whether you want to believe it or not, state failures are all over the place in our society. If there ever was a rallying cry for state action, it would be "won't somebody think of the children!" Normally, the person saying this implies that they think the state should act to make some law, and this would magically solve whatever problem they're discussing. If these people really knew how the state operates, they would be making this exclamation with the intent of getting the state out of the protection business entirely.

Even in cases of directly caring for children, the state doesn't live up to expectations, to say the least. In the latest harrowing example, The Columbus Dispatch examined the record of their county child services. They found that 87 out of 234 children who died of abuse did so under the protective care of the state. State workers regularly fail to act on complaints of child abuse when called. In one particularly bad case where a child died, there were 12 calls to county officials over 4 weeks where they did nothing. The basis of this report is that this death wasn't just an anomaly, nor will it be the last.

Contributing to the care of needy children isn't a bad thing. It only becomes a bad thing when the state is entrusted in their care and children end up dying on their watch. Naturally, the solution outlined in this article is to throw away even more resources on these failures (much like public education). There are some rumblings in state officials to create a statewide child care system, instead of relying on county governments. If only they had more resources, and took more moeny from the people, they could do better. Where have I heard that tripe before?

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