Free Markets, Free People

Tales of the Nanny State

Stories like this absolutely inflame me.

The Maryland parents investigated for letting their young children walk home by themselves from a park were found responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect in a decision that has not fully resolved their clash with authorities over questions of parenting and children’s safety.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv hoped the nationally debated case — which has lit up social media and brought a dozen television film crews to their Silver Spring home — would be dismissed after a two-month investigation by Montgomery County Child Protective Services.

But the finding of unsubstantiated child neglect means CPS will keep a file on the family for at least five years and leaves open the question of what would happen if the Meitiv children get reported again for walking without adult supervision.

First, what in the hell is “unsubstantiated child neglect?!”  How can it be anything if it is “unsubstantiated?”  Does the state of Maryland even know what that word means?

Secondly, who gets to determine whether or not children are responsible enough to do what they were allowed to do?  Good parents, that’s who, and that doesn’t include the state or some busybody.

What we get from the state, however, is a “one-size-fits-all” approach and a nonsensical charge of “unsubstantiated child neglect?”

We, as a culture, whine and complain that the young are irresponsible, and then when parents actually try to teach responsibility, we charge them with a doublespeak charge?

In reality, the charge is there to give “Child Protective Services” a legal reason to intervene in the future should they so decide.

But there’s no crime here.  Nor did CPS or the police prevent one.  This should be a non-issue.

However, it’s not, because the state has decided it knows best and has passed a law – with the best of intentions, of course:

CPS officials have said they are guided in part by a state law that says children younger than 8 must be left with a reliable person who is at least 13. The law addresses children locked or confined in a building, dwelling, motor vehicle or other enclosed space, but does not mention children outdoors on a walk.

And that law overrules any parent’s right to actually teach a child younger than 13 responsibility.  Because, you know, all children are the same.  That explains why when I was 10 I was allowed to walk anywhere I pretty well pleased as long as I was home by supper.  And you know what, I always was.  How in the world did I survive “unsupervised” activities like that?



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14 Responses to Tales of the Nanny State

  • YOU went on to jump out of perfectly working airplanes for a living.

  • As a kindergartener, I walked home — a full mile — by myself, unsupervised.

    As a first grader, I walked both directions by myself, unsupervised.

    Goodness! My parents were so abusive (and this is before we even get into the while “barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways” thing)

  • When I was ten, I was tramping the hills with my very own rifle that I’d been given two years before.

    I had been driving a tractor for a couple of years, too, even though when I started I had to slide out of the seat to stomp on the pedals.

    I had been SCUBA diving in the Pacific for about a year. (Air had just been invented.)

    Word to the wise…get the FLUCK out of Maryland. Not sayin’ it couldn’t happen in Texas, but it ain’t likely.

  • Bolster the bureaucracy until they have unlimited power of their whims, then boost them from the lower branches of an oak tree with a hemp necktie.

  • I work in a NYS Family Court, where all Neglect proceedings (regarding children) happen. I don’t know if Maryland is the same as New York State, regarding Family Law. But if it is, one of the major problems (of many, many problems) is that Family Court in NYS is not a Criminal Court and there is no right to a jury trial in Family proceedings.

    Therefore, if someone is brought to court by CPS they don’t have a right to a jury trial. And the burden of proof, while placed on the Prosecutor/County Attorney/Agency, is not as high a bar as in a Criminal proceeding. Of course, you can see how that can go bad.

    Additionally, in many CPS cases regarding Neglect/Abuse, the children are removed from the home and placed in foster care. Which is a living nightmare for all family members involved. But which the law of NYS does not consider a punishment, technically.

    But, as any parent (and child for that matter) can tell you, it is indeed punishment. Eventually it breaks you down. You will agree to almost any of the, often draconian, terms set forth by CPS just to get your family back together. Which will most likely include an admission in court, whether you did it or not.

    Not just CPS/Neglect but almost all Family Law across the nation needs drastic reform, which doesn’t look promising.

    Paternity and Child Support can destroy a man’s life, with little to no recourse, simply because a wife might cheat and give birth to another man’s child. But if the child was born in wedlock, the husband is considered the father in a court of law. And if they divorce because of the wife’s actions, the now ex-husband, not the paramour, is responsible for child support. Additionally, if the child is older than roughly 2 years of age (it can be a judgment call on the part of the child’s attorney, which all children get in NYS Family), do to an issue of Equittable Estoppel, the father may not be allowed to test for paternity at all. It could do too much harm to the child psychologically.

    The Family law system is broken. Utterly and completely.

    • Wrt divorce, family law is designed to remove the man as head of the family, if the wife is willing to lord the potential consequence of going to the mat over him.

      • Possibly…

        But, at least in NYS, Matrimonial law and Family law are two different things and don’t intersect as much as you may think. Matrimonial law is a Supreme/County court matter, while Family law is a Family court matter.

        And the two only mix when parties bring their divorce settlements into Family court (35% of the time, my estimate) or when they are combined into the special ‘Boutique’ courts (Read: some high ranking judge’s political baby) like IDV (or the other stinker, Drug Court) which stands for Integrated Domestic Violence court. Which was some jackholes’s bright idea to combine certain matters (Criminal, Matrimonial and Family) that qualify into one unholy mess of proceeding.

        Not that I disagree that there is definitely some a Anti-male, Anti-family social engineering at play, across the board. Definitely. But, to see that, look more toward Orders of Protection/Restraining orders.

    • Just a thought or two on the whole ambit of “family law”…

      I’ve often observed to people that the law is a clumsy hammer. It is NOT a scalpel.

      Generally, the laws attempt something approaching “justice”. But NOBODY should ever use the phrase “criminal justice system”. On a good day it is…at best…a criminal LEGAL system. “Justice” is an unattained aspiration.

      As to family law, Texas is a LOT less kludge-prone than some states. One reason being that we have a constitutional right to jury trials.

      One thing to remember about divorce is that you are placing your children into the care of a court. From the time you file, the court HAS to deal with the “best interests of the child”. It has no option, and that will continue until the child is no longer a minor (or sometimes beyond).

      In Texas, CPS is a VERY mixed bag. They can be life-savers, or they can be tyrants. Often, they do much more harm than good. Often, they are complicit in the harm or death of a child.

      In all these issues, you are dealing with people. Some are great, ethical, good people very aware of how their conduct impacts other people. Some are none of those things.

  • Well I disagree with you about Obama (he’ll be remembered as a great President) and Hillary’s e-mails (a faux scandal), but I do agree with you about this.

    • Well, Erp, as buffoon deluxe , you never disappoint. There is that.

    • “(he’ll be remembered as a great President) ”
      As a child, did you have a sibling you stood far to close to while whispering “I’m not touching you”?

    • LOL! No one asked you, b*tch…