U.S.A. fact of the day

There are some 400,000 children in the foster care system, many of whom are prohibited from any parental contact. Of those, about 12 percent are housed in institutional settings or group homes.

These children are typically taken by officials they have never met, without warning, then subjected to intrusive interrogations, medical examinations and sometimes strip searches, wrote Paul Chill, a law professor at the University of Connecticut, in a 2004 article about practices that experts say continue today.

Some three-quarters of cases nationwide involve not abuse, but neglect, a “really broad umbrella” that “often just looks like poverty,” said Christopher Wildeman, a sociologist at Cornell University who studies the effects of paternal incarceration and foster care. “There’s no consistent evidence that removing kids is, on average, beneficial, and there’s substantial evidence that it does harm,” he said.

Even a caretaker’s authorized use of medical marijuana use can be grounds for removing children.

That is from Shaila Dewan at the NYT, with other good points too.


There are more than 100 million parents in the USA and about one million of them are in the lowest one percent of parents on measurements of being decent loving parents.

If you have no idea how bad a parent is when 99 out of 100 other parents are more decent and kind, God bless you, don't ever change.

If you believe that government knows how to rank-order parents, God bless you, but you should really change.

If you believe that no one, including people in government, know how to rank-order parents at the very lowest rank, God bless you, but you should really change.

See the point below about broken bones and internal injuries.

My confidence in the government and their wonderful social workers would be a lot stronger if they could reliably tell fantasies of Satanic sexual abuse - or indeed any sexual abuse - from reality.

Broken bones can be achieved in a number of ways that have nothing to do with child abuse. As can internal injuries. Both Britain and America have shameful histories of courts railroading parents based on delusional "expert" advice. Indeed people are still in jail because of "Recovered" memories.

This is an area where the government employees the C team and it shows.

'or indeed any sexual abuse'

Which is why my examples only cover physical injuries that can be independently verified.

'a number of ways that have nothing to do with child abuse'

Absolutely. But the shifting to examining of each case where it is not plain what happened (during sport practice in front of the 15 witnesses, for example) by both medical and legal professionals (police, in the main, in my personal experience in NoVa in the early 1990s) means that many cases of child abuse that were not examined in the past has shrunk to a considerably smaller percentage than 40 years ago. I am sure we can both agree that this percentage is likely too large, but that everything involves trade-offs. And yes, there is no question that treating each case where a child has a broken bone requires a police report is also a problem in terms of proper governmental resource allocation, at a very minimum.

'Indeed people are still in jail because of "Recovered" memories.'

Which remains an injustice, but compared to the number of falsely accused people today compared to the number of unaccused child abusers in the past, does not precisely outweigh the benefit of this change.

It turns out, when you actually have medical professionals taught to ask a few simple questions, and to use their own experience to judge how an injury occurred compared to the story they were told, that the amount of child abuse is much higher than had been assumed in 1978.

'This is an area where the government employees the C team and it shows.'

You do realize, as noted above, that the very first people who make a judgment concerning child abuse in the case of broken bones or internal bleeding are medical professionals, right? The government generally does not get involved at all, if the doctor says there is no reason to consider that a crime has occurred (there is a grey area, admittedly - certain cases are likely to be referred to the police automatically - any sort of poisoning is generally considered suspicious of incompetent parenting that threatens the life of a child, which is not unreasonable in the main). And you are aware, of course, that child abuse is a crime, right?

Most of these cases revolve around drugs. Some are of course just bad people who have kids and mistreat them. But drugs is the major problem. My heart is broken when I see children mistreated. Perhaps the government nor DHS is perfect at identifying and solving this problem but if not them then who? Should we just let the children be abused and neglected?

Medical pot: Most people who use "medical pot" are just pot heads exploiting a loophole.

If someone can feed, clothe, house and care for a child, why is it a problem if they are a pot head? There are probably an awful lot of people who fall into that category. Same with functioning alcoholics.

Seems logical doesn't it. If the pot head drives into an 18 wheeler with the little tyke in the back seat no worries. If they forget to drop the toddler off at day care and leave it in the car in the hot sun, well shit happens. There is a reason why pot heads are not allowed to drive trucks, busses, not allowed to fly passenger planes or pilot ferries. But you are OK with them taking care of the hapless little children.

I have seen it done many times and the kids turn out fine, go to college, get married, etc.

Imagine how much money Americans can save if they throw those kids back to the lions, I mean, the "loving parents".

Imagine how much money Americans can save if they throw those kids back to the lions, I mean, the "loving parents".

This is something of a straw man though. The article does not say that the US government cannot identify parents who are so abusive that the effects of foster care are better, in cases of abuse (and I think no one in the comment thread here does other than perhaps SMFS).

It says that the US government largely does not effectively identify neglect in any way that distinguishes it from material poverty, and then, driven largely by this problem, largely ("on average") does not intervene in ways that have any effective improvement in outcome for children.

Right. If they gave the money they pay the foster parents to the families, maybe they dont need to remove the kids from the home.

True, but huge moral hazard issues. Also, money paid to foster families is significant (about 900/month/kid in LA) but a small part of running system.

The article does not say that the US government cannot identify parents who are so abusive that the effects of foster care are better

The article does actually say that the US government provides such low quality care that the children are better off with their parents. It quotes an expert to precisely that end.

Which is not a surprise.

I don't think the government has the slightest problem distinguishing poverty from abuse. They are not taking Amish children away. What they are not good at is spotting abuse. They are inclined to prosecute people for "shaken baby syndrome" when it might not exist for instance. I would guess the main predictor of how much abuse the government finds is how many people they employ to look for it. So not many in the Projects - even though abuse is rife - and a hell of a lot in nice leafy middle class suburbs.

It says this "on average". Not in every instance, or in the most abusive cases. Read.


The world is endlessly inventive with ways to break your heart. I would have said it was the picture of a smiling child that meets a terrible end, that is so hard to take, until I saw the picture of that little boy. He looks like he has never known happiness, as he stoically does the pose he's been told to do.

'many of whom are prohibited from any parental contact'

But not family contact. Many more children separated from their parents are not in foster care, but in the care of their grandparents or uncles/aunts.

And do note that only 12% of that figure, or 48,000, are in an institutional setting with other children. Out of total of 73.6 million children in the U.S., according to https://www.childstats.gov/americaschildren/tables/pop1.asp

A number that sounds actually suspiciously low, at least on a percentage basis of 0.00065, dwarfing the idea that the worst one out of one hundred parents is worth taking their children to place in an institutional setting.

Which tend to be transitional in the foster care process - most of those 400,000 prohibited contact with their parents probably spent time in an institutional setting before leaving it.

What is a couple of orders of magnitude on the Internet - the proper percentage basis is .065%, which compared to .00065% is a truly monstrous error when one is talking about a trillion here, and a trillion there.

It's kind of sad that when I see "New York Times" I can be almost certain that I'll be reading lies or highly misleading comments. Of course, the same can be said about conservative publications like Breitbart, but it's still disappointing.

"Martin Guggenheim, a law professor at N.Y.U. and a child welfare advocate, said many of the cases prove unfounded, and child protection agencies disproportionately go after poor black and Latino parents."

Why in the world do child protections agencies go after some black and Latino parents, but tend to ignore Asian parents? I can't imagine any reason, must be racism. There's no other possible explanation, right?

'There's no other possible explanation, right?'

ZIP codes come to mind, much the same way that certain ZIP codes in Fairfax will receive prompt attention, depending on the sort of attention that county is concerned about when responding to calls. Some areas in Fairfax receive excellent snow plowing services, for example, and racism is not the reason.

You really need to stop reading the NYT.

Are you sure that you did not mean ' I can be almost certain that I'll be reading lies or highly misleading' stories? Not reading the NYT is a good first step in learning about the world. (Unless you are a native New Yorker, and you grew up with the NYT as your hometown paper - in which case, that would merely reflect that we all are marked by our upbringing, much like how New Yorkers treasure their style of pizza above all others.)

Children can be removed by their parents because their parents hit them in the US? In Australia, while it's not exactly celebrated, inflicting pain on your own children is generally not a crime if there is no lasting damage. Here the horror stories are more usually about family services not having the resources to help children in need than them being taken from competent parents.

Given Australia's poor record on human rights this century, it may have been just as well the country is not as quick as the US to remove children from parents.

Historically Australia did take a huge number of children from indigenous mothers. A practice that didn't fully stop until the 70s, so it's not really all that historical.

'Children can be removed by their parents because their parents hit them in the US?'

Yes - but in the U.S., 'hitting' in this context generally means leaving visible bruises, breaking bones, or causing internal bleeding. 'Slapping/spanking' may be the American term in this regard - generally, slapping/spanking is legal (though not in excess, however defined).

'inflicting pain on your own children is generally not a crime if there is no lasting damage'

The part about bruises provides a dividing line between visible and lasting - don't know about how that is viewed in Australia. Admittedly, when I was a child, visible bruises was not considered a particular reason to remove a child from its parents - there has definitely been a shift in the last generation. What has shifted even more is that a child that goes to the hospital with a broken bone in the U.S. is now considered a situation where a potential crime has occurred, and is treated that way, even if the broken bone is the result of innocent circumstances.

Thanks for the clarification.

What is it with self-loathing Australians? Do they have some sort of instinctive need to come on foreign bulletin boards and abase themselves? Is it the new national pastime?

Given Australia's poor record on human rights this century, it may have been just as well the country is not as quick as the US to remove children from parents.

Poor compared to whom precisely? There are some 180 countries in the UN. Where would you place Australia? Sixth best this century? Fifth best? What? What is your basis of comparison? Sudan? Mali? North Korea?

Historically Australia did take a huge number of children from indigenous mothers. A practice that didn't fully stop until the 70s, so it's not really all that historical.

No it did not. Australia does not take enough children from indigenous mothers. Still doesn't. As America and Canada do not. Because Leftists complain. No children were taken for anything but welfare reasons in Australia. Canada is more complex. But to this day non-White parents can treat their children vastly worse than White ones can before the state will intervene.

'Something, something, leftists'

You're a bot.

Maybe so. But a bot with a perfectly valid point. Two of them even. Which neither you or Crikey have bothered to address.

Your rants tend to lack a point that's the point.

Just leave them alone or wipe them out. No point trying to fix the unfixable.

How is anything on the www a "foreign bulletin board"?

When I was training for the Olympics, my coach didn't tell me to go out there and perform however I want. You bet your arse he didn't! He didn't tell me to be happy with just beating Sudan, Mali, and North Korea. He expected me to have a bit more pride than that. He told me to go out there and come third for Australia.

And as god is my witness, when it comes to human rights abuses, we're going to come third! We're going to push those smarmy Norwegians off their third place pedestal and take Australia's rightful place as number three in the world! Technically we have to beat Luxembourg as well, but Luxembourg is not a real country! It's a tourist trap with accountancy firms and a false teeth factory down the road.

Sweden, Denmark, San Marino, they can have all the equality they want. They can have a big equality cakewalk right through the middle of Gdansk and it won't a lick of difference, because when it comes to the milk of human kindness our norgs are the biggest in the world.

That's the spirit. Much better. Except Sweden was compulsorily sterilizing the "Asocial" until the late 1970s. The program was not abolished until 2010 or so.

And by "asocial" they meant Gypsies as well as drunks. Now perhaps Australia was too. But I don't think so. That would mean your country is up there with Lichtenstein and Luxembourg. Maybe Norway.

In other words better than 99.9% of the planet.

Nice to know we have a good reputation. But you don't go comparing your performance on the bench press to that of a a legless lizard. No one is impressed if you can outbox toddlers and boasting about it just makes you look bad. One of the richest countries in the world comparing itself to countries where the majority of the population may not even be literate is pathetic.

Of the established parliamentary democracies Australia should have shown the most improvement this century given our excellent economic performance and secure and isolated position which means we have no need at all to piss anyone off.

But so far this century we've supported the US invasion and occupation of Iraq which resulted in a massive death toll, had a huge expense, and weakened the United States which is a major ally and important trading partner.

We didn't learn from this and are currently helping drop bombs in the middle east at huge expense. We are prohibited from knowing the details of this.

Poofters could only get married normally in this country in December. The fact that the word poofter is still sometimes used when even Americans have given up using the word nigger probably doesn't speak well for us.

Then we built overseas concentration camps for refugees as part of a deliberate policy to make asylum seekers suffer to discourage them from coming here. I mean, WTF mate?, we were doing so well for so long there. Almost no one knows there were once humans in Tasmania, the South African concentration camps were blamed on the British, and almost no one knows Australia used to have slavery. Then they had to go build frigging concentration camps. Now every time we try to tell someone, "Hey, stop putting people in concentration camps!" they gotta bring it up. It's gotten to the point where we don't even try anymore.

When it comes to political representation we must now have the most restricted franchise in the developed world. Not for voting but when it comes to eligibility to serve in federal parliament with about 40% of the population more or less ineligible to serve in federal parliament if they have a parent that was born overseas.

Unless Trump locks these kids up in cages, this is a nonstory that the public can't get polarized over and therefore cannot be monetized by the press.

It takes a village....If we can't be trusted to even choose what kind of health insurance we want to buy, then how can we be entrusted to do something as important as raise children, even our own children.

Some American parents are so neglectful that they allow their children to play in parks or walk in their own neighborhoods unattended [http://reason.com/blog/2014/11/07/cps-threatens-parents]. Some British parents are so irresponsible as to want to take their kids to the US or Italy for medical treatment against the wishes of the British government. They must be in the bottom 1 percent of parents.

But you don't use trade war as your example of dangerous government. Go figure.

What I'm saying is, you are off looking for British examples of "liberals gone wrong," when you do not have a remotely conservative government right in front of you.

If you want conservatism, absolutely if you want libertarianism, this is not it.

Polar Bear Makes Irrelevant Trump Comment

If you compare two stories about the govt taking you kids away (removing or allowing to die) to paying an extra 10% for your steel, then you are an idiot.

I was keying off the insurance being stuck in.

Polar Bear Makes Irrelevant Trump Comment

I can't always figure out where Tyler is coming from, or who is paying the bills, but one thing is striking today.

This 400,000 is clearly meant to dilute another smaller number.

And on another level, what the hell Tyler, why does your economic blog turn a complete blind eye on this trade war?

Yup, all in all this is an odd time to turn focus on the ancient concept of child protection. Avoiding the economic elephant in the room.

Trump's trade war just got the EU to propose 0% bilateral tariffs on cars and trucks. Down from the US 2.5% and EU 10% tariffs. All trade wars should be fought like this, unless this is like the DACA hissy fit last years where you guys didn't actually want to win.

Did it? If it is netting out that positively, it would be a good story, right?

You do know that the U.S. charges a 25% tariff on imported vans and small trucks, right? Of course the EU has an interest in having that tariff reduced to 0% - it is why Mercedes currently assembles Sprinters in SC, after all, while gaining market share in the U.S.

I have no problem with you buying worthless medical coverage as long as you put a bullet to your brain before you run up medical bills you can't pay. Please sign your organ donor card and pin it to your chest.

If your child needs medical care, I feel it's the responsibility of ensuring no corruption of blood results in their death and thus fully support Clinton's SCHIP government single payer which even most of the gop supports enough to not end it. If the child survives with government single payer, as an adult they will repay their benefit with tax payments, in amounts tied to government single payer education.

I'm sure Tyler, and Shalia, are moving on to related issues, and not trying to provide the wrong kind of context for this week's news.

But let's remember the real context as well:

“In our reporting, he was telling people around him that he thought this would be a good cultural war, kind of victory here, akin to the NFL players kneeling for the national anthem,” Lemire said.


IOW, President Trump thought he had a base down with cruelty to carry him through.

This is what Trumpism has become, why George Will is right, and why every moral person should abandon the GOP, at least call themselves independent, until the GOP put themselves back on a good, moral, path.

The key words being "in our reporting". There is no reason to believe that reflects reality.

After all, this is just as Journolist beat up. The Hard Left in the media and the Democrats decided to try a co-ordinated attack based on what was perfectly normal policy in the Obama, Bush and Clinton years. It is not a battleground Trump chose but one the media did.

There is another amusing story this week, which said while Democrats and independents were fairly discerning on the quality of their news sources, Republicans increasingly distrust all news.

Of course.

As you do here, Republicans have to reject all news in order to reject reality and protect themselves.

The mainstream media is so deranged with Trump-hate that no one in their right mind would believe them.

Time and time again the stories they have run have turned out to be nonsense. They have had to rely on fake pictures of this round of hysteria. So they are reaping the reward of their own stupidity. And the DNC is left with the low information voters who believe this cr@p.

You should probably dial it back, lest you become the placeholder, the archetype, for why reasonable people had to go.

Polar Bear Makes Irrelevant Trump Comment

Of course, the main stream media "journalism" (lies, lies, all lies) on everything (including this crass, illegal children crisis which emerged last week) does not possess the scintilla of truth contained in the common lie.

Prove me wrong, swami.

You noticed that at least three trolls of popped up on this page not to dispute any one item of news but to shotgun it all at once?

This is Trumpism.


Polar Bear Makes Self Referential Irrelevant Trump Comment

Anyone who disagrees with me is a troll, for my genius is obvious

Right, other anonymous, you are so lucky that I am the only one in the world who follows the news.

Of course, I click-clacked from YouTube listening to bagpipe music to read moronic stuff from Anonymous, mulp, et al.

But it is so much fun to watch them squirm! 🤣😂😂🤣

Pity them. They lost a big one and now they have to watch Trump World having all the fun! Hahahahaha! 😂🤣😂😂

Yea, 'deranged'. Yawn. Except Sessions announced this 'zero tolerance' policy. Trump defended it. Then he said he had to do it 'by law'. Then he said he had a 'big heart' and was suspending it.

If the only way you followed this story was by listening/reading only direct quotes from the administration itself, you'd have almost the same narrative as the mainstream media.

I'm sorry but the whole "no one in their right mind would believe the media anymore..." is a cop out. Unless someone making this claim is also presenting some alternative method of getting the facts that can be demonstrated to be more reliable, they are just making excuses for an administration they lack the intellectual power to defend. Like the kid who didn't study who says he is against taking tests as a demonstration of learning.

The media blew up this story as a diversion. They don't want anyone to notice McCabe taking the 5th and Comey and Lynch are no shows. Meanwhile, Strzok loses his security clearance. The whole Russian interference and Trump collusion story is a boomerang coming back to knock out the Democrats.

You gotta hand it to dem Dems - they know lying and deception better than anyone.

The American public, in other words, would have spent the first week of summer paying attention not to hundreds, thousands of children being taken from families but instead paying rapt attention to minutia of maneuvering in the Russia investigation...."Strzok loses his security clearance....yes we all remember what we were doing when Kushner lost his security clearance! It was second only to 9/11. Very wise of the media to do a diversion from such a powerful story.

That sounds like a massive deflection to change the fact that this is a policy forced on Trump by the Courts. The idea that enforcing the law is somehow extreme is bizarre.

But hey, keep pretending this is about something else. I am sure those concentration camps were much nicer under Obama.

"enforcing the law is somehow extreme is bizarre."

That's an interesting statement when we consider the previous 'story of the week' was generated by the administration which was telling us the President has unlimited power to pardon himself AND enjoys immunity from being indicted for any crime and has been promiscuously using the pardon power to probably try to signal to those under pressure to 'flip' that they may rely on a last minute pardon if they stay silent.

There was a big bias story out, but that's not what it said. Everyone distrusts social media and the liberals distrusted conservative media as much as conservatives distrusted liberal media.

Page 19 vs page 20


So they think left leaning organizations are biased? Seems right.

Journalists shower Hillary Clinton with campaign cash


Or to put it the other way around, people who can read and comprehend the news are increasingly calling themselves independent and not Republican.

Back to George Will.

Polar Bear Makes Irrelevant Trump Comment

...and so are you.

That message was for anonymous.

Polar Bear Makes Irrelevant Trump Comment

The most cynical take here is that Tyler did not just decide to talk about the ancient practice of family separation out of the blue. He chose it to remind you that Democrats do it too. And then the commenters jump in to insist that we can't talk about it Trump and that is only about liberals and Democrats behaving badly.

It srikes me that Niskanen Center it's taking out good ground on moral capitalism, while Mercatus is doubling back to a more amoral kind. More misdirection than plain moral speaking.

You are viewing everything from a deranged partisan lens.

As a libertarian leaning economist he is reminding us that child separation takes other forms as well and can be just as insidious.

He never said democrat, you did. He is quoting a Cornell sociologist for god’s sake.

Child separation by the state in all its forms should be thoroughly questioned.

You got called out for hijacking and derailing yet another thread. Get over it.

And by the way if you think the Kochs of all people support the idiot in chief then you are so far down a Vox/Salon hole you need to get your head examined.

Koch’s support open borders and free trade.

I started out nice, saying "I'm sure Tyler, and Shalia, are moving on to related issues," but then the piling on of the rabble drove it home.

This piece is of a set with all the cries that "the media" is lying about it.

I mean, it is straightforward, who would love a story that reframes child separation as not about Trump, and then who would hate a story that this was all about starting *another* cultural war, creating race division, in the United Stated?

But that’s literally not what happened.

The thread was not a discussion of the border at all until YOU derailed it into another “culture war,” as you put it.

Comments upthread were mostly about the topic in the post.

Then you start dropping twitter links for no reason and the thread gets derailed.

Your complaint relies on us all believing yhat this week child separation is not at all about Donald Trump.

That sir is an agenda of its own.

Now how this is playing out on a wider sense, dude.


That is absolutely not a coincidence either. On the week that Donald Trump calls the tune of a new cultural war on Hispanics out pops that from a "Christian."

Wear it.

You’re delusional and the left wing mirror of SMFS.

Wear it.

You are about 3 days away from spouting Elders of Zion bullshit.

You’re literally at the point where the only thread that runs through anything is Trump.

Seek help.

As was this.


Good luck getting votes from people whose normal nephews look like that.

It's not just a partisan lens, there is a natural inclination to 'whataboutism' in these 'issues of the week'. It is true that when family services takes a child from parents based on false abuse allegations, that's horrible. It is also true that even if it is just economic 'neglect' (the family just can't provide for the child), it's a horrible thing as well. Hence whenever gov't is taking a child from a family, the question should be asked is this really the most effective way when all the costs are considered? If we could alter an abusive dynamic or provide economic help to a distressed family, there are many cases where that is much less damaging than taking a child from them.

But this comes up because when there's a 'story of the week' writers seek to get attention by finding unique angles to the story and those on the crappy side of the story (Trump and his defenders) will be happy to latch on to anything that deflects negative attention or dilutes it.

You know, apart from the leftist ranting, I pretty much agree with this. It may be the first time ever with your posts.

The default should be to keep children with their parents. As bad as some parents are likely to be, no one has the same interest in looking after them. Some foster parents are great. I expect some do it for the cash. So it is a crap shoot.

What we do know is that the prisons and mental asylums are full of people who have been in foster care. Cause or effect? Hard to say. But poverty alone should not be a reason to take children. I would rather my children were raised by the Amish than the Kardassians.

1963 had a cool little movie called Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow w/ Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni . In one of the three little stories Loren was arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes in the street. She is given a jail sentence but it is suspended because she is pregnant and Italian law forbids locking up pregnant women. After she gives birth, she hits upon the idea to immediately get pregnant again to avoid the jail sentence. Near the end her husband is exhausted and fed up in a house filled with a kid and she is a national sensation until finally she has to do the jail time.

In Italian jail mothers with babies are actually held in a type of large nursery where they can care for the babies despite being in jail. While Italy's gov't has always left a lot to be desired, I thought it was a very intelligent way to do things. Of course I'm sure if the was serving a life sentence or something there would be a point where they wouldn't let her care for the child but how much damage is done by breaking children away even for a few months?

Lest you think that men in blue helicopters are going to come in and snatch your children and send them to Area 57, or is it 56, what readers should know is that except in rare instances there are judicial hearings on this stuff, unless the child is in imminent danger.

There are many reasons for foster care: drugged parents who neglect children, children who are adopted and the parents decide they no longer want the child, a single parent with mental illness, etc. I think the failure of the article is that it neglects the many reasons children go to foster homes, and neglects the due process that is built into the system with our court system. BTW, the the link to the article written by the lawyer goes into this stuff.

We don't provide due process to illegal immigrants, however, or if we do, it's by Executive Order.

There are many reasons for foster care

The reason which most interests Prof. Wildeman would be foster care placements consequent to incarceration. Blackening foster care programs is an intermediate object in building a case against incarceration.

You can't have people avoid incarceration by having children. That's not to say you cannot have time spent in jail during the daytime and be home at night or have very supervised probation with leg bands. But, having children should not be a get home free card.

"...and sometimes strip searches..."

This is clearly fake news. I refuse to believe this until I have seen extensive video evidence! :-D

You said you want to see video of children being stripped searched? Now you have done it. You will be put down on a DHS watch list and never allowed to fly again.

“There’s no consistent evidence that removing kids is, on average, beneficial, and there’s substantial evidence that it does harm,”

That is the key to this story I think. Once a child has been treated so badly it has to be put in some sort of government care, or perhaps the treatment it receives while in care, means that the child's life is pretty much ruined. They will be in one or other government facility until they are over 40 and they gradually age out of crime.

The minor question is whether it is care that does this or the damage before hand? The major question is why do we keep doing something that is so obviously not working? I guess people think something has to be done and this is the only something people can think up.

'Once a child has been treated so badly it has to be put in some sort of government care, or perhaps the treatment it receives while in care, means that the child's life is pretty much ruined.'

Do you actually know anyone who has been in foster care, both in terms of group housing, or of foster parents? Because if you do not know anyone, maybe you should consider your ignorance before making such an uninformed statement.

I am glad to see the NYT's critical eye settling on foster care. This will help our descendants avoid having to pay reparations to a "Lost Generation" of children removed from their biological parents in service to the tabula rasa theory of human development.

It would be a sad contradiction if say marijuana was illegal for years and kids were removed from smokers for years and then suddenly boom that's fine.

But does that mean you would do no removal if parents were unconscious, surrounded by heroin paraphernalia?

Libertarians are leaning pretty hard on the claim that all parents are good, or at least good enough.

Alternatively leaving children with parents sometimes isn't the best thing:

500 children a year are killed by their own parents. This is one area where women are almost equal to men (42% of killers are moms versus dads). 90% of killers are the biological parents.

I agree if we are talking about children we should look at foster care and parenting. If you read the actual newspaper (they still exist), the two headlines you'll often see are:

"Child killed by parent! Child Services visited family X times but didn't find cause to take kid away"


"Child killed in foster system! Warning signs ignored"

Of course one key difference here is such cases are tracked by media and local officials and the governors of states are accountable for them. I recall several ugly Florida cases were an embarrassment for Jeb Bush.

Trump's fiasco, though, is shrouded in secrecy. We have little idea what is happening to these children, who they are being placed with, are we keeping track of whose children they are, are we caring for them properly.

*Republican* governors are occasionally held accountable. Democratic mayors, almost never. Similar to how Trump's opponents didn't care about the detention of children under the Obama administration. Or the way the NYT runs with old foster-care data as a new problem now that Trump is president.

"Trump's opponents didn't care about the detention of children under the Obama administration. "

I'm confused. So you're saying Trump didn't increase immigration enforcement, he was just doing what Obama did? Guess you're upset that the real story wasn't "Trump lied, if anything he's more open border than Obama!".

"Or the way the NYT runs with old foster-care data as a new problem now that Trump is president."

Err Trump doesn't run the foster care system anywhere, never did and never will. So if anything this story would give fodder to Trump supporters ("why are we getting mad at Trump when 50 states have screw ups in foster care that harm kids!").

"*Republican* governors are occasionally held accountable."

Millions tossed in governors' races by the Koch Brothers and no Republican ever thinks to run commercials about screw ups in the foster system in states with Democratic governors?

I could tell this was a NYT article because it quotes a 2004 article as if it were news.

Perhaps they will suddenly discover their is a heroin epidemic? On Trump's watch?

If it is so great for children to be with their parents, why do progressives want to get them away from non-abusive parents as soon as possible and into full-time, "universal" daycare? Why do children hit five years of age and then are compelled to spend 8 hours a day in the custody of the government?

Why are some institutions presumed to be perfectly benevolent?

What exactly are you talking about? Show me any 'universal daycare' proposal that mandates it? Every version I'm aware of with make benefits available for parents to utilize daycare which means they would choose the daycare as well as choosing whether to even use daycare at all.

So what you are really saying is you DON'T trust parents who make a decision to utilize daycare when available for their family. Why do no you not trust them? Upon what basis do you deem your judgment superior to theirs when you know nothing about their family or its dynamics?

"five years of age" = Mandatory kindergarten and pre-school.

Day care was the topic of the comment, not kindergarten or pre-school.

School is an education process but day care is a parental service....to provide child care coverage when parents need to be at places they can't take the kids (work being the prime example).

It's the offering and the paying for it, that'll be universal. :-)

Though eventually, if guilt and convenience so dictate, perhaps it will be made compulsory. That would suit the abecedarians and other social engineers of the world.

If you find that farfetched, consider this trajectory: in our part of the country, 55 years ago, my mother-in-law walked home from school, for lunch, as did nearly all the other children. Those who stayed behind, ate a sack lunch.

35 years ago, lunch was offered to those who wished to pay for it, though I never purchased it myself.

My city long passed the tipping point at which the majority of kids receive free lunch at school.

All elementary schools now offer breakfast as well. The majority of kids receive it free or reduced-price; the latter is 30 cents.

Recently they announced that they would offer free breakfast and lunch to all kids under 18, not just those who qualified for free/reduced-price, all summer long, at 52 campuses.

If you think that a person who finds this trend disturbing, could only find it so for fiscal reasons, then you are a simpleton.

1. So you don't trust parents. You know better than parents that they should always make lunch for their kids therefore even if they give their kids money lunch should not be available to purchase.

2. Whose the social engineer here? You think you can reverse working families by twisting a bunch of little social nobs like making it harder to find daycare or have the school make lunch. You accuse others of being social engineers but you reverse what is clearly cause and effect. What large building do you know that hosts people for a full day does not also include a cafeteria? Office buildings, college campuses, even doctors parks almost always end up with some type of eatery. It's almost impossible for me to think of an example where nothing is offered there on the spot and instead you just get a big room with lots of tables for you to eat your bagged lunch from home. I'm sorry but the conservative objections to school lunch/breakfast are just as much social engineering based as progressive ideas, probably more so.

Maybe so. Wen she put quotes around universal daycare I took it as preschool and kindergarten, which is kind of what they are.

Silly rabbit, libs don't care about kids

Arrogant bastards. The main reason is they want to justify their sponging off, like al buraucrats.

I enjoy a good spong as much as anyone else, but I don't try to justify my sponging off.

Some three-quarters of cases nationwide involve not abuse, but neglect, a “really broad umbrella” that “often just looks like poverty,” said Christopher Wildeman, a sociologist at Cornell University who studies the effects of paternal incarceration and foster care. “There’s no consistent evidence that removing kids is, on average, beneficial, and there’s substantial evidence that it does harm,” he said.

Uh huh.

Wanna bet there was someone in Prof. Wildeman's department who was, 30 years ago, telling the world that police forces had no effect on crime rates? Some of us would be more impressed with sociologists if we didn't have the impression that in sociology departments there are some questions you just don't ask, some models you just don't compose or test, and some data you just don't publish.

'Poverty' in this day and age is a function of the earnings capacity of the actor in question. So, you have someone who has children but isn't earning enough to keep medical problems, squalid living conditions, and malnutrition at bay even in circumstances where Medicaid, SNAP, housing vouchers, and LIHEAP are available (and where obesity is inversely correlated with income). And someone whose family relations are so frayed they cannot call on their children's grandparents and aunts to sit them? And someone who cannot jimmy any cash out of each child's sire? (Or get a family court judge and a legal aid lawyer on the task?). You think that person might just be an incompetent human being?

Prof. Wildeman is most prolific. His motor is a running objection to jailing people who commit crimes.

Annie Lowrey wrote a similar thread in The Atlantic this past week. When so much cruelty surrounds us, I find that most people just tune out and employ whataboutisms.

I wish that Trump would try to get some reforms -- and also complain about the thousands of kids who the gov't separated from their parents each year over the past 10 / 16 / 20 years. And ask why neither Laura Bush nor other celebrities seemed heartbroken about the problems.

Is the 400,000 now a steady foster care number? There were 30,000 reported as in jail-like facilities (down from more than 60k peak in 1999 ).

Trump is the first President in decades to include Prison Reform as a significant issue.

The "unfair press" against Trump can, nevertheless, possibly create space for his fast, reasonable solutions to be supported by his supporters, plus many of his critics.

Trump - Making America Great ...

Your comment is strange. Like: I know Trump policy was bad, but look over here. And, then to say foster care is jail. Or, that others haven't favored prison or sentencing reform.

Are you just making a joke, pretending to be Trump or Sarah?

I'm serious. I don't follow your logic.

I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.... 50 years of liberal nonsense. Maybe Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin and fellow democrats should adopt these kids...

Having actually been a foster parent...

I can't speak to most states, but my experience in my own is that the huge umbrella of neglect includes things like routinely sneaking out of the house through a window as a three year old so you can get food since your parent is passed out after a meth binge, or if fortunate enough to be in school, regularly going to school covered in your own feces, since nobody ever showed you how to take care of that. The social workers were clear too that taking kids away from their parents is hugely detrimental, but if it gets to that point is already more detrimental to keep them in the home. The majority of kids are transferred to some other relatives. When no relatives are found or available, only then are they handed off to strangers.

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