Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Don't create a national child abuse registry

So says an editorial in Iowa's biggest newspaper:
Washington lawmakers give life to some well-intentioned but dangerous ideas. Among the worst in recent history: a national child abuse registry.

In 2006, they required the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish a national database of abusers. Most states maintain such registries, but Congress wanted a central database so states could more easily share information about those who may be a threat to children.

That may sound like a good step, but it's not. And we know that because the same Congress also ordered a feasibility study for the registry, which has yet to actually be created. That study identified numerous problems - problems that never occurred to lawmakers when they were writing the law.

Child abuse databases are a mess at the state level and would be an even bigger mess at the national level. The entire idea should be abandoned, and states should be questioning the value and constitutionality of their own lists of abusers.

The Register's editorial board has expressed many concerns about Iowa's child abuse registry over the past year. People lack due process rights ...

State-based registries are riddled with troubles. The last thing anyone needs is a bigger, national list.
Well said. These lists should be abolished, or limited to those who have actually been convicted. As it is, it is just a govt-sponsored list for malicious rumors.

Update: If the above link goes bad, the editorial may also be found here.

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