I posted before about CPS investigations doing more harm than good. It might seem hard to understand how well-meaning govt social workers could be doing harm by investigating suspected child abuse.
First of all, I do not concede that they are well-meaning people. They do not become social workers because they are noble and saintly, but because they are battling their own personal demons. Some of the social workers are seriously emotionally damaged, and they can be careless, sloppy, malicious, vindictive, bigoted, and have all the other faults that other people have.
The bigger problem is that it is nearly impossible to make people change their lifestyles. Suppose that a social worker discovers some parents doing a lousy job of rearing kids. Maybe the parents get drunk frequently, fight a lot, ignore the kids, watch too much TV, eat too much fast food, let the kids get fat on candy, fail to make the kids do homework, yells at the kids, etc. Suppose a well-meaning CPS agent sees this situation, and decides that it is not good for
If she sees criminal child abuse or neglect, then she can turn the case over to prosecutors who can charge the parents with a crime and put the kids in foster care. That is not a good situation, but at least we have some standards for when such an action should be taken.
But what if the kids are getting substandard treatment that is not bad enough for permanent removal of the kids? Then CPS may be able to temporarily put the kids in foster care, but the kids will ultimately go back to the parents who will probably be just the same as before.
I know of one case where CPS put the kids in foster care for a year. I heard the story from the mom, and I saw the paperwork so I know the CPS story as well. The facts were not in dispute. The details are irrelevant for my point. The parents adamantly deny that they did anything wrong. The kids were not harmed by anything that the parents did. Maybe they are good parents, and maybe they are lousy parents. Reasonable people can differ. But ultimately the kids went back to the parents after the foster care, and the CPS intervention seemed entirely destructive to me. And yet the CPS agents would probably say that they did good by ensuring the safety of the kids for a year.
There is also a larger cost when we permit CPS to actions like this. We are not free if we empower govt agents to bust up families according their personal standards of how people should live. Our civilization has always been based on parents having the discretion to rear their kids as they see best. If they are constantly subject to CPS second-guessing, then they are not doing what they think is best. I think that CPS is harmful, both in their actual interventions and in their threats of interventions.