Friday, August 19, 2011

CPS persecutes petty drug use

A page one NY Times story yesterday reports:
The police found about 10 grams of marijuana, or about a third of an ounce, when they searched Penelope Harris’s apartment in the Bronx last year. The amount was below the legal threshold for even a misdemeanor, and prosecutors declined to charge her. But Ms. Harris, a mother whose son and niece were home when she was briefly in custody, could hardly rest easy.

The police had reported her arrest to the state’s child welfare hot line, and city caseworkers quickly arrived and took the children away. ...

New York City’s child welfare agency said that it was pursuing these cases for appropriate reasons, and that marijuana use by parents could often hint at other serious problems in the way they cared for their children. ...

Marijuana is the most common illicit drug in New York City: 730,000 people, or 12 percent of people age 12 and older, use the drug at least once annually, according to city health data. ...

[New York] State law considers a child neglected if his or her well-being is threatened by a parent who “repeatedly misuses” a drug. But the law does not distinguish marijuana from heroin or other drugs. The law says that if parents have “substantial impairment of judgment,” then there is a presumption of neglect, but it does not refer to quantities of drugs.

Furthermore, the law does not require child welfare authorities to catch parents while they are high or with drugs in their possession. Simply admitting past use to a caseworker is grounds for a neglect case. ...

The findings stay on parents’ records with the Statewide Central Register until their youngest child turns 28. ...

In a hearing the next day, the agency agreed to return Ms. Harris’s son on the condition that her boyfriend not return to the home, that she enroll in therapy and submit to random drug screenings, and that caseworkers could make announced and unannounced visits to her home. Ms. Harris’s case was closed in April without a finding of neglect.
Occasionally I hear someone suggest that parents should have to have licenses from the state to have kids, just as we have to have motor vehicle licenses.

If so, there might be standards for babysitting while intoxicated. A misbehaving child might be treated like a broken tail-light. Roving child police would issue tickets that would require either paying a fine or attending a class. With enough points on your record within 2 years, you could lose your license.

This would be a gross deprivation of our liberties. Not even Communist countries have done this. But how much worse would it be than our current system?

How does a CPS caseworker get the authority to kick out the mom's boyfriend? To make unannounced home inspections? To impose random drug screenings?

The problem here is not the marijuana. The problem is the state policies that have destroyed marriage and forced kids to be reared by single moms.

The law applies to parents having a “substantial impairment of judgment”. It seems to me that psychologists ought to be able to devise an objective test of judgment impairment, like an alcohol breathalyzer test. Then CPS caseworkers would have to back off if a parent passes the test. This would solve my problem, because no one has ever found an example of my judgment being impaired. It would cause a lot of problems for my ex-wife and many parents in the welfare class.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Doesn't really matter, George. Me ex., in S.C. county was on methadone,when she won custody, claiming that I was on drugs and not being treated, as she was. I agreed to a drug test, but they never gave me one. She accused me of unsafe driving, with no evidence other than some friend as a witness.

Someone had called c.p.s. on her for her driving, while on the methadone. Didn't matter.

The constitution is exempt from the family law court. Until it is included, there is no law in family law.