I have been on a self-imposed sabbatical, for reasons that are not clear even to me. Consequently I have not written any posts for some time now. However, a recent newspaper article so incensed me that i could not remain quiet.
The article described a situation involving a young girl, age 3, the daughter of an unmarried woman. This woman, one of 25 children by 15 different men, had a long history of physically abusing her other children, who had consequently been removed from her control and placed in foster care. Then, about three years ago she gave birth to another child, a girl whom she immediately abused with injury. This infant child was also removed from her and placed in a foster home.
Time passed, about three years, as the child grew up in the foster home, apparently in a loving, nurturing environment. However, nothing was done to terminate the mother's parental rights. The foster family experessed a desire to adopt the girl but was unable to because the mother still retained parental rights. By policy, the girl could not remain with her long-term foster family apparently because of concern for bonding, which was a bit late in this case. The Milwaukee child welfare agency then returned the child to the biological mother, who had received counseling. The mother, who appparently is suffering from mental problems, then immediately abused the child again.
The issue ended up in court before a Judge Foley, apparently a good man. Because action had not been taken to terminate parental rights by the agency, adoption by the original foster family, the only family the child has known, was not possible. The child could not be returned to the control of the mother because of the history of abuse. Therefore, the judge's only recourse was to place the child back in the foster care system. Judge Foley was publically incensed at this record of incompetence. This poor child's future is now one of multiple foster care environments with, believe it or not, supervised visitation with this obbviously incompetent biological mother. Talk about a bleak future.
Milwaukee has the unenviable reputation of possessing one of the worst records of returning children to biological mothers that resulted in further abuse. This is a classic example of the destruction of young innocent lives at the hands of an incompetent bureaucracy. I can only speculate on the reasons for this incompetence. Lack of concern is certainly a possibility, but a misguided racial element may also be involved. There apparently is a philosophy in the black community that states that black children should be raised only by black parents. I do not know if this was a factor in this case. I don't even know the race of the original foster family, although many are white. I sincerely hope that race was not a factor in the mishandling of this case, which resulted in ripping this child from a loving foster family wishing to adopt her and throwing her to the bureaucratic wolves. Had adoption occurred, this child's future would have been brightly optimistic instead of the present portent of dark disaster.
I don't have a solution, except that this bureaucratic morass should reorient itself to the welfare of the innocent child above and beyond any biological considerations, race-tinged or otherwise. I would hope that this case would result in legislative or at least administrative remediation, but, sadly, I doubt it.
This first rule: Protect the bureaucracy.