Commenter Archive

AvatarComments by Em Carpenter

On “Suffer the Children

I don't have recommendations for reading, but if I were you, I would find your state's guidelines for foster homes and read them thoroughly before you get too far into the process. And if you are working with an agency contracted with the state to certify foster homes or do homestudies, get their standards too and review them. You don't want to spend a lot of time and money just to find out that your house is too small or you have to install a fence first.
Beyond that, just be prepared for it to be hard. These kids have it rough and they will show it. They won't be happy to be there, so don't expect gratitude to shine through. Most people willing to foster already know that, but it bears repeating.
And if you aren't already, please consider willingness to foster older kids. They are the hardest to place- everyone wants a baby.
Good luck- it is a wonderful and much needed thing you are considering doing.

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That's true about their caseloads, but the finding of homes is left to contractors and they decide who is acceptable and who isn't. There is room for discretion.

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Deference to the parents is absolutely not the standard I have seen in the counties in which I have worked. I rarely, rarely had a client who was able to regain custody. Literally, maybe ten of them in ten years. (I had one client whose improvement period was deemed failed by the case worker because she "gossiped too much", and kept bringing cookies to visitation. No joke. Even the judge had to admit that was ridiculous).

Now, would I say that most kids who were removed should not have been? No. Opiates have destroyed a generation of young parents and rendered them unable and unwilling to take care of their children, and it is not safe to try in-home fixes in most situations.

My bigger point was, if we are going to decry the lack of foster homes, then maybe use some discretion when it is possible. And maybe don't rule out potential foster homes based on a set of strict standards that leave no room for common sense decisions.

As an aside... I will add that older children are removed less often than babies and toddlers or preschoolers. It's harder to find them foster placement, and harder to find adoptive homes for them, because a) the foster parents want to adopt babies and b) they've often been damaged to the point were their behaviors are too much for fosters to handle. And sometimes I think the system rationalizes that they are old enough to protect and fend for themselves so they leave them in their bad homes- another system failure.

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I would not advocate abolishing CPS. There are bad, abusive parents and there needs to be some type of system. I am personally an advocate of fixing Y, then, I suppose.

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I'm sorry- I didn't mean to downplay the spanking. I personally don't agree with spanking and it's not how I've raised my kids.
But I think that parents who spank- by which I narrowly mean hit the child on the rear end with their hands- are not always bad parents who deserve to lose their children. That's how they were raised, it's the culture they are in, and they just don't know another way. That's something that can be changed with parenting education and counseling. If the parent is not receptive to change, that is an issue to be dealt with. But I think removal is extreme in those cases and definitely not worth the trauma it causes the child to be taken from his or her home and parents.

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Their complaint is that WV has too many kids in group homes or placed out of state, rather than in family foster homes.

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I agree with you. I was specifically not talking about cases of violence. And that's another side of this that I didn't write about... there is a lot of gagging on gnats and swallowing elephants. I have no doubt that many bad cases go unreported or ignored. That's why I stated that I was not talking about physical or sexual abuse.

Physical abuse was by far the least common type of child abuse case I saw (on the child removal side, not criminal side), in my years as a prosecutor and then as the attorney for children and parents. Whether that was a lack of reporting or a failure on the part of CPS to intervene, I don't know. But when I had a removal case, it was much more likely to be improper supervision, dirty houses, or drug abuse.

You are not wrong- in this state, NOT spanking is "bad parenting"; a pop in the mouth is still considered an acceptable form of discipline. I've seen spankings in which every last detail of the braided belt used was still visible on the child's backside for days.

I'm talking about cases where a child made it to the road while dad was distracted cleaning out his truck, and the child went to foster care for over a year. Another where the mother's refusal to wear deodorant (she was the "natural" type) kept her from having regular visitation with her child (who was removed in the first place because the mother had visible bruises that CPS suspected came from the dad). There were the cases I mentioned where the allegations leading to removal involved pot, lice, truancy... My point is that there are times when removal is not necessary- monitoring and services are.

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[whispers] there is also federal money given to the state for every child in placement.

On “An America Unknown

I envy your childhood (as someone who never saw the ocean or took a plane ride until my late teens and has yet to leave the country at 38 years old), though I am a creature of comfort with no desire to live under the conditions you describe.
Thanks for sharing your piece- from a fellow odd person.

On “The Epic Supreme Court Decision

This is excellent food for thought.

I have been thinking about what bothers me most and I think it’s the individual part of the individual arbitration clause, when it concerns conditions of employment (pay, hours) which are traditionally the reason for collective action.

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The case was decided (as all should be) based upon interpretation of statutes, (though Ginsberg’s dissent shows that there was more than one way to read them.) So yeah, the court basically says it would require a statutory change to reach a different result.

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This is a great insight. I admit to only bare minimum experience in arbitration and only a little more in employment law. I tried to put together a quick and dirty summary here, so much appreciate your thoughts!

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Guess it remains to be seen. But it definitely weakens the position of the employee, in my opinion.

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I also should have pointed out there are two separate issues here: one is the requirement of arbitration as the forum for disputes, and the other is the requirement that it be individual arbitration, abrogating the “strength in numbers” element.

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Hmm... the practice of insisting upon individual arbitration clauses in employment contracts is fairly new so I don’t think there’s anything on point historically. The most you could say is that prior labor victories may not have succeeded if these clauses had existed at the time.
A class of employees has a lot more power than a single plaintiff, so maybe labor victories would have been few and far between.

If you don’t want to read all 65 pages, I suggest reading the 3 page syllabus, and the dissent.

On “Priming

I listened to the Fah/Bah clip without watching and without the visual, I hear bah.
I'm also team Laurel, and my hubs is Yanny. Funny to me, because he blares his music through his headphones or in his car and has been to a lot of really loud, hard metal concerts, yet I am the one with hearing damage. Go figure.

On “Starbucks Changes Sitting, Restroom Policy

I realize that some are legit concerned about crowding and inconvenience but there’s an unsettling undertone to some of the criticism that is something like “poor people should not participate in society.” Sitting around chatting in a Starbucks is part of our culture, even if not a super important one. Not wanting THOSE people in “our” spaces is part of the issue. I’m not saying that the folks quote tweeted here are thinking that, but I do think some people have that concern, even if subconsciously.

On “Stop Mocking Millennials – Their Day is (Almost) Here

I think that personal circumstances dictate in many ways what our philosophy toward work is, more so than our generational label. I am also a "Xennial" (gen x/millenial crossover event!) with the added trait of having grown up impoverished. I work to not be impoverished ever again.
With that as my motivation, I went to college with the express purpose of finishing as fast as I could and then going to law school. I majored in what would be easiest for me, English, with no intention of using that degree except as a prerequisite to my JD.

On “Policing the Predators

I think somebody may have mumbled something about one possible answer a bit upthread....

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They were both forced to resign from the State Police for violating policy. One retired from law enforcement altogether, but the other just moved on to a different department. Civil service protections insulated them from losing their law enforcement certification.

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They may not stop crooks bent on committing a crime, but they might stop the opportunistic predators like the ones I mentioned, who take advantage of a situation. They may not have done it if they’d known it was illegal. They knew it wasn’t, hence their immediate confessions.

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Well, yes, coercion. Using intimidation, the presence of a weapon, the threat of arrest.., under common law these things can support a rape charge. The problem is the reluctance of prosecutors or jurors to see that, absent overt violence.

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True. People are people, and we cannot rely on them to not abuse their position of power, nor can we rely upon juries to understand dynamic, which makes laws like this necessary.

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The thing that is difficult for me to understand is that even when the officers don't deny the sex, they still give them a pass.

On “Amazon Prime Is A Luxury Good

I will have to review and see what I saved on shipping these last few years. I know one year it paid for itself just in my Christmas shopping shipping costs (I do not step foot in any retail establishments, save grocery stores, from Thanksgiving until New Years), but then for the last few years I have found myself shopping other sites and finding things Amazon didn't have or that were cheaper. I also need to poll the household and see how much streaming they do from Prime. I feel like they use Netflix and YouTube more often.