Child is the loser when system fails

Sunday, May 5, 2002

Have you been following the case of the missing 5-year-old girl in Florida? Well first, it's enough to turn your stomach. And secondly, it illustrates a gross lack of parenting and a major flaw in the social service delivery system in this nation.

Here's how the story goes. A drug-addicted mother loses custody of her daughter and turns the child over to a friend who is either the child's godmother or grandmother, depending on which version of the story is accurate. Regardless of the relationship, the godmother/grandmother says that over a year ago an unnamed social worker took the child from her home for testing and evaluation.

Well, 15 months go by and there's no word of the girl. Social services are contacted and have no knowledge of the mysterious case worker who allegedly took the child. Police first thought they had a missing child on their hands and now they are investigating the case as a possible homicide.

Here are the problems. Neither the mother nor the godmother/grandmother had any contact with the little girl for over a year and yet said nothing? And a social worker has now been fired because the family was in her caseload and she apparently was falsifying papers to indicate she was making home visits when indeed she was not.

How could a mother not have contact with a 5-year-old for over a year and not say something or question someone? Well for starters she was a mother in name only. And she clearly does not deserve the title. How could a godmother/grandmother hand over a child to a complete stranger with no questions asked and not say something? She'll hopefully have her day in court to answer that very question. And how can a social worker lie about visits that were not made?

Flaws in every facet of this case have added to a tragedy. The end of the story has yet to be told but the truth will soon begin to surface.

Here's just another issue that burns my butt. Every single player in this tragedy - the mother, godmother and social worker - were all living off the taxpayers of this nation. Welfare and social programs paid for every cent spent on their miserable lives. We fed them and clothed them and sheltered them and took care of them when they were sick. And in return, they collectively abandoned a child who is now the subject of a homicide investigation.

This case will lead to social reforms to better monitor children and then all too soon, it will be forgotten and another child will slip through the system. And we taxpayers will keep funding the lifestyles of those who constantly take from society and offer nothing in return other than more pressure on an over-burdened tax system.

We should learn a lesson but I am less than optimistic.

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