While I am hardly a fan of Massachusetts' Department of Children and Families, and certainly no fan of Gov. Deval Patrick, the root of the problem in these instances is not unqualified caseworkers….but unqualified parents, as well as their “enablers” in society, at large. Agencies like DCF become easy targets for people who so quickly move on to the mechanisms of the nanny state as the focal point of their criticism that the actual abusers and grossly negligent parents themselves see their guilt marginalized. The politically incorrect truth is that as long as society continues to remain accepting of lower standards of behavior, ethics, and general decency on the part of its citizens, on the basis of a woefully-misinterpreted notion about the wrongheadedness of “judging,” then there is no number of nanny-state policemen who will be able to stem the rising tide of unfit adults becoming unfit parents.
Let me be clear – I don’t, in any way, excuse mismanagement or incompetence in any government agency, and where it is found, it should be addressed swiftly and harshly; that said, if you find yourself overwhelmingly fixated on agencies like DCF in your zeal to fix the problems like the one at issue here, you’re missing a lot. Nowadays, one generation seems to do an unfortunately good job trumping the one that came before in the matter of the number of irresponsible, selfish people it produces; the poor decisions those people make…to include not just who they bring into the lives of their children, but to have children at all when they are, themselves, not fit to be parents…have consequences on a scale such that no agency will be able to successfully address them. As for the culpability of those of us in the at-large community (culpability which remains substantially subordinate to that of the abusive/negligent adults charged with caring for our smallest, most vulnerable citizens), it is this: the more we excuse bad behavior, even that which seems innocent in the moment, the more we expand the ripple effect that is sure to eventually touch those already in possession of the most corrupted sense of basic decency, and who are eager to seize on any scrap of justification they can find to continue to make horrible, even deadly, choices.