PJ Media

The Nanny State Nightmare with Judicial Teeth

If you want to see just how far our government has gone towards a full-blown, cradle-to-grave nanny state, check out the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This agency has tentacles wrapped firmly around the family, individuals, and our children. Sadly, we’re wasting a great deal of taxpayer dollars for this unnecessary and dangerous babysitter.

The federal government spends a disproportionate amount of our money for “child welfare.” Seven billion dollars a year is allocated just to the Children’s Bureau at Health and Human Services. Not that anyone would ever be against keeping kids safe, but that’s an awful lot of money dedicated to the redundancy of law enforcement, state programs, and bypassing the authority of parents.

According to the Administration for Children and Families, less than one percent of all U.S. children have been investigated as abused. When restricted to children with more than one reported incident of abuse (a more realistic indicator of actual problems), the number of cases drops to less than one-tenth of one percent of the total population of children in the U.S.

Parents simply aren’t smart enough to ensure the safety of their children. Let’s face the facts. We’d all instinctively beat our children to a pulp if it weren’t for the guidance of federal bureaucracies. Our kids would go unfed and we’d let them crawl onto highways just to see if they could do it.

Just in case you decided to give parenthood a shot, you may be interested in some new legislation on the horizon. The Safe Babies Act of 2009 (S.1554 and H.R. 3474), in conjunction with S. 678, is designed to promote judicial activism and create the establishment of a national authority for all court cases involving “maltreated” children 3 and under. There’s nothing like a rigged courtroom to make parents feel all warm and tingly inside.

Upon the bill’s passage, the director of the National Institute of Justice, in cooperation with the Department of Health and Human Services, will award a five-year, twenty-five million dollar grant to a national early childhood development organization. For an unnamed entity, its full description in the bill is suspiciously specific.

The grant recipient will work with an agency from the Department of Justice to form the “National Court Teams Resources Center.” This center is tasked with recruiting “local court teams” consisting of judges and social service workers in all parts of the U.S. The center will “develop materials to guide qualified judges in the decision making process regarding maltreated infants and toddlers, and to train members of local Court Teams and others in the community regarding the appropriate care of maltreated infants and toddlers.”

In other words, unelected, unaccountable bureaucracies will use taxpayer dollars to fund a private organization’s agenda on child welfare. These policies will circumvent the legislative process and go directly to the recruitment of activist judges to enact “expert” policies.

There will be no need for a bill to pass through Congress defining “spanking” as child abuse. The newly created National Court Teams Resources Center can simply define what is and isn’t child abuse. Recruited judges will be able to simply follow those new federal guidelines to render their decisions based on the center’s interpretation of laws. Unchallenged, these policies can supersede state and local laws.

In anticipation of such an event, part of the stated duties of the National Court Teams Resource Center is to produce “methods to change state and local government systems to better address the needs of infants and toddlers in foster care and their families.”

Local court teams are obligated to “utilize resource materials disseminated by the National Court Teams Resource Center to guide judges in the decision making process regarding maltreated infants and toddlers, and to provide training for Court Team members.”

Expert consensus seems to be replacing common sense with groupthink. Say, isn’t that the same way we ended up with so-called climate experts? I seem to recall a purported consensus on man-made global warming and calling dissenters flat-earthers and Holocaust deniers. These “experts” steamrolled their opposition, denied grants, and rejected publication of conflicting reports. I wish I could remember how all that environmental mumbo-jumbo ended. Oh well. I’m sure giving federal powers to “experts” won’t serve to obliterate political opposition, ostracize those daring to think for themselves, and infringe on our rights … again.

Local court teams will also be used as a tool to get other related groups on the same page. Under “Required Activities,” local court teams must “organize the provision of local training (provided by the National Court Teams Resource Center) to community members of the jurisdiction in which the local Court Team is located, including court officials, child welfare agencies, attorneys, Guardians Ad Litem, court-appointed special advocates, and other individuals and organizations providing services to infants and toddlers in foster care.”

This legislation, introduced in both the House and Senate, is one of the most audacious assaults on parental rights so far. There is no accountability to the taxpayer for policy makers and the bill blatantly advocates for judicial activism and legislation from the bench. The most disgusting part of this bill is that it has very little to do with children, and everything to do with consolidating power.