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Juvenile Law: A Delicate Balance

In Juvenile Law, the stories of children that DFCS has allowed to be murdered are more numerous than can be counted.  DFCS received a report.  They came out to the house.  They spoke with the parents.  Within a week the child was dead.  Why didn't DFCS do anything about it?

On the other side of that coin is DFCS as the jack-booted thug, blowing into the family like a hurricane, snatching the children, tossing them into foster care with all the abuse that that entails, and fighting tooth and nail to dismember the ties between parents and children forever, rendering them orphans, the very people DFCS is charged to protect. The children become orphans, cast to the winds of eternity like an unmoored boat.

There is no doubt but that in law, DFCS is supposed to walk a delicate balance.  But in reality, their balance is more like a bull in a china shop.  Rest assured that when DFCS gets involved, people will suffer, children will suffer, families will suffer. There will be broken dishes everywhere and DFCS won't clean it up.

If DFCS had balance, they would have humility; they would perceive themselves in service to the families; helping would be their first and last order of business. Instead, they act from hubris; they act from unprincipled and unbridled power; harm is their order of the day. 

In some counties, rare counties that they are, there is an active judiciary in the Juvenile Court, holding DFCS in check.  In those rare counties, in those rare courts, families receive assistance, families are paramount, families are respected.  Cobb County Juvenile Court is one of those rare, caring and effective courts. 

But in most counties, the Juvenile Court judges are little more than rubber stamps for DFCS' determination to behead the parents from their children. This is not borne of corruption.  No one is stroking anyone a check. Rather it is the day in, day out familiarity and dependency created by the regular grind of the court's business. DFCS needs the judges and the judges need DFCS. Parents don't have a chance.

So, in those counties, DFCS reigns unbridled, unchecked, untempered

Every few years, the State Government gets involved, comes up with a new agency, perhaps even creates a new code, but soon enough things go back to business as usual and the families fall in DFCS' killing fields yet again.

My suggestion?  Abolish DFCS.  Leave it to the District Attorney and Solicitor to prosecute perceived crimes.  In Juvenile Law, strengthen the Juvenile Court so that it can provide help, independent of any agency to whom it would otherwise become beholden.

More immediately, adopt a mandate that children are never taken from their parents unless the children are in immanent danger and treat the termination of parental rights like the death sentence it is, with the highest standard of proof and lengthy and detailed checks and balances required.

Children have suffered long enough.  Families have suffered long enough. DFCS' executioner's dance must be stopped.

Michael Manely

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