Has the law swung too much in favor of protecting children?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by Duckman, Aug 8, 2002.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Rebecca191 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 1999
    star 6
    I thought 18 was usually the age you could marry without permission, and 16 was the age you could marry at with parental permission....
  2. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    Once again, it differs by state. In Texas it is 16 to marry without parental consent.
  3. Rebecca191 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 1999
    star 6
    That seems a bit young... especially considering marriages at very young ages usually end in divorce, and sometimes they can't even support themselves, because they had to work right away, before getting a full education...
  4. stevo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2001
    star 4
    So don't get married at 16-- no big deal.
  5. TeeBee Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2002
    star 3
    So, is a 16 year old in Texas not statutory rape material then?

    If so, that's good, despite being able to marry at 16 being, IMO, ridiculous. But if an unmarried 16 year old having sex with an adult is statutory rape, then that is supremely dumb.

    I think the age at which one is not considered a minor in a case of unmarried sex with an older person should be the same as the age one can marry without permission. Drop that whole 'parental consent' stuff. It would be a lot less complicated.
  6. Maveric Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 1999
    star 4
    So when does one reach the age of majority?

    16? Old enough to drive in most states?

    18? Old enough to be drafted and vote?

    21? Old enough to buy alcohol?

    23? Old enough to decide to betray your country and fight with the Taliban?

    The last is not a jest. During the American Taliban trial, the media always refered to him as a kid, a confused child. Where is the line to be drawn?
  7. TeeBee Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2002
    star 3
    Personally, I choose 18 for lawful sex and marriage. I'd also raise driving to 17 with restrictions.

    And refering to a 23 year old as a confused child is ludicrous. Must've been spin by the defense to enlist the pity component.
  8. FlamingSword Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2001
    star 6
    I was going to post a new thread about my post but I thought it might fit in here.

    Parental responsibility vs. government interference: where do we draw the line?

    CNN - Mom charged with letting kids get sunburned

    Summary: An Ohio Mom has been charged with three counts of child endangerment. She let her kids (2 yrs, 10 mo, & 10 mo) stay in the sun all day at the fairgrounds and did not protect them with any sunscreen. By the end of the day, her kids were beet red and were treated for second-degree burns.
    If convicted, the mom could spend up to fifteen years in prison.

    My Opinion: Letting your kids burn that badly is extremely irrepsonsible. ALthough I've forgotten to put sunscreen on myself, I've never forgotten when with kids and would be aware of how much time they're spending in the sun. Espcially if they're as young as 10 months. Her action was very irresponsible, but I could see how it could happen.

    But if convicted she would spend 15 years in jail!?!? That's waaaay too extreme, IMHO. In this case, should the government even step in? Parents do have rights and sometimes it seems that government forgets that.

    I'm all for protecting kids in abusive situations. But is this abuse? What parental rights does the mother have in this case to make decisions?
  9. TeeBee Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2002
    star 3
    I wouldn't call it 'abuse', as I heard a caller on the radio scream about that today. I'd be more inclined to call it neglect, and certainly stupidity to the extreme.

    But jail time for it? No. Some sunburn/skin cancer education for the obviously idiotic parents, but not jail.
  10. KaineDamo Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2002
    star 5
    "But if convicted she would spend 15 years in jail!?!? That's waaaay too extreme, IMHO. In this case, should the government even step in? Parents do have rights and sometimes it seems that government forgets that. "

    When parents endanger the very lifes of their own children, the government has every right to interfere. Those kids could have very easily died, especially the 2 year old. Someone so stupid shouldn't be looking after kids. 15 years is extreme, but she should definitely get locked up. People have been locked up for much longer times for crimes far less serious.
  11. Jedi_Master_Mom Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2002
    star 2
    My parents would have been in jail many times over...I had multiple severe sunburns growing up, but of course we didn't know the risks of skin cancer then.

    People have been locked up for much longer times for crimes far less serious.
    Spanking their out of control kids in public...

    I think the kids where out in the sun way too long that day. For the 10 month old babies, my doctor doesn't recommend suncreen until they are around a year old. As a mother, I really don't think she deserves jail time, education is great and some supervision from a social worker, but if she has never did anything else to hurt her children, the government would be hurting her children more by putting her in jail.

  12. KaineDamo Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2002
    star 5
    Oh c'mon! The whole incident is like a huge neon sign saying: Take these children away from this woman before she really does do something stupid enough to kill them.
  13. Ultima_1 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 5

    I don't see how forgetting to take sunscreen can be considered abuse. That is as rediculous as some of the lawsuits against McDonalds.
  14. Rebecca191 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 1999
    star 6
    From what I understand in the sunburn case, it was originally thought that the children were much more badly burned than they actually were. They turned out to have 1st degree burns I believe.
  15. TheScarletBanner Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2002
    star 4
    The law can never swing too much in favour of protecting children.

    If there is the SLIGHEST hint of abuse or mistreatment, the child should be taken away immediately, until that family can substantially prove that they are reasonable parents and that the original charges are false. If they fail to do that, the child should be given to one of the many thousands of wonderful foster families (the controls on which should also be very carefully regulated).

    It's not good if a child holds their parents ransom threatening abuse, but if we take that attitude, then there WILL be kids who'll fall through the cracks when they go to report abuse or mistreatment. I'd even go so far as to say there should be some kind of federal rapid reaction force that can take a child from a home where abuse occurs without any prior notice or judicial permission, within the smallest time possible, following a possible incident of child mistreatment.

    That child should not be returned without the permission of social services, child protection agencies, a Judge, a psychiatrist/psychologist and a randomly chosen member of the public (along the lines of jury duty).

    I'll admit that there are plenty of cases where abuse hasn't occured, and the child is taken away, but, as we all know, it's better to be safe than sorry.
    The rights of the child should always come a hundredfold higher than the rights of the parents.

    Oh, and those found guilty of child abuse should be given the term of their natural life, except in the case where there is independent evidence proving that they are reformed/rehabilitated (but no earlier than, say, 20 years).

    And that's about as strong an opinion you'll find from me on any subject.

    - Scarlet.
  16. womberty Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2002
    star 4
    If there is the SLIGHEST hint of abuse or mistreatment, the child should be taken away immediately, until that family can substantially prove that they are reasonable parents and that the original charges are false.

    The law states that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Here, you are asking parents to prove their innocence.


    I'll admit that there are plenty of cases where abuse hasn't occured, and the child is taken away, but, as we all know, it's better to be safe than sorry.

    In our justice system, you often hear it said, "Better to let a hundred guilty go free than to punish one innocent man."

    How do you balance that with "Better safe than sorry"?
  17. Red-Seven Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 5
    To play devil's advocate, Child Protection services know that the best place for a child is in their home. Abuse needs to be stopped and monitored, but the bias is always toward working through the problem, rather than putting the child in foster care, and in all probability worsening the situation.
  18. Jedi_Master_Mom Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2002
    star 2
    From personal experience, my mother in law hates me...really really hates me. She was I believe an an "Anonymous" caller who reported to social services that I neglected my child. She claimed that I had rotting food on my counters, I didn't feed them, my house was a sty, I never washed clothesso they didn't have clean clothes, I didn't get them medical care, they haven't had a bath in weeks and more. A social worker made a surprise visit, found clean well cared for children, a frig full of food, and a tidy house. She talked to me for a half hour and found the report unfounded.

    Now what you are saying, we should have swat type team come into my home within what minutes of the call being reported, scare my children and possibly scar them for life and take them away from their home on a report that was vindictive in nature. No investigation before hand? No making sure the report is credible?

    I believe that children should be protected, but there is a fine line between that and destroying a family for no reason.

  19. TheScarletBanner Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2002
    star 4
    The law states that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Here, you are asking parents to prove their innocence.

    Yes, I am. Children are at risk, and, for that reason, there must be presumed guilt. It's too late when a child is actually abused, because the authorities refused to rescue he/she on the grounds that there was no proof of abuse.

    How do you balance that with "Better safe than sorry"?

    Easily: children are at stake. They're more important than adults, thus the bias has to be with them, and not their parents.

    Now what you are saying, we should have swat type team come into my home within what minutes of the call being reported, scare my children and possibly scar them for life and take them away from their home on a report that was vindictive in nature. No investigation before hand? No making sure the report is credible?

    Yes, that's what I'm suggesting. For every ten homes that they break into that turns out to be fine, there will be one in which a child is being abused. I'm not willing to let any children fall through the cracks.

    I believe that children should be protected, but there is a fine line between that and destroying a family for no reason.

    I'd say abuse is a damn good reason. And in response to Red-Seven's post above, it's my opinion that an abused child should never be returned to his/her abusers.

    - Scarlet.
  20. Jedi_Master_Mom Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2002
    star 2
    Do you understand how tramatized a well-cared for child who is rippped out of his home will be? I have no problem with social services investigating reports and weeding out the ones that are false. It is very easy for someone to seek revenge against a person by making false reports. Nanny's or babysitters who are fired, divorced mothers and fathers who want to get back at the other...the list goes on. I think there should be criminal charges against people who knownly make false reports.

    The main problem with social services is they are underfunded and need more case workers so children do not fall under the cracks. Swat teams are not the answer.

    I would rather be accused of murder...at least then I know I am innocent until proven guilty.

    National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System
    In 2000, three million referrals concerning the welfare of approximately five million children were made to CPS agencies throughout the United States. Of these, approximately two-thirds (62%) were screened in; one-third (38%) were screened out. Screened-in referrals alleging that a child was being abused or neglected received investigations or assessments to determine whether the allegations of maltreatment could be substantiated. Some of the screened-out reports were referred to the attention of other service agencies.

    Professionals, including teachers, law enforcement officers, social services workers, and physicians, made more than half (56%) of the screened-in reports. Others, including family members, neighbors, and other members of the community, made the remaining 44 percent of screened-in referrals.

    Almost one-third of investigations or assessments (32%) resulted in a finding that the child was maltreated or at risk of maltreatment. The remaining investigations resulted in a finding that the maltreatment did not occur, the child was not at risk of maltreatment, or there was insufficient information to make a determination.




    About four years ago, a single mother of three children faced a semi bleak Christmas. Her husband had really left her in the lurch. As Christmas rolled around she found herself just getting on her feet. She had a job, part time student and had her three children being watched by her mother. A week before Christmas she was visited by a social worker, she was on food stamps. The Social worker looked around and saw very few presents under an 18" Christmas tree. Nothing significant was said, the worker left and three days later the DCFS showed up and removed her three children.

    The real story, like most hard working Americans she was living within her means. She has around $150 to her name. She set aside a certain amount for the utilities, another portion for some clothing and the balance for a bus pass to get to and from school and work. She had decided to take a kitchen knife and cut the top 18" off of a bush to make the Christmas tree. This way she could save money. As we both know, many people would have spent all $150 on Christmas then told the social worker they need more money for utilities and such.

    It took some four months but she finally had her children returned. The irony of the situation is that she borrowed many thousands of dollars from family and friends to hire the attorney. That money could have been used to buy her a car or something more useful though even then she had decided to take the bus as it was the most economical means.




  21. TheScarletBanner Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2002
    star 4
    The law states that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Here, you are asking parents to prove their innocence.

    Yes, I am. Children are at risk, and, for that reason, there must be presumed guilt. It's too late when a child is actually abused, because the authorities refused to rescue he/she on the grounds that there was no proof of abuse.

    How do you balance that with "Better safe than sorry"?

    Easily: children are at stake. They're more important than adults, thus the bias has to be with them, and not their parents.

    Now what you are saying, we should have swat type team come into my home within what minutes of the call being reported, scare my children and possibly scar them for life and take them away from their home on a report that was vindictive in nature. No investigation before hand? No making sure the report is credible?

    Yes, that's what I'm suggesting. For every ten homes that they break into that turns out to be fine, there will be one in which a child is being abused. I'm not willing to let any children fall through the cracks.

    I believe that children should be protected, but there is a fine line between that and destroying a family for no reason.

    I'd say abuse is a damn good reason. And though we can't sure that it will happen every time, I'd rather take 10 kids from their home and save one from abuse than leave all ten at home and let one suffer abuse. And in response to Red-Seven's post above, it's my opinion that an abused child should never be returned to his/her abusers.

    - Scarlet.
  22. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    For every ten homes that they break into that turns out to be fine, there will be one in which a child is being abused. I'm not willing to let any children fall through the cracks.

    [sarcasm]TSB, here's an idea, why don't we just take all children away from their parents at birth and raise them in large orphanages where we can be sure that no abuse happens. It would keep any children from falling through the cracks.[/sarcasm]

    While I agree that children need to be protected, there need to be safeguards to prevent abuses of the system as well. For example, if a grandmother didn't like her son-in-law, she could report him for abuse and have the children taken from him under your system. How would you prevent that?

    Kimball Kinnison
  23. EnforcerSG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2001
    star 4
    TSB. Did you have a problem with double posts? ;)

    Several questions. Why (notice I am not asking 'are') children more important than adults? I agree that they are, but I want to hear your reason(s).

    What would you do about kids who may be spanked for misbehavior, or disciplined in other ways that they would not like, and call in the swat teams to yank their parent?s chain? Or other abuses of the system that would seem to cause more harm than good.

    I don?t mean to belittle or make less of an abused child's problems, but you obviously see one kid problems are much more important than 9 others, not to mention the families involved. Why? Is it that abuse is more traumatic than being ripped from a loving family? Again, I am not disagreeing with you; I just want to hear your reason(s).

    Also, how are swat teams ripping kids away from loving stable families better than parents who abuse their kids? Actually, a better question would be instead of the swat teams; the people who support such ideas (blame the hand or the heart behind the hand?)? What is the big difference between the two except one is sponsored by the government. Whether it is trying to make the world a better place or not does not matter if you ask the kids or parents who are being punished for doing nothing wrong. Who is to decide where the line between displaying and abuse? You? The parents? Social workers? Bush?

    You have a noble goal, but IMHO you are sacrificing too much for it. You are also IMHO getting too close to the level of abusive parents to stop those parents. You have to be better than they are, without question. And again, it is not for you to decide, but for the people affected by the action who will determine if your actions are right or not (assuming they can back up their reasons, which would not be too hard for those who have not done anything wrong).
  24. womberty Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2002
    star 4
    Children are at risk, and, for that reason, there must be presumed guilt.

    I don't think our judicial system can allow for presumed guilt. We've built the system to specifically prevent that from happening.


    Easily: children are at stake. They're more important than adults, thus the bias has to be with them, and not their parents.

    Now, where in the law does it say that children are more important than adults? ?[face_plain]

    Admit it - you're an ageist. ;)


    And though we can't sure that it will happen every time, I'd rather take 10 kids from their home and save one from abuse than leave all ten at home and let one suffer abuse.

    And when do the other 9 get returned? What do you have to do to prove you never hurt your child?

    You should realize that there are plenty of crafty children who are all too eager to run away from home, even though they are not being abused. So, for one thing, you might be rewarding childish lies by getting the child away from Mommy and Daddy's authority.

    It is far, far too easy to abuse a system that presumes guilt.
  25. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Interesting you bring up the crafty children, womberty. I was just reading about that recently in Surviving Ophelia.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.