After a conversation with my sister-in-law for over an hour, I felt compelled to write this post. The child and family services and the justice system that serves it is BROKEN! Here’s how I know.
About 12+ years ago I began a two year battle against the Tennessee DCS. Due to random luck, we found out that our daughter had been removed from her mother’s care and placed into a foster home and then temporarily placed with her grandmother. Strange thing is, The Hubs was never contacted about his child’s removal from their mother’s care nor about the placements.
As you can understand, I went ballistic! I started calling every phone number I could find to get ahold of someone that could tell me what had happened. Well, The Hubs and I were not married yet, so getting any details proved to be extremely difficult. Finally, working my way up to the director, the details were reluctantly shared and apologies were made(The Hubs works in construction and has no ability to conference on a job site).
Long story short, our daughter was removed for suspected abuse, neglect, and the mother’s drug use. The reason we were not informed, “The mother said that the father was not in the picture”. Yes, I am serious! They believed the word of a neglectful mother instead of doing their work to find The Hubs (which was paying child support through the state and was totally find-able). We lost our fight in court even though we had the support of the guardian ad litem, the Minnesota DCF, and were one of the biological parents.
Well, fast forward to within the last few months. My brother and sister-in-law find out that their VERY young nephew has been removed from his parents due to a broken leg. They immediately offer up their home and their lives to care for the young infant. This selfless act is not received well by the parents of said child and causes quite a rift in the family.
The system ultimately has decided to give the infant back and not continue the investigation, even though the parents have shown no remorse or taken any ownership of the issue, continue to show bad character flaws, and have witnesses to their lack of parental abilities.
So, I ask you, what do we do about this? This is nuts, right!? We spend so much time worrying about so many things in this world, but doesn’t this also deserve attention? Ultimately the system failed in both these instances (in my opinion) and yet nothing further can be done unless the child’s welfare comes under scrutiny again. Is that right? Should a child be in a bad situation just because the parents have rights? How about these parents, how likely will they be next time there is a health issue to take the child to the doctor and then the child suffers in silence?
I know these are a lot of heavy questions. That this topic is a hard one because so much of these cases are at the discretion of just a few over-worked but well meaning people. Please don’t mistake my frustration with the system for an attack on social workers. I do not have the answers here. I have no ideas what the path is that needs to be taken. I just know something needs to happen. I do feel that talking about our stories and sharing the missteps of a broken system will make way for change.
Easy Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Adapted from Recipe by Jeff Mauro
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 scallions, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 habanero or scotch bonnet chile
- Kosher salt
- Vegetable oil, for drizzling and oiling the pan
- 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or you can use skin on, bone in or out, whatever pieces you like)
Combine the sugar, soy sauce, thyme, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, scallions, garlic, habanero and a pinch of salt together in a food processor and blend for a couple of minutes, scraping up any pieces that cling to the walls to make sure everything is blended evenly.
Drizzle veggie oil on the chicken and work the spice rub into the chicken, making sure to put the mixture under the skin as well. Cover and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
Oil and preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill over medium heat. Grill the chicken, flipping halfway through, 5 to 8 minutes per side. Serve with the Mango Chutney, rice and cilantro.