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THE GREY LADY WEIGHS IN

Filed at 3:43 am under by dcobranchi

The New York Times has a couple of pieces on the NJ abuse scandal. The first, a background piece about adoption out of the foster care system, is pretty good.

Have we gone too far too fast?” asks Gary Stangler, executive director of Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, a private foundation in St. Louis focusing on getting children out of foster care. “I worry that with all the applause going to the increasing numbers of adoptions, that we are possibly putting these young people into families not equipped or prepared to handle them.”

Experts are quick to caution that the case of the Jacksons of New Jersey may prove to be distinctly aberrant, and data concerning abuse or other problems experienced by children who have been adopted in recent years is still developing.

Too true. But, where were these experts the last few weeks when homeschooling has been targeted? And, abuse by foster/adoptive parents (at least in NJ) may not be that aberrant:

Case records of children in foster care in 2001, released as a result of a lawsuit against the state’s foster care system, found that in some parts of New Jersey as many as one in five children in foster care had been abused.

More chilling, the case files also showed that, among foster homes identified as good prospective adoptive homes, 7 percent had confirmed findings of abuse or neglect in New Jersey in 2001 — 12 times the rates the federal government has set as acceptable.

More evidence that the bureaucrats in DYFS are not doing their jobs.

The second Times article gives more details about the family’s life than I have seen in any other paper. They interviewed their pastor and their landlord who described a seemingly “perfect” family:

“They were the first kids to come up to me and hug me, say hello to me,” the pastor said. “Not Bruce, he was more in the shadows. But Michael, he would sit you down and have a conversation,” he said.

The minister said the house seemed well kept, and their landlord, John Andrews, agreed. “The only thing I noticed was they were all unbelievably well-behaved,” Mr. Andrews said.

“I have told many people that I have never seen that many kids together be so good. I never saw them fighting, and I never saw them arguing, and I said, `Wow, every family should be like that.’ “

All good info. I have two complaints about the Times article, one picky and one more substantive. First, the picky one:

“He always liked to lead the prayers,” said Bobbi Richardson, a sunday school teacher for Michael and Tyronne, “He prayed better than I did.”

The use of all lower case for Sunday School seems odd. The Times’ copyeditors are particularly good; I’d be surprised if this is a typo. I’m not sure what to make of it, though.

The second complaint involves the Times’ sole mention of homeschooling:

[T]though the children were homeschooled, they were not hidden away.

Geez! Just a bit of an assumption underlying that one, eh? I guess I shouldn’t complain (too loudly). At least they didn’t pull a Rather.

Thanks to Tim Haas for the tip.

2 Responses to “THE GREY LADY WEIGHS IN”


Comment by
meep
October 29th, 2003
at 8:15 am

Weren’t the non-foster kids in that family also homeschooled? And, from all accounts, those kids weren’t abused. Indeed, this seems to be more an indictment of the foster care system in New Jersey.


Comment by
Tanya
June 8th, 2004
at 2:29 pm

How many children are abused by their homeschooling parents each year?