Ethical and Moral Issues
Ethical and Moral Issues
Is it necessary to remove a child from their home? According to the scenario and policy given, I would have to say yes but not necessarily in the way they suggests. Anytown’s Department of Job and Family Services regarding the issue of child endangerment implemented the policy being discussed. Any household that has one or more documented offense of domestic violence, child abuse, or drug or alcohol related offenses committed by the mother, father, guardian, and/or caregiver, will result in the removal of any child or children from the home. The child will be placed in the care of the state, or foster care services, until documentation can prove that the offender has undergone any or all of the following: alcohol and/or drug treatment, counseling, family therapy sessions, mental health treatment, anger management, life skills classes, and/or parenting classes. The individual would have to remain “offense free” for a period of no less than six months. This policy brings up many more questions such as who determines that a child is in danger. What constitutes endangerment in the government’s eyes? How is it decided that the state is better suited to raise the child than another family member?
To begin with, I will address the potential ethical and/or moral issues that could arise from implementing this new policy. There are many people who will say this policy should not be implemented. The main reason being the psychological ramifications that the child will inevitably face because of being removed from their home and family. There have been many studies on foster care supporting these issues and it has been well documented. According to a 2007 study done that compared foster children to comparable maltreated children left in their own homes fared better. The study showed, “children left in their own homes are far less likely to become pregnant as teenagers, far less likely to wind up in the juvenile justice system, and far more likely to hold a job for at least three months than comparably maltreated children who were placed in foster care” (Doyle Jr., 2015).
Children who do not have a constant non-deviant parental figure in their life are more likely to become a deviant. Being abused or neglected as a child increases the odds of being arrested. Criminology: The Core, defines this as a cycle of violence, “victims of crime, especially victims of childhood abuse, are more likely to commit crimes themselves” (Siegel, 2015, p. 62). A research brief by the National Institute of Justice called the Cycle of Violence states, “Being abused or neglected as a child increased the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 59 percent, as an adult by 28 percent, and for a violent crime by 30 percent” (Samuels, 2001, p. 1). I fear if this policy were implemented, there would be a disparaging amount of families in inner cities that would be targeted. Per the social ecology of victimization, those in central city experience higher rates of crimes, which would then in turn put children at risk according to this policy. I would hope that it is equally used to protect kids of all walks of life but the fact remains some are much more likely to encounter it than others.
The social and economic costs of this are difficult to assess because there are so many factors. If the abuse or issues are bad, there is the cost of care, such as, hospitalization, doctor’s visits, and even foster care costs. Then there are the costs that not many think of that can occur later on, lower education level, mental health issues, and the likelihood of them becoming an adult criminal. The indirect and direct costs can quickly add up.
After all of those costs, you have to take into account the psychological issues, the child can develop antisocial behavior, which is a biochemical condition. This is where a child stays to itself and includes traits like sensation seeking, impulsivity, dominance, and reduced verbal skills; all of these traits are related to antisocial behavior (Siegel, 2015, p. 112). This department for family and job services refers to the social learning theory to provide support for the recent policy. They say that aggressive children learn their tactics from their parents by using the example, “the children of wife batterers are more likely to use aggressive tactics themselves than children in the general population, especially if the victims (their mothers) suffer psychological distress from the abuse” (Siegel, 2015, p. 122).
I have seen firsthand what removing a child without proper investigation has caused. While many times, there is real danger, many times it is a simple case of misunderstanding or even a false claim. I think we have a moral responsibility to not only take all of the accusations seriously but the case should be well investigated before a decision to remove a child is made. Not on is it a serious accusation but to a fragile child, the damage could become irreversible. When I was young we would get our butt beat by a belt or switch and not a time out. My mother never went to the extreme but she was reported to DCFS (department of children and family services). They came out and took us for 48 hours without any investigation. Those were some of the worse forty-eight hours of my life, now my mom was cleared, but I think that had more to do with her profession than anything did. If she would have been anyone else or color in the neighborhood we grew up she would have not gotten us back to easily.
Now others that this policy falls under like the parents and guardians who have to complete drug and alcohol treatment or anger management counseling, family therapy, mental health treatment, or life and parenting skills class, it is warranted. In my opinion, that is ethical and just because those are issues that can be verified and documented. That policy puts the best interest of the child first; however, I do not think it should be a straight to the foster care system. I believe they should be able to potentially put them with other family members and keep the out of the system as long as possible. I do not think that it will work seamless by any means, the likelihood of an addict getting clean in 6 months with no setbacks, very slim. I fear the child would be stuck in foster care until he reaches 18 or commits crimes on their own to warrant incarceration.
This policy has positive and negative effects on not only the children but also the entire family. The negative is that it prevents the family from learning and growing together. It could make the parents discouraged and not even work to get the children back. However, it could be a positive because the child would be out of a very dangerous situation. They could think of it as their savior. I am not sure how many actually do because it is all they have known and they would probably rather stay they venture into the unknown.
I don’t know if the Department of Job and Family Services misinterpreted completely but the misapplication is off. I do not believe that it should be an all or nothing type thing. Removal of the child into the foster care system should be the last resort and not the first. I do like the implementation of the various programs and classes that would be required; I do not think they should be done alone but integrate the whole family in them. Make it more of a family therapy instead of alienating the offender.
Doyle Jr., J. (2015). The Evidence is in Foster Care vs. Keeping Families Together: The Definitive Studies. Retrieved from http://www.nccpr.org/reports/evidence.pdf
Samuels, J. E. (2001). An Update on the “Cycle of Violence”. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/184894.pdf
Siegel, L. J. (2015). Criminology: The Core (5th ed.). Retrieved from VitalSource Bookshelf Online