This morning I took my mother to an eye doctor appointment and then made my way to my granddaughter’s school. The two of them appeared in a play (written/ directed by Shelah Marie) called The Shiny Scales, “a cautionary tale about what happens when a few fish are not willing to share.” They appeared as mermaids, had a couple lines to say and they did a great job. Their mother cried the whole time watching her beautiful little girls and their friends. Everyone laughed and applauded the children and they all came on stage after it was over to take their bows just like the professionals. From there, my son and daughter-in-law took the girls out to lunch and I went on to do my grocery shopping. It was a joyful morning and a typical morning all at the same time.
I’m going to take a detour in my story for a moment. In Washington, Congress debates budget cuts, cuts that hurt children, seniors and many others. Instead of valuing and honoring the lives of all citizens in this country, some members of Congress fight for a privileged few. Wealth and power is what they value and they turn their backs on the rest. Some say there are members of Congress that don’t care about the poor, the elderly, the uneducated, the hungry and the sick. I don’t think it’s necessarily a matter of Congress not caring… I don’t think they even see these people. They don’t acknowledge their existence. If they did, they’d have to face parts of themselves they’d prefer not to face. Instead they refer to what amounts to half the people in this country, including veterans, as lazy and accuse them of abusing the system.
It’s not just federal budgets but local budgets as well. There’s not enough money given to agencies that care for children. The following excerpts are about just two of the children affected by government budgets and the way they’re proportioned. One of the children is missing, the other is dead.
Miami Herald/ Excerpts 2/5/2013: Florida Refuses Aid To Molested Foster Child, Judge Says, by Carol Marbin Miller
“In the latest skirmish over Florida’s tattered safety net, a judge says the state is denying help to foster children who are in dire need of mental health services. - - The 16-year-old girl is being raised by the state because she was repeatedly molested, first by her father and, later, by her grandfather. She has endured so much anguish that she has been diagnosed with the same illness as many combat veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder. – - Her therapists say she desperately needs residential psychiatric care. State healthcare administrators refuse to pay for it, saying she is a drug addict, not a child in need of mental healthcare. – - DCF took her from the grandfather and sent her to live with a family friend under a permanent guardianship. That arrangement did not last long either; the family refused to accept the girl back after she ran away, plagued by drug abuse and difficult behavior. For much of the past two years, the girl remained missing. In April 2011, she told authorities she hated foster care so much that she wanted to return to the grandfather who molested her. While living on the streets, records show, she remained under the sway of pimps who sold her for money. – - A psychologist with Magellan, Charles Winick, spent “only approximately 20 minutes” with the girl, and “failed to review most of her case file,” Hanzman wrote, and arrived at a different conclusion: The girl did not meet “suitability criteria” for a mental health treatment center because her real diagnosis was drug abuse. With no other options, the girl was sent to live with another relative, and promptly ran away again, most likely, authorities believe, to her pimp. She has not been seen since.”
Miami Herald/ Excerpts 8/1/2013: How The Child Safety Net Failed Ezra Raphael by Carol Marbin Miller
“What’s certain is this: Cierrah Raphael retrieved her son in April, and he was dead two months later. His mother’s boyfriend, Claude Alexis, whipped Ezra to death with a belt, he told North Miami Beach police, because the boy spilled water on a bathroom floor. He was 2 years old. His mother, Raphael, had been out prostituting that night. – - Cierrah Raphael had vast experience with the state’s foster care system. She was partly raised in it. In 2010, Raphael was transformed from a so-called “child victim” of parental abuse or neglect to a suspected “perpetrator.” - – Esther Jacobo said investigator Mack denies having any contact with Wims after she closed her February investigation. If it turns out she is lying, she could be the latest at DCF to lose a job because of a child death.”
As I was about to begin my day, I came across the article about Ezra’s death when I picked up the newspaper my mother had left on the kitchen table this morning, this joyful but typical morning. The type of joyful, typical morning all children deserve.
Here’s a link to a follow up post An “Epidemic” of Child Abuse which was initiated by a follow up article from the Miami Herald 8/18/13.
Related post: Is Adoption the Answer to Abortion 2/01/13