Some medical conditions, say the flu, can be diagnosed and easily cured. Of course, if the flu is actually pneumonia the patient may not fare so well. Some medical conditions even if correctly identified may not be easily treated, certain cancers for example. And some cancers even if properly addressed may metamorphosize into others that are fatal.
In our Body Politic a serious condition we must either deal with or be permanently affected by is our Child In Need of Services problem. And even if we do not ignore it, a potentially fatal mistake, the cures we apply will be unavoidably complicated and expensive. Of course, to ignore a cancer is to court our own demise.
In this frenetic world of crisis-a-minute news and infuriatingly complex day-to-day existence, we just do not have the time or energy or money to be aware of and address all the problems that may seriously affect us. So we can be forgiven if we would prefer to ignore the extremely complex problems of child and family welfare, especially other people’s children and families.
But just as a spot on the skin may be the harbinger of disaster if ignored, if we do not attempt to help an abused or neglected child now, that child or that family may cause all of us harm later. And that harm may be a great deal more difficult and expensive than it would cost to prevent it now.
The complexity of our child welfare problem is highlighted by the Indiana Legislature’s scattergun reaction to the criticism of the former State Director of the Department of Family and Child Services who resigned in despair. Just in this year’s session of the General Assembly fourteen bills concerning DCS matters were introduced. This is a positive sign but just as “all politics is local” we in Posey County, Indiana, just as each of Indiana’s other 91 counties, must take some responsibility for our own situation.
In each county the general needs may be similar but specific needs may call for different approaches. Any solution should include numerous institutions such as the Department of Child Services, the schools, all police agencies, the County Council and Board of Commissioners, the Prosecutor’s office, the medical and mental health agencies and the courts. Of course, the most important constituency in this integrated approach must be the public along with the news media.
As I indicated last week I have plenty to do just in the Posey Circuit Court so that’s where I’ll concentrate next week as we work together to craft a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating our Child In Need of Services situation in Posey County.
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