- All California residence
- United States of America
I. We all in this room, as free thinking adults, though diverse in age and circumstance, have at least one thing in common: the ability to choose. But as children our choices were made for us. We depended on and trusted our parents to make the right choices and to provide us with the most basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter, security and most of all love and affection. But some children don’t have parents that are capable of making appropriate choices and who don’t provide those basic necessities, and as a result, might live in poverty.
II. Poverty indirectly, and sometimes directly, influences depression, crime, neglect and abuse: emotional, physical and/or sexual.
I. Every day children are born into this world. Unfortunately, these babies don’t choose to be born. Sometimes they are brought into this world by irresponsible parents, drug addicted parents, teen parents and sometimes, mentally incapable parents.
II. Domestic violence: A mother physically expressing frustration on a child, or a child witnessing his father beat his mother; this is all under the domestic violence umbrella. Reported on the California Department of Justice web site (3), there were a total of 48,000 calls related to domestic violence made to 911 in Los Angeles County in 2004.
III. Children in Los Angeles County and all over the United States face a number of unthinkable issues because of incompetent parenting. On the Los Angeles County Department of Children’s & Family Services web site (2) Fact Sheet of 2005, of all child related emergency care, a staggering 28 % were due to child neglect. Second on that list was physical abuse at 19%.
IV. Sometimes children are born unwanted. According to child abandonment facts in California found on ‘Welcome to California’, California’s Official Governmental website (4), as of October 2006, Updated November 7th, 162 newborns were surrendered in California under the “Safe Haven law”. This law allows the parent to legally surrender custody of a child, within three days of birth, without fear of prosecution. Yet another 139 newborns were found alive after illegal abandonment.
V. Abandonment and rejection go hand in hand. According to the DCFS in 2005, 21,248 children were living in out-of-home placement; in other words- Foster care. Some of the lucky ones were living in relative homes. Every year a larger percentage of children are placed in their grandparents because incompetent parenting, in 2005 it was roughly 45%. But how about the unreported cases. I am an example of an unreported case.
VI. According to the Unites States Census Bureau (1) population estimate of 2005, there where 2,732,000 children (-18) living in Los Angels County alone and of those, 484,000 lived below poverty level. (As an example of what was defined as ‘poverty’, a mother and child with a max income of $13,000 was considered impoverished in that 2005 Census.)
VII. According to the Committee for economic Development (5), children are becoming an ever smaller proportion of the American population. They warn that unless preventative ‘investments’ are made in early childhood; our future labor force will be disproportionately poor, uneducated and untrained. This is evident and can be seen on the California Department of Education website (6). It charts 23,760 teens in Los Angeles County to have dropped out of high school.
I. The problem exists in that our society believes that children are the property of their biological parents who have full custody until that child is damaged by abuse or neglect. Once a child is ‘damaged‘, that is when the child is protected under child abuse and neglect laws and warrants an intervention by Social Services. Only then will a child be ward of the state and placed in an alternative home or foster care.
II. The problem lies in that we’re are trying to solve and combat massive established problems rather then preventing them. But what kind of ‘Investments’ must be made?
A. Free of abuse and oppression.
B. Access to equal opportunities to develop their life’s potential.
C. Develop affectionate attachments to their parents and other family members.
D. Biological puberty must not be a mark for parental maturity.
III. A large percentage of biological parents are in the best position to represent the interest of their children and provide the best possible for them. But we need to move beyond that and stop viewing our children as property. Parenthood is a privilege, not a right.
IV. We need to hold parents accountable for being competent parents rather then forcing children to bare incompetence until they show signs of damage. Parental licensing will validate parental rights and refocus public policy in supporting competent parenting. Responsibility will fall on a parent to demonstrate competence in parenting rather then the state proving unfitness after damage to a child occurs (this is how it is now). Because the parent will be responsible for the rearing of their children, there will be little government intervention.
I. Parental licensing will not distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parenting or attempt to change parenting styles. It will only exclude those obviously unqualified. It is not a birth control measure.
II. Establishing procedures for parental licensing will entail little more administrative structure then those involving, marriage licensing or birth registration. One might make a comparison to obtaining a drivers license.
III. The criteria for obtaining a parental license would be a basic credentialing process that must be obtained by each parent for each child.
a. Parent must be able to be responsible for one’s own life before being able to care for another. The varied age should be about 18 years with completion if a high school education or equivalent .Provisional licenses are available for those under 18.
b. To pledge to care for and nurture the child and refrain from abuse and neglect. If broken, license will be revoked, fine or punishment.
c. Basic knowledge of child rearing.
IV. Parenting licenses will stimulate the development of family life education, and the mass impact would likely discourage premature pregnancy and marriage because it will reinforce the gravity of child rearing responsibilities.
V. There are many ways of prediction parental competence through evaluations as it is with adoption today.
VI. If the state required all parents to become licensed before or upon the birth of a child, child abuse and neglect could be avoided.
VII. What are some objections to licensing?
a. Restrict individual freedoms: child abuse and neglect are not freedoms. We all have the right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment.
b. Tool for racism: Children and neglect/abuse prevention is the issue, not racism. There will be set criteria, rules and regulations to follow. Anyone wanting to discriminate will not be able to.
c. Lessen governmental aid for needy families: according to ‘The Third Branch’, a news letter of the federal courts cost of incarceration per inmate estimates to be about $46,000 annually. Compare that to the $13000 poverty threshold of a mother and child scenario in my intro. If less money were spent on incarnating adults that are so because of abuse and neglect in their childhood, more money will be available for public assistance, well fare and even social security.
I. Every day children are abuse neglected, abandoned and rejected. This is currently perpetuated by the way our children and family services are set up. We need to make a change in our views about parent hood and steep up to take responsibility for our actions. Laws, ideologies and values must be changed about child rights. They are not property, but our future.
II. We must petition to change our California legislator. California is a trend setter, and all other states will follow if these changes are made. Soon all of California will be in accordance to these new laws.
We, the undersigned, petition to change our California legislator. California is a trend setter, and all other states will follow if these changes are made. We want all of California to operate in accordance with these new laws.
We want Licensing to Prevent Parental Incompetence.
The Licensing to Prevent Parental Incompetence petition to All California residence was written by olive and is in the category Children's Rights at GoPetition.