Saturday, January 16, 2010

a DCF for the world

I used to work in the ghetto.
Think, double-homicide-practically-on-campus-2-days-before-school-started ghetto.
(and I worked with some of the most amazing people, but that’s for another post)
Because I worked in the ghetto, my cell phone still has a certain contact listed between the C’s and the F’s.
That contact was DCF, Department of Children and Families.
I had to call DCF when Sarit showed me her bruises and told me who caused them. I had to call DCF when Demarius’ family abuse came out in a very descriptive writing assignment. And, I called DCF to get some answers for a very distraught mother whose son had cancer, but wasn’t receiving full medical treatment due to citizenship problems.
To me, DCF is an awfully-slow-paper-pushing-ineffective-but-totally-necessary government entity. The reason DCF is an indispensable evil is this: There are parents out there that don’t do their jobs. And by jobs, I don’t mean
write cute notes on napkins,
help kids study for science exams and
plan birthday parties complete with Disney-based themes.
What I’m talking about—these parents who don’t do their jobs—is
extreme neglect, and some more
It’s in these extreme cases that the government deems parents unfit and removes children from their custody. Being a ward of the state can really screw a kid up, so ridiculous amounts of paperwork and testimony is required to make such a drastic move.
Yesterday, I clicked through some photos of pre-earthquake Haiti by photojournalist Jeff Antebi. You should probably click through, too, cry, and then finish reading if you’re up to it.
These photos made me think of DCF. I wish, in an un-thought-through sort of way, that there was some DCF For The World that could remove countries from their government’s custody.
Don’t we have enough documentation here? Isn’t there enough proof of a government not doing its job? And by job, I don’t mean:
Prosperity, and
2 years' government-subsidized-maternity-leave for fathers (think Germany here)
By job, I mean:
Education and
I’m just sayin.
Can’t we do something here? I’m not asking for some CIA-puppet government, and Obama certainly doesn’t need to make this his Second Afghanistan, and I’m sure Bill Gates and World Vision already have years’ worth of dirty fingernails to prove they’ve taken a shot at changing things.To be clear, I'm not really suggesting the people of Haiti not rule themselves. I'm just shocked, all over again, and I'm in want of someone to blame.
The only redeeming things I can make of this earthquake is that maybe, just maybe, we won’t forget about Haiti in a couple months when her plight is relegated from page A1 of the New York Times to page A22.

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