Something that I've noticed since becoming a foster-adotive mommy-to-be is that I am hyper-aware whenever I hear news stories regarding children being abused, neglected, placed in foster care, etc.
Last night, The Hubs and I had just finished watching The X-Factor and the local news came on (well, as local as it can be for us). One of the leading stories was about a mother and her twin babies found living in a shack with no electricity and no running water. The story went on to say that the 21-year-old mother had the babies lying on a bed with several blankets over them. There was a kerosene heater in the shack, but no kerosene and an electrical cord running to a nearby house.
The mother was taken into custody, arrested on two counts of cruelty to children which are first degree felonies.
Now, I don't have all the details of this case. I don't know the ins and outs, I don't know what else was going on with this family. But I do have some reservations about the way this has been handled.
First of all, the article stated the mother had not contacted anyone for help. I have to ask was she aware she could contact someone? Was she scared that, by contacting DFCS or a shelter, the police would be called and she would lose her children? We have to remember that this mother is only 21-years-old with 5-month-old twin babies. I'm sure she was feeling overwhelmed and out of control. I know what it was like when The Hubs was out of work and there were only the two of us - both in our 30's - to worry about taking care of and it was a serious stress on us. Do we know if she had any family to turn to? Also, do we know for sure she didn't attempt to contact someone with DFCS? Our state-employed social workers are extremely busy these days and things do have the possibility of falling through the cracks. Is it possible that she called but, for whatever reason, her call was not returned?
There may be other factors in play here. As I stated, I do not have all the details. The article stated that the shack was in a known drug area. I can understand the arrest if the mother has spent her money on drugs rather than on taking care of her children. So far, this has not been indicated, but it is possible. However, if the mother has not been involved in criminal activity and has, instead, simply run into extremely hard times with no idea where to turn to, I think the correct path would be to help this family rather than causing more strife for them.
Again, this is not really me making a judgement on what has been done, but more simply me questioning the information that is given out and how it may affect public opinion. I want to know that this family is being treated fairly and that they are not simply being targeted for being poor. It's something I'll be following and I'll try to update you when/if more information is released.