Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Shaniya Davis Horror Case - A National Failure




Man's Inhumanity... Where is the Limit?

The story of Shaniya Davis is on my mind this morning. Can't shake it. It makes me want to go Rambo. Probably because her childhood reminds me of my early childhood. I too had a sick mother (the biological one) who should have never had custody of children.

This case is another example of "the system" failing children (ie. Social Services, Police, extended family or whatever safety net you can think of...but especially State services). I'll take that further...it's an example of a nation failing its children. The U.S. is a strange Country when it comes to the welfare of children...and the welfare of its people in a more general sense. I was just reading a report via Reuters that highlighted how far behind this Country is in terms of basic labor rights and privileges (what is now considered to be the standard around the world). The U.S. lags behind other nations when it comes to the number of workers who are allowed paid sick leave, and other time off that ends up being good for families. This is just a microcosm that reflects the wider lack of priority that this Country puts on children and families. This is on top of the fact that there is a general disdain in the U.S. for social safety net/social welfare programs like those that Europeans hold dear.

Why didn't the extended family take action when they noticed problems? Why didn't State officials take action? Why weren't parental rights revoked from the mother when the home (an alleged drug house) was raided a few months ago? I can't help but wonder how State cutbacks may have contributed to Shaniya falling through the cracks.... or not even being on the States radar in the first place. Social services, even protective services, are always the first to go in any kind of major economic slump. But there should be Federal laws which should mandate that child protective services receive the same status as Police, Ambulance and Fire service - deemed essential and the last thing to be cut (rather than the first as it is today in many States). Not only that, but the Feds should also mandate a certain number of protective service agents based on State/County population and caseload.... so that more tragedies are prevented. The current situation is ridiculous. Social services are often cut before garbage collection during a recession. That speaks volumes about American priorities.

It just drives me crazy the way this Country would spend money building a bomb before building a school or investing in the protection and care of its children. Where are we headed with this kind of social order? There is something fundamentally wrong with the United States in this regard. There is something wrong with a nation with priorities that are so out of wack; and there is something wrong with a culture (The American culture) that allows it. Show me a nation that fails or refuses to invest in its own people, particularly its children, and I will show you a nation that can't survive....at least not in the long run.

Beyond the social policy problems... and the sick American culture that helped to allow this to happen, this case makes me question a whole list of other things. It makes me wonder just how evil people can be. It makes me doubt the spirit of human beings. In fact, it reinforces the skepticism and cynicism that I already have for humans.

This also makes me question God...even the existence of God. I'm already fairly secular...but these stories only reinforce my secularism. I mean... if God exists, and if he's omnipresent, how was this atrocity allowed to take place? When everyone and everything failed Shaniya, where was God? I'm not in Bill Maher territory yet, but I have to admit that i'm at least facing in that direction.

5 comments:

Femme Fatale et Noire said...

I've been thinking alot about this case, too. I just cannot shake the feeling why this would happen to such a lovely, caring girl. I almost feel like the dad knows something, as well. Glad to not be the only one.

rikyrah said...

oh AI,

this case has been heavy on my heart too. I'm just going to say it:

there should be a 6 month window after your child has been taken away from you.

if you can't, 6 months later, prove that you are cleaning up your act, then termination of parental rights needs to begin.

period.

but, we bend over backwards to protect parental rights for people who shouldn't raise fish.

she was FIVE YEARS OLD

put this egg donor under the jail.

i want prison justice.

fuck putting her in isolation.

let the prisoners decide her fate.

The Angry Independent said...

Divotdawg,

We are not taking a position about the efficacy of Protective Services. This was not the purpose of the post. Other than the fact that they failed in this particular case.... this post was not really about child protective services. It was about Shaniya and the kind of Country we are living in (that allows this to happen).

I won't allow the post or this blog to be used for your anti-social service agenda. That's your project. Not mine. You are free to do that on your own blogs. We certainly aren't going to be advocates for Antoinette Davis or for parents who had their children taken away.

I appreciate your earlier input. But there will be no argument or debate about Child Protective services....and this site won't be used for recruiting support for whatever agenda you are pushing. You will have to do that elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Another case and a national shame. This case has haunted me from day one. To think a mother would allow this to happen to her baby, to think about the baby and the mother. To get angry at the people who helped and who didn't and the national media coverage so many things...none will bring this child back. Where do we go from here. Black folks have a disconnect and really don't care. I see that every day. We wanted equal rights, now we truly are equal apathy ruling. We are more concerned about Beyonce's hair and what's the next dance steps are than real issues these day. Shame, national shame.

The Angry Independent said...

This case made me sick to my stomach. Makes me hate the World (or let's say strongly dislike) more than I already do. This is why i'm pissed off and frowning all the time (my co-workers think i'm going to be the Rambo guy...which amuses me...because i'm not really that guy... but I get a kick out of their reaction).

I could do something to the grandfather in one of the news reports...saying that he knew about cigarette burns on the child.

There should be laws that require adults, esp. adult family members, who have that kind of information to report it to police and to social service authorities. There should be criminal penalties if it is not reported...esp. if something happens later. They are just as guilty, IMO.

Medical professionals, Educators and Social workers, and some licensed caregivers...are already required by law in most States to do this.

But there should be a Federal law that should not only match that standard and spread it nationally...but should expand it to include adults in the extended family. There should also be Federal laws that set a minimum ratio standard....so many social workers per capita...or based on caseloads. Some jurisdictions may have a minimum...some don't.

Federal law provides minimum standards across the entire Country...so even if a child is in a State run by incompetent officials...there would still be some sort of uniform standards.

kids should have a fighting chance, no matter what part of the Country they are in...no matter what color, no matter what socio-economic background they are from. That's esp. true in the richest nation on earth (supposedly the richest....but apparently a Country poor in terms of its Soul. It doesn't have one).