When it comes to protecting children from abuse in today’s environment, fixed positions about what should and shouldn’t be done are dangerous. Which brings me to the comments of Richard Wexler, a source in the Telegram’s recent article on Child Protective Services (March 18).

Careful reporting and editing should have characterized Mr. Wexler not as a disinterested expert from a Washington “think tank,” but as the head of a single-issue advocacy group in favor of keeping children with their parents. His suggestion that removing children from their families results in “horror stories” seems odd given the gruesome circumstances of Marissa Kennedy’s death by her father and mother.

Finally, Mr. Wexler’s characterization of the child welfare system’s “knee-jerk take-the-child-and-run response” is grossly unfair when just four Maine children per 1,000 are actually removed from their homes and placed in state care, according to the National Kids Count Data Center. I don’t know anyone who works for Child Protective Services, but I’m convinced that most are well-meaning, committed individuals who are stretched thin. We’ll do better by working to understand each family situation as unique, which demands open minds – and the resources necessary for that disposition – not dogma.

Tim Wallace


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