Regulating the abuse industry

Tim DunkinRenew America

It is rare thing indeed that I will advocate for legislative action on just about any matter, as I generally prefer that legislatures do as little work as possible. However, in cases where there are real problems that exist — often as a result of the legal structure itself — then I will join with other voices calling for needed reforms. One area, I believe, where there is such needed reform is in dealing with the abuse industry in this country.

What is the "abuse industry"? What I am referring to is the complex, interlocking structure of social workers and the "child welfare departments" which they staff, child psychologists, counselors, non-profit organizations, and others who generally deal with identifying and confronting allegations of child abuse against individuals and institutions, but which also often resort to inventing and embellishing unsubstantiated accusations as part of the process of rooting out the evil of child abuse. Now, in and of itself, there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking to stop the abuse of children, of whatever kind it may take. It is a hallmark of civilized society to protect and support its weaker members from mistreatment and exploitation. The principle itself of protecting children from abuse is a noble one. So with this principle, I don't have any arguments.

However, there's a reason I refer to the subject of this article as the abuse "industry." That's because along with the good that might often be done, there is nevertheless a lot of manufacturing that goes on — false allegations, the abuse of the system itself as a means of revenge-seeking or harassment, and in many cases, just plain old cupidity on the part of those involved in this work. For all involved — from not-for-profit groups receiving donations to governmental child services departments receiving budgeted chunks of taxpayers' monies — the abuse industry is a multi-million dollar a year operation. This flow of money is directly tied to the prevalence of child abuse — if more abuse is discovered, then there obviously is more need for the services of these groups, with a concomitant need for more funding. This, obviously, provides an incentive to find more child abuse, whether there is a substantial basis for the accusations being made or not. After all, when you're a saintly do-gooder of a hammer, everybody else looks like a low-down rotten evil-doer of a nail.

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