I'm going to do something I don't usually do: defend NJ's Division of Youth & Family Services (DYFS). I work for another State entity, and believe me, I have my problems with DYFS, but I think some of the flack DYFS is receiving from the state child advocate is unwarranted. Now, granted, children in DYFS care have been injured and killed, and the DYFS system was in need of repair, and I'm sure still is to some extent. But come on! I don't care how much reform there is, unfortunately, children in NJ are going to be abused and even killed. It's just a fact of life! And is DYFS totally responsible for protecting every child in NJ? Or, is DYFS there to lend some assistance to families to lessen harm to children?
Two reports released by the state child advocate yesterday has found that the Division of Youth and Family Services sometimes fails to help New Jersey's abused, neglected and otherwise vulnerable children _ even amid an ambitious reform effort. Most of NJ's children under the care of DYFS remain in the homes of their families, not in foster care. "Too many families in this study appeared to be left to their own devices to solve their problems," said Arburta Jones, the chief of staff for the child advocate's office and the lead author of the report on families. Let me ask you, what's wrong with families solving their own problems? Who solved your family's problems? Who solved my family's problems? Was it the State? NO!
We live in a time when nobody takes responsibility for their own actions. It is not the State's job to take care of families; it is the family's job to take care of itself. Why does everyone think the State is responsible to provide the care? State agencies are there to lend support and assistance, but not be totally responsible for the care of families. Women (and men) have child after child, then expect the State to take care of them. Then if there's a problem, blame the State! Even for a child taken from his/her family and placed in foster care, who is ultimately to blame if something bad happens to that child? I would argue it is ultimately the natural parents to blame who for whatever reason shirked their parental responsibilties! It is not the State's fault. The State comes in to provide help, but cannot be held accountable for the problem in the first place.
Instead of blaming DYFS, maybe we should be supportive of the work it does. Budgets are limited, and nobody wants their taxes raised to provide the adequate funding needed. Caseworker try their best to provide assistance to families in need, but they are not in the situation 24/7, and bad things happen when they're not there. It is not the State's responsibility to care for families! It is the family's responsibility. And I would suggest that if someone does not want the responsibility of caring for their own children, then don't have them in the first place!