I have been thinking about this for awhile now and getting my thoughts together. Society says that it does all these things to "protect" children, yet we fail them over and over. My job has taught me that while we think of the "best interests of the child" really they are a passing thought.
The US Constitution speaks of all "men" being created equal. The Constitution has been construed to give limited rights to children. The way to improve on the limited rights provided by the Constitution, is to expand the rights through the states. I want to draw up a children's bill of rights.
When the state goes through the process of terminating parental rights, the state is careful not to infringe on the fundamental rights enjoyed by adults through the 14th Amendment: the right to procreate, the right to choose who associates with your child, the right to marry [or not], the right to chose medical treatment for your child. We focus so much on parents, that the children, the vulnerable with no voice, are neglected.
Think about this: Mother is on meth. She is pregnant and delivers. Baby is taken by the state at birth and placed in foster care. For the first 15 months of his/her life, she is raised by a medically certified foster home. The state offers numerous services to the parent, but the parent remains on drugs......After 15 months, the state decides to terminate the rights of mom, and moves for a trial. The state starts looking for an adoptive placement. It takes 6 months to get to trial. Mother appeals. Takes 6-9 months for appeal to happen. Mother is denied. Somewhere in the six months for trial, adoptive home is found. Child is now 2, and presumably bonded to foster family. And now the state expects the child to be happy about being ripped for the only home she has known and placed with strangers. But all in all, in order to preserve the mother's constitutional rights, this child's life is placed in uncertainty for 2 whole years.
What about a child's rights? The right to be protected, to live in a loving home, to be in a household that is drug, crime, and sex offender free. How about the right to a speedy determination and trial if they are to be taken from their parents by the state and adopted out? What about the right to stability [financial and emotional]. What about the right to have their own voice?
I don't know how this bill of rights will shape up, but it will eventually. Parents who are addicts, sex offenders, abusers, and so on-------they should not have children who will become victims to the cycle that they perpertrate. Kids do not ask to be born. And they should not have to be asked to be protected.