From the June 2001 Idaho Observer:

McGuckin-inspired letter exposes American child protection industry

PHILADELPHIA, Penn. -- Howard Fishman is a child abuse and custody expert whose credentials have been accepted in thirteen jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada. Fishman believes that the manner in which the McGuckin case has been handled is due, at least in part, to the influence of state child protective services attempts to get custody of the family's six children. Fishman, a former director of continuing medical education in the department of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, sent the following letter to Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne, the tourist commission, Child Protective Services, the state potato commission, Bonner county commissioners and four local newspapers:

The McGuckin Case: Idaho Earns a Nomination to the Hall of Shame

Throughout most of this nation's history, the plight of the McGuckin family would have aroused the concern and protectiveness of government agencies, whether police, courts, or social welfare. But this is the New Age of Hillary's Village. Today, when the awesome powers of the State are amassed against a poor widow and her minor children in the form of a gross misinformation campaign, violation of their constitutional rights, entrapment, and a host of other Nazi-like barbarities, the glib gurus blithely continue to mouth the Big Lies: vicious dogs, malnourishment, abused kids; a Dickensian existence -- and just as fictional.

Most will shrug off these injustices as an anomaly or as a not-so-serious overreaction by the authorities. Such a reading of the facts would be a travesty. In fact, they reflect normative behaviors of self-appointed “child savers” throughout the United States. Child abuse hysteria has run amok and many thousands of innocent children and their families have been devastated at the hands of tax-funded “do-gooders.”

Based on good intentions, a determination to “err on the side of the child,” and the ubiquitous “best interests of the child,” we have constructed a monstrous child-maiming and family-destroying industry that we call the “child welfare system.” It is a program fueled by intentionally distorted statistics, radical feminist ideology, politically correct claptrap and more than one hundred billion dollars in taxpayer funding annually. It is an enterprise staffed by deluded therapy gurus, self-serving bureaucrats, politically amibitious prosecutors, arrogantly ignorant caseworkers and an abysmally dysfunctional court system.

The headlines blare: “More than 3 million child abuse reports annually.” Often omitted even in the fine print is the qualifier: almost 70% are “unfounded” or “unsubstantiated” and at least one-third of the remainder are ultimately determined to be inaccurate. This “error rate” in excess of 80% is unconscionable and would not be tolerated in any other arena.

These realities are not unknown to legislators, policy makers, journalists, academics and the rest of us. But we somehow manage to rationalize their perpetuation. Just as so many of us remained silent while Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin and other despots have slaughtered millions of innocent people, we stand mute as our benevolent “democracy” destroys innocent children and their powerless families.

More than 600,000 children are currently in state care in the U.S. Most of them have never been physically harmed by their parents. Highly regarded researchers have regularly concluded that two-thirds of these “state-orphaned” youngsters could be safely returned to their homes immediately. Instead, we hear only about budget increases, ever more bizarre therapies, and ever more draconian policies.

George Orwell described a mind set that seems to allow certain individuals to ignore these facts:

“The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. In nationalist thought there are facts which are both true and untrue, known and unknown. A known fact may be so unbearable that it is habitually pushed aside and not allowed to enter into logical processes, or on the other hand it may enter into every calculation and yet never be admitted as a fact, even in one's own mind.” (Notes on Nationalism, 1945)

It is more than time for people of good will and common sense to demand fundamental and comprehensive reform of this destructive and dysfunctional system.

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