This is what happens when we expect government bureaucracy to manage something rather than leaving things in the hands of individuals.
Despite all that, Michael Valez and Michael Oberg are wading upriver through the state child protection system to be able to take care of four kids belonging to Valez’s niece. . .
To the state, it’s a simple matter of the law, which says that to adopt or be a foster parent, you must be legally married or single and not cohabitating. Officials asked for clarification of a judge’s directive that Valez have custody of the children, requesting that the court take custody or grant custody to the state’s Division of Child and Family Services.
The rules governing DCFS are quite reasonable – I don’t think that they should be running around placing kids in unstable situations such as with a couple that has decided that they should move in together to save rent. On the other hand we are faced with the question – who is responsible for raising these kids? Is it the state (DCFS) or the mother? I would argue that too often the state is given precedence over the parents and it is only rarely justified. I think that cases like this, where DCFS is actively trying to help the mother to prepare herself to resume raising the children (as they ought to), should make it that much easier to admit that primary responsibility lies with the mother and therefore her wishes, not to mention the wishes of the children, should take precedence over “the rules.” (Maybe if there was a criminal history to consider I would change my mind.)
Luckily reason has prevailed (so far) –
On Friday, the courts took custody, then turned around and granted Valez temporary custody of the children.
“The judge said, ‘I see absolutely no reason why the kids can’t stay where they’re at,'” Valez said.
If only this were the case all the time.