About November 2018
This month we examine an especially wrenching issue: When is it justified to remove a child from his or her home in the name of safety?
It should be obvious that this question invites two kinds of error: In one type of error, a child remains in a dangerous home, and harm occurs or continues. In the other type of error, a child is removed from a home when no danger exists, or when the danger is so small that it is outweighed by the harm of removal.
And such harm is not negligible: Our lead essayist, family attorney and author Diane Redleaf, describes one such case in her essay, and she offers data and supporting context to argue that in the United States, Child Protective Services can be far too quick to remove children even from untroubled homes.
Yet intervening in family life does seem obviously justified in other cases. Here to talk about the many ways in which the process can both harm and help are Professor James G. Dwyer of the William and Mary School of Law and Cato Institute Senior Fellow Walter Olson. Each will write an essay, and conversation will continue through the end of the month. Comments will be open for one month as well, and readers are invited to join the discussion.