Licensing Parents: Can We Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect?

By Jack C. Westman | Go to book overview
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Chapter 12
Arguments against
Licensing Parents

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.

-- JAMES MADISON, The Federalist 1 ( 1787)

I wrote this book because of the image in my mind of the millions of children who are being neglected today. That image contains faces I know. They will not leave me, and I cannot turn away from them. I know that these children have no political constituency. I know first hand the enormous resistances to helping them, even on the part of wellintentioned people. But I also know that truth and logic are on the side of these children. I know that we live in a nation in which justice for them has a chance to prevail.

No reasonable person would deny that children should not be neglected and should be competently parented. Yet any effort to ensure that children have competent parents meets. strident objections. Such an effort encounters the strongly held sentiments that family life is a private matter and that government already interferes in our lives too much. We are loath to point fingers at parents. Underneath these

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