Express Yourself

Referral vs. child abuse report

JAMES C. GREENWOOD

Washington, D.C.

As the author of a 2003 federal law intended to connect infants born drug-dependent with plans of safe care, I was surprised by some of the viewpoints included in The Express’ reporting “Prenatal drug abuse may be child abuse” on Dec. 30, 2017.

Before I served in Congress, I worked as a children and youth caseworker. I have witnessed the consequences of parental drug abuse and removed children from homes following neglect or abuse.

I also, however, understand that addiction is a disease — a disease impacted by significant stigma.

Until we remove the stigma and enlist public health strategies; pregnant women will live in fear and may well fail to disclose their substance use, refuse prenatal care or keep their pregnancy hidden delivering a baby outside a health care facility.

Since 2003, the federal law I wrote has required that:

r A health care provider, involved in the delivery and care of an infant affected by prenatal drug exposure, is to make an “appropriate referral” to the child welfare agency; and

r States have policies in place to secure the development of a plan of safe care for an infant and his/her family.

In crafting the federal law, I never envisioned that the “referral” from a health care provider was the same as a child abuse report.

Congress’ CAPTA amendment in 2003 did not provide the legal authority for a state or county children and youth agency to label a woman a child abuser if she used drugs during pregnancy.

Instead the required notice was intended to trigger collaboration between health care providers, child welfare professionals, other social service agencies, the courts (if needed) and families. The goal of a plan of safe care was to ensure the mother was connected to drug and alcohol treatment, the infant connected to early intervention services and evidence-based home visiting services and that the family had access to stable and safe housing.

James C. Greenwood served Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District in Congress from 1993 to 2005.

The media myth of ‘too far left’

TIMOTHY HAVENER

Mill Hall

Tune into your average talking head show on a major cable news network and you’ll find a host of media voices giving a not so subtle warning to Democrats about the danger of pushing too far left in response to Trump.

What these pundits conveniently forget is that Trump only got elected because he voiced a populist message during his campaign that contained a lot of traditionally left wing positions with a white nationalist flavor. Several well written articles during the 2016 election even went so far as to reference polling showing that Trump’s voters wanted Bernie’s America, but just for them.

Indeed, if you look at polls on major issues like single payer and immigration, Americans are surprisingly, or not so, if you’ve been paying attention, far more left than either party. So, why does the media try to move the political goalpost farther to the right?

The answer is donors. Both major parties at their highest levels are not controlled by voters or even elected politicians. They are run by the money that is given to them and interests who control it. These forces are the very Wall Street bankers Bernie stood against in his failed primary run. They love the status quo and tend toward moderate conservatism. They are OK with perpetual warfare. As long as they keep making money and the party leaders do their bidding, why would we need a drastic shift to align with voters? We’ll just have to take what they give us.

No clearer was this message delivered than in the deliberate tipping of the scales for Hillary Clinton by the DNC. Even when polls consistently showed she could lose to Trump the donors and their allies in the media elite plodded on. Even when Donna Brazile finally came forward in 2017 with verified proof that we had been taken for a ride, the narrative was quickly diverted away from a full admission and those who had finally come out admitting that the 2016 primary was rigged recanted soon after as a result of obvious pressure from party leaders.

This all goes to the core of the problem in not just the Democratic Party, but the Republicans as well. The machinery of our two major political parties has become fundamentally disconnected from the electorate of this country.

The pendulum swings and frustrated voters keep hitting the reset button, but nothing happens. That is unless you happen to be naive enough to believe Trump actually cares about poor white voters as he gives them lip service and then brags to his rich friends that he just made them all a lot wealthier. Continue that delusion at your own peril.

The truth is that voters have been ready for change, real substantive change, since we had record turnout that swept Obama into office in 2008; change which he disappointingly failed to deliver upon.

According to all metrics and polls the United States is ready to move left. However, our susceptibility to the contrived dichotomy painted by our corporate media, run by the same money that operates the political machinery, is an illusory, yet ominously real obstacle we must overcome to at last put our self interests at the heart of our political will.

Until we are ready to be the change we want to see in this country, the dramatic progressive reformation we all know needs to happen will remain the unrealistic dream the oligarchs who truly run this country want you to believe it is.

Life

TAMMY J. GIBSON

Montgomery

There is no life that will ever be our idea of perfect.

We all assume our rights along with our wrongs.

We have a level of comfort with our own beliefs, making each life more acceptable than the other. The truth? We all are just walking though this life wanting the best for our being.

We neglect our neighbors with the attitude of “to each our own.” I always am left to wonder, what happened to make us the way we are?

Today, our friends add up to our Facebook likes and not the people who still stop in to say “hello.”

What happened to the old fashion hand shake?

Many people sing about peace. Many people sing about love. But they don’t spread peace and love with their actions.

We are so much more consumed with how we look or how others perceive us.

I think back on my past and can’t help but wonder: What happen to the good old days?

There has to be a limit to all of the hate and indifference we see and face today.

If we all just went back to being neighbors and friends, maybe … just maybe life would be easier on us all.

It’s hard, true, but not impossible.

With respect …

What an amazing turnaround!

RICK RATHFON

Shippenville

It’s time for an update on the health and wellness of our country.

The stock market is at an all time high. Unemployment is at a 17-year low.

Consumer confidence is through the roof.

The GDP is showing great growth due to eliminating crippling federal regulations imposed by executive order by President Obama. The tax reform legislation has been passed which will spur our economy on to greater heights. Liberals are screaming with their hair on fire about the deficit bring raised by a trillion dollars. My question to them is: Where were you for the last 8 years when President Obama more than doubled the deficit?

He caused more debt than all 43 previous presidents COMBINED!

Where were all you liberal deficit hawks then? How is your 401K doing? Pretty awesome I’m sure! Don’t let facts get in the way of your Democrat talking points.

Our country is definitely headed in the right direction after 8 years of leading from behind! ISIS is on the run mainly because President Trump has taken the handcuffs off our military and let them do their job, fighting the war on terror.

God Bless our troops and God Bless the U.S.A.!

COMMENTS