Free-Range Kids

Tennessee Officials Wanted To Make Monthly 'Well-Being' Inspections of Every Child in the State

The crazy plan was called off after parents sensibly complained.

|

A week ago, Tennessee's Department of Education announced it was going to start conducting monthly "child well-being" assessments of every single kid under age 18 in the state. These could be by phone, email, or a knock on the door. On home visits, the so-called "well-being liaison" would be allowed to interview the children privately.

Did the state set any standards for what sort of person would be given kind of access and responsibility? Well, the liaisons had to be at least 20 years old, and they had to pass a background check.

That's it.

The parental uproar that ensued, I'm happy to report, was immediate and deafening. By Friday, just three days after the initiative was announced, it had been withdrawn by Gov. Bill Lee (R) and the state's education commissioner, Dr. Penny Schwinn.

"Although well-intentioned, we have missed the mark on communication and providing clarity around or role in supporting at-risk students during an unprecedented time," Schwinn wrote in a letter to the state's General Assembly. "Governor Lee has asked our department to remove this guidance and go back to the drawing board so we get it right. I want to assure you that we recognize the concerns that you and your constituents share."

The concern seems to be pretty basic: How dare you come to my house and investigate me as if I'm a suspected child abuser?

"We were encouraging people to call the governor's office and their elected officials," Dan Beasley, staff attorney at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), tells Reason. "Our data show that about 1,600 people responded directly to our action." That seems to have done the trick.

The state's initiative was created by the Child Wellbeing Task Force, a 38-member committee concerned that kids might be suffering behind closed doors, out of sight from teachers who might have noticed their distress and reported it to child protective services under different circumstances.

I can understand the worry: No one wants kids to be hurt or starved behind closed doors. The problem is that the state should not go around visiting people's homes just because someone, somewhere, might be in trouble. As the HSLDA wrote in a note to its constituents, "such a policy, if adopted, would threaten the right of parents to be presumed to act in their own child's best interests."

Even Schwinn seemed to understand that. "I acknowledge the vast difference between providing support for vulnerable children as opposed to any potential overreach into what parents determine is best for their children," wrote the commissioner.

Tennessee receives nearly 140,000 child abuse hotline calls a year, according to the last federal Child Maltreatment report.

"You might think that Tennessee authorities have enough work to do to keep up with the calls that claim a child faces an actual danger at home," Diane Redleaf, co-chair of United Family Advocates and Let Grow's legal consultant, tells Reason.

But the bigger problem, she says, is that "surveillance isn't the support families need." While the idea was to make sure families weren't lacking food, shelter, or healthcare, a home visit from the government can too easily heighten tensions, mistake poverty for neglect, and possibly separate children from their parents. Even cases that are ultimately dismissed can be traumatic.

Now, as Tennessee reflects upon its overreach, perhaps the Department of Children and Families in Massachusetts could do the same. As Robby Soave reported on Monday, the DCF has the power to remove children who are being abused—as it should—but it "considers distance-learning no-shows to be possible abuse cases."

That's right: a kid who misses Zoom lessons could earn his parents a visit from child services. One mom even got a call from DCF because an adult male had allegedly exposed himself in front of her daughter's virtual class—except the "adult male" was actually the girl's autistic six-year-old brother. Rather than apologizing for the mistake and dropping the case, the school district notified the police anyway, The Boston Globe reported.

That's why you don't want government evaluators knocking on every door just because they can. The chances for overreaction and obtuseness are just too great.

Advertisement

NEXT: Red-Pilled? Actually Most U.S. Drug Ingredients Are Made Here, Not in China

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. ✔✔✔✔ Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing j0bs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8894 a month. I’ve started this j0b and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…
    ++++++++++++++➤➤ReadMore.

    1. I am making $165 an hour working from home. i was greatly surprised at the same time as my neighbour advised me she changed into averaging $ninety five however I see the way it works now.YZJ I experience masses freedom now that i’m my non-public boss. that is

      what I do………………Money90

      1. ●▬▬▬▬PART TIME JOBS▬▬▬▬▬●

        Start making cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing j0bs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8894 a month. I’ve started this j0b and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out here…
        ↓↓↓↓COPY THIS SITE↓↓↓↓

        HERE► Click here For Full Details

  2. “Although well-intentioned”

    Sorry, not buying that.

    1. As is Samuel Johnson’s road to hell.

      1. `I’ve made $66,000 so far this year w0rking 0nline and I’m a full time student.oiu. I’m using an 0nline business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great m0ney.UHg It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it.

        Here………> Click here

    2. My first thought also.

  3. “The state’s initiative was created by the Child Wellbeing Task Force, a 38-member committee concerned that kids might be suffering behind closed doors, out of sight from teachers…”

    Put a bunch of fucking worthless bureaucrats in a room and tell them they have unlimited power and this is what they inevitably do. “A child somewhere may be suffering…and if it only saves one of them we should do xyz” and if you don’t go with the program you must hate children.

    1. Doesn’t going door to door to check on them increase their risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 though?

      1. It’s ok, they’re only going to peep through the keyhole.

        1. Plus they’ll be wearing the coolest and most stylish face masks around.

  4. OK, let’s go through this:
    1. The government completely messes up the response to the Communist Chinese Virus, including closing schools.
    2. The government then notices that it no longer can surveil the children.
    3. The government creates a 38 member committee to “address this problem”.
    4. The government committee created to address the perceived problem with the government’s complete mismanagement of a new type virus determines that the best thing is to require probation for every child in the entire damn state.

    Whiskey
    Tango
    Foxtrot

    And that governor pretends to be a Republican?
    Trump should run him out of the party and out of the country.

    1. I don’t blame the governor, these committees are staffed by the usual suspects, School superintendents and teachers, child psychologists and power Karens. If you have every sat through a meeting with these types, you will realize how something like this slipped through. They come up with crazy ideas and have no inkling how they will affect people who live in the real world. They then write it up in a memo that sounds reasonable at first glance if you don’t really study it, and governors never really study these things as they get a hundred a day across their desk, they rely on their department heads to cull these out. Unfortunately, occasionally one slips through, that so few do is a miracle. If this had been a Democrat governor on the other hand they would have doubled down on the policy, they don’t really care about the parents, just the groups they support.

      1. So how do such committees come into being, if the Governor (R) and the Legislature (R) have nothing to do with it ?

        Ok, we could cut them some slack if it was 1820 or so. But it’s 2020. We’ve known for at least a hundred years that any kind of government bureaucracy will be taken over by moonbats and communists, unless it is constantly weeded, and regularly sprayed with insecticide.

        Any Republican Governor who does not understand that his or her FIRST task is to delouse, and keep deloused, the bureaucracy which allegedly works for him, is a fool, or a knave. Or more likely a foolish knave.

        1. Tennessee is loaded with RINOs – either social control freaks who would affiliate with whatever party gave them the path to the levers of power, or the chamber of commerce types who likewise choose their party based on whichever one happens to be dominant at the time.

          Rock ribbed is not a term used much with Bill Lee.

  5. Millions of people are starting to home school their kids and finding out it’s a lot better. Zoom school is fucking worthless.


  6. These could be by phone, email, or a knock on the door.

    A more vexing question is how an e-mail could possibly assess potential child abuse. Like, if my spam filter caught their message am I guilty of child abuse?

    I mean, that’s obviously the least of the potential problems but…really? This is something they thought might work? 38 professional government high-up board members thought this was at all rational?

    Jesus, they’re ever dumber than we thought.

    1. Well, with over 150,000 children, spam e-mail or letter is the only thing that’s fast enough. At best, they could do 20 in-person interviews a day (in addition to all overhead, travel, and follow-up). That’s 400 full time employees at maximum capacity. More reasonable numbers would have >1000 employees doing nothing but well-being checks with no follow-ups. This is a massive undertaking, and the only way to feasibly do it is by taking such absurd shortcuts as to undermine the entire premise.

  7. Welcome to Kamala Land.

    1. Not one of Springsteen’s better songs.

    2. It appears to be a Republican government that did this….

  8. “go back to the drawing board so we get it right.”

    *** facepalm ***

    Unless you’re talking about throwing out the drawing board?

  9. This is what happens when a Republican hires a Karen!

    1. Probably a Republican Karen, to boot!

  10. Tennessee ensures it will remain (for now) a can’t-keep-up, deplorable backwater by rejecting a child welfare proposal that bothers half-educated bigots, superstitious slack-jaws, anti-social right-wing cranks, and disaffected clingers.

    We never should have let the violent racists, traitors, and losers resume statehood after the Civil War. 150 years of history — Tennessee remaining an educational, moral, cultural, political, and economic stain and drain on our nation — establishes that making Tennessee an unincorporated territory would have been the right call.

    I can’t fault those who exhibited undeserved leniency to Tennessee too much, though — they beat the bigots when it counted.

    1. “they beat the bigots when it counted”

      Yeah those Southern Democrats were forced to, but they ate that L.

    2. funny everyone wants to move to the low tax backwater states and out of the high tax high crime high pension time bomb enlightened Blue states then.

      1. ” everyone wants to move to the low tax backwater states ”

        Where “everyone” = half-educated slack-jaws

        States ranked by educational attainment

        High school completed
        Tennessee 38

        College degree
        Tennessee 42

        Advanced degree
        Tennessee 37

        States ranked by educational quality
        Tennessee 41

        Lots of winners in Tennessee, CE.

        1. Now do Wyoming.

          1. Why?

            You should learn to perform your own basic research, clinger. How are you to become a competent adult if others excuse you from learning how to operate as an adult?

            1. “You should learn to perform your own basic research, clinger. How are you to become a competent adult if others excuse you from learning how to operate as an adult?”

              As should you, you pathetic excuse for a human being.
              See below; your fascination with paper simply emphasizes your stupidity and shallow thinking, if we can call it that.

              1. Rev projects quite a bit, it seems to me.

                1. Where by “projects” I mean

                  Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a bully may project their own feelings of vulnerability onto the target. It incorporates blame shifting and can manifest as shame dumping.

                  It is more commonly found in narcissistic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder.

                  1. Holy Cow! You just described the current WH occupant to a T!

        2. “States ranked by educational quality
          Tennessee 41”

          In what major did Bill Gates graduate, oh, asshole bigot?
          For fucking assholes like this scum, try looking here:
          https://www.bing.com/search?q=tech+leaders+who+did+not+graduate+from+college&form=QBLH&sp=-1&pq=tech+leaders+who+did+not+graduate+from+coll&sc=1-43&qs=n&sk=&cvid=6BAB7E5AFD9942898A98940B0AE75227

          Posts ranked by dimwit bullshit: The Rev is close to the top.

        3. High school completed
          Tennessee 38
          New York 41
          California 51

    3. For those like you who would spare no expense to spend a nickel for the sake of spending a nickel, how do you think this would have realistically gone down? Send armed thugs to every household with a “registered” child? That would just lead to more unregistered children. Remember, So-so security isn’t mandated, it’s optional and relies on parents making the selfish mistake of getting their child a SSN so they can write it off on their taxes and committing their child to a life of So-so slavery.

      1. Papiers, bitte!

      2. “So-so security isn’t mandated, it’s optional and relies on parents making the selfish mistake of getting their child a SSN (or a birth certificate which triggers an SSN being issued) so their child can function in a society that has purposely constructed barriers for those without their papers.”

    4. You sound frustrated that you didn’t get your way. Temper tantrums are unbecoming. “If it weren’t for those pesky people! Why don’t they just do what we say? We’ll get them yet.”

    5. I think this was also proposed in Scotland, and has been “suspended” because so many parents objected. So, the opposition of parents to Progressive measures like this is not limited to just the backwoods of Tennessee. I would imagine that parents EVERYWHERE in the world would have the same reaction.

  11. “Although well-intentioned, we have missed the mark on communication and providing clarity around or role in supporting at-risk students during an unprecedented time,” Schwinn wrote in a letter to the state’s General Assembly. “Governor Lee has asked our department to remove this guidance and go back to the drawing board so we get it right. I want to assure you that we recognize the concerns that you and your constituents share.”

    Translation: We’re sorry that you dumb fucks are even stupider than we realized, too stupid to know what’s for your own good and bitched about this thing worse than we thought you would, so we’re going to back off a bit and try to come at this from another angle.

    Jesus Christ, how utterly condescending can you possibly be without being Hillary Clinton?

    1. With Hillary out of this equation, it remains a Republican “It is what it is.”

    2. It is difficult for an educated adult to avoid appearing to be condescending to the average (which means below average) clinger from Tennessee, which is, in general, populated by poorly educated, bigoted, reason-rejecting losers.

      1. It is difficult for an educated adult to avoid appearing to be condescending a fucking asshole bigot.
        So I don’t bother.

      2. “It is difficult for an educated adult ”

        Begging the question.

    3. “…how utterly condescending can you possibly be without being Hillary Clinton?

      Will have to research that and get back to you on that with some persuasive bs nuances to differentiate it from the “It takes a village” mentality. It might be a while, if ever.

  12. “I acknowledge the vast difference between providing support for vulnerable children as opposed to any potential overreach into what parents determine is best for their children,”

    …”and while I acknowledge there’s a difference, I don’t see anything wrong with it,” he continued.

  13. v1: It Takes a Village Idiot to Raise a Child.
    v2: Give us the children or you go to jail.
    v3. You have no children and are still in jail.

  14. The headline should read…Tennessee Officials Wanted To Make Monthly ‘Drug War’ Inspections of Every Child in the State.

  15. “Although well-intention-ed. . . I’ll go back to the drawing board so we get it right. I want to assure you that we recognize the concerns that you and your constituents share.” That means, that this tactic to control all lives met with unexpected resistance, we will be more duplicitous, next time.

  16. What’s next in Tennessee? Mandatory physician examinations for children? Requirements that children be observed by optometrists and dentists periodically? Decent school lunch programs? A rule that children must get shoes no later than 180 days after the horse does?

    1. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland
      August.18.2020 at 6:45 pm

      “What’s next in Tennessee? […]
      A rule that children must get shoes no later than 180 days after the horse does?”

      A rule that asshole bigots be called what they are? Asshole bigot.

    2. Apparently the folks in TN learned the basic message that most of us got back in kindergarten: Mind your own business.

      Sorry you missed this one Rev.

    3. Oh, come on, Rev. You’re just upset that some thoroughly Blue state didn’t try this first. If, say, California or New Jersey had done this, you’d be praising them for their concern over child welfare.

  17. This sounds like it is Tony approved. If it saves just one life.

    The government owns our children. We just lease them until the government says we don’t have to anymore, at their 18th birthday.

    I assume everyone on that 38 person committee is childless.

    Probably would get a bunch of pedophiles applying for the job.

    1. “We just lease them until the government says we don’t have to anymore, at their 18th birthday unless one gets divorced and then it’s 21 so the obligated parent will be court ordered to pay for college. The gubmint mandates the lessee, I mean parental unit, to complete the process of indoctrination at parental expense.

  18. Recently there has been discussion of “trainings” for bureaucracies and their workers on the subject of white fragility, racism, and social justice.

    There have been “trainings” for a very long time on the subject of mandated child abuse reporting laws.

    I’ve been through some versions of both of those trainings. One similarity between the two is that there’s a situation, which some people experience, which can be very damaging, and then there are people who aren’t on the receiving end of the situation but need to understand it to potentially intervene to protect the target.

    The common dynamic is that without a shared personal frame of reference for the dangerous situation, people who are legally required or encouraged to intervene in situations have to have a way to decide if a situation is bad or not. Some examples are egregious and obvious. Then there are a lot of in-betweens and maybes. So someone generates a checklist, and if xyz criteria are met, an abuse report is required.

    Then the report-filers have to take it seriously, because they can be fired if they don’t, and so they have to evaluate every situation for clues to abuse. This can lead to overzealousness. Without kids in the classrooms this fall, I can only imagine the letdown, the emptiness, the teachers must feel, knowing that they will no longer be able to check on everyone. The legal requirements haven’t gone anywhere – they are all still mandated child abuse reporters – so how can they carry out those requirements?

    No one wants to seem like they don’t take their responsibilities seriously. So no one wants to be the first to suggest that maybe there doesn’t need to be a new special COVID-proof surveillance track. But mandatory home visits are a travesty.

    Not to mention if you’ve ever done home visits you know that people lie at the door, don’t answer the door, claim the other people moved, or answer the door and tell you everything they think you want to hear even if it’s all utter BS; the ones who need the help the most may be the most unable to reach for it, partly because they are afraid to be punished by the system. So even if they did do awful mandatory home visits, it would probably not yield the results they are looking for. Even residents of public housing are entitled to some number of hours of warning before inspectors come; time to hide the bongs and the non-reported dog and scrub the stove a little so they don’t get evicted. There’s probably a legal foothold there where it’s a blanket program, with no actual suspicions of abuse, so there would have to be lots of warning, and only the most desperate and damaging people would become visible as abusers in that way.

    The assumption is clearly that most children are being subjected to some level of abuse; that assumption predates COVID.

    1. So parents are presumed guilty until proved innocent.

    2. “The assumption is clearly that most children are being subjected to some level of abuse.”

      That probably is true. If my kids don’t eat their vegetables they don’t get desert. So I’m probably guilty of child abuse.

      1. “If my kids don’t eat their vegetables they don’t get desert.”

        Better tell your kids to keep that a secret and to keep that they have a secret a secret too.

        1. aparatchiks are trained to detect signs of keeping secrets. See the 302s from Flynn’s ambush ” Subject appeared to be telling the truth”.

  19. No. We don’t want this because we have the right to be secure in our person and property without state interference, and we should be presumed innocent, not guilty. The founders even saw fit to include protection of these rights in something we like to call the Bill of Rights.

  20. Making Cash more than $15k to $18k consistently just by doing basic online work. I have gotten $18376 a month ago just by working on the web. Its a simple and basic occupation to do from home and its profit are greatly improved than customary office work. Each individual can join this activity now just by pursue this link……..go to this site home media tech tab for more detail support your hear Here══════❥❥❥❥Click here.

  21. Fire literally everyone involved.

  22. THIS is why we preserve the 2nd amendment so ardently.

  23. Zat is a nice child joo have zere. It would be ein shame if zomething were to happen to it.

  24. It is really helpful for reader and from which reader got solution of question from this blog. Thank you for sharing valuable information.
    sites like kissanime

  25. In a few years no doubt they will have drones to check on your kids

  26. “In a few years no doubt they will have drones to check on your kids”

    Well, good. Who can argue with a simple drone check as it does not inconvenience or obstruct the surveilled any more than a DWI checkpoint and it’s being done from public air space. Just bring the kid to the front door for an average of 22 seconds when commanded.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.