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Violation Of State Action In The Deshaney Case

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Melody believed applying a broad interpretation of state action to this case proved failure of the Wisconsin Department of Social Services to do their job- protecting Joshua. The broad interpretation refers to the extent of state intervention; determining what’s considered a state obligation, and when it’s an intrusion on individual liberties. The broad interpretation of state action in the DeShaney case defined the Department of Social Services’ directly liable for Joshua’s current state (at that time), because the Wisconsin law placed the wellbeing of abused children in the hands of a social worker; who evaluates the situation and determines the best course of action- removing the child, or working through the problem with the family.
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The book mentions she also functioned as the eyes and ears for the DSS; a strict enforcer- whose ultimate priority was Joshua’s safety, if need be. It’s hard to definitively say she failed to do her job, but I believe Kemmeter overlooked signs that could have prevented some of the damage Joshua was forced to endure. Her pre-occupation as their “family counselor,” and her desire for their improvement, clouded her judgment, which allowed for Joshua’s abuse to continue to occur- and become progressively worse. As a family counselor, you focus on what’s best for the everyone, and her belief that Marie could potentially be abusing Joshua didn’t leave much room for her to acknowledge the possibility that the Randy could be lying. I could understand a delayed response by Kemmeter- if there were only a few instances, but Joshua’s repeated trips to the ER, bruises, head injuries, lacerations, and the fainting occurrence were too common in the DeShaney house to be coincidental. Personally, I cannot rationalize how someone trained and trusted to protect the wellbeing of children, was unable to distinguish and identify the child abuse that was happening right in front of her; literately shown to her through repeated patterns and countless evidence. I believe she, individually, failed to do her job, not specifically the DSS- because she was taught to be both a healing agent and protective agent and failed to recognize the need to change roles. But in the same respect, the DSS is liable for their employees, and therefore they are at fault, but in my opinion, not directly. But once again, this is not a clear-cut answer. Saying Kemmeter solely acted as a counselor, forces the acknowledgment that she was fulfilling one aspect of her operation within the

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