What Are The Key Issues In The 2014 Justina Pelletier Case

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It is clear that Massachusetts’s child protection laws, as written in Part 1 Title 17 chapter 119, have a primary aim of establishing rules, which best protect the children of the commonwealth against harm that they may encounter under the supervision of their parents or legal guardians. These laws influence the enforced policies in government organizations, such as the Department of Children and Families (DCF). These policies in turn have the potential to negatively affect respective children and families within a society. This potential harm calls for a change in policy and law. This paper will address and analyze key issues in DCF policy, as made apparent through the 2014 Justina Pelletier case, and how they stem from inconsistencies between …show more content…

After hearing both sides, they would have been able to make an educated decision on what was actually in the best interest of the child. It is clear that the protocol established by the DCF’s policy was poorly followed, or not followed at all, in this case. Of the types of causal theories discussed by Deborah Stone (2012), the Pelletier case would evidently fit under the category of an inadvertent cause, which is guided and unintended. Some of the characteristics of this theory are avoidable ignorance, carelessness, and unanticipated harmful side effects of policy (Stone, 2012).
There is no doubt that the DCF has been successful in removing children from their homes. However, there is little evidence to support the idea that the DCF has actually strengthened or provided families with the tools needed to successfully rehabilitate and no longer need government welfare agencies, such as the DCF. The cause of this stems back to Massachusetts laws that focus on establishing rules that promote parent deterrence, but fail to consider deterrence policies for agency employees (Gen. Laws, …show more content…

Laws, 2014). This entire chapter on child protection laws does not mention how and if a child is to be protected from government agencies that fail to properly perform their functions. This leaves children vulnerable to the harms of being placed in unfit foster homes or under the supervision of under or unqualified adults. It also puts the child at risk of not getting the appropriate help in time to prevent a tragedy from occurring, which ultimately makes for a counterproductive

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