United States. Congress. House. Committee on the J.

Taking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 online

. (page 46 of 51)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JTaking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 → online text (page 46 of 51)
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S i .600.499

70.098

19309

1.650



Source Author?'
and vwcapom ofTenses



from the 1993 New lersey Inmate Survey. Nss4l9. Oug sales, hofniodei.



Table 3. Benefit-Cost Ratios ImpKed by Table 2



Souxe Svne is taole 2.



Tabic 4. Benefit-Cost Ratios for Property, Assault, and Drug Crimes



Average (mean)


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Median


180


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0.78


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Average (mean)
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551



The Plain,
Ugly Truth
About Welfare

Getting Kids Out of Bad Homes
Is the Key to Lasting Reform



By John J. DJulioJr.



WHAT CAN— and should — be done by gov-
erament to sjve Amer.a's severely abused
and neglected kids? The place to begin is
with the simple truth: Children cannot be so-
cialized by adults who are themselves unsodalized (or
wor»), families that exist in name only, and neighbor-
hoods in which vtoleni and repeat cnminaK circulate in
and out of jail, period. Only a small fracQoo of children
are raised by abusive and neglectful adults, but the num-
ber IS large enough to entail significant social costs, costs
best measured not in welhre dollars but in lives lost to
drugs and dime. The only way to prevent these losses is
to remove the children from ttieir homes to other stable
sectuigs.

Thee truths are backed up by a large body of re-
search and practical exper.ence. Yet anyone who had
hoped that Washington's latesr welfare l ef u i iu debate
.would mdude forthright discussion of how government
can best deal with this sad situation must now be sorely
disappouted if not downrght disgusted.

First, national leaders in both parties wheeled out pro-
posals for workfare and two-year limits as if they were
brand new pobcy tires; m fact, they're late '80s retreads
that have already been road-tested with mixed results m
several slates.

Then House Speaker Newt Gingndi proposed takmg
kids away from welfare moms who failed to honor work
re -J pnfeaoT 0/ politics and fuilic affain at
PnnuUm Utixnity and dirtcioT of tiu Bnokijigs
InsUlulun s Cenltrfor Puilic UanagrmenL



The Truth About Welfare



WELyAaK.?iT>mCl



not comply with work requirements could in-
deed kae their children to foster homes,
group homes or adoption. But Archer
couldn't qmte get Shalala to say "orphanage.*
Hey kids, knock it off! .Apparently, you still
haven't gotten the message; The .taerican
people want Washington to deal with press-
ing national concerns m a frank, forthnght,
uejuve and cost consaous way.

In the case of black, inner-city chidren,
the truth is that we must begm at the very
beginnmg. These kids are less likely than
white kids to get adequate prenatal are.
Buned m the race-and-IQ debate over
• Charles Murray aod Richard Hermstein's
The Bell Curve" is research showmg that
hhdt kids who get good prenatal are do as
; Weil or better than whites on IQ tests. What-
. e*er their home drcumstances. decent pre-
natal care gives kids a fightmg chance in life.
But k)ok beyond the inner oty too. Recog-
. niie Mat about 75 percent of metropolitan-
area blacks do not live in poverty. Instead, as
recent researri has suggested, they Bve in
"ortong- and middle-class neighborhoods
•here welfare dependency, cnme and job-
lessness are less common than senior proms.
faaaiy reunions and church-going.

In soch places, one can see that being bom
healthy to tovmg parents of whatever mcome
is about the hidoest accident that can be&ll a
human bemg.

Unfortunately, about one-half irf 1 per-
cent of all kids in this country grow up
in cjrcumstaoces where neither par-
ents nor other adults adequately care for
them. Many of these children are severely
abosed and neglected by deviant, delinquent
or oiminal adults, inchiding their biological
parents. A disproportionate number of them
are black mner-aty residents, but brutalired
kids come in every race, ceed and ex-urhan
ZIP code.

Today in most states and big does, these
young unfortunates are "cases" that get "pro-
cessed" by overburdened family courts, cli-
ent- and budget-maxiinizing youth and family
services bureaucracies, and dysftmctional
faster-care complexes. Nationally, a typical



at-nsk" kid will have numerous conucf
with the system before he or she is "placec
out." But by then it is almost always too litti-
and too late. They live m one foster home a:'
ter another. They become juvenile and adu;:
violent-cnme victims and cnmmal predaton
They end up jobless and on welfare. They c"
dnigs and get sick. A high traction of tt.c
black males finish life jn prison (nobody -m
its) or dead (nobody mourns) well beror-
theff time.

The evidence is everywhere you turn. Fc-
mstance. a December 1994 report by the
New York City ComptroUer's Office fourc
that the city's Child Welfare Administraaor
is so fixated on returning abused and ne-
glected kids to their bwlogical parents that ;•
violates state laws, ignores its own poOaes
on placing out, and assigns troubted dddrer
to one foster home after another. Paper:
filed in an ongomg lawsuit against Phiiade'
phia's Department of Human Services docj-
ment how that agency has failed to protec:
the children in its custody from severe abuse
and neglect. And so it goes.

The social costs of tolerating this abuse
and neglea are high— especially to the chii
dren. A recent study found that 75 percen-
of violent incarcerated juveniles bad suf erec
senous abuse by a family member, and 7E
percent had been witnesses to extreme vio-
lence. Over half of all youths in long-te.-7
state jovenUe institutioos have one or more
nnmediate family members (father, mother
sibling) who have been incarcerated.

Most very bad boys, in fact, come fair
very bad homes in very had neighborhoods
So do most very bad girls. About 47 pe.-ce.-.
of female prisoners have at least one imme
diate family member behind bars; 43 percer.
have been physically or sexually abused; an.
34 percent have parents or guardians wb
abused akohol or drugs.

In short, Ameria's high-rate violent 0:
fenders did not become cnmmally deprave
because they were economically deprive
(whatever their material circumstances, onj
a tmy haction of males, and an eve.', cinie
fraction of young females, ever commit vie
lent crimes or become career criminals
Kather. they became oiminaily depraved b«



552



cause tfaey were raised to be violent, impul-
sive, self-centered and remorseless by adults
who taught these traits by example.

And the reverse is true. Tlie vast sdendf-
ic literature oa what il cakes to transform a
troubled toddler into a good parent, consd-
entious student, loyal friend, dedicated work-
er or law-abiding atizen can be boiled down
to two words: unconditional love.

Children of whatever socio-economic sta-
tus, bio-genecc disposition, or demographic
descnpQon do better m all phases of life if
they grow up believmg that there are adults
in their world who care desperately about
their physical, emotional and intellectual
well-being, and who want nothing m return
save love itself.

But kids who start out life abused and ne-
glected only to be carted through a bureau-
crane maze of foster homes, family courts
and juvenile institutioiis learn a different and
totally debilitating lesson: Life is bnitaU re-
wards and punishments are arbitrary; the fu-
ture is totally unpredictable; and human at-
tachments are fleetmg.

To help these children, America must
think out loud about ways that govern-
ment can help to make orphanages
(call them what you will) urban .Amenca's
version of the agriculturally-based, commo-
naily-crganized Israeli kibbutzim. Some
ideas-

■ In urban black areas, the orphanages
should be staffed and run exclusively by
blades, induding retirees, who live in meoo-
poiitan areas, and be formally connected to
churches and unapologetically religioos in
diaracter. The orphanages could turn any
child over to state authorities for any reason.
If this speQs "creammg^ — taking on only the
yoimgest lods or the easiest cases — then so
be iL Every life saved is in the plus colii m ii.

■ Consider giving such orphanages pobfic
support to match private support, with no
stnngs attached. The insntiinons should be
held accountable for results— produdng chil-



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JTaking Back Our Streets Act of 1995 : hearings before the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 3 ... January 19 and 20, 1995 → online text (page 46 of 51)