Re "Coping with child neglect," Column, March 18
As Sandy Banks points out, Sidnicka Wilson had already lost six of her eight kids to foster care when she left the two remaining toddlers to wander the streets, dirty and looking for food, while she was off with her drugs.
This woman (and those like her) forfeited her right to keep having children a long time ago. She and others like her may love their children dearly, but they are serial child neglecters and we as a society are serial enablers.
Serious time behind bars with substance-abuse treatment and post-incarceration monitoring with mandatory birth control for a number of years while they prove they can stay clean and sober would be a good start.
Yes, mommy would be away from her kids while incarcerated, but wasn't mommy "away" while she was on her quest for drugs? And wasn't she "away" all those times she was at home and high?
Banks' heartfelt piece is an excellent representation of the horrific effect drugs have on our society. Unfortunately, women like Wilson are often sent to jail with very little hope of getting their lives back on track.
Wilson is 32 years old with eight children, all of whom are part of the foster care system. Philip Browning, director of the county's Department of Children and Family Services, says social workers can only offer contraceptive advice if asked. Why is it considered coercion to say to an overburdened woman, "Do you have an interest in discussing birth control"?
No one would force anything on the women, but asking the right questions can lead to contraceptive assistance for those who really need it but who don't always have the ability to plan ahead and ask for it.
Let's hope that Wilson's children have a chance to make better choices than she did.
My heart goes out to the babies and the mothers Banks describes. But who are the men who impregnate these women? Where are they? And why are they not mentioned in conversations about the county's pitiful foster care system?
Men, do not have sex without a condom unless you intend to care for a child.