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June 3, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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The DSS mess
Jonathan Pait
February 6, 2002

Today's editorial was to be about taxes--looking at the proposals that have been brought to the forefront by two of our candidates for governor. However, today it will have to wait. Several stories caught my attention to the degree that I can't let them go without comment.

First is the story of the Rettew family. You have not read much about the story in this area because I simply do not know enough about the story. In my heart, I want to believe that the Rettews are innocent of any charges (charges that I have yet to see). However, I do not know and therefore cannot pass judgement one way or the other.

The other party involved does give me a little more information to go on and I cannot help but speak—if not directly in the defense of the Rettews, at least against the department that has intruded more into the home than any other government agency. That agency is the Department of Social Services.

I also do not wish to villify the DSS in an attempt to make the Rettews look better. The Rettew story simply has raised my awareness and caused me to take a closer look at DSS.

The first story today to catch my attention was the Rettew story. It was hard to miss:

The Greenville News:

I then noticed the following article from The Greenville News:
"DSS director Konduros to be named to Family Court judgeship"

Excuse me? I don't think so. To many families, DSS is becoming the enemy. How can a judge who was once the director of the agency rule in cases that involve the agency? I know there is no law that says she can't, but there is something called common sense. There will be a bias and she will bring her same philosophy of DSS to the bench.

It isn't personal. I do not know Konduros. I would say the same thing of any director of said agency. It is also hard to just say "Let's do away with DSS." There are children who have been helped by the agency. Is it the best way? No, not by a long shot. Unfortunately, the best way was forfeited to the government a while back.

Why am I steamed? Read this:
"System Intended to Protect Children Under Fire for Overzealousness"

Now, add this to the stories you have heard from your neighbors. What about attempts to take children who have been placed in foster care because the foster families seek to teach them the Bible? Why is that abusive? Well, because you are seeking to indoctrinate the children according to your own beliefs. That is coercive. Remember that the most bigoted and intolerant thing you can do in today's society is to "force your beliefs" on someone.

Ah, and then there is spanking. Spanking = abuse. No. Abusive spanking = abuse. "Abusive spanking" isn't even spanking, it is abuse, period. Many are the people--my three sisters and I being ones--who can testify to the judicious use of spanking in raising children. Did spanking hurt? Yes. Was I traumatized? No. Am I better for it and would I want to be raised the same way? Yes. Will I raise my children that same way? Yes. My prayer would be that at the same time, my children would grow to love and appreciate me the same way I love and appreciate my parents.

However, I wonder if DSS had been as active when I was a kid, if I would have had the opportunity to grow up and even know my father and mother.

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