A hoary “moderate” mantra goes something like this, “I am a fiscal conservative but a social liberal.” The former part of the equation establishes the sanity of the person speaking, the latter part establishes the hipness.

The conundrum, of course, is that even in a modified welfare state like, say, Kansas, one cannot successfully be both a social liberal and a fiscal conservative.

As high profile abuse cases show, there is a problem, but no one wants to admit what the problem is.

As Kansas has been discovering, a state that fails to to encourage traditional values–sobriety, hard work, family, and especially marriage–will reap the reward in family dysfunction and an overburdened child welfare system. In Kansas’s defense, there is not much a state can do when the the nation’s elites–from Murphy Brown on down– actively encourage family breakdown.

The numbers are staggering. As the Kanas City Star reports, 7,505 Kansas children found themselves in out-of-home placements, fully three time more than in 2011. These numbers were provided by a coalition called Strengthen Families Rebuild Hope. 

Apparently, coalition members have spent the past year “hosting town hall meetings and identifying what has gone wrong in Kansas and why.” From the Star article, however, it would appear that the “what has gone wrong” part focuses not on the social trends that caused the underlying problem but rather on the State of Kansas’s inability to keep up with the resulting dysfunction.

That a child ends up in foster care suggests a multi-generational problem. No family member is either able or willing to assume the care of the child. In the absence of a family member, that obligation falls to the state.

As to the question of why family support has collapsed, the Star and the coalition offer no explanation save for a reduction over that period in “programs like food stamp benefits and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.” Beyond more welfare benefits, the reader is told, “Other solutions include increasing money and focus on family preservation to keep more children in their homes and addressing the racial disparity in the child welfare system.”

There is no mention in the article about the role that drugs play in the fracturing of families, no mention of declining church membership, and, God forbid, no mention of the word marriage.

Better to sue the governor and the secretary of the state’s child welfare system, as one nonprofit has done, and maybe at the end of the day we can have the Kansas Supreme Court decide just how much money to ding the taxpayers.

 

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