Proposed law to jail negligent parents

Mikey 4 comments
Proposed law to jail negligent parents

A new law set to go before parliament would see negligent parents who abandon their children to go gambling, drinking or shopping face up to 3 years in jail. The law applies to parents with children 12 years and younger.

As a parent with 2 toddlers, I am in 2 minds about this proposed law. On one hand I believe negligent parents do need to be punished, but putting them in jail can have devastating affects on a child. If it is an infant, a year or so away from their mother is long enough for them to completely forget their parent(s). And what happens in the situation when both parents are negligent? What happens to the child if the parents are sent to jail?

On the other hand, some parents are not fit to have children and taking a child out of an environment where they are constantly neglected (left in a car for example) could be beneficial to the child's future well being, as it protects them from further neglect and possible permanent physical damage or worse.

For the record, nothing sickens me more than parents who leave their kids in the car while they do the shopping or go into the garage to pay for petrol, or worse. Parents like that need a good slap across the chops and a kick in the teeth, a punishment I would be more than willing to oblige. One very hot day I found a toddler (about 2 years) and a child (about 5 years) in a car in the parking lot, windows down, doors unlocked, and parents nowhere to be seen. I was in total shock. I waited for the negligent moron to arrive some 3 minutes later and gave her a stern bollocking. She didn't even respond, the look on her face clearly indicating she knew she had done a bad thing, and just threw her shopping bag into the front seat and drove away. A few more minutes and I would have called Child Welfare.

I waited for her not because I wanted the satisfaction of lecturing, but because it's not uncommon for cars to be stolen here in Australia with the kids still inside, or for the kids to perish because of the intense heat inside a car. I did see her again months later at the same supermarket and I noticed she had both her children with her this time. I like to think my stern words sunk in, but I might be kidding myself.

I would like to hear your opinion on this proposed law. Good? Bad? Room for improvement?

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Monday 7th April 2008 | 09:13 AM

Complete nanny state, sure some people shouldn't be allowed to have kids, I see alot more bad parenting then i used to aswell but the idea that the state should have a say in how you raise your children is repugnent. People should stop letting the state regulate their lives and instead take some responsibility. Freedom isnt being able to buy a big screen television, its being responsible for yourself and your life. I reserve the right for my children to play in the muck, scrape their knees, and cycle a bicycle without a helmet!! Life is too short to deny children what was good enough for us, its a crime. What have we done to deserve this hell where people who have no connection with your family even get paid to interfere or threaten to take someones children. Wake up people take some pride in your family and how they turn out, when you have done that tell these people to go to hell.

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Monday 7th April 2008 | 09:31 AM response to this comment by j. "People should stop letting the state regulate their lives"

I appreciate your enthusiasm but the proposed law isn't about parents who let their kids get knee scrapes and play in the mud. That's not negligence. It's about the parents who are irresponsible regarding the welfare of their kids...the sorta stuff that puts kids live sin danger.

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Monday 7th April 2008 | 12:00 PM

I read an article in the paper a number of times this week suggesting that children are being left in their cars while the parents go to gamble on the pokies and to be honest, I think that it is horse crap. While I would never assert that because I've never whitnessed it, it doesn't occur, however it would seem to me that common sense would prevail? Is that naive?

On one occasion I happened past a small crowd, like you Mike, that had encircled a car with an infant and a toddler in the parking lot, in summer (in Queensland). On that occasion my wife convinced the toddler to wind down the window so she could get them out of the would be microwave. Someone called the police on this occasion, which was so incredibly lucky!

I really cant immagine the kind of person who would do this to their child, and for that reason, I do believe that foster care with a relative is significantly more fruitful for a neglected child than staying with the parent.

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Sunday 25th May 2008 | 12:43 AM

I agree with the law. The state needs to send a clear unambigous message about the standard of care for children that parents need to take. The state is not making a value judgement about how much parents love their kids, but merely protecting the welfare and rights of a vulnerable child ENTIRELY dependent and at the mercy of parents. Kids arent born with the right to choose their parents, but they do have the right to have parents who at least provide proper care for them.

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