The fourteenth amendment of the United States Constitution creates the Parental Rights Doctrine. It is fundamental to our society that parents have the right to raise their children and the average American, I believe, has a longstanding commitment to parental rights. Except in extreme circumstances, parents have the fundamental right to parent a child and decide what is in the best interests of their own child (this article doesn’t address custody disputes between two good parents each of whom has a fundamental right to parent). This article does address the fundamental rights of parents over CPS.
In further advancement of the Parental Rights Doctrine, the United States Supreme Court has had moments of brilliance on this issue. For example, in Troxel v. Granville, 530 US 57 (2000), the United States Supreme Court aptly stated: “The liberty interest at issue in this case—the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children—is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.”
So where has the societal shift happened that has placed CPS so squarely in the middle of this fundamental right to parent? I believe the shift happened with the passage of the Adoptions and Safe Families Act of 1997 during the Clinton administration. In my opinion, that Act needs to be abolished and we need to return to the Social Worker Model for CPS, as contrasted to the current Law Enforcement Model. The Social Worker Model is “working with others to accomplish a goal.” Perhaps the CPS worker would suggest a needed service, such as counseling through Family Service of the Piedmont, a great organization.