California is a state saddled with a Legislature that continues to disrupt our lives by serving us ample helpings of wacky laws, smothered in good intentions and garnished with social engineering.
The latest example is Senate Bill 18, the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth. On the title’s face, it sounds reasonable. The bill’s intent is “to establish a comprehensive framework that governs the rights of all children and youth in California, outlines the researchbased essential needs of California’s children, and establishes standards relating to the health, safety, wellbeing, early childhood and educational opportunities, and familial supports necessary for all children to succeed.”
Questions one should ask: Which researchbased studies establish the standards? How will the state monitor and evaluate the parents for compliance? Who will enforce these standards and penalties?
Many parents have embraced home schooling. What happens when a researchbased study establishes a standard that is in conflict with the parent’s values and curriculum? Does the state come in and remove the children using SB18 and the long arm of Child Protective Services?
SB18 would give ultimate authority to the state for a child’s healthcare choices. When a parent selects a different treatment instead of what the doctor recommends, what happens? Is the doctor obligated to report this to CPS, similar to the legal obligation to report unusual bruising or burns as potential child abuse? Without a court order and with the assistance of local police, CPS can take the child from the home and terminate parental authority.
SB 18 sounds very attractive, but it would be difficult to implement, fairly evaluate all cases and apply consistent standards. It imposes the will of the state and increases its reach into families by usurping parents’ decisions over their children and interfering with the parentchild relationship.