Proposals would give Washington unprecedented control over kids
The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to debate two bills that could give the federal government unprecedented control over the way parents raise their children – even providing funds for state workers to come into homes and screen babies for emotional and developmental problems.
The Pre-K Act (HR 3289) and the Education Begins at Home Act (HR 2343) are two bills geared toward military and families who fall below state poverty lines. The measures are said to be a way to prevent child abuse, close the achievement gap in education between poor and minority infants versus middle-class children and evaluate babies younger than 5 for medical conditions.
‘Education Begins at Home Act’ – HR 2343
HR 2343 is sponsored by Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., and cosponsored by 55 Democrats and 11 Republicans. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that implementing the Education Begins at Home Act would cost taxpayers 2343 to evaluate children for developmental problems go too far.
“The federal definition of developmental screening for special education also includes what they call socioemotional screening, which is mental health screening,” Effrem said. “Mental health screening is very subjective no matter what age you do it. Obviously it is incredibly subjective when we are talking about very young children.”
While the program may not be mandatory for low-income and military families, there is no wording in the Education Begins at Home Act requiring parental permission for treatment or ongoing care once the family is enrolled – a point that leads some to ask where parental rights end and the government takes over. Also, critics ask how agents of the government plan to acquire private medical and financial records to offer the home visiting program.
Posted: July 24, 2008
By Chelsea Schilling