Half a century ago, as the Vietnam War still raged, President Nixon began bombing neighboring Cambodia — without bothering to mention it to Congress or the American people. After the New York Times found out about it, this became known as the “secret bombing” of Cambodia
But as Garry Trudeau pointed out in “Doonesbury” four years later, it wasn’t a secret to the Cambodians. “Secret bombings?” a Cambodian says. “Boy, there wasn’t any secret about them. Everyone here knew. I did. And my wife, she knew too! She was with me, and I remarked on them.”
I think of this whenever people in child welfare declare themselves shocked by something that everyone who has to deal with child protective services already knows. The latest case in point: a commentary for a medical journal by Dr. Katherine Campbell, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah. The headline reads: “Prevention of Child Maltreatment as an Unexpected Benefit of Social Policies.”
“Unexpected”? Not for those who are poor or ever have been poor. I suspect they’d say: “It’s not unexpected to us. We remarked on it.”
The commentary concerns a study that found that reports of what child protective services agencies deem “neglect” declined in states that took advantage of the option to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and increased in states that did not take advantage of this option.