It’s easy to fix a failing child welfare system like the one in New Mexico: just listen to your gut instinct – and do the opposite.
Gut instinct says: Children have been dying, as a Journal editorial put it, “seemingly … under the noses” of workers for the Children, Youth and Families Department – so we should rush to tear more children from their parents at the slightest sign of abuse or neglect.
That is always the knee-jerk response to child abuse tragedies, whether because lawmakers explicitly demand it or because workers are terrified about what will happen to them if the next high-profile tragedy is on their caseload. The result is a foster-care panic, a sudden spike in removals of children from their homes.
But that never works. …