A column in The Imprint last month begins by quoting an odd claim made by David Sanders, in the preface to the report of a commission he chaired. He wrote: “Child protection is perhaps the only field where some child deaths are assumed to be inevitable, no matter how hard we work to stop them.”
Really? I know of no fire chief who has claimed it’s possible to prevent any child from ever dying in a fire. I know of no police chief who says we can ensure that no child ever will be shot to death on the street. I know of no doctor who promises that no child ever will die of cancer.
It is always the goal. But it is one where every other field recognizes our reach will exceed our grasp. Suggesting otherwise is a sign not of nobility but of hubris.
The column in question touts the value of applying what its authors call “safety science” to child welfare. …