Saturday, August 15, 2009

Why The 'Tude?

Sarcastic commenter on why there should be no health insurance for the poor (from this morning's P&C site, paraphrased): "Because it's never their fault that they are poor, unemployed and stupid."

Actually, in most cases it isn't the individual's fault that they are poor, unemployed and stupid.

I shall again climb on my soapbox for the babies of this state that everyone seems to love so much.

From birth to approximately two years of age is the "make or break" time for stimulating the brain to grow so that the individual can learn once they get to school age. If not properly fed and stimulated, the potential intellect of the individual is limited. Sometimes slightly, sometimes severely.

From birth to approximately three years of age is the "make or break" time for development of inter-personal skills and self esteem. If in those years, you do not receive the proper discipline and teaching of how to behave and interact, then you will have extreme difficulty fitting in at school. Not to mention that infants and toddlers who have been emotionally and verbally abused come out of those years angry, fearful and incapable of trusting themselves. Those children are pretty much doomed once they hit school age. They don't have the skills to get along with others, they don't have the basics such as ABC's, counting or even colors, they don't have any idea that they are capable of learning.

Children who have had their brain development stunted in infancy, their sense of themselves as capable beings destroyed by age three are rarely able to succeed in school, leading to dropping out, drug and alcohol use, a drift into crime, teenage pregnancy, and unemployment and poverty.

And for most, this was set up before they had reached age two. So I can hardly see where they can be fully blamed for their position in life.

And as for personal responsibility once reaching adulthood, I'm all for it. But the problem is that there are very few resources for those who seek to improve themselves. Want to get off drugs/alcohol, but don't have $30K for private rehab? It's months and months and months on a waiting list for public rehab. Want to enter into an apprenticeship program to learn a skill? Sorry, did away with those when we decided that every child should go to college.

It takes a very determined, mental illness free, drug/alcohol free person to overcome the damage done to them before age two. There are few options.

The only reliable option our society gives the poor is to go on welfare. We punish them when they try to get off (the minute you get a job, you begin to lose benefits, benefits that the entry-level job pay will not replace, making people worse off working than when on welfare, instead of weaning the benefits as the person gains experience and gets raises, etc.).

We need to do a better job of reaching parents and infants before age two and provide them with not only financial assistance in the form of welfare, but give them real life help with nutrition, child development, parenting skills, educational assistance, job skills training.

But, people scream, we don't want to have to pay for this! People should just learn to do this on their own!

True, but they aren't.

And we can pay for it now or we can pay for it later with increased crime, increased welfare rolls, decreased employment.

Thor sez: There you go being all common sense and stuff again! People don't want a solution, they want someone to feel better than and something to bitch about.


jaz said...

Exactly right, Thor.

Anonymous said...

We have a huge Homeless Center in our Community that has served as a model for other communities. If people really care about other people they should find a place to volunteer and spend some REAL TIME there. In our case there are homeless from infants to 80+ years old...some mentally ill, some trying to become drug free....many many college educated...lots of veterns..there are as many stories as there are folks staying there. It is NOT 3 hots and a cot...there are education programs, literacy programs, spiritual programs, none of the children has done anything to "deserve" to be there....they are precious...if you don't have a recession proof job, if you have NO extended family, if you live paycheck to paycheck you could be next....stupid??? Lazzy?? Get to know people before you judge them.
Sit down have a cup of coffee with them....take the time to hear their story. We have all made poor choices in our lives....some of us were able to recover...others need a helping hand. God Bless, Pam, South Bend

JanetLee said...

Pam - that sounds like an awesome program. I'm excited that our county is initiating a Nurse-Family Partnership program in which a first time mother to be can enroll voluntarily and have a nurse visit her through the pregnancy and up to the child's second birthday. It is a program that has been going on in many states with outstanding results in lowering abuse, second pregnancies and unemployment and increasing education completion and the childrens' school readiness.

Finally, we are coming around to the idea of prevention.

Anonymous said...

Google Women's Care Center South Bend Indiana they have a similar program in several counties. All prenatal care is provided and they have many incentives for parenting classes, cribs, food etc. I'm sure they would be willing to share their "formula" for success. They have a terrific board of directors and a wonderful newsletter you could sample.They are partners with an area hospital.
God Bless, Pam

Pat said...

Who's doing this in Charleston, Janet?

JanetLee said...

Pat - DHEC is just starting up their program. I brought information for Charlene to share with the OB's and someone from DHEC is going to come to their next meeting. It will cover the tri-county area.