Passage of the Childhood Ownership Act of 20X8
Bob has finally made it to a position of power as a rich white male in the First World after hundreds of lives as a powerless child. He has used his power and wealth to be a powerful and tenacious advocate for the proper treatment of children. After decades of advocacy involving the unification of many child welfare NGOs, Bob has gotten the Child Self-Ownership Act of 20X8 passed in the United States and (what's left) of the European Union.
The principle provisions of the act are:
- Require that, before any infant is allowed to leave the hospital, the parents must complete a child safety and developmental psychology course. The parents may leave the hospital at any time after the mother has sufficiently recuperated. This course may be completed before delivery so that the baby can leave the hospital with the parents in the usual way. Thus, parents who are prepared and want a child may get ready beforehand.
- Taking the education course shall place no undue burden on the parents. If the yearly audit shows that it does place an undue burden on parents, then corrections to the program shall be made the following year.
- A childhood development section shall be added to the State's high school education and will be a graduation requirement. There may be no waiver for this class as there is for sexual education.
- Parents who don't complete the course beforehand will have two months to take it afterwards. The baby is still theirs just not living with them. If they don't complete the course in the required time frame, then custody of the child reverts to the State and the child is placed in protective custody. For a period of three months after the baby becomes a ward of the State, the parent(s) may appeal by taking the course and showing why they didn't take it earlier. A judge will decide whether the baby should remain a ward or be restored to their parents.
- Special facilities shall be built to house those infants who are not claimed.
- Funding for the course and facilities shall be provided for in the budget. (This is not an unfunded initiative.)
- The course is offered free. For those who cannot afford to take the time off to complete the course, the State will pay them a stipend per day to take the course. This should equalize the field somewhat between the well-off and the poor. No one should be denied their children because they are too poor to take time off.
- The course shall be available at every hospital in the State.
- The course shall cover known best practices and common malpractices in raising children.
- The State may not hold any infant past 8 months of age. The longer babies wait in State custody, the worse it is for them and the greater the burden for the state.
- The adoption process shall be considerably streamlined to facilitate these babies getting into real homes/families. Emphasis shall be placed on speedy background checks of prospective families.
- The content in the childhood development course shall be sourced only from reputable journals of peer-reviewed articles/studies. The source journals must be three years old at the time of the passage of this statute. Curriculum shall be developed only by licensed and practicing psychiatrists, psychologists and medical doctors.
- There are no restrictions on who may have children or when they have children or how many. (Trying to regulate who can have sex with who is a futile endeavor. Don't even try.)
- The entire adoption and education process shall be audited every year.
- The results of the adoption and education process audit shall be publicly published within three months of the end of the year.
- Failure to produce the audit results shall be cause for termination of employment for the senior officer(s) in charge of the audit.
- The law must be renewed every 5 years or it will go out of effect.
- The law makes no statement for or against abortion.
- What happens to people who are just passing through the state and have their baby here? Are they required to take the course too in order to leave the hospital?
Would this law be sufficient to improve the lives of children? What complications could arise? How might the law be circumvented, cheated or corrupted to make children's lives worse? The law assumes that most parents would do better if they knew better. This law aims to give them a very strong incentive to learn.