The Kids Are Safe, Reports Missoulian, Because Journalism

by William Skink

A large operation to remove 27 children from a private facility in Lincoln County is garnering headlines. Lee Enterprise staff are using this to congratulate themselves (and others) for being the brave, essential journalists who helped make the removal of 27 children possible. They even credit their reporting with inspiring law makers to pass legislation shifting oversight, making this mass-removal possible.

They are not wrong to credit themselves. I’m sure it’s a morale booster amidst an otherwise demoralizing media environment that squeezes the remaining staff to maintain shareholder profit. But after watching the self-congratulation tour on social media, it feels like they’re laying it on a little thick.

There is a history of reports of abuse that go back well over a decade. I’m glad there is now some oversight over these private facilities, because there damn well needed to be, but it’s taken a very long time, leaving many kids to suffer. Not all of them made it out alive.

The media reports the kids are now safe. I hope they are. Not every kid has been so lucky to be removed before something bad happened in a facility or private home. Last year 12 kids died despite reports of abuse:

The Office of Child and Family Services ombudsman reviewed the deaths of 12 children last year whose cases had been reported to Child and Family Services within a year of their deaths.

Nine of the children were under age 3, including seven who were less than a year old.

One case is being prosecuted as deliberate homicide, and another as negligent homicide. Two others remain under investigation. Three were deemed accidental, including one involving co-sleeping with a parent who had a history of drug use.

Two deaths were due to medical complications for a child whose mother used illegal drugs while pregnant.

Two were ruled suicides and in another the cause was undetermined.

I remember past articles about these facilities, and I’m pretty sure the Indy had at least one piece addressing this issue.

Alas, I am not able to search for those articles because Lee Enterprises maintains its spiteful shuttering of the Indy’s online archives.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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1 Response to The Kids Are Safe, Reports Missoulian, Because Journalism

  1. Pingback: Federal Legislation Under Bill Clinton Created Cash Incentives For States To Remove Kids | Reptile Dysfunction

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