The Department of Social Services in South Carolina is a mess.
While it’s easy to cast aspersions upon the character of those who work within this state department, the bigger questions go unanswered while blame is passed from one department or politician or political party to another. What are the bigger questions?
How did we end up here? How can it be fixed?
For the first question, there are any number of pundits willing to spout politico-speak but those are just self-serving stances, formulated to garner votes and political office. How about an answer that comes from pure observation?
We, as families, community members and individuals, are to blame.
Why? Because we haven’t held others accountable, haven’t contributed to correcting the system, and find it easier to point out the problems rather than see solutions. And therein lies the problem.
As for the second question, it would be safe to assume the wrong way to fix this problem — just throw money at it — has already been tried and it didn’t work.
To fix the problem, to protect children and ensure a positive result requires more than money. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans aren’t willing to be involved, to take time away from their own lives and sacrifice a small portion of themselves for the betterment of everyone around them.
Money will never fix this. Only the active participation and willingness to shoulder some responsibility on the part of this state’s citizens will make a difference.
These children — the ones with the tragic life circumstances — belong to everyone. If they are not provided hope, an example and a glimpse of what a better life is, they will never strive to have it. That’s just human nature. The opposite result will leave the community handling these same children down the road as they fall into a life of crime or abject poverty resulting in continued government support.
The cycle has to be broken. Breaking the cycle is not incumbent upon the child but upon the village. So this state is faced with little in the way of choice. You can ask why, or you can ask yourself, why not?
You can either point a finger or you can help. There is no in-between.