How Did Government Care for Foster Kids Before Tasers?

Dave Killion — May 8, 2011

In her Friday, May 6 post Tasering incident brings many more layers to light“, Jody Paterson looks into an incident in Prince George during which an 11-year-old boy in a group home was Tasered by police, and finds herself “puzzling over how a company with a history of running bars and liquor stores ends up in the group-home business.”

It’s a good question, and Paterson does a nice job at looking at the way expediency and incentive causes short-term emergency service provision to sometimes extends to years, but she fails to see the source of the problem because she’s looking in the wrong direction –

“… it’s definitely a new day when running group homes for high-risk kids is now just part of a diverse business portfolio. Call me old-fashioned, but I can’t shake a nagging concern about what it means when the provision of child and youth services is just another business venture.

Paterson sees the motivations of the private sector vendor, which is to make money by providing customers what they want, but she is blind to the motivations of the public sector customer, which includes gathering votes and advancing one’s career as a government bureaucrat. Her nagging concern doesn’t extend to what it means when the provision of child and youth services is just another political venture, rather than an act driven by the love, religious duty, and community responsibility that drives civil society. If she can’t see this, she might as well get used to being disappointed by the government, because that’s all she’ll ever get.


Jody Patersoon says

Point taken, Dave, although I deliberately tried to steer away from just turning that column into the standard public-versus-private schtick, because I do agree that there are issues there, as well. I agree with your view on the role of a civil society, but our communities are not paying attention.

— May 9, 2011

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