When I’m feeling old, I try to consider that I am mature. That means I have aged, not become decrepit. Maybe wisdom comes with maturity. Perspective is everything.

Idaho needs some maturity. We have aged as a state, and recently we have grown. We have not matured.

I first began considering this as I watched the legislative oversight committee on Child Protection. You can see their hearing online. It’s worth watching.

The committee, and their citizen partners were very frustrated with how care is being provided for our foster children. One Senator even asked for heads to roll.

They may. But is that a mature response? Sometimes it is the right one. But I like to consider systems.

I have asked for the funding and enrollment history for foster care from the Department of Health and Welfare. Even though I am a Board member, I have not received it. I will continue to study this. But I need some more information to really understand the problem. I hope I get it. If not, I can see why heads should roll. That’s the reaction I feel when frustrated.

Then I got informed of another very interesting study with lots of good information. The Idaho legislature directed their stellar Office of Performance Evaluations to look into Idaho death investigations and coroners.

This is close to my heart.

I was a county coroner for 15 years. I saw the poor performance we were doing investigating deaths in Idaho, me included.

But we are the wild west out here, aren’t we? I didn’t wear a Stetson or ride up on my bay mare at a death scene, but I often felt like it.

Frontier justice might satisfy frontier times, but it doesn’t serve a mature state. It’s time we decide if we have passed puberty.

The report, and many other good reports from OPE are available online. You have broadband, don’t you?

The short story about death investigations here in Idaho is that we are dismal. We do the least autopsies of child deaths of any state. This state that claims to revere the life of the child (maybe only the unborn?) doesn’t seem to want to know why the child has died.

We were the last state in the union to establish a Child Fatality Review panel. It was only put in force by Governor Otter’s executive order. And since it was an executive order, the panel cannot subpoena records. They can politely ask county coroners for their reports, but refusal is allowed.

Did the county coroner do their job? Do you, the electorate even care? If a child dies, shouldn’t the cause of death be a concern for the state?

It sure is if it’s in an Idaho woman’s womb.

Idaho has not grown into the maturity of seeing the whole system.

Children dying is worth protection.

Our state has the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. Our legislators are very proud of this.

They should be ashamed that they do not care to protect the lives of children out of the womb.

As I said, I was a county coroner. Children in my county were killed. Children in my county died. It was a tragedy. I did my best to investigate. But I was on my own.

Investigating is the first step to understanding.

The Idaho legislature seems to be very preoccupied with protecting children from books in libraries. But they seem to have no concern for children who die.

Unless they are inside a woman’s uterus.

A mature response to this would not be a flurry of laws or resolutions. We see enough of this from our immature legislators.

Instead, we need to understand the systems and change them. That would be a mature response.

About ddxdx

A Family physician, former county coroner and former Idaho State Senator
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