Children and Justice A Review of Gone Baby Gone Film

Running head: CHILDREN WELFARE 1
Children and Justice: A Review of Gone Baby Gone Film
According to Schene (1998), every society has a system and prescriptions for the
protection of children as they are bred and prepared for the adulthood responsibilities. Across
cultures and communities, it is a common ideation that the responsibility of raising children
stretches far beyond parental duties and the community at large. Children are always considered
as the property of the community and the government with parents being as the caretakers,
therefore, when the parents fail in undertaking their duties, the government through child
protection services, juvenile court systems, and foster care are bound to intervene. Child neglect
and abuse are registered in America every day with thousands of children hosed under foster care
and child protection services due to parental neglect and abuse. This paper revisits the issues of
children and neglect as presented in the movie directed by Ben Affleck titled Gone Baby Gone
cast in 2007.
Evidence of Parental Child Neglect
Neglect of children is considered an elusive form of child abuse hence considerably
received marginal attention as compared to abuse such as physical and emotional torture. Child
abuse as presented by Ben fleck in the Gone Baby Gone movies infers to cases where parents or
guardians of children fail to fully undertake their parental responsibilities hence the child(ren)
fend for themselves with to check and balances from the parents. The children are neglected
when the parent or caretaker fails to provide them with the basic needs comprising of good
shelter, education, clothing, food, medical care, and more importantly the basic necessities
critical for the resilient intellectual, physical and emotional development. The jury in civil child
protection cases is mandated with an enormous responsibility of determining key evidence of
child neglect. For instance, in the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency
(Division) v. Helene McCready case where the defendant, aunt to Amanda is accused of
neglecting Amanda, the court expects the plaintiff, Division to present concrete evidence indeed
showing McCready neglected Amanda.
Amanda was abducted from her home, but on reporting the case the police had minimal
knowledge on how to solve the case thus Amanda’s aunt, Bea and Lionel McCready hired
private detectives, Angie Gennaro and Patrick Kenzie to resolve the case. From a personal
opinion and analysis of the film, neglect is presented on several occasions such as poor
household sanitation, poor nutrition, emotion and supervisory neglect. Helene does not
demonstrate profound parenting skills. Amanda’s uncle noted that Helene left her three-year-old
child for hours in a locked hot car. The flashbacks in the movies show that Helene did not cater
leaving Amanda alone in the house as she undertook her drug errands. Conversely, when
Amanda is abducted she does not grieve as expected of a typical mother as she is presented
seemingly comfortably sited and watching Jerry Springer on a couch (Affleck, 2007). Captain
Doyle argued to Patrick when he found Amanda in Doyle’s care that Patrick knows that no
matter the laws, she acknowledges that Amanda was safer and better in his custody as opposed to
Helene’s. Helene is neglectful for she cares less about household sanitation as to her men and
drugs occasionally leaving an unattended to alone in the house and belated hot cars. Interesting,
when Patrick stooped by Helene McCready’s house, he found her preparing for a date not
seeming to care the tern of her baby Amanda back home. In another occasion, Helene left
Amanda on a bench for hours, an incidence that left her with third-degree burns but Helene
poured beer on her skin instead of taking her to a doctor, a crystal evidence of neglect and abuse.
Placement of Amanda in Foster care
In a scene, when Patrick found that Captain Doyle had abducted Amanda and she was
comfortable with his house, Doyle insisted to Patrick that Amanda was safe in his care than
taking her back to her mother. He said to Patrick that he knew Amanda was much better with
him rather than taking her take to Helene. Interesting after the conversation and arrest of Captain
Doyle for kidnapping, Patrick took Amanda home to Helene only to her getting ready for a date.
Helene seemed not even much concerned about Amanda indicating she would possibly continue
to neglect her following she was on her way out of the house again.
Leaving Amanda in the custody of Helene was risky and would be considered a neglect
by the government to protect her. Therefore, the jury should place her under foster care either in
a foster home for children or placed in a foster family. Captain Doyle’s wife seemed ready to
take care of her, if the social services found it right, they would even recommend placing her
with Doyle’s family. However, the key concern is not returning Amanda to Helene but can be
done on later time provided Helene proves stable, sober and ready to be a responsible guardian.
Schene (1998) notes that for years abused and neglected children have been placed in foster care
and adoption programs provided the Social Services and Children Welfare Programs find the
child’s custodian unable to responsibly care for the child. Federal and state governments have set
funds, resources, and facilities for foster care besides providing adoption options. The Social
Security Act of 1935 under Title IV-B advocates for setting aside of grants support prevention
and protection of abused and neglected children and families while Title IV-A of the Act
advocates for foster care under the Department of Children program to help children like
Patrick versus Doyle Debate
When Patrick found Captain Doyle has abducted Amanda, Patrick and Doyle had a
discussion of contradicting theories and arguments on whether Amanda should be placed in a
new home or return to her custodian. Doyle basing on the quotation above believed that Amanda
should be placed in a new home but Patrick held a contrary opinion. In response to the Doyle,
Patrick argued that he it would be forever haunt him if he left Amanda in Doyle’s custody
without the permission of her guardian and following the relevant legal procedures. Patrick argue
what if Amanda would later accuse him for leaving her in the hands of strange family despite
having been entrusted by her aunt to find her. Patrick was obligated to report Doyle for
abduction and return Amanda back to Helene regardless of the risks of negligence cited by
First, regardless of the religion or cultural beliefs, some laws and rules override the
reason whether done in good faith or not. The action of Doyle kidnapping Amanda was unlawful
and punishment, therefore, Patrick was right to call the police on Doyle. However, personally,
Doyle’s arguments underscores Patrick’s argument basing on the evidence of neglect and abuse
by Helene. Literally, from time in the memorial, children should be under the care of their
parents and guardians, but once the parents fail to sufficiently offer basic needs and treat the
children in accordance to social and legal provisions, they transfer the responsibility to the
society and the government. Every child has right be cared for by biological parents or guardians
so do the parents, but the rights are limited based on the extent of child treatment.
Children have a right to life, liberty, happiness and basic needs hence when a parent fails
to offer them and mistreats the child, it is prudent to place the child with a family or home where
the child grow and develop well (Schene, 1998). Doyle was right, Helene had proven to abuse
and neglect Amanda hence she would be better off in a new home assuming the new parents are
responsible parents returning her to Helene. Nonetheless, the foster care arrangements should not
be done locally, but through the relevant legal channels to enhance accountability. Helene
denounced a significant part of her parental and custodian rights the moment she began forgoing
her parenting responsibility. Some of the factors liable to the placement of a child in foster care
are the parent’s behavior such as substance abuse as seen with Helene. I believe as much as
Patrick advocated for taking Amanda back to her parents, he was equally worried about the
outcome following Helene’s record of child negligence. Nonetheless, having solved the
abduction cases, it would have been prudent for him to seek for alternative care for Amanda for
it is unequivocally clear, Amanda was still in grave danger of continual abuse and neglect.
Affleck, B. (Director). (2007). Gone Baby Gone [Motion Picture].
Schene, P. A. (1998). Past, present, and future roles of child protective services. The Future of
Children, 23-38.

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