Big Brother in the Home

December 2, 1999

Under the guise of preventing child abuse, swarms of "experts" are being sent out to homes to monitor the rearing of America's children. This latest intervention on behalf of the nanny state is taking place under a computerized system called Program Information Management System or PIMS. Information collected by state workers contains medical and psychological entries and observations on family relationships. The workers are empowered to go into private homes to "train" parents of newborns.

If all of this sounds heavy handed and intrusive, you are not alone in your opinion. Representative Henry Hyde observes, "This is Big Brother intervention as we have never seen it before. It is a case of the ‘village' mentality run wild. Americans have never experienced such intrusion in their family lives."

How does it work? First-time parents are contacted when their newborns are still in the hospital nursery. The parents are asked to sign permission forms, often unaware of how intrusive the program might be. State workers go into their home to "train" them to be parents and may make as many as 50 visits annually per family.

But it doesn't end there. Records are kept from every visit and fed into the PIMS system. The tracking of the newborn's development could easily be linked with other preschool and public-school databanks currently being expanded.

A key program is Healthy Families America which goes by different names in different states. It's called "First Steps" in Georgia, "Welcome Home Baby" in California, and "Safe and Healthy Families" in Virginia. The ultimate goal is to provide "universal home visitation for all new parents and intensive services for families most in need." One commentator pointed out that such a program is only one short step away from the state licensing of parents. Such intrusion won't strengthen the American family, it will weaken it.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.