Nine children were removed from a home in Kentucky after authorities found that they were living in deplorable conditions, without running water or electricity, and suffering malnutrition from being fed only one meal a day, usually oatmeal or rice. It sounds like something out of The Grapes of Wrath, something that could have only happened 100 years ago, yet reportedly it is going on today.
The youngest child, a mere 2 months old, was reportedly hospitalized for malnutrition, dehydration, and hypothermia. Five more of the children were hospitalized; one is still in the hospital. The oldest child was 17 years old.
The parents, Edith Strange, 35, and Jonathan Prater, 34, were charged with "wanton endangerment." The mother is in jail but the father is missing.
A neighbor said that the kids came to her door up to five times a day to fill jugs of water since they had none. She had also given them clothes to wear.
The house itself is set over a steep embankment and appeared dangerously close to falling off of it. Much of the house still seemed to be under construction. Trash was thrown about the yard. Investigators described it as "deplorable."
It is unclear why the children were living in such conditions and whether this was depraved cruelty or a combination of intense poverty and maybe mental illness. Perhaps it was some mixture of all three. Was this a case where the children were also being physically abused -- or a case where the parents were so poor they simply could not provide for them? (A commenter on the story claims to know the family and says they have been offered help by many agencies.)
People complain about abortion and "free" birth control (hello, it's not "free" -- premiums are expensive), but is this scenario better? These parents obviously were not able to care for their children and yet recently had another. Now these children will enter into the foster care system and who knows what will happen to them. Certainly nine children will have a difficult time finding a home together, and yet they may be extremely bonded having grown up under such circumstances.
Extremely tragic. At least they are out now, and hopefully the younger ones will have a good chance of finding a better life. The older ones I truly hope can overcome their terrible childhoods.
What can we do to prevent situations like this from happening to begin with?
Image via WKYT