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Ethics Paper - Essay Example

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Two drug addicted parents give birth to an infant, which they are unable to care for due to their addictions. Because of this, the court orders that this child is to be taken away and placed into state custody. For the first nine years of her life, she is raised in a foster home…
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Two drug addicted parents give birth to an infant, which they are unable to care for due to their addictions. Because of this, the court orders that this child is to be taken away and placed into state custody. For the first nine years of her life, she is raised in a foster home. She regards her foster parents as her real parents because these are the only parents that she knows. One day, her biological parents decide that they will fight to gain custody of their child. They pursue the case, and the decision is in their favor; however, their nine year old child is none the least bit pleased. While some may regard this as a victory, there are three reasons why ethics does not support the law in the instance in which this nine year old child is returned to her parents after so many years, and there are two schools of ethics, Ends Based and Care based that one might use to solve such a dilemma.
The first reason why ethics does not support the law in this particular situation is that problems with attachment can develop if a child is suddenly uprooted from a family that she regards as her own and is placed with people she is unfamiliar with, even if they are her biological parents. This girl has been with her foster parents all of these years, has formed a bond with them, and they have played a major role in her social and emotional development. Now, she is uprooted, and she must go to people she has never met in her entire life to pick up where she left off. Research shows that it is quite traumatic to a child to be uprooted from a comforting environment, where attachments are formed, to be placed in one that is completely unfamiliar. For instance a journal article titled "Expressed emotions, early caregiver-child interaction, and disorders" talks about the importance of attachment and how it is the framework of the child's development. IF this foundation is not built up or is not stable, then this leaves room for said child to develop mental disorders, such as trouble with self expression or regulating emotions (Wiefel and Schepker, 2009). And at the age of nine, a child is still learning, growing, and developing. Her foundation is not yet stable enough for her to face severe adversity. This is where the care based ethics come into play, as one utilizing this particular school of ethics to solve this problem would look at whether or not it is virtuous to subject a child to a situation where she could possibly experience such a plight.
When we choose to use care based ethics to solve a problem, we will think of what is in the best interest of the child, as far as her care is concerned, as this is most virtuous. Her foster parents have done a fine job caring for her, as well as has been her emotional support over the years, and it is unfair to uproot her from a situation that we know she is certain to receive care that is not only loving but stable to then be placed into a situation where things can become unpredictable, since her parents are former drug addicts and have a great chance of relapsing. Should her parents relapse, she will not receive the care that she needs, which could then result in her being placed back into foster care, and she may not end up in a good foster home. This little girl could end up in a far worse situation than she would be in if her parents decide to relapse, hence the reason why one utilizing the Care Based ethics to solve this problem would feel that things are best left alone and will take such concerns into consideration, as returning this child home to her biological parents could cause a plethora of psychological damage. Furthermore, one cannot be sure that these parents are even fit to care for this child, as according to an article found in Nature NeuroSciance, drugs can not only change one's chemical makeup for good, one's psychological state can be forever effected (Mameli, Creton, and Engblom et al, 2009), which could then make these parents unfit to care for this child.
Couple with the Care Based system of ethics, one might consider using Ends Based ethics. The reason this is the case is because one might want to consider the outcomes of this situation if the child is placed back with her parents, people she has never heard of or seen in her entire life up until this point. One utilizing the Ends Based School of ethics to solve this problem will consider how such a move will impact this child. Furthermore, they will consider how the child's development in the remainder of her childhood years might be effected, should her parents relapse into drug use, which is quite common with drug users. Should this occur, the child will have new problems. She may be subject to abuse and neglect, which could then worsen her situation severely. An article from the Journal of Family Violence takes a deep look into how mistreatment and neglect of a child as a result of substance abuse could have some very negative and adverse psychological side effects. This article states that children who are subjected to abuse and neglect resulting from drug abuse could have severe attachment difficulties and suffer from a slew of other psychological disorders, and could develop into having severe anger issues, which could then lead to violent behavior (Reinert and Edwards, 2009). She may even considering taking the same path that her parents have previously taken to cope with her issues, which is to use drugs. Should she do this, she could develop anxiety and mood disorders, and could possibly suffer from a lifetime of dependency. One journal article talks about how a child, if she cannot deal with adverse events, may resort to dependency on drugs (Douglas, Chan, Gelernter, Arias et al, 2010). This is one way that a child copes with trauma; as such a situation can make her prone to drug abuse (Wu, Dellor, and Grella 2010). The only way that this child would ever recover is if severe mental rehabilitation was to take place, and even then, the results are not promising.
The similarities between these schools of ethics are that they would look at what is in the best interest of the person. Furthermore, they would examine the long term effects of what a person would be subjected to. The difference between these two schools of ethics is that the Care Based system would focus more on virtues than the Ends Based ethics, which would focus more on outcomes and long term effects. Both schools of ethics would be fit for solving problems such as this one in real life, as one would want to take a look at all of these details before making such a decision as crucial as this one. Not to mention, it is in the best interest to do what is virtuous and truthful.
As far as Aristotle approving with the solution of this situation, which would just be to leave this child with, he would completely and totally agree. Aristotle has taught a great deal about virtues and the benefits of being virtuous. In addition to this, he has always taught to look at the outcomes or the consequence of a decision before making one, hence the reason that Aristotle, if he were alive today, would support this solution.
Work Cited
Douglas, K., Chan, G., Gelernter, J., Arias, A., Anton, R., Weiss, R., Brady, K., Poling, J., Farrer, L., & Kranzler, H. (2010). Adverse childhood events as risk factors for substance dependence: Partial mediation by mood and anxiety disorders. Addictive Behaviors, 35(1), 7. Retrieved November 2, 2009, from ProQuest. (Document ID: 1881093911).
Mameli, M., Halbout, B., Creton, C., Engblom, D., Parkitna, J., Spanagel, R., & Lscher, C. (2009). Cocaine-evoked synaptic plasticity: persistence in the VTA triggers adaptations in the NAc. Nature Neuroscience, 12(8), 1036-41. Retrieved November 2, 2009, from ProQuest Health and Medical Complete. (Document ID: 1806522521).
Reinert, D., & Edwards, C. (2009). Childhood Physical and Verbal Mistreatment, Psychological Symptoms, and Substance Use: Sex Differences and the Moderating Role of Attachment. Journal of Family Violence, 24(8), 589-596. Retrieved November 1, 2009, from ProQuest. (Document ID: 1839647051).
Wiefel, A., & Schepker, R. (2009). Expressed emotions, early caregiver-child interaction, and disorders. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 32(5), 406-406. Retrieved November 1, 2009, from ProQuest. (Document ID: 1886741951).
Wu,N.,Schairer,L.,Dellor,E.,&Grella,C.(2010). Childhood trauma and health outcomes in adults with comorbid substance abuse and mental health disorders.Addictive Behaviors,35(1),68. Retrieved November 2, 2009, from ProQuest. (Document ID:1881095041). Read More
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