Pastor Kirk Schield and his wife lose foster care license over spankings

Categories: Family
spanking rect.jpg
Spanking is legal in Minnesota, but against the state's foster parent rules.
People who have worked with Kirk and Beth Schield's foster children call them "loving and caring" parents. Yet the couple's foster care license has been revoked after a state investigator couldn't get Beth to promise she'd stop spanking her foster children.

Kirk is pastor of Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Two Harbors. In May, a Department of Human Services investigation found that Beth spanked a foster child on more than one occasion "although she knew it was not allowed." She also "told [officials] she could not assure them that she would discontinue using corporal punishment on foster children." The report also concluded that Beth failed to report details of the child's behavior to the placing agency as required by the child's case plan.

A 2008 Minnesota Supreme Court ruling upheld parents' right to spank, and some studies have shown that a swat on the ass here and there in the context of an otherwise loving parent-children relationship has no long-term negative effect. Minnesotans generally don't have a problem with spanking, as a 2005 poll found that 63 percent of state residents "think it is OK to spank a child."

But the state's foster parent rules state that children must not be subjected to corporal punishment.

The Duluth News Tribune spoke with Sara Byrns, a former track and ski coach at Two Harbors High School who coached the Schields' children during her tenure and called the couple "loving and caring."

"They've been huge supporters of their kids... and volunteered and helped out in whatever way I've needed," Byrns said.

Good parents or not, the Schields' foster children were removed from their care following the May investigation. Their foster care license was formally revoked last week.

Kirk Schield told the Two Harbors newspaper that he and his wife plan to appeal the decision and hope to have their license reinstated soon.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
12 comments
Susan Miller
Susan Miller

As a parent you can love a child and care for it as much as you like - the moment you lay your hand on a child - the love is killed stone dead.  Just as it would be if you hit your spouse. No need for it.  Not right. NO EXCUSES ... ever... period.

Sexually sacrificed
Sexually sacrificed

I understand this debarte centers around biological parents rights vs a different type of relationship parents rights regarding spanking.  Sad to see so many people including Minnesotans believe spanking is harmless.  The definition of what a spanking is as acted out in detailed action is never debated.  There are sigfiicant variations and the punishment is ritualized to some degree.  Those details hide and obscure psychological torture that causes the truama that creates for some children, mental illness, one form of which I and many others suffer from who for the most part hide it because we can and because it's so devestatingly shameful and no one wants to believe the connection to spanking.   It's called sexual abuse.   It happens when a parent spanks, and involves delayed or ritualized procedures in preparing the child for the spanking.   It's more sexually charged of course when the parent and child are of opposite genders, because it creates greater sexual arousal and deeper shame from that.   The act of spanking as imagined in the publics mind focuses on the forced infliction of some degree of pain as punishment in spanking directed on the buttocks.  There are NO laws in how this is done to a child.   Even if only a hand is used to strike, the act of how that is done is never publically detailed and never socially debated.   The parent order to wait for a spanking in a rooom, and then have sufficient time pass in the waiting, could be torture psychologically.   The parent command to walk to the parent sitting could be traumatic.  Having the parent either order or worse remove the pants and underware of the child and expose their genitals can create sexual arousal and deep sexual shame.   Then postioning the child over their knees can be further shaming and debasing.    In this mix, a child can have their sexuality damaged with confusing sexual feelings mixed with fear, shame, and pain.   And a sexual disorder called sado masochism fetish with spanking can be branded into the sexual psychi of the child as an obessive/compulsive disorder that will haunt them the rest of their life!   And the parent as an adult will need that expressed in their sexuality and they in turn can be aroused when they spank children.    Children percieve and begrudgingly accept parental body intrusion for medical and hygiene needs as something perhaps unpleasant but caring.  But forced nudity and genital exposure for spanking is only negative in shame, fear, and pain.  Why do we continue to allow the ignorant sexual abuse of our own children?  

Surviva
Surviva

As a former foster child bounced around 11 different times, I know how broken the foster care system is. Since I wasn't a "bio" kid with no real ties to the family, I got the beatings. I was also the maid, the babysitter, the cook, and sometimes, the "concubine". I wore hand me downs my whole childhood. There may be those that genuinely care, but from my 18 years of real experience, I saw those just in it for the money. What a great gig! You get a slave and a paycheck! No real training either. I'd say sign me up, except I chose a real careeer. With abused kids.

Dawn B.
Dawn B.

thank you Matthew for sharing your perspective and experience. i hope you are on a good path with good people in your life.

Matthewssharel
Matthewssharel

Speaking as a fomer foster child spanking should be illegal for foster parents as foster kids didnt ask to be in the situations we were in and me being pysically abused in all sorts of ways it breaks my heart to hear foster parents spanking the kids cuz all thats doing is bringing up flash backs and it could cause some mental issues in the future

Greg Gauthier
Greg Gauthier

I wonder if I were to smack that foster mother across the face a few good times, if she'd tell me it had "no adverse affects".  Replace all the words "foster care" with "marriage", and "child" with "wife", to get just a little sense of how disgusting it is that we still hang on to this iron-age nonsense that beating you makes you better.

Jb
Jb

RaiseYourOwnKids,  Hitting a small defenseless child is not an act of love; it's actually quite the opposite. There are ways to set boundaries and discipline without resorting to violence. I think it's a little perverted to that Dads would spank their daughters bottoms. Same goes for them hitting little boys on private parts too. Children are the only individuals we allow to be hit and it's sad. If we were to hit anyone else like we do to children it would called assault. 

jmott
jmott

It's really not that hard to not spank a child in your care. There are plenty of other allowed disciplinary actions. Foster children are very vulnerable already because of presumed past abuse. There is simply no reason why someone HAS to spank them. None.

RaiseYourOwnKids
RaiseYourOwnKids

And that is why the current generation is so fucked in the head.  NO discipline, because parents are afraid of getting CPS called on them, or their welfare checks taken away.  Everyone I have ever had the conversation with, has been spanked as a child, none of them grew up resenting their parents or otherwise harmed by this. I have been lucky so far, my daughter has not stepped out of bounds enough to warrant a spanking, but if she ever needs it, her loving father will dole it out, for her sake.  

Seattledad
Seattledad

Completely agree, Dawn.  I believe that nearly all states (possible exception of Mississippi) do not allow spanking at all of any foster, and in many cases adoopted children.  You are correct, and i've worked for over 20 years with abused and neglected children and teens.  Hitting a child is not only an act of violence, but it sends the wrong message.  You can be a loving parent without ever having to hit your children.  Unfortunately, we get religious people like these people that misinterpret entirely what the bible says..it does NOT SAY spare the rod, spoil the child.  that was written by a man, a poet, centuries ago, talking about the staff/rod of a shepherd directing his flock.  does not say anywhere in the new testimont that God says to hit your children.  Sad, really.  Now these poor kids get to suffer again, back into the system.  I hope that they never give these people their license back.  I believe they will continue to spank any foster child. 

Dawn B.
Dawn B.

i side with not allowing physical consequences for foster kids (i'm not really all that crazy about hitting a kid period).  when you have kids who are in the system, they are usually there for a number of reasons that involve caregivers harming them in some way (neglect or abuse).  It's not uncommon for foster kids to have several foster placements some problems with this (if allowed) is the range of reasons a FP might have for hitting, how the hitting it delivered, asking what this is actually teaching the child and what it might be reinforcing (unintended lessons) for the child given their background. research also shows the many problems with physical punishment for any kid.

Now Trending

Minnesota Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...