When should 3rd parties step in to protect children?

Apparently a Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant stepped in to take a young child away from a mother who may have slapped the child (click for link to the story).

Given all of the news about parents harming their children, such as the South Carolina mother who appraently suffocated, then drowned her children, perhaps we should revisit our rules and laws allowing third parties to protect children.

Many of us like to say “how can our government let that happen?” Or “why didn’t the appropriate government agency step in?” But why don’t more individuals step in? Perhaps for fear of “getting involved”. But getting involved is important. Not just when an obvious issue arises (like child abuse in public), but also in custody and visitation disputes. Most custody cases end up being “he said-she said” with each parent pointing the finger at the other but no other witnesses (except maybe a close family member). True, being a witness is inconvenient and time consuming. But in custody or visitation cases, the true benefiiciary of the witness’ time and effort is the child. So why not get involved? All it costs is a little time, and it may help ensure a child grows up with the best possible chance to succeed in life.