Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Odds are, there are many more like Juan

    The previous post to this Blog tells the story of Juan, a little boy taken from a wonderful mother and now trapped in foster care, only because mom had to leave him home alone after school in order to keep her job as a subway station attendant.

    Recently-released data suggest that there may be many more like him. In FY 2008, New York City's Administration for Children's Services took 7,401 children from their families, that's a five percent increase over the previous fiscal year – and a 51 percent increase over FY 2005, the last fiscal year before the giant surge in removals that followed the death of Nixzmary Brown. ACS' excuse for this always has been that reports alleging maltreatment also increased. But reports increased by only 15 percent since 2005; and they barely increased at all in FY 2008.

    Key safety indicators remain significantly worse than they were before ACS started taking away so many more children.

    The number of entries into care still is better than before the reforms begun in New York nearly a decade ago. And in some areas, notably reducing the number of children trapped in group homes and institutions, ACS still is making progress. But the overall trend is disappointing   

Details on the data are in the newest edition of NCCPR's report on New York City, updated this morning. The report, first published three years ago, is called "Don't Turn Back." But if things don't change in New York soon, perhaps the title will have to change to "Stop Turning Back."