Tuesday, December 19, 2017

UPDATED (AGAIN!): Quick – call CPS!


It seems like every couple of years I have to update this post.  Because Alaska's most famous dysfunctional family is in trouble again.  There's been an arrest. Violence, drugs and alcohol may be involved.   And once again, there is no mention of a child protective services investigation.

Remember, this is Alaska, which year after year is the foster-care capital of America - holding proportionately more children in foster care than any other state.

As you read about the latest incident, imagine what the response of CPS would have been had this been a Native Alaskan family.

And anyone who still believes there is no racial or class bias in child welfare needs to explain why this family never seems to be investigated.


I originally posted this in November, 2009.  But look what's happened now.  It's possible that children may have witnessed domestic violence in the very same home - and we all know how quickly Child Protective Services rushes to investigate families, and sometimes take away the children when that happens.  (They shouldn't take the children, but that doesn't stop them.)

And it looks like the alleged perpetrator's mother may be in denial - rushing to blame others for what happened.  

I don’t really think CPS should investigate this family — because I believe there should be a very high threshold to trigger an investigation of any family.  But if our child protective services systems are to be consistent, then CPS will have to look at this family now, right?  Especially since this is all happening in a state that takes away children at one of the highest rates in America.

Oh, wait.  The family isn't poor.


Wow. Sounds like quite a dysfunctional family. According to the allegations:

    The kids pretty much are left to fend for themselves. They do all their own cooking, cleaning, laundry, and they have to get themselves ready for school. One of the older children, herself an unwed teenage mother, has a stormy relationship with Mom. The big sister is the one who helps her kid sister with the homework, while the boyfriend cooks for them. It's alleged that Mom even largely ignored her special needs infant. 
The mother in the family in question.
Photo by Gage Skidmore
    More allegations: Mom and dad have lots of loud arguments in front of the kids – other than that they rarely talk. And mom apparently doesn't work too hard. She leaves work early, and while the kids are fending for themselves, she pampers herself with a long bath and just sits around watching house and wedding shows on TV. Sometimes, "she would literally say things that did not make sense." As for Dad, he allegedly spends a lot of time "drinking beer or screwing off." And the boyfriend's mother has an arrest record.

    Depending on which caseworker showed up at the door, this might not be enough to get children removed from a family, even an impoverished family – at least not if the kids were managing to keep the house neat and tidy. But such allegations probably would be enough to trigger a child protective services investigation and send that caseworker to the door in the first place. And if the CPS worker "substantiated" the allegations, she'd probably order a "psych eval" on the adults in the home. I'm not saying that's a good thing – only that it almost certainly would happen were this family poor.

Yes, the source of these allegations may not be reliable – but at least he put his name on them. Even an anonymous set of allegations like these could trigger an investigation against an average family – especially an average impoverished family, especially in the state where this family lives, which has one of the highest rates of removal in the nation.

    So: When exactly will Child Protective Services in Alaska be investigating Levi Johnston's allegations concerning Todd and Sarah Palin?