Wednesday, July 20, 2011

UPDATE: Foster care in Texas: Publicity, not CPS, reunites Houston family

This post was updated July 21 at 1:00pm

Prince and Charlomane Leonard have been reunited with their six children.  A judge reunited the family yesterday afternoon after they were able to obtain rental housing.  The housing was obtained only after news organizations publicized how the family was torn apart solely because of their housing problems.   

There’s another good story from Anita Hassan of the Houston Chronicle today.  See especially the comments from the lawyer who was supposed to represent the children's "best interests" According to the Chronicle:

He said the compost toilet was deemed unsanitary, that the family took baths and washed dishes using the same water from a 55-gallon barrel, and that the children were unsupervised and seen running around barefoot.

Declared the lawyer: "It was never about poverty."

Right.  Because, as Anatole France explained, and as I noted in a previous post: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

For some reason, the children don't seem particularly grateful for their law guardian's "help."  As one of the children told KHOU-TV: "CPS shouldn't have did that, and it was wrong of them to just come bother us."

But what about all the cases in which CPS agencies routinely tear apart families for lack of housing, but which take no unusual twists and turns and so get no publicity?  Several studies estimate that, nationwide, at least 30 percent of America’s foster children could be home right now if their parents just had decent housing.  On any given day there are about 424,000 children trapped in foster care – that means about 127,200 are stuck there solely because of housing.  

So I guess this is a case of six down, 127,194 to go.